Kili Karuna #12

Happy Easter and Spring to All,

It was a whirlwind week that alternated between flurries of activity and hours of sitting “doing nothing.” I spent as much of the week as I could, in a meditation retreat learning to work with my mind through meditation. I tried to fit training and hockey around the demanding schedule and was successful to some extent. I wished I had had the foresight to delay my rest week to reduce the demands of this week. Oh well–hindsight is twenty-twenty.

Some of the teaching of during the retreat focused on the six paramitas: generosity, discipline, patience, exertion, meditation, and wisdom. The Sanskrit word paramita is often translated as “to cross over to the other shore.” Through the practice of these six attributes, we begin to see the essence of our true nature. Practising the paramitas encourages compassionate and enlightened living.

I have often thought that each mountain I’ve climbed has taught me one particular paramita. Denali taught me discipline. Aconcagua demanded patience. Elbrus invited exertion. Everest was a time of mind and meditation. My sense, now, is that Kilimanjaro is teaching me generosity. Perhaps, then, the entire mountain path will yield and invoke wisdom. Moh Hardin, our teacher for the retreat, gave us insight on how each paramita builds on the former and can be an antidote for obstacles and times of confusion.

It was wonderful to be back in retreat with my sangha as I’d missed the last two retreats because of a conference and Everest. It is critical to have a community that supports us through both challenging and joyful times and I was glad to spend some concentrated time with the wonderfully creative members of my sangha.

I spoke at a conference in September that related to safety. The conference brought together high school students, industry, and government agencies. A few of the high school students from Deer Lake so appreciated my message that they made a commitment to try to bring me out to Deer Lake for their wellness day. I was so impressed a few months ago when they had pulled off the fundraising and logistics to invite me to cross the island to speak to their fellow students.

On Wednesday, the weather gods relented and allowed me to fly to Deer Lake. There I spoke to Elmwood High School, Xavier Junior High, and Elmwood Primary. Not only had the students got me to their school, they arranged for me to reach out to two other schools as well. In the course of that whirlwind visit, I spoke to over 800 students and was thrilled to get much further east than Grand Falls-Windsor.

Snowstorms prevented my long runs the past two weeks so I was excited to get out for a sixteen kilometre romp this morning. There is a quiet that comes to my mind when I’m moving for more than an hour–it’s like my thoughts get pounded into the pavement and the rhythmic movement keeps new ones from crashing in. The brilliant blue sky illuminated by the fresh morning light beamed down a sense of possibility and contentment. The streets were quiet of traffic on this Easter morn but I had the good fortune to run into two friends along the way and stopped to chat.

Now, my hamstrings know they’ve put in a good effort and I look forward to stretching them out in a hockey game this afternoon. Tomorrow it’s back to discipline and exertion with lots of time in both the gym and on the hills that surround the harbour. Only nine weeks to go until the team takes on the challenges of Africa’s highest peak. Thanks to all who wrote in support as I learn to sway with the challenges of living life in the public eye.

Have a good week,


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