Well, I’m happy to report we got it done. We nailed it, finis’d it, slammed it, ripped it, killed it,  “______” , (insert various other terms here signifying performing at the highest level) That is, Higher Haven Sunday #1 is in the can. Did you know “In the can” is a term that originated in filmmaking to describe a completed motion picture, back when film was literally put into a canister? That’s the sort of storytelling tinged with 1930’s slang we like around here, the real old school kind. Ancient even. Primordial.

Back to Sunday, the ancient practices of Yoga, Meditation and Ceremony came together in a colorful fuse of energies that magically created a new Community of tribal members of The Higher Haven. Many thanks to Kalamazoo’s Karina Ayn Mirsky, a Yoga & Meditation Educator, Retreat and Seminar Leader who helped lead the charge. Teaching yoga since 1998 and training yoga teachers since 2004, Karina helps run and guest teaches in a number of training programs across the nation. Her teachings reflect her understanding of yoga as both a modern therapeutic science and an ancient spiritual system, as well as a catalyst for personal transformation. Inspiring thousands of others to live with passion and purpose, she did a wonderful job inspiring the dozen yogis who made the drive with her from Kalamazoo with an original flow that honored the four directions as well as the people present.

Higher Haven Sunday #1 was the start of the Summer 2016 pilot program of one-day gatherings designed to generate a buzz in the surrounding communities and cities, in hopes of firing people up about a local, high-caliber spiritual retreat center. Forget Costa Rica and California. Why not skip the long flight and instead getaway with an hours drive to a special sanctuary in nature where, with a bit of personal effort, one can bestow a sense of rejuvenescence on oneself, all at about a tenth of the cost?  It certainly sounded like a good idea to me, a vision that lead me to take all I am and all I have and confidently (gulp) put in all on RED, betting that this place would fly. That if I built it, they would come. It certainly wasn’t going to help the cause if the first attempt sputtered out and went into a tailspin.

But it didn’t. It roared to life, throttled and bumped its way down the runway, taking flight. From the studio’s functionality to the local organic Vegan lunch to the cohesiveness of the teachings, it all pretty much worked and worked pretty well. Of course perfection remained well outside the perimeter and constructive mistakes were certainly made. Note to self: don’t yack outside and joke around with Chris Ferris of Farm House Deli while setting up the meal during the group’s Shavasana. So there’s growing pains to stomach and learning curves to negotiate.

By far Sunday’s most exciting takeaway – after months of pushing and pulling, forcing and stressing – was the deep realization of how well things work out when you simply do your best to Let Go. As my teacher is fond of reminding me – if you’re willing to risk giving to life what you have to offer, life will always give back in kind. Because at the end of the day, control is really no friend to fulfillment. When you control, you’re sending a message to life, a little (lack of) love note that says, “Trust you I do not”. So I took the risk and put a firm reliance on the integrity and ability of a benevolent Universe and was certainly granted a satisfying return. I hope that Karina, Ashton, Stephanie, Megan, Teresa, Janelle, Dana, Wade and both Suzanne’s felt equal uplift. Given the generous feedback, I trust they did.

Finally having some folks over for an early test flight also helped me come to terms with some of the awful, awful (pivotal term being awful) lot of dark nights and tearful times over the last year and a half, times that had me wondering, “Why am I doing all this shit? Why? When I could be sitting in a Monastery in California or Costa Rica…” ha or maybe Vietnam instead, feeling blissy and free. But truth be told, I feel as though I have a Mission, that Mission being to provide for others what was provided for me in the way of a direction out, out from under the rubble of personal problems and loads of unhappiness by simply following the directs of a good teacher coupled with a little devotion to true spiritual practice. It’s exciting and we’re excited to do it again all Summer and Fall, with Higher Haven Sunday #2 scheduled for June 5th at 11 a.m. Message me for details. Looking forward to having you Over and Out.