LIFT: A Great Non-Profit Organization

Dear Naylor blog-ites,

Welcome back.

Who said we ever left?

Aww, so sweet.

Dont get ahead of yourself now.

Janus-faced, as always.

To the subject at hand—or, should I say keyboard—: LIFT.

 

In a nutshell, LIFT is a registered non-profit organization specialized in guiding and supporting healthy youth development, in order to prevent substance use disorders, delinquency and high-school drop outs (taken from LIFT’s website).

LIFT organizes two adult retreats a year, from which all profits go to organizing retreats for youth. The adult retreats last one weekend, normally from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon.

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LIFT participants and volunteers – November 2017

The main focus of the weekend is taking care of one’s self, by means of meditation, yoga, osteopathy, healthy eating, and relaxation.

One of my close friends Antoine—whom I met during my osteopathic studies—joined the LIFT team a few years back. When he told me about the organization’s mission and motives, I was enthralled, and I wanted to take a part in it right away; however, at the time, they were not in the need of extra hands—pun intended.

So I lifted LIFT out of my head for the time being.

Nice dad joke.

Several months later, I was asked to come to the second adult retreat organized by LIFT—which took place in early 2017 and at which I volunteered at—to offer osteopathic consultations and workshops on maintaining good bodily health.

You can imagine that my answer was an ecstatic yes!

It was a rich experience, in which I relaxed profoundly, disconnected from technology, and made a handful of deep connections with the volunteers and participants at the retreat.

This past weekend, I volunteered once again—at the third adult retreat organized by LIFT thus far—, and had another inspiring weekend.

A Little Summary Of The Weekend

The weekend begins on Friday afternoon. The participants are asked to arrive sometime in the afternoon, between 4:00 PM and 5:00 PM. The two retreats that I volunteered at took place at Au tournant du coeur, located in Sutton.

Once all the participants have arrived, supper is served. On cooking duty for the weekend is Meesh Coles, a holistic chef, from British Columbia, who is aided in the kitchen by her hard-working companion and lover, Ben Sbrollini, a co-founder of LIFT. They labor non-stop, all weekend—and I mean, all weekend—in the kitchen, preparing sumptuous dishes beyond your imagination.

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Meesh, hard at work in the kitchen at Au tournant du coeur

After supper, everyone goes up to the large meditation room to participate in the opening circle. Participants are given the choice to speak up if they’d like, with emphasis on what they think they can contribute to the weekend. The LIFT team also explains the proposed schedule for the weekend, and goes over some other important information—information not pertinent to this blog post.

A short restorative yoga class is then given by Jeanne Mudie, one of the owners of Ashtanga Yoga, located in Montreal.

On the morrow: a morning walk on the Arcadian property of Au tournant du coeur, breakfast, mindfulness meditation—given by Elvis Grahovic, a mindfulness meditation teacher based in Montreal—, yoga, lunch, a hike, supper, and some more yoga.

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Elvis and some participants, sitting the meditation room

All throughout the weekend, osteopathic consultations were offered to participants who were interested in receiving one. They were offered by yours truly, the writer of the Jonathan Naylor Blog: Jonathan Naylor, an osteopath from Montreal.

Talking about yourself in the third person? Haughty mister.

Sunday’s schedule was: morning walk, breakfast, mindfulness meditation, yoga, the closing circle, and lunch.

The closing circle is always an emotional intrapersonal and interpersonal event, in which participants are asked to share anything and everything they have in mind. Several tissues are needed to wipe the flow of tears that inevitably ensue, occurring with one participant beginning the waterfall, and several others hoping aboard and aiding the stream of blotted rivulets.

After lunch, the bags are packed, and everyone says goodbye, wishing they could spend another week at the amazing Au tournant du coeur.

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The view from the main room, Au tournant du coeur

The two days spent were rich emotionally, tiring and relaxing physically, and all around peaceful. I always have trouble leaving Au tournant du coeur‘s gorgeous landscape, but such is life.

I can’t wait to do the next retreat, which will be with the youth in January.

Excitement level: very high!

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LIFT participants and volunteers – November 2017

Have you ever volunteered at a retreat? Or have you been to a retreat as a participant before?

Side-note: you will LIFT up the youth, and the youth will LIFT up the world.

Board Game Review: Hero Realms

Board game aficionado Jonathan here.

Two weeks ago, I went to the Randolph boutique to use my gift certificate to acquire a new board game. I received this 25$ gift card because I volunteered this past March at the annual Montreal Joue gaming pic3236535.pngfestival, in Montreal.

Really? I would have never guessed that Montreal Joue was in Montreal.

I was contacted in March a few days after Montreal Joue and was told that a 25$ gift certificate was waiting for me at the boutique to thank me for my volunteer work. I already have many games that I haven’t tried, so I didn’t rush out to get something new—to say the least, I didn’t have a clue as to what game I wanted.

I finally decided to go two weeks ago.

I leisurely walked around the store in athleisure, and couldn’t seem to find a game in the 25$ range. I decided to take one last walk around the store, in case a game decided to call me out or something—and one did.

Low and behold: Hero Realms stood before me.

The box was glaring at me from the shelf, calling my name.

I had heard about this game in the past, and I wanted to try it. To my luck, it was priced at 23,99$, which was exactly what I had to spend. So I decided to pick it up—and wow, am I happy I did.

I opened the game a few days after getting it, and played it many times in the first day—wait, can you guess how many times?

Hmmm, 5?

A little more.

Intense much? 10? 11? 100? 9000?

Exactly: 11 times.

What is Hero Realms?

Hero Realms is a 2 to 4 player deck-builder game in which each player has 50 hit points. Your goal is to be the last one with hit points remaining. To eliminate other players, you buy cards to strengthen your deck which will allow you do bigger combos as the game progresses.

Each turn, you draw 5 cards, and you can play them in any order you wish. Your possible actions are mainly:

  • Playing cards from your hand to get various bonuses;
  • Buying new cards using gold;
  • Attacking by adding up all your combat strength.

Once your turn is over, the next player takes his 5 cards, takes his turn, and so forth.

The game ends, as mentioned, when there is only one player left standing.

My Thoughts of Hero Realms

I think I already know the answer to this one.

Yup: I love it.

The game lasts about 15-30 minutes when playing with 2 players, and I enjoy starting off with a crummy deck and trying to build it into something epic. Each game feels different, even though there are only 80 or so different purchasable cards that come with game.

I tried the 4-player variant where each team of 2 players has a total of 75 hit points, and it was also a lot of fun. However, the 3-player variant wasn’t to my liking; I really prefer this game as a symmetrical 1 on 1 or 2 on 2.

Have you ever played Hero Realms? Or any other game 11 times in a day?

Hero-note: I wish I was playing right now, and that I could play 11 times.