Saturday, January 06, 2007

Big Changes at Akashavana

The team from the Akasavana FWBO retreat centerNothing remains static for very long in the mountains of Spain. Since Vajradevi left at the beginning of October the community has temporarily expanded to five; the weather is moving towards winter cold with gorgeous, icy frosts in the mornings; a yurt has appeared in the front garden (well, front wilderness); a new wood shed is erected on the side of the community (now we just have to fill it with wood); and the retreat centre is (we hope) close to completion.

There is also a brand new web site at full of snaps, news and info including a blog on 'moksabunny.'

The community is growing. I joined Vijayasri and Bianca, arriving from the warmth of San Francisco beginning of November. The sub-zero temperatures have not put me off, but the dirt depositing itself on my fluffy North Face gear has come close. I will be taking over the finances – mainly because I do actually know what I’m doing in this area, whereas building a wood shed is a mysterious process for me. Roselle and Desiree, part of the Buddhafield extended family, also arrived in November and will be staying through March. Roselle arrived complete with her own yurt, which she is valiantly living in despite the icy weather. Both have been an amazing help assisting Bianca to build the wood shed; researching composting toilets (details and photos can be forwarded to anyone interested); and fancying up the solitary yurt so it will be even more cosy for future retreatants. They also came with the added bonus of being well versed in the outdoors and shower shortages, which can’t really be said for me.

The building work at the retreat centre continues in typical Spanish style- i.e. there are no guarantees exactly when the workmen will show up - but thanks to continued cajoling from Vijayasri, the show goes on. A number of water tanks looking suspiciously like space ships have arrived, and the windows and doors are now installed – heating and electricity next.

The community continues to work with the daily challenges of living in such a remote place: Internet access is always a practice of patience and mindfulness; calling a friend requires walking or driving up the hill dressed in multiple layers (and with a hot water bottle if you’re smart); we now have 7 mobiles lined up on the windowsill – the only place we can pick up a signal; and a trip into town is usually a very long day with lots of regrets if you forget something essential (which does occasionally happen). Thankfully there are many laughs in the process, and the spectacular scenery always enhances the drive. So until next time, we are busy preparing for the snow, although Vijayasri says “it’s not happening this year”, and preparing for our first Ordination retreat in April.

- Padmadharini

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