Nov 052012
 

The accompanying drawing and calligraphy was created by Peter Joyes during Ellery Littleton’s  writing program From Memory to Memoir.  Peter was a participant in the program and says, “What a wonderful way to spend a weekend.  I was touched by how close to the surface my stories are, particularly the ones I had ‘forgotten.’  It was an amazing experience.”

Peter has made a living as an artist for several decades even though he has not had any formal training.  “I invented what I do,” he says.  “My passion is in participating in the delight and joy that my work can create.  I like to see myself as a ‘merchant of delight.’”

Peter has been involved with The Haven since he first did a workshop with Ben and Jock in 1978.  His delightful quirky drawings and signs are often on view in the main lodge, usually announcing the kitchen’s menu for the day.  “From attending Haven workshops, I found the courage to do my artwork in public,” Peter comments.  “I love the people, the ideas, the conversations, the friends, the food, the laughs and the life energy that goes on there.”

The many aspects of Peter’s colourful multi-faceted artwork can be seen on his website, Graphic Magic.

Ellery Littleton’s next writing workshops at The Haven in 2013 include The Spirit Journal (May 24-26) and From Memory to Memoir (Nov 1-3).

 Posted by at 2:05 pm
Aug 312012
 

By Ellery Littleton.

Ellery will be offering his memoir-writing program From Memory to Memoir at The Haven October 26–28, 2012 & November 1–3, 2013.

 “To write a memoir is to taste life twice.” – Anais Nin     

It was a weekend last fall, and I do remember it well.  As I sit here reading some of the pieces people wrote in that particular memoir-writing program, I can’t help but feel moved all over again, as I felt during the workshop, listening to these deeply-felt personal stories read aloud by the participants.  At the end of the workshop, I asked them to choose a couple of pieces they had written in the course of the weekend and e-mail them to me, so I could put them together in a booklet and send everybody a copy.

Following are some brief excerpts from a few of those heartfelt healing memories and reflections.  I have changed the names for obvious reasons.

 

From “Stepping Stones” – by Elena

“I knew about things my classmates didn’t.  I knew about slavery and racism and poverty.  I knew about homosexuality and concentration camps, the holocaust… I saw the duplicity of my parents in joining a club that had admission policies that went against our highest values of racial acceptance.  I felt myself to be running sometimes lonely outside the pack at school, feeling myself to be not understood.”

 

From “My Role in the Family”by Rose

“Another day done.  Well, not done, but almost.  The kids were upstairs getting themselves ready for bed and the darkness outside turned the curtainless windows of the house into mirrors, reflecting the lives of those within.  A huge house it was, with not enough furniture to make it cozy.  Not enough anything to make it what it might have been.

“Then looking more closely at the reflection, she took it in.  A wan, sad woman looked back at her.  Hair straggled, like her soul, her face expressionless with eyes red-rimmed from crying earlier that day, a ghost, joyless.  Who was that spectre in the window?  It sure as hell wasn’t her.  It wasn’t the little girl who entertained her family and sang happy songs with her sisters while they washed dishes in a different sink so long ago.”

“I was gathering images all my life, storing them away and forgetting them.  Somehow, I had to send myself back, with words as catalysts, to open the memories out and see what they had to offer.” – Ray Bradbury

 

From “The Turning Point” – by Louisa

“Without that nudge from Sandra, my best friend at school, I might never have become who I am nor had the life I am so privileged to enjoy.  Sandra was a bit fast.  By that I mean that she actually dated during high school.  I, on the other hand, felt lucky if finally asked to a school dance by some classmate (dared by his buddies).  Robert braved that, found that it wasn’t so bad, and from then on, he just kind of assumed we were going steady by default.  But that boy could sure as hell dance … Then Sandra suggested I dump Robert, and look for someone more interesting, which I did.

“Oh, I cringe looking back, but this was a major turning point in my life.  And I have to say it was a relief to have done it.  Richard never pursued dancing, the one thing he did well and loved.  He remains uninspiring, joyless, pinching his pennies.”

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 Posted by at 3:49 pm
Jul 282012
 

The backstage room in Phoenix (formerly P3) has been named The Bing Room in honour of Andrew Bing.

On Friday July 27 the backstage room in Phoenix (formerly P3) was officially named The Bing Room in honour of Andrew Bing. Here the Haven Foundation Board and Members acknowledge Andrew’s enormous contribution to The Haven. First, though, a recognition from Ellery Littleton which includes some of Andrew’s own writing. 

“Bada Bing Bada Boom” – For Andrew Bing – by Ellery Littleton

What is a “bing?”  There are many associations one can make with Andrew, our own very particular Bing at The Haven.  Here I offer a few fanciful ones I have discovered, all of them positive, that in some intuitive way relate to the gentle man, modest and un-showy, who we have come to know and appreciate at The Haven for his great generosity, creativity and thoughtfulness.

A bing is the thing on the cash register that goes ding when showers of beautiful money cascade in shining streams into the hands of those who put it to work for a noble purpose – sustaining and enriching The Haven, making its transformative energies available to ever more pilgrims on the path to self-understanding and well-being.

Bing is a search engine that brings people together in a kind of digital talking circle to help us spend less time searching and more time doing, finding and organizing answers so we can make faster, better-informed decisions.

Bing or Gbruder Bing (“Bing Brothers”) was a German toy company which began production in 1880.  It became the world’s largest toy company, a leading producer of model trains, steam-powered toys and a remarkable collection of famous teddy bears.  The company voluntarily ceased operations in the 1930s during a period of rampant fascism.

Bing is a five-year-old albino border collie, born deaf with one eye, the original poster puppy for “Bing’s annual fun dog show” in Carmathenshire, Wales, UK, which raises money for a pet blood bank and includes prizes for the best biscuit catcher and waggiest tail.

Bing stands for “Because It’s Not Google”, as well as “Bureau Integriteit Nederlandse” (“Dutch Office of Integrity”), and the sound made by a bell – tuneful, musical and sweet (see also “ping,” “ding,” “boing” and “bada bing bada boom.”)

And of course Bing brings to mind old baritone flannel tonsils himself, Bing Crosby (also known as “Der Bingle”) who, gliding from note to note like a bowed upright base violin, delivered the original “White Christmas” with a dash of caramel coffee ice cream and a hint of sadness, along with countless other songs, many of them melancholy and bittersweet, including “Once in a blue moon” and “I don’t stand a ghost of a chance with you.”  Der Bingle would have loved to sing in the Bing Room, where his vocal slide trombone would have resonated warmly among the wooden rafters.

Andrew is the Bing who wrote the following pieces – “Metaphor for My Life” and “Poem” – in a journal-writing workshop in 2005.  He spoke to me quietly at the beginning of the first session, saying, “I don’t know what I’m doing here; I can’t write.”

“Wait an hour or two and we’ll talk again,” I said.  We did talk again, and Andrew shared with me and the others in the group several of the poetic and revealing pieces he wrote in the course of the program.  They went a long way toward answering the important question, “What is a Bing?”

Metaphor for my Life – by Andrew Bing

My life is the weather and the seasons, ever changing, sometimes very quickly, sometimes very slowly.  Sometimes it stays the same for long periods and sometimes only for a few minutes.

The rain is like my tears, as every time I cry I seem to grow a little, just like the plants around me.

The summer and its warmth are like the glow I get inside when I am in connection.

Autumn with its falling leaves is like me with my changing beliefs.

The bitter long winter with its freezes is like my shutting down, going cold and hard inside.

The spring is like me starting anew, each time with the additions of seasons just past.

 

Poem – by Andrew

I fear being Alone.

I love being Called.

Oh how I hate to Initiate.

I love being Called.

I so want Loving in my Life.

Oh when I hear I am loved my heart soars.

If you really knew me you would be gone.

How hearing I am loved opens my Heart.

Oh the hurt of being Alone.

Oh the joy of being connected.

Why, why do I stop myself?

Maybe it’s the fear of feelings.

Oh but the Feelings are so warm

No matter what they are.

 

From Haven Foundation Board, July 2012

One thing Andrew Bing will share is that he believes he literally saved his life by coming to The Haven, and then choosing to live his life aligned with the principles he learned here.

This in itself is exceptional. Even more so is his commitment to offering that same opportunity to as many people as he can, and in many different ways.

A particularly tender spot for Andrew is children and young people. While he hasn’t raised children of his own in the traditional sense, he has quietly been the driving force behind many life-changing events for ‘his Haven children and Youth Leaders’. Andrew has contributed to bursaries for children that couldn’t afford to attend; to affordable Youth Intern training every year; and to The Haven’s Youth Leadership Certificate and Diploma program that helps youth with high school graduation credits and with university entrance applications.

Indeed, without Andrew’s generous and ongoing support, the children and youth work of The Haven would not be as developed as it is today, and would not be able to reach anywhere near the numbers of young people and families that it does.

Andrew supports The Haven in numerous other ways. Financially he contributed to the Education Development fund, Matching Pools for Financial Aid, and Silent Auction items. He is a Board Director, a program Assistant, and even a part-time chauffeur to staff and participants during heavy snow! Staff report often hearing him say ‘how can I help?’ or ‘what do you need?’.

Today, we are here to celebrate and acknowledge Andrew for all of this, AND, to particularly honour the fact that Andrew, in terms of lifetime donations (to date!), has now reached the level of Phoenix Circle of Spirit — that is over $100,000!

Andrew, on behalf of the Board and Haven Foundation, a sincere ‘thank you’ for your great generosity, commitment and heart for The Haven.

In closing, I’d like to say that – on behalf of The Haven – Andrew Bing has stepped up to the plate and hit home runs more times than his beloved Boston Red Socks!

Thank you, Andrew.

Bryan Croeni, Catherine Lord, Cathy McNally, Dale Kelly, Darrell Chambers, Henry Goldbeck, Wayne Dodge

 

From Haven Foundation Members, July 2012

Andrew,

Congratulations on the naming of the Bing room in the Phoenix Auditorium!  The Haven Members recognize your generosity and the benefit that Haven Foundation has reaped over the years from your contributions –as a major donor, board director, supporter of the Haven, and the countless hours that you have volunteered behind the scenes for many Haven stage productions.  As Members, we are responsible for holding the values of the founders.  We are heartened in our connection with you Andrew, as you have demonstrated over and over again that your spirit and values are in line with The Haven’s. Today we are with you in spirit,

John Gill, Dick Sass and Randy Wong

 Posted by at 1:08 pm
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