My Week Back At SoulFullHeart Sanctuary

By Kathleen Calder


SoulFullHeart way of life asks us to be our biggest selves, yet also gives us room to breathe and feel our way into our next chapters, holding us the whole time.

I made a checklist. It contained ítems that part of me adamantly wanted to remember to bring with me ‘in case’ I needed them. Even with the intention of staying only a week, there is so much to remember to take with you physically in preparation for the off-grid, rural lifestyle. I held some concern that I would have to readjust after being away from it for 9 months and that it might be challenging to jump right back in.

Of course this happened on several levels since the SoulFullHeart Sanctuary is not just a physical existence. Even for the person who is not choosing to be emotionally or spiritually conscious, it wakens something on the inside and catalyzes movements within and without that are maybe unexpected. Though I guess that, based on my own experience of returning there, perhaps mostly everyone who goes there goes with an intention – something they want to find clarity about or something that simply needs to move inside them, even if it can’t be named in the moment.

I could hardly wait to give the gifts that I brought for my friends and teachers. Coming from the city, there is a sense of being able to give abundantly. However, I feel as if the gifts I received from them were worth more…reminding me that being given the opportunity to land inside an open and loving heart is the greatest gift of all. These three people have known me for four years now. We have been through a lot together and not just in a physical existence sense, but in terms of emotional terrain. They are easily the people who know me best. The reason? I can’t perform for them for long. My parts, etheric or emotional, cannot dance in front of my authentic inner reality without being felt and detected. These people will not be duped and they will not stand my shrinking. I could not stand theirs either. SoulFullHeart way of life asks us to be our biggest selves, yet also gives us room to breathe and feel our way into our next chapters, holding us the whole time.

I arrived at the Sanctuary with the intention of finding clarity for my life situation and what I should feel into doing next. I have been in a relationship for the last few months. It has been very loving and with a man I have adored but I have been missing the exploration of my soul consciousness, which I seemed to mostly put on pause after leaving the Sanctuary in April. My romantic partner and I have had different focuses in our lives and that has been good for us as a couple in some ways, but has been hard for us in others. It has also been unfair to him that I haven’t been happy living in Puerto Vallarta. He was the main reason why I wanted to be there. I wanted to inhabit life with him and see where it took us. We moved in together quickly but I don’t regret a single thing about that. It was what we both wanted and I knew from the beginning that it could bring the relationship to a speedier completion, or of course that it might not either.

My years in SoulFullHeart, my templating from Raphael and Jelayan as my teachers and my relationship with Sequoia (he was Christopher at the time), all taught me to go in, in and in, holding any fears but following the love flow in front of me, trusting that no matter where my heart takes me I will benefit and others will too. I’m feeling now how life is not a game of finding something to keep forever. We aren’t entitled to that. Lasting love is possible, as Raphael and Jelayan have found, but it comes with a journey of finding your own love overflow that cannot begin until you authentically love and mate with yourself.  All the time in and out of relationships is practice and experimentation. The only formula for keeping love is the one that keeps us in stuck relationships that don’t deepen or evolve and keeps us from growing and healing individually.

In a way, I feel humility when I think about this, but also I feel like I breathe a bit easier. I guess that means that I have held a lot of stress in the past of making a life phase or a romance ‘last forever’ when I inherently know that it may not be meant to and that in some ways I may not actually want it to. I now feel much more open to where life wants to take me next, trusting a bit deeper that whatever happens next will only lead me to more healing and feeling more complete inside myself.

My time with the others, but also my time alone, felt more fulfilling during this week at the Sanctuary than it did in the past. So much so that I feel drawn to live there again. I have just completed all there was to complete in Puerto Vallarta, including the romance that I have held dear. The latter is the toughest part right now. The details of that I will keep to myself for now since it’s pretty raw for both of us.

I feel as if my return to the Sanctuary is a return to me. It is my self-love and my desire to have more self-love that I can share with others and help them heal too that led me there originally and is leading me back there to live. I am born to be a healer, especially during this time of transition for the planet and humanity. I have an emerging self that I have barely tapped into in these last 28 years. I am a complete mystery to myself in the moment and I find that refreshing. I’d rather feel like I am an unfolding story than a book that has already been written and read twenty times. All I have right now are clues to who I could be and am becoming and I can’t imagine another place where I can explore this than at the Sanctuary with the support of my most intimate beloveds.

Kathleen Calder is an initiate at the SoulFullHeart Sanctuary and you can read more of her writing here on this blog. Please visit SoulFullHeart Sanctuary for more.

Death and Rebirth: Life At El Rancho


By Jelelle Awen

Death is a necessary and unavoidable result of being alive. Every beginning brings an ending. Yet it is hard for most people to embrace death as a natural and sacred process. On the ranch there is death and rebirth all around us. Many lambs were born this winter and some will die from predators and getting sick. Every day we plant new seeds and pull up other plantings due to thinning them out or when they are ready to eat. Death and rebirth can also be metaphorical- a letting go of something that is complete in order to let in a new arising.

We had a death ceremony this week for my husband Wayne’s expression as a painting contractor. He has run his own painting business since 1984, a young married man supporting two daughters with his first wife. Running his own business offered autonomy in one way and yet, always, there was the customer to think of and respond to and many details to hold. For a number of years, he had felt pressed with time and energy, wanting to focus more on our healing work and serving people. As a symbolic death, we burned a painting shirt of Wayne’s in our fire pit and he shared feelings and memories from his career. We honored what his career had produced, the family members it had supported, the clients it had pleased. Wayne felt how he is in an in between space now as his authentic expression emerges from the ashes of his painting career. Out of this death and ending comes a rebirth into a new form, as it always does.

There are now chicks at the ranch. Fuzzy yellow and black beings with rapid heartbeats. I held one in my hand that I had rescued when it ventured outside of its fenced area. I placed it back in with its mother and it quickly tucked underneath her, seeking out safety. This is life in all its chirpy and adorable form. We have started eating eggs again after being vegan for almost two years. It was just too difficult to get imitation meat products and even tofu or tempeh in this part of Mexico (other than driving to Puerto Vallarta). We still haven’t found nutritional yeast here which provided a good source of B12 for us in the past. Eating eggs again yet holding a chick in my hands brought up the death and rebirth cycle again. Appreciating the sacrifice of the unborn chicken (if it was fertilized) to feed my needs.

We are creating our third garden here, this one on the lot that could eventually hold our own house if that alchemizes for us. Our first garden is what we call the ‘river garden’, a more conventional (although still organic) vegetable garden with curved, raised beds. Our second garden is a ‘zone one’ garden, the things that we will eat and pick daily so need to be near the house. We created a herb spiral and a bed of lettuce greens, kale, mustard, radish, tatsoi, and mizuna right by our outdoor kitchen. Our third garden is called tranquila and our vision is to create a true sanctuary with winding paths, clusters of microclimates, a shady area around a tree inviting conversations or rest, a small pond created from a circle of rocks, a visually diverse offering of native and tropical plants, shrubs and trees. Many of these plants I have never grown or even heard of. These are heirloom plants, some from Africa and South America, all able to survive the heat and humidity here.

This is birthing, putting all these seeds in the ground. Watering them from nothing to something. And then, death by pulling and pinching. Sautéing and eating raw. Boiling and baking. The sense of both death and rebirth here makes it feel more alive, less cushioned, and more real.

The bigger context of death and rebirth seems so poignant now with the state that our world is in. Violence and war are a continual reality in many parts of the planet. There is the grand death, the slow dying of the industrial age as it winds down after a feverous and fast paced life. What will be reborn of the human species after this death, whether it is in 1 year or 30 years? What will arise from the ashes of technology? These are important questions, yet, here, the heart beat and rescue of one little chick seems equally important. Or, at least, more immediate.

Jelelle Awen is co-creator and facilitator of the SoulFullHeart Way Of Life. Go here to connect with Jelelle on facebookVisit the SoulFullHeart website  for more information about virtual sessions with her.

Finding Home And The Unfolding Mystery: Life At El Rancho


By Jelelle Awen

I’m sitting here at an internet cafe in Tule, a town about 90 minutes from the ranch. Normally I’ve been writing ahead of time and sharing it once I am in town. But, today, I thought I would try just writing and see what comes out. I feel a bit buzzed and heady from being in town, even though this is more like a small village than a town, especially in the western sense. Even the small amount of activity is a lot for me to digest now that I am used to being in the peace and quiet of the ranch. It is amazing what is becoming overwhelming and how quickly.

I have recently realized that this life is most likely the only one I’ve had within an industrial society. The only life where easy electricity, food, water, and shelter were readily available and expected. This explains so much about why modern technologies and conveniences, while I acclimated to them, still felt foreign and uncomfortable to my soul. When I am in our gardens recently, I feel this acess to my soul’s knowledge about growing food beginning to open up to me. I know how to do this, I think, and then I read my organic gardening books for validation. I like to lead with intuition and retreived knowledge first, and book knowledge second. I like for the plants to tell me what they need and want rather than use my mind to deduce it. I feel that this intuitive way of gardening is what is most natural to my soul in past lives as a healer, medicine woman, priestess, etc. Maybe this intuitive way is what is most natural for all people.

Nature is beginning to call to me. Not just in a casual way that happens when you take a hike in the woods, but in a deeper way that invites me to experience both the groundedness of the land and the metaphysical and transcendal aspects of the natural world. I have been curious about exploring parallel universes and other dimensions for a long time, yet felt to focus on my emotional healing primarily and healing my connection with the Divine in a way that was grounded in my body. After ten years of this focus, I can feel a rumbling of curiousity and desire in me to expand my consciousness and see things which cannot be seen by the eyes. This, it feels like, is more familiar to my soul than the logical and practical world I have been raised in.

This weekend, Wayne and I are going to camp out for a night in the hills. To light a fire, to feel the oak trees around us, to take in the soul opening view of the river and the lake. To connect with the Divine and our guides. To see what opens up that won’t be easy to explain to the rational mind. To feel not walls around us but the open air. We’ve been camping quite a bit the last few months but now that we are in a house, which is also very appreciated, we both feel a desire for the open air. And for whatever metaphysical journey our souls would like to go on.

It is interesting how much it feels like home to me to be without easy internet access and all the other things I have been used to. I feel that this sense of home is the core of our sacred humanity and what I call our wild self. We’ve been tamed by industrial society and lost our connection with so much of what makes us and the world sacred. I like the feeling of appreciating the home within me, the home with the Divine, the home in nature, and the home in metaphysical realms. My journey has been about finding home in all these ways and, yet, also to be open to experiencing the ongoing mystery arising in every moment.

Jelelle Awen is co-creator and facilitator of the SoulFullHeart Way Of Life. Go here to connect with Jelelle on facebookVisit the SoulFullHeart website  for more information about virtual sessions with her.

Meat The Truth: A SoulFullHeart Movie Review


By Christopher Tydeman

After my last movie review, I ended with a passionate interest in the environmental impacts of factory farming. I spent some time doing some research and found a documentary titled, Meat the Truth. It curiously asks why Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, neglected to mention that the biggest contributor to greenhouse gasses is due to the full scale farming of animals for food. Feels a bit inconvenient when you are a cattle rancher and have friends in high places. Though, to be fair, I have read he is advocating for less meat in our diets due to the connection of food production and environmental impacts.

 The film illustrates this connection with interviews of scientists and current and former ranchers. It also uses a LOT of analogies which are hard to wrap your head around sometimes. What I did come away with are a few important points. It takes a considerable amount more resources to produce one pound of meat in relation to one pound of wheat. The methane production from cattle is off the charts. The amount of land needed to grow feed is increasing, which means less trees. There is no defined management system of the waste produced, which is WAY more than what we humans produce and we have an extensive waste management system.  This waste then pollutes our water supply.

 This impacts us and our planet. You don’t have to be an agricultural scientist to see that. From a spiritual place, this is disheartening. Not only are we maiming and murdering hundreds of thousands of animals each year, we are aiding in the degradation of our planet. How have we closed our hearts to this? A part of us, or even more than one, has been formed to adapt to the status quo. Not to question, just accept. I am not judging this part of us. It has done so for its own need for survival. I feel for this part.  It is hard as hell to go against the norm when you just want to be accepted.

 So this part uses “reason” to fight against what is truly reasonable. To fight for an industry of death even though our very nature is an industry of life. It is an awakening to feel the lie that this part has had to agree to just to feel accepted. It is painful, but when this part gets to be felt, it can let go of the postulating. It can feel what is real and true in our soul. It is a new frontier of compassion and sacred activism to stop the barbarism and destruction.

SoulFullHeart feels life as all-connected. What we do to the animals and our planet, we do to ourselves energetically. Each choice we make reverberates in the web of life and the Divine. I choose to love myself and in turn love all life. I don’t eat meat anymore. I feel the spiritual price and it is too great. I transitioned to a vegan lifestyle for physical, emotional, and spiritual health. The main thing I got from this movie is that one small change makes an enormous difference. This leads to other small changes which have even bigger results. We can damn near change the world by just taking small steps to changing what we eat. And a part of me says…that’s pretty fucking cool!

Christopher Tydeman has been embracing the SoulFullHeart Way Of Life off and on since August, 2010. He is a SoulFullHeart facilitator and healing arts facilitator at SoulFullHeart retreats.

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