Happy New Year and Happy Old Christmas Eve,
Here in Newfoundland, and I’m sure many other places, this is the twelfth day of Christmas. A time for one last Christmas party, taking the tree and decorations down, and begin to focus on the New Year. After two months of intensive travel, I was glad to settle back into home on Boxing Day and have a quiet week doing little except catch my breath.
I had the great privilege to be the first guest of 2008 on Radio Noon Crosstalk on January 2nd. As the province’s poster child for living one’s dreams, the host and producer invited me on the show to talk about my “Bucket List.” Named after the new movie about two men who are dying and seek to live out their bucket lists, the show invited listeners to call in and discuss what was on their lists. I think I surprised Ramona, the host, when I said the number one thing on my list was learning how to drive a plow truck so I could free my inner “plow girl” and do good deeds on snowy days.
New Year’s is often a time we think about resolutions and change. I this year decided on New Year’s intentions rather than resolutions-somehow that seemed kinder and more compassion. I was reading an article about life change tonight and it suggested that to be successful at many life change, three things had to be present: a relationship with someone who inspires us and shows us that something is possible, practice and skills at whatever the change is or requires, and thinking in new ways after the first two things happen. The three steps were summed up as relating, repeating, and reframing. Three new R’s for the New Year. I’m going to keep them in mind as I set about training for my next climb since I set a New Year’s intention of practicing compassion in every part of my life.
Karuna is the Tibetan word for compassion. My Buddhist friend and mentor, Susan, once had a router. She named it Karuna so it would beam out its name sixty-times a second. She liked the image of compassion being sent out into the neighbourhood so frequently. On my own Buddhist path, compassion has been a key part of the journey and something I want to nurture in others and myself.
I am also a fan of alliteration. While searching for a focus for this climb, I liked the how “Kili Karuna” sounded as it rolled off my tongue. Suddenly, I knew I had found my intention for this climb: to train and climb with compassion in every step. For the first time, on a seven summits climb, friends will join me. I look forward to guiding them on their high altitude journeys and sharing some of the tricks I’ve learned for surviving the inevitable suffering of low oxygen environments.
Kilimanjaro is Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, is the highest peak in Africa at 5895 metres and if often referred to as “The Roof of Africa.” The climb is scheduled for June 2008 just at the end of the rainy season. As usual, I will blog weekly during the months leading up to the climb and share lessons and insights from the path. I hope you’ll come along on the journey and share yours with me.
It was an exciting week for me in regards to my upcoming book. We settled on the cover and it looks great. This week I meet with the publisher to choose the photographs for center color glossy photo section and the manuscript is out being copy-edited as I type this. I will keep you posted about when it will be available–I think I may pass out the first time I see it for purchase on Amazon. I also learned this week that I will be honoured in April as the Minnesota State University Distinguished Alumnus of the Year in the Humanitarian category. Mankato is the university where I studied experiential education and adventure-based counseling. I had no idea I had even been nominated and so the notification of the honour came as a complete surprise.
Wishing you all the best in 2008,