The car windows were rolled down, the crisp, cool wind was blowing through my hair and the sun was shining on my face. I looked at the purple mountains, and my lips just turned up, a smile spreading over my face. I couldn’t help myself – nothing was special, nothing was different today than any other day, except I couldn’t stop noticing beauty all around me.
Appreciating the beauty of Whistler, B.C.
car windows were rolled down, the crisp, cool wind was blowing through
my hair and the sun was shining on my face. I looked at the purple
mountains, and my lips just turned up, a smile spreading over my face. I
couldn’t help myself – nothing was special, nothing was different today
than any other day, except I couldn’t stop noticing beauty all around
I was on my way to the ice rink. It was one of those days where I just felt like lacing up my figure skates, gliding on the ice, spinning into oblivion, jumping so high, feeling as if I could reach the stars and experience the ultimate freedom that anyone who skates understands.
Appreciating the beauty of Whistler, B.C.
So often, it is the every day things I forget to appreciate – the music on the radio, the thoughtful e-mail from my sister and the fact that whether I realize it or not, the world is literally at my fingertips.
Most recently, I was having a conversation with my brother-in-law, Gabriel, talking about my dreams, and he turned to me and said, “Focus on what you have.”
Why is it so often that while we have so much, we stress about what we are missing?
I am guilty of this. Instead of focusing on all the love that surrounds me, the adventures that seem to find me and the beauty that greets me every morning as I look at the magnificent mountains outside my kitchen window, sometimes I seem to find reasons to let external forces, i.e. reality, upset me.
It’s so often the little things, the regular parts of life, that we take for granted. We don’t notice the people who love us unconditionally. Yet, we are saddened by the behaviour of worthless people who drift into our world, who play twisted games with our hearts, selfishly taking what they want and walking away without a second thought.
Whistler, British Columbia
The recent miner rescue at Camp Hope in Chile showed the world how, when people have enormous amounts of time to think about who and what really matters, it’s often family, friends, soccer, music and love that make the world go around.
Many messages from below, and even from above, showed men with a renewed sense of life and appreciation. I sometimes wonder why it takes big events to make me realize the goodness that surrounds me every day, and most likely surrounds you, too.
Often some great places are just around the corner. Well maybe not exactly. But the Grand Canyon is a few hours’ drive away from my house, and Whistler is a cross-country flight from Toronto. Still, how many Canadians have visited Whistler? How many Americans have visited the Grand Canyon?
I have been lucky enough to spend time in both places. From the depths of the canyon to the pristine, snow-covered peaks of the Canadian Rockies, the views left me breathless. In both places, I spent a few minutes burning images of nature’s raw beauty into my mind, tucking them away for a rainy day.
It is the fleeting moments, the ones where we can place a snapshot in our hearts of the love of family and nature’s gifts, those are the times to cherish and hold onto.
Internationally known comedian Shawn Pelofsky, above, who has performed for everyone from Hadassah groups to the troops in Afghanistan, always focuses on the everyday issues to keep people laughing.
She recounted her experiences on a tour she did in Afghanistan.
“The troops need a moral boost during their hard time spent away from their families. I’m there to relieve some stress and I do it by making light of a serious situation.” She grinned. “Every time I go overseas, there is always one soldier that has to come up to me at the end of my show and whispers ever so lightly, ‘I’m Jewish too.’ As I look at his name tag, I say, ‘No worries Sgt, Lipshitz, your secret is safe with me.’”
So, while it’s important to focus on what you have, it’s equally important to laugh in the face of pain and misery. Pelofsky even pokes fun at her own heartbreak, relating her family’s story.
“Some of the best comedy comes from pain,” Pelofsky explained. “Who needs therapy when the audience can relate to problems like divorce… After 30 years of marriage, my parents got a divorce. My dad left my mom for a younger woman and then the younger woman left my dad for college.”
So when I am not falling over laughing listening to Shawn Pelofsky perform, I get teary eyed in the face of goodness, as I did when I was impressed watching the miners’ rescue where the president of Chile heard the call from the depths of the earth and literally left no stone unturned.
He, a president and a billionaire, pushed pride aside, and used his connections and position to reach out to the world for help, and it worked – not only did the world unite, but lives were saved.
I try to focus on the positive little things: the sunlight on my face, to the thoughtfulness of the made-from-scratch brownies baked for me to welcome me from a long journey.
It’s easy for me to tearfully focus on the times when I completely wipe out, (trust me- I do!), when I take a risk and land face first on the ice, black and blue with a bloody nose – ouch! Life, much like skating, seems to find many of us on thin ice, with the blades to hold us up being even thinner.
However, if you are gutsy enough to reach for the heavens, and happen to fall back down to earth with the rest of us, chances are you are going to be able to get back up on your feet.
The important part is to smile at the people who are pulling you up and off the cold ice, because truly they are the only ones that count.
Masada Siegel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org