We've just finished a weeks working retreat when one of the bedrooms and the community kitchen were redecorated and a new bed was built in the vegetable patch. It's all looking great and much appreciated by the team. There were 12 women on the retreat and they all put a lot into the work, so a big thank you from everyone here. The new bed is going to be planted with onions and garlic over the winter months.
We've also a new garden tool shed, given by Amritamati's dad, so the vegetable patch is slowly both growing and becoming more spacious. We've noticed a resident hedgehog too, so are contemplating getting a hedgehog home to encourage it to stay. We've also recently been sent a gift of two packets of wild flower seeds so we can create a wild flower meadow at the bottom of the garden by the kuti (thank you Sandra).
The weekend retreat on spiritual friendship and the dakini finished yesterday and was enjoyed by everyone (we think!), with talks and discussions on what it means to be open and honest in our friendships, the appropriateness of when to be so and how to be with the experience of our upsurging energies and transform them skilfully. There were a couple of rituals, one relatively quiet puja, and ending with a ritual including drums, cymbals, rattles etc. We wanted to bring in both the strong wild energy that many people associate with the dakini, but also her steady compassionate softness too. She definitely felt evoked on the weekend.
The team are, as usual, somewhat dispersed at the moment. Maitreyi is with her mum, Ratnadharini is in London for a couple of days (and gradually buying things she'll need for when she leaves), Vajrasakhi is walking in the Lake District, Kalyanasri and Sridevi are just back from a Preceptors retreat at Taraloka and today Sridevi has flown to Finland. Amritamati, Candraprabha and Vidyalila are off visiting friends and family later this week, and the Order study retreat starts on Friday (so Maitreyi, Vajrasakhi and Ratnadharini will be back for that). It can be hard to keep tabs on where the community are sometimes!