My week at Bodhi Khaya

It was an instant sense of calm after the hurried pace of Cape Town (Yes, Cape Town can be hurried) getting to Bodhi Khaya. Kind faces, a warm fire, a lovely chat and crisp linen on a beautiful bed to rest in, what bliss.

Weaving our trails

I woke up to weaver birds weaving their nests, mastering the craft of weaving nests for future weaver bird families, happily busy, following their sense of purpose and I reflected on what I get busy at, my sense of purpose. How happy I am weaving the life I lead. With that thought we had a delicious breakfast and decided to do the turquoise trail. Veronica, Chanti and I packed a coupla chocolates in our bag, 3 bananas and some water and ambled along the trail. We passed through fields of Ericas found only there in the entire world. We negotiated not stepping in baboon poo and reached the Milkwood trees forest.  Quietly and regally stood the beautiful Milkwood Queen, her branches extending, calling us to give her a hug and climb her branches. And we did. We remembered the friends who would have loved to be there with us and took some pictures for them and continued along, passing springbok spoor, baboon spoor and responding to the calls of the birds along the way. We crossed wooden bridges, walked through streams and arrived at the Grotto, where we were sure we saw tree and forest sprites showing us their forms while we rested by the stream and sat on mossy rocks. Thinking we were now near the end of this beautiful hike we agreed to follow another trail, not realising that it took us uphill. We climbed and what beauty awaited us- beautiful orangey gold pincushions, paving our way with flowery golden sunsets. Happily tired we went back to delicious lunch and a snooze.

Whale watching

Close to Bodhi Khaya is a place where the sea water turns from a turquoise to a deep blue and sometimes shimmers with gold and flecks of green, if you are lucky whales and dolphins come out to play just at the moment you look in the direction of a darker wave. You can stay for hours looking out into the sea, watching for whales, watching the sea change colour and the deep sense of expansiveness from the sea starts to seep into your soul and you know that you are a part of the sea and the sea is a part of you.

Archery

The Bodhi Khaya archery range is an evolving archery range. The haystack targets initially used were eaten up by the errant cows who have decided to go visiting next door. So the targets change and evolve as cows eat them up, or they get blown away. What is constant is that there is a target and there is a bow and an arrow and some great people who patiently and happily allow you to shoot your arrows in the general right direction. With patience, practice and focus, you learn.

by Menaka Jayakody

Cycles and celebrations

It is such a cliché, I know, but it truly feels like yesterday that I arrived at Bodhi Khaya in my old beat-up Mercedes affectionately known as Bertha. I moved into Honeysuckle next to the office exactly a year ago.

Looking back at the year that has passed, I am amazed at all the experiences that have made up this cycle. Living in this magical valley, so close to nature, one is especially aware of the changing seasons and how each time of the year has its own charm. At the moment it is all cosy fires and delicious soups, beanies and dashing woollen scarves when we venture out together as a team to Stanford for a treat.

Just the other day, it was summer and we swam in the dams surrounded by water lilies, chased by the odd turtle and chorused by frogs. Which conjures up the lovely Paul McCartney song, “We all stand together”. It reminds me of how to live in community – a lesson which has been a big part of the past year – and how to be a chosen family in a real and authentic sense. We get to know one another, giving and receiving compassion, both in our own small band and also in the broader circle of groups who visit us.

It is wonderful to recognize and connect with our regular guests as they return to us again and again. It certainly feels as if they are also part of our spiritual family. I sometimes catch myself saying , “Welcome home” when a familiar face greets me as the participants on a weekend retreat arrive in the parking lot. Each new group that arrives begins a new cycle of getting to know the energy and flow that makes them unique. Followed by a welcoming, when they return. As we greet them when they leave, there is often a sense that we will meet again – that they will, almost certainly, find their way back here at some point.

 

It is often through the eyes of the returning visitors that we are reminded of growth, expansion and many reasons to celebrate. Our little shop, now a year old, has grown and flourished under Chantel’s loving care and creativity. It is no longer so little… It has become a bright and bustling space with many beautiful and colourful items ranging from clothes, books, CDs to candles, Zen chairs and other meditation accessories just to name a few. We often find delight in each new item as it arrives, but it is when guests remark on how the shop has grown and changed or how beautiful this or that at Bodhi Khaya is looking that we become aware again that the only constant in life is change. Exciting! Challenging at times, never boring, and with just enough repetition in the cycles to help us find our way and keep our balance.

Perdita Van Dijk Du Bois