Sophie and Silverstar

Before I left for Silverstar for my work’s annual SelfDesign Collaboratory, I got to spend some time with my new niece, Sophie.  I love the way she sleeps with one hand on her face like she’s pondering life.  The wise little one she is and the happy Tia (means “aunt” in Portuguese) that I am to have her in my life.

Silverstar always gives me a chuckle as well as inspiring awe.  The village looks like it was designed by circus clowns who had a secret hankering to be cowboys and live in the Wild West.  It is a truly surreal human-created environment atop one of the most naturally beautiful mountain ranges I’ve seen.

To give you an idea, this gazebo overlooks the valleys below and was the site (last year) of some of our meetings.  We didn’t get to use it this year because of the sleet and rain we got this weekend.  Last year, however, I led the group in song at this spot and felt the magic of singing in the presence of such beauty.  It is both humbling and awe-inspiring.

A colleague of mine named Nancy often brings up rocks from Hornby Island so that Interns can carry them in their pockets during the weekend as a touchstone to remind them to ground among all the new learning.  When I dumped the bag of rocks out so the interns could choose theirs,  I immediately saw mine: a heart-shaped one the size of my palm.

I am glad I went up a day early to acclimatize because I was faced with altitude sickness again- headaches, lethargy, shortness of breath, etc.  All common symptoms.  Last year, it took my body a while to adjust and so I followed the advice of Frank (barista  and owner of local coffee shop Bugaboos) and went up early this year.  I slept a lot the first day, went for slow walks so my lungs could adapt, and drank a ton of water.  Frank is an interesting guy.  He’s been living at Silverstar with his wife for a couple of decades now and he is Dutch Royalty!  He is actually a prince who decided he had a passion for baking and coffee and pursued that avenue.  The stuff they bake there is European quality and the whole village smells like what the Netherlands must smell like when the bakers start pulling out their goodies in the morning.  Needless to say, it is THE hot spot in the village and I loved going down at 7:30 am before sessions started to write my morning journal and drink coffee while looking out at a spectacular view!

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