A feeling of excitement rippled through the Ashram during the last week in June as we welcomed a group from the Banff Centre’s Leadership Program. It was an inspiring opportunity to see what the Ashram can offer to like-minded organizations working for positive change in today’s world. Cheryl Rose describes her experience.
I am one of the faculty at the Banff Centre in the Leadership Department and we were at the Ashram with a group of people who are social change agents working on very big issues and problems in the world. We have a series of programs that we do at the Banff Centre, and we had designed a new pilot project that was about reflexive practice.
We very happily discovered the Ashram, which felt like a perfect place to enhance and in some ways model a lot of what we were trying to help people learn—how to become still, how to develop their inner world, how to make meaning of things. We wanted them to try out a variety of different practices including meditation, yoga, journaling, walking on the land, making art, dancing and singing. We also wanted them to challenge themselves to become the leaders that they need to be and that the world is calling for.
I’ve never been to an ashram before and was excited to come. For me personally I will remember this week my whole life. It has felt deeply refreshing, replenishing, stimulating and nourishing. It’s such a beautiful place to be. To witness the community and how it functions has been inspiring. We’ve learned so much from the people, the place and the community.
I know that for those we brought here, it has amplified their learning and their sense of feeling filled up again and ready for the work that lies ahead. They felt comfortable and welcomed. We felt alignment around topics like thoughtful leadership, committed action, the interconnection of all things and the multiple ways there are of learning, knowing and making meaning. We could work in the garden, walk by the water, sit in the Temple and be welcomed into some of the spiritual practices here. We could be in our own space and feel that we could be ourselves—sometimes noisy, sometimes very quiet.
The way people see things and their understanding of the world seems to be becoming more limited yet the world needs us to expand. We’ve had that kind of experience here. We all agree that we couldn’t have chosen a better spot.
It feels like this magical little world you enter— when I’m leaving from the beautiful meals, walking down a path, over a little brook and seeing the Temple ahead of me— it’s a whole world that is the kind of space we wish for.
Julian Norris, Sheila Belanger, Laura Larriva Page – Program Facilitators
Other participants comment:
I want to speak about how moving my experience of the food at the Ashram has been— the food is healthy, natural, so beautifully simple. It was like having this incredible experience of not just the love of the Ashram people—those in the kitchen and those who grow the food from seed—but also that sense of Divine Mother feeding me. I was especially remembering my female ancestors— their love of feeding me and my family. – Sheila Belanger
I was here with others who are journeying in their work to change systems. To be with a group who are actively working externally, hosted by the Ashram which so actively hosts the internal light, was an extraordinary experience for me. One of the things that happened was that I got to share my lived experience and relationship with the Ashram in a really meaningful and generative way with new people. – Vanessa Reid