Life is very short. Please investigate it closely. Retreatment means to put things down, to set things aside for a moment and pay closer attention to the details, the seams, the parts that fit together to make the whole of us. Retreatment is a breaking away from the fast pace race and a refocusing on the subtleties of the journey. It is a surrender to our peace of mind. When we break away from low forces and regain our unique perspective, that is retreatment. When we put down our opinions, situations and circumstances and return again to our true natures, we embrace the practice of retreatment. – Mathew W. Carver
Filling the Gap
The struggle is real. Current mental health services can feel like swimming lessons while you’re drowning. Retreatment offers a more buoyant and long term approach. When on retreat, we seek time to rest and recovery so that we may rejuvenate and repurpose ourselves. This takes time. Unfortunately, the modern mental health treatment world exists with a vast chasm between services and very little time. People suffering are either seen once a week by a mental health professional or sent to a mental hospital for treatment. Retreatment at Barn Life Recovery fills this gap.
Long Term Healing Solutions
Barn Life Recovery is the first fully licensed, community-based, private Retreatment Center in California. We offer long term healing solutions for those who want to place their mental health first. Barn Life provides services in a retreat-like setting where patients can learn and practice new skills on the path of recovery and change. Our Retreatment Services last 30-120 days and offer patients a fully immersive wrap-around experience. We offer vocational therapy, life skills counseling and community support as well as individualized intensive therapy sessions bolstered by action therapy practice, which puts these new skills to the test in a safe and nurturing atmosphere.
Disappointment is Inescapable
The theme this week here at Barn Life Recovery is disappointment. Though many of us do whatever we can to avoid it, disappointment in life is inescapable. Most of the disappointments we experience are a result of the expectations and projections we put upon the world around us, as well as our illusions and delusions about ourselves. However, once we learn this, disappointment becomes a fertile ground in which to grow. With that in mind, we would like to share this lengthy quote from poet and philosopher of the corporate world, David Whyte. (The original quote is in italics. The inserted headings and commentary are ours.)
An Agency for Transformation
Disappointment is inescapable but necessary; a misunderstood mercy and when approached properly, an agency for transformation and the hidden, underground, engine of trust and generosity in a human life. The attempt to create a life devoid of disappointment is the attempt to avoid the vulnerabilities that make the conversations of life real, moving, and life-like; it is the attempt to avoid our own necessary and merciful heartbreak. To be disappointed is to reassess our self and our inner world, and to be called to the larger foundational reality that lies beyond any false self we had only projected upon the outer world.
When we try to avoid disappointment, we are only cheating ourselves. In fact, heartbreak in life is a great teacher. These are the moments in which we truly learn who we are.
The Greater Pattern of Existence
What we call disappointment may be just the first stage in our emancipation into the next greater pattern of existence. To be disappointed is to reappraise not only reality itself but our foundational relationship to the pattern of events places and people that surround us, and which, until we were properly disappointed, we had misinterpreted and misunderstood; disappointment is the first, fruitful foundation of genuine heartbreak from which we risk ourselves in a marriage, in a work, in a friendship, or with life itself.
Disappointment brings reality into focus. Illusions fall away and we come face to face with what truly is. We develop a new relationship with reality. This is the fertile ground for our new life.
The measure of our courage is the measure of our willingness to embrace disappointment, to turn towards it rather than away, the understanding that every real conversation of life involves having our hearts broken somewhere along the onward way and that there is no sincere path we can follow where we will not be fully and immeasurably let down and brought to earth, and where what initially looks like a betrayal, eventually puts real ground under our feet.
We need to be brave enough to meet heartbreak head-on. Disappointment is not something to fear. It is something towards which to walk.
A Friend to Transformation
Disappointment is a friend to transformation, a call to both accuracy and generosity in the assessment of our self and others, a test of sincerity and a catalyst of resilience. Disappointment is just the initial meeting with the frontier of an evolving life, an invitation to reality, which we expected to be one particular way and turns out to be another, often something more difficult, more overwhelming and strangely, more rewarding.
Life is always evolving. Disappointment teaches us to be supple enough to meet it honestly. Without it, resilience does not exist and we do not grow.
If you or someone you love is struggling with mental health issues, please give us a call today. Barn Life Recovery specializes in treating diagnoses such as PTSD, substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and more. We have made a commitment to providing our clients with the tools to meet life head-on. Let us help you earn to love life again.
The One Skill We Hope to Pass On
We’ve gone over quite a bit of philosophy in our blog lately. However, those theories don’t mean much until we start to put them into practice. It is not our beliefs that make us who we are – our actions do. If there is one skill we hope to pass on to those we treat, it is the skill of meditation. This silent time with one’s self is pivotal. In fact, it sets the stage for all other discoveries, epiphanies, and successes we strive towards. How can we navigate cravings, obsessions and destructive thought patterns if we cannot endure our own company in silence for 5 minutes? How do we build a new life free from the bondage of addiction if we do not know who we are or what we want?
Time Spent Honestly
What is meditation? The answer is a lot less complicated than you’d imagine. Meditation is, in the beginning, time set aside and devoted to listening to that soft, still voice inside ourselves. Meditation is an act of revolt against distraction and delusion. It is time spent honestly. As we progress, the meditative state of mind encompasses all we do. No need to set time aside to meditate, because we will have achieved a perpetual “nowness” quality to our conscious lives.
Both Brains Working in Harmony
Barn Life Recovery makes it a point to treat the whole person as part of our approach. To that end, we want to get both brains working in harmony. Which two brains? One is obvious – your mind. The other is your gut. Our guts, namely our digestive system takes up a lot of real estate. And for good reason – its job is to fuel our bodies. Without it, all is lost. This constant supply of energy, however, needs guidance. This leadership comes from our minds. It guides the energy to where it is needed. Thoughts, dreams, hair, skin cells, bone, bone marrow, laughter and love all require energy. Our gut supplies it and our mind guides it. But what happens when our mind fails to do its job? It begins to misappropriate the energy our guts provide it. Thoughts and obsessions run wild. Neuroses set in. Only through mindful meditation practice can we attune these two brains and have them working in harmony.
A Variety of Techniques
At Barn Life Recovery, we explore various meditation techniques: from simple breathing patterns to active awareness practice to “nowness” integration. Even listening to others is a form of meditative practice. Groups are centered around the idea of self-mastery through non-action or wu wei (Chinese for no-mind) which is just a clever way to say spontaneous free actions and thoughts devoid of worry, second-guessing and hesitation. Armed with this newfound skill, our clients will have a huge advantage when dealing with daily struggles and challenges.
The Warrior (and Nemesis) Within
We are all heroes, though dormant sometimes. Waiting, many of us, for something or someone to rouse us from our slumber, to give us our holy quest and to aid us in defeating our deadliest foe. Vanquishing these monsters back into the darkness they sprang. Adversaries are easy to find. In fact, they usually take a form starkly similar to our own and are driven by a similar yet jilted force. That is where the Kraken and Minotaur make their nests. In the hard to reach places. Beyond what is much too uncomfortable for most people to uncover. But the hero finds the beasts and challenges them. Far from the known, betwixt within the brambles and twists. An unknown dragon stirs deep down within us. Once defeated literally all other foes pale in comparison. There is no greater tragedy than a hero split apart from himself. Torn between self and this darker, other self. Fighting to subdue what is within and make things whole again.
A Journey of Self-Discovery
We all, every one of us, have an innate destiny to be the hero of our own lives. Waking up and breaking through to a newer understanding of who we are and whom we choose to become, again and again. Sometimes the story ends badly. Too often, the warrior never reaches the point of defeating her nemesis. Many times, she gets lost in the labyrinth or the dark forest and is never seen or heard from again. Sometimes the hero takes the wrong advice and ends up lost before he ever had a chance to find out. However, sometimes, against insurmountable odds and uncanny turns, the hero looks deep within and vanquishes the darkness. Our wish, hope and practice at Barn Life Recovery is to improve the likelihood of this far too rare outcome. Everyone is the hero of their life. We are all on a journey of self-discovery and meaningfulness. Indeed, we all stand at the brink of transforming our lives forever.
What Makes a Hero?
The idea of heroes runs deep throughout every culture throughout the ages. Certain people stand out among the rest and accomplish deeds that far exceed the reach of more pedestrian folks. What makes a hero? Is it what they say that makes them different or what they do? Are they defined by their actions? What aspects or characteristics do most heroes share? Is there a way to cultivate heroic qualities in ourselves? Joseph Campbell is a good place to start when talking about the significance of heroes. Additionally, the world of Marvel and DC comics, who have created many of the modern day archetypes for superheroes, is a good place to explore.
Who were your first heroes?
Structure and Song
Now that we have a handle on some of the basic elements of ancient Chinese philosophy, let’s start to widen our scope to elements of the everyday world. We’ll begin by looking at a concept in weaving: warp and woof. The expression is often used as a metaphor for the underlying structure on which something is built or started. The warp and woof entangle, forming a web. The warp is the row of vertical strings on a loom that weavers weave first. These are the original framework fibers. Simply put, the warp is the structure. “Warp” in Chinese is written “Ching” as in the “I Ching” or the “Tao Te Ching”. Warp is what you tie all other parts to. Which brings us to woof. The woof makes it all sing. They are the notes between the bars. The woof holds all the magic and chaos as it weaves and swerves through the warp.
The Necessity of Framework
However, we still need to remember the significance of structure. The important first step of framework (warp) cannot be stressed here enough. Think about the bass line in a piece of music. That bass line usually carries the song. It is what the rest of the players start from and return to. The bass line is the pulse of the song. Same goes for the warp. It is the pulse of things. It sets a beat. With a steady rhythm, we can start riffing on and exploring and creating harmonies and expressing who we are. Without the warp? Just a lot of lovely noise. Constant aimless noise with no end and no frame. Without the woof the warp would just be rules, rules, rules. Things would get boring real, real fast. The two work together in an exquisite existential harmony. Providing exactly what the other cannot even imagine.
We’re going to shift gears here and start to relate these ideas to recovery. Starting a new life in recovery is not easy. Where do we begin? The desire to not drink is certainly not enough. We cannot start fresh in a life with a goal of “not” doing something. We want to DO things. Not not do things. Doesn’t even sound right. But what do we do? What happens first? Beginnings are rocky. The Chinese have a word we do not have. It’s called “chun.” Chun means “difficulties in the beginning.” Make special note to the fact that “difficulties” has an “s” at the end. There is not just one difficulty lurking ominously for the beginner, but many. However, by setting principles first, like the warp, we can weave the life we wish.
A Tiny Green Sprout
However, due to the ideogrammatic nature of the Chinese language, chun has a few secret meanings too. Chun is the image of a tiny green sprout popping up from the ground. This sprout, that was a seed just a few days ago, had to undergo the daunting task of being born and then racing toward the sun and simultaneously grow roots to attach itself down and get water and also dodge any obstructions that may be in their way as they push upward. But the sprout won’t know about the obstacle part until he gets there and that’s just way the cookie crumbles. All that effort to get born could be all for nothing. Blam, obstacle. However, chun is not deterred by these obstacles. Chun just grows slowly and keeps moving around, over, or through the obstacle. One way or another. This is an old word with lots of secrets.
Principles and Goals
Now it’s time to tie it all together. At the beginning of things, basic principles (warp) come before specific goals (woof). We cannot head off in a direction before we establish our principles for heading off in the first place. Our principles are what we believe and practice. Once we have established our principles then we discuss goals and plans. So, the beginning is about setting up what we practice. Who we are. Which is never easy. Then goals. Then freedom. Otherwise, we put the woof before the warp and we all know what happens then.
“Beginnings are sudden, but also insidious. They creep up on you sideways, they keep to the shadows, they lurk unrecognized. Then, later, they spring.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin