WHY MAGGIE'S PLACE?
My name is Maggie Barton. I have a graduate degree in Social Work from Columbia University, and I have spent the last twelve years as a practicing Psychotherapist. Although I have had a large, thriving private practice, I began to realize that seeing someone for an hour once every two weeks for an ever-shrinking length of time as managed care has nibbled away at patient care, was of insufficient benefit to make any lasting improvement in people's lives. The kind of superficial behavioral changes that pass for mental health in the late twentieth century are a sad commentary on the economic pressures that are making their way into our healthcare system and our increasing willingness to accept minimalistic norms of social behavior.
Traditionally, extended, intensive, in-patient mental healthcare was offered only in psychiatric centers, not all together conducive to helping a functional, though wounded person connect with the healthy part of their psyche - their Soul. Lately, authors have been writing books with titles such as "Care of the Soul", "Seat of the Soul", "Fire in the Soul", etc. Why? Obviously, the soul is crying out for attention in a world that increasingly denies its importance or even its existence. And modern life in many places seems to be speeding up, faster and faster - more hectic and less nurturing.
The Soul is crying out for time away from the busyness of a high pressure life, filled with obligations, duties, time limits and not enough down time or even sleep. It is crying out for a respite, for a place of peace and security, a place away from the maddening crowd, a place where people care and share. A place of great beauty & deep peace, surrounded by trees and flowers, the sounds of birds and falling water, a Sanctuary that cares for the Soul.
My husband Alan and I left the scurry of metropolitan New York and moved to Waynesville, North Carolina in the Great Smoky Mountains. We are completing the renovation of a large house on two acres, our goal being to create a Sanctuary for the Soul. To create a peaceful place, like the eye of a hurricane, where people can sort things out, empty out their heads, still their minds, and then start to return to their soul and get in touch with who they really are. To get in touch with that part of themselves that can only be heard in the stillness and calmness. To be able to contemplate the deeper meaning & purpose of our lives, and to come away with the clarity, insight, and faith to make the kinds of decisions that lead to a more centered, more balanced, and richer life experience.
Our home, which Alan has called Maggie's Place, is a Bed & Breakfast and Soulcare Sanctuary. Resembling an Oriental monastery on the outside, the inside is an eclectic mix of Renaissance and English Romanticism tempered by international spirituality. The center of our home is the Great Room, featuring a large, round, antique, wooden dining table, with excellent views of the Japanese Water Garden, as well as our Universal Altar bordered by our music conservatory and a stone fireplace. After a sumptuous gourmet meal amid the soothing sounds of our waterfall, we often adjourn to the altar & music area for live music, songs, poetry, storytelling, prayer, and/or meditation. The living room, with its comfortable seating and cozy fireplace, is often the setting for spirited conversations about all manner of subjects - and our well-stocked library and internet access make backing up one's assertions with facts more persuasive. (Meaty conversation for the purpose of mutual enlightenment, unburdening of the Soul, and deepening of The View is a staple at Maggie's Place.)
Our two guest suites are brand new, and designed to soothe body, mind and soul. The Tao Apartment has a separate private entrance, and features a private bath with jacuzzi, a kitchenette and dining area, and a cozy living room with a woodstove and air conditioning. It is reserved for couples and singles desiring some quality time, free of distractions, who wish to come and go on their own schedule. The Unicorn Suite consists of two adjoining bedrooms that share a bathroom, and is aimed at married couples with two children. The parents enjoy a comfortable antique brass bed, reading area, and classic artwork, while the children have separate beds, their own closet space, and magnificent views of the mountains and the valley below.
Since most modern families are severely addicted to television, and tv is crack for the soul, your cable tv is stored in the parent's closet. We suggest that you ration it or agree to go "cold turkey" while you are with us. We have a variety of board games, arts & crafts, musical instruments, books, computers, indoor attractions and more for any rainy days, and lots of outdoor activities for our frequent sunny summer days. We recommend that you spend lots of quality time with your family, doing things that encourage creativity, exploration, self-expression, values formation and family participation & bonding. (Remember that Maggie is an experienced, licensed psychotherapist who is available to help with family emotional problems. You might want to discuss any behavioral or emotional issues with Maggie before coming so that she can be prepared to assist you.)
Outside, you will find Mother Nature in all of her finest glory. We currently have a magnificent Japanese Water Garden with a Waterfall and Bonsai trees, Organic Vegetable & Herb Gardens, Indian Sweat Lodge with a Ceremonial Fire Pit, and a Greenhouse (under construction). Our future plans include a Spiritual Stroll Garden, Japanese Tea House, Teepee, Fairy Ring, Labyrinth, and a Playground. We want to create a place that will relax, enlighten, empower and delight you, your family, and your friends both now and in the future. Come back anytime, and experience new adventures of the Spirit.