Well my friends, the big day I have been dreaming of finally arrived! Yahoo!!!!
On December 1st I finally signed the papers to purchase Suryalila Retreat Centre, at the Notary in Arcos de La Frontera. A goal I have had my sights set on since beginning this business. Thanks to existence (or Isvara) for allowing this dream to come true. And thank you so much to all my friends along the way that have made this possible in one way or other, with special thanks to Harry, our retreat manager, who has been a massive support from the beginning.
I am sure many of our friends and customers were unaware that we didn’t fully own the property already. We have had a lease with an option to buy up until now. Just over 5 years have passed and everything was on track for the purchase.
And so, after copious amounts of blood, sweat and tears, it has really come to pass. My first feeling was of a heavy weight being lifted off my shoulders, a huge relief and a big step forwards. Until the moment I signed on the dotted line, I was a little anxious that something would come in the way last minute. We only knew the night before that it was definitely going forward. Over the last two days a soft and deep contentment has been arising within me. It was like climbing a mountain, arriving at the top to a very misty view, and now slowly that mist is clearing and the beautiful countryside around me is being slowly revealed in intricate detail. WOW!
Still so much to do here but now the feeling is significantly different and the sense of pressure is off. Of course, as always, there are still a multitude of things that need to be done. And now, on top of everything, I am very tempted to knock down a few walls-just because I can :)))
Right now, Doug Crouch is here preparing for his first Advanced Permaculture course and our Permaculture project is in full swing. We are about to plant hundreds of trees on the ridge and surrounding the garden in the next month, as part of our reforesting project. We took the first steps towards our food forest, by key lining the old wheat field. We have created a separate non-profit business to support the permaculture project and will be doing a lot of fund raising for trees in the near future. If you are interested in offsetting your carbon footprint let me know :)) We will be setting up a donation button on our website.
Doug and Jacob, our awesome permaculture managers.
The sauna is going through a big repair job by Rob, who built it. It had some issues, including leaking, so it really needed this renovation. Looking forward to having it ready in a few weeks, especially since winter is definitely here right now.
My Escape Christmas Retreat is fully booked, so looking forward to using the sauna/steam room during that. (Keep your fingers crossed). As is our tradition now, I will be the Christmas Day chef for the tofu turkey, mushroom gravy and chestnut stuffing!!!!! Amazingly talented Pakistani musician Saeed is gonna play on Christmas Day for us, which I am really excited about; traditional Indian music during restorative Yoga and a fusion concert in the evening, so we can dance off our Christmas dinner.
The olive harvest was just completed, our delicious golden green olive oil for the next year is ready. We are having our green eating olives processed in Prado by a local, as so far we haven’t made them taste as good as the local experts do. But we have a secret production of black Greek olives hanging in muslin bags in the parking area; a practice our friend Tim started last year. Hoping we will soon be enjoying some wrinkled salty greek babies over Christmas!
In the last few weeks we have been blessed with some much needed rain and the landscape is becoming more green and lush. Our wells are finally being replenished. One of our main goals now is to resolve our water shortage issue. We have been working on that in various ways and also using more grey water. But an overall bigger solution is needed. Stay posted for that!
My dear old friend Somesh is here about to begin another eco-building project. We need to replace our glamping tents within the next two years, so plan to build a little eco-village where the camping currently is. The first building will be three twin rooms built from straw and mud. We are thinking eco hobbit village over time :))
I have a big trip planned for January. I met James Swartz a few months ago, at a weekend retreat in Belgium. Harry introduced me to James, who is a Vedanta teacher who he has been into for a couple of years. The teachings really resonated with me and I am thrilled to go do a retreat in Tiru in India with James. Harry and I are going to be there together, which will be the first time we have left Suryalila at the same time. Some of our other dear friends will be in Tiru too-soooo good!
Fortunately, we have a great team here who will manage everything whilst we are away. I was supposed to be leading a Yoga Teacher’s Training but then I felt so called to do this retreat in India that I decided to have some other teachers lead the training for me. Paula Mitten and Alicia Waters, both eminently capable, will do an amazing job and we are all very happy with the arrangement. I am overjoyed to have some precious time to nourish my own soul and now I can be at peace whilst I am away, knowing the purchase has gone through.
This week we are doing a Non-Violent Communication course with 8 of the staff and last week we had four coaches come here to do some work with us also. I find this kind of input very helpful for maintaining a healthy organisation.
So celebration time. Have a glass of cyber champagne with me!
Even though, these are challenging times in the world, I wish you all a peaceful and joyful time with family and friends over the next month!