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  • Selva Lawler

#9 - The Whole > The Sum of its Parts

"The Whole is greater than the sum of its parts." We didn't coin that phrase at SpiritQuest. Perhaps we've added our own magical shine to it. Or refined it. Or embodied it.

Picture the setup when it comes to the hallowed grounds of SpiritQuest. No doubt you can envision it, clear as crystal. When you think about the structure of SpiritQuest, SpiritQuest is a relationship among its many parts. SpiritQuest has a ceremonial maloca. A dining maloca. A star deck. The Bridge to Eternity. The kitchen. The hammocks. None of those one parts inherently carries a SpiritQuestness (that's a word, right?) in them. Our kitchen doesn't have a SpiritQuest. Our kitchen doesn't, in and of itself, have a SpiritQuestness. In fact, our kitchen can be broken down into many other and much smaller parts: our stove, our sink, our utensils, the racks where we store those delicious, melt-in-your-mouth Amazonian mangoes and bananas.

And yet, would SpiritQuest exist without our kitchen? Would it exist, as we know it, without our hammocks overlooking that jaw-droppingly gorgeous Amazonian landscape? SpiritQuest most definitely wouldn't exist without our sacred ceremonial maloca! 

It's only when the right parts that all work together are combined with the right setting - and don Howard sure selected that, didn't he!?!? - that SpiritQuest comes into being. Think of SpiritQuest as a pattern of relationships. Hint: if you're only contemplating the concrete, physical structures of SpiritQuest, you may need to enroll in the don Howard University of Higher Consciousness course, "You Mustn't Be Afraid to Dream a Little Bigger Darling: 101" class. You'll see me in there, as I'm still learning those lessons.

The Whole of SpiritQuest is far, FAR greater than the sum of its parts.

It would be a big mistake to overlook or downplay the parts, though, as they collectively make SpiritQuest the transcendent place that it is. So speaking of parts, what's the best part about SpiritQuest? The ceremonies? The verdant and lush Amazonian setting? The fresh fruit bowls at breakfast following a ceremony? don Rober dumping frigid water on you in the mornings and then cackling with glee? Those are all terrific and make SpiritQuest utterly unique, but if you ask me, the best part of SpiritQuest is the network of incredibly high-quality people that we attract. 

As Aubrey Marcus once told me, we all get to set the gravity of our own planet. And with that gravity comes a gravitational pull. SpiritQuest has its own magnetic qualities. We do our best to put out truth, authenticity, value, and be of service, and in the don Howard Ayni tradition, that reciprocity is rewarded 10 fold, 100 fold, 10,000,000,000,000 fold with the abundance of phenomenal people that are drawn to the Sanctuary.

You can call that teamwork. Global familyism. Synergy. Kindred spiritness. And yet, why burn calories and split semantical hairs attempting to put a linguistic wrapper on it? As Juliet ponders in Romeo and Juliet, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By Any Other Name would smell as sweet.” The point is, we cook up something exceptional when we all unite together as one towards a common goal: para el bien de todos!

A few months back, we had a lot of momentum and wind in our sails for planning a SpiritQuest reunion this summer. We had an outpouring of support and enthusiasm for the idea. I deserve the entire blame in letting much of the air out of that balloon.

Thankfully, several SpiritQuest grads, most notably my dear friends Randall and Chicha, stubbornly refuse to yield or let the idea die. Thanks to their efforts, we're going to have our first organized reunion for all SpiritQuest grads and their significant others on Wednesday, June 19 through Sunday, June 23 at Dao House in Estes Park, Colorado. Dao House is located in beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park, about 80 miles northwest of Denver International Airport.

What's on the menu for the reunion? Why are you asking me? As if I have all of the answers? 🤣🤣🤣 Anyone that attends can and inevitably will make their mark and add their own special sauce to what we're brewing. The reunion may be for you if you like hanging around truly sensational SpiritQuest people and doing any of the above:

  • Hikes/walks in nature

  • Anything outdoors

  • Mountaineering (that's a word, right?)

  • Ecstatic dance

  • Live music celebrations

  • Group sharing circles

  • Eating fresh and organic group meals

  • Learning corners, where people can both speak and listen to others talk about practices they've utilized to optimize their life (whether it's with food/diet, morning routine, journaling, meditation, exercising, etc.)

  • Artwork

  • Group meditations

  • Group yoga

  • Mapacho ceremony

  • Cacao ceremony

  • Connecting on a deep level with fellow don Howard University of Higher Consciousness grads

  • Relaxing

  • Volunteering

  • Stargazing

  • Collectively brainstorming how we can more effectively support the don Howard "para el bien de todos!" mission 

  • Practicing presence

  • Making offerings

  • Smiling

  • Laughing

  • Breathing

  • Enjoying

  • Being

  • Loving life

  • Loving ourselves

  • Loving each other

Randall is spearheading a lot of the logistics. Dao House has 27 lodge rooms - 6 kings and 21 double queens - that can sleep up to 96 people. Dao House also has cabins that can fit another 39 folks. If we fill up all of the rooms and cabins, we can always explore setting up some tents on Dao House's grounds or Airbnbing places in the surrounding Estes Park area. 

In terms of a preliminary quote, it looks like the rooms will have a nightly rate of around $159, which may be more or less depending on our final numbers. No one is going to pay that much, or in some cases anywhere near that much, as we'll have 2-4 people occupying every room. The nightly rate doesn't include food, so that number may increase somewhat if we have a couple of communal meals. 

Randall has been to the site and labeled it both "rustic” and “forgotten in time." If you're expecting a 5-star resort with 90-inch 4K TVs and super-fast Wi-Fi, you're likely going to be disappointed. Of course, we don't have those things at SpiritQuest, and not only does that not detract from anything, it assuredly adds to the appeal of the Sanctuary, right?

Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park offer stunning landscapes, and there are far more fascinating things to do out in nature than any indoor amenities could possibly offer. As Chicha wrote me, it will be a perfect place to be "grateful for the Great Outdoors." Above all, Randall accurately emphasized that, "No matter what, the collective vibrant energy of the collective group will transform any space into a special experience.” Truth! 

Our intention is to open this reunion up to anyone that has attended SpiritQuest and their significant others, and then evaluate how we are doing numbers-wise. I'd personally love to not be discriminating and open it up to family members and some other folks that would undoubtedly benefit from the predictably positive SpiritQuest group dynamic. At the same time, I want to give everyone from SpiritQuest the first bite at the apple. 

One of my SpiritQuest brothers Ben observed how SpiritQuest grads are all X-Men, with unique abilities that only we can manifest. The amount of talent and potential in each one of you is off the charts. Even as X-Men, we are all works in progress, but when we strive to become the best version of ourselves, we radiate positivity in our own spheres of influence, and others follow our example. I've seen that time and time again. 

Collectively, we're a real force for good. All of you have witnessed how people from an immensely broad spectrum of ages, countries, ethnicities, professions, walks of life, and backgrounds come together and bond as one global family at SpiritQuest. Although the Maestro sets a super high bar, we can bear a thought about his tower of decency, compassion, warmth, and zest for life that accompanies his enormous heart and unconditional love, and take that with us as we strive to match that don Howard spirit in our own lives outside of the jungle. That potential is all the more realized when we unite as one. We'd love for this reunion to be a magnificent celebration of how sublime and dynamic the SpiritQuest alumni network is. All of you make it super special!

This reunion will be the continuation of a fire. And with a large number of us together, the fire rises. 🔥🔥🔥

In so many ways when it comes to SpiritQuest, The Whole is greater than the sum of its parts. If you need additional evidence of that, or simply want to bask in a joyous reminder of that principle in action, consider joining us in Colorado in June.

Para el bien! -Parker


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