Wednesday, May 29, 2024
May 29, 2024

Letter: Salty Dog provides sanctuary

The sense of community here at Salty Dog Retreat is incredible. Everyone looks out for each other and offers support whenever it’s needed.

It’s a safe and welcoming environment where we can truly be ourselves without fear of judgment. Retreat operators Jamie Halan-Harris and Jack Harris are always there to lend a listening ear and provide guidance when necessary. The resources available to us have been invaluable in our journey towards healing and recovery. I am so grateful to have found a place like Salty Dog, where we can thrive and grow together as a family.

Both fathers of my children have been blessed with their own homes here on the land as well, which has been an incredible joy and relief for them, for the kids and I. For all of our lives we have felt displaced and unsafe while living in survival mode, doing our best to cope with serious post-traumatic stress disorder and many other mental health and physical health conditions. Then facing all of that while also being parents.

Trauma and survival mode have been all we have ever known until we moved here. We are finally getting to see what it feels like to rise up out of survival mode and into safety and support. We feel seen, valued, cared about and accepted. It’s like breathing a full breath for the first time.

And suddenly we are able to step into that place beyond just fighting to survive — the place where we can explore our own unique individual talents and skills, how we can use them to better serve the whole. Who am I in my tribe? What do I have to offer? How can I best give back to my community? These are questions that arise when we feel accepted, supported and seen for who we truly are.

There are no words that could describe the level of gratitude I feel towards Jamie and Jack for welcoming us home when we had nowhere else to go. I feel most grateful that my children don’t have to live in trauma, displacement, judgment and fear any longer. They are given a chance to blossom into their truest selves surrounded by true community, fully supported and accepted.

I know that the feelings I have described in this letter are not mine alone, but the same feelings of all the other residents here at Salty Dog. I speak on behalf of the whole when I say, “I have found sanctuary at last, I have finally come home.”

Jupiter Butler,

Salt Spring

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