New Zealand with SMS teacher Arnaud Coquillard
27 January – 2 February 2020
Waiheke, this gentle island with all the slow pace, warmth and enjoyment of life’s pleasures found in the Shire, it’s no wonder Peter Jackson filmed the Hobbit village in Coromandel, just across the water.
Three Aussies (Lynne, Jenny, Pamela) and seven Kiwi’s (Alastair, Paora, Kathy, Lin, Katy, Kattia, Wendy) gathered at Alastair Gager’s place for a week of retreat. The haka welcome and farewells were moving, strong and kindly. Led by French-Aussie Arnaud Coquillard, and our ever-present Rinpoche, there were sessions of light, flowing Guruyoga, sessions of study to understand the View, sessions of Semzins to develop Clarity, sessions of dancing Khalongdorjekar, coordinating energy and love, and learning to sing more precisely. We did personal and group study, and saw the vital link between study and practice, developing our understanding with our experiences of Presence and Awareness and Clarity. One must reflect. One must connect. One must let go. Gratitude.
With the marvellous hospitality of the local Dzogchenpas, we Aussies felt welcome, accepted, safe and cared for. We loved the fine food – honey, olives, herbs from Alastair’s land, fish, scallops and mussells from the local waters, great produce all round. We revelled in the clean air, pleasant outings and fine beaches. We swam with Paora’s kids and horses. We had time to visit the ‘man-cave’ of Paora Toiterangiuaia, one of NZ’s most well known sculptors.
The week was full of gentleness, laughter, stories, beauty, comfort and generosity. We’ll go again. You should come.