Experience week

I am writing today from the island of Erraid off West Scotland. I just arrived today from Findhorn Foundation to this affiliated community. It was a six hour drive. The left side of the road driving, roundabouts, narrow lanes with pull outs all made me glad I was not driving!

Last week was called Experience Week, and what a wonderful experience it was! It was a wonderful time to both experience Findhorn Foundation (https://www.findhorn.org/) and the sustainable community and eco-village plus a time to better connect in to my heart and with my classmates. My class had twelve members and we all bonded very quickly. It was a wonderful blend of ages and more men than women. I have not been in such a wonderful mixed gender community for a long time. The class was also a lovely mix of English, Scots, French and Spanish – all speaking English with their own accents. It took me a couple of days to really understand everyone’s names – I had to see them in writing to really grasp them. The Experience week process has been very similar for many years and was quite effective, along with our group having amazing focalizers, in pulling a group together as a community. I hope to stay in touch with all of the members of my group and perhaps to visit them during my travels. One of my classmates came to the island community neighboring Erraid, called Iona, for a week. We expect to see each other once during the week.

Findhorn is lovely, green grass with yellow Scotch Broom in bloom, Scottish, coastal community, the weather varied between cold windy rain to lovely sunshine. We stayed in dormitory type rooms with the bathroom down the hall for our class in a place called Cluny Hall where our classes were also. We spent a couple of hours a day doing community work, called “Love in Action”. I worked in the kitchen, other classmates worked in the gardens. It was all done at a lovely pace with regular tea breaks.

I found the community to be authentic and honest about their problems and possible solutions. They are currently working on revamping their organization to flow easier. I don’t have an urge to live here, but appreciate the good work they are doing. I saw a Living Green Machine that processed their sewage using plants and bacteria so that it met the Scottish standards for reclaimed water. I visited their gardens for flowers and vegetables they are growing and of course dipped my hand in the sea once. I can’t get that close to the ocean without touching it.

During the Experience week an opportunity to live for a week with a community and share in their life and work came up on the island of Erraid. I decided to take the opportunity and traveled by van across Scotland this morning, leaving Findhorn at 5:30 AM. We are 11 people on the island today and it is beautiful, windy and cold here. We shared a dinner of lentil curry and rice plus rhubarb sauce for dessert. They made a gluten free biscuit and bread to go with it. Another permanent person here is gluten free, so it was easy to add me in. The rhubarb reminded me of my Aunt Gladys’ rhubarb sauce, a little tart.

One advantage of the island is I have good internet connection – so I will be able to make calls on Wifi in addition to doing this blogging, email, etc. that I have not been able to do easily for awhile. My phone plan allows me to call free only over Wifi.

After this week I am going to do a week of meditation retreat back at Findhorn before I leave for Greece on May 2nd from Edinburgh. I met with the instructor (called a focalizer here) and really liked him. I feel I will be more solid in knowing myself when I am done with these three weeks and in addition have many new, good friends.

16 thoughts on “Experience week

  1. Jackie Marshall

    Happy Easter… what a lovely place to be at this time!
    Thanks for taking us along with you on your journey.

    Reply
  2. Katharine Danner

    A week on an island with like-minded folks topped off with a week of meditation sounds like an idyllic way to focus your personal journey.

    Reply
    1. DrValeria Post author

      Yes, I worked in the garden and the sun shone today – it was lovely. I was turning over the dirt to get it ready to plant. Made me think of our wood chip project!

      Reply
  3. Patricia

    Ooohhhh….lovely!
    I share each of your blogs with Dad and we are enjoying them tremendously…pulling out the atlas and following your travels.
    Be well and INJOY, Dear Friend!
    We send our love,
    Patricia and Dad David

    Reply
    1. DrValeria Post author

      I am so glad to hear you are sharing and following. It probably was not easy to find Erraid island!

      Reply
    1. DrValeria Post author

      It is complicated to share photos in the blog – so I have not done so many. I will probably share more photos on Facebook because it is a lot easier!

      Reply
  4. cindy cauble

    Val, we are all cheering you on!! Happy about what a great healing learning time you are having…love from Cauble Crow!!!!!..:)

    Reply
  5. lecia cornett

    Sorry Valeria, but I missed what is the Experience week in relation too? what are the classes? it sounds like a great! Is it sustainable farming? Sounds like an awesome experience!!!

    Reply
    1. DrValeria Post author

      Cheryl also had the same question about Experience week, I replied, sorry I wasn’t clear. If you go to their website, https://www.findhorn.org/ , you can read about all the classes they offer. Findhorn is a spiritual community that has been around since the 1960’s. In addition to being a physical sustainable year round international community, they also have been on the leading edge of the eco village concept – sewage processing, solar, wind energy, gardening.

      Every meeting or class is started with tuning in and a moment of silence and then finishes the same way. People are not in a rush and everybody takes tea breaks at the same time. It creates a place where it is easier to communicate and relate to the others in the community.

      Reply
    1. DrValeria Post author

      Experience week is the intro week to Findhorn everyone goes through to take other programs, live in the community, etc. It is both a way to experience community with your fellow classmates and to do “Love in Action” work in the different departments plus tour the facilities. It reminds me somewhat of orientation week for college freshman before their first school year. At Findhorn they use the word focalizer for the person managing a department, a class or other project. For example here on the island of Erraid there is a person who is focalizing the visitors this week, a focalizer for the herb garden and a focalizer for the boating transport on and off the island. A friend of mine at Findhorn is a listener/convener who convenes meetings of general concern and listens to problems of individuals or groups. These ways of describing roles helps move away from the ownership and top down management styles that can happen.

      Reply

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