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Breitenbush: My Story

By: Andrew Mettler

Renewable Energy is what initially brought me to this Cascadian paradise. A quest for something different, something unique, something real. I will never forget the February day I first set foot upon this land, a forest sanctuary blanketed in cold, white winter. I knew there was something special about this intentional community and worker-owned co-op before I even left my vehicle. I arrived to do a meet and greet with the Breitenbush Systems Team. The Systems Team is in charge of operating the “electro-mechanical heart-beat of Breitenbush” (Peter Moore, Breitenbush Business Director). Two Systems Team members monitor and maintain our five systems 24 hours a day. Our systems include Hydro-Electric, Domestic Water, Geothermal Heating and Waste Water. The opportunity to work here was a genuine dream come true. An opportunity to live a potent lifestyle, off […]

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Learning to live in Community

by Susa   When I arrived at Breitenbush 3 1/2 years ago as a summer hire, I was immediately taken by it and certain that I would never leave again if it could be arranged. After all, here was everything I wanted: Community, Nature, Hot Springs and a paying job with excellent benefits. I was ecstatic when a few months later I was offered a full time job on the Systems Team.    I felt a calling to be here and offer my expertise as a builder and project planner. I had been hired specifically in the role of Team Coordinator for my team and in addition chose to involve myself in the Facilities Council, assigned with project planning. I ran and was elected to a two year term on the Board of Directors. I loved my work and more often than not worked many hours in excess of the required minimum 32 hours per […]

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Water and Light

by Shoki

I have lived the majority of my life within 100 miles of Breitenbush. Growing up in Corvallis I heard many stories of this place, but had never visited until my interview.  I inevitably compare/contrast Breitenbush to the last community I was a member of: Great Vow Zen Monastery, near Clatskanie, Oregon. Many years ago Suzuki Roshi, abbot of Tassajara, told the story of a wire-mesh box they submerged in a stream running through the grounds, and how when filled with potatoes they would bump up against each other, knocking off the imperfections.  He said monastic training is similar: students bump against each other and over time we soften. I attended a week-long silent retreat at Great Vow every month for a year before I entered full-time residency. I had the idea that full-time residency would […]

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Holistic Wellness: Links between China and Breitenbush

The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Invent It

By: Peter Moore

Word in the West re: China, our neighbor in the East, is bad! China poses multiple challenges to USA dominance: economically, culturally, militarily. One Belt One Road is changing the worldwide geopolitical landscape. They’re ripping off intellectual property by studying models developed in the West and perfecting them in the East!

There is truth in the above, but something quite distinct from these conventional claims is also emergent in that vast country. I visited China during the month of November, 2018, and my takeaway was progressive. I was invited to Beijing to participate in a 5-day conference titled “Holistic Wellness International Forum”. There I gave a speech titled “Universities of the Soul in a Network of Light”. Corollary to that flowery title was a more focused subtitle, “How Holistic Centers Proliferate Across Our World”. […]

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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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Roots

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.

Roots.

We have no Roots.

I don’t even think that […]

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