Dhanakosa- a Buddhist Retreat
By this point, you must know how horribly inconsistent and slightly adverse I am to blogging.
I go through moments of inspiration and clarity where the words seem to spill themselves out on the page- but lets be honest, most of the time I haven't even the motivation to open up the webpage. This is normal... I think.
I recently became super inspired. Like...
Dhanakosa Buddhist Retreat Centre.
I made my way up north to Scotland- the Trossachs National Park, which reminded me a bit of the forests of the Pacific Northwest; giant pines, gorgeous lakes surrounded by sky-high mountains --> the kind that the clouds seem to hover on so you can't see the tops during your typical Scottish day.
I won't get into crazy detail, but feel free to message with any questions regarding what it's like to spend time at a centre like this.
Essentially, this too-short bit of time spent at Dhanakosa may have been one of the most blissful- in a way that I hadn't sought before- moments of my travel that I've found yet. Being in this area meant that I wouldn't have cell phone service- easy peasy! But what I wasn't aware of was that neither would I have any wifi. The first three days after my arrival, my mind wandered off throughout our meditations (very willingly I should note- I wanted to follow my thoughts, I wanted to distract myself), my hands automatically reached for my phone upon waking (with little satisfaction), and I thought about the minutes, hours and days that were passing by... very slowly albeit.
Thank goodness for day four. I have mentioned to so many people in that beautiful group, that I finally 'arrived' at Dhanakosa on the morning of day 4. I let go of the outside world, and went inward. I meditated with intention, because hey, I was there, what else could I do? I spent the free time enjoying my own company, lots of tea, sitting in the quiet room, reading books, walking, and thinking- as well as forming instant friendships with the incredible folks there- a group that carved a huge bit of love in my heart!
The whole experience was a lesson in letting go, allowing what is to be, and learning to be present in my body and in the space I inhabit.
I cried when I left. I couldn't believe it. I wasn't sad, I was overwhelmed with the love that overflowed from my time there and the people I shared it with. I still don't know why the tears came so heavy on the train ride from London Liverpool Station, but I couldn't stop them and it felt like something in me was releasing and making room for something else. It was both exhausting and energizing.
I'd like to share one of my favorite poems that was read to us during our final yoga class the day before we parted. It's one of those that I think we can all benefit from in our Western culture- the idea that we are never good enough is too prevalent and the beating ourselves up to make ourselves perfect is all too familiar. This served me as a reminder to cultivate self-compassion and kindness first and foremost- because, just like they say on the airplanes, you must put YOUR mask on before you help someone else- so it is too, that you must love yourself before you can share this beautiful gift with others:
The Human Body at Peace With Itself
The body at peace with itself is more precious than the rarest gem
cherish your body, it is yours this one time only.
all worldly things are brief, like lightning in the sky;
this life you must know as the tiny slash of a raindrop;
a thing of beauty that disappears even as it comes into being.
Therefore, set your goal, make use of every day and night to achieve it.
You can find out more about Dhanakosa here