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Camino De Santiago 2003 ~ On my way walking London - Santiago 1500km

Camino De Santiago 2003 ~ On my way walking London - Santiago 1500km

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Pilgrimage to Honour The Dead & The Broken Hearted ~ La Somme France 

Many have forgotten the great sacrifice that was made by many soldiers on all sides during WW1 (The Great War).  Many know nothing about WW1, why it started, who was involved and what happened.  The period seems to be very much overshadowed in our modern awareness by the much more recent atrocities of WW2.  I won’t talk about the history too much in this article, sufficed to say in La Somme Region of Northern France as many as 1.4 million soldiers from all sides died in less than 4 years.  There was the biggest loss of men in British Military History, many soldiers from all sides lie in unmarked graves.  So many young men died. So many mothers with broken hearts.  

When I first had the vision of making this Pilgrimage a few months ago I wasn’t sure where the idea had come from.  It felt as if it had just landed into my awareness like a beautiful white bird perching peacefully upon my shoulder, whispering gentle instructions into my ear.  I recently experienced my heart breaking open due to experiencing some difficulties in relationship to a significant person in my life, as well I felt like I was going through a sort of death and dying inside of myself.  Letting go of my fear of being seen, letting go of thinking there is still something else I yet need to do before I can shine my light brightly and be fully seen and appreciated standing in my truth & beauty.  So when recently I begun feeling the need to leave London for a few days to facilitate myself into the next stage of life ‘La Somme’ came strongly into my awareness.  Initially the idea was to walk from Albert to Peronne as a ritual of honouring the dead and broken hearted ones from both sides of this war.  However due to some time restrictions and the fact that the major memorials and graveyards were not placed exactly in a straight line between these 2 places I decided to drive so I could cover more ground along the way.  I had no idea why I felt so drawn into this Pilgrimage, I only knew that it felt like a clear next step.

Arrival

The evening that I arrived into La Somme area, it was getting dark.  This area of France is filled with farms and fields, it felt a little run down, as if the rest of France had forgotten this place.  I stumbled upon a small cemetery neatly placed and beautifully well kept in between 2 farmer’s fields.  A monument to the Highlanders Brigade (Scottish soldiers).  This was an auspicious beginning as ancestors on my father’s side going back to WW1 period were in fact Scottish! Many of them also from northern England, where most of my ancestors were from in all directions. I placed 2 candles at the entrance of the cemetery. One to honour all those who died and one to honour all those who survived.  I then placed 2 candles at the other end of the space next to the cross to create some intentional containment for the small ceremony.  I sang and I asked the strong ones amongst them to show up for the ones who were struggling to move on.  I felt a deep smile, the field was totally relaxed, the dead seemed to be indicating that I was the one struggling to move on :D Cheeky northern boys!  What I understood from this initial experience was that the ancestors were showing up to support me, that this journey was about my movements forward and that no body needed my help, not least the dead and buried.

 

The Allies 

That first night I slept in the car park of the Newfoundland memorial. 
This is the place where 24,000 British-Canadians died over a 4-month period at the beginning of the 1st World war, at the time Newfoundland in Canada was still a British held territory.  The following day I visited Serre Road Cemeteries, Hawthorn RidgeCemetery, Pozieres cemetery & Thiepval (Monument to the lost ones).  The northern French landscape in this part of France is literally covered with cemeteries & memorials from the Great War.  Many of them honouring the allied nations from that period. Britain, Australia/NZ, Canada, India, France, South Africa.  Honestly throughout much of this day I was finding it quite a challenge to stay present with myself. I was feeling lost and a bit dissociated, also resistant to singing in honour of the dead again, as if there was just too much to digest.  I was reaching my limit.  That was until I found the last tree.

 

The Last Tree

I arrived at Delville Wood late in the day, already feeling overwhelmed by the strength of the energetic fields that I had already experienced this day.  I parked my car next to a cemetery which was by the road and walked into the woods towards this beautiful monument to the fallen.  Delville Wood is largely a monument to the soldiers from South Africa who fought for the allies during WW1.  I had already seen on the internet in preparing for this Pilgrimage that there was 1 tree left standing here that had seen the fighting of 1916, I had already felt deeply moved by this, so I knew this would be a good place for me to sing in honour of the fallen ones and take strength from this great ancestor. 

“As I sing and drum I honour all those who sacrificed their lives here, I honour all those who died fighting for what they believed.  I honour all those who survived and who walked forward with courage and passed life forward, may the flowers who survived here and the blossoms of life that were passed forward be received gratefully, may we receive blessings from all those who sacrificed their lives in the way that they did.  As I sing and drum I honour the life of this tree and everything he has witnessed here in his long lifetime, I honour the strength of this tree for surviving even as many of his brothers had not.  May I receive the blessings and wisdom of this tree as I sit by him now. I feel his roots under the ground. So much he has seen, so much he knows.  Here I place a candle in honour of all those who died on the allied side, I will place another candle on the German side and may those candles burn brightly in peace together, may the dead rest peacefully and may we remember who we are as human beings in infinite spaciousness”.

Now I begun to feel myself deeply again after most of the day dissociated.  Although I knew it wasn’t finished yet.  The solution to this collective ritual/constellation was still soaring high in the air and had not yet landed on my shoulder.  Now I was being moved towards the German side.

 

Resisting the Germans

As I left Delville Wood & begun driving towards the German burial grounds I felt a deep tiredness overwhelm me.  As if I could go on no more. I tried to take the motorway towards Arras near to where the cemetery was but I kept taking the wrong turn-offs and heading in exactly the opposite direction, this happened 3/4 times and I ended up driving 2.5 hours to Arras rather than 1 hour which it originally should have taken.  As I write this I start thinking about the length of this war and how many of the soldiers must have felt deeply exhausted, I think about how everyone thought that it would be over very quickly and yet it dragged on. 

 (I have had to take a 24hour break from writing this article at this point as I seem to be recycling something of this experience of resistance. The resistance was so great!  Even now as I finally write this part of the article my WIFI connection is crashing for no reason and it has taken me 30mins to start writing again, now I recognize this is part of this field I am not getting identified in frustration like I was on the French motorway, shouting obscenities at the stupidity of French road signs and the insanity of google maps.) 

So by the time I arrived in Arras I collapsed into my hotel room, exhausted.  I decided to go to the German Burial grounds the following day on the way back to the ferry port.  Also the idea of turning up at a German graveyard just as it was getting dark didn’t fill me full of enthusiasm.  So I decided to wait for first light. 

 

Germany & Beyond

I had been told about Maison Blanche in Neuville Saint-Vaast by a volunteer at the Newfoundland Memorial.  I had asked him where the largest German Cemetery was. He had told me “it’s a bit of an eery place filled with black crosses”.  This is where as many as 45,000+ German soldiers are buried, 8000+ of them unidentified.  As I entered the field I felt a cool breeze ripple gently through my being, as if I was somehow being deeply welcomed here.  I walked slowly in a clockwise direction around the cemetery, I felt very free to drum and sing here, I wasn’t experiencing the same inhibitions I had experienced the day before on the allied side.  I walked almost all of the way around and then walked a little way into the centre.  I lit a candle in honour of the Germans buried there and put it next to a tree near the graves.  I sat on a large slab of stone and begun singing and drumming more deeply, more rhythmically in honouring of all those buried there.  Suddenly as I was drumming, my awareness began to orient towards a rising birdsong from the branches of the tree, this birdsong began bringing me into a lightness of being, just as suddenly a little bird swooped down and landed on one of the black crosses just a few metres from me and continued to sing along with me in the same rhythm as my drum, it felt as if somehow we were both becoming one with the whole space, no separation, just synchronised beauty.  It was an unbelievable experience.  Tears streamed down my cheeks as I felt deep gratitude towards Germany.   In this moment it was as if all the dead were smiling and singing joyously.  In this moment of deep gratitude I remembered my teachers in Family Constellation, Svagito & Bert Hellinger amongst others German whose gifts to me have been immeasurable, I remembered that the UK company of my family from where I have been given so much financial support is a subsidiary of a German Corporation Dörken who were founded in 1892 & who survived both World Wars, I imagine not without getting some blood on their hands.  So much spiritual and financial wealth I have received from Germany!  I felt deeply grateful towards Germany.   I realised that for so long I had been unconsciously loyal to the British arrogance against Germany which did not allow me to touch the unacknowledged grief on the German side and move forward in life.  It seems so much remains ungrieved out of the arrogance of righteousness. So big are our hearts, so much more able than often we allow ourselves to experience.  I also begun receiving deep insight about the life creating nature of the war, how much has been born out of everything that happened exactly as it happened? How everything that now is, owes its gratitude to everything that was. That if this war hadn't of happened, so much would be different and maybe also I would not exist, so in a way I owe a debt of gratitude towards the war for giving me life.  One of my teachers Daan Van Kampenhout once wrote about Auschwitz, that when he visited there it opened up a space inside of him that surpassed any spiritual practice that he had experienced.  I can say the same about Maison Blanche.  I found freedom here in this place.  


As I was leaving the cemetery I found some small wooden remembrance crosses. You could tell they were very old.  The red poppies had been worn away by the rains and were now pure white.  I felt there was a poetry in this.  As white poppies represent the honouring of all those fallen on all sides.  Eventually all loyalties are washed away by time and the dead all rest together.  

 

Singing To God In Istanbul 2017 

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where before there were only walls.” 

— Joseph Campbell

I want to tell you a story.  1 week before I came to Turkey this time I was dancing 5 rhythms in Tuffnel Park London and I had a vision of singing to God in Arabic, I cried deeply.  I did not know what it meant, only that my heart was beginning to ask me to sing.  The first day I arrived in Istanbul I met a film maker on the street who asked me in for tea, we were instant friends. The following day a friend of mine who works for a TV company woke up in the middle of the night obsessed by the idea of me applying to sing in The Voice of Turkey.  The song I had originally chosen to sing was Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley.  When I had a vision of singing to God this wasn't quite what I had in mind! :D Hallelujah is of course 'praise to God'! After the initial audition I was invited to sing Somewhere Over The Rainbow, I feel due to the religious connotations of 'Hallelujah' I was not allowed to sing it.  I made the video application using the help of the film maker I met and a singing teacher I found online.  At the end of the singing lesson where we also made the video application, the singing teacher turned to me and he said, "Last year I made a compilation album of all the Muezzin (singers of call to prayer) in Istanbul as a project", he gave me the album for free and told me when I have learned it he can ask the Muezzin to teach me the prayers in song!  What I am learning is that life is so powerful, when we ask for something from our hearts, from a genuine place within ourselves, it is given.  It also reminds me of something Paulo Cohelo wrote in the alchemist. "When we really want something, the whole universe conspires to help us to achieve it".

 

Pilgrimage to Auschwitz 2017 



The Beginning: Sharing my experience in Auschwitz 

7 Years ago I saw a video of a Butoh dancer Atsushi Takenouchi who travelled the world dancing in extreme environments and conditions. I recognized the growth potential in this act and was inspired by this dancers deep passion for both dance and the extremities of life and death.  In one of the photographs of his travels I saw him dancing half naked in Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland.  This moved me so deeply that I set out towards Poland within a week to dance at Auschwitz.  At the time I was dating a Polish girl who was actually from a nearby city to Auschwitz, Częstochowa.  I only had 48-hours to visit before I had to fly to India via Turkey. I ended up going out and realizing the amazing beauty of Polish Vodka and abhorrent next day of the Polish hangover. So I never made it there. I know, hilarious.  Life is sometimes like this.  

More recently I have trained in Systemic Ritual which works a lot with and inside collective trauma fields.   
The book 'Tears Of The Ancestors' By my teacher Daan Van Kampenhout offers a first chapter about being in Auschwitz on a retreat bearing witness to the darkness of the place in service of healing and expanding awareness. Daan claims that for him being there brought him to a feeling of such great space within, that he had never experienced with any spiritual practice he had encountered.  This was inspiration enough for me to get kicked into action again.  For growing in awareness of heart is my life's mission and purpose, for me there is nothing more important. 

Whilst in an Osho Presence of Heart retreat in Denmark I read this chapter about Auschwitz and being that I had 5 days free after the retreat and my car with me, I decided to use the retreat to prepare my soul for being in Auschwitz.  On making this decision, I had several (what could be described as) past life memories rise up for healing around being in Auschwitz. The details of which I will not share here, it is still very fresh and needs space to shift privately.  Half the retreat I spent stuck frozen behind a steel door that was impossible to open.  Not an easy experience.  One truth that was coming through strongly in this preparation period was that I am not alone, that this journey does not have to be taken alone.  This was when I decided to put a message out to my mailing list and create a facebook event and BLOG, so we all journey there together.  

Many people might ask themselves. Why would I go to a place where such horror and misery has occurred? What possible good can come of it? Shouldn't we just leave the past in the past and forget about these horrible things? 
I will tell you why I went. I believe that the difficult frequencies of trauma resonance that might be left over in places where great tragedy has occurred offer us great opportunity to grow and expand with much greater force into the light, into the essence of truth, wisdom and universal being.  I am a light worker and it is my work to move towards difficulty with compassionate awareness, in this movement I grow and those I move towards are also helped in some way, though not because I intend it, only because it is so.  True help is never given, it happens.  

Whilst I was on this journey, this blog was my lifeline, here I shared most of what happened for me. Feeling, impressions, experiences, poems and whatever else rose up out of the experience.  I really appreciated that people read my posts and left comments in response, even opening conversations with me, it felt like I had a circle of support in this journey and that we were all connecting to the experience in some way.  I trust this movement we made together brought healing and peace to us and our ancestors. For these collective traumas touched a whole generation of all nations and religions, that we are all connected to and can learn from. In some way we are all Jewish, we are all Nazi and we are all everything in between. 

You can check out my old Auschwitz blogs below:

DAY 1

It is 1:30am and I am 9km from the front gate of Auschwitz according to maps on my phone, although for the past 6 hours my phone has been freezing up every 10 minutes so I could be right on top of Auschwitz and wouldn't realize it.  I am feeling very tired from driving the whole day, the only thing keeping me awake is the contracted tension in the pit of my stomach as I near my destination, my breath is shorter than usual and I now know what it might be like to feel like I am about to have a panic attack, (about to, I don't actually have one!)  I arrive at 2am and spend some time driving slowly around the surrounding streets looking in on the eery old buildings.  This one in the photo spooks me out a bit and so I scuttle off in the direction of the 24hr car park to bed down for the night.  I have a german 6hr study tour booked at 9am, no I don't speak German but I was afraid of booking nothing and being told I can't come in so I booked it anyway!  I am particularly anal about where I park as the car park is right opposite Auschwitz I and I have a feeling in some spots the energy isn't feeling good, to be honest I feel a bit spooked out arriving at this time when everything is deserted!!!  I am also a little suprised at how calm I start feeling in this place as I bed down to sleep.. 

On waking up at 10am I drive over to the museum car park and find out from a jovial ticket seller that there is an English tour starting soon and if I would like to be alone inside the whole day I just have to come before 10am every day! 

 

 

I write this as I sit under a tree meditating, waiting for the tour to start 

The light is breaking through here, pouring through this massive opening created so many years ago now.  There is an openness and spaciousness in this field that is indescribable. I feel I can breathe hear deeper than ever before, that somehow my breath has less limits than normal.  My heart feels open and absorbant, I feel a softness in my hands. I am sitting under a tree waiting for the tour to start. 

Already before entering fully I feel crystal clearly that those who died here are at peace now. Only in the minds of their descendants does the pain and suffering continue, but here at the source of all Jewish Suffering and German Shame, in this place where people of many nations died violently, all are now at peace.  All lie here together in this place, as one.  There is no war, no sides and no injustice. There is only light now.  We have a choice now. Whether to carry the light forward in honor of all those who struggled and suffered here or we can continue living this struggle and suffering out of some deeper sense of loyalty to what they experienced here. 
I choose light!!!! 

 

 

 

 

Here in Auschwitz II I found the TREE OF LIFE.  Life is here.  These walls and monuments are crumbling and along with them crumbles that past and all those who died here are in light now.  They died so we could live. Their sacrifice teaches us to Embrace life fully and live entirely in this moment right now, not 73 years ago and not tomorrow, RIGHT NOW!!! 

 

 

 

 

Today I feel like I established a strong light connection, got an initial lay of the land and an initial sense of both the trauma layers of the field and the light vortex in this place and both are VERY strong.   I intend not to lose myself in the pain here. I intend to stay connected with the light of this place and the light within myself and remain open to what wants to dissolve into it.  Tomorrow I will carry the names and prayers of all those who are with me on this journey through the place and offer them to the light vortex.  I already know they are at peace but this is not for them, this is for you, their descendants, you are the ones not at peace with what happened.  Your grandparents, great grandparents, where-ever they were during WW2 are at peace now, I carry them and that peace in my heart here and I hope that this in some way helps you to realize that peace in your own hearts. 

I did plan to be inside the whole day however after 4 hours on a tour, skimming over copious amounts of information about the injustice, dates and everything that happened, I felt full up and exhausted. I almost cried 4 times so far and each time have stopped myself as I know once I start I will drop very deep and I am pacing myself slowly.  So I decided to take care of myself and return for a full day of meditation, prayer and presence tomorrow.  Today 4 hours was enough. Slow is fast, as they say!!!  The following blogs will contain more depth of material both personally from me and in terms of information about what I learn.  One of the things we have to learn is being present with the details of great injustice without following the inner impulse to seek justice, with a willingness to be present with both the pain of the past and the light of the present moment we can move mountains and a new era of peace will be upon us! 
It might seem crazy but this place is teaching me how to really LIVE. 

ANU IS FEELING OPEN TO LIFE & LOOKING FORWARD TO ENTERING DEEPER INTO THIS JOURNEY TOMORROW. THANK YOU FOR COMING WITH ME.

 

DAY 2

Shadow Of Humanity

 

Injustice and horror is the focus of today's visit. Being present with it. Without running towards the liberation period, without looking at those that put up resistance and focusing on the hope that still existed there inside of those tortured souls. Just recognizing the pain and horror of this place and period, spending time sitting with that.  Maybe that is why I have been rushing around snapping photographs all day, feeling very activated.  I really need to slow down and breathe.  I will be going back for an afternoon session later.  Today's blog is aiming to activate, provocate, stir up and invite Chaos. Welcome to the shadow of humanity. 

 

 

POLAND BRUTALLY INVADED 1939 
I have just been into the exhibition 'The struggle and Martyrdom of the Polish Nation'. I had no idea about the absolutely abhorrent acts committed against the Polish Nation by both the Nazis and the Russian Communists.  I deeply honor the sacrifices they made for the rest of Europe.  3,500,000 Poles were sent through Concentration camps during the war, many of them died there.  Both Political prisoners, Jews, women and children, being Polish was enough to make you a target.  I am totally blown away by this.  I now understand why many later generations of Poles decided to move to the UK.  Finding safety is in their genes and many of them are still trying to survive the war, inside of themselves.  They have inherited the fear of being wiped out, not dissimilar to the Jews.

 

 

As I sit outside block 16 in Auschwitz I, where there is an exhibition of the tragedy of Slovak Jews and prisoners from Bohemia at Auschwitz, a leaf gently floats down from the tree I am sitting underneath and I think to myself, "leaves are still falling here, time is still passing and the old dies to make way for the new". How many people died here to make way for our generation? How have we been shaped by this massive event? Questions that can never really be answered only pontificated.  WWII was 6 years. In that time and partly in this place the fate of many was sealed and the destiny of all Europe reshaped and forever transformed. One thing is for certain. We will never be the same again.  So much of what happened in this short space of time goes on influencing us today and will do for many generations to come.  What must it have been like to experience this horrendous glitch in time and space?  Yes many Jews were killed here Kaddish but also Roma Gypsy were almost totally wiped out, Polish people and many others from around Europe.  People from all over Europe suffering together in this place.  In this depth of suffering we no longer identify with nation, race or religion, we are all together here, some of us carry the light of hope and it is this light that gives us the strength to go on, some have lost hope and in this place to lose hope totally means certain death literally.  If Auschwitz teaches us anything let it teach us that before nationality, before race, before religion, we are human beings and that is the most important thing, for when we make anything else more important than being human then we run the risk of repeating this bloody history once more. 

Within these Walls 

Within these walls. 
I am the Nazi officer who cracked the whip. I am the Capo who made you eat your own sick. 
Within these walls. 
I am the ideological sickness that makes some humans believe they are more valuable than others, I am the starving Mothers, the sill born children, the murdered younger sisters and innocent brothers. 
Within these walls. 
I am electrified barbed wire fence that carries the hopeless corpses of despairing prisoners carrying through a self declared death sentence as it is their only power left. 
Within these walls. 
I am the hunger that unifies all nation and race, I do not exclude anyone, all that drink from my fire the licking of my flames you shall taste, All here are starving within these walls, Including the Nazis, 
Within these walls. 
I am Hitler's heart, 
Hungry for brotherhood, 
Hungry for love, 
Hungry for Spiritual direction, 
I am starving, 
Within these walls. 
We all starving. 
Within these walls. 
Starving together. 
Within these walls. 
Eating each other alive. 
Body and Soul. 
Within these walls.

 

 

 

 

Being Jewish

The very thought of being a Jew during this time in Nazi occupied territory sends shivers down my spine.  The level of fear for my life and the lives of my brothers and sisters on such a massive scale, it is no wonder that this trauma is still visible in Jewish society and politics today.  Jews are changed forever as are their identities.  There is so much pain in this injustice that it is no wonder that many would rather not feel it, of course this not wanting to feel the pain has consequences both individually and collectively for Jews. There is a cost for not feeling that pain and waking up from the past. The cost is that the past becomes present and more suffering much like the suffering of this time is brought back into present time.  On the issue of Israel/Palestine I devolve myself totally.  As in any conflict there are 2 sides. Both have experienced tremendous loss and pain and are hooked into the pattern of seeking justice as an opiate against feeling the pain of loss.  All I wish is that those to the political left jumping on the 'Justice for Palestine' bandwagon come to this place, come to Auschwitz and recognize the deep pain of the Jews, what was lost and how they were treated.  Then and only then can one even begin to understand the collective behaviour of Israel.  We must look further than what is immediate.  If we wish to achieve peace inside and outside we must look further than what is immediate, understand the great pain and loss that lies behind social and political movements and give each side the chance to be held lovingly in their deep pain, then and only then will this ongoing war begin to surrender to itself.  Everyone is hurting right now and a massive influence on this present day hurt and pain is what happened here in Auschwitz and Europe more generally between 1939-1945.  We are all Jewish, just as we are all Nazi, just as we are all Palestinian. We all have a responsibility to understand what happened here.  This place was a source of great pain and the echoes of this pain are still being felt today in other parts of the world. 

 

SHARING ~ REUNITING A MOTHER & DAUGHTER IN PEACE 

I feel like these first 48hrs in Auschwitz have been a bit of a whirlwind of information, historical narratives and initial impressions.  I have needed to run around getting a bit clearer about what actually happened here and how it was part of so much else that was going on in Europe at this time.  Also I think getting lost in the information and intellectual learning is a great way of avoiding going deeper within myself and really being here in this deep and spacious field. Maybe also I needed to get lost in the information for a short time, it was my way of arriving here more slowly.  So it is unlikely I will be posting many more photos or historical information.  From now I will be sharing more what is going on deeper inside of me. 

To be honest my normal pattern when coming somewhere on my own like this would be to leave at this point and just drive off somewhere else.  However there is something with weight strongly inviting me to stay here and I feel very relaxed being here in this field, something in me feels very willing to be here longer, remaining open to not knowing and dropping a little deeper into this wonderful experience.  It is strange to say this but something in me feels at home here, I can't quite explain it, in fact I can't explain it at all, it just is. 

Today after writing my Shadow Of Humanity blogs I decided to let go of taking photos, let go of reading texts in exhibitions and on signs, let go of tours and just start really being in the space.  There was 90 minutes left in Auschwitz I before closing so I went on over there with the intention to just feel my way around the space.  I walked most of the perimeter from the inside next to the fence. I wondered if it was the same barbed wire as from the war, I wondered how many had thrown themselves on the fence on the spots I was walking over, how many had lost hope.  Then I had what I might be described as a good idea, others might describe it as not such a good idea.  I ventured down to the Experimental Gas Chamber where thousands had once died and decided to meditate in there, this late in the day it was very silent in there.  OK here is 1 more photo! 

I played with the idea of stepping over the barrier and sitting somewhere forbidden as I had the notion that I would like to meditate next to the door where people would have been screaming to get out.  The only place to sit was underneath the holes in the ceiling where scientists would drop in the gas canisters so I gently placed myself on the floor and begun silently watching my breath with eyes closed. Occasionally people passed through, probably wondering why there was a bearded jewish looking guy sitting on the floor of the Gas Chamber meditating but I shut myself off to these self-conscious wonderings, staying with the softness in my breath.  I suddenly noticed a very soft innocent, childlike and beautiful presence to my right.  Something in me told me it was a young girl, the feel of her energy in my hands was light to touch, full of joy and innocence. I asked her if there was something she needed and how she was. She told me she was fine but that her Mother was stuck here and she didn't want to leave her Mother.  Her mother was suddenly turning towards me on the other side of the chamber, the horrific frequency of her energy almost scared my pants brown! However I held it together as the child seemed friendly enough.  The Mother had a slightly demonic energy about her, the child told me that there was something that needed to be felt, I invited the Mother to come closer (but not too close), I instructed her in a very clear and masterful tone to keep her distance but that I would allow her to enter into me a little bit in service of freeing herself from this place.  Firstly I coughed up some energy and then we agreed that we would all leave the chamber together and I would find a tree to put them both in, this would support them to leave this stuck place and return to the one.  Holding their hands we walked towards the doors. The child was happy to be leaving but the Mother stopped dead at the door.  She told me she couldn't leave the others that had died there.  I asked her to look at her beautiful daughter, I asked her "do you love your daughter?" "Is your love for your daughter greater than your sense of loyalty to those others who died here?" She cried "Yes" and moved over the threshold into the arms of her daughter and back into my hands.  We walked a few hundred meters away from the chamber there was a thick looking tree.  I introduced them to the tree, commanding the Mother a little more sternly than the child, they said thank you, smiled and disappeared happily into the tree.  Now I have no idea whether all of this was just some strange story or fantast that I made up, I have never had an experience like this before and have not got any experience working psychically with the dead but afterwards I felt very peaceful.  I now also feel a lot of trust that whatever happens in the next 48 hours will be good for me and good for the space.  These days I have been spending most of the time in Auschwitz I. The real attrocities happened at Birkenau Auschwitz II, that camp is 6 times larger, with 4 gas chambers and that is where most were killed more towards 1944. I will be spending the next 2 days there, maybe coming back to mediate in the experimental gas chamber sometimes in Auschwitz I.  Lets see what other strange and beautiful experiences this place has to offer. From the light vortex, signing off.
Anu Azrael

 

BIRKENAU AUSCHWITZ II: SICK SOULS FIND PEACE 

Last night I worked out which part of the 24hr car park opposite Auschwitz I had the best shadow in early mornings, so I awoke several times this morning feeling very pleased with the cool temperature and lazily dozed back off into a haze of sleep. Last night I parked my car on the pavement outside a restaurant I had used earlier in the day, they had WIFI and I was desperate to finish watching the amazing movie 'The Free State Of Jones'!  If I was alive here 73 years ago they certainly would have gassed me for being a gypsy.  So late night and late morning today.  After taking a 4euro shower and feeling a bit sick with the heat around 11am I walked 3km along the old railway tracks towards Birkenau/Auschwitz II, making the same journey those going to the Gas Chambers would have taken.. I tried to imagine what it would have been like crammed into an overcrowded railway car without light, water or air, in the heat, the smell of fresh excrement and the despairing whimpers of scared Jewish children ringing in my ears but with the sun so bright, the air so fresh and time plentiful to breathe without stress I could only really make contact with small flashes of empathic resonance with that difficult reality from 72 years ago... 

When entering Birkenau camp II, I am always amazed and in awe of the size of the space, so much space betweenbuildings, fences and pathways, everywhere space..As I walked in my legs begun carrying me to the far right of the camp, an area that according to the sign several of the buildings used to house the many sick people in the camp.  These buildings all look the same, in this part of the camp they are made of wood, in other parts of the camp they are made from old bricks that were taken from the village houses that were here before the Nazi's knocked them down and destroyed the village to make the camp, they are like large barns, the floor is just dirt and there are some concrete basins where it looks like people used to shit, the center of the buildings always have 2 large brick chimneys in the middle.  I walked into the first building and could immediately feel a strong resonance of sickness in the field, old frequencies lingering around here.  I didn't feel like getting involved so I came out just a few minutes after briefly considering meditating there.  I walked another 200m along the dirt pathway past another building and was just about to walk past the 3rd building but my feet started walking me into it, I allowed my feet to guide me into the space.  As soon as I stepped into this building I was approached by a large posse of tortured souls who had not found release from their sickness even through death, something of them was still lingering here.  I pushed most of them back to make space for any genuine connections with any of them.  I immediately felt connection with someone named David and someone else named Michael, they took my hands, I asked them to hold onto me gently and not to squeeze too hard as sometimes entities can get a bit clingy.  We all understood easily why I was there, they were ready to leave that place, I lovingly encouraged them out of the hut and walked with them back towards the front gate, on the way I picked up a stone and asked them to sit on the stone, that I would throw the stone into the forest outside the camp and then they would know that its time to leave this realm of the living completely.  They were both very thankful, I told them if I was in their position I am sure they would have helped me the same, they smiled, of course I couldn't see that but I felt it, I felt a brotherhood with them like I have not felt before, I felt deeply touched by their gratitude.  I walked the tracks away from the camp whilst singing a spontaneous shamanic riff for a few moments, threw the stone into the woods and felt them leaving into lightness.  I decided not to go back to the sick section as I had enough of helping the dead for the time being, I didn't want to over do it.  I returned along the tracks and this time walked the tracks all the way into the center of the camp where people would have been offloaded before being walked to the Gas Chambers.  I walked from here all the way to the Gas Chamber twice. Chanting and praying. 

~ Prayers are already answered before they are spoken ~ 

The beauty and the grace of God Kaddish, 
(sometimes repeating many times) 
The beauty and the grace of Angels Kaddish, 
The beauty and the grace of Azrael Kaddish. 
I am the beauty and the grace of God Kaddish. 

When sitting next to one of the main old Gas Chambers now destroyed I chanted: 
My eyes are open, 
Praise God and welcome the light, 
My heart is open, 
Praise God and welcome the light, 
My mind is open, 
Praise God and welcome the light, 
My hands are open, 
Praise God and welcome the light. 

The light vortex is open to you all, 
Any residue of suffering is dissolving into it now, 
You are all so welcome in the light, so welcome.... 

I found some woods behind the Gas Chambers, 
Here I sat for some time, Here I danced from some time, 
Here I wondered about my life for some time. 
Then the day began to sing its song of goodbye.. 

Experiencing Sunset 
As I walked away from Birkenau today the sun was beginning to set, 
Much had been churned inside of me and it felt as if the hazy warm heat of the setting sun was ushering me from the space back to my car, "Enough for today" said the sun!  When I got back to my car 30 minutes later I drove across the car park and watched as the beautiful oranges of a dying day splayed its love all over the sky, how could I avert my eyes? 
For one of the first times in my whole life I watched an entire 10 minutes of the sun dying. I remembered something I had seen on you tube, someone said there are few things that are impossible, one of them is not feeling moved by a sunset when one pays enough attention to it. 

Checking in 

I am finding that 4-5 hours in any of the 2 camps per day is enough for me. 
When I came out at 6:30pm this evening I felt exhausted, maybe it was the sun beating on my head like a drum for half the day? Maybe it was psychic tiredness? Not sure.  I feel both full and tired, however I am not ready to leave here yet. I feel there is 1 day left, tomorrow will be the day of light, that is the intention anyway :-)  Poetry from the light, writing from the light, LIGHT. 


I am really taking care of myself here, not getting too intense, I am well aware that being here physically alone makes entering into this field of energy too deeply a little risky, so I am being sure to go slowly.  I look forward to taking the power I have found in this place into my heart and bringing it to others :-) One major gift I am taking from this field is 'a capacity to stay present, no matter what'. Thanks for listening. Much love!

 

POEMS FROM BIRKENAU AUSCHWITZ II 

Shivering loneliness, 
Deprived of silence, 
Starved of innocence, 
Sticky black tendrils crawling deeper into my ears, 
Hearing Screaming, 
Cries of terror filled sunshine, 
Light beams dreaming, 
Shedding light on faces frozen in time, Dust particles dancing, 
Old skin and bone chanting, 
Falling like snow, 
Settling, Nestling into the warm, 
Sullen and tender belly of my soul, 
Like those who died here, 
I walk this short path of life towards death alongside my brothers and sisters, Together with all of you and at the same time totally alone. 

Waiting for you, 
Empty and cold, 
The echoes of those that we no longer wait for 
only a faint memory resonating around inside of us, 
Without you we have no purpose, 
We are simply space, 
Open space inside concrete walls 
burrowed into the ground, 
Without you Jew we are nothing! 
Your screaming death and fevered suffocation, 
Your children choking on 
the hatred of the Nazi German nation, 
You and the thousands of others who have entered our poisoned wombs have made us famous.  We are the Gas Chambers.

 

BLESSINGS TO ALL WHO HAVE BEEN JOURNEYING WITH ME 

There have been quite a few of you journeying with me over these last 4 days. 
I want to honor you in this post and all those who came before you. 
I have carried you all in my heart on this short but powerful journey and felt you present here in some way. 
I include here any names, poems or photos shared with me. May this posting be the final resting place for the past. 
May peace be upon all of you and all those who preceded you.

 

THE END OR THE BEGINNING? 

Day 4. The final chapter of this mini-pilgrimage or is it the first page of some longer movement in my life? 
Last night at 2am there was a crazy drunk guy with no shirt running around the 24hr car park screaming in thin air.  I didn't feel very comfortable sleeping there whilst this commotion was going on so I hit the motorway to find some motorway parking for the night.  I could have left Auschwitz right there and then but something in me felt unfinished at Birkenau, as if there was some deeper movement happening inside of me that it is impossible to understand but that has to be respected none the less.  Something unexplainable. I felt that Auschwitz was both spitting me out and yet at the same time drawing me back in, contradicting deeper movements were at play here clearly. 

It is now 1pm. I am back here in Birkenau, the heat is relentless, not sure why I am back here but I have given myself 2 hours and asked the place that whatever needs to happen let it happen in this available period of time, time to see what is here, say goodbye and thank you. 

I walk into the woods behind the camp not too far from the old Gas Chamber and mass grave,  I find a long pilgrim style stick on the ground fallen from a tree, I take it with me.  I walk over to a shady spot & sit down on the leaf strewn ground of the woods.  It isn't so easy to breathe here today, there is a dank pressure in the air surrounding my head, eyes and lungs. I feel I want to break down into tears.  That's it, I realize it is hard for me to leave this place feeling there is nothing I can do.  I feel sick as I write this. I hear a loud voice within me screaming, "I can't leave them all here. (They are holding my heart so tightly I can feel it physically, I want to vomit) I can't just leave!"  As I write this I start choking, spluttering, coughing, despairing, crying.  As I name this my breathing becomes easier as I realize I can leave whenever I wish.  My nose is blocked, I still feel a little collapsed in my neck and despair in the pit of my belly but there is also now a softness in my breath that wasn't there before, which feels a relief. The death vortex is strong here, it pulls us into its bosom with ease.  The light vortex is strong, just as strong, even stronger! 

My eyes are open. 
Praise God and welcome the light. 
My heart is open. 
Praise God and welcome the light. 
My hands are open. 
Praise God and welcome the light. 

Now this is the inner shift that needed to happen I am ready to leave this place now. 
I wish to take the pilgrim stick with me but am afraid if I leave through the front gate they will take it from me. 
(Which is interesting because for me the stick represents life, so I had a fear that if I leave through the front gate that my life would be taken from me, which fits with the old resonance in this field).  So I decide to escape through the back fields.  I walk the edge of the fence and find a small stream that dips down into a ditch and goes all the way to the road outside, which is perfect as it means any security guards circling the area won't see me leaving with the stick (my life). 
As I walk this stream I wonder if other prisoners ever ran through this stream trying to escape.  I make it out to the road, back to my car and away with my life!   Traditionally Pilgrimage is walked with a pilgrim stick and the stick is given up at the end of the pilgrimage.  In this pilgrimage I have found the stick at the end and I will take it on into the pilgrimage of my life, remembering always that like this stick, life can be very fragile, it can be taken from us at any moment, so lets be kind towards ourselves and life, lets appreciate life fully, never missing an opportunity to really live! 

I am not quite sure what happened to me these last 4 days but I have felt a lot moving inside.  Auschwitz has reminded me very strongly that I know very little and actually knowing anything of substance in the much bigger picture of existence is like picking up a grain of salt with chopsticks from a beach full of sand dunes. What a waste of energy and all for the familiar taste of salt.  Bert Hellinger said something when talking about movements of soul. He said something that inspired the following awareness in me, very often we wish to know what has happened but there is no information.  What is important is that at a deeper level something has moved, we don't know what but anyway it has moved so what does it matter what actually happened except for satisfying the mind's need to put it into some kind of context, what good will that do?  I don't know why I felt drawn to this place, I don't know what has happened to me here and I don't know what will happen next...and so...life goes on.  Thanks for coming with me. 

Thank you Auschwitz. 
May we live our lives with great abandon, fully from our hearts, hold nothing back, for we might never see tomorrow, now is the time to LIVE!

 

Love Festival 2017 

MAY 2017

Love Festival In honour of ourselves. 

We came together in honour of ourselves. In honour of the love that is possible when we close our eyes and feel the deep beauty within us. For 4 days (or more) we came together and celebrated our own beauty. This is what the Love Festival meant for me. Yes the initial movement of conception was born of a marriage, between 2 beautiful souls and they were celebrated within the happening. However there was something about what happened that carried me beyond the original trigger for the festival, to a place of experiencing a deeper marriage within myself to my deeper self. A deeper love for who I am and a deeper willingness to share my gifts with the world. Thank you to all of you who came so honestly and shared yourselves so openly, I felt often touched by you and your presence. I let myself be touched. Maybe for the first time in my life I really let myself be touched by people, of course I have felt touched before but this experience of beauty felt deeper than I had ever allowed before. 

For me this Love Festival began on the evening of Aslinur’s women’s celebration, when we men also met together in a nearby park and sat together in a sharing circle. The moment this festival started was on hearing Marian share about his beautiful and supportive relationship with his father & then hearing his father, in a kind of emotive poetry telling how proud he is of his son. These moments were like an echo of something long lost to me, in these moments I embraced this witnessing and gave it a true place inside of myself, for what I could not experience with my own father I give it a true place inside of myself right now, that is my power. Thank you to Marian and his father for the love they shared with us in these moments, it is not a small thing, so much strength is born of this. For so long I have been lost in the brokenness of my forefathers hearts and finally I stand strong like a tree, roots deep in ground and branches reaching for the stars.. 

As we walked up the steep dusty driveway to the land, to our right the open expanse of beauty bled out before our eyes, pink and orange displays of dancing light beams filling the sky with joy and welcome. I drank in this colour and stumbled like a drunken fool onto the land, greeted at the edge of the land by animals and dust, warmed by smiling bearded faces and beautiful flowing blonde Sufism. I sat with my drum under the tree, looking out at the world, the ocean sang its welcome and my drum replied, we have arrived, we are here, we have arrived. 

The moments we all sat in a circle before the official festival began, Marian asks me to facilitate, my heart smiles. The first of many smiles. So often in my life I have wished for people to not rely on me, to not trust me because this way it is easier for me to stay out, to be the outcast, doing what I want rather than what life is asking of me. Now I surrender to life, in service of love. I belong in the light. In the light is where we all belong, together, in an everlasting forever. Thank you to Marian and Aslinur and everyone else for trusting me in my holding space. I feel fed by the light of stars, nourished by long awaited rains, relieved that the sun now rises and nothing stands between me and the sunlight. Only sky. 

The moment Gerhard (The Big Bear) reminded me to spend some time resting, just sitting and enjoying. I came back to myself. 

The moments when people so afraid in the past to show themselves feel safe enough to step onto the open stage and let themselves be seen in the light of our hearts, priceless, like a painting that shows you your own soul or a song that carries you home, like a lived poem. 

Love festival was like a lived poem. Smiling faces, smiling out of their hearts. I remember so many beautiful smiles and I remember each one including me in myself, including me in the present moment, reminding me I am here, together with others and that everything is OK. Your smiles meant so much to me. I sometimes wish I could really say this to people. So I say it now. Your smile means so much to me. It brings me in touch with something unexplainable, unreachable, so valuable, the essence of beauty, purpose, my reason for existing. To smile and be smiled upon. What if this is our only reason for existing? To smile and be smiled upon? How much unnecessary suffering and trying would we give up in our lives to realize this. To smile and be smiled upon, to sing and to hear the song, to receive and to gift the poem, to pass it on. This road we are walking is long, along its way we will experience many and diverse days, we will be challenged, we will be loved, there will be triumph, there will be loss, it is moments like these at this Love Festival that will remain etched into my being for an eternity, for here I am reminded that nothing else matters. Nothing. There is only smiling and being smiled upon. To be carried by the wind and washed by the tides to places where our smile is needed, to places which are strong enough to hold us in loving embrace as our tears sink into the earth, the universe is breathing us like air and we travel within her. Like a beating heart our footsteps marching towards a beautiful nowhere. 

This drum beat marks my presence, sparks my essence and asks you to dance yourself into a melting expression. This is who you are. Simple and true. What more is there? There is only this… 

The moments when I hit my shaman drum constantly for an hour in the light of the moon, supported by other drummers, with GG and Yumina dancing endlessly until silence came over us like the veil of night, like the question what is beauty? And the beautiful conversations that ensued.. Speaking real, honest and true, no smoke or mirrors, just a burning flame of reality and truth, until 3:30am. In this conversation something inside me changed for good. I realized again something I had long lost since my early 20’s, my thirst for movement, to be carried by the wind, drawn by tides, given birth by the unknown and moments unexpected, what more is there? I tell you there is only this…I ask what more is there?? The answer echoing around my heart is clear and true, there is only this….!!! 

The moments I am trusted by those in tears and struggling to realize their next steps, what can I do? Just remind them it will pass, be present in my heart, for what more is there??? There is only this… 

The moments when we all sat watching lanterns being released by other members of our group on far away boats, the lights mingling with stars, Gerhard (Big Bear) singing and playing guitar, beautiful Yumina and the soothing spacious spirit silk sounds of her flute dancing slowly in and around the silence and darkness as we sat watching lights rising, our spirits rising, our hearts opening, what more is there??? There is only this… 

The moment when I felt that organizing the program was feeling too heavy and that I would like the experience of dropping deeper in myself and with others, then the next moment when Kamyar offered that the collective organize the last day and I was challenged to let go of my pre-planning for the last day, I was challenged to trust that the group would include me, I took up the reigns of the challenge and I was included! So healing!!! Such an important moment for me learning to trust the group! 

The moment after running a workshop when Abed approached me with such positive enthusiasm about my work and the direction of my work, I felt held by something much greater than all of us, touched by the soothing words of an earth angel… 

Moments of tears, smiles, sharing food, laughing at the moon… 

Meeting all of the people at this festival, every single one of you touched me in some way. I felt something beautiful and true in all of you and I am very happy to of met you. In time I will learn to deepen in intimacy and love with groups, what else is there??? There is only this… 

The moment I sat with Yumina and her flute by the water, I wrote this poem as she played… 

The Storm 
Delicate like the touch of forgotten winds, 

Soothing like silvery silk sliding around my skin, 

I am called, I bow deep down, 

You are calling me oh divine wind of woman’s wilderness and welcome, 

I am called, I can no longer bury my head in the sand, 

The sound of your sun rays echoing through my heart’s chambers, 

As I throw into the raging fires of love all plans, 

There is only this, Following of bliss, A never ending kiss, 

A slow breath and a smile, A floating lotus, the smell of Jasmin and a slowly blooming sunrise, 

There is only this sentence burning like sage, cleansing the day and making way for this simple this, 

The way of the heart, yesterday gave birth to now and tomorrow we’ll see, 

Oh divine goddess carried to me by an unexpected breeze, 

Take me into your heart and cry me out through your eyes, 

On every out breath wish me goodbye and on every inbreath may we burn in the eternal fire, 

Fighting, flickering, licking and dancing in orange, yellow and blue, 

This smokes signals an open heart new born, 

A path of welcome to the heart of the earths soul, 

There is a storm coming and it all starts with this poem. 

Dear heart, I surrender myself to follow you where-ever you wish to go.. 

During the ‘Remembering The Light of The Earth’ ritual I offered, Parastoo represented ‘the Light Of The Earth’. Throughout the ritual she prayed Surya Hamd quietly to herself. When she shared this prayer in the final circle, it hit my heart like a slap from the hand of Allah, I asked her to repeat it, evertime I heard it, it dropped deeper into my heart, I realized that the light of the earth and the light of Allah were the same light only we had forgotten this. My heart grew wings in this moment. 

Light of the Earth says, 

“Bismillaah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem Al hamdu lillaahi rabbil 

‘alameen Ar-Rahman ar-Raheem Maaliki yaumid Deen Iyyaaka 

na’abudu wa iyyaaka nasta’een Ihdinas siraatal mustaqeem Siraatal 

ladheena an ‘amta’ alaihim Ghairil maghduubi’ alaihim waladaaleen Aameen” 

The moment Yumina knew that if my heart was a fluffy white rabbit its favourite food would be strawberries… 

The closing ceremony. I asked Marian if I could facilitate a short meditation, he agreed. My heart smiled. Sitting in the closing circle we all take hands, the drum is banged loud, we have called people to circle. Now we all sit in silence as the winds whirl around us inside this beautiful dome. I say, “The winds have to come carry us on to the next place”. Let us take a moment to walk around and bow in honour of one another. So many flowing tears, so many soft open movements, like an orchestra playing whispers of the heart. 

The Zikr. Women in the centre. Where they belong. Singing this beautiful prayer Surya Hamd which carries us to the beautiful nowhere. I bow, I cry, my heart swells, oceans tides, my forehead to ground. Women are the true heart of Islam. I know this now. Women are the true heart. Men lining up around the outside supporting the power and beauty of the inside. What more is there??? There is only this… To remember the true deep beauty of women. To remember our own true deep beauty as men. What more is there?? There is only this…This is LOVE. This is LOVE FESTIVAL. 

Marian and Aslinur. 

May you live this love, 

this unknown beauty, this tidal song of gathering light beams, forever more…When there are hard times, remember this beginning, together, 

remember this love…. 

remember our lives are just one long love festival…blessings upon you eternally.. 

I was touched by 

Gerhards guitar, his voice, his warmth. 

Yumina’s flute, her smile, her heart. 

Sean’s considerate nature, his lending me his towel.. 

GG’s whirling, her courage.. 

Aslinur’s beauty and capacity to be so human with everyone, 

her willingness to support.. 

Marian’s openness to the unknown and scaling back his need to control what happens.. 

Christian putting up with my snoring in Yoga Nidra.. 

Yagmur’s softness of heart and her dramatic way of being.. 

Samira’s willingness to look inside.. 

Lara’s enthusiasm for life.. 

Abed’s encouragement.. 

Parastoo’s prayer.. 

Mohammed’s silence.. 

Francesco’s willingness to look.. 

Everyone’s smile… 

All of the animals, donkey, horse, dog, cats, ducks, geese, frogs and insects!! 

Everyone touched me in some way, just naming a few here!! 

With all my heart totally. 

Anu