During my time as a New Lifer, I wrote some guidelines for myself to keep perspective on this amazing journey. I hope they might be useful to others who are now embarking as New Life citizens of Damanhur.

First of all: There’s a very good chance that whatever information you see here will have changed by the time you are reading it. Change in the one constant in life, and this is especially obvious in Damanhur.

In case you haven’t noticed, energy is accelerated here. People are busier than seems possible. You may feel surrealistically energized at some points and overwhelmingly exhausted at others. (You aren’t the only person who falls asleep duNew Lifering meetings). You might feel right at home with the accelerated momentum, or you may be daunted, wondering if you can ever keep up. Be easy on yourself and explore. Enjoy the ride as it comes. Take time. Time will tell. Pace yourself. You are not a Damanhurian (Yet!).

If you have any practices that help you let go of expectations, now is the time to use them. If you feel you need to control things, you will be challenged. Letting go of expectations helps you to open up to the stream of synchronicity. If you are waiting for a ride somewhere and no one shows up, it doesn’t mean they are doing something else or have forgotten you. Well, even if they have, don’t worry. Take a moment to enjoy a conversation with someone who might be strolling by, or gaze into the oak leaves. Eventually a ride will show up and get you where you are going. Synchronicity is the key to movement around here.

Jelena's arcIf something doesn’t work now, it will probably work when you try it again a few seconds later. This applies to computers, WIFI, ATM’s, digital cameras, water faucets, heaters, human interactions, attempts at language and everything else you can imagine. This is just another casualty of trying to make a linear context out of a non-linear reality. No need to waste time wondering if misunderstandings and problems are due to poor organization or an underlying greater spiritual purpose. It’s just too hard to really tell sometimes.

If you haven’t arrived in Damanhur yet and you don’t speak Italian, learn as much as you can beforehand. Take classes, get CDs from the library and download them. Even if you only learn a few words and phrases, it helps. The language barrier is one of the biggest obstacles to non-Italian-speaking New Lifers. Although many citizens speak English in the nucleos, most of the conversation (during meals and meetings) is in Italian. Usually someone in the nucleo will translate important things, but it’s not possible to translate everything. It seems fairly typical for New Lifers who don’t speak Italian to feel isolated in their nucleos. It can be alienating to be with an animated group of people whom you can’t communicate with. Keep in mind that it can be challenging for citizens as well. They have to stretch and adapt to the changes that New Life brings. It’s a learning experience on both sides. It helps to find folks who speak a little English or are wanting to learn. When there’s an equal balance of effort and interest, it helps break the ice and make learning more enjoyable.

Try to do things with other New Lifers whenever possible. Find people to connect with, where you can speak your own language. This will help mitigate the feeling of isolation and fulfill the need for connection  Create interest groups and activities among New Lifers and interested citizens. Having some kind of New Life support group, a place where people can express their challenges and concerns, is very useful.

It’s quite typical to feel entirely drawn to moving to Damanhur and becoming a citizen in one moment, and be totally disillusioned and want to leave as soon as possible in the next moment. Whatever you’re feeling: this too will pass…and evolve.

Margus in concert at TiglioYou are in a realm of heightened creativity. Things manifest very quickly here, both positive and negative. Be assured that whatever is in your field will be reflected back to you. If you can have a broader sense of perspective, it will help you to grow and stretch beyond your limitations.

I know this perspective looks good on paper and computer screens. But you will most likely experience emotional roller coasters, breakdowns, tears, frustration, confusion, excitement, awe, joy, love and whatever else your heart, mind and soul can muster up during this most amazing journey you have embarked upon. The more you perceive life in a creative, mythical and metaphorical context, the more phenomenal your experience will be. Remember, you are now in a community of people who collectively support this very way of being.

Most of all, enjoy this amazing place. It is unique. Whatever experience you have, it will be significant.

Just a few quick notes to remember:

You aren’t in Kansas anymore.

Make sure you keep your internal plug adapter/voltage converter and surge protector on at all times. Also have faith that it will keep on working.

Don’t fret. A ride is on the way.

Watch out. The espresso is stronger than it tastes!

It helps to remember that you are in a different time zone (and not just geographically)

Don’t worry if you can’t read the map. The map is definitely not the territory.

And last but not least: Have fun.

~Ann Marie

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