As I packed in preparation to evacuate, it was interesting to observe the things that I didn't need or even want to take with me. AND there were things that I couldn't possibly fit in our car that I knew I would be very sad to never see again if our house burned down. As we saw the flames coming over the mountain ridge, my body was saying 'it's better to be safe than sorry and minutes later told me it was time to go'. We packed the car, woke up our three year old daughter, picked up another family and left around 3.30 am as the fire was raging with zero percent containment just over the hill. Since then, my life has changed in many ways. We are deeply grateful that Ojai was highly protected, our home was untouched by the actual fire and we are safe. However, 140 people in this sacred valley lost their homes and I am friends with some of them. People are losing jobs because of this fire from the decrease in sales amongst businesses, restaurants, shops, etc. It is a very challenging time for many in Southern California during this holiday season. We've been displaced for 14 days now which feels like months. At this point, we've been in 4 cities and stayed at 4 places. On Saturday, we went to Ojai for the first time to check in, grab a few things before our travels for the holidays and tune into what was needed in town. We wore masks the entire time from the moment we hit Highway 33 into Ojai. One in every five people were wearing masks. It felt otherwordly. This is mandatory due to the air quality being 'unhealthy' by the EPA. When we stepped into our home, I could feel the love and the sacredness we've created there. Our Christmas tree was standing and more ornaments were waiting to be hung. I felt an inner knowing that Ojai was still our home. I am eager to get back there after the holidays once the air quality is safe for our family. I want to engage and serve as much as I can as the human comradery is the healing elixir in this experience. I felt such a deep connection to our home and to Ojai that was profound and divine. For now, we do what we can to support those in need. It's made me question every single thing I was planning to buy for my family. Instead of buying more stuff, I am buying items that hold sacred value. We are using additional resources to give back to those that have lost almost everything.
As you continue immersing into the holidays and shop for your loved ones, I still want to share a Gift Guide with you. Although, it's 2 weeks later than I planned, this can be for last minute gifting, gifts of service and for the part of you that wants to support a town that many people hold so near and dear in their hearts. As humans, it is crucial that we dig deep during these times and come together to lift each other up and give back. Please read on to see the complete list of ways to support and the list we originally wrote weeks ago that could support you with last minute items. 30% of ALL sales from our online shop will be divided amongst these four organizations.
"We are all just walking each other Home" Ram Dass
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