I spent five nights with six other men on one of the 30,000 islands in Georgian Bay.

It amazes me that dwellings have been built, let alone that trees can grow on these rocks.

It was my first ever “boys’ weekend” and unlike any of the adventures I’ve heard about that tend to involve golf and/or Vegas and/or copious alcohol.  It was an occasion to mix great conversations that mattered with lots of laughter, some good games, good food, and appreciation of the natural setting.

It was a superb opportunity to take a step back and contemplate life. The fact that one of my fellow sojourners is battling stage four cancer did much to cast perspective on the challenges about which I can obsess. He met life with the utmost of good humour and he is focusing on how he can share the lessons he is learning with those facing similar predicaments. Several of my companions have connections to Native traditions and they gave him the medicine name of Laughing Bear. That’s a moniker I’d be proud to own. It’s humbling to see someone be masterful at the lessons I seek to teach.

It struck me how there was smooth coordination of all the tasks (e.g., meal preparation and clean up) with nary a conversation. Each man had a sense of grounded independence yet an openness to extend and to receive connection. As we were preparing to depart, it struck me that these had been the four most peaceful days in memory. No making wrong, no social games, belonging without requirements; being “off the grid” and away from bombardment of e-mails, social media, and other attention-tuggers. Several questions linger and new directions to apply serenity as a base from which exhilaration can be launched are burgeoning.

As summer has gratefully arrived in Edmonton, I wish you exhilarated days of joy and play.


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