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Camilla Sanderson

...earned her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2017 and was ordained an interfaith minister in 2014. She likes to think of herself as a writer, a spiritual guide, a holy rascal, a spiritual rebel, and a force of TRUTH like a fierce feminine dakini with a whole lot of wild joy, love, and laughter.

Location icon United States

Camilla is passionate about memoir as an agent for radical social change. Her own memoir, TREETOPS AND THE BUDDHIST MONKS ACROSS THE ROAD: A Memoir of Interspirituality (for which she is in the process of finding the right publishing home), asks subversive questions in the hope you will stop and think and perhaps question if your beliefs are serving your growth - spiritual, emotional and intellectual growth. Her writing incorporates a variety of spiritual concepts, ideas, and principles from both Eastern and Western religions. She also tells an engaging story and is the author of: The Mini Book of Mindfulness (Running Press/Hachette, 2016).

Her own spiritual yearning, along with a lack of interest in what she observed in religious institutions—crumbling patriarchal hierarchies, dogma, hypocrisy, deadly earnestness, judgmental attitudes—inspired her to read deeply. She also studied the world's faith traditions for two years in interfaith seminary. From Hinduism, the world’s oldest religion with a recorded written text, to Shamanism, one of the world’s oldest indigenous spiritual practices (perhaps rivaled by the Aboriginal Dreamtime) to Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Sikhism, native American Indian spirituality, and more. The perennial wisdom, found in ALL faith traditions, points towards how an evolution of human consciousness is possible - perhaps even necessary for our planet to survive. Her writing and stories embody the energy of mindfulness and speak to one's inner divinity.

The central questions infusing her writing are:
HOW DOES ONE LIVE THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE AS A SPIRITUAL BEING (without getting hung up on religious dogma) and HOW DOES ONE TRANSMUTE ADVERSITY INTO SPIRITUAL GROWTH?

Her most significant influences include the work of: interfaith minister, Reverend Doctor Stephanie Rutt; astrologer and author of 'Outrageous Openness: Letting the Divine Take the Lead,' Tosha Silver; Tibetan Buddhist nun Pema Chodron; Dakini Lama Tsultrim Allione; vulnerability and shame researcher Brené Brown; and Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn.

Born and raised in Australia, during her twenties to early forties, Camilla worked in the publishing industry while living in Greenwich Village, New York City with her American husband Jamie Jones.

In 2011, after Jamie recovered from cancer, they both quit their jobs and lives in Manhattan and moved to Treetops, a log cabin in the woods of Southern New Hampshire.

Serendipitously Camilla was led to Rev. Dr. Stephanie Rutt, with whom she studied world religions for two years at Tree of Life Interfaith Seminary and was ordained an interfaith minister in June 2014. Camilla is also now a guide for the Tree of Life interfaith seminary program: https://www.tolinterfaithtemple.org/overview.html

In November 2014, a Thai Forest Buddhist monastery happened to take root on 250 acres of land across the road, bringing much loved Buddhist principles, ideas, and practices into the local community: http://forestmonastery.org/

Feeling called to write, Camilla earned her MFA in creative non-fiction writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2017.

Jamie creates hand-crafted maple syrup, and connects with his own spirituality in nature and through friendships with our Buddhist monk neighbors.

While Camilla perceives money as simply another energy to be used wisely, and believes that conscious capitalism is possible, she also believes our planet needs more people interested in living a creative life, and in an evolution of consciousness, versus the endemic consumerism inherent in "The American Dream" which often creates endless suffering and is killing our planet.

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After exploring sacred texts in a variety of the world's faith traditions, Camilla's intention is to INSPIRE and BE INSPIRED to collectively:

*cultivate the courage to be true to who we authentically are -
knowing we need both our gifts and our muck,
and like the lotus flower we blossom not in spite of, but because of our muck

*strengthen our connection with our soul

*cultivate resiliency by transmuting adversity into spiritual growth

*reinvigorate our connection with our own inner divinity, inner authority, intuition and creativity, and

*practice the art of extreme self care, radical self-acceptance, deep compassion, forgiveness, and infinite impersonal love.

Portfolio
elephant journal
10/31/2013
Divine Love. ~ Camilla Sanderson

But I find my daily spiritual practice is like the keel of a boat---it helps me right myself and find my center again after being blown over in the wind. The inner work required for spiritual growth and evolution of consciousness is not easy, but the rewards of the work are profound and have led me to the blissful experience of Divine Love.

elephant journal
04/15/2019
Women are Claiming the Right to Lead-& it's Bloody Brilliant.

Why do we believe we need to hide aspects of our true, whole selves to be loved? As a woman, throughout my 20s, 30s, and 40s, why did I feel it necessary to hide my intelligence to get along with people and be accepted by them?

elephant journal
4/3/2014
Funny is the New Deep. ~ Camilla Sanderson

Laughter is a dividend of forgiveness. I confess I stole the title for this piece from a recent talk I attended by the author Steve Almond. It's a subject I love, and the talk was fun.

elephant journal
09/02/2015
Why I Write.

I write because I need to. I spent two years studying world religions in interfaith seminary school, where Reverend Stephanie Rutt advised us that a daily spiritual practice was the most important element in the program.

elephant journal
Nov 28, 2015
Who Are You? {Poem}

I want to know If you contemplate death- Not in a morbid way, But in a way that determines how you will live your life.

Ledger Transcript
12/22/2015
Interfaith Soul Food: Never in your wildest dreams

Never in our wildest dreams could we have imagined that in 2014, a Thai Forest Buddhist Monastery would take root on the 250 acres literally across the street from us in Temple. My husband's family bought Treetops, a log cabin in the woods of Temple, in the 1980s as a retreat they could escape to for family holidays - most often Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
08/23/2016
Authenticity versus perfection

I've become wary of telling people I'm an interfaith minister or a reverend. If I do, it's as though an unspoken expectation is hatched that I must then be this "perfect" role model of a human being. Does a "perfect human" even exist?

Ledger Transcript
06/15/2015
Spiritual nourishment in the Monadnock region

When my husband and I gave up our 20-year stretch of corporate-working-lives in Manhattan In April 2011, and moved to a place of soulful-wilderness-living in a log cabin set among the trees in Temple, I began to read an endless number of books on spirituality.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
08/08/2016
A new look at the Lord's Prayer

I hadn't even heard of Aramaic before I studied world religions, but I learned that Aramaic is the ancient and metaphoric language in which the the Lord's Prayer was originally written, before it was translated to Greek and then to English.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
05/23/2016
Daily spiritual practice or 'sadhana'

Before I studied world religions for two years in interfaith seminary, I hadn't really spent any time contemplating exactly what a spiritual practice is, nor what its purpose may be. But very early on in our program, our spiritual mentor advised us that a daily spiritual practice was the most important element of any seminary program.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
04/25/2016
Spirituality is at the Heart of Joining a CSA

Joining a CSA can be a spiritual experience- After submitting our name to a waiting list several years ago, late last month I received an email from Anthony Graham of the Temple-Wilton Community Farm to say they were taking in new members for their CSA, and to contact him if my husband and I...

Monadnock Ledger Transcript
03/21/2016
Finding our spiritual mentors is a process

"There are many paths to the top of the mountain but the view from the top is the same." I love the truth in this sentiment, and I think of interfaith in the same way. There are many spiritual truths and profound wisdom in all of the world's religions.

Ledger Transcript
02/23/2016
Honoring the spirit in nature

When we lived in New York City for 20 years, being able to visit the Monadnock region provided the opportunity for my husband and me to get a much needed nature fix at various points in our lives. I didn't fully understand it then, but our time in nature was much needed food for our souls.

Ledger Transcript
11/24/2015
Interfaith Soul Food: Opportunities at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is not only an opportunity to celebrate the practice of gratitude. It's also an opportunity for personal growth and learning about projection, all of which are food for nourishing our spiritual natures. When my husband and I moved from living and working in New York City for 20 years to our log cabin in the woods of Temple, I felt drawn to take some spiritual classes.

Goodmenproject
12/30/2013
How My Husband's Illness Became A Transformative Journey to Love

When cancer came knocking, Camilla Sanderson and her husband gave up lucrative NYC careers for a life of simplicity and love. Here is a guy who swapped a Manhattan high-rise corporate office, and an 1890′s parlor level brownstone apartment with high ceilings and a wood burning fireplace located on the gold coast of Greenwich Village, New York City; for a maple sugar shack, a barn, a tractor, and a log cabin all located in the wilderness of New Hampshire.

elephant journal
9/4/15
Just for Fun: An Ode to Pasta.

But all pasta, as with human beings, is made from the same ingredients-in the case of noodles, flour and water.

elephant journal
12/17/2013
Circle Leadership

Before moving to our log cabin here in the woods of New Hampshire, I lived and worked in Manhattan for 20 years. I had direct experience with toxic corporate hierarchical leadership, which was mainly dominated by men.

elephant journal
6/16/2015
Ordination: How I Showed Up Authentically

With all my gifts, and all my muck, knowing that like the lotus flower, I will blossom because of, not in spite of my muck. No mud, no lotus.

Elephant Journal
Scars vs. Wounds

I worked in the publishing industry in Manhattan for twenty years before I found the courage to write. And I would not have known how to cultivate that courage, had I not studied world religions for two years first.

Elephant Journal
Peace Within, Peace Without {A Response to Waylon Lewis}.

Via Camilla Sanderson on Oct 13, 2017 get elephant's newsletter Author's Note: This was written in response to Elephant Journal's founder, Waylon Lewis' note in a recent newsletter. To get Waylon's daily note of inspiration (free), sign up here: www.elephantjournal.com/best "The most important question in the world isn't how to be happy.

Elephant Journal
Spiritual Inner Work

My husband and I have conversed in depth on the difference between observing versus being judgmental. A few years ago, we counted our blessings when a Buddhist monastery took root on 250 acres across the road. The community of Thai forest Buddhist monks practice the art of observing without being judgmental.

Elephant Journal
Forget your Ego-only the Present Moment Matters.

get elephant's newsletter These synchronicities occur when I remember to surrender and swim with the flow, instead of constantly pushing upstream, and when surrender into the energy of how the divine beloved intends for it all to unfold. It's not up to me. However, my ego might like to think it is.

Elephant Journal
4/14/2015
When it Comes to Our Health, it's Time to Stop & Listen

Michael Pollan is a fine investigative journalist who writes musical prose. In The Omnivore's Dilemma, he writes about the danger of ridiculing something that is not necessarily measurable with the scientific method...

Elephant Journal
4 Pillars from the Bhagavad Gita to Apply to Writing

Thank you Jeroen Langendam for writing this ej article about the trials and tribulations of writing personal essays: https://www.elephantjournal.com/2018/09/i-havent-written-for-elephant-journal-in-two-years-heres-why/ This is so true: "sensitive topic + personal story = vulnerability = scary" I also adore Brené Brown's work.

Goodmenproject
01/23/2014
What if a Religion Reverses Policy? There is No Hell & Gay is OK

When Camilla Sanderson read that the Pope decided to embrace homosexuals, female priests and atheists, she was shocked but hopeful. - This article below came to my attention recently. "For the last six months, Catholic cardinals, bishops and theologians have been deliberating in Vatican City, discussing the future of the church and redefining long-held Catholic doctrines and dogmas.

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