I only watched bits and pieces of the Winter Olympics this year, but the media recounted numerous stories of athletes who displayed what it means to be human beings at our utmost best, to shine our light most fully. These displays of true ‘Olympic Spirit’ made me reflect on how we might bring this ‘spirit’ into our own everyday aspects in our relationships.
- Roberto Carcelen of Peru competed in the men’s 15 km cross-country skiing Classic with a broken rib and finished last. However, at the finish line Carcelen was met by his competitor and the race winner Dario Cologna of Switzerland, who congratulated him on finishing the race. Why did Roberto compete – to inspire his country and children who need a positive role model! Why did Dario meet him at the finish line? I don’t know what his motivation was, but this act of kindness and respect that honours, recognizes and welcomes the ‘last’ brings harmony and peace and breaks down barriers that equalize the dignity and value of every human being. Dario offered him an equal moment of ‘being on the podium’ where Roberto’s light could shine.
- Canada’s cross-country skiing coach Justin Wadsworth replaced the broken ski of Russia’s Anton Gafarov after he crashed during the men’s cross-country skiing sprint freestyle semifinals. Why did he do it? He says because he was there and it was in him to do it! He accepted various interpretations about what it may mean, but in the end, he hoped that anyone would do what he did. It was an act of kindness so someone else could shine and fulfill their dream.
- Carey Price spoke of the unity and connection in the Canadian men’s hockey team, stating that Canadian men’s hockey players just always find a way to get along. The commitment to connect and be united allowed them to remain focused on their game plan. The team harmony showed up in their discipline to play as they needed to. No one needed to be superior in the game or team. They stayed true to the connection they felt for each other and the ultimate purpose of their task.
- Canadian speed skater Gilmore Junio gave up his spot in the 1,000-meter Olympic speed skating race so his teammate Denny Morrison could have an opportunity to compete instead. For Gilmore it was about the team, the bigger picture. In the end, Denny won silver.
In each case, a significant act of kindness and selflessness raised the consciousness of humanity as these stories went global! In each case, the spirit of the heart shone through, the ego surrendering to the higher spirit of the moment and greatness was achieved beyond those directly involved in the moment. These acts all came from the heart. These acts of kindness, of sportsmanship, of Olympic spirit are accessible to all of us and we can choose to practise them in the ordinary moments of our everyday relationships.
Consider what it might mean to a co-worker if you wrote a note letting them know what you value about their work and presence as a team member. What might it mean if you focused on what your partner or friend did for you or gave you, rather than what they didn’t do? What difference might it make if your mindset broadened to be open to sacrificing something for a greater win of the human family? What conflicts might be averted? What hurts or feelings of unworthiness might be healed?
None of the fore-mentioned acts of kindness, respect and harmony displayed during these Olympics cost them anything. Not money, not self-worth nor self-respect. In fact, it increased it for each of them and higher aspirations for the greater good were manifest!
When true acts of kindness manifest, love and power are joined and the human community’s heart is blessed and made whole! This is the best of the Olympic spirit. I invite you to train for this kind of way of showing up in the world. It’s worth gold.
Namaste, Shirley Lynn