Positive intentions were the theme of this weekend’s Camp Bravehearts on the majestic, Shelter Island.
Gratitude and generosity are at the core of everything this powerful group of women do, from keeping the camp running through grants and fundraisers to creating the bond that is the sisterhood of these brave survivors.
With the stunning backdrop of Camp Quinipet, campers hiked and kayaked and stand-up paddle boarded. They sailed, they biked, they took sunrise yoga with yours truly;) They art and crafted, they read and relaxed, they sun and sanded. Not to mention, Elisa’s breakout sessions on nutrition and immune support, and my two workshops: Fitness for Any Age & Any Stage, and The How of Happiness: a writing workshop on changing the script for a happier life!
Elisa and I are always overwhelmed with all the gratitude we receive from campers and staff at each camp. Each year our relationships deepen with the group, leaving, as Eva so beautifully put it, lasting hand prints on our hearts. We gush with gratitude the whole ride home and for the weeks following each camp with how much we’re moved by the stories we hear, the transformations we witness, the love and compassion we experience.
This time, I really appreciated not one, but two campers having a tiny gripe with the title of my workshop. “What if I already choose happiness?” They asked.
“Well, even better.” I said. “That way you’ll be able to share your experiences and it won’t just be me talking.”
At the core of each of their happiness, I came to find out, was gratitude.
They have come to not only understand, but purposely use gratitude as a powerful dose of perspective.
I beamed with approval.
One camper shared that she wrote down three things/intentions each day (that she had full control over) to make the day great. She wrote an affirmation, her gratitude and even wrapped up the day with what she could have done better. She literally glowed with positive energy, and yet the lines on her face and the depth in her eyes told the full story. She herself confirmed it had been a long road to get there. “A daily practice,” she added.
Although her life was far from perfect, she was missing only one thing she could think of. I was confident she was on the fast track to getting exactly what she desired with solid intentions like that!
Both of the women who had already chosen gratitude spoke of their acceptance of self, their eagerness to continually be better, and, although they didn’t use this word, their generous spirits to give back all that they have received (and more).
“I feel lucky.” They said individually. “I just feel lucky.”
Both women had gotten a glimpse of their mortality with their respective cancer diagnoses, and both had chosen to live, and they continue to do so each day.
Not everyone in the group shared their perspective. Different circumstances, alternative needs still to be met. It’s all part of the journey.
I shared that it is often in giving that which we need the most, where we feel most fulfilled. Scarcity thinking and lack mindset will always leave us feeling separate from our highest intentions, our highest self.
I reminded the group of the Iyanla Vanzant quote I use often in my practice: Fill others from your overflow, not from your cup.
Many of these survivors, as you can imagine with most woman, are still worried about taking care of everyone else.
Thankfully, in this group, every hug, every lent ear, and every shoulder to cry on is welcomed and returned. The generosity of this group is really a marvel to witness. Talk about a sisterhood!
I am so very grateful to have found a home with these ladies who continually teach me so much.
How could I not #staybrave in their honor?
I leave you with this: If you have a friend or loved one who lives in the tri-state area who would be a great fit for Camp Bravehearts, please don’t hesitate to tell them about this amazing group of supportive survivors!