“It is possible that the next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha may take the form of a community – a community practicing understanding and loving kindness, a community practicing mindful living. This may be the most important thing we can do for the survival of the earth.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Community is the beating heart of New Life. If a sense of alienation and loneliness are some of the major ailments that afflict many of us, then the antidote to this is the feeling of connection. A sense of openness, kindness and acceptance towards all who pass through at New Life are the elements that provide the balm for the pain of isolation and self-judgement that many of us carry.
Through open and honest communication within the deep friendships and bonds created while living, working, and learning together at the foundation, we find out that we are truly not alone in these beliefs. We can allow ourselves to be vulnerable and in the process, gain a more self-compassionate perspective. This is the power and grace to be found within community.
Social anxiety can take many forms. This can often lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection. The Public Speaking / Social Anxiety Support Group is a peer-led group that helps us to improve self-esteem and social skills through regular practice. The session provides a valuable chance to learn useful skills and to be among other people who share the same phobias and challenges.
Exercises can range from sharing, supportive discussions, and one-on-one interactions, to performing in front of others. The activities are designed to build upon each other, in a fun and creative way. Though the goal is to challenge ourselves, respect is given to personal boundaries and individual comfort zones. Constructive and encouraging feedback is provided from the group as a whole. We meet weekly to practice, provide consistent support, and have fun.
Women’s and Men’s Groups
The Women’s and Men’s Groups are small gatherings held every Wednesday evening. Through open exchange, and in our own words, we are encouraged to voice our thoughts and feelings.
The aim of the Women’s Group is to give women a secure, confidential space in which to talk about whatever is on their minds or happening in their lives. The meeting encourages healing and respect for the things that unite all women, whilst also recognising our differences. Sometimes things related to specifically being a woman and the female perspective are discussed, but attendees are encouraged to speak about anything they choose.
Similarly, the Men’s Group is a safe place for men to raise whatever issues they may wish to address. These topics may include family, sex, money, depression, loneliness, relationships, and how they feel in regards to masculinity. Through being encouraged to relate the speaker’s experiences to their own, attendees at both groups can feel less alone in their struggles.
“Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free.” ― Rumi
At New Life we deeply appreciate the joy, connection and liberation that can be found through dance and movement. These activities help us build trust, break down barriers, let go of stress and anxiety, and enable us to face life’s challenges and solve our problems in a playful and creative way.
We offer regular sessions of both Biodanza, a dance practice that invites a deeper connection to ourselves and each other through specially crafted exercises and music, and also DanceMandala, a movement meditation that focuses on our own individual journey of deeper connection through carefully chosen music and guidance. We also hold occasional Saturday night parties where the whole community comes together for an evening of dance and emotional release.
Sundays are rest days and residents and volunteers have the option of organising group excursions to local attractions. The excursion destination is decided together so everyone gets a vote in what to do and where to go. The costs of the excursions are shared among those who opt to participate.
Excursion destinations vary from week to week. Some typical examples of Sunday excursions include:
- Hiking / trekking
- Visits to waterfalls and hot springs
- Visits to villages and other local attractions
- White temple and black temple
- Local restaurants and markets