Ghost Ranch, NM – August 31-September 4, 2015

The history of the West is enshrined with harrowing injustice and violence that I internalized. To survive as a child I challenged the colonial darkness that consumed my family. I noted very early on that my family flailed in the darkness, and the shadows attracted me because I wanted to free them from this moral quandary and into the light. But it was not to be–I wanted to challenge the shadow and vanquish its heart of darkness. I wanted to know why it devoured my family and answer the question: why was my family ravaged by a society that refused to accept an indigenous people–oppressed by vigilantes, military scavengers, homesteaders, pioneers, looters, land speculators, politicians and bankers. All took from us until we had nothing left but our own shame.

I was swimming in the murky lagoons of my family’s decent and I stayed in that swamp, abscessed with the decaying souls of my brothers and sisters. I gorged at self-hatred’s table and nourished my self-hatred on drugs, alcohol and violence until one day I remembered the beautiful boy I was–that amazing clarity and kindness in my eyes, the shy smile, the universe cradling my heart with love, cascading lullabies of light on my soul, lighting up my entire being with joy. After a lot of work, a lot of faith, and a lot of learning to love myself and others, I came out of the darkness.

That’s what I want us to explore in a larger framework at the Ghost Ranch retreat. I want others to use their experience too: we’ll merge, integrate and blend what we know, then sift through what works and doesn’t work. I want to use what we discover to help others wandering helplessly in life, many in worse situations. Our goal is to create a textbook we can offer to teachers and students.

So let’s get together and do this. I don’t believe in comfort zones. I believe in making our life what we want to be zones. And I believe that we the people can make it happen and raise our children in a way that allows them to love who they are. We will formulate lesson-plans and curriculum that will fortify our children and prepare them to become leaders.

Ghost Ranch offers adobe houses and dormitory accommodations, a cafeteria and pool, big sunlit rooms, hiking and horse back riding…everything to refresh one’s spirit.

By facilitating this “Smashing The Pipeline From School to Prison Summit” I want to give back what I’ve been gifted, blessed and honored with.

Everyone is welcome. You don’t have to be a specialist. Ordinary people are often the ones who invent and improve on older models. Step up and join us for this workshop and embrace the world with us. You’ll be surprised and amazed at how you’ve come into your own light again.


The cost of the workshop is $850.00 (does not include accommodations). To attend, contact Karen Vargas: or call (575)751-0952.