The incident with the pond at Shangri-La

Kgosi Dintlhoane during the course of Dr Bruce Copley at Shangri-La

Kgosi Dintlhoane during the course of Dr Bruce Copley at Shangri-La

Following Dr Bruce Copley’s recent AAHA course at Shangri-La this past spring, we received a heart-warming letter from one of the delegates, Mr Kgosi Dintlhoane. Take a moment to read of his experience with our pond.

The Pond, by Kgosi Dintlhoane
The message was very simple really, “Take note of me!” the pond whispered, but I was rushing to see the Zen garden you see, maybe this made the pond feel small that I passed without saying hi, without looking at it for a second. Rushing to see the Zen garden I could have noticed the chapel on the left and probably the bell too but did I not see the beautiful bird on the tree branch eagerly waiting to sing to me and I did not see green grass on the right waiting for me to rest on it a bit.

My mind focussed only on seeing the Zen garden and ignored the little pond that needed a second of my time. Is this not how we hurt those close to us focussing on our little work, worshipping only what would bring us more money whilst a child wants to play with us, whilst a friend needs a few minutes of our time, are we not always rushing to our Zen gardens.

Maybe the universe did hear the little pond’s cry and sent representatives to sort me out. Is this not how life unfolds sometime? Being stopped by some disease so that you could get the love of a child or wife or husband who waited desperately for you to come back from the Zen garden so that they could spend some quality time with you. Well as fate would have it, I was the first to go outside to check the attitude of the morning and found her to be in a pretty dark mood. I ignored her too and tried to find my way to the parking lot, walking with cheekiness really, thinking myself mightier than the dark morning and all its surroundings and thinking only of myself. Is this not how we normally are?

Well as fate would have it, the doors of the reception area were closed and I did not bother to go and test if they were locked or not because I always have a plan you see. I always ignore plans of others. As always I followed my plan to the letter and found myself walking all over the dark morning and thinking very little of her and very BIG of myself. Is this not how we normally are?

I found myself walking straight into this little pond as if with my eyes closed and headed straight for the water inside the pond with my feet facing up and my back resting on the surface of the pond. I could almost hear the pond finally say “Hi Mister!” Is this not how life unfold sometimes, finding ourselves at the very place we either avoided or paid little attention to?

I was furious of course, for my trouser and tekkies were all wet and my ankle was bruised and my ego was shattered. I wondered how could such a little pond manage to embarrass me like this. As you have been following this story you can realise I still did not get the lesson that life is not only about me and that there are others and other things that desperately needs your attention. Sometimes the universe will decide to help and strike that balance – the balance we all desperately need.

I went back to my room, very angry at what has just transpired. I changed clothes without thinking and left the wet trouser and tekkies on the bathroom floor and headed straight for the parking lot, minding the dark morning this time, paying needed attention to the surroundings. I tested the reception door which I deduced has never been locked but I missed this you see because I always have a plan better than anybody else’s.

As the day unfolded I came back from my walk a new man, because as I was walking I thought a lot about the pond and realised that all the pond ever wanted was for me to notice it and perhaps comment on it.

I started having a clear visual of that little pond whilst so far away from it. I started seeing it in front of my eyes whilst walking, started to see the beauty of its water cohabitating with little leaves in harmony and how the rocks made a heart like circle as if to say to all to passers by “Hey look I too can love you.”

This pond must have suffered a lot, watching all of us walk in and out of Shangri-La without paying homage to it, without spending a second to look at it. The real miracle happened when I made peace with the lesson from the pond. When I finally came to my room from a refreshing walk, ready for the day and ready to tell the story (so that others may learn something from my lesson) I suddenly realised that my trouser which I had left on the floor is not there. I looked for it everywhere in my room, thinking I am losing my mind.

I walked to the reception area, furious. I had forgotten about the lesson from the pond and went back to my normal habits and enquired in a dark mood about my trousers to the receptionist. She was confused and yet humble and willing to help but I had my agenda you see, my mind was full of ‘somebody will pay for my ignorance, lack of attention but most of all for my arrogance’. To my surprise, the housekeepers took liberty to take my trousers to the laundry to be washed. Right there at the reception, after hearing this, God returned to my heart and suddenly my eyes were filled with tears of gratitude. Some angels do not have wings attached at their back, they walk among us every day of our lives – ready to take our trousers and wash them, never expecting even a thank you in return.

Shangri-La’s new “Labyrinth of Appreciation”

IMG-20130913-WA005Created as a living tribute to the generous support of Dr Bruce Copley for his on going life-changing contribution to all at Shangri-La Country Hotel since 1991, the Labyrinth of Appreciation was opened by owner Johan Jansen van Vuuren on 13 September 2013 in the presence of Dr Bruce Copley and delegates of his most recent Holistic course.

The Labyrinth symbolises Dr Copley’s work and how his neverending passion and love has affected the South of Africa community.

A Labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness.  It combines the imagery of the circles and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path and represents a journey to one’s own centre and back again out into the world.  Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.

A leader in the industry, Caroline Adams, describes it as such:  “Your life is a sacred journey.  And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation; continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way.  You are on the path… exactly where you are meant to be right now.  And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing, of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity and of love.”

The Labyrinth at Shangri-La is open to all guests and is also a unique teambuilding alternative for conference delegates.  This beautiful space is also perfect for wedding photographs.

In the centre of the Labyrinth at Shangri-La is a beautiful saying favoured by Dr Copley, and Shangri-La is proud to add it at this special destination.  “Ordinary does not, and never will, change the world.”

Shangri-La’s unique Drum

IMG_0706Being synonymous with Shangri-La, Dr Bruce Copley of AAHA Learning recently donated a unique drum to Shangri-La for use by staff and guests.  This very drum was used in the first South African corporate drumming session which Dr Copley and his associate, Phil Richardson, presented at Shangri-La in 1991.

Corporate drumming has evolved into a huge business in South Africa that has very commonly been incorporated into thousands of conferences, launches and indaba’s since the mid 90’s.  It has become world famous and interactive audience drumming performances takes place in New York, China and Australia to name a few, even stealing the show as the opening ceremony performance during the Beijing Olympic Games.

Dr Copley said that “It feels fitting that this drum should find a home in the place where it all started.”  Following the first corporate drumming session at Shangri-La in 1991,  the Drum Café was started under the leadership of Warren Lieberman; inspired by Dr Copley.  The Drum Café is now a world famous drumming franchise.

“I conservatively estimated that millions all over the world, including people like George Bush and Prince Charles, have had a drumming experience that is linked to that first corporate drumming presentation at Shangri-La,” says Dr Copley.  Which in turn makes the drum gifted to Shangri-La the one that started it all.  This sacred Venda Drum and its voice is the heartbeat of Africa that has come home to the “place of eternal youth”.

Dr Copley said that he is donating this drum to Shangri-La as a heartfelt token of his deep appreciation for the magical times and wonderful people who, for more than two decades, have blessed him and thousands of his delegates with unforgettable experiences.  This beautiful instrument’s inauguration took place on 13 September 2013 at Shangri-La during the opening of the Labyrinth in recognition of Dr Copley’s life and work.  Its voice will be a regular reminder of his love and gratitude.