A few years ago a film was made that was an inspirational look at what happens to people when they get to retirement age, when society deems they are past their used-by date. The story follows the exploits of seven older people from England who answer an advert to spend their later years at an Indian resort hotel in Rajasthan, where they hope their costs would be significantly less and life more interesting than an English retirement village.
The idea portrayed sparks a sense of nostalgia in many people, a sense of “if only”. It sounds idyllic, but of course in reality most people carry their pasts with them in the form of attitudes, habits, liabilities, beliefs, and in many cases, illnesses. In the western world we can say without too much challenge, most people have no idea what it means to live fully.
In the main, for perhaps 99% of developed world citizens, living really means surviving, existing. The major concept is to avoid death at all costs. The result is
people sitting in rest homes because they have accepted the inevitability of growing old, becoming incapable, incontinent, and losing grace. The very concept of staying vibrant, and vital, even gaining in these two, seems to be inconceivable to the vast majority.
For many it also seems inconceivable that life is an adventure and when its stops being that, one stops living and shifts into existing. In fact, too many people have never ever lived at all because they have never been able to be adventurous.
Now the Best Exotic Marigold Retirement experience has become a reality. While the idea is appealing, the plan certainly isn't for everyone. It can only appeal to those people who have spirit, and for this reason this programme is really an inner spiritual journey. It is not that it is other worldly, though paradoxically it does occur in a different world, one that is intimately physical, and practical.
Finding the Marigold............
Like many people who saw the film, Francis wanted to recreate the possibilities. Thus began a two year search, with Delaine, for an ideal location to trial the concept. This search lead across Bali, Indonesia, to Southern India, and finally to Rajasthan. They visited the Ravla Khempur hotel outside of Mavli, the location used for the movie and found it less appropriate for the project.
Then, out of nowhere appeared another 300 year old palace, hidden away on the edge of the Pink City, a perfect location. The next piece was to ground in the product from a concept to an experiential reality. Reflecting on years of personal development and counselling work we have combined the best that psychology and metaphysics have to offer and have arrived at a collective system to give participants a qualitative shift in awareness. It is not a New Age system but a private exploration of all the ideas, thoughts and beliefs you have considered life to be.
In both Hinduism and Christianity, the marigold has a lot of spiritual significance. In Hinduism, the flower symbolizes auspiciousness. The saffron / orange colour signifies renunciation and hence it is offered to God as a symbol of surrender. In fact the Sanskrit name for marigold is Sthulapushpa which signifies this surrender. It symbolizes a trust in the divine and will to overcome obstacles, the victory of good over evil.
In Christianity the flower is offered to Mother Mary on the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25th every year) This is the day when the Angel Gabriel comes to deliver the message to Mary that she will have a son and to name him Jesus. This is known as Mary's Gold and in some traditions marigold seeds are sown in pots to symbolize auspiciousness and patience to await the divine.
Let us just say, there is a spiritual dimension that is beyond the physical, the meta-physical reality, and the Marigold could be said to represent this level of reality. The Marigold Retirement Plan encourages and invites participants to experience this layer in whichever ways one is able.