Oct 202012

By Don Hutton and Paule Senechal

The story of how Don and Paule acquired Blue Moon.

What recently happened to my wife Paule and I is too much of a moment in our lives to let pass without some reflection, introspection, contemplation … and maybe a bit of soul searching. It involves a story … so here goes …

Our move to Gabriola in December of 2011 was for a number of reasons including truly wanting to connect with people and community as we aged, getting into a climate where we could breathe, garden, walk, fish and generally enjoy life year around without freezing fingers, noses and toes shoveling and plowing the white stuff… and where we could navigate a boat over the unfrozen waters year around. So, two years before the move with our house still for sale we sold our 20’ aluminum boat in the Yukon figuring we would get a larger one down south, at least something with a cabin. So it came to pass that within 3 months of the move last December, we acquired a brand new welded aluminum 22’ fishing boat at a dealer in Victoria, complete with cabin, sleeping arrangements and a porta-pottie. Nice to look at, fast and served the purpose … of day use … which we figured, living 10 minutes from the dock, would be our main use of a boat!  However, not long after we bought “Sea Lover” we joined the Silva Bay Yacht Club and participated in our first cruise. Turned out it was for 6 nights and 7 days. We were excited to be with so many other like-minded boaters between ports and anchorages … and yet we started to envy the space they had to sleep and lounge and the conveniences when cooking and … well … doing other business. Looking at our smaller ‘day-use’ craft we began to realize maybe we had been a bit hasty in our quick acquisition.

Oddly, on one of these cruises last May we ran across an old acquaintance from the Yukon in Montague Harbor who had moved to Nanaimo 2 years ago and they told us they had also made hasty purchase of a gem of a boat called a Camano Troll. It was 31 feet long, a ‘fast’ trawler made for the last 25 years in Vancouver ideally suited for a couple complete with all the necessary amenities. We fell in love with, AND … it was for sale … AND they wanted to downsize after realising they actually wanted a trailerable boat they could haul behind their new motor home. How excited we were figuring we could maybe trade them ours as part payment for theirs. We looked at theirs and they came and looked at ours … and liked it … would think about it and get back to us. We agonized for a few days, then a week, then another week waiting for the call but alas … we never heard back from them!

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Feb 162012

By Don Hutton

February 14, 2012 … It’s been exactly one year today since my partner and I started the new Couples Alive series of workshops at The Haven. We have been married almost nine years of a 12-year relationship and I have known both the excitement and closeness of sharing our lives together … and the feeling of hopelessness finding myself distant and alone … back at old familiar places following an upset or disagreement.

It seemed that try as we might to make our relationship work differently, dedicated as we were, we couldn’t seem to move away from old habits, responses and reactions that brought us back time and again to square one where we wondered what really was going on between us.  The one thing we had going for us is we loved each other and were committed to our relationship … hard as that might have seemed at times.

However, I discovered that since taking Couples Alive I, Foundation in February last year, followed by Couples Alive II, Edge last April, a shift is taking place in how I relate to my partner. I have a new appreciation for her as a separate and different person from me, with her own process, likes, dislikes and understanding.  I find myself becoming more curious about her as an individual and what is going on for her … rather than assuming that I know more, or better or best. Even though I don’t always understand what she is about, I feel way closer to her with much more compassion than in the past. Yes we still disagree, argue and I still often find myself at my old docks, but I notice that I (we) don’t spend as much time there and I am developing a new trust or faith that we WILL find our way back to understanding and togetherness.

When I see her now moving away from old familiar places, it’s way easier for me to recognize what is going on for me and let go too … and I feel a new strength … and excitement about us.  Only this is not like the excitement of a new love, rather at the rich, deeper connection of understanding and stronger base line we are building. Learning about and letting go of old habits is wonderful and I wonder now why I ever held on to them in the first place.

I am really looking forward to Couples Alive III Day-to-Day in September this year, and continuing to build a deeper understanding of myself and us as a couple.


Oct 242011

By Bennet Wong

Here’s another story (both the text and Ben’s recording of it) from In and Out of Our Own Way by The Haven’s founders, Bennet Wong and Jock McKeen. Both the book and the CD are available from the Haven store.

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Bennet Wong

Bennet Wong

When I was in the private practice of adolescent psychiatry, one patient who taught me the most was Earl who had been diagnosed as suffering from a chronic schizophrenic process. After knowing him for many years, he had become somewhat of a fixture around my office, accepted by most as part of the family-like milieu that had developed there.

Occasionally, I would give Earl permission to take my car to run errands, mostly for himself. In my mind, I was providing him with the experience of “borrowing the car” which other youths were having, but which Earl’s own family could not provide. On one occasion, he reported back to me that he had been driving two other patients home from my office when he was stopped by a police car and commanded to pull over to the curb. When the officer sauntered over to the driver’s window to talk, all three were terrified. Not identifying what infraction had caught his attention, the officer opened his encounter with “What’s your problem?” Wide eyed with fear, and with all innocence, each of the car’s occupants answered with utmost honesty: “I’m a hysteric”, “I’m a psychopath” and “I’m a schizophrenic.” I was not apprised of any further details (although I have often imagined what the officer must have thought!) other than that he quickly waved them on their way.

One day when Earl asked to borrow the car, I asked him if he would mind taking it in for a change of oil while he had it out. He frowned and refused. I was indignant: “After all that I’ve done for you? … all the times that I’ve let you use my car, filled it with gas, paid for the wear and tear!” All these parental expletives rolled freely from my mouth out of some deep, unfamiliar place within me; even more so as it became evident that Earl was not feeling appropriately guilty! Rather, a look of puzzlement spread over his face as he cocked his head and stared deeply into my eyes.

When I paused to take a breath, Earl seized the opportunity to speak. “Ben” he said, “I thought that what you have done for me has been out of your loving. You get so much pleasure in loving, why do you think that I should owe you anything for it? You have already had all your pleasure!”

Those words struck home! I was astounded at his wisdom and at my myopia. Since then I have often pondered over that dilemma, recognizing that most people are obsessed with being loved when the real pleasure is in loving.

Now, when people tell me that they love me, my response is no longer the inner voice of “How wonderful for me”. Instead I am apt to respond with my outer voice: “How wonderful for you!” Indeed, they are so fortunate to have been able to discover their own loving which, if true, will expand their very beings — How wonderful!


Love implies … that those who are loved be left wholly free to grow in their fullness, to be something greater than mere social machines. Love does not compel, either openly or through the subtle threat of duties and responsibilities. Where there’s any form of compulsion or exertion of authority, there’s no love.
J. Krishnamurti

Aug 152011

By CrisMarie Campbell

My life is very full right now. In July, I completed the second of two sixth month training programs with Martha Beck to become a Certified Martha Beck Master Coach. Then Susan Clarke and I lead our first Couples Alive I program @ the Haven Institute, which went fabulously, if I don’t say so myself (oh, I just did, didn’t I?) Finally, I have the female lead in a play with Stumptown Players in Whitefish, MT! I know. Right? Awesome!

In the meantime, I keep encouraging Susan, my partner, to start her own coaching practice. She is plenty qualified with a Diploma in Counseling from the Haven Institute, a Masters in Applied Behavioral Science, a Mentor Coach Certification and 25 plus years working with people. However, she seems a bit hesitant, which I don’t get it at all.

See, the idea came to me at the end of this June as I was driving to rehearsal. So I casually mentioned it to her the next day. First, I suggested she get a coach to support her in her writing (she has an awesome blog: susanbclarke.com) and possibly starting a coaching practice. She was mildly interested, but did nothing. Then, I suggested a specific coach she could call and chat with to see if there was a fit. Again, mildly interested, but no action. After bringing it up oh, I don’t know, about 10 or 15 more times, I finally sent her an email with five coaches names in it, still, no action. Even now, as I write this, my mind is coming up with even more effective ways to influence her, “Well, hell. Make it easier for her: Include the coaches contact information and links to their websites and emails. She’ll definitely take action then.”

Are you agreeing with me right now?

If so, you may be what I am: a codependent person otherwise known as relationship addict.

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Aug 022011

By Rachel Davey and Toby Macklin

Bud and Michel Baldwin

Bud and Michele Baldwin, August 2011

We are delighted that Bud and Michele Baldwin have honoured The Haven by becoming members of its Emeritus Faculty.

Until now, the only other people holding this position are Ben Wong and Jock McKeen, The Haven’s founders. Later this month, Maria Gomori will also become a member of this distinguished group.

Bud and Michele’s contribution to The Haven has been considerable. Along with Maria Gomori, they were instrumental in bringing together and blending Ben and Jock’s work and that of Virginia Satir. For many years they led a PAIRS (Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skill) program at Haven called “If You Really Loved Me”. This played a vital part in exploring and teaching the practical application of Haven and Satir ideas in the lives of couples. Their work in this program has had a key influence on the Couples Alive series which is now flourishing here. Having been married with humour and joy for 53 years, Bud and Michele know what they’re talking about!

They first came to The Haven shortly after its founding, already deeply immersed in aspects of the human potential movement of the 60s and 70s, including workshops at Esalen.  Upon meeting Virginia Satir in 1969, they became her students, colleagues and friends, developing their interest and skills in Family Therapy. Michele came to The Haven as an intern (with Maria Gomori) on a training session held by Virginia Satir in 1984. It was February, and wet; there was building going on, trenches and mud everywhere. In the midst of some considerable chaos, Michele recalls Ben and Jock relaxing together at the end of the day, playing cards with Jock’s son Justin, as if there really was nothing else to worry about. She describes how one day Maria left a bag of laundry for her to do when her work day finished, and came home to find that Ben and Jock had already done it for her.

Bud and Michele have carried on this same spirit of caring at The Haven, as many people who have connected with them over the years will attest. We vividly recall Bud, this eminent, white-haired physician, bandaging our young daughter’s ankle after a fall, with consummate care, skill and consideration.

Bud and Michele always scheduled their couples’ program so that they could be at The Haven when their grandchildren were here in Kids in the Spotlight, so often three generations of Baldwins have been here together. Bud says, “I can’t imagine a better, more healthy and nurturing place than this …You don’t leave without being connected to people.” They continue to spend at least a part of July here every year.

For Bud and Michele the experience of community at The Haven is central. They have valued, and contributed enormously to, The Haven’s attentiveness to the whole human community … to children, teens, adults, parents, families.

The lists of both Bud and Michele’s academic and professional achievements are immense. Currently, Bud is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Nevada School of Medicine; Scholar-In-Residence at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education; Adjunct Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Northwestern University Medical School; and Adjunct Professor of Medical Education at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. During his academic career, he has lectured and provided leadership in the fields of higher education, health professions education, child development, psychology, dentistry, behavioral sciences, medical ethics, humanistic medicine, rural health and interdisciplinary education. He has published over 200 scientific articles and three books. He has received two honorary doctorates for his work. Bud currently serves as a Director on the Board of the Friends of Haven Foundation.

Michele is a former Fellow of the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College and was an Associate Professor at the School of Medical Sciences at the University of Nevada. She has been certified by the Academy of Certified Social Workers and by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT), and is licensed in Illinois as a clinical social worker. She is an AAMFT approved supervisor, co-authored two books with Virginia Satir, and has written a number of articles for professional and lay journals. Since 1986, she has been a faculty member at the Family Institute at Northwestern University. She practices marriage and family therapy and is a Master Teacher of the PAIRS foundation. She is currently working on the third edition of The Use of Self in Therapy, which she originally co-edited with Virginia Satir.

We are honoured that Bud and Michele are now members of The Haven’s Emeritus Faculty and look forward to more summers spent in their company at The Haven.

Aug 272010

Tina Boehm describes her recent experience at the Anger, Boundaries and Safety program. Tina is a registrar at The Haven. The program is next offered November 25-28.

I have been struggling to come up with a few lines which capture the essence of the recent Anger, Boundaries and Safety program I took at The Haven. It is not an easy task. The intensive, three-day program is packed full of useful information, exercises, take home tools and opportunities for the healthy expression of anger, resulting in a truly transformational experience. Through this program, I developed a new relationship with, and fresh appreciation for the safe and appropriate expression of anger, particularly in my own life.

Essentially, the program teaches that anger, when expressed in a boundaried, safe way is self-affirming, necessary and natural. Indeed, if expressed responsibly it can bring us closer to people rather than alienate them. Violence, on the other hand, which encroaches on other people’s and our own boundaries and safety, is never acceptable. Knowing the difference between the two is the cornerstone of this program, and essential learning for everybody.

The program was led by Greg Gurel, a man of exceptional heart and talent. He has put his own unique stamp on this program which was developed and led originally by Joann Peterson. Jan Frison has been a long-time assistant in the program, and brings her own skill, extensive experience and big-hearted vulnerability to the group and to working with Greg.

Greg started by asking us all to identify words and feelings which we initially associate with anger. We came up with a host of adjectives, all of which had negative, uncomfortable connotations. At the end of the program, the same exercise was repeated and a whole different lexicon applied. Powerful, proactive words which we commonly associate with self-responsibility, vitality, energy and choice exemplified how far we had all come in understanding and accepting this natural life force.

Greg’s constant reiteration of the distinction between anger and violence and his insistence on safe, boundaried expression allowed us all to become more aware of and comfortable with our own anger. This allows for a more authentic expression of self. During the program I had many opportunities to examine and challenge my own relationship with anger. Identifying and expressing it does not come easily or naturally to me. As a child, I was not encouraged to articulate my feelings or express my emotions, particularly angry ones. Safety for me meant keeping my mouth shut and keeping antagonists at bay. I didn’t realize that by denying or suppressing my own anger, I was actually turning it against myself.

Now, after taking this program, I commit to owning and taking responsibility for all of my feelings, not just the “good” ones, and to step forward and communicate who I am, and what my preferences and boundaries are. With that ownership and awareness comes choice, the choice to reveal, or to stay closed. It is in the discernment and choosing and revealing that I come home to myself, and engage more honestly with others.

Sep 162009

By Ernie and Cathy McNally. Ernie and Cathy are leading Living Alive Phase I October 2-27.

Do you have 15 minutes to invest in your relationship?

Over time we can find ourselves busy, slowly drifting apart, wishing it were different, and believing “We just don’t have the time”. When we do have the time, we don’t know what to say.

Here is a simple way to use three five-minute sessions to increase and enhance communication with your partner.

  1. Put a clock, watch, or kitchen timer somewhere you can both see it easily.
  2. Decide on a topic. Some examples are ‘What’s gone on since I saw you last’, ‘Family rules I grew up with’, ‘What I like and don’t like about sports, shopping, my job, etc.’, or ‘How I am with authority’.
  3. Decide who will listen, and who will speak for the first five minutes.
  4. If you are speaking – say whatever you want, anything that comes.
  5. If you are listening – settle in, no matter how hard it is, resist the urge to speak, and just listen!
  6. After five minutes, switch speaking and listening roles.
  7. After the second five minutes – dialogue for the last five! Discuss what you heard or saw; questions, wonderings and assumptions that came up for you; add more information – and if you have more time, great!

With this 15-minute exercise, whatever the topic, if you pause, listen with a willingness to learn more, and speak with a desire to be more known, you will find your relationship deepening and opening to new possibilities – 15 minutes at a time.

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