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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indigenous Portals left but not Forgotten

A few years have passed since I last talked about an indigenous portal we lived alongside. It was on our farm land in Australia and I believe my lunch with 2 indigenous elders who validated this portal to be the most pivitol moment in my spiritual awakening so I wanted to share the experience again. The indegnous people of Australia are masters at connecting with the land…..we could all learn from them.

At the end of 2004 my family became sick (literally) of our lives and bought a remote rainforest property in New South Wales. It took one hours drive to the local town for a loaf of bread, forgotten ingredient or social event. It was exactly what we needed. My family began to farm, drink from the river and spend the passing nights under infinite stars. We tuned into the seasons and the animals.

Every now and then I’d pass my husband on my way to the garden, sweat pouring from his body as he nailed, screwed or cut something for our house. We’d both stop, smile and comment about the energy of the lands. We were both happy. When working on the Sunshine Coast we hadn’t been very aware of anything except mortgages, food and appointments but there, in the forest we began to feel something new. At different times of the day or night a buzz that is difficult to explain used to tingle in our physical being, emanating from our chest like a controlled surge of adrenalin. Its vibration would sometimes wake us up at night. We’d talk for hours, explore each others bodies and surrounds, full of energy and creativity.

We discussed more and more often the chances of someone squatting in the forest. Our thinking mind wanted to understand the noise, the vibration that sang through the trees. It was state forest one side and National Park the other, dense and steep. We pondered loggers using a generator or the low gear change of a truck but nothing could explain the drone of an engine that changed its tone as much the wind changed directions. Of course we took a walk several times to unravel the mystery but we never found anything or anyone. One time I saw an aboriginal man standing beside a mountain ash tree near to where we felt the buzz most intensely.  Skinny arm holding a stick,  with his knee perched atop a mirage of a wooden stump, he reminded me of my father and brother all merged together, but black. The instant I turned to see him more clearly, the apparition was gone.

A few weeks later we met our nearest neighbours(1km): aka Flo, Rock and Snoop the dog. They were walking alongside our dusty road waving some white papers. We stopped to talk.

Öne conversation led to another and before long we asked if they knew anything about loggers or people up in the forest behind us. They knew the property well and had been living out here for almost a year.

Flo laughed, “you mean the portal?”

“What portal?” I questioned.

Flo described a sacred energy that ran through the hills. She also tried to tell us about a man who believed there was a yeti and a large prey mantis type of creature that would stalk him on clear nights. Hhhhmm…the conversation took a downwards turn and we put it down to the magnificent mushroom season that had erupted in the last few days of humidity and rain.

TCR 8

Returning to our farm, family and friends, life continued on. I needed a health practitioner for my daughter and was given a local contact. After leaving our appointment I felt the treatment was more for my spirit than the nasal complaints of my child. I was given a number to call about the energy of our land….and connect with someone who had dreamed of me weeks before – it was all very strange.

In the same week a close girlfriend had an aboriginal man perform a cleansing on their farm. My friend told me that while he was ceremonially smoking the lands he asked about a girl with fire-red hair (I did at the time) who came down from the hills and bought with her a tribe. He wanted to talk to the girl with the red hair.

I rang the number. It was Friday afternoon. “Hi, I was given your number to call…….” I paused not knowing what to say.

A deep, elderly voice spoke, “Ï have been waiting for you to call”.

We talked for a minute or two and arranged a lunch at our farm the next day.

I prepared (as I love to do) a feast and invited our neighbours. Any occasion out this far is worth celebrating and sharing. We heard a vehicle entering the driveway and walked outside to greet our guests.

Uncle Larry introduced himself first. A dark aboriginal man, 70’s, dressed as my mother would dress my father. Shirt pressed and clean jeans, belt in tight and a head of slick grey hair. His wife, Aunty Christine was laughing and talking before her feet hit the ground and Uncle Barry, a friend of Uncle Larry’s stared at the hills in quiet memory as we ushered them to the back deck.

We all sat, wide-eyed staring at each other and talking of the coincidences that bought us together. Uncle Larry said he had dreamed a vision of a white girl with fire-red hair who left the ocean waters to live in the hills. She was followed by many  ancient ones with long sticks. They were coming home.

We learnt Uncle Barry had grown up as an indigenous boy with his mother in this exact part of the forest. I felt joy and guilt at knowing this history. Occasionally Uncle Barry would talk in his mother tongue with the spirits as if they were sitting  right beside us……..Uncle Larry laughed at his brother in skin as the birds raised their songs and the wind-swept light across our hearts. Sunlight shone directly into the eyes of us all. The conversation died. We sat in awe at the life that moved around and through us. We all acknowledged the flow of sacredness in silence, knowing we appreciated its power.

Uncle Barry was the first to speak as he pointed his finger towards the Mountain Ash tree where I had seen the apparition……”You got a portal”……then the three guests began their conversation as if nothing had happened, chatting to themselves.

“Whhooa, whooa” said my husband. “Portal, what do you mean portal?”

Flo, our neighbour, who had been pretty quiet till now couldn’t help herself, “see…I told ya….told ya….its a portal”

Uncle Larry explained that this portal was for men’s business (which explained my unsettled feeling when ever I tried to walk the path beside that area). It was a concentration of energy that followed the spirit highways of our ancient Australian lands. Mountains and wind tunnels, ritual and time contoured the portals dimensions. This concentration of wisdom’s settled and swirled about 60 mtrs from our home. It is not visible with eyes and not heard with the ears but sensed.

I had so many questions, my mind was racing. As far as I could understand the aboriginals would enter a trance state (some not) and jump between lands, between seasons. Portals were for the awakened souls to meet and dream, share and connect with self and others and all creatures, dead or alive.

As our three new friends” were leaving, Uncle Larry turned to me and said”, “just keep meditating near the portal and doing what you’re doing, the land here needs no cleansing. Everything you need you already have.”

Ï continue to this day to do what I did then. Meditate, stay open and try as much as possible to move in a direction that enhances life for me and all others.

About one year ago we attended a small indigenous festival. Long story short we connected with a lady who seemed tirelessly busy, performing, weaving, swimming and actively promoting equal rights for her tribe back in WA. Passing her one morning she asked if we wanted a reading and although we had not spoken prior to this moment, I agreed.

Both my daughters were standing beside me. She placed her hand on my youngest child’s shoulder and began rattling off a series of personalities traits that only a mother could know. She whispered in her ear to feel Ok with herself and don’t be scared of the black sisters. My eldest daughter was next and again she read her like a book. I was in disbelief at her ability to know us….really know our past, present and apparent future direction.

She then placed her hand upon my shoulder and said “welcome home – welcome home sister….hhhmmm busy times for a gatekeeper….you know that portal on your land…well I’m shuttin it down….no more mens business, its time for the women….hhmmm open to it sister”.  She shared so much more, so much knowing. I put it in my heart hoping I could access it later for my mind at that moment was numb.

I listened and trusted I would understand but still to this day I don’t really know what I am doing….I trust all is flowing on its karmic course with me steering the boat forwards.

I see the river banks and sometimes go ashore for supplies but mostly I try to move ahead towards the ocean again.

All we need is already within us. Love to all.

Coincidence, Krishna and Aussie Scrub

Farm sit done we hit the road towards southern Queensland to register the bus – I’ve heard its easier there.

Tall, dry barked eucalypts line the highway, one we have driven many, many times before. It all seems so different this time round though. The trees seem greener, water ways clearer and roadkill evidence of a healthy environment. These perceptions a grateful side effect to overseas travel.

Rambling down the highway I laugh to myself in remembrance of how many times a European person avoided my eyes, chuckling each time I mentioned the Aussie bush. Bush in Europe means your vagina so I use ‘scrub’ a bit more now days although it doesn’t seem to do the density of our forests any justice.

Toilet stops, ocean swim, fuel and green grass adventures – we look for our first camp – Northern Rivers just before you enter into Yamba. No toilet (quick wee Ok) but the area is clean, pretty quiet and beside the river. There were about 4 other campers here.

Campsite location

Light rain and warm temps motivated the mosquitos to join us for breakfast which we collected from our immediate surrounds – mangoes, strawberry guavas and waragal greens to which I added some eggs. My daughter is into wild crafting and all things survival so her skills of seeing the edible amongst a bare patch is tested and appreciated often.

Early start (toilet needed) – we headed further north. Brunswick was only a few minuets drive off the main highway and well worth the stop – swim, boat love, people meet and expensive delicious food treats.

The kids made camp on a blanket I had thrown under the shade of a massive Poinciana, slicing open a watermelon with newly gifted knives from their Pop while I made some green mango salad left over from this mornings harvest. My husband and I talked about a dream to live aboard a boat maybe at a later date as we watched a gorgeous little cat sway from side to side in direct view from our bus.

Right at that moment a man dressed in loose shorts, pin striped business shirt and broad rimmed hat approached the girls and began talking. I gave him a min before wandering outside to join the conversation.

“Thought Id introduce myself as you looked like home schoolers too”…..”I’m Peter”

I checked out my two daughters – one was recording specific notes and diagrams about various animals tracks you might find in the grasslands of outback Australia – the other artfully filling a page with dreamscapes and visions.

“yeh we home school, my names Tamika.”

For the next half an hour my husband and I chatted with Peter and found an instant connection. He had natural schooled his kids for ALL of their schooling and when his son turned 15 they had bought a catamaran to live on as they were looking for a challenge. Yes – its was the exact cat we had been eyeing for the last hour. If it wasn’t for the pressure and time restraint of registering the bus (as well as a rotten painful tooth) we all would have jumped aboard his catamaran and become his crew for the next week or two.

We said goodbye to Peter, feeling our paths would cross again sometime, cleaned up the remains of the watermelon and bounced our way towards the highway only to miss the turn some few hundred meters later. Dammn – oh well – the view was all new from this higher bus aspect and the northern rivers area is just so beautiful with its majestic mountains and energetic forest gullies.

A thought came to us once we neared Murwillumbah that just one year ago a friend had taken us to a Hare Krishna joint somewhere in the hills near here. We stopped in town for a couple of quick supplies and decided without a GPS or inside knowledge it was just too much trouble to find directions out the Krishna Centre.

No more than 5 seconds later 2 freshly shaven robed young men rounded a corner and slammed into my husbands shoulder. They hugged, chatted and smiled their way into our souls in a heartbeat. Yep – they were from the centre and would happily escort us out. I love a good energy line up (mainstream coincidence).

Sunday sees the Hare Krishna centre open its door to everyone for a vegetarian feast by donation and music accompanied with various teachings, dance and chanting if you wish.

Situated in the beautiful Tweed Valley in far northern New South Wales, about ten kilometres from Murwillumbah, the Hare Krishna farming community, New Govardhana, embodies this yearning for a gentler, simpler way of life. They have an amazing timetable suited to families, backpackers and spiritual seekers – yoga, WOOFing, camping, day visits, farming, school, festivals and much more.

Hare Krishna Centre Northern Rivers

Goodbyes said to our two new monk friends and butter balls exchanged we made the slow long walk back to the bus. TIP – don’t take a 12 tonne vehicle to the centre – it wont get across the bridge but the river is excellent for a freshen up.

We slept alongside a river this night – not the best camp at all but our minds were not on finding an oasis. The journey home to the Sunshine Coast went uneventful and rather quick.

This week – modifications, teeth pulled, curtains and home schooling.

I believe nothing is by chance and the life we lead is determined by the life we lead.

Love to all

 

 

Renovation of our Lives (and bus)

Its feels like I am sitting inside a zoo. Hundreds of waking birds call to their mates as the creatures of the night return to dens, nests and grassy lays. It is predawn in Australia and I have not heard such a commotion for over a year. Throughout most of Europe, Balkans and North Africa, animals are either wiped out for farming, eaten or too afraid or sick to appear. Not here. I can understand why so many of the people we met on our travels want to come and experience the beauty of this southern land – its friggin amazing.

Tuning into the sensation of warm ocean breeze against my eye lashes I believe with every cell that this is the perfect time to meditate, stretch the body and awaken senses. The energy of waking nature surrounds me and fills me with a sense of gratitude and comfort. No wonder the aborigines of Australia are so connected to the land – you cant escape it and who would want too?

I remind myself that this is why we have returned home. I breathe in the freshness, follow the flight of a territorial raven and feel the instinct of knowing this land expand in my chest. Closing eyes again I realise this week is a big one, as we prepare to drop a deposit on our new home on wheels. The next “Gentle Revolution”. The decision to live aboard a bus comes from our desire to remain unattached (to land and property) and out of the system (mortgage, debt and government handouts).

My family, as like many, have been there before, stuck in the day to day grind of meeting expectations and repayments, school appointments and social standards, to the point of tearing us apart. We know we just dont fit the mould – for some it just works.

the-simpson-family-2

Thinking over the last year of travels, the people, different cultures, religions and countries, I realise each of us hold our own key to the way we want to live but how and when we unlock that door of potential, of life, is influenced by many things. For me, the primary influencer is what I surround myself with. What comes into contact with our minds, bodies and spirits the most.

As several kookaburras mark their boundaries with deafening laughs I know this is why we have come home. We want to surround ourselves with loving people, healthy clean food and water and be FREE to move and work amongst the flow of energies that I once felt prior to leaving.

Australian ancestors speak to me and I have missed their conversations.

While I was traveling I always felt my spirit was playing catch ups. I am not sure it ever really found me. I don’t dispute the benefits that travel had upon our growth as a family and as an indivual but I do doubt the money spent on the vastness of our efforts. Lesson learnt – we are now ready to journey into the land of unknown again, pushing our limits of love and exploring new territories – spiritually, mentally and physically.

First things first – BUS next week and beyond that – who knows. Open roads mean open hearts for us.

Grateful to be home. Let the renovation of our lives and our new home begin.

Love to all.

bus-4

 

 

 

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

The Muezzin of Marrakech

The Muezzin are calling ezan in Marrakech right now. Some voices are deep and inviting, others harsh and scratchy from years of dryness. They call for the people to come, attend the mosque, for the sun is soon to rise. I guiltily lay in bed knowing that his final call reminds the people “prayer is better than sleep”.

My family however is sleeping. We have our own faith. I should get up and meditate.

Nestled in the middle of a traditional riad, in the heart of Marrakech, I found a bear like cave that shields my family just enough while allowing the daily flow of Moroccan life to circle around us. Its been a long 5 months on the road, in a bus and on display.

The riad is centred in a traditional Medina or town and surrounded by a 20 foot high polished earthern wall. It is cool, mysterious and secured with a chain smoking security gang who stop every car with as much determination as the morning Muezzin. I only wish they had put down their cigarettes long enough to catch the kid who smashed our bus window yesterday. It seems that security only starts once you cross the red and white line and not a meter out. We didn’t catch the kid and we didn’t know what we would do even if we did.

I found this little oasis on the net and after just one day our bodies have relaxed enough to sleep peacefully. Everything you would need to survive a 2 month sandstorm is right at our disposal and the compound also boasts a few cafes, a little shop for various supplies, a pharmacy and mosque. I think I saw a pool too but swimming is prohibited on Friday and yep – that’s today.

There is an eclectic strange mix of global warriors and hard to understand French speaking Muslims who share the compound. Over a strong black shot and cheap pizza yesterday afternoon, I have already met a gorgeously garbed designer who I want to buy from for my market and an old time rocker from the 80’s called ‘Mr Tiger’ who has an amazing energy and recording studio. Dare I say, I lost my husband for hours yesterday. There is something here for each of us and we haven’t yet explored the world renowned markets of Marrakech located only 10 minutes away.

Light starts to creep into the bathroom window and cars begin to choke outside. The compound is still quiet and I imagine the Inam or leader of prayer has begun his service. I wonder a lot about the Muslim faith and would like to talk the many of the men and women who fill the mosques but the language barrier makes learning slow.

A friend of mine traveling through Morocco at the moment wanted to learn more about this religion so thought he would attend a mosque for the Muezzin had called so beautifully this day he told me. He followed the swarm, removed his shoes and entered the inner sanctum. He was respectful, removing his shoes and sitting quietly up the back but it wasn’t long before someone approached him and asked what had happened to him.

My friend replied, “I am here to learn”.

The stranger said “Well learn outside”.

Although my friend has the sweetest heart and a humble manner I am thinking he forgot to bathe or prepare himself for prayer. Just like in our home or hearts there are certain ways in which we perform sacred offerings or blessings, even the way we go about bathing or eating. To practice or pray here one must be in good shape and pure condition before starting prayer. It is necessary to wash the parts of the body which are generally exposed to dirt or dust or smog and going on past experience I doubt my friend had cleaned well in days.

Prayer to me looks like a gymnastic exercise and a mechanical act but one thing for sure its brings the awareness of God into their daily lives. I can only hope my day is filled with such devotion.

I hope for you too that your day is filled with such devotion to life and a love inspired by higher forces.

Rock on Marrakech.

 

Prayer or chant for Muslims carried out 5 times a day.

Allaahu Akbar (four times – “Allah is Most Great”).
Ash’hadu an laa ilaaha illallaah (twice – “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah“).
Ash’hadu anna Muhammadan-rasulullaah (twice – “I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah“).
Haya ‘alas-salaah (twice – “Come to prayer”).
Haya ‘alal falaah (twice – “Come to the good;’).
Allaahu Akbar (twice – “Allah is Most Great”).

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