Posts Tagged ‘challenges’

“On January 1st I hit a significant milestone on this journey – 10,000 kilometers of bike riding. I have travelled about 20,000 so far, half on the bike and the rest by bus, boat and 1 plane ride from Panama City to Bogota.”

That was Peter Brother’s first blog entry for 2013. Pretty impressive! His cycling journey began in August 2011 in the Yukon, Canada and has taken him along the western coast of Canada, the United States, through Mexico, Central America and into South America.

His bike was stolen while he was in Peru, and he spent a couple of weeks trying to decide what to do next. It was too expensive to get another bike shipped from Canada, and he couldn’t find what he wanted in Peru. Initially, he decided to continue the trip by bus and hiking, but eventually his longing for wheels led him to a bike shop in Iquique, Chile.

So he’s back on the road again, about to start exploring the Lake District in Argentina. After that, his plan is to head to Chile and either ride or take a boat down the inland passage through lakes and glaciers to the southern tip of South America.

Oh, did I mention he recently turned 70?

Kinda raises the bar for the rest of us, doesn’t it?


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When I wrote Dream BIGGER: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease, I had the delightful task of interviewing six inspiring people whose dreams had a powerful impact on their community (and in some cases, the world). They came from different backgrounds and countries. Their ages and passions were different. But the one thing they all had in common was the belief that everything is possible.

One of the DreamMakers I feature in the book is Derek Lucas from South Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. When Derek retired, he had a dream – to give away sports equipment to children in need so that everyone could have a healthy, active and fun childhood regardless of income. With the support of his local Rotary Club, the police and a number of community agencies, the dream became a reality in 2007. Since then, hundreds of children have been able to play hockey, ride bikes and enjoy other sports. All because Derek followed his dream.

Recently, the community found a way to say thank you to the tireless 75-year old. At the Rotary Club of White Rock Christmas party on December 8, the mayor proclaimed the day “Derek Lucas Day”. How many of us will ever have a day named in our honour?

While working so hard on behalf of others, Derek has been facing a few challenges of his own. He was diagnosed with leukemia in April 2011. His chemotherapy treatments have now ended, and doctors feel they have nothing else to offer. Rather than becoming discouraged, he continues to approach each day with a sense of humour. As he says, his health issue has made him less of a procrastinator!

His positive attitude is infectious. As he says in this newspaper interview, “You can’t roll over and play dead. There’s a card that’s been dealt to you. Deal with it.”

When I contacted him last week to see if I could include an update about him in this blog, he was happy to oblige. He wished me a happy and successful year and added, “Incidentally, I still feel it’s important to keep following your dream and planning ahead.”

Thanks for the inspiration, Derek!!

Visit www.recforkids.com for more information about Rec for Kids.

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In 1980, the American Helicopter Society International established the Igor I. Sikorsky Prize to develop a human-powered helicopter. It’s an international competition with a prize of $250,000 pledged by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation for the first controlled flight that meets stringent requirements.

The flight must last 60 seconds and reach a height of 3 metres (9.8 ft) while remaining in a 10 metre (32.8 ft) square, and it must be certified by a member of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale.

To date, no one has been able to claim the prize, although many attempts have been made.

Competition is currently close between two contenders – the Gamera II designed and built by students at the University of Maryland, and the Atlas designed and built by AeroVelo, a team of Canadian students and professionals.

On August 28, 2012, the Gamera II unofficially flew for 65 seconds on one flight, and reached a height of 8 feet on another.

On September 3, the Atlas demonstrated the first controlled, non-tethered flight of a human-powered helicopter, lasting 17 seconds.

Both teams continue to refine their design. The Atlas is powered by national speed skater, Dr. Todd Reichert, on a super-light bike frame designed by Toronto’s Cervelo Cycles. He performs endurance and power cycle training for three hours a day in order to prepare for “take-off”.

“Many people have said this prize is impossible,” Reichert says, “but if we succeed, that has the power to inspire.”

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No matter where you are right now, or what you’re doing, pause.

Straighten your shoulders, lift your head and your eyes, and take a long,

s-l-o-w, deeeeeeeep breath in. Exhale gradually.

Now, do it again.

One more time.

There, doesn’t that feel better?

Before you resume your activity, notice what has shifted. How does your body feel? What’s different in your mind?

If you find your mind is still racing, and your adrenaline is still high, try a few more slow deep breaths.

As you breathe, focus on the act of breathing. Notice the air entering and leaving your lungs. Is it warm or cold? Dry or moist?

Close your eyes and listen to your breath. It’s an action that occurs unconsciously for us. Thank goodness, because sometimes we get so distracted by life and details that we forget to breathe. We end up taking short gulps of air, just enough to keep the body functioning. The lack of oxygen affects our ability to think clearly, and our stress load builds.

All it takes is a few minutes to pause, straighten our posture, and breathe like we mean it. And then the mind clears, the body grows calm, and we are able to move forward in a much more productive way.

Such a simple act. Such a profound impact.

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I was reading a book lately and came across a question that helped me shift my perspective. Like many people, I tend to take life too seriously. I get caught up in stress and worry about money and deadlines. I find myself trying to squeeze just a few more hours into the work day. And when something happens to change my plans, it can throw my whole day off.

Then I saw this question.

“Will it matter a year from now?”

Such a simple question. Yet each time I say it, I pause.

A year is a long time. It’s made up of 365 days. Each day has 24 hours.

Will this stressful situation matter 8760 hours from now? I doubt it very much. In fact, I probably won’t even remember it in a week, let alone a year from now.

Sure, some of the decisions I make now will have an impact on what I’m doing in a year’s time. Since that’s true, I’d better make sure that those decisions are based on what brings me joy rather than worry.

So how can I take this situation and shift it?

First, by realizing that it’s not as important or serious as I might think initially.

Second, by asking myself, what is needed to bring more joy into this moment?

And then taking action based on that.

It’s all about living with joy and ease – the Dream Bigger life.

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“Imagine that every person in the world is enlightened but you.

They are all your teachers, each doing just the right things

to help you learn patience, perfect wisdom, perfect compassion.”

~ Jack Kornfield

Hmmm, that quote is  a little hard to swallow when you apply it to the driver who cut you off this morning on the way to work, the salesperson who tries to bully you into buying a product you don’t need, the co-worker who gossips about everyone else at the office, or the obnoxious family member who seems to ruin every family gathering.

And yet, it applies equally to all of them, just as it does to your wonderful best friend, your generous next-door neighbour who always shovels your driveway in the winter, and even your beloved dog, waiting patiently for you at the door at the end of the day.

It’s just that the lessons in patience, wisdom and compassion aren’t as easy to take when they come from a challenging source.

It may help to see each person as a gift in our life. Some gifts come wrapped in pretty paper, while others may look very unattractive. It’s what’s on the inside that counts.

And if you take the time to unwrap the gift, you will find unexpected treasure hidden deep inside.

So the next time you’re dealing with a challenging person, pause for a moment. Remember that they are human, just like you. And they serve as a teacher for you. What can you learn about kindness, generosity, compassion, and patience from this person or this situation?

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In my last post, I wrote about the dilemma faced by Peter Brother after his bike was stolen in Peru. Suddenly his dream of cycling from the Yukon in northern Canada to the southern tip of Argentina came crashing down around him. He had managed to complete two-thirds of his journey, and now had no bike to finish what he had started.

It’s a good example of what can happen as we pursue a dream. Sometimes life gets in the way. Circumstances beyond our control pull the rug out from under out feet, and we’re left dazed and confused, asking why. And wondering what to do next.

At first, Peter was shocked. He spent a few days trying to come to terms with this change in his plans. Then he decided to see if he could get a bike built to meet his needs in Peru. He also explored the possibility of having a new bike, identical to the specialized one he had bought for his trip, shipped to him from Canada.

Neither option worked out.

At that point, he could have give up. So close to achieving his dream, and yet so far.

Instead, he decided to revamp the dream. He realized that he still wanted to go to Chile and Argentina. He wanted to continue the journey. However, now he would do it by bus. He felt it would give him plenty of opportunity to meet people, and to do some hiking.

So, for the past few weeks, he has been hiking in the mountains and the desert, exploring caves and glacial lakes. He will also be trekking to the world’s largest canyon in Peru, the Lake district in Argentina, Patagonia in Chile and a number of other locations.

His dream continues to evolve. In a recent post, he wrote,

“While in Hauraz, I had a couple of significant dreams, that seemed to me to indicate I want to continue cycling for part of the journey through Chile and Argentina. I am now rethinking about biking.  I will go by bus to Nazca and Arequipa in Peru and then bus it to Santiago.  Then I may pick up a “new” bike there.  Then go to Mendoza, down to the Lake District and cross back and forth between Argentina & Chile, biking and hiking.”

It’s important to be flexible and open while following your dream, yet keep in mind your focus, the main reason you started on the journey in the first place. In this way, you’ll stay open to possibilities and … those possibilities are endless!

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