I am leading the Living Alive Phase 1 program and we are approaching the end. It’s been another amazing journey. As always moments of wondering why the hell I keep doing this, mixed with many more moments of deep joy in being a part of a program that invites individual transformation through being a part of a community.
Over the years there have been some changes but the essence I believe remains anchored to the same core values and models. The key being self-responsible relational living.
The Haven has always been a place built around the idea that we all have choice in how we respond to our world. When we recognize and own our choices there is a fullness to life that is absent when we remain trapped in believing we are helpless or a victim to circumstances. Having said that, we are also relational so there are consequences to our choices. We do impact the world around us. This does create tension. It also creates possibility and purpose. To be both self-responsible and relational makes life incredibly rich and limitless.
It also makes life very hard at times. Sense we are each creating our own reactions and responses to our interactions there isn’t a rule book or a right/wrong answer. Yes I have a filtering system designed by my context, my history, my significant emotional events and my culture etc.., but it is not the ‘right’ context, it is simply mine. The nature of who we are and how we gather information and make meaning is complex and unique. It is simply impossible for there to be one truth, one reality, one right way. We choose. Oddly to make it meaningful we need to fully commit and embrace what we believe. Our mental, emotional and spiritual health depends on embracing a truth, a purpose and defining ourselves based on some set of values we hold dear.
Thus the relational aspect of living is tricky. How can I relate compassionately AND remain committed to my path, my choices. I believe that is the source of my greatest joys and pains on this human journey. So often I do get caught thinking I know what is right (and not just for me). I do scream in despair (sometimes out loud, sometimes silently) when I witness someone making a choice I think shuts down connection or worse seems to create a great deal of suffering or pain. In my righteous place I too am closed and sometimes it’s not easy to decide to simply feel and acknowledge my despair without a need to have the other change. However, when I do I know I am once again back home.
Riding the waves of self-defining and relating is what living is all about. It’s also why I find this program so frustrating, exciting, joyful, painful and one that I continue to find transformational. It was transformational, over 25 years ago when I took it as a participant and has been each time since, as an intern, an assistant and now for many years as a leader
That’s special. That’s worth the long hours and the effort. Today it’s nice to reflect and share just why this part of my journey matters! Yes, I’ll be glad to get home AND I think I will be a better person, partner and community member having had the month to continue learning, growing and exploring!