After signing all the papers she leaned back. For a brief moment she withdrew from her surroundings, the business-like conference room of the realtor’s office, the professional advice that she felt she needed, and the friends around her who were sharing in this “historic” event. Had she really signed? She could hardly believe it. A memory of something that had happened eight years ago, when it all began, flashed into her mind.
She had left her apartment to do some errands and met a friend in the street whom she had not seen for a long time. He asked her how she was because he had heard that she had quit her job and had been unemployed for several months. Then, just like she herself and many others before him had done, he asked her what she was going to do. She had been feeling increasingly lost each time this question was asked and now had no more words. This not knowing left her feeling empty.
Suddenly, with a feeling of standing beside herself she heard these words coming from her mouth: “I want to build a healing temple. It will be a holy place where people live together and contribute to the healing of others, where people can come in order to heal and from where people will go out into the world.” She was not able to give him any details for she was as surprised as he; the words had been clear and convincing and have stayed with her ever since.
The years that followed were marked by intense changes within herself and in her life. She began to see and hear things that most people could not and which frightened many of them. However, she knew she was treading a path from which there was no return. Her heart was filled with a deep longing for God and a desire to heal and become whole. In the years since there have been many encounters with interesting people and experiences that have reminded her of that special moment in the past and supported the realization of what she called “the Idea”. She met people who seemed to be one with “the Idea” and also felt called to participate in its realization. But when it came to taking action they all withdrew. Fears appeared and conflicts seemed insurmountable. The major problem was the required commitment to walk the path fully and completely, to surrender totally and relentlessly to the high intent, which “the Idea” implied. It appeared to her as though she was the only one fully committed. At least this is what she believed. She asked herself over and over if she had done anything wrong or had misunderstood something; she felt the longing in everyone’s heart yet none had been willing to act or pay the price. She felt “the Idea” taking up so much space in her that she could hardly bear the forcefulness of its desire for realization.
There was also a feeling of urgency, necessity, a lack of time. But whenever she pushed the issue or wanted to accelerate its coming into being, she did not succeed and remained frustrated.
Finally she had to admit to herself that, although she had access to cosmic will and desire, her greatest dilemma was her inability to bring this knowledge into the time and space of earthly life. She had forgotten and overlooked that this, too, had to be left to the Source, that Divine Will also governed space and time. It began to dawn on her that her concept of having to take “the Idea” and its realization into her hands alone was a misunderstanding and had created a tremendous fear in her. She, therefore, felt the need to continually look for someone who – hopefully – would be willing to walk with her. She understood, even though it was not in her hands, that she would still have to walk and act alone. And while the idea rested in her heart, nurturing and nourishing itself in Love like a growing child, she slowly continued to walk awkwardly between a great fear and an increasing faith and trust.
THEN SHE BOUGHT THE HOUSE
She had felt this to be a clear and unquestionable calling and followed it with diligent obedience. It had seemed the smaller step, yet it already contained the seed of “the Idea”. Here, too, her fear was still great. But when she witnessed how Divine Will manifested and guided the heart of man in his love for HIM, she experienced happily and with awe that her faith and trust increased. A joyfulness unfamiliar to her entered her heart.
People came to the house and left again. They learned and healed, experienced their resistances and their fears, raged against God (or what they thought It was), man, and her; and many felt their prison walls tumble down. According to the Voice, which began to accompany her, the house was but the eye of a needle, a narrow doorway through which many would pass. The community of healers for the healing temple was being gathered and the people would be led to her.
All of this brought her ever closer to her deepest fears and the precipices of her being. Her trust and her love were tested and challenged on many levels. Increasingly, she felt the judgments and underlying anxieties of people who had once been close to her. She felt the many expectations projected onto her as the one who is walking ahead on the path, and she felt more alone than ever before. Through her growing willingness to accept this aloneness she learned to depend more and more on divine guidance and providence, practicing surrendering all control over her life, income, security. Despite her anxieties and her aloneness she felt more alive than ever.
Then, in the first days of this year she heard the Voice:
LOOK FOR LAND!
She consulted with friends and that old feeling of urgency returned to her heart. Again, it was shared by those who listened to her; it corresponded with their own longing. But how to proceed? Whenever she asked the question of where to look she heard: MONTANA:
This was astonishing to both herself and others; her American friends nourished her doubts and discouraged her from looking for land in this northern state. “Montana is cold”, they said, “and uncharitable; no one in his right mind would go there”. But the Voice was firm and supportive: HOW DO YOU KNOW IT WILL STAY THAT WAY?
While she was submerged in inner turmoil her 85-year old father called, only his second phone call since she had moved to the “foreign” world. Excitedly, among other things, he cried out: “Look for land, child! “ Those few words gave new nourishment to the call. Now, however, she felt pushed and became still more aware of her lingering fear: the fear of having to go there by herself, to carry the decision alone, to take the financial risk, and to bear all the consequences. In her distress she turned inward and entered her place of silence. There the Voice met her and spoke the following words:
THE NEW PLACE IS TO MY GLORY AND TO MY GLORY ALONE. IT IS NOT A PLACE TO HIDE FROM FEAR; NOR IS IT A PLACE TO CHASE AFTER ONE’S OWN DREAMS. IT IS NO PLACE TO FEATHER ONE’S NEST. IT IS A PLACE TO – OUT OF LOVE FOR ME – OFFER BACK TO ME ALL THAT WAS GIVEN YOU.
She wrote down these words, feeling both her strong love for GOD and being loved in return. Her fear continued to struggle with her love, and doubts came and went. She began to find out about Montana, checking out a file from the library, reading books, and procrastinating as long as she could. Finally, after months of fiddling and hesitation, she planned her trip. Four friends went with her; they came from all directions – Austria, Ohio, and Georgia – and with different motivations and intents.
BILLINGS, the Voice had said when she asked where to fly. So they all met in Billings, Montana. The first three days they drove many miles looking at different lots of land offered by several realtors.
She did not really know what they were looking for, and she was not even able to say how large or small the land should be. Should there be fields near the mountains? Irrigated land? Land with a stream? She had no notion of the size of an acre nor did she know what to concern herself with when buying land. However, during the hours that they spent together things became clearer for both her and the others.
Finally, she arranged for a meeting with a realtor who offered to show three larger properties. Prior to getting into the car the realtor asked her what exactly was she looking for. She told her of her experiences, shared the message of the Voice and said she didn’t really know herself. She was surprised to find the realtor very receptive to this lack of clarity. Then they drove off, her friends following them in another car. After they had seen the first property the realtor said:
“I will not show you the other two properties that I had in mind. I have a feeling I should take you straight to the valley.”
They drove through the beautiful countryside and were deeply impressed by the vastness of heaven and earth that unfolded before their eyes. They had heard that Montana is the fourth largest state in America with only nine hundred thousand inhabitants! With this in mind it was not surprising to see herds of deer in peaceful coexistence with cows grazing on pastures or herds of antelopes running across the road and leaping over fences.
After the small town of Roundup, about one hour’s drive from Billings, they left the main road and turned into a gravel road that eventually became a dirt track (field road). After driving through the first valley she thought maybe that was it. No. Another valley unfolded before her eyes and then still another one. “Here”, the realtor finally said. Not only did this land include a valley with large pastures, but there were also hills topped with broad fields, forested slopes, and woodland paths leading through narrow ravines to hidden corners. There was no house.
By now they had all squeezed into the four-wheel drive van of the realtor. At one of the two springs they came across they left the car. Honoring her desire to be alone for a few minutes she followed a hidden path that led around a hill. Then she heard the Voice again:
THIS IS IT!
Her eyes filled with tears. Great relief came over her, as though she had arrived after a long and tiring journey. No more searching and worrying about it, she thought. But new worries appeared: “Should I test the soil and water?” she asked, and saw and felt the loving laughter of the universe. What for? Passing before her eyes like a soft breeze she saw a picture of Findhorn (Scotland) and remembered all the guidance that had been bestowed on its founders. Now her own laughter drove away her worries. She went back to the others and told the realtor: “This is the land. I will buy it.” Everybody had looked at her as though she had lost her mind, and all she had been able to say was:
“It’s not me!”
While driving around they had looked for the boundaries of this wonderful land, and for the fences marking them, but in vain. She finally asked the realtor: “Do you know where this land ends?” The realtor looked at her with a twinkle in her eyes: “Do you want to know the truth?”
“No, I don’t know where it ends!” They looked at each other and burst out laughing. Everyone was filled with a deep and joyful excitement. Only H. spoke of her fears facing the big decision she felt approaching. She lives in Austria and for quite some time she had had a deep knowing that she would “have” to move to Montana, long before the search for land had started.
Then questions came up regarding the details of the sale. “The current owner”, the realtor informed her, “is a difficult man. He has never wavered on the price even though the land value has increased. However, he insists on receiving the two hundred sixty thousand dollars up front – no financing. None of the potential buyers have been able to come up with the money.” “I don’t have the money either”, she told her, “but I still have to buy it”.
That evening in the hotel her fears returned. She prayed and renewed her commitment, but asked for yet another sign to strengthen her faith. Still she hardly knew how to respond when the realtor called her the following morning to tell her that a miracle had happened. The owner had changed the terms: only half the money up front at a date to be determined and the balance over five years.
COURAGE AND TRUST
“What did you do?“ the realtor asked her and she told her about her shaky courage and her prayer.
After they ended their conversation, a great joyfulness entered her heart. She remembered when she had bought the house: she had only had the courage to buy it because the owner had, as it turned out prematurely, agreed to let her pay half of the requested amount, but a few weeks later had changed her mind and asked for the full amount. What great humor the universe has to present her with this kind of déjà vu experience. She felt God had left her naked in her lack of trust, but at the same time she also felt recognized, understood and loved. She now felt the courage to sign the papers. She had only to wait for the check to be mailed to her since she had gone on this trip with neither money nor her checkbook.
The check for the down payment of two thousand dollars came special delivery. It had been mailed with a greeting card made by W., showing a photograph of Mary with roses around her head, taken in the garden of the house. Under the photo, W. had written: FAITH and TRUST. ‘My courage is also not my courage’, she thought while reading these encouraging words. She began to hear, over and over again, the melody of a song whose lyrics she did not remember. She decided she would look up the song when she returned home.
Then she came back from reverie, leaned forward, handed over the check and shook hands with the realtor who congratulated her on buying the land and called her a “land baron”. Everything seemed like a dream, whose outcome is not known to anyone and whose design is in the hands of the ONE Almighty.
The others started talking about the land. Ideas, wishes, suggestions, possibilities, and visions were exchanged and pondered. But Truth stayed: THE NEW PLACE IS ONLY TO MY GLORY AND TO MY GLORY ALONE, with the addition: IT IS MY LAND AND MY PLAN. She herself felt called back from an all too independent leap ahead. A new understanding formed in her: God was in the process of reclaiming the land that once was HIS, free land being freed again. She felt a deep sacred appreciation and love.
Two of her friends left the next day. She and the two others went to the bank to open an account. She felt a compulsion to name the land: she asked and heard: LIVING SPRING. She asked the bank clerk to put the account in this name.
Here my story ends for the moment. It is the story of only a few days in my life, but it is also the story of my life. When I came back from Montana I looked up the words for the song whose lyrics had escaped me. I found them in the song sheets from Taizé:
Ubi caritas et amor
Ubi caritas Deus ibi est
Where Love and Mercy dwell
There is God
Here ends the story, it is my story.
The story and the conceptual ideas were written eight years ago, in 1994. Of course, the story continued: I was not able to buy the land that year and lost the earnest money deposit. I myself got lost in my own agendas and had to be called back on track a number of times. I had to learn patience and a deep grasp of this not being my plan. Every year, however, I came to Montana to walk the land and ask whether I was still to buy it. This was confirmed. I asked the owner to please wait until the finances came together. But in 1997 the land was sold to someone else. Still I was told to be patient as this was the land for the purpose. In 1999 the land came back on the market and since the new owner had a big business in mind, it took some months to negotiate an acceptable price: In August of 2000 I bought the land for LIVING SPRING at the 1994 price. Everything, all I had and all I am, was asked of me. There are no words to describe the joy I experienced on my way to Billings where I wanted to celebrate. The universe itself danced and sang. Beautiful wordless choral music merged with sounds of drumming filled my ears. I learned that the celebration was ongoing and I was only asked to participate. The great celebration!
Some friends built me a one-room cabin in fall of 2000, which made it possible for me to live on the land. Much of the first year I spent in seclusion; a simple life without running water (there is a good well), without electricity and an entire year without a phone.
Slowly, and as I was told it would happen, people are coming (are led) to the land. Some seeking help for healing, others are interested and willing to join. The area of service for the community was given by the Voice: MY CHILDREN. At first I was uncertain what „my children“meant. Were they physical children in small bodies, or God’s children in adult bodies? Today I know: It is about HIS children in small and adult bodies. Those in adult bodies need to assist the small-bodied ones and in doing so facilitate their own healing, the bringing forth of the GOD CHILD in all.
The community will have to be self-sufficient and as far as possible independent of commercial energy and supply. A place of sanity and health. We will, however, not lead a secluded life; what is gained here will have to overflow into the world: attitude, expertise, and service.
When some years ago I had asked: “Why Roundup?” I was told: IT USED TO BE FOR CATTLE; NOW IT IS FOR PEOPLE. So be it, then.
Okay, so where are we now in 2007????? There is still no electricity and no running water. But we have three beautiful guest cabins which have been used for retreats and/or therapy by people of different religious/spiritual persuasion from overseas and the States. Many visitors have come and experienced the beautiful land and amazing energy including some Lamas and the Abbot from a Buddhist monastery in France, a connection we deeply cherish.
We have built an outhouse, have kept up the tax payments, created a garden, have done all that needs to be done on a ranch like replacing and mending fences, put gates in, have cattle and horses grazing down the grass during the hot, dry summers, and thinned out some of the dense young forest.
In the meantime we have also bought a house in Roundup town to accommodate guests during the colder months, provide a place for worship and gathering in town and give Gabriele a place to live. She has joined me in the “work” and she applies what she has found here in her small business, a tax and accounting office.
While these are our physical involvements, the healing work has continued in obvious and subtle ways, for which participants or beneficiaries are absolutely the better witnesses.
Here is our wish list (also called need list) and we ask for joyful giving:
The highest priority has a “new” used truck, as the transmission of our 1992 Ford F150 (180.000 miles) is finished and other ailments are showing up i.e. a leaking oil tank and bad wheel bearings. A neighbor has offered to assist us with some repair but after that we will be able to keep the truck as ranch vehicle only. German Students and Seekers on the path are currently doing a fundraiser for a truck replacement.
Next on our priority list is a Central Kitchen/Dining Hall/Guest house on the land with running water, alternative energy, and sanitary facilities. This building is also needed as a house for meditation, worship, for group gatherings/teachings and public programs. A library plus utility rooms are included in our plans.
We are looking for anyone – and I mean anyone – who might be willing to assist in creating the place or contribute to its creation. I have given and still give all.