Monday, July 26, 2010

DNL Buddhist Retreat Center

Hey friends and family,

Today is monday, signifying one week since I arrived at the Shambala Buddhist retreat center. The fact that I remember how to say and spell Shambala means a lot! It took be at least 3 days to accomplish that, it used to be "S....ala... Buddhism"!!

Mondays are always days off here, so I spent the day just bumming around. Its pretty isolated, and I had hoped to go to the beach with a few of the others who work/volunteer here, however they left before I emerged, so alas I was stranded. But no worries, it was a good day! It meant I was able to sleep in (we had a workshop here for the past 4 days, and then last night a few of us had a lagit. dance party, more on that later) till 10am!! I was pretty proud of myself for that. Go for a run that nearly killed me, I am not a morning runner, and do some reading and e-mailing.

I also walked down to the waterfall where there is a fish feeder thing, I am not sure quite how it works, well I have a guess, but if anyone knows I would love to hear from you. I included a photo below.
The fish thing at the falls

I am reading a book about Siddartha right now, the book is non-fiction, but its still a good read to get a better idea of the general idea of the beginning of Buddhism. I just finished Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh, which was fabulous! His philosophy just resonated so well with me! He is Zen Buddhist for those of you not up to date on your Buddhism types! Similar to how there are many different types of christianity, there are also many different types of Buddhism.

The people at the center here are really great. I have had some amazing conversations with both staff and participants of the past workshop that took place here. Everyone is super open and happy to answer my never ending supply of questions too: "Why does your flag look like that?", "Why does Shambala buddhism have a leader?", "why do you chant during practice (communal meditation sessions)?", "Why do some of the chants refer to Lords and Gods? I don't like that!", and so on! I will let you know when some cracks, but I really don't think that will happen, its such a warm and friendly atmosphere that promotes doulbt rather then blind acceptance, which I love!
DJ spin that track!

So back to the dance party, one of the staff here who just arrived here from Kentucky a few days before I did, is a DJ, so we have been wanting to rock a dance party for a long time, and last night was the night! He set up all his equipment in the office and we (him and several other staffers including myself) rocked it out! It was great fun and we were all sweating buckets! It was great to break the stereotype that even I have that Buddhists are always so chilled our and peaceful sitting crossed legged creatures, hells no! Well, at least not last night!

Moving and Grooving

I have been rocking the meditation though. I meditate for at least an hr everyday here, which is great! I really enjoy it, and the other day I laughed randomly during meditation which was super awesome! I feel like there is a little kid in me here! I have been smiling and laughing so much's like my happier state that was always lurking below all the stressness that formed with school is starting to emerge again! That may sound a little cheesy but whatever, ROck on!

Hope your all doing well, and as always, I love hearing from you all, even about your "boring" lives, which really aren't boring for me! Peace Love and Happiness.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hiking the Bay of Fundy

So I have a lot to update with, however I think I am going to split it in to two posts, this one detailing the adventures of my hike along the Bay of Fundy and the next one about Dorjl Denma Ling center I arrived at today.
Me ready to face the wild

So the hike consisted of 8.5km on saturday to our camp site and 8.5 km back on sunday. Initially Serena's uncle, Bo, was hoping for us to hike 17 km to another campsite...thank god we didn't do that! hah!

So we started off with a ridiculous amount of equipment, Serena's uncle being an army man that has done a lot of hiking made sure we were prepared for LITERALLY ANYTHING!!! And food consisted of instant chili and oatmeal and trail mix...NO LIE!! It was slightly painful, however I did discover, thanks to Bo and his wife some delicious tea, Good Earth, that they had and is apparently only sold in the US, so I brought lots of that. SOO good, its like a drug! If anyone goes to the states, please bring me back some!

We also discovered raspberry and gooseberry bushes by the campsite, so Serena and I did a lot of berry picking, which I was already trained for after living/working on a farm for 2 weeks! The hike was pretty awesome, the views were gorgeous, and even when we were surrounded by bush I felt like I was in a postcard. There were times were you would walk through 3 different "lands", as Serena and I referred to them: Jurassic park land, fairy land, and hobbit land. The fog at the campsite was also unbelievable.
Fog on beach at campsite

So at the start of the hike my pack was wicked bad hurting, think digging into my hips and slowly ripping away my skin, thanks to the absolutely horrible packs that apparently Serena's parents used to hike across Canada, I don't know how they did it! So after a few painful minutes I decided to switch packs with Robbie (serena's boyfriend), who had a good pack, it did miracles, although now Robbie was stuck with the shitty pack, a bad shoulder, and a bad knee. I felt just slightly pampered...but they said I should switch, so what's a girl to do?!
On the trail on the second day

While at the campsite I played cribbage with Serena and her uncle and won both watch out, there's a new champ in town, although they did put up a fight. no braggin. After we returned the guy at the interpretive center was apparently hitting on me (my stinky, sweaty, dirty self), which was sweet...never had that before! So you boys, just remember, it does make a girl feel good, esp. when she smells bad. Then we had dinner waiting for us which involved tons of veggies (YES!!!)! We were spoiled by Serena's aunt and grandparents.

It was a great hike, thanks so much for having me Serena!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Saying Goodbye to the First Farm

I have already spend 1 week at Bantry Bay, 2 days left and I am pretty excited but also super nervous about the future. Why? Because I used to have nothing planned for next week, however i just recieved an email from this budhist retreat center that I can go live and volunteer there for the next few weeks. I am super pumped, because that is something I have been wanting to do for a while, plus I will be volunteering in the kitchen! So I will keep you posted on that.

The sad part about that is that I am not going to PEI, which is what I was really trying to swing. But I guess that will also be there for next time. Can't do everything, which I have learned on other adventures too.

So this farm has definately been a learning experience. I have held chickens (that are now sadly dead due to a wessle that ate there heads! Gross eh?!), harvested, cleaned and bunched a plentiful of veggies, weeded, cleaned dishes, cooked, sold veggies at the market, and hitch hiked! All of these were first on some scale or another for me. Along with this I have been able to go on some beautiful runs(of which I wanted to go on today, but I only finished work at 7pm, and now i am tired and lazy), read, chilled by the water, contemplated my future too much, watched a few movies, and done a bit of knitting and jewelry making. However, as a WWOOFer I have also felt somewhat out of place and on the outside here at the farm. I have fell into this quite zone of me, which is very interesting indeed. I don't really feel like I belong here, yet I am so grateful for all that I have been given and the experiences and knowledge that I have gained from the time spent here.

So where to next? Well this weekend I am off for a hike, which i am somewhat concerned about (I hope its not too intense) with my friend and her uncle and boyfriend. Her uncle apartly is a hardcore outdoorsyer, hiked in Tibet and elsewhere, so we will see. We are starting in St. Martin and from there hiking the Bay of Fundy...I dont really know whats happening....Then on monday if everything works out I am heading to the Buddhist center! I will hopefully we there for 3 weeks until I head to the tofu production place. Then at the end of August there is a workshop thing I am planning on going to called Free School...sounds really cool.

Know what else is cool? Community Share Restaurants, you should check them out. I am seriously considering them for my future. But everyday I seriously consider something new, so who knows! Miss you all! Don't hesitate to shoot me a comment or e-mail, they seriously make my day!

Peace out.

Monday, July 5, 2010

In New the farm!

Arrived at the farm just outside of St. Andrews, New Brunswick, yesterday. I havn't really done much yet, helped harvest and wash some radishes this morning and now i am sitting at the dinning room table, while we all have breakfast. (Correction to is not tuesday, and since yesterday breakfast i have washed the radishes, washed and picked through lettuce, wieghed and bunched beet greens for the CSA bags, picked off A LOT of potato bugs and unfortunately there poo too from the potato plants, picked strawberries, washed a lot of dishes, made fruit crisp, and thinned out carrots)

So the farm is essentially a vegetable farm, there are 2 chickens, of which i got to hold one this morning, which they have for eggs but not for meat. They essentially keep the chickens as pets, but eat the bi-products, being the eggs. As a vegan I actually have no moral problem with this seeing how the chickens are raised and loved. There are 5 other people, plus a 2 week old baby on the farm as well. So this is my new home, at least for the next week.

So The past few days i was chillin in Fredricton with my friend Serena, it was pretty awesome, quite an experience. First of all, considering Serena and I (friends from Shad Valley) hadn't seen eachother for 5 years, it was pretty sweet to actually see eachother, chat, reminise, and just hang. We strolled around fredricton, made some sweet phymo jewelry, went to Tree-go (which is this awesome obstacle course thing in the trees, cool as a demo of how to make money without having to destroy the forest), and did so much more!

Sorry no photos again, I tried to load them, but the internet on the farm has limited bandwidth, so no visuals...use your imagination!

New Brunswick is an interesting place. The people are soo friendly, and the scenary is gorgious, but the people are not what i would call healthy. in fact, serena was telling me that it has the highest obesity rate in canada, and you sure can see that when you look at the people around you. Its pretty upsetting, the lifestyle choices that are happening here, especially when there is so much farming and ways to be active all around them.

So here i am, im pretty quiet on the farm right now, sometimes feel a little awkward and out of place as i try to find how and where i fit in with the productions. being my first time working in the field, doing wwoofing, in the maritimes, i am a hardcore newby, but you got to start somewhere! Well, back to to work i go!

ps. one of the guys here just put on some bread (ie through ingredients into a breadmaker)...home cooked goodness