SHAUMBRA MAGAZINE: How and when did you find Crimson Circle?
SUZY: Through the Coal Creek Canyon Community Center. I’ve managed the community center for many years, and in 2003 Linda joined the board of directors. At about the same time, Crimson Circle started to rent the Community Center for the monthly Shouds. (They called it “Universal Life” back then to keep a low profile in the canyon community.) I didn’t know anything about Crimson Circle, but I knew Linda from the board, so that’s how we connected. I had already retired from National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder after working there for 30 years. I wanted to keep working, but without the long commute, so I did a lot of odd jobs in the Canyon.
I was working at the local preschool when Linda approached me and said, “Could you work part time for our group?” At that time Crimson Circle was separate from their business, called Sundance (named after their dog) and Donna Winsted was working for them. Linda recorded the channels on cassettes, and I helped Donna make CDs of the recordings. Then she moved away, and Linda asked if I would start helping with events. That was the beginning, and I worked for Crimson Circle for 10 years before retiring in 2013.
SM: What do you do now for Crimson Circle?
SUZY: I help Bonnie with the Angels program and do some database work. I also help Seissa with the events, because it’s a very big job, and I make the name badges that go to the various events around the world.
Because we live in close proximity, I also watch Geoff and Linda’s home when they travel, pick up the mail, make bank deposits and other things, as needed. Knowing all this is taken care of while they are traveling helps give Geoff and Linda peace of mind.
SM: What skills did you bring to the job, and what have you learned?
SUZY: My skills are Virgo-like skills, which was perfect for events. I had good computer skills because I was in scientific computing for 30 years, but in this job, you adapt all the time and learn so much. I always appreciated being on that leading edge with technology. At NCAR we said we were on the “bleeding edge” because we were testing things that no one had done before. John Kuderka was in that similar mindset of “Let’s just try this,” and I always really enjoyed that.
I like to be organized, and for events that’s the best skill that you can have. I read Michelle Dinu’s interview last month and she wrote about events in Hawaii, how she liked that part of the job – organizing everything, then watching it happen – and if you’ve done a good job it all flows. There’s no effort at all and nobody knows all the work that went into it, unless you screw up.
Sometimes Geoff would call me “Radar” (a character on the M*A*S*H television show) and I loved that! It was the biggest compliment because Radar would know what was happening before it happened, because he anticipated. For instance, maybe Geoff wanted a banner or something, and I would go, “Here it is” and he’s like “What?!” I always got a kick out of that. If I could anticipate it, he’d go, “Oh, Radar!” I loved that, and it just meant thinking ahead a little bit. Mostly I worked with Linda on all the event details and learned all kinds of stuff about contracts and the many things that can interrupt a process like volcanos, tsunamis, all these things that are just out of your control.
And Shaumbra are great. You know, I like that level of connection and people are so appreciative. They come to an event not only to learn and experience, but to be entertained, have a vacation, feel the earth, whatever, and to make that happen for people is pretty special. You learn about yourself too. For me, during an event, it’s like your adrenaline just takes over. You stay focused and hardly get tired. Then, when you’re done, it catches up and you’re exhausted. That’s how it would be for me anyway, like, “I’ve got so much energy!” It was fun. You’re the first one in and the last one out. You’re the one who pays the tip at the end of the night. You stay till it’s done.
SM: Thinking about what you do now, do you have a favorite part or more challenging part?
SUZY: I enjoy it, because I don’t have the pressure there was before. Seissa gives me plenty of time to do what she needs, and I’m not on the same kind of deadlines that I used to have. So, I enjoy that. The thing I don’t like as much is feeling like the technology goes by too fast and I’m not keeping up with it. I’ve kept up on the database stuff and things in the CC store, but technology is the part where I feel a little behind, a little out of the loop.
Occasionally Shaumbra from out of town like to visit Coal Creek Canyon. They call and ask if they could just sit in the Community Center for a bit, because they can still feel the Crimson Circle energy there. I’m always happy to do that for them.
SM: What do you feel passionate about? What would you like Shaumbra to know about you?
SUZY: My passions are different now. As you get older, things change, and I like to be with nature more and more, taking walks and so on. I’m in birding groups and wildflower groups, where you’re out doing stuff with people who are into the same kind of thing. I still manage the community center; I still like to take care of my little piece of Coal Creek Canyon.
You know, I was raised Southern Baptist. My parents are still alive, they’re almost 90 and I talk to them every Sunday, and they are really convinced that the end of the world is near. My mom says, “If we’re not here, just know the rapture took us,” and then she gets into this, “You’re not going to be in heaven” and that whole thing. But this experience with Shaumbra has taught me that I’m not going to Baptist heaven – I don’t want to go to Baptist heaven! – and that’s what helped me the most. That kind of religion says God is on the outside telling you what to do, and I learned that “You are God also, God is inside.” It’s more like a sharing experience rather than having lots of rules. I mean, you know right from wrong, and you know you’re going to your own heaven, whatever wonderful place, whatever energy that is.
So that’s what I appreciate from my experience with Crimson Circle. It allowed me to step away from that religious stuff because it gave me the words that I needed. I helped with the “You Are God Also” workshops, and my dad freaked out with that. He said, “There’s no way! Your ego is so big that you think you’re God, that’s blasphemy.” But it’s what you feel, it’s a sharing. It’s not something out there telling you what to do. That’s what I liked, what made me a better person.
We always told the local community, other churches in the area, that “Crimson Circle is about tools for a better life. It provides tools and guidelines, gives you things to think about and words to use.” So, I always supported and enjoyed it. It wasn’t just a job.