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Crestone Resident

Interview Conducted by: Nick Chambers and Eli King


David is from Rhode Island. He came to Crestone six months ago. His interest in Crestone originated with his friends who live there and invited him to come. The natural beauty and ‘happening community’ drew David as a resident. Since living in Crestone, he has become involved with Shu Mei, which is a recently developed outgrowth of Japanese Shinto. What fallows is a rough transcription of an interview with David and his friend Hero. The interview was conducted by Nick Chambers and Eli King.

E: So what brought you guys to Crestone?

D: I think it’s cuz I was invited by close friends of mine ad ah I wasn’t sure I was gunna move hear but as soon as I got here and saw how beautiful it was I decided to stay

E: Awesome

D: I mean for a tiny town at the end of the road it’s got a lot going on

N: were any of your fiends directly involved with any spiritual community when you got here

D: Not at all, no, they’re more like alcoholics um as far as that goes I’m more…less the norm ha-ha as far as my fried goes. I don’t know I think that people in Crestone are having an intense existence in one way or another

E: What is your spiritual background were you raised with any religious tradition at all?

D: Unitarian Universalist ah which is also sort of a nature based religion of sorts it’s also a new religion, un ah western I don’t think it’s more than 200 years old so there’s lot’s of similarities I guess between that and shu mei

E: Where are you from?

D: Rhode Island

E: How long have you been here in Crestone for?

D: About 6 months now

N: Well ah in your Unitarian Universalist was it like Shu Mei or not at all

D: Well there was this like idea of combining religions and there was an idea of respecting all religions and even so far as the combination of faiths so there was that connection that was an opening to other things, it’s like Unitarian Universalist ideas aren’t singular.

N: Ah and well within both the Shu Mei faith ah or spirituality and the Unitarian Universalist what did you see as being sacred in both? Or how did your ideas of sacredness sort of fuse together

D: What I think you guys are about to see is a part of our very core of spiritual beliefs or some of the fundamentals of what believe to be sacred. I feel like in a lot of major religions there’s this idea where to remove the humans from the earth or that the earth is bad or that to fall to the earth, you know what I mean? Kind of concept

E: Or that we’re to control the earth?

D: But the earth is good and it’s not removed from the spirit world

But yeah so I’m an artist

E: So what kind of art do you do?

D: And I’m happy to get involved with the agriculture side too like hero has introduced me to and I want to be able to build my own greenhouse someday and

E: So would you say that you derive your spiritual sense from a connection to the earth as opposed to a separation from the earth?

D: Well yeah I’d definitely say so.

E: And that connection is represented through natural gardening and ah also through your art?

D: Yeah for sure yeah

N: What um what mediums do you work with in art

N: Ah kinetic sculpture I work with like sculpture it’s like multi media combinations of video sound and moving sculpture

Ah smells delicious

E: It does smell delicious

E: So what is special about this place Crestone, why is it this spot where you guys practice?

D: I guess what I hear, there’s one woman that donated this land to spiritual communities and she owned this land and decided to open it up to spiritual communities and organizations to, I guess she basically gave the land away, is that right hero?

H: yeah

D: So the gave parts of the land and ah

H: she’s donating land to future centers to have a new civilization here in Crestone

Which is a great thing

H so we are kind of representatives of Japanese Shinto because Shu Mei was given land here

E: so you guys garden here

D: yeah I’m like volunteering, I’m just starting out I’ve only volunteered a couple of days but ah um you know the days I have it’s been really good I’m really enjoying it. Like I say I want something like this to be a part of my life as I grow old, I cant think of anything better than having a greenhouse some day and having this kind of thing for my family, my community, when one day I move back to Rhode Island

N: was this, was gardening a pert of your life, part of something you wanted to do before you came into shu mei or was it a product of you coming into the shu mei

H: originally I came to know Shu Mei through jo Rei and it was a very special experience for me so through jo rei I wanted to know more about Shu Mei

N: And then the gardening came along?

H: Yeah, jo rei is also for health, to become healthy through sharing jo rei, that healing energy, so food matters for our health. So we don’t ever you chemicals, we don’t even use manure. In Japan some sick people got recovered from some very difficult sickness by natural agriculture vegetable

N: What plants are you growing right now? Is that just broccoli?

H: Ah this is not broccoli this is kale. Yeah this is for chickens

N: do you guys eat the chickens?

H: yes we have chicken, but mainly we get eggs

D: I guess I mean I’ve always had an interest in rei ki, but never really gotten into it, so jo rei seemed like it was kind of logical, I’ve had art before but not really this {gardening} or jo rei, but they were both things I was interested in, and it just seemed to make sense for me because

E: so would you say that you got involved with Shu Mei as a result of coming to Crestone? Or would you say that you came to Crestone to become involved in

D: Well I really came to Crestone because my very good friends invited me here and because I just was impressed by the beauty of the place and you know and I knew there was a lot happening here, I discovered shu mei after I moved here, shu mei wasn’t a reason that I moved here.

E: do you feel that this is a special place to practice Shu Mei? Could you practice Shu Mei somewhere else or do you feel that this site is special in some way?

D: I think it’s very special, I don’t know what do you think hero?

H: yes for us Shu Mei this area is one of three sacred areas. Two are in Japan and one is here in Crestone

D: the continental divide is very close so a lot of people give spiritual meaning to that, the continental division of the waters is I think maybe less than 100 miles from here 50 miles even, and so a kind of energy divide.

H: this area is very sacred for us because we can interfaith activity and here is recognized as a sacred area

E: and so it’s special also because so many different cultures, so many different religions are able to come together

H: yeah to be one community

E: to come together. And the garden helps with that too because you guys share with he community also right?

H: yeah, we provide food to those who need food, and in this area it’s high so it’s not so easy to grow food, but we are making compost

D: yeah it’s a great challenge

H: so you guys here are all classmates

E: yeah we’re all here in the same class trying to talk to people about how the drilling would affect your spiritual community

H: so you’re all from Colorado Springs

N: yeah we go to school there

H; and people from Colorado Springs know about this drilling?

E: oh yeah and we’re trying to spread awareness, to tell more people and about this and hopefully change the way this happens

H: so you guys are concerned about the drilling too