Tag Archives: Canada

Nancy Greene advice: Look at where you’re going, not what you’re going through

To receive a skiing tip from Canadian alpine ski legend Nancy Greene Raine is a priceless gift.

It’s also slightly embarrassing.

We spent last week skiing at the Sun Peaks Resort in British Columbia, and one of the immeasurably valuable benefits available at the mountain is the opportunity to ski with Nancy Greene, Olympic medalist and World Cup champion.

Sign on ski hill about skiing with Nancy Greene Raine

She is gracious, kind and generous with her time. Several times a week she skis with visitors to Sun Peaks, and last Tuesday I was one of those lucky guests.

I’m a competent skier, but it seems that no matter what I do, I am always last in any group. I don’t care for speed. So, that day fifteen or twenty skiers followed Nancy down the hill, and I trailed behind.

She stopped to make sure the group held together. Of course I was last. She and all those fifteen or twenty skiers watched me struggle with fresh snow on the final slope.

“You’re all right?” she asked.

Oh God. Was it that bad? 

“When you’re skiing, look ahead at the big picture,” she said. “Don’t keep your eyes on the snow just in front of your skis or you’ll get tense. Look ahead and relax.”

I remembered her advice when I skied after that, and it helped. I noticed it especially on Friday night when we attended the Alpine Fondue & Starlight Descent.

We enjoyed a three-course fondue dinner at the restaurant on the mountain and then skied down after dark via starlight and headlamps.

chocolate fondue
The final course – chocolate!

Spectacular.

Skiing in the dark meant that I had to free myself of concerns about what lay ahead. I had to relax and go with the flow. I took this photo of other members of my group coming down the mountain AFTER me.

skiers with headleamps on a dark hill

I wasn’t last!

I had time to stop, remove my gloves, take out my phone, unlock it and take the picture, and just look how far behind me those skiers are.

Keep our eyes on where we’re going, not what we’re going through.

Freeing, free advice from a champion

snowy mountain scene

Remembered love and remembered slights

“I would like, belatedly, to thank the people of Canada for a kindly gesture. When I was at primary school toward, and just after, the end of the Second World War, in bomb-damaged Liverpool, we all received a large, red, eating apple. The boxes were marked “From the people of Canada.”
I have never forgotten this and now, after nearly 70 years, I am able, with the help of the Internet, to finally say thank you. Canada’s gift made many little boys and girls very happy. It just shows how a small gesture can make a big difference.
Thank you, once again, Canada.”

This letter, written by Ray Mitcham of Southport, Merseyside, U.K., appeared in the Ottawa Citizen this week.

Wow.

I read it once. I read it again. And then I read it a third time.

Such a small thing: A splash of bright red juiciness in the bleak, grey aftermath of war. Remembered. 

One small Canadian act of love harboured warmly in his heart, for a lifetime, moved him to express gratitude.

Then I thought Imagine if the remembered moment was not a happy one. Imagine if the bright red juiciness was blood, not an apple. Imagine how he would harbour that in his heart. Imagine what he would be moved to do in response. 

That’s why there’s still war and conflict. People harbour moments in their hearts, and if the remembered moments are of pain or death, it moves them to express hatred, not gratitude.

That’s why we have to do better, to try harder, to give more. People don’t just remember the big things; they remember the little things, too. They hold onto those bright, red, juicy moments—good or bad—for a lifetime.

Better apples than the alternative, I think. 

____________________

See the original letter here: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Thank+Canada/9461528/story.html

Every moment is a starting point

“I don’t know if bad things happen for a reason, but I do know that every moment is a starting point.” —Etienne LeSage

ArrowNext

Here in Ottawa, Canada we creep by the hour toward a starting point that everyone agrees upon – the new year 2014. In New Zealand, 2014 already arrived several hours ago, so, really, the agreed-upon starting point is a moving target and a matter of perspective.

Here, in Ottawa, Canada, I reflect on the wise words of my friend, Etienne. New birth doesn’t happen once a year; in every moment and within every event lies the seed of a starting point.

If we fail, what can we learn and what can grow from it? If we succeed, what can we leverage from that and what can we build? If disaster strikes, how can we heal and what good can we find in it? If blessings fall upon us, how do we receive them and with whom can we share them?

Our calendars turn over and 2014 lies ahead of us. A year of successes, failures, disasters, and blessings lies of ahead of us. A whole year of starting points—not just one day.

Onward, always for the highest good.

In-AccuWeather and “Be Here Now”

Lake-LouiseWhen you can’t plan, you must accept.

This is the lesson from our week in the Rocky Mountains.

Weather forecasting here, we have to assume, comes with challenges. We’ve never experienced such changeable and unpredictable weather forecasts. We live in Ontario, Canada where we see weather systems moving in from a long way off, undisturbed by geological formations or mountain ranges. Here? Every weather forecast should read: “Honestly, we have no idea what’s going to happen.”

More than once we checked the weather in the evenings and made plans for the next day. The next morning, we awoke to a completely different forecast, exactly the opposite of what was said only 12 hours before. In the evenings, as gentle snow fell outside our window, we visited AccuWeather sites that told us it was currently sunny. We started called them In-AccuWeather sites.

We had to give up planning our outings and just wake up in the mornings and accept.

It returned us all to the ancient meditative practice of living in the present moment, which just might be the most valuable gift we received out of our vacation time.

Lake-Louise-ski

Laughter: the language we all speak

Laughter...

Laughter… (Photo credit: leodelrosa…)

When you meet someone new, do you try to find something in common with that person? There is one thing we share with everyone: laughter.

I usually work from home, but in February I started a two-month contract at an office in downtown Ottawa. On my lunch hour every day, I go for a walk around the streets of Canada’s capital. As I walk, I entertain myself by guessing what language the groups of people I meet will be speaking. English and French reflect the bilingual nature of Canada. I hear them both often. But on Parliament Hill, anything goes. Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, Italian . . .. Tourists come from around the world to visit our beautiful city.

One afternoon I approached a group of people in animated conversation. I ventured a guess—French? Just when I got close enough to hear, the group burst into loud laughter. They laughed heartily until I was well past. I never did hear what language they were speaking.

I smiled as I walked on, because I realized it didn’t matter. They were speaking a universal language.

Photo by tsaiproject Creative Commons Attribution

Parliament Hill – Ottawa, Canada
Photo by tsaiproject Creative Commons Attribution

Our thoughts are now free: no more pennies

canadian-penny“Penny for your thoughts?”

Rounded down, our thoughts are now free, so Canada is a country of free thinkers for certain.

For the non-Canadians in my audience, Canada discontinued distribution of the penny, a coin that cost more to make than it was worth, so retailers now round cash transactions up or down to the nearest five cents. An item that costs $1.01 or $1.02 costs $1.00, while an item of $1.03 or $1.04 costs $1.05. (Electronic transactions remain calculated to the penny.)

This affects Canadians at their heart centre—our famous Tim Horton’s doughnuts franchise. Tim Horton’s made a practice of pricing their food items out to the most inconvenient total possible. I don’t have scientific proof to back this up, but I suspect Tim Horton’s franchises kept more pennies rolling than any other business in this country. But now—the mind boggles—a coffee could be $1.50, not $1.51. Oh, praises be!

And rounded down, our thoughts are now free, so choose good ones and share them freely.