The 9 Themes of Becoming

There are 9 core themes that give a consistent and cyclical rhythm to the content in The Haven. These give us opportunities to explore key aspects of our development in the most important areas of our lives. The broad scope of the themes provides repetition and rooting without becoming repetitive and boring. There is always a new way to engage, explore, and encounter ourselves through these core lenses.

Trees take a long time to truly mature. Each year they go through the same seasons, but their roots deepen and they bear different levels of fruit in every cycle. Despite appearances on the surface, no two years are quite the same experience.

This is seen when you study the rings of a tree trunk. Experts can see scars from specific events like fires, insect attacks, floods, earthquakes, and lightening strikes. As well as the wider context of differences in climate and weather from year to year.

The story is told not in one straight line, but as an expansion from within. A tree is always in a state of becoming. And so are we.

This underpins the vision for The Haven as a home of slow growth and rhythmic development. The 9 themes help us to keep growing, deepening, and maturing so that as our story develops so do our inner resources and so that we can stand firmer and stronger in the face of whatever life throws our way.

THE HAVEN SEASONS

Autumn

Change (September)

What does this make possible?

This is a favourite question to ask in all manner of situations. When we allow ourselves to believe in the possibility of change, we can move beyond the inner critic that throws limiting beliefs and negative excuses in our path. We can transcend ruts that hold us to old assumptions, ideas, and stories.

We might say, 'I'm too old', 'too inexperienced', or 'not good enough'. These can become self-fulfilling prophesies that we reinforce and affirm. But by shifting our beliefs and telling ourselves a different story about the possibilities, we can make huge changes in small and simple ways.

This is foundational to our journey of becoming who we are forever in the process of becoming. Not to land at some magical destination, but to reflect an adventurous story of gentle expansion from the inside out.

Belonging (October)

Society often confuses fitting in for belonging. It reinforces the message that if we want to feel like we belong we need to become more of what the world wants us to be. But this can cost us everything. When we choose to fit in to the world 'out there' we often have to sacrifice a sense of belonging to who we truly are. And that never feels good.

Fitting in forces us to compromise our most authentic desires and values. It leaves us caring about and pursuing things that don't matter to us. Chasing what we're supposed to at the expensive of things that really do matter to us (our true values, desires, and feelings, as well as our intuition and the gentle creative voice within).

In The Haven we embrace and nurture the joy of not fitting in. Cultivating the courage to step into the truth of who we are at the level of acceptance and compassion (in relation to ourselves and others).

Serenity (November)

In The Haven we recognise Serenity as something we find within the pains and struggles of life. It’s not some dream destination where we no longer have any troubles or worries. It's found in the cracks of life, and emerges when we surrender to the truth of struggle and pain - and understand that we are not alone. That everyone has a story to tell.

We all have experiences of loss, grief, and trauma. Those unique marks on the ring around the tree trunk. And serenity is found when we step out of our loneliness and into compassion - where we connect in the mess, chaos, and confusion of life. And accept ourselves, one another, and the truth that life IS wedded to suffering. But also that we experience love through connection with one another IN our suffering. In our pain. In our grief. And in the shared feeling that we don't quite fit…and that's OK. In fact it's beautiful. And it's true for all of us.

Spring

Strength (January)

Strength is a word that means something different to everyone. In The Haven we explore the concept of strength as a deep,  pool of quiet courage. Not as a grand display of power and control over each other and the world 'out there'. But as the choice to do the right thing, even when our voice shakes. To care for what actually matters most rather than what we're told matters most.

This kind of strength is underpinned by sensitivity, gentleness, and compassion. Not violence, hostility, and control over other people. Where the latter are fuelled by fear and division, the former are inspirited by love and humanity. We explore the strength it takes to belong, build up, and love, rather than to fit in, tear down, and destroy.

Confidence (February)

Confidence takes shape in different ways. It’s like the leaves, the blossom, and the fruit. And there are times when it feels like it’s missing. But on the journey of becoming, being, and belonging, our confidence is growing all the time, even when it doesn't feel like it.

We can be confident in the work we are doing or processes we are following, even when we don’t feel confident ourselves. In the right conditions growth happens, however we feel about it.

We don’t need confidence in order to start, we need to start in order to nurture the terrain for confidence to grow. In many situations confidence, patience, and faith are three parts of the same equation.

Adventure (March)

What might it mean for us to accept that life is an adventure? The word conjures different images for each of us. But it doesn't matter who we are or what has happened in our life so far, there is an adventure waiting to be written and explored on our own terms.

The question for many gentle rebels can often be... who’s adventure are we trying to live? Or perhaps, who's adventure do we believe we're suppose to live?

In The Haven we gently examine some of the expectations and assumptions about what we feel like we're "supposed to" be and do. And to gradually shift any people pleasing or perfectionist tendencies. So that we might connect with the treasure we truly want to find in life.

Summer

Creativity (May)

Through the eyes of gentle rebellion, creativity is at the heart of the impact we can make with our lives. Creativity is the explicit tangible stuff, like art, writing, and music, but it’s also the implicit and less tangible stuff, like encouragement, play, and connection with others.

When we live life with a creative spirit, we become aware of how our small choices, values, and actions, contribute to the overall picture. And we get to decide how we use this magic. To contribute to the world, or to take away from it.

We choose what kind of world we are creating, and either way, it's infectious.

Tranquility (June)

If Serenity is an experience of peace and a calm in the way we engage our inner world, Tranquility is created through the choices we make in designing and relating to our external world.

We consider how to design conditions for more calm, peace, and gentleness in every day life. We can develop environments, routines, and habits, that set us on a tranquil footing.

We explore the potential obstacles that prevent tranquility, so that we can get those big rocks into the heart of life, that allows us to foster more time, energy, and focus on the things that matter most.

Inspiration (July)

Inspiration is like respiration. A system of input and output. In-Breath and out-breath. The air we inhale is found in what we exhale, and what we exhale gets inhaled by others.

If we breathe in from an environment of toxicity, panic, and urgency, we will give that back to the world. If we fill our space with gentleness, compassion, and acceptance, we will breathe out with more care and abundance.

Inspiration is gradual and rhythmic. It takes time to fill the lungs of our being with healthy spirit. And it requires patience and courage to avoid the smoggy clouds that society wants us to inhale.