Full Circle at Wellspring
For some, the best way to get through a cancer diagnosis is by switching into autopilot, the gear where familiar forward motion steers you clear of uncharted emotional waters.
Such was the case for Maureen Hall, wife, mother, and career-focused high school principal, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. “I never really dealt with it. I kept working, kept up my commitments. Basically I just blasted right through it,” she said. “It really wasn’t until six years after the fact that I realized I needed to get some help and begin the inner work of recovery.”
Maureen said when she walked through the doors at Wellspring Calgary, her cancer was behind her, but she still felt unwell. “I was having memory problems so the first thing I signed up for was Brain Fog run by Greg Lucier. This was a terrific program; it helped me so much. I felt right at home with this group and I remember thinking, once I get through this, if they ever need the help, I’d like to teach this program.”
Maureen took Healing Journey, meditation and she sampled all the energy modalities. She signed up for the Returning to Work program and found that the exploratory steps helped her to decide she was ready to chart her retirement. All of the programs helped her rebuild her foundation and move forward with renewed confidence and fresh perspectives.
After a number of months, Maureen felt she had done the necessary inner work … now she was ready to help others.
“I took the Wellspring volunteer training and started a regular shift at the front desk. I met so many wonderful people. The staff, facilitators, volunteers are all such incredible people, making Wellspring such a special place for members.”
Along with her weekly job at Carma House, Maureen volunteered at multiple fundraisers, but her favourite volunteer role was running the Wellspring kiosk at various external events. “I loved running the booth at wellness fairs. It’s the teacher in me … I’m all about helping others find the tools and information they need,” she said.
Not long after she began volunteering, Maureen was invited to become a program leader. “I took the training to lead both Brain Fog and Healing Journey. I learned and grew so much over those months. Now, here I was, full circle, facilitating the Brain Fog program with Greg Lucier.”
Over a course of a few years, Maureen facilitated other programs, and she also joined the Wellspring Calgary Governance Committee where she found it helpful to understand and help guide the policies and processes that underpin the organization and its mission.
Then one day Maureen learned that members were asking for a program that would help them move forward and get on with their lives after a cancer diagnosis. With her own personal cancer experience, and years as an educator and administrator, Maureen knew she could design a program utilizing all the best practices she had mastered throughout her life and her career.
A new program was born with Maureen at the helm. “I love leading Next Steps: Making a Plan with Cancer in Mind. The first thing I tell members is to trust the process. Don’t stress or worry about it, just relax and I will guide you through it,” she said. Together participants of this program explore listening, learning and decision-making styles, and with gentle guidance, they are encouraged to find a path forward where they can keep learning and growing as they coexist with cancer. “There’s a lot of tools and skill-building, but also lots of dialogue, self-discovery and community in this program,” Maureen adds.
In her own life, Maureen is deeply grateful for the cancer that is long behind her, and the unexpected unfolding of a rich and fulfilling Wellspring journey.
“It was all like a puzzle where the pieces just fell into place. The fact that I had cancer myself and it created a new meaningful existence – that was never my plan. Being able to retire and be a part of a community of support where I could keep growing and practicing the skills I developed throughout my career has been an honour,” she shared.
Maureen says as she reflects on her past two decades she recalls the theme in the movie Field of Dreams – if you build it they will come. “I didn’t know there was a field of dreams there but there was. Starting as a member, becoming a volunteer, joining the Governance Committee, becoming a facilitator – that was not a plan it was a dream in the making.”
The Learnings of Taking Wellspring Programs Online
“Yes our centres are important, our centres are beautiful and they are important places for members to come, to gather and build community. But we now know, from doing programs online, that the centres are secondary. It’s the people who build the Wellspring community. It’s the people who cultivate the spirit of kindness, hope and support.”