community and personal exploration. When she discovered a program at Pacifica Graduate Institute called “Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life,” Ford’s path forward started to crystallize. “In that program, I was introduced to new ideas and started to reawaken to what was truly important to me,” Ford says. The concept for Souldust was born soon after–it would be a heart-centered collective, a community of teachers and healers and people from all walks of life committed to living fully. Given Ford’s desire to reconnect with her creativity, the name Souldust came from a quote by the artist Pablo Picasso, who said “art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Now, Souldust offers retreats to destinations like Bali and Morocco, as well as events local to the Northwest, such as Camp Souldust and workshops on listening to your intuition, understanding chakras and more. Ford says the camp offers a place where people who might also have lost touch with themselves are able to reconnect with intuition and imagination. At Camp Souldust, campers can turn off electronics and plug into a larger energetic collective, that not only inspires and opens the mind, but leaves them grounded and balanced.
“Camp Souldust is a doorway into exploring things you’ve been curious about, but maybe thought they might be too woo woo for you,” Ford says, explaining many workshops are accessible to newcomers. “It’s a great place to dip your toes in a lot of interesting ideas and practices, and discover what appeals to you.” Cabin counselors are new to Camp Souldust this year and have been culled from campers of years past. They help nurture the experience and shape and shift the energy of the camp. Camp Souldust alumni camper Melissa Von Ruden will attend this year as a cabin counselor who will act as support and cheerleader for camp attendees. “I love the people– the staff and campers who become friends, and the soulful experiences we get introduced to,” Von Ruden says. “Being around like-minded people, in a nonjudgmental atmosphere - that’s magic.” The approach allows for exploration for people new to many of the concepts, but it also draws attendees who are committed to vibrant community living, joining a “tribe.” Ford says many attendees become friends and stay connected via social media and in their daily lives long after camp ends, in addition to returning year after year.
“We’re trying to help people integrate and live an authentic and balanced life, where they make space for themselves and what lights them up, while still going back out into the world and their lives as parents, spouses employees and all their other responsibilities,” Ford continues. “We believe strongly in the saying ‘heal yourself, heal the world’ and feel that right now, more than ever, people need to become grounded in who they are,” she finishes. “They need to connect and find their tribe so they feel brave enough to go out in the world and make a difference.” Camp Souldust: Magic in the Woods takes place April 21-24 at Camp Colman, 20016 Bay Road, Longbranch. $700/$625 early registration. For more information: CampSouldust.com or Souldust.com.