Women of Courage…

Women of Courage: CCBS Founder Beth Black, CCBS Manager of Clinical Services Jane Barker and 8 wonderful ladies who participated in this the innaugural Women of Courage retreat.

Women of Courage: CCBS Founder Beth Black, CCBS Manager of Clinical Services Jane Barker and 8 wonderful ladies who participated in this the innaugural Women of Courage retreat.

My dear friend Rick Stone wrote a wonderful book called The Healing Art of Storytelling. In it he says, “Telling a story, especially about ourselves, may be one of the most personal and intimate things we can do. Through storytelling we can come to know who we are in new and unforeseen ways. We can also reveal to others what is deepest in our hearts, and in the process, build bridges.” And when women gather in healing circles to tell their stories, extraordinary things happen!

In early February, 8 amazing Cherokee Creek Boys School moms gathered from around the country to attend “Women of Courage,” a retreat I hosted with Jane Barker, Manager of Clinical Services at CCBS. For two and a half days we read, wrote, talked, laughed, cried and ate great food (thanks to Beth Venable). We wove our stories into a beautiful “blanket of support,” creating a safe environment to share the vulnerable and authentic parts of our lives. We discovered, challenged assumptions, shed unnecessary burdens and made new commitments. And we laughed…a lot!

We began our retreat with a Rumi poem:

A Community of Spirit

There is a community of the spirit.
Join it, and feel the delight
of walking in the noisy street,
and being the noise.

Drink all your passion,
and be a disgrace.

Close both eyes
to see with the other eye.

Open your hands,
If you want to be held.

Sit down in this circle

Our CCBS Medicine Wheel places Courage in the position of the Warrior and challenges us to, “Show up and be present.” The ten of us showed up fully with delight, passion and maybe even a bit of disgrace! We did, indeed, create a community of spirit. With courage, we opened our hands and arms to one another and sat in a circle of new friends.

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When Snow Was Fun

Dylan (left) charges forward, while Jon provides coverage

Dylan (left) charges forward, while Jon provides coverage

Sunday night, my husband and I toured the online blizzard of weather related warnings, watches and apocalyptic premonitions. After a few minutes he turned to me and asked, “Remember when snow was fun?”

Granted, we did receive a ton of snow. Much more than is normal for Upstate South Carolina and most of the warnings were very much warranted. But on Monday morning as I arrived on campus after a long and difficult drive, my shoulders relaxed and a single thought came forward – “Snow Day!”

I made my way from room to room reminding the boys to dress in layers, wear boots, hats and rain gear. In their minds, I knew, were visions of snow play, snowmen, snow angels and, best of all, a snow ball fight.

Middle schoolers so often sway between gleeful childhood and the beginnings of more solemn adult-like maturity. It is what makes them the most fun and interesting age group to work with. Often, our CCBS students arrive having forgotten…or somehow deficient in…the art of real childhood play. We provide dozens of opportunities for boys to be playful, learn new games, and remember old ones – in short, we provide a place where boys can be boys!

The Healer reminds us of the power of fun, play and joy! And there is nothing more joyful than a giant snowfall followed by a snowball fight…nothing…except maybe the hot chocolate afterward!

 

Cherokee Creek Boys School is a therapeutic boarding school for middle-school boys, ages 11-15, located in Upstate South Carolina.

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The Best Medicine

Sandy Morris, LPN reminds us to treat ourselves to a good belly laugh, tee-hee or guffaw.

Sandy Morris, LPN reminds us to treat ourselves to a good belly-laugh, tee-hee or guffaw.

Laughter has been a part of my life ever since I can remember. It is who I am. When I think of my childhood, the funniest memories revolve around growing up with 6 siblings. It is at family gatherings that we share our favorite memories and laugh all the more. Large families are so skilled at telling funny tales, like the time my brother was locked out of the house  and being chased by a neighbor’s dog – his knees hitting his chin with each step. Or the time my mother and sister crawled under blankets, shrieking and terrified, across the bedroom floor while my father and I tried to remove a bat with brooms…

Laughter was what got me through my personal battle with breast cancer. I could find the funny in almost any situation, from surgery experiences, to chemo, to the stares of children when I lost my hair. Children are so brave with questions. They can ask anything because they are so innocent.

Did you know that children laugh on average 300 times a day compared to adults who only laugh about 15 times a day? Laughing gives our heart and mind a good workout! It increases endorphins, helps decrease stress, burns calories, improves memory and even boosts your immune system. Laughter can even help reduce feelings of depression and create a sense of well-being. With all that, who wouldn’t want to laugh!!??

Laughing is a pretty cool thing and it’s very contagious. If you listen, around campus you can hear big belly-laughs, giggles, tee-hee’s, guffaws, snorts and even some whoops coming from the classrooms, during meal times, out on the front porch of the Lodge, at many sports activities and even during therapy sessions.

All this laughter can motivate a person and release positive energy. Our students need this in their lives…a chance to laugh, be positive and to channel their energy in a positive way. It shows them that life can be fun, full of joy and/or happiness even when their lives have had strife, sadness, loss, anxiety or bad school experiences.

As Woody Allen says, “I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.”

Reminding you that laughter is real and true…

Cherokee Creek Boys School is a therapeutic boarding school for middle-school boys, ages 11-15, located in Upstate South Carolina.

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River Lessons (Part 3)

We continue the River Lessons, a series of blogs from our students’ perspectives. Students recently reflected on their Treks experiences through writing  and made connections to the Lessons of the Medicine Wheel and the 4 aspects of self they learn to explore while enrolled at Cherokee Creek: the Warrior, Visionary, Healer and Teacher.

Student: Scott
Aspect: Healer
Statement: I am Joyful

“I think on Healer I’ve been more joyful because I can always have fun on Trek even if it does not go as planned. Another reason why I think I have been more joyful is because when I’m not on Trek I can just let things go and I can almost always be more joyful.”

Scott makes the ultimate “go with the flow” statement, doesn’t he? This statement is a great Healer-Teacher combination of joyful participation and flexibility – the perfect river lessons.

Are you inclined to “go with the flow” and find the fun in most situations? What are the fun activities in your life that allow you to be open to outcome?

 Lessons of the Medicine Wheel

Cherokee Creek Boys School is a therapeutic boarding school for middle-school boys, ages 11-15, located in Upstate South Carolina.

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