This weekend another in a season of devastating wildfires burned through several communities in Northern California. One of those communities included Harbin Hot Springs, the beloved sanctuary for so many Modern Day Mystics.
The fire began Saturday morning and by Sunday had exploded into a raging 40,000 acres of wind and drought fueled flames that forced the evacuation of thousands… including those who call Harbin Hot Springs their home.
The news spread quickly through our community. For many of us, Harbin has been a nurturing healing space.
It’s been one of my most sacred sanctuaries for almost 20 years. It has held and healed me in my darkest times. When nothing else could, those beautiful healing waters have brought me back to a place of peace and opened me to an expanded perspective.
Over the years the waters have slowly and gracefully opened me to my mystical nature.
They have taught me about the spontaneous healing capacities of the human body.
They have pushed me to the limits of my ability to trust in the unknown and open to the mysterious nature of this more than human existence.
And they have consistently provided me with a more expansive perspective.
When my vision was clouded with fears and doubts about a current challenge those waters would soothe and clear and open my mind to an expanded sense of potential and possibility.
And when my ego has been too caught up in and identified with some personal success, those waters have consistently reminded me of the bigger truth of my essence and of my larger purpose and intention to serve.
This weekend, from a distance and in the midst of the destruction of the fire, those sacred waters again helped me shift and expand my perspective.
When I first heard the news of the fire my initial reaction was a sense of personal loss.
Will the healing waters of Harbin be lost to me for months, years, forever? What will I do if they are? Where will I go for the healing, awakening and nurturing support I have come to rely on?
Quickly though I felt those waters – which after so many years seem to have become a part of me – flowing and opening and expanding my perspective.
They opened me to the devastating loss for the thousands, of people in the area. Homes burned down. Businesses destroyed. And perhaps even lives lost.
The sacred waters opened me to the grief and sorrow this devastation has brought to the people…
… and to the uncertainty and trauma they feel…
… and to the animals lost or displaced as more than 60,000 acres of land burned…
… and to the Earth as the carbon held in the trees and grass is released, accelerating the cycle of warming and drought.
Perspective… from the sacred waters.
Losing something or someone dear to you reminds you of the fragility of this human existence.
Those of us who love Harbin have lost a personal and community sanctuary.
But those who were forced to evacuate this weekend… those who lost their homes and businesses… the courageous firefighters and volunteers working around the clock in an attempt to contain this ferocious blaze…
They have truly gotten a taste of the temporary nature of human life.
And it is in that remembrance… the conscious acknowledgment of how short, how fragile and how truly precious this life is… that we often begin living it fully.
So even now, as I mourn the loss of my beloved sacred sanctuary… and grieve along with the thousands of people who are displaced and whose lives have been altered forever… and the impact on our precious planet…
Even in this moment of loss I offer my gratitude to the healing waters for the expanded perspective it brings.
With prayers of peace going out to all those affected by this tragedy I also remember the Haiku that goes something like this:
Since my house burned down
I now own a better view
of the rising moon
For now, Harbin and the towns destroyed by this fire have a better view of the rising moon.
And, I trust that, like the Mythical Phoenix, they will rise from the ashes… with a new and expanded perspective…
… and I know that those of us who have loved and been loved by Harbin and the surrounding communities will be there to support them as they rise!