The Serenity Festival, a four-day health and wellness event held at Tico Time River Resort, wound up Sunday with a community discussion of the recently established Pura Vida for Good nonprofit organization.
Robert Holmes, founder of Tico Time, was joined by his Pura Vida for Good partner, Ryan Downey, for a community discussion held in the yoga tent. The large circle of interested people gathered for a sharing of ideas and commitment to the purposes outlined in the Pura Vida for Good website.
Holmes began the discussion by stating that “living together and caring about one another” is a better way to find a “value-based” economy as opposed to a “profit-based economy.”
“You should allow yourself to be happy and find that world right now,” he said, “and understand that there's a bigger purpose.”
We all have this “hidden fire” that’s in us and “all of this stuff is noise and distraction and one day we wake up and say (expletive), I was the one I was looking for this whole time,” he said.
Coming to that realization, Downey started working with nonprofits, he said, “Just like the people in this room that are ready to do something that’s motivated by the value of what we can add to the community and to society, rather than how much society can add to us.”
“We’re just a couple of dudes that are passionate about this human connection,” Downey said, adding that’s what drew the two of them together.
He feels like this is a time in human history that “we are here to do something incredible and really to take back ownership and control of our own experience.”
He said they are “bringing in more stakeholders to add value … we’re so “wired to think in terms of money, but money is just energy.”
Downey said, “when Rob bought this place he had no idea that we’d be sitting here today in this capacity … but what it showed, especially after COVID, was the absolute need for human connection.”
He said that by connecting “with the dirt, the water and yourself,” the healing and recovery process begins.
He credited Holmes for laying the groundwork for one of the most “beautiful business models there is, which is stakeholder focused.”
“Working together over the last year or so, it's like listening to stuff like that – and my mind’s going to explode,” Holmes said to the amused crowd.
“We're looking to collaborate … and figure out how to get this place in some sort of trust or owned by the community in some way.” He said they want to connect with “each and everyone” here and invite you to bring your passion, skills and talents “to the table” and “uplift” each other.
“We do have a larger vision,” he said.
Holmes said, “I’m so tired from building … then I go to the sweat lodge yesterday and I’m so recharged, like, no, we’re going to keep going.”
Holmes said he and his wife had to “scrounge every penny” to borrow as much as they could to keep “buying and building and buying and building … trying to do the right things, and it’s just been amazing.”
They started with 40 acres and now have 82.
“So we just want to keep that going because it seems like it’s doing a lot of good.” Holmes said.
Holmes said they’re looking at 100 to 2,500 acres for a “small city” like others are doing around the world.
“We need to be courageous in doing this … so that’s why we’re trying to make big moves and ask people to come with us,” Holmes said.
“People are stepping into their own power and taking responsibility for their experience,” Downey said. “As we step in and claim our birthright right and our inheritance as eternal beings … there’s just no room for fear.”
Holmes continued with a brief prayer, asking that everyone feel as connected as possible, that fear be removed and resources be given, along with an abundance of love.
“Every person on this earth is worthy of love, freedom and happiness, contentment. If we fight for each other we will come back into harmony with the earth.”
A woman spoke first, offering her commendation for what they’re doing here and then stated that her personal experience with land trusts is that they still part of the “nonprofit industrial complex.” She asked if there was a possibility of donating the land to the Native community.
Holmes said that’s what “we’re to here to discuss, but I don’t know what that would look like, but we did talk to Teresa about the Mother Earth Restoration Trust.
He said Native Americans fought with each other over resources and there’s a “potential that even in a trust, there could be control issues.” He said they do want to talk with the Native American community and “see how we can come together and figure this out.”
Downey and Holmes invited everyone to go to puravidaforgood.org and click on “get involved” to offer their skills, passions and interests.
One man said the idea of ownership of the project sounds like the co-op, a model already established that could work along with a trust.
Downey said the preliminary trust structure came to him in a meditation and at its “center it’s a cooperative trust.”
A man involved in ReCommon, a regenerative community land trust in Paonia, Colorado, said they have “ethic templates for creating it as well as understanding the governance” and questions about equity are addressed.
“We want to use the equity that we built here to empower others to do the same thing,” such as Eco-Villages that would build something like Tico Time, but on a larger scale, Holmes said.
He said the idea is to be able to use the equity, the “little golden nugget,” established by Tico Time “to be able to do more good,” adding they want to “empower other people to do the next development in a good way.”
Making a point about tribes coming together to hunt, a man said, “modern-day hunting is what we are doing in the business world,” adding that every person’s business success or employment status determines their level of well-being. He said that land is the key for food and sustainability.
A man named Andrew expressed his gratitude to Holmes for setting up an “experiential marketing platform.” He said that his people (Native American) would support Holmes and Downey in their efforts.
Although it’s a big vision with “complexities” to navigate, there’s “definitely a lot here,” he said “All the blood, sweat and tears you put into this.”
A slender shirtless man who asked to speak said he’s been on the journey of “remembering who I am” for a lifetime. He walked and talked as he circled the seated audience, relating how “trapped energy and throat chakra issues” had transmuted into throat cancer.
He said he had a conversation with Mother Earth, received a lot of information and learned that we came here to speak with the “voice that is within your heart, the spirit that you came on earth to surrender to.”
“I am so blessed to be here in this place in this time, he said, adding “I came on earth to be a guardian of mother … that's my first priority.”
A Native American woman bestowed a blanket upon Holmes to honor his “incredible vision.” “We don't even know how honored and privileged we are to have this opportunity right here,” she said.
The audience joined in to sing a traditional Native American blessing song, as the meeting ended.
On the main Tico Time stage, Tatiana Crespo, from Phoenix, played guitar, accordion and entertained with a beautifully, powerful voice.