A few days after arriving in Neot Semadar I was considering leaving. Now, three weeks later, I couldn’t be more happy and grateful that I’m here.
I am learning a lot about myself. A lot of my usual day-to-day preoccupations are gone. I don’t have to think about what to cook, what to do in the weekend, which café to work in, whether to meet this person or that, whether to go dancing or to the movies or just for a walk or maybe to a museum. There’s none of that here. What is left is me, my behaviours, my attitudes. To say that it’s confronting would be an understatement.
I remember a quote stuck on the bathroom door of Roelof, one of my best friends. It said ‘how are you ever going to get polished if you don’t like to be rubbed?’ The friction is unpleasant, but it’s totally worth it.
I see it now as a beautiful gift that I can be here. I see Neot Semadar as a generous place, accepting me as a volunteer, taking care of me, giving me food and shelter, a guide, support, and a lovely community of people who are on the same journey of awareness, of authenticity, of exploring our shared humanity – to learn together. Wow, I am so grateful that I have this possiblity, it feels like a retreat, a consciousness retreat where I get to take a break from day-to-day worries and focus on learning about myself.
Last week, while doing dishes after the evening meal, I saw a part of me that is super whiny, a kind of spoiled child that never wants to do anything difficult. And wow, how great it feels to embrace her and love her and at the same time find another part in me who is brave enough and strong enough to choose the hardest jobs, instead of trying to avoid them.
Wow, what strength I felt when I chose to clean the drains, the other day! And wow, what freedom I experience when I don’t have to avoid things and when it doesn’t matter so much what I do. I’m cultivating resilience and it’s awesome. The practice is with simple things like doing the dishes and cleaning the drains, but the lessons I’m learning are so much deeper than that.
I’ve been here three weeks now and I feel my mind has slowed down. I am in the sun every day, I am walking barefoot, I am seeing the stars. I feel closer to the Earth and I feel closer to myself.
I’m learning to live together, to care for more than myself, to do things for others, to be a bit less self-involved and more open to the experience the joy of giving. I had a liberating feeling when I realised this.
As I’m writing this I’m thinking it all sounds so cliché. It does, it really does, but it’s what I’m experiencing. And it’s surprising, life is very, very surprising.