I arrived on the island with no prior knowledge of Edie’s teaching; my mother had recommended attending, having deeply benefited from a previous course on the island, led by Lama Rinchen Palmo.
Edie is a wonderfully grounded teacher, whose honesty and humour helped us all feel at ease remarkably quickly; like Ringu Tulku she combines a natural spiritual authority with a warmth and generosity, and her teachings were incredibly valuable. The group sessions, particularly the visualisation sessions, developed in tandem with Akong Rinpoche, and the work we did on the six syllable mantra was particularly enriching. The Tara Rokpa sessions helped unlock creative pathways that had long creaked shut, and suddenly I found that I was writing poetry for the first time in years. These sessions have also helped me approach the music that I make with a greater clarity of purpose, and a feeling of being grounded.
Now settled back into the hustle and bustle of everyday existence, I remain deeply grateful to have marked the changing of the years in this manner, in such good company. I am particularly grateful for the way the course focused on working with mindfulness within the workaday world; for me the sessions struck a very healthy balance between the practical (top tips for negotiating technology) and the theoretical, making the step back into day-to-day life less troubling than it might otherwise have been.
Although everyone on the island was on their own personal journey, there was a rich fellow-feeling between the retreatants. Since leaving the island I have really enjoyed meeting up with some of the Glasgow crew, and hope to see more of the group over the months to come.
Rollo Strickland is a Glasgow-based freelancer and songwriter, who volunteers with various music in the community initiatives.
Two paths had led me to the Holy Island New Year retreat. One started when I visited Arran for the first time during the summer. On seeing Holy Island and finding out more about it, I was captivated both by its beauty and its interesting history, particularly that of its ancient Celtic hermit, St Molaise. I promised myself that I would visit as soon as I could to climb to the top of Mulloch Mor and also see the hermit’s cave.