For three days in June, leaders of the Ashram were guided by Louise Pauzé of Happico in a strategic planning process, looking ahead 15-20 years to ask: How will the Ashram continue? What is essential to maintain? Can we agree to what would make a desirable future?
A year ago we started to clarify trends by gathering relevant program statistics and financial data. In April and May, Ashram residents, staff and Board responded to an in-depth, self-reflection questionnaire on our perspectives of the Ashram. Each of us was also asked to reach out to other organizations with five relevant questions (which we had generated and agreed to) that could expand our understanding and help dispel insular thinking.
Louise and her assistant, Vienna Blum, were on site in June to skillfully engage us in a process that analyzed the gathered data (objective and subjective) to see where we are now. We looked ahead to what needs to change in the next seven years in preparation for succession. And through interactive and dynamic exercises, we reached alignment on direction and next steps.
One of the highlights was agreeing that what is essential to the Ashram are the teachings, commitment, Divine Mother and the lineage. Out of that came several pathways to develop further:
• the sanyas pathway of liberation with students deepening their spiritual commitment through Karma Yoga and initiations
• the professional organizational pathway, with clarification that excellent management combined with commitment to the teachings can be a viable way forward
• the collaboration with aligned groups pathway that leads to an expanding interdependent network
With many dedicated long-term residents now in their 60s and 70s, we are joyfully doing all we can to assure that the Ashram will carry the teachings to future generations. Over the next year we will be inviting feedback from the wider Ashram community of teachers, students and friends. Stay tuned!