As any of you know who have been following me for awhile… and to catch up those of you who are new to my world… I have been on a journey into the underworld these past few months.
That journey was precipitated by the loss of two of the major retreat centers where I do most of my work. One to the ravages of a devastating fire and one to changes in the policies of the center which made my teaching there unsustainable.
I have shared a lot about that process of loss and grief in other newsletters and blogposts, so if you want more of the backstory, you can get it by clicking here
These past few months I feel like I’ve been in the middle of a death. Death of familiar relationships. Death of comfort and security. Death of an identity. Death of the known.
But the thing about death is that there IS always rebirth on the other side. And sometimes death and rebirth are happening all at the same time.
I lost the Mountain Home Ranch retreat center to the Sonoma County firestorm on Monday, October 9th. But by Thursday, October 12th another fabulously amazing place to hold my workshops and retreats was offered to me by one of my generous and beloved students.
I didn’t have to go looking for a new home. It was simply handed to me by the Universe via someone who loves me and values the work I do in the world.
And this new place is total magic!
It’s located on the Northern California coast in a place called Bodega Bay, up on a bluff overlooking the ocean. It’s spacious and gorgeous and comes already equipped with a dedicated art studio.
It meets my needs and the needs of my students beautifully and feels like an incredible blessing during this time of so much change and upheaval.
Bodega Sky Ranch (the name of the new workshop venue) has a totally different vibe from Mountain Home Ranch in a lot of ways. Now, I LOVED Mountain Home. And still love it. And I wish with all my heart that it were still available to me.
But Mountain Home Ranch had been around for a LONG time. They had just celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2013, and the grounds and buildings were a reflection of another era. It was homey and funky and a little worn around the edges, like a pair of comfortable old slippers. It was also a place devoted to hosting ALL kinds of folks including rambunctious kids and boisterous family reunions!
On the other hand, the word that comes to mind when I think of Bodega Sky Ranch is CLASSY! It’s filled with high beamed ceilings and lovely wood and tiled floors. Gorgeous paintings and sculptures are everywhere.
It is small enough that it can only host one group at a time. Which means we will always have the whole place to ourselves. It is located on 160 spacious acres of cypress tree filled coastal splendor. And is incredibly quiet and peaceful where it feels like being in a temple sanctuary dedicated to beauty and nature and art.
There is an image that keeps coming to me as I make my way through this process of transformation. And in that vision I’m sitting somewhat dazed in the rubble of what has been destroyed. But coming up through the rocky ruins are tendrils of bright green shoots of new and vibrant growth.
It’s been rather challenging on a number of levels to allow myself to RECEIVE the biggest green tendril of all, the gift of Bodega Sky Ranch.
That challenge includes opening to the ease with which it came to me. Making peace with the fact that it IS newer and fancier and more luxurious than anything I’ve had before. And letting myself LOVE the swankiness without feeling like I’m somehow betraying the memory of Mountain Home.
And the thing that is even more interesting is that while this is the most dramatic change in my life, it’s certainly not the only one.
I’m feeling like the mantra being given to me by spirit has been Out With The Old. In With The New.
To name just a few of those changes, I’ve gotten rid of some ANCIENT and dilapidated furniture and exchanged it for stuff that is well made and comfy. Had my house repainted and the steps leading up to my studio totally refurbished. AND replaced an ancient printer and a stove top that finally gave up the ghost.
All of these fixtures had been in my life for a long time. I had gotten used to them and although they worked well enough, I was also putting up with them in certain ways.
And these NEW things are a total revelation!
Who knew that a not-broken-down chair in my studio could be so sturdily awesome? I had NO idea that there were wi-fi printers out there that allowed you to print documents from your computer anywhere on the premises. And seeing a color on the outside of my house that I CHOSE makes me happy every single day.
So as much as I feel I have been stretched by the grief I have been experiencing, in many ways the bigger shifts in consciousness and identity are being facilitated by what is bringing me expansion and joy.
I’m being asked to look at all kinds if issues in my life such as how much goodness and ease can I allow myself to truly have? Where am I being stingy with myself? And stubbornly clinging to the past and what is familiar because I fear change of ANY sort? Where am I not letting go of what has outlived its usefulness and no longer serves my spirit and soul at the deepest level?
These questions continue to inform me on a daily basis, inviting me into an ongoing process of inquiry and surrender. And as they do continue to unfold, they bring me up against all kinds of edges in my soul and psyche.
Most days I am at least SOMEWHAT grateful for this often grueling process of being pushed and pulled and stretched to my limits and beyond.
And the rest of the time I’m in total awe at the wild intelligence, generosity and benevolence of creative spirit in my life.
My prayer for you as we leave the often scathing tumultuousness of 2017 and enter into the great unknown that 2018 will become, is that some of these questions might prove to be useful guideposts, helping you to explore outmoded ways of thinking and being in your own life.
And possibly prepare the way for your own miracles of creative transformation to occur.
Wishing you the happiest of holidays, a wondrous New Year and many, many blessings in this season of darkness and light.
And from my wild heart to yours, sending you all so much love.