GOLDEN LEAFS
As I drive to the Calgary airport, with Banff getting smaller and tinier on the horizons behind me, I stopped on the side of the road to capture one final image. It is a lovely picture of golden leafs. I needed to stop and capture this one image as it marks a transition. Although it is 27 degrees Celsius here today, very soon, the temperature may well read 27 degrees below zero. 
How do you handle the seasons of life?
What suggestions do you have, suggestions that might help anyone to engage and enjoy as fully as possible, the unique beauty of every season?

GOLDEN LEAFS

As I drive to the Calgary airport, with Banff getting smaller and tinier on the horizons behind me, I stopped on the side of the road to capture one final image. It is a lovely picture of golden leafs. I needed to stop and capture this one image as it marks a transition. Although it is 27 degrees Celsius here today, very soon, the temperature may well read 27 degrees below zero. 

  • How do you handle the seasons of life?
  • What suggestions do you have, suggestions that might help anyone to engage and enjoy as fully as possible, the unique beauty of every season?

LATERAL GAZE
Until very recently each time I picked an apple to eat I sliced it in two, cutting it vertically. While on retreat this week, for unknown reasons, I instinctively cut through the apple horizontally. What I found inside was the gift of a star! 
What if, I wonder, there is a whole hidden universe of unexplored gifts waiting to be discovered?
awake, I saunterwith eyes wide opensniffing the ordinaryexcited  to catch the scent of the extraordinary,now unwrappedand wagging it’s tail with the joyof having been found.
Poem & Photo | Philip Chircop
 

LATERAL GAZE

Until very recently each time I picked an apple to eat I sliced it in two, cutting it vertically. While on retreat this week, for unknown reasons, I instinctively cut through the apple horizontally. What I found inside was the gift of a star! 

What if, I wonder, there is a whole hidden universe of unexplored gifts waiting to be discovered?

awake, I saunter
with eyes wide open
sniffing the ordinary
excited  to catch the scent 

of the extraordinary,
now unwrapped
and wagging it’s tail with the joy
of having been found.

Poem & Photo | Philip Chircop

 

WHEN THE LAWN IS HEAVENLY
From time to time make it a point to lie on your back and scan your surroundings! You may be amazed at how much goes unnoticed on a daily basis!
As we were saying, it all depends on your point of view.
Cartoon | Turkish cartoonist Selçuk Erdem  

WHEN THE LAWN IS HEAVENLY

From time to time make it a point to lie on your back and scan your surroundings! You may be amazed at how much goes unnoticed on a daily basis!

As we were saying, it all depends on your point of view.

Cartoon | Turkish cartoonist Selçuk Erdem  

BE A RAINBOW IN SOMEONE’S CLOUD
In between and betwixt the solid rock and fluid waters, a rainbow fell from the heavens, weaving all together in one symphony of colours, inviting me in. And a few words from Maya Angelou emerged from the living waters within:
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. Do not complain. Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.” | Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter (Random House, 2009 ) page xii
Photo | Rainbow over Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada | Philip Chircop SJ

BE A RAINBOW IN SOMEONE’S CLOUD

In between and betwixt the solid rock and fluid waters, a rainbow fell from the heavens, weaving all together in one symphony of colours, inviting me in. And a few words from Maya Angelou emerged from the living waters within:

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. Do not complain. Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.” | Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter (Random House, 2009 ) page xii

Photo | Rainbow over Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada | Philip Chircop SJ

POINTS OF VIEW
Whether you see a staircase as heading up or down depends on where you are standing. It is your perception of the situation. The concepts you have based on your experience with staircases get mixed up in the way you see things, too. You classify the staircase the way you do because you only see it from your perspective. The fact that you see it as either up or down is because you haven’t practiced becoming open enough to see them from all perspectives. When you do see from all sides you will not see either one anymore. The staircase is still the staircase no matter what angle you are seeing it from. No up and no down. Just the staircase as it is. |  Angel Kyodo Williams, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace (Penguin 2002) pages 
CONSIDER THIS
It’s the same with life.We are constantly labelling things and people and then we believe those labels just because we put them there. We forget that the labels came from us. We forget that the fact that we applied them don’t make the labels true.

POINTS OF VIEW

Whether you see a staircase as heading up or down depends on where you are standing. It is your perception of the situation. The concepts you have based on your experience with staircases get mixed up in the way you see things, too. You classify the staircase the way you do because you only see it from your perspective. The fact that you see it as either up or down is because you haven’t practiced becoming open enough to see them from all perspectives. When you do see from all sides you will not see either one anymore. The staircase is still the staircase no matter what angle you are seeing it from. No up and no down. Just the staircase as it is. |  Angel Kyodo WilliamsBeing Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace (Penguin 2002) pages 

CONSIDER THIS

It’s the same with life.We are constantly labelling things and people and then we believe those labels just because we put them there. We forget that the labels came from us. We forget that the fact that we applied them don’t make the labels true.

UNBROKEN BY OARS
"The lake of my mind, unbroken by oars, heaves placidly and soon sinks into an oily somnolence." 
I intentionally drove to Lake Louise this morning with this one single verse of poetic prose by Virginia Woolf in my mind and heart. Sitting quietly, doing nothing, helps me soothe the waves in my mind, returning it gently to a placid state.
Quote | Virginia Woolf, The Waves (Benediction Classics, 2010) page 37Photo | Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies | Philip Chircop SJ

UNBROKEN BY OARS

"The lake of my mind, unbroken by oars, heaves placidly and soon sinks into an oily somnolence." 

I intentionally drove to Lake Louise this morning with this one single verse of poetic prose by Virginia Woolf in my mind and heart. Sitting quietly, doing nothing, helps me soothe the waves in my mind, returning it gently to a placid state.

Quote | Virginia Woolf, The Waves (Benediction Classics, 2010) page 37
Photo | Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies | Philip Chircop SJ

THE TWO DROPS OF OIL

A certain shopkeeper sent his son to learn about the secret of happiness from the wisest man in the world. The lad wandered through the desert for forty days, and finally came upon a beautiful castle, high atop a mountain. It was there that the wise man lived.

Rather than finding a saintly man though, our hero, on entering the main room of the castle, saw a hive of activity: tradesmen came and…

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THE MEMORY OF WHAT YOU HAVE SEEN

You cannot always stay on the summits. You have to come down again… So what’s the point? Only this: what is above knows what is below, what is below does not know what is above. While climbing, take note of all the difficulties along your path. During the descent, you will no longer see them, but you will know that they are there if you have observed carefully. There is an art to finding your way in the lower regions by the memory of what you have seen when you were higher up. When you can no longer see, you can at least still know…

René Daumal, Mount Analogue: A Tale of Non-Euclidian and Symbolically Authentic Mountaineering Adventures, (Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 2004) pages 105–108.
Photo | Mountain Peak, Canmore, Alberta by Philip Chircop SJ

THE MEMORY OF WHAT YOU HAVE SEEN

You cannot always stay on the summits. You have to come down again… So what’s the point? Only this: what is above knows what is below, what is below does not know what is above. While climbing, take note of all the difficulties along your path. During the descent, you will no longer see them, but you will know that they are there if you have observed carefully. There is an art to finding your way in the lower regions by the memory of what you have seen when you were higher up. When you can no longer see, you can at least still know…

René Daumal, Mount Analogue: A Tale of Non-Euclidian and Symbolically Authentic Mountaineering Adventures, (Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 2004) pages 105–108.

Photo | Mountain Peak, Canmore, Alberta by Philip Chircop SJ

CHOOSE LIFE

Now here’s a powerful and impactful ad with a life-giving message! A Hong Kong movie theatre, contrary to normal practice, asked its patrons to leave their cellphones ON when they entered the theatre and settled down in their seats.

Using that fact, Volkswagen crafted this educational commercial. Watch with eyes wide open and commit to “choose life" always and everywhere.

TAKING IT FURTHER

  • In your day to day living, what are the main distractions that endanger life, yours and that of others?
  • What can you do to enhance, promote and proactively protect life?

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?

Logan Laplante is a 13 year-old boy who was taken out of the education system to be home schooled instead. Not only was he home schooled, but Logan had the ability to tailor his education to his interests and also his style of learning, something traditional education does not offer. As Logan has mentioned, when he grows up he wants to be happy and healthy. At a TEDx talk in 2013, he discussed how hacking his education is helping him achieve that goal.