At the time I am writing this, it is day 5 of us living full-time at Rancho Amigos. Our journey has ended in one way and yet has only just begun in another. It’s almost impossible to imagine that life could get much better than this… it hasn’t even felt that difficult for my parts to let go of having the internet on a regular basis (I’ll be in Tomatlan when I post this, to use internet and run errands). There is so much to do, yes, but more importantly and desirably than that, there’s a lot to take in. New possibilities and excitements are taking the place of living in a culture where stress is a key part of life and fear of rejection even more so. I mention that last piece – fear of rejection – specifically because of what I feel happening in my process right now.
I’m entering a phase where much of the surface of my emotional body has been healing and now I can go into what has actually been at the core of my emotional wounding and perhaps everyone in the world’s emotional wounding – deep feelings of unworthiness. Even now I feel myself scratching the surface of that core-wounding in myself, and I trust it will be a step-by-step process to get to the “thud” inside of it. What’s especially helping me right now is the support and love of my community, yes, but also the enchanting surroundings of the ranch. The magical feeling of being here, digging in the dirt to get our edible garden started, and being surrounded daily by a wide array of beautiful animals is all helping to push up any feelings of unworthiness in me that are due to arise. And the sweet part of that is all the while I am feeling what I’m feeling, I also get to feel the comfort and love of all that is so naturally and easily holding me right now. I am not transcending and medicating, forcing myself out of my pain by feeling my oneness with nature, but I am instead allowing nature to push up my feelings of inadequacy, undesirability, ugliness, etc. and then help me heal them, moment by moment. It feels like the ranch itself has its own soul, its own consciousness, asking each of us to become immersed and involved in it, asking us to claim it deeper and deeper…to take care of it and its needs so it can better take care of us and ours.
On that note, there is a book I’d like to recommend. It’s called Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway. This book has a lot of information on creating an ecological garden that is meant to not only serve you, the consumer of its produce, but also meant to serve the earth and its creatures, from helpful microbes, to bees and other integral insects, to larger animals. It’s my feeling as we dive deeper into creating our own eco-garden that this is such a critical piece for people everywhere, not just because of collapse. In fact, you don’t really need to buy into collapse at all to understand that the planet, from which we have taken and continue to take many resources directly from and are destroying it in the process, really needs us to give back to it however we can. This is the whole point of the eco-garden, actually. And, on top of that, Gaia’s Garden has tons of information on how to start your own even if you live in the ‘burbs.
Just before sitting down to write this, I was taking an end-of-the-work-day dip in the river that is only a few feet away from where we are temporarily camping on the ranch. We’re camping while we wait for the house we’ll be living in to be finished. That’s how badly we wanted to be here. Plus there’s nothing like sleeping under the stars in such a potent, natural setting. Actually, where we’re camping right now is where our volunteers and group retreat or immersion attendees will be camping. We’ve begun creating our first garden here too, in a designated garden plot that was gifted to us by someone who was intending to use it for themselves but will no longer be living at the ranch. We have our own plot of land that we need to start working on eventually as well, and as these projects emerge, we feel more and more compelled to have volunteers come help us. We need the help, but we also have so much here we want and are able to share with others that it feels that much more desirable to have people come stay and work with us. Also, if you came for a retreat or immersion there is no way you could leave here unchanged. That’s not only because of the quality of healing we would offer you, but because of the intense beauty, serenity and deeply catalytic quality of life on this ranch as a whole.
And so, it is with a full and expanding heart that I invite you, yes YOU, to come out here and give yourself that gift. It just occurred to me that just being on the ranch itself is in some ways the epitome of what we experience in SoulFullHeart: intense immersion into a new way of seeing, feeling and experiencing yourself and your life, with the promise of another side to your pain though the catalysts that launch you into your pain in the first place are anything but impotent.
Kathleen Calder is a SoulFullHeart facilitator, SoulFullHeart retreats volunteer coordinator, and has been involved with SoulFullHeart Way Of Life since January, 2012.