Jun 302015

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.


The Process Work Approach to Transformation group. Tina is third from the left.

This Spring I started to feel the inklings of something stirring inside me. A restlessness and discomfort started to set in. In an effort to deny and appease this, I countered with conscious awareness and gratitude for the amazing gifts and opportunities I have been graced with since I started my “work” here at The Haven eight years ago. Since then, I have taken over 40 programs here and have enjoyed the knowledge and confidence this has given me, particularly as it pertains to my job here as Registrar. I barely recognize myself now from the shrivelled, traumatized, fearful individual who tentatively stepped in to Come Alive in 2007.

Unbeknown to me at the time, I was about to discover what was moving in me, or rather what I was moving myself towards. Three programs taken in fairly quick succession starting in May this year have given me the clues and courage to face a new direction which I am now following. I want to share a little of this experience with you as an expression of gratitude to The Haven and the leaders of these life affirming programs, and as encouragement to you all to follow and take delight in your own personal journey of discovery.

Spirit Journal Intensive

Spirit Journal Intensive was led by Ellery and Mary Helen Littleton. This gentle, generous couple provided a safe and inviting space for a small group of experienced and intrepid journallers to unfold the deeper stories and meaning of our lives. The journalling process, as developed and articulated by Ira Progoff in the 1970s “provides deep therapeutic effects not by striving towards therapy but allowing the individual to draw upon his inherent capacities for self expression and discovery, establishing a sense of his own being by enriching his inner life with new experiences of a creative and spiritual quality”. What transpired was four days of intensely moving personal stories and insights. In the three years since I first took one of Ellery and Mary Helen’s journal programs, I have used this process regularly with a group of friends. I have come to know myself and my friends on a deeper more intimate level through our writing and sharing together. It is truly a very creative and transformative process. I have learned to connect with the deepest and wisest parts of myself. The deeper person within the person that knows me , flows through me and taps into essential and universal intelligence. I have come to understand the essence and hidden longings behind my actions. I felt seen and heard and validated by this incredible group of individuals. What a gift you are to me and to The Haven Ellery and Mary Helen.

The Power of Balance

A couple of weeks later I took The Power of Balance with Kim Hudson and Laurie Anderson. This is in my opinion, a sleeper of a program. I was lured in by my own curiosity and a desire to learn more about these relatively new Haven leaders. Gently and skillfully supported by Laurie Anderson, Kim Hudson brought many years of experience and application in the field of storytelling, scriptwriting, Jungian archetypes and education. Following a career in geology Kim found her way to Vancouver Film School exploring film studies and script-writing. She quickly identified a lack of any feminine counterparts to the Hero’s journey as originally described by Joseph Campbell. The Hero’s journey being an external (fear based) drive towards consciousness and individuality. By contrast the Virgin’s internally driven (love based) journey is towards transformation and authenticity, by following his/her dream or authentic nature despite the wishes of others. Kim identified 13 “beats” which form both the character arc and actions that symbolically represent the archetypal transformation towards wholeness. The balance between the two themes of fear and love, both of which are essential human drives was both fascinating and illuminating. Kim’s book The Virgin’s Promise and the card series she has developed were both a helpful and fun way to identify my own journey towards wholeness and authenticity. I felt both validated and excited to discover my personal storyline as it is unfolding and to track myself using this model.

Process Work Approach to Transformation

The final and newest program in this hat-trick of programs came in the form of Process Work Approach to Transformation, masterfully led by Gary Reiss and ably supported by his delightful and joyful wife Sage Emery. Gary is a 30 year veteran of Process Oriented Psychology, or Process Work, as developed in the early 1960s by Arnold (Arny) Mindell, a quantum theoretical physicist working in Zurich and later at Esalen, which is now a world wide movement. Essentially Process work involves many different modalities and is used in multiple applications including conflict resolution, relationships, coma patients and the dying, dreamwork, quantum healing, movement and meditation. The wisdom and experience our bodies hold and which is accessed through the “dreambody” (that part of us that has access to the ethereal plane and “process mind”) provides guidance and information through a deeply personal and transformational journey. Identifying and using the “edge” or resistance to anything we are moving towards offers insight and guidance to move through our blockages and body held traumas. This new four day program truly was an exceptional journey of discovery and quantum healing at work for many of us. It was liberating, fun, and a wonderful exploration and testament to the healing benefits of Process Oriented Psychology. I cannot speak highly enough of this amazing process, and of Gary and Sage’s leadership in deepening and personalizing the models used in many of the Haven Core programs.

I am hopeful and excited by what lies ahead for me, and am transformed by the recent knowledge and insight these programs have offered me as I continue my journey. It seems that each program I take at The Haven takes me further to my own voice and truth, and to the essential nature of what it is to be human on this profoundly personal and rewarding journey. As the external world careens towards chaos and destruction, I know now that this is only part of the story. I take responsibility for my own part in and contribution to it. I want to use what I have learned, and continue to learn, by way of offering it to the world, rather than taking what is wanted or what I think I am entitled to or deserve. I have some tools, and insights and a desire to move consciously, and courageously towards wholeness and healing. In the words of Mary Oliver, “My work is loving the world”. My personal work starts with loving myself and that starts with knowing all that is stirring and stirred within this fragile and passionate body. My gratitude for The Haven and the wonderful range of programs and leaders is immense. I would not be where I am today without you. The journey continues.

Jun 302015

Sarah Sheridan writes about her experience of The Inner Activist’s Building Strong and Respectful Relationships, held recently at The Haven. For more about The Inner Activist and upcoming programs visit inneractivist.com. This article was first posted on the Inner Activist blog.


During our week on Gabriola Island I kept a journal for keeping track of my many questions, reflections, and brainstorms. While rereading my journal, I noticed that I had repeatedly written about being tired.

To say that this past year was transformative would be to minimalize the effects of stress and anxiety that come along with burnout, leaving one’s job, and financial hardship. I’ve been working hard to grow both personally and professionally and Inner Activist training seemed like the perfect shift as my yearlong school program and leadership program had both come to an end. Building Strong and Respectful Relationships did not resolve my concerns or give me the answers that I was yearning for. Instead, it gave me a set of practices to use when I am solving my problems on my own.

Since returning home I’ve noticed changes in my thought process when faced with a decision. What is my intent? How can I best convey my opinion? Am I making space for others to join in? Why do I often distrust people in positions of power? Why am I upset about this?

The term “self-care” is very current but this practice isn’t new. What do you do to take care of yourself? Inner Activist provided a space for me to challenge myself, analyze my triggers, and give credit to my past year of growth. Our lives are full of coursework, bills, debts, appointments, jobs, taking care of our families, house cleaning, and so on. How often have I spent this much time writing, meditating, reflecting, discussing, listening, and focusing on my inner activist? On myself? The answer is never. I spend time riding my bike or swimming. I see my friends and watch movies. I do things other than work and volunteer. Yet, I have come to realize that I don’t spend much time “digging” into myself.

With the practices learned through my training with Inner Activist I am willing to slow down and respect the process. With that, I am reminded that I can’t rush personal development. I can’t expect to take a 5-day course and leave with answers to all of my questions. This week was difficult, yes, but necessary, very necessary.

My relationships with others depends on the relationship that I have with myself. And so the best way for me to enhance my relationships with others is to give myself the best care that I can which includes both giving myself credit when it’s due and also holding myself accountable for my actions.

For those working towards change, we often have feelings of criticism for the systems that we live under.We feel smothered by the work that lies ahead of us. We feel limited by finances, time, family commitments, and other obligations. The only way that I know how to sift through the struggles that continue to suffocate our movements is to take better care of ourselves so that we can continue to care for our communities within those movements. Inner Activist provided me a space to care for myself and to hold myself accountable. They provided me tools and language to use when building strong and healthy relationships. For this, I am thankful.

I recognize the privilege that I have by being able to take time away from home and doing this work on myself. And this was another thought that I carried with me throughout the week. Why should I have this opportunity and not others? This, however, is a question that, I expect, I will carry with me for years to come.

Jun 222015


By Rachel Davey

As we enter the final week of the Thunderbird dorm project, here are some sneak peeks at what’s going on inside. For these custom built dorms, we’ve tried to think of everything that will make your stay as comfortable as it can be, at a very affordable price. Go to the Haven Facebook page to see photos of the state of the art ventilation system, water saving shower heads, low level lighting, keyless entry and lovely fixtures and fittings. Follow this link to see the photos.

There’s more work to do before we are done, including the installation of the custom built bunk beds and lockers. We were very fortunate to find G&A Themed Rooms a family owned business from Vernon who specialize in bunk beds! Then it will be one last major clean and time to test that everything works before the youth leaders arrive on June 29 for their training.

The dorm rooms will be available to rent from mid August onwards, and we are sure they will soon be some of our most popular places to stay.

May 312015

dought warningWater is always a critical issue at The Haven, and we have already recognized that 2015 is a drought year. We are taking additional steps to ensure that we have enough water to last through the summer. We have 180,000 gallons of water storage capacity, and we have started drawing on this already. In comparison to previous years, our stored water level in June is what it has been in the past in August. We have already begun trucking in water from Nanaimo and this is costly and environmentally unfriendly, so we want to only do this as much as we have to.

You can help us both before and during your stay. Here’s how.

Before you come:

  • Don’t plan to do any laundry while you are here. We have closed the guest laundry.
  • Bring your own towel for the pool and hot tub.
  • Bring your own water bottle and a jug of drinking water to refill your water bottle.
  • Bring your own travel mug for coffee and tea.

During your stay:

  • Use the lines provided at the pool, hot tub and your room to air dry towels.
  • Reuse your travel coffee/tea mug.
  • Showers use the most water, so keep them short and only when needed.

You will notice some changes we have made in addition to the water saving measures we already have in place (low flush toilets, low flow shower heads, water efficient equipment). Here’s what we are planning:

  • Shut offs will be installed on some showers.
  • Some bath tub faucets will be disabled.
  • Compostable plates and cups available at busy times to reduce dishwashing.
  • Faucets with sensors will be installed in the lodge and other high traffic areas.

DroughtMap_polygonWe hope that the rain will return before the summer and ease the problem, and that is not what is being predicted. Here’s what livingwatersmart.ca (the body which provides government’s vision for sustainable water stewardship) had to say on June 2 2015:

“Because of extremely low snowpacks in some regions and weather projections for warmer and drier than normal conditions in upcoming months, it is anticipated that some regions will likely experience significant water supply shortages in 2015. Regions most at risk for future water supply shortages include Vancouver Island, South Coast, Lower Fraser, and Southern Interior, but could include other regions as the season progresses. Communities, agriculture, and other water users are encouraged to plan for potential future shortages.”

As you can see from the map, Vancouver Island is currently at drought level 3 (Very Dry).

International Holistic Centers Gathering: Final Day, Gifts, Growth, and Gratitude

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We recently received this wonderful Come Alive testimonial I have been a career Emergency Medicine Physician for 30 years, currently practicing in Edmonton. I had two weeks off in my emergency department schedule and was exploring holiday/educational opportunities. There was a major Emergency Medicine conference in Las Vegas and I was all set to register when […]