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Tuesday, September 17, 2017

I’m writing this article as  I sit on a rock overlooking beautiful Georgian Bay.  I’m working  for the weekend leading a yoga retreat. I’ve been working here 3 times a year  for 21 years.  There are so many things I love about this experience. The weekend always begins with arriving at Honey Harbour where we unload our cars and wait for the boat taxi to pick us up and take us over to the island.  Each time we do the boat ride we feel like we are  leaving our busy lives and responsibilities on the shore.  It’s like we get a clean slate for the weekend.    Because we are going to an island, we tend to pack lightly and it always feels like our lives get simpler. 

My friends and I get a small cabin to stay in and we affectionately call it our “time share." It is quiet, peaceful and cozy.  Over the years we have come to understand that the island is our studio for the weekend.  We do rock yoga, dock yoga, hiking yoga, swimming yoga and of course the yoga of good eating.   Our mornings begin early with a practice called Qigong. We gather on the rocks as the mist rises off the lake. Fish are jumping.  Birds are flying over us.  The air is so fresh and it is a perfect place to breathe deeply,   stretch and greet the day.  We move quietly and mindfully and eventually the sun rises in front of us and we meditate as it warms us.  It feels like the way a day should begin. 

At the end of the practice on the first morning of the retreat a participant came up to a group of us  and said “I’ve been coming to this retreat for 11 years and this is the first time I’ve come to the Qigong in the morning.  It was so beautiful.  I’ve always needed the sleep and when I do get up I sit on the other side of the island.  I didn’t realize how beautiful it was over here in this early morning.”   

What I like about this little story is that a person never knows what adventure or beautiful moment is going to come their way in a day.  There are always new possibilities to be had in familiar situations.    I think it is a good reminder to keep a beginners mind and be open.  The other thing it reminded me of is that you don’t have to go far to have a change of perspective.  This lovely woman had been drinking her morning tea on her favourite rock, on the west side of the island for 11 years.  On this early morning she discovered the east side.  A whole new space of beauty opened up for her.   

This weekend is Hike Haliburton and there are so many adventures to be had.  It’s great to travel and explore the world, and it’s equally great to explore our own great county. Happy hiking everyone!

The above picture is of Melissa Tong who lives in Haliburton and works as a massage therapist, adventure learning facilitator, USANA specialist and all adventure girl. This picture was taken of her at Camp Queen Elizabeth as the sun was setting!

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