Did I say in my last newsletter that That was Close? …..’ The fire that raged in my area a month ago was nothing compared to what happened last weekend. We have just been through the most devastating and tragic event I have ever experienced in my life here in Lake County. In fact we were lucky to get out alive. It was brought painfully home that we really are in the midst of massive climate disruption, and this is just the beginning!

It happened in the middle of a retreat we were leading about Becoming WHoly Human, my latest retreat that I am offering with Vinit (my hubbie) and Peter DeVries. I have been feeling for a long time the urgency to wake up to the state of things here with our Mama Gaia, and also to our WHoly Human responsibility to be Divine vessels of Grace here on Earth. On Saturday, we were deep into facing the depths of the denial and distraction that keeps us from really feeling our connection with our Beautiful Planet- Home, and our oneness with all of Life. I imagine myself to be deeply in touch with and compassionate towards the plight of so much human and animal suffering and the agony of the ecosystems that sustain us dying. However I was not prepared for this and I am deeply humbled.

We had to evacuate half way through the group as the raging fires tore down the mountainside and over the landscape. It devoured almost the whole of Cobb mountain where it started, destroyed our Beloved Harbin hot springs; refuge and retreat for so many weary souls seeking Nature and spiritual renewal, devastated Middletown and headed to our community of Hidden Valley Lake, which for some reason we had assumed would not be touched. As we fled, we saw flames on either side of the road and the whole landscape was ablaze. It was an eery experience to say the least. Our lives, one moment so secure, the next completely in disarray. I felt like a refugee running for my life into a very uncertain future.

In less than six hours, six hundred homes were lost and all of the landscape devastated, most of us had only enough time to grab our animals and flee. We have since learned that our house still stands, although we haven’t yet been allowed back in to see the extent of the damage. Our tight knit community has been temporarily scattered to the winds, many friends escaped with only the clothes on their backs. But although the homes are destroyed and the land devastated, the spirit of love and connection among us is stronger than ever. The solidarity and support towards and also from those who have lost everything is truly heartwarming, and we vow to support each other in rebuilding our lives and community. I realize it takes a crisis like this to remind us of what is truly important. It is profoundly moving to see how the community is coming together in so much love and support, free from all attachments and illusions, ready to love, so open to give…and full of the Life wanting to be lived here on Earth; WHoly Human, deeply humbled and ready to serve the greater good of all…

This whole experience has lit a fire in my heart, now more than ever, to become the WHoly Human Being that I am, and to birth the Divine Human here on Earth that we are destined to be, and to truly live this heart consciousness that has been the vision of Life here in the community, like a seed waiting to germinate when the fires of our egotistical ways have died down.

Thank you purifying Dervish fire for waking us up. Thank you Mama Gaia for holding and healing us all, and thank you Divine Grace for sparing so many lives that could have been lost. We are blessed indeed….we have each other! Thank you for these hearts broken open by loss, tenderized to the beauty of each precious moment we share here with each other…and with our beautiful fragile Mother Earth and all her sentient beings… we stand in humble testimony to the power of nature (aided by our own collective contribution to climate destabilization).

It is interesting to note that amidst all the loss and devastation, the only things that survived are the many sacred statues and icons. For those of you that have been at Harbin, Quan Yin, Goddess of Compassion still sits there serenely by the cold plunge, hearing the cries of the world and reminding us to open our hearts to the suffering. In our humility may we pray ever more deeply to the Divine in these times, and remember that Grace is always showering upon us, as we are being guided, gently and wildly, back home to our True Nature.

I send you so much Grace for the incredible Being that you are and for choosing to be here in this time of Great Death and Amazing Birth of the Wholy Human Being on our Planet…