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 could about why it is important to enable people to attend programs who otherwise could not afford to. Thank you for your continuing support.
Well, what can I say authentically about the Living Alive Phase 1 Program? I had moments of rebellion, resistance, denial and overall challenge AND these moments led me to expand my abilities, take risks, accept feedback and know myself more in my FULLNESS. As I sit here at home breaking patterns that have kept me held in toxicity, listening to my favorite music, my soul wants to dance, to express itself and to communicate openly with you about the experience. I am more aware of my defenses, my closed self, my attitudes and my once dormant spiritual skills. There was a moment in the last couple days of the program where I had to stop in mid step and put my hand to my chest and listen to my heart’s voice. It said: ‘this is GRATITUDE!’ I finally understood the power of this innately illusive ideology. To all the staff, interns, donors and participants, I really get it, the gifts of learning you all offered me in your own ways, stand out so strongly in my personal/professional development journey. You ALL facilitated a transformative process where I could be full in all my ways of being and explore what works/serves me well, and what I could do differently. Your examples of giving: tools, behaviors, ideas, and the bursary for me to partake in this opportunity are greatly appreciated from a sense of true honor.
In 25 days, I witnessed my ‘WORK’ from the deep held anger for my life struggle, to my playful fun expression, to my creativity in song, to my need for connection with others, however still reserved, the way my mind works in an abstract way on multi levels of understanding, how I deal with conflict by avoiding, limiting and finally opening to its lessons, and how much I still so passionately want to grow as an enlightened person. I am eager in this letter to give you a glimpse at the awareness I have built from this program and share my own gift of thankfulness that it exists. I take away a strong will to be fully alive in everything I take on as an endeavor, from sociality, to employment and education, to family and in my intimate relationships. I will carry on the practices of breathing, grounding, communing with nature, silence, fasting and all the other amazing tools I engaged in at The Haven.
If you garner anything from this letter, please let it be: donations give life to those of us that are rich in spirit but not in wallet. Donations offer opportunities to those of us that work from the heart in life, not the bank account. I grew up at home as a learner with only the basics of life. Early on in my development, I walked out the door of my ‘HOME’ and went forth into the world to gain skill, experience and an education in life.
Your donation has shown me another place I can call ‘HOME.’ This home, The Haven, is a true place of awakening to more lessons that solidified my trust in the universal nature of the learning world. All I have shared in this letter is to show you I get it, I got it and I will continue to learn from all that was taught at this marvelous home on Gabriola Island. Thank you from my deepest self.
(Living Alive Phase I Oct/Nov 2014)
My name is Amber S and I am the grateful recipient of a Haven Come Alive Bursary. I would like to begin expressing my appreciation by giving some background information about me in order to give context to the significance of my Come Alive experience.
Along with being the genuine essence of who I am, I am a single mother of a fifteen-year-old boy. I am an accredited music therapist, singer songwriter, master scuba diver trainer, and commercial dive business owner. I have invested a lot of time and effort in my personal development, as I have past addiction and trauma challenges. These issues have affected my life in a variety of ways and have prevented me from reaching my full potential. Prior to coming to The Haven it was challenging for me to sit in my emotions and connect with myself. I experienced mild anxiety, low self worth and self-esteem and was prone to dissociating, with and without awareness of it happening. I also had difficulties around creating and maintaining boundaries, as well as expressing anger appropriately.
My experience at the Come Alive was profound and will have a lasting positive effect on my life and all those I am connected with forever. It was surprising for me to recognize the excessive fear that I had been living with in my daily life. Fear-based living, reacting and avoidance were not uncommon for me in the face of many life stressors, or what I perceived as life stressors. I also had the gift of being able to address past traumas without dissociating, which was intense because during the beginning stages of this process I was keenly aware of what it was like in both, my mind and body to be in a state of dissociation. I am so much more aware now, that the ability to be present in the most difficult of situations is crucial for me to be able to truly live my life more fully and that moving forward with vulnerability and whole-heartedness is the only way I will genuinely experience my truth and purpose.
Following the previously described experiences, during other segments of the Come Alive programming, I had what Maslow describes as a peak experience. There was a brief moment where I was acutely present and felt very connected with the group, during this time I was keenly attuned to a strong feeling and sense of acknowledgment deep within myself around the interconnectedness of humanity and the love that is within and available to us all. Awesome!!
Throughout the Come Alive I also had additional realizations, received valuable information, and witnessed relevant modeling, which furthered the development of my communications skills and ability to ask for and receive help. The breathing techniques I learned are the foundation to begin and continue changing my life in a most positive way. I have also been fortunate enough to make a number of new social connections, where we are choosing to continue to support each other by organizing our own ‘Stay Alive’ group meetings.
As a result of my stay at The Haven and attending the Come Alive Program, I am more aware generally and more specifically, of others and myself. I have been living in the present more and have experienced less anxiety and fear. I use breathing to return me to focus in challenging times. I am communicating more effectively, even when I am in moments of high stress or anger. My boundaries are clearer and I am in the process of creating and maintaining them for myself as I continuously interact with the world. There is already a noticeable shift for me in my relationships and in my clinical skills when working as a music therapist. I am excited to see what unfolds in my life generally and in my creativity as I continue to live the way I have learned during the Come Alive.
It is important for me to thank who ever was able to help make this happen in my life, not only so that they understand to what extent their decision to donate money to The Haven has made in my life as well as the others, but also to know that their contribution is deeply appreciated. It is my hope that one day I will be able to do the same for someone else.
(Come Alive Oct 2014)