February 2013 by Ryan Smith
My 4 day stay at the sanctuary unveiled what is important to me and what I wish to engage in. I am so grateful for this. I spent my time at the sanctuary during January of 2013, when there is little activity, few people and a close family vibe with the inhabitants. I was apart of the 'intern' program, choosing to work 5 hours a day in lieu of money for meals, yoga training and shelter. There were 4 of us, another visitor and I, and the two permeant residents, Jamie and Naomi. I became close with each of them through our meditations, meals, construction project. The sanctuary and surrounding area attracts wonderful, dedicated, passionate and spiritual souls. I learned so much, specifically from Jamie who introduced me to several potent meditation techniques which we practiced regularly during my stay, and donated his time for spiritual discussion with me. With that, the special talks, cooking and welcomeness from Naomi; the fellow searching, open and loving energy from Becky; and our communal intention towards growth in our spiritual yogic practice, I experienced a life altering transformation at Pleasant Valley. I have come home with reenergized intentions; wanting to continue eating simpler, have a centralized meditation practice in my life, and seek a community similar to what I found at the sanctuary. All this helps me be more of who I am with lessened power from fears, addictions and distractions I encounter. The sanctuary is a beautiful, encouraging place for people to show up to the challenging internal battleground. Thank you guys for providing this much needed center!!!!!!!!!!!!