Bill Paff’s book is about his foundation of Being, which he sought and discovered and has been sharing with people for years. It’s his base from which he moves into the world. It is a liberating practice that expands our awareness of who we imagine ourselves to be and blows the limitations that we place on ourselves out of the water. If we truly want to be happy and renounce our suffering we need to have a framework by which to move through the world, each moment at a time. Bill shares with us that foundation. He gives us exercises and resources to keep us on track.
I would like to share some of the personal stories and the manifestations of his philosophy that are not imbedded in the book. I’ve known Bill for more than ten years. I met him at a time when he was a dedicated single dad raising two teenage daughters and doing “community building” in the conservative town of San Luis Obispo. He always had a dream to create a center where people could come together, share their dreams and experiment with various modalities to heighten their awareness and to live more harmoniously on the planet. What is key for me in observing Bill all these years is the flexibility, spontaneity and integrity of his pursuits. Not only has he been a counselor, carpenter, environmental activist, creator of free clinics, a meditation teacher, solar builder and spiritual seeker, he also enjoys sharing his knowledge with others, including the people in the local fishing village near where he now lives.
For reasons too lengthy for this short introduction, he and his partner Denise left the US to build El Santuario, an eco-retreat in Baja California, Mexico. Baja is wonderfully beautiful and still very rural in comparison to the States. At the moment there is much less coastal development and more flexibility where alternative building is still possible. The retreat in Baja is an example of a sustainable center where balancing and living with nature is paramount. Needless to say, Bill moved his books, musical instruments, solar panels, yurts, kayaks and tools to settle into and create a wonderful respite for adventurous souls in need of healing, support and friendship. He has learned Spanish, shared building skills with the villagers and taught meditation practices to recovery groups. Bill has learned what it takes to create a Mexican corporation and deal with a foreign culture, its government and business practices. He designed and built systems to fill the water tanks, devised water saving eco-showers, grey water systems and humanure compost toilets at El Santuario. He has built sweet and simple solar-powered casitas on the property alongside village laborers. He is also helping to protect a fragile eco-system from overdevelopment by supporting and networking with Mexican NGOs and local villagers. Occasionally he will burst into song and laughter and drum at a fire circle built inside a kiva just steps from the kitchen or contemplate Buddhism and Taoism and various conspiracy theories over a deliciously cooked dinner at the cantina that overlooks the quiet and surreal calm of the Sea of Cortez.
These are the manifestations of a consciousness that the readers of this book are not privy to. Reading this book you are being introduced to what gives him passion and a lust for life. What you have before you is his base; it’s what feeds him; it’s his foundation for such an awakened and passionate full life.
Perhaps one day he will share with us his stories, his poetry, his dreams, his journeys; but for now he has given us an all too brief look into what has made him who he really is and his intense desire to share this important work with others.
Publisher, HopeDance Magazine
San Luis Obispo, California … May, 2007
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