Thursday, May 19, 2011 the world really ending May 21?

It's May 19th.

Aside from the fact that my blogging hiatus is not entirely over, despite some promising signs of revival, now I find out the world is ending on May 21. Saturday.

Look I'm a numbers guy too, but Mr Harold Egbert Camping.......c'mon.

I'd like to be one of the 200 million being Raptured too, but just in case I'm not, please come back and let me know what I'm missing out on. I'm really really curious.

Joking aside, the positive thing out of these dire predictions is this: life is short. Harold thinks it is only going to last 2 days more. But reality is, our lives on this physical plane is finite. So make the most of it.

Let your desires for belonging and significance; drive you closer to your loved ones, make you reach out to the broken and lonely, take stock of what is truly important, truly beautiful and above all, don't waste time!

I had a friend of mine pass away recently. Early fifties. Cancer. I was honoured to know her. Yes she had some terrible days in her journey into eternity. Days unseen by me. Days alone. But her bravery and honesty was inspiring to all. She didn't want to die. She wanted to grow old with her husband, and watch her beautiful girls get married, and have kids. She wanted to live.

So in defiance of death. She lived. She laughed. Cried.  And we did it with her.  Through that we were so touched by her life. And she truly transcended death. 800 people showed up to celebrate her life.

So whether it be 2 days, or until you get hit by a car, or die in your sleep at the age of 101, time is precious. Life is precious. The amount of time is irrelevant.

Don't waste it like Harold is. All doom and gloom. That's no fun.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Wow. Really?

OK. I'm trying to figure out how it's possible that my last post was in September 2010. It's now March 2011.

You know. The answer is priority. It's where you give time. And time is a limited commodity in this continuum. And I've chosen to spend it elsewhere.

But I'm determined. I'm back.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Hike

Once in awhile, I'm given a moment that you think only exists in the minds of movie screenwriters.

My nine year old son is a born adventurer. He enters fantasylands of action adventure in the valleys and tracks of our neighbourhood. He likes to make a path, not find one.

So we were camping last weekend by a lake, and behind the campside was a mountain (a hill). My son asked if I would join him on a hike up the mountain. I agreed.

He got his little backpack ready (flashlight, knife, some food and water) and we ventured up.

Now the hill seemed quite daunting as we started up. The vegetation was scratchy, the soil loose, and there was some talk of rattlesnakes. I was somewhat skeptical, but once I saw the copious sharp cacti and large rocks covering the ground, I became a bit more vigilant. I was particularly concerned about poison ivy and such, as I was in shorts......

I told my son to stomp up and down as he hiked, and watch where he was stepping, lest he stick his foot into a cactus or worse.  I guided him to the ridges, where the vegetation was less dense than the valleys. We observed some strange insects, and I pointed out lichens growing on the rocks. I told him to beware of purple coloured berries, and we looked out for animal droppings.

The gradient steepened and we had been hiking for a good 30 minutes and he was tiring. I said "Only a little bit further over the first hump, and we'll see how much more we need to go to the top." He said OK. I took his backpack from him, and we kept going.

Sure enough, we could now see the summit, it seemed reachable, within our grasp.

As we got to the top, we turned around to see the path and distance we had taken, and were quite happy with ourselves.  I started singing the Rocky theme and together we punched our fists in the air. We called out below, waving our arms. No one heard. But we smiled together.

We peered over the edge of the summit, to the steep valleys below. I held onto him, steadied his footing.

"It's a long way down, Dad." he said quite seriously. I nodded.

As we descended, my son led the way, chose the path, warned me of upcoming cacti and other dangers and half-way down, we had a water break. I told him going down a hill is faster, but that an accident going down was harder to control, and to lower his centre of gravity.

We sat on a large rock, shared a drink of water, and my son turned to me:

"Dad. You know how you showed me what to watch out for, be careful of, which path to take?"

I nodded.

"And you kept me going, and encouraged me to get to the top, and to keep going?"

I started getting a sense, but what came out of his mouth, took me aback.

"And you told me what's different about going up and going down?

He paused.

"Is that what you do Dad? Encourage me. Teach me. Help me? To know how to get somewhere? Point out what to watch out for? Is that what you do Dad?"

The breeze from the lake was blowing his hair gently, and I looked at his wonderful, curious, loving eyes.

And with a hint of a tear in my eye, I hugged him.

"Yes, son. That's what a Dad does.  And that's what I'll do for the rest of my life."

He leaned into me for a moment, broke away and stood up.

"C'mon Dad. This way." he said with a smile.

Life is better than the movies.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Let's keep in touch

Reciprocity. Frequency. Proximity. And somewhat redundantly Geography.

Relationships depend on these factors.

It has to be mutual. You have to like each other. Check.

You have to have some frequency of interaction. Once a month (average time period between my phone calls to my parents), three times a day (average frequency of phone calls my wife makes to her mother, sister, brother). Check

Distance, matters. If you live down the street. You are my neighbour. I see you. Drive by. Walk by. In my house. In your house. Check

Well if an ocean separates us, it's either Titanic style cross the ocean, or its on a plane. If you live in N. America, you have the option of mega road-trips. Even Fed-Ex takes a bit longer if you live continents apart.

Relationships take place in the time-space continuum. As such, physical factors, and time factors are obvious.

So when is the last time you got handwritten snail mail. Chances are a parent licked a stamp.

We've got facebook, twitter, email, text, ping, skype, global satellite phones.

Yes, it's easier. But are we doing it? Keeping in touch. Pretending our friend in the South Pole, is down the street. With your webcam you show them the snowy Rocky mountains, with theirs they show you Bondi beach.

Snippets are easier. Sound bytes. Hello, how are you's.  Face to face is almost there. But it's virtual. Pixels. Analog phones seemed closer. Because, chances are, when you used them , they were closer.

In the mind's eye, cyberreality didn't erase the distance.

And staying in touch has never been easier, but somehow, that stops us getting the D&Ms of face to face. Superficial. Shallow.

So you've creeped around Facebook and figured out the spousal and offspring of your long forgotten elementary school acquaintances. You (524) compete with your wife (942 and counting) on FB friends. Kidding.....actually no...really....but given up.

Keeping in touch could be a full time gig. But the reality is. You call who you want to. You get on a plane, and travel and sit down and break bread with the people you really want to compensate for the geography, proximity, frequency bit of the equation.

Quality time, not quantity time.

Sitting on a beach at Club Med, when your kids are in the KidzClub for 12 hours, does not constitute a family vacation. You are having a vacation from each other.

So hey, let's keep in touch. See you on Skype.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I took an online scriptwriting course a long while ago. We'd get on a chat forum and do speedwriting and critiquing each other's work. It was great; people from all over the world.  One of the guys called me "binary Phil" because my characters were overly dramatic.  Indeed there is an element of "0" or "1"-ness in my personality, and black and whiteness-ness. So it's no surprise that much of my blog posts seem that way too. It's just me, not much I can do about it.


I was driving somewhere recently, hurriedly, the focus of my NOW moment filled with elements of time, geography and information. And thoughts; a lot of thoughts. Then a quiet internal voice switched on and said "Focus on things that are ALWAYS." Weird.

Then the lightbulb.

I started to verbalize:

I will ALWAYS love my wife.
I will ALWAYS love my children.
I will ALWAYS cherish my parents.
I will ALWAYS love God.

I've written about the Eternal Now before, and this is really a riff on the same thing, but something about ALWAYS struck me. And most interestingly, the things I verbalised, had nothing to do with places, or time, or thoughts.  Feelings and beings.  Solid truths and convictions that I will not waver from.

Makes the NOW moments (finish this project, get to the meeting on time, pay bills, pick up kids) really trivial by comparison. I know life demands that we take care of the practicalities, and I'm not espousing the abandonment of taking care of the day to days of life.

I'm more interested in the FOCUS of life. The NOW moments or the ALWAYS moments.

Now here's another thought. What about focusing on the ALWAYS moments NOW.

I will always love my wife NOW.
I will always love my children NOW.

In Covey's 7 Habits, there is the time management quadrants: Urgent, Not urgent, Important, Not important.

So I guess let's make urgent, prioritize, the things that are important, and not be led by things that are indeed urgent, but perhaps not as a long shot.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Few vs. The Many

I have an amazing wife.  She's a brave soul. She puts herself out there, sometimes in pretty public situations, and does what she believes in her heart to do.  She loves to "walk across the room" to where people are at, not where she is at.

My wife is confident, but she's not made of steel. She is soft-hearted woman with a big soul. So sometimes people don't "get her".  Because she chooses the few, and not the many.  Life is not a popularity contest, and some people will take you or leave you. That's the reality of people. And sometimes that hurts.

She recently chose to honour the few, whose journeys have been a life beyond adversity, some self-created, some not. She does not judge them. She honours them.  For some, what my wife has done is to deliver some of the most significant moments of the lives of a few. Sure, she sometimes does that in front of the many, and causes some ire.

Makes me reflect on whose opinions we care about the most. Because we care. We do. Because we are human. We care because it is in the context of others that we live. Even those who isolate themselves, do so in context to that.

We care about the opinions of our parents early on, then our friends, and soon our peers sometimes enemies.  Once in school it may be in the context of that little ecosystem where we want to belong, to be significant. Then our we create our own ecosystems, we may even, in the case of a politician, care about the general populace, the many.

As we get older though, in private, we often revert back to the opinions of those who love us, and those we love. Most likely, the few. Those in faith life, they may hold central, the opinions of a God. The One.

There are naysayers everywhere, armchair critics, consumers and reactionaries of life. Yes, I am also often one. I judge, but don't like to be judged.

So I leave you with this question:

Do you care about the opinions of "the many", most of whom you do not know, and cares not about you, or the opinions of "the few" who have a deep interest in your life and well-being?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I'm not good at it. Ask my wife. My children.

I try. I really do. But I love the sound of my own voice, and the superiority of my thoughts.

Lately.....I am starting. To listen.

Not to the chirping of the birds per se, the sound of the wind, or the moving melody of a favourite song; but the voice; from within.

Now before you recommend a psychotherapist, these aren't the "voices".

It's the inner dialogue. It's truth through questions.

It's not so much hearing, but seeing.

It's a pause. An exhale. It's the clarity. Selah.

So settle the cacophony of the day.

And listen.

Someone wants to talk to you.

And someone wants to listen.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Buy Cheap/Buy Twice: False Economy

Sometimes ignorance can be bliss.

In the last 12 months (as I get older), I'm looking to reset, and reboot areas of my life, and the life of my family. Stagnant, thoughtless, purposeless repetition....avoid, avoid, avoid!

Education has been at the centre of this process. And the internet has been a boon.

Between thestoryofstuff and Food inc. and many other books and documentaries,  I'm severely challenged by the knowledge of what the global consumer economy is doing to humanity and the planet.  Driven by price, and price alone......the land of $20 DVD players, $1000 cars, cheap sushi, Big Macs etc......

So let's consume.....differently.

The old adage of "buy cheap, buy twice" has never been truer. Not only has this definition of false economy endured, its essence is now amplified.  If you buy cheap, not only will you buy twice, three times etc., but ultimately you will pay in other ways...pollution, illness. These back-end costs are infinitely worse and are past your own lifespan, but onto the lives of your children and grandchildren, their health, well-being......

Better quality the first time......less trips to the returns department, less testing of the warranty policy, less time wasted, better quality consumer goods....less line-up time, car time, internet price checking time, emotional expenditure.....

Have you looked at how much organic chicken/beef is? It's more per lb/kg.  So simply.....EAT LESS! COOK SLOWER....

I have bought Wagyu beef a couple of times. Crazy expensive, and so rich, that you can't eat a lot of you buy cheaper cuts, cook it slowly (you can't barbecue it anyway, it will all melt away), and eat less of it.....

Now, less meat? Hmmmm. It's happening naturally, but I'm not going to be vegetarian...unless it's medically it weakness or short sightedness...but I like red meat.

Having said that a few trips to Real Food Daily in Santa Monica, opened my mind and palate up to the reality of really tasty and filling vegetarian tofu steaks....sure! Now if I can only figure how to use less salt when I eat vegetarian....

And true to form.....each of us, everyday, doing something a little bit different, will lead to....incremental exponentialism of course!

Let the snowballing begin.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Science of the Mind vs. Art of the Heart

Tangible logic is overrated.....obsessing about the detail of observable reality.

So here I am, re-processing something I've heard that resonated with me: Art of the Heart. So Chris Wiersma, apologies as I continue to hijack the words of others.

We are humans......and not information processors.....we are not machines....but we spend a great deal of time, money and resources to investigate how machine-like we are, not how human we are.

In the Matrix, when Neo meets the Architect, the Architect, a construct of digital code, views with disdain the organic, illogical, contradictory and ultimately strangeness of humanity.

Art of the we really have to make that much sense?

Should we not invest more time into our own humanity?

Thursday, January 07, 2010


Though it will be highly unlikely that I am going to face circumstances as severe and important as Nelson Mandela, I was profoundly affected by the film Invictus, and in particular the scene, where Francois Peinaar, the Springboks captain visits Mandela's cell, and imagines Mandela in prison; breaking up rocks, sleeping on a blanket; powerful stuff.

Here is William Ernest Henley's short poem published in 1888, 102 years before Mandela's release in 1990.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Monday, December 28, 2009

WHAT YOU CAN LEARN FROM A SNOWBALL: The Concept of Incremental Exponentialism

If you know me, then I rabbit on A LOT about incremental exponentialism, which is really my fancy way of describing compounding, or snowballing.

I like snow.

I didn't grow up with an abundance of it. It was a special thing to see it, touch it, play in it, ski down it, and get hit by it.

The proverbial snowball, made up of millions of unique snowflakes, compressed, getting larger as it rolls down the hills, or as a child rolls one around to make a snowman...picking up a thin layer which starts to add exponentially to the surface area and indeed the volume and mass of the snowball. Put simply....what starts small quickly grows unexpectedly.

So what can you learn from a snowball? A lot.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

NARRATIVE: A story shaped life

Firstly, I hope this is not an egregious plagiaristic effort vis a vis Bob Osborne's insightful message at WKC. Bob, if you ever read this....maybe we should write this book together.

I love stories. That said, it is the cinematic story that most captures my imagination, soul and spirit. I've written about 7-8 full length screenplays (1 shot), the last one about 3 years ago. As a crash course reference, typically there are 90 pages to a script, each page representing 1 minute of screentime.

It is amazing how true this holds, whether it is a script for Transformers or for a Woody Allen flick, the rule of thumb holds true. I analogize this with a person of action, outdoorsy adventure type, or a contemplative philosopher, musing and dialoguing.

So we too have a narrative. The story of our lives. Like a classic story, we have a beginning, middle & end. At least in our 90 (let's hope) years upon this earth. Some of us may be a short story, and some of us will be 3 hour epics (OK 180 years is a long time!)

As plot development goes, Act 1: the beginning is in the first 10-20 minutes. It sets up the protagonist (the main character); their character, their motivations. So it is with us: from conception to adulthood; formative, foundational.

Act 2: the middle. Full of conflict, developments, ups and downs. Frequently with a building excitement. Multiple story arcs; threaded in; subtexts: underlying tensions and driving forces. The the climax, and also perhaps a big gloom......right before the happy, or unhappy ending. It occupies 50-60 minutes. By time the majority of the story..not necessarily by intensity. Typically the part of a movie, if not well written, might get lost, might forget what type of movie it is, might get boring and repetitive.

Act 3: the end. Typically with much resolution, tying up loose ends, looking towards the future. Sometimes ending in joy, or despair. Mostly, the effects of Act 1 and 2 coming to a satisfying or often unsatisfying culmination. Some with great "payoffs", some leaving you hanging....with only questions.

So people often say that there is a "book in everyone of us", I say that we intentionally and accidentally create a story of our own, with our life, with its own narrative, its quirks and incidents, its profound and mundane episodes.

So what is your narrative: action-adventure? drama? comedy? tragedy? thriller? What is your story shaped life?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Upgrade: Introduction

On a related diversion from Belonging and Significance, I am increasingly aware of our search for the Upgrade. They feed on our need for belonging and significance.

That word upgrade may conjure up legroom, champagne, a flight attendant who isn't an old grumpy witch, there are smiles, whether eyes are opened or closed, beds that lay flat rather than being squeezed between two obese travelers.

It's a classic extension of the class system. Virgin actually calls it Upper Class....straight to the point...the lounge, the manicure, the massage, the limousine to and from...oh it's a bit of rock star heaven wrapped up in an 18 hour journey. You belong to Upper Class, you are significant in Upper Class.

A.B.C. Bronze/Silver/Gold/Platinum/Black/Titanium.....1st, 2nd, 3rd.

Incremental Revolutions are what they seem. To get past that threshold has the promise of an almost alternate reality. Some subtle changes, leading to the promise of so, so, so much more.

Upgrade. Our house, our car, our spouse, our bodies, our life.

The corner office. The house on the lake. The hotel suite.

We dare not believe in total transformation. But an upgrade. We can believe in that.

Sunday, November 01, 2009


I spent 80+ days with my in-laws since March. I stay with them, when I go near them for business, once or twice a month. It's a notably large amount of time to spend with one's in-laws, and for some it might not be a desired activity, but for me it has been an unusual blessing.  Made all the more poignant by the fact that my father-in-law passed away on October 7, 2009.

A man, many know by his accomplishments, but I know by his character and humanity. A man who cheated death numerous times, most recently making a miraculous recovery from March onwards (his heart stopped for 2 minutes in heart surgery). A man who died suddenly in his son's arms, 4 days after his 50th anniversary.

I grieve that he is no longer there, when I visit. I will sit, as I did this past week, and have dinner with my mother-in-law, an empty chair painfully obvious, the conversation less lively, the talk mainly of memories.

I grieve, for his daughter, my wife, misses him so. His grandchildren, who speak daily of loss, even my little 4 year old girl. Her "I love you daddy" is followed often by "grandpa died...."

I grieve that heaven's gain, seems a disproportionate loss on earth.

I grieve, because I catch myself in moments of joy, laughter and brevity.....and his loss springs of smile fades...I grow suddenly quiet....

I grieve, because inexplicable triggers manifest....I find myself feeling like I've cried for hours...when I haven't shed a tear at all...when the gap left by a person seems impossibly large.

I grieve not to cope, but as the only option left to me. For denial, or "getting over it" seems foolish and trite. So I face the freight train, horns blaring....I can survive this collision with deep emotion a crashing wave.

I grieve.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

50 Years of Marriage

This past weekend, my in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  I was entasked with producing a video for it. As I pored through hundreds of photos, I journeyed through rich and varied lives.  Here it is. It's 6 minutes long. I hope it does something for you.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Serenity Prayer

If you go to AA or other 12 step programs. You'll know this one.

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Just for today.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.

The first paragraph is usually the part that most people know. Authorship is unknown. But just like open source it is open to interpretation, revision and improvement.

I hope you read it, and the purpose of the prayer gives you a glimpse of the peace that you are seeking.

Here's a variation I kinda like too.

God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change
courage to change the one I can change,
and wisdom to know it’s me.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Heaven is the Face

I don't talk about matters of faith very often on this blog. I certainly don't talk about heaven very much. For those of you who know of him, Steven Curtis Chapman is a well regarded Christian music artist.

He has adopted several children from China. Last year, one of his adopted daughters was run over by his own son. It is a gut-wrenching tragedy, and one wonders how someone can cope with the loss first, and the circumstances of the loss.

I encourage you to view this video of a song Steven wrote; inspired by his little girl in heaven. Listen, read the words and make sure you get to the end.

Only God can give the strength to endure, to turn tragedy into a song of hope.

Monday, August 31, 2009


They're easy to make.

"We'll hang out son, go rafting maybe. This afternoon. I promise."

I didn't do it. My son's heart sank. My son trusts me. But each time I break a promise, and disappoint him, I confirm to him, that no one, not even his dad, keeps his promises.

He'll expect it less. He'll do it less.

Friendships. Marriage. Parenthood. There's a lot of implicit and explicit promises made in these relationships.

So, the next time I'm tempted to make a loose promise. I'm not going to think twice. I'm just not going to do it. Because they are important to keep.

And that's a promise.

Friday, July 31, 2009


My wife has a skill. I call it her 3rd Ear. She has the uncanny ability to track 2-3 conversations in our immediate vicinity, particularly in a restaurant setting. So-and-so were fighting about this, and the table behind us were talking about that.....meanwhile not skipping a beat with our own conversation. It happened last night. It was our 15th anniversary.

Now this is an endearing quality of hers, so I personally don't have an issue with it. Eavesdropper? Yes. Nosy parker? Yes. She is truly an expert observer of human interactions, and takes people watching to a whole new level.

My father also had this skill. My mother told me about her first date with him, where he seemingly was totally engrossed in conversation, yet knew exactly what people were talking about around him, and gave a report to my mother at the end of their date!!!

Should my wife have pursued a career with the CIA? Oh yes. Not only does she have the 3rd ear, she can also assess the relationship status of people at an adjacent table within 10 seconds, by clothing, body language and other social cues that are lost on me. And it doesn't hurt that strangers are very comfortable telling her their most secret personal details within 10 minutes of meeting her.

I never had a chance.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Keep it Simple Stupid. K-I-S-S.

I was sitting at Denny's today, watching my little girl eat her Smiley Alien Pancake (3 pancakes, bacon and whipped cream). While the meal would give a nutritionist a heart attack, the simple pleasure of chatting with my 4 year old as she engaged with her meal (yes she played with her food) reminded me that life is made of choices and moments, and the more you can share those choices and moments, the richer life is.

We weren't meant to live this life alone. Get together with those you love, and do something simple.

Monday, June 08, 2009


People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered; Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;

Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;

It was never between you and them anyway.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Things that take time, are good for you, and sort of free

I've got some perpetual objectives in my family: spend more time together, engage in healthy activities, teach them to care about other people outside of themselves. In context of the global recession somewhat, I have the following perspectives:

1. Teach our children to spend less time in front of a screen, whether it's a TV or a computer.
2. Teach them to be something more than consumers.
3. Teach them to spend more time in healthier activities.

"Monkey see monkey do". So it starts with us. Don't switch on the TV or computer until your kids are bed.

So my premise is: What are the things that will substitute the time spent in front of a TV and computer, that is good for you, and doesn't cost a lot of money, and you can do as a family.

1. Spend at least one night a week playing games. Not video games. Games. Monopoly. Card games.
2. Spend at least one hour per week, taking a family walk.
3. Go to the park, bring sandwiches, fruit and drinks. It's called a picnic. Once a month.
4. Find somewhere you can volunteer as a family once a month.

Don't just go to a movie. Don't just go to the mall. Don't just sit and watch TV. Break the habit. I guarantee you. If you do points 1-4 for 3 months, you will have a radically different family life, and you'll save money too! And have lost some weight to boot.

Can't lose.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Greed/Faith may be the opposite of fear but they are not the answer

In the past I have written about market psychology (Greed vs. Fear) and spiritual psychology (Faith vs. Fear). It speaks to our mindset, our disposition, our perspective. But neither Greed nor Faith are the antidote of fear. Faith almost but not quite.

If fear is a state, a condition of insecurity and paranoia, then only an action can overcome it; to change that state. If greed, an overwhelming state of selfishness, then again, it takes an action to alter it.

This action, is LOVE.

Love overcomes fear and love changes greed.

So if you find yourself in either the states of fear this week, defeat it with love.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Story of Stuff

Once in a while, your fragmented hunches, fears, speculations are packaged by another person in such a succinct, and clear way, that it galvanizes it all. I'm more troubled by what I might need to do, now that I am no longer "ignorant."

20 minutes of your time. Stark reality of sustainability or the lack thereof. Even if you believe only 20% of it, think of the billions in China and India who want to live the "dream".

Pass it on, provoke thought. Provoke action

Saturday, April 11, 2009


For us in the Northern Hemisphere, Easter marks Spring.

For us in the North of the Northern Hemisphere, we're talking about the snow maybe, just maybe, melting for the very last time.

The season conjures up colors: greens, bright florals, and signifies: life, rebirth, growth, hope and promise.

So I sincerely wish you all a thaw to all that is frozen, and the blossoming of dormant things, and life to all that might be dead; resurrected.

Happy Easter.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Do you have burning desire to MAKE IT, or BE FAMOUS? If you asked a kid, I'm sure "I wanna be famous" is the norm not the exception. If you asked a twenty year-old it would probably be affirmative for both.

"Fake it till you make it" is probably more of a life ethos for many, rather than a novelty T shirt line.

SIGNIFICANCE. To matter. To be known. To make a difference. To leave a legacy. A core need of humanity.

Paths to significance are as individual and varied as there are people on this earth. In the book Outliers, Malcom Gladwell (of Tipping Point, Blink fame: two significant books) delves deeply into the stories and insights into the development of significant and exceptional people like Bill Gates. Much of it is accidental, coincidental, circumstantial. But deep inside these individuals was a desire to be significant.

Sure, aptitude, training and context are all contributing factors. Napoleon, Genghis Khan and Hitler all had urges to be significant. But significance was merely the by-product of Jesus, Mother Teresa, and many other influential people to have existed.

Some inspired fear, others inspired faith. Some inspired war, others peace. Some for a time, some for eternity.

So consider what that word or concept means to you today:SIGNIFICANCE.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I was a pretty scrawny kid. On outward appearance I could not possibly be a very strong athlete, except for the fact that before adolescence kicked in fully, I was 75% legs. yup, since I was 12, I have been a 31 inch inseam, my legs grew first, and I had the torso of a 3 year old.

The advantages to this freakish body, was that I was super light. On my first cross country run, I came 5th or something like that in my class. My lungs were burning, but as I hunched over, I realised that I could be pretty good at this.

So with no one's encouragement, or even sense of competition, and with no one really knowing, I would awake at first light, leave the front door unlocked, and run for 30 minutes, and sneak back in before breakfast, each day, for months.

In the ensuing years I became a very proficient cross country and middle distance runner. Represented the school and went to track meets.

Then I met this girl on the track team. She was a very fast 200m runner. She was dating this guy who was a fast 50m butterfly swimmer....

Now, suffice it to say that distance running and sprint swimming require some very different skills.

In Phys-Ed, though I was a pretty good swimmer, trying to do 50m of butterfly, all flailing arms, and gulping water, was a bit of an embarrassment.

Now, there wasn't a guarantee that whoever was the fastest under 15 50m butterfly swimmer was going to win the heart of this 200m sprinter, but hey, I was young and dumb and it seemed to make sense. first light, I snuck out, and swam. The 50 m butterfly. Perfected my dolphin kick. Got the sweeping arms going. Breathed every other stroke. Timed the final stretch to the wall.

It was a cold November day. The day of the swim meet. The sprinter was there. The 50m butterfly guy, who I will call the Albatross was there. He was about a foot taller than me and had crazy long arms. We both made it into through the heats, the quarters, the semis. He was in lane 4, and I in lane 8 of the finals. I won. I dated the girl. I became part of the swim team for the next few years. My specialty: the 50m butterfly.

Two of my main high school athletic accomplishments, running and swimming.

One spurred on by some strange dysfunctional growth proportion thing, and some surprisingly singular drive to get better at something you're naturally OK at.

The other, by the seemingly impossible task of being the best at something you were the worst at, motivated by the desire to date a 200m sprinter.

Running. I had nothing to prove. Except to myself. I wasn't really even fussed about the competitive element, as I am not naturally a competitive person.

Swimming. I had everything to prove. To win the girl. To show her that there was something spectacularly romantic about a guy who would train daily, cold and alone, to win her heart through besting her boyfriend in a swimming race. So misguided, but ultimately successful.

No one knew that there were such different motivating factors to what seemed to others, as my natural aptitude in becoming really good at swimming and running. Only I did. And maybe my bemused PE teacher, who lost a distance runner and gained a sprint swimmer.

This is perhaps the most long winded prelude to the point of my blog today. What drives you? Motivates you? If you seek success, why do you seek it? Do you have something to prove? Do you do it for your own sense of accomplishment, or are you driven by the approval or recognition by others?

I'm constantly surprised by stories of people who are driven by things like: being called a failure by their father, decide to "show him", and become wildly successful, or accomplish incredible feats.

Or hypercompetitive people, who just want to be stronger, faster, better. Bigger house, nicer car, hotter spouse. A life in context, rather than a life in and of itself.

Do you have something to prove? Has a past hurt fueled your pursuits? Are you disproving the doubts of others in achieving greatness in something?

Or are you at peace with who you are?

Monday, February 09, 2009


School. Neighbourhood. Workplace. Sports. You meet people. You become friends.

Tennis buddies, poker buddies. Friends you do things with.

People you eat together with, live together with.

Perhaps first by chance, but ultimately by choice.

When life changes, geographic distance come into play. Those friendships are tested. Then you know who are your friends by choice, and who you choose to be friend of.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


I don't really remember when I got switched on to this, but I'm convinced that belonging and significance is, outside from the great shortage of love in the world, what global society lacks the most, and what we hunger for, in our core.

So let's talk about belonging. My wife was telling about someone she knows, who was adopted, and who was then "abandoned" later in life, when a birth child came a long. I also know someone, whose parents adopted and fostered dozens of children, some from the far corners of the world. The heartbreaking story is that some of these children, some that were saved from certain death, are now turning their backs on the people who have loved them and nurtured them.

These are difficult stories to hear, absorb and process.

I am eternally grateful that I belong to my birth family, and now my own family. I am someone who was, since childhood, was looking for a lifetime companion, and was fortunate enough to find one. I belong to her, and she to me. My children belong to me, and me to them. Its such a symbiotic thing. Not co-dependence. Just being. Together. Individuals. But together.

We long to belong.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I've been contemplating the luxuries of the developed world, and the insane relative privilege that my children are accustomed to. I am planning for the opportunity for their young lives to intersect with the reality of poverty, and the billion children who live in it.

I heard this in a Sunday message, and it was exactly the juxtaposition of privilege vs. poverty that is jarring, and impossible to ignore. Some amazing people who I know, one well, the others by handshake and brief interaction have launched a movement called Compassionart ( ). Another story where those who know, have been compelled to act.

So I urge you to be shocked, disgusted, heartbroken. And may the realities of this poem turn you into an activist for the least of these.

We pray for the children who sneak Popsicles before
supper, who erase holes in math workbooks, who can
never find their shoes. And we pray for those who stare
at photographers from behind barbed wire, who can't
bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers, who
never "counted potatoes," who never go to the circus,
who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions, who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money. And we pray for those who never get dessert, who have no safe blanket to drag behind them, who watch their parents watch them die, who can't find any bread to steal, who don't have any rooms to clean up, whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser, whose monsters are real.

We pray for children who spend all their allowance before Tuesday, who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food, who like ghost stories, who shove dirty clothes under the bed, who never rinse out the tub, who get visits from the tooth fairy, who don't like to be kissed in front of the carpool, who squirm in church and scream in the phone, whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those whose nightmares come in the daytime, who will eat anything, who have never seen a dentist, who aren't spoiled by anybody, who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep, who live and move, but have no being. We pray for children who want to be carried and for those who must, who we never give up on and for those who don't get a second chance. For those we smother and...for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.