The Center for
@ -- permission for use-with-acknowledgment
A STILLPOINT PHILOSOPHY
The people who first dreamed the Stillpoint dream, two years ago, though philosophy was more important than planned activities; so they spent a lot of time thinking, about it. It's time now to see how this philosophy has been confirmed or modified in two years experience. Indeed, most of the people who first conceived Stillpoint have moved on to live in other places; the people who participate today, and shape Stillpoint, may not even be aware we had a philosophy. The danger is getting so caught up in doing things that we forget why.
*** In many senses, the Stillpoint Philosophy is not to insist on any one philosophy. Instead, we honor diversity, and learn from it. People of many Faiths work together here, unselfconsciously in mutual respect. The same is true of sincere seekers after spiritual growth who are not formally affiliated with any religion. All are welcome, all are valued, all learn from one another. We inspire rather than condemn one another.
***We embrace the holistic philosophy of healing but not primarily as an alternative to Western (allopathic) medicine. Rather, we hope and work for an integrated medicine embodying, the best of both in a mutually supportive framework
***Healing and spirituality are not just specialties that can occur only in special places with special equipment, etc. They can and should occur everywhere in daily life. So we expect people to treat one another with decency, kindness, and respect, outside hearing room as well as in them; in normal interactions as well as in our "programs."
*** "Healing of Healers" is a cornerstone of our philosophy. Our conviction is that care-givers often do not get enough caring for themselves. So this is emphasized in activities like the Reiki Circle, and Reiki itself.
*** Everyone is a healer, potentially, providing only they are willing to invest time and effort in the learning/growth process. This is Reiki again as we practice it, and Mindfulness Meditation-both standing in gain, as we contrast to a view of likely also to be prohibitively expensive.
***Related, healing and spirituality, too, can happen largely via self-help. Stillpoint might well be called a self-help healing center.
*** We hold a broad view of what healing and spirituality are and can be. Thus, we offer gardening as largely a spiritual enterprise; someday we hope to do the same for music, painting, and dance. Nor does it all have to be in a program. We strive to protect at Stillpoint, as a crucial part of our vision, quiet, undisturbed time to sit and watch the birds or just to be.
*** In our vision of affordable high-quality healing for all, we do our best to separate money from healing and from spirituality as well. We want to be one place where fees are not charged, financial donations are discouraged, and where benefitters are completely free to choose what kind of return, if any, they will make for services received. We do this in all honor to people who must make a living as healers, fully deserve to do so, and charge reasonable fees. But we totally reject the notion that people generally cannot appreciate a service unless they pay for it; Stillpoint itself disproves that contention.
*** We do not believe the story is necessarily over for any of us in our growth as spiritual beings and as healers. We are open to exploration beyond current borders and restrictions.
STILLPOINT in Summer, 1999
Truth or Consequences, NM 89701
Tel (505) 894-1340
MEDIATION - No experience necessary, in small groups, every weekday, 8-8:30 am in Main House and every weekend, 9-10 am in mediation cottage.
For Individuals, Mediation Cottage and Mediation Garden are open 24 hours a day. Monday is a day of silence till mid-afternoon.
REIKI, Main House, come anytime before 5, and leave whenever
Every Tuesday, 4-6:16 pm is Reiki Clinic
Every Thursday, 4:40- 6 pm is Reiki Circle
Also, practitioner training; individual treatments; Distance Healing Sending twice weekly; and Reiki expansion research.
TAI-CHI every Tuesday and Thursday, 8:45-10 am.
"SALON" DISCUSSION GROUPS are held the second and fourth Wednesday of every month, potluck beginning at 5:30 pm and discussion usually completed by 8 pm.
OTHER Every day except as noted otherwise; Library, browse or borrow (suggest call ahead to be sure open) Art Studio (call ahead to reserve) Sandtray (Sandbox for adults, kids, too) Birdwatching Fishfathoming and other unscheduled creatures.
Special Workshops or Events occur from time to time. Dates and times will be posted around town and county.
Most Special of all is QUITE TIME, alone, undisturbed, most anytime you want.
Call or drop by for more information. We are a self help healing center, and welcome all caring people. Our work is 99% volunteer and we charge no fees. ommunity be, if those who make the union choose to belong.
The Stillpoint Building Fund
Gifts of spirit and loving work have always been the core of Stillpoint. About 99% of what we do and have is volunteered. Where money has been needed, most of it has been mine. This is the first time Stillpoint has ever offered donations of money as one way you can support our work.
Why? Stillpoint is growing in the things we do and the number of people who do them. We need more space and also more protection for the space we have now. So, Im buying the property next door and hoping to renovate the Anthy Robins House just across the compound from the Main House. This will take lots of money and will seriously cut into my cash reserves if I have to finance it entirely alone. Indeed, without some help from friends of Stillpoint, rehab of the Anthy Robins House will probably have to be put on hold, for the most part.
So Ive set up a special account at Bank of the Southwest. The name is Stillpoint Building Fund. You can mail checks to the bank or bring cash or checks there. Please do not give your donation directly to me; Ive tried to set it up so that I will not know who chose to contribute or how much. I am obligated to pay taxes on money in the account and you do not get a charitable tax deduction for your donation. (But keep a record; if Stillpoint ever becomes a jointly owned corporation, your Building Fund contribution can add proportionately to your share of ownership.)
Your donation will help in the growth and preservation of Stillpoint. But always remember that gifts other than money are vital and wonderful and just as appreciated.
The Physical Part of Stillpoint
Stillpoint is located on three city lots near the edge of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. There are eight structures: two houses, four cabins, one large attached garage (now an art studio), and one shop area. All the buildings are of woodframe construction, with shingles. The houses are 1100 and 1200 square feet; the four cabins are about 400-500 sq. ft. each; the garage and the shop about 7000 sq. ft. each. Total inside space is thus about 5500 square feet.
The eight structures are grouped around a rectangular compound (about 125 x 35 ft) open on one side to an unpaved street. There are also some small garden areas around the rim of the compound between or fronting on some of the buildings. All in all, the outside area totals about 4500 square.
Ivan Scheier assumed ownership of the property, on behalf of Stillpoint, in November 1996. At that time, one of the eight structures, a house, could be described as "livable" (greased-stained cement floors and uncertain plumbing, etc.) It went downhill from there. Today, all but one of the eight structures are usable, though three or four of them still need a significant amount of improvement.
The buildings appear to be of approximately equal age, maybe dating from the 1930s or 1940s. However, it is by no means certain the buildings were all built on this property as distinct from being moved here. Theres even speculation one or two of the cabins could be of historic significance and of course, were encouraging that idea. In the 1960s, the property was owned by Anthy Robbins, an English woman, widow of an American. She lived in one of the houses and rented the cabins and an apartment in the other house. Were told she was an avid gardener and antique collector. After Mrs. Robbins died, about 1970, the property definitely went downhill, (until four or five years ago, it was on the market at $10,000 or less.) Were told that one owner in the 1980s seriously considered bulldozing the buildings because that would be cheaper than trying to fix them up to code. But about 1992-93, Mr. and Mrs. Merle Bowman bought the property with just that fix-up in mind, probably thinking of resale. This they did, to me on behalf of Stillpoint in late October 1996. I took up resident in mid-November of that year.
Out of a Reiki Circle
A History of Stillpoint
From One Perspective
I've been with Stillpoint from the beginning, on a daily in-residence basis, so my viewpoint has some roots in experience- But it is still just one persons perspective and I hope to include comments from other early planners in later editions of this history ... Ivan Scheier
Stillpoint grew out of a Reiki Circle, which existed years before I visited T or C during the Winter of 1995-96. In fact a main reason I decided to settle here was the wonderful people in that circle. In those days we met once or twice a month in different people's homes. The birth of Stillpoint may be traced to one such Reiki session, in early 1996, at Diana Lyon's home. Five of us were there: Diana, Bertha Allen, Elysa Markowitz, Mary Ann McCarthy and me. During a break, someone- it might have been me-mentioned the general idea of a retreat center for holistic healing--it might even have been roughed out in a paragraph or two of writing. There was immediate aha-excitement. It turned out that all of us harbored essentially the same vision, and had relevant experience as well. For example, Mary Ann had operated a heating center and both Diana and I had managerial experience with retreat centers.
I cant ever remember a group moving faster from "isnt this a great idea" to "we're going to make this dream happen!" So, the five of us immediately began weekly or bi-weekly planning meetings, soon joined by Darrel Price, a friend that Elysa's brought in and a frequent participant in the Reiki Circle. An early decision was to keep the planning group small, until we could prepare an initial plan, then, as soon as possible, present the plan for review to the wider healing community. This we did in early March 1996, and soon others began to participate in the planning process - I remember here particularly Jane Fandey and Anna Maria Szendroi. But there were others, as of today, there have been over a hundred significant contributors to Stillpoint- in ideas as well as work and materials. At about this time, too, Mary Ann McCarthy was inspired to suggest the name "Stillpoint", which immediately seemed right to us. Most of us didnt know until later that the Stillpoint is a place on the neck which when touched properly, is calming. Stillpoint is also a place in a dance where the dance stops for a moment, then to resume perhaps with a different tempo and style. Also later, we discovered there were at least two other places named "Stillpoint ", one in New England, and one in the U.S. Northwest. We have no connection with either of them, at present.
In March, 1996, right after the community meeting previously described, I returned to Madrid, NM for several months to prepare my home there for sale, and otherwise get ready for the move to T or C. Meanwhile, back in T or C, the planning group continued their work, looking for suitable property, getting out a newsletter, and sending me Reiki good wishes for the prompt sale of my house (it worked!)
I closed on the sale of my Madrid house the morning of July 31, 1996 and moved to T or C that afternoon. Virtually total concentration from then on was finding a place for Stillpoint, to buy or even just to rent while we continued looking for a property to buy. We must have looked at twenty properties in the next couple of months. But in spite of the devoted and efficient efforts of our Realtor, Marti Dusing, there was always something not right-the location, the price, the space arrangement, the condition of the buildings, etc. I for one, was getting very discouraged. Finally, about the first of October, Marti took us to a place that had just been put on the market the day before-hadn't even been generally announced yet. It was 515 Gray St, our present address, and most of us knew immediately it was the right place. It took me about 30 seconds to decide, and I made a formal offer within two hours.
In order to "lock it in" as much as possible, I offered an unusually large down payment and large mortgage payments. But the owners wanted the entire amount immediately, in cash, and I didn't have that or any prospects of getting it for at least a month or two. So, the closing deadlines kept running out with need to request extensions from the owners while I scrambled for the cash, knowing that others were very interested in the property and could likely raise the cash more quickly and even make a higher offer. I was extremely tense and discouraged during this time and kept asking myself questions like: "Why am I doing this at age seventy?" At this moment of near-despair, enter Pat Graves, Bertha Allen, and potentially two or three others, none of them wealthy, to offer me on their own initiative, interest-free loans, no deadline on payback (though hopefully as soon as possible) all this to hold the property while I raised the rest of my own money. This was an incredibly generous offer from people who had known me personally only a relatively short time- I understood it as affirming the vision itself; if somewhat-strangers could do that, who was I to despair, and I never again did. Practically speaking, their offer enabled me to assure the owners that at the end of the current extension period, they would get their money one way or another. Actually, I was able to raise my own money just in time, but I'll never forget the miracle of that offer. I closed on the Gray Street property an October 31, 1996, and moved in November 10. Stillpoint had a home.
Of the early six planners, only Diana and I still live in Sierra County, though the others return for visits from time to time I can't speak for them, or for Diana, but I'd like to think they feel that, by and large, Stillpoint still embodies the dream we had-in spirit and atmosphere certainly, and even in specifics such as having a "messy space" for art, a lending library on healing and spirituality, lots of spaces where you can go to be quiet etc (though we never opened that tea room!) There were nevertheless some ideas seriously entertained in early planning which turned out to be roads we did not take. For example:
--Some of us had thought of becoming an incorporated non-profit, with board, staff etc. In fact, we have become essentially a loose, primarily volunteer network.
-Early on, we often used descriptions like the Stillpoint Center at least implying that we expected to be the-Center of things. We now see ourselves as one place among many where certain kinds of healing things can happen in our community. There's a healthy cooperative feeling and practice vis-a-vis many other fine healing places
-We had thought about going after grant funding to the support program and indeed, at one time, to purchase the property in the first place. As it turned out we chose not to go for grants and I was able to purchase the property with my own funds. I do try to bend over backwards to give participants ownership via implementing their ideas-in fact, our two current major programs, daily meditation and weekly Reiki Clinics-were the ideas of other people, not me. I still worry that my legal ownership of the property might damp down creative participation and dissent. What do you think?
-Some of the early planners and participants were enthusiastic about intensive marketing of Stillpoint. As it now happens, we're pretty close to capacity almost entirely by informal word of mouth.
-We had quite a dialogue on whether or not to have fees or more- or-less expected financial donations. As it happened, one of the most heartening things about Stillpoint is how well we've gotten along without that. When people, through on their own initiative, get to the point of wanting to do something for, or contribute something to, Stillpoint, we talk about it and encourage them to decide as much as possible what their contribution will be. Please note: this is not barter, which would, among other things, negotiate the contribution bare any services were offered. Nor is it tight prioritizing. We were getting lots of nice books when the plumbing wasn't working! In the end, at least 90% of the furnishings, flowers, books, work and ETCETERAS that have built Stillpoint have been spontaneously gifted in this way. Stillpoint is a place that its people built.
All in all today's reality is astonishingly close to the original vision.
We even anticipated many of todays difficulties and challenges. Not all of them, though, including the one that has most concerned me over our history-the inability of some participants to get along smoothly with other participants. There's been some territoriality and some judgmental behavior. But we're learning..
So, this is my sense of Stillpoint's past. I hope you'll want to be part of its future
Return to the Main Table of Contents
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, 87901
Tel (505) 894-1340
For comments and editing suggestions please contact Mary Lou McNatt firstname.lastname@example.org