I was staying in north Goa at the time of the shift of 21.12.2012. We suddenly lost a friend who died of a heart attack, and it was a privilege to go to his funeral. Traditionally women do not attend the funeral pyre, but they do prepare the body. Our friend was laying peacefully on a pile of wood, at the burning ghats. We covered him in flowers and garlands, and gathered around for a group photograph to send to his family back home. I have never been at a group photo session at a funeral before – let alone with a corpse – we had to see the funny side! Bundles of incense were lit around him, and his close friend, an Indian doctor, made a touching speech about his life. Then more wood was piled on top of his body, and it was set alight. We stood back in the shade away from the heat and smoke. A funeral in India is like many aspects of Indian life – not so hidden from view.

On the day of the winter solstice, Brian and I had carried out a beautiful meditation that cleanses the chakras of our bodies, the earth and the elements, making space for fresh energy and divine consciousness. At the moment of the cosmic shift of 21.12.2012 we gathered with a group of about fifty people on top of a cliff, looking out across the Arabian sea, and at 16:41 we were chanting Om for world peace, as many other people were, all around the globe. Brian and I had driven most of the way with an old friend Johnny on the back of our Enfield motorbike. Johnny is a 77 year old, sparkly-eyed Devonian boy, who keeps himself fit with yoga, and is a lively and entertaining musician, as well as good fun to be around. When we all joined hands, it was beautiful that Johnny held hands with a two month old baby who was sat beside him – our wise elder with a member of the new generation!

Someone gave an inspiring and eloquent speech about the significance of the moment, and we each silently made our personal prayers. A Japanese paraglider was attempting to take off from the cliff and had made several unsuccessful launches. He was oblivious to the sacredness of the moment, and started complaining loudly, ranting a raving, when people kindly went to help him. One had to see the funny side of that too! Perhaps it was divine timing, to remind us to not take ourselves too seriously?!