Personal Development

BOOK OF JUDE – Mindful Revelations

2023 Black Men’s Wellness Retreat 

I am Jude. The inaugural Black Men’s Wellness Retreat was held at the Tim Hortons Children’s Camp in Tatamagouche, NS over the weekend. 

In less than four months, the NS Brotherhood and some determined community members organized a FREE wellness event that attracted a diverse collection of Black men from across the province. Imagine that. 

Individuals travelled from as far away as Oromocto, NB to engage in fellowship, meaningful dialogue and self-reflection. 

The sprawling property overlooks the Northumberland Strait and offers breathtaking views of the ocean. There are walking trails, a functional airplane runway, a beautiful beachfront area and seasonal activities. 

The space was clean and appropriate, there were lots of snacks and healthy food options and Martha and her staff couldn’t have been any more accommodating. 

It is a great summer getaway for children but it presents some unique challenges for adult ‘campers’ in the form of undersized bunk beds, shared bathrooms and a general lack of privacy.

Overall though, there were very few complaints as the men recognized that we weren’t vacationing at the Ritz Carlton.

The accommodations provided participants with the rare opportunity to slow down and unplug from their busy lives and everyday obligations.

Like most of the men involved, this was my first retreat, so despite being part of the organizing committee, I had a lot of questions. First among them, was whether Black men would actually show up. 

Well, I am proud to report that they answered the call. We had 60 registrants and 39 brothers participated throughout the weekend. 

There is nothing more rewarding than being a part of something that positively impacts people you care about. And the retreat accomplished that – and so much more. 

It was an unquestionable success and exceeded all of my expectations.

The workshops were lively and encouraged active engagement but there were also opportunities for close conversations and one on one discussions.

We were introduced to Qi Gong, went for walks and morning runs and took cold plunges together. There were also merciless beatdowns in Bid whist and a masterclass in dominoes.  

It was truly a blessing to be involved in this historic gathering of Black men.

And this is only the beginning! We have already established a working group to collaborate with the NS Brotherhood and capilalize on the momentum we created during the retreat.

On a personal level, the weekend was a gift. I was able to make some meaningful connections, reflect on my purpose and spend some quality time with myself.

What I am realizing is that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. 

I am not behind schedule and I didn’t miss anything. I am right on time.

I simply need to remain dedicated to my ongoing evolution, find ways to serve others and have faith in the process. The rest will take care of itself. I am Jude.

One reply on “BOOK OF JUDE – Mindful Revelations”

Such a beautiful reflection on an awesome weekend. I am so happy that I was able to be a part of it. I learnt so much from my brothers and grew a lot as an individual. You do not often see black men talk about their emotions and how it affects their mental health that aspect of what is known as toxic masculinity wasn’t present and brothers were vulnerable as well as supportive. I cannot wait for the next installment.

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