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A Strong Spirit

June 21, 2022

I am sitting on a magnificent rock on Beausolei Island in Georgian Bay.I’ve been leading two spring yoga retreats for the London YMCA Camp Queen Elizabeth, and it is our first time back since the start of the pandemic.Everyone is incredibly grateful to be here.The blessing I have used this weekend is this “May you be filled with lovingkindness.May your spirit be strong. May you be safe and protected. May you be filled with deep healing and goodness. May you be held by love.”It is another variation of the loving kindness “metta” tradition.All weekend I have found myself contemplating the line “May your spirit be strong.”How do we strengthen our spirits?How do we show up in our lives when our spirits are strong?What are the things, who are the people that support us in having a strong spirit? Why iit s important to have a strong spirit?

For me, being in nature strengthens my spirit. Time every day outside under the sky and on the land. For some it it is making art, playing music, being sporty, reading, time alone, walking the dog every morning or sitting on the deck and quietly being. For some it is volunteering. There are so many ways.It it important we know ourselves and do what strengthens us. Something I have realized on these two weekends is that being around young people is so uplifting.The staff at this camp are are in the early, mid and late 20’s.They are smart, kind, generous, caring, so interesting and so full of life. They have so many stories to share, games to play with us and expertise to help everyone have fun.These young peopleare inspiring just by being who they are and sharing their lives with all of the participants on the retreat who range in age from 20 - 75.They are are hopeful, optimistic, and just really fun to hang out with.I have been soaking in their good vibrations.In Covid our lives all got very small.Even seeing my daughter wasn’t always possible in those two years.And so now as we gradually emerge back out into the world there areopportunities once again to have a wider range of connections. And these connections strengthen our spirits. I know I have to push myself to get out and re-connect, and every time I do I feel stronger.As we head into this summer there are lots of opportunities coming back into our community such as Music in the Park, or the Highlands Summer Festival plays.We all cherish these parts of our community and so we all want them to return.All the programs and activities need our support and we will all feel better as we take advantage of them.Whatever makes your spirit strong is what you should be doing!Whatever depletes your spirit you should recognize and manage.This morning as we did qigong on the rocks I had an image of every person being a lighthouse, beaming their light and love out into the world.The world needs us all to shine and I am so appreciative of these lovely young people who helped to strengthen my spirit this weekend.

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