Dear Wise Women,
I would like to share with you a little bit about my recent trip to Whitefish, Montana. Coincidentally the theme of this week’s blog is fully captured in my experience…including the MOUNTAIN STRENGTH card I drew before class (see below)! You see, Whitefish holds memories that literally cross section every stage of my life and every emotion. In these memories are many reflections of the various “versions” of myself and the “roles” I have played.
Some of my fondest childhood memories are from our family vacations to Whitefish. It was there, at about the age of 12, that I first experienced the freedom of skiing without an adult. I recall zipping in and out of the trees and carelessly flying over ski jumps with my friends and my brother - pure freedom!
In my early twenties, another version of myself took several bus trips full of college educated drunks, where there was more focus on the partying than the skiing.
Whitefish is also where Dave, my husband, and I skied our first runs together. Dave and I met in September of 1997 and as downhill skiing was a big part of both of our lives, we were anxious to hit the slopes together that coming winter. To this day, Dave likes to brag that I am the only girl he ever met that could keep up to him on skis! We went on to share many ski excursions and trips together. In 1999, Dave and I went back to Whitefish for a weekend trip. One morning he took an early run by himself and planted a bottle of champagne beside a tree. Later on he took me to this spot and asked me to marry him. When I said yes, he reached into the snow and pulled out a bottle of champagne!
As soon as our oldest was able to ski, we went down to Whitefish every Family Day weekend. We don’t ‘ski much outside of Whitefish, so our trips there are especially near and dear to our girls.
In 2014, we experienced tragedy. One of Dave’s best friends, Tom Podovinsky, fell into a tree well and suffocated. We were staying in the condo next door to Tom’s family and were first on the scene to comfort his wife and two young children. It was a weekend we will never forget.
Though Tom’s wife has yet to return to Whitefish, she takes solace in knowing that we keep going back. Tom died just off of chair 7 and Dave and I both swear that we can feel him every single time we ride up that chair.
There is another aspect to Whitefish that I wish to share with you. Whitefish has also been the home of many negative experiences stemming from Dave’s past participation in the overzealous consumption of alcohol that seems to accompany the ski culture. In 2015, just one year after Tom’s death, Dave and I nearly broke up in Whitefish…on Valentine’s Day. This trip turned out to be a pivotal point in our relationship, a time in which I courageously turned towards my truth and shed all the various personas and roles I had been playing. Everything we went through that weekend was amplified by the emotional charge of the grief we were carrying.
We emerged with a renewed commitment fuelled by deep respect and love for each other…and we continue to walk this path of ups and downs together.
Whitefish is always a reminder of what matters most to me, and this past weekend, I felt it stronger than ever! This year felt especially significant, as one year ago I was recovering from my breast cancer surgery (Dave and Clara went to Whitefish and Ayla stayed home to help me). This year, as I skied the fresh powder and felt the exhilaration of the wind on my face. I was able to fully experience pure JOY and GRATITUDE for the moment.
Throughout the weekend I found myself face to face with the many younger versions of myself and found that I was able to see PURE AWARENESS behind the various personas of my past…I was able to feel who I REALLY AM! ❤️
How perfect it feels to now re-share the opening meditation from this morning’s circle….
PRAYER FOR LOVE - by Don Miguel Ruiz
We are going to share a beautiful dream together - a dream that you will love to have all of the time. In this dream you are in the middle of a beautiful, warm sunny day. You hear the birds, the wind, and a little river. You walk toward the river. At the edge of the river is an old man in meditation, and you see that out of his head comes a beautiful light of different colors. You try not bother him, but he notices your presence and opens his eyes. He has the kind of eyes that are full of love and a big smile. You ask him how he is able to radiate all that beautiful light. You ask him if he can teach you to do what he is doing. He replies that many, many, years ago he asked the same question of his teacher.
The old man begins to tell you his story: “My teacher opened his chest and took out his heart, and he took a beautiful flame from his heart. Then he opened my chest, opened my heart, and he put that little flame inside it. He put my heart back in my chest, and as soon as my heart was inside me, I felt intense love, because the flame he put in my heart was his own love.
“That flame grew in my heart and became a big, big fire - a fire that doesn’t burn, but purifies everything that it touches. And that fire touched each one of the cells of my body, and the cells of my body loved me back. I became one with my body, but my love grew even more. That fire touched every emotion of my mind, and all the emotions transformed into a strong and intense love. And I loved myself, completely and unconditionally.
“But the fire kept burning and I had the need to share my love. I decided to put a little piece of my love in every tree, and the trees loved me back, and I became one with the trees, but my love did not stop, it grew more. I put a piece of love in every flower, in the grass, in the earth and they loved me back, and we became one. And my love grew more and more to love every animal in the world. They responded to my love and they loved me back, and we became one. But my love kept growing and growing.
“I put a piece of my love in every crystal, in every stone in the ground, in the dirt, in the metals, and they loved me back, and I became one with the earth. And then I decided to put my love in the water, in the oceans, in the rivers, in the rain, in the snow. And they loved me back and we became one. And still my love grew more and more. I decided to give my love to the air, to the wind. I felt a strong communion with the earth, with the wind, with the oceans, with nature, and my love grew and grew.
“I turned my head to the sky, to the sun, to the stars, and put a little piece of my love in every star, in the moon, in the sun, and they loved me back. And I became one with the moon and the sun and the stars, and my love kept growing and growing. And I put a little piece of my love in every human, and I became one with the whole of humanity. Wherever I go, whomever I meet, I see myself in their eyes, because I am a part of everything, because I love.”
And then the old man opens his own chest, takes out his heart with that beautiful flame inside, and he puts that flame in your heart. And now that love is growing inside of you. Now you are one with the wind, with the water, with the stars, with all of nature, with all animals, and with all humans. You feel the heat and the light emanating from the flame in your heart. Out of your head shines a beautiful light of different colours. You are radiant with the glow of love and you pray:
Thank you, Creator of Universe, for the gift of life you have given me. Thank you for giving me everything that I have ever truly needed. Thank you for the opportunity to experience this beautiful body and this wonderful mind. Thank you for living inside me with all your love, with your pure and boundless spirit, with your warm and radiant light.
Thank you for using my words, for using my eyes, for using my heart to share your love wherever I go. I love you just the way you are, and because I am your creation. I love myself just the way I am. Help me to keep the love and the peace in my heart and to make that love a new way of life, that I may live in love the rest of my life. Amen.
… I hope you enjoyed listening to the first chapter of Pamela’s book and that you find a moment this week to “sip” the words from your own copy of her book. 🐕💛
Have a wonderful week!