Camilla sanderson

Camilla Sanderson

...earned her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is an ordained interfaith minister. She enjoys functioning in the roles of writer, spiritual guide, fierce feminine dakini, shamanic practitioner, alchemist. Her writing is subversively in service to the awakening of the Divine Feminine energies within women and men, and in service to the awakening of consciousness in herself, in you, and in all of humanity. ✨🌟💖🙏

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I'm passionate about writing memoir, particularly for women writers, as memoir has the potential to be an agent for radical social change.

Presently I'm in process with a third start-to-finish revision of:

TREETOPS AND THE BUDDHIST MONKS ACROSS THE ROAD: A Memoir.

(Other titles considered:
A SPIRITUALITY OF ONE'S OWN: A Memoir
HOW I LEARNED TO LAUGH AT MY EGO AND LISTEN TO MY SOUL: A Memoir of Learning How to Live My Dharma.)

I'm also the author of The Mini Book of Mindfulness (Running Press/Hachette, 2016).

The central questions infusing my 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?

My own spiritual yearning for mystical unity, along with eschewing what I observe in religious institutions—crumbling patriarchal hierarchies, dogma, hypocrisy, deadly earnestness, judgmental attitudes—inspired me to read deeply.

The most significant influences in the awakening of consciousness within me 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;
- shamanic practitioner Sandra Ingerman
- vulnerability and shame researcher Brené Brown;
- Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn; and
- spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle.

Serendipitously, I was led to study world religions with Rev. Dr. Stephanie Rutt at Tree of Life Interfaith Temple in 2012. 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.

A commitment to a daily spiritual practice began the first significant shift in the awakening of consciousness within me: I learned how to observe my humanity from my divinity, and to consistently connect with my own inner divinity and authority. Which also led to more conscious awareness of living from my soul rather than from my ego - I continue to practice holding my 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. I was so inspired by the Gita, I acquired seven different translations and compared sections side-by-side to gain deeper insights - perhaps I'm a slow learner, but by reading select verses in multiple translations, each spiritual principle was reiterated in a slightly different way, helping me towards a deeper understanding. Yes, you could say I'm 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 and necessary, for our planet to survive.

My intention is for my writing and stories to embody the energy of mindfulness and speak to your inner divinity, also known as the awakening consciousness within you.

After becoming an ordained an interfaith minister, I became a guide for the Tree of Life interfaith seminary program. If you feel called to embark upon this transformative spiritual journey, I would feel privileged, humbled, and delighted to be your guide. https://www.tolinterfaithtemple.org/overview.html

***

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: http://forestmonastery.org/

Camilla also works as a memoir writing coach, and 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.

Portfolio
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.

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
4/2/20
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.

Elephant Journal
03/24/2020
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.

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.

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.

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?

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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