“Oregon House is simply a magical retreat. I have conducted groups for more than 10 years, but nowhere does the heart open as easily and completely as in this ancient power spot.”
Heiner Fruehauf, Professor & Chair, Department of Classical Chinese Medicine, National College of Natural Medicine, Portland.
I remember first coming down the driveway at Oregon House in October 1996. The splendor of the natural beauty took my breath away, and the intensity of the spiritual energy was palpable.
My mission was to establish a retreat center for deep healing process in small groups. I had been guided that the center would be on the ocean front in this general area, but I had in my mind something a little different, modeled after the retreat centers I had been to. Maybe I would find or build some wooden cabins and a separate meeting space. But when I really examined what I had written in my business plan about the spaces I would need to create the container I envisioned, I realized that Oregon House had all the main ingredients and that it would not take much to rearrange it to suit groups of singles and couples as well as individuals seeking retreat not in a group format. The Estate House itself had a magnificent living room which would be perfect for meetings. We could arrange it to sleep up to 17 separately. Adding in the other buildings, we could easily accommodate 25 to 35 people, the perfect size. Furthermore, I decided that I would rather put my energy directly into the work rather than spend the next few years managing a building program!
Sitting on the swing gazing out at the ocean, I asked for a sign. A hawk flew across, circled my head once, then flew away. So I knew, and in almost the same instant a huge amount of fear arose about the magnitude of the commitment, both financial and energetic, that this would take. Shortly after that visit I left for a trip to my shaman/teacher in Peru. During a medicine healing session while there, Don Theo told me that he saw me in Assisi. I had no plans to go to Italy, but followed this guidance and took the trip on my return to Europe in the spring of 1997. Standing in the Basilica, looking at the Giotto frescos of St. Francis, who was standing naked in front of a crowd in the market place before walking away from the privileged lifestyle of his youth, I felt a profound teaching. I realized that, if I really felt spiritually called to create a retreat center, I needed to be willing to give everything I had in surrender and trust. So I returned to Oregon and completed the purchase in September 1997.
I wish I could say that from Assisi onwards was easy, but it was not. Over the years I continued to negotiate layers of fear as well as great excitement about what I was doing. I have felt profoundly supported, but also abandoned and betrayed. I have been exhausted and joyfully alive. I am profoundly grateful for all the opportunity that stewardship of this magical land gave me to face and process the shadow material that was keeping me from being fully empowered. I now feel more connected to my true self than I have ever been. I am also humbled by the healing that I witnessed occurring daily to all who felt called to spend time on the land.
Since we started hosting group retreats in the spring of 1998, international teachers such as Andrew Harvey, Sobonfu Some and John O’Donohue led events at Oregon House. Local groups of international spiritual organizations such as the Self Realization Fellowship and the Order of Interbeing Sangha held regular meditation retreats. Schools and colleges such as Lewis & Clark College, Portland State University, National College of Natural Medicine and Linn-Benton Community College brought students, teachers and staff for trainings. Retreats were held in yoga, qigong, reiki, shamanic journey and breathwork, astrology and other healing modalities.
After 16 years of holding the vision at Oregon House, I decided to sell and move into private practice in the spring of 2013.