Reflecting on Spirit Fire

Life is a continuum of change. 2021 included the sale of the property of Spirit Fire Meditative Retreat center that I founded in 2003.

Spirit Fire Meditative Retreat Center was the creation of an inspired download that occurred in 2000. The inspiration was to provide the sacredness of Nature in support of meditation and explorations of consciousness. This could facilitate individual and group awakening as well as its integration. Because people are varied in interest and capacity, variety of method in discovering innate Presence and supportive of integral embodiment would be core to Spirit Fire. I could teach from the wisdom and training I had received over lifetimes and others would bring forward their wisdom as well.

The inspired download had a sense of blessing and the feeling of purity and the importance of keeping the mission and vision of Spirit Fire free from undue materialistic entanglements. Big was not the intention. Quality and integrity were. I was teaching in Boston, Toronto, and Boulder with colleagues at that time. As a result, the core student body helped meditatively and provided $18K in funds. It had been offered from 80+ people and their joy imbued the money.

My dog and I traipsed myriad properties and beaucoup acreage over 2 and half years.. I enjoyed reviewing buildings, some of which were 300 years old, musing about what would serve this illustrious and simple intention of conscious. The location was to be within the Green Mountain corridor that spilled into Massachusetts due to the heart meridian runs through the Green Mountains. And one day, driving to meet the realtor I had been working with for two years, I could feel the land that would be Spirit Fire’s. It was 95 acres of steep hills, acres of trees, a wetland, streams running down the hills, all manner of wildlife, a small farm house and various size barns. The age of the various buildings was 200 to 300 years old depending on which one, but all were in good repair. Perfect. It became Spirit Fire in short order.

The already-established core group was essential in every way. We didn’t know what we were doing and I tend to fly by the seat of my pants. Spirit Fire became an educational non-profit organization, the few people that took up residence were the cooks and cleaning crew, and we opened our doors to other groups exploring consciousness. I taught programs as well. We barely made enough money to keep the place open, but it was happening! And that’s what mattered. Spirit Fire was a pure intention anchoring the light of pure consciousness in the world – that’s all that mattered. Generous patronage flowed in order to build the brand new, larger retreat center – more rooms, more people (20 max), and a proper kitchen.

All the while, I was married with two children and a job. My wonderful and supportive husband, parents and in-laws would support the vision and mission through child care. Husband Steve took full care of the family when I would go to Spirit Fire for a weekend to teach or cook and clean. When I left employment in retail, weekends would  become a week, but Steve was 100% behind Spirit Fire’s mission. Spirit Fire was not created to make anyone rich or to provide me with a big profile and fame; so his support was from his heart.

Fast forward. I codified The Practice of Living Awareness meditation practice in the late 2000’s, just before ‘mindfulness’ became a marketed tend in wellness. I had been offering a free meditation practice through teleconferencing and then online when doing so was just beginning. People came to Spirit Fire for retreats and by now we had a handful of part-time staff. It was fun, demanding, and always provided dynamics that brought one’s ego to the forefront so it could be seen and, hopefully, addressed. Deep abiding friendships developed, and other relationships changed, eventually to fall away.  Yet, Spirit Fire was always magical.

I don’t know how to encapsulate the fullness that many of us lived over those early years of Spirit Fire. Ups, downs, agreement, disagreement, personal growth and spiritual growth. Most people involved went on to develop themselves and their lives of service as if sprouted from the fertility of Spirit Fire which was a testament to the mission and vision at work.

Somewhere around 2010, someone came to a meditation retreat. He had been doing the online Practice of Living Awareness. One could say that the rest is history. Within less than a year, Steve Kramer left his former, successful, and full life and came to live at Spirit Fire.

The Multiple Sclerosis in my body was slowed down but not gone and my physical, and sometimes mental, capacity were no longer reliable. Inside and outside, my life was changing. Over a course of events, most divinely inspired for each of us, Steve stepped into managing Spirit Fire. Then, Tim Darter was miraculously drawn toward the Spirit Fire wholeness and Voilá the next phase of manifestation of Spirit Fire, its mission and vision was set in motion.

Spirit Fire was my life, my breath, and my life’s work. But, I did not have the skills or capacity to  bring its fullness into the ‘world,’ nor did the many of us who worked and meditated and created on Spirit Fire’s behalf. We were able, and luminously so, to anchor the mission and vision, keep the property sacred, and provide sacred space for many people and presenters exploring the scope of conscious Presence. The same is so for The Practice of Living Awareness meditation practice for contemporary humanity. But, if Spirit Fire was to financially survive and if the mission was to thrive, newness was needed.

I am forever grateful to the winds of karma and to positive past life connections with so many people involved with Spirit Fire over my years with it. When the time came to step down completely and to hand the keys to Steve and Tim, my heart sang for Spirit Fire. That was in 2015. My heart has not stopped singing for Spirit Fire and their tireless service and creativity on its behalf.

Covid caused hardship for many businesses. Retreat centers around the world and in this country were decimated. Through generous benefactors, Spirit Fire Meditative RetreatCenter -though closed due to lock downs and then occupation restrictions- was kept afloat. But, in the Spring of 2021 when predictions for retreat centers in the area were that financial viability was not likely for another few years (if the pandemic receded fully), the Retreat Center and its 95 acres of sacred natural beauty was put up for sale. It sold to just the right group of people!

When board members of the prospective organization came to tour the property, they asked if I was still there. Steve smiled and said no, that I had moved. A woman in the group told him that she and others from her group had been the first group to be hosted at the retreat center many years ago. Her memories were fond in every regard. So, spirit came full circle!

Spirit Fire continues in its mission and vision of humanity awakening to its innate radiant consciousness. Thank you, Tim, Steve, and the Board. No words can convey the light, dynamism, spiritual growth, or creative output that I lived because of and for Spirit Fire. And because of it, that training and sense of purpose, my life has become that of a meditator surrounded by mountains and prairie of rural south-center Colorado praying and meditating for the world. It seems to have all panned out.

ps. Sorry to some of the most important people who I don’t have in a group photo.

About Donna Mitchell-Moniak

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3 Responses to Reflecting on Spirit Fire

  1. Bonnie says:

    Thank you Donna for your commitment and for the further sanctification of Earth, May blessings abound in this new year.

  2. You manifested a glorious vision where so many of us came to meditate and study together. Those years impacted all who participated in the magic that was Spirit Fire. The Heart/Mind connectedness that we share continues to unite us. For which we will be eternally grateful.

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