When I’m not resorting to sensational, misleading headlines to get more blog readers, I’m often somewhere in the world, sharing the practice of kirtan.
Last weekend was no exception. My Dad and I were invited to come and lead a kirtan retreat on the beautiful, 22 acre island called Inisrath in Northern Ireland. The island is home to an old Victorian mansion that was converted into a Krishna temple in the 1980s, and is also now a regular venue for retreats, run by Tim and the rest of the Lake Isle retreats team.
We left London on Friday – me without my violin. That’s where the losing an arm part comes in. I haven’t travelled without it for a good few years, but thanks to Ryanair, who are one of the only airlines in the world that require you to buy an extra seat for a small musical instrument, I left it gently weeping at home. After arriving at our destination and taking a barge over to the island, we spent the next couple of days introducing the practice of meditation, chanting and sacred music to a lively group of Irish locals. Though most of them had never experienced it before, they took part with gusto in breathing exercises, singing, dancing, trying out instruments and exploring the basics of bhakti yoga philosophy.
Father Harrison, on the barge along with the daily flower run for the temple worship.
Onto the island…
I’ve heard the Irish know how to have fun, and as this lot belted out ‘Govinda Jaya Jaya’ and ‘Hare Krishna’ at the top of their lungs, before dancing around the room, I realised it was true.
It was fun to run it with my Dad too. We haven’t done much as a team, and I was surprised to find we got a good flow going together – passing back and forth the speaking and leading of the chanting sessions.
If you’d like to find out more about Lake Isle Retreats, visit their website here.
Home again – there’s only one way to get back…well, unless you swim.
Fire in the Irish sunset.