Whistler has always been one of those names that compels a visit. Perhaps because of the skiing, the Olympics, the mountains, whatever it is, there is something about the place. As it happens my friend Tracy has a house here and very kindly offered it to me for a few weeks. Oh what bliss. Looking back at some of the very basic hotels or hostels I have stayed in during more than a year, this house felt like the ultimate luxury. And I was in need of some comfort.
Walking to Whistler Creekside to do yoga was a tiny bit worrying as I was scared I’d meet a bear. These are brown bears that on the whole are more scared of you than you are of them, but still, I did not relish the thought of an encounter. So Iphone music on full blast for 30 minutes to make sure my presence was announced, Frankie Valli and I would make our way down the mountain. Whistler Creekside is the original town and with the development of Whistler Village, it has remained a quieter, less touristy sister to its more famous counterpart. Whistler Village has a fair share of shops and restaurants but is equally pretty surrounded by the mountains.
Before going to Whistler, I spent a week in Vancouver attending a course at the Landmark Forum. Doing one of their courses had been on my mind for many years as so many people I know have done courses there. I was certain that as personal development courses go, it would be good as I’d heard so many good things about it, but I was very put off by the fact they use you to recruit potential attendees. My solution was to do it in Vancouver where, since I did not know a soul, I’d have the perfect excuse not to bring a guest on the last evening.
The course was good in that it brought home that you need to take responsibility for what is going on in your life. However, I did find that approach too simplistic as it makes you and you alone responsible for everything and does not give you the tools to cope with pain you might have suffered with the situations and relationships you are trying to resolve. Life is not black and white but shades of grey. During 13 hours for 3 days you were encouraged to make calls during breaks and explain to the person at the other end of the phone in what way you were responsible for your relationship not working out. There were tears and very moving stories of how situations had been resolved, at least with a first step towards reconciliation. I noticed however, that only people with positive outcomes were called to speak on the mike. It is all very well to hear about how people have mended fences with relatives and friends but how about those who made the call and were met with hostility or negativity. Again, no tools for dealing with this. There was a Eureka moment for me during the workshop. Something I understood about myself that I had never seen before and for that it was definitely worth attending. However, 13 hours every day for 3 days sitting down took a toll and my hip was not happy by the time I got to Whistler.
My time in Whistler has been quiet. A year’s worth of mail to go through, several thousand photos to title and catalogue, my taxes to sort out and present to my accountant, months’ worth of receipts to collate with my bank accounts, paper mementos like entrance tickets to assess, and last but not least, try my best to obtain a 6 months tourist US visa. This house is fabulous, right in the forest. My room has enormous windows that look onto a mass of trees. As I sit on the desk I see chipmunks running around. And best of all, as I lay in bed in the morning and I open the blinds with the remote control, I see them running up the trees only a few feet from me. The work has been slow but I feel thankful to have had the space and this beautiful setting to do it in.