Toronto Islands retreat

I have a week off work and I’ve chosen to focus on self-care each day. Part of that involves saying yes to only those requests that my heart has no battle with and my mind, no struggle. Because for me, saying maybe places me in a danger zone—it’s like saying yes with instantaneous regret. Much as I try to maintain boundaries, inevitably I bump up against situations (and personalities) that challenge me to get clear, and flex my “no” muscle when that’s what I really mean. So I’ve woken each morning and asked myself the question, “How do I truly want to spend the day?”. Or, I should say, the remainder of the day once practicalities have been short-listed (making food, paying bills, tidying up, returning phone calls and emails …the regular). In creating space for pleasure, comfort and adventure, my mornings have been kick-started with a power smoothie, and half an hour later, both mobile and landline are muted and I sink into an hour-long yoga practice. Then I give myself a permission slip to let the compass spin until I decide on a focus or destination for the day.

Yesterday, I headed to Toronto Islands, an eight minute ferry ride from the foot of the city. I ate lunch at my favourite café on Ward’s Island, rented a bicycle and cycled for two hours (at which point, my once broken tail bone snarled at me and I obliged it …). At this time of year, come the weekend, The Islands are mayhem. Families and tourists descend, the ferries are jam-packed—and my brain goes berserk just thinking about it. During the week, there’s 1/1,000,000th of the human traffic and space to roam. I’m still drawn to Ward’s and Algonquin islands because of the cluster of eccentric, well-loved homes. Back in the 70s and 80s, I knew a few people who lived there and the vibe remains the same. Islanders fought long and hard to maintain their small village and protect their homes.

Today, it’s deep into the ravines for a walk along the Beltline Trail, my green sanctuary … and more trip-planning!

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