By Erin Levine, Clinical Admissions Director
Did you know that it takes 2-3 years to grow a single pineapple? The pineapples our students enjoy today were planted by students almost three years ago. This can be a powerful life lesson for our students who are so used to instant gratification. In life, many of the gifts we enjoy today are the result of our own hard work or the hard work of others. Likewise, the fruits of our labor today will manifest down the road to be enjoyed in the future.
I was a guest at a recent family workshop. We were in the middle of a demonstration, one of the students was teaching us how to gently take a plant from a seedling container and transfer it into its permanent home in the garden bed we had prepared. As she was describing this process, she told us how this transition was very tricky and the time the seedling was most likely to encounter difficulties and “not make it”. She began to cry and those of us who were present, including her parents, knew that something special was happening. She went on to explain that she finally “got it”. In discussing her pending transition from the program prior to that very moment she had been very cavalier in her attitudes and certain she “was ready to take on the world”. Now, she finally realized that she was going to be very vulnerable when she left Pacific Quest wilderness program. She resolved to be more of an active participant in the planning of her discharge and after care to ensure that she had a solid plan and support system in place to help her continue on the path she started here.
Everything we do at Pacific Quest has a practical and a therapeutic intention/benefit. This is just one story about the magic that takes place in our gardens every day. Working with living material gives our students an opportunity to have an experiential shift in their perceptions and to integrate the change we talk about everyday into their lives during and post treatment. That’s the heart of our Sustainable Growth model.