Goodbye and Thank You

On Tue, 28 July, 2020 - 17:02
amritamati's picture

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

I​ came across this quote from Seneca recently and it resonated as I prepare to leave Akashavana after two years. Originally I was only coming for a year, but very quickly knew that wasn’t going to be long enough, as being in this quiet and beautiful land made me feel at home and supported by nature’s brilliance. One of my constant delights has particularly been sharing the land with the ibex, although there is a sadness there too as they have had an illness over this past year, which has decimated their population and we see far fewer of them than before. Hopefully they will breed and grow over the coming years, but for now it is a joy to sometimes meet one along the path, or hear them munching grasses outside my bedroom early in the morning. You can stand still and stare into each others eyes for quite some time and it feels a little like the communication exercises we used to do in Triratna (maybe they’re still done?). 

Our year here hasn’t been the usual, as I imagine is the case for all of you, with Covid-19 meaning we haven’t had any retreats at all yet and seem unlikely to have any this year now. Financially this isn’t great of course, but personally I have appreciated the time and space to do little. I’m not a ‘doer’ by nature, unlike the others on the team here who enjoy getting on with projects; I am happy to sit and learn about people and the world via podcasts or documentaries, or dive into some engrossing drama. Recently we all listened to the conversations about race, both between Suryagupta and Subhuti, and more recently the panel hosted by Vimalasara. I really recommend them. This feels such a positive move, both in the world as a whole and in our community, and I feel I’m learning about myself, society and my friends. May it long continue. 

My last month has also not been as expected…life definitely is king at the moment…but then isn’t it always. Three weeks ago my dad had a cardiac arrest and died 5 days later without ever regaining consciousness. It was hard being in Spain the first couple of days, but as the hospital wouldn’t let anyone visit my sister encouraged me to stay here, but I needed to be with her and my family, so flew over, leaving here with about an hours notice. Community shine through at times like this and Mumukshu was so kind, driving me to Tortosa over an hour away and staying the night with me there so I could catch the earliest bus out to the airport the next morning. The hospital allowed my sister, Dad’s wife and me to stay with him once they withdrew treatment, which I am very grateful for as I was very aware of those families that couldn’t be with their loved ones as they died due to Covid-19 restrictions. It was a painful but also precious 31 hours until he died. Returning to Akashavana a few days later to pack up what little I had left here seemed the best idea, but of course has meant this last couple of weeks has felt very different to how it would have if Dad hadn’t died. Trying to control life seems pointless and yet there is some need to organise too. I must admit I’ve yet to find that balance without stress or apathy taking over. 

So I leave in 3 days, no longer returning leisurely through France by train, as Covid-19 has led to the cancellation of my Barcelona to Paris train, but flying back in time for the funeral and now having to quarantine at my sister’s for 14 days before moving to Shrewsbury for yet another new beginning. A new home, a new job (neither of which I have yet!), and now a life without any living parents. I think that’s why I appreciated Seneca’s quote…seeing new beginnings and remembering that everything before was also a new beginning is a way of allowing life to be king and yet staying awake to and excited by whatever is happening now and next. 

So goodbye Akashavana. I shall miss being here and the community, but it does feel like time to start anew somewhere else. I especially want to thank Mumukshu for two years of such enjoyable friendship. We were ordained together in Tuscany in 2003, but didn’t really know each other well when I arrived, but it has been a joy to share this time with her…many evenings spend playing Bananagram (a word game) with a bowl of crisps and a tonic water with ice and lemon…we became creatures of habit in those days. She works so hard to ensure Akashavana is thriving for those of you that come on retreat, and she deserves to be lauded. 

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kusaladevi's picture

Hi Amritamati,
So sorry to hear about your dad. I’m really glad you could be with him and your family at that time.
It sounds a strange time to leave with things as they are around Covid, no train travel, etc… But I wish you very well with the next stage and the journey. I’m sure you will be missed at Akashavana - I really enjoyed the time out there with you in the community. Much Love, xxx

acalavajri's picture

Good bye and THANK YOU, Amritamati, for sharing your love of the ‘forest of luminous space’…. and THANK YOU for all that you have given to Akashavana during these past 2 years. You will, indeed, be missed but you leave the community in a good place. I hope that your new beginnings go well and that our paths will cross somewhere so that we can share stories.

With love

Kathryn Lloyd's picture

Thank you Amritamati for so generously sharing some very deep and moving moments of your life and time at Akashavana.  I am so sorry to learn of the loss of your Dad and sincerely wish you, your sister and family my very best wishes and send love at this sensitive and painful time.

May your next life cycle and phase of returning to the UK and adjusting to a fresh new life in Shrewsbury bring much joy and liberation.

Have a smooth return journey.

Kathryn x

saddhanandi's picture

Dear Amritamati,

Thank you so much for all that you have contributed and given to Akasavana over these past few years. Not only your physical support but your obvious inspiration has been a real boost to my work in another retreat centre.

May you go well in this strange Covid bardo and in your strong transition between moving from one environmant to another as well as the transition that is precipitated from a parent’s death.

I look forward to seeing you in the UK at some point.

Love Saddhanandi xx

Prabhakari's picture

Thank you for sharing this, Amritamati. Such a strong time for you! Sending love.

mumukshu's picture

Thanks for those kind words, I think you know how much I shall miss you, it has been such an unexpected delight this friendship. May everything fall into place for you. Xxx

vajratara's picture

Really good to hear from you Amritamati.  I wish you all the next part of your journey.  You have given so much to Akasavana, and to Tiratanaloka before that.  We all wish you well x