Sunday, March 28, 2010


One of my favourite movies of late is August Rush, and one of my favourite lines was something like: “You know kid, sometimes ya just gotta have a little faith.” Even with April being the cruellest month, the promise and beauty of the season is coming. The feeling is palpable, and with the anticipation of new sprouts and buds about to burst forth, I can’t help but feel part of a magnificent and glorious shift. Yes, it happens every year, but this time it feels like it’s coming from a deeper, more significant force.

Buffalo Springfield, in the sixties wrote: “There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear.” It became a little clearer for me after watching the Olympics in Vancouver. There was something different about those games, those athletes, which set my body to relax into a state of comfort and confidence it hadn’t known before. It’s all going to be okay. Peace is in the air and in my heart today because the grandchildren of the folkies and hippies finally get it. “Tune in and turn on” wasn’t about drugs, and watching those victorious athletes pump their fists in the air demonstrated it.

The seventy’s movie hit Star Wars brought to light the concept of the hero’s journey - the myth about separating from one’s family, joining up with a guru and friends, confronting demons, and returning home to assist the community. These kids, these athletes, did just that, and at the finish line, or end of a winning match, we watched them experience this bliss, and we revelled in it with them. Who will ever forget the joy in Jon Montgomery’s eyes when he sipped from the golden goblet? This wasn’t the swagger of a conqueror but the jubilation of an achiever.

There are no shortcuts to this kind of thrill, and yet as we watched, we saw that no two athletes shared the exact same path to that peak experience. Each athlete trained differently, experienced their own list of setbacks, longed to give up at different times, and was seduced by self-doubt and various ease-bearing schemes. But the ones we called the champions, the Alex Bilodeaus and the Joannie Rochettes, persevered and won because they were not alone at the centre of their dreams. They knew the true meaning of life and showed us absolutely the hero’s journey and the hero’s reward.

These Generation Y’ers, these kids born in the 1980’s and after, grew up with play groups, team sports and technology. The Cold War, nuclear threats, and the Berlin Wall were not a part their awareness and supremacy was not a part of their vocabulary. The Vancouver Olympic Games reflected this shift. Gone was the fierceness of rivalries past, and present was desire for all to push personal boundaries. Own the Podium was not a call for these athletes to win at all costs but a call for them to release their personal power and let it soar; and oh, how they did!

And it wasn’t just the athletes. Fifty young Canadian musicians secretly got together in Vancouver and recorded a song with the proceeds going to Haiti relief. Wavin’ Flag quickly became an international anthem not just about struggle but also about hope.

And then there’s Craig and Marc Kielburger of Toronto, the two young men who have invented a whole new socially conscious business model. Craig was only twelve when he was so moved by a newspaper article about the death of a Pakistani child labourer. Today, Free the Children is a global brand which has brought over 500 schools and water projects to communities around the world. As well, the brothers run a for-profit business, Me to We, which receives income from the brothers’ speaking engagements and sales of socially responsible merchandise. This company offers young people trips abroad but channels most of the proceeds back to the “children helping children through education” not-for-profit.

Athletes, musicians, social activists: kids today are seeing their own clouds and silver linings and are not afraid of the hard work it takes to succeed.

It may feel at times like the world is coming to an end, but maybe the tsunamis and earthquakes are just shaking out the stale ideal of ‘powering over’ to allow the bright ideal of ‘powering with’ to once again flourish. “Tune in and turn on.” These kids get it: work hard on personal excellence and heaven is here on earth.

Isn’t spring wonderful! We all get another chance to create the life we want. We all get another chance to be artists and create heaven on earth.

Sometimes ya just gotta have a little faith.