Carole Ames on Living Alive Phase I
I was a successful 34-year-old single professional on disability leave for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome when I participated in Phase I in 1992. I knew I was at a potential crossroads emotionally, physically, spiritually and professionally. However, I had no idea how to go about making changes, what changes were possible, or even how to access the energy required to think and move. Thankfully I had been encouraged (repeatedly – I'm stubborn if nothing else) to take Come Alive and had done so in 1990, so I knew that The Haven was a potential resource.
During the 25 days of Phase I, I experienced connection, frustration, peace, joy, anger, intrigue, sexual attractions, fear, excitement and discovery. Of course to do that I needed to be alive in my body, and I was. That was the biggest discovery for me in Phase I – that I could shift the lethargy, discomfort, isolation and lack of purpose that had comprised my world this dramatically in such a short period of time. I left Phase I with knowledge, experience and tools to live my life differently, which I have. I have stumbled many times, and yet I have never lost what I learned, nor my appetite for "living alive".
My participation in Phase I was the catalyst for many shifts in my life including my place of residence, my career, my health and my vocation. Beginning with a decision to intern at The Haven, my health gradually improved and I eventually moved to Gabriola, working in management at The Haven while completing a Diploma in Counselling and then a Masters Degree. Today I manage my own business as a consultant, facilitator and counsellor. I am relatively consistent in my nature and style, whether working with a professional group, leading programs at The Haven, counselling one-on-one, or in my marriage of 8 years – I believe this is key to my sense of purpose, connection and fun in life.
In my experience, Phase I is an exceptional opportunity to learn and grow; I am honoured to be a co-leader of this program with Susan Clarke.