Gotta Get A Grip

I know myself well enough to know that I fall into patterns. I know it's coming, I even tell myself that I'm being ridiculous. The feeling is fast approaching. I have a hard time not letting it bother me.

It's my undeniable urge to want to feel in control of things. When work piles up and projects come at me left, right and center I need to know that I have control over the speed, pace and timing. I'm happy to follow constructive suggestions and can meet deadlines in a single bound, but lately others are suggesting the pace. I wouldn't mind if I trusted their abilities, but they haven't proven otherwise.

I'm working in an environment with "quick draw McGraw's" - reactionary people. There's no rhyme or reason to their irrational madness. If I take a moment, it's actually quite comical.

It's frustrating for me to get so worked up over the small stuff. I'm usually a happy-go-lucky person. I need to get back into my regular yoga practice.

Kidding aside, my struggle lies with my own feelings of trying to rationalize my own day to day "safe" life with its meager problems and petty situations, to those living in underdeveloped Countries just trying to survive day to day.

I need to put things into perspective. This is my reality. I know how fortunate I am.

This has just been one of those days.

I've got to get a grip.

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Write a Prescription

If I were your Doctor and were to write you a prescription it would be based on a question that I would first ask you. "What is it that you really enjoy doing?" You reply by saying " I love to paint on canvas." I would then prescribe (on my official prescription pad) "Do more painting, and see me in 6 months." 

In most cases, it's as simple as that. Take a look at those who enjoy their life, and it'll primarily be because they enjoy what they're doing.

We are so quick to prescribe drugs for what ails us. Masking what could simply be the need to delve into our emotional being to capture the passion that is within each and every one of us. The more we mask, the deeper we need to dig inside to figure out where our passion lies. I believe it's worth finding.

Instead of looking outside of ourselves, let's take the time to figure out what makes us sing. I've spoken of this before and yet I feel it's worth repeating.

It's so easy to pop a pill, or comfort ourselves with other distractions. This temporary resolve can leave us feeling superficial. Rather, take note of where you are in any particular time and place when you're feeling good about what you're doing. If noted, these moments are like pieces to a puzzle, hopefully bringing you closer to knowing what it is that drives you.

If you haven't already, take the time to figure it out.

Peace out.

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The Irony of It All

I'm clicking between 2 channels: the Red Bull Crashed Ice race, and the 1972 film "Slaughter House - Five."

The Red Bull Crashed Ice race is a combination of hockey, downhill skiing and boardercross. There are 16 heats of four in the men's division and 4 heats of four in the women's division, the first two athletes in each heat advance to the next round until the final four are established. From this group, the first one down will be crowned champion.

"Slaughter House - Five" is a film that follows the life of Billy Pilgrim, who becomes unstuck in time and experiences the events of his life in a seemingly random order. He survives the 1945 firebombing of Dresden, then lives simultaneously in his past as a young American POW, in the future as a well-cared for resident of a zoo on the planet Tralfamadore, and in the present as a middle-aged optometrist in Ilium.

They are different genres, and yet their is an irony about it. The 100,000 plus spectators standing in -33 c temperature in Quebec to watch skaters getting off on the adrenaline rush of zooming down a steep course. Flip to the nonsensical life of a guy who lives simultaneously in his past, present and future.

Whether it be real life or in the movies, we're all searching for something. Huddling together to find the reality. Wanting to feel something, anything to tell us we're vital, and purposeful human beings.

I believe I'm getting closer to understanding what it is that we're looking for. The downside to all of this is that I find it increasingly more difficult to put up with irrational behavior. What is irrational to me may not be to you, it's all so subjective.

Hmm, go figure, all these thoughts that started from my trigger happy thumb flipping between 2 channels. I'm sure glad I didn't do anymore channel surfing!

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On a Simple Note ...

There is nothing sweeter then booking a vacation.

The process of planning my vacation is as much a thrill as the trip itself! First the decision of where to go. For me it always involves being active - skiing, or surfing, tennis, running, cycling, etc. This trip will be to a tropical destination.

Since I've been to this destination before, I'll check availability at my favorite spot. I then start searching for the best flight deals. Not just any deal, as I won't compromise my time to save a few shillings. Especially if it's a long flight. At this point I'm ready to book a car. Presto! The trip is set.

Now it's time to surf the net to check out what's going on while I'm there. Any surfing competitions, skateboarding to check out, art exhibits, film festivals, tennis events, that kind of thing.

I then book a couple of massages with my favorite therapist on the Island. I usually book it at the end of the day after I've beaten myself up from running, surfing, tennis, and yoga.

This vacation is booked for early Spring, so I have 3 1/2 months to really look forward to it. I hit the gym harder, and I have a more energetic spring in my step as I anticipate my vacation.

By no means am I wishing the days away as I await my trip. What it does do, is make me feel more peaceful and easier going when I know I have planned an adventure. It's the excitement of knowing I'm going somewhere to play.

We all need something to look forward to. For me, it's traveling. What is it for you?

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Baby, it's Cold Outside ...

It's dark and cold outside. My immediate impulse was to post a smile pic. Interesting how we choose to handle feelings, circumstances, and situations. I could have posted a dark, gloomy photo. That's what I'm thinking when I look outside. I'm choosing to make this as good a day as I can. Once I do some yoga, go for a run, it'll be good. 

I'm a true believer in relying on ones self for ones own happiness. I've noticed that some people are waiting for someone or something else to come along to make them happy. If we set unrealistic expectations, then we're setting ourselves up for disappointment. I believe when we expect something of others, it deflects from the real root cause; our own dissatisfactions. It's a lot easier to expect something from someone else, then it is of ourselves.

It could be helpful for each of us to look within ourselves and tap into, or find what it is that makes us feel good. Take yourself out for a date. Do whatever it is that makes you happy. Take note of how you're thinking, feeling, and what you're doing that brings on certain feelings or reactions.

Whatever the reaction, have it. You'll never get to know yourself better if you don't explore.

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"I Don't Need an Analyst, I Need Lost & Found."

In the 1975 film "Prisoner of Second Avenue," starring Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft, Lemmon's character shouts, "I don't need an analyst, I need lost & found." I thought how profound.

This was in the midst of Lemmon's character having a nervous breakdown. In the 70's we weren't as advanced in the understanding of neuroses as we are today. I believe we're all suffering from some form of a nervous breakdown.

I'm merely observing human behavior from both verbal and non-verbal cues. It must be exhausting for some people to feel "on" all the time. In the field of work I'm in, I've witnessed this behavior. No wonder comedians are such a depressed lot. I'm generalizing.

Everyone needs a safe haven to be themselves. I think we're becoming blurry human beings. It's increasingly more difficult to "turn it off." Of course it's unfair of me to pigeon hole people.

This got me thinking. I just came back from the gym.  In the change room two women were having a conversation about men. How to "find" the "right" man. The one woman; slim, barbie doll-like, breast implants (obvious), blonde hair, and fake plump lips, maybe in her 40's, late 30's. Who the hell knows anymore. Let's call her Barbie. Barbie is clearly between men. She's giving advice to a 28 yr. old woman. I know because Barbie asked her, her age. She's speaking as if men were objects. I was surprised and disappointed that people still think and talk in this manner. Barbie told her, "Get a financial analyst who has lots of money, is stable and .... blah, blah, blah." The 28 yr. old replied, "Oh, and he has to be athletic. I like active men." So, as they are bantering back and forth Barbie says, "Make sure you don't go for eye candy because they can be trouble. However, if you're just looking to have fun, then fine, as you can just toss them and move on." This may sound sexist, but for  second I thought I was in the men's change room.

I could see the 28 yr. old woman becoming more and more uncomfortable as Barbie continued ranting about men. Clearly Barbie has not had wonderful relationships. Intimidated, the 28 yr. old felt she couldn't convey her real feelings. Chances are the 28 yr. old is going to see this woman again at the gym, and doesn't want it to be awkward. She wants to be liked. Barbie did say she would be on the look-out for a man for her. The 28 yr. old thought it couldn't hurt. I just don't get the conversations people have these days. I'd like to be in a world farther apart from the animal kingdom; be in a more sophisticated world.  I don't think it's going to happen within my lifetime.

I'm going to the art gallery now, and look at some beautiful art.

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So Much Stuff and Not enough Substance

An observation if you will - What makes so many of us strive for the conventional?

I've been meaning to see the film "Revolutionary Road" where it depicts "a thriving couple living with their two children in a Connecticut suburb in the mid-1950's. Their self-assured exterior masks a creeping frustration at their inability to feel fulfilled in their relationships or career. " And yet, on the onset they never wanted to live the life with the house and the white picket fence, two kids, and I'm sure there's a dog in it somewhere.

Every time I hear that scenario I think "Stepford wives" and a life from hell. I'm actually incredibly disappointed at how simple we still are. So many of us buy into the house, the stuff to fill the house, the kids, the conventional job, and all the rest of the stuff that goes with it. No thanks.

I mean this with all modesty when I say, I've been ahead of the bell curve with stuff like this my entire life - thus far. I won't get sucked into the propaganda that rules our lives. And if you don't think it's propaganda, then think again, because it is. You see it every day on TV, advertising, marketing .... from where you vacation to what you watch on TV or your computer, to everything you do, every single day. We tend not to think about. Me on the other hand, I think about it a lot.

Having travelled around the world at such an early stage of my life gave me the perspective to see beyond the ridiculousness of, I'd say 50% of our worrying here in North America.

Most of us are at arms length with our life that I feel we're walking around aimlessly waiting for our next set of instructions. Life is difficult, even for those who think they have it all. It takes each and every one of us to decide for ourselves how we're going to carve out our lives. This is no easy feat.

I think certainly with the devastation of the economy and the greater awareness of global and climate change that we're becoming more sensitive and keenly aware that our lives need to change. We need to make more of an effort. By this I think we'll consider things with a little more rigor, and perhaps not be so "stuff oriented" and more "care focused."

At the end of the day you leave all that stuff behind anyways .... what you CAN leave is the lasting memory of you and what you contributed in helping to make this world a better place. It sounds schmaltzy, but I believe it to be true.

All I'm suggesting is that you just think, and think a little more as you're taking another step into life.

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Energy When it Flows

This week has been quite interesting.

Have you ever had a week where you exude energy that you hadn't felt in a while? It's quite refreshing, and truly welcomed - especially in the depth of winter.

Well that was this week. My creative energies flowed in a way where I felt I could do anything. Not even negative energy could repel my plate of magic armor.

What a wonderful feeling. I hope it comes back to motivate me for another day! I'm convinced it will. Just as I'm convinced that I'm starting to recognize, and I must admit I'm surprised it's taken me this long to figure it out, that I morph into a different person when I start to speak about something I'm passionate about. I didn't realize it was passion. I just knew I ignited a spark within. I kind of dismissed it as I'm generally an enthusiastic person and therefore this was me just being me - but NO, it's wasn't - it was more powerful then that!

So I encourage you to do your own assessment of yourself. Take notice of what jives you. It may not be as overt as I demonstrated to myself by literally jumping up and down when I'm excited (it's rather embarrassing), and yet it doesn't mean that it's not there in you! Perhaps you linger in a conversation that you find interesting - take notice - ask yourself: What are you talking about? What is the subject that is peaking your interest?

It's remarkable just how disconnected we are from oneself where we lose sight of the little nuances that place us apart from our day to day, rather then bringing us to, "Wow, I love that" kind of emotion that drives passion.

Think about it. I did, and I had a fabulously creative and happy week.

Here's hoping your coming week is just as fabulous!

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n u m b

Lately I've been very aware in my observation of people that although we seem to be out there in the world, we seem to be very isolated. Isolated and distracted. I'm not sure why that is. We want human contact with people and yet we're so distracted by inanimate objects. To the point of being ridiculous.

Now hey, I'm the first to lock into new technology, I think it's very cool, and has served to advance us in a way that supports humankind in medicine, communication, even environmentally. And yet, in our day to day interactions it's proven to be a huge distraction.

I'll give you an example, and I'm sure you have many examples of your own to share. I'm at the gym, a place that fulfills a couple of my needs: it's social, as I've come to know a number of great people; and it's my exercise/meditative haven, a place where I can zone out and focus in on having a great workout. And yet, I can't tell you how many distractions there are with people to the left and right of me invading my space by bringing their gadgets into the gym. People doing a set of weights and then between reps picking up their cell phone to call someone; or their phone rings and they immediately feel they need to answer it - so they drop what they're doing to pick up (literally drop their weights).

Oh, and then there's the person who is on a piece of cardio equipment beside me with their Blackberry, iPod, and magazine - engaged in all 3 at once.

The funniest thing is when people are using one piece of equipment and then they place all their "equipment" - Blackberry, iPod, sometimes another cell phone on another machine, as if they were a person! holding up that piece of equipment so other's can't use it - way too funny (in a pathetically sad sort of way). No wonder people are getting heavier - they clearly are not exercising. I see the same people at the gym for the couple of hours that I'm there, and MAYBE they've done a total of 15 minutes of exercise because they are so distracted. Hey, no skin off my nose, I'm just an observer, albeit a critical one. Although, I'm usually a glass half full kinda person.

Anyways ... I'm on a roll here ... I've even had someone approach me to start a friendly conversation while they were anxiously thumbing away at their Blackberry. My response? I walk away. Man, that's just rude, and yet honestly, I don't think that person is even aware that what they were doing was remotely inappropriate or ill mannered. At least one of knows it is!

My point is, technology has it's place, the operative words here being "has it's place." No one is that important where they need to be in communication all the time. It must be some kind of insecurity thing? Have we gotten to the point where we just can't "be?" (I've mentioned this before in previous blogging). Why do we need so many distractions? We text, we talk on our cells while we're walking with others. We're even dining with people and checking our devices .... do we not realize how inconsiderate we're being? 

An exercise: Try leaving your device(s) at home for one day and really be in the world. Look around, really talk to people, focus on what you're doing at that very moment, whether it be working out, reading, eating, it doesn't matter. Forget the multi-tasking. Try it, just once and let me know how it was, and how it felt. Otherwise, we're moving to a society of the walking numb.

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Defined as "In a state of complete confusion and disorder." Yep, that's it. Holiday's are over and the world is spinning at the speed of light.

Every time I come back from vacation (to vacate one's life) I swear that I will not fall into the same pattern of living a hectic, crazy life; and what do I do just 2 days into "back to work?" I fall into a hectic, crazy life. At this point I'm laughing like a crazed mad scientist. Hey, what can I do? Laughter is thee best medicine.

You know, I don't take myself too seriously - actually I don't take myself seriously at all. I find most things humorous. And yet, I think humor, and those who have humor, to be one of those dark, dramatic, see the world as a contradiction, mad, frustrated emotions that has transformed itself into a happy, good thing. In our deepest despair one finds themselves possibly saying "Hey, all I can do is laugh," or "If I didn't laugh, I'd cry."  
Think about it. Does this sound reasonable to you?

We all, for the most part choose to live our life a certain way within the boundaries we've set for ourselves (I've mentioned this before) - speaking from a North American POV, as I wouldn't even begin to express the hardship inflicted on those living in areas of the world where one has little or no control over their life. From the get go we have no idea just how fortunate we are, even as we go through this economic turmoil. And yet, for those who have a choice, we demonstrate that we are not willing to make the changes necessary in order to live the life that we want. One reasoning behind the lack of motivation, for the most part I believe is fear, the fear of the unknown, the "what if," the "yay but." 

Whether you agree with me or not is a moot point, as my intent is to provoke thinking.

We are all more alike then we think. Or would like to think. Think about that.

New Rule (as Bill Maher says): Stop, think, make a change .... oh, and have more sex.

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Burn After Reading

"Making a Life, Not a Living." I love those words; trying to live by them however, is easier said then done.

It amazes me that some people know exactly what it is they want to be doing. Some people fall into it; others are influenced by their parents; the fortunate ones are gently mentored by those who see a spark in them; some are born into the "family business" and learn to thrive in that environment.

I'm truly envious of those who knew exactly what they wanted at the onset, no matter how it would turn out. For example; reporter Rick Mercer was interviewing musician/artist Randy Bachman and he asked him (roughly, it's not verbatim), "You're a famous musician. What would you have done if you weren't so successful?" Bachman replied, "I'd be a poor musician." And I thought, wow, he knew, he just knew what it was he had a passion for. Usually people like that are successful due to the fact that they remain so focused and determined to get what it is that they want. I'm generalizing, of course.

To be or not to be satisfied with what one does in ones life, that is the question. I ponder this, this very day as I'm feeling rather melancholy as I return to work tomorrow, having had a break over the holidays. Alas it's back to the grindstone.

I am a true believer in taking responsibility for ones own life, and by no means am I griping about what it is that I do - however, putting that aside for a moment, I cannot deny the sad feelings that have come over me at this very moment, where I feel like I did when I was a kid heading back to school after summer vacation. Do you know that feeling? Where your very soul weeps for greener pastures, and where you desperately want to be free to just be. This to shall pass, however, for now it's a bummer to be feeling this way.

When these feelings come over me, I find I need to rely on myself even more, and try to get to the bottom of what's going on in my heart and in my head. I use to wait for the feeling to pass, and then one day I realized; hey wait a minute, this is a signal. I need to tap into myself and figure out what it is that's going on.

My thought is that a lot of us are walking zombies. We just "are," and we just "do." What's that all about? We even expect others to just "do." We tend not to except people as they are, to just be. We always seem to be conforming, and when we do, we just do it. I see this a lot in the conventional corporate world. The work mentality seems to be - rules for rules for rules sake, which is ridiculous. I asked once why a certain rule was in place, the response I received: "Well if this rule wasn't in place then people would be taking advantage of the system." Hmmmm, so, right off the bat this says to me, that people don't trust people. 

I'm on a tangent, don't get me started .... I'm in a funked out mood because I'm still trying to figure out how to get to "Making a Life, Not a Living."

Burn after reading ...

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This Just In ....

Alrightly now, revision to my New Year's resolution as this just in ... "Drink A Day May Keep Alzheimer's At Bay." Sarah Boesveld of the Globe and Mail reports, and I quote "If your New Year's resolution is to stop tippling, you may want to reconsider." She goes on to write, "People who have one to two alcoholic drinks a day are often at a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and dementia than their teetotalling peers, researchers concluded after analyzing 44 studies about moderate alcohol intake and its effect on the heart and the brain."

Note to self, willpower does not need to be tested with respect to trying to stop drinking wine for a month - YIPPEE! I knew this goal wasn't going to be easy since I equate wine with the social elements of my life - particularly since, day one of the "stop drinking wine for one month goal" started with me seeing the film "Vicky Christina Barcelona." And in perfect Woody Allen form it was set in beautiful Spain where the characters were constantly drinking wine. All I could do was to laugh at the irony.

So, on to my other New Year goals ... any other articles anyone cares to share with me that contradicts my goal in favor of not doing it? .... Bring it on!

A toast!

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Just Breathe ...

New Year's resolution:

1. No wine for the month of January
2. No processed flour i.e. breads, pasta, and the like
3. No treats i.e. chocolate, snacks, etc.
4. Increase the intensity of my daily workouts.

Why? To see how much willpower I actually have. To look better.

As I'm typing this, I realize how cruel I'm being to myself. I have this very superficial image of wanting to look like a Penelope Cruz or Jennifer Anniston type. Pathetic isn't it, particularly after I was writing in an earlier blog below ("the whole damn thing") about the ridiculousness of excess i.e. botox. Let's face it ... we're all vain. I'm no exception. It just bugs the hell out of me to have to say it.

Quietly and without announcement I live a healthy lifestyle. I always have. I'm in good shape, exercise every day, eat healthy foods - except from time to time where I crave bread, chocolate, and other treats not part of the essential 4 food groups, and yet I'm not satisfied with myself. This year I want to look different - better. I'm thinking 5lbs lighter, upper body more defined, that kinda thing. Boy do I ever sound superficial - I said this already didn't I?

I feel guilty confessing to the fact that I'm just as vain as the next person. I thought I was above this thinking? Ah, I'm not.

So, I'm going to resolve myself to the fact that I want to challenge myself this year to looking the best that I can using the blood, sweat and tears of my own will. I'm not going to be hard on myself for thinking how vain I'm being, and am going to spin this in a way that has me saying "Ones health is the most important thing. Without it, ones quality of life can be diminished." And then I'm going to just BREATHE ..... and not take the whole damn thing so seriously.

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2009 Brings Hope & Excitement

YES, WE CAN .... These 3 magical words evoked such hope, inspiration, excitement, and a chance for change. When Barack Obama was elected the next President of the United States the entire world took notice. It was as if their was new hope for unity in a world that had been divided for 8 long years. More to the point, their seems to be a renewed hope of possibilities for all of us; a positive energy, despite the economic challenges we currently face.

I feel encouraged by what we as human beings are capable of doing. With a New Year come resolutions, and with optimistic determination we are motivated to act on them. Albeit a challenge, we are not always successful in accomplishing all of our goals, and yet we are compelled to try. And to this I say ... YES, WE CAN.

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