The Heroic Loving Self

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I’ve been bullied much of my adult life,

But that was my fault.

I never found the self,

in need of attention.

I never found the self,

requiring lamentation.

I may have never found my true self.

In all the years of ‘not being bothered’,

it had me.

It held me.

I was my own captive.

I could always do better.

I could always perform greater.

I would struggle to earn your appreciation,

only to lose my self.

I was strong,

but ultimately weak.

I was great,

but ultimately worth less.

I was really … a mess.

BUT,

I am tired of behaving like this!

I deserve more,

better,

real,

deep,

soulful,

trusting,

relationships,

based on me,

and my feelings,

and my beliefs,

and my desires.

I AM WORTHY of LOVE!

I was willing to walk away from you,

and that was the hardest choice of all.

But, I chose me.

I chose me for self love,

for self worth,

for self preservation.

I love my self so much more than I did a year ago.

And in loving me,

I can now love you.

The Power of Fellowship

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What is a life led is isolation? A wasted life.

“What if that person attained Enlightenment? Wouldn’t it be worth it?”

“To whom?” I would reply.

If you can’t share your path to consciousness, awareness, enlightenment, or just a way out of town with another person, then what do you offer the community?

We are social beings after all; not that we all have to be, and certainly not all at the same time, but there’s a reason we are social. There’s a reason we advanced so much more over the last 100 years than we did the last 1000. It’s because we connected with so many more people. We shared ideas, thoughts, and paradigms.

If we go through life with little or no interaction with other people, then we run the risk of dying without sharing our natural abilities, gifts, or points of view. Who are we to deny our community the gift of a different perspective?

Our society is gaining conscious awareness because we can share this idea of personal growth with so many people around the world. It’s growth is exponential not because it has one single vision for the future, but that it embraces all paths to the inner journey to self awareness. All perspectives are welcome and embraced.

When I was your typical totally unconscious person that identified myself with my profession, I worked, then escaped, then worked, then escaped, whether with food or movies. I needed to because of how I felt at work, and I wasn’t yet aware of the power I had inside.

My boss was a tormentor, and I was tormented. In this routine, it doesn’t leave a lot of time to explore new relationships, to find friends with similar interests, or buddies to hang out with. Thus, I floundered in making friends and had only one close buddy, and he lived in a different city. I was missing out, and I knew it. I tried rationalizing it, but in the end, I wasn’t seeing the diverse value it might bring in to my life.

It’s rough having friends too, I mean when they want to hang out and you want to escape. It can be scary to reveal the real, drama-laden you to your friends. What is this preoccupation with always wanting to share a positive vision of you? Can’t we be real for a moment? Can’t we drop our mask for one time and just be?

Have you noticed an explosion in pet ownership in recent years? Doesn’t that make you think? Why? One article in the National Post suggests that young people are taking up pets because they are always positive. These have even been referred to as “fur babies”. I’d quote an articles, but I think that time has sailed when it was a new phenomena; there are literally dozens of shops especially catering to the needs as pets as significant as any family member.

2014-10-13 14.34.31Are we lacking social stimuli from the opposite sex and seek companionship in pets? Are we unable to handle the crisis of conflict and seek the waging tail as a constant comfort? The dog above is a friend’s pet that I have had the pleasure of getting to know. His name is Shrek and he certainly showed his fondness very openly.

Everything comes, exactly as needed, at exactly the right time. It’s true with me, as I now find myself visiting with several friends on a weekly basis. It was personal growth inside that I needed to work on before I was capable of interacting on a meaningful level with others. I share, they share, and we leave with both of us feeling nourished and enjoying the friendship.

I value all of my friends, because I haven’t had many for a very long time. I value men that I can share my life’s uniquely male journey with, and women that I can be honest with. In turn, they are open with me, and that sharing, that camaraderie, is so extremely valuable.

I would say to any one person out there that doesn’t have very many friends, if any, out there, that maybe, just maybe, you need to be willing to be the first one to say hello. Maybe you need to be the first one to share something honest. Maybe, like me, now is the best time to seek inner growth about what’s important in life.

If you can, find just one person to share deep conversations with it is enough for now. Just one person can bring about the biggest transformational changes that can peel back the layers of your well crafted onion-like facade, to reveal just a little bit of the real you, and sometimes that revelation is for both of you. I was lucky to have one special person awaken me to my own consciousness. She saved me really, and continues to provide me with clarity on my more cloudy days; and I on hers. JM you are a most blessed friend!

Fellowship, camaraderie (I just learned how to spell that), and friendship are so vastly underrated in today’s society, and yet displayed so thinly in popular media. It’s no wonder many people can’t cope with conflict, problems, or reality, and seek the winsome and positive com’fur’t of pets or numbness of substances.

I am so grateful to those that I spend time with, that enjoy my company, and seek a meaningful discourse. You really fill my heart with meaning and purpose. If you would enjoy spending some time on a hike, or talking about life’s journey, please feel free to contact me. It may have been years since we even saw each other, and in light of my 30th year high school reunion being in a few weeks, if that is the case, call me up and let’s talk!

 

Focus Pocus

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It was supposed to be my day off. A rest day. I wanted to have two rest days considering I pushed it pretty hard last week with all my hiking. Well, my body was having none of that today. I felt great. I ate my aunt’s shepherd’s pie last night and that definitely did me some good. MMMmmmm good!

My mental check went like this: runners are at the door, I see my phone and earbuds, and if I fill a bottle of water I can simply take off, with a walk that goes practically next door up a nice hill; Christmas Hill in fact. I like that name because, as it implies to me, every visit is a gift.

So I gather up my items, don my runners and head out the door, and when I get to the actual start of the park, I pull out my phone, which doubles as my GPS and camera, and start taking a few pics.

I notice, and perhaps it is simply the time of year and weather and so on, that there aren’t many flowers or things that ‘pop’ out to my eye in various colours. “Oh well” I say to myself as I carry on down a path.

There are so many branches that cross over my head, getting in my visual space, that I actually can’t help but put my lens up to them. They are so close, and the texture of each branch is so different, some with bark, others with moss, that I start experimenting with the focus of my camera. It’s not adjustable really, and sometimes I have to trick it to focus closely on objects, but I see the result of bringing the focus up close, then far away.

I actually didn’t want to shoot many pictures today. I knew I had to meet family for a movie in town, so I had limited time to enjoy the view, but that’s not what happened. When I started taking pictures, I started to think about them. First here, then a few steps over there; and what about this? Each step brought me to a new perspective that begged for a photo. I was even starting to feel that it was pulling at my lens, drawing me in to ‘click’.

I started to think about how we focus in our daily lives to things that are both far and near, and I wondered, just like the photos showed, if we were missing the bigger picture. ‘We must be’ I thought to my self. My self is such a good listener, always willing to hear what I have to say. 

Each image tells me something, or rather speaks to me about an aspect of life. They are no longer a picture of a leaf, or branch, or other close-up, they are aspects of life that it represents to me. What do the images say? Let’s have a look.

IMG_3635The first picture I took looked out to another mountain I love; Mount Douglas/KPOLS. I just rather thought it said “Hello, I see you there walking on my brother!” Funny thing that, for a mountain to have a voice and all, but it speaks to me. Just like sunsets, and images of soft fragile aspects of life do for others. When we start to wander in and among the leaves and branches, trees and forests, we start to see them differently. We start to understand the impact they have within us.

IMG_3654This leaf was at eye level and begged me to notice it. It looks as though it has a sickness on it. These spots represent another part of Nature interacting, and as soon as I call it a sickness, the idea of disease and infestation may occur to you. But what if it simply feeds other beings, like jumping oak galls, which are small wasp eggs or such. What if someone were looking down at our earth from my vantage point to the leaf, wondering what these stretches of cleared forest represents? Or mining pits, or farm watering circles, and so on. It served it’s purpose on me today, and got me thinking about perspective. Perspective and focus are two intertwined ideas.

IMG_3656What do we see when we focus on things farther away? We might think we see the whole picture, but we may not. Perhaps you’ve heard the term “You were too close to it to see”. Sometimes, that which we have grown very familiar with, no longer triggers the brains awareness of it. That’s the brain for us. Always looking out for new things, threats, learning, so if something is close to us, and always there, then it mustn’t be a threat, so there is no sense having our awareness spend precious energy on it.

GoodIMG_3657 brain, right? Well, when we can bring awareness closer and closer in to our centre, in to our habits and personal actions, we mights start to see something that has grown, changed, or in some manner modified itself from it’s innocent beginnings. That desire to watch a movie has grown in to a habit of escapism where we find ourself on the couch, munching through a bag of chips like a horse’s feedbag, wondering why our back hurts and we’ve gained two pounds over the weekend. We need both perspectives. We need to see the far and the close with equal regularity.

IMG_3658

We don’t have to start right up close. We can look at things that are somewhat close. We may be aware of scars, or bare patches, where we know we are particularly vulnerable. We can look around at those and get comfortable with the idea of simply being close to that past hurt.

 

Where we focus is a choice.

I quite enjoy seeing birth in IMG_3661death, or the image of something from nothing, as most see it. This little fern grows from a wall of dead, or let’s say, brown dried-up fern, because they aren’t actually dead from tip to tail. It represents, to me, the light that can come from darkness, the ability to have a great idea amidst fools, the ability to generate love from abounding failure, and the power of inner courage against a backdrop of incessant suffering.

IMG_3664What some may find ugly, I prefer to peer in to. I wonder what judgement is made, and where it may have come from, and what I might see if I really got close to it. Would it change it’s shape, or colour, texture, or roughness. Would my looking deeper invoke a clearer view with less lenses and bias? What would I see for sure? And so I look, deeper, and deeper until I can start to see something different than what I thought I saw before.

IMG_3669What do you see when you really look at something, at someone, at an issue? Do you see your bias, your coloured lens of past experience, or your beliefs and lessons? can anyone ever really free themselves from personal bias? Perhaps we can when we are babies, and it is that primordial brain that holds the images we once saw way back in our subconscious, that we can never recall.

The irony, that we could see it at one time, but never be able to recall it.

IMG_3671What do we miss by focussing on the very close as well; the details of life, when so much awaits the run? We might get so caught up in the minutia of each branch that crosses our path that we can’t see the path we are on. It’s easy to do; to get caught up in our errands, the things we have to ‘do’ every day. “I have no time to simply be” we might say to ourselves in exasperation. Is that so?

We have to stay vigilant about our path or direction we desire to go in life. This is our intention, and without an eye to it, we can get mighty distracted IMG_3663by each branch that falls, momentarily blocks, or obscures our vision of the path.

Can you see your path? Does it have a grand design? Is there a structure or form to it? If there is, you may be  getting fooled by your Egoic want, rather than your intention. If we accept that any end goal, or desire for some end state is a goal, or dharma, or purpose, then what happens when we get there? It looses its lustre. We begin looking for the same want; the Ego does this.

IMG_3681Instead, your purpose in life can better serve you, and all those that surround you, by your doing the very best you can, in what you are doing. If you are writing, then you write with passion and depth of character. If you are walking, then walk with awareness of each step. If you are listening, then you listen with rapt attention. When you do what you do, with perfect alignment and awareness of purpose, of that which you do,IMG_3677 you are living perfect awareness of self! That’s a mouthful!

Do you feel successful, full of life life, driven to achieve, on a purpose to bring something to someone? Know that you have nothing, but your self, in life, which is keenly felt at the time of our death, in our possession. What we have, ultimately, are experiences, feelings, and memories of our time here. That is all. Are you cultivating them? Are you sewing them? If you are living your purpose, then you can’t help but reap the fruits of being the best version of ‘you’ no matter what you do.

Our mind is the most magnificent organ in our body. It allows us to perceive and witness all of our other organs as much as we can. It also does what we ask it, if we remember we are ultimately in control. It’s easy to live a lifetime without any awareness whatsoever, but if you want to really live this life you were given, you mustn’t allow the comfort of your mind to ensnare you from the wilds of new experience.

Dream, love, learn, and imagine, every day. This is good training for living your purpose. In doing so, remember to adjust your focus, look around you, and especially inside your knowing self for deeper meaning. It all rests within.

Happy Adventuring!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reacting Creates Powerlessness

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It became crystal clear when I was listening to Eckhart Tolle talk about a way to learn about becoming non-reactive. Like his article suggests, the power of nonresistance does not come from resisting the force of another. In fact it’s quite the opposite.

Respond

What he suggests is that we take some time to witness the feeling that desires a reaction. It may be from a spiteful comment, an untruth, or slander, but simply wait and feel what it is like. Can you feel yourself shrink in humility, or grow in reactive anger?

Take three breathes. Each one slightly deeper than the other with a full, deep, stomach breathe at the end. Do you still ‘feel’ the same reactive force? you might think you do, but most likely your body has had time to lessen the emotional discharge, and it is likely less emotionally charged.

Seek the root of the pain, or the trigger that affects us. With any comment or action that we desire to react to, we are sensitive to it. Ask yourself why. Be curious about what the root cause of our sensitivity. Then, given the time to literally catch our breathe, we can choose our response, if any.

Why is it more powerful to communicate from this position, and not react to what a person says right off the bat? This isn’t intuitively forthcoming. When someone says or does something that provokes a reactionary state in us, we want to tell them in no uncertain terms that what they have done is unacceptable. That may lead us to say “Hey! That’s not okay!”

If we took some time before reacting this is what it allows us to do:

  1. Distance our perception from the act (reducing our risk of taking it personally)
  2. Tame our need to say or do something immediately (gives space to calm down)
  3. Allow us to think about what the real cause of our reaction is (seek the root of it)
  4. Find our power (speak or do from a nonreactive state)

What I feel is the most important step is the last one: Find our power. If we react, the power is coming directly from the person provoking us. From their perspective they may even enjoy provoking you because you always react. Can you imagine them saying to a friend, or inside their head, ‘Watch this. I’ll get a rise out of this person.’ just prior to provoking you, and if you react, it reinforces their assumption, and their power over you.

If we react, it creates a state of powerlessness, because the provoker manipulated us like a doll or marionette. If we do not react or do anything from that mindset, but simply wait until we understand what it is that is hurtful or provocative, we can state facts, or give feedback, or simply decide that no reaction is worth your time.

Can you see how deflating that would be to a person that expected a reaction from you? They went to pull your string and nothing happened! You cut the string by choosing to witness, breathe, and choose. That isn’t the reaction they want, and it comes from a place of personal power, one that is not derived from the other person.

In short, it frees you from the bondage of others. The more you react, the more it controls you. Struggle = dominance. You may think that reacting and ‘winning’ is possible, but I guarantee you, the ‘winning’ way will keep you in the battle far longer than surrendering or yielding to the temptations of another; often long after the actual event has taken place.

It’s good to remember that what we react to in another is something we may dislike in ourselves. If we truly felt loved, confident, and settled in all that we are, why would we react to a person? What they said could never hold any sway over us if we felt completely whole. Therefore, a reaction exploits a weakness we feel in ourself.

The next time you feel the rumble of an emotional volcano, or the sting of a mean word, witness it. Let it sink in to you, and see if you can’t find the root of where we sense it the most inside. Breathe at least three complete breathes, then see if you can state, from your own place of knowingness, what is true for you. Or simply choose not to react at all.

The choice, and the power, rest with you. Don’t let it slip away and shackle you to another’s manipulative manner. Yield to overcome the lashing tongue of another and you will find freedom!

 

The Hidden Truth

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Heroes often have to ‘uncover’ some kind of hidden truth in their journey, be it physical, mental, or spiritual, and many times the hidden truth is about ourselves. I ran across an old speech I gave (circa. 2011) that talked about the hidden nature of truth and I thought I would share it with you. It’s one thing to read it, it’s another to hear it. I’ll include a recording of this speech soon.

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This speech is dedicated to the pursuit of the elusive hidden truth.  It is called that, because it is hidden, but “it” also has a truth.  The pursuit of which is sought in places that tend to loosen our grip, our footing, on reality.  Let’s explore some areas where we might find something other than what our senses are telling us is real.  Let’s explore the Hidden Truth in everyday life.

It is said that we use 10% of our brain’s capacity.  So if we can use only that much, it begs us, does it not, to use it wisely.  To get you thinking, let me ask you a few questions, and in doing so we will explore each one in more detail:

What is real? 

What is truth? 

Who are you?

These questions are seldom asked, but worthy of much thought.  Popular Society would have us learn the answers from them, naturally.  But, oddly enough, when we ask philosophical questions like these, the people who are striving to answer them are physicists, biologists, chemists; people steeped in science.  They are starting to discover how deep the rabbit hole really goes.

Can we trust our own brains to tell us what’s real?

Our senses tell us what’s real.  But what are our senses but electrical impulses from our body to our brain that stimulate neurons in a way where we perceive these senses as reality.

How would we know, how could we know, if are bodies are a capacitor, transistor, a conduct-or within a Matrix like product-OR plugged in to a master machine that precisely panders to our delicate desires and creates a per-verse uni-verse?

How do we know?  How can we tell?

Perhaps we should consider truths.  They are solid, verifiable, and unchanging, aren’t they?  Sometimes the truth doesn’t just hide, it gets buried .

The first electric car was made in the 1830’s and held land speed records in excess of 100km/h before the year 1900.  What killed the electric car was Ford’s mass production of gasoline powered cars, the discovery of oil in California, Texas, and Oklahoma, and the construction of highways that took advantage of the longer range of gas engines.  Is it any wonder why it has taken so long for them to come back? Someone (whisper: oil & gas) might not have wanted (whisper:oil & gas) the electric car to take hold of the burgeoning car market (whisper: oil & gas).

I could go on, as the list of similar hidden truths is a long as the number of breaths we take, the number of statements we make, for Goodness sake!  Each is a truth, said and unsaid, read and unread, dead and undead.

But enough of these hidden obscurities.  Let’s get personal.  You know who you are right?  But do we know who you really are?

The hidden truth is what lies beneath.  Behind the veil of fantasy, the picture of sanit-E, lies the slippery, the sly, the truth of m-E.

Every person has a truth that is hidden from each and every one of us.  Our society does not teach us to live a revealing life, but a concealing one.  Passwords, keys, and owner Ids are mainstays of the world today.

Peel away the fake, the facade, and reveal the inner truth that we all possess.  Many of us take great pains to shield, hide, and conceal, when we should embrace, illuminate and reveal.

Time taken in the pursuit of illumination, the pursuit of inner knowledge and wisdom, can often lead a person to outward recognition.  I need not repeat these words in rapid succession or random repetition for you know that it is not what I say that matters, but how I say it that flatters.

May your journey be one filled with thoughtful progression, critical thinking, and personal insight, for a person that thinks, is.

May your journey be one of discovery no matter where you go, what you see, or what you feel.  Remember that our brain is used to telling us what it thinks is real, but if we try very hard, and relax the rules that it tries desperately to match with what it finds, we might just get a hint of something interesting, something hidden from view.  That just might be the Hidden Truth.

I’ll end it here and not after, If you will, Mr. Toastmaster

[This was a speech I gave in Toastmasters, (#4 How You Say It) I wrote it somewhat phonetically as I hadn’t memorized it and that helped me emphasize it how I wanted. Much of the colours and formatting is not shown as it got lost in copying it here from Word. I removed traditional Toastmaster introductions for clarity of the subject matter.]

One Single Word

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One Single Word.

One single word from you or me,

is a chameleon to us or we.

A word, when spoken,

grows inside us,

to evoke in,

and manifest, a feeling,

an emotion,

or a meaning.

A word, when written,

is visualized,

by a billion eyes,

as a secondary act of creati’n.

First by the seeder,

next inside the reader.

It impregnates you, me, us, and we,

in a fertile society,

with a promotion of sympathetic notions,

feelings and emotions.

Words have power,

From the very sweet to the very sour.

So let’s take heed,

pay attention,

and not bow to the lesser in the hours,

so when we speak it,

or write it

the word becomes not mine but ours.

Existence, Consciousness, Bliss

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You may have heard the phrase in Sanskrit: Sat Chit Ananda which means Existence, Consciousness, Bliss. You may even have it to your meditation practice as a mantra. I want to share a proud experience I had lately that exemplifies this phrase for two reasons:

  1. It was the most exhilarating one of my recent past, a real life moment, and
  2. I became aware of the true power of validation

I arrived at a leadership training workshop ready to meet my fellow teammates and experience some team building exercises and such that is the norm for these types of occasions. It was shortly before 10am and there were about 60 people present.

I volunteer for a charity that does something seldom seen in today’s world. It pulls people and companies together for fast-paced radical renovations for worthy charities similar to how old fashioned barn raisings work. Volunteers, trades, restaurants, community members, all get involved to participate in a win-win situation. Because the work is to refresh infrastructure of charities, it’s always a beautiful feel-good project. Not only does it feel good spiritually, but HeroWork has created a climate that allows them to leverage the seed money from the chosen charity up to five times it’s initial value. Whoa!

It’s win-win, and it pulls together people who are driven to make a difference in the city they live in. So, I expected the day to be rather nice, warm, and fuzzy, and we would all go away with a smile and a pat on the back.

Turns out that I somewhat underestimated the impact the workshop would have on me.

The Leader of HeroWork, Paul Latour, is a man with a magnetic personality that draws people and companies together to make this entire program work so well. His love for what he does is the real draw, and we all feel it, and share in it once we get involved. This everyday hero inspires so many people to simply come and be a part of the efforts, some simply by walking past a project and seeing, or better yet, feeling the love that is shared by all the members in their work.

Well, Paul introduced the workshop coach for the day, Mr. Peter McCoppin. I saw Peter as the emcee once but honestly didn’t recall much as I was so busy at that event. So, I didn’t recall his many years of broadcasting service, all I heard is that he had done some conducting of our orchestra for a time. Had I known it was all over the world and that he delivers keynotes and coaches top people in the world I don’t know that I would have had any other outcome, but that had no bearing on what followed.

I was ready, present, and feeling quite open to what was about to happen, which was good, as I was about to take a lightning bolt of enthusiasm directly down my cerebral cortex for the next 5 hours straight.

This tall, casual, but smartly attired gentleman was in a button up short sleeve shirt, khakis, and Birkenstocks that squeaked slightly as he jostled in one spot. That was one thing he didn’t do much of that entire workshop: stay in one spot. this man drove us to our first task almost immediately.

He indicated how much our gut feeling is never wrong. The energy field around our body, and especially the heart, is so prevalent and powerful that it knows so much more than we can cognize in the moment. But, if we trust it, it can guide us unerringly toward that we truly seek.

In this he gave each table 10 seconds to find the leader of the table. “Go with your gut” he said. Michelle, one of my table mates said “it doesn’t give us the opportunity to overthink it”. “Precisely!” Peter said.

Wow, this was some cool tactic I thought. None of the tasks he asked us to perform lasted longer than three minutes. He explained that rarely do people come up with different answers no matter how much time you give them, so make it short, and allow their heart to guide them.

We, the participants, were engaged in one form or another for the entire 5 hours that he led us. Some of the topics we covered were connected to past personal team experiences that we loved, what does leadership mean to you and other words, he gave the etymology of words that make a single word come to life, and he shared with us his personal stories of triumph and success.

I was glued to every aspect of that training. I encouraged everyone at our table to speak up, to share, and participate, and we laughed and dug deep into the meaning of our language and how we perceived what was meant by each of us. This was true understanding in action!

The quotes, the latin word history, the stories, books talked about, and humanness of Peter’s mannerism illustrated for me how a fully present person can sense within the environment that they co-create with the audience the optimum direction to flow. He was able to boil down the stories we shared and extract the meaningful components, write them down, and use them for future work.

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And we worked! we worked hard all day to give each aspect of our tasks meaning to the best of each table and each person. By the end, my brain was full, and my body was at once tired and exhilarated still. It was starting to process all it saw, heard, and said throughout the day.

Peter was so gracious in acknowledging what people said, the feedback he was given, and the reasons for direction he took us. I knew, without any doubt, that this man exemplified all that I want to embody in my journey forward.

I want to dig deep inside other people and show them that inside, if they could just spend some time, lies a light so bright, a voice so clear, a purpose so unique that they would be considered selfish if they kept all that to themselves in life.

This day also gave me something I hadn’t thought I was missing for such a long time. It validated who I was as a person. I was so focussed on Peter, my table, lifting others up and encouraging all of those around me, that I didn’t realise I had made any impact on anyone else. When Peter praised me for so many aspects of the day and how I showed up, it hit me, deep at my core.

Here was a man I really didn’t know much about, had barely seen previously, and then Boom! He leads a session with so many other people, but in such a way that really spoke to the essence of who I am inside, and that got me. I was transfixed, riding the same wave, sharing the same feelings, one with the room.

I had suggested that we, the general public or business person, can get a lot out of spending some time in areas we know nothing about, and Peter looked at me, then said “we are actually going to talk about this afternoon.” Then he came up and gave me a hug. I felt as if I had just told him I saved his child. What a wonderful response. I was validated on so many levels from the experience that I was riding high all the way home.

I immediately typed up all my notes to share them with my group who couldn’t attend, then shared my experience with others.

My Mom asked me if I would contact him again to ask him more about who inspired him. At first I thought, ‘naw, I won’t bother such a person with my minor questions’. Then I thought about it a bit and there was something that he hadn’t had time to go over before he left.

I found his website and sent a quick email asking a question. To my surprise he emailed me back and asked me to call him. I did so immediately and we talked on the phone about my desires, and his work, and it was such a blessing!

Meeting people, even for the first time, can be a powerful, uplifting, satisfying, and personally validating experience if they embody what it is that you desire. You needn’t know their background, life story, or follow them at all, but if you meet them, just once, even briefly I suspect, they can have a profound impact on you.

The heart knows! It can sense that of another, and form bonds we can not intellectually comprehend at the time, but it is there, and the affect is real. I for one am grateful to Paul Latour, HeroWork, and Peter McCoppin for a day that changed my life. I now know I can, and will, change the world in my personal quest in life.

What happened that day is that we all showed up; we existed there in one room together [Sat]. Then, through the powerful leadership, Peter McCoppin co-created and enhanced the collective consciousness of the room [Chit]. Finally, what I know I experienced, and I am positive many others too, is 100% bliss! [Ananda]. May each and every one of you that read this post experience what I did in your life. If you do, hold on to it, explore it, emulate it.

If you happen to meet a person of just such a caliber, don’t hesitate to engage them, you may be surprised what comes of it. And if you are a person that someone looks up to, no matter how briefly, realise the power in your body language, your heart, and mannerism, and especially your words to them. You have the power to change the world, one person at a time.

What is Ideal in Life?

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When I was young I wanted to change the world. Now that I am wiser, I realise I have to start by changing my world, and that starts with me, and my interaction with you.

I am finding that dramatic negative events are having a higher toll on me. When I think about it, I wonder if it is just who I am that makes me more sensitive than the average person. I recall in grade four when every school child was forced to watch “The Day After” in school. Many people also watched it at home. On my walk to school I often wondered if a SCUD or ICBM missile was going to rocket past me at low altitude on its way to the nearest military base. It used to make me sick; not visibly, but I could feel knots in my stomach and this dreadful dark cloud that I had no control over what I was about to witness.

Luckily, this phase passed as time went on, but there are definitely times when I was getting older that I felt this same pang, a feeling in the pit of my stomach, that made me feel powerless against some form of evil that was washing over the earth. I recall the oil wars in Iraq and Iran, the war in the Falkland Islands, the day by day details of the OJ Simpson’s trial, the death of Lady Diana, then this constant and persistent steady state of military action in the Middle East that culminated in 9/11. That’s just what I recall, and that’s the point. It doesn’t matter if it is true or not, it’s the feeling of growing up in that atmosphere that held this heavy blanket of fear over me. Is this the ideal nature that society had in store for me? Was I to become that scared, fear induced person that consumed goods in order to feel alive, protected, or imbued with some sense of power?

I had a small rebellious streak in me that would come out when I knew something was wrong in my own small sphere of influence, whether in school or work. Perhaps that was my way of lashing out at the unpredictable, unceasing morbid news that was always on the television at home. I started not wanting to watch the news, then questioning my Mom about why she would watch it every day; first the early news, then the regular news. By the time I moved out, had a child, then was living on my own, I pulled the plug on cable. That was the only way I could stop the incessant advertising that peddled drugs for all sorts of afflictions and the ridiculous pandering to the common person. “Was unplugging a more natural ideal for me?”, I often wondered?

But that was the past way of discovering where my aversion lay. What I have been discovering more recently is why I am still sensitive to it, and it has nothing to do with the way I feel about it. It has to do with the immense positivity we have available to us and the limited amount of time we have on this earth in which to draw it forth from within us. When we start to understand that, our priorities can shift to allow new ways of thinking to arise; a new ideal.

A life must be led in pursuit of the ideals of living, not the material anything. The material world is the trappings of a cloud, a mist of comfort meant to delude those inside of the protection it avails, when it merely obscures the vision. I am happiest when I am poor. When I no longer think of what to buy, or how to spend my money, I am at ease, and my mind can resume its developmental journey to inner peace. This letting go is part of the new ideal I find so attractive.

I bore witness to a terrific piece of poignant cinematography in a movie recently that illustrated the beauty of letting go and giving. The scene was one of an aftermath of a terrible and tragic natural disaster and several people were huddled around a small dry and relatively safe area inside a building, in transition to catch their breath and continue their own journeys to reunite with family and loved ones. Unfortunately, most were cut off from them at this point and the demand to reach out on any available phone lines was extremely high, as these were in very short supply. One man was asking another if he had called anyone to let them know he was alive. He explained he had not yet been able to find a phone. Many were keeping the phones to themselves to prolong the battery life, since there was no power available in the region, hoping to receive calls from their loved ones. In an act of compassion, the man who asked, furnished the other with a mobile phone to allow him to call. The man took the phone and was so grateful for being able to reach someone outside of the disaster that he was breaking down mentally, and withdrew from the conversation early in order to preserve the battery life for the very kind stranger.

The man took back his mobile phone, but was so moved by the passion and compassionate plea this man displayed, he gave the phone back to allow him to re-enter the conversation and recreate the ending in a more peaceful manner. “You can’t leave it like that” he said. This is an act of giving that I believe goes beyond a gift, to that of sacrifice. This second exchange of the phone only took another 20 seconds, but it meant the world to the two men as well as all who had gathered around to witness it. This was magnificent to watch from my own perspective and I was as teary eyed as every character in the movie, decrying to myself that this is the ideal! This is what connection between two people is all about. Giving what we have for another’s benefit also benefits us.

This one act can change us in ways we can’t predict, which is why I feel I must label it beyond the simply act of giving to that of a sacrifice. Giving what we value for another with no reciprocation intended, nor outcome predicted, is a sacrifice. With this, we step in to the unknown and in that very moment so much happens. The giver gives, the recipient receives, and witnesses watch with rapt attention as two worlds collide, and mix, in an experience that is shared on a core level that literally blasts away all the former barriers of comfort, language, religion, and bias to the basic need of compassion; which is love for your neighbour. This is an ideal I wish to obtain and model for all.

One aspect of neighbourly love that I am reminded of at various times is that of touch. The simple act of touch between one another is powerful. How awesome does it feel to simply lay with another person, sexual tensions aside; isn’t it sublime? The warmth of their body, the feel of another person’s warm breath or sound of their heartbeat, or the touch of hands on your shoulders, these are all things that provoke a warmth within our bodies and our mind. There are massage therapists that deal with trauma victims for this very reason. The Touch Research Institute tells us what we already know instinctively, that touch heals, and even animals know this as a hen will sit on a kitten to keep it warm. Can you feel the energy of another? The hand of another, or simply the closeness of another person we admire can bring about such positive vibes that it can trigger the body’s own healing mechanism. There has to be some truth to the field of energy that we all have if another body or mind can sense it and start healing all on its own, like a battery that starts to recharge when it gets close to a power source.

Temple Grandin’s western style life illustrates this wonderfully when she builds a cattle holding device in her dorm room while away at college. Used for when they brand the cows, it holds the animal firmly in place, grasping them on both sides. She saw that the typically skittish cows stopped struggling while in the device and were calm; a state of mind that was difficult for her to achieve. When she built it as part of her psychology experiment, she recorded people’s feelings as they were held by the device. It showed that no matter what is holding us, animate or inanimate, as long as we feel held, we feel more at ease, calmer, more relaxed mentally and physically; this is a wonderful, ideal state of mind.

We are therefore made, created, born to be comforted by touch; we need it. The impact of touch, and the connected significance, can be seen every day on the bus when a person’s leg touches yours, in the theatre when someone brushes too closely, in any crowded venue when the effect of too much contact can drain or even torture us. We tend to protect that which we value and we see our closeness to another as precious personal space, sometimes to the point that we don’t often receive any touch at all. This may even account for the rise in pet ownership, and the dramatic rise in pet spending which indicates their importance, in the North American culture. If there’s one thing we get from pets, its touch, and we can see the immediate benefit to them as well, whether dog, cat, chicken or pig. I believe in the healing power of touch and I can see that a very small gesture of a hand on a shoulder or arm or hand can change a person’s demeanour in a matter of seconds and connects me with them on a deeper level immediately.

What do we hear so often among the people that look for others to fulfil this desire in secret, but ‘I just wanted to be touched again’. We all need it, which is why some are traumatized by it and some can’t get enough. Used wisely, I believe we can start to nourish each other’s level of connection with small simple gestures of touch. This is an ideal that I can embrace.

What is ideal in life? What I’ve learned is that we can live more openly with less fear based news, we can free our mind with less advertising, and thrive in deep discourse with another. When we take the time to understand the needs of another, we have an opportunity to be compassionate, to listen intently and offer our gift to them. Even if we have nothing to give physically, just our presence can be a gift with a gentle, understanding touch. When we realise that one of our best gifts is that of time, if we can look in the eyes of our neighbour, grasp their hand, and start to understand their needs, we can begin to create a new society; one where the ideals of the material world are blown away by the winds of conscious awareness and living in the moment. These are some of the things I find ideal in life and wish to manifest each waking moment, and I hope you’ll join me in this, so we can slowly, one person at a time, create an ideal world.

How a Dandelion Changed My Mind

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dandelion's breath

It caught my eye, these weeds.  These small insidious insect-laden crawlers of the cracks, these sowers of seeds. Despised are these dandelions! People toil long and hard to rid their glorified verdant carpets of these pesky vermin that foul them with dingy yellow globes and unkempt whiskers of seeds.

Then I wondered…why? Why are they given such a label?  What makes them a weed and others a flower?  This one question was about to change the way I thought. It was about to severe a long held belief and transform my way of seeing, and thinking about more than just this. I was very happy with all the labels I was given up to this point. I was settled into where I was in my life, because it was solid, accepted, and secure in everyone else’s eyes. That was about to change.

Why was it called a weed and why were so many people trying to rid them from their yards, from their sight it seemed? Even if your neighbour had them, you were wary, and maybe even asked your neighbour to ‘do something’ about them, lest they settle one day in your yard.

Perhaps it is the brightness of the hue? Could you mistake the iridescent yellow of a dandelion for any other? Does it not pop out from the surrounding to be noticed? I think the dandelions may actually warm the earth simply by the tonal colour they shed, and you may think as much if you got close enough with your cheek.

Is it the shape? Is in some way considered deformed? Is it not a reflection of Nature’s perfect circular pattern? The circle is after all considered the shape from which all others are formed.

A flower, it seems, has to be seen as dazzlingly different, has to show off unlimited colour schemes and varieties of petal shapes and sizes to lure the bees and birds that ensure its own propagation. Nature’s own form of advertising for sex. This wise one had no need to lure insects to it to propagate, but instead made use of nature’s own energy and loosed beautiful cascades of unlikely umbrellas when the wind speaks to it. Is it not a heavenly match to ensure succeeding generations with a whisper of wind instead of the touch of any other? Perhaps it should have a more virtuous name?

If that is the requirement to be labelled a flower, then I would not want it called as such. It should be something greater.

Hail to thee oh dandelion, that you persevere where others die, that you cling to cracks and joints stubbornly, and offer sustenance to bumbling buzzing bees, though they offer nothing to you, and you glow of warm sunlight to all that gather close.  You can even foresee if a child likes butter by the glow under their chin, I’m told!  When your days are done, and you have given almost all, you transform into a wish machine, and allow many people, old and young alike, to whisper: wonderful thoughts, prayers, and deeds, that the world becomes a better place for that instance, and hope springs from one giant blow. I have love for you oh cursed one.  I lament upon the dandelion and its ill begotten label.

Dandelion you deserve more. If we harken back to you’re your name, and what it meant when you were named such, they called you ‘dens leonis’: the lion’s tooth.  The lion among it’s kin, King of all, it fights for it’s life ferociously, and deserves this grand namesake.  No longer are you a weed, to me, but you are the King of flowers, the Sovereign of sidewalks, and purveyor of wishes.  You are a reminder that closed minds can foul the most beautiful objects before they are even seen. I long to see you now.  You will remind me of the nature of people, strong, resilient, steadfast, and able to achieve all they desire, all they wish upon themselves.  We are dandelions, and to curse you is to doom ourselves.  May we always look upon another with such an open mind as to erase all sense of judgement, evaluation, comparison, and mistrust, and take in all the mind can sense.

It took some time for this to truly sink in, and it was as if the constant wave action of my thoughts dissolved the barrier that held my beliefs in place, and new insights started to flood my mind. This applies to more than just dandelions. There is more to this instance than just the label of a plant. What of ideas? Are they not spread on our breath, ready to seed in willing minds? What is the power of a label that it determines the outcome of any idea, good or bad? Is it your judgement of my idea that digs it out from other people’s minds to make them conform?

What of other things we label as ‘weeds’ of society? Are they the homeless, the addicted, the abused, the shaded skinned, the old, the un-useful, the different.

How you understand me is through communicating, and the most common form of communicating is through language. This gives unbridled power to the words that we choose to use to describe something, but there is a price and a limit. There is a price to pay for labelling, which groups, refines, shakes out and stereotypes much in the world to the particular perspective not of the labeller, but of the seer. What you label this, may be seen as that, to me.

There is also a limit to what words can say. How many words does it take to describe your love? How many to describe your child? A perfect image? Who you are?

So, I handle words with care and caution, and allow my eyes the opportunity to see what is there, without my mind’s sticky labels and my own past judgement to cloud what is right in front of me. I see now that the dandelion is everything and everyone. I am someone’s dandelion, and so are you. We are all labelled by others for a particular outcome; maligned and murdered, with perfect intent, and that is something worthy of reminding ourselves every time we see a lion’s tooth silently roaring for survival along the cracks and crevices of our land and mindscape.

Our Slippery Self

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My life changed in one moment. Many lives change with traumatic or incredibly fortunate events and you may have many images of both come to mind. Mine was just over the phone, talking to a friend. But before I get to that, let’s back up to what happened that same morning.

I was letting things get in the way of my commitments with people, and even though I felt this, I was also somewhat numb to it. I justified my actions, until one day the mirror showed up. You know what I mean, how what your friends tell you is something about you that they see, and then you get it. They are your mirror, and if you have a friend like this, consider it a gift!

I left home to meet friends at a new church. On my way I thought I may be slightly late, or right on time. There was an urgency I felt to get there and do what I said I would: show up. As I dismounted my ride and walked to the front doors, the solidity of the latch told me it was locked. The notice on the door said as much “These doors will be locked when the service begins or when the seats are at capacity”, and there I was, exactly when the service starts. Sigh. I texted my friend that this is what happened and sat back down on my motorbike.

I was angry with myself. I admonished my unfocussed self and drove off with the feelings of anger. It was a palpable energy, as I was soon to find out.

I spent the next couple hours stewing about it, trying to quell the grey cloud encircling my head and heart. Then it was time for me to meet a friend. The experience had changed, as things often do in our life, from being just with her, to her and another. To me, in the frame of mind I was in, this new dynamic changed my behaviour. I saw it as changing the expectation of the two person group to a three person group, and it was taking it’s sweet time to work it’s way through my body as a reaction. You see, I was protective of my relationship with my friend, and I was looking forward to one-on-one time where we connect so well. The addition of another person got in my way, and it didn’t sit well with me.

By the end of our time together, this came up. I explained my desire for one-on-one and how the day changed from one expectation to something different, and that changed how I felt, and thus how I behaved around others. “You changed the day on me” I would say, justifying how I felt in a defensive manner. Oh how we defend our feelings when we are scared.

I have a tendency to show a different side of me to those that I don’t really know. I am unwavering, stolid, kurt, short, impassive, and generally have a “Do Not Disturb” sign hanging around my neck for all to see. I only show the real me to people I admire. That’s a learned behaviour from generally feeling insecure about who I am and what I have to offer others. It’s an old behaviour, so why is it creeping up on me and why didn’t I notice it?

What happened next changed my entire perspective, and when you can change that, you can change your life, because you are no longer looking at anything the same way as before.

I received some of the most valuable feedback from that friend of mine that I wanted to share time with. She explained to me in a compassionate, yet straightforward manner that when I had spent time visiting, I had shown up with an agitated energy. She didn’t like it when I had that kind of force around me. We talked about why I might be feeling that way, and it became clear that I had behaved rather like a child, trying to protect that which I felt I wanted all to myself: the connection alone with her. I had acted out of fear, with a scarcity mindset. What then might be the difference if I could simply act open around everyone I met? Might I have that same relationship with more people? Might I have it with everyone I open up to?

Oh my.

I was creating the scarcity mindset and conditions all by myself. I realized that if I had just showed up being my authentic self, I could have yet created one more fruitful, genuine relationship, instead of feeling like I had to share the one meaningful relationship that I cherished. This cut straight to the heart of the matter, and it was me that was the matter. I had created everything that fed my fearful mind. I was humbled not only by the words that were spoken, but by how accurate they were as well.

She ended off by validating the person she really likes seeing is the one that is open, and light, and that way with people, allowing my mind to shine with them too. Well, if there is a way to enhance a particular quality in a man, it’s to validate that positive quality you want to see. I guarantee you will see more of it the next day.

This feedback was so deep and soulful, and I agreed with it so much, that I couldn’t sleep. I ruminated and thought about it all night and I vowed to be open with as many people as I can. I vowed to write openly, and draw myself into to what I was writing so others can get to know and understand my point of view better.

This was one of the most impactful moments of feedback that I had experienced lately, and it was all because I had slipped back into an old behaviour, one that blocks connections, and sees things from a mindset where there are limits. I learned that many of the limits we routinely believe are self imposed and based on our perspective. What is one or your limits around others?

What a blessing it is to have friends who can, and are able, to genuinely share with me. Part of why they do that, as I am told, is because I value all feedback so incredibly much. I figure if you have what it takes to tell me how you feel around me, then I can treat it like the golden opportunity it is, and ponder it meaningfully.

It’s sly, our old comfortable self, the way it slips in and slithers into place. Without warning we can find ourself exhibiting old behaviours, reacting to external events, and exuding an energy that betrays the self we have tried to construct. We must be wary!

It’s so easy to lose our grip, to let our guard down, and betray our true nature, by wearing our old suit of fear, possessiveness, worry, and sadness. It takes consistent effort, daily focus, and attention to our conscious self to expose our inner being to the light of the world.

That’s how my life changed in a moment. I put that slippery self back in the closet to dry out, and I stepped once more into the light, and little more vulnerable, but a lot more real for my next encounter with…..well, maybe with you.

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