I was delighted to discover Newbold House this summer, and was fortunate enough to volunteer there for three weeks in August. Volunteering at Newbold was both a pleasure and a privilege. To me, it was a great pleasure to meet so many wonderful people and to work in such a healthy and respectful environment. Everyone that I met there, being the members of the community or volunteers, have inspired me somehow through their life stories and, particularly, their willingness to build a healthier global community, based on spiritual, ecological and sustainable principles. Similarly, it was a privilege to eat fresh fruits and vegetables cultivated in the gardens of Newbold House. Cultivating our own food is vitally important in a time when food is produced at industrial scale with toxic chemicals and then oddly wrapped in contaminating plastic. Rather than tasting artificial flavours, so common in our processed food system, at Newbold, the taste of freshness, care and love was appreciated in every meal.
Places like Newbold are living proof that we can live in harmony with nature and one another. By slowing down the pace of our frenetic and busy modern society, one can enjoy the simple pleasures of life, like walking through gardens while witnessing bees kissing flowers.
In the age of mass production and high-tech society, I constantly feel a need to return to the joy that exists in the simple pleasures of life, such as picking strawberries and raspberries in a still summer day. The strawberries’ beds and raspberries’ bushes, so carefully looked after by Martin and all the wonderful volunteers, made my days happier and sweeter. The art of picking berries turns out to be a perfect practice to connect with nature and the present moment, while developing gentle touch and an attentive mind. The berries are so delicate that one must be constantly attentive and have gentle hands so they don’t become a puree between one’s fingers. I discovered a deep joy in looking for berries behind green leaves, which awakened my mind in pure attention as my thoughts would dissolve in silence. I also noticed how easily and effortlessly the ripened berries would fall in my hands, just like sweet and free gifts offered by Mother Earth to satisfy our needs. It was always so insightful to perceive that when something is ready, no effort and force is needed. The experience of picking berries offered me the opportunity to connect with the wonders of Mother Earth as well as inner fields of joy and silence. I am very grateful to Newbold House for offering me the space for such connection.