The silence in the hall is almost palpable. I breathe in and breathe out imagining my breath is a soothing balm easing my tiredness and frayed nerves. The physicality of the ground and the meditation stool beneath me are reassuringly supportive as too is the silence which acts as a comfortable, comforting cushion of air I can lean in to. Thirty other souls are here too, sitting, breathing, being. Nothing to do and nowhere to go, just sharing a silent space. Continue reading
On my first day at “work” I stand at the entrance to the hospital ward, on a threshold between a known world and one that is very different. The formation of beds lined up in rows is familiar, but the number of them in this vast hall, the grubby linen, thin cotton mattresses and spartan nature of it all is new to me. The patients and I survey one another, neither side quite knowing what to do next. Bewildered and uncertain I look for the similarities, but the differences are what stand out. Continue reading
The decision to sign up for a month long spiritual retreat in the depths of rural india which involved working with and alongside people who had been affected by leprosy wasn’t really made consciously. It came from a deep knowing that this was somewhere I needed to be. I did a little research about the people running it and the ethos behind it, but I knew very little about leprosy or what I might be doing when I got there. Continue reading
Daily life at Anandwan follows a simple routine and rhythm. I wake around 6am both because I feel rested having slept from about 9.30pm and because I’m cold! The temperature drops to about 8 degrees overnight (up to mid to late 20s in the day) and all I have are some thick cotton covers which are not very effective in keeping the heat in. I share a stone floored room with 3 other women, mosquitos, geckos and dust. The beds are simple painted metal with thin cotton filled mattresses. Continue reading
I’d had a number of imagined scenarios of how the first week of our month long retreat would be but none of my day dreaming came close to the rural idyll we found ourselves in.
We are in Maharashtra in central India taking part in a month long retreat Continue reading