"the feet of Bhagavan are everywhere. So where can we gather except at his feet?
Time and space are no barriers to the gathering of hearts." Sri Ramana Maharshi

Celebrating the life of David LaChapelle

Celebrating the Life of David LaChapelle: Visionary teacher, see-er of souls, wisdom keeper and devoted follower to the great stillness. Friend to many. Dream coach, author, publisher and speaker. Chanter, painter, builder, philosopher and patriarch. His body let go. His gifts live on...

Submissions to this blog greatly appreciated:

To post your entry:
- email text and/or photos to ananda@jeffnet.org
(specify "for blog" and specify if anonymous or not) -or-
- comment in two places directly on blog: on left-hand panel or end of each post

Sunday, July 25, 2010

"Consciousness is the recognition that you are a vehicle of the universe unfolding." - David LaChapelle

more HERE

Ashland, Boulder and Princeton circles on July 21

From: Barbara Cecil (Ashland)
Date: July 22, 2010 7:37:45 AM MDT
To: Ananda Elise Foley
Subject: yesterday and today and tomorrow

Dearest Ananda, I wanted to write to you about our gathering last night at Carol and Paul's. You were so loved and cherished there. Please know the home home you have here. (Ashland)

We chanted, through open heart and eyes brimming over. Present were Carlos, Huly, Serena, Melanie, Carol Carlson, Carolyn, Paul, Carol, Steve, Rita, Norton, Suzanne, Michael, Carol H., Sandra Faulk, Jeralyn. Many more wrote in who were present in spirit. It was a needed, exquisite time of remembering specific moments in our personal and collective lives here, articulating the nature of the seeds planted in each of us, finding peace with unfinished segments of the story, seeing the truth of one another as the truth of David was pieced together through all the ways we have known him. We chanted Om Nama and We Are Coming Home. I would say the enduring river of spiritual connection with our own Selves and with David was strengthened.

Please know Ananda, that you are ever present as the weave of the past, present and future braid through your new life. Hugs, Barbara


From: Linda Weber (Boulder)
Date: July 22, 2010 9:20:12 AM MDT

Subject: Re: our circle

We had a celebration and remembrance circle for David on Tuesday night. It was sweet and beautiful with chants and a talking circle and of course meditation.

Yesterday I drove up Sugarloaf mountain just outside of Boulder in order to sit on the side of the hill at the same time that Silverton was having its ash ceremony. A few miles up the road I had to pull over and sit for there was a camel munching on brush near the other side of the road. A CAMEL. Not a llama, a camel. It was the kind with two humps. Never have I seen one in the area and I was stunned. A camel in the Rocky Mountains? How really strange and funny. The animal turned its head and looked me straight in the eye for a few timeless seconds. I sat and watched it for a little while as it went back to its eating, and eventually went on to my sit where I prayed and rattled. Last night, a friend of mine reminded me that David had quite a sense of humor. Yes he did, didn't he.

care and love,



From: "jan Birchfield" (Princeton)
Date: July 22, 2010 3:21:22 PM MDT
To: "'ANANDA Foley'"
Subject: excerpt for sending

Ananda, I just got your voice mail, and it would be fine to send out what I wrote. I spoke to someone from the circle, who suggested that I include the story of how the intention for that circle arose. If you have not yet sent something out, please send what I wrote, below. It was sweet to hear your voice! Much love, jan

This month, I had the honor of spending time with Amma. During a question and answer session with her in Boston, someone asked, “Amma, I have heard that when someone dies, if we continue to mourn them we can actually keep them tied to this plane of existence. Is this true?” Amma responded, “It is natural to feel sad when someone we love dies. However, if we do not release our sadness we actually do hold them close to this plane of existence. The greatest gift that we can give someone when they pass away is to pray that their soul moves to the highest level of consciousness possible. Releasing them from our grief is important for this reason.” I immediately thought of July 21st - the anniversary of David’s passing - and decided to devote our celebration of his life to the healing and upliftment of his soul, and the release of any residual attachment or unfinished business that keeps us tied to him.

I bought 12 white balloons, and filled the living room with them. Candles were lit and flowers were set out. I invited the circle to use this as an opportunity to offer prayer, that David's soul might transcend to the highest plane possible. We chanted alleluia with joy - great joy. We meditated together, and it was a soaring silent meditation. We then went outside to a fire in silence, saged, and prayed to the 7 directions. About 10 people turned and prayed to the directions with me, and so each time I turned, I spoke the direction. After praying to the north, I lifted up my arms and said, "Father Sky, hear our prayer." About 3 seconds went by, and in perfect timing we began to hear the rumble of thunder. There had been none up until this time. The thunder gently rose in pitch, gathering energy, lasted for about a minute, and subsided. It was absolutely stunning. We were all utterly transfixed. I had put out corn meal and tobacco, with an invitation that people offer to the fire a pinch of each, with a prayer either for David's transcendence, or to release any attachment to him or residual mourning. The invitation was to do this either in silence, or out loud. I then kept a steady drum beat, deep in meditation. People went up one at a time, and most of the prayers were in silence. There were 3 prayers that were not, but what was amazing was that these were all offered in another language - Arabic and Spanish. After this found its completion, I continued the drum beat, and said that prayer and healing coming from this earthly plane to the spirit world comes only through humans, and that it was therefore a great gift to offer a spirit out of the body, healing from this plane. I asked people to meditate on the drum, sending its medicine to David. The drum broke out from the rhythm that had been held, and went into a more ecstatic rhythm, with a few chants arising as well. This found its conclusion. We sat in silence for about 10-15 seconds, and all of a sudden it thundered, and began to rain - large cleansing rain drops. All elements were present - air, earth, water, fire - in unity. We began to laugh, and ran inside, and the dining room table had been set with tea and sweets, and so we moved right into informal celebration. People sat together in small groups and talked for about 20 minutes or so. Jeff asked if he could read something, and so we regathered for a short time, and I invited anyone that had something that they wanted to read or say to do so. Jeff read beautifully, and Cynthia read a story she had written. We all went back over the thunder moment, and there was great joy in the room. I asked Samar to end with an Arabic prayer. We were holding hands, and she said, "first I have to kiss Yvonne." She smacked Yvonne with a kiss, and told Yvonne to pass it on. The kiss went around the circle, followed by Samar's prayer, and then “om, loka samasta...”

It was such a celebration of David's life, and we were full of gratitude - grateful for the wordlessness of the evening, the opportunity to serve him, and the chance to enjoy the way in which he had tied all of us together through his love for us. Throughout the day I kept saying to myself, "we are celebrating David's rebirth day." Ah ho.

Much love, jan

Silverton Ash Ceremony

Silverton Ash Ceremony
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
July 21, 2010
photos by Becky Joyce, post-edit by Ananda

See more photos at: http://ashceremonyjuly21.shutterfly.com/

more photos on Sutterfly, click HERE

Friends came from Durango and Silverton, but as far as from Boulder, Moab and Cortez. We circled the stone memorial site together three times and invoked strength from the seven directions before settling into a shady aspen grove. I shared about being midwife for David's passing one year before. We chanted a song Dolores loved about how Spirit dances in the form of aspens... replacing some words so it went "the spirit of David comes to see me, in the form of a beautiful dancing green aspen" (x2). "His eyes fill me with peace, his dance fills me with peace" (x2). Then we chanted "Halleluia" for some time and sat in silence during the moments David was releasing from his body, around 1:50PM, last year.

I introduced Dr. Chuck Salka (to my right in photos) and shared how he was an important and heartful midwife for me the day David passed, in his care, during our office visit. How impressed I was that he made the three hour roundtrip drive to join our circle. I continued sharing how time flowed after he'd passed; how I'd sung and cried and washed and blessed his joints and organs with prayers of humility, releasing his body to Divine Mother with careful attention to each part of his tired body like the prayers on individual mala beads. I asked our circle to hold hands and join me in praying the same prayers of release Id prayed that day, and to then throw our hands up to the sky to release him to higher planes. Immediately after we did this, a great wind came swiftly and powerfully answering through the trees and all around us... we held still to listen...

Some shared about their love for David and his gifts in their lives before we moved to the stone circle. There, each took time with ashes and blessings and appreciations, releasing as best we could our attachments to David's physical form, letting go and remembering. Dolores' sister Pat carried ashes of all three (David, Dolores and Ed) to the four corners of the land, once intended for the family's home, now officially designated LaChapelle Park.

A deep bow of appreciation to Peter Dever who has built the stone circle with hard work and with so much honor of the LaChapelles. He held space for our ceremony from a place of deep care for this land, this memorial site and his friendships with Dolores and David.
Becky Joyce took all the pictures, except this last one below where I luckily captured a fragment of her beauty and strong bond to Dolores and David too. Quinn her two year old son was lucky to have David present at his waterbirth, at home, across the street from our house in Silverton. I was honored to attend births of both sons, newborn Liam is held in the love of Dillon's heart in this shot and much of that sweet day...

After this we enjoyed cookies, fruit, juice and sparkle water while being visited by heavy clouds and fat raindrops and then brilliant sunshine. Dillon and Kyle cooked us up a tasty pasta dinner later that evening and shared the video of their recent wedding at the feet of Mata Amritanandamayi. Last year, David got to taste the light of their new union and offer his enthusiastic blessing too before he would join the great ocean of love from whence he came...

Monday, July 12, 2010

From: Linda Weber, Boulder, CO
Subject: join us whether you are near or far
Date: July 3, 2010 11:47:30 AM MDT

Greetings to you!
Please join us wherever you are in marking the eve of David's passing -- Tuesday, July 20, 7:15,
which is our (the Boulder sangha's) regular chant/meditation night. We will sing David's Alleluia and also share in other ways,
and we will feel you with us as we sit in circle. It will be sweet.

If any of you are in Boulder and want to join us physically, we will be at Sue's co-housing common house "living room."
You can get directions from me or from her.

My special request is that you hold Ananda close at this time.

much love and blessings,

"When Love comes suddenly and taps on your window, run and let it in..." — Rumi

From: Jan Birchfield, Princeton, NJ
Subject: RE: join us whether you are near or far
Date: July 3, 2010 12:18:43 PM MDT

Thanks for letting us know!
We are also having a circle for David on July 2st from 7 – 9, eastcoast time, and would welcome support.
Love jan

From: John Steiner
Subject: Re: join us whether you are near or far
Date: July 4, 2010 6:53:52 AM MDT
Dear Ones:
In remembrance of one of the truly great spirits of this lifetime...
Whose presence like the wind, the rain, the sun, and awareness itself, is never absent.
Always love, John

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Approaching July 21

David LaChapelle
October 8, 1952 - July 21, 2009

As the anniversary of the date David LaChapelle merged with Existence approaches, you are requested to hold the care of his kindness, and his dedication to spiritual inquiry and service, close to your heart. Ananda, companion and friend, will offer an ash ceremony the day of his passing, July 21, 2010, at LaChapelle Park in Silverton, CO.
You are invited to join, in person, or non-locally through focus of heart and mind. We will share silent meditation during the time he was letting go of his body, approximately 1:45PM. This will be followed by ceremony merging David’s ashes with those of his parents, Ed and Dolores LaChapelle.
Originally owned by the family for their homestead, LaChapelle Park is now preserved and was designated by the Town of Silverton in 2008. Stone Artist Peter Dever has created a gathering place, circle of stones, memorial site over the last few years where your eyes and mind may rest on the gifts we can each feel grateful for.
Stay for sharing and refreshments if possible. Come rain or shine (no such thing as poor weather, only poor planning of clothing).
Gather by 1 PM with time to settle. Please do not arrive during the meditation.

Contact Ananda for directions/questions:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Screenplay by David, upcoming republication by Stephen Griffies

Photoshop blend by David LaChapelle.
Unauthorized use of Yogananda photo for purpose of sharing, not sales. Do not replicate.

Do you know anything about David's play Passing Through, and can contribute to the preface section in the upcoming publication? Please contact Stephen Griffies through ananda@jeffnet.org. He is also interested in talking to people with context of Yogananda's journey to Juneau in 1924 or with background in Kriya Yoga who can connect him with Self Realization Fellowship. If you participated in readings of Passing Through and can tell us some about the process, please let us know.