When difficult or traumatic experiences occur in our lives, we naturally wonder, “Why did this happen? What does it mean?” Often, such experiences may appear not to have any particular meaning; they may seem to be nothing more than purposeless suffering. Yet, in my years as a spiritual author and teacher, I have found that not only are our greatest challenges rich with meaning and purpose, but also that very often we ourselves planned those experiences before we were born. I explored this premise in detail in my first book, Your Soul’s Plan, and I do so again in my new book, Your Soul’s Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born. In this article I will share with you one of the most profoundly healing pieces of information I have ever discovered in my work.
Thomas Atum O’Kane, PhD, a longstanding and well-loved presenter at Hollyhock, is a graduate of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance. He holds an MA in psychological counseling and a PhD in transpersonal psychology. Atum is a former senior teacher in the Sufi Order International, where he served as secretary general for 12 years. He is the founder and director of the Spiritual Guidance Wisdom School. atumokane.com
One evening, after I had spent an evening in a small bookstore in Massachusetts, giving a reading from my book about travels with the Koryak people of the Kamchatka Peninsula in Eastern Siberia, a woman came up to me and introduced herself as Jody. She told me that she was the artistic director for a dance company called Weber Dance and that she had liked my reading, adding that she was interested in knowing if I might consider working with them to integrate the Koryak message into the ecstasy of dance. Jody told me that she had been making dances for over twenty years, and had immediately recognised the power of my story and the importance of the Koryak people’s message. She told me that she felt she had nothing to lose by asking me, and as it turned out, I had nothing to lose by saying yes. It seemed we were destined to create together, and so we constructed a dance called ‘Synchronicity and the Sacred Space,’ where the magic of the Koryak worldview was expressed as the joyous movement of swirling bodies. Our artistic collaboration continues to generate an ongoing dialogue about the message of ‘Tundra, Hunter and Shaman.’
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.
Interview conducted by Cameron Wenaus of Retreat.Guru and Sarah Lipton, Editor-in-Chief of the Shambhala Times. Interview transcribed by Emma Sartwell and edited by Christopher Schuman.
Finding one’s calling comes out of contemplative experience, which “for me,” Adam Bucko says, “is about essentially being in a state of receptivity and listening.” Contemplative practice has long been described as being about reaching a state of receptivity to what is – receptivity to the presence and activity of God in one’s life.” Continue reading Finding Your Calling ~ Interview with Adam Bucko→
Hollyhock exists to inspire, nourish and support people who are making the world better. Our learning centres are located on Cortes Island and Vancouver, BC.