It feels like a new surge of energy when you realise where you were supposed to be hours ago is just over that next hill. In spite of the boost to the spirit, my body was just as weak getting up there. We threw down our bags, received loving hugs and were ushered to the welcome tent to have hot chai and kind words. After sitting down, getting back up again was a very hard feat but we could hear the main fire just up from us calling out for dinner and so we wandered up slowly, set up our tents and piled on the clothing.
The mountain is freezing during the night, but the moon reflecting on the snow is worth it.
Everyone here just takes you in. They might not need to acknowledge you or say hello, but you don’t get any resistance either. You’re there and so you’re part of the family.
We were called for dinner (“Food circle, now!) which includes singing around the fire and putting intention into your meal. Then everyone sits and waits patiently while servers come around with the big pot and and give you a scoop of what’s going.
Some people might not have a bowl. So we share. Some might not finish their amount and pass it on, or share with another person because the other person is still hungry. It’s appreciated, but it’s not compulsory. I can see why they call it family here.
I looked around at all these giving people and with every time I received something I had a passing feeling of surely I am not deserving enough for all of this generosity. Then I find myself sharing my food on the hike, sitting and fixing someone’s dreads for hours, and sharing my own bowl with someone who had none. It is so easy to give and share that sometimes you don’t realise you’re doing it.
When I have an experience, there’s always some things I take away from it and some things I leave behind. With Rainbow, I’m happy to leave behind the “living bush” concept. I love camping and being in nature, but I still really love my bed, a hot shower and a good house. Humans have progressed to living the way we do for a reason, when we have all our basic needs cared for, we are given space to create beautiful things. I do recommend experiencing the “living off the land” life so that you can really appreciate just how much we have.
One thing I will take away that I think people can find value in is the sharing concept and the open minded concept.
The sharing concept is related to the authentic generosity of the place. If there was a pack of biscuits going around and there is not enough, one person will happily split their already one small piece to ensure that everyone gets something. You need a place to sleep and a stranger will offer half their space. I often found myself in the chai tent, leaning on someone while someone else leaned on me. I would apologise for being up in someone’s space because I was using their warmth and they would return with a thank you because they were super cold too and this was the way of the community.
If we can be generous with barely anything, why are we not more generous with more things? More to give? We really do not need as much as we’re afraid to lose.
The other thing is the open minds. Anything goes. Even if you were to see something that you might never do, you accept it and allow that person to be who they want to be without judgement. It takes me back to “hippie mindset”, just incorporating full acceptance which I always appreciate in people.
Aside from that, the mountains were grand, the space was beautiful. I would have had pictures but my camera battery died and so I missed probably some of the most beautiful photography, but I also feel it was like my own personal treasure. Something I didn’t need to capture but just to be in the presence of and that is enough. And it also encourages you lot who I haven’t bored with my writing yet to go out and see this magnificent place for yourself. Parvati Valley really is a gem.
After three nights I was ready to come back down to a bed and a hearty meal at Tushar’s, next plan was Kheer Ganga hot springs.
Luckily, some of these beautiful photos were taken for me to share by some of the others at the gathering;
Courtesy of David
Courtesy to Hamutal Nahmani
I hardly imagine you would be disappointed with the loving kindness displayed at Rainbow, but just incase you are, there’s the view to make up for it.