Speaking of getting clear.
Someone texted me today to ask if there was space at Breitenbush. Oh yes. A handful of spaces are still available. You can call 503-854-3320 to find out all about it. Call, the old school way, with a phone.
I know the weirdness, by the way, of deciding to come to a group or event in person.
Jeez, so much effort. You have to buy plane tickets or bus tickets or train tickets, figure out the ride from the airport to the actual place, which sometimes seems to take hours, walk here, go there, wait here.
Then, you’re not sure if you’ll be able to sleep well, or who your roommate is, or what the environment will be like….and at Breitenbush, especially….don’t they have clothing-optional soaking pools?
And then what will The Work actually be like? Will I get somewhere and make progress understanding my stressful internal life? Will it make a difference, or be worth it?
So many stressful thoughts about getting from Point A to Point B. And stressful thoughts about what the destination will be like, once we’re there.
Will it be comfortable??! Because otherwise….(stressful thought, stressful image).
I remember hearing about Breitenbush when I was in high school. I don’t remember who told me. But it was definitely some kind of hippie naked wild place. Um. OK. I’m not so sure about the conditions of society, but that sounds a little too too. Not for me.
When Evergreen State College (part of the Washington state university system) came to present at my high school, they wore army pants and half-hippie half-grunge T-shirts. They probably hang out at Breitenbush. I will never go to that weirdo school where you invent your own program.
(I graduated from there later).
I never went to Breitenbush or found out much more about it.
Many years later, I was invited to teach The Work at Breitenbush by my friend Susan Beekman, who was closely connected with people who started Breitenbush for many years and who I met at The School for The Work in 2005.
So off I went, to this crazy place with its reputation of wildness in my mind for 30 years….to help facilitate a 4 day workshop.
I was surprised.
The place was extremely quiet, organized, respectful, private….and as gentle as imaginable.
Upon entering the parking lot after several miles of carefully graded gravel road through the forest, a beautiful check-in building awaited me, and every arriving visitor.
When you check in, everyone gets to pile their possessions and luggage into a big sturdy wheelbarrow with huge wide smooth wheels. You load your things into this giant cart which seems to move forward with the slightest touch, and make your way to your nest.
Many people stay in the little cabins (I always do as a presenter). Soft sheets, warm blankets await in your room in a bag delivered before your arrival. You’ll make your own bed, turn on the big beautiful old-fashioned heater filled with hot springs water (if you need it) and put away things in the built-in tall cupboards. I’m always reminded of Laura Ingalls Wilder, imagining my little cabin being the size of the one her Pa built in the 1800s. There are no locking doors. No keys. Nothing ever gets stolen.
A small desk with a lamp, reading lights above the beds, and a huge porcelain sink is in every cabin to greet you. For bathing, most people head to the shared large bath houses (womens or mens), for always-hot showers from the springs.
The air smells like cedar and pine, the soft earth below the feet makes little noise as you walk. The trees are gigantic, the air so fresh and sweet. Every night, even in hot summer days, its cool and dark and silent.
No cells phones work here. No internet is flying through the airwaves. This is an electronic-free zone. People need to drive about 10 miles to get cell service.
It’s un-hook time.
And oh what a brilliant place for The Work of Byron Katie.
We begin the evening of Wednesday, June 21 which is solstice this year.
Time for a break in the pattern, an interrupt in the usual story-telling inside the mind. A dissolving of the nightmare, if that’s what you’ve been having.
We sit, we write, we investigate the suffering we may have experienced for many years. Some people return to Breitenbush every summer, year after year. Some are brand new and ready to learn and DO The Work in earnest.
Apparently, I had a stressful thought. About Breitenbush. They’re a bunch of wild naked woo-woos. As someone said to me once…”tree huggers”. (I personally love trees and country and forest, so that particular label never sounded bad).
But I didn’t even have time to question that thought once I arrived. It simply wasn’t true.
Everything was perfectly cared for. The lanes and walking pathways were raked and lined, the people kind and respectful, the food absolutely delicious and filling. There’s no coffee served, so you have to bring your own or go caffein-free. No alcohol and drugs anywhere on the grounds.
And guess what? No one is required to go naked in the hot springs (some people happily wear bathing suits). The boundary for where people go nude is limited and set aside just for soaking. There’s one pool that is for silence only–no talking by anyone, ever.
Anyone could be at Breitenbush and never go into the hot mineral pools, if you were too nervous or weirded out about nudity. You’d still love the place. It’s built for retreat. For luscious relaxation and natural beauty.
No wonder they wanted The Work there. It’s about un-raveling and un-doing painful conditioning and stressful stories that repeat themselves in troubling ways in our lives.
If you’re wanting summer time to settle way down, take time out, completely unplug, and join with others to soak in inquiry….
….bring it to Breitenbush. You’ll literally have the chance to leave it there. We do a very special exercise on the last day that can only be done at Breitenbush (it’s a surprise). Perhaps you’ll leave something there you never imagined, something you’ve wanted to set down for years.
People have flown from New York, Florida, Kentucky, taken the train from California and Mexico, driven from Vancouver BC and New Mexico. From all corners, the most lovely folks assemble to really sink into this incredible physical setting, and incredible way of enlightening ourselves by questioning our beliefs.
You may find, like I did about Breitenbush, that your impression of reality and of life was a little off.
Who would you be, who could you be, without your story?
“You are the effect of your story, that’s all. And this is hard to hear unless you inquire…..Come to know for yourself what’s true for you, not for me. My words are of no value to you. You’re the one you’ve been waiting for. Be married to yourself. You’re the one you’ve been waiting for all your life.” ~ Byron Katie in Loving What Is