To Grow: A Postcard from Gabriola

By Danielle Richey

A group of students enrolled in the Royal Roads University’s MA in Intercultural and International Communication program visited Gabriola earlier this month and stayed at The Haven. They created a number of online Postcards from Gabriola Island. We’re delighted to publish one of them here, and recommend you take a look at the others.

My journey on Gabriola Island physically started at the Haven. The Haven is a center for growth nestled in the northern region of Gabriola Island. The words BREATHE, grow, transform, and connect instantly catch my eye as I nervously look around the gift shop with unfamiliarity. What am I to expect and why are these words planted around the grounds?

At first glance I am unsure how much I could actually soak up on this mini retreat and learn and grow from this experience. I quickly realize that the unfamiliarity of the island lifestyle, knowledge, and tranquility would teach me to take the time to slow down and smell the roses, or in this case the clean fresh air.

Our first group activity is to participate in the path of meditation. I am not a meditator, as my brains constantly run on overload and I could think of a million other things I could do with this time. After the second meditation session, I can connect to the purpose of the exercise.

Our yoga sessions remove us from our busy schedules and demonstrate the importance of a healthy balance between mind and body, which I might not necessarily have. It is important to ME to take time. To play, create, and to connect are essential skills to promote self care and personal growth.

From brief conversations with locals, I understand that to live here is to love your surroundings, to appreciate the silence, to let the moon complement your flashlight in the dark and that power outages are not grounds for panic but welcomed.

I forget to find value in kindness of strangers, magical landscape, and simplicity. This mini retreat has made me remember the importance of personal growth not in the context of monetary growth, but personal reflections on my daily actions, intentions, and karma.

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