“The great solution to all human problems is individual inner transformation.”Vernon Howard
Fall is starting to show itself to us here in Maine and Fall has only been official for 3 days. It still amazes me how much structure is present in the natural world and how dependable that structure feels. Don’t get me wrong, I will miss all the great benefits that flow to us in the summer months, but as we pack away the many AC window units that are necessary on our campus, I believe that all of us at Ironwood are ready for some change in our current environment and also in this world. Many at Ironwood reference how Fall is their most favorite season of the year and we also know that many of you back home feel this same way.
This has been another action-packed week at Ironwood, with change taking place within the hearts and minds of our amazing residents. On Wednesday, we witnessed the successful level four presentations of two young men who have unlimited potential in their lives. These presentations are truly more of a group conversation where we talk about their Ironwood journeys so far…what they believe has transpired in their lives since arrival and what they hope to accomplish in their remaining weeks/months to firm up long-term success and reconnection to their families. These individuals were both genuine and confident as they spoke in front of our group and it was so satisfying for us to see this, as we remember not long ago, their presentation upon arrival earlier in the year.
This is the magic of working in this Ironwood environment and it is challenging for us to properly transfer this campus experience to our parents, or anyone else who is not present in our daily milieu. I have personally never seen such transformation in other people in such a (relatively) short period of time. I so wish that this was happening more throughout our communities, country and world.
Yesterday, I touched base with one of our staff members who joined us in January. When I asked her how she was doing she was quick to say how much she loved it here. When I asked her to share more, she referenced how it has taken this many months for her to fully understand what happens at Ironwood. When she now spends days at the Farmhouse, she is working with residents who were early arrivals to Ironwood (at Frye), just like she was. Today, she is seeing the tremendous growth and progress that has unfolded. “________ is doing SO GREAT these days”, she shared with me and “those first months were so hard and now…it’s incredible?!”. What we didn’t discuss yesterday and I wish we had, is that she has played a significant role in helping this transition take place. Just like others who work here and most definitely all of you at home…our team approach is essential and necessary to assist Ironwood residents in the development of their core confidence, trust, and inner peace.
And with all of these great resident experiences, each have also had their fair share of struggle along the way. We can “pretty much” guarantee every parent that this Ironwood journey includes periods of stagnation, resistance and setback. We have seen this unfold at Ironwood this week, as well. As some move up in their levels, some also move down or just plateau for some time. On this campus, I believe that this is accepted by those who are enrolled here. It is a part of the process and when it happens, we remind these boys and girls that it is necessary, that it is ok, and that what they figure out about themselves during this time might benefit them for a lifetime. We further share that these pauses don’t have to be a long chapter and it’s ok that you are in this place right now…make the most of this opportunity and mark this time as a transition point in your life”.
On this Friday afternoon, we wish all of you back home a weekend of rest, encouraging you to remain hopeful of the many great things that are possible in this life.