Valentine Darling

valentine darling headshot

What pronouns do you use? They/Them

Where will you be located while serving on the board? Olympia WA

Please describe your activity with any Recovery Dharma sangha, including local, affinity, inter-sangha, circle, or volunteer with the board. (Affinity: some members of Recovery Dharma create sangha groups around identities such as Black, Indigeneous and People of Color (BIPOC), Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex and Ally (LGBTQIA) Women; or interests such as recovery around process addictions, food or codependency. Circle: an independent volunteer work group)

Western WA intersangha. Member of LGBTQIA. Interested in expanding and “exploring” recovery tools and facilitated a Recovery Dharma meeting that focused on that. Former member of Inclusion Circle.

Briefly describe your professional/livelihood history in a narrative , and upload a resume or copy it below.  Reminder that many life experiences can be applied to the work of a Board. This includes, but is not limited to service with local groups, managing a household or service on another nonprofit board.   

Worked in Homeless Services for 5+ years. Currently working in Care Coordination with Community Youth Services. Former President of the Board of Directors for Backpack Project, a service provider for youth experiencing homelessness. Current member of Buddhist Recovery Network Board of Directors. Podcast Producer, Editor, Host on Buddhist Recovery Network.

Are there other special or unique skills that you believe would benefit serving as a board member? (please see announcement)   

I love befriending people and working together to make things happen.

Please use the space below to share a brief (300 words or less) statement about yourself.  The questions below are offered as prompts for topics you might find helpful. We do not anticipate that you will answer each one. 

Hi Everyone! I’m excited to be running for the board of directors. 13 years ago I discovered meditation and began attending 10 day silent meditating retreats. At that time in my life I was recovering from mental health challenges caused by an abusive childhood. Through meditation practice, my symptoms of PTSD, depression and anxiety became manageable. When addiction consumed my life I left meditation behind and lost my connection to Buddhism and witnessed my mental health challenges return. After 5 years of trying to make AA work for me and experiencing homelessness, I began to attending 10 day meditation retreats again and was able to finally maintain sobriety and begin healing again.

After I became sober I started getting involved with organizing and facilitating Buddhist Recovery meetings using my many years of planning and facilitation skills. In my time facilitating I have dealt with conflict, especially as Recovery Dharma took shape. When dealing with conflict I communicate with everyone involved and if anyone is causing harm I try to address it with compassion. I also find it helpful to step back if there are other leaders who are more equipt and capable in the moment, recognizing my limits and capacity if I get triggered. Letting go of grudges and supporting the community as a whole is my main focus when working on a team.

Since I became sober 4 years ago I’ve been meditating daily. Currently I meditate for an hour most days. I practice a mix of loving kindness meditation and awareness of breath. I love expanding on my understanding of meditation and am inspired by a large number of teachers and practitioners. My meditation practice is always evolving.

I’m a certified peer counselor which means I’ve been trained on how to encourage hope by sharing my experience and to help people in recovery recognize their strengths and achieve their goals.

Since becoming sober I have had the opportunity to become a part of multiple recovery modalities and communities. I’ve experienced modern recovery tools that when paired with meditation can be game changers for folks in recovery. A passion of mine is to help Recovery Dharma expand it’s list of suggested tools to give members more options and support when navigating recovery. I find some of the current set of tools (mentors, inquiry questions) to be mostly inspired by an AA framework and I’d love to help RD expand in order to give more options to members who need more or do not find those tools helpful in their recovery. No space can be completely safe but we can do everything in our power to make spaces safer, braver, with more options for support and guidance.

I have so much love and passion for recovery and the community at large. Thank you for this opportunity and I wish everyone safety and peace as we continue to navigate the current global crisis we are facing together. 💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖