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Vision Cafe April 2007

Vision Quests: A Life Changing New Trend

While stress is on the rise, vision quests are quickly becoming the new retreat for high level executives, health practitioners, computer analysts, artists, stay at home moms and everyone in between. According to Catriona MacGregor, vision quest leader, life coach and author of Healing the Heart of the World, going out in nature to "find oneself" benefits people from all walks of life. Quest participants report benefits like stress reduction and time to focus on goals and meaning in their lives.

"Quietly communing with nature can bring tremendous inner balance and a greater appreciation for nature and oneself," says MacGregor. "Quests build the strengths of an individual, helping them to identify and overcome limiting beliefs, while bringing greater insight about their life path." Quests into nature remedy a growing societal problem recently termed "nature-deficit syndrome" by author of Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv. His book covers research that links disconnection from nature with rising human health issues such as stress, unhappiness, lack of creativity, attention deficit syndrome, and obesity. A quest of any kind is a heroic journey. "It is a right of passage that encourages you to live life more courageously and genuinely," says Denise Linn, international quest leader and author of Quest: A Guide for Creating Your Own Vision Quest.

All quests consist of pre-quest training and preparation, followed by at least three days and nights alone in nature under a leader's guidance. MacGregor offers pre-planned group quests and also can create individual or group quest retreats. Quests are offered throughout the year, including a spring and fall quest in northern California. MacGregor offers a 28-day free pre-quest clearing program for all participants. For more information on vision quests, nature-based life coaching or to purchase Healing the Heart of the World, go to www.naturalpathfinder.com or call 877/399-6341.

The Philosophical Library and Bookstore

Tucked away in Escondido, CA, is one of North County San Diego's oldest metaphysical institutions—The Philosophical Library and Bookstore. Established in 1964, by its founder Stuart Otto, its basic mission was the collection and preservation of texts and criticisms of all religions known to man.

Today the Library is experiencing a renaissance and its mission has evolved into aiding in the spiritual growth and enlightenment for those on the inner path. "There's something here for everyone, whether it's Buddhist teachings, channeling, astrology, political discussion, or just fellowship with others of like-spirit," said astrologer Ed Kohout, one of the directors. "This is a unique non-profit institution here in San Diego, and we're very aware of the cultural value it holds for this part of Southern California."

"Our title is a bit deceiving, as 95 percent of the book collection is not about Greek philosophy," Kohout said with a laugh. "In reality, we are a center for spiritual growth with a giant collection of books on religion, metaphysics, and new-age thought. We are an alternative resource center for those who seek something beyond mainstream religion and thinking. We host spirit circles, and have non-duality teach-ins, a women's empowerment group, and we even have a 9/11 truth group that meets once a month. Every Friday evening at 5:30 we host an unmoderated discussion on self-awareness called åFriday Evening Dialogue,π" Kohout continued. "This is a great way to connect with the local spiritual community."

The history of the Library has been colorful. Otto, a non-denominational Christian minister, had collected a vast personal library, and he was urged to make it available to the general public. Before long, all kinds of subjects found their way into the collection—as membership grew, so did the Library's scope and energy. In 2006 the Library moved to a larger location on East Valley Parkway, and can accommodate its growing roster of activities as well as two healing practitioners located in-house.

"We have books that local public libraries do not, and teachings you might not find elsewhere," said Kohout. "Annual memberships are only $25, and that allows you to check out books and videos from our collection. We also have a gift shop and bookstore, and we now have a public Internet connection to aid in research. Everyone is welcome."

The Library is located at 2091 East Valley Parkway, Suite D, in Escondido. General hours are 1-5 pm Tuesday through Friday and 12-4 pm on Saturday. For details of events, check www.philosophicallibrary.org or call 760/745-2724.

First Annual Conscious Living Fair Where Science and Spirituality Meet

Welcome to the first annual Conscious Living Fair. This fair will be a joyful gathering of people committed to healthy living, personal growth, natural healing, spiritual awareness and living in harmony with nature. Come visit 180 exhibitors, offering the latest products and services and take part in many interactive activities. Attend presentations with dynamic speakers and stimulating workshops. From Barbara Marx Hubbard's "Hopeful Vision for the Future" to walking a l36 foot labyrinth or the healing benefits of hula hooping, there is something for everyone. In honor of Earth Day there is a special Living in Harmony with the Earth area with speakers on global warming, biodiesel fuel, and ways people can help the environment with green and sustainable products and eco-exhibits.

Lisa Swan, owner of Design Forward in Pasadena, will be constructing a straw bale wall outdoors in the plaza area. Come see how these walls are constructed and ask questions. Straw bales are one of the leading products in the green building movement. Most homeowners find a 40-60 percent reduction in energy costs with this natural and simple construction method. Straw bale walls are breathable, which creates a non-toxic environment. Plus, they have shown no evidence of termite infestation.

And don't miss Francine Prowse, who will speak on Cleve Baxter's book, Primary Perception, which she edited. She'll discuss his experiments on bio-communication between plants and people. Noah Levine, a well known Buddhist teacher, author and therapist, is also one of the featured keynote speakers. His best-selling autobiography Dharma Punx is the story of an angry young man who rebelled against society. Today, Noah uses positive ways to channel his energy and leads meditation retreats across the country.

Producer Warren Cook has been presenting major events for more than thirty years, including the first Santa Monica Arts Festival, as well as successful art shows all over California. He is bringing his experience and enthusiasm to this great weekend event with featured lectures, workshops and panels—which will follow the theme of "Where Spirituality and Science Meet."

The Conscious Living Fair is committed to spirituality, healthy living, personal development, alternative medicine, and having a great weekend meeting new people.
April 21-22 at the Pasadena Convention Center. Visit www.consciouslivingfair.com for more information. With a great price of $10 there is no reason not to go!