2019, and Future Plans…

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any news here, so I’ll give a short overview of last year, which saw some big changes on the material level. It started with getting married on the 2nd of January, mainly for financial reasons, although it was good to have a chance to celebrate my relationship with Vijayamala. Nonetheless, it was it was rather squeezed into a busy time. We went to the Cambridge Registry Office in the morning, had a brunch at home to celebrate with a few family and friends, and then later in the day drove to Wales to prepare to lead a 3-month Order Retreat.

The retreat was held in a hotel we had hired on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales. The venue worked very well, and the surrounding area is very beautiful, with woods that were once an old deer park, the sea within easy walking distance, and a ridge from which there were views across to the hills, the Brecon Beacons, as well as down the coast and across the Bristol Channel to Devon and Cornwall.

There were getting on for 40 of us on the retreat, including some old friends. I enjoyed it very much, although it was quite hard work doing such a sustained period of teaching and meditation reviews. It went very well overall, although there are some things I would want to try doing differently next time to see if we can take people even deeper.

Then there was the usual round of shorter retreats at different retreat centres: on bodhicitta, sadhana, breathing meditation, the White Tara practice (which I co-led with Moksanandi), and a weekend for the men I’ve ordained into the Order, plus a couple of friends we’ve taken into the group over the years.

However, I did fewer short retreats last year, as I had made plans to begin a series of 3-month personal retreats at home. I did the first one from September to November. It was a valuable time, although not in ideal circumstances, because in the middle of it Vijayamala and I moved from Cambridge to a place in Herefordshire. We hadn’t planned it to be like that, but buying and selling property in the UK is a very uncertain business…

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being in a new environment. Our new house is only a few minutes’ drive from Adhisthana, where I do a lot of events, and I have good friends in the area, as well as being closer to friends in Stroud and Bristol. The place we bought is big enough to run small retreats, for 6 or 7 people, in the future.

Future Plans

Talking of future plans, 2020 and the first half of 2021 will be taken up with doing three more personal retreats of three months each, as well as two Order retreats of two months each. The first of these happens in Sweden from May to July, and a couple of places have recently become available. So I won’t be leading any of the shorter retreats I usually do at retreat centres until the second half of next year. I’m sorry about that, but I hope my time devoted to my own meditation practice will bear fruit in deeper teaching in the future.

As I’m so much on retreat during this time, I also won’t be able to do much keeping up with people. My main periods of unprogrammed time this year are in mid-April to mid-May, August (including attending the Order conventions), and December. In the first half of next year, I’ll have some free time in March to mid-April.

After all this, we’ll see what the future holds, but my current plan is to return to leading some shorter retreats and being more outward-going again.

And while I’m doing these personal retreats I shall be holding in my heart my friends and all those I have personal connections with .

Wishing you all well,

Vessantara.

Two-Month Order Retreat in 2021

This year Vijayamala and I held a 3-month Order retreat in a rented hotel on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales. The retreat and venue worked very well, so we are now planning to hold another one, this time for 2 months, in Jan. and Feb. 2021. However, we are still looking for the best solution for the catering (see below). We are about to open bookings for the retreat. We already have a list of people interested from previous years, but there may be places available for others. If you want to know more, or wish to express interest in coming, please contact us at gowerretreats@gmail.com.

Cooks/kitchen overseers needed. We are still looking for someone, or a couple of Order members, who would like to take on the catering. We have had some partial offers, but would like to throw it open to as wide an audience of Order members as possible, to see if there are others interested. The role would involve: 1. either overseeing the kitchen or doing some of the cooking yourself if you prefer, and 2. food ordering. There are likely to be 33 or 34 people to feed. We have menus and suppliers in place from the last retreat, but you can also come with your own ideas. We have had some offers of help, so you would be able to have regular days off over the 2 months.  If necessary, we can give you £2000 in support for performing this role over the 2 months. If you’re interested, or know of someone else who we could ask, please contact us.

Vessantara.