Steve Barkley: Volunteer Profile
I first learned about Spirit Rock when my wife and I were searching for residential, silent retreats over the past few years. We attended our first residential retreat at Spirit Rock in June 2015 and immediately fell in love with the people and the place. We came home energized with renewed intentions to deepen our practice and have since become actively involved with our local Bozeman Montana Vipassana Sangha, which has strong ties to Spirit Rock and streams Spirit Rock teachings on a regular basis. We knew from that first experience that we wanted to support Spirit Rock and maintain a connection to our newly found sangha, even though we live 1,000 miles away.
Not long after we got home from our first retreat, we put our names into the lottery for the Fall Insight 10 day retreat. My wife got in but I didn’t, so I decided to spend those 10 days volunteering while she sat the retreat. My intention was simply to give back to the place that I felt had already given us so much. What I got in return was so much more! I was greeted by the gracious smiling face of the volunteer coordinator, Sally, who was my contact person for coordinating my time at Spirit Rock. She was diligent in finding a variety of opportunities for me with the facilities team, daylong retreats and housekeeping.
I was at Spirit Rock to help and be of as much service as possible, but what I honestly wasn’t expecting was that everyone I worked with would go to such great lengths to make me feel welcome and make sure I had a good experience. As an example, I was constantly encouraged to take in as many dharma talks as I could. As an introvert, I often find it difficult to connect with people, but the loving, open-hearted nature of the staff and volunteers made me feel right at home. Little things, like being invited to participate in the morning chanting by the staff to set the tone for the day, were so meaningful to me. Spending time “behind the scenes” was a wonderful reminder that the moving experiences and spiritual growth we’ve experienced at Spirit Rock have been made possible by countless and often unseen staff, volunteers and supporters. It was so inspiring to meet so many beautiful people performing a labor of love to support Spirit Rock.
Thank you to everyone who made my volunteer experience so wonderful and rewarding and to everyone who’s a part of the Spirit Rock Sangha for your dedication to making this special place a vibrant and growing reality! We look forward to our next homecoming to Spirit Rock.
Spirit Rock relies on the generosity of our many volunteers. We offer a range of opportunities from one-time projects to ongoing service. Check our website to find out more about out volunteer program or contact our Volunteer & Community Coordinator at Volunteering@spiritrock.org or (415) 488-0164 x224.