A Hero Gone, David Sobba

There are those folks who’s lives include so many challenges that you wonder how they have time to create a fulfilling relationship, raise children or help friends when their knees need fixing.  David Sobba was one of those people.  He faced more health issues over his lifetime, any one of which might have left a lesser person a victim or at least afraid of what’s next.  Not David.  He faced every medical crisis head on and still made time for friends, family, biking, skiing and yoga.

Yoga at Haramara
Yoga at Haramara 2009 – A healthier David

David died this week.  As a distant friend I wasn’t aware that he was once again so close to death.  Each time I checked-in with folks I would hear about another close call but that he was doing better.  Maybe I started to believe this could go on forever.  Here was a man who had been fighting cancer since I had met him five years ago.  Prior to cancer, he had faced a number of other often life-threatening and altering types of challenges.

Our connection had been around cancer.  There was a period where we were quite close.  I think he’d call because as a doctor his training and mindset wasn’t quite as open to miracles and crazy, less than scientific approaches, to cancer and medical issues.  My mindset is way more comfortable on the less scientific side, yet still not too woo-woo.  So we connected and had cancer chats.  I, of course, encouraged him to go to The Haven.  He did.  He also was willing to try many roads less traveled.  All the while staying in his practice as an orthopedic surgeon.

He fixed my knee when it needed mending and helped me get back quickly to yoga, biking and running.

David was a hero.  Maybe in some ways that made his cancer harder.  I don’t believe it was easy for him to rest, stop, slow down and sometimes see himself as un-able to keep doing it all.  I am not sure if he ever totally reconciled that piece for himself.  I think he was proud that he could head up the mountain even after chemo.  At some point I know he had to face that moment when the body buckles.  I also know that wasn’t easy.

For all the stories of Lance Armstrong and his seven Tour de France victories, I thought David’s RATPOD (a major bike ride to rise money here in Montana for Make-a-Wish) was much more heroic and noteworthy.  (Visit here for more on his amazing efforts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iI0owVOrKyg)

I also believe in the end, he found some peace in a dear friend and the relationship they created.  As well, he took the time to really connect with his kids and those that were close to him.

No, I never said good-bye.  But I think that wasn’t the relationship we had.  There are many there to say good-bye.  Still, I wanted to find some way to say something.  Though my heart aches, I think David truly was bone weary and spirit-filled.  That was just how he lived.  I believe he took pride in that, and many were served with his efforts.  Rest now David, after a amazing fight and a heroic ride through life!


Bone Weary, Spirit Filled

I just returned from a wild, flurry of travel, work, family, friends and connection. I don’t know the miles covered but I did fly, drive, ferry and taxi – on either side of the country and across the border into Canada. I am bone weary. I am also spirit filled.

Baltimore, Vancouver, Nanaimo, Seattle, Lacey & Home!!
Baltimore, Vancouver, Nanaimo, Seattle, Lacey & Home!!

The trip was designed around a client event outside of Baltimore. It was a one day strategic session with a power company. What was best about the work event was that we got to witness and see the transformation from where we first met with them and now. The day was excellent and very full.

Baltimore was buzzing. With the Ravens playing for a spot in the Super Bowl and Obama just a short hop away signing on for another term. Celebrations and good cheer were easy to come by in the inner harbor area. We had planned a strategy session for Thrive! with a Boston colleague, Jessica Steward. The time spent was awesome. We dove into some great dialogue and I believe crafted a clear path towards our new refresh and Whole Person/ Whole Team approach to our business.

Aside from the work, we had great fun and deep dive discussions between sessions. When we got on our plane to Minnesota, we were both thrilled with the effort and excited about the next steps.

Our paths divided in Minnesota, CrisMarie came back to Whitefish for play rehearsals. I headed towards Nanaimo for a Faculty Steering Group meeting at the Haven. The ease and grace of the trip fell a part a bit at this point. My flight was redirected to Great Falls, MT for refueling due to some concerns about Vancouver weather and a possible diversion. We did make it, but two hours late. I still thought I would easily make the late night flight to Nanaimo but at the last minute the flight was cancelled due to FOG!! OMG! I was stunned. I found a bed and tried to pretend the fog would lift by morning.

No – when I woke at 4AM, I knew I had to make my meeting. I gathered my things and dashed downstairs and convinced a taxi to race to the ferry terminal across town. I just made the 5:15 AM ferry to Nanaimo. Me and ten other truckers. Two hours later, I arrived. Exhausted but ever so grateful to see Cathy, there to meet me and give me a big hug.

The meeting started quickly and we dove right in. I thought we had an awesome day. Mostly because we had the time to really have deeper dialogue and wrestle with our concerns and our direction. Sure, it wasn’t all easy but by the end of the day we had a strong plan for moving forward. So again I was fulfilled.

Next stop Seattle. But first a foggy drive south with another dear friend, Susa. It wasn’t an easy drive with all the fog and having had a long day.

Bone Weary, Spirit Filled
Bone Weary, Spirit Filled

But we had some great time to just chat and catch up. I landed at my sister’s totally wiped.

Normally, I would try to visit a bit but I was too tired. My plan was to get up the next day and drive down for a visit with my folks. My dad, 92, was under house arrest from his doctor – for two weeks. He was not thrilled. And honestly I think we were all a touch worried about how they were doing. I had a nice visit. Had the chance to fix lunch and take a walk with my mom. Mostly, I just liked the contact. At this point in their lives they live fully, and I think they are both aware that life isn’t a long- term guarantee. Each day and every hug a bit more important to stay in for.

I did get to visit with my sister and brother-in-law for dinner before catching a late flight home.

I’ve been home for a 24 hours now, and I am just very grateful for the trip. Bone weary from the travel, the distance and the effort but fulfilled by the wonderful connections and real, raw work that got done along the way. I call that spirit filled.








Are you ready? – To Be Living Alive!

Back in the early 80’s, I arrived at The Haven for a Come Alive.  That five-day program changed my life – I did literally come alive I arrived with a belief that I had about three to six months to live due to an advanced cancer process.  So I had nothing to lose.  I discovered and witnessed something that ignited health, well-being and possibility inside of me.  There’s a story to tell but honestly it’s not the one I want to write now. (Though I did write an earlier blog on that.) No, I want to write about what happened after Come Alive.  Because Come Alive was like being shocked back into my body.  However, I don’t believe I learned much in those five days about how to sustain that aliveness.  Sure the tools were there but five days is five days.  I tasted life and there was something I discovered worth living for, but I didn’t really get how to live that day-to-day.

No, that came later to me.  Again another program at the Haven, this one Living Alive, also know as the Phase program.  This program is a twenty-five day intensive.  Yes, it can be taken in two parts.  However, I recommend the twenty-five days if at all possible.  This program takes the Come Alive and breaks it down.  Suddenly, I’m responsible for breathing every day, speaking up and checking in.  I have to do the working to relate and discover the richness in my follow travelers.  No one is pushing me.  I really get to see how I opt out or jump in.  I discover patterns that get in my way of creating the relationships I want, the life I want.  In twenty-five days I really cannot hide from myself.

Now, twenty-five plus years later, I lead the Living Alive Phase I. Over the years between interning, assisting and leading, I have taken this journey many, many times.  Yet, I don’t think I often market the program.  I do recommend it to folks but probably not as much as I could.  Why?  I don’t know.  That’s really why I wanted to write this blog.  I wanted to tell people about this amazing offering that truly is life-changing.

Living Alive Phase I – Participants’ Stories from The Haven on Vimeo.

I don’t know why The Living Alive program is not always filled.  There seems to be so many people who are dissatisfied with their life in some way – either work or relationship or health.  I hear and see many people looking outside of themselves for answers and frustrated by the results, yet continuing to spend lots of money asking someone for the ‘right answer’.

Living Alive isn’t about giving answers.  Basically, the premise is that you have the answers inside of you, and you just need to learn your path to access your wisdom.  In addition, in relationship to others, there is a tremendous amount that can be learned and discovered about yourself and the patterns and things you do that hinder or help you find that fulfillment.

Living Alive is journey of self-responsibility, choice and curiosity, not about the ‘right’ answer, but the process, the pain the joy in being fully alive even when it hurts.  That may not be for everyone.  But if you do want that, I say put you money into spending twenty-five days exploring the amazing possibilities that exist when relational health becomes the avenue to transformation.  Step in and invest in your own inner wisdom and finding the answers that fit for you.

Yes, this is a bit of a marketing pitch.  I am leading the next Living Alive Phase I starting April 17 (less than a month away!!) and I am excited about a great group of people who are interested in self-discovery and aliveness.

Are you? So I am putting my voice out there and calling those who are looking to sign up.  I would love to see you there!!

Susan Clarke is a long standing faculty member at The Haven.

Leap of Faith

My word for the year is a phrase, “Leap of Faith”.  I was going to simply stick with the plan, one word for the year.  At first I thought Leap – however, that did not quite fit.  Faith wasn’t quite right either.  Then I saw this picture that I bought earlier in 2012 while taking Sooke to the vet.  I love it.  There’s the elder duck leading the way out of the nest up in a tree and then the little ones, look out and then finally, leap.  Their wings seem so small and incapable of flight.  Yet, there they go!

It's time to fly!!
It’s time to fly!!

Sometimes I feel like those little ducks.  Yet, I am much closer, may be even older than the mother duck pushing the babes out of the nest.  If I reflect on my life as it is now, I do see both, and in many ways both are taking a Leap of Faith.  Sure, the more physical evidence of the leap is seen in the baby ducks.  However, that mom, likely has some inner angst about what is about to happen and must have tremendous faith to step out of the way.  I relate to both.

This year we plan to re-launch Thrive!.  This in many ways will be a Leap of Faith.  We intend to bring our whole selves to this new business.  This means we no longer want to have our lives compartmentalized.  In the past, we had our corporate presence and we had our various more personal pursuits.  The revitalized Thrive! will be designed to integrate both.  We plan to maintain our work with leaders, teams and organizations, and we also will include our strong belief that business is personal.  That the corporate world would greatly benefit from embracing a whole person/whole team approach.  In many ways this concept is really mother bird speaking.  We know this concept is a mature and vital path that works.  We have been embracing it ourselves for years and have built a powerful partnership that continues to ignite and sustain our health, wealth and relationship.

The baby duck part of the leap is simply being willing to step out fully as who we each are and who we are together.  Last year we started leading the Couples Alive Series couples programs up at The Haven.  The Haven Institute has always been like a safe nest where I can learn and develop.  So it was easy to step into leading together.  We didn’t question out value or wonder about being accepted.  We simply brought all we have learned through being together for over twelve years and assumed if we were open, real and curious we had lots to offer any couple – same sex or not.

Now we want to be more transparent in who we are out in the bigger world, to take the leap of faith and trust that we can fly. Sure, may be not everyone will like discovering we are not simply a business partnership.  However, I believe until now our biggest doubters have been ourselves.

Aside from the work transition and re-launching, I am also leaping into the world of writing.  I have been writing for years.  It has been my path for integrating and revealing to myself my inner world.  More recently I have stepped further out.  Through my blog and writing for 406 Magazine.  Yet I don’t think of myself as a writer.  I don’t fully commit to that path.  This year I am making the leap.  I have signed up for a kick-off workshop with writers I know will challenge and encourage me to go deeper and broader.

So my phrase, Leap of Faith, fits for me.  I am both mature and quite young at what I am jumping into.  I have a solid foundation that I can count on and I am ready for new ground and possibilities.

Though what intrigues me most is the space between the young ducks just launching themselves out of the tree and the older duck giving the push.  That space is where faith becomes something beyond leaping into the vast unknown or holding faith in that which is known for someone to step into.  The space is yet another aspect to leap of faith.  I believe it is that middle ground.  I must leap.  My wings are not young and new – my wings are scarred and older.  I have known the pain of crashing into the ground and failing to fly.  Yet I must still step from the tree and take the leap.  Knowing I have the heart and courage of being both young and old.

So I am thrilled to take the a leap of faith into 2013.

Susan Clarke is a long standing faculty member at The Haven Institute. She leads The Living Alive Phase I, with Carole Ames starting Feb 13 – Mar 10, 2013 and Come Alive April 7-12, 2013, and with CrisMarie Campbell: Come Alive Oct 13-18, 2013; and Couples Alive I – Foundation, Communication and Boundaries, April 15-19, 2013 and Couples Alive II – Edge, Igniting Passion & Aliveness April 19-23, 2013.