Our Centre Community: Emily Vimala Rose

The story of my connection to Babaji begins before my birth, and is perhaps more of a story about my family than about me. My parents met in university, and upon graduation, they began to search for some land. Their dream was to build a home and start a farm, and in the fall of 1980, they purchased 104 acres in Quebec. My dad’s family was from Hawaii, so my parents would spend the winters there and return to Quebec in the summers to work on building their home. My older sister was born the year after they purchased the property in Quebec, and shortly thereafter, my parents read the book, Be Here Now, and met Babaji. A year later, they spent some time working on building the Community Building at Mount Madonna Center in California. They had been hoping to see Babaji but didn’t know that he returned to India at that time of year. My parents were both vegetarian and were studying yoga practices and philosophy already, and Babaji became their guru. I was born in Hawaii in 1984, and in 1986, my younger sister was born in the newly completed home in Quebec. That was the only full year that we spent in Quebec.

My mom and her girls, fall 1986

My mom and her girls, fall 1986

My childhood was spent between Texas and our beautiful home in Quebec. My dad had gone back to school to complete a master’s degree in Architecture and Land Development, and my sisters and I loved school and our activities during the school year. Every May, we would return to our home in Quebec. We worked hard during those summer months helping in the gardens and raspberry fields, and in whatever chores were invented for us. Our summer job was picking strawberries for a neighbor’s strawberry farm at 65 cents for a 4L basket. I remember picking berries for a whole season and earning less than $100.

Although we were working hard, we also had a tremendous amount of fun and freedom. We had a playhouse that my dad built where we would spend hours playing. The local children all spoke French, so we learned to speak French in a true immersion setting in order to have any friends to play with. Long summer days were spent picking wild strawberries, swimming in our pond, and having campfires outside under the stars. Our life was connected to the Earth and my parents were our teachers, sharing the yogic teachings with us. They were devoted and gave selflessly to me and my sisters. We were living in a happy, warm and loving family. On our return to school in the fall, we would occasionally attend the Toronto retreats, where we would participate in the kids’ program. I remember particularly liking the See’s candy sticks that Babaji always gave us.

Our home in Quebec

Our home in Quebec

We moved to Colorado in the fall of 1995, as my dad had started his own company there. We loved the access to the outdoors, and almost every weekend was spent outside hiking or snowboarding in the mountains. In the spring of 1998, my little brother, Johnny was born. It was such a happy change for our family!

I attended Smith College for my undergraduate degree in Massachusetts. This was my first time away from my family, and I was thankful to have my older sister also at the same school. My little sister also attended Smith a couple years later. It was during my third year at Smith that we attended the New Year’s Retreat in California at Mount Madonna Center for the first time. Babaji still gave my sisters and I candy like he had done at the retreats in Toronto, and seemed interested in our lives, asking many questions. This was the last time we would have a family darshan with him, all together.

Sisters

Sisters

After graduating, I taught Spanish at an all-boys school in Connecticut, and pursued a master’s degree the year after at Boston University in Education with a specialty in foreign language education. I moved to Dallas, Texas in the fall of 2008, and began an amazing job teaching Spanish and coaching. With extended family close by and an inspiring job, I felt challenged and fulfilled. It felt like I was exactly where I was meant to be for a while, and after years of moving constantly, I felt ready to put down some roots.

Meeting the love of my life… New Year’s Retreat 2009/2010

Meeting the love of my life… New Year’s Retreat 2009/2010

Our family returned to the New Year’s Retreat in California in 2009. On the first evening, I smiled at Gabriel, and we spent a lot of the rest of the retreat smiling at each other. It felt like meeting someone whom I knew already, as if a previously unknown space was filled in my heart. Six months later, in July of 2010, I moved to Vancouver to begin sharing life with Gabriel, and a year later, he proposed under the most beautiful sunset at my family’s farm in Quebec. We were married in 2012 in Mexico, surrounded by family and friends.

Our families at our wedding

Our families at our wedding

Now, Gabriel and I help with the Vancouver satsang on Sundays here in Vancouver. We are thankful to Babaji for his teachings that are part of our daily life. We enjoy the time we are able to spend at Mount Madonna and Salt Spring Centre, as these places will always hold a sense of belonging for us. And most of all, we hold our family in a special place in our hearts and in our lives, knowing that our loving and supportive families have brought us to where we are today.

Emily Vimala Rose, part of our Centre community

Emily Vimala Rose, part of our Centre community

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6 responses to “Our Centre Community: Emily Vimala Rose”

  1. Cristina says:

    What a loving, beautiful life you have described. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Rashmi says:

    I realized I remember your family from Toronto retreats. I clear memory of a family of three girls who lived in rural Quebec and then moved to Texas so their father could go to school. I never knew that was you.
    Loved reading your story. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Rajesh Kreisler says:

    Aloha Emily and Gabriel from Poipu Kauai! I learned from Chandra that the Moir Gardens and Plantaion House restaurant was your family home on Kauai! It is so beautiful and we love to wander through the grounds often. I look forward to learning more of the family history and the part they played in plantation life here in our new home. We expect that your next trip to Kauai, you will visit with us. Missing the retreat this year. I know you are there with many of your family members. Wishing you well, Rajesh

  4. Mothé Tilden says:

    great ongoing life story Em, loved reading about your family history, wasn’t sure of…or forgot about (the brain part of mind is getting old!) your Quebec connection (also my original home).
    maybe we should do a satsang snowboard & ski vacation sometime?!

    just want to say it’s a joy & inspiration to have both u and Gabe in the Vancouver satsang…reading this sort of makes up a bit for not being able to be at retreat this year!

    Mothé (Gyaneshwar)

  5. angela absalom says:

    How delightful to read of your rich and blessed life, Emily. And so much more wonderfulness to come for you and Gabe. All the very best wishes to you and your families.

  6. Ashok says:

    Emily, thank you for the beautiful story of your life so far, the love you and Gabriel share for one another is heart warming!
    Thank you again for sharing, take care.. Om
    Ashok / Peter

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