Tag Archives: beara

Why leave when you feel at home?

Why would you leave somewhere when you feel at home there? That’s the question I have contemplated about for weeks at the beginning of this autumn. Because I do feel so at home here, at Dzogchen Beara, Buddhist retreat centre in Ireland. And yet, I made the decision to leave. This week. Back to the Netherlands, as a new starting point for whatever comes next.

So why am I leaving? Because after almost 1 1/2 year here I feel to isolated in this far away part of Beara. I don’t have a car and there is almost no public transport in this area.It was a difficult decision.

I love this place, the work, the people, the cats, the overwhelming nature and the energy. It’s nurturing and challenging at the same time. But by time I realised that there are parts of me that don’t feel nurtured. Like the part of me that wants to be more independent. Which is quite difficult if you even need a lift to get to the nearest supermarket or bus station… I also like to be on my own in a busy place, to observe people, contemplate and write. Sit in the library and go to a museum. And there is a part of me that likes to be with friends: go for a drink, a dance, a walk, a movie. And when I am out and about I would like to go back when it feels right for me, instead of when the person with the car wants to go back.

I arrived as a volunteer in August 2016 and for some reason I felt connected right away. I took my cleaning- and hosteljob serious and grew naturally into doing extra tasks. Felt responsible for things. Had a deep longing to take care of this place. So instead of the usual 2 months, I stayed longer and longer.

My habits and assets fit so well here. For instance: they appreciate that I notice a lot and mention it, even the others managers and directors. An amazing feeling. I had many (voluntary) jobs in live where my awareness wasn’t appreciated. Here it was. Here I was. So I grew and learned and thrived even more. I gave a lot, and I gained a lot.

Started assisting my accommodation manager within a few months. Left here after almost half a year. Tried other things and came back within 2 months, to fill in while my manager had a holiday. Felt deeply that I wanted to stay longer. Got and took more responsibility. Got a part-time paid position in the general office as well as assisting my manager. And when she got sick I ended up as the fulltime accommodation manager. And the last two months I divided my team as manager and in the general office.

I joined so many meditation retreats and lots of guided meditations here, guided by wonderful people. And I had the good fortune to join retreats with these teachers: Sogyal Rinpoche, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche, Chagdud Khandro Rinpoche, Ringu Tulku en Dzigar Kontrul Rinpoche. And all in this beautiful place, with an overwhelming coastal view.

It is quite special to live and work in a Buddhist based environment. And every time I leave this nice bubble, I am so surprised by how the reality can be for others. That so many people react to all their feelings and thoughts, with no awareness (or believe) that there is a choice not to do that. That there is always a choice to be more peaceful and kind.

What I want in live is to learn and grow as a human every day, while trying to be a good person. This is the perfect place for it. An open, confrontational, loving and kind place. With place for humour too! At the end of the world, at the cliffs, so really no place to hide from yourself.

So soon I am going back. Although this going ‘back’ actually feels more challenging then when I left the Netherlands to go on this Ireland adventure. I will have to find my way again, in a world that I knew, while I have changed. Feeling and deciding how I want to live, where I want to live. Because right now I have no idea.

I hope to bring lots of mindfulness and Loving Kindness with me! And plan to live my life in such a way that I can come back here regularly, back to this place where I feel at home, at the end of these cliffs.


– Do have a look at my earlier blogs, where I write about living in the hostel and other experiences.

– And I post pictures on my Instagram.



To live in a hostel dorm for 5 1/2 months

In a few days I will be leaving Dzogchen Beara, the place where I came in August to do voluntary work for two months. Instead I stayed for 5 1/2 months.

When I leave here, I can look back at staying in a hostel for 168 days. And sleeping 165 nights in the female dorm. In which I had the dorm for me alone for 2 nights. And the whole hostel to myself for 4 days and nights (that was around Christmas, when Dzogchen Beara was closed for guests and my only fellow-volunteer at that time went to her family in Ireland). During my stay here, there were 3 nights that I slept in on the cottages here, instead of the hostel (that was a few months ago, when my family came to visit me and here.)

If you would have told me before I planned to come here that I would sleep in a dorm for months, I’d probably have said to you that you were crazy. Because it sounded like a very unlikely thing for me to do. Since I’m quite sensitive, to light and sound and well, everything. And in need of my own space and alone-time every now and then.

But I made the decision to come here. And it went fine. It is a nice hostel to be. We’re in the middle of nowhere and there is no alcohol allowed here , so people don’t stumble in drunk in the middle of the night. And most people come here for some peace and quiet time and go to bed early.

And yes, there were moments that I couldn’t stand someone with a massive flashlight (or so it seemed in the dark dorm), a loud plastic bag, talking to me when I just woke up (I need some time before I get social) or snoring next to me. But most of the time I coped fine.

I meditate almost every day here and had the pleasure of participating in lot of retreats about meditation, Loving Kindness and compassion. This all makes it easier for me to annoy myself less, to let things and people be as they are. Without judgement. Without making a whole story in my head about it.

In a few days my adventure here is over. I will go to the Netherlands for a little while and then back to Ireland to do more voluntary work in different places. I hope, and presume, that I will take some of the meditation, insights, peace and Loving Kindness with me to the ‘outside’ world!


Do I miss things?

Living for more than 5 months in the dorm of the hostel of this Buddhist center, at the end of a cliff.

Yes, sometimes.

I would like to be alone. Or go to the cinema (the closest one is an hour drive away). Or use the internet where and when I want. Or eat on my own. Or write on my laptop (which I didn’t take with me). Or talk to a specific friend who is in the Netherlands. Or walk to a supermarket (the nearest one takes only a 15 minutes drive, but since I don’t have to care, I have to find a lift or hitchhike).

Sometimes i want things like that. But I realize by now that i want them for a little while and then the longing or wanting passes by. The daily guided mediation helps. The peaceful surroundings too.

It is quite liberating to be in this place in my life where not all of my needs or urges can be fulfilled right away. Or in a few days, weeks or months. 

Because everything passes. Longings come and go. It is very good to experience that. It feels more peaceful to me. And I feel that there is more time and attention for other things. Like having really good conversations, enjoy my food more, pet the cats for a long while, read books,  write, contemplate on life, look at the stars, be amazed by the passing clouds and the sun on the sea, enjoy the Robins that come so close here.

And hopefully I can bring that feeling with me when I leave here next week, and go back to the ‘other’ world.

The man at the end of the road

On of my fellow volunteers and me were walking all the way down to the main road, as we do sometimes after lunch. All together it takes about 25 minutes to walk there and back. A beautiful walk by the way.

A while ago we saw a man in the distance.  ‘Ah, that is Alex’, I told her. Everybody here knows or had heard of Alex, the man from the donkey sanctuary, who also has a few dogs, 2 emoes, a goat,  lots of birds, a swan and a few gooses.

He was standing next to the road with an animal wrapped in a blanket in his hands. I thought it was one of his dogs. She thought it was a little lamb. As we walked closer, we saw it was a seagull, calmly in his arms. We talked a bit with him and we understood that the seagull had to go the vet, so he stood there to get a lift to town. 5 miles away. We wished him the best and walked back up.

Later I realized that it is so interesting how slowly you get used to things. If someone would tell me this story before I came to this remote area of Ireland, I would have find it a weird story.

But living here for a few months and knowing that, without public transport, the only way to get around is to hitchhike, and knowing Alex and all his animals that he rescues, it seemed like the most logical situation in the world.

That was one of my reasons to leave my house, country and lot of things: to see the world from another view that I was used to.