Marin and Sky
A Koro Kind of Goodbye
Greetings from the Koro group! For our final week of our big adventure, we spent time reflecting at Prema Shanti, a yoga and meditation retreat center in the Daintree National park of Northern Queensland. We were welcomed by our hosts Mara and Janardhan and made to feel at home right away in their beautiful temple. Our days at Prema Shanti started with meditation in the morning, followed by a Dharma talk given by Janardhan which consists of a talk about yogic principles, meditation, mindfulness, life, and many other ideas, meant to stimulate conversation and questions. After a breakfast that included many fresh fruits, we would begin Seva, or selfless service, by helping out around the temple through yard work or cleaning the area inside. After lunch, we had some free time that was normally spent by cooling off in a creek nearby or in a swimming hole with a rope swing (a group favorite), or taking mindfulness walks through the rainforest, or reading from the vast library of meditation and spiritually awakening books offered to us by Mara and Janardhan. We would then practice yoga and meditation techniques for about an hour, before eating dinner. All of our meals were homemade, vegetarian, and delicious during our stay at Prema Shanti. Our time with Mara and Janardhan allowed us to reflect on the last three months and reminisce on all the positive experiences we have had and our growth as students and group members during this time. We were even give the opportunity to spend a full day in silence to review our personal trip, which was scary for some but appreciated by all. Daisy, our mindfulness guru of the week, also led us in a conversation about how our fears from the start of the trip have changed or dissipated since then. Many of us were reminded of how we were worried about meeting eleven new people (and subsequently living with them for three months) or about our lives back home changing. Looking back, it was obvious that we did not need to worry about meeting this group, for the friendships here are strong and loving. Any fear felt in the LAX airport is long gone by now! Many of us realized that change can be positive and that we actually want to change our lives after learning and growing on this trip. Personal growth has been a continuing theme during this time and we can all say that we have grown in the past three months, whether that be just by learning to introduce ourselves in the Maori language (change may be small but it is never inconsequential!). We have all been so fortunate as to have met amazing people and to have seen the most beautiful places in three different countries. Reflecting on the memories we have made brings bittersweet feelings and although our adventure
is coming to a close, the relationships we have built with each other will outlast the distances we will be apart in just a few days. Whether we are going on to college or continuing to travel the world, the bonds formed over these three months will forever tie us to Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, and to each other.