Info for Southern Pilots Flying in the North March 15, 2013Posted by Teresa in Inspired by a book.
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To my regular blog readers, sorry for the “oddly specific” nature of this blog post. To those from the AvCanada forum, hope this helps clear up some confusion!
As an Observer/Communicator in Fort Simpson, I sometimes get flight logistics people calling me from charter companies in Edmonton or Calgary, asking about services or runway surface conditions for an upcoming flight to CYFS. Sometimes, I even get pilots calling me on the radio who seem a little confused about what services they can expect. They click 5 times for ARCAL that isn’t on — I have control of the lights. They call up with a traffic broadcast, not realizing I’m here to provide services. So, I decided to write this little discourse to help you southerners know what type of airport you are flying to when you’re headed North.
The Canada Flight Supplement is a monster source of data, isn’t it? Suppose you have a charter to Awesome Place (CYAP), a fictional but clearly awesome place north of 60. I’m not being sarcastic here (I’m being cheeky) — it is probably awesome, and how would you know? You’ve never been there. Keep an open mind! You might wonder if the CYAP runway will be cleared, or if it’s paved. Find it in the CFS. You wonder if you will be landing on a strip with nothing but snow and trees around? Look under PF for “public facilities.” Next, take a look at the “FLT PLN” section. Skip down to where it says “CARS.”
1. If there is just a phone number listed, then it is a 24-hour station. You will also notice “METAR H24″ immediately below, next to “WX.” Someone will always be there, so you can say “Awesome Place Airport Radio” when you call up — no need to broadcast. You can expect to get current weather, RSC’s, assistance with fuel callouts, whatever you need from the helpful Observer/Communicators who work the radios. You don’t need to activate the ARCAL, because we have control of the lights. We don’t normally close IFR flight plans (although we do for VFR) and won’t be able to give you clearances — contact centre directly.
2. If it says “ltd hrs (see COMM)” beside the phone number, then you are flying into a part-time CARS airport. These stations run somewhat less than 24/7, some just Monday to Friday, daytime (details are listed under COMM). You will also notice below that, in the WX area, it says “METAR dur CARS hrs of ops.” In this case, if you’re arriving during the hours of operations, you can say “Cool Place Airport Radio” and expect to get a current altimeter, weather, and have runway lights operated for you (all the same services as a full-time station). If you are going to be arriving outside operating hours, you can certainly call ahead and arrange for the Observer/Communicator to be there for a charter.
In either case, if there is no answer — because the full-time station is temporarily unattended or the part-time station is closed — then feel free to go on with “Cool Place TRAFFIC, Lear Jet…. (location, estimate, intentions, you know what to do)…” In the part-time stations, if it’s after hours or on a weekend, go ahead and activate the ARCAL and watch for traffic — you’re on your own. You may even want to overfly the field to make sure there’s no snowplow out there and to have a look at the runway condition.
3. If the CFS has nothing to say for CARS or WX under the FLT PLN section, then you know you are headed somewhere really small (Nahanni Butte, for example). There won’t be anyone on site, except perhaps a snowplow operator, so feel free to get right to your traffic broadcast and don’t expect an answer back. Use the ARCAL, if there is one (look under “LIGHTING”). If you are wondering about runway surface conditions, and there aren’t any in the NOTAM files, try calling the regional APM or local operators (for Nahanni Butte, try ones in Fort Simpson) to see what they know. These small places are supposed to do daily RSC’s, but aren’t always diligent.
There are only a few exceptions to this — places like Norman Wells and Inuvik have Flight Service Stations, so it doesn’t say “CARS” but it does say “METAR H24,” so you know there are good services there. You should know what to expect from an FSS — this post is meant to clarify a few things about CARS.
Hope that helps you in your research when you are flying into somewhere new.
Not Who I Used to Be March 10, 2013Posted by Teresa in Ponder This.
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I’m definitely not who I used to be.
For example, when I was in university, I never would have had a male roommate. It just would have been inappropriate, unthinkable. But, when I was back in Sudbury, desperately looking for someone to split the rent with — I had such a great place, I really didn’t want to move! — I found Carl. He was a friend of a friend, and he needed a place as badly as I needed a roomie. It was a match made in heaven, so they say. Many eyebrows at church went up when I spoke of my roommate Carl, but I kind of liked it. Let people think what they wanted — Carl was great, and we never had any problems at all.
Once again, I have a male roommate. My life situation is a bit abnormal; my husband lives in our house about 900 km away, runs his own business and takes care of the place and our sweet, fluffy cat. I have a job up north, so I go back and forth between Fort Simpson, Wrigley and High Level, but to be honest, I primarily live in Fort Simpson. My honey and I are seriously hoping (and planning) to live under one roof again soon!
In the mean time, I am thoroughly enjoying my life and my current roomie. He is amazing! We get along great, talk about everything under the sun, and do lots of things together: go exploring outdoors, cook, eat, listen to music or the radio, and watch movies occasionally.
In fact, when I moved to Wrigley in November, we were both a little star-struck: we were so compatible and had so much in common it was uncanny… more than co-incidence! We became instant, great friends and the depth of our connection is special. A friend of ours thought we were sleeping together, but we assured her we weren’t, and tried to explain our friendship. Like brother/sister. Like amazing friends. Or soul mates? Something like that. Kindred spirits. I think we fell into appreciation for each other.
What is “falling into appreciation,” you ask? It is a bit like falling in love, which makes sense since love and appreciation are so closely linked together. We were so grateful to have each other for company — Wrigley can be hard to live in — and so happy to have a kindred spirit to talk to! We enjoyed spending time together, and spent hours talking about our philosophies, beliefs, life experiences and things we had learned along the way. Then, it happened a second time, when my coworker moved in. She is amazing, and again, we found deep friendship, compatibility, and camaraderie. She is so sweet, lively and fun to be with!
So does this seem strange or wrong to you? A married woman living apart from her loving husband? Make no mistake — my marriage is not on the rocks. We get along fabulously together, in person and on the phone. And here I am falling in appreciation for other people! Why not?!
By appreciating those around me, I feel good. I thrive, I glow. I am happy! And the amazing friendships I have made along the way are such a blessing; it would have been a shame for me to deny them because of male-female boundaries of impropriety… I just don’t think that way any more. I want to appreciate all the amazing people in my life, and I don’t want to hold back about it. When I meet someone cool, I want to spend time with them, get to know them better and share ideas. I want to appreciate everything about my life, and no one’s going to stop me from doing it.
Want to join me on a rant of appreciation? Comments are on!
From: Jamie Lauckner
How nice. The rainbow tribe grows.
The Curse of the Purse March 8, 2013Posted by Teresa in Family, Friends, and Cat!, Ponder This.
Tags: money, materialism, wages, making ends meet, chickens, comparing with others, curse, society
I love my dad. Although he doesn’t have my strong optimistic streak, he is generally pretty content. The last time we chatted, however, he was a little upset about something, and that something was money. He had recently found out what some oil rig workers made per hour, and was amazed, flabbergasted, and frankly, a little jealous that someone could make so much money. He is a farmer — mostly chickens, a few beef cows — and hasn’t made an hourly wage since he did a little work as a welder, repairing broken cargo carts that they use at the airport to load airplanes. He also worked for many years as a bulk milk truck driver (class 1 license, part-time work), and before buying the farm, he did road construction. He said he made $3.60/hour back in the day, which was a really good wage! These days, though, he sells eggs at the farmer’s market and hay at the auction mart (and privately) and both are prized for their excellent quality. He gets top dollar! But it ain’t no oil worker’s wage. Mind you, he is supposed to be getting ready to retire — it can be a multi-year process for farmers. In any case, he tends to get upset when he hears what some guys are making these days. Big numbers!
I have two friends that have been working 7 days a week, 12-hour days, and their employer is six weeks behind in their pay. Six weeks! That’s quite a while to go without any income; most of us couldn’t even do it. Needless to say, they are getting pretty grumpy about it, and are starting to catch the rarely-spoken-about Northern disease of greed. Okay, so it isn’t just a Northern disease, but it’s getting to the point where they aren’t going to do anything without being paid in advance. I can’t say I exactly blame them… but it does make me revisit the idea I occasionally entertain about how a moneyless society would work.
Money. Why does it matter so much? Why do we use it to define our worth? It absolutely shouldn’t be associated with our worth, but it often is. I see it as simply a more convenient way of exchanging resources than carrying around chickens to trade. So why not go back to chickens? If we did, my dad would be one of the richest guys around! Plus, he also has hay, grain, and all sorts of other very practical, tradeable (and edible) items. But most of us don’t have such things — we are stuck exchanging our talents, skills and/or time (abstract things) for numbers on a piece of paper (or computer screen).
It’s the curse of the purse: we need to work, but it doesn’t go smoothly and we don’t enjoy it. We do it all because we are too wrapped up in the numbers: the money we will make.
Work 18 hours straight? Sure, great overtime! Work 25 days in a row? Awesome, bring it on! Work a job we don’t believe in? Sure, if it pays well! We don’t agree to do these things because we actually want to do them — we do it because we have dollar signs in our eyes. We forget our principles, and what’s important to us. In my personal philosophy, money should enable us to do things we want to do — that’s why we work. But too often, we work to make bigger numbers, to pay off bills or debts for things that we don’t even enjoy. We live beyond our means, and then try to make the means bigger, and as a result, we get grumpy, angry and greedy. It’s the curse of the purse.
Can you believe how much money Bill made last year? It’s insane! Comparing ourselves with others — be they famous, coworkers or friends — is a surefire way to feel dissatisfied. We work harder than Bill. We work longer hours than Bill. We know the job better than he does and have better skills. We should be making more money than Bill! Thinking this way is so unproductive. It would be better if we never knew how much money others made, ’cause when we do, and it can frustrate us to no end. It’s curse of the purse again.
As much as we might like to, we can’t go back to trading chickens. So many of us are stuck in very sedentary, impractical jobs where immaterial things are traded for money. Clicks equal dollars. Information, cents. Trading our days for numbers. Wish we had more. We’re all trying to live with the curse of the purse hanging over us. All we can do is stop being driven by the numbers, and start living life again — doing things we enjoy, both as work and as play. Spending time with ones we love. Appreciating the little things. Spending time in nature. Reconnecting with ourselves.
Wherever or however you do it, if you stop paying so much attention to the numbers on the piece of paper, you won’t be the only one. I’ll be right there with ya.
Weekend Fun! February 26, 2013Posted by Teresa in Adventures.
Tags: adventures, Mackenzie River, NWT, skidooing, snowshoes, Wrigley
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Whew, I had a fun weekend here in Wrigley! Yup, I am back in the little community at the end of the all-season road, and from my very first night here, the fun began. A friend of mine here ended up house sitting, except with one surprise — there was also a 10-year old girl there! So, it was house/baby-sitting. I decided to go over and see how it was going for him.
When I got to the house, he wasn’t there. I figured he must have gone out snowmobiling, so I decided to go for a walk and check back later. Sure enough, he pulled up in a few minutes and I hopped on! It’s been years since I was on a skidoo and man, was it ever fun! Woo hoo! I screamed, I squealed (yes, like a girl), I shrieked, I leaned, I bonked heads (gently) with the girl, and then got into a minor giggle fit! We blasted our way all over Wrigley, which is basically mecca for snowmobilers — treed trails, hills, the river valley, and a labyrinth of paths all over the community. It’s totally acceptable to cut across anyone and everyone’s yard in winter with a skidoo (usually going mach 3, often in the middle of the night)! We had such a blast!
We went back to the house, and I decided to stay over. I was partly feeling sorry for my friend who had this job sort of dropped on him, and partly to spend time with the girl, who is a pretty cool 10-year-old. It wasn’t a terribly late night, but I was ill-at-ease due to the TV being on. I am so deconditioned to it, it makes me feel quite strange. The next day, I went to work and in the evening, it was the girl’s birthday, so we had a great birthday party for her — chicken dinner with a chocolate birthday cake, icing, candles and everything. I mention this, because you can’t buy birthday candles anywhere in Wrigley, but I had bought them in Fort Simpson a couple of weeks ago for my friend’s birthday! So we celebrated both birthdays and had a great time. Not surprisingly, the local kids found out about the cake, so they had some too. It was coffee cake, so you can imagine the effect! The whole gang left shortly after a couple of our adult friends came over — another party was in the works!
I stayed with the adults for a bit, but decided to go see if my friend needed back-up with all the kids hopped-up on coffee-cake having a sleep over. Yup, he did. Yikes! They were wild. A major pillow fight was underway when I arrived — I took my glasses off to make sure they wouldn’t get broken! Crazy! Eventually, they calmed down a bit and a couple went upstairs to play video games and a couple slept. I claimed the love seat, got comfortable and slept okay until one of the kids turned the TV on. Ugh. Anyhoo, that was the end of Friday.
Saturday I really wanted to go snowshoeing! I was getting ready to go when, you guessed it, a few kids came over to see what we were up to. I had three little shadows as I went, and it was hard going. I thought I would be slow compared to them (this time, it was Pepsi!), but in the deep snow and crazy ice on the river, the snowshoes really shone. They are so amazing! So, I had to slow down and help the kids and they didn’t last long. One little boy kept trying to stand on the back of my snowshoes (a big no-no, for those who don’t know!) so I finally offered to carry him on my back. Wow, never done that before! Not easy! I really wanted to cross the river that afternoon, so the kids went back to town and I did my thing on the river. It was amazing. It’s about 1.2 km across, and I made my way there and back. A couple of the older girls had followed me after all, and they were cheering for me to go all the way. They fared a little better in the deep snow, but it still took a while to slowly pick our way back. I let each of them try the snowshoes, and they did really well. These shoes are about 54″ long (137 cm), by the way.
On Sunday, we ended up all going for a nice hike down to Hodgson Creek, the creek that never freezes in winter. Actually, that’s not true — where we were, farther upstream, it had nice thick ice on it, but at some point a little ways downstream, as far as we know, there must be a little hot spring. The result is pleasant gurgling water all year round! We had fun, walking, playing, making a fire, and roasting apples over the fire! Delish! You have to cook them slowly and let the skin totally burn. They, scrape the skin off and enjoy the yummy baked apple!
Walking back to the village, we invented a new game. It involved kicking trees to get all the snow the fall off on you. We have some serious snow up here — I shovelled for an hour on Friday afternoon at work — and it sticks to the trees wonderfully. Then, a little play wrestling in the snow and we eventually made our way home. One little girl asked me three times if she could come over, but I had to say no. It isn’t easy, since I know she doesn’t want to go home and spending time with me is far more fun, but I just have to keep some boundaries. I can’t take every kid home or let every kid in who wants to. It’s a strange world, where kids play in the streets all by themselves, where parents aren’t too fussy about where they are, where the outdoors is their playground, but they still have satellite TV (some of them) and video games. They like to be outside (and they know how to bundle up), but they are afraid to go into the woods alone. There are wolves around, so their parents have instilled a hearty fear into them. I sometimes feel it’s too bad, but on the other hand, it’s a safety thing and they will probably grow out of it when they are older and go into the bush on their own (or at least the boys might).
So that was my busy, fun, crazy weekend! Hope you are having a great winter too!
Caution: Tough Times Ahead February 16, 2013Posted by Teresa in Ponder This.
Tags: caution, freedom, intuition, knowing the future, tough times
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I saw this sign today, while I was out on a walk:
Wouldn’t it be nice if life were like that? The sign could say something like CAUTION: TOUGH TIMES AHEAD. COPING TOOLS REQUIRED. MONITOR INTUITION.” But then again, maybe it’s better that we don’t know that things are going to be tough, that the marriage we just celebrated would be the hardest thing to endure, or that our child might get sick and die. Yes, I definitely think it’s better that we don’t know.
On the other hand, perhaps we would still be wise to prepare for hard times. What if we took a little better care of ourselves so that we are stronger people? What if we developed some tools for coping with stress, or ways to deal with frustration and anger?* We would certainly do well to learn how to listen to our intuition so that we can hear its guidance and benefit from its bird’s-eye-view of our lives.
Just some things to think about as we continue on this journey that is life — this road with its blind corners, black ice, and steep hills. Chains might be required for trucks, but for us, freedom is the key! What can I do to be more free? Personally, I still have a ways to go to care less what other people think… to be ruled by the compass, not the clock (as Steven Covey says, to follow your own True North)… to live more fully in the moment and want to be more free…
*I have a whole chapter in my book Love Your Skeletons on what to do about anger.
Searching for the Simple Life January 25, 2013Posted by Teresa in Ponder This.
Tags: balance, nature, simplicity, simple life, life balance, sizzle, risk, thrive, be the best, less is more
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Through aMINDmedia.com, I came across a link that led me to a video of Danielle Laporte‘s “Sizzle Reel” for her crazy-dynamic Firestarter Sessions. Listen to THAT once every morning and then try to be blah — won’t work! Her opening statement is
Life balance. How’s that workin’ out for ya?
She goes on to say how balance is not the best when you want to BE the best, and going for it all out is a totally valid way to go. Why not pour your heart and soul into something you love, something that will be successful? Be creative, be obsessed with quality, go over the top! (I’m paraphrasing.)
Like it has a million times before, my computer screen saver came on, cycling through a slide show of various nature pictures. A photo I’ve seen a thousand times (and even made a watercolour painting of) I saw anew — the lovely complexity of a simple flower, the wild rose. Next up was a butterfly. Suddenly, it struck me that nature is not simple. It is complex. And in my life, I am always striving for simplicity, but perhaps it is a search-in-vain.
Danielle Laporte made me rethink the quest for life balance and now, I am rethinking the quest for simplicity. I often say that I want to have a simple life, but maybe that isn’t even something I should even be striving for. Maybe it’s not a principle of nature, a fact of life, or a way to thrive. The most abundant environments on the planet — the amazon jungle, the boreal forest to name two — are complex, not simple. A desert is simple; if I strive too much for simplicity, will my life become like a desert? Are simplicity and balance valid goals or limiting behaviours? Will eliminating things in order to make life simple inadvertently make it smaller, closed off, less interesting, or simply, less?
Yet they say less is more. That’s a great nugget of wisdom… or is it? It’s a proverb, but does it actually hold any universal truth? Many catchphrases don’t. I think perhaps when it comes to certain things, it is true that less is better, but I think I have that part down — I have a strong anti-commercialism streak these days. For me, less stuff is better. I think I need to expand on the idea that sometimes wanting more is okay too. I don’t want to be someone who chokes life off because of fear or risk-avoidance/seeking security. I want to be expansive, lovely and thriving — very much like nature is at its best.
Okay, so nature includes predator and prey and creatures that live off dead, decaying material… so, as with most analogies, you can’t take them too far! But the profound beauty of undisturbed nature is an amazing harmony and intricate balance… of many complicated things working together perfectly, like a mind-boggling biological machine. My body is a mind-boggling biological machine! So perhaps, my life — my home life, my business, my career, my hobbies — can be too. That will be my vision for my life from now on — beautiful, thriving complexity, that hums along smoothly and nobody dies and gets eaten.
Danielle Laporte’s kick-you-in-the-pants video is here! (Don’t mind the promotional aspects of it.)
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I’ve had some time to think about this (I wrote the above a couple of days ago but didn’t have a chance to post it). There’s no question that life, when it comes to physics and chemistry, is complex. Animals in nature live simply because they don’t second-guess; they know what they want/need and what they enjoy. (Don’t tell me that animals don’t enjoy things; my cat loves to nap and birds love to fly…)
I think our modern, complex lives have gone awry in the ways of enjoying simple pleasures: living in the moment, loving family, being with friends, eating simply. These I will add to my vision of life from now on, and I invite you to do the same!
What Happens When We Die? January 13, 2013Posted by Teresa in Ponder This.
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I’ve been thinking lately that movies and TV often seem to have hidden meanings — a deeper message hidden within. In the latest Star Trek movie, there is a message about the profound friendship between people who seem to be very different — Kirk and Spock. In the classic Star Wars, “the Force” is introduced and an epic fight between good and evil takes place. Okay, you guessed it — I like science fiction!
Today, in quite a blinding flash of insight, I realized something profound, and there’s an analogy using the movie Avatar. Hopefully, you have seen it, but if you haven’t, watching the trailer below may help.
Consider these age-old questions:
What is the life force? What happens when we die? What makes us conscious?
In James Cameron’s vision of the future, man has invented a technology that allows him to psychically enter an avatar and live life through it. Humans, like the hero Jake Sully, connect to an avatar through a neural interface that allows them to receive sensory input from and control the Na’vi body, experiencing everything it feels. Life on Earth is very similar.
There is a spark of life within each and every one of us, that makes us alive. This essence of life, which we may call the Soul, Spirit or life force is Source (some might say “God”) living through us. Animating us. Like humans using Na’vi avatars. Source, the Spirit of All-That-Is, comes into a human body to live life fully and experience everything it means to be human — joy, tears, happiness, pain, love. Source feels everything because it has the perfect “neural interface.” When we lose consciousness — are asleep or meditating — we partially return to the realm of Source. When a body dies, Source leaves the body and goes back to the realm it came from — the body becomes limp and starts decaying. In Avatar, when a person, such as Jake, disconnects from the system, the avatar body goes limp, but the spirit that occupied it is not gone, it’s just not animating the body at that time. Jake is still alive, he is just back in his original state of being human.
When our body dies, the essence of who we are does not. Our consciousness is an extension of Source. We are tendrils of Spirit, extended into a physical body for a time to live life, experience love, and grow through contrast. These bodies were not meant to last forever; they are temporary homes for an eternal Essence. When our body dies, our Spirit instantly goes back to the higher plane from which we came. Our spirit harmoniously rejoins others like it, but can still see what is going on in the physical world and interact with it if conditions are right.
This physical life is so intense, we don’t usually remember the spirit realm we came from, but make no mistake — it is real. And it is full of love and joy and appreciation! Death is nothing to be afraid of. Fear of death consumes so many people, but death is just like falling asleep and waking up in another place — a familiar, peaceful place. Like home. It is just like Jake disconnecting from his avatar (except without waking up in a strange pod). I also wonder if the fear of death is related to a fear of life — don’t be afraid to live and let live!
Note: I didn’t say “if you believe in Jesus, if you’re born again, or if you do A, B, C and D,” or any other conditions. That’s because I don’t believe there are any conditions — this is simply the way the world works. For everyone. Like physics. I believe peace and love are at the end, for all, no matter what. It’s a no-brainer to me, but I realize that it isn’t this way for everyone. I think the Catholic church (way back when) invented hell and the fear of it (and by association, death) as a way to control the masses. Well, the gig is up! : )
I hope this rings true for you, and I think if you are in the habit of meditating, it will. That is all! : )
May the Force be with you January 12, 2013Posted by Teresa in Ponder This.
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I’ve been re-watching the original Star Wars Trilogy — man, that was genius! I think there is a religion based on the George Lucas’ vision in Star Wars, where the Force is all-powerful and the Jedi are its operatives, and I think I want to join it.
Remember this scene from The Empire Strikes Back?
Luke is upside down, balancing on one hand, practicing moving rocks with the power of the force. R2D2 starts beeping as, suddenly, his ship starts sinking into the bog. It distracts Luke, he drops Yoda and falls down. Going to the edge of the bog, he whines, “oh no! We’ll never get it out now!” Luke says.
“So certain are you.” Yoda sighs and looks down. “Always with you it cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say?”
“Master, moving stones around is one thing. This is totally different!”
“No! No different! Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned.”
Luke turns toward the ship and says reluctantly, “alright, I’ll give it a try.”
“No! Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
Luke exhales, stretches out his hand and the ship starts to rise out of the water, bubbling, but then sinks back down. Luke gives up, sighing. He is exhausted. “I can’t. It’s too big.”
Yoda shakes his head. “Size matters not. Look at me? Judge me by my size, do you. Hmm? Hmm. And where you should not! For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it. Makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us, and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the force around you. Here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere. Yes! Even between land and ship.”
Luke stands up and hautily says, “you want the impossible.”
Yoda watches him walk away, bows his head and stretches out his three-fingered hand. He lifts the ship from the bog, and R2D2 starts beeping excitedly. He moves the ship more-or-less effortlessly over the water onto a dry area of land, focusing, but not straining.
Luke walks around the ship, amazed. “I don’t – I don’t believe it!”
“That is why you fail.”
Yoda knows. He’s a source of wisdom in this Universe. We fail because we think things are impossible. We whine, and refuse to see our potential. We can tap the power of the Universe, by focusing our thoughts and believing that we can do it. There is no try.
Here’s the clip for you to watch. Enjoy!