Ever Thought About a Drive Around Canada?
After a visit to breath-taking Lake Louise, we got in the car for the long trek to Vancouver. It took two days of driving, with a stop-over in Kamloops, British Columbia. This was an unexpected, stunningly beautiful drive ~ so we took our time. Seeing all of the water in Canada ~ lakes, rivers, bays, oceans ~ is mind-blowing. Who knew?
Arriving in Vancouver was exciting for us. We had been looking forward to this since our last visit over ten years ago. We love Stanley Park, Gastown, Granville Island… To add to the excitement, our daughter, Tara, came from San Francisco to join us. We rented a beautiful condo near Coal Harbor. We watched the sea planes float in and out of the harbor and the cruise ships move in and out to the ocean. Our daughter is training to be a sommelier for fine dining, so we considered it a part of her education to take her out to nice restaurants so she could take notes. At least that’s the excuse we gave ourselves. We had a grand time.
However, Vancouver had changed. Like a lot of the world, it’s Faster. We found ourselves feeling unsettled and ungrounded back in the land of shopping, expensive restaurants, millions of people, and traffic.
We’re Not in Kansas Anymore...
Just like in the Wizard of Oz, the experiences we’ve been having on our journey are magical, life-changing, and sometimes ~ unbelievable. I am aware that in every post we say this is the Most. Wonderful. Place. Ever. But, it’s always true. The places, people, and experiences that have shown up on this journey must be inspired from beyond.
Who knew about Ringlake Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming, or Yogaville in Charlottesville, Virginia? Who knew there are 800 pundits praying around the clock, 24/7, for world peace in Fairfield, Iowa? We didn’t. Now we do…and so do you. We love sharing the amazing places we’ve discovered. Most of you can’t take a year off to drive around the country from retreat center to retreat center, however, you may want to visit one or two of these places on your own schedule. We promise we will not lead you astray.
Trust Us…You Want to Go to Hollyhock
Some people take a water taxi or a sea plane to Hollyhock,, but it’s a real adventure to drive here. For us, the trip from Vancouver (with a quick visit to Victoria and Butchart Gardens), on to Campbell River, on to Quadra Island, over to Cortes Island, and on to Hollyhock was long ~ but like Oz, it was magical. It took us five hours and three ferries to finally arrive. However, the minute you drive on the first ferry, the journey begins and you begin to shift ~ to island time. If you want to slow down and re-center, this is the place to do it.
Whether you’re here for personal and professional growth or for a nature-filled, technology-free holiday, the mission of Hollyhock is to re-nourish. This is where social activists, artists, seekers, and creatives come to be inspired. Hollyhock is dedicated to building a community of life-long learners for building a better future.
Hollyhock is famous for it’s garden. And it’s food. It’s farm to table ~ from the garden right outside the dining hall doors. You actually have to walk through the gardens to get to the table. Travel & Food Magazine says it’s the kind of garden that stops you in your tracks. (My promise to myself is to never walk through that garden without stopping and taking it all in! It will take your breath away.)
The meals are served family style in the lodge that overlooks the ocean. Around the dining hall tables you will find conversations, connections, and creativity. There’s also daily meditation, yoga, bodywork, guided nature hikes and sailing, and programs that offer all of the tools necessary for living a fully engaged life.
Who knew that there was a world-class learning center, a thriving oasis called Hollyhock, on Cortes Island in British Columbia? Now you do. You will want to watch the video about this wonderful opportunity. (See video on right.)
From My Point of View
I’m sitting here on the deck at Hollyhock looking out at the sound over to snow-capped mountains on the other shore. Next I turn and take in the show of color from the magnificent flower and vegetable garden ~ with 200-year-old Douglas fir trees as a backdrop. This is yet another place filled with nature that brings one closer to peace, joy, and that overwhelming feeling of love for life. This is an island paradise that has been carefully nurtured and protected for all of us…and for many generations to come.
We are doing a month-long volunteer service program. We are living in a house with six other people, working 30 hours a week. We’re washing dishes, setting up program rooms, hosting guests, trimming bushes and trees, and washing some more dishes.
The high points of our trip so far have been the places where we have joined the community and helped. This opportunity to be of service and to help this sacred place ~ a place dedicated to nurturing one’s soul all the while creating a better world ~ feels good. I like the physical effort it takes to clean, clear, or fix something. There is an immediate sense of accomplishment. It actually feels good to be physically tired. You get a bit soft driving around in a car all the time. I hope we last 4 weeks.
I have a renewed respect for all the people that do this kind of physical labor on a daily basis. I don’t think we appreciate other’s efforts enough. Let’s not take them for granted. Thank a worker today. They deserve it and it will feel good when you have recognized a fellow human being and their value.
The Inner Journey
This morning I cried ~ all morning long.
When I woke up in my comfy, warm bed with the fresh air of the nearby ocean, next to my best friend, I cried tears of deep gratitude. And I thought ~ this must be what grace feels like.
When I walked through the woods in the early morning to my yoga class, I cried tears for the sheer beauty of it all. After the gentle practice, I cried from relief for the deep, healing connection with my body. When served the beautiful, nourishing breakfast prepared for me, I cried with deep appreciation. And, after a stroll through the majestic garden right outside the dining hall at Hollyhock, I cried from wonder and awe. You would have cried too!
I am so grateful for this experience. Thank you God and Universe.
We will stay at Hollyhock until July 15th. We will then leave Canada to begin our slow trek down the US west coast ~ beginning in Port Townsend, Washington. Then we may head to Ratna Ling Buddhist Center in Northern California, and on to Esalen at Big Sur. Who knows?
Join Us on The Journey
We hope that throughout the year you will keep clicking through to see where we are. We are requesting input and feedback from all of you. Tell us where you’d like to go. Make suggestions for us. Ask us to check some places out for you! We are also hoping some of the places we visit and the experiences we share will ignite your life and maybe even set you off on your own spiritual journey. We’d love to hear from all of you. And if you know anyone who may be interested, please share our blog.
8 Responses to “Ever Thought About a Drive Around Canada?”
Ah, love waking up to these… don’t forget to try for Sylvia Beach on the Oregon coast on your way down… Big hugs, excited to see where you land next!
Thanks for sharing the video of the garden. It was beautiful and so good to hear your voice.
Working in the garden or yard, for that matter, is like meditation. The chatter in my head stops and I am only in that very moment.
Love you guys,
How great to get your notice! You were one of my first thoughts this morning. I was thinking that I hadn’t heard anything for a while and wondering where you are. I love that you get to do yoga, and community work, and that your heart is swelling with the beauty and grandeur of God and nature. I feel that here at home every day, and I guess everywhere that I go. Life is AWEsome. Thanks for sending us your news. Love, Nancy
I cried too… reading through your words and truly feeling your gratitude. I hope to catch just a sliver of that gratitude in my daily life. Thanks for the inspiring words.
Thanks everyone for keeping up with us. We usually post a blog every week, but these past three weeks have just been too full. We love working in the garden…it is so meditative….and Nancy, we too are looking for our next home that will have some of these qualities of the nature of this place….Miss you Beth, so glad to hear from you….
My dear Kathy & Mike, Wow, be still my heart…I feel so connected to you that when I read your words see your pictures I feel I am there with you and my heart is filled with wonder and peace. I can feel a smile on my face as we touch each others spirit. So sweet. I love it and I love you . It was wonderful hearing your voice Sat. I miss sitting with you face to face ,sharing deeply you we truly are. However, I do treasure staying connected with you and feeling all that is given to you in your travels . Can’t wait to experience more. Big hug, Brenda
We spent a day at Butchart Gardens, the former garbage dump. Totally lush. Largest Hydrangea flowers we have ever seen.
So glad you are at Hollyhock! I’ve always been curious about it, and appreciate learning about it from you.
If you’re working your way down the coast, may I suggest Spirit Rock Meditation Center in northern California. If possible, be there on a Monday evening and hear a Dharma talk by Jack Kornfield – a delightful Buddhist teacher, one of my favorites!