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Summer of Love Pt1 – Eco-Retreat : Ecuador

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 ExplorationsEco-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.

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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.

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This retreat’s creative expression is seen all throughout this article with epic photography by Deborah Kolb.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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: mayra@coach2edify.org to start your pre-registration process. Stay tuned for my next blog, featuring Tim & I’s continued explorations in Quito and the Amazon!

 


Summer of Love Pt2 – C2E’s Summer Program : Urban Permaculture

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.

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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.

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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.