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November 2017

leap before you're ready

 

I know. I know. You’re not ready. 

You could use a little more time. A few more moments. A few extra adjustments. A sign. An epiphany. A transfiguration? A message of encouragement from an Angel? Perhaps a signal delivered by three wise men from the East?  A really, really, really, really, bright star in the sky?

One day. Someday. No way.

You’re ready.

You may not know where you are going or where you’ll end up being, but you are certainly ready to begin today. You have to dig deep and find the courage to start. Embrace your tenacity to leap.

Leap before you’re ready.

Leap before it’s too late.

Your life has been a series of leaps, nudges and pushes anyway.

You were happy and content to contemplate your quiet existence, when suddenly, the woman who professes to love you pushed you out. Or maybe she was a bit more unfortunate and had a doctor cut her belly open so that from your mother you were untimely ripped.

Yet, if you think back, you were not afraid to lift your head. You weren’t critical and skeptical. Negative or pessimistic.

You began to crawl because you wanted to see and play your part; lend your voice to the symphony of existence.  You shoved anything and everything into your mouth.

Dirty. Wet. Dry. Big. Small.

Everything.

You hit your head. Bruised your knees. You fell down. You rose again, and again, and again.

You learned to crawl, you learned to walk. You even got the hang of digesting solid food.

You began to speak and excel in so many things.

Unbelievably complicated things.

You’ve done well.  You’ve done well throughout whole life, so why stop now?

Why do you look back so often and wonder about what could have been?

You’re gazing in the wrong direction.

Stand your ground and leap.

Leap before you’re ready.

Leap before it’s too late.

Like before, you will learn along the way. Some things you know. Some, you’ve forgotten. Others you’ll discover when you need them.

Like before, generous people will arise out of nowhere. They will be there to guide and encourage you. They will help you out.

How do I know? Because we are social creatures and despite how we feel or see ourselves, there has always been someone guiding, helping, and directing us towards our dreams.

Fear is far worse than death.

We can’t do anything about death, but we can certainly do something about fear.

You can’t write a book about what you don’t know. You can’t sing about what you haven’t experienced. You cannot play an instrument you’re not familiar with.

Most importantly, you can’t help others, unless you leap and have something to offer them.

The world doesn’t need any more bad news. Fake or otherwise.

More accidents, harassments, corporate takeovers, wars, family conflicts, drunkenness, addiction, depression, medication, complaints, gossip, and our right wretchedness.

The world needs you.

The world needs the best of you.

The best of you that will only become visible if you leap. If you jump. Without hesitation. Despite of fear. Despite the trembling. 

The world needs you to begin today. To begin right now. 

So, leap before you’re ready.

Please leap, before it’s too late.


ten minas

Toastmaster Speech

Title: Ten Minas

Delivered on Tuesday, November 28th, 2018

 

I am forty-five years old, and I feel as though my entire life has been a long preparation for this very moment.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, I learned about elite performers and absorbed some great advice about how to be successful. To be great at something. Anything.

You need to have practiced, to have apprenticed, for 10,000 hours, before you get good”.

10,000 hours!

If you begin today and practice for one hour a day, I will see you basking in your own greatness in about twenty-seven years, four months, and twenty-three days.

Of course, there are twenty-four hours in a day, and you can get there a little faster.

I took the long road.

I have been playing shy and have struggled with feelings of incompetence my entire life.

I told myself countless of times that it was not my turn, that I was not really good enough. I don’t think I remember a time, when I didn’t feel on the outside looking in. My every step, every movement, every attempt to become someone I have always dreamt of being, was always underwhelmed with unbearable caution and great trepidation.

I got really good at anticipating what people would say. I anticipated what they would think. I braced myself for criticism. I readied myself for failure. I hid and run away from myself, until I grew tired and stopped.

I have always wanted to be a writer and a motivational speaker.

I have always felt that I had something important to share, something important to give. I have longed for years to play the infinite game of writing and listening. An endless literary conversation of sorts.

I have longed and dreamed of being published. Of no longer dreaming, but being.

I didn’t know what to do with my life after High School and stumbled along obtaining a Business Diploma program at George Brown College. I pursued philosophy, quickly changed to a major in English, and graduated with a teacher’s certificate in the year 2000. The year the world was to end. Maybe next year.

Many years have passed since I have tried to inspire hundreds of motivated but often unmotivated students for three periods a day, for the ministry mandated seventy-five minutes. For ninety periods per semester, for two semesters, each and every year, for eighteen years.

Looking back, I have put in more than 12, 150 hours of repeatedly speaking to a challenging audience. It has taken a lot of repetitions and gusto.

For the longest time, I believed that I had wasted my life.

That I wasn’t making a difference and that I served no purpose. The grinding, thankless, bureaucratic wheels of our great educational system didn’t help much either.

I continuously longed to be a writer and a speaker, but thought that I had written nothing of value or ever delivered a meaningful dissertation on anything.

How blind we can be in our perception of reality. How close can we be to something, and yet how distant and unapproachable it can all feel.

Being a member of Toastmasters International has been a great decision in my life. I feel very much at home at First Speakers, Club 368, in beautiful Cobourg, Ontario, Canada.

The few, but the mighty.

I’m here because Zig Ziglar told me to come.

Every single morning, I seem to listen to his voice and a few months ago he convinced me, from beyond the grave, that the best way to overcome self-doubt and a toxic self-image, is to begin speaking unabashedly, and in front of any audience.

Besides First Speakers, on January 13th, 2017, I also started TENMINAS.ca.

I stumbled upon the ‘Habits of Successful Artists’ in Seth Godin’s book The Icarus Deception, and that made a positive impact on my life..

I discovered that ‘there is no such thing as writer’s block’.

There truly is no such thing as writer’s block!

No such thing.

Understanding this is the difference between living and existing, being and doing. Knowing the difference is the difference between being a writer and perpetually dreaming of becoming one. The difference between being an amateur and living the life of a professional.

The difference is not in the money you earn. The difference is not the number of followers and fans you can buy or gather to your side. What matters is the care and attention you give to your craft.

This is why I started tenminas.ca.

This is why I write every day, without fail, without ever experiencing writer’s block.

But I am not lucky.

I made a choice.

A hard choice. An uncomfortable choice. A lonely existence in a literary spiritual desert.

I choose to write.

I concede the fact that I may write gibberish at times. That I may compose words unfit for human consumption. But I continue to write.

I write well. I write not so well. But I write.

I write with a new-found tenacity and unharnessed purpose.

I trust in the method. In repetition. In my ability to improve as an artist.

Why Ten Minas?

I took my inspiration from the parable of the talents.

I heard the parable of the talents, many times. I am sure you have as well.

You see, there once was a wealthy CEO of one of the largest, most profitable corporations in the world.

He called three of his most promising junior partners together to his office and informed them that he was going away for a few months. He disclosed very little detail, but told them that she had tremendous faith in them and trusted that they would grow his business in his absence.

She told them that they would be given all the resources they need.

She told them she expected results.

The first partner was given a team of ten or so of the best marketing and advertising minds in the country.

The second partner was given five.

The third, was given none. He was an expert in his own right.

All three partners went to work or so it seemed, and soon enough, the wealthy CEO returned.

She called all three of her junior partners together and wanted to hear about their success.

The first partner came forward and put his reports on the big, shiny, mahogany desk, and indicated that in her absence he created several new branches, and had earned the corporation an excess of ten million dollars.

The second partner came forward, and placed his report on top of the same desk. He stood tall, and although he had been given less, he too managed to earn the corporation, over five million dollars.

The third partner was reluctant to come forward.

He had nothing to put on the desk.

He didn’t speak. He didn’t move. He kept his eyes down and begrudgingly focused on nothing.

The wealthy CEO got up and went over to speak with her last partner.

“What do you have for me?”, she said.

“Sir, with all do respect, this is completely unfair. You gave the first partner ten of the brightest minds, so it’s no wonder he earned so much on your behalf. You gave the second partner five, and no wonder he could do the same. To me, you gave nothing and no one. Absolutely nothing and no one! I was alone. Scared. With no money. No contacts. Very little time and too much pressure. You are unfair. You gave me nothing. You set me up to fail. You demanded too much, but fuck you. Here is your nothing”, he replied.

“You ungrateful, spoiled, slithering waste of space. I had everything you ever needed and yet you wasted all of it. You churned your stomach with jealousy and diseased rage. You wasted your life complaining, bitching and moaning about how unfair life can get. I won’t make the same mistake twice. Pack your things and go. Take your nothing, be a nothing, and disappear”.

With eyes cast down, the third partner left.

He was never heard from again.

I heard this parable often as a child, and I always unconsciously measured my life against it. I contemplated what it could mean and what I was to do with my life. Growing up, we were very poor, but so was everyone else thanks to an abusive Communist dictatorship, which made things even worse.

I could never imagine myself as a partner.

I had nothing to give. Not 10, not 5, not 1.

But I didn’t want to be kicked out of the kingdom either. So, I invented a fourth partner. The one that was given one talent and turned it into another talent. The one who had little and made very little.

This vision sustained me for a very long time, and I realize today that although I was never kicked out of the kingdom, I never fully embraced the joy and beauty of living a meaningful life either.

I am making up for that now.

Here are two lessons I see today, that just couldn’t see as a child:  

1. Abundance

The wealthy CEO didn’t need her partners for anything. They could have all failed her and it wouldn’t have made any difference. The missed lesson is that life is full of abundance. Happiness is not scarce. We don’t have to fight for it. We don’t have to hide it and hoard it. What we want is there for the taking and if it isn’t, we have the power within us to create it.

2. Being Worthy

It’s not what you have, it’s what you give. Life is about being and the process of living. It’s not about doing, or getting all tangled up in producing something that will crumble to dust anyway. Shrouds don’t have pockets, you see. We have much to give, if we would only accept the fact that we are very worthy of it.

I see clearly that I have been given much and much is expected of my life.

It is not a burden to bear, but a struggle to be embraced and cherished.

If you have some time today, please lend your support the fourth partner, and please sign up for the tenminas.ca email. Or send an invitation to someone that could use to hear some good news.

My thoughts will arrive to your mailbox every morning. I will not sell your contact information to anyone. I will not abuse your trust. You will not receive spam and I promise not to sell you my timeshare in Florida. The rusty shed is particularly valuable, but I’ll tell you about that later.

The emails may contain a few spelling errors. They may even be punctuated with a few grammatical errors, but it will be written from the heart.

Thank you for listening.

Thank you for reading.


setbacks and days of fog

 

This is not an exercise in failure. There is a subtle but important difference between experiencing our mistakes and living with setbacks.

Failure feels permanent. It burdens our soul. Setbacks, on the other hand, although we bear the same impact, do not produce the same lingering effects.

Setbacks are lighter.

In a sense, there really is no proper difference between calling something a failure, or a setback. To be honest, they are really one and the same, but our language is what matters. What we say. How we say it. What we do with what we say, makes a big difference.

Failure seems eternal. A setback feels temporary.

It doesn’t feel good. That’s for sure. It will never feel good.

But that’s ok.

We still experience the same angst, fear, worry, and dejection. We are spared absolutely nothing. We have to battle our setbacks just as hard.

But unlike a failure, setbacks include a real and timely possibility of reversing our fortune. A more immediate chance at redemption. A direct response.

The time it takes to recover from a setback is much quicker than a failure. We spring up faster. We think much less. We deal better with our complex emotions. We seem to recover faster because we have already made a commitment to ourselves, and we prepared for rain and thunder clouds.

We didn’t expect the sudden change in the weather.

We got jolted awake by the inconvenient, inclement weather, but we are better prepared.

We are positive.

Despite not being able to do anything about it, our minds bend; they do not break. We made the decision to kick some ass and take down names and we penciled out our parade route. We did this before the torrents and the hurricanes.  We did it before the storm clouds appeared on our horizon.

True.

Some storms gut us. No doubt.  

They shake the wind out of us, leave us battered and blue, but even those hideous monsters yield little power over us, if we perceive them as a setback, and we don’t get seduced to take the defeated posture of failure.

Along with setbacks, there are also days and weeks when we get encircled by fog.

Our visibility and enthusiasm becomes low.

We haven’t done anything wrong. There is nothing that we could have done differently. Nothing we forgot. Nothing we needed to adjust. We just feel stuck. Unglued. Unfocused. Tired. Inundated with feelings of general malaise.

We are in a deep fog.

Seth Godin calls this the dip.  A deep valley of nothing but work. Devoid of feelings that bring us excitement. No line on the horizon. Just the sweat on our brow, and more dirt to shovel.  

There is nothing we can do about the fog, except keep going.

There is nothing we can do about the dip, except continue to rise.

Life tests us.

God asks how much do you really want this? What will it take? Do you want to quit? Or are you truly committed? Are you prepared or have you been seduced by another fleeting flight of fantasy?

So, brace yourself.

Brace yourself for any setback, when it comes, and keep positive.

Stay hopeful. Remain faithful. Be kind.

Remain diligent.

Become assiduous as you walk through the fog.

The sun never fails to shine.

The fog will dissipate.

A glorious morning is coming.

 


perfect imperfections

 

We have never managed to conclusively nail down the circumference of a circle.

Our best scientific minds and our fastest computers, after centuries of effort, are still unable to come up with a definitive number that identifies pi, much beyond the very danceable 3.14.

We have been stuck with our human flaws for millennia, yet, collectively, we continually find courage to draw the imperfect circle anyway. We play with them. We paint them. We obsess over them. We admire them.

Yet we have never once embraced a perfect circle.

We can’t come up with the criteria to even identify one, but think of where we would be I’m as a civilization, if we allowed perfection to stop us and run our lives.

Part of the human condition is the wisdom to perfectly accept our imperfections!

If you look at several clear examples of success, or at the people you greatly admire, you will undoubtedly see perpetual failure, and undeniable flaws.

Every broken bone mends, but not quite the same. Every cut heals, but always leaves a scar. Every slice of cheesecake offers a delectable possibility of divine bilocation, but enhances the circumference and girth of your ass.

Our relationships don’t last forever. Our happiness comes and goes.

Nothing is perfect.

Nothing.

Everything that exists in the universe gives us any indication that we need to be perfect.

Yet.

That is precisely what we strive for.

We buy into acquired illusionary ideals. We embrace visions and far-fetched expectations, that breed their origins with the perfect circle.

We obsess about being perfect. We don’t allow ourselves to accept any level of happiness, unless we are great. We consider it a failure, when we deem ourselves good enough.

We constantly measure ourselves into sickness. We measure ourselves into hell.

We obsess about perfectly doing, when we should accept our imperfection of being.

Successful people aren’t lucky. They only appear to be at first glance.

They are not perfect. I would beg to guess that they have an infinite number of flaws and a myriad of imperfections. Things that they hide, because quite frankly, it’s nobody’s business.

Success is achieved through perfect imperfection!

The sooner we allow ourselves the courage to take a million chances, the sooner we will experience success.

Success and failure, professional and personal, comes from the same well. It fills the same bucket. The only one we have. The one we were born with.

Happiness and success are achieved through a hundred attempts to fly. Thousands of attempts to quit. Millions of attempts to forgive, to move on, to say sorry, or to begin once again.

Success and happiness come to those who persevere. To those who embrace vulnerability and their magnificent flaws.

Don’t ever be afraid to be wrong. To look foolish. To take a stand. To dig ditches. To quit and begin again. To face yourself in the mirror. To freak out. To imperfectly stride forward, until your last breath.

Become perfectly imperfect.

Be you. Be glorious.

Believe.

 


weekend quotable no. 44

 

“How wonderful it is that nobody need to wait

a single moment

before starting to improve the world”

Anne Frank

 

There is no need to wait.

No need to wait another moment. No need to hesitate. To second guess your purpose in life. The time is here to begin making the world a better place.

But what is this world?

Our world can be a very abstract and limiting intellectual illusion. Something to argue over. Something to fight over. An ideal to kill for. Or it can be simple and real. Something that brings us together. Unites us. Something that embraces our frailty and brings life.

Your world is different than mine.

Your world includes people I cannot reach.

I can never reach them, but you can.

Today, you can give them hope. You can bring them life. Tell them that you believe in them. Forgive them. Offer them assistance. Encourage them. Behold their vulnerable loneliness. Cry over their pitiful mistakes.

Today, you can laugh with them. Have faith in them. Love them, for who they are and for who they long to be. You can make them smile. Walk with them. Speak to them. Listen to them. Withhold judgement. Improve their life, by improving their world.

How truly wonderful that we need not wait.

How wonderful to behold the wisdom of a teenage mind in captivity.

We make things a lot more complicated than they should be.

Embrace today.

Improve the world around you.

Begin with yourself.

 


weekend quotable no. 43

 

“The most common way people give up their power

is by thinking they don’t have any”

Alice Walker

 

We won’t say it out loud, but deep down, we believe it.

We feel powerless. We don’t belong.

Our lives feel ordinary, and some days feel like a total failure.

It all blurs into a daily struggle. An unfulfilled existence. A nightmarish dream.

Every day we neglect our greatness by hiding and running away from ourselves. We convince ourselves that we don’t belong. That we’re not ready. That we are not worthy. That if we try, someone is bound to come along, and expose us as for the frauds we are.

We give up our power.

The best part of being human.

The power to make a difference. The power to make someone smile. To change someone’s life. To heal their wounds. To make our mark and live a meaningful life.

It all begins in your mind.

Regardless if you think you can or think you can’t, you are absolutely right.

Thoughts become things.

You become who you believe to be. You accomplish what you think you can or can’t.

Your life is what deep down you give yourself power to be.

Isn’t it time to leave the cave of shadows? To stop thinking you can’t? That you don’t belong?

You are powerful. Unrepeatable.

The eye of a hurricane.

A force to be reckoned with.

 


words of courage on a dark morning

 

Darkness is slowly overcoming all semblance of light. The world seems hopeless. The darkness and gloom, deep within our minds, is in a bloody and destructive battle for our souls. As the weather gets colder and the darkness gets longer, we must remember, more than ever, who we are, and the power we can embrace, that’s within our grasp.

We are powerful beyond measure. We are decedents of Kings and Queens. We were born to be Champions. To be warriors and defenders.

Protectors.

I don’t believe you.

I don’t accept your stubbornness and dejected resignation, when you tell me that that this is not how you feel; not with the mistakes you’ve made, and certainly not with the time you’ve wasted.

I accept where you are, but I reject your defeatist submission to failure.

You are not beaten. Far from it. At least you don’t have to be, if you choose not to be.

You are an ass kicker from way back. A black belt of love. A soldier of hope. A scientist of faith. So, reawaken your majestic spirit. Choose today to be the day, despite the many tears and years of hiding, to be counted, and reawaken your spirit to serve.

Don’t hide anymore.

Stand up. Traverse forward. Stop retreating.

Leap.

Leap in hope and trust.

Have you ever been camping?

Away from the noise and the hustle of the city?

Have you ever awoken in the middle of the darkness, on a moonless night? Perhaps to pee, as you get older, or perhaps because your blow-up mattress is making you terribly uncomfortable and cramped?

You walk outside your tent to a firmament of light. Light as bright as the sun.

Brighter and unassuming.

You look up and marvel at the billions and billions of stars. For a moment, you become breathless, when you realize that each one of those tiny little shimmering lights is a sun, a star, with its own set of planets and undiscovered mysteries.

You marvel at the distance between everything. The possibility of anything.

It has taken us this long to struggle in order to reach the moon, yet our human hearts long our fly among the stars.

You look up and are moved by the idea that some of those stars that impress themselves upon you, have long disappeared. They are gone. Gone supernova. They have disappeared, but yet, they continue to shine their light. They continue to be visible for all of us to see. They continue to give light. Light as bright as the sun.

You are also one of those lights.

An you matter great deal.

It doesn’t matter when you start or how you start. It doesn’t matter what people say, or how often they say it.

The truth is, the greatest evil resides right inside of you. Your soul gets devoured from within. Your unabashed demon conducts his sermons within your very heart. And you listen intently.

We are our worst critic.

We berate ourselves for every single mistake and failure we’ve ever made. We refuse to let go. We refuse to forget. We refuse to heal. To move on. To grow up. We refuse to love ourselves. To have faith in our own light. To take shelter in our own dignity and humanity.

I offer you words of courage this morning.

I am hoping to plant seeds of hope. Hope, that you will help you get over yourself. A hope that will inspire you to start making a difference. A difference, in your own life, but more importantly, in the lives of those who are deaf and blind. Crippled with doubt. Imprisoned in loneliness.

I hope you reach out to those that needs your kindness and your laughter. Those that depend on you for your spirit, and even those who have yet to meet.

I offer you courage. Courage to know that you are not alone. Courage to walk with your own loneliness. Courage to embrace your fear. Courage to leap into an universe of possibility.

Please, believe in your dignity.

Believe in the possibility of doing the impossible.

Take heart. Find courage.

Be a light for someone else.

You can’t do everything, but you can do something.

You may fail to do, but you can never fail to be.

 


grind it out

 

You need to grind it out.

Don’t look for a magic formula, a secret recipe, or something that you forgot or mysteriously overlooked.

I know grinding it out is not an easy proposition, and it’s not what you want to hear at this moment, but the only way out, is to grind your way through. It is exactly the kind of short cut you seek. The only true and tested way. The shortest approach to where you want to be. A breath away from the person you wish to be.

We are not talking about being involved in something toxic or grinding yourself stupid against a dead end. We are talking about your dreams. About your purpose in life.

We are talking about staying motivated when everyone who was cheering you on found something else to do. We are talking about the time when you are left alone, without any real sense of purpose or where you are, or what motivated you to be here, in the first place.

Zig Ziglar, the mystical sage of Yazoo City, Mississippi, reminds us that motivation is like bathing. It is a very good idea to do it well and to do it often.

The rest of the time you just have to grind it out.

Don’t look back at where you’ve been or the life you’ve lived. Don’t look ahead either and get discouraged by all the things still left undone.

Don’t focus on anyone who seems to be competing against you. They have their own journey. They have their own struggles. Their own challenges. So never compare yourself to anyone, and fight your feeling to quit.

Grind it out.

You’re not being asked to be successful. To win. You’re not being asked to know why and where you are going. You’re not being asked anything, except to honour your commitment to yourself, and keep digging your ditch.

Grind it out.

Don’t ask how it is going to get done. Believe that it will be done, and work so that it can get done.

Don’t measure. Don’t count. Don’t change lanes. Don’t chase butterflies or bright shiny objects. Don’t get down on yourself. Don’t scream at people. Don’t get discouraged.

Above all else, don’t give up.

Grind it out.

You see. Grinding it out means that the game is not over. Hope is not dead. Faith still contains within itself a myriad of possibilities.

Today, you feel tired and lonely. Today, you feel dejected and defeated.

You’re not wrong, that is exactly how you feel, but don’t project your feelings into the future. What you are today is not an indication of who you’re planning on becoming tomorrow.

So, grind it out.   

Pick up your pen and continue writing. Turn on your digital recorded and continue recording your song. Ask forgiveness again. Yes, again. Put down your cigarette. Stay sober for the next twenty-four hours. Go for a walk. Get back in the weight room. Leave your abusive relationship. Leave your stuff. Just go.

Grind it out.

It feels oppressive. It feels tedious. There doesn’t seem to be an end.

But there is.

You will be free. You will be stronger. You’ll reach your summit and begin the climb of another.

But not, if you don’t grind this out.

 


I hate Christmas

 

I hate Christmas.

Ok. 

I said it.

I hate the very idea of decorating our homes, with bright, shimmering lights, in the middle of Fall. Yes, Fall.

Feel free to hate me at the very core of my ignorance but I am just not ready to inundate my senses with all these magical grand illusions of twinkling lights and enchanted ferries.

I hate Christmas.

I hate many things, but I definitely hate Christmas.

I hate the fact that everything is on sale. That black Friday is upon us. That everyone is rushing around trying to buy something, anything. It seems like everyone is planning their Christmas or March Break vacations, Christmas dinners, or how to not make an ass of themselves at the office Christmas party. At least not this year. Or at least not anymore.

But for me the world got really dark. 

For me, I entered into an all-consuming period of loneliness.

I am not sure what I did to deserve becoming its lovely host, each and every year since I was a small child, but I have resigned myself not to resist anymore. Darkness has become my lovely friend.

These days, the sun rises late, and it sets far too early. The few moments of sunshine that are left, I ignore, by working in an ugly portable, away from what matters, pretending that I know something.

Please forgive me if I don’t get overly excited over tinsel and stockings. Forgive me if I don’t get overly excited to rush around, fighting for a parking spot of a crowded mall, while trying to imagine what to buy, and what joy it will be when I pay it off, a year from now, or at some point, I’m sure. I’m so grateful to the credit companies for their generosity and extended credit at this, my greatest time of need.

I’m lonely and I strangely alienated. I’m a Scrooge, devoid of all magical Holiday Spirit. Yes, I am a cancer to your glee and generosity. In November. Yes, November.  

They say that a child ends up spending less than fifteen minutes playing with their Christmas present before they get bored and look to do something else.

Fifteen minutes.

Is it worth it.

I don’t really hate Christmas.

I like it.

I just wish we were nicer to each other, especially through the dark days of November and December. I wish we didn’t pretend to care when we don’t. That we didn’t make promises, we don’t intend to keep. I wish we were a little more human. A little more lonely.

I wish we were more in touch with our loneliness.

Being lonely is not easy, but I no longer run away from its embrace.

I am lucky that I have never looked for shelter with drugs or alcohol. I don’t distract myself with binge watching television shows or get engrossed with the latest gossip on the internet. I struggle with overeating at times, that’s for sure. Food is my drug of choice. My dirty habit, but even here, I’ve managed to find a teeter totter type of balance of sorts.

We are lonely people.

Why do we treat our loneliness as a morbid debilitating disease?

Why are we not kinder to ourselves?

We are just longing for something. Searching for something. We want to know we are not alone.

At this time of year, I miss my mom and dad the most. I wonder when it will be my turn, and if I will be missed at all. I look back and smile at the silly things I’ve done and the mistakes I’ve made. I glance back at all the dreams that are still unfulfilled and most of all I long to live the rest of my days with a deeper purpose, with more meaning.

There is no reason to hate Christmas.

There is no reason to hate loneliness either.

As long as you don’t face it down alone.

 


the infinite game

 

Life is not a test.

But we often treat as one. We live our lives like a set of hurdles to overcome or a predetermined set of instructions to follow.

We are always at the ready, to study or to cheat someone or something, in order to achieve better results. We embrace the process of measurement. The feel the need to define, judge and be judged by others. We hate the very idea of infinity and more specifically, not knowing how we measure out against those we’re competing against. 

We want to win.

We want to nothing more than to declare ourselves Champions. Champions of the game of life.  Yet we are always stuck in a self-absorbed, mindless, results driven, data centered life, that all too often, leads to a burden which often consumes and makes us sick.

Life is not a test.

Life is a game.

An infinite game.

If there is a God, or even if there isn’t, all of existence and all the natural laws point to the fact that we were born to take part in everything. To do it with gusto. To live our lives and not merely exist. To become who we know we are meant to be. To be happy.

Such is goal of the infinite game.

A game we have always played, but sometimes forget that we play.

In the infinite game, there are no winners or losers, because the point of the game isn’t to separate the strong from the weak, but to spend some meaningful time together. To celebrate. To relish. To cherish. To find meaning and purpose in our lives.

You might be tired and frustrated this morning, probably because you are playing a finite game.

You’ve decided, on the advice of your guidance counsellor, that you must be someone or have something in order to be worthy, or belong.

You exist in the realm of doing, but you need to shift your energy leap into the universe of being.

The infinite game is pretty simple, although the rules themselves can become quite complex at times. But that doesn’t even matter because mistakes aren’t disastrous roadblocks, like they are in the other contest, they are simply fascinating lessons, to carry with you, in order to sharpen your skill, and become a better player.

Life is a game to be played with friends and strangers alike.

It is an infinite game precisely because it never ends. It can be played anywhere and everywhere. In all seasons, and on all budgets.

When you go to dinner with your dearest friend, for example, you certainly won’t go out, so you can become less hungry, and to continue your noble quest not to die. I think you’ll go out to share a meal together, to experience each other’s company, to laugh, or perhaps to cry, but the meal, the meal itself, is an inconsequential part of the equation.

We are funny creatures.

As finite beings who need to face our own mortality we become quite miserable when we engage in finite tasks and limited adventures. We are only happy, truly happy, when we participate in things that stretch beyond the temporal world. When we enter the real of faith, hope, and love. We are happy, when we don’t know why we are happy.

I encourage you to take a stand and decide which game you are going to play.

I strongly recommend investing more time in an infinite contest. The finite one has too many cranky, bitchy people in it, who are fighting over a very small square of space, while you have the opportunity to walk anywhere and be anything, surrounded by the luscious infinity of space.

Go out and play.

Never stop playing.

Enjoy the rehearsal.

Performance is a finite trap.