Maitri visits Nayana, Prasado and Zena’s Farm and retreat place in Portugal.
It has only been a few years since I first met Osho. It happened in a bookshop in London. I was attracted to a book with the title Life, Love, Laughter – Celebrating your Existence, and when I picked it up and opened it, the very first words on the very first page read: “Seriousness is a kind of disease: it is the cancer of the soul…”
Aaaah – I found myself relaxing in the very core of my being.
Just a few weeks ago, there it was again – this much-longed-for experience of deep relaxation. This time it happened when I looked into the warm eyes of the young man, who had come to pick us up at the train station in Funcheira, to take us to the Over the Edge Farm. There it was again: Life, Love, Laughter. No seriousness in sight.
Over the Edge Farm is in the Alentejo region of Portugal, a wild and beautifuI corner of Europe that is little disturbed by the modern world. Here, three old-time Osho devotees have set up home with their horse herd and created a space for people to visit. A place where you can reconnect with yourself, through relaxation, beautiful nature, and meditations with horses. Osho meditations and qi gong are also an option.
I had felt myself slowly melting already when we were preparing our visit to the farm. The correspondence that I was having with Nayana was so friendly and welcoming and accommodating. I would be visiting the farm with my husband, who is rather new to this kind of retreat, and Nayana’s openness was very reassuring for him also:
“…I am sure we can suit you both. You can do as much or as little as you like. How many days are you thinking of? …And how do you envision your holiday? What do you like to do? Walk? Swim? Sit and watch the view? (All possible options ;)). Would you like to spend some time with the horses? Or do a horse or nature constellation? …Do you have anything special diet-wise? Anything you hate, or love or are allergic to? Do you like spicy food?”
Freedom and loving care. And good food. What more can you ask for?
Before we left for Portugal, our friends in Denmark would ask us, “So what exactly is it you’ll be doing down there?” “Well,” we would reply, a little hesitantly, “it’s something with horses and dogs, and meditation, and nature… And good food.”
And it was. And it was so much more than that, but the rest is difficult to describe. In fact, the rest is poetry.
However, I am not a poet – I only do prose. So please be aware that this little article cannot in any way render justice to the richness of our experience at Over the Edge Farm. I suggest you go yourself to check it out. It is well worth a visit!
We arrived at the farm towards the end of the day, just before dark, and Nayana was there to welcome us. Immediately, she took us on a quick tour of the camp so that we would be able to find our way around with our torches after dark. And what we saw was such a simple and practical and well-functioning camp. It has everything you need, and it’s all really beautifully cared for.
The two of us were staying in a tiny wooden cabin with our own private porch. From here, we had the most beautiful view over the valley, where the herd of horses could be seen grazing or enjoying their afternoon nap or bathing in the lake.
In the middle of the camp was the cantina, kitchen and communal room with a big porch with another fabulous view. Here, the three dogs would hang out – along with the two young cats. Friendly creatures, all of them – as welcoming and loving and full of fun as all the people we met. Here meals were cooked and enjoyed, along with lively conversations and lots of fun and laughter. Here, the stove was warm at the end of the day when the shrill and crispy evening air would drive us indoors.
One night, we had a dance on the porch. The people and the dogs and the cats. Before dinner. Because dancing after dinner was not really an option – Prasado’s food is simply too delicious to allow any dancing to take place afterwards.
Aaaah, Prasado’s food. And home-made chai tea. And home-baked ginger cookies. Baked with love for his darling Nayana, who graciously shared them with the rest of us. Nayana loves her ginger cookies…
And Nayana loves her horses. And she likes to share her love with the visitors. I had a very beautiful session with her and the herd of nine horses. It was very peaceful. A quiet exploration of energy moving and not moving. Of connection and oneness and presence. It was meditation. And love. It made me recall my many joyful hours with horses. Remembering. Re-membering. Including and integrating a very precious, but forgotten part of myself. I love being with horses.
I also love to look into myself and get to know more of myself, so when I found out that Moumina Jeffs would be around and was offering to do Nature Constellations and Horse Constellations, I decided to do a Nature Constellation, which was a very powerful and moving experience. And relaxed, at the same time.
All the time I was on the farm, I felt relaxed, open, and welcome.
As did my husband. While I was doing my sessions, he was admiring the ingenuity of the whole place. Prasado’s smart and skilful construction solutions, the care that was everywhere to be found in practical, simple, beautiful details. And, like me, he was enjoying the very good company that we were in. Prasado’s wonderful stories from an incredibly rich and exciting life, his loving banter, his wisdom, his friendship.
In fact, friendship was everywhere to be enjoyed. Between people, between animals, between people and animals. The surroundings were also very friendly. It was April, and there were flowers everywhere. An incredible variety of beautiful shapes and colors. Friendly green hills inviting us to take a walk. The friendly sound of horses shuffling and gently snorting. Friendly birds singing and doing their acrobatics in the air. A friendly nudge from a friendly dog. A friendly neighbor stopping by with a delicious freshly-baked apple pie.
The friendship is what made the biggest impact: Life, Love, Laughter. Looking back, we are both full of awe at these people and what they have created in the beautiful middle of fantastic nowhere. And we’re full of gratitude that they choose to share it with us. We look forward to our next visit to Over the Edge Farm. It is definitely a Place to Be.
There will be a Summer Solstice ReNewU with Moumina (18-22 June 2019)
Article by Maitri (Hanne Bühl)
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Osho and Horses: the Light on my Path – Nayana talks about how horseback riding and horse training can lead to centring, connectedness and self-awareness