It was great to publish only twice last year and this year it will be once. The closure of Naramata Centre and the winding down of the festivals held in the Okanagan has allowed me to refocus. I seldom call it work as organizing and promoting my ideals is the best vocation I could ever have asked for. Raising three kids at a young age and juggling a variety of jobs over 25 years was my only training. The skills needed to run the Retreat Center are no different, I feel my on-the-job training is complete after 13 years and it is time to train others who have a passion for inner growth and want to be of service. Richard and I both love the work we do but know it is time to have others step forward and take responsibility for the day-to-day functioning of the Retreat Center and help make community happen.
Last year my angels, like the one on the front cover, which was a wedding gift from Richard and now oversees the dining room in the lodge said, “It is time to write the book, a version of my 25-year blog about growing and understanding myself, complete with advice and examples for young people on how to grow ourselves into healthy souls that support our planet’s need for our well-being.” When this was first suggested 20 years ago, I never took it seriously as there are so many great books just waiting to be read. My angels say the time is now and since I have developed some writing skills I will do my best and hope to get started soon.
My plan was to start last fall but the weather was so amazing that the garden took priority. The month of November saw flower beds dug, raspberry canes moved, complete with new posts, and a chicken-run built in the lower garden, complete with a new coop waiting for spring. In December, we processed food for use next season and got the taxes done. January and February were used to get the magazine and Festivals organized. Come March, the snow will melt and some new crew members will arrive. The Spring Festival of Awareness will happen at the end of April followed by a busy summer season. We will host the third annual Sacred Music, Sacred Dance Festival and our tenth Summer Tai Chi Camp. The Wise Women’s Festival has returned to its original dates in the middle of September.
My hope, as the crew members get trained, is to take two days a week off and start the book down at our lower house. Last fall, Richard decided it was time to have our own space and leave the lodge to the crew members. Danny has been with us three years and loves looking after the wood stove, chickens and yard maintenance including snow shoveling.
My hope for the summer is that at least two people who are okay with living in community will want to learn how to run the Retreat Center and make a commitment to stay around for several years so we can change the structure of how things get done. It is important that the Center stay vegetarian with a spiritual slant, as we believe that peace on this planet is determined by the way humanity treats its animals, surroundings and food supply. These days, pets are treated like children, and with less ignorance surrounding the ‘factory’ farms, our diets are slowing progressing to being more plant-based. I am glad hemp hearts are gaining in popularity and can be sprinkled on any dish. We each vote with our dollars and our time. Understanding our connection to the ‘all that is’ is important as we evolve.
Often, and especially during a busy day, I make time to breathe deeply and tell myself, “I have permission to slow down.” These moments connect my soul to the energy of the universe and enables me to hear the inner voice more clearly, whether it be turning off the oven, creating a meal from left-overs or imagining bigger projects.
Learning to write and edit took me 20-some years. Living with Richard and in community has given me lots of practice time putting into words what I observe or feel, as that was not a skill I grew up with. I was a shy child who did not even speak till I was five years old. At about 23 years old, I remember feeling puzzled: I could not figure why other people’s inner voices did not work. Since then, I have learned that some people have strong egos that like to argue, debate and refuse to say ‘yes’ to inner feelings, and instead they rationalize why it can’t be done.
Last February for my birthday, I took a course and bought some Acutonic Forks that helped me tune into the cosmic vibrations. This too has taken time, to slowly awaken me so I could ‘smell the roses,’ or hear the vibes that create reality. Every thought, every sound we hear or utter, creates our reality.
I remember after I had started publishing Issues magazine, a New Age album was released by a Canadian Patrick Bernhardt, entitled Atlantis Angelis that was out-selling the hit songs. I put it into the CD player and did not turn if off for about two weeks. When Richard and I married we used a song from that album as our wedding march. I understand these songs are Sanskrit mantras sung with great love. Patrick’s intention was to awaken people to their purpose so the planet can fulfill its destiny. Listening to his music activates an inner pleasure deep in my soul, allowing me to dance about as I create my life.
I am writing about this now because recently I noticed a book on our shelves called The Secret Music of the Soul, written in 1991 by the same Patrick Bernhardt, in which he explains why many well-educated graduates bypass freedom and happiness. That genuine security and real health rests on one thing only: the harmonization of the subtle body. It is only when the physical body vibrates in sympathy with cosmic equilibrium that all physical life thrives.
Patrick continues that the Vedic Scriptures and ancient Chinese literature have bequeathed important information on this topic. The chakras and meridian points are connected to the subtle nervous system and reflect back the emotional functions of individuals and whether or not they are harmonized. All sorts of tension and fears usually block these centers and the accumulation of negativity prevents us from the enjoyment of life’s divine law: that there is an inexhaustible treasure of serenity and abundance. Since nothing is left to chance in the universe, it is possible to quickly learn to align and vibrate to specific planes of consciousness which go beyond the human language. We just need to make time to learn these ancient practices.
Perhaps this explains why I resonate deeply with yoga and Tai chi/Qi gong and why millions of people practice it. Today, images of the chakras are becoming more common as is chanting or listening to meditative-like music. Patrick says this connection does not involve mental effort, the will or the intellect. Once we plug into the circuits, information hidden deep within us helps us to abandon our everyday worries and trust God or the Tao. Life becomes more peaceful when we balance the doing with being, but it takes trust and years of practice to learn these ancient methods of keeping ourselves harmonized as we let go of old programming.
Spending my holidays in the Kootenays 20 years ago was the first step to moving here and started a ripple effect that changed me. The vibrations of the mountains are powerful and help unite us with our soul’s purpose. I invite you to check out this fact by joining us at one of the Festivals or Summer Camps. If you have time to volunteer for a month this summer, let me know. You may walk away changed as well.