Hi! My name is Sitabai Betts.
Want to pronounce it properly? See-tah-bye. All good!
Sitabai is the spiritual name I received while on pilgrimage to India in 1996. I had an opportunity to meet with a well-known Rishi (“seer” in India), who suggested that I use this name for spiritual inspiration. Sita is one of the great Goddesses of India, married to Rama, who saved the world from a powerful demon named Ravanna. The story is told in The Ramayana, one of the greatest spiritual epic stories of all human ages. The Ramayana is about the length of the Bible and contains a lot of spiritual allegories and obvious Truths. There is a lot for me to aspire to in being named after Rama’s queen, Sita!
I was raised in Washington State, USA, and studied Comparative World Religions and Civil Engineering at the University of Washington. I’ve always had a great love of travel and culture. How do other people think? How can we be considerate of all world views? Every soul has a gift to share.
In 1980 my husband and I backpacked around the world. It took us nearly a year. We discovered wondrous things, especially in visiting cathedrals and churches in the West, temples in the East, and by enjoying the manifestations of the Divine through nature. What a magnificent world! In the man-made houses of God we found devotion and inspiration. In nature “God smiles in the flowers,” my spiritual teacher, Paramhansa Yogananda, said.
I worked as a civil engineer for a few years in my 20’s, and then in 1984 our first son joined our family. My husband and I quit our jobs in Seattle, Washington, and moved to Ananda Village in Nevada City, California, a cooperative spiritual community based on the teachings of Yogananda. Founded by a remarkable man, Swami Kriyananda, Ananda was a budding new concept in the world, very cutting-edge and new-age in 1967. My husband and I loved being part of an inspired lifestyle in a spiritual community–I’m still here!
1992, 1994 and 1999 brought to our energetic family three more sons. We were very, very busy! During those years of raising children I worked at various jobs, including a website-based health business, as well as 13 years with the Ananda Village Property Management Team. These many life responsibilities filled my days and years with joy.
Now I arrive at a new life chapter. My four sons are now grown and established in their own lives, which is a pretty big change recently after 32 years of direct parenting. I also had a few somewhat serious health challenges that knocked me back a little in the last two years, inspiring me to more carefully evaluate the real journey of life, my purpose, and my dreams still to be realized. Now I move forward with my ever-evolving aspirations!
There are many ways to find the Divine. Two that speak to me are pilgrimage and backpacking. Despite our low income and simple lifestyle, I’ve been blessed to enjoy pilgrimage to several holy places in the world. Each summer for 30 years, our family backpacked in Yosemite National Park. We enjoyed God in nature during our inexpensive, big-experience vacations. I’ve backpacked solo and off-trail on the Pacific Coast Trail through the rugged Sierra Mountains in California (home of Yosemite as well as Mt. Whitney, the tallest peak in the continental USA). John Muir said of Cathedral Peak in Yosemite National Park when he sat atop, “Now I have been to Church in California!”
Sing to the wind! Every mountain peak, every stream, every flower, every cloud is a manifestation of the Divine, of Spirit. Every church built and infused with devotion is a manifestation of our shared aspiration to connect with the Divine.
Come along with me and explore spirit and inspiration in the world!
Joy to you, Sitabai