Retreat Yourself West, the breeze of the West Coast

September 15, 2009

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Last Monday, we got back from our second and last retreat of the year, taking place just outside of Vancouver at Edenvale Retreat Centre, from September 3-7, 2009. 23 courageous retreaters joined our team of professionals and peer supporters in the adventure.

Again, it was a very powerful weekend. Coming back, I always feel a bit weird and out of it for a couple of days. I think it’s mainly due to being in this wonderful and comfortable bubble where people truly are beautiful. Being surrounded by accepting and welcoming people makes it easy to give the best of ourselves and mainly our real self. During this amazing weekend we witnessed true listening, honesty, vulnerability, strength, humour in the face adversity, perseverance, resilience and lots of love and understanding.

Those of you who have never been to a retreat must think it sounds like a 1970s movie made of peace and love, in the case of RYWest we might even say Dr. Love, and you would not be wrong. The only differences are fewer mustaches, better clothes and not just a movie, retreats are the about real life! Not to say that this would not make a great movie. We had a powerful opening circle mixed with laughter and some tears from people covering five different provinces (BC, AB, MB, ON, and NL). We also had the chance to benefit from the expertise of our facilitators (meditation, mindfulness, yoga, gentleness, patience, empathy, and so on). One of our peer supporters introduced an art table right from the beginning and some Mandala http://www.mandalaproject.org/What/Index.html canvas to work on. Retreaters showed creativity and expressed so much using colors, textures and words. Together, we created a wall of wisdom and beauty, it was quite inspiring.

Really, where can you hear quotes like: “My hope will die after I do” and “Cancer does not define me.” Sometimes, the most difficult paths lead to the most beautiful views. The answer would be at Retreat Yourself.

Where can you not only hear powerful quotes, but also attend the 2009 Pool Olympics with unknown athletes doing unknown programs? Again, at Retreat Yourself West!

A big thank you to Callanish Society, especially Janie Brown for bringing along Danielle (our Yoga Goddess) and Sarah (our Mindfulness Queen) and for your generosity and countless help in making the retreat such a wonderful and peaceful success. Thank you Jenn Bos for being such an inspiring person (and amazing nurse). The way you care for each participant is beautiful!

Thank you also to Edenvale (especially Michele) who welcomed us like they knew us and made sure we were well taken care of and well fed (the food was truly amazing!).

We are now preparing for our next event, the Survivor Conference 2009 on the Rock bringing together over 50 young adults from across the country Survivor Conference 2009, and I will be using all the energy, inspiration and strength that were given at the retreat to put this event together. Thank you all for being you.

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