Welcome to Sunday Morn Musings. This is my weekly free fall – writing about whatever it is that occupies the mind on a Sunday Morn. The idea of a “no topic” posting is the stepchild to a blog I used to write: Four O’Clock Thursdays which is still up there if you want to check it out – more likely, I will republish some of those posts here over time. On Sunday Morn Musings the topic may be about blogging but just as likely it may not.
Valentine’s Day! Gung Hay Fat Choy! Smell of Gold! Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana playing in the background. … more like odds and sodds today.
Happy Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day! Images of lace and hearts and chocolates and flowers and lovers and poor ol’ Charlie Brown with nary a card … and then last night between surfings on the telly, veiled muslim women in black burning cardboard hearts and cards as a hateful infiltration of western culture upon theirs. Whatever.
It is my birthday this week. Yes I am a February child. An Aquarius if on the cusp, but an Aquarius nonetheless. No. I was not born on St. Valentine’s day. I was christened on St. Valentine’s Day … whoa! If my birthday is still to come how could I have been christened today? I was not. Stay with me.
My background is Russian. I am Eastern Orthodox. When the rest of the Christian world moved from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian, Russia’s Eastern Orthodox did not – that is why the Russians celebrate Christmas on January 07. It is the custom in the Russian Eastern Orthodox to christen children on the feast of the saint for whom they want to name their child so St. Valentine is my patron saint. My friend Cheryll gave me an early birthday present: Red Mitts!
Gung Hay Fat Choy
That’s Happy New Year in Chinese. Yes, today is also the Chinese New Year. Enter the year of the Tiger. I looked up the Chinese Zodiac to read up more on the characteristics of this sign. The Tiger is said to be lucky, vivid, lively and engaging. Another attribute of the Tiger is his incredible bravery, evidenced in his willingness to engage in battle or his undying courage. Western counterpart zodiac sign: Aquarius (not to be confused with your own Chinese Zodiac sign based on your birth year)! Hey! I like that.
A few weeks ago I was enjoying a feast of delicious dim sum with my friend Lee at one of the many Chinese restaurants in Richmond. He was off in a week to Malaysia for a month or so to visit with his family. Eventually our conversation turned to Valentines. He told me that the Chinese have an equivalent and it falls on Chinese New Year’s day which this year coincides with St. Valentine’s.
Chinese history goes back over 6000 years. Centuries and centuries ago, men and women did not mingle. As in so many other cultures men went off to hunt and fight wars to provide for their families and keep them safe. Women stayed at home. There was little opportunity for young men and women to meet except for New Year’s day. It was decreed back then that men and women should be out together to welcome the new year. Lee told me that that was the one day when boy meets girl stories were born. That tradition is still carried on today … if from a somewhat different perspective.
Day three of the Olympics. The podium has honored athletes from eleven countries so far with their wins. Plenty more to come. Earlier in the week I had the pleasure of seeing Chris Farstad speak at my monthly real estate MasterMind Group. Chris is a former bobsleigh Olympian. He competed in Albertville and Lillehammer Olympics. It was interesting to hear him speak about how the athletes are feeling right now. He knows. He was there. But then he told us something that shocked me – he took us back to when he was competing. Athletes when interviewed always put on a positive face for the cameras and the press, but back in the athlete’s village, when alone speaking with each other in hushed tones they whispered the unspoken and that was that they did not believe in their heart of hearts that they were good enough to win.
Not believing is the kiss of death.
Coaches bring out the best in an athlete but they have not been where the athlete wants to go, they do not know what it is like to rub shoulders with your competitors, to face the moment of truth whilst staring down a slope, stepping on the ice or skiing cross country with rifle in hand to aim and fire. Neither have sports psychologists. In the eyes of an athlete talk and training are cheap in the moment of heat.
Not any more. In addition to coaches and sports psychologists, athletes now have a mentor, a former Olympian who has felt the adrenalin rush before the run, smelled the octane fuel of victory, had feelings of doubt and dealt with them. They have been exactly where today’s athlete is and where he wants to go and are able to talk them through the walk. He thinks that this will have made a difference to Canada’s athlete’s this year. Yeah! They’re a gutsy lot and I love them all.
Carmina Burana? Every Sunday as I write my musings, I have the CBC FM on. The music is most often spiritual. It is right for a Sunday morning. Today it is Carmina Burana, which is strong in sound and heroic and victorious. It has been a favorite of mine for a very long time – today, I think it is most appropriate; for the athletes: yes, for you and me: absolutely!
Sun is bright. Over and out. Have a great day!