by Karin Hallberg
It’s 5.45 in the morning and the gong rings. Under ordinary circumstances the wake-up call would be an annoying moment: I would normally either hesitantly roll out of bed or just kill the bell with my right hand. But over here, that is not really the case. I know that the others living here with me at the New Life Foundation are already waiting in the Awakening Hall, where a few candles are lit to lighten up the early morning that has not yet shed its light. We gather here in the dark where our yoga teacher is sitting meditating as he waits for us. It is not only the slow movements that wake up body and soul that make me enjoy this practice, but also the intention that our yoga teacher encourages us to set up for the day. May it be the wish for calmness to reside in our minds, to take the opportunity to meet new friends, or a more fundamental visualization of how we want our lives to become. We keep working on these intentions as the rising sun paints the sky pink and we are able to gaze out over the banana plantations that surround us on the yoga mats.
So that is a taste of what it is like to live here at the New Life Foundation, where I have now spent about two weeks. The morning yoga is followed by breakfast and the morning meeting, and thereafter starts the working meditation. This can be everything from working in the banana plantations to cooking lunch, to maintaining the compost, taking care of the ducks, or milking the cow. It also creates the opportunity to connect with the other people living here, volunteers as well as staff and residents, all from different walks of life but with a common wish to create true happiness and with the courage to overcome our fears in order to live in a more meaningful way. I admire the striving I have encountered here to think outside the box, to find new creative ways to reach happiness no matter what the cultural expectations or societal norms keep telling us, but also acceptance and love for each other as we are. Participating in a mindful community such as this, I already feel that I have been given the opportunity to deeply consider what life I want to create for myself, and I’m in the process of picking up the tools that can make it possible.