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.