“Here and now, it’s where she is found. Alive in this moment, is the life you have chosen. Let her surround, let her surround you. Open, open your heart to grace…”
– Eliza (yes, me! haha)
I wrote that lyric for a song about grace a while back, and it reminded me of this beautiful place I visited yesterday in Cottonwood, Arizona called Grace Grove. The retreat center is nestled within the hills of the Arizona desert, a true oasis with fresh water Oak Creek running through the green lush 25 acres of property.
I met the co-creators of the center in Eden, Arizona in May when I retreated to hotsprings there. I “randomly” decided to call them up and see if we could stop by on Monday only to discover they were only 20 minutes away from where we were camping out at Lo Lo Mai Springs. I called the center and Morgan one of the founders, along with his partner Puma, answered and invited us to come on by.
We drove through what felt like arid Tuscany hills (with cacti!), crossing hills of vineyards and dry dusty space, Turiya (my traveling companion) and I pulled up to the address and to our surprise found a dank green lawn with chickens running around the yard. Morgan came out to greet us at his home, dropped everything and gave us an hour-long tour of the grounds and estate.
As we walked around the grounds we passed a pool heated by solar panels, the creek runs pretty much the property, and there were hand-made clay benches using red clay and stones from the creek. And Morgan explained to us that most of the staff also lives on the property, some in a house near theirs, but some are in building sustainable yurts or domes. Here is the beginnings of what will be two side by side domes for Dr. Dan Engle, and the foundation he is digging out himself:
The idea of community living is becoming more and more appealing to me. There are several co-op houses in Buffalo, which I have been to and loved. But the concept of living on and of the land with intention is really calling me to me. Sustainable building practices and permaculture are high on my learning list. I’m considering going to Nicaragua in the winter to learn more at a place called Inan-Itah …. if I can make the trip sustainable!
Although Grace Grove in the desert, they have fresh berries along the trails, an orchard with persimmons, apples, and other fruits as well as a vegetable garden, which Morgan said yielded a good part of their food this summer. One benefit to Arizona is that while water is scarce in most areas, being in the south they have an extended growing season, and the ability to grow fall crops. Whereas in good ol’ Buffalo our season is much shorter due to, what else, the snow. (But hey, we have a better snow board/skiing season…)
As we walked up the main building, I asked Morgan about how they acquired the land and began the center. He said that he met Puma at Epic Eden hot springs (the same event that I met the two of them at in May) and that they fell immediately in love. They planned out a two-year road trip traveling across the country to “be free,” and after 7 days of traveling, they came across this land. They kept traveling a while more, but came back and purchased the land realizing the value of the fresh water, arable land, and background of Native American historical use of the land. The land resonates with a peaceful subtle energy, it’s understandable they never found anything else like it.
Check out their website for information on business groups, personal or group retreats, digestive detoxes as well as emotional clearing. It’s incredible, but as we shift one part of our lives (health, business, relationships, exercise, etc) it affects all the others. As we detox physically, emotional energies will also be released that we have literally stored in our bodies.
For me, on the drive down from Buffalo to Arizona I experienced massive shifts. I’m not much of a cry-er, but I felt this emotional overwhelming energy as we were driving through back roads somewhere in Illinois. I had to ask Turiya to pull over. I walked down a dusty country road not sure of what I was experiencing, but I just started sobbing, allowing myself to release all the anxiety about leaving home and beginning this journey and not knowing what the outcome would be, if I would be perceived as crazy, or if I was making some big mistake by leaving merge and my family for so long. But I’ve found that one we release, and let the energy be felt, actually go INTO the feeling, and not trying to ignore it. We’ll find that it has messages for us. Our bodies communicate with us through feelings. When we consistently tell our bodies to “shut up” by taking drugs to numb feelings or pain our bodies we are ignoring valuable information that is really there for a reason. Going into the pain, into the emotion, we can notice, allow, and shift.
Having someone (or a place) where you can go to literally SHIFT your life into empowerment is a most beautiful gift to yourself. It allows support and re-enforcement of your value, your truth, and your SELF. For any entrepreneurs out there, I recommending reading this blog on the Grace Grove website about the state of your health matching the state of your business. When we allow ourselves to grow, dream, and flourish, our businesses will do the same. Rather than working more, harder, pushing and fighting our way to the top we can begin to look at the END results. WHAT is it we want to ACHIEVE? Most businesses aim create stability and peace for themselves and other people while offering a product or service that will benefit the collective. What if we lived FROM this place of peace and stability FIRST and then allowed the business to come from this place? What would the world be like?
Get into your body, into your heart today. Notice and allow.
PS Check out my song “Open to Grace” here: