Perhaps I’m following the Chinese New Year rather than the calendar new year, for this is my first post of 2014.
Purely by intuition I discovered an organic farm cum expansive fruit orchard with a non-dairy and gluten-free menu just on the outskirts of Mumbai, in the last few weeks of last year. I felt called to organise a new year spiritual retreat for Nithya Shanti. And ever since everything slowed down. My thoughts that is. I had a lovely time participating in the retreat, sleeping in a mud house open from two sides, surrounded by Moringa and fruit trees. After ages, I stepped into the cold exhilarating rush of a waterfall bordering the farm and the delight of a child as I lit a Chinese floating lantern and released it in the sky past midnight, just after we entered 2014 in the pitch darkness of a teakwood forest.
As happens so often with me these days, small sentences spoken here and there by people around open up layers of perspectives and shift me into wonder. One such line was “Speak to improve upon the silence“. It quietened me considerably. For a long time I was antsy that I had not written anything on this beautiful blog. And then I no longer was. I knew it will be written in God’s timing. This line has thus become my intention for this year.
When the retreat started, I didn’t have expectations. I just allowed myself to sink into the environment of birdsong all day, guests walking around in the rustic walk-in kitchen and treating each other as if they had always been there and playing with the innumerable, adorable kittens that were forever strolling in and out of our beds.
At the beginning, Nithya asked us to write our intention for the retreat or a question that we would like an answer to. Mine was simply “Why create?“. Prior to the retreat I’d been wondering as to whether surrender, letting go and non-doership translated to not setting any intentions. Every time I set intentions, I struggled to accept myself. I felt guilty that I was interfering. Inspite of that, my intentions would manifest in a way far better than what I could have imagined. At one point during the retreat, we were practicing an exercise recommended by Adyashanti in one of his books – asking yourself 2 questions that will bring back the mind into the present moment –
1. What do I want? OR What do I not want?
2. What happens when I don’t get what I want? OR What happens when I get what I don’t want?
When it was my turn, I replied “I want to create“. Before I went on to the next question though, Nithya pointed out something that instantly opened up my understanding of my inner conflict. “The issue is not with your wanting”, he said, “it is with the ‘I’. You think you are the one creating but actually it is life creating through you”. This perspective has lightened me up considerably.
Through the retreat I was touched by the small exercises we practiced – making the Buddhist symbol Mai-Yur-Ma to bless people, learning about how to receive and respond to good news, learning the 8 basic Chi-Gong movements, doing the Hour of Power after waking up, writing a list of 108s and doing a 68 second visualisation for each other, discovering miracles happening unfold because of it!
What moved me the most were the videos we watched though. One of them was a video of how a black woman responds to hairdresser who is judgmental about one of her client’s interracial relationship which takes empathy to the next level. It made me reflect on how it is one thing to put yourself in another’s shoes, but totally another to feel them within their head. Here it is –
We also watched a stunning film on Anna, an animal tracker. This film, titled the Animal Communicator takes us on Anna’s journey where she receives and sends messages, visions, intuitive information from all sorts of animals and is therefore sought by zoos and wildlife parks to use this gift in assisting animals who are in trouble. This absolutely earthy wisdom was previously known and used by many native tribes around the world to track animals, usually before they would hunt, so as to establish an understanding with the animal spirit. I watched this film several times after the retreat. Each time it moved me to tears with the heart-breaking realisation that we live in a world we don’t yet understand. It has awakened a strong desire in me to feel, experience and understand them as precious, sentient beings. More so, I have become aware that Earth has a consciousness of her own that needs a lot of deep inner silence for us to really tune into within and without our bodies.
Today I logged in spontaneously after becoming a part of a closed group on Facebook called Million Thank You’s Practice Group started by Nithya. “If you say ‘Thank-you’ a million times, your universe is transformed forever!” goes a Japanese saying. This is what we intend to do – to hold the space and say a million Thank You’s over this year.
I was told by a friend that 2014 is a year of miracles. A week ago I did an experiment based on Doreen Virtue’s Facebook update – I kept repeating the phrase, “Thank You God for answering my prayers!“. So much ease flowed into my life. I found a homeopathic doctor I could trust who gave me the perfect thing to wash away my past baggage I was tired of carrying but didn’t know how to drop. A slot opened up with my therapist and we could do a session that cleared the attachment weighing down one of my closest relationships thereby making me feel closer to this person. A group that had become energetically very draining to be a part of dismantled on its own. I discovered a great heart connection with the women who attended the new year retreat and we have a lovely Whatsapp group going where we do visualisations for each other, bless each other and share wonderful recipes for great health. I found natural cures for Vitamin B12 and relieving acidity that are super-easy to prepare. I received wonderful feedback on the healing sessions I had done for various people over the last year. The more you are grateful for, the more you find things to be grateful for.
Gratitude – Beauty – Smile is the simplest formula I have found to stay heart-centered. And this is my wish for you readers and subscribers. Even though I have not penned a word for so long, I logged in to the WordPress notification today that my stats are booming. I could not be more happy! :-) Thank You for being co-creators of this joy.
Wish you a miraculous and a heartful 2014, the year of the Wooden Horse.
Signing off with a video that has my formula of staying with your heart –