The mountains were calling...
It’s been nearly four years since I last posted in this blog. After writing weekly for three years, I decided to take a break. I didn’t realize that my hiatus would last this long. A lot has transpired since I last wrote, both in the world and in my own life. To catch you up a bit on where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to, I’d like to share about my time living and working at a Tibetan Buddhist retreat center pertaining to the Dalai Lama.
For several years, Menla, known as Tibet in the Catskills, became my home. It’s a peaceful and beautiful retreat center nestled in a valley, high up in the Catskill mountains in New York. I love this place for so many reasons: the nature, the people, the quiet, and its mission as part of Tibet House US to help ensure the survival of Tibetan culture. For an empath, it was like medicine for mind and body. There’s a special energy there that’s similar to Sedona, except it’s not as intense and is more embracing and nurturing.
I worked in the Dewa Spa on property. Dewa Spa is distinct in that there’s a focus on Tibetan medicine and healing. I highly recommend the KuNye massage by the way. I still worked with clients doing my Emotional Blockages Release sessions, but I mainly worked as a spa coordinator and assisted in keeping the spa running - from booking appointments to stocking treatment rooms to picking the flowers that would go into the special baths that we ran for guests. Ironically, the job was far from relaxing, but the space itself, and most especially the people, are what made it great. I have never seen so many talented massage therapists under one roof. Healers in their own right, the before and after differences in the guests said it all. My co-workers were more like family. Some of the biggest-hearted, most wonderful people I’ve ever met.
Hiking was literally steps from my back door. There are multiple trails on property from easy to challenging. The water, sourced from a mountain stream, is the only water I’d ever drink straight from the tap - it’s that good. There are phenomenal gardens which source flowers for the arrangements found around property and veggies, greens, and fruit for the kitchen. A true farm to table with no toxic chemicals used. The mainly vegetarian kitchen prepares some of the most delicious food. Who knew that watermelon salsa tastes so good on black bean tacos?! Hiking up the mountain, I could feel where the wifi would drop off. There’s no cell service or TV at Menla which provides the perfect opportunity to connect with yourself and with Nature.
Probably my favorite part about Menla is the wildlife. I felt like I was inside a show of Animal Planet. On my 8 minute walk to work, I could encounter a group of wild turkeys, deer, black bears and or snakes - all up close. The deer would show up at the spa and wait patiently for us to bring them a treat - usually apples. The bears were hilarious - napping in the apple trees, hanging from the enclosure door while trying to access the trash bins, rooting through the compost pile, or just chilling wherever.
Though Buddhist by nature, Menla is a place where you can connect to that aspect, but it isn’t forced. Michael, the co-director, would generously lead classes for staff that would dive deeper into the practices and teachings - which I appreciated. I always enjoyed hearing Bob Thurman speak. Bob is a scholar of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies and friend of H.H. the Dalai Lama. Side note: Bob and Michael created the graphic novel Man of Peace: The Illustrated Life Story of the Dalai Lama of Tibet which is a very good read. Isa Gucciardi, a Buddhist shaman, is a definite favorite. I had some amazing shifts and insights due to her journeys and teachings when she would lead retreats at Menla.
As with anything, life changes and chapters come to a close. Menla, and most especially the people I worked with there, will always hold a special place in my heart. I was able to learn new skills, immerse myself in nature, and my EBR sessions continued to evolve as I met new clients. It was a challenging time, it was a healing time, it was a time and space for me to connect with my true nature. As John Muir aptly stated, "and into the forest I go to lose my mind and find my soul."
Heart Hugs, Adrienne :)
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Hello! I'm Adrienne Almamour, an empathic intuitive conduit. I assist people by detecting and clearing their subconscious emotional energy blockages. This blog is a commentary and reflection of life from an intuitive standpoint which also incorporates ways that allow us to be from our heart.