All I Know For Certain Is Nothing


Yesterday’s page ended with today’s title. It says it all for me these days. In the process of building this retreat center which began with such certainty…I had a Vision, after all… I have been humbled again and again as I am shown how little control I have over any outcome.
In the fall of 2012 I was sitting in the hot tub looking out at the land and the vision came so clearly. I knew with absolute certainty that I was to build a retreat. My simple home on two acres of mountain ground in the southern California back country was to become a residential retreat center where people would come to refresh their minds and renew their spirits.
The vision was clear and comprehensive. I saw every structure, garden and path. As I walked around the property the details continued to evolve and reveal themselves to me. It seemed so simple. I wrote down all that I saw, I made timelines for construction and raised funds. I found the perfect builder to help me make my dream manifest. We chose an opening day of April 1, 2013 which felt like a generous amount of time to complete everything. You’ve heard that saying, “I plan, God laughs?”
So what has happened in the interim? Many of the projects have been completed. The house sports a lovely deck with hot tub that is entered through French doors from the dining area of the kitchen.  The kitchen was opened to the living room to allow more natural light. An old laundry room has been converted into a lovely office which I share with Oscar, the sometimes ornery parrot, who is thrilled that I am hanging out with him. The guest bedroom has been remodeled with a separate entrance added.
The property is enclosed with a beautiful wood privacy fence and the service entrance has a new gate. Every one of the hundreds of cedar boards was lovingly stained and sealed by my partner with a brush…no small feat. A lovely gate header was carved and placed at the entrance announcing to all who pass that Mountain Valley Retreat lies inside.
The land has been cleared of dead wood and rocks, trees laced and trimmed, ground leveled out in preparation for the yurt classroom space and three large tipis which are arriving next week.
What was an old garage has been turned into a lovely studio with lots of glass to let sunlight in as well as a shower room, toilets and washhouse.
We are now fully powered by solar energy. An array of shiny blue panels collects the abundant sunshine and converts it into power to meet all our electrical needs. Garden boxes are planned to be built under the solar panels taking advantage of their heat collecting shade. A greenhouse blueprint is waiting for me to complete it on the drafting desk.
I laid the first of 1000 paver stones yesterday. They are the beginning of a large patio area that will be graced by a large fountain for the birds, areas to rest in the shade of the oaks, and a stone fire pit to warm us on cool nights. At the end of the patio I “see” a small amphitheater for open-mike nights. To the west near a large oak will be a tree house with a sunset viewing deck.
The foundation is being poured this morning for the treatment facility and wood-working shop. The parts to build the entrance gate are ordered and in route. A lot has happened, is happening and will continue to happen…just not on any schedule I create.
I wrote down the plan for Mountain Valley Retreat in October last year. Delays in construction happened for a variety of reasons; let’s just say Mother Nature made sure I didn’t get cocky about the execution of my plans.  Humility is a powerful lesson to be learned.
Perhaps I am being tested…how sure am I that this vision is a plan from the divine given to me in sacred trust? What obstacles am I willing to navigate over, around and through to make certain this vision manifests? What sacrifices am I willing to make in service to my vision?
All I know for certain is nothing. One day at a time, I survey the situation and do the best I can to facilitate. I have learned not to wait for anyone to do anything that I can do myself and I have learned that there is a lot I can do when I put my heart and mind into it.
I want to say I have no doubt that my vision will manifest…but I feel better saying all I know for certain is nothing. Do I believe in what I am doing? Absolutely. Am I grateful for this opportunity to create a sacred space to share with others that we might better learn to serve our magnificent planet and one another? Unquestionably. Do I know anything for certain? Not a thing.


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