Traveller’s Tales I

Sinead, Traveller's TalesAt New Life we are often joined by travellers who are looking to incorporate some meditation and mindfulness into their trip, or who want to reflect on their journey and learn tools for healthy living to bring back to their everyday lives. Here’s what they thought of their New Life experience.

Sinead

Would you like to introduce yourself?

I’m Sinead from London. I turned 28 while staying here at New Life. I was travelling in Latin America most of last year and stopped off in Sydney to work for 6 months. I will now continue to travel around more of Asia before I head home.

How did you find out about New Life?

I was researching on the internet for yoga and meditation and New Life just popped up.

What was the biggest challenge for you here at New Life?

When I first arrived I felt the biggest challenge was living in a community that was so open about everything. I felt it would be difficult for me to open up, but after a while it became natural to share.

What kind of work do you do as a volunteer?

I have been working in the agriculture team, so in the morning I’m taking care of the coconuts trees, weeding the vegetable paths. And also I have been working in the kitchen. One day we made wontons.

What did you enjoy most here?

Yes, I really enjoyed all the yoga and the experience of living in a community. Particularly the sit-and-share meetings.

If you have to sum up your experience here at New Life in one line for future volunteers, what would it be?

I came here with no expectations, but I feel like I’m leaving having learned a lot about myself and the compassion and strength of other people.

Janell

Would you like to introduce yourself?

My name is Janell, I’m 27 years old, and from Pennsylvania. I’m an environmental monitor for a vaccine company.

How did you find out about New Life?

I was traveling with friends in Vietnam and Thailand and needed to find a safe haven to relax and reflect on my trip.

What is the biggest challenge for you here at New Life?

Sitting and taking time to meditate. I’m always go, go , go.

What kind of work do you do as a resident?

I did agriculture, feeding the ducks, caring for the cows, outdoor housekeeping and working in the kitchen.

What difficulties or challenges did you encounter?

My difficulty was taking time to rest, I tried to participate in everything, but I overloaded myself some days. It’s better to pick and choose a few things.

If you had to sum up your experience here at New Life in one line for future residents, what would it be?

Come open minded, and be willing to try everything at least once.

Jesse

Would you like to introduce yourself?

I’m Jesse, I’m 43 years old, I live in Brooklyn in New York. I’m an artist and I meditate with a Sanga called Dharma Punx. I have been in recovery from alcohol addiction for about 5 years and I’m practicing the 12 steps.

How did you find out about New Life?

I found about New Life by researching on the web and talking with Vince Cullen. I went first to Thamkrabok for a visit and after that I came to New Life.

What is the biggest challenge for you here at New Life?

Just as a guest and not being involved in community work, I found it difficult, because it’s against my nature, not to work while everyone is working.

How did you spend your time here at New Life?

I came here as a guest. I went to the yoga and meditation classes and I participated in the drama and art therapy workshop and the 21st century Buddha workshop. During lunch and dinner I tried to connect with people.

Did anything about New Life surprise you?

I’m surprised about how well it operates, surprised by the agriculture, how self-sufficient it is. I also was surprised by how easily I was integrated in the group, even as a guest.

What was your alcohol addiction like?

It was a slow and steady progression. It started out good and then ended up in a wreckage.

When did you first go to rehab?

Five years and eight months ago I went to an inpatient rehab. I lasted one day and they kicked me out. And then I went to an out-patient rehab, which was three days a week for six months. Here I learned a lot about the disease called alcoholism and also went to the 12 steps. In the 12 steps, I wasn’t alone and I learned a lot of tools to use to deal with life without using alcohol.

What helped you finally to stay sober?

Thanks to the 12 steps it helped me to stay sober for five years and eight months.

Had you decided that you were going to relapse before you even left the rehab?

No, I was at my bottom and willing to do anything  to stop drinking.

Do you feel differently now after staying at New Life?

My situation was different. I have been traveling for three months, so I have been away from my meditation community and from my 12 steps meetings. So by coming here and being able to practice yoga and meditation with a group of people that are also in recovery, I was able to reconnect and rejuvenate.

Do you feel that it helped you on your recovery?

Yes, I feel really open, my perspective of life changed dramatically in the last past years.

What would you tell other addicts who are thinking about coming here?

I would suggest that they first need to detox and then come here. I also would suggest them to take advantage of everything that is offered and come with no expectations and an open mind. I would highly recommend this place, it’s a safe community and a healthy beginning path for recovery.

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