Country Living & the Beginning
I’ve recently met a lot of new people. All who’ve asked me ‘what made a 23 year old want to move to a sleepy town? Good question. I always give the same story of it being ‘about a boy’. Yet today I had a good think as to what really made me want to give up city living and how it all began.
Once upon a time (less than 600 years ago or really good skin cream) when I was 20, I was staying just out side of Oxford in a huge manor called the Global Retreat Centre. It was the same manor house that had Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth edition) filmed at. I was there on a silence / meditation retreat. I know most 20 year olds want to live it up on Ibiza beach ( I like my pale skin and liver) but I’m more of the quiet type.
For 3 days I was surrounded by Californian Red Woods, Oak trees, wild rabbits, enchanting gardens (where Alice and Wonderland was inspired by and written from) and it made me realise that I was missing out. I must confess, I wasn’t really allowed to think – write – use any technology to record my thoughts due to it being a meditation weekend. ( Yes my mobile was snuck in) but being faced with views of miles and miles of rolling Oxford – my subconscious had to take it in somewhere.
During the 3 days, each morning we would go for silent walks. Whilst we were walking, we were encouraged to become mindful, of the different types of trees, birds, bird song, leaves, flowers and anything else we saw along the way. (Who does this often?) Then, after various talks and meditation sessions – we were allowed to go off on our own and explore 55 acres of land that the retreat owned.
A truly magical place. It had tree swings, and a boat house where you could watch the rowers on the River Thames practicing. Not to mention miles of land to walk around with various terrain. At one point, I walked so far to catch up with the jumping hares, it turned out I’d gone onto private land. Oops. (I don’t do well with boundaries.)
Being here had a dramatic impact upon me for the better. I became fine with my own silence and my own company. I think the surroundings greatly helped me as did the teachings, but the setting made me aspire for more quality of life. On leaving the Global Retreat Centre and coming back into the ‘real world’ I began to long for more magic.
Yes, a year later I found myself meet people who lived in the ‘magical land’ and so some months after, I was claiming my piece of the magical land as my ‘real world’. To this day, I think that even if I wasn’t to have met them, I would have ended up here or somewhere very similar. I see all of these events, as a telltale sign of where I was meant to be. Guidance I guess you could call it.
Funnily enough, I live right next to a Californian Red Wood (my favourite tree) and a winding stream that reminds me of the boat house’s river. It’s wonderful how somewhere can greatly influence you so much. Here I feel like my soul’s retired – in a way that it can have the space to be and do what it wants. It’s amazing what a few fields, hills and trees can do for your life.
As I’ve said in previous blogs the weather has been iffy, and work has been jam packed so no picture taking! But my good neighbour ( who lives a few towns over from me,) has been keeping me sane with some local views.