I was lucky enough to spend last week in London looking after my little (well actually quite big now) cat Fluff whilst her other mum was on her hols. I hadn’t really wanted to be in London during the Olympics with all the scaremongering of crowds, delays and potential terrorist attacks. However what I found was an amazing atmosphere, London looking the best I have ever seen it and transport actually running smoothly. I think Britain has every reason to be very proud.
After a week of catching up with friends I have not seen since before my trip I returned back to the New Forest excited to be going to a “festival” at Gaunts House in Wimbourne, Dorset. Gaunts House is explained as a “place for profound learning”, they host all sorts of spiritual type retreats there and it is actually possible to become a volunteer resident helping to run it all. As I’ve been wanting to visit there since returning from India I was really looking forward to a weekend of spiritual, mind and body opening experiences.
I jumped out of bed at 5.30 am and drove across the New Forest enjoying seeing it so deserted at this magical time. The hours around sunrise are so peaceful and quiet, before the busyness of the day kicks in. As I drove down the long drive way across fields and through woodland butterflies started to flutter in my stomach, I knew it was going to be a great day. Gaunts House is a stunning mansion in the depths of the countryside, and because of all the work that is done there it has an amazing peaceful positive energy.
I started off with Taiyoga which fuses elements of meditative techniques found in Zen Buddhism, Kundalini Yoga, Daoist Yoga, Tai Chi and the Christ consciousness. We worked through our different chakra’s, starting from root, to awaken each and raise the energy upwards to our crown chakra. Maybe due to all the Reiki I have been doing but I found the meditation and pranayama (breathing) techniques really powerful, by the end of it I was seeing different colours as I focused on each chakra.
Off I floated from there into a Satsung, which is basically an audience with a “guru” type figure who talks about an aspect of life and takes any of your questions and thoughts. Tathagat was leading this one and he spoke about how we are born into this life without any attachements and we leave with out any attachments. As soon as we are born though we receive a body, a name, and it continues until we have a whole identity of beliefs, values, expectations from others and so on. However this is not who we really are. He then lead us through to a silent meditation where we were just to ask our selves “Who am I” over and over again. The idea is to peel away layers of identity and be left with just a sense of being, our true nature.
In the afternoon I decided to liven things up and partake in a “Trance Dance” this involved lots of free style dancing around barefoot to drums. The leader discussed how with the dance we go through stages of being self conscious to confident strutting around to really starting to get lost in the dance before the dance takes over, you take a step back and all that is left at the end is the dance. After a while of prancing around to such tribal beats I really did find myself getting lost in the rhythm, my body was moving with out having to think about what to do next. It’s exhilarating and very liberating.
After all the stomping around I ended the day with a session to balance my energy chakras through sound. We we lead through various chants and movements to activate each chakra. What was interesting was the silence after each exercise. The leader, James D’Angelo, told us how valuable it is to have silence after music, how the music creates a vibration in the room which was bathe in after the sounds. However we often ruin this by clapping. After each session of chanting various sounds we would just sit in silence and absorb the vibrations and experience the changes in our body. By the time I left there I was so zen and calm, it was lovely.
I had Sunday planned full of more dance type and shaking meditations to try out. I love all this stuff and I have been missing it after my India adventure where it was on tap and super cheap. After the zen feeling for the chakra work my mind felt uplifted and totally energised, this unfortunately lead to a night of no sleep! I got myself up sleepily at 6.30am to head off for another day of workshops but I felt totally wiped out.
One thing I have learnt over the past year is just to listen to my body and allow myself to BE. So often I am DOING something, reading, learning, participating, dancing, talking something I find it hard just to let go and BE. My mind really wanted to go to day 2 but my body really wanted to rest.
I read something recently about the importance of Sundays, taking a day off to remind yourself that the world does carry on with out you. To do nothing and remind yourself things won’t fall apart if you do, it can actually be very beneficial. To give yourself time to contemplate life, to be aware that there is a high conciousness out there that is much bigger than you. Time to appreciate what you have got now, to spend time with people you love, or simply on your own.
So I decided for a change to listen to my body, I felt it needed to assimilate all the energy work I had done the day before. Boy did I need it, I found my self sleeping on and off for the whole day and I didn’t allow myself to feel bad about that.
Sometimes we just need to allow ourselves to stop. To stop doing and just BE. Guilt free being.