I am on my way to The Haven for Phase I. It is never easy for me to get ready for a month away. I intend to get things ready in advance and make sure I am not doing things at the very last minute. However, I generally end up packing late the night before. I may have done better this time at making a list of things to get done and getting many of them checked off slightly ahead of deadline. But I was still washing and packing clothes well into the night. At least this trip I left a day ahead to make sure I get arrive and get settle before jumping into to a very busy month of work.
I love The Phase program. It is an awesome journey for all involved. Personally, I found The Phase program transformational when I took it many years ago. They say it takes twenty-one days to create new habits. The Phase program is 26, which allows for habits to change and a bit of added time for discovering what some of those patterns might be.
There is a lot more to The Phase than just developing new habits. There is a lot of the emphasis is on self-discovery and learning through interactive experiences in a group. Some folks spend years in individual therapy, and though that, too, is focused on self-discovering; often I think the process is much slower because there isn’t the feedback and resonance that occurs in a group process. In the Phase program there are anywhere from 15 to 40 folks all interested in some type of personal development. People’s reasons for coming, along with their life experiences, are all vastly different which makes for a wonderful opportunity to broaden perspectives and to realize that reality is indeed relative.
Also, being together for 26 days means things are likely to get messy at some point. Putting that many people in a room day after day creates challenges, differences, boundary issues and any number of other opportunities for growth. Of course that is part of the design. Most of us can play nice for a few days and can often avoid our inner demons for brief periods. But a month is a long time and at some point peoples’ surface-styles drop and deeper aspects of who we each are show up.
It happens for those who come to participate for the first time and for those of us leading the program. As leaders I think we often arrive with greater awareness of the process and hopefully the ease and grace in taking down outer defenses as well as being vulnerable and more personal with each other. But still even as leaders there will be those moments that we could never have anticipated and will call us into the unknown. That’s what makes it special. The Phase isn’t a formula. It’s alive, organic and deeply personal.
My friends at home wonder why I leave for a month at a time. It isn’t easy. I love my life in Montana: my partner, my dogs, my home and my friends. But I also know each time I arrive on Gabriola for either The Phase or a Come Alive, I am stepping into a journey that will test my aliveness. Some people travel all over the world searching for the next awesome high or adventure. Me—I find that aliveness by being willing to be open, vulnerable and intimate with a group of people interested in self-discovery and self-responsibility in relationship to others. For me it is the ultimate high. I have the opportunity to open my heart and broaden my world through listening and seeing the world through the eyes of others. It really is quite a unique and amazing adventure and a wonderful test of my own aliveness and willingness to live outside any self-imposed box.