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02/05/2010

I am Seva, hear me roar! Raw vegan adventures at the Tree of Life  »

Today I awoke to a gorgeous sunrise over the desert mountain range of Patagonia, Ariz. The wispy clouds swirling around the peaks in the distance reminded me of the geography of my previous hometown, San Francisco. Besides that, the red rock and cactus-infused landscape here at Tree of Life, which is nestled in the midst of highly spiritual nexus of several energy meridians, is a totally new environment for me. But with each day, this oasis feels more like home.
It is my fourth day here at Tree of Life, or as many folks here affectionately call it, “the Tree.” I was brought in to be the Tree’s newest Seva, which is “a deeply intense spiritual journey of commitment, intimacy and transformation.” Being a Seva provides an opportunity for those with spiritual perseverance (or, netzakh in Hebrew, a language spoken in the Essene Kabbalistic Jewish tradition that, along with the American Lakota tradition and the Nityananda Yoga traditions, underpins the spiritual foundation of the community here) to do an individualized work-trade that harmoniously links their particular gifts and the needs of Tree of Life community. 

Besides paying for my flight from SFO and transportation from the Tucson airport, situated an hour and a half from the Tree’s location in Patagonia, and a small fee to live in the staff dorms, every other aspect of living here is included in the work-trade arrangement. This includes yoga classes, meditation and chanting sessions, Inipi (sweat lodges), access to hot tubs, a sauna, personal growth workshops, music and dance programming, incredibly delicious, mostly local and all-organic vegan live food cuisine, and most importantly, the invaluable chance to immerse myself in a unique, spiritual, raw vegan community. All of this is in exchange for my commitment to help Tree of Life to innovate and expand its online media presence to spread the organization’s beautiful teachings of peace, spiritual living and live food veganism to heal the planet.

From just a few short days here, I can already see how much this place changes lives. The day after I arrived, I attended a women-only Inipi, which involved howling and crying and singing and sending out prayers for women in our lives and all women everywhere in a steam-filled, womb-like cavern under the guidance of the fabulous, highly-respected live foodist, dance, spiritual and energy healer Parashakti. Afterward, as we 15 or so women toweled off while sipping organic green juice and grapefruit juice in a warm teepee, people shared the most beautiful words of gratitude for the experience. I felt myself getting wet around the eyes, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just leftover steam!

Thanks for reading! I’ll keep try to keep Vegansaurus updated with my raw vegan Tree of Life adventures, including copious pictures of the amazing things the live vegan café prepares.

This is the latest post by Vegansaurus raw correspondent Sarah E. Brown. Thanks, Sarah!

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