Healing Broken Bridges: The Magic of Haven

Communication bridges different worlds, beginning with one person at a time!

ImageI learned this at The Haven, and frankly, I have The Haven to thank for being able to spend a few precious hours with my dad this past weekend, knowing it may be the last conversation we’ll have.

Maybe some of you can relate to my relationship to my dad.   There was a time when there was a chasm between us that seemed impossible to bridge.

We had, what seemed like, irreconcilable differences about the past. For ten years, I broke off communication with my parents.

Hopefully, the differences you may have with key people in your life have not created that level of separation. Honestly, I never thought we’d find a path back. There did not seem to be a bridge that could span that far!

It was at The Haven that courageous work, on the part of each of my family members, took place. We gathered there to meet, and gain some valuable assistance, and tools for communicating with each other. With curiosity, empathy, and a willingness to acknowledge each of our radically different realities, without shutting down, cutting off, or getting caught in right or wrong, we agreed to connect and move on together.

Since then, we’ve had some great times and some difficult ones.  What’s made the difference, and sustained the bridge for me, is going back to the communication model and practices, such as breath, and owning whatever feeling I am having. Plus, developing the ability to make a choice on how I want to react, or respond, to what someone is saying, is very empowering.

Fast forward to this visit with Dad, maybe because it was possibly one of our last face-to-face conversations, I had to ask, “What’s left unsaid?” Well, my dad went right back to one of our biggest and most painful differences! Grrrr!

I caught myself before I flared too much.  I paused and took a breath. I reflected on what I thought he was communicating, and checked in to see if I understood.  That gave me a moment to calm down. Then, I could share how I was thinking and feeling.

Things did get a bit heated. We went back and forth, and it wasn’t pretty or comfortable.  But, we finally did get to the critical sticking points, and it was a conversation we had to have.  No, we didn’t resolve the difference, but we each walked on the bridge built between us, and visited the others’ unique world with compassion and heart.

I left so grateful to each of us for showing up and hanging in.  I left knowing we had left nothing unsaid and were better for it.

It was a deeply spiritual and profound moment in my life.

I am grateful for my experience at The Haven, which taught me how to do something I couldn’t do before. I learned amazing tools and practices there. I now integrate all these tools, and experiences, in the transformative work that I do, yes, at the Haven, leading the Living Alive Phase I, Come Alive and Couples Alive, but also in my one-on-one coaching with individuals, and consulting work with teams.

Soon, I will be heading to The Haven to lead the Living Alive Phase I, starting October 10, 2014.  There’s still space.  I never totally get why this program doesn’t fill up early.  It is the most affordable way to transform one’s life. It transformed mine. I am still experiencing the ROI 29 years later.

I would be upset with myself if I did not reach out and invite anyone who lives, as I did, behind walls, with broken bridges between people they care about, to check out The Haven.  Come join me I’d love share with you what I have learned and help you rebuild bridges in your life. It’s totally worth it!

The conversations with my Dad….priceless.

Thank you Haven!





Finding Faith

A few weeks ago, Robin Williams took his life.  It was sad day and a tremendous loss.  Of course, it was Robin Williams, so the media was full of stories.  Most suicides or suicide attempts aren’t like that.  Most aren’t so public.

I spoke to someone recently who struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts; they were saying how scarey it was to hear that someone like Robin Williams killed himself.  They felt quite vulnerable since in their view he had so much and he still couldn’t stop himself.

All I kept think was how many times he had!

From what I have heard and read, Robin Williams fought those demons daily or quite regularly.  Seems to me there were many, many more times he chooses to live than too die. And he did finally lose that battle.

When you lick cancer once it’s consider a remarkable win.   Facing suicide over and over and choosing in – well that most count for something.

I told my friend this and they smiled.  They hadn’t thought of it like that and reported feeling better. I’m not sure if they will kill themselves. I hope not.

Still I do get it.  Life is unpredictable and sometimes painfully hard to endure.  Depression is a dark lonely place and choice seems far, far away when you are in it.

Still there is a choice.

I have wrestled myself with despair.  Not sure I’d call it is quite the same as depression.  But when I bump myself into that space it isn’t easy to shake.

I’ve run many miles and eaten a few too many bags of chips trying to numb my monster. Sometimes the numbing helps and the pain passes.  Sometimes I can take a wild ride and wonder if it wouldn’t be better to quit.

Under all that pain there seems to be a little girl who simply doesn’t always like how we as humans treat each other.  She doesn’t like playing the game just simply to win and often doesn’t really even get why that is so important.

It can be as simple as being accused of cheating at Ladies Golf League and suddenly I find myself spiraling.  Probably that seems so small.  But I joined the League to have fun and when it seems like the game is more about winning than relating, I can lose my faith.

I’ll get it back.  I generally rise after I fall.

But I get it.

When faith is lost – faith meaning the felt sense of the continuity of life or a knowing that I matter, we matter and we are connected.  When that is totally lost, it is hard to choose.  Hard to find a good enough reason to go on.

Until someone reminders me that some little words of wisdom I might offer made a difference – like how many times Robin Williams said yes to life instead of no – and that helps.

It restores my faith.

My demon, despair,  settles and I carry one.