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What Happened to
Stewart Springs? Cont'd

Continuation of 11-part sussing of how the springs came to be in its current sorry state and how it might be redeemed through intentional focus of enough fans.

(Analysis starts here)

Part 7

Dead man walking;

Making the Springs unbareable

There's another issue that complicated operations in the recent past, one which residual energies no doubt continue to affect the present.

 

As mentioned, Rowena's late co-managing husband, Ted Duncan, had been diagnosed with late-stage liver disease. What many maybe didn't realize is that the diagnosis was made around the very same time the couple secured their 10-year contract back in 2006.

 

Aside from the owners' former profit-maxing mandate and their own conventional lifestyle druthers -- often at jarring odds with the cooperative, semi-bohemian, down-home tradition of the place -- with both he and senior-managing wife dealing with critical health issues (she herself underwent an hysterectomy), an already sad situation was exacerbated. It seemed impossible to run the place with dedicated focus and lighthearted spirit, essential to any genuine healing spa worth its salt, with death knocking at the door of management.

image.jpg

In a way, the place became his own semi-private hospice; the couple merely suffered having to share it with the public.

 

Naturally, one couldn't be on the ball and at ease, helping others relax and keep the staff mellow, with such grave calamities unfolding.  

And facilitating spa-ing nude --  that free-spirited practice perhaps epitomizing a full-tilt embrace of life's simple goodness, patrons taking simple delight in a mini-vacation from an overdressed world while amping up the palliative benefits of the healing waters -- wasn't something anyone freaking out over a looming medical death sentence could get too excited about. 

It's a pity that former 'owner' John Foggy didn't realize they perhaps weren't the best managerial fit, given the circumstances. (Another person, a local named Marcus, had either applied or almost applied for the position; counterculturally attuned, his managership would have undoubtedly changed the entire trajectory of the place.)

 

But possibly the dire condition wasn't yet diagnosed at their hiring, or was kept secret after diagnosis, whether made before or after hiring, for fear of losing or not gaining the position if known to him. (Though some will say there are no mistakes and it was all perfect, others might say it was perfectly awful.)

In any event, one might've been left wondering why they didn't claim medical hardship at some point and get out of the ten-year contract so he could enjoy his remaining time without needless aggravation of running what at times was an incredibly demanding operation, even in the best of health, and the legal steward find healthier (and, ideally, more progressive-minded) management to helm operations. 

Maybe Ted was hopeful that frequent soaking in the waters would, more than slow the inevitable (as it surely must have), instead effect a full recovery that conventional pill and procedure medicine couldn't. But at least keep the inevitable at bay. So he clung to the co-manager position like his life depended on it, as probably it did. Maybe he hoped to die working in the saddle, if only to cover the soaring health insurance premiums and leave his partner better provided for. Again, one wonders if he had only secured the position once getting the terminal prognosis and having 24-hour access to healing waters became the main motivation for applying, one fully eclipsing any modest joint salaries or free on-grounds lodging in the Cottage the position might provide.

(see review posted by Ted -- signed T.D. -- for Springs, second one down, wherein he posed as a visitor to enable posting a personal testimony of the healing waters)

Project Cover-up:

Let's make the

place unbareable

Affecting shock over a supposed deck incident of some old man jacking off on the deck, the former manager likely reported to the prospective new 'owners' how the place was becoming a hotbed of moral degradation she was hard-pressed to get a handle on despite her most valiant efforts: "We've got Trouble! I say right here in River City! With a capital 'T', that rhymes with 'B', that stands for Bare!"

It was surely hurting business, repelling droves of more respectable, family-value visitors -- that is, better-heeled, more refined, properly body-alienated, conventional-thinking travelers and vacationers, some international; those seeking charming, quaint rural resorts; clothes-minded dabblers of therapeutic mineral springs and various new age disciplines; undiscriminating, free spending culture vultures in general...

...deeper-pocketed visitors who -- while no doubt loving the grounds and maybe thrilling to the prospect of indulging in the time-honored, royal, decadent delight of "taking the waters" -- had precious little understanding or appreciation of how any real, down-to-earth springs resort worth its salt (or silica), is dedicated to deep cleansing and purification and rejuvenation and realizes needless body covering can interfere with optimal relaxation, enjoyment and palliative benefit...and so clothing was optional; simple mindful nudity permitted in appropriate places in and around the bathhouse.

Cultural differences of certain foreign visitors aside, even some state-siders, both local and traveling, were put off by such radical body freedom, with its obvious potential power to distract, arouse, and/or disgust. Plus confuse kids' false-modesty societal programming, making dutifully conformist parents uncomfortable. Alas, it was often understandable, given the way the c/o scene had been essentially left in free-fall; no mindful guardrails were in place. The policy, inherited from past managerships under the same absentee 'owner', went unsupported by the bohemian-indifferent husband-wife team, leaving the scene wide open for abusive, lower-consciousness behavior to crop in amid the daily visitor mix. 

 

(For an egregious, mind-boggling example, see Famous Last Words - scroll to item heading of "......" in third article)

But how far did one go to accommodate what many were convinced was, in fact, an over-influential minority, at the expense of the large fan base that deeply valued the open-minded Euro style option -- or was at least okay with it, given people behaved?

Again, one might've cynically viewed the oppressive change as reflecting the determination of both old and new managements to purge the place of bohemian-leaning visitors, so offensive to the wrathful-God morality mindset and discomforting to those leading conventional, body alienated lives.

 

Many were dismissed, stereotyped, even vilified, simply as a few low-spending, wild hippies, mostly locals at that, hurting business by scaring off your respectable, deeper-pocketed, perma-dressed visitors, unable or unwilling to cope with seeing the essential human form in everyday life...and being painfully reminded of their own numbly accepted body schizophrenia...visitors who, like contented spies, were happy to stay undercover, thank you very much -- and wished to hell everyone else would, too.

Fifty years ago that might've indeed been the case. No more. With each passing year, alternative culture lifestyle values become more and more ingrained in the life-affirming segment of global mainstream culture.

Over time, its sometimes radical body freedom --  along with yoga, conscious plant-based diet, cannabis and magic mushrooms, transcendental meditation, recycling and pre-cycling, clean energy, tiny homes, and appropriate lifestyle and livelihood --  has spread far past the mere 'lunatic fringe' of mainstream awareness.

 

Those enthused by such things, or open to exploring them, often came to constitute the predominant patronage of the Springs. Its growing numbers allowed the place to become the thriving success it was, treasured as a nominally bohemian healing and rejuvenating refuge well-ensconced in nature, yet easy to reach for being only a few miles off Interstate 5.

^ Grand freebody anti-war protest statement at San Francisco's Ocean Beach, 2003

Could the current occupiers possibly have enough money and so little social conscience that they could keep floating the place's expenses without being dependent on the operation's former

 

< Ashland, Oregon, 2003, impending Iraq war protest in Lithia Park 

 

reportedly quarter-million/year net --  sum largely garnered from the former loyal repeat visitor base?

 

Could the new absentee stewardship really be so obtuse that they can actually enjoy 'owning' the realm that they effectively stole from the public? Are they convinced they're actually helping make the world a better place, saving the springs from the heathen rabble so that more respectable patrons can enjoy it, while essentially kidnapping it just to champion their own pet psychology shtick and offer classes for uplifting consciousness? One wonders.

 

Endall Beall, in his 2015 book, Revamping Psychology: A Critical Review of Transpersonal Psychology, minced no words of his opinion of the field of psychology in general (and transpersonal psychology In particular):

"Humanity stands on the threshold of a major potential change in its consciousness at this point in our evolution, and not a one of our specialists in the mind sciences has a remote clue about what is happening."  (This perhaps goes too far, damning the entire profession, but he made a point.)

 

Part 8

Gone with the wind?

Banning simple nudity, along with emptying the altar inside the spring-source gazebo and ending both the time-honored sacred sweatlodge and bathhouse spa service, might, again, prove to be a series of fatal, self-defeating missteps. Ones generating such a sea of ill will and bad karma that, given time, might well doom whatever re-purposing plans might be afoot from ever succeeding: they have the seeds of their own self-destruction baked within.

 

They possibly wondered (or not) why, right after the c/o ban took affect, visitor volume fell off the cliff. Overnight, the place's former thriving locals day became a desolate ghost town. With the sweatlodge removal and word of other astonishingly misguided actions like tearing out the tubs, circling the globe, visitorship continued nosediving, leaving the grounds an empty husk of its former vibrant operation.

Obviously it was no great mystery. For with unfolding their inappropriate plans, suddenly disenfranchised were a sea of the place's long-supporting devotees -- open-minded visitors, of diverse lifestyles and income levels, a thoroughly varied sub-group, one making a shambles of the stereotype it was low-spending, wild locals with a kinky penchant for running about nekkid that were ruining the place for the more respectable and deeper-pocketed...the properly body-alienated, so duly resigned to prisons of cloth they had no desire to ever get free from them save in private. Not even on a gloriously warm day, beguiled by a peaceful secluded setting which  practically begged one to become one with the elements.

They were, in fact, a rich variety of visitors. Ones for whom the option of experiencing the exhilarating freedom and enhanced comfort simple mindful nudity afforded in the course of spa purification fostered a more holistic way of living.

People from all walks of life. Some of whom, instead  of doing the spa, came together in the next door sacred sweat lodge to cleanse and heal and grok the spiritual essence of America's prehistoric roots, often gaining a profound new spiritual awareness and sense of groundedness with mother earth.

Obviously, more and more have been awakening to an all-inclusive, diverse-lifestyle mingling as the consciousness of the planet keeps rising to dramatic new levels, one in which people find common ground and come together to enjoy it, getting liberated from the repressive mintset of the old, super controlling world.

Meanwhile, those yet awakened and bent on garnering ever greater material riches while flirting with doing a few ostensible good works -- perhaps as if to try filling the gaping spiritual void in their lives -- seemed intent on making life on earth as miserable as possible for the rest...those refusing to  any longer be part of a soul-less culture of mindless mass consumption, oppressive control and seemingly asleep-at-the-wheel existence.

Can the present absentee stewards be so determined --  and deep-pocketed -- to weather the total loss of public support? And be so indifferent they don't care how much they've devastated the global culture of mineral spa fans in the course of unfolding their ill-suited diversion of the place -- one that for seven generations was, in varying degree, according to the latest steward's intent and awareness, dedicated to purifying, healing and rejuvenating a greater humanity?

Peace on earth -

what a concept

What such private-minded catering is blind to is the age-old vision many of the realm's fans hold dear:

 

< Longtime spontaneous spring gazebo altar,

now sterile and forlorn 

mankind is intent on learning to live in closer harmony with nature. Such age-old envisioning, now perhaps closer than ever to actually manifesting (perhaps not) naturally holds that providing appropriate rural places

like Stewart's -- at which to purify, heal and experience physical freedom, plus discover and honor spiritual medicine of First Nations people -- are CRUCIAL to hastening the  global transformation that the current 'absentee stewardship claims to ostensibly be all for.

 

As said, neither the former 'owner' nor at least some of the managers ever seemed to resonate with the time-honored regimen of authentic healing mineral spring resorts...places that allowed people the option of enjoying appropriate freedom from cloth to better relax, purify and heal...though Foggy finally did permit it during last 16 years (and no doubt weathered tiresome jabs about running some kind of weird hippie nudist camp), if only because it proved great for business.

Many now estranged fans hold that whether one has bucks or not or is or isn't into any organized thing isn't important, that spirit is a free gift from the Creative Force. Forever trying to commodify it has inevitably always led to things like Jesus driving the money lenders from the temple.

What's important in nurturing any place having a full-tilt dedication to healing, one that fosters an awakening of body-mind-spirit -- like Stewart's was (again, the last time full throttle in the 1970's under the Goodpastures) -- is never obsessing over the  bottom line or even thinking of repurposing the place, both detrimental to its simple, forthright public-service mission.

Spiritual and material prosperity alike naturally thrive when doing the right thing and putting the horse in FRONT of the cart. 

And because the last managers, again, were, beyond not being very counterculture friendly, seriously side-tracked by personal life-threatening health issues on top of ceaseless pressure to maximize profits, Stewart's c/o scene, six years in at their start -- often didn't provide (short of the times when the place spilled over with conscious energies on the wings of Burning Man or a regional rainbow gathering, or a high-energy retreat group's stay) more than the faintest semblance of integrity and relaxed and safe atmosphere. One mindfully, low-keyly nurtured by management at every other popular, long-established rural c/o springs in the wider region.

Instead, former managers coasted, gritting their teeth, and suffered the place's modest body freedom so shockingly outlandish... (Along with, eventually, the sweatlodge. Writer remembers around 2001 the old manager, Mary H., saying Foggy told her he sometimes would've liked to have seen it gone.)

 

So they let the c/o scene erode through lackluster, reactionary ("No yoga in sauna" door sign), at times outright asleep-at-the-wheel operation.

Such a quaint

charming resort!

Since lodging bookings could sometimes bring in more money than the spa's limited water supply and bathhouse hours allowed, the place was touted more as charming resort nestled in nature than the unassuming sacred healing spa with lodging to support longer healing which it started as...beyond paying hollow lip service in blurbs, that is, like "Indulge your Soul." As a result, increasingly attracted were overnight visitors with little to no appreciation of the place's deeper historic (and prehistoric) focus on purifying and healing self -- eventually including, so obvious now, the latest 'ownership'. Any such appreciation took a back seat to their intent -- 'owner's' prerogative -- to pursue any decidedly un-public-minded use of the grounds they might choose.

 

Let's commodify everything

A healthful spa experience -- again, the original reason for the operation launching ages ago -- was in time relegated to being more of a mere extra feature, a quaint novelty, a purely optional, decadent indulgence. With visitors no better attuned to the purification process, soaking often became little more than a superficial flirtation with purifying and healing. Sometimes soakers on Instagram paused to snap a pix to envious friends stuck at home and say how they'd ventured into the wilds and were at that very moment "taking the waters" ala European royalty of olde.

This was the bottom line for 'owner' John Foggy, who, saving virtue, was from liberal-minded San Francisco and became okay with simple nudity on realizing it was good for business (and possibly sensing he was earning points among patrons for being so alternative-culture tolerant).

 

One didn't mess with success if wanting to keep in good graces with the boss. So the indifferent-to-hostile management endured the c/o situation even while dreaming of one day ending the scourge ruining the enjoyment of the place for respectable perma-dressed people.

Part 9

Trying to co-opt sacred

land for gain or private use always ends badly

 

If the new, nowhere to be seen stewards wanted the place to evolve and thrive as an exceptional, all-inclusive, culturally diverse and spiritually-focused healing resort, it behooved them to become sensitive to the place's visitor base and appreciate how deeply it had embraced the progressive c/o policy and the bathhouse soaks, the old gazebo's love-offering altar, and the venerable weekly sweat lodge ceremonies.

 

They ignored this at their peril...and are now reaping the thorn-choked harvest.

Big duh elephant

in the room

Mountains of business goodwill built over generations was destroyed wholesale along with the place's much valued, relaxed bohemian atmosphere.

 

All because they didn't get the big Duh. Or, more likely, did but found it a big yawn, being so preoccupied with their own private-minded re-purposing schemes that nothing else mattered.

Such thinking was indifferent (or outright hostile) to an obvious fact: those into alternative-culture and open-minded, bohemian-friendly ways are always attracted to natural mineral springs retreats dedicated to natural alternative healing.

Again, the former, aware visitorship was so large and longstanding that disenfranchising them all but guaranteed their misguided, inappropriate efforts would fail in the long run -- from lack of support and condemnation by global spring aficionados and fallout within the ranks (not to mention the increased stress on Gaia, causing them to be rejected from the revered land).

Though only achieved on the way out by her working with incoming new 'owners', the policy change must've provided some measure of satisfaction. "Thought you'd be able to go naked there forever, did you? Think again, my pretties...hee-hee-hee-hee!"

The former management team no doubt fumed for hands being tied to scrap the clothing-optional policy...before the surviving member finally helped it along on transfer, knowing the new 'owners' were dead set against it. Again, it had long been part and parcel of the earlier ambitious progressive management changes made under the late Mary H. (assisted by writer), which at the turn of millennium helped spur visitor volume through the roof.

Meanwhile, the former, dreary, unbridled focus of the money-hungry, power-jonesin', fly-by-seat-of-pants ownership/management seems to be continuing in a lame new variation under the banner of an ostensibly benevolent nonprofit organization locked into a new twist on clinical psychotherapy.

Though maybe not meaning to or, more likely, accepting the consequences of their actions as acceptable, it oppresses what clamors to be a positive light-healing realm, unfettered by ANY profit motivation or private-minded concerns that put private agenda ahead of serving the greater good...

...at the tragic cost of the place losing its ability to heal humanity by working intimately with nature in the relaxed, unassuming way that has proven to be the realm's hallmark of excellence for seven generations.

Universal spirituality outshines dogma-cluttered religion any day of the week -- especially the kind serving to rationalize and mask perhaps less charitable, private-minded goals.

The Springs founders' daughter, Katy Stewart Lloyd, in the late 1940s refused to sell the place to old moneybags Vanderbilt; she knew he'd shut place to public (in his case without even a flimsy veneer of benevolent intent, but wanting to turn the place into an exclusive playground for the rich and famous of his circle). see history

Again, as time invariably proves, trying to co-opt a sacred land to make a buck and/or co-opt for diversionary private use, in the process shutting out everyday people seeking purification, healing, and rejuvenation, will always end badly.

By the new 'ownership' imposing its conservative values and repurposing intent on the place, it obviously lost sight of Stewart's historic dedication to serving the greater good.

As said, the now-abandoned hope of the writer was that, among other things, they'd become aware of mindful nudity's effective ability to amp the place's healing power and visitor volume -- a win-win situation...

...that they would then naturally give the green light again and re-activate clothing-optional on a new, well thought-out and maintained level, perhaps after trading notes with region's successful c/o rural resort managements...establishing a healing climate any open-minded visitor could appreciate and respect and management could be comfortable with and investors would be happy with the healthy returns it generated.

Dream on, McDuff.

 

Tragically, years of what countless now -estranged fans of place felt was an inappropriate profit preoccupation by the former 'owner', having set a rigid focus with management doing his bidding, is now continuing in an even more depressing variation. The nonprofit parent group essentially turned the place upside down and inside out just to serve as its own retreat and bureaucratic world headquarters and teaching workshop for its own private gig in the lucrative shrink field, while hoping to keep luring select lodging group retreat/event traffic to subsidize some of the operational and ownership costs (or maybe only to provide the illusion of still being open to the public on some level).

 

(image) Stature of flood-damaged, one-winged angel long on the creek isle below the bathhouse. A one-winged angel cannot fly. It reflected all too well the state of the place's former profit-driven  management.

Meanwhile, though having lost serious momentum, the place straggles on, still coasting on its historic reputation and knowing it's an 'owners market'. Now it's shut down and dismantled the bathhouse, subverting 145 years of tradition, seemingly having zero interest in any longer offering affordable, quality retreat for spa-savvy, growth-minded beings on life-affirming paths...those who automatically gravitate to nature's special healing realms like flowers to sunshine, whose patronage made the place the thriving success it was.

Past as Present

As stressed, former late co-manager Ted D.'s slowly dying over a ten year period hugely exacerbated the situation, derailing any chance for the operation to be a more gracious, clear-thinking, free-flowing one -- even had the absentee legal steward and the rest of management been open to it, which, by and large, they weren't -- thus weakening the place's longtime altruistic dedication to the point that outside parties --  at best only vaguely sensing it or totally oblivious to it -- became interested in snapping it up for their own private use and the heck with honoring any former tradition or serving the public good.

image_edited.jpg

The former inertia of the place continued to affect the present operation so long as the new operation coasted on the old worn pattern of opaque, control-freak, shallow-courtesy management approach, rather than break out in a can-do cooperative, nonprofit spirit of healing, working hand-in-hand with visitors in the joy of service. One that honored nature's sacred realm. (Writer gives million to one odds the present, absentee stewards could ever make such a dramatic transformation, their hearts miraculously melting, but would love to be proven wrong.) 

Making what grounds improvements past managers did under Foggy, while laudable, could never make up for a lack of heart and sharing spirit. Instead the ceaseless push to increase profits, plus the ongoing medical freak-out and resulting intolerant authoritarian stances to cope with both pressures, made more than a few visitors feel like they were somehow imposing on them even as they forked over their hard-earned money.

After having heard such wonderful things about the place and anticipating a relaxing, healing visit in the tranquil solitude of nature under kind stewardship, such visitors' wistful hopes were often dashed to hell and gone on arrival. Alas, so many fond expectations were so rudely shattered over time, many came to hold nothing but hostile feelings for the place (or at least its management, as various heated bad reviews showed).

What obviously escaped former management's notice -- while preoccupied upgrading the material side of the place in hopes of attracting a more upscale, often mineral-springs-culture indifferent clientele -- is how an on-the-ball, genuinely gracious, can-do management energy or lack thereof would always make or break every even remotely mindful visitor's experience, regardless of the state of amenities beyond basic creature comforts like clean bedding, adequate room heat and plumbing.

Part 10

Back to the Future

or Hooray for the Riff-raff

 

Current and would-be supporters of Pneuma alike will at some point realize the self-defeating karma which foundation members unwittingly created for themselves. "Operation Re-purpose Stewart Springs to Support Our Shtick" will never gain the critical traction needed for the place to ever, even remotely, pay for itself. Maybe they accept this and have pockets deep enough to keep shoveling money down the pit, so it's no matter.  Maybe not.

 

But, more importantly, global condemnation for stealing the place from the people will forever eat away at any positive force they might ever hope to build up there.

 

It will never be privately enjoyed by the absentee 'stewards' and their networks with anything approaching a genuine, abiding peace of mind...

 

...especially if in fact they ARE depending on some impossible dream of an eventual high volume of booked group retreats/events/workshops to make an appreciable dent in the place's ongoing costs and return on their 2.6 million dollar purchase. (As mentioned elsewhere, operation must clear some $77. every day of the year just to cover the county property taxes levied on it as a for-profit operation.)

Finally tiring of hemorrhaging investment capital and/or any possible tax write-off exceeding the point of being worthwhile, they will likely then throw in the towel. At some point they'll concede they were clueless in how to steward the beloved healing spa operation and realize the enormity of their folly for thinking they could ever get away with detouring seven generations of sterling healing tradition just to do their own thing and to hell with the public.

 

They'll perhaps realize they were fatally misled by the example of past absentee 'owners' and management's profit-jonesin' preoccupation...in fantasyland for thinking that shoveling over a pile of lucre entitled them to steal the place away from its myriad fans...its operation now drastically at odds with the former budding, universal, open-circuit energies of the realm, which long if fitfully labored to re-activate the founder's original service mission and peaceful spirit of its prehistoric use.

Seeing the light, they'll then relocate to more suitable headquarters, selling the Springs at a reasonable price to new, appropriate stewards, those who get it in their sleep...thereby at least partly redeeming themselves for having enabled the restoration of the cornucopia of purifying, healing and rejuvenating  mother nature so generously provided for her children's benefit.

With a new management realizing the the importance of making the place a legal nonprofit in order to provide the public an affordable, relaxed healing atmosphere, after restoring the spa they'll re-instate the clothing-optional policy on a new, more mindful level...

 

...and maybe invite the Karuk sweat lodge to return, if they're still so inclined...

...steward(s) who -- after in-depth research, with the help of legal-minded friends of Stewart Springs at large -- will perhaps in time, after hammering out a detailed vision for the place's future operation, file legal paperwork and set up the place in perpetuity as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. One dedicated to the greater public's well-being. (As reportedly Oregon's Jackson Wellsprings did just over a hundred years ago, and as has Harbin Hot Springs.)

Envision such a good-karma future stewardship. Thousands of empowered creator beings -- who we are or are fitfully becoming -- focusing on a common goal with laser intensity CAN manifest such a dramatic change.

Enough of us envisioning a perfect, thriving Springs under enlightened new nonprofit ownership, even now hovering over the current sorrowful scene, ready to descend and hit the ground running, can make it so in due season.

Place in the sun,

mon, to sun me buns

To hammer out a new, viable c/o policy that most fully optimizes visitors' spa benefit, future managers and/or staff of future stewards need only go on a fact-finding tour to various regional c/o spring resorts and experience and witness firsthand their integrated c/o scenes and spa layouts to get inspired to hammer out the most doable policy for Stewart's...
 

...perhaps picking the brains of management to discover how they work to keep the high-octane energies that public nudity can release on the more chill, respectable side; how they balance the c/o policy with concerns of visiting families. Southern Oregon's Jackson Hot Springs, for instance, allows c/o only after nightfall and for adults only, the rest of the time requiring at least minimal cover-up, thereby accommodating both families, everyday mineral spring goers, and freebody enthusiasts who in their daytime visits have resigned selves to the restriction and getting tan lines.

 

In time Stewart then might at long last join the sisterhood of the wider region's progressive mineral spring resorts.*

 

Part 11

Of free spirit

or Old dreams and body freedom die hard

As disastrous actions mounted, shattering all hope of those who wished only good things for the place with the change of stewardship, banning simple nudity in appropriate  areas shocked countless on a profound level  -- as did kicking out the sweatlodge. Both were almost akin to a death in the family. (And the later tearing out the tubs to repurpose the bathhouse was so unspeakable it defied words.)

The new mandatory cover-up policy, in place until shutting scrapping spa service soon after, left this suggestible writer's first view of new, dutifully wrapped bathhouse visitors in late 2016 with the surreally bleak impression that patrons were wearing mourning apparel...as if in bereavement over accustomed body freedom tragically having met a sudden demise. My mind boggled at the sadly unreal paradox.

The cherished, bohemian-friendly healing realm had suddenly become once again imprisoned in false modesty and guilt-based morality.

 

It felt like bourgeois mediocrity was getting its revenge.

 

The place was now held hostage by forces not caring how mandatory clothing and removal of the sacred sweatlodge defeated the deepest purpose and gift of the realm, severely crimping its use as a genuine healing retreat center for benefit of the greater public.

It might as well have been mourning clothes indeed for the way the simple-nudity ban mandated body shame...spelling death to fostering enlightened body acceptance, so crucial to the place's deeper ability to purify, transform and rejuvenate while fostering a sense of authentic self.

Future stewardship will intuitively appreciate how the body can be seen either as either sacred or profane, depending on one's awareness level. Mindfulness of management, would make all the difference: between the sometimes tawdry scene that the Springs at its worst became and one that's respectable, healing and life-transforming.

 

Once again becoming a mindful c/o sanctuary might go a ways towards normalizing the sight of the essential human body and thus help free humanity from itself.

* During the Foggy sisters' management days, around 2006, the management of historic Wilbur Hot Springs, some 200 miles away, reached out to Stewart's with an invitation to join the existing reciprocal free-pass trade arrangement between the management staffs of Wilbur, Orr and Harbin Springs when visiting each other's places. Stewart's, forever feeling like an orphan, couldn't appreciate the significance of an offer to join the sisterhood of regional spring resorts. As far as the writer knew, management never responded.

Can the genie ever be put back in the bottle?

Not with conscious body freedom in appropriate places being accepted and embraced by more and more all the time. (Everyone, after all, is born a natural-born freebody, before social conditioning takes its toll).

 

Only in some impossible alternate universe could the genie be put back in bottle without the Springs losing an incalculable measure of its transformative healing power.

Writer, as said, after long holding out hope of the new stewards eventually coming around, was radicalized at last, joining the groundswell of former Stewart Springs devotees shunning the place, stunned, infuriated and brokenhearted beyond measure over the mindless rejection of the realm's fitful but dominant dedication to affordable natural healing over the last 145 years.

 

Droves of fans now refuse to aid and abet the self-interested forces, hopeful they will in time see the light...meanwhile thinking it inevitable they'll fail in their misguided effort to wrest the place from the public. One hopes they'll be aware and conscious enough that they'll have a grand realty check, and, duly chagrined, they'll come to their senses and work to make amends and find an appropriate stewardship to take over and thus redeem themselves...ultimately gaining an offhand positive legacy in the realm's crazy-quilt history.

Recap on possible intents

Writer is now obviously out of loop and as much in the dark as most everyone else as to the current property holders exact intention (assuming they actually have one and aren't just playing it by ear, as in "Let's try this awhile and see how it flies..."). I can only analyze the situation and report on things as filtered through Pneuma's website, my own intimate knowledge of place's former operation, credible reports of others and, for what it's worth, intuition.
 

Again, the two main contenders of absentee steward's long-range intent are:

1. Privatizing the place for own Pneuma group's exclusive use, general public no longer welcome. Gates slam shut and new signs growl Keep Out. Deep pockets trump any public concern whatsoever.

 

(If true, lotsa luck finding one shred of peace of mind for having enacted such community-insensitive cultural destruction, believing the end justifies the means, creating a veritable Mount Everest of bad karma for alienating legions of place's former supporters around the world.)

2. Keeping it open to the public on group basis only to subsidize costs while shifting focus of place to primarily serve as Pneuma retreat center, classroom and world headquarters, pushing their own shtick with workshops advancing academic/training agenda, leaving little to no room for public enjoyment of what facilities remain after having scrapped spa service; yet dependent, in symbiotic union, on select, legacy-indifferent group bookings to defray 'ownership' and operational costs.

Casting a laser beam on how the de facto hostile takeover has disenfranchised and disrupted the growth-oriented lifestyle of the place's myriad longtime supporters -- and prevented a sea of would-be newcomers from ever turning on to it as it had countless thousands over decades past -- might put a crimp in place's ever taking off in whatever misguided direction it hopes to go.

viva la causa

The second possibility, though depressing enough, maybe holds a bit more encouragement. The operation, again barring some amazing change of heart by the 'owners', is bound to fail in due course.

 

Eventually they'd give up, realizing they'd be worlds happier and more productive somewhere else, no teeming sea of people painting them as villains for stealing the public's treasured retreat handicapping efforts to do good according to their own lights.

They'll take a deep collective sigh, chalk it up to experience and move on, the land (and operation) put back on the market for an (ideally) hand-in-glove benefactor to redeem, along with the re-activated volunteer work-trade and appropriate hired help of the community at large, helping to take the place over the top again, inspired more than ever by the long held vision of making it a nonprofit healing community center and spa retreat dedicated to the greater good.

Assuming this is case, every devotee of place can work on manifesting new appropriate stewardship through meditative visualization of a positive future for Stewart's.

Given enough Springs devotees, it's a matter of concentrating group-focused energy in concert, bending time to manifest the desired change...seeing it as already here, in fine-tuned detail, hovering overhead, ready to descend and activate at the perfect moment.

The place could then at long last join Breitenbush, Orr, Wilbur, Sierra, Jackson Wellsprings and Harbin as another of the few thriving West Coast mineral spring resort sanctuaries, existing light-years away from Babylon's lingering darkness.

Stewart Mineral Springs might then, four decades after the last relatively mellow, down-home owner operation under the Goodpastures in the 1970's (see History), at long last shake off its terminally dysfunctional past.

 

It would make a truly bold new start... one with free-flowing, supergrounded, can-do spirit the place so naturally inspires in conscious management. One making the realm paradise both for locals and the legion of growth-minded, free-thinking travelers worldwide.

The first step, again, is imagining a future stewardship: management, staff and visitors in harmony with the realm,  once again honoring and celebrating the universal spirit of the place and ability of its natural medicine to help purify, heal, and rejuvenate todo el mundo.

Imagine the combined energies of the place's far-flung fans causing the current misguided stewards to receive the giant reality check , do the right thing, and thus ultimately save Stewart Mineral Springs, liberating it for the planet's teaming sea of rural mineral spring resort aficionados and natural healing proponents.

Envision a miracle

Know that this writer's no mover and shaker per se. A catalyst, yes; that has always seemed to be a major role I've played. But basically I'm just a recluse living in the woodlands doggedly holding a shared vision of rescuing the place thousands of others treasure as well, of resurrecting the founding pioneering couple's lost dream...and as much as modern times allow, the spirit of the super-natural healing ground of native cultures before them.

With a limited liking of things high tech, with their clearly profit-motivated focus, I  never felt pulled to cultivate networking skills. I have only this dedicated site that I scramble to keep relevant in our fast-changing times, the kind encouragement of others to tell it like it is, and an abiding conviction -- one shared by so many -- that Stewart Springs is meant to continue playing an important role in world transformation IF enough conscious beings focus energies and INSIST on it.

 

Why? The property legally changed hands during a Mercury retrograde period. According to time-proven astrological influences, on the subtle plane this bodes for potential chaos, confusion, and uncertainty for any new owner of an existing operation IF at the time of legal change energies are un-centered and not in their fullest integrity -- which, according to an insider eyewitness report, they weren't.

 

Not by a long shot.

If the current misguided stewards wake up to the realization that letting go is the best thing they could do for the place that they too love in their own way and transfer it into appropriate hands, then the great medicine wheel of Stewart Mineral Springs might once again turn majestically.

 

Waiting for Godot? Magical thinking? Ghost dancing? Dreaming the impossible dream?

 

It's whatever enough conscious beings want and focus on manifesting.

 

Nothing more, nothing less.

Blessed be!

 

 

  ___________________________________________

When they got together at the grounds restaurant to celebrate sealing the steal -- er, deal -- the vibe reportedly was one of mad scrambling discord according to the person serving them. Perhaps not too unlike corporate raiders after pulling a bold hostile takeover and drunk on the audacity of the act and enormity of the haul, left squabbling over how to divvy up the spoils, oblivious or indifferent to how such misguided privatizing schemes would trigger devastating heartbreak and lifestyle disruption for thousands of longtime Stewart Springs devotees.

This periodic apparent backward-motion influence in the heavens could serve us well indeed.

 

Coupled with the fact it's said the intent vibration at the start of any new enterprise stays with it throughout, the seeds of its ultimate self-destruction are planted at the start if things are not in proper alignment.

Postscript

Mercury retrograde is our friend here

Even though the last 'owner' held the place for 34 years, two of the six previous post-Stewart family stewardships only lasted a short while. Let's put may well be on track to becoming the third without anyone doing anything.    see history

A just universe will in time show the absentee stewards  -- given they've enough higher consciousness -- the folly and selfishness of thinking they could shut a priceless treasure beloved by so many for so long...that nothing meaningful or honorable will ever come from the current diversionary efforts.

Unless they miraculously melt their hearts, gaining the realization they hold a sacred trust to safeguard the Springs for the sake of greater humanity -- rich and poor, sick and well, young and old, gay and straight, bohemian and convention-locked, local and world traveler -- and return the realm to serving as  an open-circuit, progressive-minded, affordable healing spa and rejuvenation retreat...

 

...then they owe it to all - - not least of which themselves -- to redeem their now-frayed integrity and honor and transfer the legal stewardship, at a fair price, to parties that WILL. Relocate to a more appropriate headquarters -- a happier place, free of the world of bad karma they're now entangled in plaguing efforts to do good in their ostensible mission of facilitating people's realization of Greater Self.

Things have a way of working themselves out in time; let's imagine in this case it resolves to becoming a the benefit for all.

Most unfortunate for them; most fortunate for us.

 

Remember that contained within the Chinese character for 'crisis' is the word 'opportunity'. This current long pause gives fans time to re-evaluate what the Springs has meant in their lives and muster resolve efforts to restore its DNA to once again serve the greater good by doing regular visualizations and prayers for the place to be resurrected.  

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