A little over 4 years ago we created the San Diego Wake Up House, the mini Sangha within a Sangha. Today, as I look forward to a move out date, I can’t help but reflect back. For context, if you haven’t already read them, please read about how the Wake Up San Diego Sangha formed and how the Wake Up House came about too. A little over 4 years ago we moved into the Wake Up House and it was also the same time that I proposed to Barbora. Our life together started in the warm embrace of our beloved community. We sat together, breathed together, walked together, ate together, cooked together, sang together and practiced mindfulness in countless ways together. Many people have come through our doors to practice on almost every Friday night since we began. That’s a lot of Friday nights! I’m not sure if you have ever hosted a gathering at your house, but imagine doing that every week for over 4 years! That’s a lot of people, a lot of tea prepared, lot’s of chips and salsa, and most importantly, lot’s of love 🙂 What we have put into the Wake Up House, the community has given back 10 fold. We have practiced beginning anew, hosted retreats, movie nights, vegetarian potlucks, had house meetings, made countless consensus-based decisions and we’ve made many mistakes but we grew through it all together. Life-long friendships have formed; bonds that seem to only get stronger as time continues on. People have changed career paths (and continue to do so), I got married, wrote a book and two of us have had babies! There is so much to reflect on, so many memories, so many tears, laughs, hugs and heart-opening experiences.
I never got to have the college dorm-room experience and I never will. I was too busy being caught up in the disease of addiction. However, the love, connection, life-long friendships and things that I imagine would have been the best parts of that experience, have definitely happened in these last 4 years. Most importantly, the thing that I don’t think a college dorm-life would have given me… is the life changing, heart-opening, mind-expanding practice of living with people who were practicing mindfulness together in harmony. I have mentioned it before that when I have gone to retreats at Deer Park Monastery, my life changes pretty drastically, forever, each time. It’s a place where I allow myself to drop fully into the present moment, without electronics, completely in my body. It’s a place where I feel whole, unguarded, relaxed and free. My heart opens, I connect with others and I smile to life. I used to be sad when I left Deer Park, for obvious reasons. When I left, I went back to work, went back to my normal life, the world filled with toxins, the busy life where everything has to fit onto my google calendar in order for me to keep track of it all… I kept asking myself, “why can’t I live like I do at Deer Park in my everyday life?” Retreat after retreat, always sad to leave. Then came the Wake Up House. I can honestly say that when I leave retreats now, I am not experiencing sadness or fear anymore. As a matter of fact, the last retreat I was on, I couldn’t wait to get back to my “normal life” and put what I had gained into practice. I’m so excited to practice in my life now. I have a stable, solid oasis to come home to every day (not just in my breath, but my actual home)! I have wonderful loving roommates, a beautiful wife, the cutest baby son a guy could ever dream of having and a community of friends to share all the experiences with. Living in the Wake Up House has nourished me so deeply, and in ways I can’t even begin to explain.
As I contemplate the next steps, I know that I will walk forward with the Wake Up House within me. The stability I have gained here will continue on. The Wake Up House will continue on with my heart and soul as well. I have poured my heart into this and the volition has fed me until I have overflowed. This practice has not only saved my life, but it has given me a life to live that I can cherish. It has helped me know my true self, the greater self, the self that inter-relates with everyone and everything. Feeling that connection… how could I not want to help others find that too? It has been said that the next Buddha will be in the form of a Sangha. What better way to spend our time then helping to manifest the Buddha in the Sangha? This is why it is time for me to aspire to join the Order of Interbeing: It’s time to Wake Up. It’s time for the Buddha to be. We need the Buddha present, and in order for that to happen, we have to Wake Up and realize that what we are waiting for, is us. We are already here 🙂 This house, this community, is evidence of this. I’m so proud of our little gem, and I’m also so happy that I don’t need to live here anymore for it to continue. Intentional communities tend to end once the founding members move on, but as Bara and I (the last two remaining founding members) move out, I am so happy that the community has become an entity that will sustain itself. The roommates are practicing together beautifully; they are taking on various roles, forming a CTC, helping to plan a retreat, will continue hosting the Wake Up San Diego Sangha and are expanding to create new ways for the community to gather in new joyful ways.
It’s time for Bara and I to focus our attention on building our little family Sangha now. I have learned so much in my time in the house, and I’m excited that with us leaving, others will have the opportunity to step in. I’m excited for where the house will go, how the Buddha-nature will continue to manifest. I am so happy to support the growth in any way that I can. I’m so grateful to all of those who have made this experience possible. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. To future roommates, please continue to practice diligently. We practice for ourselves but we are also practicing for everyone else. As you breathe, know that you are creating peace and also a space for people to heal. I wish you all well.
For those who might be reading this, no matter where you are in the world, know that this is possible where you are. It might not take the same form, but it can manifest in the way that will work for you. Know that there are others like you, and we are here to support you. It is very worth it. You are worth it; we all deserve to have a sanctuary where we live, a refuge, a home of healing. Please help to create more Wake Up Houses. Even if it is just a 2 bedroom apartment… all it takes is 2 practitioners to live together. Please reach out and ask us how to get started. We have lot’s of experience to share with you. You are not alone, we are here for you.
Inclusive Action of the Heart