By Ariana Friedlander
I felt giddy as I lay in bed reflecting on the days activities at Shadowcliff. There’s just something about this place and community that makes me feel like the wealthiest person in the world. I get this feeling every time I visit Shadowcliff whether it’s for a team retreat, or a personal getaway. And I don’t think I’m the only one that feels a sense of great wealth at Shadowcliff, which some may find ironic.
I’m not talking about the kind of wealth that resides in opulent mansions with grandiose marble staircases and servants waiting on your every whim. For many, wealth is equated to money and material possessions. But true wealth is deeper than that and Shadowcliff serves as a great reminder of what really matters in life.
A rustic mountain lodge, Shadowcliff could never be compared with exquisite 5 star accommodations like the Ritz. We are not waiting on your every need hand and foot, serving cocktails with cute umbrellas or turning down your sheets. And, despite the copious amount of stairs that happen to be situated on a granite cliff, we definitely don’t have a marble staircase!
Put simply, Shadowcliff is one of the most amazing places I have ever been. The views are stunning, humbling and inspiring. The energy is so enlivening it makes you feel jittery with excitement. Meanwhile, deep breaths of crisp mountain air instantly center and calm the soul. And the towering mountains are so grounding, it is like the earth is reaching up and encircling your feet into her belly!
Just describing it makes me feel the grandeur of Shadowcliff…which is nice because I won’t be able to experience it again until we re-open next season. Alas, I digress, the kind of wealth I feel at Shadowcliff is about meaning, connection and abundance.
Wealth is About Meaning
Shadowcliff was founded by Pat and Warren Rempel with an inspiring vision in mind. I can sum it up in three words.
I for one believe in acceptance and tolerance because we are all interconnected. It feels like there’s an unprecedented amount of shame and judgement in the world these days. At some point and time, we’ve all had to put on masks so that we don’t get excluded. It’s nice to go somewhere that’ll accept you, sans mask.
The inspiration felt by being in the presence of the Rocky Mountains is both humbling and empowering. There are reminders everywhere that you are part of this big, expansive world where miraculous things can and have happened. It nurtures your belief so that you may always feel hope.
And sanctuary. Are we not a spiritual people? We all have faith in something, it’s that feeling when you know without a doubt but cannot explain why or how. That’s what Shadowcliff nurtures, the little kid inside of you that dreams a vision you faithfully follow.
I’m just going to come out and say it, life feels lonely sometimes! I’ve felt it as an entrepreneur, a student, a parent and a person. Lately when I have been at Shadowcliff I have thought of the expression, “many hands make light work.” Shadowcliff is the embodiment of this sentiment. You become connected to our ongoing collective effort just by being here.
One of the most powerful ways we foster meaningful connection is by having you help us wash the dishes. Yup, never before has washing the dishes ever made someone feel sowealthy as it does at Shadowcliff. And it’s because you’re not alone. You’re working together, connected thru a shared (albeit menial) goal for which, your progress is visible!
Wealth is about abundance
There’s no need for want at Shadowcliff. When I’m there I feel an abundance of the things that matter. Love, nature, life, food (ice cream to be more specific). It’s all always there and its genuine. And, more importantly, you’ll remember that true abundance wastes not.
About Ariana Friedlander
Ariana Friedlander, MPA is an accomplished community organizer, a social entrepreneur and the Founder of Rosabella Consulting, LLC. She’s passionate about helping entrepreneurs and innovative organizations succeed by creating cultures of learning through coaching, workshops, retreats and consulting services. Ariana has served on the Shadowcliff Board of Directors since 2012. She is a TEDx speaker, master facilitator, and winner of the 2013 Quid Novi Innovative Thought contest. Ariana completed her graduate work at the University of Delaware in Organizational Leadership and her undergraduate work in Medical Anthropology at Hampshire College.