In Part III I wrote about weekends at New Life Foundation.
Fourteen days have flown by. At 7am, I eat my last breakfast in silence. Afterwards I go back to my room and re-read the prepared speech I have written.
During the daily 8am morning meeting, sitting in a circle with about forty others, it is asked if anyone is leaving today. I raise my hand, and read the following speech:
I came here to New Life to volunteer for two weeks. I was attracted by the opportunity to work with my hands through organic farming. I’ve learned the hard work of hoeing weeds from soil, and fertilizing the plants.
I was attracted by the opportunity to meditate and do yoga; and I am grateful that I had access to these activities every day. I learned new forms of spiritual techniques, my favorite being Dance Mandala.
I was surprised that I could do so much in a day, and have so much energy throughout. Being able to do farm work during the day, and have the energy to do spiritual activities afterwards. I only slept about six hours a night, but I never felt tired. It was easy to wake up at 5:30 in the morning to meditate or practice yoga. I feel like this demonstrates the energy of this place.
Ultimately, I am surprised by the power of this community. I don’t think I’ve been anywhere before where people can be vulnerable and openly share their deepest feelings. Its so authentic. I’m grateful to New Life for creating this space. Before coming here, I did a 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat. After my ten days of silence, I realized there were parts of myself that I didn’t love. Being here at New Life with the community, I’ve began to nurture myself, by removing the feeling of being inadequate, and instead realizing that my playing small does not serve the world. We are all meant to shine.
I am grateful to have met all of you, and I wish you all a full and meaningful life. Every one of you is special; a unique walking story. Be the author of your life. Keep writing your awesome story.
As I read my written speech, my voice quivered ever-so-slightly during some parts, feeling a burst of gratitude for having come and volunteered at New Life Foundation. I would miss and cherish my time here with all the beautiful people I had met.
Below are photos from my last night at New Life. A tradition on one’s last night, a Thai lamp is lit and released to the sky. I expressed gratitude and made wishes before releasing the lamp to the universe, carrying my positive energy to the great night sky. After a few minutes, the lamp was camouflaged with surrounding stars.
Next post: Leaving Thailand for Indonesia. Hello Bali!