Browsed by
Author: Raj

Rajesh sees Poulstone as a refuge in a fast-moving world and is inspired by guests leaving Poulstone renewed and re-centred. He regards the energy of Poulstone to be perfect for retreats and manages Poulstone to maintain and sustain this energy. Rajesh has been attending retreats for a very long time and occasionally runs meditation retreats. He was introduced into the many different faiths of India including Hinduism, Sikhism, Christianity, Sufism and Buddhism from a very early age. These faiths have formed a large part of his upbringing. He is a barrister by profession specialising in human rights from Chambers in London. He is also a humanitarian and environmentalist and has worked with and founded organisations around the world whose objectives include the rejuvenation of land, communities and promoting human rights. He also founded the first Indian vegetarian restaurant in Worcestershire with his family. His joys include cooking, gardening, playing the sitar, reading Eastern philosophy and loves being with his family and friends.
Quiet and golden

Quiet and golden

All very quiet and autumnal here as we approach the end of the year.  We have the second of three silent retreats in (http://theartofmeditation.org/) who complete the Poulstone year for 2013.  The house feels lovely – quiet and focussed and still.

Outside everything is wonderfully golden.  The cherry tree in the walled garden and the beeches are glorious at the moment!  Leaf raking will begin in earnest soon and Gail is also tidying up the veg plot, removing courgette plants and nasturtiums that have finally succumbed to the first frosts.  Steve has taken up the dahlias for storing and done some general tidying around the garden.  We thought you might enjoy a few autumn photos from around the garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Much love

Mel & Steve

Poulstone Court Retreat Centre

Apples & pears, and all things shamanic

Apples & pears, and all things shamanic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So another busy time since last writing.  Unusually, we have had three shamanic groups in one after another.  Manda Scott re-joined us in early October for one of her advanced courses (http://mandascott.co.uk/).  Manda is also a prolific author and writes under the name M.C.Scott for her historical novels.  Do take a look at her website to find out more.  She’s particularly well-known for her series on Boudica.

Her group was followed by Jonathan Horwitz’s Peace and Power retreat which was with us until last Sunday.  A much-loved Poulstone regular, Jonathan is resident in Southern Sweden but comes to Poulstone annually in the autumn, usually with a course for advanced students.  (http://www.shamanism.dk/).  (One of Jonathan’s students, Faith Nolton, created the beautiful picture above.  See her website for more images and downloadable pictures, http://www.soulgardens.co.uk/).

A few days off and Jan Adamson and Desiree Emery will be joining us with their shamanic group until Sunday.  We greatly enjoy having all four teachers and their groups here. Respect and gratitude seem to shine out of these groups and we feel that the land and nature around Poulstone benefits from the work that the groups do here.  It’s wonderful seeing trees and plants and creatures receiving a deeper kind of attention than the every day.

In the garden we’ve been busy harvesting our apples and pears, and enjoyed the final pear-picking yesterday in blazing sunshine.  We even had lunch outside!  Then we took a van-load of pears and apples up to Ragman’s Lane Farm for juicing (http://www.ragmans.co.uk).  We shall look forward to collecting our bottles of juice next week and sitting and labelling bottles for the shop.  We’ve also been picking the last of the plums from the trees on the drive for freezing.  At the other end of the journey, Gail has been planting our garlic for next year which is always a nice job at this time of year.  There’s still plenty of produce in the garden – the courgette plants are still going for it, the carrots are tender and tasty and we have oodles of greens coming through.

Today has been torrential rain which is rather perfect weather for getting the house ready and doing the book-keeping!

Time to get back to work!

Much love, Mel & Steve

Poulstone Court Retreat Centre

Too busy to blog!

Too busy to blog!

We do seem to have packed a lot into the last couple of weeks.  Burg’s meditation group (http://theartofmeditation.org/) went out last Wednesday, Clare Gennon and Richard Farmer’s Metatronic Healing weekend came in on the Friday (http://www.metatronic-life.com/) – and Burgs returned for his seven day retreat on the Monday!  Phew! Interestingly, these quick changeovers, which are very frequent these days, seem to get easier and easier as we get more used to doing them and trust more that everything will fall into place if we just stay quietly engaged with what needs to happen.  Anyway, Burgs’ retreat is now in till next Monday so a chance to catch our breath!

Steve has taken a bit of time off recently, roaming the Brecon Beacons with a back pack.  He’s come back looking very aired and extremely bearded!  He’s been easing back into work with some mowing and mending, and cleaning all the outside windows of the house now that the swallows and martins have finally left their nests in the eaves (making it now worth doing!).

We continue to be inundated with produce.  Hilary has been using up some courgettes that we accidentally let grow to marrows, spinach and chard, turning it into delicious minted pea, spinach and courgette soup.  A wonderful colour as well as taste!  Not quite time to pick the apples but we continue to freeze the windfalls for puddings next year.  We’ve been juicing windfall pears too which make a beautifully tasty, sweet juice.

There’s still a fair bit of colour in the garden – pink, orange and yellow dahlias, cosmos in various pinks and whites, nasturtiums, heleniums…..Today’s so warm, you can hardly believe autumn is here.

Well, time to turn our attention to next week’s menus and collect up today’s windfalls,

More soon!

Much love

Mel & Steve

Poulstone Court Retreat Centre

Harvest time

Harvest time

The apple-fest continues in amongst our other jobs.  Gemma is becoming a dab hand with the rotary apple peeler.  We are also picking plums, mulberries and damsons.  The two plum trees donated by Spectrum Psychotherapy’s Women in the World group have yielded the first fruit we can pick from the new trees.  They have a very nice flavour and we have frozen this first harvest so the group can enjoy them in a crumble or almond sponge pudding when they come in November.  Our squash harvest is a little disappointing – only six (admittedly pretty large) squash from 10 plants!  Ah well, they are very beautiful and there’s something quite magical about them even if there aren’t very many.  Recent groups have also been able to enjoy home-grown rocket, beetroot, spinach and chard, kale, dwarf beans and potatoes.

We are probably saying goodbye to our sweet peas now as autumn arrives – we’ll be picking our last nostalgic few bunches before the first frosts arrive.  The dahlias are now coming into their own and will take their place in posies on the dining tables during the autumn.

The Reiki Gathering enjoyed their stay last weekend and we hope we shall see them here again.  On Monday we were joined by Ruhani Satsang (http://www.ruhanisatsangusa.org) and are greatly enjoying the silence and feeling of peace that their meditation practice is bringing to the house.  Many of them have been students of their Master Sant Kirpal Singh (deceased) since the 1970s and meet annually to meditate and listen to discourses, travelling from Europe, Canada and America.  It’s very inspiring to see such devotion to their practice.  They will be departing tomorrow and we will be joined the following day by another silent retreat with Burgs (http://theartofmeditation.org/).  So pretty busy for us today and tomorrow!

More soon!

Warm wishes

Mel & Steve

Poulstone Court Retreat Centre

Newton has nothing on us!

Newton has nothing on us!

Apples are dropping off the trees as we speak!  Gemma, Gail and Mel collected and prepared the first batch for the freezer a couple of days ago.  Whilst most of the apples aren’t quite ready yet for picking, it feels great not to waste the windfalls.  The pears that have fallen however are too tiny really to be worth using so they will go to the compost and delight the wasps. Large drunken parties of wasps can already be seen in their pear dens!

We said goodbye to James Reeves and his Bliss Divine Yoga group (http://www.blissdivineyoga.co.uk/) on Sunday afternoon.  It was their first visit to Poulstone and we greatly enjoyed having them here.  They will be revisiting us next summer and James’ groups are open to the general public so do have a look at his site or our courses page if you’re interested.  It was nice to have some guests from the Hereford and Welsh borders area with us, even though James is based in Oxford.

We’ve now had a few days to do some gardening and gear ourselves up for the rest of the month (we are now back-to-back till 3rd October!).  Gail has been getting up to date with a few jobs in the veg patch – digging up spuds and having a general tidy.  After all the lovely warm, dry weather we’ve been having, Mel diligently watered all the flower beds in the parched garden last night – before a night of rain!  Should have checked the forecast!

The Reiki Community Gathering are with us from this afternoon.  Also a new group to us, we are looking forward to welcoming them.

That’s about it for now.  More soon!

Mel & Steve

Poulstone Court Retreat Centre

Work Retreat 2013!

Work Retreat 2013!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A wonderful work retreat again this year and despite some showers, the weather was very kind to us.  The volunteers have completely weeded the garden, re-laid the wood chip path in the veg plot, re-gravelled the fairy circle and the seating area outside the group room windows, turned the compost, cleared cherry stones and leaves from the stone garden, weeded and tidied the kitchen yard and courtyard, replanted the hanging baskets, picked, de-stoned and frozen the plums, picked the blackcurrants for freezing, dug out various large invasive plants, removed the ivy that was choking the holly hedge, duvet covers mended, drawer liners made and much much more!

It was lovely working, eating and living together for the week – lots of fun and laughter and time to relax around Poulstone.  We had story telling one evening and singing, and Ian Jarvis gave us a talk on the invaluable work going on in Bhopal, India where he has been working (http://www.spineworks.eu/en/3-months-in-bhopal.html for anyone interested in learning more).

Thank you everyone for such a great week and all your hard work.  Here are some of you in action!

 

 

 

 

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Visit: http://flickr.com/gp/53580005@N08/8ESEGa/ for more pictures!

Much love, Mel & Steve

Poulstone Court Retreat Centre

Butterflies

Butterflies

There are so many Peacock butterflies on the buddleias in the kitchen yard that we couldn’t resist posting this lovely photograph.  She let Mel take several photos before fluttering away.
More soon!

Mel & Steve

Poulstone Court Retreat Centre

Oodles of produce!

Oodles of produce!

 The veg garden is really flourishing with the rain coming after so much warmth.  The blackcurrants need picking so we’re hoping for some dry days to get on with that again. The squash are beginning to get big enough to net on the garden wall, the courgettes are epidemic and Gail has just harvested our first lot of white onions this year.  Our cyclists last week enjoyed oodles of spinach, kale, mixed leaves, rocket, beetroot, courgettes, chard and blackcurrants from the garden.  They went out every day even when it was rainy and were rewarded with a couple of beautiful dry days towards the end of the week.

We now have our Holotropic Breathwork group arriving tonight, led by Marianne Murray and Michael Harris.  For information about their work, see http://www.grof-holotropic-breathwork.net/profile/MarianneMurray.  Marianne has been coming to Poulstone annually for many years and we always enjoy having the group here.  The forecast is fair for the week so we hope they have a chance to enjoy the gardens between breathwork sessions.  The grass is beginning to recover from its prairie-like state of a few weeks ago!!

Well, time for a bit of tea before the welcome talk!

More soon x  Stay dry!

Mel & Steve

Poulstone Court Retreat Centre

Bees, Tai ji and a whole lot of lycra!

Bees, Tai ji and a whole lot of lycra!

We’ve had three bee swarms in the last couple of months and on the last occasion, Steve managed to get close enough for a photograph.  It’s wonderful to see wild honey bees thriving like this and we can easily give them a wide berth until they fly off to make their new nest.  The noise is tremendous and it’s quite an interesting sight to see them clustered together like this:  

It’s been really hot and sunny here now for weeks and Alec Jones’s Dragon Spring Tai Ji school (http://www.dragonspringtaiji.co.uk/index.htm) was with us last weekend, enjoying being able to play their forms and do their exercises outside.  Their practices included cane and fan forms which were lovely to watch.  After dark one evening we kept hearing a cracking sound on the tennis lawn and eventually realised it was the crack of the fans being opened and shut!  Two of the students were kind enough to let Steve photograph them whilst they practised their fan form.

 Meanwhile, the final touches to the stone garden have been happening.  Some sempervivum plants have been nestled in amongst the rocks and look rather good against the stone.  

As the weather has cooled off a bit and some rain has finally come, we now have a lot of lycra around the place with the very wonderful Bicycle Beano vegetarian cycling holiday.  These guys laugh in the face of British weather and bring a lovely homely and communal atmosphere to the place.  Jane Barnes and Rob Green have been running these holidays for years and attract a really great crowd of people.  They always enjoy themselves whatever the weather.  If you’re ever tempted, their website is http://www.bicycle-beano.co.uk/.

That’s all from us!  More soon!
Mel & Steve
Poulstone Court Retreat Centre
Thoughts and reflections……it’s all about power….

Thoughts and reflections……it’s all about power….

This post Jonathan Horwitz writes for us about power as seen through the eyes of a shaman.

He writes:

“Power is such a loaded word, and for many of us, when we hear the word “power”, it evokes a fear response. We think of the misuses of power, perhaps times when we have felt overwhelmed by how others have used power over us, or we feel engulfed by images in the media showing the destructive effects of power.

This view of power can often lead to fear. Power seems strong, controlling, forceful. It can leave us feeling as if there is too much power around us and we need to protect ourselves so we don’t get hurt. The sad thing about this is that we end up protecting ourselves so much that we shut life out. The only thing that protection does is build a thin shell around us, giving us an illusion of security by separating us from our surroundings and even ourselves.

But we are a part of the whole. There is no separation except for the barriers we put up around ourselves, and even those barriers are an illusion.

To cultivate another attitude to power, it can  be more helpful to think of it as “life force” – the power we need to stay alive, to be full of vitality, to help us meet daily challenges. This is not something we want to shut out! Instead of protection, we can ask for help to fill ourselves with the power we need. Then when you meet challenging or frightening situations, you do not retreat into a shell, but are more able to stand on your own two feet and face what is coming towards you. To do this, the shaman calls on the Spirit Power of the Universe. Essentially, the shamanic work I do is teaching people how to connect to this power so we have the energy we need to live life fully.

Power, like any energy, is not meant to be static or stored – it is meant to move and flow. If we feel we need more energy in our lives, the best thing to do is open ourselves to the Power of the Universe and let it flow through us. There is so much help around us all the time, if only we remember how to open and connect. A truly remarkable aspect of Power – not as controlling force but as vital energy – is that the more we share it, the stronger it gets. The more you allow it to move through you, rather than trying to hold on to it, the more the power can energise and support both you and others.

Power is in all that exists, and if  we fill ourselves with it there is no need for protection because we have all we need. We are made of the Power of the Universe. We forget this, but when we know it, we can step into life with an open heart, steady feet and power in our hands”.

Jonathan has been teaching shamanism in the UK and Europe for over 25 years, including many courses held at Poulstone. He lives with his partner, Zara, in southern Sweden and we feel very fortunate to have him visit us each year to teach.  He will be holding an advanced shamanic retreat called “Peace & Power” here from 9-13 October 2013. For more information, you can visit http://www.shamanism.dk/ or visit the courses page of our website: http://www.poulstone.com/courses.php?pageNum_rsCalendar=1&totalRows_rsCalendar=17