We’ve blogged about Gabriel Cousens, the live food expert and MD. This past weekend centered around yet another dimension — i.e. Gabriel Cousens as spiritual leader / rabbi. We were invited to get together and celebrate Shabbat together. Those readers who know us well will chuckle as we are seldom drawn to organized religion. That said, Friday mid afternoon off we go to what will be the Tree of Life Nicaragua — the organic farm and diabetes treatment center that will be the anchor of Gabriel’s Nicaragua endeavor.
First things first: the context is magnificent.
Just past a majestic new farm of wind turbines, and smack in front of Lake Cocibolca, looking at the twin volcanoes of Ometepe Islands. Rolling forested hills and a pleasant breeze from the lake all year around.
A quick walk on the property to go see the viveros (nursery) where all sorts of interesting plants are being grown. This area used to have pigs and chickens, but after some exposure to
Gabriel and Shanti, Sergio the land owner and business partner for the Tree of Life Nicaragua endeavor rebooted not only his personal eating habits by going Vegan, but also reshaped the existing farm. The pigs and chicken are no more. Replaced by coffee plants. The walk also takes us to a river than runs through the property. Beautiful, quiet setting. It is easy to see that one day members of this live food / vegan community will pass time under the shaded trees listening to the river flow.
Talking about water, Gabriel invites us to a “Mikvah” before Shabbat. A Mikvah is a ritual purification and cleansing bath. Typically done in a deep pool of water, in this case we take a dip in the fresh waters of Lake Cocibolca, with flocks of birds overhead and volcanoes as backdrop.
The Shabbat ceremony is in this case, light, filled with lively discussion and punctuated by a shaktipat meditation session in the fresh air. The culinary highlight is Shanti’s “live” Challah – a surprising and yummy almond, coconut water, buckwheat concoction.
Saturday morning starts with a 7am beautiful Kali Ray flow yoga practice with Shanti, then delicious breakfast with fruit, and grains that neither one of us recognizes, and which apparently hold all sorts of nutritional value. We go for a long walk to see where the future farm and Tree of Life community will take root.
First we see where the 10 acre farm will be. Seeds are germinating, agriculture school students have been identified, the head of the organic farming activity has been hired. By the next rainy season, i.e. May, the farm will be well on its way.
Then it’s off scouting the property for the right “mountain top” (of which there are seven), to put a temple. As we understand it, it will be a non-denominational temple (for sunrise and sunset gatherings, meditation etc…). The third hill turns out to have the right view, enough space and does not show any undesirable currents from the electrical wires down below in the valley.
This may have been a spiritually filled week end, but the earthly need to cool off in a large pool after huffing it for 3 hours was amply rewarded. Sergio’s current house (with pool) will ultimately become a part of the hospitality infrastructure for diabetes patients and visiting vegans. The setting is beautiful, with Volcano Concepcion in the background.
A fabulous vegan lunch awaits us (as Peta takes copious notes about this and that grain and veggie application). We learn that there is an organic farmer in Rivas who currenty provides 10 types of greens — a welcome supplement to the organic produce we current get from Selva Negra, which, while delicious, can be limited on the lettuce front.
We close the day with another meditation session and end of Shabbat ritual – havdalah…