(L – R, our group – Pamela, Greg, Niels, Ilsmarie (Focalisers), Julz, Margreta, Beat, Juli, Regina, Corinne, John, Robert, Franciska)
After our daily, early morning forest walk, Julz and I met our group for morning breakfast and then we all went to the Ballroom for our first morning session – games. Ok, as adults we rarely get the chance to play games, however, here at Findhorn it is a way to bring our group closer together. Without giving too much away, we basically played a host of games that required no props, just us and our sense of humour, and some free flowing dancing. We now have some great ideas to create “ice breakers” within groups and needless to say, we all came away hugging even more than we started with (and believe me, we were already a huge hugging group). So much FUN was had by all, we made some fun memories and laughed lots too.
We broke for our lunch, always a good, healthy salad with beans etc, then off to our respective “LOVE IN ACTION” service teams. On our return, we met again for supper and after a hearty “tatter”, (baked spuds with fillings) we re-grouped and had another special community guest, Stewart, who allowed us to ask any question about the Findhorn Foundation – how it was set up and how it manages itself as a non for profit etc. It is also the headquarters of the Global Ecovillage Network and has strong links to the United Nations – click here for more background.
The next day we bussed back to the Park, to partake in some gardening activities. Thinking we may learn some organic gardening tips, only to discover we were pretty handy weeders, so we all got down on our knees and pulled out weeds amongst the flower gardens. We went inside to learn about seeding plants, only to discover how to clean seedling pots out, or how to paint stones. Ah well, I suppose you have to start at the beginning to understand – and here we all were, singing, laughing and being loud doing the most menial of tasks. This was truly “LOVE IN ACTION”.
We were all given the evening off, so after supper, Robert, Margreta, Julz and I set up a game of old fashioned Monopoly in the lounge for some more FUN. Needless to say the capitalistic bankers world was upon us, and being the ‘rich overlord’ took us as far away from Findhorn as possible – for one night only (others went to join in the Sacred Dance celebrations).
The Cluny College “chilling” area
The main foyer within Cluny College
(This is the circle within the Nature Sanctuary @ the Park)
We had the morning off to explore the Park and surrounding areas, which a small group of us, Juli R, Franceska, Julz and I, walked around the ecovillage and out to Findhorn Bay, which has a beach coated in flat tumbled stones, (needless to say three boxes of these are on their way back to Brisbane, Australia) and to explore Findhorn Village. We met some amazing Scottish people who sat with us sharing cake and coffee and chatting like long lost friends.
Flower bed at Findhorn Village
(Sign within the Findhorn Foundation Park )
We returned to Cluny College to finish off our week with another wise community member sharing more deeper insights into ourselves and life in general. It is a spiritual community that does not push any particular doctrine or philosophy and allows you to explore whatever that means for you. Did I mention their library? Ok, wow, and I never did have enough time to explore.
We also went, as a group, to a beautiful forest with a rapid waterfall and the bush land that was lush and moss covered. We were asked to go off into the forest by ourselves for two hours, and listen to the trees, water, birds, or meditate.
So I found a quiet secluded space beside the running river and listened. Do you know how hard that is to do? Well, it was for me.😜 (not so hard for Julz)
About an hour in I spotted Robert, the youngest and quietest member of the group, and he came over and sat with me on a moss covered log. It was an amazing experience to sit with him, chatting for the next hour. Robert is 18 and is a similar personality to my brother, Clint, who is no longer here.
We returned back to Cluny College on our final night, sharing thoughts about our experience week. We concluded with some more Sacred Dance and we had our farewell dinner to say our goodbyes.
It was an interesting week for everyone in our group. Having never experienced, or ever been involved in a week long activity like this, we had all built a special bond with each member of our group. Great friendships have been formed.
In short summary, we are very pleased we have done Experience Week at Findhorn Foundation. It is certainly an eye-opener for us to view, close up, community based living and a working ecovillage that is successful in its longevity.
At the heart of Findhorn Foundation is a solid “non for profit” educational institutional model that invites you back as many times as you can afford. To be an active community member takes many visits and completion of the programmes before you “qualify” to live there. It creates a new reality of “what is possible” in creating your own community and Findhorn definitely leads the way in this, globally. Many of our group had an uneasy sense of returning back to their “normal world” and the challenge of going back to it.
We are better for the experience and the great relationships we have formed with our group.
For more on the Global ecovillage network – click here.
On the Saturday morning, after breakfast, Corinne (the other Australian) and her friend Christine, drove Julz and I back into Inverness, Scotland, to pick up our hire car.
All ready for our road trip, we point the car in the direction of Isle of Skye, in the Highlands of Scotland, and started winding our way across to the stunning Isle of Skye town of Portree. After wandering the streets for an hour we zoom off to find our Air BnB host home in Torrrin. We turn off the main highway at Broadford and end up on a single vehicle track. Sheep are wondering aimlessly in front of us and the hills are surrounding us with lush, green grass. I am driving and actually get us lost. Julz is not happy when I have to call our host, hang on, no service.
This part is not going so well and Julz is “not happy, Jan”. 🤔 😳
To be continued….
(Main Street Inverness, Scotland – they love unicorns. “If you can’t be yourself, then be a Unicorn”)
Isle of Skye – turning off from Broadford to Torrins
Portree – Isle of Skye, Scotland.