It is most encouraging to read through the applications for our Karma Yoga Service and Study program each year at this time. For 2011 we have more applications than ever, and they come from further and further afield. In a world where the news is often less than uplifting, these applications give us a snapshot of the desires and aspirations of young people from around the world. It is truly inspiring to see how so many of them are turning away from the traditional work-for-money approach to seeking work that has more meaning for them. High on their list is a place where they can work for a social or spiritual cause, and move away from the “what’s in it for me?” attitude. More than ever before, young people are seeking a place where they can deepen their spiritual practice, live lightly on the earth, eat wholesome food, gladly contribute their energy and skills to a noble cause, and, the icing on the cake, share all this with a joyous community of like-minded people. It looks as if the 2011 Centre community will once again be a wonderful group.
Renovations to the program house are moving ahead well. While the basement fire upgrade and the upstairs guest room reflooring are overdue, the complete overhaul of the dishwashing system is a large innovative upgrade – finally, to the relief of all those who prepare food, no dishwashing will take place in the kitchen any more. Another less obvious improvement is the new roof over the kitchen stairs. Many thanks to Joe Lorencz from the kitchen staff who will no longer have to go through the rain to get to the walk-in cooler.
If we start feeling complacent about our achievements all we need to do is look at the lengthy and detailed main house project list that Kishori recently compiled for the Centre Committee. This is a great help in responsibly allocating Centre resources. We have outdoor priorities too. High on our list when the warmer weather arrives is replacement of existing outhouses with much greener composting outhouses, whose byproducts can be used as fertilizer for the fruit trees. Who knows, perhaps 2011 will be the year that the yurt finally gets its much-needed face lift?
We are finalising the staff overseeing our key areas. We bid farewell to Kalyani who has left to help look after her son’s new twins. We thank her for her long and committed service to the Centre and teachings, and wish her and her family well! Fortunately many such as Kari in the kitchen and Sofya our farm manager are returning. Also thanks to Patrick and Shyam, the mainstay of the Centre’s winter community, who can be seen on the driveway after this year’s frequent heavy rains, filling the potholes. There have been others too, working behind the scenes in the quiet season on finances, website and other administrative functions.
In closing we invite you to the wonderful annual celebration of Shiva Ratri. We hope you can join us for a night of chanting and prayer on March 3rd starting at 7:00pm.