As we begin October, the month of Canadian Thanksgiving and other festivals of thanksgiving, we continue to send our heartfelt love and prayers to all those dealing with the destruction caused by wildfires and other extreme weather events, the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic and its ensuing hardships, and the struggles of isolation. It is a strange time indeed – curiouser and curiouser as Alice said in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”.
In the midst of these challenges, life continues to flourish in unexpected ways: the exquisite beauty of nature, the recognition in this time of the importance of spiritual practice, the many online opportunities for study, leading to deeper connections with the extended satsang and larger community. If that hasn’t been your experience, consider this an invitation to join one of the free classes offered by the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga and Mount Madonna Center. You may also be interested in signing up for one of the Centre’s programs where you can spend time with like-minded people.
Our small residential community has been very busy of late.
It’s harvest time on the farm
and here is Dan’s farm report:
Every year, the highlight of the fall season at the Centre is gathering in the orchard en masse to pick apples and pears from the roughly two dozen fruit-bearing trees. Then the question arises: What are we going to do with all these apples and pears?
Although the pear season is still in its early stages, community members have already harvested about 450 kilograms (or 1000 pounds) of apples, and have also found a number of creative ways of managing the abundance, rather than just eating one after another until our bellies ache.
So far, we’ve sold a large quantity of our less visually appealing apples and pears to Salt Spring Wild Cider for them to use in making their popular dry ciders, while also selling apples at the farm stand and larger bulk orders to islanders via the Salt Spring Exchange, as well as processing apples into applesauce and fruit leather.
And most recently, Marion and Mahavir led a team of karma yogis and a truckful of Centre apples to a farm on the south end of the island where they made freshly pressed apple juice in a press that the owner of the farm made 38 years ago. By the end of the process, several hundred pounds of apples were juiced and the team returned to the Centre with 72 2-litre bottles of apple juice both for the community on the land and for purchase at the farm stand and by Satsang members, as well as boxes of leftover pulp that will be used to make apple cider vinegar.
While some of our vegetable crops are starting to peter out, the tomato and winter squash/pumpkin harvests have exceeded expectations and should continue to add to our winter stockpile for the first week or two of October, or until the first frost, whichever comes first. Some of our miniature pumpkins, a perfect size for children of any age, will also be available to purchase for carving or eating in early October. Meanwhile, our field of leeks, celery and carrots is still flourishing and should be providing food for the community for weeks or months to come.
On a bittersweet note, although the farm continues to thrive, I have decided to leave the Centre for the foreseeable future to focus on a few other personal pursuits that have been calling to me for much of the season, as well as to help another farmer friend with her own busy harvest season. In the meantime, Marion will lead the farm through the remainder of the fall.
Daniel Naccarato and Marion Nair
We are so grateful for Dan’s dedication to the farm and the community, and we will definitely miss him. We offer a big thank you to Marion for being willing to step up to complete the season.
Supporting the Centre
In early September we held a lovely and delicious outdoor Indian dinner on the mound, which Anita had offered to do as a fundraiser for the Centre. She and Kaveesha prepared a fabulous meal, attended by on-island satsang friends. The numbers were limited and all covid protocols were followed. All the picnic tables plus other tables and chairs were set up on the mound in a way that allowed for physical distancing, and yet felt like a warm community event.
We’re doing our best to develop and run online programs to share the teachings of Yoga and Ayurveda and keep the connections with the community alive. We invite you to contribute to helping the Centre in any way you can – registering for programs, sharing program information on social media, sharing your skills, and making donations. We strive to continue serving our mission of creating – and sustaining – an environment for the attainment of peace. All donations to support this aim are much appreciated.
The Centre School is back in session, and it’s great to hear the voices of the kids again. Initially they spent most of their time outside, but then the wildfire smoke set in, so they moved back inside. Everyone is well, and the kids are so happy to be back.
Upcoming programs and ongoing classes
Home Yoga Retreats continue to nourish the people who attend, in many ways. Participants practice together, which then strengthens their home practice. They meet other people who connect and bond over the course of a weekend. This has always happened during in-person Yoga Getaways, and it often amazes participants that the same thing happens over zoom. Here are the dates for the next two Home Yoga Retreats: October 16-18 and November 13-15. It’s so easy to join from wherever you are – with no travel required – that some people come back month after month.
More Ayurveda courses are coming up as well. The first one – a free webinar offered by Jyoti – is scheduled for October 3, from 10 am to 12:30 pm: Subtle Shifts for Big Impact, featuring the top three Ayurvedic tricks to enhance your health and happiness.
New: sliding scale for select programs
To allow for more participation, we are now offering sliding scale pricing on select online programs: Community Supported price allows those facing financial challenges to attend; Program price is the set cost; and Pay it Forward helps support others in the program. Please check Programs and Retreats on the Centre’s website.
Other online programs coming up in October and November
Prenatal Yoga Program Series: October 30, November 6, 13, 20 and 27, taught by Hamsa (Sue Ann)
Patanjali’s Yogasutra: A Guided Tour: October 31, November 1, 7 and 8, taught by Yogeshwar. If you’ve always wanted to understand the sutras, this is your chance.
Yoga as Medicine: November 5, 12, 19 and 26: You can take each class separately or as a series.
Dharma Sara Satsang Society AGM
We are currently preparing for our Annual General Meeting. This year for the first time it will be held online, on November 28. We were unable to hold our AGM at the usual spring time because of Covid, hence the later date. If you’re not yet a member, but you feel connected to the Dharma Sara Satsang Society’s community, teachings, and the aims of the society, please become a member.
Mount Madonna event
Also: Anand Darsie, amazing musician and all-round wonderful guy, is inviting those who are interested to join the choir that will be singing at the Re-Union Retreat. He says you don’t have to be a singer – or consider yourself a singer. All you need is joy in singing. Fun guaranteed. All online, so you don’t have to travel anywhere. Like to sing? Contact Anand: email@example.com
For your reading enjoyment
I’m delighted to bring you part two of Pratibha’s continuing story – More Gifts from the Chalkboard. Last month Pratibha told the story of her early connection and involvement with the Salt Spring Centre, Mount Madonna Center, and Pacific Cultural Center (the town center). Now she takes us deeper into the valuable teachings she absorbed over her years of involvement and dedicated practice.
Babaji tells us, If you are in peace then others around you will feel peace, so your best effort should be to work on yourself. What can we do to be in peace? You begin with compassion for yourself, and an ongoing practice of developing positive qualities. It’s entirely do-able, but it takes awareness and practice. Please read Kindness and Understanding for support in the practice.
From Mary Oliver: I Ask Percy How I Should Live My Life
Love, love, love, says Percy. And run as fast as you can along the shining beach, or the rubble, or the dust. Then, go to sleep, Give up your body heat, your beating heart. Then, trust.