Dreamweaver Invitation

October 17, 2010

I found a sacred place to share with you where dreams really do come true and I can prove it!  This is a long story, but not as long as the time I’ve waited to share it. It’s an invitation to act on making your dreams come true.

April 2005 – The Dream Awakens

The invitation that would change the course of my life happened one April weekend in 2005. I had just wrapped up training with youth service agencies in Belfast, Northern Ireland when my colleague and friend, Tim Chapman, invited me to spend the weekend at his cottage on the North Coast. He grinned with fond memories as he spoke of spending carefree summers as a child in a little seaside village of Castlerock. As an adult he and his wife Alice built a cottage with a spectacular view of the magnificent North Sea.

I arrived on Saturday and strolled around the quaint little community and walked the dogs along the expansive white sand beach the stretches as far as the eye can see. Before supper, Tim and I watched the Grand National horse race, a famous and notoriously dangerous annual steeplechase with a massive $1 million plus prize to the horse and rider who survive first.

Sunday morning was a mild day with partially overcast sky as we walked the path down through a glen and up past sheep grazing in the field surrounding what remained of a once glorious estate castle that was the namesake of the village.

At the edge of the sea was an intact round building, a silent sentinel of days gone by. The Mussenden Temple sat on the precipice of a 200 foot cliff where earth meets sky and ocean. The only manmade objects that separated this view from a thousand years ago in time was a ribbon of rails far below us that support the train from Belfast to Londonderry-Derry that rumbles, quite literally, below us through a tunnel carved through the cliffs.

The surf met the beach far below us like a scimitar of thousands of tiny white stallions, manes flowing wildly, as they charged with pounding hooves into the sand closely followed by the next wave as they to, valiantly took up the charge only to be also lost in the unforgiving sands of time. There are many magical and majestic places on earth and this is surely among the most awesome.

The wind was whispering steadily off the North Sea. As I approached the round building perched on the precipice of the cliff, I recognize that it was out of place for the typical architecture of this land. I was unaware of the rich history of this place at the time of my first visit. All I knew was that it was carefully constructed and placed in the edge of the ocean with a deliberate intent.

The Mussenden Temple was built in 1785 and formed part of the estate of Frederick Augustus Hervey, a wealthy man who was the benevolent Bishop of Derry. It was built as a library and modelled on the Temple of Vesta in Italy. He dedicated the library to the woman loved, Lady Mussenden. I am sure they enjoyed many hours together “reading.” At the time of my visit I didn’t know the temple as inspired by love, nor did I know that it was a popular spot to rent from the National Trust for marriage ceremonies. But I felt it.

We walked up the 14 steps and crossed the threshold and the first thing I saw was an empty round room with brick walls supporting a brick dome ceiling high above us. The first thing I heard was the relentless wind off the North Sea that caresses the building and makes the windows tremble. The first thing I felt was not exactly a feeling but rather an intuitive flash. Do you ever get a notion that you can’t explain, an intuitive flash from out of nowhere? When my eye caught one of the cracked floor tiles, I bent over, picked it up and with out thinking, heard myself utter a dream that would unfold in my life in ways I never imagined.

“What have you got there?” Tim inquired.

“Tim,” I announced, “I have a crazy idea. I am going to place marriage proposal under this stone and bring the woman I love back here to propose.”

Tim replied without skipping a beat, “Great Peter, but you don’t even have a girlfriend!”

“I’ll work on that,” was my best reply.

I have yet to read the best selling book “The Secret” or indeed any of those popular books promoting the “law of attraction.” or those books on manifesting abundance. Quite frankly I was sceptical that the power of intention, simply asking, believing and receiving, was any thing more than a good turn of fortune. Boy was I wrong.

We took a picture of the floor stone and made our way back to the cottage. To be honest, I thought nothing more about it. I never put sticky notes on my bathroom mirror to affirm “I am loveable.” I didn’t watch any more Oprah shows than usual. But in a few short months I did give my romantic intention a booster shot.

July 2005 – Booster Shot

Every first weekend in July I attend the Stan Rogers Music Festival in the far eastern tip of mainland Nova Scotia in a little town called Canso. Eastern most point in the Nova Scotia is surrounded on three sides by ocean so not surprisingly the weather can be wet. It’s an annual sojourn that I take with my long-time friend Oliver. We were sitting on our portable chairs in the front row enjoying the Friday night mainstage concert when, about halfway through the evening, the heavens opened and the rain came tumbling down.

We pulled out our little tarp that was just barely large enough to cover us both and cuddled to stay dry. This situation prompted me to have another intuitive flash.

I said to Oliver, “You know I love ya bud but we really ought to do something about our bachelor situation. And I have an idea. Let’s make a bet that next year we each bring a girlfriend back here with us to share the music and cuddles under the rain tarp.”

Oliver replied, “Yer on! and let’s up the ante by booking separate campsites for next year!”

Little did I realize how I had just gave a booster shot to my dream of an Irish proposal.

July 2006 – Angel in the Mist

When the Stan Rogers Music Festival rolled around again the next year Oliver had actually met Karen and they were going steady but she was unable to attend the festival because of previous commitments.  I joke that he technically did not win the bet because she needed to be here in person to “tarp cuddle” and it looks like he was stuck with me again because I had no luck at all. Oh well, at least the weather forecast was predicting clear skys even though the fog was rolling in.

We were sitting on our portable chairs in the front row enjoying the Friday night mainstage concert when, about halfway through the evening, I went for a walk to stretch my legs. As I came to the back of the crowd I noticed an Angel walking towards me. Her blond hair peeked out from under her hood as she strode eagerly towards me, emerging from the fog and mist as if from a Wuthering Heights novel, and gave me a big hug.

Her name was Andrea and we had dated 18 years ago. We first met at church sponsored Friday night young adults group. We meet every Friday night to socialize with the group of like-minded young adults.  We had some great times, I was very fond of her but I was also working for Greenpeace at the time and I was a self-righteous vegetarian activist.  She recalls one date when I criticized her for wearing leather. I’m sure that had something to do with us going our separate ways. The time was just not right.

But this moment her hug was warm and welcoming and I invited her and her friend Lynnette to join us in the front row to listen to music. We enjoyed the music and conversation that eve and the next day. She shared that she had separating from her husband after 14 years. By the end of the weekend it felt like we were rekindling the fire.

I had two thoughts pop into my mind that weekend. The first was, “Yes! ” and the second thought was, “Does this mean that I won the bet with Oliver?”

We started dating and as the old expression goes, “going steady.” We were growing closer in heart and commitment so we planned for a trip to Costa Rica together in January of 2007.

January 2007 – Near Proposal

We planned half of the two weeks in Costa Rica to be a guided eco-adventure. The first half we were on our own. Noting my love of trekking up mountains, Andrea researched that there was a trail to the top of Costa Rica’s highest mountain, Mount Chirripo at 12,500 feet.

The trail was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, including my trek base camp of Mount Everest. The route was only 14 kilometres long but the trail has a heart pounding vertical ascent of 5000 feet over that 14 kilometres distance.  We started at sunrise, paced well and 11 hours later, well after the sun had set and I was wearing socks on my hands for the cold, we made it to the base camp lodge.

The next morning we set off up the last 5 km to the summit peak. The trail was gradual and forgiving except for the last 300 metres of which was “all hands on” climbing. Challenging to go up and terrifying to descend as we tried to plant our lead foot below us seeking a toe hold where we couldn’t see below. We did it !

At the top on a clear day you can see both the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean. The clouds rolled in below us and enveloped the protruding summit leaving us above it all and with the sensation that we were in fact on cloud nine.

It was with this magnificent backdrop that I realized Andrea was the woman I would spend the rest of my life with.  After all is said and done, the person to spend your life with is the one that walks best beside you every step of the way through the joy and sorrow, the doubt and discouragement, the peaks and valleys on the trail of life as was so wonderfully miniaturized by our adventure to this place.

I had two thoughts in this order 1. What a romantic place to ask for her hand in marriage. That notion was trumped by another, “Doh! What about Ireland and the Mussenden Temple proposal?”

I bumbled my way through a conversation balancing these two heartfelt but contradictory possibilities. I fumbled with my intent to have both and actually said, “This would be a beautiful place ask for your hand in marriage, but I’m not going to.”

Before she kicked me off the mountain I partially recovered and blurted, “But I love you. Would be enough for you to know I want to spend the rest of my life with you?”

I told her I had something else in mind for a romantic proposal, if she could just trust that and be patient. This was a promise that I currently had no opportunity to deliver on.

We made up songs as we hiked back down the mountain in half the time and returned to the capital city of San Jose to join the eco adventure tour folks. When I checked my email at the hotel and found an invitation to speak at the Irish Travellers Association!  The event was this coming April. With a cosmic grin I promptly invited Andrea to join me on this trip to make it a vacation. I said it casually but inside I was bursting with delight. I now had the means to hatch my romantic plot.

Footnote: For some reason every room we stayed in for two weeks had the number 7 in it. We started to think that July 7, 2007 might be a good wedding day with or with out formal proposal.

April 2007 – The Proposal

We flew all night to arrive at 6am London’s Heathrow Airport and then skipped across the Irish Sea to land at the delightful Belfast City Airport. I drove the rental car on the “wrong side” to take us up the North Coast and arrived at noon in Tim’s cottage in Castlerock, I noted that the cottage was number 7 Shore Road.

We were exhausted from the all night flight so Andrea took an afternoon nap while Tim and I watched the Grand National horse race. I stayed awake because I wanted to confirm with Tim that every thing was ready. I had mailed him a photo of Andrea and I taken at sunset in Costa Rica and asked him to slip it under the floor tile as was the plan from two years earlier. As it turned out it was exactly two years ago this very weekend.

“Tim,” I inquired, “Is everything ready?”

“Yes,” he assured, “I put the photo in a wee plastic bag to protect it and slipped it under the floor tile as planned.”

“Tim,” I pondered, “How am I going to get her to pick up that stone?”

“I have no idea,” was his first reaction, but tried to offer a solution, “Maybe you can make a game of it by talking about leprechauns and looking for treasures under the floor. We’re in Ireland after all.”

“Not high on the romance scale but it might have to do,” I conceded.

At dinner that evening Andrea suggested that we take an early morning hike the next day up to, “that castle you’re always talking about.”  Yes!

Sunday morning was a mild day with partially overcast sky as we walked the path down through a glen and up past sheep grazing in the field. I was a bit distracted by some the visitors who were already checking out the building so I stalled going up the 14 steps by suggesting that we take in the view. When we crossed the threshold I had the thought of taking a picture of us using the timer. I bent down and placed the camera on the window sill but it sloped down to what would be a photo of our feet. Without thinking, I asked Andrea to grab something to prop up the camera. Of all the things she could have used she bent down and picked up that floor tile.

There is a quaint British term for what Andrea experienced, it’s called “gobsmacked.” After all, we had just walked through the door and there she was holding a photo of us she had just found under a floor tile she had just lifted. On the back was I had written the proposal. Good thing too because when she turned around I was on my knee and I squeaked out (my voice cracks when I get emotional) the proposal as written on the back of the photo. It was good to have a backup.

“Will you be my partner in life, will you watch the last sunset with me. Will you marry me?”

Fortunately she said yes.

Back to the cottage for some Ulster fry breakfast as the phone continued to ring from villagers who were curious as to what happened.

The next day, Monday, we bought our wedding rings from Steenson’s jewellers on Bedford Street in Belfast. We appreciated the synchronicity that my cousin’s boy is named Steen and live in Bedford, NS.

Once we selected our rings, the salesperson noted the number of diamonds embedded in Andrea’s ring before resizing. We hadn’t noticed the exact number. He counted seven.

We were married at the waterfront park near our home in Bedford on July 7, 2007 at 7 o’clock in the evening with seven attendants standing with us.

May 2008 – Bolder Dreams

I returned to Northern Ireland to offer a series of leadership development and good relations building programs in the communities of Derry and Newry. And, as tradition has it, I spent another weekend at Tim and Alice’s cottage in Castlerock.

Tim and I had fun as usual including some boyish adventure walking back from Mussenden Temple through the train tunnel, and getting caught half way through by an oncoming train! We pressed our backs to the tunnel wall and lived to tell the tale. Good thing because I had just committed 4 new dreams for a bigger life to a paper under the stone.

During this visit to the Mussenden Temple I felt encouraged by past success to write up a bolder, bigger dream list. This intention setting session also called on me to be more creative than I expected because the building was locked. I slipped my dream sheet under a foundation stone in the outside casement of the basement window. Close enough, I mused. And was it ever.

I wrote four intentions and forgot the actual wording but remember the spirit of them all. They were:

1. I Dream of a baby to love.

By May of 2008 Andrea and I had lived many months on an emotional roller coaster of anticipation and disappointment since we miscarried in September of 2007. When I returned from this trip we were scheduled to start in vitro fertilization.  As it came to pass we didn’t succeed through step one of this invasive biological process.

As a couple, we took on the perspective that we would be “child free.” As coincidence would have it, several weeks later we both called the Bichon dog breeder within hours of each other on the same day to inquire about the availability of new puppies. So much for surprises. We took 6 week old Millicent home on the Labour Day holiday weekend 2008.

That same weekend we received the phone call that changed it all. Andrea’s twin sister Angela called and asked us a simple question, “If a baby dropped in you lap would you keep it?”

We sat stunned and hung on every word as Angela explained the story that had been unfolding behind our back as orchestrated by her and her husband’s sister Nancy. Through a work connection, they had found out about a pregnant 16 year old who had decided to make an adoption plan for her baby due to be born at the end of November.

Over the summer, Angela and Nancy had written and sent the birth mother a glowing profile of Andrea and I. The birth mother must have been impressed because she approved us to be the adoptive parents! We had never considered adoption because it takes many years of waiting to succeed through, “The System.”  And here we were invited to adopt baby through a specified private adoption to be born in less than three months! Did we ever hustle to get ready!

I was working in the South of Ireland and flew back November 27, 2008. Andrea met me at the airport and we went directly to the maternity hospital. Hannah was born at 3:42am Friday morning November 28. We held her 15 minutes after she was born and took her home with an over whelming sense of gratitude.

The birth mother and birth father and their families visit from time to time because we chose to have an open adoption. We were honoured to be we invited to the birth mother’s high school graduation party in June of 2010. She wanted everyone who helped her graduate to be there. Our gift of Hannah was also a gift to her in knowing her baby had a safe and loving home so she could to follow her career dreams and get a higher education.

The birth mother asked me when she was pregnant about what our girl’s name choice Hannah meant. I told her that I didn’t know but I’d just loved that name for as long as I could remember and dreamed that if I ever had a daughter I’d give her that name. I later looked up the origin of the name Hannah in one of those baby name books. Hannah: “Gift of grace from God” We have our baby to love.

2. I Dream of financial freedom

I was surprised at the form this took but the short version is that I received an unexpected windfall that hit me in late 2009. I have emerged with no debt and very few financial worries and have the freedom to dedicate more of my speaking to charities and particularly offering free talks to Parkinson’s chapters across Canada.

3. I Dream of a bestselling book

I realised later that I hit the 5000 bestseller mark for copies sold with my first co-authored book published in 1994, The Healthy Relationships Curriculum. But what I really had in mind was a new book that was yet to be conceived.

My creative muse inspired me in 2010 to start two book ideas. The one that has the most passion and gets people most excited is, “The 10/90 Principle.” It’s about how life experiences can be seen as 10% events – stuff that happens to us on the outside and 90% how we think about and perceive what happens. Our two choices within the 90% that we control are “gratitude attitude” and “stinking thinking.”

It’s designed like a reverse book that looks at numerous life events from each of the two perspectives.  For example, the event in Chapter 7 is the hit of my Parkinson’s disease diagnosis. The gratitude attitude side of the book explores the amazing gift this disease has been in my life. Flip the book over in your hands to the stinking thinking cover and the same event, also Chapter 7 is told from the perspective the recounts shock, shame and sadness. Choose your perspective because we don’t get to choose the events of life that are going to happen anyway.

If everyone I told about the book that got excited by the concept were to order then I may well have a best seller. We’ll see how this dream gets fulfilled in it’s entirety in 2011!

4. I Dream of better health discipline

Since my Parkinson disease diagnoses in 2005, the one consistently proven factor for thriving with the disease is exercise! In the scheme of things, this dream was really more of a goal because it involves 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. To date I have ramped up my Yoga routine, take regular dog walks and have more Hannah in the backpack adventures. Fixing the elliptical exercise machine before winter sets in is next.

Perhaps not all dreams drop into our lives as a gift from an abundant universe. Sometimes to get what we desire requires hard work. But one thing remains the same whether we seek the manifested intention of a dream or the results of dedicated work in the direction of a goal. It’s a truth that underpins the entire success formula of Conceive, Believe and Receive. That truth that runs through is the degree to which we allow ourselves to celebrate life and it’s infinite capacity for love.

October 2010 – Share the Joy

I was blessed to receive a participant’s bursary to attend the World Parkinson’s Congress in Glasgow, Scotland. To add to my good fortune, the wonderful women at Women’s Aid Northern Ireland said yes to an Energizing Unsung Heroes workshop which enabled me to pop across the Irish Sea to support them and revisit Northern Ireland and my favourite cottage.

It was typical cloudy day when Tim and I once again hiked up to Mussenden temple. I had three goals in my heart. The first goal was to retrieve the dream list I had placed some two and a half years earlier. When I retrieved the paper it was soggy and a bit mouldy from 2 winters of storms that blew under the sill even though the window was on the leeward side of the building. I had actually forgotten the exact wording of the dream list and was astonished at how accurate it had become.

The second reason was to offer another dream sheet to slip under the manifesting magic stones. The dream was simply. I want to bring a group of 12 people to the Mussenden Temple in the Fall of 2011 as a way of helping them make their dreams come true.

The third reason was to create an invitation video for folks curious about the Dreamweaver’s Tour 2011. We hope you enjoy as you consider this invitation.

View the Invitation Video Click Here

Today

This is my dream come true story so far. There is more to come, as always…and it may include you. I humbly share this big life journey with the sincere hope that it inspires you to release even greater passion towards what which you desire for your life, your career and your family. Thank you for reading this far, that is meant to be. What happens next is for you to discern…

Perhaps your soul will be satisfied by reading this as an inspirational blessing story that wells up a heartfelt sense of gratitude for your own life. You can never be too grateful.

Perhaps you are thinking of a friend, colleague or family member who might benefit from this story and the Dreamweaver Tour opportunity. If so, feel free to forward the link to this story with a personal “thinking of you” note.

Perhaps now is the time for you to enrol in this adventure yourself. Perhaps you are thinking of reasons why you can’t, barriers, real or imagined, that are all too familiar. Perhaps it’s time to grow anyway.

Trust that you know what is next. I Iook forward to the possibility of supporting and challenging you on the Dreamweaver’s Tour 2011 journey.

Stay Blessed,
Peter

To join the tour – click here

Support if you can’t go to Ireland


Best Show on Earth

September 15, 2008

On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I arranged a 24 hour stop over in Las Vegas to see Cirque du Soleil shows in the flesh. The story of O, an extravaganza of earth, water and fire was beyond imagination.

Have you ever been in a situation where the utterance of mere words were feeble to express the stirring of inspiration welling up inside? Perhaps that is why the soul thinks in pictures, because words alone can’t possibly contain such wonder and beauty.

Let the show begin. The obligatory clowns goof it up with the audience pre show then the huge red curtain pulls up and way followed closely by a read silk curtain that pulls back to reveal the “stage floor”, an aqua marine blue shimmering pool.

Immediately in unison synchro swimmers emerge with grace and precision to celebrate the best of human expression. They close and dive into the pool and disappear without a trace. The first 5 minutes of a 2 hour show. What an inspiritus experience. What a way to start each day. A great reminder of what we are all capable of in our own way. That is, of course, to do what we love and inspire others in our witness

Visit the Cirque Du Soleil Website


Love List of Natural Highs

September 15, 2008

My Love List of Natural Highs

What are your natural highs? What are the things you love to experience that light your spirit and cause an inner giggle? I invite you to make a list of all things you can think of that you cherish. Share them using the comments link at the end and or tell some friends and ask for theirs.

As a way to get you thinking, here is my Love List of natural highs. These are experiences that I love that no drug on earth can replace. Maybe after you read my list you will think of your own. Certainly write them down but better still share you list with someone special and maybe two people will tell two people and so on, and so on….

Peter

A Partial “Love List” of Natural Highs

1. Licking the eggbeaters after making chocolate cake
2. A hot shower after 5 days of camping
3. Getting mail from a long lost friend
4. Laundry fresh off the clothesline
5. Lying in bed listening to the rain or snowstorm with no need to get up
6. The long walk on a deserted beach
7. Airport arrivals and departure areas where people care so much
8. Laughing at yourself when the unexpected drops into place, inner giggle.
9. Laughing just because someone else is laughing so hard
10. Playing with a puppy or kitten or any baby animal for that matter
11. Tickling a toddler
12. Dogs eyebrows especially when they are curious
13. Old people, their faces, hands and stories
14. Swinging on a big swing
15. Finding $20 in old clothing
16. Comics and cartoons
17. Crying because a movie is so touching
18. Realizing the person you’re with is also moved to tears
19. Riding a bike downhill, hands off an option
20. Falling asleep on the beach or to the sighs of waves
21. Hugs from kids
22. Elephants and massages, no relation
23. Static electricity arcing on a sweater when lights are out
24. Homemade Pie … apple, cherry, pumpkin, banana creme, whatever.
25. Climbing up things like trees or mountains. Maybe a guy thing
26. Friendly people in lineups at the grocery or bank
27. Someone else making and buttering my toast
28. Cherries or raspberries in or on anything
29. That big aria from the Magic Flute
30. Sunset from the top of a hill
31. Cookies fresh from the oven
32. Warm sand between my toes
33. Wind in my hair and kite
34. Old people, their faces, their hands and their stories, again in case I forget.
35. Creating invitations for others to write about what they love.

What’s on your Love List of natural highs?


Life Mountain

September 12, 2008

Are you a patient person? Or do you zip around cars on wide streets to find yourself at a stop light and the person you just whipped around rolls up behind you? Or are you more like the person in the passed car who chuckles at the irony of the great equalizer we call traffic lights? Have you ever asked the question of yourself or others, why is everybody in such a hurry to be somewhere they are not?

I learned something about patience from a mountain I hiked up recently in Costa Rica. (Yes, that explains the regurgitation of others wit and wisdom in this newsletter these past weeks).

Cerro Chirripo is 12,280ft at the summit. From the top on a clear day you can see both oceans that caress the Eastern and Western coasts of this pristine Central America country. The trail starts at just under 5000ft elevation and winds 14.5 kms up through the cloud forest jungle. If you are lucky you can reach 11,000ft to the base camp lodge in the same day. If you are unlucky you sleep in the woods because there is nothing but trail between. Here’s the math, over 6000 ft elevation gain in just over 14 kms. Unprecedented and Unbelievable!

By comparison, I’ve had the honour of hiking the Rockies, Masada in Israel, the Appalachians, the Alps and of course the Himalaya (as you can tell from my keynote topic). This single day broke the barriers as it was without a doubt the most physically and psychologically demanding I have ever encountered. But we left at first light and made it in 10 hours, clothes sweat soaked and as the sun went down I pulled extra pair of socks on my hands. Success with no twisted ankles or appreciable muscle soreness, even the next day when we made the final ascent to the summit. So what’s the secret? Answer: Patience with a dash of perseverance.

The only way to physically endure the high altitude without embolisms and not tax your muscles to jelly or worse, throbbing with pain, is to walk at a pace of grace, stop to re-balance lost fluids and take long breathes to reduce the chances of altitude sickness. The best way to emotionally endure is to be blessed with a fabulous companion on the journey like my partner Andrea. We paused every 100 metres of ascent to acclimatize and restore the balance of our “drive and go” energy with rest and stillness and when we did we took notice of the incredible beauty and the vistas around us.

Here’s the metaphor in a question. Do you stop to re-balance your “drive to the prize” energy with stillness and calm? Do you skip timeout opportunities like break, lunch or a sit down meal with loved ones to balance off the crazy bustle of a busy day. The mountain top, whether that be a big project at work or the ultimate summit, death, will always be there so slow down, take it easy, call on patience and enjoy the ride.

For my partner and I it was only when we stopped to smell the bromilades (the jungle equivalent of roses) that we really embraced the beauty of the moment. From monkeys swishing from branch to branch high above to a butterfly that alighted on our backpack or the flock of parrots flying overhead. In sitting still enough we heard a rustle of a huge black beetle in the dry leaves at our feet. Sure the summit vista rocked but the true beauty is really the quality of journey along the way that is worth the celebration. And who you share the long of road of life with.


Life as a Mountain Trek

September 12, 2008

Nepal Himalayan Trekking September – October 2001

I journeyed by foot for 20 days in the worlds highest mountains. A land where walking is the only way to arrive at one’s destination. I went by group, I soloed and I followed yak and donkey trains, I walked in the driving rain where each rest stop required a mandatory Juka (leech) check. Yes, I picked the little blighters off my ankles. I trucked up the Lamjura Pass. 6 hours up and 4 hours down to the comfort of the village and lodge. My legs have never been so heavy with utter and complete exhaustion. I have never been so aware of my body, every breath, every muscle, screamed of my earthly presence. Any past thoughts or laziness of not completing or committing are obliterated. On the trail there is no choice to but forward or not, succeeding was very much in my face as just taking the next step.

I was nicknamed George Clooney at the first for my resemblance to the actor. But after I attempted to discretely move off the trail to relieve my self in the squat fashion I later realized how the trail curved scenically below revealing what turned out to be my not so discrete perch. I then earned the modified nickname of George “Mooney”

Things I learned from the journey:

1. You cannot take the next step without letting go of the last.

What a piece of gold for the journey of life. How often have I held to past, comparing partners, jobs that were better, summers of glory to what I was experiencing, wishing it was like it used to be, afraid to try something new, stalled in uncomfortable comfort, sleeping in when my gifts could be shared, hesitating to give my very best, deepest, most heartfelt self to the moment.

2. Mindfulness of each step is a gift.

Get distracted or loose attention and you risk a slip or twist. A twisted ankle or worse days walk from medical attention is a constant reminder to be vigilant. As life drifts forward we have a 3 choices: Be stuck in guilt of the past, fear (false evidence appearing real) of the future or be mindful in the love of each moment as it exists. I can tell you that looking too far up the trail as it ascends radically is akin to always slipping into that future and playing games with what outcomes you want to control. Looking ahead and letting self doubt sink in actually weighs the tissue of the body. I recall looking up and telling myself I can’t make this rise and actually feeling my body get heavier reacting to the emotion of doubt. Such is fear of what the future may or may not bring. The past what if’s and what could a been also distract from the beauty life in this moment. If I am not mindful and grateful for what is now in this step and each step as they exist then I miss the best part of my life.

3. The beauty and strength of being a follower.

I have been a leader most of my life and if not that then certainly very independent and in no need of someone else to tell me what to do. I was blessed with a breech birth that set that tone for my life and gave me stubbornness and discernment and questioning those who would lead. It made me a capable activist.

When the trail is long and steep I learned that two people walking together is more powerful than one. On many occasions I would step in pace with my lead walking partner. Right foot ahead at the same time. Like pacing or active listening in connected conversation. I felt the strength of two as one and was able to ascend some tough hauls. Following into the unknown is humbling and egoless and is a silent vigil to the power of two, or more. Talking and sharing on the journey is a delightful subset of this learning as well, the more we share who we are the lighter the trip.

4. Challenge and support takes magical forms.

Love is both challenge and support. On the trail, our colleague and friend Judith, found one big hill particularly challenging. Chris our host was very supportive in his verbal encouragement and step by step commentary to bolster her motivation to climb. They arrived at group rest stops often exhausted and many minutes behind the group. She was tiring fast and retreat was not an option. Support takes many turns and surprises and forms. While Judith was struggling up the infamously steep and high Lamjura pass a porter who had observed her challenge walked up beside her and simply took her by the hand. They walked together in silence. Judith described her feeling as a surge of strength though this powerful mountain raised hand in hers. The simplicity of the gesture and the grace of the open heart of caring that reached out was very inspirational to us all. How often to we reach out to touch someone just to let them know we are there for them. Not lost in words that may not need to be said but just honouring a profound presence of love and connection that could be the greatest gift of all. For Judith, it made the difference between completing this leg of her life journey. Recall the last time someone touched you and encouraged you along your path.

5. Discipline is a challenge

The higher mind of the spirit has a complex relationship the lower or ego mind of the body. The Body constantly gives messages to quite, slow down, veg out, take it easy, roll over and snooze some more when you awake. My ego mind fills my mind with thoughts of “can’t do it”, “not strong enough”. This same challenge is issued everyday. Personal mastery includes four pillars: gratitude, certainty, presence and love. How often have I slipped into ingratitude for what I have or don’t have, confusion and uncertainty for what is important to me, stuck in comparisons of what was and could be and of course imposing conditional love rather than offering and receiving unconditional love. It takes discipline and conscious commitment to my purpose. Walking the path required that with every step. Walking through life requires that with every action, every day.

6. There are many goals but only the purpose has heart.

Hiking to the summit of Kalapathar at 18,000 ft was my goal to achieve. How many goals do we pursue because they are there or because it is the thing to do. Perhaps for many it is to have the newest car the biggest house, the career with status, the latest in household electronics. I completed this trek because it was the thing to do. I decided to do it after I spoke with a German family with two girls about age 10 and 12. They made the grade so could I. One of the few western families I saw on the trail. Everyone else was doing it. It was on the map as the end of the trail and I felt that status could be mine if I fulfilled my ambition to hike to the top of the earth. A certain pride awaited me as I achieved one of the highest hikeable mountains on earth. This was my goal for many days. I slept poorly at the higher levels gasping for air in the middle of the night.

I walked up 20 feet and rested for 5 minutes to catch breathe. It was a hard climb. I stayed at the top for over half an hour visually embracing the magnificent vista. As I started down, I had a wave of completion, a kind of quite satisfaction. I took about 7 steps before a deep longing welled up inside. My goal was compete, it was time to return. Return to what? I then thought of all the things I loved, my family and kids, friends, work, my home, I even thought about my grade 1 teacher Mrs. Lampshire. I reflected on this for a long time walking down the mountain and realized that the purpose of life regardless of the short term goals that may seem to satiate the longing, is ultimately to return home to love.

This is the essence of my life purpose. People seek my services to help them remember what they have forgotten. That is, what is it that they truly love. What does home look like to them, spiritually, socially, relationship, career wise, health, mind? We spend some much time an energy searching for the meaning of the 4 great questions of life. 1. Where have I come from? 2. Why am I here? 3. Who am I? and 4. Where am I going? These questions are signposts for the searching soul in need of a home, the self in need of a purpose, the person returning to love. Awash in a sea of substitutes provided by consumer culture with a product or experience or vacation that promises a hand drawn facsimile and surrogate. The quality of the life journey is not measured by the number of cars we own, or money we make or indeed by the amount of mountains we have climbed but by the gift of the heart we give and receive in the service of increasing love in the world.

Perhaps Carlos Castenada said it best in this book the Teachings of Don Juan, “Any path is only a path, and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you…Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question…Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good, if it doesn’t it is of no use.”

CLICK HERE to Learn more about the Journey to Everest Keynote Speech


Rejoice in Your Smallness

September 12, 2008

She is called Sagarmatha (Great Mother) by the Nepali People.

I had the great honour of sitting at her feet with awestruck humility and praise for every breath of this precious life.
More on my experience.

The Roof of the World

The Roof of the World

More at Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Everest


Sacred Places

September 12, 2008

Do you have a sacred place? I know it is best to have this place inside you, but sometimes having a special outside environment helps take you to that place on the inside. Do you know what I mean? Like a piece of music that softens your face, or a taste, like ice cream that brings out the child, or the energy of a city park full of people enjoying life. All delighting the senses with beauty to create pathways to sacred places for you.

I was honoured to visit such a sacred place this summer and I’d love to share a bit of the story with you.

Live with Spirit

Peter

As I waited at the departure gate in New York’s Kennedy Airport, I could see the looming Qantas 747-300 Jumbo jet we were about to board. On its cowling was written “The Spirit of Australia.” What fascinating claim by a corporate giant. I set to thinking about that assertion as we were lined up to board the plane to be “spirited away” to a new hemisphere and a county that claims a crocodile hunter as one of it’s hero’s. So I decided to make that the theme of my trip to Innerwealth Boot camp in Sydney, Australia, Spirit of Australia, sounded great and proved to be just perfect.

A Land Down Under

There is indeed a unique spirit in this land “down under.” The city of Sydney is just one big successful playground. Sydney Harbor, with it’s many unique bays and coves, art galleries are interspersed with office towers and the spectacular architecture of the Opera House crowns everything at it’s heart. There is a magic in Australia. I couldn’t help feel a sense of wonder in the presence of some of the most awesome flora and fauna on earth. Where Chris is building his new global headquarters at North Head near Manly Beach, it is claimed to be one of the most Spirited places on earth, the hairs on the back of your neck shiver on the bush walks and the views over Sydney are awesome.

The magic of this sacred place is also found in the exuberant bounce in the step of the people going to work each morning. Many people live over the harbor are blessed to take one of the hundreds of ferries to work, what a way to start and finish the day. What makes Sydney hum with this sense of harmony? Maybe it’s the sprit of the place, maybe it’s left over pride from the 2000 Olympics, and maybe, and most likely I think, it’s the connection to nature that Australia has.

Australia, and it’s people remain a treasure. A wondrous place full of vibrancy, coffee shops and great strait up, honest and beautiful people. It was the perfect place to study with Chris and plan the next phase of Innerwealth Canada. How exciting to be exploring the laws of nature, in such a magnificent place. Our team was assigned to take Innerwealth to the next level and reach out with a message for people who desire to play a more conscious role in world affairs and business leadership. All manner of people joined us, from advertising guru’s to branding experts, youth workers, government representatives, and community leaders.

We concluded that people want a way to live closer to the heart, deeper in spirit and as ever, grounded in real world responsibility. I can’t think of a more auspicious place to grow this dream about a new way to be in the world, than right here in Canada.

Thank you to the many friends I made throughout Australia. Thank you Chris, Kellie, Virginia, Paul, Eileen, Mark, Isobel, Karen, Steve, Simon, Ricky and the hundreds of other people I shared the time with at Innerwealth Boot Camp.

I am really excited about Chris coming to Canada in October to talk about Nature and how to live in harmony with her. I look forward to the Spirit of Australia being shared here on our home soil so we can connect deeper to our corner, our sacred space, on this wonderful little planet. When we can find the beauty around us we can live and share the beauty within us. A working definition of our innerwealth and a worthy journey no matter how long the road to find it.