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.

I Am Proud

This will be a quick post, and mostly a boastful one. But hey, I think I deserve it—actually, I know I do! I’ve been working on my mémoire for the past year and a half, and I submitted my final version yesterday.

After having graduated from the 1st cycle of osteopathic studies in December 2015, I had to decide between two options for the 2nd cycle. My choices dwindled down to:4790331313_8f291f6480.jpg

  • Mémoire: consists of doing either a quantitative or qualitative study. The mémoire requires a large amount of research, dedication, no procrastination, and a lot of writing, which are all mainly stuff I dislike—beside procrastination, that, I bathe in!
  • Clinicat: consists of working for several days in a clinic supervised by an experienced osteopath, writing a case report, taking several post-1st cycle classes, and some more—et cetera.

Throughout the four and a half year 1st cycle program, I was convinced I was going to do the clinicat seeing as I profoundly dislike research. However, one month before having to submit the form stating which 2nd cycle program I’d like to do, I had a paradigm shift; all of a sudden I wanted to do the mémoire. Why? Simply because I thought I’d get more out of it in the long run. I also didn’t think the clinicat would bring me much of anything. The thought of doing the clinicat instead of the mémoire up until then had always been the choice of the easy path, a path I am all too used to trotting down.

But wait. Didn’t you just say you hated doing research?

Indeed I did.

I still do.

And maybe I always will.

It was the first time in my life—I think—that I came to the realization of choosing a path because of what it would bring me throughout the journey. I’ve always been someone who likes taking the easy path—although I still put in the necessary work, with a good chunk of awesome procrastination—and for one of the first times I decided to take the path less enticing in exchange for greater personal growth.

That is why I am feeling proud, right now. A grin carved its way across my face yesterday only several minutes after having handed in my final version of my mémoire. I was, and am, proud of myself.

[Celestial high-five!]

I also have trouble giving myself credit in everyday life, so I am doubly proud of having written this blog post.

[Interdimensional high-five!]

When was the last time you were profoundly moved by your own action / accomplishment / anything special to you? I’d love to hear some of your heart-warming tales.

References: Jonathan Naylor’s proud brain.

What Is Endometriosis?

I recently met someone who has endometriosis. If this had been 6 years ago—before my studies in osteopathy—I would have perplexedly gazed into the horizon and thought: What the heck is endometriosis? Is it a parasite? A pathology? Maybe even a super-power?

Thanks to a course I took 4 years ago—hooray!—I know what endometriosis is. Since that course 4 years ago, I have only met two people with endometriosis even though I know it is somewhat prevalent among women.

After discovering that this person—let us call her Joan—had endometriosis, the flood gates opened; I could not withhold from reading about it all over again to re-discover every nook and cranny there is to know about it.

That’s it for this post!

[Insert reader’s thoughts in the parentheses]

[Ummm…

Wait, aren’t you going to tell me what it is? The class you took, was it a class on super-powers or something?!

I want to know if this is a super-power or not!]

I’m glad that you ask. Of course I’m going to tell you! However, please take a moment to commend me on the dad joke I just pulled. It was just that funny.

Anyways.

Sadly for you—and more importantly those with endometriosis—I must inform you that this is not a super-power. Furthermore, if you’re a male, even if it was a super-power, it would be one reserved for women. Why, you ask?

Do you have a uterus?9a1b2bd8e595c1c8ee497547dda53db5.jpg

I didn’t think so, and that is why!

Briefly put, endometriosis is a health issue regarding the endometrium, which is the inner lining of the uterus.

Image note: I find all women are Wonder Woman for dealing with an ever-changing internal equilibrium once a month. You go girl(s)!

To you I share a short summary I put together after spending about half an hour reading on endometriosis:

  • To understand endometriosis you must first know what the endometrium is. The endometrium is a tissue present in women; it is the inner most tissue of the uterus. About once a month, a part of the endometrium is expelled via menstruations at the end of the menstrual cycle if no fertilization occurred.
  • Endometriosis is defined as the presence of endometrial cells outside of the uterus. These could be nearby (such as the ovaries or the fallopian tubes) or at a distance (such as in the lungs or in an arm).
  • 5% to 10% of woman old enough to bear children are affected by endometriosis and it is most often diagnosed from 25 to 40 years old. In many cases there is no pain associated with endometriosis and it does not affect fertility. However, there are still 30% to 40% of women diagnosed with endometriosis who are infertile.
  • The symptoms of endometriosis often occur in synergy with the menstrual cycle. Regardless of their location, endometrial cells will react to the change of hormone levels at the end of the menstrual cycle and will “bleed”. Normally, this bleeding is evacuated through menstruations; however, when the endometrial cells are located somewhere else than the uterus, there is no escape route for the cells that shed.
  • The most frequent symptoms of endometriosis are low abdominal pains similar to menstrual cramps which increase during menstruation, sexual activity and urination. It is often difficult to differentiate them from typical menstrual cramps.
  • Several alternative approaches exist that may help women affected by endometriosis, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, yoga, meditation, osteopathy, and dietary changes.

Joan told me to add one more point—which comes from experience—:

“I would add that once the endometriosis becomes advanced, the pains no longer follow the menstrual cycle and appear sporadically without an identifiable cause.” (Joana, 2017. Retrieved from the prestigious scientific database known as Facebook Messenger).

I hope I managed to help you learn something new with this post!

Do you know anyone who has endometriosis? If so, did you know what it was before they told you? Or did you learn about it thanks to them?

Footnote: I still wish this was a super-power.

References: passport santé; Facebook Messenger, the prestigious scientific database.