5336French-British Joy Day
- Jul 18, 2004Here is some news of the latest French-British Joy-Weekend. It took
place in Lee Valley near Cheshunt, just north of London, and a
monumental 105 people attended! We took over an entire hostel
consisting of brand new purpose-built Swiss-style chalets on the
side of a lake. Oxford Centre did a fantastic job of organising
everything so efficiently, and made it an abundantly full, soul-
stirringly inspiring and fabulously fun time for all. Thanks again
for everything Oxford!
On Saturday night we had a meditation followed by each person
reading out one of Sri Chinmoy's aphorisms, then we all sang
together some of the Bengali songs that Sri Chinmoy composed
recently. After prasad, Sanjaya treated us to a video of Sri
Chinmoy's recent visit to Slovenia. I found it so overwhelming to be
in a room with so many from France, England, Ireland, Scotland and
Wales. It always feels so special when we can all get together. I
felt so proud of our Centres and how all the amazing and beautiful
qualities of each person come together in one place to make such a
divinely powerful family feeling.
In the morning we had a beautiful, peaceful hour-long meditation
incorporating performances from various singing groups. It was such
a luxury to have a place all to ourselves out in the country.
Somehow having that many people meditating in one room early in the
morning, and the peaceful surroundings, made such a tangible
stillness and timelessness. Add to that the soulful performances of
Sri Chinmoy's music ....et voila...Heaven!
Then there was a two-mile race through the woods surrounding the
lake. It was so encouraging to be in such a big race. As it was an
out-and-back course, and I was somewhere towards the back, I felt
the benefit of the faster runners speeding past me on the other side
of the path, which gave me extra inspiration! Everyone seemed
delighted when they finished, as practically everyone got a personal
best two- mile time. The glory only lasted a few seconds until each
person realised everyone was saying the same, so that meant the
course must be a little less than two miles! Still, that moment of
joy was nice while it lasted.
After a proper full English breakfast we had an auction to raise
money to support Abichal running the 3100 mile race. Sanjaya's
performance as auctioneer was most commendable - an experience not
to be missed! I think he missed his vocation! The whole thing was so
entertaining with Sanjaya talking nineteen to the dozen, throwing in
comments about the bidders and the items as he went along. Richard
F. starred as the porter, holding up the donated items and trying to
present them in an appealing way, but with Sanjaya scolding him if
he ran them down too much. What a hilarious comedy double-act. It
was also really touching to think that the whole group was having so
much fun while supporting our heroic brother out there running 3100
Sanjaya then entertained us further with videos of Ashrita's recent
World Records - stomach crunches and hula-hooping. Also a beautiful
video of Sri Chinmoy talking fondly about Sudhahota Carl Lewis.
Free-time came next, when we all did various things such as walking
to the historic Waltham Abbey, playing games (football as usual in
the men's case), and other fun things. Then there was a short
meditation followed by a bountiful and delicious lunch. In the
afternoon there were more games. The women had a gripping game of
giant Jenga. For anyone who is not familiar with it, there is a
tower of wooden blocks, and each person takes it in turn to remove a
block and place it on the top. The tower therefore gets higher but
less stable as the game goes on. There were many furrowed brows and
rounds of applause after each hair-raising turn! Luckily no injuries
were sustained by the participants or the spectators.....
That's about it. The main thing was that we were all together, which
always gives us so much joy and inspiration. Thank you to all my
French, British and Irish brothers and sisters for being there and
for being so great and so awesomely inspiring!
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