This realization brought me to the clear conviction that I should try and put all my courses into book format. This has become my clear goal for the remainder of this life. And I am praying to Krishna to give me enough time in this body to fulfill this task. Deep within my heart, I can feel a strong sense of urgency for this mission.
Furthermore, the Holy Name Retreat also gave me an opportunity to polish up my chanting habits, which was extremely helpful during my writing retreat. Thus I was able to maintain those newly established habits and elements in my chanting, which improved my relationship with the holy name throughout the following months. I experienced less distractions when staying in seclusion in my little bhajan kutir at the old temple, which would serve me to withdraw for the task of writing for the following weeks to come.
As the women's ashram is right next to my little room, the brahmacarinis took nicely care of all my personal needs. They were eager to make vegetable juices and green cocktails for the early morning, and give me a massage before taking rest. In this way, my writing retreat was not only beneficial for my japa but also turned out to be a good health retreat as well. I only visited our nearby temple once every weekend - either giving the Sunday feast lecture, or the SB class on our big Saturday morning program, which is always well attended by most of the regularly practicing devotees.
In this way, I spent my time in deep contemplation and absorption, working in a very disciplined manner. The title of this book will be "Sheltering Relationships - The Foundation to Devotee Care." It is yet another crucial topic for our ISKCON society and clearly establishes the vital need for devotees to have a mentor, and eventually also serve as a mentor.
I discovered such writing retreat to be an absolute 'must' to be added regularly to my schedule every summer. And Kharkov/Ukraine is a perfect place for it: I am well established in this community, and devotees are happy to give me the necessary support by taking care of my needs, which frees me to concentrate on writing. The Ukrainian summer offers so many nice fruits - many kinds of berries, and the apricot season displays nature's oplulence, with apricots falling from the trees abundantly along the roads! Walking to the temple, one can enjoy a solid meal of the most delicious and sweet apricots - much more tasty than from the shop! And the season follows with peaches, plums, nectarines, pears and apples....!
If I can produce one course as a book each year, I would be highly satisfied. Especially as old age is approaching, it is a very appropriate adjustment to one's traveling schedule to take some time out for writing. After all, I will be turning sixty by the end of this year! No need to wait, until another Chemo forces me to take a break. Better to plan it voluntarily. And I am grateful to Krishna for giving me this inspiration and valuable realization....!
On the 12th of July I decided to interrupt my writing retreat and fly off to attend a couple of important events, to later return and continue...
Your servant, Devaki dd