From Sunset Blvd to Sustainability: A Sanctuary of Grace

Success.  For many, it defines us. Success is often defined for us by society, or by others close to us, and we set high goals to achieve this standard set by others. However, there are a

Success.  For many, it defines us. Success is often defined for us by society, or by others close to us, and we set high goals to achieve this standard set by others.

However, there are a few who are inspired by the success that they define themselves.  They tend to be the happiest people.  Buried deep within them is a moment, a moment that inspires them to do something out of the realm of societal standards for success.

At a very young age, California native Troy Silva remembers that moment.  A latchkey kid raised by a hard-working, single mother, Troy loved her dearly.  “Always be true to yourself, and follow your passion,” was instilled to her oldest son.  He never forgot that.  Young Troy was also inspired by his treasured get-a-ways with his grandparents to the San Diego Zoo.

Tasked with being the responsible party for his younger siblings while Mom worked, Troy found escape through his own personal dream world of plants and animals. He longed for the monthly National Geographic magazine, with its breathtaking photographs of the natural world.  In his youthful innocence, he believed one could build a little world, a magical place, to escape.  For him, he never let go of that dream.

While studying Landscape Architecture at Cornell University, Troy saved every penny to study abroad in Sydney, Australia. While there, he didn’t simply perfect the skills of his trade, but also envisioned a world, a sanctuary, where like-minded people could also escape to their magical place.

Monetary success came soon after college, as Troy landed a job with an LA-based design company, and soon enjoyed a coveted view from the high-profile office located near Sunset Boulevard. Soon after, Troy started his own company and affluent Bel Air clients came calling. And with each client, more development projects came.  Cars, homes, and money – the LA definition of success – were all at his fingertips. Ironically, Troy was able to revisit his youthful passion by designing natural habitats for the San Diego Zoo. While his designs were painting the well-known landscape of Hollywood Hills, it was his personal design for his life that still longed for fulfillment.

While designing an irrigation system for LaHoya High School, a moment of awakening struck Troy.  He realized he was not where he wanted to be.  Tired of office politics and realizing that money couldn’t buy happiness, Troy walked out, packed up an RV and drove away from societal success.

Today, Troy’s happiness is nestled on two acres just five minutes away from the Las Vegas strip.  It’s called MoNA – Ministry of Natural Alignment (MoNA).  It’s a natural retreat where guests come from all over the world to “disconnect” and enjoy Troy’s true passion in life, a natural environment with sustainability,

“At MoNA, we enrich one’s life.  We offer a natural sanctuary and deeply fulfilling wellness experiences.’states Troy. “Guests come from all over the world to stay in our bungalows, tee-pees, and RV to experience the wonders of nature in an entirely new light. At MoNA, the natural ecosystem I designed allows our guests to produce the ingredients to create incredible food and self-care products.  We make soap, candles, candies, and homemade jam while surrounding ourselves with the quiet peace and beauty of the natural world.

MoNA is a living portrait of Troy’s passion for natural landscaping, where the blending of unique plants with a host of adorable animals, from goats to sheep and chickens, creates a true sanctuary. Guests take the time to enjoy and understand nature and journey toward a more self-reliant, sustainable, and empowered future. “As we progress toward this future, in alignment with nature, we infuse our lives with simple luxuries, true value, authenticity, and a revitalizing sense of happiness every step of the way,” he states.

That statement was never more profound to Troy as he experienced his Mom’s passing this year.  “I watched my mom work so very hard to take care of us and give our lives meaning.” States Troy.  “Shortly before she retired, her life was cut short by invasive cancer.  Her life and her passing have definitely made the healing, spiritual, and wellness direction deeply important to me. Growing my own food and making my own soap; that’s what feels “rich.” When I get too far away from this base, it leaves me feeling unfulfilled. What I am doing now is what I feel I am called to do.  I have built a sanctuary of grace, where my guests can reexamine their own lives and discover their own definitions of fulfillment.  In my heart, I am honoring mom.  She would certainly be proud of the path that I have taken and now share with others.  I’ve been true to myself and followed my passion.”

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Karen Shayne
Karen Shayne is Founder of New Focus Daily, Women Survivors Alliance and Principal Partner of New Focus Network. Karen is a regular contributor to the magazine through her blog and her show "Living Inspired" on NFN.