Dear friends and family – loved ones!
This is long.. maybe read in increments? ❤
I arrived at school on Sunday. I brought so much stuff (being prepared for arctic-like temps which haven’t come around yet) etc. For instance, I am the only student who brought a printer – so let’s just say I am going to be very popular and have some delicious food cooked for me as a result!
Anyway.. it took me about 5 hours to fully unpack my car and move into my temporary home.. I was out of my comfort zone at first, fortunately it only took 2-3 days to get into a rhythm and settled. At first, I had a 36-hour headache from the altitude and I was eating about 4 meals a day worth of food. That has improved now too – eating a normal amount (for me) and my head is doing much better. We are at 8,500 ft here at the Dojo (school).
On Saturday, on arriving in Crestone (where I have zero cell reception), I promptly visited a Buddhist stupa – a holy sacred-geometric building that houses relics and other sacred substances. Crestone (population 2,000 ppl) has at least three of these buildings that I know of. For perspective, Charlottesville & surrounding area (100K+) only has one or two. That was awesome – I met an interesting German family there.
Then I went to my new friend’s (Juniper) house where I spent that night. He is an awesome dude who built his own house and he is of great service to his friends and the massage school. I will take pictures of his house soon and share them – let’s just say that he has a green house with a wood stove under it – which is also a sauna. Very creative unique straw-bale designed house.
Then I went to visit the larger more remote stupa, up on the mountain slope. On my way to that stupa, I saw a sign for a Buddhist retreat center and made a beautiful pit-stop there. The care-taker gave me tea and a tour and I sat in their beautiful shrine room for close to an hour. (In case you haven’t noticed, Crestone has retreat centers of many flavors ALL OVER the place.) I promised to come back for their practices on Sundays.
Finally I got on the path toward the large stupa. The road turned gravel, and soon that turned to large rocky gulleys with snow and ice to spare! If I wasn’t so dedicated to seeing this thing, I would have turned around in a heart beat – imagine my little Toyota Corolla all loaded down with stuff trying to navigate a 4-wheel-drive mountain road… Yeah, it was worth it though! Such a breath-taking vista, the sun was setting, and they have retreatants who are there year-round doing solitary practice! Very holy area in my humble opinion.
School – whoa. I wish I could describe what is happening here on many different levels and dimensions, but you might not believe me if I tried.
Let’s just say that we study Chinese medicine, Chi Kung, Tai Chi, Kundalini Yoga, acupressure and Jin Shin Do (a trade marked version of acupressure). And we have only completed day 4 !!! Wow!
I already know about 75 acupressure / acupuncture points and how to work with them. Thank goodness I knew some of this material coming in. Wow wow Wow! I love it – the school is intentionally set up to stir the pot of all of us students and give us the tools to contain and process the emotional detritus that arises. It is a wild process and an extremely transformative journey (I surmise).
I love the group I am with. 4 males and 6 female students. Half of the students are young – under 29. The other half ranges from 29 – 43. Mostly all from West of the Mississippi – but very diverse – CA, Montana, Michigan, Iowa, Missouri.
I am staying in a house with the only student older than I. She is nice and we study and eat together at dinner time. She’s from Romania, married, no kids, quite a character. We have known each other before, so we quickly have become friends.
We begin each day at 7 am with Chi Kung or Yoga. Have a few breaks throughout the day, and end at 6-6:30 pm! Long days – which feel extremely long because they are. Four days of training has literally felt like weeks already. Maybe we will end up packing a year into 12-weeks? 😀
Getting late here. Will say more.
Believe it or not, the intensive format of the program here makes nursing school pale in comparison. Thank goodness this is just 12 weeks long.
Wishing you all very well and thank you gratefully for your support!