Self Actualization
In Our Educational Community*
A Message From Heartwood's Founder: Bruce Burger
Healing Community

Health is not merely of the body. It is the natural expression of the body, mind and soul when they are in rhythm with the One Life.
Dr. Randolph Stone

Heartwood is an educational community dedicated to a vision of healing our mother earth, by serving our students, who are answering a calling to careers in compassionate service. We live 'holistically' in a sublimely beautiful natural setting, 20 miles from the nearest small town, on 200 acres in the foothills of Northern California's Yolla Bolly Mountains.

At Heartwood the day begins witnessing the sun rising over Island Mountain on the way to Yoga or Tai Chi. Deer and wild turkeys peacefully graze nearby in the forests of fir, oak and madrone. Its easy to feel a part of the earth here, Immersed in nature. Her meadows are lush and green in the spring, carpeted with flowers. Much of the year her hills are a golden straw.

We eat family style, at big tables in our log cabin lodge. Our kitchen collective puts tremendous integrity and love into our meals. Many of the vegetables and herbs that we serve come from our own organic gardens.

Healing Circle, Healing Community
Community singing in our strawbale temple


Our vocational education programs are in their twentyfifth year of evolution. Education focus on skills that are practical and relevant to life. Classes focus on touching each other skillfully, physically and emotionally. People give of themselves in a spirit of service. Everywhere you turn you find it is safe to grow in Heartwood's community of caring, soulful individuals. The day is full, our curriculum challenging. Mornings focus on body-centered therapies.

Afternoons include a serious range of anatomy, pathology and kinesiology offerings, counseling and professional development classes, hypnotiherapy, breath and nutrition. As you walk home after an evening of dance therapy or a counseling group, the silence of nature is striking and the sky is big, filled with the mystery of the stars.

Healing Community, Safety, Safe space
Mural, Earth Dragon Catches Acorns, Heartwood Lodge by Andy Merriss

Actualization: A Unique Educational Environment
Self Actualization is a term coined by Abraham Maslow one of the 'fathers' of the human potential movement. Maslow realized that the psychology of his day was focused on pathology and abnormality. He sought to develop a psychology that focused on health rather than disease and studied the characteristics of happy, well integrated people to formulate his theory of self actualization.

Heartwood is an educational community with a focus on massage and the natural healing arts. We have evolved a unique educational environment whose focus is self actualization. Heartwood's educational community is a rare and precious place upon our mother earth, a safe place to learn and to grow. We have experienced that learning happens naturally, easily and joyously in an environment characterized by sensitivity and support.

Self actualization is about sharing our essence... feeling good about ourself... experiencing our innate intelligence and the tender joy of our caring. It is a profoundly actualizing human experience to safely share our love and wisdom.

The foundation of our curriculum is compassionate touch.
Touch is very special. Touch resonates with the heart. Caring touch reaches the core of our being. Through caring touch we transcend the insecurity, the emptiness, the suffering of the ego. Through caring touch we experience the flow of life. We become an instrument of a compassionate universe.

Mother Theresa tells us that we have come to this Earth to love and be loved. Our life flourishes when we feel safe to love and feel the love around us. At Heartwood we teach that service is love in action.

The East Indian sage, Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta, taught that service is the essence of the human condition, In the same way that fire burns upward and water flows downward, our nature is service. We find our essential self when we have permission to be a caring human being, to give of ourself and to share our being.

We live in an age where most "education" is preparing automatons for a place in our socially irresponsible consumer society. We can counter the emptiness and despair of modern life by choosing a vocation where we are empowered to use our love and share our Being. Through a career in compassionate service we can take personal responsibility for alleviating suffering in this troubled world.

I recently did some inner work, where I explored my anger and experienced its roots in my early childhood. I got in touch with feelings of shame and humiliation from second grade, where I failed test, after test, and then was put back in first grade . . . no one had taught me how to read.

I realized that I had dedicated my life to manifesting a safe educational environment. A place where students would not be de-graded or humiliated. A nourishing space that supported the growth of the person.


Energy Healing, Spiritual Healing, Self Actualization
Rock of Many Faces blesses our sublimely beautiful natural setting.


In 1972 I dropped out of university teaching and searched in Asia and India for a deeper understanding of the human condition. I was guided to Polarity Therapy where as a teacher I witnessed students being given permission to share their love and caring. I witnessed an educational environment where students glowed with life and love.

Heartwood is an educational community which offers a safe space to grow, be vulnerable, to heal past hurts, and to actualize a balanced way of living through a career in compassionate service. I often hear people say that they always dreamed of a place like Heartwood and express their gratitude to have found this blessed place.

Blessings,

Bruce Burger

*Heartwood closed its dootrs in 2008 after over 30 years of loving service....
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