Swami Kriyananda talked with me about moving to India or possibly Italy when I visited India in 2012. I was there to do some creative projects at his request. The first day I met with Swamiji, his opening remarks to me were “Well, how do you like India?”

I’d barely seen India. I was sick on the way over and spent most of the first few days in a hotel, recovering. The first day I was well, I had a treacherous ride in a mini-taxi to receive an Akashic reading that proved to not be very accurate. (Akashic readings are something like astrological readings, and are not all equally helpful.)

“Ugh, I like it,” was all I could muster up. (And this proved to be true as I later fell in love with India). Nevertheless, Swamiji’s response was “Well, maybe Italy.” Inwardly all I could think of was, “But wait! I haven’t been able to give it a chance. What do I know? I’ve been sick.”

Where Should I Live?

Devaki and Swamiji on stage at curtain call-1

Devaki and Swami Kriyananda after a performance of “The Peace Treaty”, which Devaki directed at Ananda Village each summer.

From that point on, everyone — including me — thought I was going back to India. The only one who didn’t seem to respond with 100 percent enthusiasm was Swamiji. But he was very subtle with me.

For instance, I would hear from Narayani, his personal assistant, that maybe I would travel to Italy with them the following year. So he wasn’t seeing India as my final destination — not for the time being at least. But I was, and all that I knew when I left India was that I needed to downsize and get my finances together so that I could make the move.

Swamiji left his body in the spring of 2013, before any change in my life had a chance to take place. After he left the body, everything to do with Ananda India began to change. This was the beginning of what we all knew to be a global transition for Ananda’s work. Something none of us could ever prepare for but all of us knew was inevitable.

Swamiji’s passing, coupled with my brother leaving his body the following year, brought forth in me a tremendous sense of restlessness, anxiety and instability. I had the sense that the ground was shaking beneath my feet. Sadly, I felt I was trying to fit somewhere I no longer belonged. I loved life at Ananda Village, so what was the problem? Out of a sense of dharma and loyalty to long-time friends… and probably a sense of fear, I kept trying. Whatever the reason, it became increasingly obvious that a change was needed and trying to happen.

Finally the feelings that I had for change were unbearable. I quit my job at Ananda village and felt the freedom to explore. For many reasons India and Italy did not seem to work out so I began exploring the Pacific Northwest.

Finding a Direction

I had lived in Seattle twice: before moving to Ananda in 1984, and again for four years in the mid-to-late 90’s. I moved when Mountain Song, an early Ananda retail store in Nevada City, began its end-of-life journey, and Vasanta Weber asked if I’d consider moving to work in Seattle’s East-West Bookstore.

I hadn’t considered moving back to Seattle at a third time, but Nayaswami Devi mentioned they needed someone in the bookshop so I thought I’d check it out. Also, Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi were traveling through Seattle and I thought it would be a great way to connect with them, visit the Northwest, and take a little vacation on the coast.

Ananda Seattle's teaching center in Bothell.

Ananda Seattle’s teaching center in Bothell.

When I first drove into Seattle I felt an incredible amount of frenetic energy. I’d been used to living in a quiet rural community, and naturally my first thoughts were, “NO WAY, I’m not moving here! This is a crazy city and I don’t want anything to do with it.”

Plus, everything seemed so big! I’d walk into a Fred Meyer’s, forget what entrance I’d come in and spend a half hour looking for my car because I’d walked out a different side to the store. Quite different from the JC Penny’s store I frequented in Grass Valley (only one entrance!). This was quite a different experience for someone who was a little out of touch with modern life. I recently handed my flip phone to my friend’s ten-year old to see if he could help me with it and, his response was,”What is it?”

For the next four or five days, Devi and I would make little comments to each other in passing about whether or not I should move, both of us feeling what was trying to happen, neither of us wanting to color our perceptions. We were both dutifully impressed by what Swamiji and Master had been able to accomplish there through all of the great souls in Seattle. Seattle is spearheaded of course by Nayaswamis Padma and Hriman. Finally, by the time I left, I knew Seattle was where Master wanted me.

Because the bookstore in Seattle wasn’t quite ready for me, I returned to the Village and worked the summer for The Expanding Light (Ananda’s guest retreat). Three months later, I was in Seattle. Now I work in the bookstore again, teach classes and will begin to put together our upcoming Christmas events, and it feels right.

Before the move, I had a lot of anxiety. Who will be my doctor? What if I don’t like it? What if I still feel restless… on and on… the monkey mind!

The anxiety ceased the day I started driving my truck full of belongings to the Northwest. It was only then that I knew, yes, absolutely, I had made the right decision. From that point on I felt a very strong guiding presence from Master and Swamiji behind my actions and thoughts.

“You Have Not Made Any Mistakes”

There was one thing that the man in India who read my Akashic records said which felt divinely inspired. He said, ”You have not made any mistakes” — something I have struggled with my whole life. Swami Kriyananda’s comment was, “Well, that I agree with!”

I see the meaning here as there are no mistakes in the universe, and that everything has a divine order. But I challenge you, dear reader, to meditate and figure this out for yourself as it is quite a deep concept!

Of course there are some adjustments that I must make while living here — I certainly wouldn’t want it any other way, since after all I am here to grow. But will I stay in Seattle? For the rest of my life?

I don’t know, and I’ve come to realize that I cannot second-guess Divine Mother, she fools me every time! But for now, it feels very right.

Here I am reminded of Swami Kriyananda’s song, “Home is a Green Hill.” I often chant it to myself; my favorite lines are:

Home is the knowledge heaven’s within,
Home is a heart that is whole. …
When I’m silent, free from all care,
I discover my home’s everywhere!

A Place Called Ananda

A blog by disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda


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