I was in the Marche region, in that summer of 2021 that was very confusing for all of us, as was this whole uncertain, unstable period.

I received an email from my teacher Jayadev, in which he invited us to participate in a program called “Vivi Ananda” (Live Ananda).

I don’t know if it has ever happened to you, but it happens to me from time to time that I act without thinking about the pros and cons… and that’s how it happened that I signed up. Without thinking about whether I had time or money available, I immediately wrote to Mahiya to receive information, even though it was already clear to me that I would participate in the experience.

Often we are indecisive, or more precisely, our heads create the difficulty of having to weigh up the pros and cons of doing or not doing something, but if we rely on our hearts and souls, there will never be any uncertainty, and so it was for me in this instance.

I didn’t have anything that I would need, such as a tent and various camping equipment. I had already been traveling in central Italy for a month and I hadn’t anticipated staying in a tent for two weeks at Ananda.

But when things are right for us, the Universe moves and makes sure to give us everything we need, and so it was.

Within two hours, a friend who lived nearby was willing to give me everything I needed.

I hadn’t slept in a tent for years. For the last week I had been camping at my friend’s place, but in a comfortable caravan, which may have been a preparation for that new adventure. The idea of living in close contact with nature excited me. After all, we were not created to stay in comfortable bedrooms, but to be covered with stars, wrapped in grass and embraced by trees.

When I arrived on that hot July day, I immediately felt like I was in the right place, at the right time.

It didn’t matter that I had already been visiting Ananda for years, because my stay had always been as a guest, wheraeas now I was on the other side of the stage- a whole different adventure.

I immediately felt like I was among friends, accompanied by the lightness of the soul, by playfulness, and by that which is never lacking at Ananda and which has been my teacher all these years: joy.

The days began early, with singing, music, the sound of the tent zippers opening, and along with their opening that glimpse of those hills that have changed my life forever, from the first moment that I arrived at Ananda, back in 2013.

There was the possibility to take a shower in the Terre di Luce bathroom, but I preferred to take it outdoors because it reminded me of my trips to the East, which had not been possible in the last two years.

Recharging exercises, meditation, a good and healthy breakfast with a view of that infinite space and then, after the silence had been broken with an inspiration from Guru, the day began.

Each day a discovery!  Every day I learned something new, such as how to harvest salad, cut lavender, cook vegan sushi, trim tree branches, paint, fix a toilet seat, clean beets.

I felt like a cell inside a huge body called Ananda, guided not by the individual souls who live it, but by the living presence of the Guru in each person’s heart.

Everything somehow flows, grows, thrives without the perception that it is a single personality or specific individuals guiding the community, but more by the magic of the Masters and God.

I never lacked specific comforts, not even when on our day off, instead of sleeping, we visited new places and went on adventures in the rivers and in nature, and we lost ourselves in God’s landscapes, in the company of wonderful Soul-friends.

This was an experience that allowed me to know myself better, to discover beautiful parts of my personality and my spirit of community and friendship. Consider that I’m always very self-critical and, let’s be honest, there are situations that bring out the worst in us and situations that bring out the best. And so it is that Vivi Ananda means living the Ananda that is in each of us.

It allowed me to form unforgettable friendships, to learn to do new things, and to establish even more of a deep relationship with God and Divine Mother, which is all that is really needed in life.

It has allowed me to explore the differences between people, and become One, and then that One becomes many.

We often take vacations that make us lose even more energy and direction in our paths, while an inner journey like this brings us to the center of who we truly are.

We are living in hard times and immense fears. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring and for me to be able to have a deep contact with the Ananda community, to have the sincere friendship with the souls who live there is the greatest blessing and luck I could ever receive.

I feel blessed because God has allowed me to be in contact with Him through my Guru, and through all His Gurubais.

I know that I can’t get lost in this life anymore, even if there will be storms, inner and outer catastrophes, because now Ananda is inside me, it’s that space Swami Kriyananda talked about, which we can recognize as a community, but once it’s awakened in us, we can bring back that joy everywhere: in the city, at work, in the family and also in the problems that life offers us.

I hope and wish that sooner or later everyone will be able to feel as I did during those two weeks: blessed, loved, protected and part of that perfect and magnificent project that we call Life: Live Ananda always…

Thanks to the wonderful souls who guided that journey with their joy, sweetness, lightness and at the same time immense depth: Arudra, Mahiya, Bhakti, Gopala, Namasya.

If you are interested in this special journey click HERE

With Love
Radhika Ivanka