The Holotropic Breathwork Community

Supporting healing and transformation

Hey, everybody!

It's nice to be re-communicating. A little less than a year ago I wrote about feeling kind of "cosmically flabbergasted" as I announced that Fires Creek, our center for wellness and renewal in the North Carolina mountains, was not going to happen. Well, I guess feeling flabbergasted by the often capricious nature of Consciousness is becoming a sort of a life default mode for Cary and me. So, with a degree of hesitation and excitement, here we go again: Fires Creek, the Movie, or maybe Spawn of Fires Creek, whatever. Perhaps Spirit needed us to grow a little bit -- do a little bit of dying. In any event, we are grateful to be given another chance.

Here's a rundown of how the rebirth came about: For one, Cary and I had to do some good inner work. A lot of surrender, facing core issues, keep on trusting. And come to accept that inspiration and passion have a life and timing all their own. Looks like our dreams are usually bigger, or at least different, from how we first perceive them. When an archetype wants to drop in, nothing personal, it's just gonna drop right on in. Doesn't much matter what our dreams are, it has a life of its own. It'll do its thing to influence a new level of reality, ready or not. This'll happen, just when we feel it's all over, or were plain wrong or crazy to have dreamed the thing in the first place.

In August, Cary and I were hours away from selling what Fires Creek property we had left -- giving it away, almost -- in a really insulting deal. Then it seems like angels appeared -- two legions of them, actually. One, a core team of inspired souls who, basically, just kind of showed up, reported for duty, like Sam, Merry, Pippin, Strider, and Legolas did in the Fellowship of the Ring. Ready to move into Fires Creek and take the ride with us into the mystery one more time. The second fleet of angels were dear friends in Australia, who, like Cary and myself, and Alvaro and Dora in Brazil, believed that Fires Creek could be viable financially as well as creatively. So they stepped up as partners, and lo and behold, we had start-up funds once again. And so off we went one more time, following the siren call -- as Van Morrison said one time, letting "... our souls and spirits fly into the Mystic."

Everybody on board at this point feels excited and honored to be part of making this dream a reality. It certainly is not ours alone. It's been a passion of so many Holotropic practitioners, from Christina and Stan onward to the rest of us: to have a center where people can come to grow, heal, and transform, using the core principles of the Holotropic perspective. All this in a setting that allows the power of the Inner Healer to unfold freely and completely in an atmosphere of total respect and support. To be a validation and a way through for those in spiritual emergency. To provide a return to the spiritual roots of the original recovery pioneers, and to fulfill the dreams they had eighty years ago. To offer a sanctuary in a an Eden-like natural setting for individuals and groups to follow their own bliss, and respond to the urgings of their own Inner Healers.

If this weren't gift enough, what's amazing is that so much more seems to be emerging. This further dimension is actually another gift of the Holotropic perspective that AHBI and Holotropic groups all over the world have recognized for decades. This is the archetype of Communitas, the spirit of individuals hearing a call from the collective Inner Healer to be a part of something more whole than the individual self on its own. It's something breathers have felt in one-on-one breathwork sessions, in week-end workshops, and certainly in the training. It's the feeling -- the absolute certainty -- that what we have glimpsed in these transformative moments, what we have felt from each other on the mat, in the circles, during the meditations, the rituals, and the dance, is something that should not just be left behind when we go home. It should be carried with us, as the core of fire is transferred from camp to camp in ancient nomad peoples. We should bring it home, to our families, our friends, our work places, our neighborhoods, our world. It's the dream of an absolutely vital, beautiful way of being in this world -- of, as I mentioned, total respect and support. It's like sitting for the planet. A respect and love total because it comes from the core of the Holotropic vision -- a grounded knowledge that we have all the healing power we need inside ourselves -- and that true empowerment comes only from this authentic place within us. We've all tried to find a way to make this a reality in our everyday lives -- among our families, friends, co-workers, and with all those whom life places in front of us.

Yet we hear all the time how, when people leave the training or the workshops -- all fired up, having experienced personal empowerment as well as sacred community -- they often feel disillusioned. They feel disenchanted because it's so difficult to recreate or maintain these new feelings in a world which can operate in manner so antagonistic to our new level of consciousness. What people are left with often is an even more intense longing than before. A craving to experience this sense of love, respect, support, and belonging, in a more sustained way. I'm convinced, as are many others as well, that one of the main reasons why the idea of a Holotropic center created such a buzz in the world breathwork community last year, was because of this very thing. My fantasy is that many people felt the call again to be a part of this new frontier of the Holotropic adventure. It's as though we hope theres a way, perhaps in a way that's like making a blueprint, to recreate what we have felt in Holotropic breathwork settings. Or actually pick up where we leave off when we go home: begin to explore what a setting might look like, if the core principals were really allowed to grow in a systematic and purposeful way -- maybe one center at a time. Perhaps the archetype of Communitas that we have plugged into might be more than just an island amid the relentless ordinariness of our everyday social interactions. Maybe this feeling can actually become an on-going, tangible reality. And a center like this might in some small way accurately create a portion of the the true potential that HB offers us -- not just transformation of the individual, but a transformation of society itself.

So, how does all this relate to Fires Creek exactly? Throughout history, humans have attempted this sort of community experiment. It's been done thousands of times, with varying degrees of evolutionary success. Each effort provides inspiration for the rest of us, and how we can best use what we have been given. So, let's take a risk, and see what small part we might be able to play in this world adventure. Here's how it seems to be emerging for us: Everywhere we go in the world, when we speak of the center, HB people just plain get excited. Lots of them just want to report for duty. They show up. They offer themselves. They say, sign me up. So, what are we signing up for exactly? Well, none of us are quite sure, really. Least of all myself. I've always been a saturn/ conjunct venus/ squaring my moon kind of guy -- spent most of my life being scared of people. So of course I end up with this job where I have to be with people -- I mean really be with them -- show up for them -- go down the stream with them. Just another example of the somewhat tricky nature of cosmic planning. So, just why are people wanting to be involved at Fires Creek, or what exactly will we all be doing when we get together in this truly beautiful setting?

For want of a better term right now, we're calling it community-based support for the individual. It's as good a term as any. But what does this mean? We are envisioning two vital intertwining healing streams operating at our retreat. One, of course, is the work the guests do who come there to experience what's being offered. But the second stream is centered in the community itself -- the support team -- which is there to provide the atmosphere for the guests. What principles are we the support team using? Why, you guessed it: absolutely sound, core Holotropic principles and ethics -- the ones that everyone experiences throughout their exposure in every type of Holotropic setting. Three things: Inner Healer, Inner Healer, Inner Healer. We never know what's best for another. The only person we're ever working on in a workshop is ourselves. Breathers are fine, because they have Inner Healers. Our job? Keep then safe, show them respect, respect, respect -- support, support, support. The center operates like one complete on-going Holotropic workshop -- it's that simple.

And here's the icing on the cake for the community: What are we doing while the breathers and participants are healing, contacting their own deeper sources? We are working our own individual daily Holotropic yoga -- what Merlin said, from the movie Excalibur, "resting in the arms of the Dragon". We we are healing too. We're only ever working on ourselves, right? We fiercely practice the Yoga of the Cross, our Awareness Positioning System -- take each outside reaction, bring it back to ourselves -- trust deeply that this practice is going to show us something about ourselves -- not others, but ourselves. It's what we learned originally on the mat breathing. This is the community possibility: These two levels -- what the guests are doing for themselves and what we are doing for ourselves -- working gracefully, synergistically, flowing from guest to support team and back again. The whole atmosphere of the center alive with the collective power of the Inner Healer working individually and for the group as a whole -- nobody knowing what's best for the other -- everybody operating from the deepest kind of love possible -- allowing each other the space to find ourselves, listening to the call of our Inner Healers -- respect, respect, respect -- support, support, support.

We don't really know what the result of such an experiment will be. We certainly believe guests will leave more in touch with their wholeness than ever. But what about those of us who remain? There are the paid staff, the volunteers, the interns who have heard the call and have come from all over the world just to be a part of things. There are those of us who come with one agenda, but maybe discover some deeper purpose our Inner Healers have been trying to reveal to us. Our fulfillment might be that we get be players in a sweet, deep, rigorous play of Communitas, allowing ourselves to be swept up, shattered, letting our little dreams die to make room for bigger ones. Maybe even receive a glimpse or two of some unfolding part of the plan for our earth evolution. I guess that might be what we could call community. Let our souls and spirits fly into the mystic. Perhaps it's time for us to make a leap: Let's see what happens when a whole bunch of starry-eyed Holotropic adventurers come together in one place, and offer ourselves up to something ever larger than who we are in any given moment. And have a lot of fun while we're at it.

So, this is a long-winded kind of invitation to the world Holotropic community. Centers are already being planned In Brazil, Australia, and many other countries. Even while Spirit was rather unceremoniously shutting down Fires Creek the first time around, we heard from people in nine different countries who were catching community fever. So, maybe we'll goof it up again. But it won't be for want of trying, of all of us showing up the best we can, opening to the mystery as fearlessly and joyously as we are able. But one thing we're pretty certain about. The Holotropic deserves a chance to flower in a sustained, communal place. So, here's Fires Creek: not the best, not the first, just one more offering up to Spirit to show us something about ourselves, to be of what service we can, and do it together in a group along the way. Thanks all. Everyone is welcome. Let's see what happens.

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Comment by Kelly Thompson on May 18, 2011 at 4:50am
Also, who will be physically there?
Comment by Kelly Thompson on May 18, 2011 at 4:49am
I've been thinking about coming to Fires Creek for that respect, support, and presence lately. Maybe August. It is definitely a place that's time has come.
Comment by Renn Butler on January 8, 2011 at 10:10pm

This sounds fantastic.  Good luck with it.

Love, Renn

Comment by Ale Scigliano on December 4, 2010 at 8:57pm
Hi Tav, your words and experiences impacted me. I take them like a mantra in my training as a facilitator
Presence, respect and support .
Comment by Ellen P Wolfe on December 4, 2010 at 7:34pm
I am dedicated the nurturing the seed. Right timing always right timing Ellen
Comment by Ellen P Wolfe on December 4, 2010 at 1:00pm
I am committed to nurturing the seed. timing always right timing with fierce love Ellen
Comment by Sean Blackwell on December 4, 2010 at 12:58pm
My wife Ligia and I got beat up in 2009 as well! In retrospect, I'm retrospect, I'm glad it happened. A few more tree rings to prepare us for what is to come. Congratulations Tav and Cary (and Alvaro and Dora!).
Comment by Barbara Wiemer on December 4, 2010 at 12:54pm
Hey Tav, hey Carry, Thank you both so much for all the effort you had. I hope to have experience in the center or participate somehow soon. It really gives hope. Much Love Barbara
Comment by Ellen Watson on December 4, 2010 at 12:48pm
Om Shanti Tav, Cary, too. Patience and Persistence....I recall when meeting you at Esalen in 1985, envisioning a community in the South; here we are, 25 year later, and a dream manifesting. I've just moved from Big Sur as my home base, and am visualizing a similar retreat community in rural, coastal S.C. Before going to Esalen, this was a dream...after 27 years of living in community, I'm ready to manifest this vision. For we California folk, the 4 short hours between Fires Creek and Beaufort, SC are nothing. Hoping that you'll come to Esalen and offer a 5 day workshop next July after the weekend for honoring Stan & Christina. Esalen is the birthplace of HB...please help me bring HB back!! love, ellen
Comment by Valeria on December 2, 2010 at 10:39pm
respect, respect, respect, support, support, support. Aho!

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