- Spiritual Centers
An invitation to beauty and spiritual growth
by Gussie Fauntleroy
Kiara Perkins steps easily over uneven ground and through patches of crusty snow, a nimbleness and quick confidence belying her 85 years as she points out the many gardens, stone patterns, statues, shrines and meditation areas on the property she calls I am Harmony.
Over there is the tri-level treehouse with a children’s play area underneath, a couple of toy trucks waiting in the sand. Here’s the dome, whose low, curved space embraces those who enter and whose concrete ceiling is penetrated by crystals and colored glass, offering a “color bath” as sunlight filters through. Winding paths marked by rocks lead to a pyramid-shaped greenhouse, a rose-colored tipi, rock and crystal patterns on the ground in the shape of five-pointed, 10-pointed and 12-pointed stars, and a section of garden where faeries live. There’s an “I am Presence” shrine, a statue of Buddha, one of Saint Francis, one of Quan Yin.
Each area has been thoughtfully planned, taking advantage of the flow of land in terraced sections amid beautiful, neatly trimmed piñon trees. In some areas laminated signs explain the significance of the spiritual masters honored there. And everywhere, hand lettering on rocks or wood proclaims the qualities of these masters, available to each of us: Peace. Joy. Beauty. Truth.
Kiara’s property on Camino Baca Grande, just north of Willow Creek, also houses her 12-sided cedar home with its pyramid-shaped roof. But the heart of I am Harmony, she insists, is a 32-foot Cretan labyrinth. The labyrinth was the first addition Kiara made to the property after having her house built and moving there in 1996. And it remains central to her deeply held philosophy of wanting to share opportunities for healing and spiritual growth with everyone: The labyrinth, gardens and all the meditation areas she has created over the years are open to the public, free of charge, all the time.
“I never interfere,” Kiara explains, now sitting in her home’s comfortable living room with its soaring, peaked ceiling. If visitors want to ask about the gardens or the spiritual message behind anything in them, she is happy to talk with them. Otherwise, she says, people are welcome to quietly wander around, walk the labyrinth, pray, meditate, and absorb the healing energy of sacred spaces and loving intention. And they do, especially in summer. Many visitors have made a point of telling Kiara about meaningful moments, including powerful times of healing they have experienced on her land.
The public also may rent the guest cottage or the guest room in the main house and enjoy breakfast in the sunroom. Other benefits of a bed-and-breakfast stay include a hot tub and the use of a special screened-in structure with a deck on top for extraordinary mountain and valley views. Several types of healing modalities, including massage and cellular transformation, are offered by Kiara and local practitioners Rodney Volkmar and Pamela Rose.
The winding path that eventually led Kiara to Crestone and to the “I am Presence” teachings—her chosen approach to spiritual truth, honoring Saint Germain and other Ascended Masters and angelic beings—began with childhood during the Depression. One of four siblings, she developed a passionate love of nature while living on an Arizona ranch where her divorced mother was hired as schoolteacher for the ranch children. Later Kiara lived in Tucson, earned an English degree and became a schoolteacher herself.
As a young woman, she was living in Bisbee, Arizona and playing poker with her best friend one winter night when her friend made a bet that would change Kiara’s life. Whoever lost that game, the friend said, would be required to do whatever the winner said. “I, being very egotistic, expected to win,” Kiara remembers, smiling. The game was finally over at 2am. She had lost. “The most challenging thing my friend could think to give me to do, which she expected I would not do and then she could tease me the rest of my life, was to go to Catholic Mass that morning at 6am.” But Kiara surprised her friend. She set her alarm, trudged through the snow in the pre-dawn darkness, pounded on her friend’s door and announced that she was on her way to Mass and that the friend was coming too. The friend, who was Catholic, grudgingly agreed.
Kiara stepped inside a Catholic church for the first time in her life. There, in the early morning quiet and coolness, with the sounds of Latin and music and the scent of incense in the air, exhausted from lack of sleep, she found herself deeply, unexpectedly, spiritually moved. “I felt something so amazing take place within me,” she recalls, “that I became interested in the Catholic Church.” When she was 23 she joined the Church. Later, after reading Thomas Merton and others, she decided to become a nun.
For twenty years Kiara belonged to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in Los Angeles. For 14 of those years she served as mother superior and principal of the Catholic school served by the order. “It was very challenging, and I love challenges,” she says. Then, as suddenly and surely as she knew she was meant to join the Church, she knew it was time to leave. Her spiritually-seeking nature needed more, finally, than the Church was able to give. She moved to Prescott and taught Catholic and then public school, retiring at age 65.
In the mid-1990s, Kiara was introduced to Crestone through a friend. Not long after moving here she began listening to audiotapes about the “I am Presence,” resonating deeply with their positive message of transformative love. “I AM is the name of God,” she points out. “These are sacred words: I am that I am.” For a time she hosted regular gatherings to listen to the tapes and share their teachings. While she no longer holds these meetings, she continues to offer periodic ceremonial gatherings based on various traditions, honoring the essential message of love and divine light that she sees in each one.
Over the years Kiara has done most of the physical work of creating the I am Harmony gardens herself—digging up, moving and arranging stones on the rocky land, researching various wisdom traditions, designing and developing meditation areas, planting gloriously lush flower gardens and raking away pinecones to keep the property orderly and neat. She has had help from Chris Long, medicine man and spiritual director of the Oníyan Wakán Tipi, and a few others, as well as occasional gifts of statuary or other elements that now are part of the I am Harmony experience.
Throughout her life, Kiara says, she has been aware of guidance and assistance from the angelic realm. “All these angels and Ascended Masters are trying to help, but we have to ask them, because otherwise they cannot interfere,” she relates. As the world moves through 2012, Kiara envisions the approach of what she and others call the Seventh Golden Age—a time of radical positive change. “We as caretakers are on this planet to undo what we’ve done to the planet,” she believes. “We have to change. The whole thing is opening the heart to accept the light coming in. I’ve always been seeking perfection in myself and around me, to create as much beauty as I can, and to share it. That’s where I come from.”
Kiara can be contacted at 719-256-4810; visit www.kiaraperkins.com.