The peace I seek is already within me, this is one of the few things I know for sure now.  My certainty is a result of trying nearly everything else first… running as fast as I could away from all the directional signs that pointed me within.

It’s remarkable I survived.

It’s far easier exploring the beauty of the world and the spirit of its people than it is to sit in the silence of my own soul and observe my reality.  My inner wounds cloud my view of all that’s already within me that just needs to be polished.

I climbed to the top of mountains and traveled around the world to crazy holy lands and deeply sacred temples.  I gained and lost nearly Bhante Sujatha and Tyler Lewke at cave templeeverything, following external prompts versus listening to the inner guidance system we all arrive with.  I sought out teachers and sages and guru’s thinking I’d find the answers, even though I wasn’t all that clear about the question.

I had this insatiable desire to figure out how to make happiness sturdy… to keep it around and have it not come and go like the weather.

I thought someone would show me the how, the way.

In fact, they did.  After all this exploration, by never giving me the answers, I had nowhere else to go, within became the only remaining option.

I hung my hiking boots up for a while and stayed put. I chopped wood and carried water…  my airline miles stacked up as I turned down adventure after adventure, finally making the real journey.

I made progress.  My emotional body slowly untangled itself and I began to find authentic joy and a meaningful approach to happiness.

Along the way I stocked a tool chest full of practices and wisdom that serves me as I navigate this life.

When I first began, I really believed that mainstream success would have to be sacrificed in order to achieve a noble, happy and meaningful life, but I was wrong.

Things all around me just started to work better.  My judgments towards others began to fall away and in its place is a compassion and deeper gratitude for how we each find our way.  I began to see that, while everything around me blew up as it always does, I didn’t experience it the same way.  My moods and joy became steadier and I find myself equipped to manage and lead at a whole new level.  Success began to compound itself both in my happiness and in our businesses.  Over time, everything had sturdiness to it that I now rely upon.

I began writing about the journey here and came to realize that while a true spiritual life is deep within me, refuge and retreat is what taught me that.  I had to get away and do many of those crazy adventures… I had to find the deep sacred silence and share in all the wisdom exchanged along the way in order to teach me how to cultivate what was already within me.

I realized it was essential to take time out for time in.

Knowing where to find refuge is a critical juncture on any spiritual journey.ecuador15

John Muir said,  “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul”.  I agree.

That’s why I’m thrilled to invite you all to this retreat in a 17th century resort in the mountains of Otavalo, Ecuador this February 2015.

Register here to join us in Ecuador from February 7 – 14, 2015.

The host, Happiness guru Cheryl Reed says this retreat is for you to experience “An extended period of time for reflection in a beautiful country and define and design the next phase of your life”  

A small group of us intend to create this space to take time out for time in, to build our tool chests and re-align our hearts and core values with what matters most.

As Cheryl says on the retreat website:

  • You will define your top five Life Passions and learn how to make them a priority in your life.
  • Learn valuable techniques for increasing your Happiness Levels.
  • Be inspired to live a life in alignment with your dreams.

I’d really like you all to consider coming.  I know for sure now that who we hang with really matters… our noble friends and teachers along this journey are essential to navigation. 

My fellow hosts include:

  • Paula Pant is a journalist, globetrotter, and entrepreneur, investor who has traveled to 32 countries. She’s her own boss and lives on her own terms, and she’s figured out how to live and work anytime, anywhere in the world. She writes the wonderful and wonderfully named blog Afford Anything.  Her talk is Three Rebellious Roads to Financial IndependenceIf you’re ready, Paula can teach you how to shatter limits and maximize your life.
  • Jim Collins, a world traveler who ditched his last full-time job in 2011 and lives on passive income. He’s a key contributor in the Ecuador annual retreat series and he’ll speak on how to harness the world’s most powerful wealth-building tool. 
  • Cheryl Reed, who enjoyed a cushy middle-class career until 2002. But after volunteering with disabled children, she makes the life-altering decision to re-imagine her life. She quit her job, moved to Ecuador, bought a small farm, launched this retreat series and started a nonprofit. These days she splits her time 50/50 between the U.S. and Ecuador. She’ll speak about following your bliss.

And, you all already know me but if you’re curious about how I will contribute, here you go:

  • Tyler Lewke, a rebel who blogs at the crossroads between capitalism and spirituality. He’s a corporate CEO who believes that “loving kindness … creates profit.” He’s the offspring between a scientist and a hippie (literally and symbolically), he hasn’t had an employer since age 17, and he writes daily about the intersection between “hard core capitalism” and “contemplative service to others.” Tyler will speak about finding sustainable happiness in work and life.interesting-facts-about-ecuador4-1024x576

I’m totally convinced that taking refuge is an essential part of our journey. 

Let’s do it together, Come join us.

Register here to join us in Ecuador from February 7 – 14, 2015.

Here’s the nut’s and bolts, thanks to my fellow hosts who I “borrowed” these facts from:

Where:Octavio is an indigenous town in the Andes Mountains, surrounded by volcanos, mountains, hiking trails, and lush greenery.

The town sits at 8,300 feet (2,500 ft.) above sea level in a spring-like valley, nestled between two volcanos that reach 15,000 ft. to 16,000 ft. (If you’re not familiar with altitude, that means they’re massive. To put it into perspective: the highest peak in the mainland U.S. is California’s Mt. Whitney, at 14,500 ft.)

The retreat is held on the grounds of Hacienda Cusin, a gorgeous-and-authentic resort featuring cobblestone paths, wood beams, bountiful gardens, log-burning fireplaces and a pristine lake that reflects the volcanos. Here’s an abundance of breathtaking photos.

When: February, of course. Because why on earth would you sit through the blustering cold when you could escape to 70-degree temperatures? We’ll get together from February 7 through 14.

Why: To create lifelong friendships, both old and new. To reflect on life, find purpose, and proceed boldly in a new direction. We’ll assist the local Ecuadorian community through a one-day service project, and experience the local indigenous culture through music, food and dance. Ten percent of the profits from this retreat will be donated directly back to the local community through Project One Corner, which provides members of the local community with everything from backpacks to school computers, from providing scholarships to rebuilding houses after natural disasters.

Cost: The retreat costs $1,895, which includes resort lodging for a week, three amazing meals each day, all ground transportation, and all retreat activities for a week.ecuador

Register here to join us in Ecuador from February 7 – 14, 2015.