This past Saturday, Sept. 26th, four of us dragged ourselves out of our beds to meet at Glenmore Reservoir at 5:45 AM to paddle together in the Run for Life. Confused? For the past three years the Centre for Suicide Prevention (CSP) has organized the Run for Life to promote suicide awareness and prevention and to remember those who have passed by suicide. CSP is a Calgary based non-profit organization who are educators and have been equipping Canadians with information, knowledge and skills necessary to respond to people at risk of suicide for the past 35 years. We turned the “Run for Life” into the “Paddle for Life” and formed the team called “Trainers and Paddles”. Yvonne Law from Canmore, a fellow suicide alert trainer, Lyndsay Alan a, counselor and co-worker who loves to paddle, and Aquabatics staff member (“paddling is my passion”) Brian Casey along with myself formed our team. We headed out onto the water in the darkness and paddled into the light which is part of how the Run for Life promotes healing for those who have lost someone to suicide.
Paddling certainly is one way that we can support our own mental health. Many folks find calmness on the water and a release from the stressors of the day. If your passion is river running, creeking, running that big waterfall or going on that long and mindful flat water trip, the paddling focus allows us to become centered and grounded. Whether we are paddling with others and socially connected or enjoying that solo time getting to know ourselves, we can see it as a way to address our own self-care through the healing properties of the water and paddling. (#drownthestigma)
This event offered each of us different opportunities to socially connect, commemorating personal losses of those close to us, consider how we do work as trainers and counselors in the area of suicide awareness and prevention, and to consider how we can help break down the stigma and taboo of talking openly and directly about suicide in our communities. Additionally we were able to support the Center for Suicide Prevention through donations made to our team.
Glenmore offered up some varied conditions which were like metaphors to life. Early morning darkness and colder winds represented some of the choppier conditions in life that we need to learn to navigate through. The cloudy conditions that seem at first like they would never clear up finally allowed the sun to sun peak through and offered hope that there would be a brighter day. Calm glass-like waters to gracefully paddle across offered time to reflect on the reason for this particular trip onto the water. A sacred bald eagle who sat calmly and confidently on his driftwood perch, allowed us to approach in our kayaks and sit silently alongside him for the better part of five minutes until he took to flight reminding us that we are truly connect with nature.
It was a wonderful time on the water with great people. Thanks to our team members for participating in the Run (Paddle) for Life. Thanks to folks who sponsored and supported our team by donating $297.38 to help CSP enhance awareness, and create a “Suicide Safer Community”.
Time on the water with a purpose in mind is a great way to “create your own momentum”
See you on the water!