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TALES OF THE COSTA BRAVA - PART III -- WATERS OF LIFE

Hey everybody!

So, now I want to complete this homage to the Spanish training. I promised a while back to bring a kind of closure, a counter-point to my tale of fire that inaugurated our training in this rich and lovely place. And this one takes place in the second of the two seaside hotels we work in -- the one perched precariously close to the edge of a high rocky cliff overlooking a craggy wave-crashed coast. We began a six-day there, a morning of bright sunshine that by afternoon had been swallowed by an ominous darkness. The air buzzed with that heavy, still, electric thing happening that you may have felt just before some kind of storm. And then the rain began, and the wind. It was a deluge and a gale. And it wouldn't stop.

You know how deep and internal we all get in the training. The outside world so often disappears. We were in that place the first day or so. But it was impossible not to look out on the sea -- what we could see in the gale -- from the vast expanse of glass fronting the coast from almost every room. And then reports began to come in -- of flooding in every town up and down the coast, of power outages everywhere -- that this was the most powerful storm to hit the coast in memory. I remember getting up early one morning, looking out where I was accustomed to watching the sun rise. The sea this time was a wild, brown, surging, churning froth -- a swell higher than I had seen it before, covering all the familiar landmarks at what used to be the water's edge. Then out of the gale-blown torrent I saw two things. One, on the water, surging toward the jagged cliff -- the remains of a great piece of dock or pier, it was hard to tell -- ripped from who knows what peaceful resort harbor -- and it was coming apart in the grinder that was the meeting place between wave and rock. And the second thing I saw, and I swear this is true, was in the air -- a helicopter came over low and headed up the coast where I knew there was another resort town, which I couldn't see now at all because of the downpour.

I couldn't believe it. How was that bird flying? And then It all began to sink in. This was an emergency vehicle. And we were in the middle of a crisis, a disaster. And it was happening all around us. So I checked with Juanjo and Sitara about what they were hearing. And it was intense. The nearby town was flooded. And every town up and down the coast was flooded and had no power -- except our town. But they soon expected our town to lose all power too. Okay... So what do we, the team, do? We mobilize, hold the space. It was a morning breathwork, and we could feel the extra tension in the air. You know, everybody's deep. It's the middle of the week. A whole lotta dying and being reborn going on, and all kinds of inner miracles happening. But no doubt, everybody's feeling the intensity pounding at us from the outside. Our job? You got it. Hold the space, do our own inner work, let them feel what they need, and trust, trust, trust.

So,it was a kick-ass breathwork. Yeah, probably fueled by the outside environment once again mirroring what's happening on the inside. But everybody did great work, came through pretty well. And we prepared for the afternoon sharing group. But right before the group, we checked with the owner of the hotel, to get some kind of progress report about what our chances were of keeping power. And then the power went out, and back on, and out again. We walked by the front door of the hotel, and there was a river running fast and hard through the raised walkway to the parking lot. Okay... hadn't seen that before... And then the owner told us: we were the only hotel on the entire strip that still had any vestige of power left. Interesting. And still the rains came down, just this awesome, out of control force. And still we kept the bright heart.

So we sat in a circle for the sharing -- in one of the moments when the power was out. But we could still see in the gloom. And in the middle of the sharing, I swear, we heard a rushing, and the eyes of the participants across from us just opened wide, and they all gasped. And we turned around , and a flood of water was pouring in from behind us into the room. So you know exactly what I flashed on -- me and my Movie Yoga trip -- you got it: Titanic! Because what was happening here was eerily like a scene in the movie when the two lovers were below decks, and water began flowing down the stairs from somewhere up above. Well, now the group is beginning to lose it a bit. So we mobilize up, use a rug to dam the flow a little, some of us working with the flood and others with the group.

We mop up as best we can, move the group to another room, and rock on. Except now, it's like that time a few years back when fire destroyed the group room. We're dealing, not just with the inside inside stuff, but the outside inside stuff too. By that I mean, we really do have something obvious right in our face outside us that can trigger all kinds of things. And the sharing was rich. You bet, we all felt a little bit like a rag-tag group of survivors on a stormy sea, in the last little boat -- or the tribal family from all time huddled against the great overwhelming power of an impersonal Nature -- you name it, the metaphors are legion for what we felt then.

But it wasn't over yet. One and one half more days -- one more breathwork, and still the rains came down. The flooding in the building stopped. Alright, still hanging in there! Here's something else interesting. We were the only group in this big hotel, the last group before they shut down the hotel for the off-season. The owner, this wealthy man, bless his heart, worked feverishly along side the electricians to keep our power on -- the only place, and I'm not kidding, the only place left with power on. But it was a war of attrition. Gradually the power went out room by room in the hotel. Until on the breathwork day, at breathwork time, the only room in the whole hotel that had power was -- you guessed it, the breathwork room. So we get going. And in the middle Sitara and I confer, and she heads off through the flood to town to see if any stores are open so we can get some batteries in case the room finally gives up the electric ghost. And that's an adventure all in itself -- her trip through the flooded, wasted streets, wading knee-deep into a store which miraculously was open to sell some batteries. And back just in time before the power finally left us. And so we hook up the batteries. And as usual, no breather could even tell the different between the little bitty boom box in the middle of the floor and the big power speakers we were using, plus the sub.

Well, the power came back on. And I swear, on the last morning the sun came out too, and smiled upon us, and blessed us with new birth and light. And that was our adventure. And thus ends these tales of the Costa Brava -- for now. Framed with fire and water -- two powerful, timeless baptisms in most world cultures. And we got to feel them within us and live them outside us in an amazing, beautiful, a little bit -- no, sometimes quite a bit -- scary way: what it's like to be in the grip of two of the awesome forces moving the dance between light, life, death, and rebirth, inside and out. I didn't tell you, but there was a moment in the middle of our wild dance with the waters of life, Diana shared with me that she felt there was a very real possibility that our hotel might just go over our collapsed cliff and into the sea. And, you know what, who's to say that on some level we didn't? But if we did, one thing we know for sure: we came on back up -- our own little Atlantis rising from the deep -- once again fulfilling the promise that after death there is new life, and after rain, the sun once more. Thank you, Costa Brava, for your gifts to us. And letting us share in what you are.

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Comment by Glenn Girlando on June 2, 2010 at 9:51pm
Tav, I've loved your stories about GTT's time on the Costa Brava! Having lived in Barcelona for a year and spent a lot of time enjoying the sites and scenes on the Costa Brava, I must say I am envious! I still think of Tossa de Mar as one of my favorite spots in the world. What an amazing area to do deep inner work! Thanks for sharing these stories with us.

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