Tag Archives: skanda vale

Can you save my life? ‘Cause I would save your life.

I go to sleep late, at gone 6am because I have a chest full of something and don’t want to sleep on that. I watch hours of Gayzer Frackman’s videos of getting in the way of Cuadrilla at Preston New Road, somehow feeling a part of it.

I do my puja at 5.30, aware that pujas are now happening at Skanda Vale, Wales, and at Soma Skanda Ashram in the Alps. And I am here.

I get into bed, cuddled up tightly to Mummy Bear, comforting life-force throughout everything. Every night at Soma Skanda was the same, and at Skanda Vale before. A good teddy bear, with the best of energies in, makes a world of difference.

Almost immediately I’m in a room, kind of like a classroom. Angela is there, as well as quite a few others I know, and some I don’t know. She’s dramatising something, and I’m unsure of if she’s mad at me or just making drama. It was often that way at Soma Skanda, but really great to have that. She put her eyes to the back of the head, and feigned fainting, and actually did faint, hitting the ground hard, backwards. Within an instant she shrinks in size to a baby, actually becomes a newly born, or maybe even a yet-to-be-born, baby.

The energy completely takes over. The whole room is transfixed, or reacting in extreme ways. I am suddenly feeling extremely sick and dizzy, find a sink but nothing’s really coming out, but I’m imagining that it is. Then I lose all ability to do anything, and fall sideways hard onto the ground. Someone I know does too. We both shake as our bodies shrink very quickly, us about to become lifeless babies.

I wake before it completes, but everything’s suddenly different. I hug mummy bear tightly, and tell her my dream, and she’s there, hugging me, helping me with my breathing. Distance is nothing.

I’d read Jonathan Livingstone Seagull earlier, at about 2am, and the teachings sowed themselves in me. There’s so much to become, we are not this body and this mind, we are everything.

I hear the train running in the distance, and slowly go back to sleep.

Now it is not raining for the first night in a week. I can see everything when I’m up on the Downs. It feels clear. Like we’ve all been through something really quite intense over this past week, and now it’s cleared.

It’s cold, but things have cleared.

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Surrender into compassion

Craving;
Multiple births;
Dreams of something else.
Anything else.

So I got back here, Skanda Vale, to a stupor of internal unrest, like a child whose ice cream just toppled over. Dreams of yesterday, or, the downs of a few days ago, became my total sense of being. There is nothing anymore but for those moments a few days ago on the down by Brading town. Like being lovestruck again, it becomes my sense of everything.

And yet, the universe sometimes orchestrates everything so wonderfully. Like one of those movies where everything unbelievably clicks into place. But this is the story of life outside of a movie – everything actually is a fairytale.
I get picked up from a busy roundabout on the Carmarthen bypass, a few minutes walk from the railway station. The girl lives in Llanpumsaint, the nearest village to here, and she’s a devotee of Krishna, but says that she has been separated from him and that some lifetimes ago she was dancing with Krishna. She tells me of a manifestation of Ganesh in a nearby park. She takes me to it, as it’s kind of en-route. And there he is. Ganesh, exquisitely calm and living, formed into the basal trunk of a tree that’s recently been lopped. I tell her that we celebrate a festival to Ganesh at Skanda Vale every year, and it begins in two days time. She’s amazed by it all. She’s sociophobic, and I imagine hasn’t shared such a long conversation in a long time.

I get to the Shakti puja because she picked me up, and because the connecting train waited for our train to arrive, and because I felt an inclination to hitch this time. And the puja is immense, but my belly spinning, whirling almost.
And this continues.

Even though I see maybe where I shall be in some time in the future, I also feel very strongly where I am right now, and it’s an incredible place to be (in the right now).

Life inside a nutshell

I see this crop circle, and the adjacent land-scraping board that was used by its artists. And it reminds me of the deeply meaningful search for those earth energies that seem a little missing from these days. I feel this amazing amount of comfort, like feeling God welcoming me back in life after being away a while. Like receiving a hug that would caress each flap of this heaving heart. Like as if everything’s okay anyway. Like showing me what’s next.

I needed this time at Skanda like I needed my thumbs whilst travelling. It’s a part of me, and in this time in life is central to everything that seems to depict my regeneration.

The winds tickles and rolls across my neck, a gently warm early summer salty breeze. The lobby grasses dance to the breasts played by the tree branches. A fox lives on these downs, sliding along in the direction of the end of land. The sea lit up by small and big boats dotted across, and glistening still from the last of the dusk. I’m overjoyed to be here. This evening, these few minutes, this is my holiday for the year. Alone on this hillside, with all of nature for company, I can feel the bliss of the moment easing off the strains on my tired heart, and everything tingles a little. Time stops still.

I’m days from leaving on a 2-day road journey with a monk and a dog to a small temple above the alpine line in Romansch Switzerland. We will work tirelessly for 7 weeks on building this temple, getting it ready for its inauguration in October. I’ve just spent almost all of the last year building the extension to the Sri Ranganatha temple at Skanda Vale, in a heavy, forested valley in heartlands north of Carmarthen, Wales. I almost lost an eye, or stability, but through it all have been gradually feeling more and more stable. The last year has been of growth. When you build a temple, the physical structure is not what you’ve built. That’s what the materials and money and energy built. But you build inside, a structure that Milaripa built and moved over and over, committing himself so fully and then so selflessly to it as he had no other choice. He’d developed unfortunate karma, which led him to his very fortunate karma. I’d almost burnt a house down, with myself and two dogs inside, sleeping to my side. And down went the internal structure that had been built. And it needed to be rebuilt. So it’s absolutely no coincidence that I’ve been building temples for the past year.

But I get these signs of the completion approaching soon. Every so often I get a clear feeling that there’s a world waiting for me somewhere.

Back in the crop circle, I half-dream of interacting with God. It doesn’t matter how long or how many times you’re in a temple, it seems, you’re still going to have your deepest experiences at unpredictable yet clearly intuited times. I’d felt guided up to this field, or something up here, so so strongly, for the whole walk upto this point. I talk with God for a while, and it’s like talking with an ultimate kind of caring force, that will always lead me in the right ways no matter what. I share my anxieties, and desires, and generally just what I’m feeling inside. Then I remember clearly asking about love. How would I find someone to be in love with again, to share life with in one way or another, when it feels so much like I go solo with it all and surely girls would be put off by that, or by my absurdities in general. I grow wild long hair that makes a lot of people think I’m a girl anyway, and surely……. And I’m told to just focus on the love that I’m able to give through and in everything, and that love will always attract the right people. And it’s like the most incredible fireworks display is going of in my heart and I am so full of joy.

We get thousands of people coming to Skanda Vale to be close to God. Sure, we’ve got the monastic discipline pretty much sorted. And sure, there’s energy there, it’s a powerful place. But I’ve never found God outside of myself. I don’t know if it’s possible to do so. And I’ve had continuously intimately close experiences of God ever since receiving the heartbreak of a very lonely relationship breakup over 9 years ago. And I wouldn’t give it up for anything. And this is where it gets complicated with my relationship with the ashram. I’ve found myself getting complacent in the ashram life. The building work is strong, but spiritually I’m feeling somehow more and more disconnected from the possibility of the completely random encounters with God.

And yet, I sit here rushing past middle England on a First Great Western to Swansea. My holiday is over, and it’s time to go back to work. Switzerland is calling, but God is unpredictable. God is between the lines of Streetlight Manifesto songs on their new album The Hands That Thieve. God is inside crop circles. God is in the views of glistening sea, and in my sisters voices, and in precious moments just being with myself. And in going along with things that just feel right.

I was taken through the village of my childhood and adolescence. A village where I felt like I really lost myself, and where I felt like I really found myself. And it felt incredibly surreal to be back, after 8 months away, and yet not even stepping a foot out of the car. We went down the same road that I walked up on dark and wet early evenings in December after being with my first girlfriend, lovestruck at fourteen. And the bench that I sat at whilst listening to Rise Against, Dancing In The Rain, frustrated to the point of emotive anger by my second girlfriend on my seventeenth birthday. I’d walked off by myself, leaving her awkwardly with my mum and brother, as desires for freedom broke me down. And I’m and about a pub in a near village that has been closed down for 5 years after a terrible murder there, and am asked details about it and fed intensely graphic information that I feel hurting something inside me to picture, and say that noone actually knows anything about it because everyone chose to keep out of it as much as possible. And I remember running from sounds in the woods with James when we’d have bonfires in the woods, with good reason, finding out later on that the owner suspected that it was us all along having the fires but never quite catching us. A place where dreams were made, but the sleep perpetuated beyond dreams.

And I walk down the hill of the down, and reach the park of Brading, and realise that this was where I was always meant to be based, this would be where I would live for at least some time. They say it’s a haunted old little town, but maybe it’s actually just the strong presence of God in this place.

Resting in peace

These last months have been incredibly reinforcing of why it is that I have made the decisions that I have made, and also very exacting towards myself to absolutely connect with whatever I went through as an adolescent.

The home of my youth is soon to be moved out of, my mum has sold it and is moving on to dreamlands, and I go to the land of my future, the community that has already stirred and started my life in so many ways, in the realm of gods and golden skies of west Wales.

But, this is by no means and ending of anything.  If anything, it is a reckoning of life in its fullest extent:- a realisation that things all evolve from something.  I am not what I have become without having gone through everything that I have gone through.

I worked at a vegetable factory for 4 days in August.  Those days were the most intense of days.  The love I fell into kindled me, caressed me, and yet my back was like as if about to break.  I had no choice but to quit, despite having found such amazing grace whilst for 11 hours a day sorting rapidly through trillions of beans on a conveyor belt in a completely artificial environment.  Amma, Amma, Amma.  How your name comes to me in the most trying of times…

Last December, early in the morning of Wednesday 17th, I awoke to banging and thick smoke.  I was watching over the house that I was living in whilst the friends I lived with were on holiday in Thailand.  I ventured downstairs, and the living room was a blaze.  Thus became an incredible fight and stark visions.  I was almost naked, yet the heat was pumping me into hypospherical state.  By incredible grace, I was still alive, and I put out the fire, but this was the beginning of a new beginning for me.  I got kicked out of the house a few months later (which was really good of my friends, to give me a few months to steady myself, maintain a sense of solidity..), and this, pretty much, pushed me to see no option other than eventually moving into Skanda Vale.

I don’t want communication with huge amounts of people anymore – no matter how good the communications are, nor how nice the people are.  I don’t want to have comforts anymore.  I don’t want to be earning money so that I could do something with it.  I don’t want to even go dumpster diving anymore.  I want solidity, and to deepen the connections of my heart, and that is all.  Come along and check me out with my progress with that, and you will find me at Skanda Vale.  I move there a week today (Monday 17th October).

Last night, I had a dream.  I had a somewhat apocalyptic dream.  In the dream, there was fire, and smoke, a lot of smoke, everywhere.  The date was 17th October 2015.  And, maybe it is just full of symbolism.  I am burning it all up into smoke.  Just as Chris would often speak of Babylon burning, maybe making a decision like this is all that is needed to send it up into smoke (metaphorically).  All the desires, the putrefaction of life, it can come to an end like this.

Over this past weekend, I have been filled with huge amounts of insights and realisations about loads of things.  The strongest thing was my intimate connection with so much around me.  I had really intimate connections with quite a few people around me, and going to the Thursday Waves 5 Rhythms in Caledonian Road exasperated this, and then just several outpourings of lots of love from different people at the London Skanda Vale seminar filled me to the brim.  This kind of connection needs to be plentiful, and shared all around, to everyone and everything.  You have no idea how far it can go.  It really really does make a massive difference to give someone a hug for a minute instead of a second.  And to dance with even the most lost of people.  And to hold hands, to reach out to each other, to say ‘I am here for you’ over and over whilst looking deep into the other’s eyes and then being told ‘I am here for you’ by the other.  We need to be real!  We need to say things that may sound like they would confuse the situation, even make things weird between us and everyone else, and just say them because there’s no point holding it back anymore!  Say it all!  Express all the love, all of it, all of it.

Jason Rowe taught at the Thursday Waves about going further, never giving up.  He said about how he’d had a really terrible day, everything was going haphazard, to the point of him needing to scream as it had all got too much and I imagine he probably cried a lot too.  This happens in the dance a lot, too.  When we dance, we dance the dance of our lives.  We have our whole lives come out, and speak through movement, crystalise everything around it, freeze it all in time.  And, our lives are full of so much, and so much is really full of emotion.  It follows us upto death, and beyond to everything that goes beyond death.  And all we can do is either ignore it or allow it to take hold of us and cradle us all around this universe.  We are universes waiting to be collide and form all new things.  Our emotion takes us further than anyone or anything else ever can.  We are guided so much more strongly by our tears than a plane by its fuel.

So maybe I am saying goodbye to the world now.  Maybe I am soon to be going into a monastery, where I will spend the rest of this lifetime.  I do not know.  All I know is that it is my next massive leap.  I am leaving everything behind physically, but on a deeper level I am taking everything with me much more so than I have ever done before.  I am taking childhood friends who RIP’d over the years, I am taking former and present loves, I am taking bands and music and energy from projects and the world’s political everything and all of the sufferings of everything that I have taken on in these last few months.  Don’t think I’ve been here just to hang out.  I’m taking it all, and in the world of revolutionary-needing-to-change-absolutely-everything, this is my final big explosion of doing it all.  My activist marching days ended a long while ago, when I realised that I was actually leading hundreds of rioters to wherever they went with my drumming.  I’d got to that point, and it was time to retract, to withdraw and prepare my next hand.  I feel into everything, feel everything that everyone’s going through, take it all in like a hydrogen collider, and store it to be all processed in the only way that I see possible anymore.  There is no place elsewhere in the world where I feel it possible to do so much change.  So don’t think that I’ve withdrawn from the world.  Because I haven’t.  The revolution will not be televised, for there is no television anymore where there is revolution.  We have always been tapping into deeper levels with all this, and a deeper immersion into it all is the only way.  I’m not saying that I’m suddenly better or more elite than anyone else, but that when Phil Ochs ended his life he was ready to work on a deeper level than apparently possible in the world at the time.  When yogis retreat into disappeared places, they don’t do it to forget about or escape the world.  The Buddha was always bigger than Lenin, or than Che Guevara, or than Gandhi, and everything that he did was completely revolutionary.  Thinking and doing and being out-of-the-box.  There’s a reason why there’s a box in the first place, and most of the apparent activist movement, as well as spiritual and everybody else movement, is really quite tightly wrapped up in it because that’s what maya, delusion/illusion, is capable of doing.  We believe so much in our ‘self’ that we see nothing outside of it, and forget about the omnipresence of deeper and more beautiful things because we’ve theorised ourselves away from it.

Resting in Peace.  Here’s to Sophie for building me up for a change that I would’ve never got to had I not been so messed up and thrown all around by our teenage breakup.  Here’s to Phil and Tom for, through the deaths, igniting inspiration to live deeper and fuller than I had been, for clearing the cobwebs inside of me and making sure things really really do count.  Here’s to Graham and the King’s Lynn Firm for combining forces inadvertently in making a real night to remember for me, January 14th 2006.  Here’s to the Fox’s (neighbours) for the comical connections that we’ve shared over the years, seemingly concluding in style more recently.  Here’s to all who have helped this body get to whichever place when it has stuck out a thumb.  Here’s to Alex, for not being afraid or resistant to what felt right.  Here’s to Welsh James, for becoming the life-friend of Nessie, and for joining me with much of the teenage needs to just set fire to things.  Here’s to my parents for all of the dramas that have unfolded in my childhood and adolescent life – all of which, really, they’ve had no choice about at all on a universal level.  Here’s to all three of my siblings, for their continued enthusiasm and always keeping their arms and hands open when I’ve come by.  Here’s to Kudo for providing so much fruit to all around.  Here’s to Larissa, Sam, and all other loves/nearly loves that have taken me on a trip somewhere.  Here’s to pretty much everyone at Skanda Vale for accepting me somewhat unconditionally, every time I’ve gone there, and just allowing me to go through everything I’ve needed to.  Here’s to Nikki, Nikki, Alina, Gabriella, Victor, Dyal Singh…..all who encountered me and offered so much healing and love.  Here’s to Linda, and to Tara, and to bloody Occupy Rob, incredible people to have had as friends at incredible times.  And here’s to the bands that have transformed everything for me all along this journey (in chronological order from oldest to newest..)….AFI, Sick Of It All, Arch Enemy, Bridge To Solace, Vanilla Pod/Frenzy/Stranglehold, Social Distortion, The King Blues, Bomb The Music Industry, A Silver Mt Zion, Okkervil River, Modern Life Is War.  And here’s to Ajahn Brahm, and to Ray Raine, Lama Chime Rinpoche, Guru Sri Subramanium, and all other teachers who have ventured into my life to give nothing but total grace.  Thankyou, even in the darkest of experiences, everything that has happened is everything that has happened, and that is beautiful.

If anyone would like to write to me at Skanda Vale, my address will be this:

Simon Jilley
Skanda Vale,
Llanpumsaint,
Carmarthen
SA33 6JT
United Kingdom

Out!

edge of life

The Art of Treating the Job Search as Sacred

It’s a new life.

It’s your last chance to make your mother and father proud.

impossibleHidden away, in a field of empty chairs, we close our eyes and think of any way out of this swamp that we’ll sink into as soon as we step off the chair.  We will not see the light of the free world until we become unearthed by wolves, or deer, or the life under the soil.  We cannot see a light anymore.

I, this body, this mind, this sentience, am in a job or career search that I neither understand, nor find a sense of salvation or answers through.  The days can be troubling, with many ideas coming through my mind.  I kid myself at times with it all.  I tell myself that I’ll get a really comfortable life for myself; ya know, the sort with motorised transport and regularity and wearing smart clothes and with a lover and stuff.  Then, I question whether this is actually what I want, at all.  I remember over and over that I told Skanda Vale that I’d be back soon, and 6 weeks later and I’m still not back and probably won’t be back for some months.  I think back to my time at Chateau Anand a huge amount, maybe as it was this time last year that I was first settling in to my 2-month stay there.  I get myself a little confused over not quite understanding what is going on for me right now.  But, all this is leading to something big, something really big.

Almost 18 months ago, I wrote about my dissertation becoming a sacred experience.  It had become a daily meditation, and a daily focus for much of my energy.  Through it, I rekindled a loving relationship with my home area, and found some long-standing roots.  And through it, I found a way to truly love something that was being created by my own creativity.  Now I am sitting here, having been on a computer for much of the last few days looking for jobs and even doing the absolute worst, lowest-paid jobs I can imagine is even possible, and I’m going to tell you all that it is a sacred experience.  Because, well, there’s nothing else but the sacredness of this whole unravelling.

Unlike the Sacred Dissertations writing, this writing has been hugely inspired by quotes that I have read from Henry David Thoreau.  There’ll be four sections, for how I feel, somewhere deep inside this whole existence, that whatever is going on now is to be treated as a temple, as a water droplet landing on the forehead, as a fawn opening its eyes for its first time.  It is all beautiful, it all is boundlessly beautiful.

The Stag who lived forever. Full story here: http://www.storywarren.com/the-stag-who-lived-forever/

The Stag who lived forever. Full story here: http://www.storywarren.com/the-stag-who-lived-forever/

#1 Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.

The work is as much a part of you as the word, the friend, the eyes and the spirit.  It is where the energy of life is going, the prana, creative lifeforce, and it is the deepest connection with the earth beneath and around us that we are communicating in working this energy.

Truth.  What can be truth, when we have to sell ourselves all the time, and pray that we get this or that job because we just need to be able to get some money to pay for the bills for the things that we don’t really need but, really, we do need?

Truth is beyond selling ourselves.  It’s perhaps the biggest, hardest, thing I’ve had to do in a long, long time.  I’m going to have to shave very soon, and wear clothes to conform.  The construction work that I’d hoped for, if all fell through with teaching-related stuff, is out-of-the-question until I get a CSCS card, which I’d have to wait until November for.  So here’s my future.  My beard will be trimmed, hair tidied, and I will play it all on the superficial for a while.  I will sell myself as a commodity, as something that can be looked at and judged by my very cover.  My cover.

Truth is knowing that something deeper is going on here.  Just as in Buddhism it is so important to base oneself around the ‘non-self’ philosophy – we are not really ourselves, there is no permanent ‘self’ there, it’s all a fabrication and illusory and no matter how much we try to claim that we are something in particular we really aren’t – in general truthfulness there is a knowledge that experience is beyond the facade.  We are not this job or that job, or even this body that we are needing to sell for a while.  We are something deeper, beyond appearances or statements.  And that deeper experience of what we are comes different for every single person.  For me, I scream louder than anything around, over and over and over, and that is freedom of what is me.  And I will keep doing this, no matter if I am freshly shaved and in a penguin suit, or not.

Henry David Thoreau wrote, ‘Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth’.  This brings tears down my face, as I remember also in Into The Wild this being uttered, and I remember my brother basing his life some years ago upon words like these….wanting so, so much more than is offered in any way by the society that is around us.  That is what is to be lived for.  Truth.

truth

#2 Be yourself, not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.

When we have to sell ourselves so much, and give up so much of what we have perhaps stood for for quite some time, we can feel like we’ve become an idea of someone else’s creation.
Society’s creation,
The Man,
The bloody illuminati,
The mainstream MTV conformists,
God.

God made us what we are.  God is creation.  And creation is within you.  You are creative, you have the unbelievable, indefinable, and unpredictable nature to be creative.  And so you hold the creation within you.  And so you hold God within you.  And so you are made by what is within you.

In Buddhism, there’s the interesting idea of tṛṣṇā.  Tṛṣṇā is craving.  But it is a craving that exists before any conceptualisation of a body, of a physical essence.  It is through tṛṣṇā that karma is born.  The craving for something that needs to be resolves.  Without tṛṣṇā, nothing ever existed.  It is the tṛṣṇā, the unconditional and boundless craving, that creates the existence of all matter and non-matter.  The craving that led to any form of your existence is what makes you what you are.  There isn’t going to be a boss, or a societal movement, or so-called world leaders, or any form of external figure, that is going to ever have the slightest kind of effect on your ultimate nature.  Your world leader is something that you can’t even understand.  Nobody can understand how the world is led – which leads to all these world mysteries, these questions that we cannot possibly answer.

There is nobody’s idea of yourself.  You project an image out to the world, and they take it in and it fixes their minds in some kind of way.  A week and a half ago, I walked through Bath with no top on and covered in blue body-paint.  I didn’t feel like I was topless, as I had all this paint on and felt like I was still wearing a t-shirt.  People didn’t look at me so much.  I was projecting an image of there being nothing unusual about my appearance.

So be your God, be your tṛṣṇā, and allow the world to be much, much vaster than it can sometimes be made out to be.

into wilderness

#3 Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage.  Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.

The past is going to be with everything that you carry in life.  Things will change, at times, and you’ll remember something from years back and break down crying because it pulls your heart so tightly back to whatever happened, sad or not-so-sad.  No matter what is happening in life, there is still everything that has happened, and we can absolutely thrive off of that.

I meet so many people that refuse any sort of connection with the beauties that they’ve already experienced in life.  So often, one painful moment can block out 10 years, or even longer.  And it’s so sad – because that experience and those memories stay around for the goodness of the world, because once we latch onto them the world around us will tremble with the immensity of the moment.  And it is through that, through connecting with our own existential ancestors (ourselves at different stages in life), that we find a powerful influence and potentially overwhelmingly positive effect on the world.

We are often deceived by what we can gain, in life.  I’ve experienced it myself, a lot.  To buy more stuff, or do more stuff, as to numb that really quite hard-to-deal-with emotional stuff of the past (or of the present, or future) that can come up.  I bought things in France that were mainly for this purpose.  I bought an mp3 player, and a camera, and books, and loads of flour and oil, because all of these were things that could help to numb the troubles of the ‘now’, to stop myself thinking too much into whatever was going on.  The flour and oil was for pancakes, which I’d fill my stomach to the brim with, as a drug.  And since being back in Bath, I’ve had some real issues with just stopping, just really stopping with all the action of doing things all the time and always being busy with stuff, and going into a world of just connecting with myself.  Last week, I realised that I needed to take life independently for a while, and probably not see so many people for a while, as I need to focus on my own stuff a lot.  I feel better alive like this.

Poverty is sacred.  Sage is sacred.  Salvia.  Salvation.
In these times, I am on the very edge of borrowed finances, but it is not through financial loss or gain that one experiences poverty.  Poverty, of small means.  We must conquer ourselves.  Find new means to break all our chains, every cage, to communicate.  Poverty, of small means.  Break every cage.  Make it something great, cultivated.  We are a blob of irresponsible unsustainability, defacing this planet that we call our home.  In poverty, of having small means, we give away all of the excess that we have, and move to a small and minimal way of living.  I remember in Alicante, walking through the old city below the castle, I would encounter the crazy cycles between ultra-rich tourists, and the ganja dealers and cat keepers.  The sun would blaze on us all, though, and great silence was to be found on the westerly walls of the castle grounds at dusk-time.  Wealth does not create silence, but often creates increased chatter, internal and external.  In Eastern Switzerland, I met some of the calmest energies of my life.  It wasn’t such a rich area of Switzerland, and there was something incredibly special there.  There was a huge amount of silence.
silence

#4 Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.

Speechless I lay down my head, shaking from this feeling of total emptiness. No bloody dogmas can save me, no bloody higher power can save me. Just myself, and my creativity, all the things I care for, and all the people I just love for being here. And blood ‘ell, this is why it hurts, this is why it hurts. All the things we lived for, are just going to be bloody well nothing. Just like you. Just like me. But these are our catalysts to keep us going on and on.

Truth.  Freedom.  Making life absolutely what it is and was always meant to be.

I’ve been told by so, so many people, people I’ve met on the road and people I’ve met in other situations, that I am so lucky to be living so freely, to be so young and without commitments.  And yet – am I really so lucky, or am I just following what is always true to me?  Is it really luck that creates a life that is what it feels it’s meant to be?  Is it really luck that makes me able to put my thumb out, to sit in a field of Christmas trees chanting at an emanation of Lord Shiva, that has me swinging around myself and, if I’m lucky, a lovely dancing partner, to music that is moving my body in ways that I don’t want to control because it’s so beautiful to just let the body swing around like this and it’d be such a shame to stop such a deep act of freedom?

I can guarantee that I will still be living the life that I’m meant to be living in 20 years time.  This could even be a life of rotting in the ground – who knows what’s going to happen – or it could be a life as a father with kids, or a life as a long-term jailed ‘criminal’, or a life as a hermit, or a life as a monastic.  It’ll be whatever it needs to be, whatever it’s meant to be.  

Not till we are completely lost or turned around… do we begin to find ourselves.
I was not designed to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest…
Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.

I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

~ Henry David Thoreau.

buddha

I Remain

I get sick, wasting and perishing last nights dinner.  A massive relief is shortly compounded by my head becoming a block of clay.  My body temperature is doing weird things.

It is fever time.

 

There are many insights that come about through fever, that I had forgotten about as my last fever was quite some time ago.  Delirium leads me closer to liberation, or death, or out-of-body-experiences, or something.  I’m cursing, with all the bloody might in this body, the curses of ‘modern’ living, of the artificial lights and sounds that make me want to punch and spit and pull every tooth out of my mouth and throw them each individually at every pollutant, wherever they are.  I guess it’s the Kali in me or something, but I am fuming crazy at this time.

I come across the Fens on Saturday, exhibiting about ten different energy crashes in the short two-hour hitch.  Whilst travelling across, I fall into the age-old trap of noticing the artificial world that is all around me.  I feel the tears of the rabbits that I have seen dead by the dozen over the last week, all Fallen Heroes of the great Myxomatosis.  I saw one rabbit weeping when I was walking to King’s Lynn last week – it startled me, appearing right in front of me, crying.  I said hello Mr Rabbit, and it just couldn’t hold back the tears.  I knew that this rabbit was not carrying an inner-bound sadness, but was crying the tears of a fallen and unloved world, overcome by something robotic and non-living.

Tears for the sufferings of the world that we stand in

I arrive, on the other side of the Fens, at the home-town of King’s Lynn.  I’m due at a political demonstration there – just a small one – about the absolutely massive and yet absolutely secretive TTIP Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.  I’m due to join a group of other local 38 Degrees activists in giving out flyers and speaking with people walking by.  It’s to be the first time of me demonstrating anything politically in King’s Lynn.

The group is small, just six or seven of us, but we have the whole street covered.  A guy named Ed drivels about some kind of architectural course he did many years ago, how he had to mark many students dissertations and how he was up until late at night every night for a month and……..something I feel disconnected from a sense of urgency.  I go out on my own, walking alongside people walking, telling them in the closest words I can find to their own about TTIP, trying my best to not make it sound like another bloody conspiracy (because it’s so major that it may as well be a conspiracy).  I tell them that the country is about to be bloody fracked, especially when this comes in, and their NHS will become owned by a big American pharmaceutical company (probably alike the one that’s massively profiting from every person who pours icy water over themselves, sadly, really really sadly…..).  Some people are enlightened, switch on, raise their awareness to the fact that, yes, this is actually something quite big if it is how I say it is.  I don’t actually know too much about it, but have very recently read Paul Kingsworth’s writings on the North American Free Trade Agreement, the exact equivalent.  I know that it isn’t just another bill that could privatise your NHS.  It’s a bill that will restructure and monopolise the entirety of Europe’s economic structure.

In between energy crashes, I notice that one of my fellow campaigners is a New Labour representative.  I’d only missed out on that one because my vision is blurred in this time, and I’m not noticing much of anything.  She wears a ‘Vote New Labour’ campaign rosette, and has two big placards under the table with large VOTE NEW LABOUR posters pasted to them.  Here’s what she looked like on the day:

Joanna Rust campaigning for New Labour’s policies on TTIP

I had wondered why I’d had a few people reject me giving them leaflets on the basis that they were ‘already voting Labour’.  I was reminded very quickly of the Bedroom Tax demos of a year and a half ago, when New Labour representatives essentially infiltrated the preparatory organisation of the Britain-wide demos, controlling all of the Facebook discussion pages, and deciding exactly what was going to be happening on each demonstration.  They were projecting a mainline, corrupt, political party as the organiser of activism towards a mass swoop of non-affiliated activists.  In Bath, I got banned both from the discussion page for encouraging people to make the demonstration vibrant and worthwhile, and by the Bath Anarchists group, who were upset at the G. Rilla manifestation at a previous demo so were, effectively, giving me disciplinary action.
This situation was no different.  Joanna Rust was definitely campaigning for her own cause, or, well, not really her own cause but whatever she’s being paid to read the lines of, and the demonstration generally had a strong, pungently fishy aroma of New Labour infiltration, with people potentially getting very much the wrong messages.  At the end, after we’d packed up, Joanna had a small group that she had found herself talking the party line at.  I didn’t hold the energy inside me to question what was going on, or make a move to put things into perspective, and instead walked off to be with my own ill health.

 

I left Skanda Vale on Tuesday 12th August, about three weeks ago.  My time there had been of intenseness, of life-making emotional and spiritual connections, of finding a real concrete purpose (if only for a few weeks).  It might not sound like much – but being in a community that is completely, completely based around its spiritual devotion and practice, is a pretty massive thing.  I left, dropping back into the Bath bubble for a few days, to a feeling of shell-shock.  I was shocked at the lack of worth and meaning in the world around me.  Sure, people are doing things in their lives.  Maybe some people are happy, or sad, or they might be really busy and feel like they have a purpose and duties and stuff.  But underneath it is the fucking sunrise.  It is the bloody forgotten roots, the disconnection from deeper things, the inability to stay still for more than a few minutes without having to do something.  I may sound like I’m having judgements of the outer world that are, perhaps, quite unfair….that are perhaps more inner-built, that I’m projecting my own stuff on an external world around me.  And, well, maybe that’s true.  You can make up your own mind about what I’m saying.  But the energy here is often very artificial…we need stimulants for anything.  To make anything even remotely bearable, we need to take in so much external stuff.  And, I think this leads to us living in a very, very sad world.

I have recently been taking in parts of the media, in different forms.  My dad listens to Radio 4 for about 10 hours a day at the moment, and watches Channel 4 news, and BBC News at 6pm and 10pm and then maybe later as well, and Newsnight, and whatever other news programmes there are.  It is really sad, because there isn’t a disclaimer at the start of the programme saying about the amount of people that you’re about to see being blown up, having their limbs torn off, being shot (even if they stop the images just before the person physically receives the bullets in the head, it’s perhaps more shocking to leave the images that way…).  These news programmes are more shocking than any film I’ve ever watched – which may have ’18’ ratings because of the violence that will be shown.  The images in the news programmes are not theatrical.  The deaths and violence, though, is portrayed almost like a form of entertainment.  And yet, I remember when, ten years ago, the country was up in arms about how an ‘MTV generation’ was being desensitised to violence by what they saw on TV.  This stuff that I’ve seen over the last week….it makes me feel like I have been out to a war-zone, and have just watched the killings taking place.  I am upset that my dad is presenting this to my eight year old sister, as the essential viewing material.  Of course, me being ill, I felt incapable of saying anything.  Any argument raised against this stuff just exasperates things, makes an issue out of their way of living, a critique of their form of status quo.  I can easily be categorised as merely a disgruntled youth, or a wayward activist, a lone fighter that is disorganised and unshaven and scatty-brained etcetera etcetera.  And so I become.

The small print says ‘The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes exposure to violence in media, including television, commercial or self-recorded video, movies, video games, print, radio, recorded music, computer, and the Internet, as a significant risk to the health of children and adolescents. American children between 2 and 18 years of age spend an average of 6 hours and 32 minutes each day using this media. Extensive research evidence indicates that media violence can contribute to aggressive behavior, desensitization to violence, nightmares, and fear of being harmed.’

I’ve rarely met anyone who has allowed me to properly explain myself to them, and for them to seemingly understand where I am coming from.  At the moment I am applying for jobs, most of which will be very low-paid considering my experience and qualifications.  It is all a total act, in this process.  And, in my view, it is extremely conducive to a closed-minded and suffering world.  We all have to prove ourselves to one-another, without letting things just flow into place.
When I arrived at Chateau Anand, central France, last Autumn, I was looked at quite awkwardly by the competitive community.  I was told, near to when I left, by the director of the community that he thought that I was going to be useless, because I looked like I would be on first glance.  He was the sort of person to make such judgements.  He was very harsh, ruthless almost.  But I became his most useful volunteer, commandeering the tractor and taking charge of a number of projects, and never, ever being found to slack in my long days despite not having enough cheese and bread to keep me comfortably going for most of the time.  The director let things flow into place because it didn’t cost him anything.  I was a volunteer, and he’d agreed to take me on for two months.  I almost left in the first couple of weeks, but decided that the 4-day journey back to England just wouldn’t be worth it.  I had to work through a lot of stuff to be there, and gained a lot of respect from others in the community for my commitment and resilience.  And thus I stayed, and learnt a lot, and the community received a lot from me.  I did meet a few people that I could relate a lot of stuff to, whilst there.  I’m sad not to be with some of these people now.  Many of them were Russians, fabulous people.  Dispelling all of the media’s critiques of Russian people, that are around at the moment.  And we were holding a revolution in the community, that was based on unconditional love.  We left with the love firmly put in place, and now the community will remain a hub of that vibration.

 

Sometimes, the world seems like it’s getting shorter and shorter for me.  I’ve sat with this feeling something coming to an end for well over a year now, it lingers wherever I go.  It’s like as if I’m being watched over by the beautiful spirits of the forest, and they’ll take me over to their worlds when it is time to go.  But they’re with me in most of my moments.  I’m not doing anything particularly risky to put me on the edge-of-life, but I certainly have felt like I’ve been near to the edge of this body for quite some time.

Kodama forest spirits, pulling me to-and-fro into worlds of reality and non-reality.

Something really very beautiful I heard the other day, about the big sleep…..when the time comes, it’s just like as if you’re going to sleep.  There’s nothing more to it.  You don’t know where you’re going into when you put your head down on the pillow at night, and likewise when you take that last breath.  You go into a relaxed state of being.  These are words from His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, spoken to a youth delegation in Berlin in June.

 

I can’t say what is going to happen to me in life, now.  I am feeling highly-sensitive in many ways to the world around me.  I feel like I am rejecting most of it, now, as being polluting, and harmful.  In this time, I focus on finding a job in which, hopefully, I can put energy in good areas.  I will be living in Bath again very soon, perhaps for the last time, as my life may well take a very different direction after the time has been done.  I cannot imagine myself being with this world for much longer, as I am losing hope in it more and more, and am becoming increasingly disillusioned by the offers that are laid out before me.  I am utterly disgusted with some of the things that I’ve seen recently, and am seeing that I am fighting more and more for things that are far shallower than what I really believe in.  Soon enough, I am sure, I will begin the fight for what I actually believe in, and will go it on my own, and people will join when the time becomes right.  We will lead a new world, and not like how people have moved to other parts of the world to escape the rat-race.  We will engage the race, and fight it to the ground, maul the life out of it, and burst its grips on the sanctity of every being.  We will release all beings to become ultimately guided by forces that are misunderstood by all domesticated beings, and move back into the wilderness to thrive again.

To thrive again.

I left Norfolk to find Myself

Six years ago, I was three months from finishing my ‘A’ Levels in Hunstanton, Norfolk – my homelands, where I’d lived since eight years old (and, before then – just 45 miles down the road).

I held no aspiration towards studying further. In fact, I was completely repulsed by the idea of studying ever again in the future. Freedom called. I didn’t have any idea, really, what the future would hold for me. I needed to go away, as so much had happened over the last few years. I felt drawn to discovering myself more intimately than I ever could without the deep sense of independence that I ended up venturing out for.

Calais, on the first hitch through France, 2008.

It was a rebellion, when I fired myself out of Norfolk, by the power of the thumb. I felt that hitchhiking would give me the liberation from everything that I had been tied down by. I felt that living without money would be the only way I could create a new world around me. I saw a map, and Morocco became my planned destination, sometime, that I would hitch to, and then after I’d hitch over to India. Money would not dictate anything in my life – for I could not allow it to. I had no money. But, that wasn’t the point. I had to prove to everyone, everyone, that there was a very different way of living. That, this mainstream, this wasn’t ever going to be the way for me. I could get out of Norfolk, and I could experience the wonders of the world without ever having to fall into that system.

What followed was a summer and autumn of travelling without money, mainly in France. There was so much energy going into it. It was the thing to be doing. This lifestyle – there wasn’t any other possible way. We’d sleep under the stars in fields that took our eye, get food from skips, and aim for the most beautiful of places. My map of France showed us which roads were beautiful, or ‘scenic’. I remember one road that we took. Cliffs screamed out, and rivers streamed, glistening, and everything was poking out at us. It was brilliant. But, there were these moments when things stilled, and it kept shocking me as I realised that, despite this liberation that I was living by, this was not everything that I’d wanted. Freedom from money, somehow, was not free enough. There’s a great paradox in this, in my opinion.
I went back home at the end of the autumn, after some of the thicker frosts had already come. I kind of crashed out. My energy had ran dry. The winter had come, and the drive to travel in this way had finished.

I began HelpXing – volunteering on farms, a building project, a youth hostel. The determination to do something different made it all easy. I was 19.  Other than my friend that I brought along one time, I never met another HelpXer that wasn’t at least a few years older than me for the whole time that I was HelpXing. I found security in staying in places for longer times. I liked that my life was slowing, and I didn’t mind that I was only travelling around England. But, it was always hard to kick-start each new journey from home. Norfolk is a very difficult place to travel out of. For whatever reason, the energy to leave just wasn’t there. I always had to force myself out of the comfort zone that I’d got into when back home.

on hardcore 2-day 47 mile norfolk coast walk, 2009, read here: http://sisinvincible.livejournal.com/2009/04/17/

And this, really, is where this writing is guided towards.

A friend, who died a few years back, told me at a party when we were about 20 that I was a ‘bloody legend’ for having travelled. And, he meant it, well and truly. There have been a lot of people who have encouraged me with things, especially over the last few years, but few who have had their words sink so deeply into the core of my being. They might have been some of his last words to me – I can’t remember if we met up again after.

Norfolk is a bloody hard place to move out of. When you live there, it can seem like as if the things that happen there are a reflection of the whole world that is around us. But, through my experience of having lived, now, in lots of different places, I am adamant that the world is founded upon the environment that I am living in. This world, this world is an internal projection. Through these eyes I see love and I see pain. But it changes all the time.

I went to Indonesia for a month from September to October 2009. It warmed me a lot. My heart weeped harder than it had in years, as news came of a friend dying. Everyone was together, and everything was brilliant in being so much closer to death. There was a fire-y-ness in Indonesia that I haven’t experienced anywhere since. I am intentioning to go back there, for sure, whenever another opportunity comes.

When I got back to England, I almost immediately made plans to move to Norwich. I found a very comfortable and cheap room for rent, and moved into it. I had £100 to my name, and rent was £65 per week. But I knew that it would be okay. Things were telling me that it was the right thing to be doing. And everything was okay. I borrowed money off my mum, that I paid back within a couple of weeks. I got myself a job in a small cinema, working about 20 hours a week on minimum wage. I normally had about £30 spending money each week, after paying for rent. I was dumpster diving most of my food, so this money didn’t really get spent. There was a gig I went to, I met up with Nat at it, Polar Bear Club at The Marquee. I would hang out at lunch time outside The Forum on most days, feeding the pigeons. The Forum had so many interesting exhibitions on, every week. And there was this homeless guy – he called himself Wolf – that I became good friends with. His story is a real sob-story, and this is not the right place for it. But, I cherish the friendship that we shared.

When in Norwich…..

In Norwich, I decided that I needed to become a student. I needed to do a degree. I kind of felt that I needed to get my brain active again, but mainly I just knew that I needed to find young people. I couldn’t find people my age anywhere in Norwich. Or anywhere, in fact. They’d all stayed in the institutions – just followed through with university, after finishing college. Noone was travelling. Or, if they were travelling, they weren’t travelling where I was travelling. And noone was working a small cinema job in Norwich, or any kind of small job, for that matter. They’d all stayed in the institutions.

I remember my first night as a student. Mum had driven me over to Bath, moving me into my room in Halls, where I’d be sharing a building with thirty other people that were mostly younger than me. I was knackered, and fairly dehydrated, from the long drive and moving in. I remember Tara holding doors open for Mum and myself, helping us to move me in. I was completely out of it. I went up to the kitchen and told everyone that I was going to take Mum to the pub, and buy her dinner, then go to bed. I’d see everyone when the time came, when I wasn’t so tired.
The pub wouldn’t serve food to us for 45 minutes, we were told, so we just got drinks. Mum had to drive home without having eaten. I was very worried about her. She’d accidentally left me with her radio, and so she didn’t even have any tunes to keep her company. I was really upset. It was so, so overwhelming to be in this situation. There were hundreds of people my age that had just moved into this housing estate. There were parties all the time, for the first week. I remember meeting Chris Kowalewsky and his new friends at an event in the daytime in the SU, I think on the second day of Fresher’s week. Chris is going to be coming over to France to live with us in a few weeks time. ‘Friends for life’, so they say.

The first year sped by. I loved it. As did I love the second year – though got a bit frazzled in projects that I was running, and being involved in. I camped for a month at Occupy Bath, going against the stream of what the organisers of the camp had wanted. We, myself and Rob, had taken over, and made it into a real community project rather than a publicity stunt. And, what decamped me was my Study of Religions placement: staying for a week at Skanda Vale, a multi-faith ashram in Carmarthenshire, Wales. It’s all I ever talk about, sometimes. Skanda Skanda, Skanda Vale.

Guruji Samadhi at Skanda Vale

Guruji Samadhi at Skanda Vale

I went there with Sam and Tash. I became better than best friends with Sam some time after, but this was my first real encounter with her. And, Tash was lovely. There’s something really unique about spending a week at an ashram with other people that had also never experienced anything like it before. I still don’t think that either of them knew how close to having a break-down I was, after becoming completely exhausted from my time at Occupy Bath (a 4-hour sleep at night there was a good night’s kip).

The third year was something special, as the energy that I was pouring out came suddenly to connect with other energies. Things started happening, whenever I poured energy out. I had a students’ union position, under which I was putting on events about spirituality and running a meditation group. It’s very easy to just say that I was putting on events, and that lots of people were turning up. But, more significantly, there was the general feeling throughout the whole of the year that everything was perfectly connecting. One person I met would introduce me to another person, who would introduce me to another. The energy was so very high, throughout the whole year, and many beautiful things happened. We went on our own with activist demos, doing sit-down meditation stunts at high-profile demonstrations. And the rituals….well, we had some spectacular things happen to us, especially towards the end. La la lala la la lala lala la la la la.
I left Bath after I finished my degree. I graduated with a Second-Class degree in Study of Religion and History, and with the ‘Bath Interfaith Group Prize for Outstanding Contribution to the Community of Students and Staff at Bath Spa University’. I went straight over to my dad’s place in Suffolk after graduating to witness the welcoming of my newly-born second sister, Iona Jilley. A little while later, I was in Balcombe for the summer of anti-fracking demonstrations, where I meditated in front of police and protesters, on my own in my field of Christmas trees. Then I went up north and saw some friends, came back home to crash out for a little bit, and followed off to France.

in La Rochelle, France.  Love.

in La Rochelle, France. Love.

I joined a yoga community in central France for two months. I was told beforehand that I would be doing building work whilst there, but no previous experience was necessary as I could pick it up as I went along. I didn’t realise that, for a little while, I would basically become the head builder. The projects I was told to do were exasperating my complete lack of experience. I was using tools I’d never used before, and receiving no support. It was a really harsh environment, for the first couple of weeks of me being there. I came fairly close to trying to leave, but I was too grounded to do so. Then a group of Russians arrived. I had spent about three hours preparing a special soup for them, a nettle soup made just for them, with much grechikha mixed in. They arrived half an hour late. I was exhausted. It was half 9, and I’d normally be getting ready for bed by then (how times change…). When they emerged through the door, I was greeted by huge smiles, and much laughter. I received hugs! The first real hugs since arriving! And, I knew that Love was real and pertinent and had come in force to this community in France. And, of course, everything became hugely magical. The next 6 weeks were mostly wonderful. Still, it was a harsh community to be in, but in loving solidarity with the others in the community we made unimaginable things to happen. I feel incredibly blessed for the experiences that we shared there.

In France, I got on the phone to Rosie. We decided to set up a retreat centre at her holiday home in Brittany, France. This would be my next step. I said it should be donation-only, and not about the money but about giving in love and appreciation to the world around us. And, I was unsure about committing to something long-term, but knew that I needed to put a lot of energy into such a project. So I said six months. After the six months, I’d see where I’m at. But six months is on the cards.

I got back to England, had an incredible week staying with a couple of friends in London, and then chilled back home. It was good to be home, and especially to meet with one such friend that I hadn’t met up with in a while.

I went to Bath for a few days, and then hitched with Alex to Skanda Vale, where we were due to spend Christmas with Mum and some other friends that I’ve made at Skanda Vale over the last couple of years. We had an absolutely epic journey getting there. We stayed in a shower block of a caravan park for the night, because it was pissing it down outside and we were both getting ill. I think it was the closest I’ve ever been to experiencing either pneumonia or hypothermia. I had to have a nasty luke-warm shower just to slightly warm up my core temperature.
I stayed at Skanda Vale for three weeks. It was an incredible journey. I saw ghosts, and made friends.

Then we came out to France. I haven’t told too many people about how bloody difficult it was. I have reasoned that it was because of the lack of other people around. It has been just myself and Rosie for almost all of the time so far (we have been here for two months now). It has, really, only been over the past few weeks that either of us have been beginning to get our own personal lives happening. Before then, we had isolated ourselves, and it came as a huge shock to the system for me. I was questioning many things, and was very unsure about my decision to begin this project. But, especially over the past couple of weeks, things have really started coming together for me. We’re coming close to the time of hosting our first formal retreat, which my mum will be leading at the end of the month. Animals have been a huge thing for me. We brought in three ducks, then two days later got given a homeless cat. One of the ducks disappeared after a dog attack, so we now are down to two ducks, but I really adore them. They have wonderful energy. And the cat is a healer.
I think that I will be leaving here in the summer. It seems likely that I will be moving back to Bath, as I feel that I have a calling towards something in that area. I feel it may be the rugged spirituality of Avebury and Glastonbury more than anything, in fact, and will probably spend much of my time back in the area travelling over to find the spiritual circles.

This writing has been triggered by finding something yesterday, over the internet, that shocked me a fair bit. I won’t reveal what it is – but it was strongly suggestive to me that there are still many people that are not moving onwards in life. We get stuck in the past. We look on our school days, or uni days, with nostalgia. We look back, and think that, maybe, that was the prime time of our lives, and now we’ve just got to live with what we’ve got. This goes against my understanding of the universe, and of the world that we live in. This world is creative, and immersive once you step into it.

Once you step away from the comfort of home, you step into the warmth of unpredictability and adventure. Adventure, I have found, is not made available just by picking up a backpack and putting a thumb out. In fact, I feel like it is very easy to become very narrow-minded towards adventure, when we become set in the idea that adventure must be moneyless and must involve this idea of ‘self-sufficiency’. Through my time of living in Bath, I have found that there is a huge amount of adventure in sharing experiences with other people, no matter what those experiences may be. Since being in France again, the adventure has been in just being here, and allowing whatever needs to happen to happen. Importantly, for me, I need to be allowing things to flow. I need to distance myself from the past, to move on from everything no matter how beautiful it all has been. Once I get stuck in the past, I take myself away from my spiritual practice of present-centredness.

Phil’s inspiration is strong, in my life. As is Tom’s. Often, I think of them and do think that a lot of it is being done for them.

sunset by the old lady well, Sedgeford

sunset by the old lady well, Sedgeford

And, I may come back to Norfolk sometime. I may come back to live in Norfolk, maybe even in Dersingham, or King’s Lynn. But I certainly won’t be coming back empty-handed. These experiences that I have been living through over the past six years – these have given me fuel for miracles. There is no doubt, for me, that if I do return to Norfolk some very special things will be happening. And there is no doubt in my mind that, for anyone who is thinking of venturing out of their homeland, there is a whole world out there to discover – both around you, and inside you.