We recognize that authentic, healthy communities of support cannot be taken for granted. It seems now, more than ever, we need to face into the challenge and hard work that comes with improving the wellbeing of our selves and those around us. It’s so good to know that we are not alone with this task. There are mental health services, like those offered at Eden, that give us the support and tools we might need to take the steps towards health and healing.
I’ve found it helpful to learn about different stages we might go through in our journey from languishing to flourishing. Psychologist M. Scott Peck, in his book “The Different Drum,” describes 4 stages that groups need to move through to reach authentic community:
- Pseudo-community: this first stage is that guarded, “put your best foot forward” stage that typifies most new relationships. Generally, not a lot of conflict in this stage but also likely not a safe place to be vulnerable.
- Chaos: is the necessary stage we go through when we become comfortable enough to share “how we actually feel” and try to convince others that they would be better off to see things through our lens
- Emptying: the next stage where we let go of the need for sameness and uniformity allowing us to finally see and accept others as they are
- Community: the pinnacle where we choose to stay in a relationship with those who have seen our unguarded selves and we have seen theirs
If you are like me, we may find ourselves challenged by the call to work through an “emptying” stage. I am reminded of John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Is there anything I need to lay down? Is there something that prevents me from moving into more authentic relationships or community? Often we need to let go of our need to say “I’m fine” when we are not. We may need to reevaluate the notion that we have to always present ourselves as completely put together.
We invite you to join with us at Eden as we provide programs and services to those who are on their mental health journey. That may be through our supportive housing program, our employment support program, our counselling and community mental health programs. It may also be through our in-patient and out-patient mental health centre. The needs are great but our determination and mission to serve those in need is greater. Thank you for supporting this sacred work.