Mountain Valley Retreat has been welcoming guests for one year. Only a few hours ago we all were here…
Sharing our words, our hugs, our laughter, our tears…
Friends coming together to Connect
For our Celebration of Life 65.
My local tribe from Borrego Springs, Manzanita Village, Ramona, Sunshine Summit, Warner Springs, Lake Henshaw, Ranchita and Haiku, our Resident thru-hiker from the PCT
Came together like a giant constellation of stars
Inter-connecting with my Kindred Spirits from far away as if
We have always known each other.
HoJo and Richard created a Sound-scape of Magical Music
While we ate… oh, the Food!
And drank…oh, the Champagne!
While we laughed and talked and hugged and danced.
Chris & Cristina serenaded us with poignant songs of life.
The Grandmother Drum called to us to let our
Wild Souls Out
And we drummed and danced until at last
We fell gently into a puppy pile
Resting our bodies against each other
Feeling the strength of our connection
The power of our love.
And I am only 65 today.
I have 35 more years to live and play
In this beautiful body,
On this beautiful earth,
With these beautiful people.
Tomorrow I drive to Sedona. Today I sit with where I am now and what is happening here. Joel’s grandmother, Esther Chin, died on Thursday. Diana’s best friend, Carla, died yesterday. Passings…shifts in consciousness…big change.
The turn of the calendar page and the number changes from 2013 to 2014 causing me to ponder the past and the future.
2013 was the year Mountain Valley Retreat was born…a dream made manifest. 2014 will be the year people come and experience this place that has become my home and the place of my dreams.
It has begun. Rosey came into our lives when she arrived as a pilot from England looking for a place to stay and a chance to fly with G. Now she is our friend and is going to Sedona with me tomorrow.
The Yurt filled with students yesterday and I received the gift of being able to teach yoga and share my passion with open-hearted souls seeking greater self-understanding and peace.
I cannot know what 2014 has in store for me. What I know is I feel indescribable gratitude for the gifts I received in 2013 and I enter this New Year riding the flow of grace that supports me and loves me unconditionally.
My word for 2014 is Gratitude. It is my 2014 Intention to share the grace I am experiencing with everyone who enters my field. May the Blessings of the Universe continue to manifest in my life and the lives of everyone I touch.
Coming to my blog site is like visiting an old friend that has been a long time gone.
It’s late. I need to go to bed and rest, for tomorrow is another day of dawn to dusk laboring. I am in a birthing process. It is not a human baby I am birthing, well perhaps in a way, but I will get to that. What I am birthing is a dream.
For years I have dreamed of a gathering of all my beloved friends and family…a coming together of many souls whose only connection to one-another is me. From around the globe they will come and as their eyes meet for the first time they will see a kindred spirit. They will know one another in an instant of soul recognition. Eyes will light up with smiles and arms will hold one another in the warmth of loving embraces.
I am birthing this dream by creating a space for such gatherings. Each day is a labor of love but as in all birthings there are moments of fear and pain.
There is spilled blood, dripping sweat, and nights of aching muscles and deep fatigue.
Through it all is a push to complete. The urge to reach the climatic moment of revelation is intense. It is what wakes me at 5:30 with instant alertness and clarity of purpose. It is what keeps me moving from project to project, checking off one after the next as they reach completion. It is what makes my heart sing with joy when I vision the gathering of friends who will soon be crossing the threshold of Mountain Valley Retreat.
The birthing of Mountain Valley Retreat is also the birthing of me. Through this creation I am coming out as myself. Everything about this place represents my authentic self.
I wrote a letter this morning and I share some of it here because it speaks to all of my new and old heart connections…
I have often felt awe at the connections I have with you and others in my life that are beyond my ordinary understanding. I can only imagine that we are interrelated throughout many lives as I recall a book I once read called Return of the Revolutionaries. Dr. Epstein explains about “Soul Groups.”
Soul Groups are individuals who make a pact on a soul level to move through lifetimes together; changing roles, changing gender, race, ethnicity and interrelationships. A friend in one lifetime may have been a wife, child, parent, or someone else in a previous lifetime. The group has a common thread running through all their lives and relationships. I think he called it the Soul Group Mission. It is a large-scale mission, shifting the global thought field. The group Dr. Epstein tracked in his book was revolutionaries in the American Revolution and continue to walk the cutting edge of revolutionary thought regardless of their occupations in this life. (Oprah Winfrey is an incarnation of one of the souls he tracked.)
When I read the book, it rang true for me. I have noticed that in the past 20 years, and especially in the past 6 years, the friends that I have deep heart-felt connections with, practice healing methods that are outside the mainstream view of medicine. They include art therapists, organic farmers, teachers, writers, actors, sound healers, energy workers, yogis, bodyworkers, psychologists, movement therapists, physicists, shamans, and non-traditional nurses and doctors.
I think that our “soul group” chose the mission of changing the worldview regarding healing.
I have no doubt that you and I are partners in this soul group and that we are affecting the global field with our beliefs and actions regarding the way healing happens.
Interestingly, it is a return to indigenous ways supported by modern science. Quantum physics has now proven what the ancient mystics intuitively knew: every thought-form put into the field affects the field.
All fields entrain themselves toward the strongest, most organized field. Our thoughts draw to our awareness from the unlimited Universal field of all-potential the experience we are having.
The most intriguing and thrilling aspect of my life is the repeated experiences I have that support this belief. When I meet someone from my Soul Group, we both experience a feeling of remembering and reconnecting on a soul level. The level of comfort and communication is deep and immediate. I am smiling as I think about what the future is holding for us, just waiting for us to think the thought!
I am sitting at my desk, cup of tea steaming, ready for my morning writing session. Looking out the window, the sky is pale blue with the early morning light. I see the oaks and pines and large rocks that grace the hillside surrounded by sage where the property climbs to the fence. In the lower right corner of my view is the patio. In its center sits the fountain. An emotional response of pleasure and gratitude occurs every time I look at it.
I moved from rural St Louis to a small holding 15 miles south-east of Warner Springs, California in April of 2008. In 2009 I took a position as a massage therapist at The Spa at Warner Springs Ranch. The design of the spa was a horseshoe shape of low adobe buildings around a center courtyard. The fountain, the focal point of the courtyard, drew me in. As I walked with clients through the courtyard from the lobby to and from the treatment rooms, the sound of the falling water was like soothing music to my ears.
The ranch was sold and closed for renovations two years later. Out of work and with an hour commute to the closest city, I rested and considered my options. The vision of a residential retreat center came to my mind. As I explored the vision I “saw” a patio with a beautiful fountain that would attract birds and bring balance to our high desert retreat with the addition of a water element…the fountain from the Spa! I talked to my friend Sharon, the owner of the Spa at Warner Ranch. She told me she was selling all of the furnishings from the Spa, including the fountain, and she would love me to have it.
Today, as I look out at the fountain with the hummingbirds and finches, stellar jays and acorn woodpeckers, bathing and drinking from its endlessly moving water, my heart expands. The history of this fountain is unknown to me although I know that the ranch opened in 1849 and the Spa was a popular destination to Hollywood stars in the 1920’s.
For me, it holds the energy of the Spa at the Ranch, which was my oasis at a time when I needed connection and roots. It represents a place and people of restoration and compassion.
Its last owner, Sharon, is a sister of my heart. The fountain brings her powerful healing spirit and profoundly beautiful presence to Mountain Valley Retreat. I gaze at the fountain and my heart sings with joy.
It is early morning and I am here. I am committed to writing daily for ten weeks as part of Susanna Harwood Rubin’s writing circle, “Write Your Practice-2013.” This writing circle has the added element of Yoga. Susanna is a yoga teacher and student of Hindu Mythology, a subject of long-standing interest for me.
I feel empowered by choosing to write this morning. I realize how much I missed the discipline I kept sacred for six months from January through June of this year. I stopped the practice in July as I prepared to be away from home for five weeks. I am grateful to have found the inspiration to return to my writing practice. Thank you, Susanna!
The theme for week one is “Finding Your Voice” represented by the Hindu deity and mythological being, Ganesha. Easily recognized by his elephant head, I regard Ganesha, the patron of intellect and wisdom, during this writing session. It is a common Hindu practice to honor Ganesha, the Hindu god of beginnings, at the start of a ritual or ceremony.
Today is the start of such a ritual for me. I invoke Ganesha and welcome his support in this new writing endeavor.
Susanna offered some intriguing prompts for this week’s writing. As I read through them, two stand out. The first is to explore my story through the objects around me. “In what ways is my personal creation myth represented by the objects I choose to have near me? What do those objects have to tell about themselves and about me?”
The second concept that attracts me is, “Always be poised at a threshold and then move through it – embrace change.” I wonder about the thresholds I have crossed in my lifetime and how well I have embraced the changes that ensued.
My monitor sits on top of a wooden box that was a gift from my Japanese sister, Keiko. Kay is an artist who creates beautiful objects from glass, yarn, fabric, wood and metal. She built the box and painted it inside and out in a Scandinavian style of artistic design. She incorporated my name on the lid. I have had the box for over forty years and it has until recently held keepsakes and letters that touched my heart. When I remodeled my laundry room into an office, my monitor needed a platform to raise it and the box was perfect. I like that I look at it every day when before it was hidden in a cabinet. I feel my connection to Kay through it.
As I consider it now and give it a “voice” this is what I hear:
“I am a loving expression of the Divine Feminine. Through me, Kay reveals her compassion. She demonstrates her intention to serve. I am showing you the intricate details of nature finely created by Kay’s pure focus and rapt attention. Feel into my field and experience her joyfulness as she participates in this beautiful creation.”
I feel deeply touched by my experience with this box that I have kept close for so many years. Kay was a heart opening influence in my life for the year she lived with my family. I was twelve years old and she was an eighteen-year-old American Field Service student from Yokohama, Japan. I absolutely adored her. She and I spent endless hours sewing doll clothes, making origami cranes, and playing cards.
I understand now why she spent more time with me than my sister, Sandy, who was eighteen. The more sheltered and innocent upbringing of Japanese youth was not equal to the American teen’s level of sophistication, even in 1962. Kay and I were more alike in our interests and emotional maturity even though we were six years apart…and we shared an interest in artistic endeavors. I loved to draw, paint and sew and she was my more-than willing teacher.
I look at this box she made for me and tears come to my eyes. I miss her. I am so grateful for the gift she was to me at that formative time in my life. She is a gem to be treasured. Ah, now I understand why I have kept this box near me all these years.
I was married on July 17, 1973, forty years ago today. I am no longer married and have no intention to marry again…and, I never know what lies around the bend in my path.
My parents have been married seventy years. They modeled for me a marriage that lasts. The difference between their marriage and mine appears to be that my mother has been an excellent accommodator…not I.
I tried, but never got the hang of accommodating my husband’s wishes without feeling resentful when it was never his turn to accommodate me. Of course, that is my perspective…I am sure his story sounds quite different.
I have two friends who have been married to one another all of their adult lives and they are a joy to be with as a couple. The three of us traveled together for several weeks in a foreign country. We have also house-shared on a number of occasions over the last few years. This intimate sharing of space and time has allowed me an inside look at their marriage.
I have observed gentleness in the way they relate to one another. They have genuine concern for one another’s happiness. They carve out the time to consider each other’s needs and they care enough to try to meet them. They both have generous natures and this extends beyond their relationship to their children, their families, their colleagues and friends. The most significant factors I have observed in this beautiful marriage, is recognition and respect for their diversity and the ability to let down all pretense and laugh with each other at themselves.
Love is a word that is so overused it has lost its power for me. I understand humankind’s constant attempts to conceptualize it; I just feel those attempts usually fall short. Being with my friends, I see beyond the concept into the experience. With them, I see what love is and I realize what makes a marriage not just last, but flourish.
I am in a relationship with a man who gives me hope that I too may have finally found an experience of love that takes me beyond the concept to the experience. Trust is key.