Dearest's, pronouncements, vulnerability and musings.

Dearest Mother-

it has come to my attention that the postcards I write to you, as previously stated, random musings and irrelevant thoughts, are being read and read into by onlookers and voyagers who may feel the need to comment as to their validity and value; enjoy, with a grain of salt, S

Dearest-

I wrote and I wrote late into the night, and sometimes at the crack of dawn, I scribbled notes and added thoughts, reappropriated, reconfigured, bent and reformed the previously stated, to suit a current agenda, and came up with, well, this..-S

Dearest-

If only I could capture these fleeting thoughts narrating and nattering away inside my head, these whirling snippets, internal proposals to which I wish to add comment, to compose, in concise yet eloquent soliloquies, a tangible response, a discourse, an impactful contribution, or not, just a thought, somewhat irrelevant-S

Dearest-

Rudy, Joan, Brandon and Rustin- on July 1st 1988, I sat on the roof of your house watching Canada day fireworks having decided from our perch that indeed it was not possible to dive from the roof to the backyard pool, and therefor the start line for the Hollywood house triathlon would have to be the deck, and that after endless ten meter laps and a backyard transition the perfect bike course would require us to navigate the block at breakneck speeds on our litespeed geronimos before dismounting and running around the park and sprinting to the finish in time for the bbq!!!

My love of triathlon, as a festival of sport, the community of athletes, volunteers, officials and race directors, began at Sharbot Lake where we, triathletes, trirudy athletes, aspired to see what we were truly capable of, and share in a grand outdoor excursion together, wearing speedos.

I am Grateful to know you and I look forward to once again swimming, biking, running.. and pint’ing with you in the future.

Simon St.Quentin Whitfield

Mr.WorkEthic-

Those who are of singled minded focus, and determined resolve, define themselves by the manner to which they apply themselves, each and every time, within any and all endeavours, and it is in this way one would describe Kyle Jones.

A man of principle, his adherence to a simple ethos, discipline, as a disciple unto himself, consumed by attention to detail, orientated to a standard of excellence, attained through daily ritual and driven intention, based on the belief that satisfaction, a satiation of the hungry that drives us, comes from ones ability to put one foot in front of the other, and endure the grit and the determination required, to accomplish the task, no matter the obstacle.

Kyle, it’s a privilege to know you my friend, in my mind you help define one end of the spectrum, as a man who lives into his values, and expresses his gifts.

At the end of the day what more can we ask.

Simon St.Quentin Whitfield

—-

A place of Gathering

“I have been asked to write about the enormous contribution a community of people whose foresight and frankly audacity, to build a facility, and with it a high performance culture, allowed for a equally audacious athlete to succeed in his pursuit of sporting excellence-S”

I arrived in Victoria days after the great snow storm of 1996, at the age of 21. I was full of piss and vinegar and ready to take on the world. I had been living in Australia for the past five years and having seen their commitment to sport, the facilities they had built, from National Sports Institutes to community centered gyms and pools, I had an ideal I was in search of – to be completely absorbed in high performance, supported by community, with an aim to express one’s gifts, to represent and to inspire.

Success in high performance sport ultimately comes from proximity. To be amongst it with others, to see each other face to face, to define and refine best practices, to manoeuvre around and beyond obstacles, and to reinforce the ties that bind us through common enterprise.

To walk into Saanich Commonwealth Place, with its Olympic sized pool, performance dive tank, an ever expanding gym and human resource team, whose foyer had been witness to so many athlete’s dreams, was to be fully immersed in a culture of excellence.

The commitments made by the 94 Games and government, to ensure that any facility built would be done so with the intention of servicing the needs of both the local constituents and high performance sport, were immediately evident.

The symbiotic relationship that has been achieved at Saanich Commonwealth Place between the community and high performance sport is a world leading vision belonging to those that built this exceptionally designed facility, those that implemented the supporting Operating and Trust Fund agreements, and those who sustained the originating philosophy by making only those day-to-day compromises needed to enhance the high performance and community relationships.

Saanich Commonwealth Place is a gathering place, an ideal proving ground, where community activation, high performance engagement and the rituals associated generate optimized outcomes, optimism, and worthy causes. A Place where outcome is greater than the sum of individual parts; where those whom the years have made wiser may be slowing down, where those who still have so much to learn and yet have room to speed up are exposed to the experience and counsel of those that walked before them. A Place where all share in the aspirations of those who are expanding the limits to which they once felt confined.

Saanich Commonwealth Place has a legacy that needs support to continue. The effects of the facility construction and agreements can be seen not only on podiums where the Canadian Maple Leaf flies high but also at every single day – in the pool, on the deck, and in the foyer.

I ask that you ensure, protect, and support this heritage by renewing the unique access and operating agreements that have enabled 25 years of high performance sport at Saanich Commonwealth Place, and will hopefully be there to support the next generations of athlete and community youth to achieve their dreams.

Simon Whitfield

Olympic Champion Triathlon

Olympic Silver medalist

Four time Olympian

Canadian Flag bearer London 2012

Dearest -

I lost my voice when I became afraid of those who might take offence and convict me for what I had to say as they are just words for if we were face to face I would arrive vulnerable humble grateful and in this you will see peace in me constructive defiance an i within a we -Awei

Dearest-

I am tempted by further prouncement, to peacock and support one side; as if I should lend my voice, and yet, i now stay silent, as a gesture, empty space, silence as ease, so you may hear yourself think, and then decide without fear of the echo in this dark chamber-shear

re:post "Time well spent. A love of books"

Time well spent. A love of books.

I am sitting at my desk writing staring out across the roof tops at the mountains well beyond with their stencil like black and white beneath blue outline. It’s 3pm on a Saturday. With a long paddle this morning out chasing bumps beside “the Grizzly” and “Sir Richard” still flickering through my nervous system and the mundanes done for the day this is my version of a bloody brilliant way to spend an afternoon.

Bob Dylan Street Legal is playing on vinyl. I bought it for 5 bucks at Brians. There is something about this album, the lyrics and the beat, today it is on repeat, which means getting up and flipping the record; it is worth it.

*“no time to think”* tell me about it. Again and again.

I have been conversing with myself for a few hours now having departed company at noon.

Talking to paper. A favourite pastime.

My desk is, my desk, a clean’ish space featuring copious amounts of writing utensils and a lamp that looks like an African women in a long cream coloured dress with a skinny neck ordained in a stone necklace of orange, brown and gold chevrons carrying a very large beige basket on her head, at least it does to me. Apparently to others it looks like the 70’s. Beside my desk is another desk, populated with papers upon papers, books stacked on books beside more books; on top of and on either side of the desk, and under it.

I have the intention of reading all of them but Blood Median has me captivated again, Cormac, you eloquintionist.

[“Eloquintionist” - “that is not a thing” says Websters - I do not care says i - it makes sense to me, despite not being very… eloquent]

Cormac’s descriptive genius.

My goodness,

*“they crossed before the sun and vanished one by one and reappeared again and they were black in the sun and they rode out of that vanished sea like burnt phantoms with the legs of animals kicking up the spume that was not real and they were lost in the sun and lost in the lake and they shimmered and slurred together and separated again and they augmented by planes in lurid avatars and began to coalesce and there began to appear above them in the dawn-broached sky a hellish likeness of their ranks riding huge and inverted and the horses’ legs incredibly elongate trampling down the high thin cirrus and the howling antiwarriors pendant from their mounts immense and chimeric and the high wild cries carrying that flat and barren pan like the cries of sounds broke through some misweave in the weft of things into the world below*”

You can feel it can’t you. I have watched the entire scene in my minds eye many times, quivering riders emblazoned on the horizon only to disappear “through some misweave in the weft of things into the world below”.

I just wanted to write it out again.

Some misweave in the weft of things…

Blood Meriden is on the top of one stack, The Path by Micheal Puett - *what Chinese philosophy can teach us about the good life* - is there too, thank you Mr. Puett, your distillation, as best as able, of the wisdom of the ages has had a profound effect on me.

To exist “as if” I am another, and commit myself to the smallest of incremental gains.

‘The Prophet’ by Kahil Gibran is on top of a separate pile.

*“then said Almitra, Speak to us of Love. And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them, and with a great voice he said: when love beckons to you, follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his winds enfold you yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden. For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself. He threshes you to make you naked. He sifts you to free you from your husks. He grinds you to whiteness. He kneads you until you are pliant; and then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for gods sacred feast. All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart. But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure, Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears. Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; for love is sufficient unto love. When you love you should not say, “god is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.” And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course. Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself. But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires; To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To know the pain of too much tenderness. To be wounded by your own understanding of love; And to bleed willingly and joyfully. To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving; To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy; To return home at eventide with gratitude; And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.”*

I am grateful for Mr. Gibran. I am listening grandmaster. Life with its mystery, you have left behind some clues.

I feel lost and yet I know somewhere there is light.

Osho made it to my desk too, ‘Life is a soap bubble’

“*Man is born in slavery. We are born as slaves to ourselves. We come into this world imprisoned in chains of desire, held tight by those subtle chains. We have been enslaved like this since birth. It is something given by nature; we dont have to do anything to earn it. Man simply finds he is a slave. Freedom has to be earned and only someone who struggles and strives for it will find it. For freedom, a price has to be paid. Nothing of value in life is ever free. This slavery which nature gave you is not misfortune; it would be a misfortune only if we failed to win our freedom. There is nothing wrong in being born a slave, but it is definitely wrong to die as one. Unless you find inner freedom, nothing in life will have any meaning or fulfillment. You may have been given life, but if you remain trapped in a prison of desires, if you never know life. There is no difference at all between someone imprisoned in desire and a bird imprisoned in a cage. You only enter the world of real life when your awareness is freed from desire. If you want to know truth, become a master of yourself. Victory over truth is not for someone who is defeated by their own self”*

but Osho.. “the truth is a bully we all pretend to love” and ignorance is bliss. Or so I keep telling myself.

‘A thousand mornings’ poems by Mary Oliver is next to Osho. I have only really flipped through it but I saw a piece of wood painted white with *“tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life - Mary Oliver”* written on it and knew I needed to read some Mary Oliver. I came across ’tides’ which spoke to me as I love nothing more then paddling in and amongst the space in between.

* ~Tides~ *

*

*Every day the sea*

*blue grey green lavender*

*pulls away leaving the harbor’s*

*dark-cobbled undercoat**

*Slick and rutted and work-riddled, the gulls*

*walk there among old whalebones, the white*

*spines of fish blink from the strandy stew*

*as the hours tick over, and then*

*far out the faint, sheer*

*line turns, rusting over the slack,*

*the outer bars, over the green-furred flats, over*

*the clam beds, slippery logs,*

*barnacle-studded stones, dragging*

*the shining sheets forward, deepening,*

*pushing, wreathing together*

*wave and seaweed, their piled curvatures*

*spilling over themselves, lapping*

*blue gray green lavender, never*

*resting, not ever but fashioning shore,*

*continent, everything*

*and here you may find me*

*on almost any morning*

*walking along the shore so*

*light-footed so casual*

I read this to Evelyn last night and she told me she would bring me a poem in the morning, what she wrote made her dad smile ear to ear.

*‘Mornings together’ by Evelyn Claire Whitfield*

*Whenever we wake up*

*together we write and we draw*

*I copy from books sometimes and for other*

*times I draw from my imagination you seem to*

*write about our day*

many thanks Mary Oliver.

‘The Heart and the Breath of Love’ an article by my favourite Zen Buddhist Monk Brian Maclean is on my desk too.

*“Where does Love reside? It is generally agreed upon among spiritual traditions, that ‘Love’ and ‘Ego’ are ‘Lands’ in the the sphere of human functioning. Where ego strategizes, Love embraces. Where ego closes in on, Love open to. Where ego feels fear, Love feels fearlessness. Where ego finds reasons to run, Love knows the value in staying. Among the Inuit, Raven is the trickster, pleasure seeking and greedy, and symbolically represents the ego. Raven-ego is always vigilant in checking out for the best advantage. Raven-ego is looking for which one is the biggest, which bed is the softest and which Lover is the most trouble free. Raven-ego does not have the patience to learn deep Love, the resilience to endure travel on a not always smooth path. The mythic centre of Love is not Raven-ego, but the Heart”*

I’ll see you on Tuesdays Brian, I look forward to our conversations, I can’t wait to write our book together, “conversations between a Zen Buddhist Monk and an Olympic Champion, on life, the theatre inherit in pretending to understand relationships, cognitive dissidence and other things considered; is my submission for the working title, we’ll see what Brian thinks.

What it has to do with Zen Buddhism and running around in your speedo not being particularly good at any one thing, is yet to be determined.

[*Hey Brian “a buddhist monk walks into dominoes and orders pizza… “one with everything please”.*]

And finally, in a spot all to itself, for no stack can contain it, ’The Paper Menagerie and other stories’ by Ken Lui.

This maybe my favourite book of all time, when I travel Europe in July for two weeks it is coming with me.

The Paper Menagerie is always coming with me.

With its opening paragraph.

*“There is no definitive census of all the intelligent species in the universe. Not only are there perennial arguments about what qualifies as intelligence, but each moment and everywhere, civilizations rise and fall, much as the stars are born and die. Time devours all. Yet every species has its unique way of passing on its wisdom through the ages, its way of making thoughts visible, tangible, frozen for a moment like a bulwark against the irresistible tide of time. Everyone makes books”*.

Mr. Lui, you have had a profound impact on my life, i read and i read and i read in search of universal meaning in specific incidences, you have this mastered, I am simply gob smacked at your profound wisdom, your creativity, your insights and most astoundingly your imagination. I wish I met Ken Lui as a kid, what I would have done to play dungeons and dragons with Ken, the worlds this man would have created. There is a seat at my table for him any day, I’d make fish taco’s with a side of guacamole and find his favourite pint. I have no idea why. And there would be stacks of blank paper. And pencils. Heaps of pencils. Coloured ones. Whatever he needs to express his latest vision.

My kids would be there too, they have some ideas they would like to share having been read “an advanced readers’ picture book of comparative cognition”

“*My darling, my child, my connoisseur of sesquipedian words and convoluted ideas and meandering sentences and baroque images, while the sun is asleep and the moon somnambulant, while the stars bathe us in their glow from eons ago and light-years away, while you are comfortably nestled in your blankets and I am hunched over in my chair by your bed, while we are warm and safe and still for the moment in this bubble of incandescent light cast by the pearl held up by the mermaid lamp, you and I, on this planet spinning and hurtling through the frigid darkness of space at dozens of miles per second, let’s read.”*

**So that happened**

What a writer.

My darling, let’s read.

And that is my desk. Behind me sit fifty more books waiting on shelves to eventually be adored again. Some of my own art and endless streams of pictures and doodles by Pippa and Evelyn occupying the walls to either side.

Sitting on top of a stack of some of my favourite books by the record player is a picture of a fog covered lake, the reflection of a ghost like tree mirrored on its surface, with a dock perched out into the mist; an ideal cove for quite contemplation, a sanctuary to timelapse.

I have spent hours staring into the fog; the stillness, an escape, to lapse with time. Moments of reprieve.

A blank canvas adorns the other wall, a reminder that the past is the past, and the time is always now, a blank slate.

For now - it is time to read.

Doubt, fear, narratives and reputation - (shared draft)

Doubt and Fear. 
I write you from my tent pitched only yards from where we will depart in the morning for our most absurd and yet appropriate adventure  — and as the hour draws near and the seeds of impending doom, my doubts and my fears, now fight to take root, looking to secure in my mind, a looming narrative and therefor governance of my thoughts I will myself to look forward, to find in my self the stead fast, the firm stance required, to represent myself, who i was and who I have become. And in this battle at times I feel lost. And at this juncture at times I feel overwhelmed and ill prepared and yet I feel capable, to rise to an occasion once again, to bring forth to the fight my best effort, to lean into the task, to marshal my strength and find serenity in the knowledge, I have been here before, and I will be here again, which, in its self, is both assuring and destructive, for while I have shown the will to endure in campaigns of the past, the war fought with in the terrain of my mind, this battle of conviction and doubt, much like the excursion which draws nearer with every moment spent  pondering, gains strength in its prowess the more I consider, and yet will fall short on the shore. Much as a hurricane is endured and then passes, and the knowledge that time swallows all, and this too shall pass, being all that we need to hold dear. This doubt looks to derail us, to unwind and dismember the quilt of our most feverish defences, without need for elegance or grace, irrelevant of best intention or even the bliss of ignorance, it tramples and works with unrelenting stampede to collapse any and all fortification we push forward to impede its path, to lesson the torrent and divert consequence. And it is here I find my relevance, and draw from my source. I wrestle with my confusion, assaulted by past experience, as the world leaves me in its wake. 
And yet, i walk on and do so content. 
We came for a reason
At least that’s what we tell ourselves, as meaning makers. And sometimes we arrive with no agenda, as if drawn in by a feeling of simply needing to be there, and at others times we show up knowing the general ghist, the trending towards theme, in consideration of the task at hand. Either way and anyway, we arrive, and there is what happened and then, appreciating just how obvious this is, and yet, a crucial detail to hold on too, there’s what happens next. And while we must consider the past, as predictors of the future, at the end of days, its what you do next, how you carry yourself once the distilled lessons learned settle. What actions did you then take, to erare is human, and ultimately our saviour from being too fragile. 
I landed on the island of Orcas with this in mind, what happened before, with its looming, and ever changing narrative, to see up close what happened next, a cast member in a version of the story still to be told. The stage is set as a swimrun excursion, an adventure of sorts, the cast of characters includes an icon of sport, as a beacon of humans endurance capacity, our will to sustain, and the question of morality, what price are we willing to pay. There are no shortage of opinions as to how people feel, their judgement and measure of another man. I do my best to stay clear of assumption and its cousin speculation, and yet, at one point in our lives, when our peak physical capacity coincided, and if the circumstances required, and our attributes were those best suited; if you needed to send someone to get the medicine, over the hills and far away, you would have considered sending one of us, by an objective measure, with all narratives, and excuses set to the side. Each in our own way, we did whatever it takes, and in doing so laid ourselves bare. And if you read this as an admission, I have nothing to hide, if you have questions, please ask them out loud, and with this knowledge I never need wonder, how I would have done if i had not made up my own rules. But to each their own, we all face the struggle, I have my own flaws, they poke and prod me every new day to which I do wake. And in this I find solace, as it is said, the cracks they let the light in.

snippets - random writings

WE DONATED A CHAIR TO THE LAKE.

There were visions of saving it. One leapt after it. The other too far but on the way. No matter. First instinct was right. Accept risk and get on with it. The cost we pay the consequence of untethered adventure. Nothing ventured nothing gained. The courage to accept risk being the reward. Noted. Next time we agree to arrive incrementally more prepared.

WITHIN SITE OF THE HOSPITAL.

There a man lays. Arm cradling his head. Hand stretched out pointing the other way. Positioned almost intentional. Maybe premeditated. He could be simply taking a rest. Those driving by doing their best to assess while still navigating a road. Possibly someone at the far light walking towards. Cars coming. All evaluate out of the corner of one eye. And then the moments passes. He gets up and simply walks the other way. I suppose he no longer needs our help, immediately. It felt almost like a test. Who moved towards, and who moved away.

A KIND SOUL

It is said she was a kind soul.

One hopes we all are.

Her gift being the grace of empty space.

Those who knew her will grief in their own way.

Grateful to have known her.

Kim may you Rest In Peace.