James Schattauer & Sage Lewis: Volunteer Profiles
In February 2014 we were in Pescadero for a dog training that Sage was teaching. James had a concert in Oakland one of the nights during our trip, and a relative came to watch. We told him that we were looking for some soulful things to do while we were in the area, and he said casually, “You should check out Spirit Rock!” without saying anything more about what it was. We just remembered the words “Spirit Rock” and tucked them away.
On Valentine’s Day we had a free day to play and ended up at a Farmer’s Market in San Rafael receiving a free, spontaneous poem created for us by a woman wearing hot pink feathers in her hair and a long pink and burgundy dress. She asked us what we wanted to manifest, and we looked at each other and said, “We want to get out of the Midwest and move here!” She typed our poem, and we were on our way.
Sage looked at a map and said, “Let’s go here!” It was Bolinas. She picked it because it was on the coast, and the website for Bolinas had a photograph of a huge peace sign on a barn. Off we went down 101, past Muir Beach and up Highway 1, spending a bit of time on the beach in Bolinas and then looking at a map to see how to get back to the East Bay. The map took us on a road called Sir Francis Drake.
Our next stop was a cute little General Store for a coffee malt in the rain. We continued down Sir Francis Drake, marveled at the green hills and noticed we felt peaceful. Then James noticed the Spirit Rock sign. We drove in and felt the serenity – still not knowing what Spirit Rock was, just following Great Spirit’s nudge. After parking and walking through the meadow past the stone Buddhas, we found ourselves on the front steps of a trailer looking at a sign that read, “Couples Workshop Today.” We peeked inside the door, took a flyer, saw that Jack Kornfield was teaching in April and got back in our car. A few more miles down the road we looked at one another and said, “We could live here.” At that point we didn’t know where we were, so we started asking people what city we were in and learning what we could about the area. By the time we flew home to Minnesota, we were already planning our next trip to California.
Once we arrived home, we looked at the Jack Kornfield daylong announcement and the Spirit Rock website and found out we could volunteer for the day, so we booked our next trip around volunteering at Spirit Rock. That was our first introduction to Spirit Rock and we fell in love – with the land, the teachings, each other. It took us the next seven months to downsize our homes to fit our belongings into our cars, rent out the houses we owned in Minnesota, and head West.
Even though we didn’t have a place to live yet, we got a Post Office box in Fairfax and trusted the rest would fall into place. During our drive across the country, we were in contact with Marya, Spirit Rock’s Volunteer Coordinator at the time, as she cheered us on and welcomed us to Marin. She was a big player in feeling the embrace of the Spirit Rock community.
We made it to the South Bay and soon afterward rented a tiny cabin in Lagunitas – right across the street from that cute General Store where we stopped a year earlier to get the coffee malt. From there, we made our way back to Spirit Rock and have been volunteering ever since. Serendipity.
Both of us have an innate desire to give back. James’ father was a Lutheran pastor, so he learned early in life the power and grace of being of service. Sage grew up in a household that practiced ritual in both Judaism and Christianity, and her parents fostered a deeper connection with nature and embracing all religions equally.
We have a strong spiritual background, both individually and as a couple, and a desire to continue to grow and learn. Spirit Rock resonated with us right away as a source for spiritual growth, a way to give back and a way to meet like-minded people along the way. It was easy to say yes to volunteering!
We’ve been reminded that the power of being of service is a deeply fulfilling spiritual practice and a great way to find connections in community. Volunteering has brought us a sense of community and a deeper connection to our spiritual practices and to all beings.
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.
global faith & spiritual
climate action networ