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Posts Tagged ‘pdf’

If you’ve every dreamed of a quieter, simpler life – then this short story is for you.  Though it’s a favourite among cruising sailors (for obvious reasons when you read it), Martyr’s story is really about the yearning all of us feel from time to time to be FREE. (more…)

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Humpback whale breaching in Hawaii

Here’s a truly amazing story about a humpback whale watching us that was published in the New York Times in July of last year. It’s only two paragraphs long and appeared at the bottom of a long article by Charles Siebert about whale-human interactions. But it may give you pause to think. (A pdf of the full article is attached to this post.) (more…)

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So much can change in just a few hours. That’s both the thrill and the challenge of sailing. There was no wind at all when I departed Lévi, across the river from Quebec city, soon after sunrise, so I motored against the sluggish incoming tide for a couple of hours.

I was now confident, after the excellent repairs M. Bertrand and others had done to the engine mounts, prop shaft and cutlass bearing, that the engine would run reliably for hours with no problems. I relaxed and drank coffee. (more…)

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Waiting for the 5 metre tide to fall

Low tide leaves the boat high and dry

Progress seldom comes in straight lines, and so it has proved throughout ‘Kuan Yin’s” 300- mile passage down the St. Lawrence river from Kingston to Quebec City.  But, as in all such cases, there’s usually nothing to do but to meet each challenge as best one can and to keep going.  No-one ever said it was easy. (more…)

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Departing Toronto at dawn with long-time friend and fellow sailor Jiri, August 2009. Also aboard was Thom who was extraordinarily generous with his time and energy to get the boat ready

The voyage to Ungava has finally begun.  After four months of long days and hard work refitting the boat in Toronto, “Kuan Yin” is at last heading for the salt waters of the Atlantic coast of Canada. Whether or not we reach Halifax, Nova Scotia, (more than 1000 miles from Toronto) or not before the winter storms bring an end to this season’s sailing is uncertain. (more…)

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The Hermit Fathers; The Spirit Born by Fr. Samaan El Souriany

With all the strife in the Middle East today, it’s hard to remember that this was once the land of hermits and the founding centre of monasticism in the West.

Upper Egypt (ie. southern) had cenobitic or communal monastics; lower Egypt had hermits such as St. Anthony, considered to be the founding father of Western monasticism. He died in 356 AD at the age of 105. Syria, Cappadocia (in modern Turkey) and Palestine all had monasteries or hermits in the 5th century AD.

What makes their story, and this book, particularly fascinating is that they were developing their spiritual practice as they lived from day to day – in most cases they were not following the rules laid down by others.  “The essence of the spirituality of the desert is that it was not taught but caught; it was a whole way of life,” according to the Foreword. (more…)

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In 1995, in one of my breaks from writing and travelling, I founded and built a retreat centre on a 90-acre farm in southern Ontario, Canada.  Still Life Retreat was non-denominational, though the teachings of the Buddha inform my own way of life and practice.

Still Life Retreat in winter time.

The intention of Still Life Retreat was support people in whatever type of retreat they needed to make.  I used to joke that Still Life served mostly the “wilted and the wired” – those individuals who were exhausted and needed rest and to refresh themselves, or who were moving and talking too much and needed to slow down.

Part of the outreach (as well as marketing) of Still Life Retreat was to publish the Canadian Retreat Guide, a guide to more than 140 places offering retreats or accommodation for inner personal reflection.  This reading guide was part of the guide.  The book is now out of print, but the information is still available on the net.

I returned to full-time writing and travelling in 2000.  The retreat centre is now operated as Still Life Christian Retreat. (more…)

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