It turns out that restoring a log cabin and undergoing deep personal growth work have a lot in common... Right now, Evans Creek Lodge looks worse than ever. And it has taken a lot of work to get here! It is an embodied reminder that to “fix something up” often means to first “let something go.” How refreshing to experience this in live, tangible 3-D, as it is so similar to the somewhat invisible change journeys we go on when we enter personal growth work.
When I bought the building and land last year, I knew they needed a lot of work to become sustainable healing spaces. I also had little idea just how much work that would be. But neither did I realize how capable I would be (and/or become) to face the challenges. Such is often the case for my clients when they come to initiate mindbody counseling. They have goals to pursue or problems to face. They don't know how much work may lie ahead, but they initiate the process anyway. And they may not know they have what it takes to face it, but they find it in themselves when they stick around.
In the case of Evans Creek Lodge, I’ve had to develop a strange form of intimacy with the most forgotten or isolated parts of the building: the crawl space, the attic and the (formerly) poison-ivy covered exterior. Each has required great work – and more to come – to support the overall integrity of the Lodge. I would have much preferred never going into the attic, which required me to confront the smelly reality that for decades it has housed scores of small mammals, and that there were leaky pipes I hadn’t even known about soaking the insulation, and that there were cracks in the mortar and joints of the building to be repaired. More work than I expected, but taking on the work, I developed more skills than I expected as well (and sometimes grateful to hire someone to help me out and guide me to what I couldn't complete on my own!).
When it comes to working with my clients, we also need to go to the forgotten and isolated places, the parts of their lives, psyches and bodies that they’d rather avoid feeling or thinking about. But, it is in so doing, that we discover what they are made of. We start to understand what is happening “invisibly” to cause the dis-ease in their lives. We clean out the attic and discover some leaky pipes that need to be addressed, or some holes in the structure that need to be repaired for them to claim boundaries with integrity. We get into the crawl space and discover part of the foundation is in better condition than we had hoped as we learn about their core strengths, and then also learn that part of it needs significantly more care than it's ever gotten before. The presence of fear no longer keeps us away from their need; their real need and longing become known. And from this place, what had previously seemed like a miracle becomes a breathing possibility.
And the process can be messy at times. Sometimes it’s as if things get worse (or look worse) than when we first started. I often refer to this component of the work as “disorganization.” We need to first disorganize the status quo to then be able to feel our way into the “reorganization” of a more authentic presence that reflects reality, here and now. Currently, Evans Creek Lodge is without most of its landscaping (which needed to be removed to change the land-grade so that water wouldn’t drain towards the building). Eighty year's worth of stain and polyurethane coatings that had been caked on and cracking are now sanded off, which revealed cracks in the mortar and rotting wood that then needed tending. #Incomplete #WorkInProgress #LookedBetterBeforeITouchedIt #WhattaMess
But I know there is much to come. And I know that it’s worth it. As I know this too for my clients, and for myself, as we face our individual, social, and global healing journeys. #WeAreWorthIt
For those interested in engaging in this type of healing work in a dynamic, supportive, mindbody group setting, a few spaces are opening up this fall in my Every-Other-Wednesday night Core Energetics process group. Please contact me for a brief complementary consultation if you'd like to learn more.