A HOLISTIC HEALING AND TEACHING CENTER
We are currently in the planning stages of Sanctuary Escala – a spiritually-focused holistic living sanctuary that is part sacred healing space and retreat center, part teaching center, part organic farm, and part eco-village. At Escala, we believe that healing can take many forms:
- Working in harmony with the Earth’s cycles and seasons to grow and harvest food, and care for our animals
- Engaging in open-hearted relationship and communication with one another through sharing, learning and teaching
- Reconnecting to the magnificence of nature, and to our inner selves through solitude, contemplation and reflection
- Nourishing the body with a whole foods, plant-based diet and organically grown fruits and vegetables
- Energizing the spirit through dance, exercise, singing, celebration or creative expression
At Escala, our motto is “Learn, Grow, Heal,” and our purpose will be threefold: to better ourselves and cultivate an ever-deeper sense of self-awareness, to live a simple, minimalistic lifestyle in harmony with nature, and to serve others through teaching and healing. We will be an off-grid infrastructure community that will practice sustainable, organic permaculture farming, and our eco-friendly yet modest accommodations will include rainwater catchment systems, solar power, gray water recycling, composting systems, and communal multi-functional living and recreational spaces. We will have on-site guest accommodations for 16 to 20 participants and be open to the public for a wide variety of classes, workshops and retreats, with daily yoga classes, meditation sessions and group activities offered on a per-class basis. We will also offer guest stays for those seeking an idyllic retreat setting for rest, relaxation and reflection. Our goal is to be a “sanctuary for the soul,” and provide an atmosphere of peaceful restoration conducive to the deep inner work required for healing while living naturally, simply and in harmony with nature.
Our grounds – Our grounds will include our farm, a shared main kitchen and eating area (seating for 25), a men’s dorm and women’s dorm (accommodations for 8 to 10 per dorm), and a shared bath house/laundry facility. We will also have two small yurts available for healing sessions (massage, Reiki, reflexology, sound healing). There will be a ceremonial tepee on our grounds, as well as a small wildflower garden with a pond, medicine wheel and meditation pyramid. We will hold group meditation three times a day in our meditation hall, and we will have twice daily yoga, tai chi or qigong sessions in our large, covered outdoor pavilion. There will be a small ceremonial sweat lodge (sauna), a community fire pit, a few hammocks and an area for outdoor games, such as horseshoes. We will eventually have some private guest houses for individuals and couples that will be available for daily and weekly rental through Airbnb or for those seeking more private accommodations beyond the dorms.
Our farm – Our farm will consist of a vegetable garden, a small greenhouse, a small orchard, or “food forest,” with edible fruit and nut varieties, as well as a composting pit and root cellar. In addition to our chicken coops, we can potentially add ducks, geese, rabbits, goats and sheep to our farm, or even set up an apiary if we have someone interested in and knowledgeable about beekeeping. Eventually, we will have a small gift shop and sundries store stocked with artisan crafts and goods made by our residents, such as clothing, candles, soaps, jewelry, greeting cards, paintings or books, as well as a small variety of fresh organic produce, pressed juices, farm fresh eggs, raw milk, organic kombucha and local, raw honey (if we add an apiary). In the future, we may even open a small vegetarian café (coffee shop/bakery) on-site that serves fresh baked goods, coffee drinks, juices, wraps, salads and sandwiches to the public.
Our community – Our residential community will consist of like-minded people living and working together in partnership, co-creating a cooperatively managed, permaculture-inspired, intentional community-based business that will function as a learning and healing center with an organic farm and food forest to provide a thriving, consciousness-oriented, healthy lifestyle for residents, guests, participants and visitors of all ages. Our founding residents will act as a family of co-creators of our ever-evolving, ever-growing business – we will live together in community, farm together, teach together, prepare food and share our meals together, all while co-creating new and exciting opportunities for individuals and groups to visit Escala for classes, retreats, workshops, events, gatherings and more. We will offer a wide range of partnering, collaboration and compensation opportunities for residents with regard to housing expenses, living expenses and work contribution, as well as the unique opportunity to take part in a living experiment in the practices of communal, intentional and sustainable living.
Our Dietary Philosophy
At Escala, we believe that a nutrient-rich, well-balanced diet is an important component of healing. That’s why we will grow and prepare our own high-quality organic produce for our daily meals with a wide variety of nuts and fruits from our food forest, beans, legumes and vegetables from our organic garden, farm fresh eggs from our chickens, and raw dairy from our sheep and goats. We will use an alternative farming method that protects the top layer of soil, captures and recycles nutrients, ensures carbon sequestration and requires minimal water and resources. We will farm organically, without chemicals, pesticides or herbicides, and employ natural crop maintenance methods for the health and wellbeing of the earth and all its inhabitants.
At Escala, we will practice a vegetarian lifestyle, only eating animal products from our own farm (our eggs and raw milk) or when we know the animals were not harmed, however we will provide vegan or alternative meal options for residents and guests with other dietary preferences or restrictions. We believe in the benefits of a whole foods, plant-based organic diet, and our meal plan will support intermittent fasting each night and an optional day of fasting each week. We will share in the preparation of meals and gather together to eat as a group for our main meal of the day in mid-afternoon. Our breakfast and dinner meals will be very light and healthy, in the form of self-serve fresh fruits, vegetables, wraps or salads. Although visitors to Escala will be welcome to bring and eat their own food, we will limit alcohol, tobacco and drugs at Escala as optional for ceremonial use only.
Our Spiritual Philosophy
Although we are a spiritually-based community, we will not follow any one religion. As part of a multicultural, multi-faith society comprised of people who practice a wide range of religious and spiritual beliefs, we believe in and embrace spiritual diversity. We believe that any true spiritual tradition calls on us to honor and respect others to the best of our ability without judgment, condemnation or discrimination, and that kindness, compassion and inclusion should be at the core of every spiritual practice.
At Escala, we are both humbled and grateful to be in service to others, and we are honored to have stewardship of this beautiful living planet as part of our spiritual practice. Because of this belief, we will keep mindfulness and self-awareness at the center of all our shared practices. We believe that spirituality is a crucial aspect of a well-balanced life, and that spiritual practices should be central to our daily routine as opposed to being an afterthought or after-hours pursuit. This means that our daily schedule will be centered around certain group practices, such as mindful exercise (yoga, tai chi, qigong), shared meals and meditation, so we can engage as a community and share in these core spiritual principles.
We value health – We believe that perfect health is our birthright, and in our body’s innate healing capacity. We believe that healing takes many forms, but that all healing springs from unconditional love, unity and forgiveness. We believe that healing, balance and self-care are all deeply interconnected, and that introspection and personal growth are crucial to holistic healing.
We value humanity – We believe in kindness, cooperation and collaboration. We believe that honest and conscious communication, truth, authenticity and integrity are central to maintaining healthy relationships within our community. We believe in social justice for all, and we believe in freedom, respect, tolerance and inclusion – all human life is valuable. We believe in personal choice and freewill, and we also believe that everyone has a right to live safely and free from fear, oppression or intimidation – together we can create a safe space for all.
We value nature – We believe in seeking balance and harmony with the natural environment and respecting divine law. We believe in living simplistically and minimally, preferring to employ natural alternatives to meet our building, food production and lifestyle needs whenever possible so that we may respect our environment and limit our exposure to toxins and harmful chemicals that impede our healing.
We value the divine – We believe that creation is divine and we celebrate life playfully, creating with one another through music, dance, singing, art and agriculture as a means for honoring a wide variety of sacred traditional practices. We honor diverse spiritual traditions and are deeply committed to supporting one another as we are each called to fulfill our purpose in this lifetime. We are dedicated to the principles and practices of co-creation in service to the betterment of society and the evolution of all consciousness.
Above all else, we believe in being conscious and responsible stewards of our minds and bodies, of our relationships to mankind and animal-kind alike, and of this beautiful living planet that we call home. We will employ these core values as standards of living so we can ensure the safety and wellbeing of our residents, guests and animals, as well as the preservation of our beautiful natural surroundings.
Teaching – Our picturesque organic farm will be an ideal natural setting for learning, reflection and self-exploration. Our 3-day and 7-day retreats will be open to those who are seeking to relax, refresh and renew in an inspiring, scenic location that heals the body and soothes the soul. We will offer yoga, natural health and healing classes (both on-site and online) and retreats for all levels of fitness and health. Our classes will include yoga, breathwork, meditation, nutrition, juicing, sound healing, energy healing, sustainable farming, organic growing, greenhouse growing, food forest and orchard farming, chicken farming, alternative eco-friendly building, off-grid and alternative infrastructures, and sustainable housing development. Classes will be held in our beautiful outdoor spaces, our dining area or our covered pavilion. Most classes will be taught by a resident, however group retreat space will be available for booking throughout the year by outside parties, with facilities and on-site accommodations for 16 to 20 people.
Healing – Our healing center will focus on vibrational, yogic and shamanic healing, but will offer a diverse range of healing services including acupressure, Biomagnetic therapy, EFT/TFT, EMDR, hypnotherapy/NLP, kinesiology, light therapy, massage, reflexology, sound/vibrational energy therapy and sound baths, therapeutic touch, yoga therapy and Thai yoga. Most of our healing sessions will be provided by a resident, however some sessions will be offered by visiting healers. For those who visit Escala for a guest stay, we will have many natural areas and sacred spaces that will be ideal for silence, solitude, contemplation, reflection, study, reading or prayer. With experienced healers, serene, peaceful vistas and accommodations that exist in harmony with nature, Escala will be a perfect location to rest, relax and regenerate the mind, body and spirit.
Events – At Escala, we will have many celebrations, activities and events as part of our ongoing daily, weekly and monthly calendar. Our daily offerings of classes will include a yoga (tai chi, qigong) class each morning and evening, group meditation sessions two to three times a day, and an evening discussion centered around personal growth or spirituality, or a weekend celebration with chanting, dancing, singing and live music. Each month we will host a new moon drum circle or cacao ceremony around our bonfire, and a full moon ceremony with music, dance and singing. We will also be available for private ceremonies and events for individuals and groups, such as sound baths, medicine wheel ceremonies, weddings, commitment ceremonies or vow renewals. We will host group work on-site as well, such as emotion processing groups, grief support groups, and trauma healing groups.
We are currently looking for 5 or more rural, mostly wooded acres in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin or Maine with a natural water source and within 30 to 45 minutes of an urban area (for access to shopping, medical, travel, etc.). Our goal is to find land with limited zoning restrictions or building oversight so that we may use eco-friendly, alternative building methods and materials. The ideal property would have a few acres of trees and an acre of cleared land for farming and pasture. Once the land is obtained, we can begin designing and building our living structures using reclaimed local materials and sustainable, eco-friendly strategies. We will also need to prep the land for farming, which requires about 6 months of dormancy for the soil to rebuild its nutrient reserves (using live wood chip farming for higher yields, maximum nutrient retention and carbon sequestration).
We are seeking people with different levels of experience with sustainable building, farming, gardening and homesteading to join our initial efforts. We are still learning ourselves, and we want to create a collaborative environment where we can all teach and learn from one another. Although we have lots of ideas for making this vision come to life, we would love to hear your ideas as well. For those who feel called to join with us in bringing our vision to life, an ideal resident would be someone who is seeking:
- greater balance, peace and healing in their lives
- a chance to reconnect with nature through a simple, minimalistic lifestyle
- an opportunity to serve others through teaching, healing or farming
- an opportunity for daily learning and spiritual practice
- to immerse themselves in an egalitarian communal work-life endeavor
- a chance to live and work with other like-minded individuals
Once we are established, the application process to become a resident will be conducted over the course of several months and will typically start with participation in either a 3-day or 7-day retreat to determine if there is a potential long-term fit. After that, the person will submit an application outlining what they feel their role would be and how they would best contribute to Escala. The community will meet to review the application and, if accepted, the applicant would undergo a 6-month trial period. After that, the community and applicant would meet to determine the viability of a long-term arrangement.
If you are interested in joining our initial efforts as a founding resident, or if you would like to help bring this vision to life as an active participant through Patreon or crowdsourced funding, please email us at SanctuaryEscala@gmail.com.
1 – Kitchen/eating area
2 – Bath house/laundry
3 – Men’s dorm building
4 – Women’s dorm building
5 – Ceremonial tepee
6 – Medicine wheel
7 – Meditation pond
8 – Flower gardens
9 – Meditation hall
10 – Healing center (yurts)
11 – Healing pyramid
12 – Sweat lodge (sauna)
13 – Outdoor yoga pavilion
14 – Animal pens
15 – Vegetable garden
16 – Food forest
17 – Greenhouse
18 – Resident housing
19 – Gift shop/sundries
20 – Vegetarian café
21 – Composting
22 – Root cellar