There is a truism that ‘a healthy person is a balanced person’, giving attention at various times to the physical, social, intellectual and spiritual aspects of their daily life. This is evident in the overall educational provision at Westminster; it is why co-curricular here is so strong, as well as academic striving, to develop students in musical aptitude, sporting endeavour, dramatic talent and so on. It is why we have a two-week focus in Year 10 on Westventure, where students will learn to sail, kayak, camp, hear of Ngarrandgeri ties to the land of the Coorong and, for that period, do no academic work whatsoever.
The Year 12 group have this week returned from their three-day Retreat, an innovation of the 2017 cohort. This is the third year we have gone away as a group with staff to Normanville and, as well as spending valuable time on the social aspect of getting to know one another, they also participated in sessions of mindfulness, yoga, personal physical training, gratitude, study skills and an activity called ‘rock and water’ which focuses on “the rock resists, water goes with the flow”. There’s balance right there. We also had a Chapel service in the beautiful outdoor amphitheatre at the campsite, gloriously situated at the top of the valley, with panoramic views down to the Carrackalinga beach. There we read and reflected on Psalm 8 which muses, “When I look at the wonder of creation, the work of divine hands, what is humanity that God should be mindful even of us?”.
In busy schedules, the most easily overlooked of these elements of a balanced life can be the latter, the spiritual. My position in the life of Westminster, leading Chapel each week and being involved in events like the Year 12 Retreat serves as acknowledgement and reminder of this – in the Uniting Church faith tradition. The spiritual path cannot be prescribed, it is unique and individual, but deserves its place in seeking a full and balanced living.
Rev Phil Hoffmann