On November 1, 2006 old friends Alex Beamer and Peter Moore met to reflect on Breitenbush.
Alex Beamer is the visionary who founded the Breitenbush Community in 1977. He spent five years at Breitenbush, 1977 to 1982 and returned in 1988 to serve as general manager until 1992. Peter Moore came to Breitenbush in 1978 where he lived and worked until 1985. He returned in 1988 as Booking & Marketing Director, leaving in 1993. In 2004 Peter became Business Director, a position he continues to hold. The following are excerpts from their meeting.
Peter: I remember the first day I got to Breitenbush, in the spring of 1978. After a day working together, we spent some hours talking. You spoke of forming a community with a way of living that is an expression of one’s principles, unmediated by any leader or priest or shaman. You envisioned a group of self-reliant individuals who bring their whole selves to bear in their life and work here. The community would hold to its founding principle and BE the wisdom, instead of seeking it outside of us. We will find what we need from within ourselves. And I thought, Yeah!
Alex: Looking at the 30 year evolution of Breitenbush, it is clear that my original vision and ideas were much smaller than all that has happened over the years. Once I started, others joined me for the venture and their own ideas and inspirations got integrated into a larger vision – group vision. But, it does seem that some really strong foundation pieces got put into place in the early years that are solidly there. I think the Breitenbush Credo is a good place to look for a description of those pieces.
Peter: I think it is good that the Credo gets challenged on a regular basis. The interesting thing is that it has withstood the test of time. Each time it is legitimately challenged, it gets affirmed. And every time it gets reaffirmed deepens the relevancy of that ethical, principles-laden statement. I find it interesting that we start every major meeting with reading the Credo. It continues to be the touchstone and its impression is made on us every time it is read.
Peter: During the late ’70s, in what we call the pioneer period, I remember one visioning meeting where we asked the question, what will Breitenbush be like at the turn of the millennium? My answer was, this is going to be a world-class center for consciousness, because of the number of people that can be here, and because of the intentions of the people who will choose to visit. And great teachers, living teachers will come.
Peter: Here we are, all close neighbors, and co-workers, all at the same time. The co-mingling of all these complex relationships within this within this one structure is fairly unique. So when the question arises, have we developed a model that is useful for others, the answer may be no. Or it may be that it’s time just hasn’t come yet. Perhaps our circular power structure, instead of the more conventional pyramidal power structure, is ahead of its time.
Alex: There is a balance striving to be achieved here. I think Breitenbush has a goal of everybody being very healthy and balanced. So how much is work and how much is play and how much is service and having the service be enough to take care of the property and make it available to the public?
Peter: There’s great food – organic vegetarian this time around – and people come up for healing in the hot springs and there are rituals and ceremonies and celebrations. In essence, we’re doing what people have been doing here for thousands of years.
Alex: Well, I like to talk about Breitenbush as a school of higher learning. Whether you’re here for six months or six years most people graduate from it. People learn what they are here to learn and then they go. I’ve seen people become very empowered in their voice, in their skill levels and then they’re off and do great things in the world – and every once in a while they come back too.