The experience of “Experience Week” at Findhorn Foundation

What is it?

The Findhorn Foundation is at the centre of a community of 500+ people who support the vision of making a better world, starting within. They run workshops, conferences and events to enable people to be the best versions of themselves. Therefore be the change they want to see in the world. It is near the town of Forres, near Inverness in North East Scotland.
The community values are;
  • Inner listening
  • Work is Love in Action
  • Co-creation with the intelligence of nature
It started quite by accident back in 1962. The founders never meant to start a charity, a community, an education centre, become an eco village, start the Global Eco Village Network, or inspire people to come to a wild and beautiful part of north west Scotland from all over the world. And that’s just the surface of it all.

Findhorn Beach, a beautiful place, the rainbow was an extra bonus.

How I found out about it

I had finally got myself booked on an Action for Happiness 8 week “Exploring what matters” course in January 2018. Something I had wanted to do for ages but dates, diaries and location had not worked out. One of the course volunteer leaders had been to Findhorn. It was one of her inspirations that she talked of most fondly.

Why I wanted to go

I love the wild beauty and countryside of Scotland so the location was instantly attractive. A community living in harmony with nature, the eco standards of the buildings, the community value of co-creating with nature, and the Permaculture gardens really spoke to me. Experience Week is the introduction course that I needed to complete prior to attending most of the other courses.

The gardeners shed entrance

I dismissed it due to the resources it would take to go. It wasn’t so much I didn’t have the resources if I really wanted them, it was that I didn’t think I deserved it. Although I didn’t realise this at the time. I showed the website to my husband, Chris, as an interesting curiosity and didn’t think much else about it. But, he realised how good for me it would be to go and arranged for a contribution from himself and other relatives for my 40th birthday present. He sat me down and worked out which course date would be suitable. Helped me to write the application letter when I didn’t know what to write. Booked me cheap 1st class tickets so I would be comfortable, have WiFi and tea, its a 9 hour trip. Took up my responsibilities so I would be able to truly switch off and commit to the event. Suddenly I was going and I was terrified. We also realised that quite by accident we had not been apart for 8 days in a row for 17 years!

What I felt worked for me

  • I went alone, most people seem to.
  • Not finding out online too much about the exact programme of activities was a huge blessing. That’s why this post does not talk about exactly what I did. You have to trust.
  • Layers were important as it can get cold outside and warmer inside. I was glad to have thermals and walking boots for the outside activities.
  • I was open minded.
  • Attending in autumn when the group numbers were lower and the communal spaces quieter was perfect for me.
  • My group of severn, and the two facilitators, were exactly the right people for me to be on this course with.
  • I participated to the edge of my comfort zone, and beyond, when I could.
  • Writing a journal helped me to take in, and process, all of the experiences.
  • Severely limiting my contact with the outside world to a night time check in (by text only) with Chris really helped me focus on what was happening at the course without distractions.
  • I took a watch so I didn’t have to use my phone for time keeping and be tempted to take if off aeroplane mode.
  • The week was planned so my normal responsibilities were being taken care of by others. The days are full, and I found, for me, being in the bubble was part of the process.
  • My knitting project enabled me to relax and switch my brain off for a bit in the few times I did find some quiet time. I needed a good variety of activities for the train journey anyway!

Stunning art all over the building, this was one of my favourites.

What I got out of it

  • Realising that to be the best I can be, and help others, I have to take time to develop, and look after myself.
  • The values of the mainstream society I live in are not mine, and I don’t have to try to live up to them.
  • I am braver than I thought and can continue to be so.
  • My spiritual journey has been going on much much longer than I would have recognised before this experience.
  • A deeper understanding of my way of being, and focus on changes I wish to make.
  • Lots of of other things I am connected with suddenly make more sense.
  • With the right guidance, and environment, our group connected, and helped each other, in the most amazing ways.
  • Findhorn Park, and the site I was at Cluny Hill, are magical places. But this is something you can only truly understand once you have been there.

Cluny Hill, a converted Victorian spa hotel.

So should everyone go to Findhorn?

No! This post is not to encourage everyone to go. It’s not a holiday camp. It’s hard work, but for me it came along at the right time, when I was in the right place in my journey to take it in. The right place to participate, to give part of myself to my group and to the energy of Cluny Hill. But what I got in return was pretty intense, it will take me months to digest and fully integrate into my life and relationships. I am very much looking forward to the challenge of this. I know I have the support around me, both in Chris, existing friendships networks and my Findhorn friends to do this.
If what I have written resonates with with you then check out the Findhorn website and see what you think. Only you can know. If not, I hope you have enjoyed reading about my adventure.

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