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By Gary Shunk

A great many times in life, I find that it’s the simple things I enjoy the most. Being present. Being content. Enjoying what life presents to me. Paying attention to what is going on around me.

Keep Your Eyes Open

My Process anniversary was two years ago, October 6, 2018. It changed my life in so many ways. I was so ready for it. I am so grateful for and appreciative of the Hoffman Process.

watchful owlDuring one of the exercises, I don’t remember exactly what day or the premise of it, we were instructed to go outside for a walk and keep our eyes open – look for something that caught our eye. I went behind the Inn, behind the bath house, along a path back there. I was close to the parking lot when I looked down in the foliage and saw something sticking out.

It was brown in contrast to the lush greenery around it. It seemed out of place and looked artificial. I reached down, and uncovered it from beneath the leaves. Low and behold it was a large plastic horned owl! Wow! I had seen these types of plastic birds before and figured it had been used to scare off other birds and critters and had fallen down from a tree. That was my exciting find! Most intriguing.

The Watchful Owl

I picked it up and placed it on the tree stump located on the parking lot side of the Inn, near the picnic tables. Bill’s Bell rang and I returned to the room. Regina (Hoffman teacher) was leading the exercise. She asked, “So what did you see? What did you find?”

Of course, my hand shot up like a rocket, like it did throughout the Process. She called on me and I said excitedly, “I found a plastic owl!” She asked what that meant to me and I replied, “Wisdom. My wisdom.”

The Owl Altar

After the Process ended, my phone was dead, and I didn’t have a chance to recharge it before we left for Calistoga. I didn’t get a picture of the owl. But I returned to White Sulfur Springs in the summer of 2019 for a Q2. To my great surprise, the owl was still present.

Around the base of the owl, the stump had been decorated with small objects, rocks, feathers – like an altar. One of my Q2 mates said that during her Process she would visit the owl daily. I did manage to get a picture this time!

Update: Gary was concerned that the owl may have burned up in the Glass Fire that started on Sept. 28, and asked Hoffman staff to find out if the owl was still at its post. Sure enough, it was in the vicinity, and has been placed back at its post on the stump. The Sentry of WSS is there, keeping an eye out and giving a hoot to all who pass by.

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