This page is dedicated to our resident’s creativity, and the places they find joy and meaning in their lives.
Val is one amazing lady! She has been a dancer all her life, she’s been a social worker and a minister, served with the Red Cross for 9/11 and Katrina, a teacher, a mother, a sailor, and a friend to many! This dance was offered during our annual 4th of July community potluck in 2012. She now lives with us at Ananda House.
Growing Older in Spiritual Community by Gyandevi Fuller
Ananda member since 1987
I drove here across the country in my station wagon from the East Coast when I was 61 and began sharing in this community what I had learned earlier in my life: by getting down on my knees to weed in the community garden; by getting up early in the morning to take part in the group meditation; by studying more thoroughly the writings of Yogananda and of his disciple, Swami Kriyananda; and by taking part in many group meetings and celebrations. Some of the teachers of yoga, meditation techniques, and daily work processes of various kinds that I met in those first years are still here in the foothills of Northern California, others have ridden the wave of growth to other locations around the world, but we are still all connected.
The issues involved in connecting are still a major part of my concern, for I no longer “run a department” or “head up a project”, but I do work with other members as a volunteer, using skills developed over the years – writing and editing, photographing and film-making, cooking and cleaning up, hammering nails in strategic places, planting seeds and trimming flower beds, and greeting some of our many visitors who are exploring this spiritual path. In my spare time now I continue to cultivate the delightful medium of painting—a “recreation” I share with a number of other community members (when they have a portion of time off from their various teaching and administrative positions).
It does do my brain a good turn to work with color to express the subtle connections with our earth and the inhabitants (trees, flowers, birds, water…you name it!) This recreational activity also connects me with a growing number of people from many other environments nearby who come to a class monitored by a gifted painter who guides the development of skills. At this class I am able to learn not only from the teacher, but also experience through direct observation the development of techniques and uses of media by other people, some of whom are beginning now at advanced ages to learn from scratch… SO—It is truly a blessing to know that we all can keep on learning as we grow older. See more of Gyandevi’s art.
Joe Gamble, poet, philosopher and songster
Keep Going, by Joe Gamble, 2012
The Gurus say, “Don’t give up.” Keep on keeping on the track.
All is temporary, like a dream. Love God, and all will be well.
Is this deep religious philosophy? Or just a handhold for a drowning person?
It seems always to be good advice. What else can we do?
We can complain, we can get angry, we can get sad, we can be afraid.
But these paths are not spiritual, and they don’t lead anywhere…
Though it may take lifetimes to realize this.
In almost every case, if you are afraid,
What you think may happen is much worse than what is going to happen.
There are many, many people who are seeking ways to help others…
Or you, yourself, become one of them.
This is probably the best that you can do.
A Black Misty Night
By Joe Gamble Written between 1934 and 1938
I took a lantern and went out into the fog
One black, misty night.
The night was cold and dark
And my thoughts were like the fog,
Cold, clammy, and dripping with tears.
I saw my shadow on the fog One black, misty night—
A hovering giant’s shadow That bent over me like an impending doom.
An hour later I went back out Into what I thought was a black, misty night.
But lo and behold the fog was completely gone,
And, as I looked up at the stars,
A thousand of tiny hopes
Were shining, and twinkling in my heart.
Lament for Divine Mother
Copyright Joe Gamble, 1997 (you may substitute “He” and “Him”, for “She” and “Her.”)
Sometimes God seemed to be completely an illusion
Sometimes She seemed to be so very far away
I thought I never would get over this confusion,
And then I got this wise advice one day:
If you care just a bit for God
And She cares just a lot for you,
She can’t get close to you
No matter what you do
If you care just a bit for God.
But if you love her completely
Then of course She’ll come to you,
And your life that’s gone so badly
Will again be bright and true.
If you care just a bit for God,
And She cares just a lot for you,
She can’t get close to you,
No matter what you do,
So learn to cry and cry for God!
When my heart began to cry and cry to see
Reality God sent Sri Yogananda to me in a dream.
So when you are willing to die, to find Totality,
You’ll find that life’s truths are more than they seem.
Where Fairies Are (My first poem, 1929)
There are fairies in everything,
In the trees, which wave, and swing,
In a feather which goes up in the air,
Up, up, I know not where.
There are fairies in a seed
Which comes falling from a weed.
Then when springtime comes around
It comes shooting from the ground.
There are fairies in the starlight
So faintly seen on the darkest nights,
In galaxies millions of light-years away—
It gives beings there a bright day.
God and fairies are just the same.
The only difference is the name.
My guru Yogananda felt
We all into God, some day, will melt.
Brahmaloka Joe Gamble, 11-30-1979
There is a place I know
Where the grass is always green
And the sky is always blue.
And even though it never rains
There is always a rainbow around the sun.
And the entities, the beings, the people there—
They don’t talk—they sing.
They sing love songs, or spontaneous operas,
Or sing in Sanscrit
The thousand, best-loved, names of Allah-Brahma-Om
A place where work is play and play is
Baskets, and buckets of cooperative fun.
There are no temples there because the universe is the temple.
There are no sermons there because all is a sermon.
This place has no name—but if you must give it a name
Call it Samadhi.
Master Gardener, and friend to the garden devas, Grandmother to Rishi Raj, the wonder dog!