Celebrating two decades
Twenty years ago I moved to Whistler — my gay guy friends in Vancouver took bets on how long I would last. My buddy cashed in at four years, who would have thought I would make it to 20 years?
I contemplated leaving many times, actually I did once, but I came back. Why am I still here? Because the energy in the valley is truly amazing and transformative, the people that live here always inspire, make you laugh and stoke your passion. When you live here... you live your life to the fullest!
Here are the top 10 things I have learned in 20 years of living in Whistler:
1. It is never, never a good idea to spin the wheel at Garfinkel's at 1:55 a.m.! (took me five years to learn this one).
2. I have tried and tried and it has gotten better, but Whistler is still one of the worst dressed places in the country, and I sigh heavily.
3. However, Whistler is the best place to dress up! Halloween in Whistler kicks ass!
4. I have grown to love the smell of weed in the strangest, most random and public places. Even though I don't smoke, the rebel in me loves it!
5. Mr. Coffee is still riding his bike! I love seeing him, he always makes me smile.
6. After years of debating, arguing and sitting in construction traffic. Can we all finally agree that overall the Olympics was a good thing!
7. There are no (really unhealthy) people in Whistler; if you see them they are tourists (it's weird). Plus, the level of intensity at which we (the locals) exercise and participate in all our sports is ridiculously high and insane. We really should chill out, but we all kinda like it? (We are true adrenaline junkies)
8. If you are sick or hurt in any way (mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually) you will always find a person in this town to help you become healthy. Whistler is blessed with the most amazing realm healers.
9. The energy of Whistler transforms people, they may leave, move away or continue travelling, and even sometimes they leave bitter, but they will always come back — sometimes just for a visit. Why? Because once you spend time here, the energy is in your soul!
10. Your friends become your family. They will get you through every holiday, every drama, every birth, every death and most importantly all the good times.
Thank you Whistler for an amazing 20 years, I hope everyone gets to this milestone and still looks fabulous!
Canada goes to war
No one is less qualified to maneuver through the intricacies of conflict in the Middle East than (Canadian Prime Minister) Stephen W. Harper, with his simple-minded, almost juvenile approach that "Israel Can Do No Wrong."
The region has been engulfed in religious, political, and territorial strife for thousands of years, and the presence of oil has compounded the greed and power factor to unimaginable levels.
The one thing that history has made abundantly clear throughout all this is that dropping more bombs on the area solves nothing. In fact, it makes it more likely that some psychopathic coward will seek revenge on an innocent Canadian.
And should that happen, could you imagine the calls from the Don Cherry Gallery for "More bombs!" And the cycle of war will have begun. Meaning you might have to think twice before putting on that Canadian flag for your next trip abroad. Under Mr. Harper, the shine is coming off.
Van Clayton Powel
Conflict Resolution Week in B.C.
Thanksgiving is typically a time for togetherness, a celebration of family and friends. But, for many people, it's a time of tension and unrest — a time when they are reminded of conflicts or problems in their lives at home, in the workplace or in the business world.
Often these problems end up in a courtroom, and the resolution is costly, time-consuming and stressful.
If there is something that isn't working in your life, and you'd like to improve it, or give thanks for a happier home or work life next year, I strongly encourage you to consider mediation.
Mediation is a confidential negotiation method where an impartial third party, called a mediator, helps parties in conflict to resolve their issues by "talking it out."
Mediators facilitate communication between parties. They encourage the exchange of information and urge parties to look at their problems from different points of view, and to explore ideas for dispute resolution.
At mediation, the parties have a golden opportunity to take control of their dispute, because the parties, not the mediator, ultimately make the decision about an agreement that will work best for them.
Mediation is effective, affordable, and timely.
As a trained mediator, I see the benefits of mediation on a regular basis. I see people in conflict in a wide range of areas known as "civil mediation." This involves commercial disputes, disputes with a strata corporation, disputes involving seniors or disabled persons, personal injury disputes, and disputes involving professional or technical expertise.
I have seen amazing changes in peoples' awareness and understanding during mediation, which is an important step in reaching a compromise or settlement.
I have also seen many times when a relationship is restored, and a sense of well being is returned to everyone, because the parties actually want to continue living or doing business together after the mediation.
Many people have told me after mediation that it was quicker than going to court, saved them lots of money, and really saved their lives from the turmoil of a lawsuit.
I have had other people tell me that they never really believed that the mediation would work, and how happy they were when it did!
On many occasions, the parties arrive at mediation and are miles apart in their thinking and understanding of one another. I have seen incredible changes in attitudes when information is shared for the first time, and the positive feelings and energy that unfold from that. In my experience, mediation is truly a life changer.
From October 11 to 18, 2014, mediators across B.C. are marking the first ever Conflict Resolution Week, presented by Mediate BC (the organization that provides trained mediators under provincial regulation). All over the province, people are talking about how mediation can provide real answers to the problems which trouble us at home, work or elsewhere.
I invite you to attend one of the public presentations on mediation during Conflict Resolution Week, at the Whistler Public Library on October 14 from 12-1 p.m., and at the Squamish Public Library on October 14 from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
If you can't make either of these presentations, I invite you to go to the Mediate BC website — http://www.mediatebc.com — and find out more about mediation.
There's an easy tab on this website to find a trained mediator who can help you in your area. Everyone experiences conflict, but it doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming to fix it.
Susan Smith, mediator and lawyer