When life is full of confusion, gratitude unlocks the fullness of life
Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more
Gratitude turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity
Gratitude can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend
As we reach the end of what most of us have found to be a turbulent year, I am grateful for my time spent at Kamalaya. This was my second visit and I brought a friend. Over 50% of Kamalaya guests return, I was one them, drawn to return by the lure of what we sojourners describe as the ‘Kamalaya magic’.
John Stewart, cofounder of Kamalaya, Koh Samui is the calm face of the place. He clearly delights in engaging with any guests interested in his spiritual philosophies.
John spent 16 years living a simple yogic existence, some of which in a Himalayan cave, before developing Kamalaya as a world leading wellness and holistic spa along with his wife Karina. As someone who has spent most of this year wishing I could crawl under a rock to ride this pandemic out, I’m happy to receive any of his wisdom.
Visitors seek the serene holistic wellness of Kamalaya for a number of reasons. On offer is a synergy of healing therapies from East and West to help guests recharge who are disillusioned, dissatisfied, disconnected, unwell or unhappy to recharge.
Of course that was before we all bore the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic for most of 2020. I returned to Kamalaya on a girl’s trip away for some much needed relaxation, restoration and time away from it all in a beautiful setting. Oh and the Flash Sale bargain prices helped.
My friend who I believe said it more eloquently:
‘Since Covid-19 cruelly arrived in the world, it made me stop. I had no choice! I have gone through so many emotions during this time and without realising, slowly became a shadow of myself, almost burning out. When my Bangkok bestie suggested we go on a girly trip, and after the nod from my husband, my case was packed!’
It is hard to explain but there is definitely something healing about this tropical jungle terrain with its ancient granite boulders. Or perhaps, I have just found my big rock to hide under?
From the ‘Embrace Life’s Potential’ cloth bag given on arrival, I search for my Kamalaya journal where I have penned questions for John. After all, if there are any secrets to help us all live an authentic, joyful and fulfilling life particularly in Covid-19 times I want to know.
If necessary, I’ll even take a good dose of yucky turmeric, or whatever elixirs are on offer here! Here are the secrets I discovered.
Don’t try to work out the Covid whys
I asked John for his explanation of what happened in the world and why he thinks Covid-19 occurred in the way it did? He tells me he made a conscious decision early on in the pandemic to turn his investigative mind off.
‘It was not for me to micro examine how or why Covid-19 occurred. Was it a man-made virus? Was it political? This type of questioning did not interest me in this moment. Rather like confronting any tsunami in the world, where you would not stop to investigate whilst it is happening, a full investigation could follow at a later date. I turned my mind to my responsibility for my in house guests, my staff and to the land’.
I liked this advice. I have certainly been guilty of following each and every Covid-19 news release, statistic, while chasing glimmers of hope for vaccinations.
Don’t hold onto the old thought patterns or behaviours
I asked John what he suggested for how we could cope now – it seems to me that many of us got through the initial stages of lockdown reasonably well but this has continued long term, the ongoing uncertainty has been tougher.
His advice was clear, don’t hang onto your old ways of doing things. This will only frustrate in a world where life has changed forever. Create a new version of calm and stability in your daily life.
Create your own new normal
John also suggests we create a new normal for ourselves. Kamalaya offered me a habitat away from digital distractions, demands and deadlines so I can gently reflect on my life. Could there be a Zen Wren inside me somewhere?
I am trying to ensure that each day I nourish my mind, body and soul. I have continued to start each day drinking hot water with freshly squeezed lime to get my metabolism going and a few minutes contemplative thought, I am trying to eat better and have time off from my digital distractions.
Connect with yourself
John proposes that a little introspection and contemplative thought is all it takes to make a big difference. He does not want to call it meditation, a word that he suggests can sometimes turn people off. Instead he recommends:
‘Fifteen minutes a day of breathing exercise will create the pause in your life to start to build a connection with yourself’.
My friend again:’The more I engaged with the staff and guests; the more I walked through the beautiful tranquil spiritual grounds, where the cave used for meditation by Buddhist monks for 300 years sat, and walked amongst the stunning estate plantation and lotus ponds surrounded by the boulders incorporated into the architecture, the more I understood their philosophy… it’s all about “reconnecting, living gently and becoming more aware of yourself and your surroundings”.’
Create space for a pause
Before World War II, John reminds me there were national and spiritual holidays that people respected. These were a chance to return to family, to stop and to take a pause in our lives. This does not happen in the same way now. With constant connections to everything through technology, people need to find a way to hit the pause button.
I absolutely loved my time at Kamalaya Wellness and I can already tell I will be one of those frequenters who returns again and again.
These nurturing Koh Samui environs, offer over forty therapy and treatment rooms, wellness classes and talks. The real enticement for me lies in finding the answer lies very simply within and by building the connection with self. The magic of Kamalaya is that it offers guests the space to pause and reconnect with themselves.
My friends and I left feeling more at peace with the world. I am more inclined to come out from under the rock and embrace the boulders of life.
Thank you, Kamalaya through the healing power of nature, you gave me the space to find order in my world. You turned strangers into friends, and all our meals were definitely feasts! I have come to accept the impermanence of life and I am ready to accept whatever the next months throw at me.
More can be found at: www.kamalaya.com
Little Wandering Wren – Jenny is the content creator and chief explorer at Little Wandering Wren. She is both a Brit and an Aussie with her nest in Bangkok. She is constantly travelling and brings us her lighthearted, birds eye view of the world. Little Wandering Wren was a winner of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s International Blogger competition 2019.