Jul 31 2017
Are you looking for a spiritual adventure this Fall? Well, so am I... and this is what I have hatched so far:
Every day, we have a choice about how we spend our time, energy and attention. I believe that one of the most powerful and meaningful things we can do is to invest our efforts in creating the world that we want to live in. In that spirit, I am writing this invitation. This fall, from about Sept 1- Dec 1, I would like to facilitate and live in a temporary, experimental spiritual community here in the Red River Gorge, Kentucky. I am looking for other kindred souls, likely rock climbers, who are interested in the spiritual growth that becomes possible through living in community and practicing yoga and meditation together. I am calling this a "Pop Up Ashram" because when I was in India earlier this year, I fell in love with the rhythm and the peace that comes with living in an ashram, a community of spiritually focused people. It became easy for me to get up, pre-dawn, to go practice, because I was so thrilled by the exquisite energy of practicing with a devoted group of people day after day. And I am calling it "Pop Up" because I think it makes sense to just try it for a couple of months and learn, and see how it feels. Also because I have travel plans to leave Kentucky for months at a time this winter.
Here are some of the practical aspects of what I am envisioning:
- Shared morning daily yoga/meditation/pranayama practice at consistent agreed-upon time(s). We can either take turns leading practice, or we can each just do our own practice alongside one another.
- Shared vegetarian breakfasts & dinners, with collective gratitude prayer offered before eating.
- Evenings spent sharing things like music, cuddling, dance parties, storytelling, hiking, campfires, or skill sharing. Evenings could be open to the community to offer things that they would like to learn or would like to teach others.
- Minimal use of technology (phones, computers, ipads) in our shared time and space together, to facilitate higher quality connections with one another.
- Minimal or no alcohol or drug usage, unless as part of a spiritual practice. No smoking in shared spaces.
- Community commitment to volunteering regularly in neighboring Beattyville, one of the lowest income communities in the US. I have established a relationship with the Beattyville Housing and Development Corporation and they are eager for volunteers and involvement from us.
- First couple of days spent getting to know each other, using facilitated exercises and practices, and establishing our shared agreements for the ashram. What will our decision-making process be? How will we communicate? What is our shared purpose for being together? How do we handle conflict? How will we handle chores/cooking/groceries?
- The location for this community can be the Land of Arches Campground. The owner, Dave, has been supportive of this idea and would enjoy seeing this come to fruition. I am open to suggestions for other locations that may be better suited for our needs, however Dave is also willing to consider improvements/changes around the property to accomodate our needs.
- Money/resources are shared on a gift economy basis, with each person contributing what they feel inspired to contribute.
- We need a core group of committed community members who can stay for most of the season, but the community would also be available for visitors to come for the weekend or a week or however long.
Here are some of the core commitments that I would invite community members to share with me:
- I am devoted to my relationship with my innermost Self, my portal to the Divine.
- I believe that everything we do is motivated by either love or fear, and I wish to invest in love with every possible action. Therefore, I am committed to creating fully consensual relationships.
- I am committed to the deepest possible intimacy with Nature. I am open to communicating with her in every form: rocks, plants, animals, water, wind and fire.
- I am committed to owning everything about myself: every shadow, every habit, every characteristic, every gift. This means taking 100% responsibility for my life, my feelings, my actions and my personal power.
- I believe rock climbing can be a form of prayer.
- I am committed to the yogic disciplines of the yamas (restraint) and the niyamas (practice or observance). For more info on these, here is a good article.
I am praying that all these thoughts find their way to the people who need to read them. Does this resonate with you? Do you think you might be one of these kindred souls? Then please, reach out to me! What interests you about this? What is on your heart as you read this? What might you be able to contribute to the community and what would you like to get out of it?
Please email me at sarahwbelzile AT gmail.com or call me at two one six eight seven zero seven six six nine.
It feels pretty vulnerable to put this dream out there like this, so please know that any response from you will be received so eagerly!
"All polishing is done by friction." -Mary Parker Follett