For me, coming to volunteer at Ananda Valley has meant entering another world. It is a world of
connection: connection to nature, the environment, the weather, connection to the food we eat, to
the people we meet, to the actions we take every day, and ultimately, connection to ourselves. The
people that I’ve met here share the values of caring for each other, sharing their love and wisdom,
and living in simplicity, truth, and honesty. This has contributed to me feeling incredibly at home,
even shortly after arriving here.
Being at Ananda Valley gave me the opportunity to enter a deep spiritual discipline which provides
me with daily anchor points that ground me and elevate me. Through this, I increasingly manage to
act out of love and good intention, rather than fear or automatic behaviour. The spiritual practices
can be demanding though, as it takes quite some time and energy. The beauty is, however, that
these routines are never mandatory, and volunteering here means participating in these practices at
our own will.
The possibilities for volunteer work at Ananda Valley are seemingly endless, and there is always the
opportunity to start projects that meet the needs, wishes, and talents of the volunteer. I love the
diversity that this place has to offer, and I have learned loads about gardening, (regenerative)
agriculture, permaculture, working with volunteers, fundraising, organisation, and coordination.
There is always something to do, and a valuable lesson I’ve learned here is that the amount of
responsibility we take in our lives and work will pay off in the life lessons we learn and in the way we
look back at our experiences. This means that the choice to work for a project like this, through
which I repeatedly give, involve, and engage myself, has provided me with many lessons, a
substantial increase in my self-knowledge, and a deep insight in my own values, goals, and
philosophy of life.
Volunteering at Ananda Valley, and being part of this community, has its challenges and flaws. There
is always room for improvement, and engaging in spiritual practices, doing volunteering work that is
not always equally enjoyable, and living with a bunch of different people (that also come and go) is
can be confrontational, difficult, and uncomfortable. BUT! All is for the best! These challenges take
place in an environment where we are met with love, support, and understanding. And this
altogether creates a unique environment for accelerated growth and connection.
8 January 2021