Thursday, September 25, 2014

7 years since we found Vale de Moses

In September 2007, on a family tour round southern europe in a motorhome, with Moses our golden retriever, Josh aged 10 and Eloise aged 8, we arrived in Portugal and saw on the web an old abandoned farm in the centre of Portugal with the same name as our dog.

Here's the blog entry we wrote on that providential day when we first arrived to the village of Amieira and were led by our trusty hound to discover the hope of a new adventure. I re read it today to remind us where this all began. Worth a read if you've not heard the story before. All the photos on this post today are from 2007.

That's 7 years ago this month. Feels like an entire lifetime away. And what an adventure it has been. Learning how to restore houses. Learning a new language and culture. Learning how to make wine, plant trees and potatoes, cultivate herbs and tomatoes, use power tools, drive tractors. Learning how to fish. Learning how to teach English to children in schools. Learning about social media and launching a yoga retreat from our home. Meeting such a rich diversity of people, teachers, volunteers, therapists and carers from all over the planet. Most importantly of all, raising our children (this was Eloise aged 8!) in an isolated forest environment with an abundance of peace and olive oil.

Life, they say, revolves in 7 year cycles. Every single cell in our body changes over this time. Perhaps we fundamentally do too. I was 35 then and now I'm 42. A quick Google search brings up some fascinating stuff around the phases of our lives. And this one I've just been through resonates with lots that have been written about by sages past. Here's a snippet of just one of those links...

"From the thirty-fifth to the forty-second year, depending upon one’s personality and what one’s circumstances allow, one begins to feel a new restlessness. In some degree a desire to share whatever one has gained through life with others comes to the surface. What has been developed or realised can be taken to greater subtlety during this period. This is almost like unfolding something, perhaps similar to the way a flower unfolds a bud that has been developing in earlier phases of its growth. 
You may reach heights or realisation and creativity not touched previously. The profound breakthrough of ones innate genius that emerges around this time will no doubt be expressed in some degree. However, whatever is attained or realised will be enlarged and synthesised in later periods."
All encouraging stuff. Seems from these sites that there is more to come as we get older. Obviously. Good to know nonetheless.

So here we are, drawing towards the close of another fabulous yoga retreat season at Vale de Moses, starting to peak at what might be down the road in the months and years to come. Josh left home last week for school in Castelo Branco. Eli just left for art school in Lisbon this morning. Soon our retreats will close once again for the year, our wonderful team departs and it will then be just Vonnie and I. Then she's off end of November for a while to New York to see her aunty before our Christmas retreat in Barbados. So in December it will be just me and Moses. And his Mrs, Safi and their puppy Moksha. And our 11 year old cat from London, Angel. No one else.

Despite the fact we've lived so remotely for 7 years, I've actually only spent a couple of days here on my Jack Jones own. December might be just the thing to take stock, reflect and dream a little more of what lies ahead. The next 7 year cycle is just around the corner. Today though, I am feeling unbelievably grateful that we bought a puppy in London and named him Moses and that he led Vonnie, Josh, Eli and I to this magical little valley in Portugal.

May your journey through Autumn this year be full of loveliness, whatever life cycle you find yourself in.



p.s. was also looking through some of the restoration videos we took and found this one by Eloise. Check out the chaos of building work...