The Phoenix is Rising after the Fires : The Magical Valley of Ojai
OMG! Who would EVER want to go to a retreat in Ojai, CA. They're all burnt out, aren't they?
I got little kitten today. I got her at the animal shelter. She was a stray pulled from the fires. She had golden eyes and black fur, with unique gray markings that looks like she came out of the ashes. The shelter folks had named her “Ashes”. I thought about her name when I brought her home, thinking didn’t feel right—she wasn’t ashes, she was now thriving in a completely new paradigm. So I changed her name to Phoenix Rising. Why do I tell you the story of my new little kitty? Because it’s an analogous to what’s happening here in Ojai. The Phoenix is rising after the fires. The Phoenix is the conscious searching and bringing realizations into new awareness’s of what is being learned, re-created, and yes, changed for the better from this experience.
The Phoenix is the conscious searching and bringing realizations into new awareness’s of what is being learned, re-created, and yes, changed for the better from this experience.
There was a lot of chaos for weeks on end. Evacuation after evacuation, every one of us were left with the threat of insecurity, loss, and hopelessness.
When we returned, either we were faced with the loss of everything physical in our lives: our home, our belongings, our life as we knew it. Some of us came back, to experiencing a great relief that nothing had been touched. But the haunting feeling—like the hand of God had chosen to hold his protective hand over a certain area for some mysterious reason— also left one feeling…perhaps… guilty. Guilty, that you wouldn’t be able to relate to the people who were dealing with such catastrophic damages.
That was what happened to me. I was involved in sharing and receiving in a Circle For Compassionate Listening created for the people to come together in a safe and secure way and talk about their concerns and maybe bring light to their tragedies. As I listened with as much compassion as I could muster, I heard about lives and how they were affected in ways that I could not imagine. My share was that I was certainly counting my blessing and was so grateful that I had been somehow, miraculously spared. As my heart went out to these people, I found my body had taken on feeling of guilt by putting my middle back out. (See Louise Hay’s book: You Can Heal Your Life). Luckily, once I realized what my thoughts were based in a subconscious “mis-belief “ that was effecting me physically, I was able to release them with tools— that I, and my co-founding partner teach at our workshops and retreats—and was able to re-balance my spine to a healthy state, fairly quickly.
Luckily, once I realized what my thoughts were based in a
subconscious “mis-belief “ that was effecting me physically, I was able to release them with tools— that I, and my co-founding partner teach at our workshops and retreats—and was able to re-balance my spine to a healthy state, fairly quickly.
Known for the artist community here, many of Ojai’s best had lost original art— taken back into the unseen places to where it had existed long before it was first created. But even though my personal property was not affected, leaving me to counting my blessings by the tons, the bedlam and leftover confusion in the community was difficult on many levels. Being “a sensitive”, I could feel the pain of the land, of the animals, of the people who had experienced the horror and found myself enveloped in that vibration for weeks after the fire had passed.
Then the rains came—along with the inevitable mudslides. Those who didn’t heed to the evacuation alarms blaring over our mobile phones, lost their lives in the surrounding areas. However, over the months that followed, the toxic air was able to clear as more rains graced our valley— a little more forgiving and gentle.
(Interesting note: After conducting many successful rain ceremonies with many local people of kindred spirit, a strange thing happened: we received rain that wasn’t even acknowledged by our weather reporters)
Our stars began to shine brilliantly again, the pink sunsets on the mountains Ojai was known for glowed brightly and our hillsides became velveteen with green grasses.
Looking back, Ojai was for many decades, a place for people to come, to live, and be able to hide out. I think it was The Powers-That-Be that got together and decided separation was probably not for a Highest Good for our magical valley. Like the 1963 portended song, sung by one Johnny Cash, (who once lived in Ojai,) A RING OF FIRE surrounded all of Ojai Proper and it’s surrounding communities.
It was profound to see, through all of the pandemonium, a brave, dedicated local woman journalist and reporter had stayed behind, while other’s had evacuated, everyday fearlessly driving through the onslaught of fire in order to video and report updates to the evacuees via NPR and the Ojai Forum’s Facebook. She reported all the heroic things the first responders and firemen on the line were doing to curb the fires from going into our town; all the stories of the firefighters who had volunteered to drive in from other states to fill the boots of exhausted men, too overwhelmed to continue.
It was a sobering sight to see when looking at the fire map: an untouched island, in the middle of a blackened sea of burnout. The word “Magical” comes to the forefront in our minds. These men and women were the real heroes — the heroes of the heart. And in the aftermath, weeks after, this reporter was still there, giving coverage on all the loving, the caring, and the on-demand supportive community that was coming together to do what they could and would.
During organized events for supporting the those who had lost there homes and business, I noticed, looking around, I saw my community coming out of their stories to be with each other—people who I’d never seen before, people who were amazing persons I now could connect with in a synergistic way—even finding and making new friends became a opportunity that at one time seemed almost an impossibility.
I saw my community coming out of their stories to be with each other—people who I’d never seen before, people who were amazing persons I now could connect with in a synergistic way—
Galleries sold stunning paintings to help raise money for the victims. In the grassy park, a beautiful and uniquely talented lady played a 15-foot Electric Harp with cut-out angel wings and wearing insulated gloves; while a musician, who had lost everything was playing on borrowed or donated instruments as he accompanied her magnificently. Local writers came together for weeks, to write and perform their work, telling first-hand stories of collecting their animals, children, and what little was important in their lives, as they drove through the burning inferno, not knowing, or able to see, what lay ahead of them. High school playgrounds in the middle of the town, and the Humane Society, became a place where the horses, goats, sheep, Lamas, Alpaca, etc., that were trailered in, could stay until they could go home safely. However, some stayed behind because they too had nothing to return to. The kindness of volunteers reported to their makeshift pens every day to feed, water and take care to quiet their shock and fear. None were forgotten or without. As you drove through the streets where the fire had licked right up next to houses and green yards, but didn’t touch, hung huge, colorful signs that said: “THANK YOU FIRST RESPONDERS,” “THANK YOU FIRE FIGHTERS, WE LOVE YOU”, “Thank you”, “Thank you, Thank you!!!!” everywhere you looked.
The fires are the way nature re-feeds the earth—the time for this process was way over due, most will agree. Like one must clean a room, a house, our bodies, or anything— first, chaos must be created. It is a long-standing and powerful way to heal and start a new. I’m feeling, because of this cleansing, the healing energy has now become tenfold in our valley. It has raised our consciousness and awareness that we need each other, that there really is no separation, that there is only ONE family of humans. The earth, and the Universe, is also part of that ONENESS. The unseen help is also part of that ONENESS. All of it. What evidence do I have of this? The love that is now being infused on our community is finally bringing us together as it is meant to be. The “moonscape” mountains are a sharp contrast to the soft lush of our Ojai Valley that lay untouched, making it even more strikingly beautiful.
I would like to personally invite you to joins us in the valley at our next Heart of Manifestation Workshop/Retreat and receive the gifts this area is known for -- not only for a powerful vortex of healing, but for the work that we have created in raising consciousness for all of humanity.