Written and Photographed by Mayra McCullough
This article concludes C2E’s Summer of Love trilogy of blogs, where we share our experiences of adventures, explorations and service involving our passion for education on the science of regenerative living. This blog is about our last portion of our travels in Ecuador.
As I continued my journey with Tim, my beloved playmate, our trip to the Amazon became an opportunity to celebrate our accomplishment of having completed a perfect retreat (Eco-Retreat: Ecuador BLOG here!).
Our intention in this portion of our trip was to explore a community in the Ecuadorian territory of the Amazon, the community of Sarayaku.
I was first introduced to Sarayaku 3 years ago while watching the preview for a documentary, The Roots Awaken. Filmed by my dear friend, colleague, and C2E Board Member, Kumiko Hayashi. She is also the founder of SOKAVision. The documentary was produced as a Community Cinema project in various Amazonian Communities. Kumiko’s intention was to create a film where the various communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon could see how they were all ONE and the same, in spite of the strife that becomes activated by oil companies using the old school divide and conquer strategy.
I never had Ecuador on my radar for future travel possibilities, however at that moment, there was nothing more I wanted than to BE THERE. Two weeks later a Puerto Rican soul sister sends me a link telling me I HAVE to check this out, it was the Eco-Lodge Sacha Ji…the rest is history.
I had never even imagined going to the Amazon. The thought created a sense of intimidation, as if the Amazon is only for hard-core adventurers. I never considered myself a hard-core adventurer, but Tim is one for sure! The fact that he was going helped me feel safe and confident as well as the fact that Kumiko made the necessary connections so we could stay with her host family from when she filmed her documentary.
Our curiosity about the Kichwa people of Sarayaku, stemmed from our desire to take University students to an Eco-Retreat, where in addition to visiting Sacha Ji Eco-Lodge we would also go to create a more grassroots version of the nature connection lifestyle in order to deepen the cultural exchange experience.
We first stopped in Quito, the buzzing capital of Ecuador, for a couple of nights. Our first night in Quito was with our happy campers Julia and Buck, Eco-Retreat family who were on their way back to Los Angeles. We celebrated with a wonderful view of the fun town with a great selection of Ecuadorian food samplers.
We stayed in a lovely hostel that reminded me of Puerto Rico’s cottage industry, restaurants, and bars, as well as the Eco-Chic AirB&B my residence in Woodland Hills has become. We also visited La Ciudad Antigua (Old Town) filled with majestic Spanish architecture and cobblestones reminiscent of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico and Madrid, Spain. The ornate churches were breathtaking, reminding us of the strong Catholic influence in Ecuador.
A very long story short, we will fast forward to the town of Puyo, where finding the boat ride to get us to Sarayaku was quite the adventure. Bottom line: anyone cannot just step in a boat and go IN. But thank God we had the Sarayaku connection in Puyo with the Gualinga family, our hosts in Sarayaku, with Franco and Daniela, brother and sister who currently reside in Puyo. They were true ambassadors, made the arrangements by jumping loops left and right since Sarayaku’s Presidenta, Mirian Cisneros, just elected President a few weeks prior, was IN (Sarayaku) and not available to grant us permission. We lost a night, but the next morning, after about 3 hours of prep and travel time to get to the wooden canoe, we were on our way! Except that the motor’s cord in the canoe breaks as Marco, or captain, was pulling to start it. I thought this was it, we were not going into the Amazon. How where we going to get a mechanic to fix the motor? To my delight and surprise this people can fix anything. Within minutes there was a crew of about 3-4 working and fixing the motor, and they did!! Suddenly, I was there, a surreal moment of walking into a dream, the Amazonian jungle, with the Bobonaza river at a high water level after a lot of rain the night previous, taking the muddy melted earth look. Below is a video of this unforgettable moment.
We were received by Shinae and Don Miguel Gualinga, after a very muddy hike on flip flops filled with information on how to pack smarter next time. They received us like Super Hosts, even though they had no idea we were arriving due to some communication breakdowns and rookie moves in my part as I coordinated the plans from LA. It was a humbling experience to have them graciously cook meals for us and provide accommodations. We slept in an open room on stilts with a corrugated metal roof that was my sleep’s lullaby during the rainy nights. Don Miguel and the men of the tribe are in charge of building everything in the community. Each family had a very similar lay out of the family house on stilts with the family’s bedrooms, and a guest stilt house. When we were setting our stuff in our bedroom for the next couple of days, I had one of the most joyful encounters to date in this trip. Little baby brother, saw me from the balcony in his stilt house right across the way and began to play sword ninja with me in a spontaneous ‘take turns being a ninja’ game we played for a while. The children of Sarayaku are healthy, joyful, highly intelligent, and boy super strong! We ended up playing animal flow and he could do ALL the moves.
The next day Shinae Gualinga, a true diplomat of her people, took us on a tour of their village and took us to a chicha (their spirit of choice) party with her girlfriends. The village was clean and organized. Each building in the village had a government assigned role, such as the library, congress, assembly, presidenta’s house, and cultural center. They also had a clinic funded by the Ecuadorian government. Shinae introduced us to the village doctor who sat with us for a while and was very open about their victories, challenges and concerns. We also enjoyed seeing the expansive school buildings with lots of happy children playing, in class, and so curious about us.
The bridges, rivers, and all the steep climbs that led us to the chicha party were breathtaking and thankfully very doable too (although still tough).
I wanted to take in everything with every ounce of my being. Having chicha with the local women was a blast. We sat for hours sipping from the bowls of the fermented drink. Thank God Tim and I are beasts and took the spirits like pros! Shinae was certainly impressed with our endurance and kept sharing stories of visitors who didn’t make it out of the chicha party with a sober mind able to walk back. Uff!
We were even able to head back and have a great talk with Sarayaku’s Presidenta Miriam Cisneros, who welcomed us, and even invited us to a health forum the following day, which we couldn’t attend due to our very tight traveling schedule, but we did talk about coming back with a group for a cultural exchange program, and she was very open and willing to collaborate! YES!!!! Mission accomplished!
Our two night stay was way too short but, even though we lost a day due to canoe arrangements, we were glad we went in and made contact, established trust, and planted seeds of collaboration. Our hosts continued to be sweethearts through to the end, and made sure we got back on time to catch our plane back in Quito. Don Miguel caught some catfish on the last day and prepared a soup that was out of this world. The boat ride back went smoothly after another mechanical rescue mission, confirming the indigenous people’s high intelligence, which explains why the people of Sarayaku won a lawsuit that they themselves organized against the Ecuadoriam government who sold the mineral rights to their land to Chinese oil companies without their permission. This became a historical event in 2012. (For more on that story: http://amazonwatch.org/work/sarayaku)
On our way back to Quito we stopped at the lovely ecological adventure city of Baños de Agua Santa, with it’s beautiful colonial buildings in contrast to the 3 stories bars/discos filled with the party ambience of Old San Juan meets Madrid. Only difference here was that the town goes to sleep by midnight, which was a good thing! Baños is filled with young travelers from all over the world seeking ecological adventures such as river rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking, cave exploring, hot springs and active volcano trails.
Our research and development portion of this Global Exploration came to a completion in Quito’s airport neighborhood Tababela, which didn’t stop to amaze us with it’s charm, mini farms all titled after family members and heart of service. Our last epic moment in Ecuador was when a gentleman in his 70′s greeted me with a huge smile and hello, asking me what did I harvest today. We had traced the path of another future Global Exploration.
We all had a loving and rich experience, claiming to come back again for sure!
Written by Mayra McCullough
Photos by Deborah Kolb
It is that time to share Coach2Edify’s (C2E) journey this summer. We continue to evolve by collectively exploring the ways of co-creators, activating our gifts to empower others, and, taking full ownership of our health – all united by the passion to share foundations of well-being for ALL.
This blog is my personal account of C2E’s 2nd Co-Creative Global Explorations, Eco-Retreat: Ecuador. A virtual program called Inner Explorations preceded C2E’s summer curriculum. This 3-month course took each participant through all 6 pillars of C2E’s Foundations of Well-Being Template. Eco-Retreat: Ecuador marks the graduation for Inner Explorations and was selected for this year’s Global Exploration to continue C2E’s tradition of staying in our equator. The mission of the retreat was to explore our personal equator and how it relates to our external world. We believe that this personal equator’s key component is LOVE and that our healing capacities can be found by knowing how to access and connect with the vibrational frequency of this LOVE. That’s why we felt there is no better way to kick off the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love, the social phenomena that took place in 1967, embodying a revolution of liberty and justice for all, and above all peace and love. On a personal note, I am also celebrating my 50th birthday this year and even though I was born in 1967, I feel as if I am part of the movement.
The retreat took place the first weekend in June in the Andes plateau of Ecuador, the first week in June, in the province of Imbabura. A community that holds on to their cultural traditions and practice ceremony as their ancestors did.
Our home for 6 nights was the Eco-Lodge, Sacha Ji. It was a sanctuary of ecological genius and the most loving heart of service I’ve witnessed to date. Hotel owner and green architect Maria Teresa Ponce was an exceptional host. She was eager to share the earthship techniques she used in designing and building this ecological paradise.
This retreat’s creative expression is seen all throughout this article with epic photography by Deborah Kolb.
The pictures above and below reflect how at ease I felt throughout the whole week. My body felt so light, allergy free, awake, alert, inspired, and feeling extra good. I was so aware of it. Feeling aligned with my center MOST of the time. At times experiencing very euphoric moments while being on the equator of the earth- think of it like alignment on steroids…no, not really…. more like exponential, expansive alignment.
The first workshop of the week was on the pillar of Holistic Health, taught by Tim DeLorey, who has taught on Bio-Optimization. I had witnessed Tim preparing for his workshop months prior, and he delivered a wealth of knowledge that, if applied, will save all of us from many avoidable health concerns in our future. His class was loaded with cutting edge information that was turning everybody’s worlds upside down. He shared the science of shifting our internal and external environments, with food being a principle component as well as many other elements of our external world, such as computer screens, cell phones, chemical exposure, and toxic relationships. Overcoming our fear of science is a key element to our capacity to take ownership of our health, and he not only made it accessible, but fascinating & entertaining.
Day two was my workshop about going deeper into the 6 pillars of well-being. I emphasized on the Body Integration pillar through a daily morning movement and later a meditation class in the yoga studio with panoramic-views through all glass sliding doors.
The third day was dedicated to our first field trip on the pillar of Lifestyle Design. As we immersed ourselves in Otovalo Market’s creative fair of excellent craftsmanship- Latin America’s biggest outdoor market is an exquisite demonstration of Ecuadorian passion for color, quality and tradition. We also enjoyed the street art that made of Otovalian downtown a rich gallery of top-notch art.
On our last day of the workshop, we did the pillar of Creative Expression with Deborah Kolb for her photography 101 class. We learned so many simple and effective techniques using our cell phone cameras. She taught us about composition, lighting, editing, attending to strangers’ dignity as you photograph them, and how to use the camera to express how you feel about what you’re seeing. The panoramic shot in the collage below was taken right after her class’ inspiration. Deborah not only shared her tricks as an award-winning photographer but also looked after our own pictures and then gifted us with a photo album which matches a wedding album’s quality, very appropriate, since this was kind of a wedding to our commitment to self-care.
Our last field trip was dedicated to the pillar of Nature Connection, as we visited the town of Peguche. The location of the famous Peguche waterfall. I was so proud of our happy campers who took on a very strenuous hike like pros, even when some had never been on a hike before. The waterfall had a quaint village enjoyed by many locals who bring their children to enjoy nature’s best.
I loved that we had time to enjoy Sacha Ji’s grounds. Garden roofs with hammocks, breathtaking views, the constant elegant presence of the volcanoes, Mama y Papa Imbabura, which had uncanny profiles, community building fire pit, and an extended golden hour due to the equatorial location! We took hikes without having to drive anywhere and even saw wild horses stomping our hiking trail.
We even had time to play and do an impromptu art class in the most-quaint art studio I had ever seen. We all took a class with Sacha Ji’s awesome Belén, manager and art teacher. She taught us about watercolor and how to ‘let it go.’ Our lovely Julia found a spiraled eucalyptus tree leaf, which infused tons of inspiration. God knows how much I love playing and jumping on the trampoline.
We all graduated from the final frontier, the pillar of Community Building, with flying colors. Even though all who came didn’t know each other, prior to the trip, we truly felt like a loving, joyful, playful, and authentically curious troopers. We became a family of happy campers!
Our times in the hot jacuzzi were our reward and gift daily. We were actively applying one of Tim’s class biohacks “cold thermogenesis” since there was a cold plunge pool right next to the hot tub. The sunsets were pure medicine and the photography Deborah captured pure magic.
As almost everyone in attendances expressed an strong interest in returning to next year we are most likely to take a group with us in 2018 again, so please feel free to e-mail me: email@example.com to start your pre-registration process. Stay tuned for my next blog, featuring Tim & I’s continued explorations in Quito and the Amazon!
Written and Photographed by Mayra McCullough
This is Part 2 of C2E’s Summer Experiences this year, which happened to land on the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love, a perfect theme to play with in exploring lifestyles that were re-birthed during the historical summer of 1967. We believe in being where the East meets the West, on finding that line that sits between both worlds, merging corporate genius with ancient wisdom to give birth to the brave new world that seems to want to be born these days. Below you will find our experience with playing with these concepts.
This summer’s program in C2E’s Villa was inspired by a lifestyle we have found to be the most aligned with C2E’s Mission. We have been researching and visiting intentional communities in Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon and California, learning about this alternative way of living that intends to bring us to an intimate relationship with nature. Our intention was to activate all we learned to date about this kind of lifestyle, which has a huge community-building component. We did this by designing a program that resembled Eco-Village’s day to day activities and intentions, dedicated to the science of regenerative living and whose goal is to become more socially, economically and ecologically sustainable. This became a wonderful opportunity to have a tangible experience with this kind of lifestyle for longer than a weekend or two. Lead by Eden Regenerative Design’s Tim DeLorey, PhD, we immersed ourselves in a full month of interns, community building, earth building, compost production, super foods & vegan menus, succulent framed gardens, and lots of fun.
Our main project focus during our summer program was the building of a Cob-pallett Cottage in C2E’s Villa backyard, right next to the Geodesic Dome. This structure is C2E’s Villa 3rd sustainable architecture detached room on the property (an RV being the 2nd, and Dome 1st). We believe that part of nature connection is to create spaces that will help you stay closer with the great outdoors. We also believe that a key part of a regenerative lifestyle design is creating ways to build shelter that are economical, use recycled materials and build community, which is super fun. The program’s last weekend was a Workshop taught by Tim DeLorey on the technique for building this type of structure for less than $600.
We had a fantastic group of community earth builders join us for a weekend filled with regenerative lifestyle pathways such as body integration, healthy vegetarian meals, super foods snacks, and playful times of cob dancing.
Community building is one of the most challenging but fulfilling aspects of sharing space with a group of people. Having co-creative agreements in place and being quick to address issues as they come up really helps keep the environment free of strife and full with love, harmony, and peace. We enjoyed the visit of a diverse group of C2E family dropping by, spending the day, sharing meals, sleeping over, and playing summer camp with a cross-generational group.
Thanks to our Board Member Leia Marasovich, we visited a heavenly orchard in Malibu created by June Louks, author of A Malibu Mom’s Manifesto on Fresh, Whole Foods. She was so kind and generous, giving us ALL copies of her book. We ended up using 3 of her recipes during the summer program and they were a delightful and delicious way to explore new recipes with the super foods we love.
We also visited Ecotopia’s hot springs in Ojai, where our dear friend Robert Redecker, founder of Earthworks Natural Building, gave us a tour of this gorgeous land dedicated to offer a natural setting to restore, learn and connect. The hot springs were right next to a beautiful river where we can do the hot/cold plunges which are amongst our favorite biohacks.
Our Summer of Love at C2E concluded here as we celebrated the first project done as a collaboration with our new Board of Directors, which began our integration process with this Eco-Village experience.
Article by Mayra McCullough & Photos by Dr. Janice Kalec and Mayra McCullough
Were to begin telling you about C2E’s evolution and how my heart has been drawn since day one to a very BIG PICTURE vision of Conscious Evolution?
Let’s begin with a list of C2E Vocab for this article…I have stopped assuming that most people know the meaning of a lot of words, and even if they know the words, we have such a Rainbow of meanings we personally attach to each word, that I think in order to establish clear communication, I’ll set up the stage by laying out what is my favorite meaning I attach to a specific word. These are NOT from the Dictionary, but from my collective gathering of years studying this concepts. The familiarity or lack there of with this words has nothing to do with intelligence or higher education, but with how each individual has been drawn to a specific planet of idioms that describe their interests and passions.
Intentional Community: A group of individuals living in proximity with a common purpose who believe that with INTENTION is how we create the world around us.
Intention: The new FOCUS, the new GOAL. A purpose we individually attach to an action in order to drive it forward with energy so that it can suddenly appear in your life when you least expect it!
Regenerative Living: Is the new SUSTAINABLE, which taps to our ability as living organisms to regrow, and bring itself into a renewed existence. Here is where we can start to expand beyond our capacities.
Sustainable Community: A group of individuals aware of how much they have been wasting resources for years and decide that is time to be wise stewards of what has been given to them to take care of. It is about having just enough of what you need without wasting or lacking in any way, shape or form.
Conscious: Being 100% aware of who you are in all the components within yourself.
Conscious Evolution: The natural process of growth, development, and maturity of a species. The next step forward if the genus is not extinct. The point in time we find ourselves in today based on the HISTORY, DATA, and PATTERNS collected through time which clearly state that crisis preceds transformation. As a species we have developed our capacities and powers to have the ability to be 100% Conscious of who we are, in other words, we are capable today to reach wholeness, the next step is Expansion, which is exactly what Evolution is all about, that is, IF the species doesn’t go into the extinct path.
Now with all that said and established, let me share with you one of the most transformational experiences I’ve had this year. Last May a mini-intentional community of four students of Conscious Evolution and Regenerative Living took a 7 day Field Trip, searching for answers and playing the mantra, ‘We Must Go and SEE for OURSELVES’ by Jacques Cousteau. Our common bond, finding our Heaven on Planet Earth (H.O.P.E.).
Our intention was to visit 3 intentional communities in Arizona and New Mexico to clarify the picture of our own vision as we take in what others are doing, what they have learned and what are their key challenges and blessings.
It all starts in Joshua Tree, base camp to our field trip with the sweet hospitality of Jill Giegerich in her soon-to-be-Oasis in the desert, where her and her business partner Tim DeLorey have developed their techniques on Water Harvesting in the desert through their company Eden Regenerative Design. Experts in water harvesting, the word Oasis is not metaphorical in this context. They literally know how to make an arid land yield TONS of water and life!
Our approximately 8 hour ride from Joshua Tree to Tucson was filled with education from Tim & Jill who know the desert fauna like the back of their hands and instead of stopping at 7/11 for road snacks, we would stop on areas filled with Palo Verdes and Mulberry Trees that yield to delicious snacks along the way. Tim had a delicious batch of Mulberry Chips that he had prepared in the desert.
Earth lover Barbara Rose, founder and Mother of Bean Tree Farm, a 20 acre saguaro/ ironwood forest farm & learning center, supplying local desert foods to the community in and around Tucson, Arizona, welcomed us to my first intentional community ever! Rammed earth architecture, home made tinctures, recycled bottle walls, cob thrones, and a fearless permaculture goddess welcomed us to a tangible version of what I’ve been seeing for years. I didn’t imagine desert lands, but I did imagine the joy, health, vibrancy, and connection to the earth my heart was pulling me towards since I left Equinox fitness 5 years ago (my corporate job as a Personal trainer). I remember feeling this knowing that, for my growth, I needed to connect more with nature (I’ve always been a City girl! Even in Puerto Rico!! I was the one who seldom left San Juan!!). At that point ventured to a discovery process that lead me to include Nature Connection as part of C2E’s Well-Being Wheel. I figured going to monthly Yoga Sunset Hikes and the occasional hike would suffice….but the more I sat with Barbara Rose and sensed her intriguing fully liberated energy, the more I understood that the closer you LIVE to the earth, the more ALIVE you feel. Even though she had me at “Hello!,” the confirmation of our kindred spirit was when I saw her enthusiastically preparing for her three awesome young interns, and sealed it when she said that she enjoys and maintains classes, intern programs, with small groups of people. Her literal Oasis (notice that I call C2E an Oasis of Transformational Fitness!) was a magical experience for me. I’ve been collecting vision boards of this reality for years…now I’m here…closer than ever! Bean Tree Farm in Tucson has desert permaculture down!!
Desert treasures, swales and berms marking the genius of early permaculturists in the 30’s who dug huge trenches with horses and buckets in order to harvest water and create a desert forest. (And it worked!) The pictures above show the vast green in the Desert Fauna Jungle in the middle of the Desert of Tucson, Arizona. Oasis, again, is not a metaphor.
The rooms we stayed at in Bean Tree Farm were comfy, earthy, clean, creative, aesthetically gorgeous. I seem to be missing a bunch of pictures from this interior decoration POV, which I love, and is kind of bumming me out. I’m also missing pictures of a short and sweet interlude with my cousin Molly & her husband Ryan, who so happened to live 15 minutes from Bean Tree Farm and came for a quick visit. Barbara Rose happened to meet someone in Ryan who was eager to know how to work with earth architecture. Go figure!
Close to 500 acres of Heaven on Planet Earth, Hummingbird Community and Living School hosts a work weekend quarterly for those interested in exploring their co-creative model of living in community. We stayed at their beautiful Ease house right across from their community home Grace, close to a geodesic dome greenhouse, as well as Dancing Colors yurt-like studio, a biodynamic garden, and next to a lovely and serene creek that lullabies the land constantly. After driving 12 hours from Tucson, landing HOME felt like the perfect reward. We arrived right on time for their Pot Luck Feast where we were deeply WELCOMED. Janice and I were both tickled to see the co-creative practices we have been learning and using for our bi-weekly POD meetings (POD is our Co-Creative Practices Lab inspired by Barbara Marx Hubbard and the book she recommends in her Sacred Journey of the Conscious Evolutionary Class both Mayra and Janice have taken. The Co-Creator’s Handbook by Carolyne Anderson and Katharine Roske has been our guide to put some of this concepts in action, and meeting and working with Katharine (right there below on the left, digging away!) was like I enjoy saying, Vision Accomplished!! Carolyn and Katharine where two of 20 founders of Hummingbird Community more than 20 years ago.
Labyrinth, fairy circle, and a collection of perfect campground sites, were all part of the lovely meadow city, home to a medicine wheel I had the honor to revive through weeding and tending after a dormant season. I was thrilled to see this kind of operation so thoroughly organized . There was a lovely balance of scheduling and order combined with flow, improvisation and a pretty 90% consistent ‘All is well’ vibe that was palpable in every interaction. Bridging the gap between heart centered guidance and planning ahead is one of the challenges in any intentional community. Seeing the graceful hybrid of structure and intuition among those who play with the concept that time does not exist, was great inspiration to our POD at C2E.
Hummingbird Community has a collection of different type of ‘sustainable’ kind of shelters, such as the Dome below. This one is a wood frame structure but they use the same material I use for mine for covering, polycarbonate. Being inside a Green Living Dome was spectacular!
Homesteaders (people who build a living space from scratch using earth materials ONLY!) Sunny & Sequoia are the permaculture arm of Hummingbird Community. True mastery at living harmoniously with the land is evident through their cob houses, goats, food crops, indoor/outdoor bedrooms & kitchens, ingenious creations & innovative solutions. Their highly advanced skill set in living with the land make them in our book one of the most prepared people to live in this planet in the times we’re in. Here below is the cutting edge of permaculture, these are the people who are not messing around with 100% OFF THE GRID. Hummingbird Community has the whole spectrum of sustainable and regenerative lifestyles, and it was fun to see all of us be drawn to various colors within the spectrum.
After 3 lovely days at Hummingbird Community and Living School, it was time to leave what did feel like a very like-minded group of people that really have their center within themselves as well as with the world around them. Helping them through Work Weekend was absolutely delightful! We liked it so much, Janice & I are planning to go again in September 8-11 for a Deep Immersion in Living Co-Creation. We were inspired to launch a Fundraising Campaign to to help us bring this valuable information and the co-creative process to our Community here in Woodland Hills as well as globally.
Our next stop was Taos, 1 hour, Yeayyy!! Taos gave us a warm welcome with its amazing local coffee World Cup, beautiful Rio Grande river as well as its love locks and messages of hope.
Taos is the world headquarters for our third and last intentional community, the cutting edge Earthship Biotecture education, design, rentals and community center. A self-guided tour takes you through an innovative form of architecture using recycled materials and survival technology for water, power & plumbing systems. Their motto “we will always survive” sings the song of this army of terra firma-nauts eager to transform shelter to Gaudi meets Mad Max regenerative style!! I would love to stay in their Earthships for a few days some day. Even though we missed seeing some trees in the surreal landscape of miles and miles of this highly sculpted, creative and functional homes, the barren land, solicited the question…maybe we are on Mad Max and is not that bad after all.
The picturesque and quaint town of Flagstaff, Arizona offered a lovely closure to our field trip. Homey coffee shops, steampunk thrift stores, a zombie store and a bakery that looked like grandma’s kitchen continued to paint for us the great spectrum of community that connects people heart to heart and makes us feel like one big happy family!
As we drove back home we couldn’t help but understand how a mini-intentional community in the context of a road trip to uncover our future could experience that heart to heart connection that allowed us to walk harmoniously every day with amazing wonder, ease, and a sense of flow that was even a bit hard to describe. The best way I can describe it is that we were behaving like a living organism in itself. Where Natural Intelligence moved us without anybody having to lead. What we were inspired to do is what benefitted the whole. It was almost thelepathic in the most non-invasive way. It was a natural magnetism of goodness that took us to back to Joshua Tree feeling like we could do it all over again right there and then!!
I would like to thank Tim, Janice, Jill, Barbara Rose, Katharine Roske, Masha Roske, Amanda, Sean, Sunny, Sequioa, DaBo, and all the Hummingbird Family we can’t wait to see in September for a weekend of Deep Immersion in Living Co-Creation.
May every step we take in understanding and implementing how to live regeneratively, bring the magic of resonance, and heart to heart connection to all who have the ears to hear the calling of what is the potential of our species. May our ability to be a loving, creative, witty, and emotionally intelligent species make us every day more and more capable of infusing love to our powers.
I so agree with a scripture in the Bible that says ‘We were created for times as such as these.” Regardless of the paradox of the times, the light will always overtake the darkness.
Article by Mayra McCullough
This past Tuesday-Wednesday was the closing event of Re-Defining Beauty Youth Girls Camp, C2E’s first all girls youth summer program. Four twelve year old girls learned the Self Optimization Sanctuary (S.O.S.) method that has emerged at C2E through the past 5 years, where one gets to connect the dots of complete self-sufficiency in managing ALL of your Being DAILY, at HOME, FOREVER.
The program’s finale was a sleep over at the Villa where the Dome became their dorm, garden dining their final community meal, and fire ceremony facilitated their releasing of all the ways they had not been true to themselves.
I had the blessing to have wellness coach, Trish Reynolds, collaborate with the girls and I in creating a truly unforgettable experience for all of us.
The girls received an exceptional month of Body Integration principles at the Villa. Much heart and soul shared with them and much expanded in their hearts as we witnessed young girls understanding the concepts of loyalty to themselves, and what it actually feels like when doing it.
They learned about all of their components within themselves (physical, emotional, mental, energetic, spiritual, and experiential) and what questions to ask each of them in order to become the best stewards of themselves ever in order to become whole and intrinsic to the world around them.
They learned what that big word Consciousness really looks like in action and also what the big word Aware looks like in action. For example, bringing all their attention to their spine as they lay on the floor and lift their hips into in to a bridge, using their imagination to breath through the spine, and say thank you, thank you, thank you for remaining an open highway of neuromuscular connection and energy throughout our body.
They learned the essence of trusting intuition and catching impulse, which feels like intuition, but is often tied to mindsets that come outside of us, so they learned how to connect with their center (through the breath) in order to differentiate one from the other.
They learned that through art they can strengthen the intuition muscle and that it’s actually OK to “Not know what they’re doing.” They understood the freedom that exists in the type of art where they don’t have to think, but feel their way through, to be surprised more often than not that they love the end product after all.
They learned that their physical bodies where designed to move mainly in three planes of motion and that moving in all three planes DAILY, at HOME, FOREVER, will keep all their muscles ON and engage in participating in every move they make.
They learned about the importance of rituals of self-reflection, DAILY, at HOME, FOREVER with simple tools of self-connection such as journaling, reading a book that inspires them, tracing circuits of sacred geometry as meditation, and answering important questions about what ‘bugs’ them in their lives. They noticed how the more they took the time to do this, the more they knew or understood themselves, leaving no part of their Being left behind in their discovery process.
They learned how limiting it is to experience life when you’re not comfortable in your body. They learned that agility, vitality, strength, balance, endurance, coordination, and flexibility assist us in LIVING life fully by giving us the freedom to play, dance, lift, swing, hang, spin, jump, swim, and move on the earth in full yummy comfort.
They learned that all the food we take acts as a biochemical activator and that eating healthy snacks CAN taste very good, be easy and fun to make, as well as cause changes in the positive or negative to their moods and energy levels.
They learned to play with their bodies’ thresholds and the importance of learning to be comfortable in the fire of exertion.
They learned to develop character in a creative process that expresses what is important for them to express at any given point in their lives through key and simple questions, such as ‘What makes me really angry?,” and “What challenges have I overcome?”
More programs to be offered soon! Please feel free to e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in customizing a group for Self Optimization Sanctuary (S.O.S.) Training. Looking forward to spreading the LOVE!
And with that….and after thanking all the parents who entrusted me with their lovely daughters! I am COMPLETE.
A few of my clients have requested I organize an all girls pijama party at the Villa, and I was inspired this morning to facilitate one in the next coming months. Stay tuned!!
As I dive in to the space to be open to receive what C2E’s upcoming Vision Quest 2.0 has for us, I’m filled with gratitude to be in a reality where I can share with you what I gather as the MOST important process in my life.
I will never claim I know the way, cause I don’t, nobody does, in reality, the closest we can get to absolute truth is death. All I do is share my life with others, the life that has given me the most regenerative power. I am the consummate explorer of my self, and all the bodies that construct it: the physical body, mental body, emotional body, energetic body, spiritual body, and as my 12 year old camp student stated brilliantly last week, the body of experiences we accumulate in this lifetime and as many lifetimes we believe we have.
Since I left my corporate job 5 years ago, and dove into my trainer-evolution to become a Body Integration Specialist, my life has become a playground of movement, intuition, and art that doesn’t ever stop showing me the purpose and meaning of EVERY event I experience: including the good, the bad and the ugly.
Every program I get inspired to express through C2E is designed to assist you to connect all the dots of the sacred geometry of your complex selves. It’s sacred because the only way to dedicate the time we need to keep ourselves whole (as opposed to broken) is if we regard it with great respect and reverence. It’s geometry because it concerns the properties and relations of points, lines, surfaces, solids, and higher dimensional analogs of our being, which can be extremely complex, but yet, once you know them, extremely simple and profound. When you find your own sacred geometry you tap to the properties of natural intelligence and it’s uncanny ability to self-sooth, self-heal, and self organize. And that’s exactly where we need to be to live life abundantly.
So you might be asking…
How do I integrate all my bodies to become this sacred geometry self?
By being your best playmate and setting out to discover with child-like curiosity your own Vision Quest, your personal system of self-discovery, growth and development. It’s a lifestyle of being aware of where you’re at, and letting life speak to you, guide you, show you the way. Life becomes like a treasure hunt of challenges, explorations, and solutions that are inspired by YOU and YOUR connection to your LIFE experience and your sources of strength.
I have pushed buttons of people I highly admire and respect in regards to how freely I use certain terms in my C2E Vocabulary. The origin of the term Vision Quest comes from native American tradition and ceremony, and I would like to quote my dear Dr. Janice Kalec, C2E’s Multi-dimensional chiropractor, who is a sage of Native American traditions, among others, in a passage at the end of this article where I have included various resources about the Vision Quest topic.
I would like to acknowledge the source of this tradition and request the pardon of any ancestors, ceremonialists, and guides for whom this has caused any confusion. I believe that our habits of transformation shall be contained as sacred and unique for every single person it helps, independently from dogma, conditioning or generational expectations. I have also included a section below to include resources for another coined term Sacred Geometry.
My first Vision Quest was with Soul Art Shaman Laura Hollick, (picture above) whose definition of a Vision Quest is her own as well, through self-expression and art. It was through her creative guidance where I began to discover the most authentic version of myself, which allowed me to master my own process through what I connect the most, movement. My personal Vision Quests are highly connected to movement, and the work done in my Self Optimization Sanctuary (S.O.S.) which is the space I create to check in with ALL of my bodies DAILY, at HOME, FOREVER. That’s what I assist people in creating for themselves, a sanctuary of all who YOU are, a check in point to RESET, CALIBRATE, RELEASE, BREATH, MOVE, and literally work it all OUT!
May this article inspire you to create your own definition of a Vision Quest. I’m just holding a container through all I’m drawn to share for you to explore ALL of YOU, and become intimate with who you truly are from all vantage points, lenses, and perspectives. If you feel you need a little guidance in creating your own path of self-discovery, growth, and expansion, dive in to C2E’s collective, virtual, and self-lead Vision Quest 2.0 starting this Sunday, July 31st @ 7pm.
I’ve been blessed to hear others say I’m a Manifestor, one who sees a vision, and puff! it happens! To my detriment at times, I run with a vision (and get ahead of myself at times) and bring it to pass. I’m obsessed with keeping my word and if I say it, I feel compelled to have to make it a reality. Outside of the trouble this can bring when you jump into a vision before it’s due time, I must say I recognize this as one of my POWERS. As I see it, manifesting is but one main thing….getting it done! Doing the work, diving courageously into your self, DAILY, AT HOME, FOREVER. That’s how I’ve experienced my Supernatural Production life, feeling miraculously supported from every angle, that never ceases to amaze me with magic left and right. A life on the edge of the known and the unknown, where the only option is to stay in the Zen of your Equator, regardless of the light or dark dancing around you.
My intention in sharing a Vision Quest structure and template is to equip you with processes, prompts, and questions that bring you to your SELF, your center, your Equator in the most intimate, direct, and authentic way. When we learn to access this healing channel, a new world of possibilities open up. A place where you can only experience if you step into the unknown.
Learning Resources for the topic: Vision Quest
By Dr. Janice Kalec
The most accurate description of the Vision Quest that I am aware of is the description in the book: The Sacred Pipe: Black Elk’s Account of the seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux by Joseph Epes Brown. In any case the meaning that I associate with Vision Quest is consistent with the description in this book and with the way it was carried out by the Native elders with whom I studied.
In a kind of nutshell – One who is called to Quest traditionally did so with an elder as a mentor. After studying with this mentor for a period of time – perhaps a year or longer – at some point along this path one would be called to become a pipe carrier as the pipe becomes one of the items carried with one on the quest. As the time grows closer to the quest one is usually involved in regular sweat lodges either with one’s mentor or with other elders. The general site of the quest is typically selected by the elder. Either before leaving for the quest – or in some cases one arrives at the site a few days before the quest – the one questing makes 104 prayer ties and 6 prayer flags. What goes on these varies somewhat from elder to elder.
The night before the quest there is a sweat lodge after this point the one questing has no more food or water until their return. Very early the next morning there is another sweat lodge before ascending the mountain so that one begins the quest at sunrise. The one questing is usually accompanied by an assistant to the elder – a guide – to a location on the mountain where the questing one sets up their quest circle of prayer ties and flags and other sacred items then they are left alone to be on the mountain with no other person in site for the duration of the quest without food or water. The length of the quest may vary from 24 hours to 4 days. The conditions that most accurately describe the Vision Quest is that it is something one does alone typically on a mountain after having been purified in the lodge and one is fasting without food or water. When one returns still no food or water until after another sweat lodge. After that lodge the elder will often meet with the questing person one on one to hear what happened on the mountain and to help the person interpret the experiences. After that one has food and water.
The article above provides a section for Misappropiation, which is the point of differentiation between creative practitioners like myself who like attaching their own meaning to words such as Vision Quest and Sacred Geometry, and those who embrace the history of each coined term with reverence and respect to it’s place of orogin. I see the cultural borrowing and cross-fertilization of concepts as our freedom and right as individuals to attach to things the meaning that serves us to understand our reality. Nevertheless I respect, understand and honor those who like attaching unchageable meanings to words, concepts, and ideas. Here is an interesting article about Cultural Appropiation:
Learning Resources for the topic: Sacred Geometry
Ben Gottlieb & Yalan McCullough prepping for their 3rd Outdoor Gallery show at C2E, Extramental Exposure, this Saturday & Sunday (7/30 & 7/31). Featuring art by Chris Brodbeck, Yeltsin Penado, Ben Gottlieb, and Yalan McCullough
On August last year, my 21 year old son Yalan McCullough and his childhood friend Ben Gottlieb, both passionate artists with a common vision to offer young artists in The Valley a platform to expose their art as well as test the limits of their capacities, launched their first collaborative venture, Easy Living Productions. Easy Living has produced 3 outdoor/garden gallery shows to date, in C2E’s Villa, featuring local young artists paintings, installations, DJing skills and the newly introduced sculptures for this weekends show.
Featured artists have been…
Yalan McCullough, Ben Gottlieb, Yelstin Penado, Chris Brodbeck, Jessica Valice, Claudio Renyer, and Camille Eastin
They’ve also had performances by…
Tyree Williams, Jayson Legacy, Terra Vee, DJKring
I’ve witnessed how they take their lessons from each show and apply them to the next event, becoming more familiar with pre-production timing, installations effect on the property, cover charge process, strike schedule, weather impact, documenting the event, and our favorite…marketing! They have created a Living School for themselves and I have not enough words to say how proud I am of every single artist.
I’ve heard feedback about their choice of name for their company, Easy Living Productions: “Oh yeah right! They wish.” or “They’re young!” or “Don’t we all wish!,” but the truth is that this is one of the boldest, most conscious and progressive titles I’ve heard a company have. I’ve seen these young men grow with a fresh vision for their lives, much different than we ever had. They’ve learned from our mistakes and are very clear of what they DON’T want their lives to be like: They refuse to be slaves in any way shape or form, they want to take Liberty and Freedom to a whole new level that none of us have been able to experience yet. They experience adults constant obsession to have more, to spend more, to waste more, to loose more, to stress more, and work more, to pay more bills as total insanity.
1st Show in Easy Living Productions roster, Tones.
They battle day and night with a broken record that has told them they’re lazy, that they don’t know better, that they need to wake up and smell the coffee, and honestly, I think is the other way around. They have a vision and a hope for a world that sets them free to live the life they truly desire, and releases the attachment to currency as the only exchange that exists. Yes it might be a lofty dream, but no one can deny that is a GOOD IDEA!! And if we preach that dreams come true, to follow our passions, and never give up, then I say, be my guest at pursuing Heaven On Planet Earth (H.O.P.E.), after all, we’re all on the same boat!
These young men and women are not lazy, they are tired, the weight of the world is literally on their shoulders, but they plow through day by day like champions. Doing college, working jobs to pay their bills as they can, honoring their parents as best as they can within family communities who haven’t mastered the high skill of communication, having to face the fact that they are mostly misunderstood and viewed in some negative light. On top of that when you add the fact that they don’t have enough experience yet to maneuver the chaos of the paradox they live in, to manage dealing with adults that tell them literally to do as they say and not as they do, and to release the rage of not being SEEN, we must acknowledge they are truly super heroes of change, Time Shifters.
2nd Easy Living Production, Lost In Life.
I’ve seen these kids at work since our first Camp Work-N-Fun when they were 8-12. When we give them room to express themselves creatively, we empower them to be in charge. When we talk to them as the bright beings they are, they are as industrious as any CEO in corporate America, with the ability to hyperfocus with keen ability. There’s only one catch: they must be interested, and as adults, our endeavor is to hold space for them as they Live their Edication through projects of the heart.
They see time as wasted when what is demanding their attention is not something they care about. I know most adults don’t resonate with this concept. I know that true freedom is deemed as unrealistic, irresponsible, selfish, and immature; but I’m here to tell you that in my planet that is far from the truth. I see their care, their struggle, their willingness to be in both paradigms for now, but with a goal to untie the bind to an unfulfilled life.
May every step they make to create bring them closer to H.O.P.E.
Written by Mayra McCullough
I was invited to a wonderful tasting event last Friday by my dear soul sister, actor, host, reporter and producer Julia Ho, founder of Body Mind Spirit Living, a company dedicated to tapping to the power of our wonderful Conscious community in Los Angeles. I’m always grateful for Julia’s leads, recommendations, and networking magic and encourage you to friend her on Facebook if you have a special conscious development and keep her posted of the latest creations in Conscious Community education, entertainment and all in between. I see her as sort of a Guardian Angel in this Industry my soul draw me to 5 years ago, when I decided to leave Equinox Fitness to start Coach2Edify. Thank you Julia for all your love, leadership, sharing, invitations, and for being a pioneering soul co-creating with me!
I was drawn to attend a Chef Gilberto Cetina’s Yucatan Tasting in his restaurant in L.A., https://www.chichenitzarestaurant.com/home for a festival of rich flavors that reminded me of what is purely traditional, authentic and handmade, exactly how they describe it.
A beautifully organized event by Chef Cetina’s colleague, Brian “Chef Turok” Menendez, shined with the parade of flavors that started with a pumpkin and kobucha sqaush bean soup, tomato and pipits dip, then pork tacos that were to die for, followed by amazing mini steak sandwiches, a Guanabana drink that took me right back to Puerto Rico, and a fish that was pure butter in your mouth.
Chef Cetina was a dear host who took his time to go through each dish in creator perspective detail as well as spend some time with us taking endless photos of course! One of my favorite parts of going out with Julia to an event is that we will ALWAYS get the picture!!!
If you find yourselves in Downtown Los Angeles, please consider this beautiful community complex of ‘down-home boutique’ restaurants in the Mercado La Paloma where parking is available!! (sweet!). The drive from Woodland Hills was absolutely worth it!!
Thank you Julia, Chef Gilberto and Brian for your warm hospitality. I love to play cheerleader, and you will be part of my song for some time.