Monday, December 30, 2013

Canadian Arrogance in Hockey, Again...

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

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

Team Canada will not win this tournament

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

Why is it that I say something this unpatriotic?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 23, 2013

Duck Dynasty, Homosexuals and Free Speech

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because that's what free speech really is.

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

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

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

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Outgrowing Relationships

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

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

"Why is that?" I asked

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Death of Mandela

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's a valid question, indeed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Everybody Wants to be Heard, Understood, Accepted and Respected

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yet, I am not.

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

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

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

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