2010.02.02 13:00 - Malta retreat: local organizer's report

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Storm Nordwind. The comments are by Storm Nordwind.

    Malta Retreat Theme Session. It was arabella's turn to tell us of her experiences at the Malta retreat. This would be especially interesting to many people as she is Maltese herself and was the local organizer for this retreat.

    Agatha Macbeth: Namaste Storm :)
    Storm Nordwind: Hello Agatha :)
    Agatha Macbeth: Everybody's here now...
    Storm Nordwind: Hi Bleu, SophiaSharon
    Bleu Oleander: hi Storm
    Storm Nordwind: Hi Pema
    Bleu Oleander: hi Agatha
    Agatha Macbeth: Hello Bleu, SSL, Pem :)
    Pema Pera: Hi Bleu, Sharon, Agatha, Storm!
    SophiaSharon Larnia: Hi all
    Bleu Oleander: Hi Pema and all
    Yakuzza Lethecus: hey everyone
    Agatha Macbeth: Guten Abend Yaku
    Pema Pera: Thanks for the historical record of 21 avatars, Storm :)

    Pema had counted 20 avatars present at the previous Malta theme session held by Mickorod and he'd wondered if that was a record. I told him that the record still stood at 21 avatars. Let the record show that there were 16 avatars here today, although another 4 were dreaming in Maxine's workshop in the Kira Cafe.
    Pema Pera: hi Yaku and Lia!
    Bleu Oleander: Hi Yaku and Lia
    Lia Rikugun: hello everyone!
    Agatha Macbeth: And hello Lia
    Lia Rikugun: hello agatha
    Pema Pera: (sneaking off to get a quick cup of tea -- hi Arabella!)
    Agatha Macbeth: Hi Ara :)
    Lia Rikugun: hello ara
    Yakuzza Lethecus: hi ara
    Storm Nordwind: Borrow one from Yaku Pema
    Bleu Oleander: hi Ara
    arabella Ella: Hiya ... rezzing!
    Storm Nordwind: Hi ara!
    arabella Ella: ok rezzed :)
    Agatha Macbeth: Ta da!
    arabella Ella: just let me know when i should start
    Agatha Macbeth: Hello Cal
    Calvino Rabeni: Hi Agatha :)
    arabella starts her account.
    arabella Ella: ok i think i should start now
    Storm Nordwind: Sounds good to me ara
    arabella Ella: first of all I hope you all had a safe journey home with no mishaps
    Pema Pera: (back)
    arabella Ella: it seems difficult to get back into the normal way of life after the fantastic experience of the retreat ... this is my feeling and others have shared similar sentiments!
    Pema Pera: :)
    arabella Ella: As I relate my experience please feel free to stop me and to ask any questions you wish
    arabella Ella: As you know I was the local host for this retreat and it was a huge honour for me to host the first PaB retreat in Europe ... hopefully there will be many more!
    arabella Ella: In an attempt not to repeat what others have already said I will try to communicate my personal experience which may at times have particular focus on my role as local host
    arabella Ella: As local host, meeting each person at the airport was a great experience. I travel a great deal and know how one can feel rather disoriented when dealing with the process of finding one's way around. However I must admit I have never driven so much in my life before ... eight trips to and from the airport were quite something!

    Beginning at the beginning.
    arabella Ella: Where did the retreat start ...as we had the Hypogeum to ourselves, Paradise suggested we could have our first meditation session there ... in the underground temple cum burial site which dates back nearly 6,000 years. It was a very impressive experience with the eerie subdued lighting which made it all feel quite surreal.
    arabella Ella: To add to that feeling, Bertram used the Oracle room to set the scene with his revertebrating voice which sounded like a mysterious force, motivation or urge to drop everything and to simply "Be".
    arabella Ella: Pema and Eos were keen to have a look at the meditation farmhouse on the first evening. We drove there after the Hypogeum and witnessed a spectacular ... and mystical ... sunset. Although we planned to stay at the meditation farmhouse only for about an hour that evening, we somehow seemed to drop time and to enter a timeless state of mind ... one moment it was around 5pm ... suddenly it was 7pm and we left in pitch darkness ...
    arabella Ella: only to get lost in remote country lanes, all pitch dark too, on our way back to the hotel. However it did not take long to find our way back as we backtracked and followed some country lanes which appeared to be better lit! I thought I could never get lost on this tiny island, but the retreat proved me wrong ... arghhhh ... a lesson in humility!
    Agatha Macbeth: Hi Wol :)
    Wol Euler waves a quiet hello
    arabella Ella: Hi Wol!
    arabella Ella: That night Mick and I drove to the airport to meet Wol who encountered a delay due to snow. It's strange how each new encounter gave me the feeling that I had known the person for a long time beforehand and also amazing how we all gelled so naturally especially after the first few hours.
    arabella Ella: Wol arrived at around midnight ... dead tired after all the stress of re-scheduling her flights!
    Wol Euler grins.

    The first full day.
    arabella Ella: The next day was our first full day at the meditation farmhouse ... but that came about after a full English breakfast at the hotel ... a yummy breakfast which got us well sorted out to start our day
    arabella Ella: It may have taken a few hours on the first day to re-establish contact with each other ... but it definitely took less time than I would ever have imagined ... and both Pema and Eos were so generous with their knowledge, expertise and with making each of us feel so thoroughly at ease.
    arabella Ella: One amazing thing about the retreat besides the fact that we all seemed to get along so well was that time seemed to be quite irrelevant and it simply flew by ... we hardly noticed it passing
    arabella Ella: The farmhouse itself felt like a skybox on SL ... perched high on a cliff in the middle of nowhere surrounded by countryside which is very different from what one expects in other more northern european countries
    arabella Ella: And the view from the window in our skybox (farmhouse) was definitely very conducive to our purpose during the retreat
    arabella Ella: Lovely formations of clouds which I felt we could nearly reach out and touch
    arabella Ella: and at times glorious clear blue skies
    arabella Ella: peppered at times with some very strong wind and a few rain showers at times but nothing too serious

    The second day: the 'silent' day.
    arabella Ella: I must admit i really enjoyed the second day which was the silent day
    arabella Ella: I had no idea how I would cope with silence and must admit it was not easy at first ... in the morning especially
    arabella Ella: My morning consisted of a very long walk down the valley, through fields and rough terrain, to a lovely lonely spot on cliffs which dropped to the sea
    arabella Ella: i promised myself that it is a spot which is so beautiful i must revisit it soon
    arabella Ella: i spent the afternoon in the meditation farmhouse with most of the others except for Pema and Eos who had gone for a walk themselves
    arabella Ella: that was a good idea as it allowed me to ensure i would be silent with the others around
    arabella Ella: as you may remember having heard from the other accounts of the retreat, most of us spent the afternoon in silence, meditating, dozing off, feeling thouroughly at peace with ourselves and with everything else around us
    arabella Ella: (apologies if there is some lag at times!)
    arabella Ella: once again time seemed to disappear ... it did not stretch out as it sometimes does when one does nothing much in particular ... on the contrary I could not believe it when it was time to drive back to the hotel
    Bertram Jacobus: hello everybody ... have some lag here too ...
    Magic Leimes: Hello All.
    arabella Ella: As Pema said, we had dinner that evening in a lovely restaurant in Mdina, the Silent City, and the old capital city of Malta, this is a walled city with medieval looking palaces most of which are inhabitated by the local nobility
    arabella Ella: As we waited outside the hotel to walk to the restaurant we played a joke on Pema and Eos as they were the last to turn up for us to walk together to the restaurant in Mdina
    arabella Ella: we had been told we could resume speaking at 7pm and when Pema and Eos turned up we decided to shhhhh them ... just as though we had not spent the last 10 mins chatting amongst ourselves ... the surprise on the faces of Pema and Eos was funny but they soon relaised it was a joke
    arabella Ella: what else can i say ...
    Lia Rikugun: :)

    arabella assesses the work involved and makes a generous offer.
    arabella Ella: As local host i must admit there is more effort to be put into organising a retreat than i had imagined but it is well worth it
    Pema Pera: :-)
    arabella Ella: and although i may consider myself a bit mad i would be very happy to organise another retreat in Malta in a few years time ... if that is what people wish
    Pema Pera: I think it's quite likely you'll see us back again, Arabella!
    arabella Ella: great
    Pema Pera: You've been such a perfect host, a repeat will be irresistable
    arabella Ella: we actually spent three full days in the meditation farmhouse with a bit of overlap on the day before and the day after
    arabella Ella: :)
    Bertram Jacobus: really perfect ... agree ...
    arabella Ella: Fefonz is a great cook I must admit ... it was my pleasure to be his sous chef
    arabella Ella: when he cooked delicious sweet potato soup for us all
    Wol Euler smiles.
    arabella Ella: it was also a great experience to see the island from the eyes of each of those participating in the retreat ... and to learn how other perspectives may differ a great deal from my own as a local since I was born here and educated here too ... the most i have spent overseas is two months while studying in the UK

    Time for a question.
    Storm Nordwind: What lessons did you learn, arabella, that you could pass on as hints for future retreat organisers?
    arabella Ella: oh and besides being so generous with their knowledge and expertise, Pema and Eos are also open to critique in a very nice way ... which is amazing
    Storm Nordwind: (or of course people thinking of volunteering)
    Wol Euler sharpens her pencil and sits up.
    Bertram Jacobus: lol wol
    arabella Ella: i think each retreat has a character of its own
    arabella Ella: some similarities but different dynamics perhaps ... not sure if that is the right word
    arabella Ella: i think it is the right thing to do to initially hold short retreats as some people like myself may be put off with a first retreat which may span more than a week
    arabella Ella: and the practice and whatever we did was IMHO suited to all ... 'experts' and 'novices'
    arabella Ella: but after this first retreat i feel i would not mind a longer one at all ... altho work restrictions may play a role there for some
    arabella Ella: I also liked Pema's 'loose' structure of facilitating ... if that is the right word to use
    Pema Pera: :)
    Pema Pera: in fact, many of us facilitated
    arabella Ella: nothing is forced down anyone's throat ...
    Pema Pera: and made suggestions for topics and explorations

    How people sounded.
    arabella Ella: and his voice is very soothing and pleasant ... I like his Dutch accent :)
    arabella Ella: as well as all the different accents of each of the other PaB retreaters!
    Pema Pera: hehehe, I won't try to compete with a Maltese accent!
    arabella Ella: yes the sessions by some others were brilliant too but i will leave those up to them to describe
    Bertram Jacobus: the maltese accent is wonderful ! :-)
    Pema Pera: nicely melodic
    Bertram Jacobus: very clear ...
    Pema Pera: and very expressive (when Arabella says "you're stupid!!!")
    arabella Ella: well i dont think i have a typical Maltese accent
    Eliza Madrigal: Arabella, I think it funny that the morning was when you had trouble with silence. For many of us would be all except the morning perhaps. Maybe if we had Maltese accents too ... hehe ;)
    arabella Ella: Pemaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!
    Bertram Jacobus: lol
    Pema Pera: (*^_^*)
    Wol Euler: :)
    arabella Ella: well Eliza I guess it may depend on the company one keeps ...and that is why I decided to spend the afternoon at the farmhouse with the whole group :)
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    arabella Ella: (no names are being mentioned of course!)
    Mickorod Renard: :)
    Wol Euler: she wasn't tempted to talk to *us* :)
    arabella Ella: he he
    Eliza Madrigal: hahaaha
    arabella Ella: Wollllllllllll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    arabella Ella: we communicated with our snorts and grunts while napping didnt we?
    Wol Euler: mmhmm
    arabella Ella: one last thing which I recall which was rather funny
    arabella Ella: we had silent breakfast at the hotel on the silent day
    arabella Ella: and the waitress on duty could not understand at all what was happening ... she even asked me in Maltese, my language ... so what are you going to do, keep silent too?

    Bleu asks about the labels of identity...
    Bleu Oleander: when you spoke did you refer to each other by your sl names? and did your sl and rl personalities mesh?
    arabella Ella: I think we started off by using both SL and RL names but we then seemed to fall into using mostly SL names
    arabella Ella: and yes the personalities are precisely identical to those here at the Pavilion
    Wol Euler nods.
    arabella Ella: SL names seemed to make more sense most of the time
    arabella Ella: (with a few minor exceptions)
    Bleu Oleander: very interesting!
    arabella Ella: it is just like changing the appearance of an avi in RL
    arabella Ella: keeping the same personality
    Mickorod Renard: everyone was very confused over what to call me
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Wol Euler: I was just about to say that :)
    arabella Ella: although I loved Pema's RL long red hair ... it is incredible :)
    Pema Pera: :-)
    arabella Ella: oh and Eos's pony tail too :)
    arabella Ella: i think we all came out of the retreat feeling more serene and peaceful somehow and wishing it could have gone on for a bit longer ... even though we all knew we had to get back to other commitments
    Pema Pera: we *could* have a special retreat in which we all wear our avatar costumes . . . . perhaps on Mardi Gras / Carnival ?
    Wol Euler grins.
    Bleu Oleander: :)

    ...and about how much trust people felt...
    Bleu Oleander: did you feel any sense of vulnerability?
    arabella Ella: Speaking for myself I did not feel any vulnerability at all
    Pema Pera: (that's why she could call us "stupid!!!" :-)
    Storm Nordwind chuckles
    arabella Ella: there was a great incredible amount of trust and feeling of ... how can i describe it ... feeling that we have all known each other for a long long time
    Wol Euler: well, we have!
    Pema Pera: :-)
    arabella Ella: and at the moment
    Mickorod Renard: :)
    arabella Ella: those of you who came over to my place and experience the mystical full moon at the end of January from my balcony ...
    arabella Ella: and picture me in my living room on the sofa with a heater nearby
    Pema Pera: indeed!
    Mickorod Renard: will never forget that Ara

    ...and also whether it has changed the interaction now.
    Bleu Oleander: and how do you all feel now as you're interacting again in sl? any different?
    arabella Ella: At first I thought that our RL retreat may affect the way in which we communicate with each other here ... but amazingly it has not affected me and my interaction with the others at all
    arabella Ella: on the contrary it feels like a more enriching experience which is unforgettable
    Eliza Madrigal: Thank You Ara, All :), bfn
    arabella Ella: oh I invited everyone (except Padadise who had left) to my place on the last night to give them the opportunity to peek into a Maltese home :)
    Wol Euler: bye eliza
    Pema Pera: bye Eliza!
    Mickorod Renard: ciao Eliza
    arabella Ella: but it is not easy to cook for 9 hungry avis i must admit
    arabella Ella: bye Eliza!
    Bertram Jacobus: for me, now some more impressions of the persons are now involved when we are here - very good ones (!) ... :-)
    Lia Rikugun: was very good thank you for the invitation
    Pema Pera: especially if you cook so well that they keep eating!
    Mickorod Renard: yes, many bytes needed
    Storm Nordwind: !!!
    arabella Ella: i think it turned out well as an opportunity to relax and to interact in a more informal manner
    Wol Euler: heheheheh
    arabella Ella: i was happy to observe quite a few in depth discussions after dinner :)
    arabella Ella: some quite intense ... yet peaceful
    At this point, arabella ended her account and asked, more formally, for questions. Your scribe crashed at this point - twice - and picked up the log much later. However, it seems I wasn't the only one experiencing considerable technical problems. But the hour is nearly up and there are general departures anyway plus one arrival.
    arabella Ella: i think that's it ... I must leave some bits for those who have upcoming sessions
    arabella Ella: although questions are very welcome
    SophiaSharon Larnia: thank you Arabella :)
    arabella Ella: oh another thing comes to mind
    arabella Ella: as you know we had internet access at the pizzeria next door to our hotel
    arabella Ella: and it was so funny to see five avis all on SL ... like our fingers were itching to get here each evening and to see all of you!
    Wol Euler: :)
    Bleu Oleander: that was fun, I'm glad you did!
    arabella Ella: it was also funny to let Bertram Pema and Wol take over Ara on my laptop!
    arabella Ella: on the last evening
    Wol Euler: it was very brave of you
    Bertram Jacobus: :-)
    arabella Ella: i wonder whether those who were here found it confusing at all or not
    Calvino Rabeni: Ara, can you recount some of the memorable discussions and learning?
    arabella Ella: not easy Calvino to just pick one of the many 'pearls of wisdom' communicated or discussed during the retreat
    arabella Ella: there were so many and they are all interrelated and merge
    arabella Ella: but it really felt like having a one to one session with Pema and at times thrashing out some underlying concerns we may have had
    arabella Ella: or clarifying some PaB concepts
    arabella Ella: i think i found Pema's narrative on the way he views PaB ... in a sense 'life as a laboratory' ... most fascinating and illuminating too
    SophiaSharon Larnia slips away quietly :)
    arabella Ella: bye SophiaSharon
    Pema Pera: thank you, Arabella! But really we all shared our experiences and inspirations
    Mickorod Renard: bye ss
    Bertram Jacobus whispers : bye sophia ...
    Bertram Jacobus: ;-)
    arabella Ella: yes i think each of us was completely 100 percent trustful and open too
    arabella Ella: and as i said earlier there was never any pressure at all
    Wol Euler nods.
    arabella Ella: each could participate or share as we wished or thought best
    arabella Ella: totally free
    Pema Pera: yes
    Mickorod Renard: and it stays afterwards,,in ones mind
    Mickorod Renard: oops,,Ara crashed
    Lia Rikugun: some seem to have problems
    Wol Euler: lots of coming and going today.
    Lia Rikugun: welcome back ara
    Pema Pera: well, I'll have to go soon too
    arabella Ella: apologies ... SL decided to give up the ghost for a few minutes!
    Wol Euler: hello pila, wb ara
    Pila Mulligan: hi
    Mickorod Renard: Hi Pila
    Pema Pera: thanks a lot, Arabella!
    Lia Rikugun: me too, going to bed
    arabella Ella: my pleasure :)
    Mickorod Renard: nite nite Lia
    Bleu Oleander: thanks Ara .... great insights!
    Pema Pera: I could picture myself back on your island, in great detail . . . .
    Lia Rikugun: thank you for the descriotions ara
    Bertram Jacobus: okay - i´ll contribute a bit to the coming and going - cu soon all back again - ty ! and may all beings be happy please ...
    arabella Ella: nite Lia
    Bertram Jacobus: cu
    Wol Euler: bye pema, bye bert, bye lia
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Lia Rikugun: nitenite
    Liza Deischer: nite everyone
    Mickorod Renard: bye Pema
    arabella Ella: Hiya Pila
    Liza Deischer: (whois going)
    Mickorod Renard: nite Lixza
    Pema Pera: So tomorrow we'll have Fefonz, at the same time
    Pema Pera: talking about his experiences
    Magic Leimes: Bye everyone..goodnight.
    arabella Ella: yes
    Bleu Oleander: bye everyone
    Pema Pera: see you then, if not earlier!
    arabella Ella: nite Magic!
    Wol Euler: bye bleu
    Mickorod Renard: bye everyone who is leaving
    Pila Mulligan: arriving after the dream workshop, in time for the leav-takings
    Wol Euler: thank you, ara
    Mickorod Renard: has dream finnished Pila?
    Pila Mulligan: so what was the essence of the rpoert, Mick?
    arabella Ella: yw Wol and thanks for your input and your friendship!
    Pila Mulligan: yes, just ended, nopw awake
    Mickorod Renard: he he
    arabella Ella: oh one last thing
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Wol Euler: awwwww <3
    Mickorod Renard: nite nite Agatha
    Agatha Macbeth: Thanks Ara, that was lovely
    Agatha Macbeth: Nite all
    Liza Deischer: nite Agatha
    Wol Euler: bye aggers, take care
    arabella Ella: it was amazing to see how we all got on so well together regardless of age or geographical location ... or accent too!
    Wol Euler: true

    A brief Latin lesson.
    Pila Mulligan: did you talk about the dog event Arabella?
    Mickorod Renard: All went very well Pila,,,now back to normal again,,:)
    arabella Ella: just to conclude ... I miss you all and i miss the skybox we enjoyed so much
    arabella Ella: (no Pila ... I will leave the dog to Paradise)
    Pila Mulligan: I was curious about it
    Wol Euler: it was her story, really
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    arabella Ella: yes ... I have some ideas on what action I can take but I don't wish them to be public :)
    Pila Mulligan: ok, sub rosa ideas
    arabella Ella: sub rosa?
    Pila Mulligan: secret
    arabella Ella: not secret ... discreet more than anything else
    arabella Ella: on a small island one has no choice but to be discreet where certain delicate issues are concerned
    Pila Mulligan: "The Latin phrase sub rosa means "under the rose" and is used in English to denote secrecy or confidentiality," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sub_rosa
    Wol Euler nods.
    Pila Mulligan: discrete is more appropiate
    Mickorod Renard: I must get back to i ching practice soon Pila
    Pila Mulligan: or discreet (sp)
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    arabella Ella: ah i see ... interesting ... ty!
    arabella Ella: Pila please feel free to ask any other questions if you wish
    arabella Ella: (but if possible not dog related)
    Pila Mulligan: well, what was the most essential part of your expereince?
    Mickorod Renard: he he
    Pila Mulligan: the most memorable?

    Transcendence and the balance of giving.
    arabella Ella: the most important lesson for me is how the retreat transcends anything else ... as I just said it transcents age, accent, background, education ... everything
    arabella Ella: (just one of the many important lessons)
    Wol Euler nods.
    Mickorod Renard: for me,,something that I had touched before and sort of lost,,,,,an acceptance
    arabella Ella: I think there was so much we all learnt ... although that sounds rather egoistic
    arabella Ella: we all gave and received i guess
    arabella Ella: everyone was very generous with their knowledge especially Pema and Eos
    Pila Mulligan: so the energy present exceeded the sum of the indiviudal parts, maybe
    arabella Ella: but we all contributed to a greater or lesser extent
    arabella Ella: yes it certainly did
    Wol Euler: wb liza
    arabella Ella: and the way it was 'pitched' so to speak it all felt right regardless of our previous experience ... some of us including myself being 'novices'
    Liza Deischer: i seem to have a lot of wrong buttons on my screen :-)
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    arabella Ella: i dont think any of us ever felt out of our depth
    Wol Euler: that was my experience too, ara. some spoke more than others, but everyone seemed to feel able to speak out. very democratic :)
    arabella Ella: yes exactly ... and with no pressure at all
    Pila Mulligan: so not like an academic competition
    Wol Euler: not at all :)

    A retreat actually as a retreat.
    arabella Ella: with many of us having so much pressure on us so much of the time in our RL it was great to spend a few days with no pressure but total freedom to participate as we thought fit
    arabella Ella: in a trusting and completly accepting environment
    Mickorod Renard: I needed the retreat anyway,,it took me a few days to shake of my tenseness from rl,,,but it also was theraputic too
    arabella Ella: (with a wee bit of teasing ... good natured mind you ... at times)

    Others as a mirror.
    arabella Ella: also interesting to see the island through the eyes of others
    arabella Ella: like Wol calling the island 'stark' when it is at its greenest :)
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Wol Euler laughs.
    arabella Ella: and again Wol thinking the bamboos with their plumes 'weird' :)
    Pila Mulligan: all things are relative, eh?
    Wol Euler: it's all relative
    arabella Ella: yes
    Wol Euler: snap
    arabella Ella: the geography here is very different
    arabella Ella: Malta has often been called a 'rock'
    Mickorod Renard: needs some roads

    Local geology.
    Pila Mulligan: is it mostly limestone Ara?
    arabella Ella: when the Knights of Malta were offered Malta as a base they were initially not keen on coming here due to the arid conditions
    arabella Ella: yes we have a lot of limestone Pila ... two types ... soft and hard limestone
    arabella Ella: but it is amazing to see all the little wild plants that grow in the rock crevices at this time of the year
    Mickorod Renard: looks lovely to work with
    arabella Ella: yes
    arabella Ella: the soft limestone is great for stone carvings
    arabella Ella: the hard limestone is more like granite
    arabella Ella: used for paving
    arabella Ella: oh another memory ... the wind playing at Being too as it whistled and russled its way through and around the meditation farmhouse
    Pila Mulligan: wiki: "Malta stands on an underwater ridge that extends from North Africa to Sicily. At some time in the distant past Malta was submerged, as shown by marine fossils embedded in rock in the highest points of Malta. As the ridge was pushed up and the straits of Gibraltar closed through tectonic activity, the sea level was lower, and Malta was on a bridge of dry land that extended between the two continents, surrounded by large lakes. Some caverns in Malta have revealed bones of elephants, hippopotami, and other large animals now found in Africa, while others have revealed animals native to Europe."
    arabella Ella: and the distant sea (ocean for those of you from the USA) often with lots of wild horses
    arabella Ella: yes Pila that is correct 100 percent
    Liza Deischer: that's quite vivid ara :-)
    arabella Ella: (at least that is what historians and geologists say)
    arabella Ella: oh yes the Med was very wild at times ... with some ghost ships floating and bobbing along too ... really lovely
    Mickorod Renard: I was suprised when was musing over the ways of the world and the hight of the limestone
    Wol Euler smiles.
    arabella Ella: it does not get all that high here Mick
    Mickorod Renard: discussed it a lil with Pema ,Wol and Ara
    arabella Ella: ah
    arabella Ella: we dont have any mountains
    arabella Ella: or rivers or lakes
    arabella Ella: but lots of fossils in our limestone in places
    Mickorod Renard: I know,,but on the first waldk out,,remember
    arabella Ella: yes
    arabella Ella: as a child when mum and dad would take us on picnics in the countryside we as kids always tried to look for sharks' teeth ... without success ... but there are some
    arabella Ella: but lots of shell and sea urchin fossils

    Local resources.
    Calvino Rabeni: what is the water situation - is it scarce?
    arabella Ella: water was a problem in the past Calvino
    Mickorod Renard: no,,lots of bottles in the shops
    Wol Euler: there's certainly no visible awareness of that, calvino
    arabella Ella: but we now have a 'reverse osmosis plant' which turns sea water into tap water
    Wol Euler: no signs in the hotel showers, for example
    arabella Ella: he he
    Mickorod Renard: yes,,scarce in the hot water taps
    arabella Ella: in the past we had to be very careful with water in summer
    Wol Euler: well, there are in the Canary Islands ...
    arabella Ella: and ... believe it or not ... when we dont get rain in winter for some weeks there are special prayers for rain (for agriculture) in somne churches!
    Wol Euler smiles.
    Pila Mulligan: it works :)
    Pila Mulligan: or seems to
    arabella Ella: seems to work yes
    Mickorod Renard: I love the rain
    arabella Ella: whether it is consequence and effect ... only God knows :)
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    arabella Ella: the thing is that a lot of the agriculture is dependent on rain water ... and altho we dont have much agriculture the bit we have is very precious
    Pila Mulligan: the various Hawaiian islands have water use restrictions from time to time, during droughts -- being dependent on rain for the recharge of aquifers
    Mickorod Renard: there are all sorts of home made irigation systems
    arabella Ella: as Wol said there were farmers in the valley below our skybox preparing their crops ... re-planting onion seedlings for example or harvesting a crop of peas
    arabella Ella: Mick and I were fortunate to be able to taste the freshly harvested peas ... he he
    Pila Mulligan: yum
    arabella Ella: from a friendly farmer and his wife of course
    arabella Ella: yes they were delicious and so sweet ... freshly cut
    Mickorod Renard: lovely
    Mickorod Renard: reminded me of being a kid
    arabella Ella: yes
    Mickorod Renard: when we would steal them from gardens
    Wol Euler is shocked.
    Mickorod Renard: scrumping
    arabella Ella: and although the valley today is mainly agriculture and some remains of old farmhouses now left in a state of neglect, some farmhers told us there was quite a community there when they were younger
    Mickorod Renard: its a pasttime
    arabella Ella: yes as kids we did that too with broad beens but then we used to have so much pressure on us to go to 'confession' for stealing ... he he

    Local demographics.
    Calvino Rabeni: Does malta have a large diversity of people?
    arabella Ella: the people of Malta are mixed with many others from the Med and from Europe
    Calvino Rabeni: Does it feel more urban or rural overall?
    Mickorod Renard: we would sometimes steal all the apples of a tree and then tie on pears from someone elses garden
    arabella Ella: ah good question Calvino ...
    arabella Ella: most tourists say it is very urban and it is one of the most densely populated areas in the world ... but with no high rise buildings ... yet
    arabella Ella: altho the area by our skybox was remote countryside
    arabella Ella: so rural
    Pila Mulligan: is the skybox the farmhouse or the hotel?
    arabella Ella: the islands have an area of around 364 sq km with a pop of 400,000
    arabella Ella: the skybox is the meditation farmhouse
    Pila Mulligan: thanks, ara
    arabella Ella: perched on the edge of a cliff
    Pila Mulligan: ohh
    arabella Ella: with lovely views of the sky and the clouds
    arabella Ella: and the sea in the distance
    arabella Ella: Yaku posted some pikkies on Flikr yesterday of the meditation farmhouse and its surroundings
    Pila Mulligan: do you have a link please?
    Mickorod Renard: but whilst sat in the room one could imagine it having no underneath structure holding it up
    arabella Ella: Is Yaku here now? Yaku wo bist du?
    Pila Mulligan: a floating skybox
    Wol Euler: http://www.flickr.com/photos/40413449@N07/
    Mickorod Renard: yes
    Pila Mulligan: thnaks
    Wol Euler: yw
    arabella Ella: oh thanks Wol
    Wol Euler: well, actually ... when you looked back at it from across teh valley, that was literally true. The cliff was hollowed out below the house!
    Pila Mulligan: nice photos :)
    arabella Ella: yes
    Wol Euler: hung out into space the valley.
    Wol Euler: *above
    arabella Ella: oh Yaku has uploaded more pictures!
    arabella Ella: this one is the farmhouse: CIMG2290
    Mickorod Renard: nice,,I dont remember the day it snowed,,but great
    Wol Euler: heheheh
    Wol Euler: I certainly remember that :-/
    arabella Ella: oh and this is in another area, st julians, where i love to go to meditate: CIMG2400
    arabella Ella: and this is the entrance to the silent city: CIMG2271
    arabella Ella: Pila I hope you will get to read the log ... and maybe give me some feedback if you will please!
    arabella Ella: I must go now ... it is getting very late
    arabella Ella: nite all and thanks for being here tonight!
    Mickorod Renard: me too
    Pila Mulligan: thanks Ara, bye for onw
    Mickorod Renard: thanks Ara
    Liza Deischer: thanks ara, see you
    Wol Euler: bye ara
    Pila Mulligan: 'night Mick
    Wol Euler: ah, too late
    Mickorod Renard: soz i was late
    Wol Euler: bye mick
    Mickorod Renard: bye guys
    Liza Deischer: bye all
    Wol Euler: bye liza, take care
    Pila Mulligan: bye Liza

    The theme session presenter leaves. There is some final discussion about the photos and the conversation meanders amiably onwards... and without any further comment from me.
    Pila Mulligan: Yak, those are lovely photos
    Wol Euler: indeed they are.
    Pila Mulligan: what is CIMG2335 -- looks like a desk surrounded by rock walls?
    Wol Euler: hmmmmm
    Wol Euler: I think it's a shooting position, but I'm not sure.
    Wol Euler: if yaku wakes up, he might tell us
    Pila Mulligan: ahh, like a duck blind
    Wol Euler: yes, the Maltese are fanatical hunters
    Wol Euler: there were spent shotgun shells by the hundreds underfoot
    Wol Euler: literally
    Pila Mulligan: hmm
    Calvino Rabeni: ! There must not be much to hunt
    Wol Euler: nothing at all.
    Calvino Rabeni: Pigeons of clay
    Pila Mulligan: wild peas
    Wol Euler: I saw 100 spent shells for every live bird
    Wol Euler: and no wildlife at all
    Wol Euler: not a single squirrel
    Wol Euler: or rabbit
    Pila Mulligan: just boom booom fun maybe
    Wol Euler: yep, pure testosterone idiocy
    Wol Euler: IMHO YMMV
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Just in case a bird ever flies over - it is done for !
    Wol Euler: but shots were being fired all the time, randomly, in mid-day
    Pila Mulligan: yep, I've lived in places like that
    Pila Mulligan: bom boom
    Calvino Rabeni: Runaway enthusiasm, perhaps :)
    Pila Mulligan: yep
    Pila Mulligan: probably testosterone poisoning too
    Wol Euler: mmhmm
    Calvino Rabeni: Well, as you might know, estrogen-like substances are an environmental poison now
    Wol Euler: O.O
    Pila Mulligan: in Kentucky my neighbors to the east, 100 yards away, were KKK members, they loved to shoot their shotguns all the time
    Calvino Rabeni: Wreaking havoc with animal life
    Pila Mulligan: someitmes I heard the tinkle of little pellets falling wodn on the roof
    Pila Mulligan: down*
    Calvino Rabeni: Actually, caffeine as a pollutant is not insignificant
    Wol Euler shakes her head
    Calvino Rabeni: Where was that Pila
    Pila Mulligan: rural Kentucky
    Calvino Rabeni: Ah, northern California could be the same
    Calvino Rabeni: Or anywhere rural in the USA
    Calvino Rabeni: Urban mind / rural mind
    Calvino Rabeni: Perhaps it doesn't sort out that way in Europe?
    Wol Euler: well, if you count Malta as Europe ...
    Wol Euler: and the Italians are also mad hunters of tiny birds
    Wol Euler: slaughtering multi-thousands on teh migration each year
    Calvino Rabeni: Does PaB have a representative from the rural / christian / gun / right-wing / conservative sector?
    Wol Euler laughs.
    Pila Mulligan: :
    Pila Mulligan: I can hnadle rural
    Wol Euler: there are a few christians too, but no fanatics that I know of
    Pila Mulligan: I had guns and hunted as a youth ... part of growing up in Kentucky ... but not for long thereafter
    Calvino Rabeni: The above slice does not necessarily identify with fanaticism
    Wol Euler: true, my prejudices are showing.
    Pila Mulligan: gun / right-wing / conservative usually infers fanatic to me
    Calvino Rabeni: An outsider's viewpoint
    Wol Euler: my dears, I must be going. It's nearly midnight.
    Wol Euler: take care, be happy, aim well
    Pila Mulligan: bye Wol, nice to see you
    Calvino Rabeni: Bye Wol
    Wol Euler: likewise, pila. always nice to see you again
    Pila Mulligan: one of my favorite lines form the environmental movement was a speaker criticizng a planning agency, he said they acted like 'ready, fire, aim'
    Calvino Rabeni: Cultural discussions would be brave new territory, still
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Pila Mulligan: I onder if Gen and Doug are going to continue their sustainaiblity topic
    Pila Mulligan: wonder*
    Pila Mulligan: that is a timely issue
    Calvino Rabeni: Given the degree it's beladen with various types of prejudices
    Calvino Rabeni: I hope they continue
    Calvino Rabeni: Part of the communication issue for that as well, is dealing with prejudices
    Calvino Rabeni: I don't know how much is reasonable to expect
    Pila Mulligan: well, to the degree that it canbe infromative it may be vlauable
    Pila Mulligan: even if it doe snot solve the problems
    Calvino Rabeni: I do know some groups that have "token" representatives of unpopular views
    Calvino Rabeni: Not sure - I tend to think the real conversations are about values rather than information
    Calvino Rabeni: All the information is available to everyone, abundantly
    Pila Mulligan: maybe the conversation would be informative even if it focussed on values
    Calvino Rabeni: Values determine what they regard as significant or even, true
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes I agree, that could be very valuable, if "bracketed"
    Pila Mulligan: I was happy to hear Ara refer to rain prayers
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes, same here
    Pila Mulligan: I've mentioned several times how ceremonies followed by rain are common her
    Pila Mulligan: here*
    Pila Mulligan: but it never seems to have any follow up --- to unreasoable maybe
    Calvino Rabeni: although there was a customary apology along with it
    Pila Mulligan: :)

    There was some private chat at this point, but the conversation soon resumed.

    Calvino Rabeni: BTW, how was the dream workshop today?
    Pila Mulligan: it was nice, lightly attended but fun
    Calvino Rabeni: What are the valuable aspects of it, do you think?
    Pila Mulligan: the dream workshop is a little looser in content than other Kira/Pab sessions -- it is topical, but dream are inherently lees strucutred
    Pila Mulligan: so the conversation is dreamier :)
    Calvino Rabeni: The Ways of Knowing workshop has entered a new phase
    Calvino Rabeni: Now that Stim is no longer with it
    Pila Mulligan: lease tell me about it, Cal
    Calvino Rabeni: So the new experiment is how well it will work on a peer basis
    Calvino Rabeni: At this initial stage it needed some kind of group focus
    Pila Mulligan: does the goup still meet Thursdays at Kira?
    Calvino Rabeni: It has moved to Sunday at 9AM SLT, still in the same place at kira cafe
    Pila Mulligan: has the group found a focus?
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes, for now, the lojong practice ideas
    Calvino Rabeni: are you familiar with them?
    Calvino Rabeni: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lojong
    Pila Mulligan: no
    Calvino Rabeni: This is another study in which some knowledge of history and language could help cut through cultural conditioning and get to a deeper level
    Calvino Rabeni: As is the case with the book of changes, there are various interpretations that have quite different emphases and significance
    Calvino Rabeni: Although forming one's own interpretation is at least as important as searching for any "authoritative" view
    Calvino Rabeni: But having a variety of interpretations can open one to the possibilities
    Pila Mulligan: is there homework?
    Calvino Rabeni: Informally - the homework is something like - contemplate this, and bring something to the next meeting"
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Calvino Rabeni: So it could be contemplative homework, while some people will "think" about it a bit
    Calvino Rabeni: Nothing yet in terms of practice
    Calvino Rabeni: However - I think that this area is a pretty advanced one in a lot of ways
    Calvino Rabeni: I suggested for next time, starting at line #1 of the whole thing
    Pila Mulligan: "First, train in the preliminaries."
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Clearly the teaching is a higher level one
    Calvino Rabeni: And it will be interesting to see what happens in a group that is mixed, with respect to "training in preliminaries"
    Calvino Rabeni: It is not the "101" of a spiritual tradition - more like grad school, in my opinion
    Calvino Rabeni: The aphorisms are not sources, but rather condensations of experience
    Pila Mulligan: is this the sole practice of the new group?
    Calvino Rabeni: At this time, it has no practice - it seems to be a discussion group using these items as something to spur a more general inquiry
    Calvino Rabeni: That is, the sayings are evocative
    Calvino Rabeni: And they aren't lines to read, but rather to "read between"
    Calvino Rabeni: Take item 5 for instance
    Calvino Rabeni: Stay in the primeval consciousness, the basis of everything.
    Calvino Rabeni: No instructions :)
    Pila Mulligan: I like "Stay in the primeval consciousness, the basis of everything"
    Calvino Rabeni: This information is all pragmatic and strategic
    Pila Mulligan: "Take all the blame yourself." sounds a little mascohistic
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Calvino Rabeni: And what do you think people might make of the next item -
    Calvino Rabeni: "Between meditations, treat everything as an illusion"
    Calvino Rabeni: It is clearly the followup to the previous one
    Pila Mulligan: "Don't worry – there's nothing real about your confusion." LOL
    Calvino Rabeni: That of course, will be misunderstood also
    Calvino Rabeni: But I like the kind of emotional level to this literature
    Pila Mulligan: "Don't be consistent" was something Gandhi often said about himself
    Pila Mulligan: he reserved the right to beinconsistent
    Pila Mulligan: here's a timely one
    Pila Mulligan: :Don't expect to profit from other people's misfortune.
    Pila Mulligan: a very practical one: Recognize your neurotic tendencies, overcome them, then transcend them.
    Calvino Rabeni: good one yes
    Calvino Rabeni: Also practical - "Understand your attachments, your aversions, and your indifference, and love them all."
    Pila Mulligan: nice ending: Don't expect any applause.
    Pila Mulligan: well, on that note, I think it is time for Pila to mow some grass, Calvino
    Pila Mulligan: although the grass will not applaud
    Pila Mulligan: it is necessary
    Calvino Rabeni: The grass grew up with ruminant animals, will probably like it
    Calvino Rabeni: See you later, Pila
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Pila Mulligan: bye for now, thanks for the chta
    Calvino Rabeni: YW
    Pila Mulligan: bye Yak, when you are there :)
    Calvino Rabeni: I'm off also, ditto Yaku-san
    Viewing 1 of 1 comments: view all
    Originally written on 13:59, 04 Feb 2010
    Wonderful report Ara. Would love to go to next Malta retreat:)))
    Posted 14:09, 9 Apr 2010
    Viewing 1 of 1 comments: view all
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