Monday, December 30, 2013

Canadian Arrogance in Hockey, Again...

I had thought long and hard about making a scary prediction about the Canadian Jr. team this year before Boxing Day, when the tournament started.

What I wanted to say, but was afraid of the backlash was this:

Team Canada will not win this tournament

I don't know who will, my guess is the Russians or the Americans, but it won't be Team Canada.

Why is it that I say something this unpatriotic?

On the contrary, I say this because it is a wake up call that seems to have gone unheard or misunderstood during the 5 year drought since Canada last won this tournament.

We don't lose because the opponent defeats us, although that is true. We lose because we have defeated ourselves before we even step on the ice.

And we don't lose it for lack of talent. In fact, Canada is always without question, the deepest pool of talent at every position in this tournament. We have spent years developing these kids' abilities in a wealth of resources made possible by their parents, coaches and by living in Canada. We have no shortage of players, resources, facilities, equipment, or coaches and therefore should have no excuse NOT to win.

Yet, when the Juniors have lost, they have been outworked by other countries who are catching up on talent, and play a better team concept than we rely on as Canadians. In fact, we have an arrogance about us that says that just because we are Canadians, we are the favourite to win; that it really is our tournament to lose.

And in the past 5 years, we've proven that to be true.

We have found ways to lose in each and every year and its been pathetic.

This year, it just looks like the Juniors think that they can win on talent alone. They are simply not working hard, and they are expecting to roll over their opponent, or come from behind and rally. Only to fall short...

We've seen flashes of brilliance of Team Canada being down and coming back from behind many years. When Team Canada is behind the 8 Ball, that's when we really see how these young kids can truly play. Only faced with losing, do they come out hungry and leave it all on the rink.

Yet, they never come out like that to play the first period, and then keep it going for a full 60 minutes.

To me, it's not the kids fault. These kids are taught this arrogance and its learned. Its the job of the coaches, parents, organizations, or systems to make sure that they are focused on the right thing. It seems to me, that these kids think they can win on talent alone

Canada is deep enough to field 2 teams and play each other in the finals. Yet we lose because we have not learned the lesson to play on bigger ice, and play like we are underdogs instead of the arrogance that the game is ours to lose.

Because we've been proving to the world that we've been pretty good at proving them right, and that as a team, you never have enough talent to win on talent alone...

Monday, December 23, 2013

Duck Dynasty, Homosexuals and Free Speech

If you are reading this, it is because you have interest in either Duck Dynasty, Homosexuality, or Free Speech.

Depending on your view, you will either want to agree or disagree with the slant I put on my blog about this.

Well, here's where I might lose you...

I don't really have an opinion on who's right or wrong. The way I see it, Phil Robertson is right and so is A&E for suspending him indefinitely.

Let's start with our boy Phil here. Phil has every right to say his opinion on whether a man's anus is less desirable than that of the vagina. In fact, its his constitutionally guarded right to say so. However, what every one doesn't seem to understand is, that just because he can say it, doesn't mean he won't have ramifications or accountability's to answer to. Meaning, he can't go to jail for it, but he can get dropped like a bad habit if someone signing his cheques doesn't like the value he's bringing to the table.

I can say anything I like about whatever I want to express. Yet if it offends someone, that's going to have an impact. In fact, the real value in having an opinion and having conviction is in the sacrifice it costs you in standing up to what you believe is right. So I can applaud Phil for having his opinion, even if I don't agree with it. I understand that just because I don't agree with something Phil says, doesn't mean that he doesn't have the right to say it. That's what free speech really means.

It means that standing on the top of your soapbox you can state your opinion at the top of your voice, whilst recognizing the person who is in direct opposition to your opinion defying you at the top of their voice, standing at the top of their soapbox.

Because that's what free speech really is.

So you can agree to disagree in every venue, and everyone still has the same rights and abilities to be self-expressed and live with the responsibilities that their opinions garner.

Phil Robertson has his opinion. A&E doesn't share that opinion. Phil's free to have his opinion now without a show, but Phil still gets to be right about how he feels.

It just won't be on Duck Dynasty anytime soon...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Outgrowing Relationships

I find that the toughest part about growing, is when you outgrow your friends.

I remember a friend of mine telling me that the first thing that an alcoholic needs to do in keeping their sobriety is to get new friends.

"Why is that?" I asked

The answer was, "Because all of their old friends are their drinking buddies."

You see, just because one person decides to get clean, doesn't mean their friends want to. When one person is making a change that they feel is going to be better for their lives, it may not work for the others. That change is always inevitable in our relationships. We change because our circumstances and environment changes. Because our journeys are all different, it alters what was once workable for at least one, if not both parties involved.

The toughest part for me is the history that you share with that person. Someone you loved as much as you thought it was possible to love another person. If  you truly love that person, I would think you would let them travel their own journey without you, knowing that they will always carry the time you spent together with them.

Indeed, perhaps letting go of a relationship is showing  that you truly do love them...

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Death of Mandela

Nelson Mandela passes away after leaving a legacy very few men in the history of the world have before him.

At the age of 95, the world has lost a leader whose voice and leadership helped end Apartheid in South Africa and the ripple effect of that in the world has spread to the four corners of the earth.

This is well known and documented. Yet, what I would like you to consider is what the cost of that movement was. The total cost of this is impossible to fathom let alone calculate. We could start with all the nameless people throughout the process of gaining equality, and it wouldn't begin to scratch the surface. In the example of Mandela's life, you would add 27 years imprisonment, being labelled a terrorist and many, many other titles that were branded upon him. Removal from his family and the life he knew with them, as the list of impacts would go on and on.

We all applaud Mandela for his courage, and we marvelled at his wisdom. We stood in awe to watch him demonstrate authentic forgiveness to those who hated him and took away 27 years of his expression and life. In doing so, he proved to the world that forgiveness creates freedom for self, and that those whose hearts were filled with resentment and hatred were the true prisoners.

Yet, we still do not follow his example for freedom. There are Whites out there that hate and are fearful of Blacks. There are Blacks that are resentful and angry for a history of injustices that cannot be changed, and chose not to forgive. Forgiveness is not granted because it is deserved, it is granted because it removes the negative energy that is keeping each of us from moving forward and not imprisoning ourselves with the connection of not feeling heard, understood, accepted, respected and loved.

The irony of the situation with Mandela is that once he genuinely forgave his enemies, he was the free man and they were the prisoners. He demonstrated unconditional forgiveness because HE deserved it, not his enemies. Forgiveness was one of the lessons he spent learning for 27 years in order to facilitate change in the world.

I often wonder if I would be so courageous and brave to give up 27 years of my life for the cause of advancement in human rights and equality. Of course I want these things for the world, but would I be prepared to sacrifice all that would be needed to accomplish this?

It's a valid question, indeed.

If the cost of 27 years imprisonment was too much for you, I can understand. If I brought the cost down to unconditional forgiveness for you and unconditionally granting it to all whom previously held you a prisoner in your own world, would you be committed to doing that?

If your answers to either of those questions were met with reasons, logic, hesitation or conditions, then I would suggest that you are not ready to follow the lead set by this great man. I would suggest that you like Mandela's story, but you are not getting his message of attaining equality.

I would love to see the immense sacrifices of Mandela attain another level of awareness with his death, than we ever saw possible during his great and lengthy life, so that we can one day live in a world without the idea of race, colour, religion and all the other factors which impede equality to the citizens of the world.

I am thankful for people like Nelson Mandela who have created the foundation of equality so that we may collectively strive together with all of our differences to create the commonalities that we share as a common people.

-To be heard, understood, accepted, respected and to be loved.

Those have much more common links to us as a people than all of the identities we seem to attach ourselves to, while excluding others in the process.

Maybe one day we will get there. It is my great hope that we will. But until we start from the very basics of Mandela's sacrifices and others like him, we will just have more inequality in this very broken world of ours.

So therefore, if it is meant to be, it is up to me...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Everybody Wants to be Heard, Understood, Accepted and Respected

We are all on our own unique Journey of a Lifetime. We are all equipped with our own special tools, views, morals, standards and opinions on this quest. Whatever we don't have at the beginning of our journey, we pick up along the way. This comes in the form of people, places, or circumstances which all add and never subtract from our journey. And life goes on...

I had the pleasure of having one of my most favourite speakers, James McNeil on my radio show a few months ago. I have known James for only a brief time, yet I have felt connected to his message for the empowerment of people. In fact, I have had many well known people to offer to write the Foreword of my novel, "Journey of a Lifetime", yet I asked James because of his view on "Heard, Understood, Accepted and Respected". As much as I would love to pawn this as my own, it came from James.

Heard, Understood, Accepted and Respected is what every single person should be entitled to in every human interaction. It covers the great customer service experience that we would want to be extended, and therefore given. These principals are the gateway to making sure that even in disagreement, we can at the very least agree to disagree peacefully without the other person feeling the need to be defensive.

I know that when I am being defensive, I am protecting my identity which includes my point of view, morals, beliefs, expectations and standards. These are uniquely mine, and they differ from everyone else on the planet. Yet, any time I experience frustration, anger, resentment or any other low vibrational feeling, it is because somebody, somewhere doesn't share my sentiment. (and how could they?) I feel the need to be defensive and be Heard and Understood. I want to be Accepted for all that I am, and then feel Respected. If I am missing any one of these 4, it makes the same difference as if I didn't have any in place at all. In order for me to not feel defensive, I need to feel all 4 at the same time.

When I am being defensive, I am not reasonable. I do not listen fully to what the other person is saying because I am getting ready to say my opinion or statement. Now, when I know or think that I am not being heard or listened to, I try harder to speak louder or try to dominate the other person. Sound familiar? I think we all know how this pattern ends. Until time and cooler heads prevail, there is little point in this communication because it is not going to end well.

The beauty of this is, you don't have to agree with the person you are speaking with! It sounds something like this, "I hear what you are saying, and I understand your point of view. I accept that you have that view, the same way I have mine, and I respect your right to have that view." If all of these are in place, then there is no resistance and if there is no resistance, there is no fight! Best of all, people feel validated and not defensive. I know that I communicate much better when I feel validated and not defensive.

I find the whole thing a little bit silly though. We all have something we are defensive and extremely significant about. Whether it be skin colour, religion, race, sexuality, age, wealth, beauty or any other attribute, I find it funny that we are all spirit beings having a human experience and we relate to ourselves as the bodies we occupy for our short time on this earth. This time around, I look like a white male with blue eyes and curly brown hair who stands about 5'8.

Yet, I am not.

I am a soul; you are a soul which is colourless, genderless, and without form. So why am I defending this temporary form? I realized that attaching my soul to my identity is just not workable because it has me internally wanting to be accepted for how I look. If I am overweight, or too short, or too old, or too white, it makes me think that something is wrong with me. -When there really is nothing wrong with my appearance, or any one's appearance for that matter. Classifying people by their identity is inhibiting us from really listening to what their soul has to say. When I can get clear that I communicate from not being attached to my body, I can free myself up of the judgements other people may place on me which would naturally have me be defensive.

Having this view may not work for others, or it may not work for you. Yet it works for me, and it has enabled me to really extend empathy to others when it wasn't natural for me to do so. This allows me to have much more understanding for people. When I feel understood, it is because somebody has created that space for me.

And I don't know about you, but I feel that this world could use a lot more understanding...

P.S. If you enjoyed this blog, feel free to share it. If you liked my message, then you would enjoy my soon-to-be-released novel, "Journey of a Lifetime." You can find my Facebook page at: or:

Friday, November 22, 2013

JFK Assassination and the Biggest Lie Ever Told

"Tell a big enough lie and people will learn to believe it."

50 years ago today, and it couldn't be more true. It takes the Order of the highest kind, contrived in the chambers of the Elite of the Elite to cover up the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

There are a million conspiracy theories of what happened that day in Dallas, November 22, 1963. All the forensic botch ups, the missing head of JFK, the physical evidence and all of the rest of the story is well known. What really blows my mind is how the American people lose their president and then accept the Warren Commission without questioning all of their crazy magic bullet theories.

Now, I don't know what happened, and I'm sure that I could call on about a dozen people who have researched the hell out of this case and hear their theories. Yet what I want to know is that with all the shoddy policework, government lies and such, how has nobody kept their government to accountability?

I would think that the Kennedys first would have demanded better explanations than they got. You can't tell me that Jackie Kennedy was accepting that Warren Commission bullshit. Yet, here it is 50 years later and it is still unaccounted for.

They say that in 3 years, 2017 that all the files of the JFK assassination will be released. They chose that date back in the 60's because they knew that everyone who was involved in the case would be dead by then.

Boy, am I ever interested in seeing what happens then....

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Blogging about my Novel, Journey of a Lifetime

I rarely blog about the process that is now bringing my novel to life in just a few short months.

The reason I don't do this is, I feel that it has very little application or connection to my blog readers. I always want to say something that will bring some insight or relevancy to your lives. Also, a part of me feels that this novel is so done to death. In promoting it, I have to blog, Facebook and social media it to nausea, and the last thing I feel someone wants to read about is my novel AGAIN.

Yet, there is always the message of my novel which makes it louder than my ego which seems to get lost in the recognition of it. Every time I feel that my novel is getting too big and inflated in accomplishment, I have to keep reminding myself that it really has little to do with me. It really has to deal with the every day people who feel less connected and loved in the connections in their lives.

You see, the theme of this novel is really relatable to every single person on the face of the earth, because of the simple fact that we are all going to die. We know this as a fact, yet we feel that we have all the time in the world to live our life of accumulation and survival. We toil to create a legacy to be understood for what our contributions are so that we can feel worthy for what gifts we have been given in this life. We need the feelings of acceptance and respect for who and what we are, for what we have become. We want to be acknowledged for the things in life that we stand for and support. We spend a third of our life working a job that supports others whom we love, but rarely do we take the moments to acknowledge them or allow them the space to be themselves without us wanting to change them.

And then people pass away. Slowly, we dodge the bullet of death and even though we are reminded of how precious life is, we rarely make the emotional life insurance adjustments that would have our loved ones know and feel loved by us if we were to die suddenly. We live life backwards, spending needless time on things that hold little value in comparison to who or what really matters in our life journey. In many ways, we become robotic droids who struggle a lifetime, only to leave this world and the people who we've brought into it with less understanding than we had while we were here.

I've always wondered why nobody has ever saw this. Why do we have life insurance, yet there is no requirement to write a letter to our loved ones who inherit the accumulation we have toiled for. I'm sure that many of the grieving people without closure would gladly give all that money back for the price of completion with the deceased.

So that is why this novel is so important, and why it will be successful. It won't be successful because it is particularly well-written, or because the story is well thought out. The plot won't carry this novel in the brilliance that other writers are gifted in seeing and telling with wonderful prose.

What will carry this novel is the ability for each and every reader to get their own journey and see themselves in a new light of what is possible for their lives, and what they can accomplish in this life. Each and every reader will have a uniquely different experience with the story, characters and themes in Journey of a Lifetime.

So that at the end of the novel, you will be left with an ability to connect with your loved ones and have them feel it the way that makes sense for them. And I believe that this will make a wonderful difference in connecting us as people regardless of all of the differences that we always focus on.

For you to read Journey of Lifetime is my great honour. As an author, I hope that the time you spend on it gives you a return on investment many, many more times that gives your world a ripple effect of paying it forward.

So when I am promoting this novel, it is because I want all people to get this in their lives, and not simply because I want to sell a book or two. The experience of living a life you love and sharing it with the people you are most connected to is a gift. I wish it to be a wonderful gift that will keep giving and if you feel that way, please share this with your community so that they may have this feeling as well.

For every one's Journey is different. But they are all ours, because we are all connected, and it is always the Journey of a Lifetime.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Martin Luther King and His I Have a Dream Speech, 50 Years Ago Today

50 years ago today, the brave, bold leader that was Martin Luther King Jr. took centre stage of America's view in the Mall and Lincoln Memorial to talk about civil equality. His was a message for the equality of all people, not just Blacks as some people may like to think. In fact, a quarter of the 250,000 who showed up to see him speak on that hot August day were white! Regardless of the colour of the people who listened to King speak, they showed up because they wanted social equality for all, and not live in a country where a small elite few controlled the masses by keeping them down.

I'd like to give you an idea of how long ago 50 years is from 1963 to present day; that would be like being in 1963, and having a look back at 1913. Cars were barely on the road, the airplane was still a experiment in human engineering, and there were still horse and buggies on the streets. 1963 was light years away from 1913.

Except in civil rights...

Although there were massive advances in technology and human engineering during that span of those 50 years, very little was done about civil rights for all Americans who were created equal in the eyes of God, but not treated as such before the law. "Separate but Equal" still ran its course.

The courage King had to deliver this speech was unparalleled. His message of love, kindness, equality, and civil rights for all were long overdue in society, and here stood the perfect man to address the issues at hand. These were the days of Camelot and JFK, and it all took place 50 years ago today.

I am so thankful for powerful leaders such as Martin Luther King. His legacy can never be measured by how impactful his speech was that day. Things started to move after that day. It may have taken a long time to get there, yet there was progress in having every human being be heard, understood, accepted and respected regardless of age, skin colour, sexuality, religion or any other factor to discriminate against.

Is the world perfect now because of Martin Luther King's speech that day? Of course not. It will never be free from human injustice at the hands of those who want to control the power of the world. However, I would like to think it was all part of the plan to get empowerment in the hands of able-bodied people who could pass these tools to the next generation so that someday, we will realize that we are all souls of no colour, religion, sexuality and ageless. We are all spirit beings having a human experience, laughing about what we "look" like in this life in order to teach us the lessons we are here on earth to learn.

So thank you for your life of service Dr. King. Thank you for inspiring in others, the hope you held for all mankind. It cost you your life to do it, and it has been a wonderful message and a lasting legacy that you would have been proud of.

God Speed Martin Luther King Jr. wherever you are...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Journey of a Lifetime and Your Impact in the World

I remember watching the movie, "Coach Carter" and hearing an amazingly insightful quote.

"Our biggest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure..." That quote came from Marianne Williamson, and she is absolutely right.

A friend of mine read my novel, "Journey of a Lifetime". He came back to me and told me something that I knew, but had not fully acknowledged.

He told me that my novel would change lives.

It gave me goosebumps to hear that, and I quickly dismissed it. I dismissed it because it was safer to think that my novel would NOT change lives, rather than give the reader the insights to their own power. The intention of my novel is exactly that, yet I was not prepared for the acknowledgement of it. I wasn't prepared because it is my worst fear that I could change the world. I mean, that's an arrogant thought, right? "Who am I to change the world?" Yet, we all do it everyday. We help people by listening, by forgiving, by loving and caring. Every action we take has an impact, no matter how small. I  steps in our own communities, we would have an impact on the world. We may never know what the impact is, but we know that there is one.

The effects of my book will never be measurable. I will never know the effect it has on people, the world, or my life. Yet, I know it will because I know it already has and it has yet to be published and released to the public.

I know this because another friend of mine went to an addictions councelling meeting tonight and quoted the first line of my novel, which is...

"To me, it all comes down to the final five minutes of your life..."

How do you want to be remembered? Do you feel that you were heard, understood, accepted and respected in your life to those who mattered most to you?

Hearing that the opening line from my novel had an impact in that meeting, made the turbulent journey it took me to get to write "Journey of a Lifetime" totally worth it.

Instead of dismissing my accomplishment, I accepted it. I took it in. I thought, "People will get their lives back. Parents will get their children back, kids will get their parents back." I had a hand in that. While I could have been out doing anything else with my time, I was learning how to write that novel over and over again so that it sounded perfect for you, the reader.

Then I got completely overwhelmed and got significant about myself for a minute and I cried. I didn't cry because I was sad. I cried because everything I had endured in my life which felt overpowering in every moment, didn't stop me. It made me have a stronger capacity to be a better person by helping others. So I cried because I realized that I made it happen, and I had arrived.

Others have may have their moments like climbing Mt. Everest or completing an Iron Man competition. They are great moments, no doubt. But the moment moves onward, and you are forced to try to remember the feeling.

"Journey of a Lifetime" will outlive me. It is bigger than me, and it will continue long after I am gone. The hope that every single person will realize their own power in their own journey is an important one. If my novel helps them get there, then it was the greatest thing I think I could contribute myself towards, and I will be perfectly ok knowing that I had an impact without knowing how much.

Playing small does not serve the world and its greatness. But mostly it doesn't serve you! It is my hope that you pick something you are passionate about and start building your capacity towards it. Take small steps, or big ones! But start walking towards what you would want to be remembered for.

After all, everything does come down to the final five minutes of your life, and what you want to be remembered for...

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Just Start With "Hi"

On my Journey of a Lifetime 15 years ago today, I found myself in Stockholm, Sweden. I was staying at a youth hostel on the south side, named Zinkensdamm when I ventured out with some fellow backpackers to Kungsträdgården to participate in the city's Water Festival.

Downtown Stockholm was like a runaway party. There were hoards of people everywhere! Being a first time visitor, I knew nobody but the people I had come from the hostel with, and I even lost them in the crowd. I was alone in a sea of people, being a virtual stranger to the country, city, and language.

While looking around in the crowd, I noticed one blond female over all the others. She was wearing leather pants for God's sake, and I could not keep my eyes off her. Of course I was paralyzed with fear because it immediately occurred to me that I wanted to go talk to her.

But I didn't.

I watched her from a far until I finally lost her in the crowd. I frantically tried to locate her, but she was gone. Within seconds, the self-loathing kicked in. It was a battle of good Fred Flintstone-bad Fred Flintstone in my head of, "Why didn't you go talk to her?!"
One was on the attack, and the other was entrenched for a brilliant defence. Finally, after an epic internal battle, a truce was called in favour of an agreement. I capitulated, and gave my word that if I got a second chance and this woman came back, it meant that I HAD to go over and talk to her.

She came back about 10 minutes later and the panic set in. What would I say? How would I say it? As I walked over towards her to keep my word, my hamster-wheel mind spun every possible scenario of what I could say to her. I was over complicating it and I knew it.

When I got there, it really was as simple as just saying "Hi, I'm Chuck."

That was 15 years ago today, and Martina (yes, that is her name) and I are still great friends. From the start of that simple greeting, we talked all night, and she invited me to a Swedish crayfish party the following day at her friend, Mathias' house. Friends like Mathias and Peter that I created a lasting relationship with that night, are still close to my heart and valued greatly by me today.

We all have had children, and I have seen them grow, and we've kept in touch all of these years. I'm so grateful for them and their friendship because even though we don't see each other often, when we do, it is like a family reunion.

Yet I realize that all of this was only made possible in the one moment of clarity I had to stop being fearful and just simply say "Hi" to another human being.

And today, 15 years later, I am overjoyed that I did. Looking back, I realize that I could have dealt with the rejection of Martina not accept or like me, but knowing what I know now about our friendship, I would never have forgiven myself for at least seeing where the possibility could have gone if I simply took the first step. I am a better man for having been to Sweden and met my wonderful friends there, and have met many more wonderful friends in Sweden subsequently.

It was truly one of the most wonderful stories of my Journey of a Lifetime.

You can read and order my novel, "Journey of a Lifetime" by checking out my Facebook page here:

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Journey of a Lifetime Perception

It certainly has been the Journey of a Lifetime!

I think that every writer's worst fear is that their audience won't "get" their message. For the past 4 years that I have been writing the manuscript for "Journey of a Lifetime", I have stewed at my computer fearful that my reader will not understand my work. I would obviously want them to love and connect to my story, its characters and themes, yet understanding is what I would have settled for.

As I write this, I can tell you that I am overjoyed with the positivity that you have received my novel with. I know that your feedback is honest, because I get completely different reviews of my book from each person. At first, I thought I had failed as a writer to connect with my reader because of the eclectic response I received. It was my expectation that everyone was going to connect to the main character, Tristan Kelly, but this was not the case. Instead I found the reader connected to different characters, some major, and some with tiny roles. They enjoyed different parts of the book and to be honest, some of the most enjoyed parts were passages that I was going to edit out because I thought they were meaningless and pointless.

I'm certainly glad I didn't.

What I also found was that I wrote something, and although each person read the EXACT same thing, they sometimes got completely opposite views on it. Much the same how The Bible is read in exactly the same text, and different meanings are interpreted, so was the same with my book.

This simply amazes me.

However, the common thread I am getting is that we are all the same. Everyone who has read and commented on Journey of a Lifetime, has told me that they have had the same feelings, connections and experiences in their lives with surprising accuracy as what my novels talks about. When the reader connects to the story, it propels them into their own life and in this case, allows them to see insights and new views about their legacy in life.

Creating and leaving a legacy is most likely one of the most, if not the most important thing we will ever do with our lives. Your life is your unique story and you are the author of that story. You have experiences unique only to you in the 7 billion people on the planet, and yes, it is worth telling it!

Journey of Lifetime is really about you telling that story, because the Journey of a Lifetime is really yours! This story is simply the vehicle which transports you to look at your life and want to be understood for everything in your life.

Because at the end of the day, we all need to be heard, understood, accepted and respected.

Anything else would not be Journey of a Lifetime...

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Objective and Subjective Opinions and How to Deal With Them

Have you ever been given praise or a complement that didn't work for you?

It happens to me all the time. I usually get them from people who like my mop of curly hair. Seeing that all curly haired people want straight hair, and all straight haired people want curly hair, it never really moves me to be grateful when people like my hair.

Some people also get what I call a backhanded complement. This is something intended to SOUND like praise, yet feels more like an insult. ie: You are a beautiful woman for your size.

I find that instead of giving praise with a condition or an attachment, the praise should simply be the complement. In the above example, the ending, "for your size" simply does not need to be included. Beautiful people are beautiful regardless of circumstance.

Then I realized how objective these statements were, and the meaning we put on the judgement or opinion.

I thought, it only really matters to me what I think, not the opinion of what someone else thinks. For example, George Washington was legally a traitor until The United States won the war versus Great Britain. History now calls him a patriot, and one of the Founding Fathers of the USA.

But who is right? The answer is both.

The U.K. will still view Washington as not being loyal to the Crown, (which was true) and Americans view him as courageous and loyal to the possibility of creating the Freedom they now enjoy.

You could argue all day about who's opinion is right, yet we all know how that would end.

Back to the point about us.

Everybody has a subjective opinion, and it carries the same worth as what we arm its meaning with. If a small part of you believes it, it will elate/hurt you. Yet, the meaning of their statement lands with your own view of yourself.

I'm quite sure that if the Crown called George Washington a traitor, he would not have been hurt by it because his own conviction knew that he was a Patriot of the United States of America. I know this, because it would have been impossible for him to inspire and lead armies of men to victory if he looked at himself as a traitor.

So it lands and ends with ourselves. We are who we believe ourselves to be.

So be the person you want to be...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Trayvon Martin Case

Every so often, something becomes so newsworthy that it consumes blogs, TV shows, and the news. It is pasted all over the Internet, and the media fuels it so that it reaches viral exposure. It reaches this capacity because there is always a division of thought, belief system, or opinion.

Because we are all so intent on having our own belief system defended from this perceived threat, we get to have our say. If we don't get the reaction that we want, we feel the overpowering urge to lash out, make the other person wrong, convince them to our way of thinking, or even yell and attempt to dominate.

This has been going on for the entire existence of man.

I had a conversation with a friend I have known for 25 years the other day. As I can recall, him and I have never had a disagreement during this entire time. We have many similarities, and of course have our differences. He is black, I am white. He is tall, I am short. He is bald, and I have a full head of hair. However, these differences have never played into our respect for each other, until yesterday when we were talking about the Trayvon Martin case.

Suddenly, when I responded in a way that was not in agreement with his way of thinking, he lashed out, and our communication was altered to a hurtful and significant lashing out by him. Because I respected our friendship and knew it wasn't about me, I gave him space and apologized.

I did a lot of thinking that night.

I came up with a thought that I would like to share with you now, and I can see elements of how it would truly make a difference when faced with fear, or anger, or resentment.

I realized that I could post any thought of mine, and I would get agreement for it. With that same agreement, it would also attract disagreement and be deemed insulting to others.

Even the people who agreed with me on that topic would eventually find some belief or thought of mine that would insult them. It would only be a matter of time until it came out. Pick any belief, and you can get really defensive when it conflicts with yours.

I can attract 34 million Canadians and say that Canada is the greatest nation in the world. Hypothetically, the next statement I can say that only white people deserve to live here, and I would lose 15 million. Then I could say that only if you are Roman Catholic, and I don't want to include fat people. Then I could say that women are sub servant to men, and I would be down to maybe a few million. I could eliminate more uneducated people, or those who haven't travelled, or a million other reasons and soon, I have cut off everyone but me.

I am the only person in 7 billion who thinks like me. Am I the minority here? Shouldn't someone or something classify or stereotype me?

Yet, that's exactly how the media divides us.

Do we have racism, bigotry, hatred, resentment and intolerance in this real world of ours? Yes, of course we do. These are taught, and become belief systems. When fear overrides our ignorance, we react poorly.Yet, it's always how we react to it which determines the course of how it's going to go.

For most of us, it gets to the point when we realize that they don't share our opinion and then we make them wrong. We do this to ensure that our belief system doesn't feel threatened, and we get to be right.

And at the end of the day, our survival mechanism wants us to be right and true to our beliefs.

Now, Trayvon Martin is dead. It is always unfortunate when a young person dies in any manner. The details will not change, and it will not bring him back. This seems to be the day old argument of black vs white, and it may well have been.

To me, it has nothing to do with colour.

It has to do with fear, and that fear supplanted itself and manifested in both men as racism. Zimmerman was living from a place of hatred, fear, resentment, and defending his belief system of what he perceived Trayvon was representing to him. Because of Zimmerman's behaviour and how Trayvon perceived it, I can only imagine he became scared, resentful, angry, bitter and threatened.

Who among you does your best communicating when you are in one of those places?

Instead, what would have happened if an irate Zimmerman would have said, "Hey Nigger, what the F@ck are you doing here? Trying to rob some nice white folk?!"

Trayvon replies, "Sorry sir, I'm just coming back from the store, and I'm talking to my girlfriend on the phone. Is everything OK?"

Now, I know what some may think. Trayvon doesn't HAVE to take that shit from a scared shitless white man.

True, he doesn't.

But my point is, would he be alive today if he did?

Defending their own belief systems, they each acted out of fear and the result was one man died.

You can blame racism, the justice system, laws, guns, Americans, blacks, whites, the rain, hoodies, arrogance or anything else that you feel may be unjust to your view. Is it really going to matter to anyone but you?

We can learn that it's our behaviour that dictates our perception, and how we react that fuels that situation.

Unfortunately, that did not prevail in this instance.

If we are ready to stop defending the blackness or whiteness of the man, and look at what each did to fuel this, and stop being colour blind, we may be able to unattach ourselves from our own identity and react in a manner of communication, and not defensiveness.

We know the way of effective communication until it becomes confrontation to our own identity and unless we have the clarity to see that and not defend it, it controls us and not the other way around.

And that was certainly the case here, and it leaves us all divided in some way or another, and of course, that's exactly what the media wants...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Covering More Ground in Your Life

I was woken up this morning by a crew of men coming over to my house to remove a couple of 80 foot ash trees. There is a beetle having their way with these trees and it is unfortunate that they must come down, but such is life.


However, the point of my blog is different than that of the trees. While I was watching the trees be cut down, I noticed how much shade they offered. At 9 in the morning, it covered about 200-250 feet of grass with shade. Slowly as they began to remove its branches and limbs, it was left to a single trunk and it cast a very small shadow. When they did the same thing to the second tree, where there had been a huge area of shade, now there was almost none.


That's when I really saw something in my life.

I saw the tree as being a person in a community, or as myself. No matter how thick the trunks were on that tree, it could never cover the area it did without its branches. Then, the branches would not be able to cover the area it could without its leaves. Yet there are more leaves than branches, and more branches than the a trunk of a tree.

Too many times in my life have I wanted to be a big thick trunk. But trunks can't cast a big shadow unless they branch out, and then they cover more ground.

I saw the parallel in my life that I rarely ask for help. I remain a trunk in my life trying to do it myself, rather than branching out and asking for help because it impacts more people who want what you've got.


It's amazing that I saw that today. A couple years ago, I would have just seen 2 trees being cut down...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

When Common Sense Isn't so Common

Have you ever heard the line, "Common sense isn't so common"?

I bet you could have a conversation for hours, if not days from people who are amazed at the lack of "common sense" out there in the world. There is always a story about someone doing something which lacks complete common sense, and is utterly baffling to some as to why not every one has this "common sense." I'm sure that there are a million reasons and expectations that people have, yet it never seems to change.

I do a lot of people watching whenever I go anywhere because I find human behaviour fascinating. Yet with all the education I have, or for the amount of travelling I have done in the world, or for the thousands of hours I have spent interviewing people, I have come to the conclusion that people don't lack common sense. They really don't...

What they do lack is the one common trait which appears like they don't have common sense, and it is always there when common sense appears not to be. Want to know what I think it is?

People aren't aware in the moment.

Whenever I am in "the zone" I have really good clarity. I see things better, they occur a step before they actually happen. Most of the time, this happens when my mind is focused and fixated on the task at hand, and it is my primary concern. I have better reaction or adaptation time without pause or delay and it is because my mind is free from stress, outcome, or dis-empowering thoughts.

However, when my mind is cloudy, or I am unaware because I am stressed, over-thinking, numb, or the thoughts in my head are spinning around like a hamster wheel, I am completely lacking in common sense because I am not thinking clearly. Most people who live their lives in a haze simply aren't present to the world they live in, and they miss most everything in front of them as opportunity or danger because their mind is elsewhere. They are so fixated on their cluttered up mind, that they aren't paying attention to what is in front of them in the moment. I seem to make the most amount of poor decisions and get the worst results when I am in this state.

This results in poor decisions, indecisiveness, delay, missed opportunity, injury, a half-assed effort or job, and its always undeniable.

Yet why can we have days where we are caught in the zone and other days where we can't seem to do anything right? The answer always lies in your mindset of how that situation is occurring for you. It's just about quieting the hamster wheel in your head and choosing to be present in the moment and then actually doing it.

Easier said than done, I know. Yet, it takes a lot of practice to correct living a life of being so unpresent. -And we really do live lives of being unpresent.

So next time you see someone that lacks common sense, have a look to see if they are clueless to their environment or what's going on in their world at that time. And of course, when I say "Someone", I really mean you and me...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Being Aware of Life Around You

Have you ever went somewhere and when you arrived, thought to yourself, "How the hell did I get here?" because you really don't remember?

I do that all the time. I show up places, especially when I'm tired and wonder how I got there. If you added alcohol to this equation, I'm sure that I wouldn't remember any of them. However, you got there because you were unconsciously aware of where you needed to go. So good in fact, that you did it all yourself without remembering doing it. Your brain focused on the task at hand and it got done. But what other happenings did you miss in that process?

I've really realized that I live my life much like this.

I've noticed that at any one given time, I am doing 2 or 3 things instead of really focusing my attention and efforts on what's in front of me. Even writing this particular blog, I am checking my phone, email, and facebook in betweeen. In fact, while doing this, I accidentally deleted the first version of this blog. This casualty of war came from me not successfully being focused on the task at hand. UGH. More evidence!

Why is it that I was never aware of it?

I mean, nowadays we talk on the phone while staring at the TV, the computer, or while driving. My favourite is when you are speaking to someone right in front you, and I am texting or checking my phone like they aren't even there. I do that shit ALL THE TIME, and never noticed it. We hear the people around us all the time, yet we don't listen to what it is that they are saying, or the message they want to convey.

I miss so much in not living in the present moment.

I look at it like this. Life throws signs and signals at you a thousand times a day. If you are alert, see and recognize it, you catch it. If you aren't, you miss it. If you miss it, you probably won't even know it. Then we say things like "I'm waiting for my luck to change" even though it has been presented to us, but in a way that we simply didn't understand or see because we weren't alert in the moment. We were concentrating too much, or too little and we missed it entirely.

However, our inability to see this is exactly what is holding us back from getting what we want.

Here is a great example of what I am talking about in this short video...

So I never saw the moonwalking bear, and the second time I saw it, wondered how the hell I could have missed it?! Then I thought about how many moonwalking bears I must have missed in my life while looking for something else that I "thought" I wanted....
So how about you?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What is Happiness to You?

Are you happy?

Seems like a simple enough question, right?

Before I would answer that question, I would think of all the things I don't have, which I think would MAKE me happy and then land on a middle ground somewhere. I might say something like, "I'm not UNhappy." But the person didn't ask what I wasn't, did they?

I would ponder it, and probably be obliged to say "yes" because I wouldn't want anyone to know that I wasn't completely happy.

But what would make YOU completely happy? Wow, now that's a great question.

What I THINK would make me really happy would be an endless supply of money, of course. I'm one of those people who believe that money doesn't buy you happiness, but it can buy you choices. I would like to think that I am a very grounded person, and would be morally and ethically responsible if I were to get a big pile of money. Yet, that money would not make me happy.

I would need to contribute something really great with that money in order for me to feel good about receiving it. So while I am building all of this, I would have the money, but I wouldn't be completely happy. When I achieved all that I wanted with the money, and it helped a million people, I would want to travel. I have been to about 40 countries in the world so far, so I would like to see a few places I've always dreamed about. But until I did all that, I wouldn't be completely happy.

I would want to see my daughter grow up and guide her along her journey and make her into the kind of woman that would make any parent proud. But that's a lifetime process, so it wouldn't make me happy in the moment either.

To tell you the truth, I think that Happiness is a process, and not a destination because you never "really" get there. Sure, you have moments of it but it doesn't land fully and completely, like we think it should. True happiness is a lifetime achievement that if you got completely and then nothing changed, would be the loneliest place in the world. It would strip you of your contribution in life because you were fully satisfied in every area of your life that you wouldn't want anything to change.

So the word, "Happiness"? It's just a made up word. The kind of illusion of chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The trick about it is, that it makes you take action and move constantly from where you are with the illusion that it can be found. And along your path, you find snippets of happiness, but they are the appetizers of life appeasing you for the real meal at the end of the journey so that you can look back and think, "What a wonderful life I've had. It wasn't perfect, but I'm happy that I did it."

And then, I imagine in the last moments of life, we are rewarded with complete happiness. I would guess that it has nothing to do with money, houses, cars, or wealth. It was the experience that life gave us, and in that moment, I hope we have true happiness.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Abercrombie and Fitch and You.

Mike Jeffries, the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch is in the news for something that he said in 2006, about his target audience. But before I read his quote, let me look at my calendar to see that it is 2013 right now. These quotes of his in Salon Magazine 7 years ago, have resurfaced this week and it has a lot of people in a snit about it.

This is the quote that has stirred up the bee nest again, from 2006:

""In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids," the clothing retailer explained. "We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don't belong [in our clothes], and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."

I read this once as how I would see it, and then I paused. Then I read it as if I was an overweight woman who was the fat girl in school. I thought about it, and then I realized that absolutely nothing Jeffries says here is inaccurate.

It IS true that in every school, there are the cool kids and the not so cool crowd. Good marketing sense means that every clothing and fashion company out there wants a piece of that market. Does ANY company market to the not so cool, overweight and excluded crowd? HELL NO. They'd be out of business before they even started. People with great attitudes attract others with great attitudes. The people who don't feel like they belong? Guess what, they feel that way, and it ends up showing up. Do YOU want to hang around people like that? God, we're surrounded by people like that at work everyday, do we take time to see why they're hurting? No, we treat them exactly like dirt, and so why are we surprised when our kids do the same at school. They learn it from us!

I don't care if Abercrombie and Fitch doesn't carry a size over 10. If you can't fit into their clothes, I guess you can't wear them. Is it exclusionary to do this? Sure, but that's what target marketing is. There are companies that only target people who make over 60K a year, why is it that nobody targets THEM as being exclusionary?

Because we are talking about being overweight, and THAT is the real issue here.

I don't know why being over or under weight is such an issue with people, I really don't. For my entire youth, I was teased for being so skinny. I really couldn't gain any weight. I know, it sounds like the perfect problem to most of us now, but I assure you that nobody wanted to be with the skinny kid in class. I actually envied the fat people in class. To me, it was much easier for them to lose weight than it was for me to gain it.

But the judgement that goes with being overweight is the issue here.

The point these plus sized people are missing is that it isn't Mike Jeffries that you're pissed off with. You really don't give a shit what this man thinks. It's the message that he's conveying that he doesn't want fat people in his clothes that hurts you. And if you are overweight (like I am as I write this...) it just adds another judgement to our already existing world of hurt which is the reason WHY we are over weight. We are over weight because we work at it. We make the poor choice to be over weight because of our own lack of will power. For what ever reason, and we all have a million reasons why we are over weight, we push it on every one else who doesn't accept us, because we don't accept ourselves first! We really can't stand ourselves for being over weight. We stare at ourselves in the mirror and torture ourselves about this, we really do.

It takes work to have a great body. You have to eat properly, exercise and maintain all of this. You have to plan, and execute your plan just to maintain. Those of us who don't spend time or effort doing this, don't get to be thin or in good shape, and we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

If you think the world is against you for being over weight, try again. The world doesn't care what size you are. Do you know who cares the most what size you are? YOU DO!! We care so much that our heads never stop thinking about it, the judgement we face, the articles that are written about it, or the models who don't look like us. We make up silly statements about good looking people like, "They're shallow, they have no personality, all they have is their looks" How do I know this? Because I've been doing it for years. Even when I was in really great shape, I said it. I said it about the people who were in better shape than I was, and they said it to the people who were in better shape than they were in. It just never stops.

If we want it to stop, it has to stop with us, not with Steve Jeffries. I promise you that if you were ok with Steve Jeffries comments, that you really are comfortable with your weight. If you aren't, it just triggered you because yet another person judged you about being over weight, and it hurts you because you don't want to be over weight.

And the sad thing is, the more we attack Jeffries and defend the over weight kids in school, the more we justify that it's ok to be over weight and unhealthy.

And it's NOT.

We're not teaching our kids enough about healthy eating, and North Americans are the most over weight people in the world. Healthy kids live healthier lives, and over or under weight kids get picked on and teased. When you are a young kid, you don't have the confidence to defend these attacks and it just makes it worse. I was teased relentlessly as a kid for not being the cool kid in class, and I can tell you that it really hurt. It's taken me years of learning to get to a place of forgiveness and understand why. But I can tell you that it is in our human nature to do this, and it won't ever stop.

So if you can search inside yourself and ask some deep questions about why it is that you chose to be over weight and if you can be honest, you will have a new view of treating yourself with more kindness than you have in the past. If you want to blame Mike Jeffries that he is mean for excluding plus sized people from his clothes, you can do so.

Just know that it will be easier to control your own thoughts and actions, and that people like Mike Jeffries are a dime a dozen and aren't going away any time soon.

It's your choice.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

To All You Mothers Out There


God love you. There is nothing so touching and consoling than the gentle touch of a loving woman. And there is no bigger form of love on this earth than that of a loving mother.

As a man I often wonder what this world would be like if women didn't exist. I can tell you that if this world was populated without women it would be love starved, passionless and devoid of inspiration. All of these qualities start with inspiration, and that's really what I love about women. They can inspire us men to do great things. Whenever I see a successful man, the first thing I think of is that he must have had the love and support of a wonderful woman to get him there. That's not even a statement against gay men, because I guarantee you that they will say the same thing about the women in their lives; they simply understand and get us.

You girls on the other hand are not so easy to understand, but we're trying ;)

Anyway, back to what I was saying...

As a father, I can admit that my daughter's mother has a level of love that I don't possess. It doesn't mean that she loves our daughter more than I do, yet there is something about mothers and their love and they sacrifice to always put their children's needs first. This is sometimes complicated by a mother's guilt which never goes away. I sometimes wonder why women don't realize that they have to put themselves first though. If you are at 30,000 feet in an airplane and the cabin pressure changes and the oxygen masks deploy, the first thing the flight attendants tell you to do is place the mask on yourself. Only then you can help your children. However in this metaphor, most women instinctively place the mask on their children first, and often become oxygen-starved themselves. Most women often don't realize this, and just chalk it up to being a mother.

Well, you are women first, mothers secondary.

If you are a great woman, you have the tools to choose to be a great mother. I get the fact that a woman's world is constantly being bombarded by society's judgement of you. You aren't thin enough, you aren't sexy enough, you aren't nice enough. -I get it. Yet once a woman gives herself the gift of not feeling "bad" about putting her own needs first, she can become a more confident and happier person. Happy people inspire, and motivate others by their outlook and demeanor. The most important thing is that your kids will love you for being happy. Because if you are happy, chances are they will be happy. If you aren't happy, chances are really good that despite your best intentions, they won't be happy either. And trust me, your kids can tell when you're not happy, or when you are sad.

Before I end, I always want to mention the single mothers out there; my daughter's mother especially. You do a thankless job of raising our beautiful children. You make hell and high water move and sacrifice your hopes and dreams so that yours kids have a better childhood than you did. I applaud and acknowledge all you single mothers out there who need more love than you are currently getting. I can only tell you that the work and sacrifice are making a huge difference in the lives of yours kids. I know you know that already, and that is why you do it. But at least once a year, it's nice that somebody else knows it too.

So thank you women and mothers for doing all that you do, and being all that you are. You are our true inspiration in life.

Happy Mother's Day to you all!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Everything is Not Always as it Seems

I remember when I would blog about Lance Armstrong being a cheater YEARS before he was forced to come out and admit that he was a cheater. For years, I took a beating from heated debates on facebook, social media, and email. Whenever I brought it up, people were instantly defensive about his innocence. It was like I was attacking them, and not Lance Armstrong.

But in a way, to them, I was. Let me explain...

When I am convinced I am right about something, there is very little that can change my mind. I become stubborn in my opinion and if someone questions it, I will defend it like it's my belief system on the line; Because I don't want to be wrong. If I'm wrong, I will feel stupid. If I'm stupid, I'll look bad, and no one will listen to a word I say. -And that very well could be my worst fear in life. So I will defend my opinion or belief because it's my identity of who I am, and what I believe is on the line.

Yet, I'm clear that I don't know everything, and even more importantly, I don't HAVE to know everything. I've learned that it's ok to say, "I don't know" without feeling stupid, ignorant or dumb. Yet, I rarely ever did that. I always looked at it as a sign of weakness from myself. I used to say, "Fake it till ya make it!" and try and strong suit my way through the conversation.

So now take for example the Boston Marathon Bombings. I don't know what the hell is going on. I'm just not in the know of being able to intelligently talk about the circumstances. In fact, whatever information I receive, already has a view placed on it from the person whom I heard it from, and what their view is on it. Seeing that when something happens, we all have a different view on the SAME exact happening. Every person will have a different spin on what they thought they saw. So who is right?

So can I really rely on credible news that tells me just after something has happened that this is the absolute truth? How the hell do I know if these 2 brothers were the only ones involved. They took in Lee Harvey Oswald and to this day, he is historically recorded with assassinating JFK. Yet, we all know that he didn't act alone, despite what the US Government would have you believe.

My opinion is that I don't believe that these 2 brothers acted alone. There are just too many things that don't add up in my hearing of the story, and just like that intuition of Lance Armstrong, I can't prove it, yet I have that same feeling that something stinks.

And who knows, we may never know who did this. Just the same way that we are waiting 4 more years until the JFK files are de-classified so as to make sure that everyone from that era is dead before the "real" truth comes out and alters history again.

So for now, it just works for me to not believe the reporters about 9/11, the Kennedy assassination, The Boston Marathon Bombings just as I didn't believe that Lance Armstrong was clean despite never failing a single drug test in decades of competition. In short, I will wait and not post things like "We got him!" Not until this man has his day in court, and due process gets completed to get a bigger scope of something we know nothing about, yet want to believe.

Just like people wanted to believe that Lance Armstrong was innocent.

And why? Just like John Travolta said in the movie "Swordfish", sometimes, everything is not always as it seems.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Entitlement vs. Gratitude; How it Affects our Youth

Have you ever come across someone who you called "High Maintenance," "Spoiled," "Entitled," or sometimes just plain old "Rude"?

Sounds like the person that you were talking or relating with, has a visible or non-visible entitlement issue. You know the kind I'm talking about? These people just expect it to be about them, nothing is ever good enough, they always expect more, and when there is no "more" to give, they complain about it, or are never satisfied with it. Either way, it's exhausting to be that way, and it's especially exhausting to be around anyone that way.

And yet, I feel that society seems to breed these people. It seems to me that we are living in the most entitled age because everything seems to come so easy. There is high speed Internet, smart phones, GPS, drugs, and information to just about anything is literally at your fingertips and you don't have to wait very long to get what you are searching for. It's not like you have to walk into a library anymore on the hours that it's open, go to the card catalogue, find the section of what book you are looking for and then read them. Yet, if you were born before 1980, that's probably how you grew up.

That's just so outdated now that most people today wouldn't know what a "card catalogue" is, or what the Dewey Decimal system was.

So to me it seems that with all the modern technology, we, our society, and certainly our youth have become entitled.

Let me tell you why I think that entitlement is cancerous. Entitlement actually tears away from being thankful or having gratitude. In fact, I would almost call them opposites. When you are feeling entitled, you expect certain things, and when you don't get what it is that you want, you feel that you are being denied the basics of what your belief system tells you.

On the other hand when you have gratitude, you actually are more present in the moment about how appreciative you are for the things you DO have. This takes you away the loss, resentment, or frustration from the feeling that you are being denied of what you think you are entitled to. You are instead left with a feeling of gratitude for whatever it is you chose to be grateful for.

These two different views are so different that it seems that we live in different worlds. The world of entitlement means that you are always let down, exhausted, frustrated, pouty, resentful, angry or upset.

Conversely, the world of gratitude is one of inner peace, of being present to the good things in life, happiness and abundance and most of all, peace of mind.

Yet when I fly on an airplane, or sit in a line at a bank, or watch a movie in a movie theatre with disruptive people, I see the entitlement all around me. Hell, I see it in myself most of all! I have to catch myself all the time to remind myself of why I am feeling entitled and notice that it comes from me, and not my environment. Catching this insight has given me a new outlook and a much more manageable view because I have enrolled myself in peace of mind instead of pissing into the wind and then wondering why I always get pissed on.

When I see our youth not able to see and appreciate the convenience that we have these days because they have known nothing different, I am reminded when my parents or grandparents used to tell me of slide rules, before the calculator, and how easy I have it now compared to when they grew up. No doubt they looked at me and thought I was spoiled because they had it much harder than I did growing up. I guess that it a fair view, and I see every generation growing and advancing that way.

But for once, it would be nice to see our youth grow up being present to what great things the world has offered them, and how appreciative they should be because of it.

Adding gratitude to your life will make it more manageable and you will have more peace of mind in any situation if you chose to.

Otherwise, you are welcome to remain in the world of entitlement with all the needy, high maintenance, whiny, self-absorbed people.

It's always your choice...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Seeing the Beauty in You Before You See it in Yourself

I saw a really bad movie the other day called, "The Matador." It was really awful, but there was a great monologue in it that really moved me because I think a lot of us have a person in our lives that comes along at the perfect time when we least expected it and believed in us, even when we didn't believe in ourselves.

Here's the quote:

"When I was first in high school, I told you they made fun of me? They called me 'Hippo Hips' and 'Plate of Beans', the works. And even though I did basketball and chorus, and I had a few friends and acted strong... I never was. -Because I believed them always, every last cruel word. And I always thought I would believe them.

Until I met you.

You arrived and you told me that I was pretty. You told me I was sexy and for the first time, I believed it..."

Thank God for people like this in our lives, that love us and see greatness in us, before we can even recognize it in ourselves.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Where Have Our Great Leaders Gone?

Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth on this day in history in 1865, a mere 5 days after Confederate General Robert E Lee surrendered Southern forces at the Appomattox Court House in Richmond, Virginia, ending the United States Civil War.

On April 15, 1865 Lincoln succumbed to his wound and died early in the morning, and Secretary of State Edwin Stanton said, "Now he belongs to the ages."

Lincoln is one, if not the most beloved President and leader in the history of the United States. For many reasons I feel that his story is the most amazing and remarkable, so I look to the example of Abraham Lincoln as the model in which we look at our leadership in present day.

I feel that our leadership has fallen desperately short of any greatness in the past 40 years, and I'm not hesitant to say so. We seem to lack the ability to create greatness in men and women who are capable of leading us to the promised land that we all seek. Our leadership is dividing a country, and not uniting it as great leaders do. Great leadership starts with character and example, and then follows through with declarations and actions. Courage and confidence enable this to unite the country together and move forward to a common cause.

Still, I have seen very few examples on the world stage over the years that would dictate this. Surely there were great leaders in our history, yet there haven't been enough of them when it mattered most. The great leaders who did step up and took control were great in the moment, yet we seemed to have not continued their legacy, and it slowly died off waiting for the next "great" leader to resume control.

Charisma is something that oozes out of every great leader. You may not like their message or point of view, or agree with what they believe in, yet you cannot deny that they are great leaders. Great leaders inspire by getting ordinary people to do extraordinary things. They lift us up and give us hope and confidence, even if we don't always agree with what they are saying. We develop faith in what they say or do because they actually say what they do, and they DO what they say.

Yet, there seems to be a lack of leadership at our highest levels that can lead like this. Every election, I feel like I am voting for the lesser of 2 evils. I'm not sold on either leader, and I can't believe that my country has made it possible that it has not presented THE ABSOLUTE 2 or 3 BEST CANDIDATES we have to offer.

It is my guess that there are great leaders, but they are the CEO's of giant corporations, and making millions of dollars. The call to service, and the stresses and burdens it brings are not attractive enough to have them step up for the love of country. For whatever reason, while I feel that there should be an overload of great leaders, there is not. This is evident in the apathatic reaction to our leaders because we just don't seem to care enough in a united stance.

Still, I hopefully await the leaders that we will adore, and that we can refer to as a person who now "belongs to the ages."

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Mighty Mouse in My House

I recently have noticed that I have traces of mice in my house. Well, this is just a pain in the ass.

So you do your due-deligence in trying to rid yourself of the little scamps, and buy some traps. Not exactly a nice way to play, but these rodents don't respect the rules of the house which are, "Anything with more hands and legs than me, or crawling on all fours are not welcome."

So Day 1, I set the trap using peanut butter. Sticky, sweet and usually attractive to mice. I set the trap with such a hairtrigger that I almost snap off my fingers twice laying it down.

I check the trap the following morning, and the mouse has licked the trap dry of the peanut butter and it hasn't gone off.

The score: Mouse 1, Chuck 0 at the end of the first period of play.

Day 2, I use cheese. I figured this is the catcher for sure. I smeared that cheese on good and tight on the trap, set it and waited for the poor bastard to eat it.

I check the trap the following morning and the mouse has again licked the trap dry of the cheese and it hasn't gone off.

The score: Mouse 2, Chuck 0 at the end of the second period.

I'm amazed at this point to tell you the truth. I check the trap to see how come it's not going off and I almost take my finger off yet again! I get distracted and forget to reload the trap and put it back where it was.

I wake up the next morning and remembered that I didn't bait the trap so I go to look at it, and the mouse has left a litter of his own shit surrounding the trap INCLUDING shitting ON the trap

Final Score: Mouse 3, Chuck 0

What a cheeky little bastard! Still, the sassy little thing has Moxsy!

I don't know whether to kill him now, or have a drink with him...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Causing Happiness In Your Children

I was talking with a friend the other day about having "Daddy Issues." It seems to me that many more people have "Daddy Issues", both men and women, than we have "Mommy Issues."

I wonder why that is?

In listening to hundreds, if not thousands of people over the past few years, it seems to me that we all want and fight for our father's approval than we do for our mother's. Maybe this is because a mother's love is generally more unconditional than a father's love is. Men are generally "problem solvers." We listen in order to "fix" or "solve" issues and conditions. We do this with our view, or belief in how things work in our own lives. Yet, the way that works for us rarely works for everyone else. Yet because we think that our view is workable in our life, we tend to think that it should work for everyone; and we all know that this just isn't the case.

So my message today is this. As a parent, we only have one purpose for our kids.

That THEY are happy.

The way that our children are going to do things is going to be different than our way. They are going to make mistakes, just like we did in growing up, and its important to not prevent them from learning these lessons. We tend to have the view that we "don't want our kids to have to grow up like we did" yet each generation has different issues, and it always has its own process on how to get there.

Yet, if we allow our kids to be who they are, and not try to control HOW they are, it gives them the world of freedom to develop their own life path and their own process which works for them. Instead of having to use the outdated belief system that we use, and arrogantly think should work for them and everyone else, we give them the ability to trust themselves and gain their own workability which gives them our unconditional support, education, experience, and life lessons.

Too many times in our lives, we have looked to our parents and chastised them for not being what we wanted them to be. Too controlling, too smothering, too loving, too vacant, and the story goes on. Our parents raised us in the way that worked for them based on how their parents raised them, and tried to do a better job focusing on their own view of how they would have like to have been raised.

But their view wasn't our view. And our view isn't our kid's view.

So why not let our children have their own view, and give up the controlling aspects that we as parents do? I really don't care how my daughter does things in her life, as long as she does them in a way that work for her. I know that someday, she will learn and move forward with confidence in her own beliefs and abilities that will work for her, and this will make her a happier person. I also know that my daughter using my belief system and wanting to impress me, will not give her her own voice which she needs to be the best she can be. I will be impressed on her finding the way that best works for her, even if it doesn't, or wouldn't work for me. In other words, I don't need her to do things MY WAY in order to be impressed, I want her to do it her way because it works better for her.

That's really what we want as parents for our kids, right? I want my daughter to be happy. When we are happy in life, things work better for us. Life won't be perfect, yet when we are feeling happy, we can adapt better than if we aren't happy.

Ah, giving up control is such a liberating feeling. Who would have thought that only by giving up control, does it make life more manageable?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Finding a Belief System Which Works For You

I think that every single person has made a decision in their lives which they chose because of someone else. Maybe they created it based on what they thought their parents wanted them to do, or a spouse, or their kids, or a boss. Yet, in that moment they did it for someone else, and not because they wanted to themselves.

This must surely happen to everyone at one time or another, right?

Yet what would it be like if you actually lived in the belief system of someone else, and not one that actually “belonged” to you? What if you were actually living your life as if it belonged to someone else or what they wanted you to be?

I can’t think of anything more unworkable than this. You would begin to question yourself on everything that you needed to make a decision on, and it would be tormenting to say the least!

A belief system is such an amazing tool. It really starts with a thought. The thought is then given power when it is combined with confirmation that it is your “truth.” When it is finally declared in language it becomes your belief system, unique to only you in the entire Universe.

So you would think that we should really own and recognize our OWN belief system, and not one that belongs to anyone else, right?

If I thought about why I now believe the things that I believe, it would come from a combination of my upbringing, my parents, education, religious beliefs ect.

Somewhere along the way I decided things that I agreed with and things I didn’t agree with, and this became my own “reality.”

My reality is completely different from anyone else’s reality because I listen, hear, talk and see things through my own personal filtering system, just like you do the same with yours.

Where my belief system works for me is when I can actually be passionate about something that I love rather than be doing something because “I have to.”

If I “have to” do something, I may end up doing it, but I will never do it passionately, as if I really wanted to do it because it was my choice.

So if you were to look into your life to see where you were doing things for other people, and not for yourself, you would see areas of your life that weren’t as fun as you would like them to be. This would suggest that you are living your life with someone else’s belief system and not your own.

One thing I know about doing things in my own life. I know that my way of doing things doesn’t work for everybody else. More importantly, I know that other people’s way of doing things doesn’t work for me. And I am the person who needs to get it done, right?

So if I were to choose to do it my way, I would always have the ability to feel comfortable in making my own results. I’m clear that I will make mistakes, yet I can handle making mistakes and learning if they are my beliefs and not someone else’s. Only then I can take responsibility for them and learn from them and it becomes another belief that works for me, and not against me.

So the real question is, where in your life could you be living someone else’s life, and when are you going to chose to live your own; the one that will work for you and not against you?

It’s always about you getting what works better for you. I’m really clear that a world of “Chuck’s” would be a terribly unbalanced place to live in. Yet, I believe that if every one was passionate about what they believed in, and operated with a belief system that enabled them to do extraordinary things, the world would be an amazing place.

So it starts with you. Find out the areas which aren’t working for you and look at your belief system and find out what DOES work.

When you discover that, you’ll be amazing at whatever it is you want to do!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Are you "The Giver"?

Are you the type of person who is always trying to please people? If you are the person who always puts other people in front of yourself and your own interests, only to feel unappreciated and undervalued, then this blog is for you…

The Giver…

You are the type of person who always is giving to others without regard for yourself. You think of helping people 24/7 and it usually comes back to bite you in the ass. Despite all the love and effort you give, people just take and take, leaving you feeling unappreciated and taken advantage of.

Sound like you?

Well, people don’t give for nothing. -Not even you. But let me explain that.

Most people give to get something in return, yet the givers give so that they may feel good about themselves and the contribution they make. Usually this isn’t always seen in a tangible way because when you make a contribution towards another, you never fully see the ripple effect of how it gets passed on. You never fully see the impact of how your gift affects someone else, and then how they take your positive energy and pass it on into the world.

Yet it happens just the same.

This is especially true for you mothers, and even more so, you single mothers out there. You rarely see the impact that you create because it takes such a long time to see the results. It’s really not like making a sale and then getting paid for it right away. Yet, there is no doubt that the contribution you give is measured exponentially higher than that.

So know that you make a difference when you give of yourself. Your reward is the knowledge that you are making a difference, even if it’s not acknowledged as such.

And just so you know, I know it. And I want to acknowledge you for it right now. We all live on a starvation diet of acknowledgement, don’t we? It’s never there when we need it, and yet when we get it, the first thing we do is to dismiss it, instead of letting it sink in.

“That’s a nice outfit you have on!”

Answer, “This old thing?”

See how that went? Sound like you?

So acknowledge yourself, and all the wonderful things that you are to this world and understand that you DO make a difference just by being who you are. That goes double for when you think nobody notices. If you arm yourself with the belief system that you make a difference, then you will keep on being great, and the results will come your way.

Give it some time, and give yourself a break. -Because you really DO deserve it…

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

When You Hear, Do You Listen?

I was walking down the street the other day and I saw a man working as a parking ticket officer. He was going about his daily job of issuing tickets to cars that had expired time on their meters.

Without realizing it, I had a feeling come about that made me think, “This guy is scum.”

Realizing right away that I didn’t even know him, I caught myself and wondered why that even came into my head. The answer came back to me that he was working for the city and penalizing people.

That’s when it got interesting…

I decided to play devil’s advocate and ask myself was it HIS fault that people hadn’t paid their parking fees? Clearly it was a lack of responsibility of each person to make sure that they paid the parking meter, otherwise they run the risk of being penalized for it. It’s pretty much a cut and dry situation, yet we all feel victimized when we don’t keep our end of the deal and then get hit with a 30 dollar penalty. We then blame the man who gave it to us instead of looking at our own lack of integrity.

This gave me a whole new perspective. I was able to take this man from being an asshole in my mind, to seeing that he was simply doing his job just like any other person I knew. I decided to ask him a question, so I approached him and said, “Are you happy?”

He looked at me and said, “Listen man, I’m just doing my job. Are you happy doing yours?”

I said, “Yes, I love what I do. Have a nice day.” With that, I walked away.
What happened there?

I asked him a simple generic question, and he assumed I was attacking him for doing his job. He became defensive and even asked me if I was happy doing my job.

Yet that wasn’t my question. I simply asked him if he was happy.

To change the context of the question, I imagined a different scenario. I imagined that he had just become a grandfather for the first time and he was sitting with his new born grandchild in his arms while seated in a rocking chair. If I asked him the exact same question, “Are you happy?” I would get a TOTALLY different feel for that question, yet it is word for word the exact same question I asked him while he was doing his job.

Yet there were two completely different reactions simply because of what he perceived my question to mean in the first place.

Then I thought to myself how many times have I done this in my life and continue to do daily, where I attach a defensive reaction to a simple question, rather than just answering it in the manner in which it was asked. What if I were to ask a simple question to clarify if I didn’t understand the meaning of the question, instead of being automatically defensive in my reaction so that I could answer it, and be properly understood?

What a difference that would make…

I imagine that this parking attendant is so defensive with many people yelling at him for what is basically their own oversight, that he is just geared for that reaction automatically.

Then, I looked into my own life and saw a lot of examples of how I do the exact same thing in my listening. I don’t listen to the question without being geared for the meaning I give it.

So my question is, where is that same scenario in your own life, and now that you are conscious of it, what kind of a difference can in make in your life?