Feb 282014
 

When I think back on the 2014 winter Olympics, I remember mostly the examples of personal sacrifices, goodwill and triumphs of the spirit that were exhibited between the athletes – no matter what country they represented.

These remembrances include the cross country skier who had broken his ski, but was doggedly limping along … determined to finish the race. That’s when the coach of another team came from the sidelines and put a new ski on his boot so that he – although obviously out of medal contention – could finish the race with dignity.

It also includes the sacrifice of a speed skater who gave up his spot in the final – along with his chance at a medal – so that another team member (the team’s best competitor who had literally fallen out of contention) could get a second chance. That skater made the most of his opportunity and went on to win a silver medal for his country.

And, then there was the story of a downhill skier who had placed out of the medals, but was a winner in any way you look at it. To even get to the Olympics, she had to overcome an accident that resulted in a fractured skull, the loss of hearing in one ear, several fractured vertebrae in her neck, and broken ribs – all happening just fourteen months earlier. In addition, since she was no longer sponsored, she reportedly had to raise $150,000 for expenses, in order to participate in the games.

Sidney Crosby / Captain Canada

Sidney Crosby / Captain Canada

It also reminds me that you don’t need to spend $50billion to find similar examples of bravery, courage, passion and determination. Every day, all around us – no matter where we live – we see stories of such heroism. In fact, professional athletes often say that they would never have achieved their current success without the support of family, friends and their communities. As with anyone’s success, no one does it by themselves. At its best, the Olympics become symbolic of the triumph of the human spirit, everywhere … every day.

Examples in life are not hard to find; all you need to do is look for them: a friend, using grit and determination, worked ten years to achieve her Chartered Accountant’s accreditation – all the while working a full-time day and a part-time evening job – without ever once complaining; a young woman of our acquaintance – working, for years, as a waitress – finally had the courage and bravery to break out on her own … working six days a week, always with a smile … to make her new restaurant a success;  and, the bravery of my uncle Earl who displayed so much courage despite being afflicted with MS from an early age and who set a gallant example by focusing his attention on everybody but himself.

 “You don’t have to close your eyes to dream / All I see is right in front of me”                          Living Out My Dreams by Roch Voisine

I found that the old expression, ‘All that glitters is not gold.’, is not only true, it’s priceless.

Fred Parry

www.fredparry.ca Feb 2014

Feb 062014
 

Dear readers,

Just a short note to say that The Music In Me is now available for ordering at *Amazon.ca or Amazon.com – in addition Barnes & Noble (B&N.com), if you prefer.

For those wanting a personal copy at their finger tips, you’ll find that searching for the book using ‘Fred G. Parry’ is faster than wading through lists of titles (many using same key words).

Thanks everyone for the positive feedback.

Fred

*PS UPDATE Apr 7/2014: It appears that Amazon.ca doesnot offer the paperback for sale.

Fred Parry

www.fredparry.ca Feb 2014

Feb 022014
 

Seems like everyone has had “aha” moments; here’s one of mine.

“First” was a greyhound … and, I mean, what a dog! There wasn’t anything he couldn’t destroy: my dad’s rec room walls, clothing, shoes, and seat belts… if you left him alone in the car, even for a minute.

Before we were married, my wife and I were visiting relatives in Detroit and someone said there was this fabulous greyhound for sale. Cool! We decided to check it out.

“Why do you call him First?” I asked the owner.

“Well”, came the reply, “before he retired from the track, he was always the ‘leader of the pack’.” 

Scanning the couch, where First seemed unconscious, it was hard to believe, but the people seemed sincere and with ‘eyes wide shut’ we bought him.

Asleep again on the back seat during the drive home, I remember saying optimistically, “Maybe that’s how the great ones are… you know, relaxed until the time of a race.” Nope! First was just lethargic – all the time!

Until… one day we were at a large sprawling park during a lazy summer afternoon, when something caught his interest. I can still see him … stretched out in full flight … like the Greyhound bus logo. Covering the park in seconds, First was born to run and be happy.

And people, no matter what they do, also want happiness… but how?

“Once I rose above the noise and confusion/ Just to get a glimpse beyond this illusion”Carry on My Wayward Son by Kansas

Scientifically, MRI studies – detecting chemical releases in the brain – have shown we’re naturally happy when even contemplating helping others.

Spiritually, the Dalai Lama says, “We should implement the teachings of compassion, tolerance and forgiveness in our life to be happy.”

And, I’ve found happiness begins by realizing that whatever good we’ve done, it’ll never measure up to what we’ve been given: life. So, it only seems right to count our blessings and use our talents to give something back. Yet, it’s disheartening to know I could be: more forgiving, loving, generous, and disciplined… less critical and self-absorbed.

“You gotta get it right, while you got the time/
You can’t close your, your mind!”
– Man in the Mirrorby Michael Jackson

Beauty & Grace

Surveys show we’re no happier today than 50 years ago – despite being twice as affluent. Why? Well, before the past year drifts too far away in our memory, what were your most satisfying moments? Maybe an outstanding community achievement, or perhaps some little thing you did to help someone. I like to see these experiences as snapshots in time – like that Greyhound image – catching us in full flight, being happy.

No time? Time guru Stephen Covey reminded us that we can say “no” to so many distractions, by having a sense of destination that says “yes” to things that matter most.

“You fill up my senses, come fill me again” – Annie’s Song by John Denver

Aha! We’re not perfect? Perfection’s not necessary for happy endings.

Fred Parry

www.fredparry.ca Feb 2014

 

Jan 122014
 

Every year around this time, I once again take stock of my priorities for personal growth and, in general, my best take on how I can achieve them.

That might seem a bit wishy-washy … what with no timeline or any specific target dates … but that’s how I deal with it. Things have to inspire me.

“And the sign said: The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
and tenement halls”
Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel

So, my 2014 “strategic plan” includes a “blast from the past”: the timeless ‘Desiderata’.

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.”

(Talk less and listen more.)

“As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. ”

(That`s how you do it.)

“Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit.”

(Yep!)

Creation

Creation

“If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. ”

(Recently, my new book, ‘The Music In Me’, was published. At first, I wondered: Who am I to think that I can write a book? I asked this of an international best seller author who graciously replied. Her advice was that it`s pointless to compare your writing to others … to write with honesty and with as much skill as you have … adding that the more you do it, the better you get at it. I sent her a copy.)

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. ”

(“Without love, where would you be right now?” – Long Train Runnin’  by the Doobie Brothers)

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. ”

(Lighten up while you still can, don’t even try to understand – Take it Easy by the Eagles)

 “Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. ”

(“And I think to myself / what a wonderful world– by Louis Armstrong)

 

Fred Parry

www.fredparry.ca            Jan 2014

Dec 222013
 

“The Blog to be a Book!”

Last August, 2013, I wrote these words. Now, because of the help of many people, I can happily say:  “The Blog IS a Book!”

My hope was that, if you enjoyed the FredParry.ca blog, you would enjoy a book of the blog’s “greatest hits”.

So now, as then, I offer you these simple words – a celebration of life, really: by the living, for the living.

Best wishes … always,

Fred Parry

www.fredparry.ca                  Dec 2013

Fred G. Parry