Previous month:
June 2017
Next month:
August 2017

July 2017

busy

 

At some point today, you will come to hear that someone, somewhere, is inexplicably busy. 

They are too busy to do anything.

You might even be the one who has the misfortune of saying it, or perhaps you will only hear it whispered about, here and there, and everywhere. 

Busy.

No other word evokes such gusto, yet signifies so very little.

If I was to put together a top ten list of inconsequential and meaningless set of words in our vocabulary, busy would certainly be there, probably near the top, along with tired, I can’t, it’s too late, and if I only knew.

Busy.

People live meaningful lives never use the word.  It never escapes their mouth or scrapes their tongue.  Why?  Because they know that EVERYTHING, and I mean everything is only a matter of priorities. 

Imagine for a moment that you find yourself, for some reason, invited to a dinner party, by one of your favourite celebrities.  Imagine yourself being sent for and flown to their house in Beverly Hills.  Imagine they as unbelievable as it sounds, they have somehow heard of you, and how great you are, and can think of nothing else but to spend some meaningful time in your presence.

Now, imagine that after having landed in Hollywood, something tragic happens back home. 

There is no question how you would feel.  After all, sweet dreams are made of this and who are you to disagree?

This is all unbelievably real and you think that your heart will burst because from such intense joy.

There is very little that would pry you away from such a magical experience, but there is.

Now imagine for a moment that someone you love had a terrible accident and was rushed to the nearest hospital and clings to their life in the ICU unit.  They are unconscious, and you are miles and miles away. 

Would you not leave immediately, without a moment’s thought about how you will appear, or how much it will cost to rush home?  Would you not leave the greatest experience of your life, to be by their side?

If you wouldn’t, please stop reading.  Just kidding.  (Not really).

Everything we do in our life is a matter of priorities.

If you are a smoker, and you only get those two tiny breaks in your day, you will never be too busy with work, not to find time some extra time to satisfy your addiction.  You will never be too busy to forget you are slowly killing yourself. 

When someone extends you a dinner invitation, and you tell them that you are busy, you are simply telling them that they are not important at this moment. 

There is nothing wrong with that.

It is something very difficult to say, but that is exactly what needs to be said.  You have prioritized them, rightly or wrongly, to be below whatever it is that you need to do.

You’re either a terrible friend, or what you need to do, simply can’t wait.

But why pretend? 

The word busy is a convenient lie, or at the very least, a little shiny bright object, that distracts the other person, and lulls them to sleep.

Why not be honest?

Why are we pretending and ultimately lying to ourselves how hard we work, and how much the grind we are in seems to be doing for us?

I recently heard someone begin a sentence with, “I love my daughter, but…”, and I won’t finish the sentiment. 

The word busy prevents us from getting to the ‘but’. 

We know that what follows, will usually be foul or ugly, or both, so we pretend that we are busy.  We simply don’t have time. 

We know it, and everyone else knows it.  This is the sad state of the world.  The natural order of things.

There is hope.

First, we must get rid of the word busy from our vocabulary. 

Second, we must replace it with the truth, no matter how painful.

Tell the people that don’t mean a rat’s fart to you, that they don’t mean a lot to you. 

Oh, the horror!

Tell the people that matter, that you love them, and that they really matter.

Show them, but spending time with them.

Spend more time in conversation with them, than with your gossiping collegues.

Don’t be a busy hamster on the wheel of life. 

Pick your battles.  Pick your moments.

Don’t worry how it looks.

We have been blessed with terrible memories for this exact reason!

 


weekend quotable no. 14

 

“Make the lie big,

Make it simple,

Keep saying it,

And eventually,

They will believe it”.

Adolf Hitler

 

You are stupid and useless.

An absolute failure and a complete disgrace. 

An infinite burden on humanity. 

A wretched embracement.

A piece of shit.

 

You’ll never change. 

You’ll never outrun your past.

You can’t change who you are.

You are too old and too tired.

Nothing ever goes right.

Everything always goes wrong.

 

Truth is never simple.

It is subtle and small by nature. 

It is rarely simple or subtle, because it holds at its core a very complex series of decisions and intangible circumstances. 

Truth sometimes takes a lifetime to fully understand and appreciate.

 

One thing is for sure. 

What you say to yourself, again and again, will become your experience.

Keep telling yourself lies, and you’ll become them.

Keep telling yourself that you are an absolute failure and you will only be able to see your mistakes.  Get absorbed by those mistakes, and you will never see your victories, or your true self-worth.

Come to believe the lies you so readily spread about yourself, and become a follower of tyrants. 

A resident of hate. 

A citizen of the culture of death.

 


weekend quotable no.13

 

The best things in life make you sweaty”.
 
Edgar Allan Poe
 

 
Fear and hard work will make you sweaty.
 
 Fear brings sharp tingles to your mind, butterflies to your stomach, and sweat to your pores.
 
Instead of avoiding it.  Embrace it.  
 
Don’t chase away anxiety.  Learn to accept and live with fear.
 
Hard work makes your muscles ache, your brain tired, and bubbles sweat into your pores.
 
Don’t sit and dream.  Work.  Dig your ditch. 
 
The difference between the amateur and the professional lies in the hard work, not the results.  A professional works every day and finishes what she started. 
 
The amateur works when they are inspired and tweets every day.
 
Don't be afraid and get to work.

When you feel the sweat, know that good things are coming.

 


sow and reap

 

The unsown future always turns to desert sand, but it is demanding work to become a sower.

If you take a moment to reflect on this ancient metaphor of seeding and reaping, it may not really be the sowing that is the problem.  Our struggle always arises not so much in the planting, but in the cultivating, plowing, watering, and weeding.  It isn’t the sowing that brings us frustration, it’s the work before and after.

We know that we will get what we sow.  We know that you cannot reap what you do not sow, and we seem to plant very often.

We get excited.  We get committed.  We psyche ourselves out.  We chant mantras.  Write ourselves love you notes.   Buy new workout clothes.  We start eating leafy vegetables.  We purchase a graphic organizer.  A new pencil case.  A set of file folders.  A new sketch pad.

We are always ready to sow.

What goes wrong?

Everything else.

I know I have failed too many times to remember because I did not cultivate or prepare. 

I didn’t toss the many piles of junk that clutter my home and my mind.

I have always tried to develop new habits, but I did not do anything about my old habits. 

In the end, when we are honest with ourselves, that’s a whole lotta habits.  The roots of the old, the true, and the trusted habits, will always win and choke the tender budding roots of what is new and vulnerable.

We need to prepare. 

We can prepare by quitting things that either waste time, or anything that drains our energy.

For me, clarity came at the end of collecting hockey cards, which not only cost a few dollars, but consumed an immeasurable amount of time.  In the end, they all ended up in a box.  A nice, beautiful, white, cardboard box.  Nestled in the basement, next to camping gear.

These cards were so beautiful and so important, so memorable, that on the rare occasion, I would be shocked to discover that I bought the same card twice, forgetting how much I had already stock piled for a rainy day.

I quit television too. 

I started watching television when I was younger.  It was a great way to learn English and I loved the comedies and dramas.  They were great and I had all the time in the world. 

I loved Cheers, Seinfeld, X-Files, MacGyver, and even the Thundercats.  I am not trying to compare what was to what is, I am just saying that I loved television.

Then the reality shows came, and the good shows left and took up residence on HBO, FX, AMC, and Netflix.  At first, I went with them, but there were too few of them, and I was tired of opening my wallet to keep playing.

The new breed of reality shows arrived and after several years of watching, they seem to be nothing more, than an opportunity to voice unbridled displeasure about this or about not having that. 

Everyone is either fixing things for profit, looking for love, trying to fight each other for a chance at some money, making duck calls, or buying old scrap in storage lockers.

Television had to go.

I quit socializing in the staffroom as well. 

Most conversations inevitably turn to gossip, or stories about the good old days, the next vacation, how short the weekend was, thank God, it’s Friday, or how glorious it will be when we retire.

I did some cultivating too.

Up at 4:02 am.  At the gym by 4:30 am.  After that, a coffee shop, to write daily, before the kids wake up and excitedly steal the rest of my day.

I eat more.  Sleep a touch less.  Count my protein.  Keep my calories down, and remind my stomach that it is not hungry, it’s just bored.

I water the seed.

I water, by keeping a daily nightly journal of all the things that I am grateful for, and all the things that I did to pursue my dreams.  I go to bed thinking of the opportunities that might present themselves tomorrow.  I head to bed gladly, awaiting that which is to come.

I read good books.  Be they biographies, or motivational books about marketing, business, self-esteem, or a myriad of things I need to develop and improve on.

I listen to audible books all the time.  There is something magical that happens, when you have a powerful and excited speaker telling you that you matter, that your dreams can come true, that it is time to go, take some names, and kick some ass.

There is nothing like it in the world.

I also weed.

Inevitably old habits and ugly patterns come back to haunt us.  They are resilient.  They are persistent.  They are pesky little bastards.

Recently, I have gotten into the habit of looking into my own eyes in the mirror.  I gaze into everyone else’s, it was time to look inwards. 

It is amazing what thoughts creep up.  Be warned, this is not usually a pleasant experience, especially at 4:02 am, when the body uses all kinds of tricks against me. 

A lot of garbage bubble up to the surface.  Fear.  Loathing.  Regret.  Visions of futility.  Visions of failure.  Self-doubt.  But also, thoughts of possibility.  Little rays of sunshine.  Streams of opportunity that I try to grab and hold, and ride for the rest of the day.

Who knew that I was such a great gardener.

If you’re still with me here, you must admit that sometimes a great metaphor helps to explain what is hidden, when words fail, or we begin to spin our wheels and repeat ourselves.

I don’t think dreaming is as complicated as we make it out to be.

Prepare the ground.

Toil and cultivate it. 

Ditch, chuck, throw, burry, and burn all that holds you back.

Plant the seed.  No matter how small.  No matter how fragile.

Water that seed, with habits that will bring you life.

Weed things out of your life.  Most importantly, weed out people that purposefully or unconsciously cause you harm.

Be grateful.  Be patient. 

Carry on.

Dig your ditch. 

And as Seth Godin calls to action, go and make a ruckus.

 


dearest Irena

 

My Dearest Irena,

This is what your daddy does every morning.  I sit here, somewhat deep in thought, with a warm cup of coffee in my hand, and I think of things to write about.

Today, I am thinking of you, and want to take this opportunity to tell you a few things.  Things you won’t understand, mostly because you cannot read or write. 

I love you.

Let me wish you the happiest 6th birthday, a little girl could ever dream of.  I am glad that life has given me the opportunity to spend so much time with you, and your older brother. 

Every afternoon seems glorious, and the summers are simply magical.

You are an exceptional young lady and you make it easy to be your daddy.  I still consider myself in transition, and need to pick up a few things; like how to do your hair up in a pony-tail, how to keep my mind from going numb playing dollies, and how to help you remain a smart and joyful young woman.

I don’t really have to teach much about joy and courage.  You already have it, and share it openly with everyone.  I just need to keep you from ever doubting who you are, when other people try to tell you otherwise.

Today is Father’s Day.

I prefer it this way.  I like it better when I have a chance to give rather than receive.  I prefer Father’s Day to be about you, rather than about me.

I enjoy watching you grow up.  I love quietly marveling how your big heart has room for everyone and everything, and how marvellously you smile, dance, and sing.

But as you grow I will need to create a little distance, and let you go. 

Not yet.  I still have lots of time to play.

But I don’t want you to be dependent on me, or on any other man, for that matter. 

I am not going away and I plan to be here for as long as God is willing, but I know that any lack in character, independence, strength, joy, or meaning, leads to a very tragic existence.  You have everything you need to make a happy life.

I don’t want the joy in your eyes and the compassion for all living things in your heart, to ever be discouraged or hidden.  Yes, there will be storms and battles.  There will be hurricanes and gossip.  I promise I will be there with you, to make sure, you keep that little light burning.

The world needs some light.  It gets very lonely and dark out there sometimes.

I won’t ever tell you want to do, but I will be your strength and push you where you want to go.

I promise to listen and give guidance, but I will not solve your problems for you.

I will always love you and let many things go, but I will never let you say that you can’t, you’re not smart, you’re tired, you’re busy, it’s not you, or that you’re bored.   

You remind me so much of my mother, who shares her name with you. 

She was a quiet, strong, and a beautiful woman, who I miss dearly and daily.  She is the woman whose spirit, in part, you embody, and whose eyes we both share.

Don’t change, little girl.  Not now, not ever.

Grow.  Learn.  Follow your heart, but don’t ever change.

Don’t trade the very best of you, for a few moments of acceptance from people who don’t matter much anyhow.

Dance.

Sing.

Continue to love every creature, large and small.

I love you, dearest Irena.

Happy Birthday to you.

Happy Father’s Day to me.

Love,

Daddy.

 

13413732_10154055099935700_5891992726191566245_n

13346876_10154055099990700_4849653205356886077_n

 


stay right where you are

 

It is very easy to lose focus.

There are so many things out there that come bearing down on us, all day long, and from every possible direction, that we need to stay focused.

Sometimes, we get a punched in the gut.  Sometimes, we inadvertently start chasing pretty butterflies, or stare a little too much at the pretty sunsets. 

Don’t get me wrong. 

The things that bear down on us, each, and every day, are sometimes worth doing.  They are exciting opportunities.  Sometimes, things we really love and want.

They call upon on us unexpectedly, and seduce us into doing something else.

A free pair of concert tickets.  A free cottage get together.  A great new television show.  A spectacular golf tournament that helps very needy children. 

We would be heartless bastards if we didn’t help those innocent little children.

Doing something creative, and in turn pursuing your dreams, requires definite mental strength, and a very sustained, relentless effort.  It requires laser like focus.

The same magnifying glass will either warm a piece of kindling, or light it on fire. 

Only you decide how you’re going to hold it and to what end.

The process resembles a checkout line at the grocery store. 

There you are.

In possession of all the things you think you need, and all the items are safely resting in your blue cart or perhaps your black basket of dreams. 

You are ready to get going.  You are ready to check out.

You naturally head to the shortest line, but by the time you get there, you notice a very portly fellow who somehow managed to get there first.  He has piled an impossibly large mountain of food on the tiny little belt, right before you got there, and it will take forever to wait it out.

So, you get anxious and decide not to wait.

You move very quickly. 

With stealth like vision, you spot a new opening in the line at the far end of the store.  The new line appears to be empty and so you turn quickly, and head in a new direction.  But you discover that a very small, half blind, elderly woman, with arthritic hands, has hid herself just below the mints and chocolate bars.  She was impossible to spot.

You didn’t see her, but you can clearly all her numerous and very small items, that she is slowly, and deliberately handing to the teller.  One piece at a time.

You will want to scream and go back to the original line, but by now you see that the line has grown, and it is no longer your best option.

You begin to look in all directions, but suddenly, out of the corner of our eye, you sneak a peek at the portly fellow, the very same you stood behind earlier, but who now is putting his grocery bags into his rusty, old, Honda Civic, and begins to drive away.

It is probably a good idea not to move anywhere else. 

Just stay in your line, no matter what.

Take your lumps.  Ride it out.

Take what is coming to you.

There are many distractions in our life.  As a matter of fact, there is an infinite number of them.  Wonderful little things, we could all be doing, should be doing, or are tempted to start, again.

No one would ever fault us.  We face the same battles.  Those opportunities are everywhere. but those little opportunities are nothing more than distractions. 

They are yield signs leading to nowhere.

So, stay right where you are.

Stay focused.  Stay hungry.  Stay foolish.

Don’t look for another line.  Take your lumps. 

Be grateful.  Be patient.

There are many things that we could be doing, but if we always chase all the things that present themselves to us, we will end up doing none of the things that we want to do.  We will never get to where we want to go.  We will be forever dreaming and frustrated by our efforts.

Stay the course.

Really know your dreams.

Cut out pictures.  Write about them.  Tell people about them.

Make a plan.

Work the plan

Stay right where you are.

 


our setbacks

 

How we deal with setbacks, both large and small, often determines your happiness.

At the very best, we don’t like them.  At the worst, they buckle our knees.

We don’t like setbacks. 

We hate them. 

We do everything to anticipate them.  We worry about them.  We sometimes become crippled by them.  We would rather not begin something we have always dreamed of doing, then fail all over again.

We wish everything was as steadfast as gravity.

Constant.  Ever present.  Reliable.  Dependable.

But gravity isn’t constant, ever present, reliable, or dependable.

It’s just our experience of it. 

When NASA sends men and women into space, they have to face the glorious absence of gravity, without which, travelling enormous distances to far unexplored rocks, would be too slow and a painful undertaking. 

Precisely to this set back, this absence of gravity, humanity will walk on Mars, relatively soon.

On earth, gravity is a most marvelous thing.

It keeps things, and us for that matter, exactly where it should be, but when it comes to space travel, gravity is most definitely a setback.

I think we shoulder too much blame when we fail and allow ourselves to regress. 

We are too tough on ourselves. 

The moment things begin to go wrong we whip our poor mind with the bitter slanders of I told you so, and there you go again.  At those moments, we utterly reject the fact that sometimes, just sometimes, things go wrong, or were never meant to be right in the first place.

Without aggression and the partition of Poland in the nineteenth century, Frederyk Chopin would have never had a love affair with the city of Paris, and we would have different compositions. 

Without major setbacks, Steve Jobs, would have never been fired from Apple, or met his wife, and the world would have never met Woody and Buzz.

Setbacks are not the end.

They are signs.

When you encounter a construction zone that forces you to take a detour, you get frustrated and will ultimately lose some valuable time, but I bet you won’t go back home. 

You will not drive home, call your work, and tell them that because you hit some construction, or some expectant traffic, that you quit and will never return.

Why do we quit so often?  Why are we so mean to ourselves, and hurl such ugly insults on our poor innocent mind? 

Why do we take failure so hard?

Is it somehow tied to our fear of death? 

Are our failures and setbacks, little indicators, that everything we build, everything we have, and everything we hope for, will be gone?

Death, taxes, gravity, and our setbacks, are just the realities of living.

We can either choose to merely exist or we could choose to live.

If you get struck with terminal cancer, you can either drown yourself with self-pity, or take the first few steps that that will lead to a Marathon of Hope. 

If you lose your hearing, you can either sit alone, in a dark room, accusing God of having spited and cursed you, or you could write the greatest symphony, you will never hear.

If you go blind, you could either malinger around, making your entire family utterly miserable, or you can pen the greatest epic poem about a Paradise Lost.

You have a choice to make.

You could be a Fox, a Beethoven, and a Milton, or you can be a mistake, a human setback.

You are not a failure.

Your setbacks are only roadblocks.

Don’t drive home and quit.

Take the detour and write your damn symphony.

 


quo vadis?

 

Quo Vadis? 

Where we you going?

Life really doesn’t care where you are, or where you have been.  It doesn’t care about the mistakes you have made or the bad habits you may have picked up along the way.  It doesn’t care how many people you have hurt, or how many people hurt you. 

It doesn’t give a hoot how stuck and complacent you may feel.  

It isn’t concerned with how old you are.  If you are married or single.  Fat or fit.  Beautiful or on the darker side of ugly. 

Life doesn’t care for any of it.

She is a demanding taskmistress.   

She will relentlessly ask you questions.

She always wants to know where you are going.

If you don’t have goals, dreams, or even a minute sprinkling of desire, consider yourself as a part of the living dead.  A small part of the unfulfilled, meaningless, robotic, automatons; who exist only to feed the ever growing and self-consuming economic system of perpetual progress.

I refuse to believe that things this hopeless. 

I believe all human beings, in all circumstances, and without exception, are full of infinite possibilities, stifled by unfulfilled longings, and magical dreams. 

We all have dreams. 

The dreamers and the non-dreamers alike.

We know what we want.

We know what we want.  We dream, but we are often too tired or perhaps too distracted by our comfortable living, to ever reach out and touch them.  Our dreams are like a beautiful breathtaking mountain, that we convince ourselves, we are too tired to climb.

 

Nothing will ever happen unless you do the following.

 

  1. Awaken the dormant dreams inside of you.
  1. Write them down.
  1. Write it down again in minutest detail.

(Write down all that you already have, all that you need, how much time it will take, how much it will cost, and most importantly why you want it).

  1. Break it down into small chunks, manageable tasks.
  1. Find the time to do it.

(Don’t lie.  Steal some time for yourself).

  1. Find the money.

(Don’t get discouraged.  Money is a story).

  1. Dig Ditches.

(Don’t ever question, deviate, or change you plan, once you have it in place.  Don’t second guess yourself, until you have conquered and achieved some tasks.  Adapting to change is important, but often it’s not change we see, but a way to quit.  Just keep waking up each, and every morning, and dig your ditch.  One shovel full, or a hundred.  It doesn’t matter. Just keep digging ditches.  Every day).

 

Dreams come true.

They don’t come true by accident.

It has taken me fifteen years of quietly, silently, unnoticeably, and unprofitably, dig my ditch.  I realized long ago that I have a talent and can express myself through photography.  Recently I realized that unless I execute a specific plan, and hustle relentlessly in its pursuit, I will die with great regret.

In the parable of the talents (Ten Minas), I have always seductively played the role of the slave with only one talent.  I was never quite the zero, but certainly not the lucky, special, son of a bitch, who was gifted five or ten. They were truly lucky.  I drew the short straw.

How wrong I have been. 

How wrong I had been to run and hide.  How wrong in avoiding and defending my inactivity, and my inability to even accept a compliment.

I realize today that not following your dreams is as tiresome as following them.  It takes just as much work.  It takes just as much time.  It produces a different result.

It is a lot more fun to follow your dreams.  The days are filled with less tears, or at least happy ones.  The days are filled with laughter, joy, and a contagious energy that cannot be contained and demands to be shared.

I hope you dream a little today.

Scratch that.

Dream a whole damn lot.

List all your important commitments, and all the things that you love to do, and figure out where you can steal some time.

Get a shovel. 

Start digging ditches.

There is no magical time to hammer that shovel into the ground. 

Just grab. 

Dig. 

Toss.   

Repeat.

The ditch will never dig itself.

 


weekend quotable no. 12

 

Hope is the power of being cheerful

in circumstances

that we know to be desperate

GK Chesterton


Hope is powerful and cheerful.

It is often mistaken with superstition or worse, wishful thinking, but doing so, leaves you powerless.

Real hope appears irrational, desperate, divisive, and counter intuitive.

Real hope bears a smile.

Most people avoid hope because it requires definite and immediate action. 

Our actions ultimately demonstrate if we have hope.

Just examine the life of Terry Fox, and the Marathon of Hope.

Hope is real, but only when we act. 

Hope is not passive.  Wishful thinking is passive.

We will harness the power of hope when we fight and bravely face our desperate moments.  When we crawl, one knee in front of the other, through the desert sand, despite the unbearable heat.

Hope is powerful.

So are you.

You are powerful beyond measure, but you probably don’t believe it. 

You don’t have to be a superhero, you’re better, just be you. 

Face your desperate times, with the power of hope.

 


weekend quotable no. 11

 

Wealth is not a hindrance,

but rather a help towards

attaining a proper standing,

in a chosen field of activity.

 

I confess that as far as I am concerned,

it has done me some service,

as it has preserved my character

from many a crookedness

poverty might have exposed it to

Henryk Sienkiewicz

 

I’ve always had an undiagnosed hatred for the rich. 

I naively believed that only the poor will get to go to Heaven.  I foolishly believed that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle, than for a rich man to get to Heaven.

Before you lunge at me, I am not saying that may not be true.

All I am saying, is that money is just a story.

There is no real intrinsic value in either having and not having money.

There are plenty of examples of wealthy people who despite the means to do otherwise, live miserable and unhappy lives.  There are also equally as many examples of poor people who do the same.

All things being equal, it is better to have money.

You don’t have to fight your creditors.  You don’t have to stretch and balance yourself between paycheques.  You won’t have to fight over meaningful purchases with your partner.

You might even share some of it.

Let’s get over stories about money.

Let’s work hard to earn lots of it.

Let’s take control and help others.