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Week 8: Elfi

Elfi Dillon-Shaw writes: In 1990 I attended The Haven’s Phase programs. Working at The Haven since 1984 as the resident Massage Therapist, I finally was a student! All these years and still to this day, I witness how The Haven grew and still grows, transformed from a small enterprise to a place where hundreds of people come to learn, and leave again, themselves transformed.

The land itself and each of the many buildings morphed from one shape or purpose to another. The Orca Building with its indoor and outdoor pools had just been completed at the time this photograph of me was taken. My massage room was relocated from Eagleview where it was next to the gym, to “Orca” next to the pool.

Today Eagleview’s gym and sauna is a deluxe suite with wheelchair access and the gym has moved to replace the indoor pool in Orca. As with those two building so it is with Haven’s many other buildings and the Garden. The whole place seems to be a morphing, moving, fluid, growing entity peopled with humans that are doing the same.

Me in the red hat provokes a strong memory of an event called the Embassy Ball where I dressed up as the me I called then Dr. Ida Loew, Professor of the Healing Arts in honour of my paternal and maternal grandmothers, whose knowledge of herbs and healing managed to keep them and their children alive during war times. It was during the Haven Phase intensives that I came to terms with my family’s history and memories I tried to avoid for so long. I still, after all these years, benefit richly from my experiences as a Haven student, my learning echoes into every part of my life.

I celebrate The Haven and deeply appreciate the work and loving offerings of the faculty, students, staff and board members and all other human hearts and hands that fertilize, tend and weed this remarkable garden of learning. My own desire for “hands on” contribution to the web of life finds a place at The Haven, along with my partner Gary and my bodywork team mates. I thank Ben and Jock and all those who laid down the foundation and planted this seed of growing humans. I am certain the ripples of The Haven contribute to the evolution of humans on this lovely earth.

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