When I was a child I watched a movie called Brigadoon. My fifty-year-old memory of it was that in order to be able to enter this mystical city, one had to alter her consciousness. If she wasn’t in the right frame of mind, she couldn’t find the portal. Actually I just checked Wikipedia and my memory is more mystical than it really was in the musical. It was mostly a mediocre movie, but I’d like to go with the mystical concept that I created as a child. That is more representative of how I feel about my new home site.

After Katrina, I felt like it was time to leave Louisiana, where I’d lived for thirty years. The heat and the hurricanes were way too difficult for me to deal with. We were interested in finding a sustainable community where people were conscious, progressive, and where it was no more than two hours to an airport. I had been to Crestone, Colorado, twice before to see a naturopathic doctor who was a friend of mine from the breathwork community. The mountains were beautiful and they were no different from the other side of the mountains, where we had camped for many years. So we were familiar with the area. We also had close friends who were looking to relocate from Abita Springs, Louisiana, out West. They had traveled around south-central Colorado and happened on a charter school in Crestone. Instead of having a transportation system or a sport program or cafeteria, students travel out of the country to study under world-renowned teachers regarding such topics as natural farming in Japan, ashrams in India, etc. The ten-year-old son of my friend visited the progressive and intimate classrooms and told his parents that he would commute from Abita to be able to go there. That sealed the deal and they moved to Crestone.

After the hurricane we visited our friends there and fell in love with the town and the community. It was my dream to be able to sit in the dental chair of the local dentist as elk or deer walked by the window and talk about astrology. When the local UPS man, daily Dave, would drop something off, he would always ask if there was anything he could do for me.

Most of  significant spiritual centers are represented in Crestone and many process groups have formed around various subject matter. It is like a candy store to me. Should I choose to study Course of Miracles or should I study Marshall Rosenberg’s nonviolent communication? Should I go to the ashram or should I go to the Buddhist community and meet the local Tibetan lamas? I was invited to a nonviolent communication group and joined immediately. I’ve been in the group for two and a half years and began facilitating a new one before I left Crestone for Pennsylvania. If anybody gets to participate in nonviolent communication, it is a huge challenge and this practice will help propagate world peace. After two years, the process continues to challenge me.

Some of my friends and caregivers in the Crestone community are midwives, bodyworkers, artists, nurses, etc. Many of my new friends participated in the very progressive end-of-life project. The community had open air cremations. When my neighbor passed, his horse and dog were in the procession to the fire pit. The family prepared the body in a sacred way. A carpenter in the community made plain boxes to place the body. Local wood was collected and placed around the body. The community came together at the cremation pit and said our final goodbyes. For the people in the community, it was an honor to play any part in this collective sendoff.

There is something strangely intimate and close to the earth that feeds a very deep part of me with the rituals practiced in Crestone.