Today I found a lovely piece of property for sale in Glenmalure, County Wicklow, Ireland. My first thought was about how perfect it is for a retreat center. Then I found this 2-year-old post I’d written at one of my favorite retreat centers in the Northern California Coastal Redwoods. It’s been rewritten a bit to fit…well, to fit the times, I guess.
Just About Two Years Ago
When we create, watching our seeds flower in another’s backyard…when we create, knowing we may not directly reap the financial rewards and notoriety…when we continue to create with enthusiasm, moving ourselves aside…when we create with gratitude, allowing the seeds of our creations to land and grow where they may…this is true manifesting .
“You don’t have to realize your visions personally to be a manifester,” I scribbled the words in my journal as the voice came in loud and clear. At the time, I had no idea how much larger than my own life this manifesto was to become.
Back then, in 2011, I stood at Skylonda’s Meditation Point where I’d been many times before, looking out through the mist, listening to the water falling below, smelling the rich and soggy earth, breathing-in the lichen-clear air.
A stone labyrinth nestled among giant Redwood fairy rings has now made its imprint where there was once only an empty spit of land, like an outcropping. Fertile ground and always sacred, many seeds had been planted and sown in that very place over the years that I’d been visiting–20 years of visits, almost to the week.
Upon exiting the sacred circle maze that day, I’d bowed, realizing I’d dreamed-in this labyrinth and everything that surrounded it: a non-profit educational retreat center that catered to consciousness and spirituality. It wasn’t mine, yet I’d helped bring it to fruition.
For 28 years before that day in 2011, I’d been quietly building this retreat center and holding space for its ever-evolving expansion. It had all begun in 1983 during one of my anxiety attacks when I first wrote the vision on tiny sheets of paper to distract myself from the painful and frightening panic in my body.
Then, the idea of a retreat soothed me and gave me something to look toward in an otherwise fearfully existential time in life.
Visions do Manifest!
In 1991, nine years after the first schematic was created, I read about a resident hiking center in the Redwoods just south of San Francisco in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Incredible thrill pulsed through me as I read the article. My dream had been actualized, a fruit bearing tree, my plan and personal vision in real time!
Back then I called immediately asking for a tour, enthusiastically telling them my story. I could see their smiles through the phone, though I wasn’t hired immediately because they’d just opened the doors officially two months before and didn’t yet have a lot of business. Forty days later I received a call to fill in for a massage therapist who would be away during the upcoming busy Christmas week–1991.
I didn’t leave that beautiful place for well over three years, working inside the brilliance of my vision. Eventually giving up most of my personal clients and two other part time spa shifts, I came to live (4 days a week) at Skylonda. It was my muse, and a dreamy job, that is certain. I hiked, I talked to the guests and the trees, I taught yoga, stretching and consciousness, and I danced over people’s bodies, massaging, relaxing and escorting them on a week-long journey into their unknown inner worlds.
It was, most definitely, a heavenly time.
The Years that Came and Went
Revisiting the idea of a retreat center business many times over the upcoming years, I was motivated mostly from a frequent longing for that old, almost otherworldly job. The original dream was projected into a desire to open something in one of several different places: New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Ireland and Scotland.
And I scouted, often!
Fast-Forward to 2011, Again
When I finally let go of the idea altogether on that day at the labyrinth in 2011, I knew, at least in that particular moment, it would most likely never become my life’s work. It was a really great dream, and up until that day, a dream I’d regularly brought back when I felt lost or alone, uncertain about the future and unclear about what I might “do” in and for the world someday.
The Holy Wheel of Life
Even so, it was a tenacious option; one held for so long, it was like a phantom limb that continued to inform my body, prodding for answers to the constant question: “okay, then what do you want to do with your life?”
For a bit, I was pretty uncomfortable with that big vacant space where my dream used to reside. And simultaneously, I realized I’d been a bit like Humpty Dumpty for a long, long while. I’d been sitting atop that fence for decades, and only then, in 2011, did I finally feel it digging relentlessly into my bottom, urging me to jump off its pointy post. How could I have been there so long?
A wonderful day that, though I struggled to embrace the recognition that not all of my dreams and visions are for me to accomplish in the real world. That day I still sat half on and half off the fencepost, with no identity and no dreams to which I was attached or even interested.
It was so very lonely up there…half on, and half off.
Then I realized that whatever I dreamed-in next would manifest itself in some form, someplace, for anyone willing to see it, to act on it, and for anyone who desired to participate in this co-creation here on Earth.
Solstice, December 2012
The voice at the labyrinth was a blessing at the first of that year. Now at the end of 2012, I can see how I’ve created a little holographic retreat center of my own these past two years. It’s inside. It’s helped me discover a deeper and more mystical conversation between me and my soul, between my soul and other souls. If I’d been caught up in that dream of an outer world retreat center, I might not have found this magical place inside where it’s never lonely, and I am far from lost.
Circles of Initation