By Jonathan Caddy
Hands in a circle, the candle, discovery games, angels, play, warmth, heart opening, deep sharing, transformation all held in an environment of beauty and supported by a diverse community of open, giving people – yes it is the Findhorn Foundation’s Experience Week and all those who have been there smile and remember and those that haven’t scratch their heads and wonder what this is all about?
Last week the 6th to 13th April 2019 was just like any other at Findhorn where this program is put on almost every week of the year – except it wasn’t. Well it wasn’t for me whose whole life has been connected to this place and yet had never taken the opportunity to immerse myself in this spiritually deepening personal and group experience.
Why haven’t I done it before you may ask? Because I was here before the program was developed 44 years ago? I had already delivered Family Experience Weeks and taken part in the Chinese Experience Week last year held by Christine and Craig, partly sitting in and partly helping with its delivery and therefore felt I did not need to do it? No, if I am really honest it has to do with finally being fully open, getting through long held resistance, being willing to fully reconciling my past and recognising my place in this evolving story which is Findhorn. Yes it was to do with right timing, which may sound like a cliché in this place but was certainly my truth – it’s taken a while for me to be ready!
So what was it like? First I had to work through being willing to accept that I was not going to be able to be an anonymous participant with no connection to the place and no memories – I spent practically all of the first five years of my life living in Cluny and have very clear, pleasant memories of that rambling, sunny Victorian building and then there were all my school years at Findhorn during the dynamic sixties and early seventies before my Ecological Science university degree course in Edinburgh. After that I worked in the gardens at the Park and Cullerne before going off over forty years ago for three years to Erraid as one of the founders of that linked, small, west coast island community.
There was a break of ten years plus when I travelled extensively, worked in the world at large and retrained as a teacher before returning here twenty five-years ago to build my eco-house with my brother at the Park and get involved in a host of different ways – Yes there is a bit of a connection and I find there is a bit of a working through of all the projections I and the people around me continue to have of me which came up during this week.
Niels and Jenn were our ace focaliser team who steered us expertly throughout the week and created an important open and safe space in our gatherings in the beautiful Cluny Beech Tree Room. Our first sharing together on Saturday afternoon went deep with the common thread that the twelve diverse participants from France, Australia, South Africa, Belgium, Switzerland, South Africa, Finland, England and Scotland were all clearly here on an inner and outer quest. There is definite magic that happens in these gatherings and I noticed it’s partly to do with the place and the well-honed process of the week but also to do with the openness and this seeking of the participants.
High points of the weekend for me and others were the Sacred Dance activities in the Ballroom with Hanna where we played together communicating mostly with eyes and movement and the Discovery Games where we continued to play, then explored working as a group and finally calmed down to experience opening to love through music and touch. If I had to pinpoint one moment at which transformation happens it would be in the unfolding exercise where a gentle well-intentioned touch from another creates a simple connection that as humans we long for and our inner self responds. Feelings of love and caring for others are awakened and the world is no longer the same – these are no longer strangers in the room and different priorities and dreams in life are set through such experiences.
So much happened in a week that felt more like two and a half months as time and reality was distorted – sitting in sanctuary with the candle/ flowers / Auriol opening us to sharing about our inner life; basking in the sun by the sound of the river for an hour and a half connecting with the amazing beauty of nature that surrounds us especially up at Randolf’s Leap at the Findhorn River after the previous evenings invitation by Kajedo to watch intently with our senses and our heart; immersed and inspired by the sound of Taize singing and silent sitting in the peaceful atmosphere of the Cluny sanctuary every morning where my mother continues to speak to me through her little book!; early morning time I have never given myself to read books about the community I grew up in; walks in the garden and Cluny woods watching spring unfold; watching people becoming deep friends as they also unfold in our sharing sessions and so much more.
There were tears, smiles, feelings of grief and tenderness, laughter and despair – humans connecting with themselves, their deeper spirit and their passions as well as to others, the Earth and this special place.
Yes I realise now I needed this kick start, this reminder, this eye opener, this experience that was able to bring insights into myself and this ever evolving community.
Originally written for the Rainbow Bridge, the Findhorn Community Magazine.