Tag Archives: Hollyhock Volunteer Program

Selfless Service and Silence | A Volunteer Experience

Cortes Sunrise, Hollyhock 2013. Photograph by Catherine Wiggins

Memories of my four week Volunteer experience immediately bring me to a sense of calm and contentment. That is the gift of Hollyhock, and what a gift it was for me to spend four weeks on the spectacular island of Cortes in Beautiful British Columbia.

British Columbia is my home. I have spent many happy hours on the island of Quadra, which sits to the west of Cortes Island at the mouth of the Johnstone Straight. Until 2013 Hollyhock was a mystical centre in my imagination only which all changed when I arrived at the parking lot on a wet October 8, reporting for duty as a volunteer. I had met a handful of fellow volunteers at the ferry terminal on Quadra Island, forming friendships that would become invaluable throughout our stay on Hollyhock and beyond.

Continue reading Selfless Service and Silence | A Volunteer Experience

Days go by at Hollyhock…

via lovebyriv.com

Rivkah RachelRivkah is embarking on a yoga roadtrip of a lifetime with a mission to attend all of the Wanderlust Festivals and practice yoga every day, in a new place. Rivkah has had Wanderlust her entire life, having had the good fortune to travel, live and practice all over the world. She recently took a break from her work in marketing and communications to study yoga full time and pursue her dreams. Rivkah is a nature-lover and DIY- enthusiast, she splits her time between Montreal and Ottawa with her faithful sidekick, Zorro. She dreams to open a nature retreat in the Laurentian Mountains.

Read her first impressions of Hollyhock here.

Aug 16, 2013

Days drift by so pleasantly here at Hollyhock. I’m surprised at how busy I manage to be. I’ve really been enjoying my time here. I started in housekeeping on Sunday. On Monday the other volunteers for this session arrived, and yesterday we had our official training day. There was an Oyster BBQ down at the beach for everyone. All I was missing was a crisp pinot grigio and I stared longingly at some of the guests’ glasses. I always forget my wine.


There was a presenter evening, a lecture by a man named Eric Maisel, entitled the 12 secrets of living a creative life. It was excellent, the speaker engaging and the subject true.

I’ve done a couple of yoga classes, here, too. The teachers are of the Kripalu tradition, and it is interesting to be exposed to yet another style of yoga teaching.


I am impressed at seemingly never-ending patience exhibited by the staff at Hollyhock. It must be terribly trying to explain the same thing, 10 times a year to 10 different people, some for over 10 years! You can tell these people like their jobs, they do them well, and have perfected the simplest tasks down to an art. Everyone is kind. Today I had my first early kitchen shift, and tackled the dish pit with great zeal. This afternoon, I worked with the production team to arrange the different spaces for arrival.


It has taken me, regretfully almost three days to write this meager blog post. The internet connection is not too snappy here at the edge of the world.


I have to leave today, and I do feel like I am dragging myself away. I have along haul to make to get home, involving planes, boats, and automobiles. It’s a rainy day. I don’t like to fly. I’m tired. It will be ok.


Trust Us…You Want to Go to Hollyhock

by Dr. Kathy Murphy via kathymurphyphd.com

For the next year we will travel across the US and Canada, visiting spiritual retreats, holistic learning centers, our national parks and other earthly delights…

Some people take a water taxi or a sea plane to Hollyhock, but it’s a real adventure to drive here. For us, the trip from Vancouver (with a quick visit to Victoria and Butchart Gardens), on to Campbell River, on to Quadra Island, over to Cortes Island, and on to Hollyhock was long ~ but like Oz, it was magical. It took us five hours and three ferries to finally arrive. However, the minute you drive on the first ferry, the journey begins and you begin to shift ~ to island time. If you want to slow down and re-center, this is the place to do it.

Whether you’re here for personal and professional growth or for a nature-filled, technology-free holiday, the mission of Hollyhock is to re-nourish. This is where social activists, artists, seekers, and creatives come to be inspired. Hollyhock is dedicated to building a community of life-long learners for building a better future.

Kathy-Murphy-blog-2Hollyhock is famous for it’s garden. And it’s food. It’s farm to table ~ from the garden right outside the dining hall doors. You actually have to walk through the gardens to get to the table. Travel & Food Magazine says it’s the kind of garden that stops you in your tracks. (My promise to myself is to never walk through that garden without stopping and taking it all in! It will take your breath away.)

The meals are served family style in the lodge that overlooks the ocean. Around the dining hall tables you will find conversations, connections, and creativity. There’s also daily meditation, yoga, bodywork, guided nature hikes and sailing, and programs that offer all of the tools necessary for living a fully engaged life.

Who knew that there was a world-class learning center, a thriving oasis called Hollyhock, on Cortes Island in British Columbia? Now you do. You will want to watch the video about this wonderful opportunity.

From My Point of View
Kathy-Murphy-blog-3I’m sitting here on the deck at Hollyhock looking out at the sound over to snow-capped mountains on the other shore. Next I turn and take in the show of color from the magnificent flower and vegetable garden ~ with 200-year-old Douglas fir trees as a backdrop. This is yet another place filled with nature that brings one closer to peace, joy, and that overwhelming feeling of love for life. This is an island paradise that has been carefully nurtured and protected for all of us…and for many generations to come.

Kathy-Murphy-blog-4We are doing a month-long volunteer service program. We are living in a house with six other people, working 30 hours a week. We’re washing dishes, setting up program rooms, hosting guests, trimming bushes and trees, and washing some more dishes.

The high points of our trip so far have been the places where we have joined the community and helped. This opportunity to be of service and to help this sacred place ~ a place dedicated to nurturing one’s soul all the while creating a better world ~ feels good. I like the physical effort it takes to clean, clear, or fix something. There is an immediate sense of accomplishment. It actually feels good to be physically tired. You get a bit soft driving around in a car all the time. I hope we last 4 weeks.

I have a renewed respect for all the people that do this kind of physical labor on a daily basis. I don’t think we appreciate other’s efforts enough. Let’s not take them for granted. Thank a worker today. They deserve it and it will feel good when you have recognized a fellow human being and their value.

The Inner Journey
This morning I cried ~ all morning long.

Kathy-Murphy-blog-5When I woke up in my comfy, warm bed with the fresh air of the nearby ocean, next to my best friend, I cried tears of deep gratitude. And I thought ~ this must be what grace feels like.

When I walked through the woods in the early morning to my yoga class, I cried tears for the sheer beauty of it all. After the gentle practice, I cried from relief for the deep, healing connection with my body. When served the beautiful, nourishing breakfast prepared for me, I cried with deep appreciation. And, after a stroll through the majestic garden right outside the dining hall at Hollyhock, I cried from wonder and awe. You would have cried too!

I am so grateful for this experience. Thank you God and Universe.