By Jace Bandalin
Once I’ve made my way across the winding backroads of Saint Helena, through the twisting forest trees and past the shops on Main Street, I park my car in the lot, having arrived at the gorgeous site that is White Sulphur Springs. This is the same place where I completed my Hoffman Process more than 11 years ago. It is the same place that I have been blessed with employment for the last decade.
Its natural beauty can’t be overstated, from the towering redwoods up the hill to the trickling sulphur stream with that unmistakable aroma – some things never change. Some days I remind myself to pause and really take in the splendor of the space around me. It’s easy to grow accustomed to my surroundings, no matter how radiant. The gentle reminders to acknowledge that ambient beauty can be nourishing.
White Sulphur Springs – A Love Letter
However, within the beauty that is White Sulphur Springs, one very important component has been missing. There is one thing that is more than ambience, more than the natural splendor of trees and stream – that one thing is you.
For years, this site has been abuzz with the influx of students and the outflow of graduates – a heartbeat that breathes in and breathes out. Always an incredible blend of moments of silence and uproarious sounds of a near ludicrous variety, its inconsistency has always been so delightfully consistent.
The Splendor of Place
While the silver lining of the last four months has led to extra time for the staff to fix various areas around the grounds (beautification and repairs that have held lighter priority when stacked against the courses and students’ needs), it just isn’t the same as when the magic of the Process is in full swing. The classroom remains quiet, the dining room unoccupied, the gong un-gonged.
With a course engaged on site, while the teachers work with the students, the role we the staff hold is to remain in the wings, waiting to assist. The energy that comes from the effort and care that each student puts into their Process radiates out and spreads a blanket of love and joy by the end of the week, which is nothing short of miraculous.
Ripple Effect of Positivity
We love supporting your work, we love the joy it brings, and we love the joy that extends past the person and into their community. That ripple effect of positivity makes the world a better place. But part of making the world a better place is also recognizing how to do our work safely for ourselves and the people around us.
For now, we’re taking things slowly. We’re keeping the lights on and continuing to make this place the best it can be. When you get here, whether for the first time or hundredth time, you can also enjoy the beauty of White Sulphur Springs, and that gong will chime again. Until then, stay safe, and know that you are loved and missed.
10/05/20 at 7:21 AM
My heart is heavy today with the physical loss of the buildings we all had life-changing experiences in. We have an abusive relationship with fire in this country—100 years of suppression of an element that has been a part of healthy ecosystems continues to make small fires very dangerous and widespread. There may be a message for all of us as we awaken to this reality.
None of this diminishes the spiritual power of WSS where each of us claimed our lives on the right road. None of this alleviates the loss and the pain from the destruction . . .
And, so we must rebuild—Hoffman changed my life irrevocably—and, so when the time is right, I know we will each do our part to rebuild. I am in for helping rebuild so we can continue this lasting change for the world. #Hoffmanstrong!!
09/28/20 at 5:19 PM
Jace, drawn to your words now more than ever. thank you for seeing this place, and caring for it with such love. we will miss it but fire cannot take away the light we found inside. xo Lorraine
09/28/20 at 4:44 PM
With all the sadness, hurt, love and prayers that today’s news brought _/!\_ what a delight it is to read your Love Letter dear Jace. As has been written : ‘The Fenix will rise’, but for now the pain of loss of that beautiful, magical and healing site and just trying to imagine what all of you are going though is hearthbreaking. Thank God no one got physically hurt and that we have tears that can roll freely and take away a bit of the sorrow and grief with them. I’m sending, from the bottom of my heart, my share of Love, Light, Courage, and Resilience so little by little the support that you and the whole US team need to rise even more beautiful, healing and strong will replace the pain and flourish again just like WSS. Love You All <3
08/10/20 at 7:55 PM
I can’t believe a year has passed since I had the privilege of visiting the HP US style. I loved my time with you all so much and send my love and wishes for Processes to be up and running as soon as safe to. Bless you all at WSS, Annie (HP Australia)
08/10/20 at 2:35 PM
So beautiful. Thank you for transporting me back in my imagination to the magic of WSS.
08/10/20 at 2:18 PM
That’s awesome Cathy thank you, I’m brought back to my Process every so often here as well, brings a big smile to my face reflecting back on it and knowing others are drawing on those memories too.
08/10/20 at 1:26 PM
Thank you Jace for all you do, in the wings, to support the Process! Your Love Letter left me with a smile, a tug at my heart strings, a tear, a deep breath and a welcomed knowing that the “Lights are still on” not only at White Sulphur Springs but across the world in the hearts of every Process Graduate. With Love & Light ~ Peggy
08/10/20 at 2:12 PM
Thanks for the kind words Peggy, we’re all in this together.
08/10/20 at 8:55 AM
Thank you for reminding me about the magic that happened for me there in 1998!
08/10/20 at 2:13 PM
08/10/20 at 8:31 AM
The imagery in your writing makes White Sulphur Springs come alive. I can smell the Spring. I can hear the Gong. I can taste the meals. I can see the sunrise from the hiking trail above. I can feel the Spirit.
08/10/20 at 2:14 PM
Thank you Debbie, grateful to have you here sharing the spirit of the site.
08/10/20 at 8:15 AM
What a beautiful love letter Jace, thank you for writing it. Your words have me missing what I still call my “happy place” because on those grounds I first met and welcomed my true self. While I haven’t been there for a while, I take comfort knowing it’s there in all its beauty, waiting to welcome people who are ready to meet and love themselves like never before.
08/10/20 at 2:15 PM
Hey thanks Ellie! It’s still a happy place, but it’ll be a whole lot happier when you and other graduates and students are back again!
Cathy Gast Feroe
08/10/20 at 7:16 AM
Lovely heart-felt letter. Brought me back to my 12/2005 Process with so many emotions, memories and changes.
Hoping you can re-open with Covid protocol that works well for all. Sure seems doable. My best to you and all at Hoffman.