Jan 19, 2017

Her Philia?

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In a recent blog post, Teal Bosworth Scott Swan leveled some pretty serious allegations against the "hate group" conspiring to shut down her new retreat center.

To add to it all, the collective hate group which is so vehemently opposed to my career as well as me as a person has been dedicating themselves wholeheartedly to trying to destroy this retreat center. Essentially, the minute that we announced this retreat center, they began planning how to shut it down. This began with them collectively turning me into the FBI and the local police. Now their efforts are aimed at planning to attend so as to sabotage what we are doing here from the inside. They have been targeting both attendees and teachers of the retreat. And they have been doing a damn good job if I don’t say so myself. We had one teacher not only resign from doing a retreat here because of the amount of Anti-Teal 'Danger' propaganda sent to her when she announced that she was working with me... but also turn directly against me and refuse to talk to any one of us to resolve the situation. The teacher of the current retreat and many of the prospective attendees have confessed that they too felt deeply insecure coming here because of it. Essentially, the principal strategy of my haters is to “befriend” people associated with me and then turn them against me.

Lately it has been a real frustration being told by some that I should just ignore it all (which can’t happen if they are taking tangible steps to sabotage me as opposed to just slandering me). And on the other hand being told by others that they need my help and response in order to feel less terrified of me and my whole movement. These hate groups have managed to make people who were dedicated and enthusiastic pull away from me and everything associated with me just to avoid the conflict and pressure of the controversy that surrounds me.

This dynamic has made my career MUCH less enjoyable this year. When I used to meet people, the overwhelming majority looked at me with this look like I was a gift sent straight from the divine universe into their lives. Now, the overwhelming majority looks at me like I am a dragon... Something both wonderful and terrifying. They look at me like they feel the overwhelming benefits of what I have brought to their lives, but that because of all of the fear propaganda they’ve been fed this year, they are not sure if I’m going to suddenly turn onto a fire-breathing monster. This hate group has the exact same energy and dedication as the anti-abortion protestors who stand outside abortion clinics.

See? She was divinely sent, but now she's "wonderful and terrifying." She dug deep for a negative way to describe herself and came up with more vanity.



Seeing as I'm probably a charter member of teal's imaginary "hate group," I think it behooves me to address these assertions. (I say imaginary because I keep checking the Southern Poverty Law Center listings for anti-teal hate groups and finding nothing.) For a start, please note that she provides no evidence for any of her claims. She doesn't identify this teacher who resigned, provide any quotes, or anything that could be verified. You'd just have to take her word for it. My own investigation of cancelled events at Philia came out a little differently. And I have screenshots, aka., evidence. In fact, much of her Philia narrative does not withstand scrutiny, starting with her purchase of the new facility.

On November 29, 2016, teal announced that she had purchased a retreat center in Costa Rica, in an Instagram video.


philia announcement video


She explained in greater depth the next day on her blog.

Last month when I came to Costa Rica, I was not simply looking for a site to hold retreats when I came here. I was looking to actually purchase a property that I could turn into a retreat center. I had been waiting for guidance for over a year. Then, at 3:00 am six months ago, I began to get the message “Costa Rica is the place”. I had never been to Costa Rica. I have very little pull to the Latin culture or the Latin language, so it was a real surprise that I was guided to this place. But stronger and stronger, the guidance came until I was so convinced that I got on a plane and flew here. On one of our scouting endeavors, I drove into a little town called Atenas about 30 minutes away from San Jose, high up in the mountains. The minute I drove into the center of the town, I was hit by a feeling of being at home. With that ‘confirmation’ I contacted a Real Estate Professional to see if there was anything for sale in Atenas. Sure enough, there was. A little hotel called El Cafetal.

We drove in and met one of the owners. The minute I saw him, it was like I had found someone from my own family again. As he was guiding me through the property that they had built in response to a vision years ago, he kept calling it “your home” (referring to me). He knew I was going to be there. The contract was done between myself and this place far before it was done physically. The two owners were very spiritual people who had been praying that someone would come who would want to use this place for spirituality and healing instead of tourism. I walked through the main foyer and out onto the back deck and immediately knew this was the place. I turned around and without seeing anything else, told the real estate agent to write an offer. In a flood, visions of my community laughing and myself writing books here came through. I saw people healing here. I saw them meditating in the little meditation areas all over the property and doing yoga on the yoga platform in the morning and swimming in the pool. I saw them eating fresh foods grown locally here. I saw everything I had been envisioning for years.

Long story short, I bought a retreat center. It is the new development in my own mission. I have taken the next step. I officially have a healing center now. This will not only be a place that I, myself host retreats at; it will also be a center for other teachers to hold retreats so that their knowledge can reach more people. Our first retreat is scheduled to start on December 31st. The possibilities are limitless for what people can learn about here and the healing they can experience here. Eventually, we will be creating permaculture here as well. I already have an amazing and competent staff ready and eager to do this work with me.

So what have we learned, apart from the surprising news that they speak Latin in Costa Rica, a language most of the world thinks is dead? We've learned that teal was divinely guided to the perfect property to buy and embark on her grand vision.

Back here on Earth, I learned that Hotel El Cafetal has a Facebook page, where they did indeed announce that they were selling the hotel at a steep reduction. (The original list price was $2M.) That announcement is still on their page, without amendment.


hotelcafetalforsale


But buried in the visitor comments, they did provide a little update on the status of the hotel.


rented with option to buy


So on November 29, teal announced her purchase of a retreat center. But as of December 10, the hotel owner she claims to have bought it from said that they'd rented it, with an option to buy. We have an apparent discrepancy.

To some that might seem like a small point. Who cares if she rented the property or bought it? Indeed it is a small point, so small that there's no logical reason for her to have been anything but honest about it. But it looks like the leader of the authenticity movement is fudging a little on the details.

When teal announced her new center and posted the web site, I poked around a bit and looked at the retreat offerings. I had some concerns about what I saw. The pricing structure was vague and confusing. The first event, a singles retreat, had a page that looked more like an ad for Russian brides, with pictures of many pretty women,  but no pictures of the men whom they claimed had registered.


prettywomen


They asked applicants to list their sexual orientation, but the retreat called for 8 men and 8 women. So it seemed more like a mixer for straight singles, in which case, it would be more honest to simply say so.

The pricing structure makes no sense at all. The rates are bundled, making it unclear what is the cost for room and board and what is the cost of the instructed events. And the prices vary, which only adds to the confusion. Some of the things that gave me pause were examples like this.




The breatharianism retreat – yes, you heard me, there's a breatharianism retreat – is substantially more expensive than the vegan food retreat, more expensive than all the other retreats, actually. Yes, it's two weeks, as opposed to one week. But it's roughly three times the cost. Each rate is double that of the vegan retreat, plus a grand. And we know it's not to cover food costs. One hopes it's to cover a medical staff on standby, but it doesn't say anything about that. There doesn't even appear to be a health questionnaire for this thing, which is terrifying.

Stranger still, I observed at the time that the pricing structure for the singles retreat was quite different. There were no bungalows and a single room was nearly the same rate as the single bungalow for the other events. (???)


singlesretreat120416


That was then. This is now. And ALL the bungalows have disappeared and been replaced with higher priced single rooms.


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And now a new question arises. Retreats are indeed disappearing. According to teal a single instructor was corrupted by those diabolical "haters" and turned against her. Which teacher might that be? When I originally perused the Philia website, I noted four retreats that as of a few days ago did not appear on her retreat page. There was a juice retreat (1/21-28), a family dance and music workshop (2/18-25), a creative journey retreat (2/25-3/4), and a yoga retreat (3/4-11)

I took some screenshots when I became aware of this on 1/14. You can see in this one that the juice retreat, which was slated to start this coming weekend, is not on the schedule. The womb healing retreat, to my knowledge, started on schedule and was removed from the roster when it began.


missingjuiceretreat


Here you can see the gap in the schedule, where the other three events had been listed.


threemissingretreats


As of this writing, the direct links I've provided above still work. The pages still come up, except for one. The page for the creativity workshop is entirely gone. That would be this one:


creativejourneyworkshop


That retreat has not only disappeared from the retreat listing. It was kicked down the memory hole, which would seem to indicate that there was some sort of conflict. So was this the teacher who was turned against teal by those obsessed "haters?"

It appears not.


Eva Cendors will not work for free


That comment was posted in Teal Tribe and in some other teal-related groups, I believe. So the issue in that case appears to have been, not so much teal's "haters," as it was that teal doesn't want to pay her instructors. Her certified Completion Process practitioners are also being called upon to volunteer their services at these retreats.

Look at the price tag on those retreats one more time. Scroll up and look at the kinds of rates the same hotel was previously charging for rooms. Or see here what they were charging for extended stays.


extended stay at cafetal


Even allowing for additional food costs, the lion's share of the rate is for the instructed events. Shouldn't those instructors be paid?

And the plot thickens. Yesterday teal dropped this bomb.


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What she does not say in this post is that still more retreats have been removed from her original lineup. There were three events scheduled for April, after the breatherianism retreat: find your creativity (4/8-15) art therapy (4/15-22), and dance your heart out (4/22-29). Of those three, only the last has had the entire page removed. What follows are more of the screenshots of the Philia retreat listing that I'd grabbed on 1/14.


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As of today, the retreat listing ends with the breatharianism retreat. Who the "big guys" are that will be added for April, or what the new prices will be, we do not know. We also do not know if she will be paying them. Perhaps it's only the "little people" who don't get paid. We do know that seven previously scheduled events have disappeared from the retreat listing without explanation.

We also know that teal is working hard to upmarket herself. She has launched a new premium membership site, and the events come with much higher price tags. Price resistance was immediate. An announcement on the spiritual catalyst Facebook page and Blake was pressed into service to smooth ruffled feathers.


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And then it was off to Teal Tribe to spin like a top and lecture everyone about politics.


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Pro tip: If someone assures you of some awful thing they are definitely not doing, that's probably exactly what they are doing.

What is this "pressure" that teal is under? If the way to relieve that pressure is raising rates and developing big ticket events, the obvious conclusion would be financial. There's a whole world she's got to fix, people! How is she ever going to buy countries if she can't even buy a hotel?

I'm having a hard time making sense of her cancelling all those retreats, when they clearly need the income. It seems to me the logical thing would be to promote the heck out of those events, instead of slashing the schedule. Why not bring in her A-listers in May? This leads me to the conclusion that there's a whole lot more going on behind the scenes than teal is letting on.

One of the selling points of teal's workshops is a very limited amount of face-time with the luminary herself. For some, not all, of the retreats, teal is making herself available for a Q&A. After the singles retreat, Ale uploaded a very low tech video of this workshop-like gathering. It no longer appears to be publicly available, but copies are still floating around. I've put together an edited version of what we'll call the worst moments. I have also obscured the identities of the participants for reasons that should be readily apparent. It is simply one of the worst things I've ever heard.




One of the men at the retreat, who seemed like a nice enough fellow, was just really out of place. He was obviously a good bit older than what looked to be mostly twenty-somethings. It went badly for him. After what was obviously a week of rejection, teal piled on and informed him that his "shadow" was the problem, because it gave him the "vibration of a creep." She proceeded to inform hm that despite being oblivious to this glaring character flaw, he's really very manipulative. She then proceeded to describe to him areas of improvement, that only sound to my ear, like instruction in how to be more manipulative and boundaryless. After reducing him to tears and having all the women at the retreat let him know how uncomfortable he made them, she informed him that when he cries it's also inauthentic and manipulative and a real turn-off. Really like watching someone tear the wings off a butterfly, incredibly cruel. The gentleman took this whole thing with great aplomb and in the spirit of self-improvement. Good for him. But it turned my stomach.

I also found it very interesting that she described her upcoming workshop as "getting drilled" by her for three days. I wonder what names she'll be calling people at that one.

One of the things I've wondered about, since she announced this venture, is whether she would be exclusively holding retreats, or if the facility would continue to operate as a hotel. Visions of really dark Fawlty Towersesque comedy have danced in my head. But, alas, it is not to be.

In replies to her post about the pending price change, one of teal's staff members stepped up to address the inevitable backlash.


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So, no, teal is not going to be an hotelier. That seems a little foolish to me, as they are currently looking at weeks on end with no events and no bookings. And for all Gabija's complaints about costs, El Cafetal seemed to be meeting their costs renting double rooms for $50 a night and rates as low as $500 a month. And I doubt they had a staff of volunteers.

Of course, the volunteers, in this case, appear to be teal's expanding "intentional family." And this is where alarm bells should be going off.

If this marriage proposal doesn't scream cult to you, I don't know what to tell you. Would you, Lynn, take all these people as your lawfully wedded family? Oh, and Blake. You'd be marrying Blake as well.




Meanwhile, teal would like her critics to stfu. This private message was sent from her Facebook account. One hopes she did not write it, because talking about yourself in the third person that much is not a good sign.


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It would appear, though, that teal's passion for free expression has waned since she wrote this. She is, indeed, attempting to censor people on their own "turf," as she calls it. This is why she must reframe all criticism as "hate" and attribute a host of nefarious schemes to anyone who speaks against what she's doing.

So are the denizens of Truth Tribe plotting to infiltrate and disrupt her retreat center? Oh, absolutely! Here you can see them plotting and scheming to turn the singles retreat into God only knows what.


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Anyone with two brain cells to rub together could see that this was a joke, not a serious plan to disrupt an event. But who knows. Perhaps teal is aware of an actual plan hatched out of Truth Tribe, that I am not. Then I'm sure she can show the world those screenshots.

Are "haters" working overtime to persuade anyone who wants to donate their time to teach classes at Philia? Are they working their charms on anyone who wants to spend upwards of a grand to attend a retreat there? Not that I'm aware of and I'm pretty dialed into the "hater network."

Food for thought: Perhaps potential attendees took the time to read the terms and the waiver they'd have to sign and begged off at that point. My favorite of the terms is number 5: "You agree that you will not speak ask [sic] Teal Swan personal questions." (She, however, reserves the right to call you a creep at any time for any reason.)

It's the waiver, though, that would put me right off. If you are harmed or killed due to their negligence, they are relieved of any and all responsibility.

I acknowledge that this Accident Waiver and Release of Liability Form will be used by the event holders, sponsors, and organizers of the activity in which I may participate, and that it will govern my actions and responsibilities at said activity. In consideration of my application and permitting me to participate in this activity, I hereby take action for myself, my executors, administrators, heirs, next of kin, successors, and assigns as follows:
(A) I WAIVE, RELEASE, AND DISCHARGE from any and all liability, including but not limited to, liability arising from the negligence or fault of the entities or persons released, for my death, disability, personal injury, property damage, property theft, or actions of any kind which may hereafter occur to me including my traveling to and from this activity, THE FOLLOWING ENTITIES OR PERSONS: Philia Sociedad Anónima (PSA) and/or their directors, officers, employees, volunteers, representatives, and agents, and the activity holders, sponsors, and volunteers;

(B) INDEMNIFY, HOLD HARMLESS, AND PROMISE NOT TO SUE the entities or persons mentioned in this paragraph from any and all liabilities or claims made as a result of participation in this activity, whether caused by the negligence of release or otherwise.

Note to teal: I wouldn't test that. James Arthur Ray tried. It went badly. Turns out people can't actually waive their right not to be killed. (I'm looking at you, breatharian retreat.)

So is a "hate group" to blame for the failings at Philia? Mysteriously cancelled events, inscrutable pricing structure, sudden price hikes, expecting people to waive away basic health and safety requirements... At best this is amateur hour. At worst, there are serious ethical lapses occurring. Either way, teal has no one to blame but teal for the problems she's having getting her rickety plane off the ground.

Are all her detractors "collectively" turning her in to law enforcement and state agencies? I like the way she put that, "turning me into the FBI." Poof! You're the FBI! Typos aside, it makes her sound guilty. They didn't report her,  they turned her in to the authorities. I believe some people have contacted various law enforcement agencies, and I don't think that's a bad idea at all. But I, for one, have not done so – not yet, anyway.

Do teal's "haters" have Svengali-like abilities to turn her "fans" against her? Or do some of her followers become uneasy about her manner and behavior and start searching for explanations? Do they find blogs like mine and those of her former followers, friends, housemates, and ex-husband, and have their instincts and concerns validated? Do they seek support through their shock, disillusionment, and grief, on these pages and in Facebook groups like Truth Tribe? In my experience, that's exactly what happens.


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