Sunrise Ranch

By Roshana Ariel

Good morning, sheep!
Good morning, cows!
Good morning, ducks!

Roshana here, a Full Self Emergence intern at Sunrise Ranch, bringing you my monthly glance at life here on the Ranch.

This time, I thought I’d tell you about what a typical day looks like, but these past few weeks have been anything but typical. More about that later.

Most mornings, as I walk my dog, Booda, we say hello to the cows and sheep and ducks that hang out just beyond the house where I live, called the Garden House because the deck overlooks the ranch’s gardens.

After our morning walk, Booda and I eat breakfast in the Garden House. Most of our groceries are provided by the professional kitchen here. We put in an order once a week for yogurt, half-and-half, coffee, cereal, bread, nuts and fruit, etc. Most lunches and dinners are prepared by our amazing chefs. But when those meals aren’t being served, we can pick up leftovers that are dated and kept in coolers in the kitchen. This certainly makes life easy.

After breakfast, I walk about a block to my office in the Pavilion to work on video editing; creating Facebook “memes” for the Creative Field Facebook page (, one of several sites that Sunrise Ranch maintains; and other work related to writing or editing content.

During the week, I might attend a yoga class or help out with special projects (we had a Community Project Day recently, during which residents formed teams that cleaned, repaired and beautified various areas of our village, trails and camping grounds). And once a week I host an hour-long dance session, my favorite hour of the week—the only goal being to let go and move.

Of course, everyone’s perception of daily life here is different; it all depends on whether you work in the gardens or pastures or in an office, whether you’re an intern or a community elder, whether you came to this place because of an advertised job or specifically to live in a spiritual community.

One thing is consistent: creativity is a preoccupation with people here. There’s a willingness to accept your own and others’ proclivities, talents, skills and weaknesses and work with what’s in front of you in the most creative way you can. We celebrate creativity and innovation.

As all of us have chosen to be here, we can assume that everyone is ready to work in an environment where we strive to “honor Universal Being.” We try to remember to ask ourselves, “What does that look like in this moment?” And that mindset makes for a unique living experience.

As I said, this past month was not typical: We hosted the annual ARISE Music Festival here at the beginning of August, with 8,000 people, give or take a few hundred, camping out on our front lawn. As environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill said during our Sunday service that weekend, “You all are bold!”  Indeed.

During the festival, I spent time in the Sunrise Ranch booth, answering questions from festival attendees and engaging in general people-watching at this colorful, exotic, high-tech, energetic love fest. I bought some clothing from the booth next to ours, enjoyed amazing music and heard interesting talks. The main thing I observed all over the festival grounds was that people were genuinely warm and generous toward one another. I’m grateful for my good fortune to be living here, and that was especially true during ARISE.

People talk about this place being magical. As a level-headed skeptic, I’m reluctant to use that word to describe any place. … Still, I have to say I have had that experience in this scenic valley—a feeling that I’m walking in an enchanted land.

It’s a perfect afternoon as I write this—beautiful and warm with a light, refreshing breeze. Even though it’s still August, and worldwide climate change has not abated at all, we’ve had some cool days lately, enough to feel as though autumn is creeping up on us too fast. I’m assured by residents who have lived here a long time that the temperatures will fluctuate from summery to shivery over the next several weeks before the cold really settles in.

Most evenings, Booda and I go for another walk, sometimes down to the nearby reservoir to soak up the sights and sounds of twilight—the glistening water under the painted, dusky sky, the crickets chirping, the wind singing. I’ve never lived in a more peaceful place.

As we walk back toward home under the stars, we wish our fellow creatures well.

Goodnight, wild turkeys.
Goodnight, rabbits.
Goodnight, kitty-cats.

Hope to see you all tomorrow.

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