Jun 292014
 

At The Haven, on the evening before Ben Wong’s celebration of life, we showed a DVD of a talk that Ben and Jock McKeen gave at the Satir Institute of Manitoba in the 1990s, called the Pleasure and Price of Remaining Unaware.

So many people enjoyed watching the talk that we asked Jock for permission to make this available online. He very generously agreed (and Graemme Brown helped to fix some sound issues).

So, here it is! (It’s also available on You Tube)

 Posted by at 2:44 pm
May 132014
 

busyLaurie Anderson and Kim Hudson are leading The Power of Balance at The Haven, June 6–8.

How often do you find yourself saying how busy you are in one way or another?  I caught myself trying to impress my daughter with my busy schedule one day. I had to stop and laugh as she gave me one of those eyeball rolls.  I think she was right.Busy-ness is all about direction.  Without a strong underpinning of meaning, being busy isn’t that impressive.  There I was, telling my daughter that our relationship wasn’t a priority on my schedule, and it didn’t even reflect how I was truly feel. Not even a little bit.

There comes a point where being busy becomes a goal unto itself and you’re not even enjoying that cup of coffee.

There is a growing movement to explore this issue. A group of students write an interesting blog on taking the opportunity while in University to learn how to not drive yourself crazy with busy-ness.

Balanced Leadership recognizes that fear and love needs to be in balance.  Working hard, trying to stay ahead of the pack, striving to be vital and valuable as measured by how busy you are, are all manifestations of the fear-based world.  Sometimes they are a good thing.  It shows an ability to take on challenges and to dig down and accomplish your goals when required.  The problem arises when you can’t shut it off.  Pushing back against what you fear requires a judicious use of power: not too much, not too little, just right.  We call it the Goldilocks principle.

Once you have mastered this delivery of pressure, you need to also master the ability to step off the merry-go-round and recognize that you don’t have to be pushing back all the time.  Sometimes you can pull in what you love.  Smell the roses, feel appreciation, laugh more.

Pushing and pulling work as the perfect pair, like a saw in action.  Before you get busy doing, you need to get a handle on what you love and enjoy being.  Before you get busy, take a moment to find what is really important to you so you know you are moving in a good direction.  And, no matter how far you are down the wrong path – turn back!! (Great line, but not mine – it is a Tibetan proverb I was told).

To pull in what you love there needs to be play-time.  This is one of the best ways to get in touch with what is meaningful to you.  Or free time, with moments of stillness.  Understanding what is meaningful to you requires a different environment than the fast paced, get-it-done atmosphere of many workplaces.  Busy is even the root of the word business and it is all about pushing back against what you don’t want.  We need to rethink the good use of our time in the workplace and at home and build in time to pull in what we do want.  If you catch yourself feeling you are “not allowed” to goof off, stop for a minute and question that.  Maybe you need to be reminded of why you are doing what you are doing and some playful time is exactly what you need.

Balanced Leadership gives you the tools to move easily from the fear-based world of pushing back to the love based-world of pulling in – and vice versa.  It gives you the insight to know what is driving you in any given moment and from there you can make some choices.  Our next 3-day workshop, The Power of Balance,  will be at the Haven June 6,7,8.

 Posted by at 11:25 am
May 072014
 

Rachel Davey writes: We have just completed a ‘decluttering’ of the fireplace area in the lodge, with the intention of highlighting the beautiful mantel that was created and donated by Paul Arnold. When I contacted Paul and sent him the photo, this was his reply:

“Thank you Rachel for your thoughtful email and attached photo. I believe the work I did on my own personal growth at The Haven played a role in saving my life from a grim diagnosis of prostate cancer that I had at that time in Phase I and, as well, redefined me in a manner that could not have ever happened elsewhere without Phase II and the other programs I experienced at The Haven. My life context was completely changed and to this day, 14 or so years later from my first experience with The Haven, I continue to receive and practice the benefits of my time spent with all of you wonderful people.

photo-1

“Making that mantel was a real labour of love to give something back to The Haven and to all of you that create what it offers to us. My wish, as well, is that it will also bring warmth and comfort to all who sit near it or pass by it as they embrace the ‘gifts’ that the work of The Haven gives to them.

“What is really special for me around the mantel, was that I looked over many beaches in my small boat around Gabriola to find the right tree and there it was waiting for me to find it on my own “doorstep”, lying on the beach of my own property. It had rolled back and forth being beaten by waves, rocks and sand over time, but looked exactly what I wanted. It called to me to expose its inner beauty … very much like what The Haven has done for me and continues to for so many people … thanks to Ben (bless his soul), Jock and every one of you that has created the beauty of The Haven for humanity.

“Big hugs and love to all of you, and if I am on the Island I will always visit you caring people.”

Paul

 Posted by at 4:44 pm
May 072014
 

By Adrian Juric. Adrian and Cathy AJ Hardy will be leading Life Transition Through The Lense of Nature at The Haven, June 20–22.

JuricposterSpring is always a time of heady excitement at the elementary schools where I work as a counselor.  Students grow euphoric when thinking about the freedom and adventure that summer will bring, and as the end of the school year approaches they can focus on little else.

But while spring is certainly a time of eager anticipation, it is also, for older students in particular, a time of disturbing revelation.  Many are dismayed by the sudden realization that they have outgrown friendships they thought they would always have.   Favorite pastimes and haunts no longer have the appeal they used to.   Old nicknames, like old clothes, suddenly feel tight and ill fitting.  “When did this all happen?” one sixth-grader wondered aloud.   “When did everything get weird?”

These feelings of disorientation are easy enough for adults to recognize as signs of approaching adolescence. We smile knowingly, and offer gentle platitudes about how all of this is normal – how ‘this too shall pass.’  But we often forget that we, too, are moving along the same curve of transformation.

The Curve of Transformation

We all know a person like this.  A friend, relative, or colleague who has invested years – sometimes decades – painstakingly crafting a personal or professional identity.   They put great stock in their identity as a mother, fundraiser, teacher, or litigator.   It provides important security and standing in the world, and they inhabit this identity so thoroughly and so completely that they find it difficult to think of themselves in any other terms.

At the same time, though, we sometimes sense that some vital part of this person is no longer present.  Some essential part has gone missing –  has ‘left the building’ –  and departed for some hidden unknown.   They may deny this.   They may insist that nothing has changed, that they are as engaged and committed to the cause as ever.  But our intuition – and their body language — suggests otherwise.   Deep down, we feel as though the person is haunting a life they’ve somehow already left behind.

What has happened, says poet David Whyte, is that they have begun to move down the ‘curve of their transformation’. Unbeknownst to them, some secret part of them has already taken a compass bearing and chosen to disappear down some interior road, towards a new horizon that is large enough to accommodate an expanded self that is asking to be born.   This is usually an unwelcome journey, one the old identity resists taking, says Jungian analyst Murray Stein.[i]  Not only does it mean the death of a secure way of being:

“…a person’s sense of direction forward is beclouded and obscured during liminality; life’s pathways to the future appear to be unmarked and even uncharted, and the future itself seems unimaginable in every conceivable direction.”

Nevertheless, it is a journey one must take if a more robust form of identity is to emerge.   It is a departure that must occur if a new Self is to be born.  If it does not, urges poet John O’Donohue, a person may “linger for years in spaces that are too small and shabby for the grandeur of their spirit.”[ii]

Examples of this principle abound in the natural world.  The chambered Nautilus, for example, is an ocean cephalopod that builds a spiral-shaped shell for a home.   Growing constantly, it can never remain long in the chamber it is in.  Nor can it return to previous ones; they no longer fit.   Instead, the Nautilus is forced constantly to create a new chamber for itself to live in.   And in so doing, it is constantly arranging for its own disappearance in the world.

Take-Home Lesson: Compassion for Selves in Transition

Whether in the human or natural world, there is a necessary seasonality to all things.  Identities are always in flux; ‘selves are always ‘selving’’, as James Hollis says, whether physically or metaphorically.    What we need to remember to tell ourselves and others during this uncomfortable process is that it is a normal one.   It is an integral part of growth, guided by forces we must learn to trust rather than fear.

So that the basic questions we have to ask ourselves are not, “How do I stop this?”, “How do I get my old life back?”  They are: “Where am I on the curve of my transformation?” and, “What has already happened in my life that I need to catch up with?”

Adrian Juric, CCC, is a psychotherapist in private practice (www.cedarpathcounselling.com).  He leads lodge-based wilderness retreats that use poetry and hiking to help people understand transitions occurring in their lives.   See www.innerlandscapes.org.

[i] Stein, Murray.  In Midlife: A Jungian Perspective.   Conn.: Spring Publications, 1983. p.86.

[ii] O’Donohue, J.   To Bless the Space Between Us:  A Book of Blessings.   New York: Doubleday, 2008.  p.192

 Posted by at 4:33 pm
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