Situated in the Canadian Rockies at the base of Bull Mountain in beautiful British Columbia is 310 acres of peaceful forest and farmland belonging to Clear Sky Meditation and Study Centre.
If you are looking for a retreat, Clear Sky offers an array of programs for the individual and businesses.
Five areas of programming are offered at the centre, including group bookings where mindfulness is taught and a tour of the facility is provided, retreat programs where people come and stay to receive guidance and instruction, group retreats which are run by different facilitators, people coming together to study, meditating and practicing for a week or two and sometimes even a month.
Karma Yoga is a signature program crafted like an internship or immersion opportunity. It usually attracts youth in mid to late 20s who are transitioning, finished school and about to move on to a different job. They tend to be exploring and developing life skills. The youth usually stay for three months. Lastly, there is an environmental program that includes a food forest workshop as well as some connected arts and healing workshops.
“We have a workshop annually about the food forest, this year it will happen in October. We do some Grasslands, Holistic Management and Permaculture workshops as well. We have our fingers in a few different pies,” said Executive Director Michelle Heinz. “We try to integrate the land into our activities so they are not separate and we can steward the land well, grow food, learn about ourselves from nature. We can explore in nature. We refer to it as our 310-acre meditation cushion. All the skills and tools that we learn in meditation we take off the cushion and apply in our daily lives.”
“We are a non-profit charity, and a big part of our learning is for those in for the long term or who see it as a life path instead of a short term study. They want to learn how to take the mindfulness into their daily activities,” continued Heinz. “They may offer to do three hours a week in what we call Karma Yoga which translates very loosely into volunteerism.”
She went on to say, “It is different because it is crafted for someone’s learning development so if someone is looking to improve communication skills I would suggest they work in areas where they can improve their communication skills. If they have talents in certain areas I try to marry them both so we deliver strength and we get to develop/strengthen other muscles.”
Within the 310 acres lies a one-acre virgin Food Forest. It came about from funding from the Agro Forestry Industry Development Initiative and from Clear Sky. It was a $20,000 project and planting was completed in December 2013.
The goal of the forest is not only to model some sustainable agricultural projects but to also test what can grow in a cold climate and to look at what may be other productive techniques that ranchers can take on in this area.
One plan is to launch team-building programs in the fall. Clear Sky will invite groups, organizations and businesses to come and hold their event at the centre and to participate in team-building activities that will empower and strengthen their team, their work dynamic and their effectiveness. It is also a time to be together in an intimate space and reconnect in a meaningful way to nature and then take that freshness back into their life.
“Our 10-year anniversary is the third week in July. We will be inviting partners and supporters and people that are generally curious to come,” said Heinz “We will give a tour of our Food Forest and our facilities and invite everyone to celebrate and have some treats on us, to just share some of the great things that we have done over the past 10 years and let everyone know who we are and what we do.”
For those of you who are curious you could join a food forest tour on a Friday at 6:30 or 7:30 p.m. and/or Saturday at 9:30 or 10:30a.m. To find out more contact firstname.lastname@example.org