Posts Tagged ‘Holistic Living’

A Reminder from the Universe

30/06/2021
From the Pacific Crest Outward Bound* Book of Readings
(*Now called Northwest Outward Bound)

I love it when spirit nudges us. Our family does an evening reading at our dinner table every night before eating. Without looking at the bookshelf behind me last night, I pulled a random book off the shelf. Then I opened to a random page, then I looked at a random quote.

It’s one of my favorite quotes:
“Believe me my young friend, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that is half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
Kenneth Grahame.

This quote arrives just when we’ve put our Lake Wanaka Yacht Charters business “on pause” due to New Zealand border closures. The lack of tourists is “forcing us to live our dreams” and as we consider and possibly prepare to use the yachts in more of an educational role, for experiential adventures on Lake Wanaka. This is my first love anyway. As every passenger that’s gone out on the lake with me attests, they got more than they bargained for, regarding an experiential sailing experience. Once they get out there, my job, and mission, is to light up their eyes and soul by helping them connect to the wind, the water, the place and themselves, and of course have fun.

Here at Mountain Spirit NZ, we’ve been hooked on the “AirBnB drug” prior to our Covid lockdown, and now we’re advertising for domestic visitors to stay with us with a purpose in mind, whether to just have a digital detox, record some music in our piano studio, or take some yin yoga classes with Amanda in the yurt. We’re stepping out into our own possibilities.

Although I’ve run Mountain Spirit Institute in the U.S. where we’ve done tons of different programs ranging from experiential immersion on the Rosebud Reservation to a powerful New England tour of Peruvian folk music, creating our own space here in New Zealand, and inviting people to come stay with us is uncharted territory. But we’re enjoying the ride, with all its ups and downs.

The trick to being fulfilled and successful, (however you personally define success), is stepping out of the way, allowing the Universe/Spirit/God to help out, and importantly, look for those reminder signs when they pop up and recognise them as such, then of course, take action.

I just attended a powerful presentation yesterday here in Wanaka, New Zealand, by Lake Wanaka Tourism They’re our local tourism association. As you can imagine, like many of us in tourism here in New Zealand, they’ve been in on a path or re-inventing themselves. They’ve been working on a new branding program. I’ll write more on that in later in a separate post, as it deserves more time. But I have to mention here, about the power of timing, being at the right place at the right time, taking action when a crisis/opportunity presents itself and listening to spirit. Lake Wanaka Tourism is taking the bold steps to create a wonderful vision of post-covid “tourism” for operators, the land, community and visitors alike.

Here’s just a snapshot of some of the Lake Wanaka tenets going forward:
The Vision:
“Our aspiration is for the visitor industry to enrich this place, as well as the lives of the local community both now and into the future. To create mutual value for Whanau/whanui (which includes our families , our community, our visitors), and our whenua (our place and natural resources) and our economy.

“Values:
Guardianship for our people, our place and our plant; Inclusive and respectful; Living with a sense of balance; bold and free thinking.”

There are plans being put into place with a whole re-adjustment of what it means to be in tourism here in Wanaka, and fortunately, the leadership and staff at Lake Wanaka Tourism are taking on the challenge with heart and purpose. The future looks bright because there’s a proactive approach. I look forward to sharing more about LWT’s and the community’s plans going forward in future posts. I would say LWT is following their spirit course.

Back to the reading about messing about on boats. I can’t wait for the next sign to come down the road, and hit me with a spiritual 2×4. But for now, I thought I’d share this little nudge from Spirit.

Don’t do it! Don’t Go Back to Normal

24/05/2020

This wonderful statement by Sony Renee Taylor has been circulating around lately, and it’s surely a wake up call –

“We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack. We should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.”
You can find out more at the Facebook page Over Grow the System

And from Brenna Quinlan on her Facebook page….

100630323_2925577994216748_3387860350429822976_o
The first step towards creating something is imagining it. We imagine the smell of fresh bread as we tend our sourdough starter. We imagine the taste of ripe tomatoes as we plant out our seedlings. When we lay down the first stone, we imagine laughter and stories from future meals shared in our new home. The ability to create, in our minds, a possible future, is what gives that possibility a chance of being realised.

If all we imagine is business as usual, then that is the world we will create. But if we draw on our curiosity and creativity, we can hold in our minds something much greater than the world we are in. And once that happens, we can begin to act. Find out more about Brennan here.

Lockdown/Slowdown #1

24/05/2020

Let me catch you up on Mountain Spirit New Zealand during these “interesting” times. The first post, was first published on our Instagram feed in March 29th 2020. I thought I’d include it below as a starting point.

May 25, 2020
As New Zealand comes out of lockdown from “Level 3” to “Level 2”, things are still pretty quiet in Wanaka. The kids are back in school which frees me up a bit to post what we couldn’t during lockdown. I thought we’d share what we did here at Mountain Spirit in the following posts. Maybe it will give you some ideas, good for thought, or just some entertainment. Let us know what you think as well.
98210643_1630371357132247_91093056597524480_o

 

March 29th 2020
As New Zealand went into lock-down (Stage 4) a few days ago, we had a beautiful sunset to signal our weeks of isolation here in the Wanaka. Although we are home bound, there’s lots of activities and jobs to do. We’ll fill you in as we tick along during this pandemic. We send you well wishes during this time.

91135844_1583230951846288_1370278550938058752_o

 

Creating A Sustainable Lifestyle with MSI

10/04/2011

As our world moves closer to facing climate change and its consequences, MSI is doing our part to provide education and awareness on how to achieve some measure of personal sustainability.

We invite you to come to Vermont on June 10-12, 2011 for a weekend retreat to explore how to make healthier choices about food, relationships and navigating everyday life in a healthier and more conscious way.

In our upcoming Creating A Sustainable Lifestyle program, we feature some of New England’s most gifted teachers and facilitators.

Henry Homeyer

 

Henry Homeyer, author of four gardening books and New England garden columnist, will share insights from over 60 years of organic gardening experience.

Jen White

 

 

 

Jen White, Sustainability Coordinator at Colby Sawyer College, will help us understand the global impact of our choices, connect with our values and live sustainably from the heart.

Miles Sherts

 

 

Miles Sherts, author and founder of Sky Meadow Retreat in northern Vermont, has been teaching about conflict resolution and communication skills since 1990. Miles will lead a workshop on Conscious Communication.

 

So please think about joining us at Sky Meadow Retreat in June – at the very least it will get you thinking about what you can do to live more in alignment with the earth, and we guarantee, you’ll learn a few good things about Creating A More Sustainable Lifestyle.

Prajna, The Best Knowledge

13/03/2010

Shirley's Herbal Sweat Studio

The Simple Pleasures of Jamaica

On a morning bike ride around Treasure Beach, Jamaica recently, I was drawn to stop and admire a beautiful hand built sandstone building, surrounded by lush perennial herb and flower gardens, fruit trees and meandering pathways.  Shirley, the owner, walked down the hillside, greeted me with a warm, broad smile and welcomed me into her yard for a chat, typical of the Jamaican residents we had met during our two week stay.  It turns out Shirley is a well-known herbalist and massage therapist in town, had built the structure herself for her massage business, and within minutes I had signed up to have one of her legendary herbal sweats and relaxation massages. With this vitally important step out of the way, we toured the gardens and learned about the fragrant mixture of wild Jamaican herbs and fruit juices Shirley uses to send her clients to relaxation nirvana.

In Jamaica, the elder women pass their knowledge of herbs and plants from generation to generation, as Shirley’s mother had while she was growing up in nearby Great Bay.  Shirley explained the provenence of each plant, either planted from seed, field dug, or gifted from a friend or family member.  Her knowledge of the individual characteristics and uses of each plant was remarkable. When we parted over an hour later, I could barely wait until it was my turn to savor her herbal ‘detox’ treatment and relaxation massage.

Shirley Genus, Jamaican Herbalist & Massage Therapist

So it was that the next day, I watched as Shirley chose from her yard the pimento, lemon grass and eucalyptus to help clear my lungs, and lime juice for cleansing my skin.  She tossed these and other herbal delights into a cauldron of  boiling water over an open fire.  She then poured the boiling, aromatic mixture into a clay cauldron tucked inside a three-sided steam room with a cloth door.

In I went, with Shirley’s instructions to stir the mix, ‘breathe’ and stay hydrated with the water she provided. This was not your typical steambath!  Immediately, the rich herbal smells filled the small space and I settled in to enjoy a blissful 30 minutes of total relaxation.  Next came the oil massage, which included a fascinating philosophical commentary by Shirley about the history of Jamaica, the value of massage, the state of our busy lives, her world travels and education in the United States, and good humored bantering about gender differences.  Shirley’s massage combined many styles, and is uniquely her own brand.  I dare say it’s one of the finest massages I’ve ever had.

As I ventured back to reality toward the end of the hour, I asked Shirley when she was going to write the Book of Shirley.  She laughed heartily and replied,  “Everyone wants me to write a book.  I say to them, come back and see me and we will continue to talk together and teach each other.”  I think I will, Shirley, thanks.

Meditation: The Ripple Effect

27/02/2010

By D.R. Richards

Do Your Part: Breathe

I wrote in a recent post,  “As I write this, my wife is sitting peacefully in the mountains of Quebec at a Vipassana retreat center. I feel the ripple effect.  Janice Vien, in her Iyengar Yoga classes always closes with the phrase, ‘May the benefits of this practice be extended to others’”.

Knowing that somebody in your family is sitting quietly in a little mountain snow-bound retreat without saying a word for four days, has a profound effect. Through Amanda’s action in meditation, I feel calmer.  What’s more, she borrowed my watch, for the alarm function, to wake up at 4am to begin meditation.  So I find myself staring at my wrist a few times these past days.

Scientific studies have shown that groups of people meditating can actually bring down the crime rate. One particular study/meditation event  in Washington D.C. had dramatic effects. Now I see.

Tolle says “You’re either part of the problem or cleaning up the mess”, and that “No one else it going to do it. If you wait for the rest of the world to become enlightened, you’ll wait forever. Start by cleaning up the inner landscape, and in that way you’ll make a change in the world.”

I’ve been meditating since I was about 11 years old. I read The Making of a Psychiatrist by David Viscott when I was about 12. I’m not sure why, I just took to it. When I was about 20, I read the complete works of Emerson. So I’ve been on my path for while –  but to quietly feel the presence of my wife’s meditation in southern Quebec, while I’m south of the border, is quite an amazing experience.

So if you wonder if the inner work you’re doing has an impact on those around you, I definitely say yes.

MSI Co-sponsors “Fresh-The Movie”

03/11/2009

Film-Series-Fresh-Poster

"Fresh" Screening, in NH, USA

Mountain Spirit Institute is co-sponsoring the screening of the movie Fresh in New London, NH on Saturday November 21, at 7PM at the Whipple Auditorium on Main Street.

Says MSI director Randall Richards, “We saw the oportunity to get involved and help with the screening of this movie. We’re providing some desktop layout skills, and equipment for the showing.

Marketing and Development director Amanda Richards,  had heard about the movie Food.Inc, and having just arrived from New Zealand, had been concerned about what she was seeing in the U.S. food supply. When she heard that Linda Howes, CN, HHP, CBE was preparing to show the  movie Fresh, she decided to get involved. Howes is the local chapter representative of the Weston A Price Foundation and owner of Nourishing Wellness, in New London, NH. (more…)

Peru’09: To Ollantaytambo

02/08/2009

By R. Richards
In the next few weeks I’ll be journaling the Peru 2009 Cultural Immersion program which lasted 14 days. I won’t chronicle every day but the most important highlights of our experience.

We had 7 participants: Sally R. and her husband Scott S., Gail and Hal B. of Sunapee NH, newlyweds Tim Y. and Amy G. and Betsy S. of Grantham NH.  Most were teachers which made for good dynamics. On our first day in Cusco, we hiked up to Sacsayhuaman ruins. After walking the great walls, we had a little meeting as the sun set, setting the tone for open communication and willing to stretch outside of one’s comfort zone. The group all agreed they’d give it their best shot.  That night we had dinner at the Retama where Guillermo is the music director of his band Chimu’s/Chimu Inka and plays there almost nightly.

Guillermo plays "cane" flute at Moray

Guillermo plays "Quena" flute at Moray

After a night in Tika Wasi in Cusco, we headed for the Chinchero and the fascinating agricultural terraces of Moray.  Here, Guillermo took out his flute and played, setting a surreal tone in the ruins. You could hear the music echo through the terraces below. Then there was a hair-raising ride (not so much much for me, I’m used to the heights) to the Inka salt pans just before the sun set, then off to Anna’s pension.  Many thanks goes to Julio of Personal Travel Service for setting up our ride with Ernesto and the Mercedes bus plus all tickets and other logistics in the Sacred Valley.

Anna's Family, Guillermo & Ernesto

Anna's Family, Guillermo & Ernesto

It had been a few years since I’d seen Anna when I stayed at her pension for night. It was good to see Anna again, her daughter Katey and her other daughter who had been in Italy for four years, who I’d not  yet met. Anyway, we all settled in nicely, the participants heading off to stay in nearby homes, down the street. We’d all met up for dinner at Anna’s though. Although it was a bit of a switch from the four star Hotel Antigua in Lima, everyone adjusted well to Anna’s where we’d be basing ourselves over the next few days. Below is a short clip as we arrived at Anna’s. Ernesto our knowledgeable driver, Anna, her godchild, daughter, and Guillermo are featured.

The American Bedouin

05/07/2009

Reconnecting with a Mentor
By R. Richards, MSI Founder

Screen Shot of "American Bedouin"

Screen Shot of "American Bedouin"

According to an excellent 2007 Aljazeera Feature video, Erga Rehns  has been living the life of a Bedouin in the desert with the Bedouin tribes of Wadi Rum  for seven years. I’m not sure if she still does though. I’ll have to do more research in order to contact her again. The last, (and first) time I saw her in person was in 1981, when we first met at her little art studio and home in Obidos, Portugal.

Some people are lucky enough to be a primed for a turning point in their young lives, and come across just the right person at the right time that poses questions, and challenges one’s view of the world – who plants the seed for a paradigm shift. Most people aren’t’ aware they’re ready for that change, until years later, when they realize the shift was primed by those mentors. (more…)

Traveling Lightly

27/06/2009

Decisions, Decisions – Motorhomes or Going Light

"fast und light"

" Capt'n Fast und Light"

Huge motorhomes rumbling down the Motorways and Interstates are proof that humans have entirely too many non-renewable resources at their disposal. What it takes to move these beasts of burden one kilometer in energy could light the two lightbulbs in my yurt for a week.  OK,  I actually owned a motorhome when living in Sedona Arizona, as an alternative to apartment living. We’d drive out into the desert at night and base there, while I led trips for Sedona Adventures.  And yes, we drove it to Washington state, fully loaded for the Outward Bound summer season. If a motorhome is one’s main residence, it may be “going lighter” on the planet, (I think) –  Maybe lighter than owning a MacMansion.  If, however, it’s one’s vacation mode of travel, please read on. (more…)