I just returned from a very special week up at The Haven. It started with a meeting of the Educational Steering Committee. As Chairperson, I lead this team of five faculty, Elfi Shaw, Gillian Enright, Terri Wolfe, and Linda Nicholls, plus, two organizational leaders, Rachel Davey and Morag Ruckman. It is a pretty amazing group. Our responsibility is guiding the educational direction of The Haven. As faculty contributors, we do the job as volunteers. Sometimes it can be many, many hours of work. Sometimes we have to make hard decisions and communicate those decisions directly to friends and colleagues. Sometimes we get the joy of seeing the hard work pay off and sometimes we don’t.
This time it was perfect, I went from our full day meeting right into leading a Couples Alive with my partner CrisMarie. This was great because I stepped right into experiencing the pay off for the hard work. Seeing couples who often arrive in some type of crisis point in their relationship or life and slowly open to themselves and to each other – well that is amazing. Being in the room on that last morning as couples share the impact of our journey together, I am honored and touched. I am also awed by what The Haven has to offer. Yet for all that awesomeness – The Haven remains a bit like the Mists of Avalon. An amazing transformational center that isn’t that well recognized or known out in North America, it remains a mystery.
Part of my job as a leader at The Haven is to expand our reach and our presence out in the world. I have always been grateful that I have never been asked to be a hard sales person. Yet, maybe I have been remiss. I don’t want to push people to Haven – I want to invite them. However, I am thinking I may be holding back. I honestly don’t understand why all the programs don’t fill.
Following the Couples Alive, I went straight into the Haven Faculty and Assistants weekend. Each year the faculty is invited for a weekend gathering where we talk about new ideas and areas of our own development. I was tired and unsure of my participation, yet I also knew I had wanted to connect. Our faculty is probably the best kept secret of The Haven. The diversity and the depth of the knowledge and experience in that room is unequaled in any gathering I have ever attended, and I have been among great leaders. Maybe the best way to say it is, that not only is there wisdom, depth, there’s real and raw, or another great line, “a room of angels with assholes.”
We are not perfect. But we are human and that might be even better. Ben Wong, one of the founders, died this past year. He was the rock on which the Haven was built, and he’s gone. However, I got this weekend that his gift of being that solid, clear locator continues, now through us. His message was always: Come sit in a circle, be curious, be honest, locate yourself – in your body, in your heart and with an open mind – that creates magic, medicine, science, art and possibility.
It wasn’t all wonderful this weekend. We had moments of conflict and moments of being with a dear friend as he went through a seizure and had to be taken to the hospital. We cried together and continued with our work because we knew he would want that.
We left with a thick fog blanketing the island. Yes – the Mists of Avalon – the hidden Haven. Oh, how I wish I could lift the fog and show the world the magic that is so close and so possible.
No, I’m not much of a salesperson – but if you are slightly intrigued – think of this as an invitation. Visit the website, www.haven.ca or better yet sign up for a Come Alive or if you are a couple, Couples Alive. I invite you and hope you will come!