As I reflect upon our philosophy and mission here at Evoke, I am reminded of a song by Graham Colton Life's What You Make It. It talks about how each of us will at some point need to write our own life’s song. One of the great lines of the song reads:
“You have to learn to love yourself.”
“Stop caring about what other people think.”
“The only approval you need is from yourself.”
Our son was being transported to the wilderness in Utah, a six-hour drive from home. It was one of the longest nights of my life.
One of my favorite times of year in the desert is monsoon season. From mid-to-late summer there are almost daily thunderstorms and monsoons. The sky is wide enough that you can watch storm clouds roll toward you for an hour before they are overhead. The sky goes from bright and sunny to ominous and dark grey with a purplish tinge. Right before the rain hits everything seems to still, and then a slight breeze picks up that cues the downpour. The rain hits the ground with enough force that you can see tiny impact craters in the sand. The water often runs over sand and rock and creates washes as it flows downhill. Thunder and lightning crash and light up the sky in an elemental way that makes you very aware of your decision to be working outside.
A riddle: A Vietnam veteran robs a convenience store two years in a row on the same day in July. When asked why he chose that date, he says he doesn’t know...Why? Don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging for the answer for too long.
When I moved to Utah 11 years ago as a 23-year-old, I didn’t imagine I would still be here and more surprising to me, that I would end up as the single mom of a four-year-old. I often tell our staff that I wish I could give them the experience of raising a child because it would make them better at their jobs. This reminds me of the comment my boss made when I first told him I was pregnant, “This is going to be so good for you.” I have also experienced parents tell me how lucky I am to work for Evoke because I have all of the tools I need; tools they wish they had before raising their kids. And what I’ve come to realize is that we are all right. My experience in wilderness has informed how I parent and my experience as a Mom has informed how I lead our team at Evoke. Each makes me better at the other.
“In the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.”--David Foster Wallace, This is Water
I was meeting with a boy who I’ll call Robert for our seventh session. Robert had been in wilderness for seven weeks and in his first few weeks was often tearful, talked openly of his depression, his past suicidal actions and thoughts, and his fear of how he would manage these struggles when he returned home. In those first weeks Robert had made great progress in his understanding of his depression and how to better manage it, yet he held very firmly to his past friends and desire to continue to smoke weed.
During this time, it’s not abnormal or surprising to see articles, blogs, or social media posts about managing anxiety and fear of the unknown during the global pandemic we know as COVID-19. Tips and tools on how to deal with the issues surrounding the virus and social distancing are being discussed and shared with the public by a number of mental health professionals, spiritual leaders, mentors, and more. These resources have been providing great support to families across the world who are battling anxiety and fear for the health and safety of their loved ones.