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Cougar Medicine: A Lesson in Gratitude (part 3 of 3)

By Eric Muritz

Not long after my cougar encounter I was speaking with a dear friend now living across the country. Her mother had recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness. “I just don’t know how to reconcile myself with this reality: a life without my mother”. She was sorely vexed.

I was no stranger to her pain. My father had been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) when I was in my early 20s and declined rapidly thereafter. I knew what it was like to say goodbye to beloved people and treasured things, having practiced such with an embarrassing lack of poise for some years until accepting life’s greatest challenges for what they are: lessons in letting go. With the events of Solstice still fresh in my mind, my heart bolstered with gratitude for what was, I was quick in finding words of encouragement–words I hoped would help.

“I know […]

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Cougar Medicine: A Lesson in Gratitude (part 2)

By Eric Muritz

My dear pet was gone; my peace-of-mind shattered. I work 6pm – 7am patrolling the Breitenbush grounds as security, and it took a month to shake the feeling that danger lurked around every dark corner. Moreover, the encounter proved a catalyst for me and my partner; the stress turned on us in a way we had not foreseen and she was not long in setting off on a different life-path. I was doubly heartbroken. We had been co-habitating for about a year and an half, and had seldom had problems prior. Rattled as we had been, our relationship seemed another casualty of the cougar.

The Summer Solstice Healing Retreat ceremony (a gathering attended by several hundred people) was taking place just three days after the cougar incident, and I was slated to give the keynote speech. I was pretty shaken-up by the sequence of events, and frantically considered that there might be […]

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We Mourn the Passing of Eric Ellis, Dear Friend and Community Member

By Peter Moore

Hello friends, Peter here. I have known Eric Ellis for more than 20 years. I would like to tell you a little about him now.

Back in 1997, Eric came to Breitenbush. His first job was to update the Breitenbush events database, converting it from a rather primitive Microsoft Excel DB to a comprehensive File Maker Pro DB. Among other tasks in the Events Team, Eric worked at this complex conversion for four years. His developed expertise in this, combined with great aptitude and attitude, led to him being hired into the role of Marketing Director for a couple of years in the late 1990s.

Eric left Breitenbush in 2001 to pursue other interests, the dominant ones being two-fold. First, he was a committed spiritual seeker. In this time he connected with a celebrated author, Catherine […]

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Cougar Medicine: A Lesson in Gratitude (part 1)

By Eric Muritz

I’d been living at Breitenbush for 6 years. There had been many a night, driving home on Forest Service Road 46, where I had hoped to catch a glimpse of an animal fabled to roam these mountains. How cool would it be to see a cougar in the distant headlights?

So, imagine my surprise on the morning of June 21st–just a mere hour after the celestial solstice–suddenly finding myself face-to-face with this apex predator: a powerful force of nature that would momentarily unhinge my world.

* * *

That same week my beloved house cat, Beowulf, had disappeared. Though he liked the outdoors, he never strayed from the cabin for more than a few hours without checking in. I work nights, and he often waited for me to return at the base of the footbridge. On the morning of his disappearance I did a brief walkabout, calling for him, but he […]

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Flow Dynamics = Being in the Flow + Peak Performance

Peter MoreBy Peter Moore, Business Director

A popular daily well-being program here is the Off-the-Grid Systems Tour. Breitenbush is an off-the-grid village, a Wildland/Urban Interface (WUI), and because we receive no power or other utilities from outside, we must finance, design, build, operate and maintain the systems that provide our electricity, domestic water, geothermal heat and septic, plus information and communication services. People fascinated by energy design find a lot to get excited about when they visit and explore these systems at Breitenbush.

When I think about these systems, I think in terms of flow dynamics—flows of water and heat through pipes, of electricity through wires or microwaves through atmosphere. That sounds simple, but the simple tends towards complexity in human systems; or, as an old saying goes, the devil is found in the details. Energy questions we have dealt with since we acquired the ghost […]

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By skye darkness mccloud

We live in a so-called civilized world which has severed itself from the planet.

We mine the Earth.  Cultivation has essentially ceased.  We no longer feel at home.

What is the longest you have lived in one place?

Up until Breitenbush, I had never lived anywhere for longer than seven years.  I have been living in Community of one sort or another for half my life now and have been living at Breitenbush for 15 and 1/2 years.

I have come to see a fundamental flaw in the basic nature of what I shall call Western Capitalist Culture [which is now worldwide], which is the dissolution of being human with a connection to the Earth.


We have no Roots.

I don’t even think that […]

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Longevity and the Cycle of Life

By Leslie Hawes

It can feel so overwhelming when one takes into account how much destruction of the environment happens in their lifetime, and the longer you’re alive, the more devastating environmental destruction can seem.  Fortunately, nature is cyclical and destruction is an essential component that must happen for life to occur. 

I’ve been on the earth just a little over 40 years now.  I hail from the east side of the Cascade Range, but am now sinking roots on the west side. I currently live, work and play at Breitenbush Hot Springs (BBHS).  Curiously, BBHS and I are the same age!  We’ve both spent our entire lifetime in Oregon.  In that time, we have witnessed the permanent removal of many trees, specifically in these two areas. Most of the those trees that have been removed are due […]

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I found my happy!! In the most unexpected place…

“I often found myself wondering if I was a mistake—if my existence was entirely faulted from the start, designed for destruction and disappointment.”  -Sara Rodriguez

I remember the first time I read this quote. Oh how it resonated inside me. Often happy, outgoing, social and playful on the outside. But on the inside I was scared, anxious and slipping into a dark hole. It seemed that time after time, the choices I made would lead me to pain, heartache and stress. Was it that my heart and passion were too overpowering? Did it cause me to leap before my brain had a chance to pull me back? Or was it that I was making my way down the wrong road? And if I’m making my way down the wrong road… how do I find strength to turn around […]

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Ua Mau Ke o ka ‘Aina I ka Pono

“Ua Mau Ke o ka ‘Aina I ka Pono,” a Hawaiian saying (and state modo) that translates as, “The life of the land is preserved in righteousness.” When I think about living and working at Breitenbush Hot Springs, and especially when I ponder our credo, this is the saying that perpetuates my soul.

I started visiting Breitenbush as a guest over 15 years ago, and returned year after year to renew and revive, and deeply connect with Mother Earth through this very sacred land in the middle of a national forest. It was my place to reset and completely wind down during some stressful careers living in a fast paced lifestyle. I almost always came by myself for personal retreats and would start to unplug as soon as my foot hit the gas pedal onto the forest roads. […]

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Let’s Talk!

It has been an honor and a joy to call Breitenbush home for the last two and a half years.  I have lived at Breitenbush for numerous shorter periods over the last eight and a half years.  This time, however, I decided to stay for at least a three year period.  One of the biggest factors contributing to my desire to stay longer this time is how harmonious the community feels now.  Throughout several years I have witnessed an evolution in the community.  In my eyes the community as a whole is growing up, maturing, and overcoming unhealthy dynamics.  I believe healthier communication has been a main driving force for our more cohesive community.

At this year’s summer solstice event hosted at Breitenbush there was a workshop on “relationship issues.”  In a group of about 25 people we moved […]

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