The Land as a Therapeutic Ingredient

Pavillon sits on just under 200 acres of incredible land – really incredible land.  Those who have been to the campus know this to be true.  People tell us over and over again that when they step onto the campus there is just something soothing about being here.

The lay of the land, and its oak tree (that’s over 400 years old) convinced our founders to recognize this location as a place of hope and healing.

  • The ridgelines
  • The forest
  • The natural trails
  • The waterfall

The experience of being on this land includes receiving something that you’re just not going to get from a high-rise office complex in the middle of a city, or from inside an office in a strip mall.  Many times, alumni tell us they chose Pavillon for a number of reasons, and the land was high on their list.

Some people know that above the top of the waterfall is a natural stone pool.  This was used long ago by native people for ceremony, and more recently by local people for baptisms.  Our spiritual care director has used that pool at times for ritual work to help the healing process along; sometimes having an experience helps a lot, rather than just thinking about making a change.

The staff at Pavillon are almost constantly mindful of the beauty, nature, and power of the land.  So, when someone is a bit discouraged, it’s not uncommon for a staff member to suggest going outside to talk.  Or doing a “walk and talk” counseling session, rather than one indoors in a closed office space.  Sometimes just going out in nature makes all the difference in our mood, our energy, and perspective.  Often this reset happens organically – just by being on the land.

What about watching the sunrise on your balcony while doing your morning meditation?  Or eating lunch while listening to the birds chirp?  What about walking one of the trails, getting up on the top of a ridge, and encountering living things?  A small animal.  Birds.  Bugs.  Trees.

Sometimes just learning to stop and notice can make a big difference in developing skills like mindfulness, relaxation, getting centered or grounded, gratitude, and returning to the present moment.

And what about natural things like the wind, some dirt, clouds, water, and the sound of the waterfall?  These things can all help us regain perspective and return to our senses – when we need to.

The amazing land at Pavillon can be used as a container for the change process.  In that way the land can be a healing space that holds the person and their change process very well.

And the land here at Pavillon can also be therapeutic all on its own.