Tag Archives: ireland

In the middle of nowhere

For many years I was longing to be at a place in the middle of nowhere. In my head it was a calm place, with me in some sort of a wooden cabin, surrounded by nature, with not many distractions so that I could really feel and hear and sense myself. At peace with myself.

For a few weeks I actually was more in the middle of nowhere than I ever was.

At my last voluntary place. There were not many people and -without a car- there was not really somewhere to go. After a few days I realised that I actually didn’t like it as much as I imagined. I already read a few books in those days. Because of the rain and the winterdark evenings there I didn’t feel much like exploring in the evenings and my days off.

I actually didn’t feel as awake and alert as I imagined myself in a situation like this.

Life enrolled as it did, and after a month there, I came back to Dzogchen Beara. Compared to my former city life in The Netherlands it is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. With the Atlantic ocean on one side it feels like you are at the end of the world. Such a spacious feeling!  Buf there are also staffmembers, employers, volunteers, guests and bypassers around. And lifts and easy-to-hitchhike routes to things like a supermarket, cafés, a nearby beach and lovely teahouses. More my kind of middle of nowhere, I discovered.

And while I was reading the book ‘Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change’ from Pema Chödrön I read this sentence about meditating and (not) hanging on to your emotions:

The place of not rejecting or justifying is right in the middle of nowhere. It is here that you can finally embrace what you’re feeling.”

I felt touched by it.

Maybe the middle of nowhere that I was looking for all these years is not to be found in a specific place. Maybe it is to be found in myself. In the purest form of who I am. That’s where I can find more peace of mind.

And I do think that the place where I am now, with this view, the people, the meditations and the retreats will help me to find my more peaceful middle of nowhere.

 

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.