Aug 282015

Don-in-sun-shirt_2015Aug_2Hello to all my Haven friends, some of you will have noticed my disappearance from my beloved garden. It was not only the drought that drove me away!

In early July, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I had no symptoms and this was caught through a routine FIT test. I ask you all to make sure you keep up on these tests. The medical system went into high gear and within a couple of weeks I had had a colonoscopy. Before I caught my breath from that I was called to the cancer clinic in Victoria. I was set up for a five consecutive day round of radiation treatment and then a surgery on Sept 3rd.

I am writing this from our friend Rose’s house in Brentwood Bay. I will stay with Rose all this week as I do my radiation treatments, she has been a huge support, not only housing me but driving me to and from the cancer clinic each day. I will go in at 11:40 this morning for my third treatment. The treatments are not at all uncomfortable and I am only at the clinic about a half an hour, no side effects yet and I feel fine.

On Sept 3rd at 9am I will have my surgery and I ask you all for a little prayer, however that looks for you, to help guide me through to the next chapter of my life. I expect to meet many challenges after the surgery and I keep myself very much in the moment and take each step as it comes.

I am very grounded and my faith is strong. I have many years of learning at The Haven, doing almost all the core programs, taking on many mentors over the years many of whom are gone now but live on in my heart and continue to teach me. I am walking this cancer journey hand in hand with my great hero Mark Nepo on one side and my dearest friend and mentor Ernie McNally on the other. We are traveling down this path accompanied by the sweet music of another great friend and mentor Eric Bibb.

So you can see I am in good hands. Yesterday was my 66th birthday. It was the best birthday I have ever had as I find through this challenge that I am more alive and aware of my place in the oneness of all life than I have ever been.

Please welcome my dearest friend Roz, when you see her caring for the garden I love so very much.

I will see you all in the garden in the spring 2016. There are so many wonderful friends I have met in the garden over the years I couldn’t possibly write you all so know I am doing well and am sending my love out to all of you .


Aug 262015

By Rachel Daveyfamily selfie

I arrived at The Haven to take up the position of Programs Manager in November 2006, very nearly ten years ago. I find it hard to believe that so much time has passed! It has been an incredibly rich ten years and I have been privileged to meet and work with some amazing people and witness transformation and relational learning in action on a daily basis. That’s not to say that there haven’t been some difficult days, and it’s never dull!

Some of you may have already heard that I am moving temporarily to Victoria in September and I will be splitting my time between Victoria and The Haven. I will be continuing in my role as Executive Director and using all that modern technology can offer to work remotely when I am not on site.

This is only possible thanks to the willingness of the directors of the Haven Foundation board to take a leap of faith and to offer me the opportunity to see if I can make these new arrangements work between September 2015 and June 2016, the next school year. It is Rory’s last year of high school next year and Izzy graduated from Gabriola Elementary in June 2015. They are both at school in Victoria now and I wanted us to be together for this very important year. I appreciate all the many people who have helped me to make this possible.
I am also grateful to the amazing team of people at The Haven who make this possible, the staff. The management team will continue to ensure a high quality experience for everyone who comes to The Haven. I will be in regular contact and will be at The Haven once or twice a month.

I am looking forward with excitement to this next phase in my life, and to being closer to the many different Haven friends and sister organizations in Victoria.

Aug 092015

By Cathy McNally. Cathy is leading Communication Fundamentals, Oct 16-19, with Cathy Wilder.

Cathy McNallyAs I step more and more into my “new” life, many things are showing up. One of these is a discovery linked to the online dating process I shared about recently. Although, this discovery is neither comfy nor fun.

(Get specific, girl! I hear myself chide…)

I have noticed myself spending longer and longer at the computer, going through each and every email associated with online dating. Obsessing one might say. Getting more embroiled with making the “right” choices. Being “kind.” Being “sensible.” Being “honest.” And more. Phew! Almost like having a “secret world” online, which is hidden away from the rest of my life and is occupying my time.

My heart is now pounding, and I believe if you were watching me my face would be pink. I don’t enjoy facing the less attractive realities of my patterns, of who I am.

What do I mean?

Well, what is foreground for me is that I have an addictive process. That is, I can cleverly use all my talents and skills to get something I think I want… meanwhile deflecting what is actually going on for me.

Over 40 years ago this showed up in my life with food. I numbed myself with food (Bulimia) – to prevent feeling the discomfort of facing all the changes in my life as I left school, had some unexpected upsets at that time, and moved on to university on another continent… feeling alone and disconnected. Although the addictive acting out did not go on for long, the fall out (weight and image issues) took some years to settle.

Why am I mentioning this now? Because I have noticed the same clenching, clutching, squirming, painful sensations in my solar plexus and belly. The same struggle for full breath. Because I find my mind spinning as I grope for things to do. I ‘need’ to be busy – that helps me numb these weird feelings.

Wow! Déjà vu – big time.

And, wouldn’t you know it, I am once again in a time of discomfort – facing all the changes in my life (following the death of my husband and soul mate), which most strikingly showed up when – in an effort to shut off the discomfort of feeling lost and disconnected – I chose to risk trying online dating… to take actions related to filling this new gap in my life.

I feel teary as I pause and read what I have written so far. And… then I take a breath, gently shift gears, give myself an inner loving hug… and return to writing.

Another huge part of my life pattern has been secrecy. Secrecy – for various reasons – was a choice made by many in my family, in the generations before me. I witnessed it, and copied it…unconsciously, until I recognized it – thanks to a series of remarkable programs at The Haven. Since that day, I have dedicated myself to eradicating ‘secrecy’ in my life.

Hence this writing.

So what is the gift in all of this? For me, when I was sitting in a puddle of tears … with my messy scribbled notes cascaded over my lap… it occurred to me that everything I have mentioned – every awareness on my learning journey, both now and in the past – was facilitated through one single source: the Communication Model.

How cool is that?!

Yes, the name of this model correctly describes that it is a remarkable way to connect with others. However, it is also the key source of ongoing SELF AWARENESS for me.

My clues about triggering back to an addictive place came from noticing sensations in my body. Following this awareness, I explored more deeply and wrote notes about the story I was making up (interpretation), and what ancient rules and beliefs from my past were guiding this story (context).

The sea-sick feeling in my being was part of my clarity about having jumped back to a long ago pattern. And the relief of the calm and settled place I reached came from my self-compassion and subsequent courage to write this publicly (clarity, intention, and action).

I am happy to report that I shared this whole story first with my close circle of intimate friends – who were marvelously supportive, as usual. (I am so grateful for them!) From this sharing and further reflection, I am choosing to take a break from online dating for a while, preferring to lean into a deeper level of embodied self-discovery at this time. I notice I feel peaceful with this choice. Another significant marker for me: aliveness AND inner peace!

So, as I draw this to a close, I am going to shamelessly pitch for joining me in exploring this communication/self-awareness model!

With absolutely remarkable timing, ten days ago I was approached and asked to step in and co-lead with my colleague and dear friend Cathy Wilder (leader names will be a cinch!). I invite you to join us for a fun, enlivening, and unforgettable time in Communication Fundamentals, Oct 16-19. Hope to see you there!


Aug 042015


By Jennifer Hilton.

“All that is important is this one moment in movement. Make the moment important, vital, and worth living. Do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused.” Martha Graham

A while ago, I stopped practicing Nia for a few months. All too soon my body lost touch with living “sensationally.” By that I mean living the way I do when I dance/move – every sensation in my body comes alive! The joy I felt today when I put on my music again and started to move awakened my excitement and fed my inspiration. My skin tingled! My spine became sensuously supple, my whole body flexible and agile. I could feel muscles gliding over bone in my neck and my arms felt strong. I could sense the spaces in between the joints. Even my throat loosened and I could hear myself sighing with pleasure. Out loud I said, “My body loves this!” I danced for about an hour. Every now and then I closed my eyes, feeling my heart, brain and body singing in tune. Bright and sparkling ideas came to me, even though I wasn’t conscious of thinking.

For days previous to this, I had been ruminating on an upcoming project, one I believed required lots of “brain-power.” I chewed on what I thought I might face, reading and reflecting. But here I was moving “sensationally,” and the ideas were flowing fast! I wanted to stop and write them down but knew if I did, it would interrupt the joy and pleasure I was feeling.

By stepping into physical movement, I believe I created a different kind of thinking/working space. The result was enlightening. Later, as I considered the project and began my sitting-down work, I felt more settled and ready for action. I moved easily through my “to do” list for the day. This may be the norm for many who exercise and “feel the high” but I began to think beyond that, about the realtime benefits, and what I have come to think of as “INTENTIONAL SENSATIONAL LIVING”.

When I first showed up at The Haven, I had no idea what a bodily sensation was. I couldn’t define how I felt “in my body.” It was there, through many programs, including Come Alive and the Living Alive Phase programs, that I was introduced to concepts and integrated experiences that led me to being more body-aware and “sensationally” alive.In Nia, I have discovered the five sensations of movement: strength, stability, mobility, agility and flexibility. Integrating these is my practice, not only in movement but in relationships and how I work. I now believe that integration happens in “moments of movement” and intentionally being in touch with my senses. To quote Martha Graham, renowned dancer and choreographer,

All that is important is this one moment in movement. Make the moment important, vital, and worth living. Do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused.

What if we all intentionally came alive to our senses and moved through life in all the realms of our being: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual? Imagine the sensational possibilities!

New Poems from The I Ching

New Poems from The I Ching

By Ellery Littleton. Ellery’s next writing program at The Haven is From Memory to Memoir, October 16–18, 2015 In 1993, I published my first book of poetry – “Old Rocks, New Streams” – 64 Poems from the I Ching. I had been fascinated by the I Ching for a long time, and decided to write one poem for […]

Act Natural: Everyone Should Take It!

Act Natural: Everyone Should Take It!

Cathy McNally recommends Act Natural – and below Sasha Kay writes about how she took up Cathy’s suggestion! Dear Friends, I am excited. Want to share with you. Having just left Act Natural, what I notice is that I am not “thinking” something new, I think I am embodying a newness in my being. This […]

Dating Revisited!

Dating Revisited!

By Cathy McNally. Cathy is leading Living Alive Phase I at The Haven in November. Here she writes about starting to date again, thirty-six years later … The last time I went on a “date” was in 1979. Yup – thirty-six years ago. Oh my. It was before my first marriage. I never dated my second […]

Sexual Intelligence for Body, Mind and Heart: A New Core Program at The Haven

Sexual Intelligence for Body, Mind and Heart: A New Core Program at The Haven

By Elfi Dillon Shaw DipC, RMT, Somatic Sex Educator At the beginning of this year I entered into a sabbatical time and space in order to focus my attention on developing a new core program on sexuality which I had been invited to create for The Haven. Since then I have designed an intensive foundational […]

Appreciating John Gill

Appreciating John Gill

John Gill stepped down as a Member of Haven Foundation at the July 2015 AGM and he will be greatly missed. Much of his contribution has been in the background, and it is time to shine a light on all that he has achieved. John has played a pivotal role in The Haven’s transition to […]

Mastery and Mystery: A Personal Journey of Transformation

Mastery and Mystery: A Personal Journey of Transformation

By Tina Boehm. Tina is soon leaving her post as a Haven Registrar, and will be greatly missed. Here she reflects on three programs she has taken recently and looks ahead with gratitude. This Spring I started to feel the inklings of something stirring inside me. A restlessness and discomfort started to set in. In […]