Finding My Way Back to Who I Am

Open Circle and Community Volunteer Action (CVA) participant

I have always been a spiritual person and I have always been a busy person. I like to have many things on my plate at any given time; it makes me feel productive and this feeling allows me to sleep deeply at night. Before entering university, I never had a problem juggling my many activities. I managed to find some time every morning to exercise and once a week to meditate and paint. This time for self-reflection allowed me to keep centered and focused, allowing me to maintain my mental and physical health.

Since coming to university however, I have not been able to carry many activities on my plate, nor have I been able to be true to myself. I barely exercise, I do not paint, I almost never have time to meditate, I don’t sleep well. I stopped listening to my body and fell off my center. In trying to gain some control over my life, I joined CVA and started volunteering with various agencies, such as Wesley Soup Kitchen, Youth Homework Help Club and Inasmuch Women’s Shelter. I began to notice an improvement in my overall mood. My outlook on life started to change and become positive again. In my fourth year, I attended the Open Circle and CVA Winter Retreat which unexpectedly helped me rediscover myself. I listened to my body for the first time in four years and my mind was focused on the present moment. I didn’t feel scattered and confused. I felt at peace. I promised myself to maintain these feelings.

I try very hard to take time out once a day to meditate and once a week to do something just for myself. Sometimes it is extremely difficult and I feel weighed down by my effort, but volunteering with CVA serves as my weekly reminder of how great I felt at the retreat and encourages me to nurture and sustain the feeling.

I am very thankful for the opportunities that Open Circle and CVA have provided to me and even more thankful for the people it has allowed me to meet. I am slowly finding my way back to the person I once knew I was, while learning to integrate that person with the experiences of the person I currently am. I am most thankful to Open Circle and CVA for guiding me in the right direction of this path.