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Vicky Hess

Dharma Ocean Foundation

Interview Conducted by: Adriane Ohanesian

Vicky Hess has lived in Crestone for five years. Originally from Illinois, she came to Colorado to attend the Air Force academy in Colorado Springs, although she only lasted one year before deciding that it was not for her. After completing her masters in business, she moved to San Diego California with her husband. Both Vicky and her husband were wrapped up in the business world, but desired to move to a mountainous area. They looked all over until they found Crestone. However, she states that: “The reason we moved here was not what most people would move here for, which is the spiritual centers, I moved here because of the mountains. But there was a pull of the mountains to bring me here, and it just so happened that I entered into the spiritual programs after the fact.” Vicky believes that most individuals that come to Crestone are interested in the religious community: “I think most people come here from a spiritual perspective, I mean I say that I didn’t come here from a spiritual perspective but obviously I did, in some respects, maybe not for the spiritual centers, but for the spirituality of the mountains.” After living in Crestone for a couple of years Vicky attended a meditation program whose leader Reggie, founded the Dharma Ocean Foundation. (www.dharmaocean.org) Dharma Ocean is a non-profit education center, which follows the teachings of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in the Buddhist Tibetan Tradition. The center offers programs, seminars, and meditation retreats, and has other centers located in Canada, Europe, South America, and Asia.

For Vicky the environment is everything. Her concerns about the natural gas drilling revolve mainly around the environmental impacts on the earth, water, and air. She believes that: “From a spiritual perspective, to me it would be more from a visual perspective of what it [drilling] would do to the landscape of the area, what would the area look like as a result of the oil drills being out there.” Although Vicky does not see the test sites as a main problem, but begins to worry if Lexam really does strike. The best possibility that she sees for the community it to make sure that Lexam follows the law to the letter, doe not use toxic materials, and hope that they don’t find anything significant. Vicky does not blame lexam, because, as she sees it, they have a right to the ownership of the minerals. On the other hand she also believes that as citizens one has the responsibility to try to stop them. It’s difficult for her to assess the situation, and she states that she may never know until in the situation arises as to who will leave and who will stay, although she believes that the environmental harm may be enough to make her leave the area.