FROM MY TRAVEL BAG
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.