My Time at the Healing Castle Schochwitz

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Greetings! My name is Devesh Singh and I am a rising junior at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. This summer I wanted to come to Germany to improve my German language skills, but the only problem was that I had no money. I would have loved to explore Germany through my university’s summer cultural exchange program, however I don’t have that kind of money. Instead of trying to cover the costs, I opted instead to do workaway. I found the Castle’s page right away and found that it had most of the things I was looking for. A hotel setting in a rural area, German speaking, needed help with cooking, gardening, etc. There were also tons of positive reviews citing how amazing, helpful and life-changing the castle was. I applied right away and in 4 weeks I was in Germany knocking on the gate of the Castle. As soon as I entered the castle I felt the energy that so many other workawayers had written about. It was strange, but also very calming. As soon as I arrived I met Pavlina, the intern that had been working at the castle for 3 months prior to my arrival. She is one the nicest people I’ve ever met and is so incredible, kind and caring. That afternoon I got settled in. I then met with Ingrid and Jim and the other volunteers, who had already spent time in the castle. Some people really enjoyed it, other people not so much. Through my time at the castle, roughly 6 weeks, there were 11 volunteers who cycled through the castle. Some stayed 2 days while other happily spent months there.

My first impression of Jim and Ingrid was very confusing. Ingrid, a German native and holistic healer, and Jim, a dickhead from Liverpool, were the most complex and oddest couple I have ever encountered. The constant arguing about menial things could be quite off putting however, it took me a while to realize that it was just the way the communicated, and there was a lot of love there.

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My first days in the castle were very interesting and incredibly difficult. Waking up at 5:55am, doing an activity (yoga, meditation, Zumba, walking) from 6-7, eating from 7-8, working from 8:00-14:00, all of this was incredibly out the ordinary for me. I was used to waking up after 11am and not eating until late in the afternoon. I also did not have regular physical activity which focused on my body as much as it did with my mind. Working was also a challenge for me. The first few weeks I had to do painting and renovation work, which I had not done before. The constant criticism from Ingrid did not make it any better but only added to my uneasy feelings about what I was doing and where I was staying. Looking back I am very grateful and thankful that she did what she did because it showed how much she cares, not only the work, but also about me. She could have easily done the work herself but she purposely puts you into uncomfortable situations to help you increase your skills and grow as a person. Although she may come across as a bit cold, she is such an amazing person who is incredibly kind, caring and knowledgeable. She is wonderful and always gives from the heart. She is also one of the toughest people I’ve ever met. My time with Jim was also incredible, he is one of the funniest and insane people I’ve ever met. He has so many incredible stories about his life and all of the craziness that happens.

Through my time at the castle I have come to realize the importance of paying attention to your feelings and how things are going in your life. I have learned to not take things so serious and to always realize the joy in life. I have also learned to appreciate everything that comes to be in my life, whether it’s good or bad, because everything happens for a reason. I have also learned to trust my intuition more and to have an open mind. I have learned to love waking up early and doing Zumba in the morning. I have found that I love doing yoga and will continue to do more in the future. I have learned to enjoy walking barefoot and to enjoy the cold. I have also learned to love life and to enjoy the dance. I have learned to live in the now, because living right now is all that you really have. I have also learned the meaning of life which, according to Ingrid, is to simply live it.

This experience was not easy, the best things for us and the things that will help us grow never are, but this was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. To all the future volunteers who will eventually grace this castle, brace yourself. This place will reveal things about yourself you didn’t even realized existed, but Ingrid and all of the others in the castle are there to help you. Rely on the other volunteers because sometimes that’s all you have. Make a fire outside, go to the lake, pick berries, go to Halle, enjoy the nature, play with the beautiful cat, have an open mind and most importantly enjoy this experience.

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I am sad to leave the castle but I am thankful for all of the wonderful experiences and people who I have had the privilege and honor to meet during my time here. I am going to miss waking up early and doing yoga, eating meals with everyone, Jim’s jokes and his laugh, Ingrid’s personality, and Pavlina’s kindness. I came to the castle looking for something, I’m not entirely sure what it was but I think I’ve found it. To those who wish to know the knowledge of the castle, simply knock at its gate.

Until next time Schloss Schochwitz,

Devesh Singh

Simple answers to complex questions

Author: Pavlina from the Czech Republic

Published on: https://www.facebook.com/Pavlina-on-the-Move-1061325703897355/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

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A year ago, I was part of the sales team in the UK, preparing future strategy, running customer meetings, living London life style.

Half a year ago I was living in a little village in India, felt amazed by the hens running around my place, practising devotedly yoga for a few hours every day.

More than three months ago I landed back in Europe, convinced that now it is finally the time to return back to Czech.

Two and half months ago I moved to a castle in a tiny village in former eastern Germany…

For quite some time now, I have been searching for my true self, trying to understand who I am what is the purpose / task in my life.

What I have realized recently that no matter if I lived in Prague, London, India or now in Schochwitz, if I were a student, hiker, dancer, manager or yoga teacher..I am simply still the same person! I still love life and all it brings, I am a smiling woman loving nature, mountains just as I did as a little girl. Through the years I have gained new experience, learnt new things, met different people. This all has been forming my life, though the base, my true self is there since the beginning.

So , I actually know who I am🙂 The only thing I need to do is to accept it. Accept myself as whole, with all the shades and lights.

And what about the purpose in life? Ingrid answered so nicely when I asked her about that. The only purpose, life task is simply to LIVE. That`s it! Live your own life fully, enjoy the moment, be grateful for what comes to your life, accept new things and let go of what is not needed any more.

Isn`t it funny that complex questions can have pretty simple answers?

Thank you for your support. Love you, Pavlina

Coming back to myself at the Healing Castle. Thank you!

Author: Emily from the USA

Before coming to the Healing Castle, I had been traveling for a little over a year. I left my job and home to see the world while I was still without pressing responsibilities keeping me in one place. I also wasn’t sure where I wanted to grow roots, and I was interested in seeing how other people live their lives. Simplifying was a huge goal of mine, and I enjoyed getting rid of a lot of my things before leaving.

A few people I met in my travels helped me learn things about myself, and I sometimes felt growth and satisfaction. But honestly, a lot of the time I was so lost, wondering what I was doing. I would check in with my travel buddy every so often, “What are we doing??? Why aren’t we doing something more meaningful, or learning things…we have no responsibilities, all this time, and we just eat and sleep and wander around!” We both felt like we didn’t have much direction. We were learning some things, but I ended up feeling more stressed, less simplified, and I started analysing everything. I knew something had to change.

I started searching for a Workaway with the search word “meditation”. I sent a few messages with no response. A few weeks later, I tried again. One replied, and it sounded OK. The Healing Castle responded not too long after, and it caught my attention. Location was great, timing was great, and something in the profile caught my eye. There was a list of things you might learn, and I wanted to learn most of them! Also, most of the reviews showed that people were changed after being here. I thought at least I’d learn about meditation, and possibly more.

I didn’t expect how much more! There are reoccurring roadblocks in my life, and I am getting simple solutions at the Healing Castle. There are small lessons hidden in basic tasks that can lead to major life lessons. I never knew I could learn so much awareness/mindfulness from cleaning a toilet!

Within days of arriving, Ingrid pulled me aside and shared an observation with me and how I could improve. This happened to be one of the reoccurring roadblocks – I lack focus and follow through with my goals. She noticed I was easily distracted. It was so simple, but I didn’t make the connection until then. If I learn to focus and complete simple tasks, it will be easier to do the same when it is a larger goal.

I also have had emotional moments. I learned quickly it is best to approach Ingrid when this happens instead of stewing over it. Another reoccurring roadblock came up, and again a simple solution. And I realized that I could relate this to an even bigger reoccurring issue in my life. Sometimes what I end up learning is completely unrelated or unexpected from what initiated my emotional state. I think I will be learning about something, and end up on a completely different page. Ingrid has a way of getting to the point without a lot of details, and usually my mind is blown at how simple the process and the solution are. I always feel a weight lifted afterwards.

I am also learning from the mix of people who are sharing this experience with me at the castle. There is a piece of each volunteer that I relate to, and observing their strengths and weaknesses has taught me a lot. The most recent addition is my brother, who is a best friend to me. I am surprised that his arrival has caused an emotional response, and I am sure there are more lessons on the horizon.

I am filled with the feeling that this is the right time for me to be here, with people who are meant to help me on this journey. I am thankful to have found this special place…TEAM CASTLE

Personal therapy on my relationship with food

Written by Carine from Scotland

I have been volunteering at the Healing Castle for five weeks now. At the same time as helping with the hotel, I have been very lucky to receive guidance from Ingrid. One of the most significant things she has helped me with is changing my relationship with food. A few days ago, I wrote about the way I was feeling just after eating a delicious dessert. I’d like to share this with you here…

My heart has been beating fast with excitement. I haven’t felt like this in a long time. I really feel like anything is possible, everything is calm, and all is right, just the way it is. I feel light, free and released. I recently came to Ingrid with an issue that has affected me since childhood. I had grown up around the belief that food should be consumed with great attention spent to quantity, calories and nutritional content, and that some foods were very “bad” and should be avoided. In late teenage years, I reduced the amount of food I ate considerably. Up until my arrival here, I was constantly thinking about what I had eaten so far in the day. This problem was robbing me of time and energy.

When I asked Ingrid how to change this so I no longer let food have such control over my life, she asked me to sit down at the kitchen table and eat a whole packet of chocolate biscuits! She told me to enjoy them. I was really taken aback but forced myself to eat them, trying to enjoy the taste. Once I had managed to finish the packet, Ingrid asked how I was feeling. I felt panicky. My heart was beating quickly out of worry and I was so anxious, nervous and scared.

Ingrid told me to stand up straight with my arms outstretched, breathing deeply, keeping my posture open. She asked me to think of a place where I feel the most relaxed and happy. For me, this is a warm, sunny beach in Greece. As I really placed myself there, feeling the boiling sun and the sand between my toes, I felt expansive and light. The sensation of panic gradually lessened until it disappeared and I was calm again, back in real life and able to work in the present moment.

Since this, I have been practising the technique each time I eat. It is easier to do when I am on my own, or in a relaxed setting, and can fully concentrate on “the beach feeling”. And while at the moment, I have to consciously make an effort to do this, eating is beginning to feel more and more ordinary and unimportant. In the past, I believed food was something I was up against, and had to conquer. Now it is starting to represent the fuel necessary for the body and mind to function properly, as well as something to savour and enjoy.

This brings me to this feeling of excitement I have right now, sitting by the fountain having finished my dessert. Immediately after eating it, negative thoughts and feelings crept in, uninvited. And when I positioned myself on the beach, and really felt that I was there, not only did the worries vanish, feelings of joy and hope and aliveness took their place. Now I feel full of energy. My heart is beating loudly and clearly. I feel like I can do anything.

Calm After the Storm

Author: volunteer Carine from Scotland

I have been at the Healing Castle Schochwitz for one week now. I flew here from Scotland after spending the last five months since completing my Masters degree continuously job-searching and feeling drained. After coming across the castle online, I felt strangely drawn to it and made the decision to spend six weeks within its walls, helping with the castle’s hotel work as a volunteer and experiencing what it had to offer. I read the past volunteers’ accounts of their time at the castle and knew I wanted to live this.

As I write this, I’m sitting by the little stream close to the castle. I can hear the birds chirping, water flowing and someone is cutting the grass. The sun feels warm.

I feel calm and relaxed. Yesterday, this wasn’t the case…

When I woke up yesterday morning, I felt certain that I wanted to leave; so so certain. I thought ‘I’ve learned a lot, I’m grateful for all the lessons and advice, and so glad to have met such interesting people. I can move on to the next place now’. I thought this was the right thing for me to do and really felt it. Being here was stirring up unwanted feelings and asking me to alter my way of living and my beliefs. I just wanted to leave this behind.

Then I told Ingrid and she brought up reasons I was feeling like this. After she left, I stayed sitting, completely lost and not knowing what to decide for a long time. Paulina was close and offered honest and simple advice while describing her own experiences.

I sat even longer, with my inside world twisting and stirring round and round. Then it was like my mind and body slid back into place together, leaving these emotions and thoughts behind. The wheels in my brain started to move forward again.

I couldn’t even think about what had just happened, it was too fresh and raw. The other volunteers were supportive. Laura was accepting and Mike was calming. Jim gave me clarity on what had happened and how to move forwards.

In the past, I would have felt so embarrassed and worried about what the others thought of me. But I didn’t care now. Nothing seemed real or important anymore. Just to keep going.

We had a yoga class at night taught by Ingrid. It was so good and relaxing and right.

I felt so peaceful and light and sleepy afterwards. And today, I feel empty but a good kind of empty. And exhausted but a good kind of exhausted. I felt much calmer this morning, more able to think properly and take note of what was going on around me.

I can’t believe how easily I let my thoughts and mind convince me that I was feeling a certain way. Sometimes, when this happens, I can ‘press pause’ and realise that I’m letting my mind play tricks on me. But this time, I was completely fooled.

I feel like the energy of the castle and its people has the power to bring to the surface all the issues I have kept inside, so that I can understand them and work on them. And it does this with such great force, to make sure these messages are completely heard.

When I arrived here, I thought I understood a lot. After one week here, I feel like my whole world has been pushed open so much wider.

I’m remembering and keeping the good and powerful beliefs I held in the past that apply to me now, removing those that no longer serve a purpose and adding what I’m learning, to build a richer belief system in myself.

Healing Castle – The Experience to transform yourself?

Author: volunteer Jo

Back in time I always defined myself by my brain, my thoughts – but this means defining yourself by your ego and this has nothing to do with your own, inner self. I realised living on like this would lead me just into a life, that could not make me happy.

So what leads you to happiness, by what to define yourself?

So I started defining myself by my heart and led this lead me. This means finally letting yourself be leaded by Love!

It´s actually the hardest task I ever started in my life. It isn´t something you can change from now to then. It´s a process / a long way, but going on this journey will bring you everything you ever wanted, even if you will often be not able to accept it in the first point.

So lets come to the Healing Castle:

Already half a year ago while I was in Columbia I once checked for “alternative” Centers in Germany to volunteer, and finding this place I felt a strong call to go here. So now, being back in Germany I felt this call again – and followed it.

These, now a bit more than two weeks I´m here, has teached me a lot, even though I couldn´t accept it straight from the start. Your ego will get into trouble here. And even though I´m working on myself since some years to get rid of it, it still hitted me hard at the start.

Once you reach the point to let go and accept what you are given here the joy starts.

I see this place as a great chance to find some more parts of the puzzle of life and putting some others (you´ve found before) into the right place.

I can´t put in words what are the driving forces here to make a change in yourself.

I could talk about yoga or meditation, bit many places offer this.

I could talk about the Crystal Bed, which had strong effects on me.

Or I could talk about the people here, but all this could not describe the whole experience, so I leave if for now.

So if you feel the call to work on yourself to lead your life into a good way this place can give you some decent help, if you are even so willing to give help yourself.

Love

Jo