The Consciousness of Renewal


Holding Sacred Space in the Midst of Chaos

The times we live in are not normal, predictable, or comfortable. But who are you in the midst of this current chaos? Are you holding space for yourself and others? Is your health being impacted by the stress? Are you a distant witness? Are you impervious and therefore unaffected? I doubt that many of you relate to the last two, for you are a healer. You live in service and are dedicated to the betterment of others. You help liberate your clients from their pain and anxiety. So how has it been for you these past few years? Here’s what I know about chaos, transformation, love and renewal…

We just returned from our annual Advanced Training, normally held at Wildwood retreat center in the Redwoods of Northern California. Wildwood is a stunning, magical, expansive place seeped in tragic history. Wildwood was a sanctuary for those suffering from HIV-AIDS in the 1980’s. The land there holds the ashes of countless people who passed on. The magnificent redwoods and the mountain and valley views are glorious. The life-giving, sea-infused air is beyond healing. However, the road that leads to Wildwood is precarious, washed-out and too narrow for comfort. So, like all amazing destinations, one has to be willing to weather the journey to reap the reward.

This year, three weeks prior to our Advanced Retreat, Wildwood was suddenly shut down. Thirty-six people would be flying into the Bay area from all over the world and we had nowhere to meet them. For seven harrowing days, we reached out to what must have been a hundred facilities. Miraculously, we found one. Mandala Springs was available, and they were willing to work with us to make it affordable and manageable.   

The night the retreat began, the most recent Northern California wildfire broke out on the other side of the mountain from us. We were safe, but it was still early. Many in the group were understandably triggered. They, like us, had been through devastating fires over the past many years and had experienced both trauma and loss.  And, we were many windy roads away from a reliable escape route. Nevertheless, we were safe, and the winds were working in our favor. We still had power and we were not under mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders.

As always, the lomilomi sessions were powerful, deep, beautiful, transformational and the group was magnificent. The beauty that occurs when thirty-six people commit to holding sacred space for themselves, and for one another, raises the vibration and the opportunity for healing to a level that is truly magical.  And, in the midst of that magic, the air got thicker and the fire loomed closer. The winds were scheduled to be picking up and we were on high alert.

Tom and Jonah have been building labyrinths out of rocks for our local school for the past many years, so they are both quite good at it. We decided to paint and build a labyrinth during the workshop. We chose to manifest, to create, to initiate a symbol of renewal, even in the midst of possible, monstrous destruction. It was a new moon, and this was a new retreat center – coincidentally only twenty minutes from Harbin Hot Springs. In fact, the owner had purchased this retreat center ON THE DAY that our beloved Harbin Hot Springs burned to the ground four years prior. And, coincidentally, it burned three weeks before we were about to teach our 2015 Advanced Retreat. Talk about full-circle and levels of renewal!

By the fourth day of the retreat, we had only laid out about 10% of the labyrinth. That night, we were expecting hurricane force winds and the power was scheduled to be shut off. We no longer had a choice. We were forced to end the retreat a day early and get off the mountain. Everyone was amazing! Brave. Loving. Committed. Lomilomi sessions began at 7am! We got three powerful sessions in, had our closing circle, packed up the temple and evacuated the retreat center by 5pm.

Everyone dispersed in different directions, some alone, some in groups, finding places to stay in the time-gap created by the fires. I believe we were all in shock to some degree. But what I know, and what I witnessed and what I experienced is this… This is our new normal. Climate change, politics, evolution, inner-conflict and world conflicts are more prominent than ever before in history. Climate change is affecting everyone. Politics and world conflicts infiltrate our consciousness through the media whether we seek it out or not. Stress levels are higher than ever, and we are further from nature than ever before. Yet, we are the healers. We are the ones dedicated to the betterment of others and to holding sacred space. So how do we do this when we are surrounded by fear, anxiety and physical or ideological danger? What I learned from the retreat is the power of the consciousness of renewal.

Lava flows out of Mauna Loa. As it slowly crawls towards Moana, the mother ocean, it devastates roads, houses, fields and. And, in doing this, it also creates the newest land on the planet. Palm trees emerge from the black, dry, cracked lava-field with bright-green wispy leaves that soak-up the sea-air and sun as if it was all designed for them. From the destruction comes renewal.

If we are to stay balanced, nourished, stress-free, healthy, positive, hopeful and capable of being that safe and nourishing place our clients need us to be, we need to learn how to experience all of this chaos as a gateway into renewal. Each and every one of you is a gateway. Your value in your community is immeasurable. Your value to the individuals you hold space for is immeasurable. Your capacity to stay connected with the love, the aloha, the beauty and the hopefulness of renewal, even in the midst of fear, loss and chaos is what can equalize the detrimental energy being generated by all of the current global challenges. What you do matters and is so very important!!!

At the retreat, as an ‘ohana, we created a container of love and held the consciousness of renewal, even as the fire raged just a few miles away. And, we knew when it was time to say goodbye and move on.

Because of this, the retreat feels as if it didn’t actually end. It disbanded and we each expanded back into our lives, but the circle wasn’t broken. And inside that circle, as always, we included everyone in the ‘ohana, sending love and prayers to each and every one of you. You carried us, you were with us, you are us.

We don’t have any idea where or when the next Advanced Retreat will be. Clearly October in Northern California is no longer a viable choice. But between now and the next time we see you, we offer you this… No matter what your life is presenting you with, tap into the love of our circle, the infinite love within you and the power of the consciousness of renewal. You are a creator and we need more creations of love, peace and unity.

What does consciousness of renewal mean to you? Let us know. 

With infinite blessings

Donna and Tom




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