Saturday, December 22, 2012

A sneak preview of my novel, "Completing Your Life"

In the process of writing my novel, "Completing Your Life" I have seen many, many, many revisions of my ideas, thoughts, and writing. This is called "the process."

Now, I am fairly close to what I want my novel to be.

So, in preparation for it\s launch, and after many requests, I thought I would leave a teaser for you here of the Prologue and the intro to chapter 1. I imagine when the editor gets it, it will change a bit, but I will start off with how it looks now.

I hope you enjoy it...Completing Your Life


Prologue


 
This is a story about my life which happened to be a journey, and not a destination. The inside of this story is filled with emotions like love and hate, happiness and sorrow, hope and despair, longing, yearning, contentment and finally, peace of mind.

I think that you’ll find that my story is not much different than yours. I was an ordinary man with a simple life. I lived and existed surrounded by my thoughts and feelings, all of which were very significant to me. These led me to platforms in my life where I made decisions from the choices in front of me. I made many choices and many more decisions in my life, and looking back at them all now, I can see one that stands out distinctly inside of all the rest which started off a series of events that became the life that I lived into. I often wonder what would have happened had that instance not occurred, and how the rest of my life would have played out. Eventually I caught myself, and know that it all happened perfectly, even when I didn’t realize why it was happening.

I realized a long time ago that it was my agenda in life which was really stopping me from what it was that I thought I wanted. As it turned out, it really didn’t matter what I thought I wanted; it really came down to what it was that I needed. Unknowingly, my wants became my needs, and this caused my life to get caught into a vicious circle; a downward spiral of feeling trapped in every area in my life. I was completely overwhelmed and had no idea how to break this cycle. I held no control over my life, and this fear dominated me in every manner of being.

The most affected of all of these was my love life. It is an area of such significance to people, and certainly I was no exception. Throughout my entire life, I searched and yearned for a partner who understood me; someone who had my back and loved me the way I wanted and needed to be loved, even when I didn’t know how to do it myself.

Wonderful women came and left my life, and the impact of each one affected me so that I became a different person each time the next love came along. I started off in these relationships being loving and caring. Then over time, I became increasingly more jaded, less trusting, cynical, and a host of other negative emotions that each future partner paid for unknowingly. What I didn’t realize is that each time, something was telling me with surprising detail that these relationships weren’t a proper fit for me. I was unwilling to listen because I was so attached to these feelings of significance. I held on to my view like it was my life’s prized possession and refused to give it up to anything new, and this became the reality I lived into. I was determined to do it my way, and nobody was going to tell me otherwise.

Perhaps it wasn’t as bad as I am making it out to be; our lives never are. I was so busy looking at what wasn’t working in my life, that I wasn’t appreciating or acknowledging what was working. One of the biggest observations that I had in my early twenties is the battle of time and money. Some people had lots of money, but very little free time. A lot of people I knew also had a lot of free time, but very little money. But very few people I knew had a lot of money, and a lot of time in their lives. This provided the element of choice, and from choices like this, you could create any possibility you choose.

By the time I was 26, I had saved up enough money to experience time and money in the same moment. I had always wanted to experience backpacking through Europe, so one day I took action. Instead of wondering if it was the right decision or time in my life to do so, I bought a Eurail pass for ninety days which enabled me to get on and off any train in almost all of Europe. The day that I committed to purchasing that ticket launched me on the path which defined my life as I knew it. It was one action which lead into another, which opened up the world of cause and effect and what became my life.

It is this journey and the story it became that I would like to share with you.

Chapter 1

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

In those final moments, everything that mattered to you gets measured on a scale of yes or no. All the money in the world cannot buy you a do-over, and there are no second chances when you are confronted with your own mortality. Those precious seconds get compounded by a fight for life, and the need for being understood. The fulfillment of your legacy then gets left open for interpretation. If you are able to convey your last words to have closure with your life, or be surrounded by your loved ones, you may have less room for interpretation. In the end, did you leave a firm understanding on how you wanted to leave the unique story of your life? If your time ends suddenly, are you fully prepared and complete with leaving how you lived your life?

Most of us leave this life with life insurance for our family and loved ones. Yet, rarely do we leave emotional life insurance to provide closure for us and our beloved. We toil to create a legacy which can get clouded at the finish line because we don’t attain closure in every aspect that matters in our lives. This leaves us with words unsaid, and the opportunity that is forever lost.

I wondered why I never thought about this growing up. It was never brought up or talked about in my family. Besides, I was caught in the world of accumulation, and  I felt invincible to the world. It took something that rattled my belief system to force me to look at this. Suddenly, all the things that I chased as a young man seemed pointless, and I was left with the moments that defined my time on this earth. Before I realized it, a bright flash filled my vision and my life flashed before my eyes. In an instant, the gateway to my life opened up.

I remember it all starting on the hottest day in summer. Of course it was only the middle of June, yet the heat was unrelenting that day. I was leaving in less than two weeks to backpack throughout Europe for the entire summer, and my friends had decided to send me off with a goodbye party. It was the start of summer in Canada, and the heat draws out people to patios, pools, beaches, and other areas where they come to gather on hot summer days. Though I complained about the sweltering heat and humidity, which turned my flowing locks of curls into a dizzying array of spider web entanglements, I soldiered on. My friends and I went downtown Toronto seeking meaningless fun, unaware that I had my own date with destiny...

 

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Connecticut Shootings and Mental Health


There is a saying, “Success leaves clues”. There is always a pathway to it, and if you usually follow it step for step, you will always end up with a flavour of it. Well, so does failure. It has the same pattern in which it follows, yet with obviously different actions and results.

The tormented soul that walked into that school in Connecticut and shot an innocent classroom of young children and educators including his mother, needs to be finally addressed.

It needs to be studied like an FBI case unit, and used as a textbook example of what it looks like to follow the path of a tormented young gunman. Society needs to look at his mindset, education, groups and affiliations he was apart of; mentors and friends of his need to be extensively interviewed. Every ounce of this kid needs to be dissected and spun into a big web of a mental health profile, and it needs to be shared with every parent in the world.

This needs to be addressed and talked about like we are introducing the big pink elephant in the room that everybody sees, yet ignores and hopes it goes away.
 
Well, it’s not going anywhere.

I’m really clear that this isn’t solely a gun control issue. I’m pretty confident that a twisted deranged person like this would have found a way to commit this heinous crime in his own way, so I won’t waste time addressing that issue.

My issue is that this kid’s behaviour was developed over time and he was ignored and allowed to slide under the radar. It went unaddressed for who knows how long, until it became so unbearable for him that he felt his only self-expression was to take the lives of young kids in an unprecedented manner. I find that completely unacceptable, and it brings our society to a new low.

We have seen some pretty horrific crimes, yet this one can never, and will never be understood. It can only be studied, documented and learned from so that we can see that we have a communication issue with our children.

To me, there are many issues to address here. There is the Mental Health issue, the gun control issue, the communication with our kid’s issue, and I’m quite sure that there are many others. This seemed to be the perfect storm of a combination of unaddressed issues that turned into something so horrific that it will affect the way we move forward.

Someone like Michael Moore may make a documentary about it, the media will enable it to get into every home telling us who to be afraid of, and who is to blame for this, yet the real issues go unaddressed, and to me, it starts with something simple.

We need to let the scared and terrified parent who doesn’t know that it’s ok to ask for help, that it’s ok to ask for help.

They need to know that they are not alone, and more importantly, that it doesn’t mean that they are “bad” parents. We need to let them know that it’s normal to have the feelings that they have while struggling with their child’s mental illness and not look down on them.

We need to extend to them the empathy that they need to love their child even though their child’s brain does not function the way we think “normal” does. Only until we can have an open conversation about this, and lose the stigma presently associated with mental health issues, will we see progress, and the pink elephant will cease to exist amongst us.

Yet until then, the pink elephant moves from home to home, ignored and unaddressed until something like this happens again…

 

 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The American 2 Party System


It occurs to me that there are two major parties in the United States. I would not be a supporter of either of these parties, yet I understand that one has to be the clear cut winner in order to get things done. I would not consider myself a Liberal or a Conservative, but rather an advocate for human rights.

 

As I see it, because there are two parties, I see two different views, and I thought I would share how these views occur to me as an advocate for human rights.

 

1) One party seems to want to include the nation into granting everyone basic human rights, and the other party seems to be placing conditions on what they have to be in order to “qualify” for those basic human rights. ie: must be straight, white, wealthy, male ect.

 

2) One party seems to want to have universal healthcare so that everyone can “afford” to be sick, or not die of cancer and have to declare bankruptcy, while the other party sees no need for such a costly program, and would rather conquer other countries than tend to the needs of their own citizens.

 

3) One party seems to see that because of the lack of a significant middle class, that the money for creating a more empowered citizen would have to come from the wealthy, or large corporations in taxes. The other party seems to be apathetic and resistant to this, unwilling to want to help and make they people wrong for being poor and refuse to want to help with their tax dollars.

 

4) One party seems to be making headway in looking forward to renewable resources and technology based research, while the other party hides behind the catch phrase “American Values” and wants to keep America in a 1950’s McCarthy mentality of fear-based ideology.

 

5) One party has a leader of African-American decent, and the other party seems to use the distain of having a black man govern them as a battle cry as to why “America isn’t working”, as if the colour of the man’s skin makes any difference.

 

6) One party is interested in giving you the choice and let each citizen use his/her freedom to decide on the issue of abortion, and the other party is interested in telling you that you are wrong for being pro-choice, because their values say so.

 

7) One party seems to regard religious freedom as universal, whereas the other party regards the same belief and rights only if you are of a Christian based religion.

 

8) I don’t want to even touch gun control as a topic, because it’s such a ridiculously written amendment in the constitution, as it applied to how the land was governed 250 years ago. Having “the right to bear arms” still in there shows how stupid and backwards the government has been in the first place for not taking out this outdated law. Period.

 

9) One party seems to be a protector of the underdog, and the other party seems to be the owner and safe guarder of an elitist organization with limited membership possibilities often referred to as a Good ol’ Boys Club.

 

10) One party tells you what is possible, whereas the other party tells you what to be afraid of. -Possibility vs. Fear Based mentality is what stops most people dead in their tracks. This is why one party is always looking for change, and the other party fears change.

 

I want to be clear that this is simply my own perspective as to how I see the parties views and values, and how I interpret what both embrace in their core.

 

True freedom always allows for choice. What it doesn’t say is, “You can only have this, if you believe what I believe” For example, I don’t morally agree with abortion. However, it doesn’t matter what I agree with. I live in a free society that offers choice and freedom to choose to do as they like with their own body. Whether I agree with it or not doesn’t make it right or wrong, it only makes it my opinion. Freedom also means that you grant somebody the right to disagree with you or your beliefs, and that it’s ok to do so. It doesn’t mean that you can grant religious freedom, but you can’t put a mosque or a synagogue on the street I live on because I am a Christian. In short, it means that everyone has the same rights and freedoms equally.

 

But we don’t want this do we? No, we want to live in a world of dominating others so that we can feel secure in our powerful place of being. If we really wanted everyone to be equal, we wouldn’t still be having the conversation about gay marriage, for example because we only want to grant freedom if it agrees with our moral code or if the Bible says it is right.

 

By the way, I love it how people claim that homosexuality is an abomination (and it does say so in the Bible) yet there are a thousand other things in the Bible or in the 10 Commandments that they don’t pay any attention to. Say, like for example, Thou shall not Steal, Commit Adultery, and we could go on and on with this, but I will take it that you are getting my point here.

 

So in conclusion, if you saw the two parties like this, what would you call my view?

 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Remembering Past Loves


Growing up, I have had many loves in my life. They all varied, of course, but I know that when I was involved in each one of them, they were all very significant. My emotions were heightened, and it seemed like there was nothing more real or important in that moment. Thoughts would go through my mind about running away together and have it be just me and her against the world, and I was prepared for that.

 

Occasionally, I would write these feelings down in forms of emails, letters, or journals. Every once in a while, some of these writings would surface and in reading them, I would be transported back to a time when I loved more completely than I ever thought I could have.

 

However, reading this after the fact was something like travelling back in time. I would recognize that it was my writing and feelings at the time, yet I was reading them through a multitude of filters. Events happened, things were said, feelings changed, and the person I was now was certainly not the person who had written those feelings down. I was now listening through a resigned and cynical view, and for a moment I asked myself, “What happened there? Where did that person, where did that love go? It was so real, it was so vibrant!” And now it was simply reduced to a lot of meaningless words strung together on a piece of paper.

 

I’ve also witnessed it though countless weddings I’ve attended where the people were so in love and wanted to share it with the world, only to have them break up later, and despise each other with such a destructive nature. It makes me think how this was all possible, and what the path was that took us all down it. A part of me wants to show this evidence to my ex lovers and say, “Look how in love we were here. Is that all gone now?”

 

I know that looking back at all of these old letters and emails that I have blocked out much of the wonderful memories; so much so that it surprises me that I could forget them so easily. A feeling of sadness overcomes me for the loss that I have allowed to slip away, and with it, the possibility of something that never was. I wonder what I could have done differently, or how I could have been cause in the matter to make that go towards a place of exponential love.

 

Yet, there these letters remain. Pieces of my history that have now contributed to how I now see the world, based on the events that place me where I stand inside in the present moment.

 

It is my choice in how I see these love affairs, and how I allow them affect my heart moving forward. I could choose to be bitter and angry about it, but I’m clear that this only makes my future partner pay for the sins of my past, and not hers.

 

So, really the only choice is to be thankful for this experience, and the time that I shared inside of that wonderment called love, each and every time. -For I will always declare that it is always more agreeable to love with all of your being for the briefest of moments and then lose it, then to never have felt that love at all.

 

And in my journey of this life, I work on this process everyday. It’s not always easy, but then again nobody said that life would be; they only said it would be worth it…

 

And they were right.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

American Values


American Values

 
It seems to me at this time of the year when Americans elect themselves a new President that there is a void of national unity. There is a division that separates the Democrats and the Republicans which impacts their view on being Americans.

To me, the problem lies in not in being conservative or liberal, but in how these two parties see America and Americans moving forward. One of these catch phrases I keep hearing is “American Values”, and it is this phrase that I would like to address today.

It occurs to me that the Founding Fathers created the nation of the United States of America out of a systematic belief or value, that all men were created equal. Of course, they wanted freedom for themselves, yet would not grant the freedom of slaves, and many of the Founding Fathers were in fact slave owners. So, in the view from 2012, the values of 1776 were quite ridiculous.

Almost 100 years later, there had to be a civil war to provide the constitutional right to ALL Americans regardless of colour or religious beliefs that freedom was a right, and not a privilege. More men died in the civil war than all subsequent wars in American history including WW1, WW1, the Korean and Vietnam wars, to provide that unity that America was not a slave, and non-slave nation. In fact, in all the wars that the United States has fought in, they declare it in the cause of freedom, and the American way of life. Yet at home, on their own soil, many of their own citizens and elected officials are always fighting for basic human rights that wealthy white people have enjoyed for centuries.

The idea of capitalism really dictates the view of the individual outworking the next person to get as far as they can in society in any manner they can get it. Creating a society of individuals will get the elite higher, and keep the lower masses at bay. This has been the reoccurring theme in the United States since its birth as a nation. The rich don’t want to share their wealth and means so that the betterment of the society they surround themselves in gets any further. In fact, it only serves them to keep the common man down, which further divides the nation into classes.

This has been the historic view of the United States of America.

The upper class is not interested in empowering the lower classes for fear of losing their place in society. They are only interested in being wealthy Americans, and not having to share that their nation will be a better place to live for the average person. It is this greed and unwillingness to share for the common good that has created great wealth in America, and why it has also divided itself in political parties.

If the average American was committed to the United States to being a great place for everyone to live, there would be no opposing the National Health Care system that makes the U.S. the only superpower in the world that cannot offer basic health care to everyone of its citizens equally. It would make sure that everyone has the right to education at every level because it just makes sense that an educated nation creates more prosperity than a nation of ignorance. It would also make sense that every single person had the right to the pursuit of happiness regardless of religious belief, sexual orientation, colour, creed or any other bias that we would use to dominate others for living their lives the way they choose to live it.

Freedom is choice. For some reason, it seems to me that the people who cry out for a “return to family and American values” forget that these are the values that discriminated against millions of their own citizens inside of a constitutional promise of the same freedom they enjoyed. These people don’t want freedom, they want to dominate anyone who doesn’t see life their way, and dominate them to live it the way they think it should be lived in their own set of values.

This is the exact reason why the Nation of America was formed, so that its people could enjoy religious freedoms away from a society that judged them not on what they did, but who their parents were in that society. Now, almost 250 years later from the Declaration of that Independence, the principle is still being fought against inside of what was created for ALL men and women. The nation was created for RELIGIOUS freedom, not which kind of Christianity you are.

It is my view that a party of people looking back to the way things were in the past, will always try to keep the nation from looking forward towards the future. Those committed to the future of what it can do proactively to help EVERY single person live a wonderful life with every opportunity to make it great, deserves my vote.

By building a nation of people together, and not a belief system divided against each other, is the way that creates a more powerful, balanced and productive society. Countries with only upper and lower class systems are not committed to being great. Instead, they are only interested in keeping that population impoverished so that it never has the chance every human deserves by the belief system that is Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

So when America goes to the polls on Tuesday, we will see what it is that their citizens are committed to; The betterment of the citizen, or the betterment of their society of citizens.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I've finished my novel!! "Completing Your Life. -A User's Guide"

You can't imagine the elation that was mine when I wrote down the final line in my novel, which completed the book.

It was completely surreal, because I had truly not thought about how that moment looked in my head previous to that. Even as I closed in on the final chapter, I had not allowed myself to see that moment in my head, let alone what I would do in that moment.

After I looked at my computer screen at the final sentence, I was stunned.

"I did it..." I said.

I just wrote a novel, and I am not an author.

I have always been very challenged in accepting acknowledgement in my life. When it started pouring in for the completion of my novel, I had found myself being forced to accept it as a big deal. This time, I can allow and justify this as a "big deal." I can tell you that from the time I started the process of writing this story into a novel three years ago, it has been a big deal to finish it.

Let me state that again. It has been a big deal to finish this novel. ( I have to keep telling myself this all the time because I still want to keep it as "no big deal")

The biggest word that I have learned in all of this is the word "Process"

Writing a novel is all about being part of a process.

This process includes so many factors, some of which I will list here. The most important part of the process is to NOT listen to that voice inside my head that wants me to throw my manuscript in the trash can because 'it sucks', and 'nobody will read this'

For the past three years, this voice has been my constant companion, and I can thankfully say it has been relegated to the sound of a fly in my ear that I simply shoo away now. If you want to write anything, DON'T listen to this voice, it will stop you from being the expressive person that you really are. All this voice does is keep you small, and when you think you are small, you write as such.

There is a reason why writing novels is so challenging, and this was the first thing that I had to overcome. The answer for this for me was, "Thank you for sharing, I choose not to listen to you"

There were other challenges as well.

Most importantly, I did not read a lot of fiction. When I say the word a lot, by that I meant, none. Reading novels was my real challenge because ironically, I do not enjoy reading fiction. I think that I could be the first novelist who ever wrote a novel, and cannot stand reading novels.

I had to pick up this "habit" of reading when I wasn't writing, and it was painstaking for me. I still don't really enjoy reading, and even now I only read for the purpose of being a better writer than simply for the love of the story or falling in love with the characters.

Another key was life experiences. I'm clear that I would not have been able to write this novel had I not gone through a real change of views in my life which started about a year and a half ago. At every moment when I was "stuck" in my novel, there was a really good reason why. To get where I needed to be in writing my novel, I had to be there as a person first, and a writer secondly. When I arrived to that point as a person, it was much easier to write. When I wanted to be there as a writer, and I wasn't there as a person, it was impossible to write.

So, in short, this novel has really been a way of learning in a way that was completely out of my comfort zone. It was scary as hell. "-I don't know how, but I'm going to write a book." That's a pretty bold statement for a non-reader, and a part time creative writer.

So enough about the process, let me tell you what is available for you in my novel.

I wrote this novel for you. I don't know who you are, yet I wrote it for you because I think that it speaks to every person who is alive today.

My novel is about completing your life powerfully, and I hope that it will inspire every single person to take change of their life and prepare for something that we never want to talk about. -Death.

Let me be clear here. My novel is NOT about death, but about loving the life you are living now. This is about creating closure for those you love in your life in the event of your unexpected death, and in the process completing your own legacy. We all are going to die, yet few of us prepare for death around us besides buying life insurance.

I interviewed hundreds of people in the process of writing this book, and what I found was that most people would've chosen a moment of connection, or emotional closure with their deceased loved one, over the financial inheritance that they received.

It makes sense, because we are emotional beings, right?

Imagine the difference that it would make in your life, if someone you loved wrote you a letter to complete their relationship with you before they died. In the event of their death, you received this letter which told you everything that you needed to have closure with them.

Well, this is the premise of my novel.

Finally, I want to thank you all for the support in reading my posts, blogs, facebook updates, and even being a listening ear to me so that I could vent. I cannot tell you how much support that I have felt in this. When people tell you that they believe that you can do something that even you don't believe in yourself, it can be a powerful motivator.

I hope that this novel will be a great inspiration to you. I hope that you will see yourself in the storyline, and I hope that you will find the peace that is inside the pages of  "Completing Your Life. -A User's Guide."

PS: After the past few months, you will excuse me for not proofing and editing this blog. I'm giving myself a break today ;)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Colorado Shootings

First of all, I wanted to say how my heart went out to those poor, unfortunate people of Colorado, and the friends and families of the victims. It always strikes me as the most unnecessary evil of humanity when people who are sick and hurt, lash out in the manner which makes innocent people pay for the anguish of others.

It seems that these shootings are always too numerous. There are too many examples in which to host a conversation about gunmen wielding their hate into the crowds of unsuspecting civilians.

However, while everyone else around is talking about the event, I thought I would take a different view of it.

My view consists of wondering how an intelligent young man (and I'm not going to use the accused's name, so as to not glorify his acts or name) could fathom such an anti-social act. It is mind-bending, to say the least.

The one thing that I really believe about people is that we are very basic beings. I know that most of us think that people are really complex, but we're not. We follow comfort zones and basic behavioural patterns that keep us on a logical path in our lives. For example, when an event happens, we usually have a learned response in how we deal with the reality of what we perceived happened. We then follow behavioural patterns consistent with our personality in dealing with it.

The only complicated view in that, is figuring out what happened along our lifetime that set these wheels in motion. However, usually in the ending tragedy such as these, it is deemed "not really important"

I think if we are to learn from these tragedies in life, we really need to look out at the causes and effects in starting these patterns in motion. If you fix the problem before it becomes a problem, then you eliminate the possibility of the problem, right?

And in this case, I really would like to know what the accussed gunman really believed that lead him to lashing out in this matter. Certainly there must've been signs around him, and the people closest to him must've thought that something was "wrong" with his moods, attitude, and general demeanor. There must've been a slew of symptoms of his growing fury that manifested inside of him.

Yet, this young man flew under the radar. After allegedly planning his masterpiece exit strategy, his ends up getting caught in the parking lot, and had no intention of killing himself like so many other gunmen do.

Clearly, this deranged young man was screaming out for someone to listen to him, and understand that he felt tortured enough to go to these lengths to get some attention.

It seems so amazing that we all have this need to be heard, or listened to, or understood, yet we don't walk into public places and open fire. So I wonder what this man's story is?

I can't even imagine the horror of being this kid's parents, and the lifetime of guilt that will most likely be present for the crimes their son committed. It really is a shame...

In the upcoming months, we will get to hear his side of the story, and he will get the attention that he craved. It's just pathetic that it all could've been possible with the empathetic ear of someone listening and loving this kid, and not after 12 people are dead...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Chris Adams

Its odd the small things that you remember as a young kid. I sometimes really wonder if you actually do remember these things, or if you dreamed them up and they have becomes some sort of child fairy tale.

I remember quite a bit from my childhood, and I would have to say that I remember more than most could claim.

For example: Whenever I look at the date and it says May 25th, I remember that it is Chris Adam's birthday. Chris and I first saw each other when I was about 5 or 6 years old. We went to pre-school together, and his mother, Sue used to babysit my brother and me. I don't exactly know WHY I remember that Chris's birthday was today, and I can't look at a calendar with the May 25th date and not think of him as a 5 year old. I remember his younger brother Ben and how he was just a baby back then, and to think that he is now about 35 is pretty funny.

Chris's father Ron and my father both worked at the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC, and I remember that they had this boat parked in their driveway. When we moved away from Virginia, we lost touch with them. And then one day, my family was visiting some friends in Camp Borden in Ontario during the summer. I looked across the street and I said to my dad, "Hey Dad, that looks like the Adams' boat that they used to have in their driveway." Being a kid is always easier in being an adult and allowing your curiosity to not hold you back. I walked across the road to investigate, and talk about Small Worlds colliding. It was the Adam's house.

That was the last time I saw them.

Well Chris Adams, Happy Birthday. I'm pretty sure that you would be 40 years old today, and if Small Worlds are brought together again by the internet and you see this, I hope you remember me as well. My email address is cbastie@bastie.ca and if you drop me a line, maybe we can connect once more.

Happy Birthday Chris Adams ;)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Express Yourself!!

I always hear from time to time that people delete their Facebook accounts because of many reasons, and I can understand that. Certainly, Facebook isn't for everybody, even though it works for about 1 Billion people...

However, I've been hearing a lot of people tell me that they've deleted their Facebook accounts primarily because they don't want their employers to have cause to fire them, or get any information on them.

Excuse me?!

The day that I stop expressing myself of who I am as a human being for 24 hours a day vs. the 8 hours a day that my employers sees me, is the day that I toss in the towel as a citizen. Clearly, if my way of being shows up and doesn't sit well with my employer, than they can kiss my ass when they boot me to the door.

I will certainly not suppress who I am as a person and express it as the law of the land allows, and not because I enable the corporate world to use it as a threat to my livelihood. Express yourself as you want to, and not as you "should" when worrying how others see you.

And here's a tip... If you are working for an organization that you empower, I would ask you to see if they really empower you, or simply just Employ you. If you chose the latter, maybe it's time for you to find some company that wants to include you, rather than you being included by their conditions.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mr. Holland's Opus



I forgot what a great movie that Mr. Holland's Opus is!!

As I was watching it, I realized that there were many moments that I could identify with as a child growing up through school, and as the adult that I am now. I could see moments where people were shining lights of support in my life, and where there were fantastic lows. Yet, there were always people there to support me.

Some were of course, more instrumental than others, and they really touched, moved, and inspired me. Many of these teachers were normal people with normal lives, yet to me, they were anything but "Normal" They were the catalyst in a belief system that saw something in all of us. Each of us has our own story of who that, or these people were in our lives, and it has made a huge contribution to whom we are today.

I often lose sight of that on tough moments or days. Sometimes, when I see things are tough at moments in my life, I always exclaim, "Why do people have to be SO complicated?!"

Then after watching a movie like Mr. Holland's Opus, it dawns on me that we as people really aren't so complicated at all. In fact, we are very simple beings, with very predictable lives. My thoughts on this are:

All people want is to be able to make their own contribution, and be expressed in it. When we don't have the ability or the tools, or we feel that our environment isn't listening or acknowledging us, we then struggle to be heard and appreciated. It is really our worst fear as humans that we aren't appreciated, heard, seen, acknowledged or making a contribution.

Those who are frustrated, angry or resentful have all the negativity that these traits bring from not being fulfilled or appreciated in their lives. When we are happy, positive and we are feeling fulfilled, it is because all of these traits are in perfect alignment on our perception of our contribution as people.

People search and yearn for that connection in a mate, a partner, a friend or someone that they can share these with. We all need someone to understand us, and "Get us" The people in our lives who REALLY "Get Us" are usually called soul mates. They are very rare in this world, and these people come in as a Reason, a Season or a Lifetime. Some of us want to hold on to these beautiful birds, even though they aren't ours to hold on to. We selfishly see how incomplete we feel without them in our lives, yet it remains that people are in our lives for a Reason, a Season or a Lifetime.

I saw the connection at the ending scene of Mr. Holland's Opus, and I couldn't refrain from shedding a few tears. Not because of who Mr. Holland was to me, but rather who I thought I was being as that person at the end of my life, and being acknowledged for a life of extraordinary contribution.

And in the end, we all see it that way for what we want for ourselves. We are all capable of this too, that's the good news. Some of us have more of our own struggles that keep us down, yet the great people in life find a way to get past that and really live a wonderful life being a contribution, without ever seeing what's in it for them.

And all of this is what makes a movie like Mr. Holland's Opus so great to watch...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gay Marriage and Freedom



You know, it occurs to me that this whole "Breakthrough" from Obama about being the first US President to support same sex marriage is a little like cheering on someone for being in the right. You usually don't get the positive feedback for doing the right thing, simply because it's expected.

Whether you agree with gay marriage or not, is really irrelevant it seems. What it seems to be the issue is containing more of the same control that Americans insist on trying to resist since it's inception as a nation. Considering that the United States of America was formed (in principle) to allow people to live their lives in Freedom, it seems to me that this process is a bunch of lip service that has been going on for over 200 years now.

I could go down the list of the many issues that have been resisted by the majority of the population in US, and looking back it now seems elitist or plain racist.

You can start with freedom of religion, then owning slaves, then freedom of slaves, but they can't vote or own land, hold jobs reserved for whites, or basically live as a "free person" Women were not allowed to vote or hold office until the 1920's or so, and blacks didn't have the same rights as whites in some cases until the 1970's. It seemed that if you were a white male who owned land, and were the right type of Christian, you had every advantage in getting what you want in the United States. Others, not so much...

So this gay marriage issue really will come down to law makers deciding that they have no right whatsoever to determine that it is a bond between 2 people, and not a man and a woman. It will simply be a matter of time until this passes because it is advancing, just as civil liberties advance in the United States. -Slow, but they eventually get there (in a couple hundred years.)

I know there are some people who have learned that homosexuality is wrong and it's against the Bible's teachings. Yet, there was a time when people learned that having slaves was their right, and was just the norm. You could never look back at those times and comprehend what was so because it seems so wrong now. So basically, that's how I think people in 50 years will look back on us now, with this issue of gay marriage. I think they will look back in 50 years and say, "What were you thinkingnot allowing or excluding Gays, and how did you get away with that thinking for so long?" Just the same way that we look at our treatment of Blacks, Asians, and Natives, and other Minorities now.

You'd think that history would give you a sign every once in a while about something like this, yet most people aren't really interested in getting that sign, because it disagrees with their belief system rather than realizing that freedom is not based on your belief system. It is built on the Belief System that every one else has the same belief system, and that every person has the same rights and freedoms REGARDLESS of what they believe.

So if you believe in Freedom, then you can support Gay Marriage, and still be OK with not agreeing with gay marriage. Yet, you believe that they have the right to their life as they choose to live it, even if it doesn't meet your approval.

So therefore, Gay Marriage isn't really the issue. The issue seems to lie within us all resisting Freedom, which is kind of ironic seeing that we fight so many wars over the same projection in the name of Freedom...



Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sexual Predators and Child Abusers -When is Enough?!

I wonder about the safety of our children and if we are doing enough to protect them.

And I don't mean from the playground, bullies, or the seemingly "normal" threats to our kids. I mean from predators who target our youth.

I've just recently watched former NHL Hockey Star Theo Fleury's movie "Playing with Fire" and it occurs to me that this is a completely preventable problem. In fact, I feel that it's so preventable that I don't understand why it keeps happening.

And it keeps happening...

Until it happens to your own child, nobody seems to care. And then it takes the grief-stricken parent who has probably already faced an amount of confrontation that would break a normal human being, and then they have to lead a charge against a re-occurring fight that our government seems to not want to address.

This fight is simple.

Our Children are off-limits. Period.

Any person found guilty sexually abusing a child under the age of 19 faces the death penalty. I'm not an advocate for the death penalty, however, any person that would want to have their own way with a child deserves to be put down in the same manner that you would treat a dog who attacked a small child. You can't trust them, and you can't teach an old dog new tricks. So you get rid of them, and the example is made really clear. The last thing that any taxpaying Canadian wants to do is pay for the upkeep of a broken toy pedophile in prison merely existing, and not living a life worth living.

I read stories about priests abusing alter boys all the time. Tori Stafford is a little girl that was allegedly raped and murdered because our system failed her. Boy Scouts get abused in the woods away from their families when they should be enjoying their childhood, and not have it be some nightmare that has them left as damaged, tortured victims that end up having their futures robbed from their hands of what was once possible for them. And you can't tell me that there aren't people out there who see stiff like this happen, just like Jerry Sandusky from the Penn State sex scandal was being enabled to abuse boys for decades, and "nobody saw anything"

Listen, we have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights so that every person can live a life of freedom and be anything that they want, yet we don't have any measureable policies in place that can protect the simplest things like ensuring that our kids aren't abused or murdered.

That makes me want to hang my head in shame.

It seems that the Government of Canada has a list of priorities a lot deeper than to worry about the safety and well-being of it's innocent and defenseless children.

Because if it were so horrible and unthinkable to touch or abuse a child, it would be a national tragedy when it happened, and it would be a rare event.

Instead, I read dozens of stories like it in the news all day long.

And yet, nobody says or does anything about it...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Had No Way Of Knowing This...

I met a man on the Subway today. He looked at me with a terrible scowl and snidely said, "What are you looking at, faggot?!"

He said this to me because I made eye contact with him and it made him feel uncomfortable. He looked at my 2 earrings and thought that he could call me a faggot in order to make me feel shame about my sexuality. He said these things because his father beat him as a child and he grew up not trusting anyone in his life, and had his heart continually broken in a loveless abusive family. He only knew misery and felt that everyone was out to get him.

But of course, I had no way of knowing this.

I have a woman in my office that is such a bitch. She bosses everyone around and is such a control freak. She has no soul, and nobody likes her. She is constantly called the C word, and everyone I know thinks that she should not be able to have kids in order to rid the world of another monster running around.

She is this way because her father wanted a son, and had 3 girls. She was the middle child, and in order to get her father's attention and love, she had to be a tom-boy and live her life like a man. She learned to dominate people and take by force, because her father lived his life like that. She grew up not being listened to, and therefore never learned to listen to people. But deep down, even though she would never tell anyone this, she really is just a little girl who wants to be listened to and loved by her Daddy. -And not even her husband would know this about her.

But of course, I had no way of knowing this.

I met a man who had a massive ability to find love for people. He realised that people are the way they are because of a set of events in their life that has dictated how they operate in those circumstances. He saw that they simply needed more love, and the ability to understand them and be vulnerable with them. In sharing, and refraining from judging, he was able to allow these people into his world, and they loved him. He simply allowed these people the space to be themselves, and allow them to see something bigger than their own insecurities. I admired this man because he too was a victim of an abusive family life and was beaten by his father.

But someone showed this man the love and space that he needed to clear his life of the garbage that was impeding him from his own greatness. And then he became a way of being, that allowed for this love to be shown to others, until it was given to me when I was at the lowest point, and thought that I would never truly be happy in this life. Until someone shared this with me, this wasn't possible...

But of course, I had no way of knowing this.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Do You Know How You Like To Be Loved?

Let me ask you a question that you might not have ever been asked before.

How is it that you feel loved by the people in your life, and how is it that you need it to look like, in order for you to feel loved?

I think that this is an amazing question, and it was brought on by a conversation that I was having with a friend the other day.

Let me give you a better example or illustration as to what I mean.

Everyone drinks their coffee to their own preference. (if you don't like coffee, you can substitute tea, eggs, or something that everyone enjoys their own way in the manner in which it's prepared) If I brought a person coffee, and it was black and they liked it with cream and sugar, it wouldn't be the way they like it. Of course, it would still be bringing somebody coffee, which is a wonderful thought, yet it wouldn't be the way they like to enjoy drinking coffee. Get it?

So let's go back to Love. Love is the greatest gift of all, as we all know. However when you love someone, and you demonstrate your love for them the way YOU see love as occurring to you, and not how THEY see love in their eyes, you have the exact same situation as the coffee example. Then feelings and expectations are not met, and that's when you see a really challenging struggle start.

However, what if I were to ask you a simple question like, "How do you like to take your coffee?" If I remembered properly, I would always bring it to you the way that you like it. And what do I care how you take it? -You're the one drinking it, and if it tastes good to you, then that's all that is important, right?

Then why don't we do this with how we want to be loved? And why isn't this talked about?

We call Love the most powerful thing in the universe, and yet we are afraid of asking some really, really basic questions around it because we have a story about how we might appear for it.

That way, there really is no communication breakdown, let downs, or expectations that didn't get met that aren't addressed. Like I said, if somebody brought you coffee and it wasn't the way you liked to drink it, you would tell them, so that they wouldn't repeat the same thing, right? So my question is, if we do this with something as simple as a cup of coffee, then why do we ignore the most powerful thing in the universe in the same way?

Now, I could leave that question out there in cyber space and leave you with no real answer to a powerful question, but I won't. If we want to really find out why we don't tell the people in our lives who matter the most to us, HOW we like or need to be loved, it has to come from a place of authentic vulnerability in that context. Usually, this is the real reason why we don't tell people this, because in many ways we haven't been taught to talk about things like this. If it's as simple as a cup of coffee then we can do it, yet when it involves real feelings, it's "needy", or that's how the story goes in my case as to why I didn't do it.

I can look back now in my life and see that if I would've taken the care and time to actually ask and listen to HOW a person sees love, then I could've actually given them exactly what they wanted. Instead, I saw love only as how I could GIVE it to them. In many cases, I brought love to the table the way I saw it, yet not the way that worked for them. And love given that way isn't a 2 way street, is it? We all know that love has to be a 2 way street in our lives, yet we don't want to play it unless it's what we want.

When I don't want to give love the way someone else wants it, I feel resentful and I make them wrong for it. Of course, this is totally part of the way of being that I show up as in that moment, and you can usually just tell that I don't want to be in that moment. I feel emotions and conflicts about why I feel them in that moment, yet it doesn't really register as to why because I wasn't taught that as a kid. All I know in that moment is that I am resigned to being in an unworkable situation for me, and I am at a loss of power in fighting it.

But the thing is, the way someone needs to be loved was always my story about how needy THEY were, and not the reason why I saw it that way. I found that I made many women in my relationships pay for the relationship previous to that in the same way I saw that they wanted to be loved. I had so much resentment because of it, that I wasn't able to give it. Then I found out that it was actually my past, not theirs, that stopped me from loving them the way they wanted to be loved. What a powerful lesson that was...

When you can love someone the way that they want to be loved, and in turn they can love you the way that you want to be loved, and you can create what that is, it really is a totally different space to stand inside of.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Man in the Arena Speech

When I was at Elvis Presley's Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, I was in awe.

Here I was, walking in the home of the King of Rock and Roll. I was conceivably standing where he once stood, where he entertained his guests and friends, and really looking into his life.

Whenever you can see some body's home, you can get a really good idea of what is important to them, and how they live their life. Amidst the Jungle Room, The Record Room, and all the other rooms inside Graceland, the one thing that caught my eye was in the Games Room.

It was unlike any other object in Graceland, and I stopped and noticed it because it looked out of place. I then began to read it, and wonder why Elvis had this, or if it was added after his death.

The thing I saw hanging on the wall in the Games Room was a speech from Theodore Roosevelt that I had never seen or heard of, and it goes like this:



"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

I recognized brilliance in this right away, and I took a picture of it so that I could remember it. (This was back in 1999, when you actually went and got film developed, and there wasn't a "Google" option to look something up)

I came back from Graceland and put that picture in a frame as a reminder to always be in action. I wanted to be that man in the arena that Roosevelt spoke of, and not be a spectator in the game of life. -And I had wild successes because of it. I had so many successes, that I had developed a very poor relationship with failure. And as I know now, it's not the successes that make you great, it's the failures that you've overcome that make you truly great.

When all you've known is success, failure can be paralyzing. -And it was to me. It took my ass down a very long and hard journey, where I got some really good one-on-one time with it.

And now, 13 years later when I read that same quote I find it amazing that although the words haven't changed in the 100+ years since it was written, the context has changed in how I see it again, this time with a different view.

I now see that quote as being that this man in the arena IS GOING TO FAIL over and over again. Yet, his relationship to failure is not the same as the "cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat" The man in the ring has developed a stronger relationship with failing than the others who are simply just watching him. In time, this relationship with failure will get stronger, and failing will mean less and less to him. Yet to the people in the stands watching him, their lives will still be dictated by fear, and how they will look if they fail.

Outstanding.

I would rather fail miserably (and I have...) and get off my ass, than sit and watch and know that at the end of my life that I sat idly by, and had no contribution of significance.

So what will be your contribution? And what are you prepared to do to train yourself so that you will be that person in the arena? Because you WILL fail. (Many times I might add.)

The only difference is what you are committed to achieving in a life that you can be proud of ,and to really love.

Then, you can achieve anything...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Searching For My New Male BFF 2014

It is Spring!!


Stanley Cup Playoffs, and my beloved Philadelphia Flyers are looking good!!

God, how I have waited all year for Spring to arrive. I could watch about 40 hours a week of hockey in every week until June. It could literally be a full-time job.

Therefore, I need help and this year, I am going to ask for it.

I am currently looking for a MALE sports fan to be my new BFF. You will need the following to apply:

1) NHL, College Football, NFL and MLB experience as a fan. I follow the Flyers, Ohio State Buckeyes, Dallas Cowboys/Washington Redskins (fucked, I know...) and New York Yankees, so if you follow any of my rivals, this might not work out well for you... This means you, you eff'ing Michigan Wolverines fans!!

Michigan Fans need not apply...

2) Preferably you will be a 40 Short men's jacket, between 5"7-5"8 so that we can interchange wardrobes and clothing. Anything more than a 34" waist need not apply. Also, I have a short inseam, so high waisted people just won't work.

3) Fitness is important, but I would rather be the better looking person if we are a "couple" so if you are fat, you must have a great, witty personality for me to forgo the wardrobe clause. Besides, I'm very shallow about shit like that, and I don't have a problem admitting it.

4) You must have passion!! If you are an engineer with no people skills, I will eat you up. If you are a gear head, please put your first passion of cars away and let's concentrate on Sports at least til June. Let's keep our eye on the big picture please. There will be road trips, so please clear your schedule of work, family, kids and other less important things in your life for good times ;)

5) I am a giver. I like to please. Example.

"I'm getting up to go get a beer, you look like you need a new one, can I get you a fresh beer?"

or:..

"I just put on a new rack of ribs because I know that they are your favourite; they should be ready in about 15 mins."

or...

"I know how much you love busty waitresses, so I gave your number to that chick you were asking about last night. She said that she thought you were cute, and she wanted to go out with you. -I took care of it."

All of these statements are made without eye contact, because we don't need to be gay about it. It's just what we do...

6) If you can't throw something valuable when your team loses, I don't want to know you.

7) Pillow talk about how your hockey pool is not going so well is understood, and is valued. We can talk about it all night if need be. I want you to feel validated before going to sleep.

8) There are no jealousy issues amongst us men. If I admire another man's physique and say shit like, "He must work out", it has NO bearing that you think I am throwing a line like you "look fat in those pants" in your direction. -I don't need to tell you to get your ass to the gym on Monday to work off what you ate on the couch on Sunday watching Football.

9) High 5's and team hugs after a huge win is NOT considered gay, and it is actually encouraged as being passionate about the sport. If I hug or high 5 other guys, it doesn't mean I love you any less. This is understood, but needs to be repeated after point #8.

10) After the season is over, we give each other the "good game" hug (big hug with a couple taps on the back that are overly exaggerated in front of others so that nobody mistakenly thinks that we are overly affectionate with each other in a non-heterosexual way) and then we go our separate ways until the following Spring season. If the season was a good one, you might be allowed to throw out a line such as "I love you man," and not get punched in the face for it. Please don't ruin a bad season, and make it worse by throwing this line out..."Oh well, there's always next year." Have a brain please...

If these criteria match your warped sense of being, and you want to apply to be my new BFF, please drop me a line.

And Please, for the love of GOD, if you have a vagina, you need not apply. I don't care HOW cool you think you are, this position is not for you.

For those serious applicants, please send references to speed the process up. Playoff hockey is about to start, and like everything else, I have left this to the last minute. Unless you are Toronto Maple Leafs fan, and you are already ready for golf season.... LMAO!!

Oh, and previous candidates from the Fall who applied need not apply again. to tell you the truth, I was really disappointed in the talent factor, because everyone knows that I'm a helluva guy. Get on this train, it's going DOWNTOWN!! WOO-WOO!!

Good luck!!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Great Small Moments in Life...

I have found that the small moments in life really accentuate the big ones.

Sure, the big moments in life really are great when they go your way. However, the small greater moments are like little treasures of low hanging fruit that really enable you to get to those big moments that pay off. Actually, I feel that it is actually the smaller moments that fuel you to succeed to the bigger moments.

Take for example this weekend. I was surrounded by my friends that I play hockey with in our Friday night hockey league for the past 13 years. The weather was amazing every day and our cottage sat on a lake where the reflection was so amazing that you didn't know if up was down, or down was up. -That was during the day. At sunset it was breathtaking, and during the night, the full moon came out and it was truly amazing. So amazing in fact that every picture I took didn't do it justice so I just simply gave up trying to capture it on camera, and tried to etch it into my eyes and remember it forever.



That is one small moment.

There are literally dozens of those moments that when I am in them, I really become present to how amazing life really is. Sure, life isn't perfect, or sometimes even great. But in moments such as these, they become very manageable. When life becomes manageable, it becomes worth living.

So the key for me is just to make life manageable, and really take in the beauty of the smaller moments in life that really separate you from being miserable and concentrating on all the wrong stuff.

Recognize the beauty in your life, in ANY form, and you will love the life you live.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Being a Toronto Maple Leaf for a Day

The date was Thursday, March 29th 2012.

My boyhood love, the Philadelphia Flyers were in my hometown of Toronto to play the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre at 7pm. I had tickets to go to the game, but I had a previous commitment to volunteer in downtown Toronto until 9pm, so I thought I would go to the ACC after that and catch the rest of the game.

At least that was my plan...

Then, it all changed. My phone rang at 6:30pm. The Maple Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson, went down in the warm-ups after taking a freak shot off the knee. The back-up goalie Jussi Rynass, now focused himself to prepare to start the game after the injury to Gustavsson. However, this left the Leafs without a back-up goalie for the game.

The Leafs farm team, the Toronto Marlies, were on the road so no back-up goalie could be found in their system under such short notice.

Two of the commentators for Leafs TV saw this happen, and I happen to play hockey with them in their weekly skate. Bob McGill and Mark Osborne looked at each other and knowing that The Flyers were my favourite team, and that I lived mere minutes away from The Air Canada Centre, they called me.

"Chuckie, The Monster (this is Gustavsson's nickname) went down with a knee injury and the Leafs need an emergency back-up. Get down to the ACC now if you want to play!" said Osborne

I hopped in a cab for the 3 block drive and arrived at the ACC in 5 minutes flat where I was met by Osborne and The Leafs trainers. They walked me to The Leafs dressing room and while I was signing a one-day Pro contract, which would enable me to be on the roster that night, they suited me up so that I could dress for the game.

In the dressing room, the atmosphere was quiet as the players were preparing for their game and as I dressed, I made eye contact with each one of them. I think they could all remember their first pro game as I prepared to put on that Leafs jersey. -It even said, "Bastie" #35 on the back. I can't tell you the butterflies and the surreal feeling that was coursing through my veins at that moment.

As the time ran down, I was the last to walk down that hallway and take my seat on the bench and have the greatest seat in the ACC that night. -Or so I thought....

Towards the end of the second period it was an absolute horror for the Leafs. They were being badly outplayed by The Flyers and the score was 3-1 for Philadelphia.

And then it happened...

The Flyers scored to make it 4-1 and Maple Leafs head coach, Randy Carlyle had seen enough. Not wanting to subject his only remaining goalie to possible injury, and save him from a seemingly unwinnable game, he walked down the bench and looked at me.

"Chuckie, get ready buddy. You're about to get your shot. You're going in" said Carlyle

My heart stopped beating for 3 minutes and I couldn't get it down out of my throat in order to reply. I just made a silly face and nodded like an idiot.

I skated onto the Air Canada Centre ice surface in front of 18,000+ fans, including a few friends of mine that were in the crowd that night to watch the game. They were going crazy telling everyone around them, "Oh my God! It's Chuckie!!!"

I looked up at the giant scoreboard to see what the time was on the clock that I made my NHL debut so that I could memorize those numbers. 12:03 on the clock and then I saw my face being put up on the scoreboard. It was my childhood dream becoming a reality, and I could barely contain myself.

Here I was, just having turned 40 years old only weeks before, and always wondering if I could've made the NHL before giving up on hockey when I was 16, and more than half my lifetime later when I'd given up on that dream, it happens in a string of wild occurrences. -It really is funny how this universe works...

The Flyers scored 3 goals on me and my team, The Toronto Maple Leafs lost 7-1 that night. I can't remember a time where I've ever celebrated a 7-1 loss like I did that night. When I came out of the dressing room, my phone was ringing off the hook. I was able to bring a couple of my buddies down to see me in the dressing room after the game and got some amazing pictures. I even got a great picture with me and the Flyers' Scott Hartnell after the game in the dressing room.



I got to keep my equipment, jersey and The Leafs gave me $2000 for a night's work. Yet in my mind, that game was worth a million dollars.

Now, I want to be clear that this story never actually happened. Yet, on a night with enough magic in the air to create the stuff that dreams are made of, this is exactly how it happened.

At least it was in my mind...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Can we have class outside today? Pleeeeeeeease?

Even though my high school years are more than half my lifetime ago, I can still look out the window on a beautiful spring day, and imagine that I am 18 again and see the following:

The winters of my youth were long, long seasons. -Almost never ending, in fact. By the time March rolled around, there was a new air of hope in school called March Break. Depending on how unseasonably warm it was getting, you would see kids outside on marginally cold days to bask in the incoming sun. If this had been July, everyone would complain about how cold it is outside, yet after spending 4 months with below freezing temperatures, the slightest hint of warm weather was enough to get our asses outside to meet the sun half-way.

My favourite was having classes in Portables. They genuinely really sucked because they were either too hot or too cold, and you felt like you were getting sent away to prison going out there, yet they did have one small feature of charm... The classes outside!

I can remember all the kids getting ready for the start of class, and then one leader of the group, (We'll call them "Piggy" from Lord of the Flies) would start to enroll other students in greater numbers to ask the teacher if we could all have class outside instead of the stuffy portable.

One or Two kids simply wasn't enough, and even when properly executed, the remainder of the class had to chime in with the obligatory whining, like "Yeah, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease?" and then repeat that 3 or 4 times so that the teacher really got the point. It was basically a team effort, and you really needed 100% from everyone to get the job done. Sometimes you'd miss, and the class wouldn't bring their "A" game, and you would suffer the consequences of not being outside to learn on a beautiful day.

The really "Cool" teachers were always game for class outside, and it really seemed to lift my spirit on those days. So much so, that even 25 years removed from the fact, I can still look out my window and ask out loud,
"Can we have class outside today?" and smile...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My Thoughts on Turning 40...

"Life Begins at 40" -John Lennon

Of course, John Lennon died 2 months after his 40th birthday...

Yet, I see life pretty much the same way he said it here in that quote. Never before have I had a birthday where I've actually looked forward to getting older since I was in my teens. It seems to me, that my 40's will be the legacy building years that every man hopes for in his life.

Not to say that my 30's weren't great... I had some really amazing moments in my 30's. The most amazing of these was the birth of my daughter and watching her grow up as a baby to a young little girl. There were many others that pale in comparison to this one, but nonetheless, there were some really amazing moments.

I find the one thing different in all of these moments is this...

I have now moved out of my way of getting in my own way of being great. Previously, if I had any success in my life, it was only a matter of time until I got in my own way and sabotaged it. Now, I see things a little differently, and with a new view.

The moments in front of me are armed with a new understanding of how I once perceived my life and how I felt about it. Now that I realize that just because you HAVE a past, doesn't make you your past, I can be free to create what I'm really passionate about.

What you can expect from me in my 40's is going to be full blown expression like I've never shown before in my life. It's going to be in a way that makes and creates something new on the foundation of what I feel that my life was made for. Without the inhibitions of what people think (as if I ever cared much about that anyway...lol) this new path of my 40's will yield an amazing trail of inspiration and creativity.

What am I up to, you ask? Well then... You'll just have to keep tuned in to find out, won't you?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hosting My Own Radio Show

When I was in my early 20's, I won a competition at a bar at an event hosted by AM 640's Jesse and Gene. They were really crazy DJ's in Toronto, and they invited me to their morning radio show studio as their "Dork of the Day"

I had one of the greatest days of my life, and all my friends got to hear me on that morning radio show. Somewhere in my basement, there is a cassette tape of that morning show in a box with other products that no longer exist from the 1990's...

That was literally half my lifetime ago, and I never thought I would be on the radio again. -Until today.

20 years later, I will host my own radio show tonight at 8pm EST on Radio That Doesn't Suck.-http://www.rtds.ca/

Chuck's World of Infinite Mojo goes on radio airwaves tonight with special guest star Olympic Gold Medalist, Mike Eruzione. Mike is best known for scoring the winning goal against the Soviet Union in what has become known as "The Miracle on Ice" game in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid


#21 Mike Eruzione scoring the winning goal


The Miracle on Ice has been called the Biggest Upset in the History of Sports by Sports Illustrated. This goal inspired a new generation of American hockey players that includes Jeremy Roenick, Mike Modano, Chris Chelios, Doug Weight and many others to prominent NHL careers.

This is a story of how David slew Goliath, and how a simple hockey game became the inspiration of an entire nation at a low point in National morale, and showed us all what the human spirit is capable of when you believe in possibilities.



Join me for Chuck's World of Infinite Mojo tonight on http://www.rtds.ca/ at 8pm EST with Mike Eruzione

Friday, February 24, 2012

Is Your Life "Hard"?

How do you see life occurring for you?

Does life always seem difficult? Are you always saying that "life is hard!"?

One thing that I have found is that life isn't hard. It is what it is, and I have found that I have added the "Hard" part. And then from there, it always seemed Hard. Makes sense, right?

Well, what if you took that thought out of the equation? What if you Jedi-mind tricked yourself to think that life was actually easy with an element of ease and flow to it? I think you would see that over time, this would be how life occurs for you, instead of it being hard.

The point is, that language dictates how we see things. If we alter our language, then our perception changes accordingly.

I've noticed that in my life, where ever there has been a difficulty, it's because I've had a cause in it. Sure, I can't control the circumstances in what happens to me, but I can ALWAYS control how I react to them. So in that regard, I always have a say in everything that happens to me.  If I want to remove the element of "Hard", then I can absolutely do so.

In doing so, I can alter how things are manageable for me at any given moment. What I have found is that in the really challenging areas, I view them as an opportunity to really exercises the muscle of discipline and see what I'm made of. So in every opportunity I can grow as a person, and be the person I'm committed to being.

Are there areas of my life that are "Hard"? The answer is no. I've realized that nothing is hard, and yet there are still challenging areas in my life that need work. But it's never hard.

It may be a small area of adjustment, yet making that word disappear from my mind has given me so much more energy and hope that life really is exactly what we think it is. So if you want a hard life, you are welcomed to it. For me, I will always choose that life is always going to be playing out perfectly for where I can't see ahead of me, and trust that it will always work out for the best. Giving up control of what I THINK my life should be, has been one of the greatest releases of stress in my life, and this just makes everything easier. And with the attitude that life is manageable, I operate at a much higher state of competence in it because I am at ease.

Because think of it, do you do better work stressed out, or when you are in a great mood?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Remembering "The Kid", Gary Carter


Growing up as a kid in Manitoba, I had many hero's I looked up to. There were many people I loved to watch, yet there were only 2 people that I wanted to be like. In the summer of 1980, those 2 people were Terry Fox, and Gary Carter. Terry Fox died in 1981, and it is a sad day for me to know that after a battle with brain cancer, my other idol growing up, Gary Carter is now gone too.

I've written many blogs about Terry Fox, and I've never written one about Gary Carter until today. And after his passing this week, I thought I would write what I remember about loving to watch Gary Carter.

As a kid, you look up to your idols for various reasons. I looked up to Gary Carter for nothing that was spectacularly unique, but maybe that was the reason why I looked up to him. He was the reason why I wanted to be a catcher in baseball. When I started to play catcher, I watched his crouch and how he held his catcher's mitt almost perfect upright, unlike every other catcher I had seen play. I emulated his batting stance, and copied just about everything I could about him.

Carter always seemed to have that smile on his face which made his charisma infectious to everyone who followed him. He was born in California, yet to me, he was from Montreal. I was shocked to find out that he wasn't a Canadian, which devastated me when I heard it. Gary Carter was about the perfect role model and athlete I could've found. I was always #8 for The Montreal Expos. When he was traded from The Expos in the mid 8's I stopped following The Montreal Expos altogether out of a sort of protest.



My most favourite Gary Carter moment had to be in the All Star Game in the summer of 1981. My aunt and uncle had come to Manitoba to visit our family from Toronto, and they brought their first born daughter, my cousin Julie with them. They went out to the movies that night, and our babysitter was watching us and the summer classic together. My cousin Julie was not quite a year old at the time, and she cried all night long as I tried to not be distracted from watching Gary Carter hit 2 home runs in the game and be named the All-Star game MVP.

When Carter retired and then got inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, I was overjoyed that he ended up wearing an Expos hat, even though he won his World Series Championship with the New York Mets.

Gary Carter, if I had to say one thing to you, it would be this: Thank you for being a kid at heart and being my inspiration. You made it fun to be a kid, and I wanted to be like you because of it. I know that many people thought this way about you, yet I really wanted to thank you for inspiring this boy in particular. You were really amazing to watch in every thing that you did.



Rest in Peace my friend...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Whitney Houston's Passing

I've waited a few days to say anything about Whitney Houston's death. Death is always such a harsh reality to deal with, and in the moment, people say things that they sometimes don't mean. I wanted to avoid that here.

Obviously, I didn't know Whitney Houston. To say that I knew of her is to mean that I had heard her songs, saw a movie or two with her in it, and saw her life dragged in the newspapers and media, about her drug use and her tormented relationship with Bobby Brown.

And just like we do when someone famous dies like this, we wonder how it could happen to someone so famous, so rich, and with every advantage to think of in life.

Money doesn't buy you happiness, yet it can buy you choices. However, if those choices are poor ones, then money can't really help you. There is a saying that I think all wealthy people should take a course in before amassing their wealth and that is...

"To much given, much is expected"

Celebrities who think that they are "just" an athlete, or "just" a singer or actor, or that what they do for a living isn't being in the public eye, think again. If much is given to you, then much will always be expected in return. -Regardless of what you THINK should happen.

In this case, Whitney Houston made poor choices. She surrounded herself with people that she chose. And choose them, she did. For whatever reasons, she made these choices, and this is the cost of those. Artists like Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse who have recently passed away due to horrific choices in their lives, and now we add yet another example of that in Whitney Houston.

I would hope that people can understand that money does not mean that everything is better. In fact, in many ways when it is abused, money makes things worse. All the money and fame in the world can still be useless when it comes to being human in it's simplest forms.

And I would think that Whitney Houston was no different in that area.

Just because we are talented in one area that brings us fame, fortune and power doesn't mean that we maintain balance for being a human being. When that balance is gone, our lives become unworkable and often we feel that it is unmanageable. Tiger Woods is a great example of this, and there are countless more like him.

Perception is the common denominator that leads us to what we think is truly real in our own world. Yet, if we were to alter that perception with another one, you would see a completely new reality. 5 people who see the exact same car accident have 5 different views of what they saw, creating 5 different realities, right?

Wrong.

There is no "reality" as we think there is. There is only what is so, and then there is the story that we attach to it.

I think Whitney's reality became completely unmanagable to her, which caused her to make really poor decisions, and ultimately, it took her life at a really young age. We all look at this as being a tragedy when someone talented and famous dies, yet all that is certain is that is it what it is. It's up to us to see this in our own lives, or simply look away and think it was a tragedy that shouldn't have happened...

At any rate, whatever you choose, that will become your reality.