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Learning from other cultures- without travelling.

Updated: Oct 6, 2021

This year, like other people, I had a trip overseas planned. I love to travel to new places, meet new people, learn new things.

My 2021 trip was just across the Tasman to New Zealand to run a fieldwork session with scientists, a part of my PhD in Natural History Illustration. First it was postponed from 2020 and then with the travel bubble opened- hopeful, only to close due to the recent Delta covid outbreak. So I withdrew. No travelling for me this year.

While working on my PhD, I come across lots of interesting ideas, mostly about nature and our relationship with it (since this is core to my work). But, there are also other paths to go down- sometimes they feel like rabbit warrens. It is a challenge to decide which ones are worthwhile.

Today as I sat at home, under lockdown, researching, reading, writing, by some roundabout process I found "203 Most Beautiful Untranslatable Words" which inspired me.

Put together by Michele 'The Intrepid Guide' who offers: Language Learners for Travellers & Heritage Learners, this appealed to me, the one who couldn't travel. They really are beautiful words.

One that caught my attention was a Bulgarian word: "Ailyak, the subtle art of doing everything calmly and without rushing, whilst enjoying the experience and life in general."

Once I rushed around 'doing' a lot, often with an air of busy-ness, perhaps even frantically. These days my pace has slowed. While we are busy with Fosterton Retreat, the land, the dreams, hosting guests, keeping abreast of compliance, etc, etc (we say it complicated our lives in a good way), we also try to keep more in rhythm with the natural cycles, the seasons, and the land.

  • Listening for the koalas, walking to find them and marvel at them,

  • Watching which birds are around this time of year,

  • Enjoying the wallabies feeding, any new joeys,

  • Walking a labyrinth,

  • Playing a game,

  • Wandering on a track we haven't walked for a while,

  • Noticing new plants or plants in flower we hadn't seen before,

  • Sitting on the verandah at sunset and reflecting on the day.

Now NSW is opening up again, once again there will more happening: time with the grandchildren, wider family, friends.

All the while practising this subtle art, being present and enjoying the experience, the moment and life in general- Ailyak.


5 October 2021

About the authors:

We are both practicing artists with decades of experience in creativity. Through our interests, passions and work we also have experience in developing creative and interactive practices which feed your soul, with the aims of facilitating spiritual and personal growth. We are parents and grandparents and have both been community workers, pastors, and counsellors. We like to help people in their quest to find a greater depth, meaning, peace and enjoyment in life. We also like to facilitate opportunities to deepen people's self-awareness and sense of being by nurturing their soul, strengthening their connections with nature and the divine.

Max has training in: Choice Theory, Spiritual Direction, Labyrinth Facilitation and years in Welfare, Bronwyn has training in Choice Theory, The Enneagram, a Bachelor of Natural History Illustration and is currently a PhD candidate & in Spiritual Direction formation.

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