Goodbye 2022… Welcome 2023
Just a little catch up…
For me 2022 started with a silent bang on the holy mountain of Rajasthan, the HQ of the Brahma Kumaris. And oh what a lovely start it was! It was in freezing cold temperatures with limited heating in the cold walled bedrooms, where I was sandwiched between even icier quilts and sheets. The alarm went off at 2:30 am, my intended time to wake up to go for a very important meeting. My early morning meditation was the time for my rendezvous with God.
As I entered the main meditation room in Mount Abu, which had previously been the yoga room and bedroom of the founder Brahma Baba, by contrast it was a lovely cosy warm oven; the heating system was working and gave me a warm welcome! I had come dressed like a snowman; wearing almost every woolly attire I had brought to the icy mountain. I began to strip off those layers as I continued to sit quietly and talk with God for the next two hours. As the day went on, I remember the subtle mists falling as the clouds descended upon us and it felt both ethereal and exquisite. Visibility between my neighbour’s room and mine was now only a few inches, which was actually quite OK.
Whilst there I had a bout of covid. I was quarantined but in an ever so lovely spot that I used the time to read, sleep, reflect and rest and so this became time out for me and quite a blessing. For sure sickness is not something I handle well but being up there with friends and family I felt so safe and taken care of.
After returning from India in January to Kuwait, shortly after I left for Cairo to finish off the upgrade and make-over for the flat. I did write about that in more detail around the time. The Cairo centre is now semi up and running. Although we do not have a full-time teacher at present, still many things have been happening on and off and it continues to be an oasis of peace for all who come. Instead of spending one month there, I ended up spending four finishing the interior! Those who know the Egyptians will know that things do indeed take time. If I learnt nothing else about Egypt, I learnt that you can never rush an Egyptian!
In between I had come for a core group meeting to the UK with other meditation teachers. During that trip there some discussions started about a need for additional help at the Global Retreat Centre, a huge estate in Oxfordshire, and I was asked if I could come over and help. I returned to Cairo, spoke to all the teams and surprisingly everyone gave me an all clear and a thumbs up! After spending a lot of time in Cairo where I don’t speak the language, I did feel intuitively that perhaps I could do and have more to offer in England.
Only six weeks later, and with a few suitcases, I made the grand leap and moved to GRC. After being away from London for 29 years and stationed for 17 of those years in Kuwait I was back to (some of) my roots. I was lovingly embraced and welcomed not only to the house but into the system. The last seven months have flown by rather rapidly and I am still adapting and settling in; it’s been a big geographic shift plus in an organisational and administrative sense.
For the past four years, the Global Retreat Centre had been put on pause due to renovation work. That also included the period of lockdown. Now we are ready and set to go with just a few tasks pending. It has been amazing to see everyone’s co-operation here. We work like a true family, helping each other out in chores and duties. Everyone is flexible, eager, full hearted and most willing. It truly is an example to the world of a spiritual community living together 24/7 and maintaining unity and harmony.
There is really no one in the world who doesn’t have something to work on to improve themselves. But here we aim to give each other respectful space and support as we do that inner work. We all want to be good instruments of peace for God, and every one of us is a work in progress. That is all part of the spiritual journey, to work on that inner cleaning process to become the best that we can be. We are all on the same journey, all heading in the same direction, and that is very reassuring.
We are able to give encouragement and strength to each other on the journey. I believe that because we all live a similar spiritual life that we can take more support from our knowledge, meditation, spiritual discipline, intention, aim, food and lifestyle.
The workload is tremendous, with a building that is 300 years old and with 55 acres of land; how could it not be? If you could imagine how long it takes you to clean your small house and then times that by 100! Just imagine how many people it takes to clean Buckingham Palace? That in reality is a mammoth task requiring an army of hands to keep it tip top, so picture GRC as a smaller version of the Queen Elizabeth’s home, without room service or butler!
For a while now we have been in several daily meetings to get the GRC spaceship off the ground. Trying to organise events and ensure the right people are in the right place. It all requires an enormous amount of time and planning, to make sure that everything is in place, like for any aircraft getting ready for take-off; standards have to be met because we want everyone to be safe and enjoy the ride.
The location of GRC is lovely and green, peaceful and healing, just perfect for meditation, silent reflection and beautiful contemplative walks. The Global Retreat Centre offers such a great opportunity for souls to come to find their inner selves once again, set in the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside, the natural environment creates a space for a retreat and for souls to find the spiritual and sacred and to reconnect.
I am still very much in touch with the Middle East and Egypt on a daily basis. In fact, I visited Kuwait in August to catch up with everyone. In June visited Lebanon to meet the family. In September I was invited to the Brahma Kumaris HQ in India, this time for an IT Conference, it was wonderful to be back home in India and return via Kuwait and Bahrain. In October I visited Greece to meet up with the National Co-ordinating Team. In November, I returned back to Cairo for a few days to oversee things, to meet the COP 26 participants and spend a few days on the Nile with my sister who turned 60.
Now at GRC we are preparing for the New Year and events to come. We are looking forward to meeting new people, from new places with smiling faces as they take a step inward on their spiritual journey, and a step closer to meeting themselves and us. Welcome to GRC.
Best Wishes for 2023.
Thank you for your continued readership
Much love and blessings from myself and the whole team
Happy New Year to Everyone