FROM MY TRAVEL BAG

Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle Magazine - - From My Travel Bag - BY DONNA S. VIEIRA ed­i­tor@dream­scapes.ca

In July, we wit­nessed a mir­a­cle when 12 young boys and their as­sis­tant soc­cer coach, Ekapol Chan­tha­wong, were res­cued from a life-threat­en­ing sit­u­a­tion near Chi­ang Rai, Thai­land. Peo­ple from all faiths and coun­tries were glued to their TV screens pray­ing for divine in­ter­ven­tion as mil­i­tary per­son­nel, care­givers, emer­gency re­spon­ders, ex­pert cave divers and ev­ery­day folks from around the world rose to the oc­ca­sion to vol­un­teer their ex­per­tise. All ef­forts were fo­cused on sav­ing those boys and their leader. Noth­ing was more im­por­tant. It was a beau­ti­ful les­son in what won­ders hu­mans can achieve when we work to­gether, re­gard­less of our cul­tural, po­lit­i­cal or re­li­gious dif­fer­ences.

Per­haps this par­tic­u­lar event grabbed my at­ten­tion be­cause of a book I read ear­lier this year. In his book, Play­ful In­tel­li­gence: The Power of Liv­ing Lightly in a Se­ri­ous World, Dr. An­thony T. Debenedet ex­plains how play­ful­ness helps us coun­ter­bal­ance the se­ri­ous­ness of adult­hood. I can only imag­ine the stress the young leader and his 12 dis­ci­ples ex­pe­ri­enced through­out their death-de­fy­ing or­deal, yet, de­spite his ten­der age of 25, Ekapol man­aged to re­main calm and keep his team alive and op­ti­mistic. No doubt his ear­lier train­ing as a monk some­how pre­pared him for this un­ex­pected sce­nario and he drew on those life lessons to nav­i­gate the bumpy ter­rain and face the grave hard­ships, seem­ingly with­out ever los­ing hope or faith. And nei­ther did the res­cue per­son­nel who worked so hard to save them. I would ven­ture to say this was a very real ex­am­ple of play­ful in­tel­li­gence at work at both ends of the spec­trum.

I so wish we would ap­ply play­ful in­tel­li­gence and this amaz­ing les­son to­ward achiev­ing world peace and treat­ing all hu­mans and crea­tures with dig­nity. Per­haps politi­cians around the world could take heed of what tran­spired in north­ern Thai­land and learn that any­thing is pos­si­ble when we en­gage our hearts and fo­cus our minds on a pos­i­tive out­come that ben­e­fits all hu­mankind.

There’s an­other im­por­tant les­son to take away from this and that is to al­ways be aware of your sur­round­ings as you travel the world. The mas­sive growth in im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ences may take some of you to fas­ci­nat­ing des­ti­na­tions where you may not fully un­der­stand the con­se­quences of your dare­devil de­ci­sions. By all means, ex­plore, test your bound­aries and en­joy, but al­ways re­main in­formed and vig­i­lant. Knowl­edge and com­mon sense re­main your best weapons against fool­hardy choices that may land you in pre­car­i­ous cir­cum­stances.

As sum­mer winds down and we wel­come the fall sol­stice, the He­brew word, Se­lah, comes to mind. It means stop, pause, look around you and re­flect on ev­ery­thing you see. Fall is like that. The glo­ri­ous colours often stop us dead in our tracks as we ad­mire and ap­pre­ci­ate Mother Na­ture for what she is. As farm­ers bring in the har­vest, it’s a time for re­flec­tion and long coun­try walks or drives as well as cel­e­bra­tion as we, in turn, sur­round our­selves with fam­ily mem­bers and friends in thanks­giv­ing.

Na­maste!

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