Fire. The most difficult element to master, some would say. It's power to destroy, to remove things from existence, can be devastating. This power can also help us let go and create new.
Our home and dojo in Northern California burned last fall in the Bear Fire (later named the North Complex Fire). It was an opportunity to put our training to the test, to say the least.
We train and hone ourselves for a fight. The fight is not always violent attackers in human form. The training we do cultivates in us the strength and focus to handle situations like the ones we faced when this fire torched our entire neighborhood. As people watched us go through this experience, they witnessed a family accept it for all it was... training.
As Master Chim puts it, "All pain is training".
It was painful. It was scary. It was also a gift in many ways. It was an abrupt end to a chapter in our lives and the opportunity to start something new somewhere else.
Serendipitously, we accepted an opportunity from a friend to move to southern Oregon where we could expand our ranching skills and our tribe in ways we always dreamed of. He had extended the invitation just weeks before the fire and now here we were, ready to move forward. Although it was hard for the friends and training partners we had invested time with in California, we had to move quickly and stay on the pace that universe was demanding of us.
After months of "dialing in" the ranch here in Oregon, we are now offering private training here in the beautiful Applegate Valley where we are raising sheep, goats, alpacas and chickens with the large vegetable garden coming this spring. Weekend seminars with guest instructors are in the works, where people can come out for a taste of farm life while developing their "quiet mind, dangerous body and compassionate soul", as Vunak used to say.