I hope most of us survived the past year without going slightly crazy. For me, the restrictions from socializing seemed particularly difficult. Happily, last year I came up with a couple of ways to truly connect with others. In June I organized a socially distanced dance party on the Bowfest field. More importantly, I invited those who are interested in meditation to a combined gardening, meditation and nature mandala workshop in my garden. Vera Keogh acted as a co-helper and recited John O’Donahue poetry with her lovely Irish accent. Four people took part and from that, a schoolteacher participant invited me to give a meditation session to her students. When school commenced in the fall I gave a session to a group of teenagers at West Vancouver Secondary School.
With restrictions, I plan to offer a guided meditation, with emphasis on body awareness, especially breath and our connection with nature. Stress has kept many of us in our heads rather than our bodies. A day connecting with nature can work wonders.
During this pandemic year I have been connecting with an old friend meditation teacher who offers talks and guided meditation from a small cabin in France. I receive the recordings early in the morning and often meditate with it while still in bed. It was while listening to Martin talking about being aware of the sounds surrounding us, that I had the experience of hearing the birds outside his cabin, simultaneously while hearing the chain-sawing and thump of the beautiful trees across the road from me, falling to the ground.
The morning before writing this piece, I heard Martin mention “You might have a relationship with the magnificent trees where you live and recognize them as blessed beings. Sit with them sense their aliveness, steadiness and the way they spread their roots into the earth and shelter birds. We know that trees communicate with each other, nourish each other and warn each other of danger.” As he spoke I remembered how much the trees that were felled meant to me and how I still go and sit on tree stumps with a cup of tea, in what I call the tree cemetery. Now, little green shoots sprout from some of them.
I have had extensive experience practising Vipassana meditation both in India and the West. Also have had some teachings from the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, where he has his monastery. For many years I gave guided meditation sessions at the Orchard Recovery Centre and have given a meditation/writing retreat at a spa in Mexico. In 2017, I took a Mindfulness teacher training course in Germany with one of my long-term teachers, with the expectation that we would take our experience into our community. The belief is that we work on ourselves for the benefit of others.
Initially I would like anyone interested to connect with me with name, contact details and availability. My workshops are by donation and I ask for a little help in my rather large garden. The garden is always in need of a little loving care, as it is full of pollinator wild flowers that proliferate far too quickly. Because weather here is unpredictable, I’ll check the forecast and when it seems that the weather will comply, I’ll see who is available. I’m hoping to have workshops through the summer and can easily accommodate six at a time with distancing. I am also prepared to do one-on-one instruction and am open to any innovations. I can be contacted either on Facebook or at email@example.com. Further details and dates will be worked out when I get some response.