The Expanding Light Saved Me

The words, “You’re fired,” are feared and dreaded, particularly since the economic downturn. The week before Christmas 2011, however, I heard those words for the first time in my decades-long career in health care. I was delighted.  Never mind that I had 24 hours to vacate my corporate-subsidized apartment with a fever of nearly 102. On shaky legs and with chills, I stuffed everything I had taken to the assignment into my Subaru sedan.

Temporarily homeless and jobless, I knew exactly where to go—The Expanding Light to participate in the Karma Yoga program. I was graciously accepted into the program, and after three years of visiting Ananda on personal retreats, I eagerly prepared for my immersion into everyday life in the ashram.

My first visit to The Expanding Light took place in early 2009.  I was fleeing from work stress. I was still stinging with betrayal and abandonment too many years after a marriage ended very badly. Pharmaceuticals were my friend, I thought.

Although I had been practicing yoga and meditation for over 10 years on a different spiritual path, I felt completely at home the first time I visited. I had never felt such a degree of welcome, of non-judgment, and of love in a community. Meditation in a group was tremendously powerful. The food, healthy and delicious, emitted a unique vitality I had never experienced from food.  I attributed it to the food being prepared mindfully with love, devotion, prayers, and chanting. I couldn’t eat enough. The accommodations were simple, immaculate, and very cozy.

I have been repeatedly drawn back to The Expanding Light. I highly recommend a visit, whether you are looking for rest, respite from strife, a magical time in nature, or a spiritual experience.

Suzanne B., RN, MSN, CNS

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