Monica and Robert Hatch, co-owners of the new Lanesboro business, The Spirit of Quest, LLC., are shown with their hand drums used in drumming circles.
Monica and Robert Hatch, co-owners of the new Lanesboro business, The Spirit of Quest, LLC., are shown with their hand drums used in drumming circles.
When Monica and Robert Hatch were looking for a place to both retire and to move their business, they did their research. For almost two years they hunted for the place they "wanted to be and grow."

For some reason, when they started looking they seemed to be drawn to southeast Minnesota. It fit at least some of their criteria: the place had to be within two hours of the Twin Cities and had to include a river. On weekends they visited all of the little towns around, making the trip in every season. They loved the Root River, and finally decided that Lanesboro's "feel and energy" would be the best fit. In April of 2011, that became a reality.

Business founded on childhood gift

One of the determining factors about where to locate was the nature of their business. Titled "The Spirit of Quest," Monica Hatch describes herself as a spiritual counselor, helping people who "need clarity, or feel stuck" to reconnect with others. It is about "discovery every day," and "the Lanesboro environment, with nature so close by, contributes to that," she explained.

There are several services offered through The Spirit of Quest. First is the one-on-one sessions of Intuitive Vibration Energy Readings with Monica Hatch, either in person or via phone. If in person, which is the preferred option, the client reclines - fully clothed - on the equivalent of a massage table, while Hatch simply touches the person on the hand or arm during a period of silence. She then relates the information she has received through that touching. That is followed by a dialogue of questions and responses.

When it is a phone session, she starts her own preparation 15 minutes before the appointment by identifying what she is getting from the person's name. Then, during the call itself, she is "tapping into the vibration and energy" of the other person.

She describes her own language in these sessions as metaphoric, and the outcome might be a referral to a nutritionist, or to a massage therapist. She stresses that she is not a psychologist or psychiatrist, nor is she a medical doctor. What she does is provide a safe environment for an individual to learn things about her- or himself that they would not focus on with a traditional care-giver.

Hatch has an established practice in the Twin Cities which she has not left behind. She has a lot of phone customers from there, and she has a room at a message therapy center where she goes every two months to meet with clients.

She does have a degree in psychology, but long before earning that she had discovered a natural gift of touch: as a child, she could "read" people through touching them. It wasn't until 1997 that she became more focused on that gift and on using it, and also found that she didn't necessarily have to touch others to be able to get intuitive messages from them. That has made it possible to both broaden the base of clients and to move out of the urban environment.

Hatch also arranges "reading parties" for up to 12 people, during which people get a "little taste, 15 to 20 minutes" of a reading.

Drum circles

A second - and related - service offered by The Spirit of Quest is drum circles. For a drumming session, 15 to 18 people sit in a circle, each with a hand drum. Drumming together, the rhythm and the vibrations from the drums "tap into" the participants' own vibrations to "create alignment." People report becoming sad, angry, relaxed, calm; drumming can shake loose certain feelings and experiences, getting the individual "ready to release and let go of those." Hatch added that drumming "grows on people: they enjoy it more as they do it more."

The drums can provide "grounding" so that the person can experience pain, joy, and anger to the fullest. Monica said this is especially effective against addictions, pointing out that people use drugs and alcohol to escape from those true feelings, so never are able to release them. She said her role as the facilitator allows her to communicate in a "positive, uplifting way.

"I'm a positive reader of their emotions," she said.

She continues doing drum therapy at a chemical dependency treatment center in St. Louis Park.

Spiritual book

The Hatches' book, written together, is in the editing stage, and is titled "The Blessing of Seven Rivers." The seven rivers include both the Root and the Mississippi. In it, they describe their visits to the seven rivers and one's essential need for water. They trace the background of each, including the landscape, history and pollution.

Using their intuitive capabilities, they do a ceremony at each river, designing a drumming ritual and patterns for each. The ritual is different at each one, depending on the conditions and the "intuitive feel" of the river.

When experiencing each river, they documented the visions, feelings and inspirations and gave each a personality name. The other rivers they included in the book are the Missouri River in Nebraska, the Mad River in northern California, the Snake River in Oregon, the Big Horn in Montana and the Cheyenne River in South Dakota.

Robert described these experiences in nature and spirituality as thought-provoking in many different ways. He added that it could be an illustration of "Be still and know that I am God," a Bible verse from Psalms 46:10.

Coincidences in their lives

Monica Hatch grew up and went to school in the Netherlands. She moved to the U.S. when she was 26, fulfilling a dream she had since childhood. She had watched American western movies, and came to see the U.S. as "the promised land," vowing that some day she would live here.

Her first marriage was to a career U.S. military man, and so during his career, they lived in many different places. On his retirement, they moved to Minnesota, which she felt was "one of the best states," and settled in Apple Valley.

Robert Hatch was born in Ohio, and moved to Minnesota in 1986 when his first wife's job with then-Northwest Airlines brought her to Minnesota. His career includes teaching music in public schools and some time as a quality control technician. He describes himself as a "jack of all trades," but says his writing "has emerged as the dominant interest."

That interest in writing has become focused: he published his first book in May of 2012, titled "The Bent Tree Still Grows: A Story of this Realm and the Next."

They met on-line, even though they had both vowed that they would never date someone they had met that way. They had coffee together, and were leaving when he realized he had locked his keys in his car.

She thought to herself, "Sure, that's an old trick, an old pick-up line," but agreed to give him a ride home to get a spare set. The closer they got to his place, the more familiar she found the neighborhood. It turned out that his current house was next to the backyard of the last house she had lived in when she was married.

And her current house had the very same house number as the house in which he had grown up back in Ohio. She thought, "Oh, are these subtle signs?"

They reported a lot of coincidences like that which were really connections: they both enjoyed the same kinds of food and movies, and doing the same things. Then, one weekend when they were visiting Lanesboro, looking for a place to live, they had an appointment to see an apartment, but they were earlier. So they had pulled into the parking lot by Sylvan Manor because they liked the view and the sound of the river from there.

She said, "Wouldn't it be nice to get that apartment right there?" There happened to be a "for rent" sign in the yard of Sylvan Manor, so she suggested that he "run in and see if there are any openings." He did, and - what a coincidence - the one they really wanted was going to be available. And that is where they have spent their first year as Lanesboro residents.

Because they have a need for one room for her Intuitive Vibration Energy Readings, they will be moving this summer to the apartment above the Bittersweet store (formerly Das Wurst Haus). That unit also provides for her need to be close to water, since their back deck will overlook the Root River.

Challenges are the driver

The Hatches both appreciate the challenge of having a "non-mainstream" business, and being self-employed. Monica said she has learned over the years to treat being self-employed just like going to work: she gets dressed every day as if she were going to an office, and she sets a work schedule with boundaries.

They have different work habits: she describes herself as balanced in both the spiritual and business worlds. He is more artistic, but admitted that if he gets involved in a project, he can be intense and completely immersed.

She agreed, noting that she has to remind him when it's time to play. Monica added, "He's a little ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)."

So far, they are happy with their choice of Lanesboro as home to The Spirit of Quest. The "sense of movement and progression," along with the natural environment of the area, and its importance to their activities, "has been borne out."

Their name, Spirit of Quest, is descriptive: they are "always searching for truth and answers."

They feel confident they are finding that here.

Cost and more information

The cost for a one-on-one session of Intuitive Vibration Energy Reading is $65 for 30 or 60 minutes, in person or on the phone.

The cost for an Intuitive Vibration Energy Reading party (up to 12 people) is $25 per person for 15 minutes, or $40 per person for 30 minutes. Each individual pays, and the host receives a free session of up to 30 minutes.

The cost for a drumming circle is a $5 donation for each person; up to 15 people can participate in one session. The Hatches provide the hand drums, however, if an individual has one of his/her own, that can be used. The Hatches rent a room at the Lanesboro Veterans Memorial Community Center for the circles; no reservations are required; people can just show up. These are advertised throughout the community via posters and other notifications.

They will also do group retreats and inspirational writing.

More information is available at the Hatches website, SpiritofQuest.com, or by telephone at (507) 467-2422.