I’m feeling very grateful as of late.  I read this quote tonight by Anthony Robbins, and it summarizes how I’ve been feeling lately:

“When you are grateful fear disappears and abundance appears.”

However, it is not enough to simply feel grateful.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it,” said William Arthur Ward.

It was only a few months ago that I was living in a cabin on Denman Island, splitting wood, reading by candlelight, grateful that a winter had passed and I was no longer freezing due to lack of insulation.  I loved the experience immensely, living in such amazing and raw nature, relatively self-sufficient and happy.  Something was missing though and I tuned into this gap in my life.  I had gone to Denman to write and put together a portfolio to apply to UBC’s Creative Writing program.  I had completed this task, and yet knew that I wanted to work with youth again, and so I started searching.

I can vividly recall the day that I sat in the coffee shop, and found the job posting with SWOVA.  Lynda Laushway called me up and asked me if I would actually move to Salt Spring Island…I said of course!  Unencumbered and free to go, I took the opportunity with a great deal of humility and gratitude.  Shortly thereafter my partner bought a house, also sensing the need to move to Salt Spring Island.  I am so grateful to be living with a woman who has dedicated her life to ensuring children’s rights are upheld.  She travels a lot and I am blessed to be her rock on this rock.  I am grateful for electricity and the warmth that a house can provide, and I am grateful to have healthy food in my home.  Most importantly I am grateful for the love that can grow in a house where there is no violence of any kind.

I know that the staff at SWOVA all share the sentiment in that they are grateful for the opportunity to be involved in the journey to end violence in the world.  Gandhi once said that we must start with the children if we want peace.  And so it is that the staff at school district 64 have chosen to include us in the lives of the young people of Salt Spring Island.  It is an immense honour to work with young people and to hear their voices.  I am grateful to listen each and every day and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the students, staff at GISS, and in advance SIMS for their wonderful hospitality.  I have also heard a lot of gratitude about the wonderful funders who make the programs possible.

None of this would be possible without people who believe in ending the violence that has hurt so many and hindered the positive development of many. We would like to express our appreciation to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, the United Way of Greater, Victoria, B.C. Gaming, Saltspring Island Foundation, Victoria Foundation, Coast Capital Foundation, Telus Victoria Community Fund, SD#64, Mid-Island Co-op, Thrifty Foods, Country Grocer, and individual supporters.

Blessings to all.

Kevin Vowles – Adult Facilitator, Respectful Relationships Program

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