Courageously Facing Life’s Challenges – Newsletter Issue 1, 2020


Courageously Facing Life’s Challenges
Issue 1, 2020
Almost a year ago now, Swami Radhananda requested that we call her by her birth name, Mary-Ann. She had been the dynamic president of Yasodhara Ashram since 1993. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011, she passed the presidency onto me in 2014, while remaining vitally active as a mentor and an initiator.
In asking us to call her Mary-Ann, she was freeing herself from the responsibility of being the spiritual director of the Ashram. This spark of insight was breathtaking to many of us. It illustrated that she was maintaining awareness of her condition even as it created more limitations for her. In this act, she continued her legacy of courageously facing life’s challenges.
During the holidays this winter, Mary-Ann had a fall that resulted in a hairline fracture in one of her pelvic bones. It became clear that although we wanted to continue to care for her at the Ashram as long as possible, her present condition was beyond our capacity. She was admitted to a comfortable room in a seniors’ home, where she is now receiving the medical attention she needs, as well as loving care from family, Ashram residents and friends. Her room is filled with flowers and cards, and she is very receptive to the Light and prayers being channeled her way.
As I sit at her bedside, I reflect on the question she always asked us, especially in challenging circumstances: What are you learning?
I am learning to be present in the uncertainty of this final phase of her life, riding the waves of ups and downs, channeling love as best I can. I am learning to keep going as she does, breath by breath—singing, laughing, crying, silent. Holding the space, holding the Light.
May we live our promise as she has, realizing that whatever we gain through our dedication to the Divine is indestructible.
To learn more about Swami Radhananda and her path, read her memoir, “Carried by a Promise,” and her collection of essays, “Living the Practice,” both published by Timeless Books and available at the Ashram bookstore and
Please send Light and prayers. Cards or flowers are also welcome and can be sent to Mary-Ann McDougall at Mountain Lake Seniors Centre, 908 Eleventh Street, Room Falcon 22, Nelson BC, V1L 7A6
Open-Handed Healing
“What is it that heals? Remember that you are not the healer. It is the Light that heals, not the intellect.” – Swami Radha 
When Chloe Davidson – a talented musician from Kelowna – came to the Ashram on an
Retreat, she was given a way she didn’t expect to heal from grief.
What Would a Swami Say?
We sat down with Swami Sivananda, a long-time Ashram teacher and Swami Radha disciple, to ask questions about everyday issues. He explores how reflection reveals a greater understanding of ourselves and how we deal with the world around us.
Thank you for your Generosity!
The 2020 YDC has begun and because of you, our donors, 6 young adults are steeped in the practices and workshops.
Spiritual Teachers Come In All Forms 
Sarah Wolfenberg is an Educational Assistant at Crawford Bay School. She recognizes the importance of her many teachers at the Ashram and now has another spiritual teacher, Jasper, an eight-year-old boy with Down Syndrome whom she is honoured to assist daily.
Featured Programs
Awakening Wonder
Apr 17 – 20, Sept 11 – 14
Enrich your experience of the world around you and open your heart to wonder. What would it mean to remove filters that keep you from seeing, tasting, hearing, touching, smelling what is?
Learn more…
Reclaiming The Feminine
May 8 – 11, July 26- 29
Explore the inner feminine power to create the life you want to live. Open up space in your heart to re-connect with the vision for your life. What is your heart’s desire and how can this knowing carry you through the ups and downs?
Yoga Development Course 2021
Plan now for this heart-expanding experience! A three-month yoga intensive that will help you create the life you want to live.
Consider staying on for Hatha Teacher Certification and five months of Karma Yoga – volunteer service – to make this a nine-month immersion.
Four Times a Year to Suit Your Schedule
May 14 – 25; July 9 – 20; Aug 13 – 24; Oct 15 – 26
Journey into 10 Days of freedom within yourself. Learn the tools you need to lead a fulfilling life in a caring, supportive atmosphere. See what the Journey has done for others.
Learn more…
News At A Glance
  • Learning Residencies in Food Flow, Hospitality and Grounds – Many three-month (or longer) opportunities for you to learn and grow. Positions in Garden, Orchard, Preserving Kitchen, Kitchen and Grounds start as early as March.
  • Outreach – Upcoming North American outreach workshops are in their planning stages while Swami Sukhananda continues her full European schedule.
  • Walking Together Into a Hopeful Future: Women Sacred Rising, April 24-26 – Join Pahan Pte San Win and Wanbdi Wakita in their fourth year of offering reconciliation and traditional teachings at the Ashram.
  • United in Hope: Climate Vigil – Join us for an inspiring afternoon of community, music, stories and prayers for our planet on February 22 at 4:30 pm in the Temple of Light.
  • Yoga Development Course 2020 – On January 8, a diverse group of 17 entered into this year’s Yoga Development Course.
  • Many OMs – We welcomed 10 One-Month Karma Yogis (OMs) in January, a record for this time of year.
  • Concert – Natasha Hall (violin) and Yoomi Kim (piano) once again graced us with their talents in the Temple of Light on December 22.
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for more details on all of these News at a Glance articles. 

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