Just west of the city of Sedona, Sedona Mago Retreat sits on 163 acres surrounded by sweeping views of breathtaking copper colored countryside. We recently interviewed Sayong Kim, COO of Sedona Mago Retreat about what it is like to be living his life mission. Here is the story of his Call of Sedona:
LT: Please tell us some details about what brought you to Sedona.
SL: When I was a member of Korean Dahn center, I heard about Sedona, and I came with the program of Sedona Meditation Retreat in May 1996. Ilchi Lee, Dahn Yoga founder and author of The Call of Sedona, was my guide at that time, and I was very impressed with his teachings. I wanted to become his student and planted a small seed in my heart that someday I would come back to Sedona to meet with him.
I came to Sedona in 2002 from Phoenix. I had been working for Dahn Yoga as a Dahn master for several years, and my teacher, Ilchi, and other masters encouraged me to apply for the position COO of Sedona Mago Retreat, where I thought I could do something good for people through the activities of that non-profit organization.
And I came to love Sedona!
LT: As a new C.O.O. of the organization, the everyday management of Sedona Mago Retreat must have seemed a daunting task in the beginning!
SL: At first I felt a huge burden about the management of this huge property and organization on my shoulders, and was walking through nature and climbed on top of a small mountain near Sedona Mago Retreat. I looked down on our land. It was so beautiful, and in one moment I raised my hands between my eyes and our land, and I could cover the whole land with my small hands! I realized that our big land and this organization is not a big burden and I could manage it well, and made up my mind to grow this organization and take good care of our beautiful land. Now 12 years have passed since I first came to Sedona Mago Retreat. I know that I am in beautiful nature and that I am [here] for the beautiful vision: Love Humanity and Love the Earth.
LT: When and how did you first become involved in practicing Dahn Yoga?
SL: In 1981, I got sciatic neuralgia, and I suffered from back pain for the next 15 years. I had met so many different types of oriental and western doctors who helped me a lot, but they could not cure my pain. I started Dahn Yoga in Korea and healed my back within two and a half months with the practice. The next year, I became a Dahn master. In October 1996, I came to the U.S. where I can help people—like the help I received from my teacher and masters in Korea.
LT: The countryside surrounding Sedona Mago Retreat must offer you great inspiration.
SL: Every morning I look at the mountains toward the city of Sedona, eastern mountains from my house, which are Thunder Mountain and Secret Mountain and other red rocks in front, and realize that I see one of the most beautiful places in the world. I feel very grateful for the circumstances and surroundings around me. I am aware of how all our activities are for the grand vision of Sedona Mago Retreat. This awareness helps me come out of my small ego-boxes, moment to moment. The place where I am and the vision that I focus on are the lighthouse in my journey.
LT: How does the energy of Sedona influence you day to day?
SL: I do many hours of office work every day, and have lots of meetings every week, and offer many different types of programs depending on the schedules. When I do the office work, like any other COO of an organization, I can have a lot of stress.
Whenever I feel stressful and negative emotions, I try to smile a few seconds to release the heavy energy and practice the simple Solar Body exercises that my teacher, Ilchi, taught. While I am doing those exercises, I feel the energy of Sedona helps me to awaken more deeply. Everyday can be stressful, but as long as I do Solar Body exercises and I am in Sedona, I am sure that I can manage myself better than in any other place.
LT: As you go about your tasks, what phrase are you most often heard offering?
SL: “Enlightenment is a choice.” This is a message I got from my teacher Ilchi. Everything is my choice. My life is also my choice, and the choice brings me the responsibility for the results of my choice.
LT: Sayong, what would you most like to tell our readers about Sedona?
SL: Come to Sedona at least one time in your life, especially when you feel down because of many issues. For me, the nature of Sedona is special; here I release my worries and concerns easily and regain my inner power for my vision and goals.
LT: Please share with us what your passion is as you live your life in Sedona.
SL: I thank you for this opportunity to reflect on my life while I answer your questions! I want to make myself better, and help more people for their betterment through all kinds of activities at Sedona Mago Retreat.
I want to recover my true nature with and within the work I am doing every day. Whatever I do here, whatever we do here, I want it to help people and the earth and future generations. I can feel my true instinct for benefitting all as I live in Sedona, which means that Sedona helps me to connect more deeply to my true nature.
Every morning I pray for my soul and my family, my community, and our supporters and the earth and our grand vision. And we, all Tao masters at Sedona Mago Retreat, offer our prayer every morning: “May all people, all life forms, and all beings be well!”
LT: Thank you!