There is a great opportunity going on in the world and I would not like anyone to miss it. Volunteer your time around the world doing various work experiences and earn a free place to stay and food to eat. Sound like a good trade? It did to me, and I have gained more than I expected. In my three years of travel around the world I plan to utilize this method to extend my time and experiences in the world while costing me only travel expenses. Experiences fall mostly into the gardening work, nannying, or handy man type, but can vary into marine biology scuba diving and chocolate making. For five hours a day you get a wonderful experience and can really take time to explore the local culture. You also get the added benefit of living with a family and can practice another language.
Getting started on my first experience was difficult in the sense that I couldn’t decide where I wanted to apply to. There were so many opportunities in France alone, I could hardly decide on one to add to my travels, so I didn’t. However, once I had traveled for two months, I was ready for some quiet life and being in touch with nature. I looked up some hosts again and one immediately popped out. Close to Lourdes France where I wanted to visit, was a couple who had retired from running a spiritual retreat and needed a bit of help in the garden. Not more than 10 minutes after sending an email, I had a reply and a destination, where once was only the open road. The universe had stepped in and answered my request in full.
I spent 20 hours on various trains over two days traveling from eastern Italy to western France. On the mid point in Nice, my roommate for the night was Chris, the first traveler I’ve met on a two year journey traveling this volunteer lifestyle. He had just finished work on a vineyard harvesting grapes and learning about making wine. Admittedly hard work, but he had loved it. A teacher and chef, on break from working life, sitting in my room to encourage me on the eve of my first experience. The universal positioning of this meeting is incalculable, and thus is a perfect sign that I am exactly where I need to be at this moment. We hit it off and swapped stories about how great traveling like this is and our perfect encounter. I pull myself away to visit the ocean, watch the stars and love how perfect life is right at this moment. I am reminded that I asked for all this and I am grateful to recognize its arrival. Watching it unfold, having let the universe drop all the physical pieces into place, even I couldn’t have written such a perfect script.
The moment I meet David at the train station and step foot into their lives, I know this meeting was scheduled. It looks like I am here to help with the garden, but I am really here to meet David and his wife Mo. When a complete stranger steps into your life there is usually a small or rather large adjustment period. No such thing was present, I seamlessly stepped into daily life as if a son coming home for holiday. A wonderful life of gratitude, blessings, mutual understanding, spiritual work, and work in the garden awaited me. It seemed to be that a gathering, lunch, party, or other event was always happening and that I had come at the perfect time to enjoy the last of an Indian summer and meet this wonderful group of people. For what I consider a small French town, I was amazed at the diversity of interesting people and English speakers living here.
We started our days with family breakfast and a blessing over our meal. Then proceeded to read a chapter from “A Course in Miracles”, followed by a group hug, which officially began our day. Garden work and large lunches were the theme. Mo is a potter and I got to see the kiln be fired twice. She started her spiritual journey in India by jumping in the deep end. Joining an ashram and shaving her head, she experienced her transformation moment to moment and it gives me great excitement to hear her stories. David does wonderful work with wood and examples of both their works adorn the property. Before retiring from their spiritual retreat they taught sacred geometry and the flower of life courses. David and I broach a wide variety of spiritual topics and conversations about the spiritual journey which keep us up most nights with eager enthusiasm.
David’s spiritual path looks so similar to mine it almost stuns me in the simplicity of story line. Young man becomes disillusioned with life prescribed by society, seeks spiritual path, is called to start a center and teach from the heart, lives this way and finds great peace and joy. David is the first male role model in my life to have done anything similar to what I am trying to attempt. From the general vibe of daily life and being 40 years my senior I am in for a wonderful ride. The fluidity of changing minds is so much easier today than it was 40 years ago. I can only guess at what leaps of consciousness and love can be achieved during my lifetime. It is such a pleasurable thought to have been called to this path, and while I don’t know the particulars of how my story will unfold, I trust in the same source that brought me this far, and to this experience, to provide the rest of the amazing story line.
*A 55 foot Vesica Pisces cut into their grass as seen from satellite, sacred geometry
David’s passion is the theme of sacred geometry, in that all of life is connected. After having been exposed to the material it is quite amazing how all of life comes out of this simple and powerful principal. From plants and flowers to fertilized eggs, all of life works with these principals and follows the patterns of sacred geometry. There is also a meditation associated with this knowledge that sets up an energy field around you so that you may interact and experience your connection to the oneness of life. It may just be that I arrived here under such perfect conditions just to learn this one thing, but I would say that I learned and experienced so much more.
The loving compassion in which David and Mo welcomed me into their lives and shared all that they have goes beyond words. The pure feeling of waking up each day, knowing that I was taken care of like a young child with loving parents is indescribable. I have been working hard to allow myself to be taken care of, whether by friends, strangers, or the universe itself. I have always been happy to take care of others and in the end I turned it into a shield against experiencing the same in return. To return to the knowing and feeling of being totally safe and with loved ones is a remembering of our true nature. We are always taken care of and this flow comes to us unrelenting and in abundance if we but learn to allow it. The shape and circumstances may always be different, but with the loving intention to flow with life, is to experience the love of life. I will be forever thankful for this gift and seek to be an example of it so that others may know this feeling.
The coincidences during my stay are beyond number, but one must be mentioned. I got to visit a real chateau and was amazed in the beauty and charm this building, older than the United States itself, held in its walls. During lunch in the village though, everyone greets fellow customers, and I made the acquaintance of Robin, a local healer and I am sure a very interesting person. In our short 3 minute introduction he gave me a litany of recommendations for India and offered to put me up in a house of his in northern India inhabited by Tibetans. I just have to laugh at how easily opportunities show up where available to help you along. It had been my strong and hourly intention to bring amazing experiences, people, music, resources, and food into my life. Of course it’s going to show up and sometimes what looks like a dramatic and wild offering seems simply perfect from one seeker to another. Releasing the resistance to universal source showing up in your life allows strangers to offer you what you desire. Only a short time ago this scenario might have been met with hesitation from myself, but I am in gratitude that I am evolving into a receiver of the intentions I make no matter what form they arrive in.
10 days have disappeared in a blink and yet each moment was lived fully and with great joy. I have a day at Lourdes for prayer and meditation, followed by my second Vipassana course and then off to India. As David confirmed, I am not going to India to learn anything, just to experience a way of living so that I may better manifest into my life that which brings the greatest joy. You reach a point where you don’t need to learn anything anymore. At first you pass a stage of gathering as much information as possible. Everything is novel and excites that deep place of knowing within you that recognizes truth. Another stage arrives where one goes quiet and must practice and experience this knowing. When something is needed you will know it when it is needed or be led to the knowing. One need not strive anymore to gather knowledge around oneself, but understands that all things show up at exactly the right moment. I am entering this stage and I must say from the few experiences of this principal, it is true and beyond amazing. The stuff magic and dreams are made of, but accessible at every moment. We truly live in a miraculous reality
I finish my experience in southern France with my trip to Lourdes. This was the source that set the previous experiences into motion and it doesn’t fail to delight either. Upon reaching the church grounds I can already feel my vibration raising to the level of healing. Old patterns forcing their way to the surface to flee this pureness. I arrive at mass and participate, even taking the body of Christ as I learned as a child. A symbolic act of aligning with the vibration of experience. I meditate and pray for around two hours as peoples faces and words of blessing form easily in my mind. I am alone in this great cathedral and the silence is amazing. I explore my interior space as well in light of my new merkaba energy field that is energizing me and my intentions.
On my break I stroll the grounds and find that the grey rain clouds have turned to sunny blues. How many times will I write about such experiences before they begin to bore my readers I wonder? I find the famous grotto with the healing spring. I pay my respects with the few others here on this perfect fall day. I then wash my face, jewelry, and fill my bottles with this holy water. It tastes fresh and crisp when I bring it to my lips and radiates a pleasant vibration from my stomach. I continue my leisurely stroll sipping holy water and relaxing into the peace of mind and body I have come to know as my daily experience. As my vibration continues to rise to match this water, I am healed. Healing being a state of being that expresses itself without resistance. I watch as little unconscious thoughts or habits come to the surface and are washed away without a second thought. Just being here is enough, the experience of a higher vibration is the healing, and above all else I choose to see things differently. Bless you all and may you find your way to perfect peace and harmony.
Resources for traveling:
Woofing: only for organic farming