Rosie

My B&B hosts Anne and Ihor have had a sleepy cat for 14 years.  On my visits, Rosie would curl up behind a certain chair in the living room … and doze.  She knew me, and would occasionally favour me with her eyes, but she never came close.

On Friday, my friends had their kitty put down.  Lung cancer had invaded Rosie’s body and spread to her brain, just like my dear wife Jody.  A pall of sadness covers the house, despite some good-natured conversations around the dining room table.

Anne told me about Ron, a former long-term guest in their home.  Ron was a cat lover, and Rosie knew it.  The two became friends.  Late in the day, Rosie would sit on the window sill that gave a good view of the driveway, and wait for Ron’s car to appear.  Then she would trot over to the front door to greet him.  Ron always sat in the same spot for breakfast and Rosie would nestle close to his feet.  When he was in his room with the door open, Rosie would lie at the threshold.  Anne says “She was too much of a lady to go in.”

Eventually, Ron’s time in Toronto was done and he said goodbye, especially to his beloved feline companion.  In the days after, or maybe weeks after, Rosie would climb up on his chair and pine.  It was the only time she would be on a chair.  Anne didn’t want her cat to do that but she saw grief and let Rosie be.

I too am a cat lover.  I had many kitties before meeting Jody but none thereafter since my lovely wife was allergic to them.  Looking back on my times at Anne and Ihor’s B&B, I wonder why Rosie didn’t come calling.  I would have loved her attention.  And I sit here now and say “It’s okay.  Ron was her soulmate.”

Sometimes in my life, I have cared deeply for a human being who loves someone else more than she loves me.  Although sadness comes with those memories, there’s a sweetness as well.  To love purely without attachment to being Number One is sublime.  The ego lets go.  The heart continues to open.  And it doesn’t matter what comes back to me.  All is well.

Where Does The Universe End?

Ha!  I’ve wanted to write about this for years … and I have no idea what to say!

I just stared at the sentence above for ten seconds and started laughing.  Usually when I write, I have a vague idea of what I want to accomplish, but not today.  My words will be deeply within “I don’t know” and quite possibly irrelevant to many folks.  And I don’t care.  Something is pulling me towards this topic and who am I to resist?

I’m looking at my coffee cup on Anne and Ihor’s dining room table.  They’re my B&B hosts in Toronto.  I know things.  I know that there’s “coffee cup” here, and right beside it “no coffee cup”.  That’s the way the entire world works, isn’t it?  Well, maybe.

Some folks say that the universe is endless.  What in God’s name does that mean?  How can there be something where there’s no inside and no outside?  More on that later.

Being an inquisitive type, and totally enamoured with Google, I launched myself onto the Internet to seek answers to this mystery of life.

Where does the universe end, and what is it surrounded by?

“I think everyone should try to be the next person who comes up with the theory everyone ridicules, just like half of the big names in science in the past.”

“The Hindi Upanishads say that the universe is infinite.”

“Peanut butter”

“It’s anyone’s guess.”

“I recommend you find a nice spot away from the city and the lights, have a cup or glass of your favorite drink, look at the night sky and reach your own conclusions.  Who knows?  You might find a new perspective, a new glass for humans to look through.”

“The universe is expanding into nothing.  Can our brains comprehend nothing?”

“Mindblowing endless nothingness”

“It’s totally irrelevant.  It as nothing to do with your happiness or personal progress.  Waste of precious time.”

“If the universe is defined as everything that’s exists anywhere, what could be beyond it?  What is not a thing?  Is a thought, a ghost, a soul, a spirit or a god a thing?”

“Perhaps beyond our universe is just an infinite amount of other universes occupying an infinite amount of space.”

“We humans just don’t want to accept something that never ends in any direction.  That’s because our entire lives involve things with beginnings and endings.”

“Kinda crazy thing to comprehend, huh?”

“The universe ends outside of the Milky Way, and then it becomes Mars bars.”

“Everything has to start and end somehow and somewhere.”

“Nobody knows, and that I know as a fact.  Please don’t write back with some scientific answer.  There is not one.  The End.”

***

All righty then.  Contemplating the end of the universe feels like a Zen koan.  Unanswerable by the rational mind.  So what can I let go into that will allow me to sit peacefully with endlessness?  What has no beginning and no end?  Is there a state of consciousness that is timeless and spaceless, eternal in the sense of being beyond time rather than “a very long time”, everywhere in the sense of beyond the idea of locations rather than including all locations?

Is it possible that the infinities that I occasionally touch within my mind mirror the infinity of the universe?  Is there something in my head that indeed has no beginning and no ending and is totally consistent with an endless universe?

Gosh .. I guess anything’s possible.  What would my life be like if I let these unformed thoughts escape from their corral and pour through the fences I’ve erected, to embrace an unknown that mostly I can’t conceive of?  What would be unleashed in me if I welcomed such freedom despite the likely admonitions of my fellow man and woman?

Perhaps I’ll set off to find out.

 

Day Four B

“What Now?” is the question, for the conference participants, and for me.

I want to reach people with my ideas and experiences.  For three years, I’ve told myself that WordPress is a good way to do that, but now I wonder.  On an average day, it appears that only five people read my posts.  But I have maybe 100 followers and I’m guessing that any views from them don’t count in the stats.  I don’t know if that’s true.

Jody loved being on Facebook but it never drew me.  I sensed that the posts of many folks focused on “What I did today”, and I didn’t want to do that.  But now, after watching hours of conference sessions, I’m thinking about opening a Facebook page, to see if my grappling with big issues and experiences could reach a wider audience.  We’ll see what energy is behind that thought, and whether there’s enough oomph for me to begin.

***

It was the last day of the conference and there was no shortage of intriguing comments from the presenters:

“Ask yourself:  ‘Since I arrived at the conference, has anything shifted in me?’  Shifts that are experiential and embodied, not just centered in your mind.  Are you moved to do and say new things?  When you share about this, bring your life force to it.  Don’t tell us your shift in a monotone way.  The energy of your voice shifts things.”

I’ve long been fascinated with the human voice as an instrument of change.  I had a theory once that the greater the processing of oxygen, the greater the consciousness that’s revealed.  So running, cycling, talking with passion, singing … they feel like ways to reach Spirit.  But then again, I don’t think it’s just about speech volume.  What if I could be totally present with each person I talk to?  What if a current of energy was transmitted to the other person whether I’m whispering or belting out the bass part of “O Come All Ye Faithful”?  More experiments needed.

“What’s alive for me at this point in my practice?  What matters to me is two things:

1. The cultivation of a reliable, trustworthy community, people who understand that evolution is beautiful but not necessarily pretty.  It makes a difference to have a tribe.

2. The transfer of what I’ve learned to a younger generation, acknowledging that they’re creating new things, that they come in with another set of capacities.”  [The presenter is around 60.]

I’ve decided to rejoin the meditation group that meets weekly in London, Ontario.  A sangha.  I need to talk to people who are not brand new to what I’m experiencing.  As for the second point, I’ll soon be 69.  I need to find ways to share my values and experiences.  I want there to be some remembrance of Bruce when I die (even if the solidity of Bruce is a total fiction!)

“I’m no longer engaged in those questions.”

And it’s okay if past passions have morphed into pleasant memories, with no current juice coursing through my spiritual veins.  I used to be fanatical about playing beautiful golf courses on my computer.  I bought lots of them.  I loved the lay of the land, and still do.  But now, I don’t want to play, and that’s just fine.

“When you think about the following domains, what arises?  What questions do you feel pulsing from the inside that are the most urgent and beautiful?  What wants to live through you?  What would you die for?

1. My purpose on the planet
2. Intimate relationships
3. Spiritual practice
4. My stage of life”

I’m here to love people and make them laugh.  I deeply miss being in an intimate relationship, and I realize that I may, or may not, have one again.  With the Dalai Lama, I say that my spiritual practice is kindness.  And coming up on 69?  Don’t waste time.  Don’t miss the stunning moments of life.  Give.  Be sacred in each moment – to others and to me.

“Stand up whenever one of these statements is true for you.  Pause and be seen.  See who’s standing with you.  See who’s sitting down.  No judgments.  Then sit down.  If you’re sitting, witness those standing and hold the truth that the statement is not resonant for you.

1. I feel connected to my deep life purpose
2. I’m still searching for my deep life purpose
3. Right now, in my current life stage, I am preferencing autonomy (i.e. self-development, caring for myself first)
4. In my current life stage, I am preferencing being with others
5. Right now, in my current life stage, I am contemplating mortality on a regular basis
6. In my current life stage, I am at ease
7. In my current life stage, I am not at ease”

How lovely.  No one right.  No one wrong.  Just the truth.

***

Thank you, Integral Life, for creating this forum.  Folks in Colorado.  Folks on their computers across the world.  And folks who know nothing about what’s happened in a Denver hotel ballroom over the last four days.

Us

 

Meeting Royalty

I still have two hours of the “What Now?” conference to watch on my laptop so my “Day Four B” will have to wait.

***

Johnny Bower died last week at age 93.  He was my boyhood hero, the ageless goalie for the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Tributes for this hockey player and humanitarian have been pouring in, and I got to thinking about another human being.  I wonder if they ever sat down for a coffee.

Johnny Bower

“Everyone had a story about the way the Hall-of-Famer treated every Leafs fan who asked for an autograph, who asked for time.  He smiled.  He laughed.  He cared.  He was kind.”

“Bower’s grandson … told stories that involved his grandpa laughing: laughing when he fell off the three-legged wooden ladder he had built; laughing when he spilled a can of paint on the carpet when trying to paint the living room when his wife was away; laughing when he would take out his dentures, put on his wife’s swimsuit and hat, and walk around the cottage trying to make other people laugh too … Grandpa could laugh at anything, especially himself.”

“Johnny considered it a privilege, and not a right, to be a Toronto Maple Leaf.  Gratitude drove him to be the best he could be.”

“Every Canadian team is a public trust, a repository of hope and obsession and love, and Johnny Bower never wanted to let anyone down.  So he spent a lifetime making the people he met feel like they mattered, because he thought they did.”

“Overwhelmed by how genuinely nice he was and just a beautiful human being.  He seemed so sincere when he talked to you, and always had such a great smile on his face.”

“I got a good 10 to 15 minutes to talk to him … and he spoke to me as if there was no one else in the room.”

“An honorary member of the Union of Ontario Indians with the name ‘Johnny With A Heart As Big As An Eagle’s Wingspan Bower'”

“Generous, soft-spoken, warm and welcoming.  I’m sure Johnny had an ego but he didn’t show it.  There was no entitlement in Johnny Bower.”

“He took time for every person, for every kid, every fan.  He made sure they got what they were looking for.”

“Not only had Johnny played Santa Claus for many years at the Toronto Maple Leafs family Christmas parties, every day felt like Christmas when you had a chance to chat with Johnny Bower.”

“I read an article a few years ago.  A park in Mississauga, Ontario had been renamed after Bower.  Then the story related how Bower took it upon himself to be the person who would go out on a daily basis and clean up the litter in the park that bore his name.  That was his credo.  Get the job done right.”

“He never had a bad day and he made a point of never having anything but a positive interaction with anyone.”

The Dalai Lama

“We spoke of universal consciousness … We spoke of current military actions and politics.  We laughed.  We mostly laughed in amazement at his bellowing belly laughs … I felt a complete sense of clean, sincere, awesomeness.  In my most humble estimation, this guy registered as The Real Thing.”

“In the West, you have education, and this is good.  And you have technology, and this is good.  But you do not educate your people in values.  Values of the heart.  Compassion.  This you must do.”

“And then the Dalai Lama did the most incredible thing.  When I thought he was about to exit left and hightail it out of there, he moved toward the doorway entrance and waited patiently for each of us to file out.  And then he hugged each one of us goodbye.  Slowly.  Firmly.  Like your favorite grandparent hugs you – with thankfulness and deep care, like they have all the time in the world.  And when he pulled back from our Most Holy Bear Hug, he looked me in the eyes, as he did with each of us, and he smiled wide and nodded.  And let me tell you, without an ounce of romanticism, being in his gaze was like having the Milky Way grinning down at me.  I have only rarely in this lifetime felt so clearly seen, and so clearly loved.  The simultaneity of recognition and acceptance was intoxicating.”

“I tried to contain my excitement but it exploded when we saw him arrive.  Everyone stood up and rushed to the walkway and security held us back.  He is already 81-years-old and had to be supported by people as he walked.  Still, he looked at us with a cheeky smile.  He didn’t just walk past.  He stopped to watch the crowd carefully and made sure he greeted all of us.”

“His infectious smile and laugh came suddenly and exuberantly, and rippled through the whole gathering each time.  He regularly made jokes, looking around to see if we were all paying attention.”

“I felt like I was meeting a small kid who cheers you up with a merry smile.”

“There is a real joy surrounding him.  When he looks at you, he looks into you.”

“Having met HHDL numerous times, I would say it’s like meeting yourself.”

“During the talk, the subject of Tibet came up.  You could tell this was a very painful subject for Tibetans because the Tibetans around us were either weeping or holding back tears, but he talked with such serenity, without a single trace of anger in his voice, and he repeatedly emphasized non-violence, mutual understanding and his appreciation for the Chinese people.”

“What a sweet soul he is.”

***

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s not just about two famous guys
It’s about you and me

Day Four A

I haven’t seen a single minute of the conference live.  I’m usually a day late in talking to you.  But it doesn’t matter.  Wisdom has a long shelf life.

Here are some juicy morsels from the first half of Day Four:

“Projection is the attribution of cause to someone else that makes me feel something.  As in ‘If you changed your behavior I’d feel better.’  Or … ‘You make me feel good.  Without you, I wouldn’t feel good.'”

Hmm.  I think I do this a lot, especially on the positive side.  If that cherished person wasn’t in my life, could I be happy?  The quiet answer is “Yes”.

“If you witness the location of the distress in your body and allow it to be there, you bring energy to the distress.  Instead you can focus on another part of your body that has no pain.  Where in my body am I feeling some energized flow?  I’ll go there.  I’ll leave the pain.”

Hmm again.  I’ve always been told to be with the pain.  What you resist will persist.  And now I’m invited to ignore the pain and go elsewhere.  Taking a new path seems to negate my history, and I don’t want to do that.  But really, shouldn’t my well-being be the main thing here?

“There are iron chains: attachment to money, power or sex.  But there are also golden chains: attachment to our aspirations and ideals … What’s needed is to act impeccably regarding our aspirations while simultaneously releasing any attachment to the outcome.”

I’m training to ride my bicycle across Canada this summer.  Can I visualize and accept being exhausted or injured in Ontario … and leaving the ride?  Yes.  Will I do all I can to prevent that from happening?  Yes.

“Three of the most powerful figures of the 20th century – Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela – had that spiritual, passionate non-attached kind of power that overpowered the power against them.”

Indeed.

“The invitation is towards this deeper integration, to see past surfaces.  Without the integration of our sexuality, you get all this intellectualization and pedophilia.  Or you get these people who can talk such a good line … and are raping women.  How does that work?  It’s because that human being does not have the whole system integrated.”

So I dedicate myself to balance – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  All make me Bruce and all assist in letting Bruceness go.

“I’m not sure if democracy is the last stage of the big game.  Will we be governed by a council of wise people?  Democracy is a mess.  It’s a beautiful mess, and better than anything before but there’s something beyond, something more civilized and intelligent.”

To what extent can I see outside of the box?  To honour what has solidly been the case in the past and present but also ask “What’s next?”

Day Four B tomorrow.

Day Three

It’s the “What Now?” conference in Denver, Colorado and I’m following the action on my laptop.  It’s astounding to be in the presence of so many openhearted, inclusive souls.  I long for more “symmetrical” conversations about spiritual life.  Although I have a few of them in Belmont and environs, it’s more typical that I bring up some aspect of Spirit and the other person doesn’t know what to do with me, doesn’t know how to respond … asymmetrical.  I remain hopeful, however, that if I keep bringing forward the best in me, the best in you will respond in kind.

Here are my favourite messages from Sunday’s sessions:

(Amir Nasr, a young Muslim fellow who became discouraged with how his religion was showing up in the world, and wrote a book about that, called “My Islam”, a book that was banned in several countries)

“I just wanted to fit in and be safe.  Going against the system got me so screwed, so beaten up.  I’m a radical humanist, divested of all identities that had been poured into me.  We need an identity based on citizenship, rooted in values – human values, shared values.  Too many of us have been drinking from the poisoned well of separation.”

To what extent do I stick my neck out in life, saying what’s in my heart, even if that’s being critical of the damage often done to other human beings?  If I get scared, do I shut up?

(Chris Grosso, sitting in a counsellor’s office at school, with photos and statues of various spiritual leaders adorning the walls and shelves)

“What’s going on with your walls?  I thought you were supposed to pick one and go with it.”

Reminds me of a story about a Buddhist teacher.  I think it was Munindra.  A student of his had listened to a talk from another spiritual master, probably not Buddhist, and had been enthralled.  Apparently, he then went to Munindra and apologized for straying from his teachings.  Munindra’s response?  Something like “If you find this other person’s words more valuable than mine, then go with him.”  How refreshing.

“Every man, wherever he goes, is encompassed by a cloud of comforting convictions, which move with him like flies on a summer day.”  (Bertrand Russell)

What if my cherished opinions are confronted by “disconfirming data”?  Am I a big enough (or empty enough) person to let go of what needs to be let go of, or does the furrowed brow of being right rule the day?

“I’ve been mourning my departure from an extractive life in which I was a master of the universe.  I had to let go of that world and help co-create the generative world.”

Extractive, as in taking
Generative, as in creating goodness

“Discovering the great Ground of Being and your Real Self, that is your own deepest and truest being, is the only truly effective antidote to the epidemic torment that now drenches the planet.”

Act responsibly in the world … yes
Let go and let go into Spirit … yes and yes and yes

 (Ken Wilber, on how the ecstasy of sexual love can awaken us)

“Transfer your feelings of loving your partner to loving the entire world.  All of it.  No exceptions.  Go from making love to your partner to making love to the entire universe.

Not a single thing is left out of Big Love:

I love that terrorist attack
I love global warming
I love white supremacists
I love the Taliban
I love my friend’s bleeding ulcer
I love that metastatic cancer
I love that recent stroke
I love economic collapse
I love inner city riots
I love the HIV virus

Nirvana is very real.  When the source of consciousness is traced to its very foundation, the entire world stops arising in awareness, and that pure cessation, that pure content-free awareness, is nirvana, where the individual is radically free from everything … This freedom is extremely real, not something we’re making up.”

Oh my.  Can I really be this inclusive?  And can I really let go of the world while living fully in it?  I don’t know.

Day Two

So many human beings with things to say in Colorado.  And such a blessing to me.  I love hearing people speak from the heart, and more and more I’m doing that too, even sometimes at the Belmont Diner, around the horseshoe-shaped lunch counter.  It takes courage to speak out, not full of opinions about the events of the day, but rather about what’s supremely important in my life: love.  May we all sense the stirrings of the heart and bring that energy to our lips.  May “sometimes” turn to “often”.

Here are some sweet thoughts from the presenters on Day Two:

“What we value, what we think about, what we identify with, is transformed.”

It seems like a natural process happening within me, “on the road to find out”.  No effort.  As the Buddha said, what I think about … I become.

“In the last 20 years, global poverty has been cut in half, and will likely be wiped out in our lifetime.  In 1950, less than 10% of the world’s population was considered middle class.  Today it’s almost 50%.  A century ago, just a few countries were democratic, and some of those only partially so.  Today nearly 2/3 of countries are democracies.  Two hundred years ago, only 12% of the world’s population could read.  Today 86%.”

I had no idea of the advancements mankind has made.  My focus has been almost exclusively on the problems.  While naturally we need to address these problems, we also need to celebrate our emerging goodness.

“How shall we respond to challenges?  We have choices:

1. Do nothing
2. Blame, cope, give our opinions
3. Transact – Do something!  Anything.  (a recipe for burnout)
4. Transform – Do something that gives life”

Whatever I do, may my heart dance with my mind.

“Think about what’s true for you.  If it doesn’t motivate action, if it doesn’t guide intuition, if it doesn’t settle emotion, if it doesn’t build resilience, if it doesn’t guide what you do now, it’s not deep enough.  It won’t save you.”

I need to sit quietly with myself and let my deepest truths bubble to the surface.

“Focus on the other person feeling understood and respected.  Look for what’s best in what they’re offering to influence you.”

Let go of rehearsing my next speech.  What beauty is held by the person sitting across from me?

“He acts whenever action is required.   He cares for whatever needs his care.  He destroys what needs to be destroyed.”

Not a suggestion for violence but a commitment to stand up for what enhances human life and to resist what doesn’t

“Spondic love is the experience of a deep sense of ‘I am’.  And may you be.  You want to give life force to the other person.  You want them to have everything.  And you can feel it, from your belly and heart.  You want them to be blessed, exploded with life.  It’s a kind of communion.”

Oh my.  Relationship so beyond any self-help book.  A deepness of “we” that can transform the world.  Reverence.  Connection.  Love.

Day One

I’ve watched the first session of the “What Now?” conference.  My laptop beams me to the ballroom of the Omni Interlocken Resort in Denver, Colorado.  Some of the world’s most expansive thinkers are tackling the issue of unprecedented change and how to create a more inclusive world.  Issues on the table include spirituality, consciousness, business, technology, culture, race, sexuality and politics.

As I listen to the speakers, it feels like coming home.  Consistently, their attitude mirrors mine:  Love, kindness, compassion and respectful assertiveness must win.  Here are some quotes:

“Your mind will be stimulated
Your heart will be opened
Your views will be challenged
Your time will be well spent”

“To lead from a place of love, presence and fearlessness”

“To move beyond our mental and emotional powers and into a realization of who we really are”

“What a wonderful thing to be together with likeminded souls”

“If the world that’s unfolding is not the one we want, what is our generative response?”

“How can I be a generative force that moves the ball forward?”

And in response to social ills:

“We get to fight
We get to be fierce
We get to say no
We get in the game
It’s not just about being an observer
This is not okay”

So today, Sunday and Monday, I immerse myself in fostering the good, the true and the beautiful in the midst of chaos.  I welcome the journey.  I’ll tell you more tomorrow.

 

What Now?

I’m in Colorado for the next four days … sort of.  I’ll be attending (sort of) a conference on the future of the world.  Actually, I’ve subscribed to the webcast of all the presentations in the main ballroom.  Some of the most advanced thinkers in the world will be addressing topics such as:

Spirituality
Tribalism versus globalism
The disparity in wealth
Fake news and hate propaganda
The misuse of sexuality
Racial abuse
Environmental degradation and the denial of climate change
Immigration and protection

How do we deal with massive change?  How can we create an inclusive world in which we accept our differences and see them as an opportunity to build something new?  “What’s next for human evolution?”

The older I’ve become, the more I’ve been living in “I don’t know.”  Sure, I’m smart enough to think through complex issues but multiple mysteries of life continue to present themselves.  Perhaps the rational mind is only a part of the puzzle solving.  Can I open to insights that seem to come from elsewhere?

Starting tonight on my laptop, I intend to fall into “beginner’s mind”.  With the glass close to empty, what will Spirit fill it with?  What connections will emerge over the next four days?  What moments of serendipity will say hi?  To what extent could I have been a presenter at the “What Now?” conference?  I do know that I have a part to play.

Tomorrow through Monday, I’ll give you my take on what I’m hearing.  Perhaps windows will open for all of us.

If you’d like to join in, go to integrallife.com.  On the dropdown menu, choose “Live”.  Scroll down to “Upcoming Broadcasts” and pick “What Now?”.  Scroll some more until you see words in orange: “Click here to purchase the webcast.”  It costs $125.00 US.  If you become an Integral Life member, it’s $100.00.  You need Google Chrome or fancy browsers that I don’t recognize.  Internet Explorer won’t work.  The first session starts at 7:00 pm tonight.

See you there?

First Aid Insights

Not what you might expect.  There weren’t any great revelations about doing CPR or dealing with breathing problems.  Instead, Sarah was a very funny instructor.  She could be a regular at the Yuk Yuks Comedy Club.  How refreshing to have a teacher who wanted us kids to have fun. along with learning a whole bunch.  And the first aid manual seemed topnotch – up-to-date, with clear explanations.

I got to experience what I’d experienced before … a sadness at not remembering what to do.  Sarah spoke fast and moved fast and I couldn’t keep up.  When it came time for the hands on, I was often lost.  After my initial panic about this, I found myself sinking into the rhythms of the day, absorbing what I could in the short term, knowing that the manual would help me for many tomorrows.  Contentment washed over me, knowing that I’m a work in progress about addressing emergencies.  I accept my foibles and celebrate my desire to assist human beings when they’re injured.

Sarah was not just a fun machine.  She knew her stuff.  She complimented us on our effort.  She thanked us for our good natured spirit.  And she looked right in our eyes and said, “Do what you can.  If you freeze, maybe your contribution will be to call 911.  And it may be that sometimes all your good efforts won’t save the person’s life.  Honour yourself for trying.  Be good to the human being who wants to help.”

So when I ride my bicycle across Canada next summer, I may keep an injured rider alive until medical help arrives.  I may fall short of that goal.  Or the worst incident may be a small cut.  Whatever the story, all my being is ready to serve.