Upon discovering a special place called Hidden Villa, I became enthralled by the opportunity to live on a farm and help children connect with nature. I realized this was the job I had been preparing myself for without even knowing it: an internship experience representing a unique integration of the mind, body, and soul through work and recreation.
Imagine a long, narrow valley surrounded by lush tree-covered mountains glowing under a cloud-studded sky. Lichen and mosses ensure the air is crisp and pristine, as fragrant smells swim through the atmosphere, invigorating the lungs and spirit. Waterfalls gliding down the mountains soothe the mind under a canopy of green hues. Birds are chirping, frogs croaking, and in the distance the sounds of sheep ring through the valley.
As an intern at Hidden Villa, days are spent outside in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains guiding children around the farm and wilderness preserve, fostering their connection to the natural world. For many children, Hidden Villa becomes their first exposure to a farm: eating food grown directly from the gardens, appreciating worms for their wonderful work of making dirt, or, perhaps, seeing and touching a pig, chicken, sheep, cow, or goat—something only previously seen in storybooks or on television, yet such an integral part of our lives. We hike the trails of a mossy enchanted forest, exploring and sharing its awe and wonder.
Experiencing nature with children as they foster connections with their roots is an amazing journey. Today, many children are being raised with no concept of the interconnectedness and balance of all living things.
Our intricate relationship with and reliance on the earth's energies for survival and happiness have become something we buy in a box on a shelf in a building. We cannot endure this disconnection and expect our children to clean up the environmental and social destruction that has been created.
Healing begins now—by the way we live each day and by the way we teach our children that we are interconnected with all life that surrounds us.
Working at Hidden Villa has been far more than a job—it has been a remarkable adventure of life. Challenges, truths, and realizations have been crucial contributors along this pathway for me. Existing in a new environment, developing new relationships with people and animals, and opening up to the myriad of possibilities has invigorated my soul. Living a lifestyle that offers a connection to the earth while devoting energy to an enjoyable job and meaningful purpose have helped me evolve toward the person I want to be. And the journey has just begun!
This experience has unlocked many doors of opportunity and many more positive situations to discover, learn, share, play, live, and evolve. As the Great Willy Wonka would say:
If you want to view paradise,
Fortunately, we have the ability to make conscious decisions influencing our growth, discovery, and purpose. Where we position ourselves on this earth and the energies with which we come into contact create the scenes of our lives. Choosing a pathway that positively impacts the environment and human conscience is a dream of interdependence. Each of us can live our dreams by creating our own realities. What are yours?
Article contributed by Cori Stennett (she's on the boulder below!)
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