Stay Happy

by Alberta Fiorella

     I was working with a woman who was an alcoholic. I was so disappointed that she wanted to buy some liquor after I had worked with her so hard. So I went upstairs and talked to God.
    I said, "Iím trying to help others, but I need help myself. I need help myself, God! I mean business!" I cried.
     I went to the public library and looked around for awhile and found nothing. I didnít know why I had come there. But when I tried to leave, I couldnít go out the door. I was blocked. I went back to the desk and said, "Do you have anything on yoga or yogi?" I didnít know what yoga or yogi was. The librarian gave a book by an Englishman. In the book he described a yogi who sat in front of a cave and the yogi was "glowing."
     I said to myself, "Thatís what I want to do. I want to glow."

Alberta 1940
New York 1940
     That day I went to my sonís school to attend a sale. I went everywhere at the sale, but was always drawn back to a swan dish. So I decided to buy the swan dish for ten cents. Later my son, Charles, and his friend were playing with a ball and it landed right on the swan dish smashing it. Somehow this event seemed significant to me.
    As I was discussing this with someone, a friend said to me, "If you are interested in yoga, then you should read Autobiography of a Yogi."  I read Masterís Autobiography and I realized that it was the answer to my prayer of a few days earlier. 
1961 SRF Summer Class Series
1961 SRF Summer Class Series
Alberta is 3rd row, 2nd from the right.
    I received the SRF Lessons and a letter from Daya Mata, dated May 10, 1960. After studying lesson eight of the SRF Lessons, I went to California. My young son, Charles, and I went to Disneyland and other entertaining places. I took Charles to the beach and I couldnít get him out of the ocean. I had an appointment with Daya Mata, but he did not want to leave the ocean. I turned red from the sun and didnít have time to wash the salt out of my hair. So I bought a white hat to cover my hair and we finally made our appointment with Daya Mata.

     She came down the elevator dressed in yellow silk, straight, tall, and beautiful. Charles was sitting on the side as we talked. She talked about Arjuna and a lot of things. Finally she said, "Youíll have to fight, you know."

     Charles asked Daya Mata if he could take her picture. And she consented even though it was a toy camera. She asked me to stay for dinner, but I told her we had to catch a train back home. One of the monastics drove us to the station.
     The next summer I went to the 1961 Summer Class Series at the Hollywood Temple. I was studying and reviewing all the techniques. I took Kriya initiation at the Mother Center during this time on July 28, 1961.

    I stayed in a rooming house on the same street as the Hollywood Temple. I was in the garden there at the Temple at the end of the week. One of the Sisters was watering flowers as I lit a cigarette. At this point the Sister took the opportunity to not only water the flowers but also to water me! It was not long after this experience that I stopped smoking.

    The most important bit of advice I can give is to "Stay Happy!"

Alberta 1997
Son, Charles, Alberta, and Gene

Alberta Fiorella
May 6, 1915 - May 19, 1999
In Memoriam
        After four years of mid-week meditations at Alberta's house, Alberta announced to me that she was moving to California to live out her final days with her son, Charles. She had been gardening and doing yard work all day in the sun and looked to be in the peak of health and enthusiasm. I had
noticed over the years that she had rarely been afflicted by ill health, not even colds. Only her
walking and circulation seemed to be affected.
        I said, "Surely you mean your final years!" She did not argue with me.
        After meditating for a few hours and having our closing prayer, she went to the travel altar on
her fireplace mantle and looked at the pictures. Finally, she said, "It's going to be all right." I knew
that she meant that it was going to be all right for herself as well as for her loved ones in her family
and the local meditation group. It also reassured me personally, as she often did.
        A few mornings later as I awoke, I heard Alberta's voice in my mind as she said "Douglas"
once.  Later, I found that she had left that morning with her son on their drive back to California. I
was going to ask her how she did that. The meditation group sent flowers for her birthday on May 6.
         And then we got the news that she had suffered a stroke over Mother's Day weekend. We
sent prayers, talked to her son, sent a card, and even sent a video tape of some of us chanting and
meditating as we often had done at her house.
        I remembered back a few years earlier when I perceived in meditation with her that she was
swimming in a large lake of pure liquid light. She was splashing and swimming with delight in this
lake. Some of this light splashed upon me and entered my spiritual eye. It was an entirely blissful and
exquisite experience, taking away all hurt and pain, lasting for some time. I thought, "If this is her
common experience, then I have no worries about her after-life."
        Charles said, that she began to recover as she received our prayers and he read SRF books to
her. Then on the evening of May 18th, she said to him, "I'm going!" And gave specific instructions on whom to contact and other details. I feel that I was fortunate to be taking a break from work on
May 19th at 3:00 PM, meditating when she passed away. It was nineteen years to the day since I  lost the friendship of my brother, Daniel Couch, who had introduced me the Self-Realization
Fellowship path. He also passed away on May 19th in 1980. Obviously, these two souls have
influenced and benefited me greatly.
        Alberta touched the lives of many in the Kansas City area and elsewhere.
Doug Couch, May 23, 1999
Memorial Service

    Alberta was born May 6, 1915 in Frackville, Penn. After her mother died when she was four years old, Alberta and her sisters became self-sufficient. When she was sixteen, Alberta left home for New York City to enter nurses' training. After a stint in the Emergency Room and other medical departments, she was asked to be the new Director of Nurses. It was wartime and there was a real shortage of nurses. Alberta gave up her dream of being a doctor to accept the appointment and help out the war effort to produce more nurses. After marrying, moving around the country, and holding a variety of jobs, eventually Alberta settled in Kansas City. In time she and her young son, Charles, were on their own again. Alberta was a survivor. She opened her own printing company on Troost Street, which she ran for many years.

    She had learned to be self-sufficient. A time came when life's struggles were too much for her. Finally she said to God, "I need help and I mean business." It was after that she found Self-Realization Fellowship in 1960. From that time on, right through her passing, Alberta relied on God and Guru. She took the lessons, meditated regularly, and really applied herself. In Los Angeles, she attended one of the early convocation with about 40 people. There she had a private conference with Sri Daya Mata, with whom she has corresponded over the years. She never wavered in her loyalty and devotion to God and Guru.

    One of the most remarkable things about her, was when you thought you were helping her, if you looked beyond the surface, you found she was actually helping you; but she let it appear to be the other way around. She'd find things around her house to done when someone was out of work. She added enjoyment and opened new dimensions in others by taking them to plays. She built rapport and goodwill in the group by gathering others together to go out to lunch after services and by letting them take her places. She opened her home for weekday meditations and spiritual readings.

    Alberta took delight with the small pleasures and beauties of life: the flowers, trees, sky, a bird bathing, a child---in the ordinary and yet in the sublime reality of life. She saw beyond the material world and was not entrapped by matter. Often overcome with the love for all things, Alberta in an enthused, childlike way, would smile and give that love to all. She used her love and friendship to remind us of our spiritual side and to encourage us to forge ahead, to persevere.

    Even now Alberta is more present among us: bringing harmony to our group, assuring us that if we stay steadfast the path to the end, God and Guru shall met us, embrace us, and call us His own.

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