In May 2012, the Findhorn Foundation will be hosting the International Holistic Centre’s Gathering, a unique expression of the ‘Network of Light’ and one of the special events offered during Findhorn’s 50th birthday year.

This year’s annual Gathering was held recently at Harbin Hot Springs, a retreat and workshop centre and residential community in California. It was a joy to attend and experience how the very mention of Findhorn inspires people, many of whom dream of making the pilgrimage here one day.

The five days were full of fascinating discussions and presentations, structured in a fun and informal way, interspersed with outings to explore the surrounding area and invitations to engage in community life. Warm friendships evolved amongst peers, with a shared passion for awakening consciousness and mutual enthusiasm to learn from and support each other in the joys and challenges of our work.

Other participants came from a range of centres including; Esalen Institute, Mount Madonna Center, Breitenbush Hot Springs, The Haven, New York Open Center, Spirit Rock, Kalani Oceanside Retreat and Maui Eco Retreat. Through sharing intentions, experience, ideas and insights there was a real sense of unity in our diversity.

During the Gathering, I felt moved to read to the group an excerpt from Eileen Caddy’s autobiography, Flight into Freedom and Beyond;

“Get a globe and start marking the centres on it. You are part of a tremendous network and each member is closely linked. Each needs to feel part of the whole. This is a network of light; therefore each should be linked with the others. Learn to feel the intertwining and intermingling of each centre until not one is left on its own. The strength comes through the linking up of the centres.”

There was a palpable feeling of gratitude for the Gathering, initiated by Ralph White, a member of the Findhorn Foundation in the 1970s, in providing this opportunity to link up with each other.

Ralph went on to be involved in the early years of the Omega Institute, before co-founding the New York Open Center. The first Gathering was held in the mid 1980s and included Esalen, Omega and the Open Center. Over the years it has become a global movement hosted by a different centre each year, all sharing similar intentions.

The Findhorn Foundation has been helping to unfold a new human consciousness and create a sustainable future since 1962 and Ralph explains the complementary role of the Gathering, “For 25 years it has been serving as a principal meeting point for centres, both well established and new, that address the new consciousness currently emerging worldwide.”

I read about this meeting point in 2010 and embraced the opportunity to “Learn and grow from participating in sessions on sustainability, connecting to the world-community, continued personal transformation, sharing what works and what doesn’t, and holding space for a world in need of change and growth.”

In my then role as Retreats Manager of the Byron Yoga Centre in Australia, I felt drawn to attend the Gathering, hosted by Kalani Oceanside Retreat in Hawaii. There was a sense of trust in the friends I would meet, connected by our life purpose, and I instinctively booked my place. Meeting Ralph and listening to him share about Findhorn, I felt a yearning to continue my journey there beyond Experience Week the previous year, and further inspired by hearing about the community life of participants in other centres.

After the Gathering in Hawaii, I visited my family in the UK and days later woke up with the words, “Findhorn Life Purpose” on my mind. I went online and booked my place on the workshop of that name. The weeklong workshop seemed to expand into Findhorn being my life purpose. Nearly a year later, I live and work here, having recently joined the Living Education Apprentice Programme.

I stayed connected with the Gathering and helped create the website to reflect its rich history and purpose. With my living at Findhorn, Ralph’s connection with the community and the 50th Birthday approaching, the Foundation seemed to be the natural host for 2012. A conversation with Stan Stanfield, long term resident at Cluny Hill College and friend of Ralph’s from their time working together in Cluny Maintenance, led to this falling into place.

Hence this year I felt blessed to be representing Findhorn in the role of coordinator for the Gathering in 2012 while attending this year’s Gathering at Harbin Hot Springs, and to feel the connection with other centres through the Network of Light, the joyful atmosphere of friendship and love radiating out in service to the world.

For more details please view the International Holistic Centers’ Gathering website.