If you are tired of the rat race and want to be of service and contribute and want to live in community, we welcome you here at San Diego Spiritual Retreat Center.
We love to welcome new members who would like to have some peaceful time and help us in the ways that fit them best. We have a suggested daily rhythm, but there are no corporate type of strict living/working here, but rather a friendly and family like environment in which people figure out the best ways of contributing to the community through open and free discussions by way of nightly and/or morning meetings. We have a schedule which is everyone works from 9:00 am to 11:30 am and again work from 3:30 pm to 6 pm. That is a suggested schedule because the sun is hot midday. We go for a walk at 6:15ish pm and have dinner after a nice walk. Dinner is prepped usually sometime during the four hour midday break by Community. Outside, on the patio, we prep by pitting dates, mincing garlic, juicing lemons and picking parsley leaves for a nice tabouli and a nice dessert. We do this so to share time together in community life through meals and evening entertainments. Everyone helps in the making and cleaning up with meals.
We have only very Yummy, healthy Vegan food here that is made by Community and shared with all Community members,
We have past volunteers ask us for recommendation letters and it is always an honor for us to do this.
Nearby area sights include the historic town of Julian and many hiking trails. There is a lot to do in Julian. Guests can borrow a bike to go there or drive. We sometimes do things in the city together like go to the beach and enjoy famous Balboa Park in San Diego.
We are a Spiritual retreat center. We are located about an hour drive away from San Diego. We are in the midst of gorgeous rural native trees and nature, away from urban life here. We are not affiliated with any particular spiritual ideology or philosophy with a central authority, but we are rather a community of truth seekers learning and growing in the mirror of relationship and intelligent questioning of everything; and love, we believe, is the only light in this spiritual journey.
A description of surrounding area and farm
-We Live in a beautiful piece of land at 3,500 feet elevation between Santa Ysabel, CA and the historic town of Julian, California. This is a 10.8 acre property located at the Headwaters of the San Diego River. With many large stunning rock outcroppings and Metates carved into the rock, this has been the home to many before us. We have many varieties of native plants. The location here is very unique because we are located in a transition zone right in the middle of the low elevation coastal plants and the high elevation mountainous plants. On the walking paths here, one goal is to have the California Native Plants clearly labeled and we are looking for an artist to make these signs for us and a gardener to plant more plants regularly. We want this to be a demonstration garden for Southern California Native Plants. Some of the native plants are edible. We are in a drought and we feel this education is wise. This area has beautiful, expansive views and rich California Gold Rush history. We are surrounded by many Native American reservations and have beautiful hiking trails. This is a Yoga and Spiritual Retreat center and has the largest Labyrinth in California. Many guests come to retreat here. During the guests’ stay, one of the things we do here is enjoy an outdoor fire at night and have discussions on topics such as peace, suffering, joy, fear, love, attachments, conditioning, gratitude, meditation and freedom. We also play instruments around the fire and sing, so bring your instrument if you have one. Guests and staff all enjoy this activity and have fun. We are from many walks of life and thrive while in community with love as our guide. We have about two retreats a month. We are on the border of the 3700-acre Santa Ysabel Preserve. We look for diversity in every aspect. We love the wealth of knowledge each soul brings, and all that we learn from each other. With about 1000 Oak Trees, three small seasonal rivers, large granite boulders to climb on, meditate on and sit on and a large chemical-free and splinter-free playground that is a haven and sanctuary for children and adults, alike. This is the San Diego Spiritual Retreat Center, and we are looking to enrich our paradise.
What we need help with:
1st: Chainsaw work
2nd – We need a yoga teacher.
3rd – Farmers and gardeners
Fourthly, we also have a Native Plant Botanical Garden we need help with here. We started the Native Plant Botanical Garden many years ago and we are planning the completion in September 2018. Southern California is in a serious drought and there is a new water law suggesting we limit use to 55 gallons a day, which includes landscaping. So, what are the new rules?
In 2022, the new water standard will be 55 gallons per person, per day. by 2030, it will fall to 50 gallons.
We must start saving and conserving water immediately in some way that is sustainable. We feel this demonstration native plant garden is a must for educational purposes. Our visitors will leave with knowledge how they can create a native plant garden at their own home, replacing their water-thirsty lawns. Having a native plant garden is one way we all can save water. We are all learning about sustainability together. We invite you to be part of the change.
We have 100 more plants we need planting. We are looking for volunteers who can create a reservoir over the root ball for watering these new young plants until they are established. We also need volunteers who can pull weeds that are near to the young plants until they are established. The garden path needs maintaining. We are looking for artists to make signs for these beautiful native plants. We will provide all of the material and equipment. If you are/aren’t allergic to poison oak, please let us know. We want to protect flora diversity in San Diego county and call attention to native plants by having a native plant demonstration garden open for others, children included. The work will be clearing wood, making paths and planting plants. The path has already been made and the guests we have at our retreat center already love the path, but we want to make it better by planting and labeling plants and maintaining the path. This will bring us closer to a more sustainable world when others learn about native plants, because naturally people will want to grow them in their yard instead of having a lawn thus saving the ground water and the water we all need.
We are quite blessed to live here on the property where the Headwaters of the San Diego River is located. There are approximately 150 different native plants, quite a many because we are located in a unique area by a river featuring Riparian native plants and also we live, where the coastal native plants meet the mountainous native plants. We will be planting many more rare and endangered plants.
Thirdly, we have a farm and orchard that need care of. We have dead trees on the property we need cut down and if you have chainsaw experience, please let us know. We are looking to make this site more sustainable, and to implement permaculture design concepts. We have many unique varieties of fruit and nut trees as well as many berry bushes and vines. A list of these include: Apple, Peaches, Apricots, Cherry, Plum, Goji, Pear, Persimmon, Walnut, Nectarine, Pluots, Quince, Mulberries (Black and Pakistan), Pineapple Guava, Pomegranate, Contorted Jujube, olive and almond trees, blackberries, boysenberries, raspberries, grapes, blueberries and strawberries. We plan on expanding our annual garden and perennial landscape. One of our goals in 2019 is to have more organic gardens: a kitchen garden, an herb garden, a salsa garden, a tulip garden, a watermelon garden, a bird and butterfly garden, a smelling garden and a pollination garden. A greenhouse will be constructed in the fall 2018 and we are looking for someone to do this for us. We are looking for someone who has experience with strawbale construction. We have a 4′ by 4′ house that needs reroofing as well.
Fourthly, we are looking to bring the business off of the ground and we need someone with marketing know how, computer CheckFront and WordPress know how.
Because this is a new growing business, we also offer weddings here because something needs to finance this place and the food we share. Thank you for your interest.
We expect to share dinner together. No worries if you can’t cook. We can teach you or we usually have volunteers who are very interested in preparing cuisine.
Food is included and accommodation as well, unless you are camping. You will learn many things while here. We have three refrigerators and a very well stocked kitchen vegans and vegetarians love! I am happy to share recipes.
We eat very healthy. Everyone eats but everyone is not required to eat together for all of the meals. Everyone is expected to keep the common areas clean. Since our common area also doubles as a retreat center which is like a hotel business on the weekends generally, we expect a tidy as you go mentality. We don’t expect neat freaks but if you know you are a person who is generally messy and likes to live that way, then this place may not be the best fit.
The food here makes us different and quite unique from many other places. We try to make meals from scratch. We offer a fully stocked kitchen. We feel great satisfaction delivering high quality food to appreciative volunteers.
Languages spoken: English, Turkish and Love
To maintain the peace and stillness, our quiet hours are 10:00 pm to 7:00 am in main, common areas and 9:30 pm to 8 am in the upstairs bedroom areas. Lights in the main areas are turned off during these times. Feel free to meditate on your own in the mornings. We love seeing volunteers meditating on the rocks and boulders outside. On some nights I, Jennifer play the healing crystal bowls for community.
Length of Visit
One Day (local), Less than 1 Week, 1-2 Weeks, 3 Weeks, 1 Month, 2-3 Months, Long Term
Volunteers are paid starting after three months. After three months, we are now 70% through the process of having a certified kitchen. The water has been tested and more. We will sell food here soon and with the money we will start paying anyone who wants to live and work in community. Someone is coming to teach everyone living here how to do a cottage food industry biz. Memo and I are leaving, but we will be here for retreats only, thus leaving the bedroom space up to others to live in community. We will drive daily from La Mesa, CA to teach the retreats! All volunteers partake in at least some of the retreat activities.
Shared bedroom in house, Tent camping, RV/Camper parking
Please feel free to contact us if you feel you can contribute to our community in any way. Accommodation includes Food. Work exchange expectancy is around 25 – 30 hours hours/week.
“My visit to the retreat center with my girlfriend Val was was beyond amazing! Jennifer and Memo were so incredibly kind and generous. They gave me a lot of freedom in how i could spend my working hours. We got to plant native plants and paint signs and learned how to build irrigation to reach the plants. Jennifer gave me some great recipes and taught me how to cook some delicious vegan meals and desserts. The room we were given was very comfortable. We loved walking through the many trails in the back of the property and playing guitar and singing songs around a bonfire at night. Jennifer, Memo, created such a warm and friendly environment and I wish I could have stayed longer.”
“Woah, what an amazing experience! Jennifer and Memo’s vibes are so open and caring, and the vibe of their home is so loving, I grew so much spiritually in my time there just from being in their environment. Jennifer was so thankful for our help on the farm and is very go with the flow, and was very supportive about projects and other things that we were interested in such as trying out new recipes! And Dustin is hilarious! I learned a lot from working with him planting-wise and life-wise too, like that I don’t have to take sh*t from anyone and that I can figure out how to do things my own way and make it work. And Memo is so chill and up for deep conversations and is probably one of the calmest people I’ve ever met! Overall great experience and I’m so glad I got to spend time here and help improve the Spiritual Retreat Center!”
“A gem in the midst of southern cali mountains. Beautiful land with beautiful people. From talks about life and spirituality with Memo, jamming and singing ring of fire with Jennifer, and cooking up a storm of delicious vegan cuisine and laughing with “anon” my time here will not be forgotten. A wide variety of tasks and a fun time to be had, I highly recommend!”
“These are some of the most loving, intelligent, spiritual, and fun people I have met. Each have so much to teach. Jennifer taught me about the Chakras, Human Design, THSP, and how to always be kind and positive. Memo taught me about kucions, singularity, AI, and spirituality in general. Elizabeth taught me about cooking and baking (vegan and vegetarian!), how to properly organize a kitchen, to always check my facts, and how to rock out to fun bands. The retreat center is beautiful with many amenities. There is a jacuzzi, laundry, WiFi, INCREDIBLE vegan and vegetarian food, and much more.”
“I had such a magnificent experience at the Retreat Center. This was my first time volunteering and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I learned a plethora of information and life skills, gained an abundance of knowledge from the most amazing souls, and grew so much as an individual. The property itself is stunning, near a quaint little town, yet perfectly secluded enough. Partook in yoga, meditation, and spiritual discussions whilst being here. Assisted in setting up, working, and taking down weddings.. that was exciting and fun! We also had retreats, where I and a few other volunteers would prepare the guesthouse for them, cook AMAZING vegan meals, and talk about life. I was fortunate to sleep inside and share a room with awesome roommates during the transition from Cali’s fall-winter. Everyday was a fresh and new beginning, so much laughter, vegan cuisines, music, and adventures shared with the kind hosts, Jen and Memo, as well as fellow volunteers. We worked about 5 hours a day and had a day or two off each week, going to the beach, hiking, or simply doing our own thing. I couldn’t have asked for a better overall volunteer experience, highly recommend!”
“it was such a beautiful experience! it was my first woofing experience and i am so thankful it was here, i wouldn’t have had it any other way. jen and memo are full of so much unconditional love and it was amazing learning to coexist with such beautiful souls. they are both so knowledgeable and it was so fun learning and growing with them! this place is more focused around the retreats, and it is so fulfilling to create such a loving space for people to come to heal. jen and memo made sure that every volunteer was helping in a way that was using our best abilities and special unique talents so i was able to use my natural creative expression and painted the sign! i also designed the logo for the website. it was so much fun and i really enjoyed dancing and singing with all the wonderful volunteers and enjoying the healthiest and yummiest food in the world!!”
“This place is great! The owners Jen and Memo treat their volunteers very well. No one is forced to do any particular work. Rather, each person decides for themselves what fits their skills and talents best. I got to be in the kitchen every day and cook delicious meals with the wonderful, organic food that was always in great supply. We would go for walks in the mountains many times a week, and the owners were very generous with everything: food, their car, the hot tub. Expect to work hard, but know that everyone is working as part of a team here. It’s a family-like environment where all are welcomed. I would highly recommend this experience!”
“I stayed with Jennifer and Memo for almost 2 months from January to March. From the moment I met them, I could tell that they truly care for people, and will go out of their way to make sure you have a great time. Most of the work centered around creating health-conscious vegetarian dishes for the retreats that are held here. The food is out of this world. We often made nourishing salads, healing soups, kombucha, and sprouts! I also helped chain saw and split fire wood. I learned a lot while staying here, and would gladly come back if I return to Southern California. For fun, there are good hiking trails nearby. We even had a few camp fires, and sang songs at the local open mic night in a nearby town. Thank you to Jennifer, Memo, the other volunteers, and everyone else I met during my stay. I would recommend staying here. Your stomach will thank you, and your spirit will be nourished.”
“I had a really special experience at the San Diego Spiritual Retreat Center and Farm. I ended up being there for a whole month, which is the longest I had WWOOFed anywhere! Jennifer and Memo are wonderful people. Jennifer opens up her home to people and is very welcoming. Our main duties were welcoming and preparing for the guests that would come for the retreats. These tasks would include cleaning the guest house, preparing meals and cleaning up after the meals. There is a lot of land on the property, so lots of potential for expansion from the farming aspect. We had begun to till some soil in a designated place before I left, where seeds were soon to be planted. During the time I was there we had a total of 9 volunteers, in addition to Jennifer and Memo. This made for a fun, cohesive group. Even when there weren’t retreats going on we would usually cook some wonderful meals together and share in the clean up. I learned some fabulous vegetarian recipes from Jennifer and others in the group. It was a lovely opportunity to share amazing food and company that I will always cherish.”
*As part of the screening process, we require a Skype interview or video with volunteers saying why whey want to come and what they want to do here. Thank you for your kind interest!*