“We believe in the important work of Natural Lifemanship and have been coming together in prayer about how we can help you expand. Could we help you get a place for your headquarters?”
A gift of place. . .
This was the beginning of a conversation Tim and I had with Dawn and Ron Robson, with That’s the Dream Farm, over a year ago. This was the beginning of the promise of land––of a place to shape and form and transform us––all of us. Here a powerful partnership and kinship began.
These words put into motion a sacred promise for, and to, our growing community, because place builds people. Place builds tribes. The longing for and love of place is profoundly human, and akin to our most basic need for belonging.
We Had No Specific Place
For years people have told us that they wanted to come to a training at “The Natural Lifemanship place.”
The problem? We have never had just one place.
Through the years over 50 different people/organizations have hosted our trainings. They have cared for us, contributed to the accessibility and furthering of this powerful work, and rich relationships have been built. Indeed, many of my closest friends were met through these partnerships.
However, in 2020 much of our training was moved online as we pivoted during the Pandemic. This allowed for a depth and breadth of learning not possible before.
The shift to online learning was great. . . mostly.
As more and more connections and communications were made virtually, I felt untethered at times. We found ourselves longing for an NL home like never before. In our increasingly virtual world, we learned that place matters now more than ever.
More than ever.
Not just any kind of place but one we can call home—and one we can build with you in mind.
(By the way, regional trainings at our amazing partner sites will certainly continue.)
Intuitively, we know that place matters, that the actual land on which we stand shapes us and that we shape it. Eric Weiner, author of The Geography of Bliss, says that “Where we are affects who we are.” He has spent many years researching how our actual location affects our creativity, our spirituality, and our happiness.
We find that at certain places time is expansive and connection is all that matters. These places change us and gift us the inspiration needed to create; a work of art, a new relationship, a new life. We are inspired to heal and guide others as they do the same.
The wide open spaces in the Panhandle of Texas, the Grand Canyon, Hanging Lakes in Colorado, the waters of Juniper Run, the castles of Germany, and the mountains of Austria are some of these places for me––sacred ground that has the power to transcend our relationship with time, with ourselves, and with the Divine.
I believe sometimes the very ground calls out “come here and be transformed.” These are the places that tether us to each other, to this life, to those who came before us, and those who will follow.
We need places like this.
Place Deepens Connection
Tim often tells the story of when his oldest daughter moved to Utah and he had not yet seen where she was living. His mind was not at peace until he visited her and saw the places in which she moved on a daily basis. He needed to see and feel her home. He felt uneasy until he could place her when he thought of her.
I too have felt this with our children. Sending our kids to school during the pandemic was just gut-wrenching, partially because we could not see where they would be spending their day.
Both of our children have done better with separation when they have seen where we are working. Our little girl once said with tears in her eyes, “but I don’t know where you’ll be!,” as I left for work. Our internal sense of connection and safety is stronger when we can place others.
Eric Weiner cites research done in Finland that found that 82% of phone conversations contain some version of the question “Where are you?” If I’m on a zoom call in a new environment, people almost always ask me “Where are you?”
Why do people ask this? Why does it matter?
Why do people ask to train at “The Natural Lifemanship place?”
I think it’s because we can better connect when we can place the person with whom we are seeking connection. For example, I find it harder to connect with a person who has a fake or blurred out background on zoom. By contrast, at our virtual Grief and Love conference we wanted a very intimate, community experience so I met with attendees in our living room.
We are not just individual beings wandering the world, but connected creatures existing in a specific context. Our context matters. Where we are, how we connect with the environment around us, the places that we belong to—all influence who we are, how we feel, and how we connect with each other.
Connection is predicated on finding our place and allowing ourselves to be placed. It is our hope that moving forward, as an organization, you can always place us.
So, a Place Was Purchased
After a ton of searching, That’s the Dream Ranch, LLC closed on 73 acres just outside of Brenham, Texas in November of 2021. The most magical creek you have ever seen splits and borders the property. The main meeting place, with antique furniture and a wrap-around porch, overlooks a lovely pond and a hay pasture. The covered arena is straight up dreamy and is overlooked by a conference room, full of windows and too many chandeliers. A quaint 12 bedroom Inn is nestled up against the creek, and all I can say is that I am in love. All kinds of intelligent and majestic trees create little spaces all over the property that call us to come, and sit, and be.
However, there is plenty of work to be done, and so construction has been initiated to create a place for you–– a sacred and fertile place for healing, growth, change, and transcendence. This place will be all about experience and all about home––the kind of home you carry in your heart, that connects you to your core self–– a self that is part of the landscape you occupy, part of a larger body committed to making the world a better place.
Natural Lifemanship is a community with roots, and now we get to build a home. A place where you can find us, be with us. A place where we belong together.
The Healing of Place
Place has the power to do all kinds of amazing things, but with power comes great responsibility.
As clinicians, our personal healing is the foundation for doing healing work with others––the same is true of the land. Place has the power to be the beginning of new life if our love of place is fierce, so fierce that we will do the hard work of restoration. The hard work of healing.
With the help of That’s the Dream Ranch and in partnership with Leopold Land Management and the National Resources Conservation Service (a USDA agency) a major transformation is underway––demolition or repurposing of the things that no longer serve us, pruning, planting, and lots and lots of nurture. We are committed to the messiness and the absolute beauty of healing. We are committed to you.
At Natural Lifemanship, it has always been about a way of being in the world. About principles and values.
Therefore, we are building a place, a home, with the same intentions. Our place—guided by our values where connection is seen and felt in everything we do.
And in our place, we are preparing a place for you.
Save the Date!
The Natural Lifemanship Conference “Sacred Landscapes: Honoring the Places Within Us and Around Us” will take place April 12th – 15th in 2023. Registration opens soon and we hope you can join us.