Vipassana Express – Sharing in Silence

I recently finished a 10 day silent Vipassana retreat at Pomona and as some doors close, more open, life flows on as some lives recede from mine. All is changing.

DAY ZERO

People start to shuffle in loaded with blankets, cushions, expectant smiles and exuberant voices.  The tea room spills over with greetings and home-baked biscuits as old students run to the quiets of their rooms. It’s an eclectic mix of ages, faces and stories.

Male and female are allowed to mix at this stage but soon we are to be segregated. I size up the competition and wonder who will be the gong ringer, who will sit front row and which of us will break the rules first. I’ve heard of people making midnight runs into town for some quick supplies or a rendezvous in the bush with a lover but for me I am happy to stay put. Time is precious and every second away from family is time I want to spend working on my self. Time free of ALL responsibility except keeping this body alive is extremely rare.

I take a long slow slurp on my tea, watching the resident dragon flies guard their territory around the centres water feature and decide to read the leaves in the bottom of my cup. I focus, swirl and leave to settle.

A definite human skull (tattoo style) – never clearer.

DAY ONE

I wake at 3.45am as I was asked to be the early morning going ringer – no competition and definitely not a task I would be putting my hand up for voluntarily but here I am, stumbling along the path trying to gong with love. Feels impossible. The only being to acknowledge my efforts is a young joey who peers from its mothers pouch and sniffs the cool breeze. I stand frozen in awe of the moment, watching each hairy nostril expand and contract as if teasing my mind about the upcoming day. Breath is an important focus for the first 3 days in Vipassana training.

Meditation begins , breakfast passes and my mind races through a thousand thoughts before the end of the next sitting. The time is only 10am. I have already adjusted my cushions a hundred times as the lady behind me grunts in disapproval, or so I believe.

It’s amazing how much we share in silence and how much is lost in silent transactions. Eyeball rolls and heavy sighs, a sideways glance to scare someone against taking the last passion fruit slice, coughs and snorts, hairs in showers, farts and shuffles and fragrances of sandalwood. The senses become more sensitive the longer we refrain from talking and I realise true silence is something we probably only find within our own dimensions.

Lunch bell rings and 60 something grateful people take respite from the aches of sitting and gorge themselves on the most amazing food. My plate resembles something of the leaning tower of Pisa. I juggle the glorious load towards the back deck finding some familiar backs already warming in the sun. I compare the toes that hang out from the male side of the screen with mine, pondering age, career and lack of visible scars or signs of earthly connection. How we judge.

Today I became full aware of a few things – my guts and my cravings for food. Vipassana food is so tempting and soothing.

Tea leaf reading –  flower

DAY TWO

Alarm sounds. I quickly dress and grab the gong. Its blowing harder today and the temperature has dropped. No kangaroos in the dark and no people. I hope my fellow meditators hear me through the trees conversations.

Somehow the meditation hall fills and people begin readjusting their cushions to form mini lounges. The souls karma is coming out as aches and pains, as is mine.  I long for breakfast, lunch and rest.

Settling the mind after a year of travels is proving difficult and although the people around me look like rocks of Buddha I am determined to make the most of my time. I smell Miss Sandalwood again and listen to the movements of a local roo outside, praying the tape of Goenka’s voice miraculously sparks into play. It has to be an hour, surely?

Food, shower, rest, walk in the woods along the fence……watch some ants gather seeds. I think the rains are coming.

Tea leaf reading – bent person with a pole walking….(it was lemongrass tea and lots of leaves)

DAY THREE

Became aware this morning that I haven’t been the loo for a number two since arriving….more prune juice in the porridge needed.

Gong, early shower, chanting and breakfast. The rain is here in full force as a result of cyclone Debbie. Powers out and as well as the umbrellas. People are walking barefoot to save their shoes and our meditation techniques are being delivered by a battery operated old school tape deck.

Morning chants done – breakfast is on. Goenka’s chants provoke an inspire me this morning and I feel the gratitude for having heard the Vipassana in conversations with friends. Grateful I made the decision to just go.

The people are moving slower now but there is still a fight on at the toast table. I saw someone hit the panic button after they had returned to the toaster beside MINE to find their centre made gluten-free bread had been removed and placed on a plate so that the toaster could be used. Drama and tears….emotions running high. HELP – wheres the manager?

I remembered my first course. A great awakening occurred at the toast table. Someone had touched my shoulder and moved my plate (physically moved MY plate) while I was standing there preparing the peanut butter so they could get better access to the toaster. I was in shock. MY PLATE. MY TOAST. It hit me hard that everything I had attachment too was, in my mind – MINE.

My shoulder, my plate,  my home, my husband, my car, my kids. My entire life was a creation of my mind including my body. I left the toast and sat on the rear deck crying. I understood that most of my worries were about what I thought was mine and what I should be able to control. All my fears and anxieties came about when I compared and lived either in the past or the future. I didn’t know how to live in the NOW even though I thought I had been.

I realised I don’t own anything except my own spiritual path. I choose that. Everything else is borrowed or a gift. EVERYTHING – yes even your kids.

Toast tables are a great place to discover yourself.

Tea leaf reading – star patterns – a map?

DAY FOUR

Still no power, still the discomfort of sitting for hours, still is the intention I have set for my mind.

Concentrating so hard on stillness I forgot to read my tea leaves and forgot that when I approach the teacher that I need to take a long slow breath before allowing my words to escape.

Everything is amplified.

DAY FIVE

Early gong, chant, breakfast, sit and Vipassana starts in enerst today. Both men and women both feel the shift in energy. My determination increases as does the winds of Debbie as the tape deck plays. I glimpse a life before this one wondering if it was mine.

I book in to see the teacher for the first time and decide to ask a few questions I have been longing to ask since my first Vipassana. The result – stay within the confines of the body. More questions arise.

A definite pattern is developing in my day and I understand why monks are partial to forming routines. Remove the second guessing and time-wasting of disorganisation so that all of your time can be spent on your path towards enlightenment.

Lunch, sit, ginger lemon tea followed by reading of peppermint tea.

Tea leaf reading – the number 4 – how appropriate.

DAY FIVE

The calm of the storm is upon us and the kangaroos make the most of the clear skies and new grass shoots.  Half a dozen or so young roos entertain us with a high speed race around the grounds of the centre. One flies like a torpedo towards me and I close my eyes hoping he makes the corner. Skimming its tail against my thigh, I become aware of the adrenalin pumping inside my body. They do 5 laps in total and finish as the gong sounds. Tail skimmer wins.

Sit, eat, shit, shower and sit. I remove all cushions except the original bum one and take a long last glance at the male pinnacle of stillness beside me. He must be over 60 and looks pretty cool in his sarong and loose shirt. I am determined. I am still.

Sit, eat, rest.

I watch the women walking in the bush from my window and note the differences in their gate, their pace and their mannerisms. There is one particular elderly lady who just doesn’t stop. I see her after each sit, before each meal, after each gong. Skinny as, she walks and walks and walks. I wonder is she shaking off some karmic past.

Tea leaf reading – scattered objects (toys?)

DAY SIX

Similar to my teal leaf reading really – just a whole lot of mess. I’ve been up for what feels like most of the night following a massive echidna who ripped up all the blue termite lining near the dorms, kangaroos and an old slow-moving python. I watched the moon, myself and my feet on the earth. Its cold and subtly eerie. I like it.

My morning begins like the tea leaf reading of last night, a mess. I can’t concentrate, I cant sit still. My heart becomes heavy with a sadness I have not yet experienced in life. It crawls its way into my thoughts and remains for days. I try to be mindful and allow the process of healing to flow but I form a hatred to these feelings. All is unravelling and my past Vipassana training  has left me.

I want to leave.

DAY SEVEN

Gong, shower, sit and eat. Gong, sit, eat and no shower. I feel like shit.

No teal leaf reading today

DAY EIGHT

Gong, sit, chant and eat. Shower, sit and I decide to sleep. I decide not to meditate and say sorry to all those that I have ever judged for not attending the hall when they were supposed too. I say sorry to myself for being so driven and stubborn, I say sorry, close my swollen black eyes and sleep.

Gong, eat, sleep some more.

I wake grateful, clearer and ready to drink tea.

Tea leaf reading – heart – corny I know.

DAY NINE

Gong, chant, eat and sit. Gong, sit, sit some more, cells and eat.

I observe a few people moving like they are in slow motion and remember the first time I ever time I really felt awake, alive and in awe of each moment. I too saw the sunlight through trees as a masterpiece of life in action. Colours were painted just for me and the whole of existence sang their songs not with voices or actions but with the energy of their hearts.

I am not in slow motion today but I am clear. I can see how important this moment is for me and how I chose to respond (or not) to the sorrow I have carried for days will determine how my day, my life unravels. Just being aware of sensations is my focus for today. Sadness, pain, sandalwood and vibrations in the ear – all just sensations – linked by an energetic pathway – fuelled by a creative force of undeniable love.

Gong, eat, sit, cells, sleep.

I wake and begin to pack. I want to be ready for when the gates are flung open and my family are waiting in Gypsy Green – our big green bus.

Gong, tea, shower and read the notice board.

What the fuck. I thought I was going home tomorrow, but no – another day and then home. I’m confused and deeply overwhelmed with a tingling sensation on the upper part of my lip. Fluid begins to roll down my right cheek and I observe myself cry for a few seconds. It’s a crazy thing to see yourself. Our feeble mind and even feebler emotions.

I drink tea and focus on the warmth of the cup instead of my feeble heart. We actually stay until the morning of day 11.

Tea leaf reading – definite tea leaves in a cup

DAY TEN

My last day to meditate. I am strong again. Gong, sit, eat, sit, sit again, eat, sleep, cells, sit, and tea.

I am focused. I am observing. I am moving forwards on the path I choose at this moment.

Silence breaks today so that we get a chance to adjust back into normality although I think Id like a world that was silent 50% of the time and silence was normal. I listen to myself talking and decide to escape to the openness of a grassy clearing near the hall to remove myself from the instant rise in energy. My body already feels like it is vibrating 100 times faster than normal. People want to share their stories, their lives, their new insight into how things flow – I just want to be thankful for the ease in which my sadness passed. I send some love and metta out to those that cannot let go of such sorrow and live with it daily. For some – all of their lives.

Tea leaf reading – circle – as clear as the skull.

DAY LEAVE

It’s the last morning I get to ring the morning gong and for that I am so damn happy.  I complete my cleaning chores, sit, eat, tell a few more stories and listen for the sound of Gypsy Greens engine.

I am aware today of my ability to observe emotions, my ability to tell too many stories and my ability to love. I am aware of my inability to control all things and for that I am truly grateful.

I love my family, my life and you.

Last tea leaf reading – dark green tea leaves settling in a white cup. Beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letter from a 12 year old to Return to Earth – How can we not listen? Setting Intentions for a Better Future.

Light from the overhead power pole outside my window tricks me into thinking its morning and I lay for what feels like a long plane ride in my hostel bed dreaming of adventures to come and waiting for the sun.

In just under one week my daughters and I will be feeling Australian soil again after one year on the road. Our other amazing member of this tightly knit family will be joining us shortly but destiny steered him elsewhere for a couple of weeks, although at this point I think he is doubting the detour.

The time apart is empowering. My husband and I have become too much a reflection of each other with the closeness of the last 7 years living arrangements. It is difficult to separate from him though when every thing I see, I love. How blessed am I. We make each other better people.

Dogs bark, car horns poke my tired nerves and the bells ring out from across the road at a local temple. I check the time and its exactly 11.46pm. Now I understand jetlag. Totally awake and ready for a new day yet knowing I should be snuggling under the covers.

Nepalese life doesn’t seem to know siesta or set prayer hours. We are back on 24/7 tourist time where everything is open and available for a price. I wonder if I can get a ginger or lavender tea at midnight. I wont stoop to such depth – I promise. Its a little different from the last few weeks in Spain where it STOPS STILL between 2 – 5pm and even outside of these hours the tourist dollar doesn’t seem to be of high importance. Good on them really.

 

I was coming here to Nepal to work with my two daughters in a small rural school about 3 hours west of Kathmandu but a couple of weeks ago I fell in a moment of complete unawareness and broke a few ribs. With a bung knee I may have managed but both ribs and knee – no chance. So one week rest and a little play at a local orphanage to use up our airfares and adjust to the different time zones before we make the final flight home.

As the girls continue to snore I have an opportunity to meditate and process clearly. I want to set some intentions for my families future based on a vision my husband had, experiences of our travels and a letter my eldest daughter wrote to me only days ago. (one which I will attach at the bottom of this page). As a parent I cannot ignore or brush aside my daughters request. It is full of truth and in complete harmony and timing with my husbands dream. Nice coincidence?

I ponder other parents reactions to their children’s’ desires. The appropriate social answer would probably be when they leave home or when they turn 18 but I believe if a child demonstrates they are capable and willing – then they are ready. It is usually US that limits their potential to grow and become independent.

The vision came to my husband in dream form, infused with an energy that invoked a moment of self realisation and greater understanding of our families path to assist mankind’s’ plight for survival. It showed us what we can do to help us and help you.

The last year has shown us the beauty of our world. We have seen the destruction too. Travel is such an amazing tool to awaken our minds. We feel and understand both the love and fear of earths ‘people as they try to survive and at times, flourish.  It is earth that cannot talk. She whispers to us in every changing second that it CAN support us but we ignore her wisdoms and in return she will show us that her power is mightier than our own. The future earth may be scarred by our actions but she will not die as our frail bodies will. Those that know how to survive – WILL.

To date we have trusted this intuition and every time, everything has worked in our favour. It all flows so easily when we listen. So why wouldn’t we continue to believe now?

 

We are returning to Australia to begin the next phase of our nomadic lives and reconnect ourselves and anyone else that feels the desire to join us. It will be a life that merges our daily movements and souls with that of the lands flow again. Learning bush crafts, adopting her medicines, feeding and clothing ourselves.

The challenge is – we will be living in a bus. It is almost impossible to live now as indigenous Australians did 200 years ago as we have destroyed, fenced or sold off much of the lands that supported the life they fed upon. This is our goal though. To support ourselves as much as possible with as little imprint as possible on our planet.

SO!…… INTENTIONS (remembering to be clear as possible)

  • Buy bus and transform it into a green house of love (and food) and a base of support for family, friends, brothers and sisters of the world.
  • Learn and practice indigenous traditions that promote positive sustainable living
  • Connect and assist with other growers and cultivators of this lifestyle, focusing on food foraging, herbal medicines, artistic expression and spiritual growth
  • Take our message and way of life to the people and show anyone who is interested, including Vipassana meditation and natural learning for children.
  • Continue to believe, learn, change and love, experiencing ALL of life with open minds and hearts.

GROW MORE, CONSUME LESS and HELP ANOTHER HUMAN – that’s our motto for this year to come. Hope to see you on the road.

 

A letter I cannot ignore

 

……………..”I want to live in the forest hunting and gathering but the rest of the family don’t want to live like that, well I haven’t asked them because this is like a secret…….because I feel that connection with the land and I know that’s where I belong……………..I just want so badly to go back to earth.”

“I think everyone should live in nature, hunting and foraging………….I also think everything has energy and is connected. I also believe in destiny and when you die you become part of the universe and that you have a soul………….and that you/your soul is split….like you live heaps of lives at once……..like I could be a homeless dude in Hungary, a butcher in Africa, a raven in Australia and watch over someone I love while writing this.”

“I want to do what native American tribes used to do when someone turns 15 or 16 or something …..they have to go and leave the tribe and survive off plants and water”

 

I hear you Nakeela.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Livin the Dream- Perception or Reality?

Since leaving Australia a year ago to travel the world in a little blue bus there has been one constant perception from people all across the globe – that we are living the dream many would like.

I want to tell you this is no dream. We are more awake than ever and its not always as pleasant as you would think. Its full on life occurring inside this little tardis with two pre teens and only 6 x 2 mtrs to share on the rainiest of days. BUT you are right – its been sensational and if this lifestyle is  something you are remotely thinking about than I would say don’t hold back – don’t overthink it – go for it.

Don’t let fear cloud your intuition or your dreams. The level of which you want to experience something is matched by the level of commitment you are willing to make. Sometimes this means committing to nothing or a whole lot less of something.

We overcame the fear of letting go of all our possessions and the possibility of not seeing loved ones again early on. It was the hardest part of our journey but after the initial shock – the world literally became our home and the limitless potential for personal and spiritual growth became our focus, whether we wanted it to be or not.

We travelled hard and learnt a lot about ourselves and the world in which we live.

The world may seem large to those that cannot travel but to us, to me, it is very small. What you do in your own backyard or town affects your neighbours, your nearest school, the closest river, our oceans. Just like our minds affects our bodies, our daily flow and interactions with others. We are all so connected and the world is suffering because of our lack or awareness, as is the poorest of our brothers and sisters.

Along the way we have learnt to give, respect, love and release what serves us no more. We have learnt to live with ourselves and like who we are becoming, as people, as parents and as a soul of this time. Only yesterday we were asked back to a mans home in Meknes, Morocco in return for giving him a ride. After sharing tea, bread and a few laughs about why I wouldn’t agree to a marriage proposal between my two daughters and his two sons, we prepared to leave. Full of love and kindness my two girls were about to jump aboard the bus when they said they would like to give the boys their bicycles and not because they were flattered but because of their apparent poverty. My heart melted as we unlocked the bikes and waved goodbye. I knew then we were doing something right in the parenting books.

With our South east Asian, European, Balkan and Moroccan adventures coming to a close and the next phase starting, I wanted to say thanks to everyone who sent a message, wrote an emailed or just enjoyed a picture or two. Its been an epic journey filled with joy and disappointment – just like any life – anywhere.

Yes, I am truly grateful for the opportunity we have had but it came from hard work and a determination to not let money and social conformities rule our decisions. See what happens from here as the years progress and let you know.

Choosing life as our journey we will continue the dream in 2017 with plans for the next Gentle Revolution back in Australia with a new and slightly larger version (for the teenagers of course).

Many blessings and love to you all.

With special metta to those in Hungary whom we almost began a community with (Matthias, Illdiko and Orsi) and for my time with Helena in England at Vipassana, Jenny and Kia from our Rainbow Haze, Heart Culture Festival and all the crew (Rolly) , Frankie the bee man, the Loves, Putu in Bali and her mother, the crazy Latin Americans traveling like us, Pietro in the hills of Italy, Faith, a Slovenian boy who stole my daughters heart for a weekend, Sultan the amazing goat cheese man, Shiri Fink, Cat in Morocco, Bella my bike, the girl who saw my soul on a sad day in Croatia, Bosnia (the man), Green Peace dude and all the nameless connections of love and play.

Most of all my family and our Gentle Revolution who took us almost anywhere without fail

I met a girl

Sitting on the edge of the pier rocks I tried to imagine life back home in Australia. I wondered what my friends would be doing, my brother and our old dog Indah. I thought about warm herbal teas at my neighbours and how the insects at Thumb Creek would be forming massive balls with the arrival of Spring. Tears welling, I let out a long breath releasing my anxieties and stood, holding firm with my toes so the Croatian wind didnt knock me into the water below.

 

Monthly blood cycles were fully enveloping me, financial issues limiting our travels and now I had to contend with my apparent dissatisfaction for life. I was annoying myself.

I saw my two girls running down from the bus towards the ocean and made my way towards them, trying to shake off my emotions at least until I had time to sit and meditate tonight.

I was almost at the end of the marina pier when a girl in her late 20’s, blew a kiss towards me.

“Did you get that”she asked. “Looks like you could use some love”.

I blew one back as she ushered me over to sit with her and another, more older man sitting beside her. They were trying to play cards. I assumed he was her Dad by his age and Croatian by his silence.

I said a quick hello and sat beside the girl. She began her sentence, as she did with most of her sentences with “So tell me….

“So tell me, where are you from? ”

I answered all of her questions which came in quick succession as I watched the girls enjoying the water. I realised almost immediately by the girls inability to stay still (at all), oblivious social skills (in modern social standards) and elevated awareness of all things that I was dealing with someone who lived outside the formalities of our modern daily lives. I might even make the assumption that there was something autistic in her mannerisms.

Within 5 mins my heart was exploding and so was my laugh. She was funny and knowledgable on many levels. I quizzed her about the war here and the ridiculous amount of abandoned buildings, social standards and religion but mostly we talked about finding her a husband, even if it meant sourcing one through me.

By now the man beside us had left to join another group of people sitting on the beach. She informed me he was her Uncle and that we should now meet her mother.

“So tell me, what do the men in Australia behave like? Here, the ones with good souls have no money and ones with money have no souls.”

“So tell me, do you have a facebook, any paper, I’ll write down my name and we are friends. I’m Milica.”

Her excitement for life overflowed onto me and she knew it. She grabbed my hand and together we walked towards her Uncle and the others. I felt like I was holding hands with my best friend. There was no awkwardness or release, just a strong, firm, loving hand grip. I was introduced to her mother and the family who were happy to let Milica have the floor. I mean no one else was going to get the chance to say a word anyway.

“Watch out you might see my arse”said Milica as she began changing clothes.

Milica’slimbs moved as much as she moved my emotions. She tugged at bra straps, adjusted undies and knuckle tapped her way into my heart. It was a sign of connection she told me as we knocked knuckles again.

For over an hour I forgot everything I had felt at the end of the pier. Milica vibrated at a higher frequency than most Vipassana teachers I know, emanating a love that most of us don’t understand. I would not think that her family has had any medical diagnosis for autism nor should they, but I understand the calmness and quietness in their presence. To hold space for Milica would be at times overwhelming and I quickly allow my thoughts to ponder possible applicants for husbands – they would need to be extremely honest or else Milica would see straight through them and be ready for anything at any time.

As she surveyed the bus and kissed my husband I felt an overwhelming urge to do something that would repay her for the kiss she first blew. She asked for only three things; a book on Australia, a letter and to be friends. She also did ask if she could pat a koala, take one of my children, stroke a kangaroo joey or some dolphins but Ill put that down to conversational jitters.

Thank you for your outward ability to connect and show true love to a stranger. You are a shining star amongst millions that one moon needed.

I only just realised that I have no idea how you spoke such good English when you are Croatian born and family who dont speak English. Our meeting happenned so fast and now I wish I had a photo of you.

Many blessings.

 

 

 

 

Like the Lunar Tides I Rise and Fall

Life is not floating around me at the moment, whispering sweet nothings and beckoning me to soar on the winds with ancient beings.

I am low, close to ground and clawing my way through the day. Its nothing to be ashamed of, its life. The highs and lows of someone still trying to master their own inner egos and illusions.

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Today I measure the character of my spirit by my ability to remain calm and aware.

I don’t need to smile, let the sun.

I don’t need to run and dance, let the leaves in the wind.

Observe the stillness of perfection around me and maybe tomorrow I will reflect that again.

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Hello Beautiful World

Sometimes we come through the storm to be amazed by the clarity in which we can see all things. Today is no exception.

This is my view today. The winter coast of Croatia.

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Life on the road is just like life anywhere with its highs and lows but today I don’t have words to describe how fortunate my family is.

It’s a ride full of adventure, love, misery and mystery. I cherish every moment of this awakening.

Family life around the fire.

 

Early morning dreaming

 

Sometimes its just the people you meet or don’t meet.

 

 

See you on the road.

 

 

tHE eLEMNTAL jOINING of fORCES – starting a community in Hungary

I long for wild winters and calm storms, meandering streams and a mountain that knows no limits.

I am nature as long as my blood runs red and I return a little more each day to the old ways that allows my spirit to rise. I am wind and rock, embedded with ancient wisdom’s.

I seek those that love as I do and tend to those that do not.

Run with me, naked in the rain and we shall dance until the waters of illusion are clear.

I found home long ago when I listened to the wind and now she blows me into the hills of Hungary calling others on her way.

fRIENDS cOMMUNITY sPIRIT and lAND

The Rainbow Haze of Realisation

Lost in the mess of what was the European Rainbow seedcamp, I was given the opportunity to really take a look at what I stand for (or stood for) and what I want to share with the world and teach my children.

Through the morning smoke I quietly made my way to the ‘shit pit’ on my morning ritual. Scanning the perimeters for any Police presence I quickly realised I didn’t want to be here. I didnt like the thought of involving my family in a Police show down for someone elses ego war. Not quite the Rainbow love I was used to back in Australia but I reminded myself I was on this global journey to expand my perceptions and limited ideals and decided to stay for one more day.

Stepping over last nights remains which were still sleeping in the grass I laughed to myself as I remembered the couple who arrived on the doorstep of our bus the night before. They looked exactly like Jesus and his female equivalent. I had quickly invited my fellow Rainbow family aboard as it was pouring rain and offered them some hot tea and sesame crackers. Within 3 mins we had established each others religious views, path in life, current financial status and sexual preferences. Although we were not interested in Jesus and his disciple we were flattered by his offer. The conversation continued for a couple of more minutes before they pulled out some sort of little guitar and played for their supper.

They were pilgrims in this world and relied on the charities of others and Gods love for their total survival. I liked their simplicity and values but the foundations of their way of life came from an extreme Christian base and they knew only one language – the preaching one. We agreed on many things and disagreed on more but one thing for sure is that we shared a common passion for the people of the world to find peace and happiness through compassionate living – I liked them. As Jesus discussed the present situation in Turkey with my husband I couldn’t stop thinking though – if all the people of the world followed in their footsteps who would grow the food to feed them?

Each day at Rainbow felt longer and longer and the kids grew more tired of moving from one camp to another. I dodged some toilet paper on the trail hoping I had missed the contaminants and thought about why I had come to the Rainbow Gathering. Why did I travel from our ancestral England across the top of Europe and down into Austria in some short few weeks. What was the rush?

I wanted to connect with fellow earth warriors. I wanted to laugh and cook, dance and connect with aware individuals that shone some light outwards instead of the usual fearful engagements filled with bitterness and worry. The current regimes and governments create so many robots working, buying, working, dying. Rainbow had delivered – a friendship in the form of a beautiful Kiwi woman and her daughter (Kaya) and if that’s all we take from this years gathering than we are extremely grateful.

I returned to the bus to find a group of Rainbow early rises having a heated conversation with 2 Police. I didn’t understand a word of German but I got the general idea. A lot more Police would be here soon. We learnt some hours later that we had until Monday morning to leave – but we were already gone.

Like any Rainbow there was an assortment of colourful beings. Some rode bikes and performed in a circus while others liked it nude all the time. There were your usual stoners, egos, those who wanted something from you and the mentally ill to deal with but on the whole our short stay with the Rainbow tribe was a positive one. We felt comfortable to be ourselves as it really didn’t matter what we did. There was always someone else doing something more political, more crazy, more drug induced, loving or spiritual than ourselves. We just floated through the circles enjoying our time, our children, ourselves and the energy of the land.

Leaving the hills behind i felt like I was leaving a family behind but not one I was willing to defend on any level. Austria, with its crystal clear waters, pristine pine forests and inaccessible mountain ranges was something however I would fight for. So there’s the dilemma. I totally disagreed the location of impact the Rainbow Family would inflict upon this precious land. Any person, Rainbow or not should think hard about their impact upon such wild lands when considering camping or hiking. I was shocked at the idea that Rainbow would consider taking thousands of individuals into these wonderous hills and was glad when we were forced to leave.

I realise I stand for earth just as much as I stand for peace. How can the world evolve without this union?

Having the intention to walk with respect and awareness is different to living it.

May all the Rainbows shine together in unity with our earth and its people to be a living example of harmonious life.

 

7. Campsite Criteria

Heading south towards Cape Cornwall, the narrow lanes widen and the amount of people trying to catch some warmer rays increase. We all have the same idea. If the sun is shining – get outside.

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The girls are excited for new adventures and I am nervous about having my first drive. Until this time I have been unable to reach the clutch and my husband has been in full command. I am ready now, after some seat alterations to see how I perform under pressure.

After several corners and a close encounter with a sandy bank I realise the bus drives like I feel after eating a hidden block of chocolate all in one day.

Unresponsive and slow we roll down the road with an open timetable. We plot a course through as many National Parks as we can in the hope to see some wilderness. Open heathlands and sheer cliffs to windy tors and hedge-lined roads all inhibit our ability to appreciate this land and see the naturalness. The hedges, although beautiful and laden with nutritious berries and edible herbs, make us feel like horses being led with blinkers on. National Parks are grazed following century old traditions and coastal landscapes are inaccessible or privately owned with every inch of soil being claimed for agriculture. It’s hard for the English to just get away but they need to feed the masses.

Our selection criteria for campsites is not a difficult list and includes, turning or reversing room, level ground to some degree, a sense of remoteness or at least privacy and a connection to the surrounding land. Everything else we carry onboard. Each time we think we find somewhere to stay for the night out pops another ranger, local farmer or geocaching madman to spoil our serenity.

How to embrace this dilemma?

Get amongst it I suppose. I glide into a pay parking area situated in the heart of Penzance and score one of the last remaining car spaces teamed together. I hear boat bells through my window as I try to position the bus between 2 cars, a pole and a concrete edge keeping man and sea apart. They chime in the breeze like 100 grandfather clocks, carrying the dreams and secrets of sailors now ashore.

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The girls disembark first, scrambling onto the slimy concrete causeway, inspecting animals and seaweed. Bill, my husband and I stare across an ocean of cars towards the shopping mall and sit beside a herring gull to contemplate our next move. There are numerous warnings about how dangerous the gulls can be so we shelter beside the ‘Gentle Revolution’ and crack open some lunch. Far from the greens of natural reserves or forests we laugh at how this came to be.

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I always wondered why the British Woofers who came to work on our rainforest farm stayed close to home. The animals and land must have felt so wild and truly dangerous. I called it alive and exciting but they just didn’t know what to think. Too often we only believe what we understand at that time and right now I realise I will never have the time needed to understand all I wish too, unless I use alternative methods for raising my awareness.

Traditional learning is not enough.

After a lengthy explanation to my eldest daughter about why I didn’t want to eat her collection of seaweed and what antifoul was we headed off on foot to explore the coastline.

It soon became clear that there was a festival taking place tomorrow within the town (which would explain the number of barriers I had to miss entering the carpark) and realised the bus is in the prime position to witness the spectacle.

The day passes, the kids play and I observe the relaxing of my mind and a letting go of all the hopes to discover some untamed secret piece of wilderness. I mean really, who was I to think that after thousands of years of people inhabiting such a small country there would be some undiscovered land, waiting for a blue bus to come along so that it may reveal itself and all its mysteries.

The day was right here. The discovery was right in front of me but my mind would not allow me to see the wilderness until I let go. Life’s wilderness. My view was the same for hours and yet small portions changed every second. I just had to observe and let it all unfold.

8 hours of the time

Cold and tired after our long walk, we ate, laughed, washed, pulled the curtains and bunkered down for the night. It must have been at least 10pm and there was a multitude of people returning to the carpark, slamming doors and riding clutches. I wondered if I would ever fall asleep.

I began my bedtime ritual, breathing into 10 mins of meditation to settle my mind and open my consciousness to the night cosmos. It must have worked because the next thing I knew my youngest daughter was tugging on my arm squealing something about fireworks.

Not only were we parked in the towns busiest carpark but we were in the hot spot for the festivals’ opening fireworks. Wrapping a blanket around me I sat on our little lounge hugging Jay, watching the most beautiful reflections. We talked like friends and marveled at the scene from our kitchen window.

I remembered my day sitting by the water pondering how life flows around and through us all the time and now, as the fireworks exploded and lit up the hundreds of people huddling alongside our bus to escape the windy chill I saw myself as a speck of life existing alongside millions of other energies trying to survive. Trying to make sense of our place.

I was grateful, warm and safe inside our little bus of wonders, wrapped in the love of a child, witnessing yet another facet of what our eyes perceive and what the universe delivers.

I vowed to limit if not get rid of our campsite criteria and open ourselves up to any possibility. Conditions limit our movements and enjoyment.

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6. Whos hair, here, hearing me?

The bus has broken down and while we are lucky enough to have booked a short house sit I am coming to terms with waiting it out in cloudy Cornwall while the ‘Gentle Revolution’ is attended too. Its been 4 days since the bus went to the mechanics and I have cleaned more labradoodle hair in that time than I have in my entire life of hair loss and haircuts.

 

The dogs are odd, the house stinks and I feel further away from any sense of spirit at the moment than I have in a long time. I soften my thoughts and see the plea for approval as I pass by the dogs. Gliding my hand across their cheeks to reassure them, both dogs smack the lounge with loving tails to communicate they received my acknowledgment.

Shuffling the kids off to sleep, I remove several crummy plates from beneath the bed and begin to think of all the people who have expressed the desire to do what we are doing, and right now, I wonder what they actually think we do? We, being the family extension of me.

What AM I doing?

I am not certain most of the time. I don’t question myself like that much anymore. Right now I am throwing hairy socks into the ever increasing washing pile and stacking plates in places I am not familiar with. Sexy yeh. Okay, so we don’t have a house or land, a flashy car or retirement plan but we are free to explore at will and every corner we round is a new experience waiting to unfold, a new connection waiting to be made. Its amazing really – this world of ours  – but even the most adventurous have daily self-care tasks.

I have no shame in the mundane and no regret for the cycle of existence I played out before today. It’s here, in the repetitive actions of our lives that an element of freedom awaits. Lying within the energetic pathways of our body is a space so small its indescribable, free of conditions and limitations, waiting to be discovered. You need to find this gap, this stillness. It’s where you nurture your soul and find comfort with your present life.

When the mind and body experience an action or thought that has occurred many times before, it relaxes, knowing its course. As if locked on an automatic setting our mind switches off. We can drive several blocks without being fully aware of where we have travelled. We can brush our hair, pull weeds from a garden or peg out the washing paying little or no attention to the action. itself. We are unaware.

(teeth cleaning photos courtesy of many free internet sources)

Mundane, repetitive actions occur ALL the time. Which means more time to practice awareness. Next time you clean your teeth, relax, close your eyes and bring your mind to the action. Dont force the pattern but watch it. What side do you clean first? Do you move your brush up and down or round and round? Dont change how slow or fast you brush – just brush. Be the observer and you will notice it seems to occur without much effort. You have done this action a thousand times before and now it seems to happen of its own accord. I used to enjoy this game before I stopped smoking but now use it as a technique to heighten my awareness and bring spirit into my daily life.

You will also notice that for just a few seconds or even longer (depending on how much you observed or concentrated) that you have forgotten your household chores, the ache in your legs or the women down at St Ives shops who called you a ‘thievin gypsy’. You forget everything except the action of cleaning your teeth.

Once you feel the mind observing the action you can do the same for other areas of your life. You will begin to realise the patterns we play out in our mind affects us just as much as the physical actions can. These patterns are energetically trapped within the spaces of your physical body and mind and affect your health. Find, follow and catch your internal dialogue before it becomes a repetitive pattern that plays itself over and over. I am fat, I am lonely,  I am poor, I am stuck here in this life, I am, I am, I am.

I am here, in the Southern most part of England, residing in the shell of another persons home making the most of my current situation. What a blessing to have a warm, safe and stinky home in a time of need. It reminds me I am alive and how beneficial incense can be.

 

I sit, write a few drafts about what I just thought and bin the lot. It’s hard to explain how we came to be – traveling the world, laughing, living and loving – but this is only my perception and projection on a social media platform and Id’ hate to move someone further away from their true path chasing a projected image.

Trying to write from a place of authentic love, I close my eyes and follow the flow of energy from the crown of my head to the center of my chest. I have not been practicing as much as I could be – the energy is hard to track and fuzzy. Not the clear and constant stream I am used too that grounds to earth and allows my love to expand beyond the confines of my heart chakra. I concentrate hard and send metta to those I miss and thank the universe for this down time. This time of reflection and self observance. I feel some guilt about how we may present to many and remind myself that some, maybe just one, may need to hear its possible – before they take that leap of faith. So hear this – we are doing it and loving it. It’s such an epic adventure to release and step into the unknown.

Walking to the bathroom, I remove my clothes, step under the warming water and allow any guilt to wash away – it turns to inspiration and I want to shout to the people of the world.

I love you!

You can do what ever you dream.

We are DOING the same as anyone else – just in different locations and on different levels. We are living how we want to live at this moment. You are living just how you are allowing yourself to live also.

I am a carer just like you. I am a lover just as you are. Sometimes experiencing pure connection and joy while at other times too tired to turn the shower on let alone another human being. I am an artist trying to figure out the balance between ego and inspiration and I am a sensitive being, trying to live an authentic and graceful life, tormented by material possessions and comfort foods.

I am the reflection of my surrounds, including that of my own thoughts.

The hardest (and easiest) part of obtaining the life you seek is letting go of what you think you need and living with what you really need.

For now – it’s an ongoing journey and one I am loving every second of.

 

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