The Harbin Blog
Rebuilding Harbin with Patience, Love and Dedication. 8 Years Later: September 9, 2023
Harbin’s Communal Altar: August 28, 2023
Meet Harbin’s Operation Team Leaders – Chayo posted on: March 16, 2023
January 2023 Rebuilding Progress posted on: February 2, 2023
Meet Harbin’s Operation Team Leaders – Lia posted on: February 2, 2023
Lodging Overview: Options at Harbin posted on: February 2, 2023
Harbin’s Beautiful New Handcrafted Altar posted on: February 2, 2023
Big Rebuilding News & Updates posted on: September 22, 2022
Construction begins: Poolside Dressing Room & Steam Sauna! posted on: August 24, 2022
Events: Express, stretch, breathe, dance and more. posted on: July 28, 2022
Harbin Yoga posted on: July 20, 2022
Construction Noise!: posted on: June 28, 2022
Poetry Boxes in Lake County posted on: June 14, 2022
Remembering: Honoring Harold Dull and his gift of Watsu® posted on: September 18, 2019
Message In A Bottle! posted on: February 14, 2018
Construction and noise updates can be found here: Construction Disruptions
September 9, 2023
It takes time for a garden to grow, and it may be years before you taste the first avocado or apple from your tree. Planting a garden or fruit trees requires patience and dedication. Your garden or tree changes slowly from day to day, you may hardly notice. In time it becomes clear how big and strong the branches have become. Birds arrive and life begins to flourish. Patience pays off.
This month we’re reflecting on eight years of Harbin’s growth since the Valley Fire destroyed 95% of our structures including hotel buildings, conference centers and the temple, leaving little behind. In the years since, Harbin Hot Springs and many of the surrounding areas have been steadily rebuilding. Like a garden, rebuilding requires patience, love, and dedication. Progress isn’t always apparent from day to day. Yet when we look back, we’re reminded just how far we’ve come.
Harbin’s original historic retreat was built over generations and rebuilding certainly takes time. As beloved people, animals, and lands experience disasters around the world, it’s a call for each of us to offer our deepest compassion, love, and patience to all beings. Perhaps Harbin’s milestones may offer hope and even a bit of comfort that healing and recovery is possible and can happen over time.
We’ve put together a selection of photos showing some of the milestones we’ve made over the past eight years since the Valley Fire of 2015 destroyed 95% of Harbin’s structures. It’s hard to show in photos the intensive cleanup and repairs to Harbin’s infrastructure that took place on roads, bridges, water lines, electrical and phone lines during the year after the fire. Pictures hardly express the dedicated expertise of so many highly skilled engineers, architects construction teams, and artisans that are making Harbin’s rebuilding possible.
August 28, 2023
When you’re next exploring Harbin, take a moment to visit the transformed former social gathering area “the smoking deck“, now transformed into a sacred altar space. The new Harbin Altar space beckons our members to experience a moment of profound reflection and reverence.
We ask guests to observe certain guidelines to ensure the tranquility and sanctity of the altar. As you approach the altar, you will notice a collection of carefully placed artifacts and mementos left behind by previous visitors. These altar pieces hold deep personal significance and are a testament to the spiritual connections fostered within this space. It is of utmost importance to be mindful and respectful of these sacred offerings.
Leave Something, Take Something…
The altar space welcomes visitors to engage with its energy. If you feel drawn to a particular item, you may take it with you as a token of your experience. However, it is essential to maintain a harmonious balance. In the spirit of reciprocity, it is kindly requested that you leave something in return. This act of exchange ensures the ongoing vitality and communal nature of the altar.
The conversion of the former smoking deck into an altar space represents a transformative journey for both Harbin and its visitors. This sacred sanctuary offers a unique opportunity for personal reflection, spiritual connection, and a sense of peace amid the chaos of daily life. It is a place to find solace, inspiration, and a renewed sense of purpose. On your next visit to Harbin, please be sure to visit this remarkable space.
March 16, 2023
Harbin’s management team is working hard to rebuild something deeply loved from the past, while creating something beautiful and new for the future. In addition to the day to day business of running the hot springs our rebuilding continues on schedule. Get to know Harbin’s Daily Operations Team Leaders who are bringing Harbin into the future. Chayo is a long time employee, resident, and Minister of Heart Consciousness Church. You may have met her over the years in one of the many departments where she has worked and Managed.
Chayo is a native of Lake County who was raised in North Lake County. She is the daughter of immigrant parents who immigrated to Lake County in the 70’s and is a first-generation Mexican American. She admits that she had never heard of Harbin Hot Springs, until she was in her late teens.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about many things, one of them being personal growth. I also have a deep passion for uplifting and empowering others, and helping people advocate for themselves. I care deeply about animals, which explains my choice to become a vegetarian from a young age, then vegan for the last 20 years. Lastly, I am also deeply passionate about creativity and the arts.
What do you do in your free time?
Being a parent of two young children, I drive to and from sport games regularly and have playdates during my free time. To help fill my cup when it is running empty, I like to paint. I am an artist who paints faces and does body art and I really enjoy doing that because it allows me to release my creativity in ways that I never imagined.
Where did you work before coming to Harbin?
I really did not have much experience in other jobs before arriving at Harbin. I came to Harbin when I was young. As a teen I worked in a fast-food restaurant and at an immigration and tax service office. I later worked as a preschool teacher for a short period of time.
When did you arrive here?
I first started visiting Harbin while I was still in high school in 2001 and 2002, but I did not start working here until 2003.
How did you learn about Harbin?
The first time I heard about Harbin was when my partner answered an ad in the local newspaper to help build the Domes. He began working here and would come home with stories about Harbin, which intrigued me. I then applied to work at Harbin and was hired on the spot. I was overjoyed!
What Jobs have you worked at over the years at Harbin?
For many years, I worked and Managed the Housekeeping Department and ran the Lost & Found. In following years, I worked part time making flower arrangements and writing the staff newsletter, “The Harbinger.” I did not only work at Harbin for these past 20 years. I also lived on and off property for a period of time. While living on property I became a fire keeper and assisted with the monthly sweat lodge ceremonies. During my period of living at Harbin I also became an ordained minister. Sadly, in 2015, we all lost our jobs due to a fire that ravaged our community. Shortly after the fire, I offered to help in any capacity and took on doing the mail and worked in the Health & Safety and Purchasing Departments. In 2019 I was appointed the role of Department Manager Liaison (DML) and worked overseeing various departments. I am now a Managing Director, and it is an honor to be a part of Harbin’s next phase by helping restore our retreat center to the way it was before the fire.
How do you inspire your team and others?
I try to lead by example by being a compassionate leader. A successful team requires an inspiring environment and a leader that motivates them, and I aim to be a strong support system for my team.
What is your vision or what are your hopes for the future?
I envision Harbin becoming a sustainable retreat center using its own resources in order to make it better for future generations. I am really looking forward to being able to see Harbin rebuilt and being a part of developing a thriving community as it evolves into the next chapter of its history. All I want is to see Harbin grow and flourish with all of us.
February 2, 2023
Our plans for 2023 are right on track as we begin the new year. Here’s an update on the various projects and their anticipated time frames.
First off, we’re happy the Health Services Pool Restroom is now finished and open to guests. It’s conveniently located right next to the therapy pool.
We’ve turned our attention to construction of the Fern Dressing Room and Steam Sauna near the pools. The first retaining wall for this building site was finished prior to the storms. We’ve started working on the second retaining wall and the foundation for Fern Dressing Room will come next.
This site is directly next to the pools so there will most likely be noise during business hours on weekdays. Please plan your meditations and expectations keeping this in mind. You might want to bring your hiking shoes to be ready to head off to the hills if it gets noisy. We have miles of hiking trails right here at Harbin for you to enjoy. Or bring a blanket or yoga mat and set up your own special space next to the bubbling creek for quiet meditation if construction becomes loud by the pools.
The Harbin Restaurant: The necessary planning and permitting phase to build Harbin’s Restaurant has begun. We look forward to the restaurant opening in Spring of 2024. Reminiscent of Harbin’s former restaurant, it will have a central ordering window and kitchen serving Breakfast and Dinner, with an espresso station. The restaurant space will stay open 24/7 to provide indoor community space with dining tables, hot and cold water, ice, and heat or cool depending on the season. Much as our old restaurant did, we hope this can become a hub for gathering over good food, friends, conversation, celebrations, and community building.
Walnut and Azalea Hotel Buildings: Not far from the footprints of the former hotel buildings, the new Azalea and Walnut will be two two-story prefabricated, eco-efficient buildings, with a third story below in some places. These have been ordered from the manufacturer. Nestled against the hills below the Mainside Pool area, these two hotels will bring lodging back to Mainside where guests can be centrally located near the pools, restaurant, yoga, and events. We anticipate these will be ready for us to begin installation at the end of 2023.
We’re now planning the Community Kitchen in the Meadow Area. A few other exciting additions to look forward to are car charging stations and rebuilding a much-loved small Sleeping Deck. We’ll keep you updated as we get further along with these plans.
We don’t really know exactly how loud this will be each day during our rebuilding. This is a first for us too. As time goes on, we’ll post what we learn to keep you informed of how far the noise carries depending on the stages of construction, and how this may affect your visit. Plan on evenings and weekends to be the best times to visit to avoid construction disruptions.
Our architect Lars Langberg, based in Sonoma County, uses environmentally friendly materials and building strategies. This makes all our rebuilding projects feel incredibly inspiring and exciting as we head into the future. Our construction teams and engineers working together on the various aspects of such a large project are superstars and we’re so grateful for everyone involved.
February 2, 2023
The next 5oth anniversary is the Heart Consciousness Church anniversary in 2025. (We celebrated the 50th anniversary of the land purchase in 2022.) So much to celebrate! Our management team is working incredibly hard to rebuild something deeply loved from the past, while also creating something beautiful and new for the future. Get to know Harbin’s daily operations team leaders in our newsletters this year, beginning with Lia.
Lia Findley Jennings
Lia has called Harbin her home for over 25 years. A long time resident of Cobb, the small town on the mountain above Harbin, Lia has worked in many departments over the years. Deeply involved in the Ministry program here at Heart Consciousness Church, Lia’s mission and vision focuses on stewardship of this land for future generations. You may have met Lia and her husband John over the years as they help bring the heart to Harbin through music, acoustic song circles in the garden and energetic DJ dances at night.
What are you passionate about?
My passion is learning and practicing being human, in all directions.
Where did you work before coming to Harbin?
I was in the food industry in a midsize restaurant corporation in Los Angeles. I worked in the front and the back of the house but really, I was a full-time yuppie.
How did you learn about Harbin?
I was introduced to Harbin by the brother of my boyfriend at the time. He gave us an overnight stay and I couldn’t imagine what was fun about getting naked and soaking with strangers. But the visit was an answer to a prayer. I was asking for more meaning in my life and when I was gifted this place, I felt it like a whisper in my belly, that a life lived intentionally was at the heart of what I need. I also understood what I later learned that Ishvara, our founder, says about nudity. Ish says that it’s freedom and yes, I felt that in a core way.
When did you arrive here?
I arrived April 30, 1996.
What Jobs have you worked at over the years at Harbin?
I began as a work study student. For a month. I was working in the garden and studying many modalities of personal growth work with Bodhitara. She took us through her vast knowledge of practices, some of which I continue to practice, like Osho’s meditations, voice dialogue, and the Enneagram. Then I started the original Blue Room Cafe with Diana Wolf. I worked in Resident Accounting, managed the Restaurant, had a small family daycare for the Harbin children, managed the crew in the Workshops Buildings, was Weekend Manager off and on for 15 years, was in the Managing Director (MD) circle 3 times, on ARHC, (Agreements and Resolution Heart Council) and REST, (Resident Emergency Support Team), was ordained in 2003, and became Spiritual Director and Events Coordinator in 2018.
What inspires you?
I look for meaning in the 7 Directions, for something that connects to a deeper understanding of myself and others as part of the natural world.
How do you inspire your team and others?
I work to lead by example and to generously share the gifts I’ve gratefully received. We work best together in shared circles than in hierarchical boxes. It’s a “power with you, not a power over you” model.
What do you do in your free time?
I love studying about people. I like to stay current with novels and movies. My husband and I spend time together talking about the things we observe and what we’re learning through engaging with the world. We have a core group that we spend time with going to movies and dining out.
What is your vision or what are your hopes for the future?
I see a thriving community rooted in Oneness and supported by Heart Consciousness. I see Harbin continuing its work that is as old as the presence of its original peoples. For 20,000 years, the Lake Miwok, the Pomo and the Wappo gathered on this land in ceremony and to talk about community. We are continuing this tradition as we honor the past, staying present to what is needed now and feeling, with intention, what serves the land, the water and the people.
Learn more about our Daily Operations Team Leaders in our next blog!
February 2, 2023
Begin your year by immersing in the best kind of self care. Time spent in nature is time well spent!
Harbin has many choices to create your own retreat, hiking, yoga, nutritious food, dancing, meditation, massage and Watsu®, and of course soaking. Browse the Events Calendar. What calls to you? Be your own guide for your own perfect, self-created retreat.
For lodging options you might choose one of Harbin’s spacious Grove Cottages near the Meadow Area. Each cottage has a private deck, lovely interior with a Queen bed to unwind in comfort and rustic beauty.
Or, far up on the hillside the Domes offer a warm meditation pool just steps outside your door. Originally built for teaching Watsu, this pool has a neutral warm temperature, similar to the body. From tiny single rooms to extra large rooms, each Dome room is truly one of a kind. The Domes are a steep walk or short drive to the larger Mainside pool area, but set peacefully apart, this special space has breathtaking views.
The Creekside Caravans, near the Meadow Area, have heat, air conditioning, a comfy 60” x 74” bed, a seating and eating area, mini bathroom with toilet and shower and even a kitchenette! These cute trailers offer a lot for such a tiny space!
And, as always, with a 24 hour pass you can set up your tent on a tenting deck or find your perfectly magical spot in the meadow among the oaks, to lay directly on the Earth so you might feel the rhythms deep beneath you as you dream with the stars above your head.
Wherever you choose to stay, Harbin’s pools are open 24 hours a day. So when night falls and the starry sky calls to you, grab your towel a flashlight and walk along the Village Path for a midnight soak. Mid-winter Bliss!
posted on: February 2, 2023
You might recognize this location near the Reception Office.
Renewing and honoring this space which lovingly holds the energy of decades of deep conversation, laughter and connection, two of Harbin’s very talented artisans have built a beautiful new Heart Consciousness Altar for all.
September 22, 2022
We are excited to share recent rebuilding progress and new details about our upcoming plans. As you’ll read below, there is a lot going on and we anticipate the rebuilding phase will continue through 2024. Harbin’s land is still quite rustic since the fire of 2015 and new construction adds more unpredictability, such as unplanned power outages and road closures. We want to be sure you stay informed of any possible construction disruptions.
Luckily, Harbin also offers hundreds of acres of natural space to hike the hills, enjoy events, find quiet among the bubbling waterfall, sit by the creek, sleep under the stars, practice yoga, dance to a DJ and of course, soak in the springs. We hope if there is construction noise in one area you’ll feel inspired to wander and discover another special spot to enjoy.
Here are details of what to look forward to.
Health Services Restroom
We’ve already made much progress on the new Health Services Therapy Pool restroom, and by the time this is mailed to you, the windows and drywall will have most likely been installed. We expect this project will be completed this Autumn.
Fern Dressing Room and Steam Sauna
At the end of August we began work on the new Fern Dressing Room and Steam Sauna. This two-story building will be located in the pool area near the meditation pool, a similar location as the historic Fern building. The enclosed space will provide more lockers, bathrooms, and showers, and will be the location for the new steam sauna. (The rebuilt dry sauna is currently open.)
Prior to “breaking ground” for the new dressing room and steam room, Managing Director and Head Minister, Lia Findley Jennings, spent time at sunrise to honor and dedicate the construction space in this meaningful step in Harbin’s rebuilding process, just about seven years exactly since the Valley Fire in 2015.
If you visit frequently, you’ll have noticed the temporary changing room tent has been removed to make way for the new changing room building. When you arrive, head to the lower changing room below the deck, near the elevator.
We’ll be redirecting pathways as needed during construction. Our target for completing this project is Spring of 2023.
A new Restaurant will be rebuilt near the Events Trailer with a goal of opening in Autumn of 2023. Harbin’s restaurant offered amazing food, but it was much more than that, providing gathering space for laughter and conversation that could grow into connections and inspirations during a meal. While we can’t recreate the past we can provide space to help bring in a positive new future for generations to come.
Among the menu items, expect old favorites as well as healthy, on-trend meals with options for people of all dietary needs. The Restaurant will be open 24/7 and will have Wi-Fi, a water station with ice, and bathrooms. We’re excited to share this space with everyone.
Architectural plans are now complete for two new Hotel Buildings along the hillside in similar locations as the historic Azalea and Walnut hotel buildings. These buildings will bring 32 guest rooms onto Mainside in Spring of 2024, offering guest accommodations just a short walk from everything: pools, events, food, and health services.
We’re excited to have the plans prepared for the new Meadow Guest Kitchen coming to the Meadow Area in the second half of 2024.
This enclosed kitchen and cooking space will offer guests a prep area for cooking meals while also providing gathering space for families and friends to eat and socialize in a spacious picnic-park setting. Located near the Grove Cottages, Caravans, Meadow tenting, and available for day visitors, the Meadow Kitchen will be a much welcomed addition for all!
Our talented Sonoma County architect, Lars Langberg, uses environmentally friendly materials and building strategies, helping make our vision of a future Harbin sustainable and earth friendly. It’s a dream becoming reality as we see plans come to life and feels like an important turning point in “Harbin’s History”.
When we look back, since the early days of “Harbin Springs” from the first fire in 1894 to the Valley fire of 2015, Harbin Hot Springs has always transformed itself, growing and evolving. We hope that even during this construction period in Harbin’s history you find what brings you joy when you visit: the hot spring water, clean air, spacious quiet hills, hiking trails, dancing with friends, and the peace of mind that comes from taking moments for self-care.
Harbin Hot Springs Employee Family Gathering 2022 ~ We welcome your positive envisioning as we bring into physical form these new spaces together
Lastly, we urge all of our guests to PLEASE note our strict policy of no electronics anywhere except in designated areas. It goes without saying that electronic devices especially with cameras are not appropriate or acceptable in clothing optional locations. As accustomed as many of us are to keeping devices with us, it can be a habit difficult to break during your visit. We have provided an area for using electronics for the safety and comfort of all.
We encourage considering unplugging from technology as an “opportunity” and we hope you will too. Perhaps grab your favorite book or magazine for poolside reading when you pack for your visit. We have a lovely inspiring bookstore in Reception evocative of the much beloved bookstore of past years. Browse a very special, carefully curated collection of books to enjoy and treasure.
This was a lot of news for one newsletter! We will continue to share details about the building progress along the way to keep you informed of what to expect during your visits, and what to look forward to in years to come.
posted on: August 24th, 2022 by Harbin Staff
Construction on the permanent Poolside Dressing Room and Steam Sauna begins August 25. Rebuilding the dressing room and steam sauna is a long awaited and exciting step. The new two story dressing room will replace the temporary dressing room “tent” we’ve had set up near the warm pool and will also allow for the construction of the new Steam Sauna. You might remember the historic Fern Dressing Room? A space that was always welcomed and appreciated on a chilly day or cold winter night, where one could step inside the warm room after a long soak, bundle up in the cozy space, and head off into the night under the starry sky. This new permanent building will be located in a similar area and will be a welcomed addition to the pool area. And this construction will include our brand new steam sauna, bringing even more bliss to your hot springs experience. (Our beautiful and expanded dry sauna is currently open!)
Visualize along with us as we begin construction of this beautiful and useful new poolside dressing room.
We’ll start construction in late August with excavation of the area for the retaining wall and infrastructure, then move on to the foundation. Yes, this is going to be noisy sometimes! We’ll do our best to do the loudest work at the least busy times, when at all possible. Our construction team is amazing. So while we ask you not to get close to construction sites for everyone’s safety, definitely send them the best vibes and energy while they create this space for us all. We hope by keeping you informed on the construction plans it will help “soften” the noise a little, simply by knowing what to expect on your visit.
So… please plan for this noise during business hours on the weekdays. There are lots of spaces around Harbin to wander throughout the canyon during the daytime noise to find quiet. The cool waterfall, bubbling creeksides, meadow area, and hiking trails each offer peaceful quiet and respite from the world, and from the construction during your visit. 🙂
The lower dressing room will remain open, so plan on using that for a while. While the construction is happening near the gated entrance to the pools we may redirect foot traffic as needed. So keep aware of signage as things might change a bit over the next few months when you visit.
Check back for photos of the progress and keep us in your social media feed for updates. And join us in the excitement of making this big step, one of many we’ll be taking to fully rebuild.
Thank you for your understanding!
posted on: July 28th, 2022 by Harbin Staff
Have you taken a look recently at our calendar of educational, spiritual, inspirational and entertaining events? We have a lot going on for you to explore during your visit. In addition to our weekly classes, we have special performances and visits by DJs and musicians throughout the month. Seasonal and moon ceremonies have returned to celebrate together. And yoga classes are offered twice a day, Thursday through Monday, to begin and end your day in bliss.
Attending an event during your visit can make your retreat at Harbin even more memorable. Sharing and gathering together can be such an enjoyable way to share your Harbin Experience with fellow guests, while expanding your heart and mind. Browse through the descriptions on the calendar to see what interests you, then create you own perfect retreat. You are welcomed and encouraged to participate in our events at a level that feels comfortable to you.
Events are generally held in the new Events Center, just steps from the lower Garden area. Unless otherwise noted, events are free to Harbin guests although donations are often accepted. Here are some of the weekly offerings happening this summer:
Sharing Circle with Jivan Our daily lives are full of stressful thoughts, emotions and beliefs about ourselves and others. In this sharing circle we will create a safe container which will enable us to look and share how we feel right now. From there we will process deeper. This will allow us to dive inward and see where are those feelings are coming from, and how they are connected to our belief systems. This will give us an opportunity to free ourselves from toxic stories about ourselves, which stand in our way to be fully present and truly alive.
Chakra guided healing with Sabina Marie Learn easy to use, accessible and affordable tools for self care, healing and personal awareness –guided by your own 7 chakras. Weekly classes held every Monday 1-2pm as we dive deeper into a new chakra each week!
Introduction to the 7 main chakras begins August 1st. Each class stands alone and holds space for you join any week!
Weekly Guided Wisdom Healing Qigong Session
Join RLane, Harbin Minister
“Learning to effectively utilize chi, or life force energy through specific meditative movements, visualizations and sound technologies, Qigong helps transform pain, stress, disease and trauma of all types – mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual.” Mingtong Gu
Movies at Harbin! If you’re feeling more in the mood for a thriller than a meditation, or want to belly-laugh all evening with friends to a fun comedy, come watch a movie… and then enjoy a soak!
We thoughtfully curate a great selection of old time favorites and the best new hits. A tradition for Harbin, movies are a fun way to gather and create a group experience.
Postings are on the event calendar and when you arrive check the updated listings. Then, sit back, relax and enjoy the show!
Bookmark the events calendar to keep an eye on what’s happening. We look forward to having you here.
posted on: July 20th, 2022 by Harbin Staff
Yoga at Harbin has always been a highlight for so many during a visit to Harbin. It’s an undeniably amazing experience to drift into your own perfect rhythm of soaking, yoga, breathing, stretching, nourishing, relaxing, perhaps hiking or reading … then to return to yoga once again at the end of the day. It can feel perfectly blissful, truly a retreat from the busy world.
Our yoga teachers provide a welcoming space for all levels. Classes are held every Friday through Monday at 10am and 5pm. Come celebrate the heart with us!
posted on: June 28th, 2022 by Harbin Staff
New building has begun on Therapy Pool bathroom. Construction happens weekdays, Monday through the first half of Friday around the Mainside pools during daytime hours. Levels of activity vary during the project. But please, expect noise!
This new bathroom will be a wonderful and necessary addition to the water therapy area so we’re very excited about the progress happening this season. In fact, the entire Mainside pool area is looking great this summer. We’ll get this work done as soon as possible and the area will return to “quiet”.
Check the link on the bottom of the home page to stay updated on our construction and noise disruptions as we continue to rebuild.
posted on: June 14th, 2022 by Harbin Staff
We installed a beautiful poetry box near Dee’s Memorial Garden this past weekend. These poetry boxes are made by Gary Maes in Kelseyville and can be found at various locations throughout Lake County.
The installation was made possible by Georgina Marie Guardado, Lake County Poet Laureate 2020-2024 and Harbin Minister Lia Findley Jennings. We also want to give a big thank you to the Harbin Garden Staff for their assistance with this project.
So far, Lake County has had 11 Poets Laureates and three of them were from Harbin! Most of the poetry boxes throughout the county have been part of a project by Georgina with the Academy of American Poets.
So much gratitude to Georgina Marie and Lia for bringing this beautiful creative inspiration to Harbin!
Poem by Lake County Poet Laureate, Georgina Maria
Honoring Harold Dull and his gift of Watsu®
posted on: Wednesday, September 18th, 2019 by Harbin Staff
One can hardly think of Harbin Hot Springs without thinking of being mesmerized while watching a Watsu practitioner “float” someone, gently and gracefully in the warm and nurturing waters of the meditation pool. Because of Harold Dull and this transformative modality, which we’ve been so blessed to embrace and experience, Watsu has become a large part of who we are at Harbin.
Harold passed peacefully on July 31, 2019. We want to recognize Harold’s incredible contribution to the healing world. Watsu positively affected thousands and thousands of lives worldwide.
Harold was teaching Zen Shiatsu at Harbin in 1980 when he invented Watsu. In Zen Shiatsu stretching someone unblocks and balances the energy flowing through their body. Harold found Harbin’s warm water to be the ideal medium for this. He also found that holding someone, while floating them, takes them to a level beyond that of touch alone. Thus, Watsu was born in the warm pool at Harbin Hot Springs.
Through the 1990’s, Harold and many instructors taught classes in Shiatsu, Watsu and other massage modalities in Harbin workshop spaces through the School of Shiatsu and Massage. In 2001, the Watsu Center was completed on the hillside overlooking Harbin canyon (this facility is now the Harbin Domes) and it became the workshop space par excellence to host all of the School of Shiatsu and Massage classes and programs for certification in Watsu as well as in traditional land modalities. Students and teachers came from all over the world to learn and teach at the Watsu Center. Many graduates who were trained at the Watsu Center went on to become practitioners at Harbin Health Services. For many guests, receiving Watsu sessions at Health Services was a transformative part of their Harbin experience.
As Watsu grew worldwide, Harold began a registry that listed classes and practitioners on the internet, and to store authorizations to practice and teach. This registry created a comprehensive and reliable database for the water modalities we use today. More than 20,000 teachers and students from 90 countries have transcripts at The Worldwide Aquatic Bodywork Registry, https://www.watsu.com/. This includes other forms of aquatic bodywork, such as Waterdance™ and Healing Dance®.
“Watsu began 25 years ago in the warm pool at Harbin when I started floating people applying the stretches of the Zen Shiatsu … Watsu and Harbin have had a truly symbiotic relationship. I doubt Watsu could have developed in any other place or at any other time, and much of the current Harbin community have been drawn here by what is being taught at the school.……………The first motto of our school was “Where East and West meet on land and in water”. Harbin has been the perfect place for that meeting.”
We at Harbin feel the same way. Harold was a perfect fit for Harbin’s healing waters. His spirit lives on in all the water work we do here. We’ll miss him greatly.
“The beauty of Watsu is that it continues to evolve. From water to land, from couples to communities, Watsu adapts and grows in its ability to connect. The boundlessness felt in warm water is the sheath of prana, the warmth within, becoming one with the warmth of the water. During Watsu, when our minds’ chatter becomes most stilled, the more spontaneous and intuitive our moves become, the more they are coming out of our bodies’ innate wisdom, and the deeper we move into rapture. It is said that once an opening is made to the rapture, once we know how to access it, we will be able to see it underlying even the greatest of our sorrows. I can imagine no better goal for Watsu than to help people realize a level of consciousness from which they can face anything—a level as boundless as water.” – Harold Dull
Watsu® is a registered service mark assigned to Harold Dull
Waterdance™ was developed by Arjana Brunschwiler and Aman Schroter
Healing Dance® was developed by Alexander George
posted on: Wednesday, February 14th, 2018 by Harbin Staff
The year was 1927, and Harbin owner N.S. Booth was preparing for the future. Electricity hadn’t yet come to Harbin, and was only sporadically available in town; and the main road through Middletown to the Lake County line in either direction was still just a single lane of hard-packed dirt. The future was nearing, though, and soon more tourists with automobiles would be taking leisurely drives, looking for fun and interesting destinations featuring America’s newest phenomenon: “Motor Hotels”. Booth could see it all coming to Harbin, plain as day, and he wanted to be ready.
Since purchasing the resort in 1912, Booth had been making steady improvements. Harbin already had its historical hot springs, with an enclosed hot plunge and warm pool, a bathhouse with tub baths and steam room, and a large swimming pool. It had three 3-story hotel buildings neatly in a row, with accommodations for nearly 100 guests. There was an activities lawn with tent platforms, plus a large dining hall, and a grand dancehall with live music and dancing until 10pm every weeknight and midnight on weekends. But the hotel building adjacent to the baths – the Capitol Hotel, it was called – was old and outdated. So Booth got busy remodeling the Capitol into something modern to match its already renovated neighbors, Azalea and Walnut.
When completed in 1927, the Capitol Hotel was the jewel of Harbin: a green and white painted hotel with bright red accents, and 35 rooms right next to Harbin’s baths. The ground floor rooms opened onto a big porch that faced down the hill toward the lawn. The second floor rooms were level with the bath area, and opened directly to Harbin’s swimming pool (or “cold plunge”, as it was called then). The third floor had balconies facing both the lawn and the baths, and a staircase to the pools. Best of all, every room in Harbin’s modern Capitol Hotel now featured steam heat and a toilet!
To commemorate this propitious upgrade, Booth, his daughter, and his key workers and guests left a note for posterity. They sealed it up in a green glass bottle, and buried the bottle like a time capsule in the retaining wall next to their newly renovated building.
And there Booth’s bottle was sitting, in 1974, when a fire in one of the upstairs Capitol Hotel rooms destroyed the building’s top two floors. There it sat, as a new roof was installed above the now-single-story building – renamed “Redwood” – and a beautiful flat sundeck was built above it. There Booth’s bottle continued to sit for decades, through changes of Harbin ownership and fortune, the creation of Heart Consciousness Church, years of growth and prosperity… and all through the raging Valley Fire of 2015, which destroyed virtually everything on mainside not made of stone or concrete.
When the burned Redwood and sundeck remains were cleared away after the Valley Fire in 2015, we built an entirely new concrete structure and sundeck to take their place. And as this current structure approached its completion in 2018, our workers began to dismantle the low, white retaining wall next to it. That was when – surprise! – an old, dusty green bottle caught one worker’s eye, and he stopped to investigate. It turned out to be Booth’s bottle – a message from his rebuild to ours! And the rest, as they say, is history.
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