Ironwood Maine Web Update

“A second chance doesn’t mean anything if you didn’t learn from your first.”

Anurag Prakash Ray

            In the past week at Frye, a couple of new residents have arrived at Ironwood. I have joined the respective groups after their orientation was complete. I still remember my first day in the group.  I had been scared to death of a social situation such as the one I expected from Ironwood. Once I got into the group though, I found that everyone was similar to me, and could relate to me on a deeper level than I had ever thought possible. There were plenty of learning opportunities for me to stumble, and to regain my balance with the help of my support network of therapists, staff members, and, most importantly, my peers around me. This transition is not an easy one for any of the residents who come to Ironwood; however, this week has been rather smooth in terms of group integration. 

            At the Farmhouse, there is a new horse on campus! Her name is Dancin’. She is a beautiful quarter horse paint, white, with brown spots strewn about her face, chest, and hind end. She is owned by our barn manager. Although Dancin’ has visited Ironwood before, she has not been here in almost half a year. She, like the new members of the groups at Frye, is adapting well to the ever changing culture at Ironwood. 

            This is a culture which can only be described as one of companionship and coexistence. There are days at the Farmhouse where you are unsure of your place in the group, only to find yourself as part of a therapy group where everyone around is being vulnerable, open, and trusting in the dynamic of the community to come together to support you. Some would say that the group resembles the inner workings of a large and intricate machine, or maybe a high end clock that sometimes jams, but finds its rhythm again, and continues on keeping time in an exquisite and delicate manner.

            Now it is 2021, a new year. A common cliché of the New Year is that it can bring new beginnings. If you’re like me, then you may struggle to get behind the whole New Year’s “resolution” idea. On campus, one thing that we are learning with the coming year is how to look at the changes we would like to make. In a DBT group at the end of 2020, the group and I made a list of the qualities that we have currently that we would like to keep in action during the New Year. We also made a list of new characteristics, goals, adventures, and challenges we want to bring into our new year. My list of things I would like to bring contains feeling compassion for other people’s points of view – which may be crucial with all that is happening in America. It has goals of graduating high school and mending my family relationships to create a healthy and happy dynamic, and a positive basis for my future. There are adventures I wish to have, taking healthy risks and getting out exploring the unknown and having fun.  Last but not least, I have challenges relating to the personal growth I still need to make. I hope to do this by being open and vulnerable with change as it is always coming. Ultimately, I want to make the best of every day that I am given. There were a lot of similarities between all of our lists. One common theme among us is that we want to keep being good people as well as spread positivity to the world.

            I think that this year could be a second chance for us all, on and off of Ironwood campus. It is a time to bring positive change and shape our futures in a way that will set us up for success down the line. I love the idea of change which I have control over. We all have decisions to make right now. Will we stand by, or will we take action? I plan to make the best of my destiny, which is another recurring theme I proudly notice among the group around me. I am optimistic for what this year will bring to Ironwood, and to the world. Happy 2021; stay safe and have faith.

*Today’s author has recently turned a corner that is very much to the positive.  He has so much potential to make our future world better.  While our residents are sheltered some from news and current events, they are still aware of our country’s transition, upheaval and strain.  How appropriate for this young man to be looking forward, with goals of increasing his compassion, mending family relationships, being more vulnerable, spreading positivity…AND HAVING FUN!  These points cannot be argued and it is our goal to help this resident and all others to reach their goals of deeper meaning and purpose.  Have a nice weekend. 😊

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