To Heal

By Fatima Khawaja, London, ON 

How do I explore “to heal” on Gabriola Island? After pondering for two days, as I was walking to the Haven Resort from Mad Rona’s Cafe, it occurred to me: healing at Gabriola Island is similar to its roads.

There are short ones, and long ones, winding, and straight ones, some that have sharp bends and others that seem to go on forever. There are dirt roads and others that are smooth and paved. One has a choice among all of these. All of them lead somewhere—a big house, a shack with character, the ocean or even just a dead end: an opportunity to turn back and find another route.

The drive is usually full of wonderful scenery and easy on the engine when downhill, and other times repetitive and laborious. It could have been a lone hitchhiker, or car, or a few too many for company at any time. Just like the healing process.

I ran into someone yesterday cleaning the outside of our cabin at Haven. It turned out that he was taking part in a retreat.

“How would you describe healing at Gabriola Island?” I asked.

“Serenity.” “Peacefulness.” “Inner connection.” “Deeper, more genuine friendships.”

I also spoke to a course facilitator at Haven. “Tell me about healing,” I asked.  

“It is imagination and it is intuitive. You know, imagination, like Einstein said, is better than knowledge.”

Tim, the yoga instructor, said healing on Gabriola Island is even more special because the place has its own unique energy and an organic, peaceful nature—free of stress and competition.

I agree.

The beauty of the island is captivating, the mountains and forests alluring, pushing one to explore even further within, and beyond oneself. I am acutely aware that the path to healing is a journey, a process, not necessarily an end in itself.

Still, even the well-kept roads sometimes need care. And the whole island seems to be at the service of healing: in the form of crystals, art therapy, animal therapy, performing arts, yoga, Reiki, massage, Tai Chi, naturopaths, social clubs and love for community, for gardening, the calming ocean, and gorgeous scenery, and so much more.

Tim’s advice for those leaving the Island is to find something that matches your soul and take it back with you so that the calming effects endure long after the trip to Gabriola Island has concluded.

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