I spent Christmas 2017 in my first “intentional community.”
Ananda Village, founded in 1968 by a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, was a magical, uplifting place where everyone came together with a shared intention and common goal — that goal being the uplifting and healing of the planet through love-based community.
Everything in the village is based on this common goal — meals together, loving upkeep of the grounds, buildings, and facilities. Everyone in the community lives their lives, personally and professionally, based on this shared intention.
Several times throughout the year, all of Ananada Village unites for an entire day of long, silent meditation. Eight straight hours of the combined focus of everyone in the village radiating pure love. I got to share in this gift for the entire day of Christmas Eve.
It was magic and heart-opening, in new and peaceful, yet exciting, ways for me. It was my first experience of what I now believe to be the true meaning of Christmas, intentionally focusing on a Christ-consciousness for all.
While at Ananda, I looked at homes and asked about living there with my family as the lifestyle deeply resonated with how I want to raise my children — how I think we can save the planet if all children were raised.
While I looked and asked questions, my heart knew that moving my children 3000 miles away, leaving my job, our family, our life, was never going to happen.
What my heart didn’t know was that, in the moment, with my interest and deep love, seeds were being planted for my family’s future, intentions were going out to the Universe about how we want to live our lives.
Fast forward to my most recent New Year’s retreat, spending five days in community with other like-minded souls, one participant being an 11-year-old girl that reminded me so much of my daughter.
While I watched her navigate the adult world of spiritual learning, expansion, and conscious connection, she decided with each exercise, session, and lesson what she did and did not want to participate in while also balancing the desires and boundaries of her youth. I thought this can be done…children absolutely can live this way.
Again, I thought, I want my family to live this way.
I returned home from the retreat and a few days later, attended a local new moon ceremony at a blossoming spiritual center that I’d seen in my Facebook feed, not realizing people lived in the center.
The first person I met upon entering was a radiant being of light. We hugged, strangers holding each other as if long lost family reunited, our hearts blissfully connecting with ecstatic cries of, “Finally!”
When we pulled away I looked into her angelic eyes and asked, “Who are you?”
“I’m Daniela. I live here,” she replied.
To which I instantly responded, “Oh my God, I want to live here!”
Three days later a post from the center crossed my Facebook feed: “Two rooms available…join our spiritual family.”
As a joke, I replied, “I have a single working mom friend with two kids and three cats who might be interested. LOL.”
Two days later the kids and I had a tour and interview scheduled at the center.
On the way to the center the kids were excited — two acres of land, a pool, classes for free anytime, much closer to their dad, etc. But they were also trepidatious, leaving their friends, their school, in truth, the possibility of leaving the only life they had ever known.
As I heard them chatting in the back, they piped up together and said, “Mom, maybe with all that land we could have a trampoline, too?”
As we took our tour a short while later, we came around the corner of the back acreage and there was — yup, you guessed it — a trampoline. My babies were sold, right then and there, begging to move immediately.
The additional miracles that transpired over the coming days were just too loud and clear for me to deny that this is what my family and I were to do.
It was absolutely in Divine flow with the pure love of the Universe.
The center is currently home to a very active yoga studio and the magnificent couple who created it. There is also a beautiful shaman and his exquisite priestess who conduct all kinds of transcendent offerings for the community.
The kids and I will be creating a mindful kids program around the offerings of the others in the center, a walking mindful meditation class that kids can take while mom and/or dad enjoy yoga, mandala painting sessions, and many other mindful kids offerings in the works.
As for me, I will be offering everything from spiritual writing groups, “A Course in Miracles” groups, trauma support groups, karma clearing meditations, orgasmic bliss meditations, intentional ecstatic dance, and so much more.
So, this is where we are going next.
We are relinquishing the majority of our worldly possessions, but we are excited. And we look forward to living the intentional life in our intentional community that I had dreamt of for my family!
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends 52 Ways to Live a Kick-Ass Life: BS-Free Wisdom to Ignite Your Inner Badass and Live the Life You Deserve.
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