By B. Jackson.
My introduction to the Haven was as a chaperone for three teens the summer of 2001. I naively thought that while they attended Teens Alive I and II, I could sit by the pool and read; that I might enjoy a little get-away … a nice pipe dream while it lasted!
I had gone through a rather horrendous patch, chronologically speaking, and thought I could breath a sigh of relief that perhaps the crisis was now over.
Pfffft! I was soon to be held accountable for my opinions and judgments and was told of a different way to communicate. This was a frightening and novel concept, and only one person in my world knew this new language. I began to dream and envision – more – into my world. I had taken a lifetime to construct my veneer, and it had begun to crack.
In 2004 I attended my first Come Alive. I stunned myself by being the first person to have my “piece of work” and it was in the big group no less. What followed was another Come Alive, then Phases I, II, and eventually III. In between I did Satir Fundamentals, Family Reconstruction and a variety of other programs.
Authenticity and congruence gradually became more familiar words to my vocabulary. I coined a term at that time – it is “that I wobble(d)”.
How do I begin to explain what it is like to be so utterly shut down, emotionally inert, that every baby step and interaction is terrifying? The Haven became the one place where I knew I was safe, where I knew I could relax and begin to discover and rediscover the myriad pieces of myself. The patience, wisdom and solidity of the small group leaders and the stunning clarity and connection with the various group leaders has helped propel me into today. I went to places that I never dreamt possible and I went there because I was learning how to trust. To trust others, and to trust myself, and that fear was okay. I wasn’t going to die.
I have the most tremendous heart with the facilitators at The Haven. They gave of themselves tirelessly – to me – so that I could learn and grow. To learn of boundaries, mirroring, projecting. Group participants who spent time with me while I felt broken, and I learned to be closer with them. I have such tremendous gratitude for you all. How uniquely special you all are.
For anyone considering attending a program at the Haven, I encourage you to do so. It’s uncomfortable, it’s joyous, it’s fearful and it’s profoundly life-altering.
It is important for me to tell you all this. I’m still learning and growing and stepping into my fear – daily. And surprisingly, I am finding myself, and I’m beginning to like myself. What a concept!