Category: Elizabeth’s Other Interests

For those planning ahead for Autumn, here is our flyer announcing the next retreat at Turtle Haven with Ravi.We’re especially excited for this theme! There will as always also be a public talk on Friday of the retreat. Let me know if you have any questions; other announcements will be forthcoming.

Pull back the curtain and welcome...

Please join us for a talk on Friday evening, September 27th, and a Bollywood dance class on Saturday the 28th in the afternoon, followed by a dance to celebrate the love and brilliance of the Maher model of healing that works through the assistance of many loving hearts, helping hands, and a spiritual backbone of depth and breadth, within a deeply inclusive community. The dancing is for all ages, and is in the spirit of celebration and fun, so please join in!

Hearty thanks to all of you who participated in raising funds so that others may eat, and eat well! Together we raised $1,075 dollars to disperse through these worthy organizations, which will provide benefit locally and abroad in the larger world.


“When five local women heard a talk by a nun who has been compared to Mother Teresa, they felt the need to find a way to help with her work in India.”

See the rest of this Bellingham Herald article out just moments ago on the Bellingham Herald website, here.

Above, see a picture of Elizabeth along with Jillian Froebe, Paula Brown, Shirley Osterhaus and Krista Hunter – as they celebrate with Maher’s founder and head, Sister Lucy Kurien during a recent visit.



If you would like to help us organize at Presence Studio for the benefit Kirtan on Friday, we could use some helping hands for the setting up of the space, and then reorganizing again, at the end of the evening. If you wanted to come, but are not able to afford a ticket at this time, one option would be to volunteer and request a discounted or if needed, free ticket. Our time with Sister Lucy Kurien, who started Maher, was inspiring and delightful— she has a wondrous sense of humor and is a great storyteller! To those who were present for Sister Lucy’s talk, thanks for welcoming her to Bellingham. On Wednesday morning the 8th, Friends of Maher hosted a breakfast meeting with people who came from Lydia Place, Whatcom Counseling and Psychiatric Clinic, Womencare Shelter, the Interfaith Council, and Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services of Whatcom County (DVSAS) to share with Sister Lucy aspects of services offered locally, to those offered to parallel populations through Maher in India. It was a fascinating and heart warming experience, holding mutual inspiration and ideas of new possibility for all who attended.

A local filght attendant, who had coincidentally met Sister Lucy on a flight two years ago, and was completely drawn to her, had introduced herself, and received the book about Maher Ashram directly on that flight from Sister Lucy, HAPPENED to be friends with one of the women at the breakfast gathering. Sister Lucy had “prayed to God” for the last two years to somehow again meet the woman who had been her flight attendant, going from Seattle to Copenhagen. It was a glorious moment when that same woman “interrupted” our meeting at the Congregational Church to find her long lost friend— the two hugged and kissed as we all basked in the mystery and synchronicity of our human lives. The only challenge was in getting us back on track for our original intent in meeting— which I can report DID happen!

Hoping to see many of you in summer classes…it is always a delightful and relaxed practice time.

Across the faith traditions, there is a universal path of divine love that calls us to our highest destiny: the ineffable mystery of oneness with the Divine. In different ways, yet with one voice, scriptures and mystics down through the ages have sounded a clarion call to ‘become the Beloved’:

“I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” (St. Paul)
Aham Brahmasmi (I am Brahman)  (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad)
“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46)
Anal haq! (I am the Supreme Reality)  (Al Hallaj)

How do we answer this urgent call of the soul?  Whether we identify as Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jew,  Buddhist – or none of these – how  can divine love become the living truth and core of our being, rather than mere flowery rhetoric or theological ideal?

In these precarious times of growing conflict between religious traditions, it has never been more important for lovers of the Divine from diverse traditions to gather together – to listen, to learn, and to deepen together in shared contemplative silence, conversation, prayer, and celebration.

The premise of this conference is that where two or more spiritual traditions are gathered, there shall God be also.  Program sessions include silent contemplative practice and prayers, inspiring presentations, interactive groups, breakout sessions with presenters, and chanting & dance and other celebrations.

“On this path, each stage is attained only by becoming that stage oneself,” says Jnaneswar. Join us to explore the path of divine love in your life, and find the support to walk this path in your unique way, whether or not you belong to a recognized faith tradition.

Featured Presenters

Ravi Ravindra is a spiritual visionary and leading interfaith scholar of religion, science, and spirituality.  He is author of fourteen books including: The Yoga of the Christ, republished as The Gospel of John in the Light of Indian Mysticism and Pilgrim Beyond Boundaries and The Wisdom of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.  A student of J. Krishnamurti and G. Gurdjieff, Ravi is Professor Emeritus of physics and comparative religion at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.  He is author of Science and the Sacred and other books on science and spirituality.  Ravi teaches across the globe on the world’s spiritual traditions, yoga, and science.

Mirabai Starr is author of ten books including critically acclaimed translations of the timeless Christian mystical classics, Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross and The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila.  Mirabai has edited six books of writings and prayers from other Christian icons including St. Francis of Assisi and Hildegard of Bingen.  She is professor of Philosophy and World Religions at the University of New Mexico-Taos, and is a certified bereavement counselor.   Her forthcoming book, God of Love, focuses on the path of love in the three Abrahamic traditions.

Jamal Rahman is a Muslim Sufi minister, co-founder of the Interfaith Community Church in Seattle, and adjunct faculty at Seattle University. He is author of Fragrance of Faith: The Enlightened Heart of Islam, and co-author of Getting to the Heart of Interfaith and Out of Darkness, Into Light.  He travels nationally and internationally with a Rabbi and Christian pastor in a unique emerging ministry-affectionately known as the three “Interfaith Amigos”-spreading a message of inclusive spirituality.

Swami Ambikananda Saraswati is a Hindu sannyasa, and founder of the Traditional Yoga Association in the UK and the MUKTI project for dispossessed children in India.  Raising her children in England and India, she was a disciple of Swami Venkatesananda, and was initiated by Swami Chidananda Maharaj, the “sage of the Himalyas.”  She is the spiritual leader of the Hindu Temple in Reading, UK, and author of Healing Yoga and translator of the Katha Upanishad and Uddhava Gita.

Sister Lucy Kurien is a Catholic nun who founded the Maher interfaith refuge in 1997 for battered and destitute women in India.  Maher honors all religions and repudiates the caste system, and has saved and rehabilitated the lives of 1,550 Indian women.  Sr. Kurien’s work is featured in the book Women Healing Women by William Keepin and Cynthia Brix.

William Keepin and
Cynthia Brix
are directors of the Satyana Institute and founders of its Power of Reconciliation International project, which has convened gatherings in six countries for healing and reconciliation between women and men.  They are authors of Divine Duality: the Power of Reconciliation between Women and Men and Women Healing Women: A Model of Hope for Oppressed Women Everywhere.  Will is an environmental scientist and spiritual retreat leader, and co-author of Song of the Earth: The Emerging Synthesis of Spiritual and Scientific Worldviews.  Cynthia is an interfaith minister and spiritual director, and co-founder of the Women’s Spiritual Mastery project which produced a DVD entitled Cultivating Women’s Spiritual Mastery.

For more information and to register, go here.



A Letter from the Friends of Maher:

Dear Friends,

Friends of Maher is a local and small, yet dedicated and heartfelt group offering support, and receiving inspiration from the Maher community in Pune, India. Our relationship began when meeting Sister Lucy as she traveled on tour across the country with Will Keepin and Cynthia Brix, authors of the book about the community Sister Lucy seeded more than a decade ago. Sister Lucy’s powerfully compassionate presence and humble visionary spirit made an immediate and deep impression on us. Since that time, we have been exploring ways to connect with this remarkable sanctuary from violence that honors all religions, nurtures and educates its residents and surrounding community, integrates sustainable living practices and demonstrates a compassionate, wholistic and thoroughly ingenious approach to healing. The vision includes the overarching principle and demonstration of seeking solutions to problems in the larger culture that lead to violence towards women and children. To learn more about Maher Ashram, please visit their website,

On June 7th at 7:30 p.m.. we will be graced with Sister Lucy’s presence when she will offer a talk and presentation in the Sanctuary at the First Congregational Church of Bellingham, 2401 Cornwall Avenue.  Sister Lucy has a wondrous spirit and a powerful presence; she is an individual whose vision and actions demonstrate the integrated practice of following an inner calling. You can download the pdf of the flyer pictured above for Sister Lucy’s talk here. We hope you will consider joining us to learn more about Maher Ashram, through the eyes and heart of this delightful and inspiring woman profoundly dedicated to helping others. There is no charge to attend this event, though donations to Maher are welcome.

On June 17th, at 7 pm at Presence Studio, Shantala will once again offer kirtan devotional singing and dance as part of their Unity in the Community Tour and as a benefit for Maher Ashram. Last year’s event with Shantala in the vibrant and warm atmosphere of Presence, provided a joyful evening of weaving community through sound and movement. While some sat quietly absorbing the music, others joined in voice, in dance and ecstatic movement. Heather and Benjy, both very talented musicians, travel the country leading kirtan. To read more visit their website Tickets may be purchased in advance from either Community Food Coop. While we may have tickets at the door, last year the event happily sold out! Advance tickets are $20, and those at the door will be $25. Please see the flyer below for more detailed information, and feel free to share this by passing along this email to others. You can download a pdf of the flyer pictured above for the kirtan here.

For more information about either event, please call Jillian Froebe at 360-319-8704, or visit

Blessings of Spring and Renewal,
Friends of Maher
Paula Brown, Jillian Froebe, Krista Hunter, Elizabeth Kerwin and Shirley Osterhaus