Friday 24th February 2017

Last Saturday marked another milestone in my life, I turned 26.

Yes, it is official I am an “Adult” and not a “Young Adult”.

To mark this transition to adulthood, I celebrated it at a silent retreat.

A completely different way to celebrate a birthday, my previous celebrations have mostly ended in a night out full of booze and a deep feeling of not truly enjoying myself.

Interestingly last year I decided after my birthday to travel alone to Turkey and this trip earmarked my growth from a young boy who used to play around into a man who questioned his actions and saw his wrongs.

Sometimes taking time out for yourself can do you a wealth of good, especially if you are like me and turn off all forms of contact including mobile phone and social media.

Now this year the timing of my birthday didn’t allow me to fly away but I was gifted with the opportunity to make a return to Gaia House.
Now this place is my happy place, I went last year and fell in love with its nature and its beauty. You will see the bunny rabbits hopping around, birds flying, and the many different variations of trees.

My arrival with sounded by the birds of Gaia House singing and spreading the word “Anton is home”.
It’s amazing to think other young people as young as 16 years old come together to sit in silence but also to gain an insight and knowledge around the world of mindfulness and meditation.
You are advised to arrive early as it gives you the opportunity to talk to the other students before the silence begins.
The silence is signaled by a gong, and this is when you become in tune with your body, you start to notice those aches in your muscles and your general tiredness. Believe or not but as “Young People” we were calling for our bed by 9 pm.

Your time at Gaia house is split between teaching and meditation practices such as sitting/working and house work.
My favourite time is just after lunch because you are given around two hours to yourself, you have no idea what the time but you find yourself just soaking up the outdoor space with the sun rays shining on you with zero distraction and being truly present.

In this space, you can relive, reflect life in general, my journey between 25 and 26 has been fantastic, I’ve learned so much about myself, been hungry to learn and improve and applied them on a daily basis.

I smiled a million times at Gaia House, everything felt perfect and left me with the thought – “what a way to spend your birthday – Happy Birthday to me”