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

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Homeward Bound – Walking The Path At Bodhi Khaya

Returning to the national treasure that is Bodhi Khaya, suffuses my Being with a feeling of generous Homecoming..

Whatever my days have been this last while – easy or not-easy – I will be driving the dusty roads to The Khaya in bubbling anticipation. I will have time to notice the spectacular environment all around me – thankfully so free of human noise, congestion and so-called ‘progress’. Infinite blueness of sky above – earth roads below – and the green fynbos stretching down the valleys .

I am in my right place, entering this known and loved place of imposing trees,  whitewashed homesteads and outbuildings.

Breathing surrenders its reticence. Eyes feel soft, kind. Pausing to hear the myriad natural sounds – bird callings, leaf rustlings, taps, scrapes, someone humming near the labyrinth.

This is Home. Home is where I can breathe life – fresh air – immense sky, silence and solitude. Where I can stroll in the sweet companionship of strong, tall trees, blossoms and bees. Where my feet love their sole and roll on cool grass, moist earth; and my legs have respite from the stress and strain of tarmac, tiled shopping malls, and the insane impact of speeding cars and congestion. Coming Home into the deep core of myself. Walking away from the un-Nature-al, un-human-friendly aspects of our consumer, technological Age.

Homeward bound

AH – God – Goddess – Great Spirit of Grace, Abundance – I step through a known and welcoming domain to greet, smile – and feel At Home.

So it has been every time I set foot here on this cosseted place of Mother Earth. And all will again be so when I arrive once more to share ‘The Art of Walking – Walking the Sacred Way’ with March 16-18 weekend Workshop retreatants. What gifts in store as we stroll,  exploring walks and walking in the richness of this environment. What utterly necessary gifts to have the time to re-find the pleasure and peace of Walking without haste, attentively, aware.  Body becoming centred, grounded, light, mobile, free.  Heart and mind falling into sync with such natural, effortless Beingness.

We shall be Walking Bodhi Khaya Together, Friday to Sunday – 16 to18th. Finding our Goddess-given Poise and Balance. Refining and honing our walking skills and patterns, our elegant mobility. Trailing winding paths in quiet attentiveness. Feelings, senses alive and alert – witnessing all. Manifesting the profound relaxedness that comes from every step, every cell, every thought being in harmony. Exploring all that is in this here and now. Discovering the next constructive step – and the next. Expansive, embodied, embedded, Conscious Awareness.

My homing radar is ‘ON!’ I’m coming home! Not only to the sacred space of Bodhi Khaya and its band of caretakers – but home to mySelf, to whom I am when I can drop the masks, the coping, the trying, the habits, demands, conditioning.

Walking the Sacred Way  – in Lightness, Intelligence, Kindness – Marguerite Osler

 ‘Let all movement

Gently yield

Something of

God’

HAFIZ

 

Time flies when you are having fun!

It seems like yesterday I washed my first set of dishes in the staff kitchen and encountered the unique and baffling cold water tap. I am ashamed to admit that at the ripe (or is it gloriously mature and elegant!) age of 52 that little sucker (which opens the “wrong” way), was a perfect projection of the insecurity I felt in that moment!

Nearly three months later, any insecurity I feel , is more likely to be related to my personal challenges and inevitable “stuff” than to any of the plumbing!  In fact, I can truly say…time flies when you are having fun.

What kind of fun, I hear you ask?  Well… for a start David has this wonderful sound system, a portable MP3 player with docking station, which he uses for teaching Chi Kung. When in chef- mode, he sometimes brings it to the kitchen.  He plays classical (and other!) music while whipping up a culinary masterpiece.  Sometimes he dances around the kitchen singing loudly too.  Although Chantel is the real chef of the team, of course! Yummy dishes appear miraculously within a couple of minutes.  Many of them oriental thanks to her two year teaching stint in Japan.

Our family has been bigger for the last month with a special visitor from Ireland, no less.  Even when in Dublin, Siobhan is really part of the family, because she helps us with a lot of our graphic design work.  The beautiful banners advertising our retreats are her creations. She had fun with at least two very special projects whilst visiting.

She designed some playful labels for the honey we hope to be selling in the shop one of these days. We recently had a whole lot of extra beehives installed.  We now have a whole colony that is sure to produce some exquisite, divine nectar infused with fynbos . David, for one, can’t wait.  He often rubs his tummy and murmurs like a certain wellknown lovable bear: ”When is the honey coming?”

Chantel, Siobhan and I also did some exploring of our various walking trails so that Siobhan could make us a lovely new map of all the routes one can enjoy here. With her animation background, she produced a great map with fine detail – a delight to behold. Another special friend, Karl , also spent some time exploring a possible new route right up to the top of the mountain and built a stone cairn to mark the beginning of the mountain pilgrimage path.

Swimming in one of the dams is also a favourite pastime during the summer months.  I loved my first swim amongst the water lilies!  The annual appearance of these blossoms at Bodhi Khaya is a celebrated event. There was amazing surround-sound with a choir of frogs toning so vigorously that I felt compelled to sit in the purifying sound.  Small wonder then, I often find myself processing personal stuff  – in between the bouts of fun, of course!

Perdita Van Dijk Du Bois

Walking the fynbos

We had a lovely, quiet time at Bodhi Khaya last weekend after the huge retreat the previous week. I visited our library that Victor loved so much (see last week’s blog). As is so often the case, there was a book that just demanded to be read. It jumped off the shelf.

What a powerful book! At least for me… right now. Definitely part of my personal puzzle. “Eastern Body , Western Mind – Psychology And The Chakra System As A Path To The Self” by Anodea Judith. The introduction and first chapter on Chakra One entitled: “ Reclaiming the Temple of the Body” had me crying my eyes out during the morning meditation. Then curling up on the couch on the stoep outside the meditation hall, processing! Snuggled under a blanket, I drank water, read, wept and slept.

Later, I decided to try out one of the healing strategies recommended: physical activity! A good long walk would be just the thing. I headed off on one of the longer trails that I haven’t explored since this became my home, having confined myself to the shorter circular routes, when I came here for retreats.

The path took me through a forest with magical moss-covered trees and spectacular intricately shaped ancient milkwoods. I ventured along a ridge to a vantage point where I looked back over my beautiful new home: the labyrinth and the green and white buildings. I could also make out the now famous veggie garden where David picks fresh ingredients for our Superfood smoothie every morning.

There were many lovely spots along the hour-long walk.  My firm favourite was the hill right at the end where I could look at Grootbos Nature Reserve next door and out over the sea to Hermanus in the distance. Standing in the fynbos,  I was surrounded by the heady, honey smell of pollen.  All along the way there were still signs of the fire that raged here about six years ago. No wonder David is teaching Chantel and myself to use the fire fighting equipment!

I loved the many beautiful flowers. From huge bushes of vibrant orange Pincushions to the most exquisite tiny, delicate fairy-like blooms in a variety of colours; all shapes and sizes.


The trail seemed so like life with many points of choice. At times broad and easy to navigate and then suddenly steeper or really narrow. As I walked, I found myself still processing. Talking to people in my mind… to ancestors, long lost loved ones and more recent actors in the play that is my life. Returning home to the farmhouse and my chosen family, David and Chantel, I thought of a simple little sentence in the book that got me walking: “Reclaim the right to be here.”
Perdita Van Dijk Du Bois