Beautiful young voices filled the Ashram recently, when over sixty members of Nelson’s Corazón choir came for an overnight team-building visit. Choir director Allison Girvan sought an environment that encourages deeper connections with each other and with the music to bring together new and longer-term members.
Settled back in Nelson for a few weeks after being here, Allison commented on the continued effect of the visit. “We are all still riding the wave of being together at the Ashram and are so much more connected for our time there,” she says. “I know it wasn’t that long ago, but the memories of the environment feel more vivid than I would expect.”
The youth “embarked on some new adventures” while at the Ashram, says Allison, including eating a meal together in silence. In speaking with the group beforehand, Allison says it provided an opportunity for discussion and reflection. “We addressed apprehensions as well as appreciation of the path the food took before it arrived on the plate. A silent meal allowed for taking the time to truly taste each and every bite without distraction. For several members of our community, this provided a welcome relief to the pressure of making small talk.”
Although the choir was focused on getting to know one another, having this amazing group of youth here uplifted everyone at the Ashram. At times they practiced in smaller groups throughout Mandala House, which gave a chance to hear them and to learn more about what they were doing. Swami Jyotihananda heard Allison encouraging the youth to “make the music, the song your own, and when everyone does that, then all of us come together in the music.”
“It was a wonderful description of karma yoga,” says Swami Jyotihananda, “When we do it for ourselves and make it our own, then we come together as a community and lift the work up to another level.”
While here the choir offered to sing for the entire Ashram. “We all loved being able to sing a bit for everyone before we left,” says Allison. “That was a real high point for many of us. The choir commented on how warm and welcoming everyone was and how at home they felt. It was a rich, memorable experience for all of us who were at the Ashram.”
Experiencing Corazón’s offering from the heart was an incredible experience for everyone. We look forward to the choir’s return next fall and hearing them in the new Temple of Light!