Friday, July 25, 2014

The Great Lie/Truth?

There is no ultimate version of ourselves, this is a great lie. 
We will never be the imagined future version of ourselves, we either are it now in its unfolding state, or we are grasping an illusion and calling it reality. 
 The present moment is where we decide what thoughts to think, and what beliefs we wish to accept, and by repeating the mindset of who we wish to be with unwavering commitment and precision in our moment to moment presence do we eventually evolve into that creation of our selves. The universe reorders itself to make our thoughts manifest into physical reality. The amount of passion and love we put into this creative process along with sustained attention is the equation for how quickly what we wish for, manifests.

This can be enhanced by having multiple people sharing the same mindset, and if we can agree to align our beliefs and hearts on a single outcome it can manifest with great speed. We must know that action is required when the time comes and not hesitate. It will be uncomfortable as we shed old beliefs for new, but if we are to evolve, and metamorphosis into the next version of ourselves we must embrace the pain with the same veracity as we do pleasure. 
We are the point of entry for new realities to manifest, it is up to us as individuals to act from our own consciousness and change ourselves on the micro level if we wish to see changes on the macro level.
As below so Above.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Lost Inner Hero: an ex professional sports fan's manifesto.

I just made $1000 laying here, no, really, I did. 

Growing up in Winnipeg Canada, arguably one of the coldest cities on the earth, I spent a lot of time out playing on the ice and snow. Every kid in the neighborhood had a hockey stick and a pair of skates. Playing the game, watching the game and collecting the stickers, cards and memorabilia was a rite of passage. I looked up to the Gretzkys and Hawerchuks of my era. Rooted my team and felt the elation and pride of the overtime game winning goals like I had scored them myself.

But what the hell happened to professional sports since the eighties? This is an industry out of control, corporatized, with money being the one true motivation for many of these athletes, and the organizations that hire them to play.... a game. 

I'll tell you why I no longer spend time watching, following or spending money on professional sports and all its related manifestations.

Living in Ottawa for the past twenty years prior to moving to British Columbia, I supported my local hockey team, the Ottawa Senators. I was pretty in to it. I knew where my team was in the standings, the stats of most of the players on the team and the top point-getters in the league, as well as a plethora of additional information. The captain of the team for the last decade or so was a fan favourite, Daniel Alfredsson, a Swede who was a nobody, an under-hero in every sense of the word, a late in the draft pick. Daniel won many trophies including the Lady Bing trophy, awarded for the most gentlemanly player in the league. He was a class act in every sense of the word and his on ice heroics were stuff of legend.

He carried the team through trial and tribulation from the dredges of the NHL to the top of the league. What a story! He played every game in his career in an Ottawa jersey, that is until he decided he was near retirement.

After a stellar career in Ottawa, seeing that his chances at Stanley Cup glory would most likely ever be realized in Ottawa - he left. He got a big check with another team, and went to where he thought he could realize that dream.  

Arguably we can say; “well, he had to go for his dreams”, and maybe the team couldn't afford to pay him what he wanted so he had to do what was right for him. I say, he fell under the burdens of his ego and the almighty buck. Even an athlete of his reputation is still a product of the insanity of professional sports. He packed up and left the team, instead of giving it one last hurrah. The team lost it's heart and soul and the city and its teeming masses of sports fans were left broken hearted.  To this date Daniel's hopes for a Stanley Cup have yet to materialize.

Professional sports is a soul less, lesson in mass-hypnosis. Many will disagree with that opinion, but they would be those heavily under the spell. Who wins what, has little bearing on what is actually important in life. What matters even less is who you cheer for. Most of the players on a city's pro team have no more loyalty to it then a mercenary who chooses a side in a war. Let me be clear, most pro athletes DO NOT CARE about the citizenry or the city that they live in. Of course there are many that support charity and show up for the pomp and circumstance, but in the end, when lured elsewhere with a big shiny paycheck, like a fart in the wind, POOF, they are gone.  This is the rule, not the exception.  

We pay guys, and yes it's mostly guys, millions of dollars to kick or throw balls, in athletic magnificence. Some of them hit pucks, or do other things that are cool, but should they make so much money? I admire peak athletes and the things that they do, don't get me wrong. I SUPPORT SPORTS. I just don't support professional sports, or at least what has become of them nowadays. I think athleticism is as integral to being a human as literature, I really do. Athletes can inspire us to take better care of our bodies and push our physical limits to levels beyond imagination, my argument is that we glorify sports to the level of insanity.

What makes the Olympics so awe inspiring is that the athletes that compete are non-professional, they don't compete for the sake of money, they compete to be the best that they can be for themselves and their countries, of which THEY ARE CITIZENS. I know an Olympian, he is a great guy, he also works for a living, and his work ethic in life is a reflection of his athletic work ethic. For this reason alone, I think it is of utmost importance to keep ourselves and our kids involved in athletics, but for the love of god, let's stop pushing them to be professional athletes.

I have been in a parental role with kids in sports. There is a sickly desperation which can permeate the games at the competitive level. Some parents who are upstanding citizens become obsessive, angry, ref-hating, maniacs who think if their children don't perform that they are failures. I have seen it. Of course it is great to have passion and enthusiasm, but let's take it down a notch, or ten.

What are we teaching kids? So many are being driven so hard to achieve in sports, because of the professional sports hero fantasy. An incredibly small percentage of kids will become pro in their sport of passion, but so many kids aspire to be just that. Of those pro athletes, the majority of them will have a short career; on average a hand full of years. And what about the majority of athletes themselves, what do they do win they hit it big? Spending spree! What an example to role model kids after: big houses, fast cars and lots of cool toys. Then a bunch of these guys have endorsement contracts, and try and pedal us a plethora of products. The world needs smart kids, future problem solvers, engineers, humanists, not more glorified pro athletes turned salesmen.

Then there is the compulsion to obsess over sports. To watch games, pour over stats, enter pools and get emotionally perturbed when one's team doesn't win. How many times have we seen someone we know yell at the television, as if the player's can hear, or would even care what they are saying. Many people waste such an enormous amount of time concerned with sports and all its minutia, that it detracts from reality. The classic stereotype of an American, is a man in a lazy boy chair, wearing a sports jersey, drinking a six pack and eating potato chips. It's a fair one. Remember I've been a sports fan, and its great to hang out with friends and watch a game, but when you spend a half a day or more a week watching sports, checking your smartphone constantly for scores and stats you may want to reconsider priorities.

Who loves watching sports!? This guy... look how happy he is.

Why have so many become sports watching junkies?  My partner Symentha had amazing insight on this that made me rethink this entire blog entry.  She was so bang on I had goosebumps when she explained her observations to me.

Men have lost their inner hero.

When did we stop rooting for team "us" and fall under the spell of the pro sports celebrity hockie-pokie? Why did apathy for our own lives over take us?

I used to be full of testosterone, ideas and creative energy, but as life and its responsibilities take hold of us we start to fizzle.  Many of us begin to punch a clock, raise families, and become overburdened with the existence of daily life.  It is very easy, to zone out, and plug into the world of cable television and pro sports.

I know, life can be a grind, but we need to keep pushing, and nurturing that inner hero. The challenges may change, and maybe we can't run as fast or throw as far as we used to, but we can still push our selves in other ways.   We can build, create art, music, literature, pick up a book, be completely present with our children, volunteer for a cause we believe in. We can be our own hero again.

Once we shut that off that ability to push our boundaries and numb out we end up spending countless hours on the lazy boy or couch, and lose ourselves.  But what is the best part about watching sports?  The come back, the under dog story.  Get up, keep your goals small to start, and be the comeback story.  

Since I've cut the pro sports out I've had a lot of time to do things in the real world. Travelling, reading, taking courses, spending time with people I love, doing meaningful volunteer work and getting some exercise are of much higher importance to me then being a slave to the professional sports world fantasy. I refuse to invest money into professional sports by going to games, watching endless hours of television, which is really just a trick to get you to absorb advertising, and spend money on anything that perpetuates this insanity.  

I understand that there are a lot of people that might disagree with this post, and I always welcome debate and opposing view points - I speak from my own life experience with a desire to help people grow and embrace life, I want to see more heroes out there.  The world needs a big overhaul, it needs men (and women) who challenge themselves, and want to do something.  Do yourself a favor, put down the remote control, iPad, phone or laptop and pick up something - anything!  A hammer, a book, a hobby, a kid.  Go be a...

you will be glad you did.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Falling all over ourselves

(photo courtesy of Heather Ladoski)

It's not everyday we get to learn deeply about who we are.  Usually the greatest lessons come from how we handle the frustrations and challenging stumbling blocks we call obstacles in our lives.  Sometimes we crumple in and fold, broken by the pressure of the expectations and vision of who we thought we were, and other times we rise up to meet the unexpected with two fists and a mouth guard.

We feel the lowest when we let down those closest to us.  Not only are we failing ourselves but we amplify our own failure by having someone we love or care about reflect not only their disappointment of us, but our own shortcomings as well.  The ol' double whammy.  Obviously this can be multiplied depending on the number of individuals we let down.  At its extreme polarity, this low can make people suicidal.  Fortunately for most of us we just want to crawl under a rock somewhere to hide.  In today's society that might look like disappearing into cyberspace, television, drugs and alcohol or other "NUMB-ers".

It's hard to stay with that pain, instead of running to dull it. Just feeling into it, and seeing what it does in our body is always good medicine.  The good news is, it will pass, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.  But it will pass.  In the end, we are all the same.  We all experience emotions the same way, but react differently.

I have let a helluva lot of people down in my life, and chances are that isn't going to end today.  Pushing through our own bullshit is dirty work, and involves deep self analysis, introspection and ultimately self forgiveness.  We don't come into this time and space continuum with a manual, but we can ask for the right information to come along and help us.  Most of the time it does, and more and more often in the form of a you tube video.  We do need to know that we are programmed, how we react has a lot to do with what we have seen, and learned.  The truth of who we really are, versus how we want to see ourselves, is a great truth, but it can be a wounding truth.

I am living in this realm this week.  Who I want to be/think I am is out of alignment and integrity with who I really am.  I am spending extra time on my yoga mat, in meditation and on my bike to reconnect to breath, spirit and nature.  The battle is never won, but this too, shall pass.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Chopping my way to Presence

Almost a full finger... almost

My little house on wheels has been reattached to my truck and I've been able to go on a few mini trips thus far.  My first foray into the wilderness was a beautiful little spot on the south western tip of Vancouver island called Bamfield.  Cool name right?

After 3 hours of dirt roads, and losing one of my turnbuckles and the chain attaching it to my truck, my lovely girlfriend Symentha and I  arrived at a little campground which hugs the coast of beautiful sandy Pacheena bay.  We quickly got to know our neighbors on the site next to us who gifted us some crab they had caught earlier in the day in the bay.  There is only one thing better then fresh caught crab, and that is  not having to pay for  fresh caught crab.

At night the beach was lined with fires as all the campers in the park enjoyed a clear star filled night with an near full moon lighting the epically beautiful, crab filled bay.

The next day I was chopping wood, to make some kindling and wasn't putting my full attention into the task.  I felt the axe come down on the tip of my finger and just remembered a white flash of pain race up my arm, and directly into my brain.  I could feel hot blood spurting out of the tip of my finger and knew instantly that this was more then a scratch.  I looked down at the bloody mess that used to be a right index finger and felt a touch queasy.

Not only were the neighbors adept at crab catching, but a few of them had some first aid experience - which they got to put into practice on me.  They sat me down and stitched me up.  I wasn't feeling too much of a man.  My camper was coming undone, my finger was bleeding and required first aid, and my poor ego was taking a beating as well.  But I was in paradise, and with someone I love deeply, so there was many a silver lining.

Part of the silver linings; my beautiful companion and a kick ass free meal 

How often to we struggle to be present?  It is so easy to be distracted - and that distraction often comes at a price.  Some times it's physical injury, other times it's neglect of ourselves and those around us.  My distraction was me trying to show off with an axe, trying to act like a macho lumberjack, letting my ego run rampant.  If you are going to show off, don't try and do it with some thing sharp and heavy.  There are better ways.  In fact, don't try and show off at all, unless you are a performer or entertainer and that is what you get paid to do!!

But how often to we try to escape the present moment?  For the majority of people it's a frequent foray into the confines of our mind, or the distractions of entertainment.  This lesson was a good reminder for me to stay connected to where I am, and what I am doing. I've learned that the body is the best gateway to stay in presence, whether it be through pain (avoid if you can) or awareness, just feeling your breath and the physical sensations of life in your body (recommended).

My easiest and quickest advise for connecting is deep breaths.  Ten in a row usually gets me right on track. Yoga is also one of the most amazing forms of exercise for getting connected to breath and the body, and I can truly say it changed my life and allowed me to experience a whole new depth of presence.  I will in the near future dedicate an entire entry to this alone.

The value of being present is so immense, in presence there is no time, just being, and that is where we can find the most creative version of ourselves.  In being lies the only true freedom.  Just try and "be" without amputating a small part of yourself... and remember, the best present to your self, is being present.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Inside job. Your perception can be your deception.

Six months. I am at the halfway point of my one year, living in a camper experiment.

My life is very satisfying, I am contemplating extending this experiment indefinitely. Sure the camper is in a ware house, but in a month or so I will be reattaching it to my truck and going away every chance I can into the BC wilderness this spring, summer and fall.

I am so grateful for my life these days. The sun is shining, the air is crisp and the Earth rumbles with the early tremors of spring. A new year, a new crop, and a new perspective. I've become a daily meditator, have a great job where I feel I am contributing and making a difference. There is new love in my life.

I try to remind myself that most of how we live our lives is perspective. Most importantly our own. How we look at the world effects everything. One of my favourite author/presenter’s, Wayne Dyer, states: “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.”

One morning a couple of weeks ago, a trucker who was at the grease plant picking up 27000 liters of filtered veggie oil and I had a great exchange.

Kevin, the trucker, and I started talking about perception. He told me he was at a party where a man was talking on this very same subject, and was holding up a card. There were people gathered all around him in a circle and he asked them what colour they saw. The people in the front saw the colour white, while those behind saw the colour black. They all saw the same thing, but from different perspectives. The reality is that both can be true. The card was black and white.

I found this example to be quite profound. How and where we are when we see something changes it's appearance. My view of reality is only a pin hole in a shoebox called the Universe. So perception is relative, mutable and thus completely changeable.

Our thinking defines how we see things. Are we optimistic, pessimistic, realistic? Are we fearful, or open? Do we oscillate between these states?

Some people would see living in a camper as a failure of some kind – where as I see it as ultimate freedom. I don't really care how others see me these days, the less I focus on the opinions of what others think of me, and the more I focus on MY opinion of me, in a healthy way, the happier and more fulfilling life is.

I have done my utmost to reduce my time with complainers, pessimists and people who want to waste energy on negativity and excuses. I have gone through my facebook feed and removed notifications from organizations and individuals that just spread negative obviousness. When I voice something to my small world, I want it to be uplifting, fun or at least some emotion on the positive spectrum. We all get wound up, but the world isn't going to change. Ever.

The only thing we can do is change how we look at things, everything. I can tell what people are happy by the amount of energy they focus on what inspires them, makes them laugh and how they love. Where as those who complain, judge and point out what's wrong tend to be people that always have something to complain, or judge about in their lives, constantly.

I still wrestle with judgement and complaining – it's very easy to get caught up. I still do it, but a heck of a lot less then I used to. While I am doing it I can catch myself in the act, and I have learned to be able to shift into looking at the things I am complaining about as something else; learning lessons. Yes, cliche, but everything that happens is neutral, until we give it a charge, either positive or negative.

Many of us are unaware that this life is an inside job, it's an inside out gig. A great example is one again from Wayne Dyer, where he talks about how people are trying to “comb the mirror” - trying to fix the reflection, instead of the perceiver of that reflection (ie. YOU). You can't fix what's already outside, you have to change how you see. This is hard.

You have to realize that the models you use to see the world are all flawed – because they are programs given to you by your parents, teachers, and peers that validate the world from an external point of view. When you realize that your OS is a program that was not installed by your own will, you are on the road to discovery. There are a plethora of books out there that can help you start looking at the only thing that you really have power to change, your own perception.

I find Negativity to be a closing, imploding kind of energy, where as Positivity is an opening, exploding kind of energy. I try very hard to be the latter, and maybe that is why I am such a happy dude...but a work in process dude nonetheless.

Change your perception, and you truly do change your world.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Conspirituality: Transmuting Darkness into Lightness

a wake up call?

When 9-11 happened it really sent me for a tailspin. Me and pretty much the entire planet.

I was 23 years old, I was full of post adolescent angst and felt uneasy, and sick. In the core of my being it all felt wrong, so wrong. So I entered the wormhole called conspiracy theory. I delved into the lands where the electron is king, and followed link after link for hours upon hours.

I read about Afghan pipeline deals, the Illuminati, the military industrial complex. I watched videos, went on web forums, and was completely immersed. At that point in life I was just recently unemployed and on E.I. and had a lot of time on my hands, waaaaay too much time.

Did I find what I was looking for? Was the attack on 9-11 definitively a government cover up, a pre text to an illegal war? I still don't know, and neither does anyone out there. I have an opinion, but that is all it is – a thought shape we call an idea. If it was a government cover up, and unless George W. Bush blows the biggest whistle in history, no one will ever know for sure. Anyone who says they do – is living in ego's folly. We can only make assumptions.

WE DON'T KNOW. We may never know. I do know that people do bad things, some people do some very, very bad things. I don't need to give any examples – most people know the Hitlers and Genghis Khans of history well enough to know that people can do hateful, destructive things. Heck I am guilty of some acts of evil myself – I put a garden hose in a mail slot, and turned it on, during a drunken meandering walk home once in my teens. What we call evil can inhabit any and all of us.

Someone very close to me told me the story of a poisoned arrow. If we were to be shot with an arrow laced with poison, how important is it to worry about where the poison came from? Priority number one is survival, self preservation. I need to get that arrow out, and rid myself of this poison. Does it matter who shot it? The damage is done, vengeance and blame are reactions to the poisoned arrow, but they will not take away the wound. Maybe I was shot with a poisoned arrow because I am a soldier in an occupying force in enemy territory. Or maybe I killed someone's family. What ever the cause I need to focus on a solution, there is time for pointing fingers later.

9-11 was a poisoned arrow to me. I spent a lot of time trying to “figure it out”. Twelve years later I still have no answers. I've never met anyone who was part of the Illuminati, or any other shadow organization, and I have yet to see anything definitive to prove what EXACTLY happened. Now that's not to say I don't think we are lied to by the media, our governments or even our parents. Hello - Santa, Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy? But what could I do if any of it were true?

I became the guy at parties that prattled endlessly about the government, cover-ups, human rights abuses and so forth. I was the conspiracy nut. Did any of my research amount to anything? No, the world just kept on changing and chugging along.

Nobody wanted to hear me blather on like a nut. I just ended up feeling shitty. I felt defeated by the world – powerless to do anything. Then some new information started showing up, and I became more interested in spirituality, and doing what I could – even if it was small. The world was full of poisonous arrows, but the world wasn't my responsibility. I WAS my responsibility.

If the maxim “what you focus on expands” is true, then wasn't my energy being poured into this conspiracy stuff just growing this darkness? I realized that my energy was being wasted, syphoned off into an abyss of dark negativity that was just me sending my life force into nothing productive. If you want to change the world – start at ground zero, start with YOU.

You don't like seeing animals die, stop eating dead animals, or cut it down as best you can.

Pollution pissing you off, stop driving gas powered vehicles and buying things that contribute to the problem.

Tired of endless conflict and war? Stop watching violence, supporting governments that involve themselves in conflicts. Learn to control your own personal anger.

Sick of greed and the financial inequality on the planet? Stop being greedy. Use less, buy less, reuse, share and trade. Grow some food. 


Carry on my wayward sons (and daughters)
Little increments add up. Don't put pressure on yourself to change the world, change a habit here, an expenditure there. I promise you if you just change that in your realm of control it will change your own world, and believe it or not that is the most important world of them all.

What ever it may be that you want to rebel against, look at your role first. It's a huge wake up call. Don't waste time pointing at people calling them “sheeple”- seek to help. Be an example, demonstrate your life as a solution. Shut the fuck up, and do something. Create a new way, and support others that already have. Learn to think for yourself. Try to be better for you and your family.

I've found as hokey and hippie as this sounds, that the ability to share and give love is the strongest resource we have for change. Again, ground zero is most important – love thyself. Change the relationship and dialogue with who you are. Remember, we can change.

Most importantly – explore your relationship with a higher power. Why the heck are you here? Ask questions. Try to live in a sense of wonder. Love who you are, your imperfections, your awkward ways, your gifts. Find a purpose, live it. My life Journey has been wonderful, and I have been blessed with so many vibrant and lovely experiences and people in my world. But I had to confront some dark aspects of myself (and still continue to do so).

I will say that my foray into the dark world of conspiracy theory/alternative news did lead me towards an existence based more on love, and spirituality – my only regret is that I spent almost a decade trying to figure out the shifting natures of shadows that never have any solid form. Now when I am at parties, I talk about life, solutions, adventures, and love. It's funny, but people seem to be a heck of a lot more receptive.

I'd love to hear some comments – so don't be afraid to get involved in the dialogue. This blog doesn't exist without your attention.

Thanks for sharing your time with me today, lots of love,


Friday, February 21, 2014

Brushing the mind, opening the heart

The Mind: a beautiful servant, a dangerous master.

A fortuitous bouncing of light and shadows - a fluke photo.. or is it?

I've been on the longest unbroken stretch of meditation in my whole life.  It's been 50 days in a row with a minimum of 20 minutes of sit time per day.  Of late I have been more then happy to do almost an hour at a time.  I won't lie - doing twenty minutes 50 days ago was a challenge.  I was counting the seconds until my chimer went.  Lately, instead of relief, when my time is up, I keep sitting for a few more minutes, just because.  I am disappointed when I have to stop (yes, I am working on that too).

I've committed to making meditation a daily practice in my life since the middle of December.  They say something becomes habit after about 55 days, give or take.  Like brushing my teeth, meditation is becoming habit.  Like brushing my teeth, every meditation is different.  If I have a kernel in my teeth, I might spend a bit of extra time brushing one area, paradoxically an entrenched emotion in my psyche might need an extra bit of attention to dislodge. 

Am I the dalai fucking lama?  Not even close.  Most of my meditation involves me observing how my inner monologue is that of a kid who just drank a full can of coke and ate an extra helping of birthday cake: bat shit crazy.

Meditation is not fun. It is not easy.

Frustration: yes.
Discomfort: check.
Constant annoyance at the nature of one's own mind: oh hells yes.

I can only talk directly from my own experience although there are NUMEROUS studies that support how beneficail the practice of meditation is on the human brain.  Andy Puddicombe explains below:

For those who think meditation is only for the monks of the world, you couldn't be more far off.  If anything it is the rest of the world outside of the monks who can really benefit from taking time everyday to quell the mind. 

I learned something a few years ago that has been incorporated into my belief system - WE ARE NOT OUR THOUGHTS.  Just because we think it doesn't mean we should own it.  Thoughts I liken to seeds of plants and weeds that have blown into the garden of our mind.  They've been dropped there from parents, friends, society, and god knows where else.  Well, these thought-seeds take more root and grow deeper the more we place our attention on them.  So if we focus on the negative seedlings by repeatedly "going there" that will be the dominant climate of our mind.  Learn to let thoughts and emotions go.  Laugh.

The whole point of meditation is to see thoughts for what they are, and like all things they go through the passage of arising and dissapation.  When we meditate we see thoughts, don't attach energy (emotion) and let them seeds blow on by.  It is hard, but with practice we start to cultivate a sense of laughter about thoughts and see them for what they are, nothing.  Do you get mad at the wind when blows, can you do anything about it?

After 50 days, there is a profound change happening.  My heart is opening, I just have more love for life, and for humanity.  With this opening new experiences are coming into my sphere, new people and new circumstances.  I also feel that my capacity to give is growing, and I feel more like I want to serve those around me then more then myself - this is a huge shift for selfish little me.

I strongly reccomend you cultivate the practice of meditation in your daily life.  We make time for so many other things (how many minutes do most first-worlders spend on their phones and computers?) and just try your best.   There are no meditation competitions, at least not yet.

There is no right or wrong way, sitting and being aware of your crazy mind is a great, albeit frustrating first step.  Of all the practices I've incorporated, meditation has brought the most peace, and by changing how I interact with my inner-world, I've changed how I respond to my outer-world.

If you want to get into it and just jump in the pool like I did without checking the water, I recommend this free (yes I said free) 10 day retreat.  It will change your life.

The best things in life truly are free - and I continue to donate to this cause monthly so that others can gain the benefits I have. 

Make a space in your day for this powerful practice, and you will see your life change.

Love and Light - Robin

Sunday, February 2, 2014

My 3 year (other) birthday: Liberation from the Bottle, and an Ode to Seymour H

I just thought this picture was overly melodramatic and cool.
It was a cold snowy January day in 2011. As usual, I was running late en route to work, and lucky for me there was an accident on the road on the way in. The perfect excuse for being late, I snapped a picture on my phone as additional proof; evidence for manipulation.

This was how my brain was functioning. And no, I am not proud of who I was and the direction I was headed. What I didn't know was that I was about to lose my job.

A week before my 33rd birthday and I was about to have nothing, to be on my ass and not know how I was going to pay the rent. That morning my boss, who had also become a mentor and friend - let me go. A mounting list of indiscretions on my part had been compiled. I won't go into details, but I had it coming.

It crushed me. I did not see it coming from a mile away. Shocked, dismayed, and utterly broken and confused I went home. I felt sick, how was I going to go forward? I knew something was very wrong, very, very wrong. Not with the world – but with me.

I was an alcoholic.

This wasn't a surprise, the surprise was how progressed I was. I was completely deluded as many of us with addiction problems tend to be. I needed help.

Going to AA was not something new to me, I had known I had unhealthy drinking habits since I was in my teens. However the great illusion of every drinker is the delusion that WE can control our drinking. I had been testing the waters in recovery since I was 30, so I had been to meetings, and had a temporary sponsor. I had never done the 12 steps, but that was about to change. I went back to AA and found an amazing sponsor and got to it.

My first meeting back I felt like Bambi on ice. I felt so broken. After a few meetings I started to feel better – I was not alone. And as tragic as I thought my story might be, it was nothing compared to some of the other people in the rooms, who had seen severe tragedy. People who had killed people, lost everything and gone bankrupt, pushed away the ones they loved and cherished most.

The 12 steps of AA became life or death to me. I HAD TO FIND ANOTHER WAY. I had to give up, and completely surrender to a program that wasn't mine, a huge fear, giving up the illusion of control. After six weeks of sobriety I had completed the bulk of step work and had made a circle of friends that are still in my life today, and will forever be.

I won't get into the whole AA thing here, though I will quickly dispel some of the myths. Most people conjure up an image of a bunch of disheveled, stinky drunks, sitting in a circle shaking off the DT's. Or they see people crying and sharing. Whatever the perception, the truth is, that those rooms have been some of the most sacred and holiest spiritual places I have ever been. I have felt the presence of a higher source speaking through others, their shared experience being exactly what I needed to hear to get healthier, stronger. Better.

I believe that alcoholism as with many other addictive behaviours, is a need-to-fill-a-spiritual-void disease. It's spiritual warfare out there on planet earth. My own journey into my spiritual war started young. I was a single mom kid, I grew up poor, my mom left my dad when I was 3 – she saved my life, and for that I am eternally grateful. I won't get into the details of my father; he struggles with his own demons. Mom had the wisdom in her early twenties to see that the impacts of that struggle would have carried over to my brother and I. However this fracture in my early family life, coupled with my mother's anxiety created a pattern in me. A disconnect.

I felt a lack, a lack of love, of belonging. Not for my mom, she was a loving parent, and as all exceptional mothers do, she put our needs ahead of her own. Nonetheless a spiritual fracture had begun, and there was a void. As I grew up I tried to fill that void – I always felt different, like an outsider always looking in. I still feel that way a lot of the time, but instead of trying to cover or bury these feelings, I meet them head on as best I can. We also live in a time where the material world is the obsession and focus of most “advanced” societies on the earth.

Us human beings are so disconnected from the spirit world, particularly those of us in the first world. We live hectic, go-go-go lives, connected cybernetically, but so disconnected to living things. I heard recently that an amazonian tribe calls our world the “dead world”. I get it; look around you. Everything around you is likely the dying remains of things that once were alive. No wonder addiction continues to rocket upwards in its trajectory. Where is the aliveness in our environment? And in ourselves?

Before I go off on a tangent, which I will reserve for another potential post, alcohol for me was a way to feel alive, connected, relaxed and to fit in.  There is a reason why alcohol is called spirits. But like a sheet of wood grain veneer slapped onto particle board with glue, the alcohol was only a surface implement, designed only for a short term disengagement of feeling my emotions. I had begun to medicate at least 4 or 5 times a week, near the end, almost every day.

I have new tools to challenge problems, new ways of taking care of old business, and being sober for 3 years has been a true rebirth for me. My sobriety has left me with deeper insight, wisdom and taught me how to confront my demons in a healthy way. Yes, life is fucking hard, but it is amazing. There is nothing better then overcoming a challenge, especially when we grow new wings and can be an inspiration to our selves. I can honestly say that being sober for the last 3 years is one of my greatest achievements.

Admittedly, social engagements are a whole different beast. I was at a party last night, drinking a four-pack of near beers, and I had fun. Coming out of my shell was such a challenge for me, and alcohol was my best friend, it gave me liquid courage, but it would wear off, and it wore me down with it. I've had to relearn how to “be” at parties, and social events where booze is ubiquitous, but I get to be MYSELF – all the time. That my friends, is a blessing. I've learned to love me, who I am, social awkwardness included.

So what does this have to do about a guy in a camper writing a blog?

This is a spiritual journey, life is. Being sober has made me so much bigger on the inside, and after 3 years, I look forward to the rest of life sober, with a clear head, and an open heart.

Addendum 1:

Today Seymour Philip Hoffman died, as many addicts tend to do.  Many of us are charming and unbelievably good at hiding our addiction, it's kind of an art form really.  The tough and sad reality is that many of us don't make it through the hell of addiction.   It took me SEVERAL attempts to gain any traction in the sober world - and it wasn't easy.  I send a prayer out there for any, and all souls who struggle with any form of addiction, may you join us on the other side - it's worth the price of admission.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Take this and stuff it

Recently I was in Canadian Tire, grabbing a pump for the plant I work in.  I won't lie to you, there is a satisfaction that I get from perusing the isles of so called discount items and end-cap specials found around the store.  It's almost like being in a daze as I imagine the right tool for the right imaginary job.  There was a moment where I realized how unnecessary all this shit is.

Now Canadian Tire if I am not mistaken has been around for a long time, and as the name denotes, was a Tire store, and automotive emporium.  Then why on earth are they selling coffee makers? Why are there no less then a dozen different coffee makers that you can choose from, in a store that originally sold auto parts and tires?  Further more, why is just about every store becoming some form of walmart?  Are we moving toward one mega store that just sells everything? 

The future, Wall-e's world?

Back to the coffee maker.  How is it that society needs dozens of types of one thing that arguably all do pretty much the same thing?  Will the brewer with the metallic red exterior better define me, represent who I am more then the most basic pasty-white machine for $29.99?

We are under a spell, and the spell is called consumerism.  I realize there is nothing new about what I am saying here, and this spell is one that I can be captivated by myself.  All of this "stuff" comes at a price, that being the systematic destruction of the planet, and if you scale that back further and further; ourselves and our souls.  We are the planet, of the planet, born of the matter of earth, its soil, its air its water.  We are killing ourselves by killing it.  Anyone who looks at life in a holistic way, understanding that this precious gift of life comes at the expense at a massively complex interdependent and interconnected system, comes to realize that one truth, we are all leaves on the same tree.  If you poison the roots, you poison the leaves.

I am not a big believer in massively and drastically changing ones life to save the planet, because people tend to revert back to their original nature eventually.  Most diets tend to be this way, a trend or a passing fad.  I am a of the mindset that little changes taken on by many is the key.  Reduce the discomfort by making small, incremental changes, and sticking with them.  That is the the small step on the journey of 10000 miles mentality. 

It's no surprise that one of the fastest growing, guaranteed money making businesses in the western world are storage warehouses.  It seems much of the population has too much stuff on their hands, and instead of shedding the excess junk, they are shedding it.  Pun intended.  People can't seem to let go of their things, thinking that they are Pharaohs readying for the afterlife.  Tyler Durden said it best:


The more stuff we have, the more time it takes to manage, and takes away from the real enjoyment in life; being with the people we love, and doing the things we love.

Where does this equate with a dude living in a camper?  Well, the camper is parked indoors at the plant where I work (thanks to some incredibly benevolent superiors) and there was an empty office space to contend with.  When I arrived on scene the only thing in the upstairs office was an empty space with the rememants of a subway sandwich that had been devoured god knows when.

I set out to make this empty space into a fully functioning bachelor pad.  My mission was to furnish it completely for free.  If you haven't seen the movie Craigslist Joe, definitely check it out.  Craigslist is full of good-hearted individuals who want to get rid of stuff, for free.  Inside of a month I had acquired the following:

  • a nice table (thank you Craig (hahaha not Craig's list)and Leah)
  • a fridge (that was rescued from a reno project of an apartment complex, it was going to the dump)
  • The following was attained from one nice couple I met on craigslist:
  • A 24" TV and stand.
  • 2 lamps
  • 3 paintings
  • 1 wicker chair
  • one sweet ass couch and matching ottoman
  • cushions for the couch
  • a nice large comfy chair
So for $0 I basically furnished an entire 250 sq foot office space.  The company I worked for  also supplied me with a desk, computer, office chairs and printer.

It ain't Ikea, but it was free-ya!
 If we can move away from keeping up with the Jones, we can move towards saving a destitute piece of furniture from its untimely demise decomposing over hundreds of years.

I try to not ever buy anything new.  Packaging is a huge waste, buying used eliminates that waste right away.  Plastic = oil and gas, I work for a company that is involved in the bio fuel industry (renewable energy) so I tend to try and not partake as much as I can.  If you have kids, do what my best friend Kris' wife Kendra does and use cloth diapers (as much as you can!!).  My cousin Casey's wife Heather works in Cache Creek at the dump where all of Vancouver's garbage is laid to rest (4 hours away from Vancouver).  She told me that there are mountains of diapers.  Insane waste.

The bottom line is, there is already so much out there.  The insanity of production of these mostly disposable items can be avoided.  It takes a little creativity and work, but I promise you get a good feeling in your heart when you make a choice that benefits humanity, and no amount of money can buy the feeling of having a lighter soul, and fuller heart.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Prose and Convicts.

So it's pretty small in there.  It's been a month or so. I've moved my camper into the plant where I work in Burnaby.  So I live where I work.  The pros; no commute to work, and in Vancouver that is a huge pro.  The cons: I work for a company that recycles waste vegetable oil, there is an aroma, not a good one.

My smell cell.

I am also out of the rain, and detached from the truck, which means I am not driving around with 2000 plus pounds of extra weight that isn't exactly perfectly balanced.  It's kind of like running and doing corners while you are piggy backing someone.  Now imagine that person is off your back, it feels pretty good.   That's the satisfaction I feel driving around unencumbered, and in Vancouver, that is a huge pro.

Some other pros and cons.

-maximum 2 seconds to anything I need.  Usually at arms lenght.
-cheap rent (none)
-I don't have nearly as much stuff as I would if I had the space.  It's effecient.
-everything is mini
-it's cozy

-sometimes I feel like a convict in a cell
-I bang my head a lot
-there is no where for farts to waft off to
-it gets messy very fast

I get camper-dar.  I always notice other campers, RVs and the like.  It`s pushing into November and I still see people parked at Walmart (which allows overnight parking for any recreational vehicles) so this is a lifestyle for some.  I hope to interview some other people in the coming weeks who live this way indefinitely.

I was on Vancouver Island the last few days and was working with an awesome dude who has been collecting veggie oil on the north island for 10 plus years.  He lived in a camper for 2 years (thus somewhat making my struggle less worthy) and he had no internet, was outside in the winters and was pretty much more hardcore all around.  He is a teacher now in Port Alberni, but wow, talk about dedication.

I am a bit more then a month into this year long social experiment and the luster has worn off.  But I shall soldier onward, and do my best to keep the likes of you informed.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Bigger on the Inside part

So when I titled this blog, I labeled it "bigger on the inside".  What does that even mean really?  Am I going to be eating more, filling myself with helium?  Nope.

If you know me, you'd know that I am a dude that has always loved to explore, and see new things, through my own eyes.  Well, that exploration has been both an outward journey, but also increasingly an inward one.  I always remember an ancient Chinese proverb I once heard:

"big has no outside, small has no inside".

We keep finding more and more stars at the edge of what we once thought was the frontier of space, and the particles that make up stuff seem to just keep breaking down into smaller and smaller parts.  Gotta love the proverbs.

Now I am not saying that I am going to take a look at my atoms, but I am going to work in essence on that which makes up my innerworld.  When I say bigger, I am referring to my essence, my spirit or soul even.  It is MY belief and opinion that this innerspace can be transformed.  Furthermore, I believe that when that inner space is expanded, optimized and nurtured, that it reflects outward into what we can call the material world.

So this innerspace, what is it comprised of?

For most of us its thoughts, and for most of us, these are repetitive thoughts.  For most of us.  Repetitive.  For many, it's feelings and emotions, again, many times triggered by thought.  (Can you see the repetitiveness?).  As I have learned from a great many teachings, we are also in a constant state of craving and aversion, thus many of our actions are based on fear and desire.

Underlying all of this is our own existence; it's the hum of universal vibration, the electricity which powers your circuits, your chi, prana, or lifeforce.  It's the right thought at the right moment that saves you.

You know what I am talking about.

It's that voice, seldom heard but always listening.  This is what I am hoping I can connect with more in the coming months.

There is a lot going on inside of all of us.  And I don't know about all of you, but I feel a little lost.  I feel a little overwhelmed sometimes as I am sure all of you out there do (and even more so if you have the next crop of humans to tend to).  Like you, I come from this planet, it's soil, air, water.  I am a carbon based life form, made up of the elements around me. We are all made of the same stardust.

I hired a dude who lives on Salt Spring Island to help me on my one year inner voyage.  His name is Brad and he is the CEO and founder of Cowabunga Life ( and I've hired him as my life coach.  That's right, I said it, life coach.  So far his influence has had some great impacts.  He has reminded me to breath, and be grateful, and I have to say, after one month - I feel pretty terrific.  I do feel like I am getting bigger on the inside, maybe it's just that I have more air in my lungs...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

This is what this is about

So a couple of years ago I decided to travel Canada on a budget of 1000 dollars.  I got into my Honda Civic with way more gear then I needed and began to make my way east, as far east as I could go in North America.  When I hit Cape Spear, Newfoundland, I swung around and began to head west.

After 10 weeks and over 15 thousand kilometers, I spent my last $20 getting to Tofino, on Vancouver island.  It was a journey of friendship, kindness, charity and clarity that redeveloped the way I see the world.  The world portrayed in the media and particularly the news, was not the one I had the pleasure of exploring.  People opened their hearts and their homes and even their wallets to make my One Grand Adventure a reality.  To all of you fine humans, I thank you from the bottom of my heart..

you can enjoy the Journey here:

Well, my next endeavor is to explore living in a camper for one entire year.  It's an eight foot camper, that sits on the back of a truck.  I can attach and detach it which means it can be left stationary for brief interludes.  In a world where so many have so much more then they need, it makes perfectly logical sense.  Of course I don't have kids, I am single and am comfortable without a bunch of stuff.  So in essence it's not too hard.

I am hyper aware of the resources I have, and use pretty much everything I own on a regular basis.  I have to outsource for laundry and the odd shower, but the unit has a bathroom and kitchen.  There is an outdoor shower, with hot water heated via propane.  I'll get more into what specs the camper has in my next posts..

Why the hell am I doing this you ask?

I think the trend to living small is catching on as many of us in the western world realize what a waste of our lives it is to own large homes that cost a lot to power, heat and maintain.  Not to mention the time and energy required for cleaning and upkeep.  How many rooms get used fully?  How much space is designated for stuff that no longer has purpose?  Space is a luxury on a planet where entire generations of families in many countries live in one room structures that most of us in the western world wouldn't let our pets live in.

And selfishly this is a creative project to just keep writing, and journeying in my world of written word.  

Does this space cushion bring us more happiness or peace of mind?  Or does it push us further away from each other in a world where it seems we are increasingly facing more isolation because of the impacts of the digital world. Is the Ikea nesting instinct in full effect?  I am going to try and find out.