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July 28, 2016

In this four part series, Janna Pate explores the Rites of Passage work at Pacific Quest. From “Huli Ka’e,” the Rites of Passage experience that students participate in, to the “Staff Vision Fast,” a unique opportunity for staff to gain personal and professional development and a deeper understanding of this important component of the Pacific Quest curriculum. Part I discusses Rites of Passage at Pacific Quest and Part II introduces what we call “Intent Statements “. Part III looks at the development of Janna’s own intent statement. 

By: Janna Pate,  Academic Coordinator

As hard as it was to arrive at this conclusion and craft my Intent Statement, the hardest part by far has been living it—not just on the Staff Vision Fast, but every day of my life after that. I’ve been working on living my intent for over a year—sometimes joyfully and sometimes with great discomfort. There have been many ups and downs, many successes and many failures.

What helps tremendously is to know that there is a community of students and staff that are going through this experience together and can support each other throughout the process. When I go to work and look at the walls full of student intent statements, I can’t help but feel camaraderie with them and wonder what some of these students are doing now and how they are living their intents.

For me, some days after the Staff Vision Fast have been terrific. On those days, I feel like I have fully embodied my intent. I have created, accomplished, accepted, shared, given, forgiven, and loved in ways that I never thought I could. Who I am, and the way I am able to see myself in the world, has expanded as a direct result of my intent.

At the same time, there are other days when I haven’t even remembered my intent. It’s as if I have been sleepwalking, simply going through the motions. On those days, I haven’t appreciated the beauty and the inspiration in the world around me, or taken the chance to live and learn and grow.

And on the worst days, I’ve been aware of my intent and simply failed to live it. I’ve fallen into many of the same thought and behavior patterns that I’ve been struggling with for years. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve clung to some things that I should have let go, and I’ve let go of some things that I should have held close. I’ve shut down when I should have spoken up. Some days are tough.

Life is just that way. But experiencing Pacific Quest has taught me that I can get myself through the hard times by pulling on my Intent Statement like a lifeline: “I am whole-hearted.” It’s funny how complicated and painful it was to arrive at such a simple statement and how such a simple statement can continue to expand and unfold. I think it means something new to me almost every day.

Janna Pate intent

My hope and my belief is that every student who comes through Pacific Quest can continue on their journey with their own story to tell, their own Intent Statement, their own lifeline. This is an open door.

When we step through this door, we become new people, different people, yet more of ourselves. Our eyelids flutter up as if from a lingering kiss, or an unexpected daydream. We have touched something, started something, something new and old simultaneously—something precious, something fragile, something real. Perhaps we have planted a seed, or even birthed something: a possibility, an opportunity, a vision, a dream, a purpose, an intention, a goal. When we wake up in this way, we allow ourselves to be reimagined, rediscovered, and reinvented. We also see the world anew. In these moments, we are alive as never before.