Thursday, September 9, 2010
September 9th, 2010
I recently attended a self-improvement conference and one of the themes that we discussed was “making your worst day, your best day”. After spending more time with this idea, I have decided that you don’t really make it your best day, but instead you change your perception of things to better understand all of the positives that can come from a “bad day” or a pivotal moment in life.
As many of you are aware, I became very ill last September and had many of my physical strengths borrowed from me for some time. It has been almost one year to the day since that occurred and I am able to look back at that moment and really measure all of the positives that have resulted from a seemingly awful experience.
Here is a short list of the positives that resulted from my illness; I learned that…
• The true nature and scope of my positive attitude is so powerful and that it really can overcome incredible obstacles
• Family is the most important and often most taken for granted aspect of a young adults life. Also that your parents love you as much or more then you ever imagined and even at age thirty three, they will give anything to keep you safe
• My wife is incredible
• Momentary pause to check what course you are following is extremely important
• The universe is whispering to us every day and if we ignore it long enough it will turn up the volume and intensity until she is heard
• Strange things that happen in life, coincidences that are not coincidences at all and that there are reasons beyond our understanding for events that shape our world
• Being forced to be a “stay at home dad” for a year is a pretty awesome thing and that we can learn as much from our children, even in infancy, as we’ll ever teach them
• I have a purpose on this Earth and that it is my job to find it, follow it and achieve it.
• People are thinking of you even when you least expect it and that old friends are still good friends they just appear less frequently in person in our daily lives
• Your hometown is always your hometown
• Strangers care about other strangers and the power of empathy is baked into our nature as humans and that we need to return to that very nature if we are going to survive as a species
• Who you are is not a one dimensional thing. Our being has so much depth and is different to so many people but is still attached to the larger person that we know as ourselves
• Finally that the voice inside of us, our spirit, is the truth, it knows the truth and is our compass leading towards health and happiness. The voice that we often hear opposing it is just our ego and is a creation of our physical mind which is weaker than spirit. Learning to separate the two and to follow the truth is not easy but is necessary to really living our life.
I apologize for the bullet format but as you can see there have been a lot huge lessons that I take as positive and that have led me in a better direction in life. My family and I have returned to Canada and our so happy to back nearer to our families. I am rapidly approaching 100% health and am very thankful for all of my lessons.
Thank you to all of the people who pray for us and who gave any amount of money or kindness in an effort to help stay on track. We are filled with the love that you shared with us and we have every intention of paying it back into the system each and every day of our lives.
PS I am still going to space!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
I was driving in downtown Waterloo, Ontario today and I stopped randomly to go to a comic book shop to add a gem to Wyatt’s collection. When I got out of the car I was approached by a great big dude dressed all in black who needed a shave amongst other things. He had a kind of broken smile, removed his hands from his pockets and held them out in a very non confrontational way and said “can I ask you something? Um… can I just be really honest with you?” I said of course. He went on to explain that he had just been released from prison yesterday, he possessed only what was on his person and was more than a little lost and in need of a number of things. He never actually asked me for any one specific thing, but I gave him some money that I had in pocket and then we walked for about 45 minutes and talked. I think that is what he needed the most. I told him I had been through a bit of a crazy year as well and that I had learned a few lessons in that time. He asked what those lessons were? First, forgive yourself but don’t forget what you have been through. Second, surround yourself with good people and good situations and follow your instincts when you feel otherwise. We continued to walk and talked a while and the third thing we arrived at together.
We spoke a little about what he needed and where he was headed. He mentioned a woman that he loves but who he is not in good favor with currently. He mentioned a couple of kids that were his and how badly he wanted to be in their life and he mentioned a few health issues that he had that would likely continue to cause him trouble in the near future. He had obviously had some rough times in his life, he inferred that his childhood was less than awesome, and that he had some things he felt regretful for and mentioned that multiple things from his past nagged at him consistently. I suggested that he focus more on what he can be doing today to take him in a good direction and then that he try to gently push those hard and ever present emotions aside, be honest that they are there but to quickly return to what he can be doing to move forward in a positive direction. He was a big and potentially intimidating dude, so I suggested that he get some clean “happier” looking clothes, get back to the halfway house and have a shower and get cleaned up and then to go out in the world feeling better about being clean and alive. That’s when we came up with Our third thing. He needed to find public health, and some source of moral support and a job; we agreed that he should... show up on time, smile and be clean and then vow to himself to do as many good things as he can to earn his and others faith and respect in himself. Seemed like good advice for anyone.
If he ever reads this, my message to him would be…
Big unshaven fella, in the black hoody with the spikes on it; with a good heart and a boat load of baggage: you have a somewhat clean start and a lot of opportunity to change your life for the better. Chip away at life, one good decision at time and then one day at a time and so on. Earn back respect in yourself, focus on that big heart of yours and listen when it speaks to you, the respect of others will come in time and will be earned with consistency and love for yourself. Thank you for stopping me on the side of the road and reminding me of a few good lessons about life, and most importantly, how fortunate I am. Take advantage of your chances, life is long and forgiving if you let it be.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Say "Thank You" from your heart...
Say Thank You
I am sitting in the car with my parents, we’re driving to Rochester New York, from Port Elgin Ontario. I was invited to attend a professional lacrosse game, one that just two years ago, would likely have found me competing in it. The owner of the home team, a man I have never formerly met or played for, has pledged to give my family $1000.00 for each goal his team scores tonight.
The team is filled with players whom I have battled alongside and against for years, more years than I can remember. Pat O’toole, a soon to be hall of fame goaltender and perennial representative for the Professional Lacrosse Players Association, mentioned to mister Curt Styres, that my family was doing some fundraising to help offset our medical bills and lost income. His response was something along the lines of “well we can give him a jersey to raffle off, but we can do a lot more than that as well”. If times were different it may very well be that I’d be battling against Curt’s players tonight. If I was having a typical night, I’d like to think he’d be cursing me and calling me any number of well deserved names. Instead he is instructing his staff to get us VIP passes and he welcomed us into his suite with his family and he treated us with incredible dignity and respect. We met his mother Vera, a lovely and kind woman who had a very interesting pearl of wisdom to help me with my healing. Here were children running around and a beautiful little baby just the same age as my 3 month old daughter. The arms of the lacrosse family opened up and invited us in and made us safe and comfortable.
My time recovering has taught me many things. One of them is that one person’s illness can bring out the absolute best in others. I write these thoughts down as way to burn them in to my mind, and a way to provide myself reminders. One day soon I will be much healthier than I have been recently, and nature will have its way and be inching me closer to taking things for granted yet again, these memories should serve as a cold ice cube on the sunburned back of life. They should make me sit up straight and remember that things can change in an instant, and when they do, everything will be fine and some incredible people will be there if you are open to finding them. And I had better pay back into the system because it sure is taking good care of us.
After the game….
Now, sitting here in the hotel room just after the game in Rochester, I am a little overwhelmed and am trying to process the lessons in life that I just learned. “just say it from the heart”… that will be the take away from today. Sometimes “Thank You” doesn’t seem like enough because we say it everyday. We say it to someone who holds a door open for us, we say it to our kids when they do something nice, to our spouses, to taxi drivers, we say it to total strangers. What do you say to someone who you have never met, but has heard about your story and hands your family $23,000 to lighten the burden that you are experiencing.
“You say Thank You and you say it from the heart and they will know.” Wendy Styres February 27th, 2010.
Never ever forget that lesson.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Most of your energy today will be focused on matters of reputation and image, Pisces. There is a lot of support from many quarters for you right now, and others are willing to give assistance. Even those who either openly oppose you or do so in a clandestine manner inadvertently act to your advantage by giving you the opportunity to show of a skill or ability to someone who matters. Follow your intuition and be flexible, and try to stay away from those who are more focused on happy hour than personal power.
Post my horoscope to my profile!
Monday, February 1, 2010
Finding my LEGO spirit again
Jennifer and I were at the mall yesterday and we wandered into the LEGO Store. I wanted to see what the new school of space lego looked like. In many ways it had changed, there were logos and cross branding and new types and styles, but its heart and soul was still the same.
The store was awesome, it was bright and filled with colors, there was tons of LEGO for kids to play with. They had high tech video stations were you could scan a box and it would play a video and show what could be done with the blocks inside. I was really very inspired and my heart was filled with memories from my childhood. It seems that I am returning to the inner nerd that was creative, and playfull, loved copmputers and learning. (when I use the term "nerd" know that I mean nothing negative, I was in an advanced learning program as a child and I affectionitly referred to us as NERDS)
The greatest part of the Lego store was when I turned around and my son was elbow deep in two tubs of lego blocks and was so engrossed I struggled to get his attention. It reminded me so much of myself and how LEGO made me feel as a kid. I spoke with the store manager, a guy named Matt, and he was super nice, spent some time with me, helped me look for some classic lego kits, and then gave me a card with the information for the LEGO charity where they support projects just like mine.
Here is the Lego Vision (taken directly from their website www.lego.com)
The purpose and vision of the LEGO Group is to inspire children to explore and challenge their own creative potential.
• We strive to accomplish this by offering a range of high quality and fun products centered around our building systems.
• In the hands of children, the products inspire the unique form of LEGO play that is fun, creative, engaging, challenging - all at the same time.
• This activity supports the child, giving it the special pride of accomplishment. In the process it "automatically" or playfully develops a set of future, highly-relevant capabilities: Creative and structured problem-solving, curiosity and imagination, interpersonal skills and physical motor skills - building with LEGO bricks is thus about "learning through play".
I found certain elements of this to be perfect metaphors for what I am trying to accomplish. LEGO lets you dream and create and actually build those little creations. It gives you directions that you can follow and earn a sense of accomplishment, but you can also take the pieces and build something totally abstract as well. There are so many great lessons for kids of all ages.
I am going to approach LEGO with a request for corporate partnership for the Dream Cadets, the non profit aspect of my project. It will surely prove to be interesting working with these big corporations and seeing what they have to offer, what interest I can generate and how big we can make this project.
Like the little penny stop motion movie that I made, LEGO offers a great lesson for me to return to as well;
Question: How do you complete your LEGO projects, both big and small?
Answer: One block at a time and follow your plan.
Until next time,
The Panhandling Spaceman