I just got back home last night from an incredible healing reunion with Harbin Hotsprings. Wow. What an absolute gift it was to be there again, 3 ½ years after the unforgettable Valley Fire tore through the lands, devastating and demolishing our sacred community sanctuary—precious home to so many dear humans, trees, and creatures large and small.
Like so many of us who were lucky enough to live close and experience the profound healing grace of this longtime living temple, for me Harbin was an unspeakably cherished mother, healer, lover of my body and my heart.
How many countless times over the years did these holy grounds and magical waters graciously open to receive me, holding me in whatever heartache, challenge or overwhelm I was processing at the time. I know I am one of thousands who came to know the ritualistic hots and colds of Harbin as one of our most favorite and productive ways to pray, to self-tend, to surrender.
And what a divine meeting place—where we could come together with kindreds and disrobe ourselves of clothes and pretense, technology and personas; where we could commune quietly in our collective reverence for beauty, for holy lands and healing waters; for this precious chance to be cleansed and returned to essence.
And so when the fires came and took her from all of us, this tragic loss hit me so personally, alongside deeply heartbroken empathy for all the dear ones who called this place their home, their livelihood, their village.
Just like meeting the death of a body of a loved one, something felt so final to me about this devastating loss. Perhaps her spirit would live on, but her body was gone now, burned to ash, and never to return in the form we all had cherished.
The bountiful trees and gardens, birds and bees, the meadows and decks and families of deer, the deeply familiar buildings and especially the temple—all those life-forms we had loved so very much.
I heard that people were working hard to clear the lands, and to slowly re-build, but some part of my heart wouldn’t even go there…towards imagining a possible re-incarnation.
And so having heard recently that Harbin had indeed opened their doors again, and having receiving luminous reports from trusted loved ones, I made the 5 hour journey this past weekend to go and see for myself.
When I finally arrived and first entered the waters, immediately I could feel her—the healing spirit of Harbin—so completely ready to embrace me, to take my heart in her hands, to kiss my tears and re-set my nervous system, just like before, just like always. I felt so profoundly moved, and humbled, to feel what hadn’t been taken by the fires. To experience my beloved hots and colds as the very same provocative and catalytic grace they’ve always been. To sit in front of Quan Yin and feel her same, yet somehow wisened gaze, beckoning faith, release and surrender. To feel what remained exquisitely unscathed, and yet generously available to rebirth; to being offered once again in a brand new way.
There’s such a special flavor of gratitude that comes when we think we’ve lost something forever…only to discover it has only changed its form. You know?
I also feel such immense and tender thanks for all the amazing people who have been called to tend to Harbin in these last years—all the hard work of hauling away toxic debris, devotedly cleaning and clearing the lands, envisioning new designs, carrying a courageous spirit of repair and resurrection, allowing this living temple to find her new way of being. What an assignment. Wow. Thank you, I bow to you!
Perhaps I feel especially moved to receive this potent transmission of rebirth, after having survived a personal relational fire in my life, heart and home these last months… to be so graciously reminded of what can’t be ravaged by destructive flames, of what purity and innocence remains, and of what mysterious grace might rise from the ashes.