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A Family Reflection

July 18, 2008 by Swami Durgananda

The McCluskey family shares how yoga has helped them grow closer together and what it’s like to have a Swami as the matriarch.

Swami Durgananda’s family has been visiting her at the ashram for many years. Her daughters Carla and Wendy and son-in-law Richard have only recently had the time to take a weekend retreat. Now that Wendy and Richard’s children, Kate and Adam, are teenagers, they have been taking part in the ashram Teen Program. The July 1st weekend is a time for them to visit with their Yogi grandmother and strengthen their family connection.

Wendy: I always felt very close to my Mom so when she first moved out here I wasn’t very happy because it was so very far away and I missed her. But over time it became obvious why this place was good for her. She had a purpose here: she took on challenges, had work to do and was living in a community that honored and respected her. I was able to appreciate how this place gave her the opportunity to grow and have meaning in her life.

I really appreciate that Richard is always able to come with me and we are able to take a workshop together. If something new comes up when we return home, we can try to support each other around that.

Richard: I love the fact that our kids are here because we are blessed with two children that really have a strong spiritual yearning and there aren’t too many places where that can be fostered at their age. There are so many distractions in our world: materialism, tv, sex.  So many things are pressing in on them. To come here means having a place where they can explore that yearning and honor it. That’s wonderful. [the picture at right is of the Teen Retreat participants offering satsang]

Wendy: When the kids were younger we weren’t able to take courses. Now that they are older they can participate in the life of the community and that allows us to do the same. This year we took the Yoga Retreat while they participated in the Teen Retreat. It’s great that they can see us doing the same kind of things that they’re doing. We are not together much during the day but we are on parallel paths. And there isn’t a lot in life that you can do with your teenagers like this.

Kate: The idea of my whole family coming together, sharing the same experiences and undergoing the same thought process can seem really foreign to me at times. Living in the city, our days and schedules hardly ever intertwine with one another and if they do it’s quite a rare occasion. Being able to come together in a totally different environment really brings a bond and connection for the four of us.

My brother and I are an inseparable duo. One problem that we did face however was not exactly respecting another’s ideas and beliefs and thoughts to the greatest extent. We would often mock one another about our views of God. Now, after staying at the Ashram, I think we both accept one another’s views and ideas a lot more than we used to.

Adam: The teen program was an amazing experience where I learned a lot about myself and how to live in the world around me. I really enjoyed every workshop and am trying to practice the techniques for self searching and meditation that we were taught.  University starts in about two months, and I am a little nervous, but for now Om Namah Siviah is taking my mind off of that.

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