Mar 122015
Wendy created her mask in one of Marlyn's programs.

Wendy created her mask in one of Marlyn’s programs.

By Wendy Schulz

Sometimes things of value are hidden in plain sight and once experienced I wonder what took me so long to include myself in this experience. This has been my story about the programs and work that Marlyn Farrell of Primal Nudgings offers.

For years I waited to take programs thinking that because I ‘knew’ Marlyn for so many years that I ‘knew’ what she was offering … not so. In the words of Cathy and Ernie McNally I had not been willing to not ‘know’ Marlyn as a way of opening and being curious about her, opening to ‘seeing and knowing’ her with fresh eyes and in ways I had not ‘known or seen’ her and the wisdom she brings to her offerings before.

Over the last few years I have taken several of Marlyn’s programs, volunteered with new ventures and worked with her privately. All of these experiences have been catalysts to significant changes in my life, significant changes to how I relate to my ‘self’, how I talk to my ‘self’ and how I see myself and my place in the world.

Marlyn has a unique way of including people during her courses and making room for all to participate in their own way. Each opportunity to participate with Marlyn I have met myself in a very deep, quiet and gentle way, always surprising myself with this result. Often the learning comes later; gently creeping up on me when I am about to jump into an old pattern of reaction. I feel this soft nudge, prodding me in a different direction, reminding me that I know a different way. I think it’s the creative, respectful and encouraging environment Marlyn sets up that bypasses the logical mind, creeps and in takes root in a place so deep in my body I barely recognize it. Each time I participate with Marlyn in one of her courses or with her privately I am a little more grounded in my self, within my body and in the knowledge of what is important to me.

I love logical left brain learning, I get a great sense of satisfaction from logical learning and yet the kind of learning environment that Marlyn sets up has been so valuable for me too. Perhaps it’s the inclusion of both sides of the brain. At any rate, I invite you to look at these hidden gems, take a deep breath, check in and see if you can sense a wee nudge that is saying ‘yes’ dive in!

Here are two programs taking place at The Haven in the near future:

Inner Wisdom for Women, Mar 19 – 22

Career Revisioning, April 2 – 5

For more information about the workshops Marlyn offers visit or to subscribe to her mailing list for workshop updates and ongoing support click here.

 Posted by at 9:40 am
Feb 202015

Findhorn photoBy Tina Boehm

I recently had the good fortune to attend Experience Week at the Findhorn Foundation Community in Scotland and want to share a little of my experience. My hope is that it may encourage others to venture overseas and have their own experience of a truly magical and unique spiritual ecovillage and learning centre in the secluded harbour of the Moray Firth in Northern Scotland. Findhorn is an ecovillage, spiritual community and learning centre and has been successfully running and growing for over 50 years.

I registered for and was accepted into the Experience Week in December 2014. This is a foundational program and a pre-requisite for longer Findhorn Community programs. Our group consisted of 11 participants and 2 “Focalisers” who facilitated and led the group – Between the 13 group members we represented 9 different countries – from Japan, Columbia, Africa and Turkey to name a few. The youngest was 27, the oldest (me) just turned 60.

It soon became clear that regardless of ethnicity, age, gender and educational background our shared humanity does not recognize these differences. It seems we all desire to love and be loved, to be known and accepted for who we are and what we bring to the world. We all shared the deep wish for a better world with more tolerance for diversity, and respect for the natural environment. It was our shared curiosity, openness and courage that created an amazing group dynamic and transformed each one of us in a profound and deep way during the course of the week. I believe we are all braver and stronger for our week together. I am sure we will each take this wonderful experience back to our own communities and on some level influence the world because of it. From this experience I believe we are making sense and contributing to a world that often appears to make no sense, given our current global financial, ecological and political challenges.

Findhorn Foundation has two main sites, Cluny Hill is an old Victorian Spa Hotel in Forres and The Park about 5 miles away was originally a Caravan site in Findhorn, and where Peter and Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean originally settled in their old caravan, after serving as the Managers at Cluny Hotel until they bought it from the original owners. There is a free bus service which runs throughout the day between the two sites. I was based at Cluny Hill for the duration of my stay.

There were many highlights, but one thing I really loved about my week at Findhorn was the gentle and regular focus on co-creation and respect for “the intelligence” of the Nature and Spirit realms which was emphasized in the outdoor activities and regular ritual of “Attunement” with everything we participated in. During the week together we experienced and attuned to many aspects of community life at Findhorn from food preparation, home care, garden maintenance, meditation, personal and community sharing, Sacred dance and Taize singing, to name a few. This Attunement is rooted in an abiding respect for and awareness of self, others and nature, and I believe offers a gentler and kinder way of “being” over “doing” in the world. It fosters a deep peace in knowing that we are supported by seen and unseen intelligent forces and in alignment with the natural flow, and joy of each life which is the embodiment of Spirit. Rather than moving noisily, separately, and egotistically to dominate and exert control, we moved more slowly and deliberately and shared in the projects with mindfulness and gratitude for the gifts of life with purpose and in resonance with all beings, seen and unseen. It left me feeling a deep calm and ease of being with myself and others.

During our week together we had many opportunities to share our feelings and thoughts about our experience, with no expectation of feedback or need of response, or participation from those who, for their own reasons, chose not to share. We had visits and heard stories from Community members who voluntarily shared their own experience of living at Findhorn. We met Auriol, a wise and graceful elder who had been part of the community since it started over 50 years ago. She had been a teacher at the local Rudolph Steiner school in Forres. She was a wonderful storyteller, and had such great presence and ‘spriteliness’ about her which belied her 80+ years. We heard first hand stories from a variety of lovely souls about their lives lived in, and out of, the community. Without exception, everyone was fascinating and generous in their openness and willingness to share themselves in this way.

We also got to choose our Love In Action service through a process of Attunement. As a working community, serving others is considered as important, or more important than serving ourselves. It is a big part of how and why Findhorn has managed to remain successful and viable for so long. I “attuned” to serving in the Community kitchen at The Park, which provided another wonderful way to be with interesting and caring people preparing and serving food for up to 80 people from the Findhorn and wider community. Every lunchtime and dinner time. the Findhorn Community opens its doors to its neighbours and visitors, in exchange for voplunteering, or other contribution, recognizing the importance and value of being accepted and supported by the community at large. As this world-renowned Spiritual community continues to grow, it is essential to be mindful and inclusive of its neighbours. This has not always been an easy relationship to foster and develop.

The week ended with an offering of Biodanza, a community dance, without words in which participants invite and allow playful and joyful dance, connection and contact with others. All of them seemed open, caring and extraordinary. I loved the permission and encouragement to dance and move to music and explore being with others in a safe and con-sensual sacred space.

Findhorn has been going through a profound Change process in recent times. They call it Living The New Story. It is described this way in their catalogue:

“Goes beyond recognizing what no longer serves and releasing anything that holds us back. Living the New Story is to allow our story to change and be changed in response to what is being asked of us in each moment. It is to open ourselves to bringing into being that which we perhaps cannot even imagine yet. It is the freedom to fulfill our highest potential…”

I am going through my own Change process as I moved into my 60th year. I still feel profoundly optimistic and privileged to be alive at such a time of great change and opportunity. I am inspired by the courage and openness of the Findhorn Community and know that they continue to be a force for good in the World.

Many of the participants I was with during our Experience week decided to stay for a few extra days after the program ended. I was sad to leave them all, and I wished I had allowed for the opportunity to stay longer and explore more of what Findhorn and the community has to offer. All in all it was a wonderful week. I met many amazing people and have made life long friends with some of them. My hope is to return some day for a longer stay, to re-connect with the people I met, and share more of myself in playful sensual delight. I am so grateful I had this chance, and invite anyone who is interested to explore more of what Findhorn has to offer. It is a unique and ever evolving community, not without its challenges, but one which I hope will continue to flourish and grow and become even more relevant as a sane and viable model for sustainable, meaningful community. In a world so hungry for a New Story and new ideas about how to live fully, lovingly and inclusively together Findhorn provides a model for how this might look. I encourage anyone who is interested to check it out

My sincere thanks to Rachel Davey and Christine Lines of the Findhorn Foundation for providing the Exchange Agreement and opportunity for me to visit this remarkable place.

 Posted by at 1:28 pm
Feb 202015

onlineslide-words-jumpingBy Susan Clarke. This article originally appeared on Susan’s blog

A while back I wrote a blog requesting others to share their Ultimate Result from taking a Living Alive Phase I program at The Haven.

I loved hearing from so many people, and decided I wanted to share some of the responses (without revealing anyone)!

Here’s is what people got out of the Living Alive Phase I program:

  • Faith in myself and my ability to connect.
  • Energy and purpose that I thought was lost.
  • The courage to identify when I am sticking myself, and to make a shift, while being gentle and compassionate with myself and others in my life.
  • Overcoming my desire to run because I don’t have the level of control I want. Also, being able to hang in and not have to get control.
  • A path for communicating and appreciating people who think, feel, and want something different than me.
  • Discovering the value in someone giving me honest straight feedback, and discovering the impact I am having on others – not collapsing but appreciating the realness!!
  • Getting to see my patterns, work on them, and not change, but become compassionate and faster at self-correcting and moving forward.
  • A new love of life that isn’t dependent on someone else being different!!
  • Discovering my own voice and the value of speaking up and sharing my experience.
  • These are just a few of the wonderful nuggets I got back.

    Many of these responses came from people who had taken the program two or more years ago and wanted to let me know the results were sticking!!

    I believe in this program and I am thrilled it is going to be offered in a new format. I think the Integrative Living Alive Phase I will be different because it has a built-in method for integrating the learning as you go.

    So often people at The Haven will say: “but this isn’t the real world.” Now, frankly, I don’t buy that line, but I do get it is a special place where most everyone is coming with a mutual purpose to learn and play in self-discovering. I also appreciate that taking that back into day-to-day life with folks who may not have that same shared experience or commitment can be hard.

    That’s why the new format offers a different possibility.

    Learn and Integrate Over 8 Months!

    In the new format, for eight months, we will be together. Sometimes at The Haven, working deeply, and other times back at home. Plus, there’s an online community and virtual programming piece.

    The ‘real’ world meets the learning lab! Learn and test at the Haven lab, then go home and try things. Use the online community to share and get feedback as you go. Wow!!

    There are folks who doubt that the same depth of connection can happen online. Let’s face it, one of the best parts of The Haven is the simplicity of sitting in a circle and the amazing connections that happen through the resonance of a group process. However, our world is no longer just happening face-to-face. Most of us spend a lot of time online. Sure, it’s easy to say that online is impersonal, but is that really a story worth holding on to anymore?

    Follow this link to read an article by Rachel Davey, Executive Director at The Haven, printed in the Times Colonist talking about the importance of becoming more comfortable online and how Haven is ready to go there. Yes, we still love the simplicity and potential of a group process, but also do not want to stay limited there.

    Haven wants to expand and include! I am looking forward to the new adventure!

    If the any of those ultimate results above sound appealing to you and you are ready to step in, I’d love to hear from you. Join Toby Macklin and I, in September 2015 to launch the new Integrative Living Alive Phase!!

    Click here to find out more and fill out an application. If you are a fit, we will look forward to spending eight months with you, supporting you creating your ultimate results. That’s what’s in it for you!

     Posted by at 1:19 pm
    Feb 202015

    onlineslide-words-jumpingBy Rachel Davey. This article originally appeared in the Times Colonist Learning for Life February 3 2015.

    “Every minute spent online is a minute of face-to-face time lost.” Daniel H Wilson

    If New York Times bestselling author Daniel H Wilson is right, we are losing increasing amounts of face-to-face time. A study done in 2011 by the Internet marketing research company comScore found that Canadians are spending more time online than users in other countries. Canadians spent an average of 45.3 hours on the Internet in the fourth quarter of 2011, much of it spent on social media sites.

    At The Haven we don’t think that being personal and being online is an either/or, and our newest program, Living Alive Phase I Integrative offers the opportunity to blend both the virtual and face-to-face experience. This may come as a surprise, given that since 1983 The Haven on Gabriola Island has specialized in bringing people together, in person, in groups to experience programs in the art and science of living well, together. Our world is changing, however, and we believe it is vital to offer opportunities to live while you’re online.

    Living Alive Phase I has been offered at The Haven for the past 30+ years in an intensive, 26-day program format. Over the years, program participants have developed insights and skills to transform patterns of behavior and thought, discover their own personal resources and improve their communication skills. For this reason, we want as many people as possible to have the opportunity to take the program. It is not always easy to take 26 days away from home and work, so for the first time in 2015 we are offering the program in both as a 26-day Intensive and in the Integrative format, at The Haven and at home, onsite and online over 8 months.
    Living Alive Phase I Integrative is designed to maintain a high level of integrity to the core components of the Living Alive Phase I program while bringing in new ways of delivering the experience through virtual learning and community. It provides a unique opportunity to practice being personal in the virtual world as well as face-to-face. It also enables participants to apply, challenge and integrate the program content, allowing for a sustained learning period while minimizing the time away from home.

    To find out more about Living Alive Phase I Integrative and other Haven programs, go to the Haven web site or call The Haven registrars at 1 800 222 9211 x 1.

     Posted by at 1:06 pm
    “The most beautiful part of the garden needs frequent watering”

    “The most beautiful part of the garden needs frequent watering”

    By Ellery Littleton. Ellery has been a Haven faculty member for 25 years. His next writing program at The Haven will be The Spirit Journal Intensive – May 14–18, 2015. A full description of the program is on our website. I first started keeping a journal regularly, seriously, about 35 years ago. I now allow […]

    Integrating: The Haven's word for 2015

    Integrating: The Haven’s word for 2015

    By Rachel Davey Integrating is a very fitting word for The Haven in 2015, a year in which: We will launch our first ever blended onsite/online Living Alive Phase I Integrative. We undertake some of the ‘front door’ projects of the Facilities Masterplan, integrating the new with the old on the property. Our programs and […]

    A new septic treatment plant for The Haven

    A new septic treatment plant for The Haven

    By Rachel Davey On your next visit to The Haven, you will see a new septic treatment plant on the edge of the forest opposite the Raven building. The need for this major new piece of infrastructure came from the discovery phase of the Facilities Masterplan. In the process of finding out everything we needed […]

    Thank you: from a Financial Aid recipient

    Thank you: from a Financial Aid recipient

    During the month of December, every donation to Financial Aid will be matched. Contact Louise Amuir ( 1 800 222 9211 ext 222) or donate online via the Haven web site.  Dear Rachel and Louise The last week of August 2014 was the week that, with the generous financial aid support from The Haven, I was able to […]

    Christmas Poems

    Christmas Poems

    By Ellery Littleton. Ellery’s next program at The Haven is The Spirit Journal Intensive, May 14–18, 2015. As unofficial Haven historical scribe, I want to offer a few words to the greater Haven family, as we all go through the solstice, Christmas, and New Year’s rituals. Some of us were lucky enough to be able […]

    Thank you from two recipients of Financial Aid

    Thank you from two recipients of Financial Aid

    In order to provide Financial Aid at The Haven in 2015, we are selling Haven Holiday Granola and offering a Matching Pool for donations made in the month of December. If you are wondering about the impact of your giving to this program, these two letters from Financial Aid recipients say more than we ever […]

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