A FRUITFUL SPRING TIME OF COMMUNITY…
News from the three month retreat for young adults in Brazil
“My wish is that more young people have the opportunity to be supported and uplifted by this type of work. It is good medicine for our whole world.” Kushla, 2019 Participant
Gratefulness is a practice, a consequence of deep seeing. Gratitude could be the shining threads of belonging that remember us into this living planet/universe. For all who helped and supported this learning exploration; especially Jangchub Reid, Tarchin Hearn, Susana and Paulo, Ana Paula Ueti and the incredible funders, your kindness is the fuel that carried the spark into the realm of manifestation. We aspired to offer something gutsy and beautiful to the world; an affordable longer retreat to nourish and equip young adults with time to truly embody the skills and tools offered to us through contemporary realisations of Dharma. To all who have helped, thank you.
So, here you find yourself on a threshold of mingling with this story. We think this is a good story to know and share. It is about young people finding refuge in a contemporary way, wrestling the question of how to live well on an arguably troubled earth?
These are new expressions of capable, creative, compassionate, confident young beings with standing and voice. We all have bathed in beauty and been baffled by difficulties. Shedding skins with the snakes, singing lodge songs with shamans and inspired by a visiting Tarchin. During our time in Brazil we have danced and cried as we were stretched to include it all in the embrace of love, clear seeing and patience. It is wonderfully fresh and enlivening to leave the shore of the known and journey into the heart of dharma in this foreign land.
This sharing is offered for anyone interested to know something about this exploration into the heart of education. Read it all, or perhaps choose the question that enlivens you.
WHAT IS THE SCHOOL ABOUT?
WHAT DID WE DO?
WHAT ARE THE OUTCOMES THROUGH THE VOICES OF THE PARTICIPANTS?
What is the school about?
For those who value a visual story here is a 5 min video.
The immeasurable school is the next chapter of work that began at Wangapeka Retreat Centre New Zealand. A natural progression of passion to pass on the gifts of a Namgyal Rimpoché inspired approach to educating whole beings. The seeds have grown from the Young Adult Retreat (which I offered for a number of years with Mark Schrader and Kath Mitchell). This led to another three years developing the Bodhi Seeds retreat again at Wangapeka, leading us here, August to November in Brazil.
Dharma has to be thoroughly universal and relevant to the life and living of young beings growing in and of this time on earth. Tarchin offered his poetic interpretation of ‘Dharma’ while at the school. ‘Dhar’ - ‘ma’, ‘Dhar” hinting at a quality to be held or be in the embrace of, and ‘ma’ meaning mother, great mother or earth mother. So when we say dharma it could mean the study and practice of how to live well in the intimacy of this living planet and all the systems of which we belong.
We are keen to make sure people know how universally inclusive the school is. To cultivate dharma is to be courageous, to dive into the chaos and order that life is no matter what faith we might call it. It is to live in the roots of our true belonging, aspiring to fly well on the wing and wrath of radical uncertainty; the unwanted and the not knowing truth that is our daily blessed existence. Dharma invites us to question how do we live well while recognising the truth of incomprehensible conflict alive around us and in us, and the inevitable realisation of non separation that sustains everything we are and can know.
Practically the school offers time to explore the teachings offered to us through words, visions and songs by the elders of inclusive wisdom traditions. The fire burning in the centre of the work is simple yet profound;
What does it mean to function well in community?
We are cultivating a vehicle that is able to dance with the realities of impermanence. In the echo of the Namgyal spirit we were keen to shake up the familiar and sailed to foreign lands; exchanging beach forests for tropical jungles, labradors for snakes, shopping malls for anteaters and compelling technological devices for 80 days of togetherness in the bare bones of being.
The other practical reason why Brazil is that finding a venue that was affordable for these young people, that had the necessary resources of accommodation, kitchen, meditation spaces was hard to find. Increasingly dharma centres are too expensive for young people to afford, else they are unable to offer spaces for the longer time required to enable these practices to become structurally integrated. Susana and Paulo (Hosts of the Refúgio Paradiso, sister centre to the Wangapeka in Brazil) supported our vision from the start, offering us subsidised rates, and so we said, “yes - Vamos lá (Lets go)
The conch sounded long and clear. Who can hear, who will come? Two travelled from New Zealand, one from Germany, one from Canada and another from Brazil. When the time came to travel to São Paulo to pick up the adventures, 5 gleaming jet lagged faces appeared….
What did we do?
“A fruitful spring time of community…”
Initially we thought to offer a space for young folk to be supported to have 3 months of practice. Time to sow seeds, have them sprout and grow strong enough to thrive in the storms of the modern world.
This happened, but so did something else. Our core group of 7 opened the doors periodically to the local community. Our circles included elders, children, single mothers, a chorus of large singing frogs, fierce geese guardians, wandering anteaters, snakes, vultures to name a few friends at the refugio. We were grateful to embrace the offerings of the local community, fresh raw milk from times forgotten country farmer, organic veges, contact dance explorations, expert gardeners are but a few of the contributors.
As such, the retreat expanded and contracted, breathing itself richly into a cornucopia of offerings…
A contemporary rites of passage for young adults, facilitated by Jaime Howell and Eduardo Medeiros
Touching the Earth Retreat facilitated by Jaime Howell and Juliana Griese
Holistic Clearing retreat facilitated by Jangchub Reid
Two week exploration into ‘Suchness' facilitated by Tarchin Hearn with the joyful and supportive presence of Mary Jenkins and Andy McIntosh.
We concluded with a three week silent integrative retreat.
Immeasurable Outcomes - Voices of the participants
The youngest participant. Aged 20, living in New Zealand, raised in communities. Artist, musician, compassionate communicator and all round inspiring young adult with gifts for our world.
I was called to be a part of the school by a deep need to live in ways that feel meaningful and beautiful to me and to feel that what I am doing is bringing more goodness into the world. Coming to the school has been a doorway into deepening in this quest for meaningful, beautiful living and has given me many useful tools for working with the daily challenges of being human and cultivating skilful ways of relating to myself and the world. I want to express my great gratitude to Jaime and Juliana for giving their energy to keeping these skills/arts alive and sharing them freely. A big thank you to everyone else who has been involved in bringing this project to fruition and who has enriched our journey with their presence. My wish is that more young people have the opportunity to be supported and uplifted by this type of work. It is good medicine for our whole world.
Aged 26 comes from Nova Scotia, Canada. Radiant, creative, hands-in-the-earth kind of woman. A smiling, enthusiastic presence. Frequently seen walking into the forest to greet the coming of the dawn.
The school has allowed me to discover, encourage and flourish my abilities to expand my aspirations and awareness for the world. Julianna and Jamie allowed us to flow and experience what we needed to in a safe and comfortable environment that felt like home. They crafted a program that was flexible yet challenging, challenging in a healthy and supported way. It doesn’t feel so much as “putting your life on hold” , but rather taking time to breath, understand, and ask questions about the mysteries of life, allowing and accepting the importance of touching the parts deep within us that we often cannot see or reconcile. It’s been beautiful exploring what it is to be a human being. Practising and creating compassion, in community, on the quest of continuous knowledge and relating feels extremely fulfilling. Taking care of each other, the earth and all living creatures is a natural and positive progression into a healthy world. The journey continues, with a more clear vision of what more I can offer to the world.
Aged 32. Julian has been traveling the world for over 3 years, exploring ecology and dharma. A strong man with a huge heart for the world.
Being here at the School has meant for me living, practicing, exploring, in an openhearted community. Learning to speak from my heart, being seen, being heard, deeply listening, learning how to commune well and be vulnerable. This journey was made possible because Jaime and Juliana created a space and brought in their experience and skills for us to go through this journey smoothly together. We got equipped with a range of tools and contemplation from several experienced teachers. Tools to deepen and expand our awareness, to re-member our roots, explore the nature of our reality and contemplate topics like meaning, belonging, body, ecology, food, death and love. Being equipped with those tools while living and being supported by a community, having lots of time to practice, open up, a wonderful opportunity for me to deepen the relationship to my core, to face myself, to let go, to forgive, to inquire into my values, capacities, blocks and strengths, reignite my curiosity, to contemplate the inter-connectedness of life and my life aspiration and what I want to be in service to. I'm leaving this school with a felt sense understanding of belonging within life, a sense on how to live and commune well in the world, a confidence in how to face the challenges of our time, an aspiration of meeting everything with kindness and interest, a deeper appreciation for life and friends on the path. I'm deeply grateful that I had the opportunity to be part of this school and for the support, offerings and wisdom we received from everyone who was involved to make this project happen.
Aged 24 she resides in Botucatu Brasil. Patricia became our Tenzo (cook) for the retreat. Flamboyant dancer, contagious laughter, bright eyes and big spirit for goodness. She writes in English her emerging second language.
During the period we spent together, day by day we could witness and learn to practice a deeper knowledge about ourselves, inner and outer and about this interrelationship we have as a community. Through non violet communication, meaningful listening and respect, we engaged in a deeper knowledge of the other, as well. We learned more about how to understand the community that lives inside us, that forms us, and our surroundings, expanding to outer space, as far as our understanding can reach. Practicing compassionate communication, establishing wholesome relationship within us and with any living being, we contemplate the immeasurableness of life, the infinite possibilities we have on choosing a path to follow towards awakening and unfolding. The school brought us so many ways to explore Dharma daily, showing us awakening in action, non clinging awareness, non material clinging, leading to a deeper mindfulness life. It is wonderful how this has helped me transform, to have insights about what I need to work on in my life and understanding the essence to spread these learnings to others. It is immeasurable how thankful I am to have this opportunity and learn with awesome people, that supported me to be more awake, to have the courage to live this life, opening my senses to value more this interconectedness, the importance of each being and understanding this, just the way it is, it has been transformational.
Dan is 27, a motivated graduate of three years of Bodhi Seeds in New Zealand. A gifted meditator and lucid big thinker. He is apart of a growing tribe of gifted young people who have the determination and the skills to take the dharma forward.
Firstly I want to thank everybody who has contributed in some way to bringing this school to fruition. From the donors, to the beings who joined us in community on the land, to the teachers who shared their gifts with us all. There has been immeasurable beings involved in the process of bringing this course into being, and I am grateful for everyone and everything that has contributed to this experience. In a time when societal structures are increasingly dysfunctional, the need for new ways of thinking and acting feels deeply necessary. It is such a gift to have an opportunity to craft a 3 month learning journey for a younger generation where the focus is on cultivating skills seldom supported in our society. Skills in the realm of wisdom and compassion, learning how to skillfully adapt and respond to an ever-changing world, and to cultivate an all-embracing view of the planet and the cosmos. I feel very supported and nourished to have a sense of many beings feeling that there is great sanity in this sort of inquiry, and that have given their time and resources to support myself and other young people to be able to have this opportunity. Sarva Mangalam.
What is next?
INITIATIONS FOR THE GREAT TURNING…
2020 is a year for living the vision of healthy community. We are exploring our place in the great tapestry of the earth, falling back in love with this our home and place of belonging.
The plan for the school in 2020 is as follows;
Two one month retreats. The first will be in Brazil at the Refúgio Paradiso starting in August 2020.
The second one month retreat will be in New Zealand in November 2020.
Building on these solid foundations we are offering these two affordable, inspiring, embodied, contemporary explorations of universal dharma for young people at this time of the ‘Great Turning.’ (Phrase coined by Joanna Macy.)
Both of these retreats will offer experiences of living in a nature based community. You will learn have the time and support to embody the craft of living with kindness and awareness, what some might call mindfulness. Living close in with land and it’s creatures, we will explore the art of pilgrimage, rites of passage, compassionate communication and conscious dance to name but a few of the wild and creative modalities. An opportunity to learn and grow with other young people aged 20-35.
Education that connects young people to the immeasurable wisdom that is their birth-rite.
If you are interested to support the school in anyway please get in touch directly firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are feeling the ummppph! to participate in 2020 email us at email@example.com
Go well, be well, take courage in love and clear seeing.
Written by Jaime Howell,
Offered together with Juliana Griese.