Camilla sanderson

Camilla Sanderson

...earned her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2017 and was ordained an interfaith minister in 2014. She enjoys functioning as a writer, a spiritual guide, a holy rascal, a spiritual rebel, and a force of TRUTH like a fierce feminine dakini with a lot of wild joy, love, and laughter.

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Camilla is passionate about memoir as an agent for radical social change. She's presently in process with a third start-to-finish revision of, TREETOPS AND THE BUDDHIST MONKS ACROSS THE ROAD: A Memoir of Cultivating the Courage to
Claim a Non-Religious Spirituality in the World. Her engaging story subversively weaves in spiritual principles from both Eastern and Western world faith traditions. She is also the author of: The Mini Book of Mindfulness (Running Press/Hachette, 2016).

The central questions infusing her writing are:

Her own spiritual yearning for mystical unity, along with eschewing what she observed in religious institutions—crumbling patriarchal hierarchies, dogma, hypocrisy, deadly earnestness, judgmental attitudes—inspired her to read deeply.

Her most significant influences include the work of: interfaith minister, Reverend Doctor Stephanie Rutt; Tosha Silver, astrologer and author of 'Outrageous Openness: Letting the Divine Take the Lead,' and 'It's Not Your Money'; Tibetan Buddhist nun Pema Chodron; vulnerability and shame researcher Brené Brown; and Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn.

Serendipitously, Camilla was led to study world religions with Rev. Dr. Stephanie Rutt at Tree of Life Interfaith Temple. Rev. Dr. Rutt asked for a commitment to a daily spiritual practice, or sadhana, for the two-year duration of the interfaith seminary program, advising this to be the most important aspect of any spiritual journey.

Camilla found a daily spiritual practice transformed the way she lived her life - she learned how to consistently connect with her own inner divinity and authority. This, in turn, has led to more conscious awareness of living from her soul rather than from her ego - she practices holding her ego like a beloved pet, and laughing at it when it tries to run the show, which it often does.

This two-year study of world religions included a deep dive into the ancient Hindu sacred text, The Bhagavad Gita. Camilla was so inspired by her study of the Gita, she acquired seven different translations and compared sections side-by-side to gain deeper insights. By reading select verses in multiple translations, each spiritual principle is reiterated in a slightly different way, providing deeper understanding. She now refers to herself, with a grin, as a Gita nerd.

Dharma is one of the essential concepts in the Bhagavad Gita (different from the Buddhist definition of the same word.) We do not even have an exact equivalent English word for the Hindu concept of dharma, but it centers around the idea of our “sacred duty,” or “the great work of our lives,” or our “personal legend” as Paulo Coelho puts it in The Alchemist, or as the poet Mary Oliver writes, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

From Hinduism, the world’s oldest religion with a recorded written text, to Shamanism—one of the world’s oldest indigenous spiritual practices, the Aboriginal Dreamtime being even older—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. Camilla’s writing and stories embody the energy of mindfulness and speak to one's inner divinity.

After becoming an ordained an interfaith minister, Camilla became a guide for the Tree of Life interfaith seminary program. If you feel called to embark upon this transformative spiritual journey, she would feel both privileged and delighted to be your guide.


Born and raised in Australia, during her early 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 in Manhattan and moved to TreeTops, a log cabin in the woods of Southern New Hampshire.

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:

In response to feeling called to write, Camilla continues to practice the art and craft of writing. She also teaches 'Writing Personal Essay and Memoir as a Spiritual Practice' through Tree of Life Interfaith Temple.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Social Distancing or Physical Distancing?

Working from home as a writer, I was already social distancing and physical distancing. My husband also works from home. We live in a log cabin in the woods so we don't get many visitors, except from a few friendly Buddhist monks from a monastery that took root across the road five years ago, and some Buddhist friends we've made through the monastery.

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In the Time of Covid, I wonder...

I wonder how this world will be after people have experienced enforced stillness. I wonder if humanity will have an awakening. I wonder if the human species will use this global pandemic as an opportunity to heal ourselves and save our planet. I wonder how this will look in each person's life.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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: "The most important question in the world isn't how to be happy.

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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.

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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.

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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...

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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: This is so true: "sensitive topic + personal story = vulnerability = scary" I also adore Brené Brown's work.

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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