Amma's Pacific Northwest Region

January 2016 Newsletter - Read More!

Future PNW M.A.Center Care Package Ursula Story Portland Mother's Kitchen


CarePackage from Amrita Bala Kendra Kids


 
"Amrita Bala Kendra program tries to give children an understanding of spiritual principles and shows them how to bring these simple teachings into their daily lives through stories, bhajans, field trips, arts and crafts, celebration of festivals and service projects. The Bala Kendra program focuses on values, traditions, and spiritual practices"
 
In December, Amma's Balakendra children made care bags to give out to the Seattle's homeless men and women attending Mother's Kitchen. The kids received donations from satsang members as well as from many generous and thoughtful friends of their families. THANK YOU!
 
The kids did a beautiful job sorting the items (toothbrushes, socks, coats, toothpaste, granola bars, blankets......) and preparing the care bags. One child was even doing quality control to make sure all the bags received a "fair" amount . The children made super sweet cards wishing the men and women peace. In the cards the kids showed how they are thinking about, caring and praying for people living outdoors. This project was very meaningful and the young devotees were all heart, following Amma's example under the sweet leadership of the devotee parents.
 
To learn more about Amrita Bala Kendra, write to prakash.vaidyanathan@gmail.com.

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Portland Satsang - Ursula Story

Sent to us by Scotti Rice from Portland Satsang

Ursula

 
Ursula Luciano has lived all over the world. Recently, home has been Portland, but it is really only a stopping point to earn money as a caregiver, so she can spend more time in India. Ursula loves children. She has dreamed for years of starting an orphanage. She is also an avid gardener. She has taken permaculture classes in Germany and Amritapuri and worked in Amma's tulsi gardens.
 
Some how, this summer, she found her way to the first Fellowship Class for AmritaServe. The program is focused on recent Indian college graduates who want to spend a year immersed in a village before beginning their careers. How a 60+ western lady got in, I'll never know. But that's Ursula.
 
Several years ago, Amma was given a small ashram in the Himalayas near Uttarkashi. It's an overnight bus ride from Delhi, then 6 more hours of twisting mountain roads by jeep or local bus. The previous owners were not able to keep it up and now there are major maintenance issues. The ashram is too remote to get regular use and in this part of the world, the jungle takes back what is not used.So Ursula was assigned to the village of Dundar a few km from the ashram. Her job, to start educational programs such as after school tuition, sewing, basic hygene, english, etc. for the villagers. Most AmritaServe volunteers have a single pointed focus on their mission. Not Ursula. If she is in a classroom teaching English and the light bulb needs changing, she will change it. If the wiring is falling out of the wall, she will try to fix that too, following the wires all the way to the road if necessary. In addition to her full time teaching jobs, she has become a one woman dynamo fixing up the ashram. She steps on the toes of the local men who give her no support. Often without a budget, she will spend her own money to fix things. Paint, toilets, water heaters.
 
There are failures, but more often success. Amma recently asked me how I can work in northern India without speaking Hindi. The same question would apply to Ursula. You get by. With Amma's grace and the help of others, the important things get communicated. Sometimes, it is a blessing to not understand the conversation around you and simply chant your mantra. And some times it is very lonely. Ursula is a true pioneer, hanging on the edge of Amma's universe by faith alone. But where else can you wake to find Durga's lion sleeping on your doorstep.

Mother's Kitchen Update - Portland Satsang

Portland Mother's Kitchen
Amma's Portland Satsang has begun a new Mother's Kitchen Project providing the Thursday evening meal to the Sears Emergency Women's Shelter in SW Portland. The shelter has no kitchen facilities, so we have a sack lunch waiting for each guest when they get off the bus from downtown.
 
The rain and traffic in Portland has been terrible this month, but our seva crew has not failed. No matter how miserable it is for us, we know the weather is much worse for those living on the streets. A nutritious meal is so important when you have been cold and wet all day. Our most recent Thursday was Christmas Eve. Food donations poured in all week, fresh oranges, carrot sticks, and home made cookies. No small task when you are baking or chopping for 130. Zuma and her friends started decorating the bags with messages like "You are Loved". Raya and Komalum finished them off with a bow and candy cane. With enough helping hands, it took less than an hour to make 130 cheese sandwiches and fill the bags.
 
Mother's Kitchen has been active in some form in Portland since 2006. This Shelter Project appears to be an ideal seva for community. Some of us, including children, get the joy of working together assembling the meals. Another equally large group, some of whom have mobility issues, have been able to contribute from home, preparing food or donating to our food supply. Together, the quality and abundance of our meals is increasing.
 
Reaction to a shelter in a quiet residential area was initially quite negative. A chorus of "Not in my neighborhood" was heard at local community meetings. Vicious things were said about the shelter and especially the women staying there. It bordered on hate speech and those scare tactics were picked up by the media. The only way to answer such ignorance, locally or worldwide, is by opening our hearts to those in need, as Amma shows us. We were the first group to provide shelter meals. Now Multnomah Village is starting to rally in support. The women are already expressing how much it means to know that some people are thinking of them in a positive way. Jai Ma!!!
 
In Amma,
Scotti
 
To donate or volunteer contact Scott Rice at donscotti@gmail.com or 503-701-4940.

Future MA Center PNW - Update

The past few weeks have seen new developments toward the future MA Center PNW. Planning continues based on Amma’s feedback.
 
A new Fire Engineering company, Aegis Engineering was hired to help design a system of fire protection for the existing house and future buildings.
 
With Br. Dayamrita Chaitanya’s assistance, a local committee was formed to facilitate the flow of information to and from the region (including from satsangs, the county and engineers etc.) with the MA Center San Ramon board. At Swamiji’s suggestion the group is composed of people who have already been involved in the purchase and permit planning of the future Center. (We will continue to use the term “future” Center until we obtain the Conditional Use Permit from Snohomish County, at which point it will be known as MA Center PNW). The current Oversight Committee is composed of the following people:
 
  • Bob Freer – Construction, Planning
  • Sarva Rutherford – Construction, Planning
  • Vandya Sexton – Accounting
  • Visala Hohlbein – Accounting, Marketing & Fundraising
  • Kavita Ganeshan – Finance
  • Meera Venkatesh - Liaison
  • Brad Joss – Seva Coordination, Planning
  • Eswar Cortelyou – NW Satsang Communications
  • Yasas Renn – Planning
  • Iswari Grace – Legal

 
Also, there will be a Retreat Participant Management Committee (RMC) consisting of the following people: Yasas Renn, Clarice Redmond and Susanta Crawford. This group will develop the application process and interview potential residents for the local PNW Center when the time comes to take applications.
 
The timetable for application for the CUP permit is still not known exactly. Once the local group reaches a clear consensus on what we think should be included in the plans, they will be sent to San Ramon. Once Dayamrita Swami and the board have approved our suggested plans for the property then the plans will be sent to our Planner and engineers for their input and final preparations for the CUP process. May Amma continue to Bless us with Her unending Love and Compassion.
 
Jai Ma

 
For more information, contact Bob at bobfreer108@gmail.com

Monthly Satsang Events

Vancouver IAM 35, IAM 20 Meditation Course Jan 9 - 10

The IAM - Integrated Amrita Meditation Technique® is a short and simple approach to meditation that anyone can learn. It's a powerful way to reconnect with our real center and thereby experience true joy and peace in life. Born out of Amma's deep resolve for our spiritual enhancement, this technique, when practiced with dedication, is designed to bring integration into our lives - an integration of body, mind, intellect and heart.

When:   IAM 35, Sat Jan 9, 10am - 4pm
IAM 20, Sun Jan 10, 10am - 12.30pm
Where:   Vancouver, B.C.
Contact:   Rajeswari at jgrajeswari@yahoo.ca or (604) 251-3015

Future PNW M.A.Center Seva Day Jan 17

On January 17, Eswar Cortelyou will lead a seva day of pruning. Many in the region know Eswar in his role as Tour Coordinator -- he is also an accomplished homesteader and a recently retired forester. Eswar will give tips on pruning and tree care, and we will go out in teams to clean up all the trees and shrubs. Lunch will be served mid-day and plenty of time will be reserved to mingle and discuss the work and garden possibilities. Tours of the property will also be given.

When:   Sunday Jan 17, 10am - 4.30pm
Where:   22404 134th Ave SE, Snohomish, WA 98296
Contact:   RSVP to Visala at vhohlbein@msn.com or
Yasas at drenn108@gmail.com

Redmond Kartika Satsang Jan 19

Kartika puja is performed every month during the birthstar of Amma, Kartika.

When:   Tuesday Jan 19, 7 - 8:30pm
Where:   15714 NE 117th St, Redmond, WA 98052 (Map)
Contact:   Theresa at theresajoss@gmail.com or 206-931-5299

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