There comes a time in life when the urge to manifest a dream far outweighs the fear and procrastination of doing so. This is a story about the birth and manifestation of a dream and an invitation to the community to now share in the bounty.
In 1978, I left south western Pennsylvania and moved to Monterey, California. For the next ten years, I taught English to the many immigrants who were coming in after the Vietnam war and the fall of the Shah in Iran. During this time I was exposed to new ideas and new ways of thinking that profoundly affected my way of looking at the world. The magnificent landscapes, shorelines, hot springs, mountains, blankets of fog, and majestic redwoods were teachers and friends who opened up my senses to experience Spirit and intelligence in nature. Finding centers of consciousness like Esalen Institute in Big Sur, The Institute of Noetic Sciences, and Heartmath Institute had quite an impact upon my sense of what was possible, of what could be accomplished in life, in the community and in the
world with a shift in perspective.
In the mid-eighties I moved to San Francisco to complete a Master’s Degree to teach English as a second language for I had always wanted to live abroad and be able to support myself. I had been attracted to Japan since I was a child and longed to go there so when I saw a job opening in Tokyo, I applied and was hired to spend one year teaching at the Language Institute of Japan.
My planned one year stay, however, turned into a six year sojourn during which time I traveled extensively throughout Asia. I visited Buddhist temples, Shinto Shrines, ashrams in India, Phillippino healers, mountain tribes in northern Thailand, tiny villages in China, festivals in Bali, and aboriginal sacred places in the great outback of Australia. This exposure to so many different cultures greatly expanded my perception of the journey and richness of humanity and helped to form a vision of creating a place where some of the mysteries of the human psyche and our spiritual quests could be explored.
When it was time to leave Japan, I struggled deeply trying to decide where to ‘return’, where to live next and where I could go to bring my dream into reality. It was at this time the visions of Virginia began. At first, it was just a dream here and there about the land and the history. Then the dreams became more detailed about families and their lives, of farming and working. And after that, a spiritual presence accompanied each dream beckoning and calling me to the mountains. What struck me most was the ancient and wise quality I felt with each encounter. It felt like I had been caught in a beam of light that continued to focus my attention on the land in Virginia. And then to add to the intensity of the experience, I began meeting new people, in Japanese classes, at gatherings, English conferences nearly all from Virginia. While studying Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal for ten days my roommate, who could have been from anywhere in the world was from Virginia. Books I was given to read from friends were published by Hampton Roads in Charlottesville! What really did it in the end was a woman who came to Japan every year from New Mexico to offer healing sessions called Guidelight. After we worked together she suggested I come to her next training as I told her was going to stop teaching English and wanted to study the healing arts. I was very excited about the work and asked where the training would take place. And you guessed it. She said, “Virginia.”
And so I began the journey to Virginia though I had never been there and knew no one.
In 1994, I left Japan and drove across the the US visioning and dreaming about creating a healing center. I arrived in Charlottesville and attended the Virginia School of Massage and The Barbara Brennan School of Healing simultaneously and began my healing practice.
I also began to look in earnest for land to build the center but everything that could have gone wrong on that quest did. I would find a place and the owners would decide to move back in. Or a place that had been on the market for a year would sell as I was driving over to look at it. Everything kept falling through. I continued my healing practice and the search for land year after year and in 2003 when I had all but lost hope, a call came from a real estate agent offering to show me a place. I declined thinking I could not bear one more disappointment. He insisted and against my will, I went. I was feeling sad for it was my mothers birthday, May 15, and she had passed the year before. As as we drove up the long drive I noticed the address of the house was the same number as the house I had grown up in. Something stirred inside. I saw the lake, the house, the privacy, the beauty and I knew I had finally found the place so long sought after and laughed that it was when I had given up that it appeared.
And so I began to create Bridge Between the Worlds Retreat Center, a place that offers beautiful gardens, healing workshops, walks in nature, a place where one can learn about the role consciousness plays in healing, a place where people can retreat from the chaos of the outer world for a time so they can connect to the peace of their inner world, the goal of all sacred traditions, to find the inner temple, the inner sanctum, the inner holy chamber and live from that place sourced by the peace within.
There have been Buddhist meditations, women’s retreats, Medical Intuitive Trainings, retreats for the Unity Church in Richmond, Therapeutic Touch trainings, Healing the Heart workshops, PSYCH-K trainings, Sound Healing Concerts, a six-day series of sweat lodges, Laughter Yoga, Tai Chi classes, men’s group meetings, and many more – all of which have been archived on the website (www.bridgebetweentheworlds.org). The most recent was a very successful Level One Breath of the Soul meditation training which luckily will be offered again soon.
A wonderful level of community building also takes place with people who come and connect and help with the never ending projects bartering for a place in workshops of their choice.
As a residential retreat center it is a place where people can come on individual retreats where they can design their own time out and receive a healing session, a massage, enjoy the infrared sauna and the hot tub by the lake at their leisure staying in the secluded cedar cabin if they choose. These are called Transformational weekends and are offered throughout the year.
It is a precious gift to be able to manifest a dream and it is one I hope to impart to many. I have joked that I should win the award for accomplishing this feat while being one of the least skilled to do so! But it is just that mix that has prompted clients and visitors from all over the world to go off and write that book, start the business, take the trip for as they have said, ‘If you can do this, I can do that!” Some become inspired enough to create small places of their own like the couple who came from England, had a dream already, saw what was happening here, went back to Exetor, sold their house and bought an old olive plantation on the Greek Island of Lesvos and created a center to teach Tai Chi.
I have shown by example that you don’t have to be special to make a difference. Goethe’s words gave me strength many times. “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.’
I think this more than anything else, the power and awe of a dream, the incredible amount of faith and the sheer tenacity that is required to follow through and bring a heartfelt impulse into reality, this is manifestation and this is a kind of bliss unto itself. Much time has passed since the seed was planted years ago in my heart. The seed has been through drought, heavy rains, neglect, high winds, and finally fertility and fine weather.
I believe I may have waited so long to write about this because the time is ripe now for co-creating the new dream for the earth. We can all make a difference by collectively dreaming the new dream by seeing, feeling, sensing the new earth in our hearts and spirits and knowing we can manifest it here and now.
I extend an invitation to the community to learn more about events offered here, utilize the space for workshops, and come out and visit the center.
Thank you and blessings.