My office has new decorations thanks to the Grade Four students at Holy Trinity School in Torbay. I presented the challenges and rewards of being an explorer to some of the Grade Four classes there. They listened attentively and then had dozens of questions ranging from my favourite mountain to the hardest mountain to the kinds of wildlife I have seen. They sent me home with wonderful strings of prayer flags the students had made. Each flag is decorated representatively of the element its colour represents (i.e. fire, water, air, earth, sky) and with a good wish for my climb of Mount Logan.
I’m looking at a red one that says “Fire up your heart.” It’s an absolutely perfect message of inspiration for me as it’s time to fire up the intensity of my training to get ready for Nepal and then Logan. The heat is on in my office and I love watching the students’ prayer flags flutter in the warm air.
Visiting schools has been one of my most favourite parts of this mountain path and as much as I try to inspire the students while I’m there, it is they that inspire me! Thanks to Madame Coughlan at Holy Trinity for organizing my visit.
Here’s a picture of some prayer flags I took in Nepal. Their Tibetan name is “Lung ta” or wind horse. The following from Wikipedia explains a bit more about them:
“Traditionally, prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The flags do not carry prayers to gods, a common misconception; rather, the Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space. Therefore, prayer flags are thought to bring benefit to all.
By hanging flags in high places the Lung ta will carry the blessings depicted on the flags to all beings. As wind passes over the surface of the flags which are sensitive to the slightest movement of the wind, the air is purified and sanctified by the Mantras.
The prayers of a flag become a permanent part of the universe as the images fade from exposure to the elements. Just as life moves on and is replaced by new life, Tibetans renew their hopes for the world by continually mounting new flags alongside the old. This act symbolizes a welcoming of life’s changes and an acknowledgment that all beings are part of a greater ongoing cycle.
Because the symbols and mantras on prayer flags are sacred, they should be treated with respect. They should not be placed on ground or used in clothing. Old prayer flags should be burned.”