Sunday, 29 March 2015

Tell The Truth

I was cleaning up yesterday and came across a box I had been avoiding... more or less.
A long time ago, when I was a budding writer, I took a creative writing course. I had already written a novel by then. That novel was crap. However, the experience of writing the novel was good in and of itself. The issue was I was trying to write an adult novel from my seventeen year old perspective. It doesn't work. During the course, one thing stuck with me. When writing - even fiction - one needs to tell the truth. It took me a long time to figure out that I was supposed to be writing my own truth, not what I thought people wanted to hear (i.e. their truth). I didn't know what my truth was then... which is why I write in the first place.
People generally don't want to hear what they already know. They want something new.
I happened across an old flame's Facebook page yesterday. (I call her X2 for anonymity.) Why I bothered flipping through her time-line, I don't know and the crux is, I did. I suppose we all wonder how those who were once intimate are making out in their lives. Sometimes we find out. Sometimes it's best we don't. As it happens, she has written and published a book using a nom de plume. (I'll get back to that.)
I'll be buying a copy.
It's not unusual for me to buy books by people I know. I have one written by one of my English teachers in high school and several written by friends. I have a sneaking suspicion this particular book is going to be a bit disturbing.
I wrote an entry a short time ago called Man Up! In it I outline how the feminist movement has gone beyond simple equality to a position of domination. When X2 and I were together, we had the same ideals about equality. Not always the same methods for achieving equilibrium and still, the same ideals. We remained friends after the break-up for a few years until one incident changed all of it. She took a dominating posture and I – having learned I no longer would accept being subservient – packed it in and walked away. (This is my truth, so take it with a grain of salt.)
There was nothing belligerent about my reaction to the incident. No fizzling out. No argument. No hissy fit or pushing back. I just drew the line in the sand, it was crossed and I stopped engaging. End of story.
I learned something about myself that day. But then, don't we always?
The book in question seems to be some sort of manual for women getting what they want. I'm all for that. And, it seems from the outside looking in, a manual for women to dominate. I won't pass judgment at this point. That would be unfair and I would like to see what is being meted out as advice before throwing my hat into the ring. However, the stance promoted in some of her Facebook entries are telling and – from my point of view – a bit disturbing.
Is there any wonder I won't re-engage intimately on a one to one level?
It seems to me if one is going to write something, particularly non-fiction, one would want to use their own name and stand behind their opinion. When a writer uses a nom de plume for their writing, I immediately go to “I wonder what they're hiding”. Perhaps it's just me and there seems to be a bit of untruth happening... as if the writer doesn't quite believe what they are writing. Or the persona they are creating isn't who they are in reality which is a bit of untruth in itself. Or, they may be writing about something so controversial it's best they safely hide behind the mask of a different characterization. It makes me wonder what she is hiding.
It's all fun and games until someone unceremoniously removes the mask.
The box I referred to earlier is a box of photos. Momentary glimpses of momentary truths once known. One of the photos was taken at the end of a course I assisted with many years ago and have since assisted a few times. In the background of the photo of happy people is a large sign stating, “Tell The Truth”.
So that's it then, isn't it. Tell the truth... your truth... and sign your name to it... not your nom de plume. Of course, all of this is my truth and may not be yours.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

The Nature of Things

Suck it up, Buttercup. I despise that axiom.
Until we change our thinking and actions, nothing else will change.
Late last year and early this year, I was promised certain bonuses for doing extra work. I was sent to other cities to bail them out of trouble. Why me? Because I'm good at what I do. They send me in to fix other people's messes. For this, I was made promises. In the four months since these promises were made, not one has come through despite my reminders to my boss and his boss. They've gotten what they want... extra work based on unfulfilled promises. It's not as if they can give me back my time.
They've also gotten something else. After half a dozen reminders, I've given up. They dangled the carrot, got the job done and took away the carrot. It's clear they have zero intent to come through. They win.
Is this how we were meant to live? One gust of wind...
The current socio-economic system is built (is dependent) on empty promises, competition and people giving up. Promise the world, give just enough incentive to ensure we think it's improving and the machine continues to run.
I studied Economics in school. I studied accounting in school. I worked with the finance committees and accounting departments. I've been a corporate buyer of goods and a seller of goods. I've been a financial planner. I've run my own businesses. Nowhere... and I mean NOWHERE is there ever a mention of sustainability and equilibrium in any economic model. None. Why do you suppose that is?
The term economy, when used as a term in a monetary system, is intentional misdirection. It's not about economy at all. It's about getting more whether it is economical or not. It's a sales job to make us think what we are working toward is economical.
The true meaning of economy is frugality. That is, making the best decision based on the health of each individual, resource availability, resource recycling, resource replenishment and social equilibrium; using less to get more. Under the current system, none of these are taken into account. Choices are made every day based on cost. We don't feed people in Africa because it costs too much. We don't pay decent wages because the bottom line is more important than person's well being. We are losing jobs in North America because it is financially better for investors to pay people abroad a pittance even though it isn't the right thing to do.
Yes... it really is that simple. Money doesn't care and it never will... and the billions of people suffering under the weight of that system are expendable.
Economics in the monetary system will never take into account what is right. Not ever. It will always take into account what costs less. It is all based on the premise of providing something that is inherently flawed at the cheapest possible price being the best solution. The one percent with fifty percent of the world's wealth (and the control) are so far removed from what you and I deal with they have no frame of reference with which to make decisions on our behalf. Yet we elect those people to office.
Insanity is defined as... doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.
Our future?
It has been just over 100 years since the advent of the current market system (1913 to be exact). Empirical evidence shows it has inherent (intentional) gaps between the haves and have-nots. In this system, it is absolutely necessary to have a poor working class. The more people are kept poor and in debt, the more they will do your bidding to simply survive. There is no equilibrium. In order to produce what we want (not need), we must have sweat shops overseas. We must have people emigrate to our country who are willing to shovel our shit. We must have products become obsolete as quickly as possible to keep the economic machine running. We must spend more and be anxious more and become less healthy and work harder for less and go deeper in debt to keep the machine humming along.
How much of that sounds like the definition of economy (frugality and equilibrium)?
Repeat after me... “More is better. Charity begins at home. I have to take care of myself first. I'll be happier when I have... (?). Poor people should work harder. It is the way it is. I can't change the whole world. I have to go into debt to get what I want. I have to have the newest thing because it's better. Competition is healthy. Life is struggle. It will all work out if I work harder.” All of that is complete and utter fucking bullshit.
If I buy into the axiom “this is the best and only way it will work”, then I am selling myself – and everyone I know – down the river.
Hard is not relative. It isn't any harder to tell your five year old you're getting a divorce than it is to tell your spouse you cheated on them. It isn't any harder to admit you just claimed bankruptcy than it is to admit you're homosexual. It isn't any harder to pick up the phone and ask for a date than it is to pick up that same phone and ask for help. It isn't any harder to move toward a symbiotic society than it is to suffer in the caustic one that exists now.
Hard is hard... period. The question is, are we going to continue to suffer hardship because it takes less effort to give up or are we going to make some hard choices because the results will benefit everyone?
Until we change societal thinking from “me and mine” to “us and ours”, we're doomed to continue on this path. Is it easy to make the change? I don't know. We haven't really tried, have we. We all just keep plodding along like a donkey with a carrot on a stick dangling in front of our noses. We keep watching the fucking carrot while some dude rides along for free in a cart behind us.
There are plenty of people out there changing their thinking. There are plenty of people willing to help with that change. There are plenty of people out there who see the value in community rather than divisiveness. I know a lot of them who teach exactly what I am talking about. And they're right to teach those things. We do have to change our thoughts and behaviours. It's imperative. There is another part of change that is critical, though. There has to be a systemic change in concert with individual change. We must change the system that creates these abnormalities in human behaviour. We must change the system that puts a price tag on humans and environment based on an arbitrary, man-made value system.
All the personal change in the world is simply a temporary buffer against the system that is hell bent on keeping you where you are.
The only way we have equality, regardless of positive thinking of individuals, is to manifest a system which promotes equality and eliminates competition. This anxious, toxic world you live in now... is this what you had in mind for your children and grandchildren? Until the current system changes, they will get exactly what you got.
Human nature is not competitive, destructive, unfeeling and putting some arbitrary value on the suffering of others.
Human nature is love, kindness, community, connection, economy and sharing. I'm not always the sharpest tool in the shed and even I can figure out my mental and physical health are dependent on a community of open, honest, like minded people who care deeply for each other and the world we live in.
Until we put emotion into economy, the cold-hearted, detached dictatorship of the all mighty dollar will continue to pervade all we do.
I'm choosing the change.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The Power of Yes

This is going to get weird. Just sayin'.
Whenever I am at work and my boss offers me extra work, I always say yes. Whenever the Universe presents an opportunity which will better my understanding of myself, I always say yes. (Always and never don't happen so you can see where this is going.) Understanding the dynamics of Quantum Physics dictates the more of a certain energy I put out, the more I get back. And... Quantum Physics dictates the more I say yes to certain things, the more those things will be offered.
I told you this would get weird.
When I was in high school, I wanted to be an architect. I loved the idea of designing something people would enjoy for years. Naturally, I took drafting and architectural courses through high school to the point where I thought I may like to make it my career. Circumstances weren't in my favour. The teacher of all the architectural classes had an issue with me which I never quite understood until later in life.
As it turns out, he and my father didn't get on well during their days in high school and it managed to seep through to me. Two things... My father had nothing to do with the issue. It wasn't his fault an old acquaintance was an ass and I never once blamed him for the troubles. Not once. Second, that a teacher would let his own past affect his judgment when the children land in his class says much more about the teacher than it does about me or my father.
My grades suffered.
Unfortunately, I was a ball of outside-influenced silly putty during those years and, rather than stand up for myself, I switched majors when I landed in university; accounting and computer science. I convinced myself my propensity for solving equations was a better career choice. I was wrong. I had been influenced by an outside source.
Making decisions is difficult enough at times without outside influence. It's difficult to clear the noise of others opinions and really get down to the nuts and bolts of what I want. Trying to listen to my gut when my head is screaming every other person's belief is akin to trying to turn a boat around in a hurricane. The outside influence keeps getting in the way of what I want to do.
Plenty of people use alternative methods for making decisions. Many of those include Tarot cards, horoscopes, ring divining, flipping coins, tossing bones, divining rods, sniffing the wind, etc. Somehow they feel they have some influence over the outcome so the end result must be what they wish. There is some truth to it. For example, if someone is flipping a coin and they are thinking “heads” all of the time, more often than not, heads will come up. (Yes... tests have been done. Sheesh!) The scientific explanation is, if one is thinking “heads” the muscle reaction when flipping the coin and the catching motion will result in heads more often. The reason is, the brain is a super computer and can detect when a coin is ready to turn heads and will try to influence the outcome. Literally, the brain “sees” the coin flipping and can detect heads or tails.
Yup... it works that fast.
However, it isn't a perfect art.
There is something called kinetic decision making and it has to do with muscle reaction. Basically, if you feel “yes”, your muscles react in a certain way and if you feel “no”, they react in another. “Yes” is always the stronger of the two. In order to make a decision, one need only ask a yes/ no question and test for muscle strength. As fate would have it (do fate and decision making marry up?) I am one of those rare people with the ability to test myself. I have only met one other person who had the ability to self test kinetically. I've never tried to test another person. It might be a great laugh to try some day.
This just got weirder, didn't it. ~laugh~
Some decisions, though, are just a gut reaction to whatever the question may be. There's no need for tests or other input. There's no need for external advice or ruminating over a checkered past to see if it fits a pattern. It just feels right. There are other factors, of course. I have one particular long term goal which determines whether I say yes to my boss or not. I have another life goal which determines whether I say yes to certain activities.
I received an offer today to participate in a program this Spring. It doesn't work for me. Knowing the short term goals and the effect on long term results, I had to beg off for the Spring. I respect the person who offered and have trusted them for years so saying no was difficult. And the “yes” was still in my mind. As it turns out, there is another program in the Fall. That timing is much better for achieving both goals.
Naturally, I said yes to the Fall program. No conditions. No excuses. No reasoning out of it. I am trusting the person who offered to poke me in the ribs to remind me though. I have a tendency to be a seat of the pants kind of guy and planning is... umm... not my strong suit. (That's an effing understatement.)
For shits and giggles, I did muscle testing when I got home from work. "No" to Spring. "Yes" to Fall. Trust the gut, Dude.
My point is this... know yourself, know your goals, know if you really want those goals, be open to shifts in course along the trail and say yes to anything that isn't harmful to you, others or your goal. The power of “yes” is agreeing to the right things which attracts more of those things into your life.
Of course, if you're still having difficulty making a decision, sniffing the wind seems to help.


Monday, 23 March 2015

Echoes in the Navel

So... I was checking out my lint trap... err... navel. When the hell did it become an innie?
While relieving some lint, it got me thinking about things we only use once. After all, the navel is a one use contraption then hangs around doing not much. Well, except when Uncle Bob threatens to undo the thing so our bum falls off.
I seem to collect a plethora of one use things.
There used to be plenty of one use things hanging around my life because I “might” need such a thing sometime somewhere. It's probably the reason I can MacGiver pretty much anything. I have plenty of options. It's also the reason there is a blown out inner tube, seven screw drivers, a dinner jacket, one sock, three pair of gloves and a ton of elastics and screws in my truck. What if something happens? My tools are no different. Unless I'm planning to build a credenza or erect a scale model of the Eiffel Tower, most of those things won't get used often enough to warrant owning one. Yet I'm still reluctant to part with any of them. Boys and their toys... ya know?
Have you ever gone rooting through your pile of “garage stuff” or your junk drawer or that top shelf of the closet? How much of that stuff do you really need? I think once you're over fifty broccoli elastics, you're probably set for life. And what about that old travel kit with the dried out bandages and rusty razors? Really? You still need those?
We have two tendencies when it comes to stuff. The first is we hang onto things far too long. By the time we dig them out they've often become useless. The second tendency is to get rid of perfectly good stuff before it's done. (This is how the economy works, in case you're wondering.) A fifty inch TV becomes obsolete as soon as the neighbours show up with a sixty inch TV. Have a two year old cell phone? No problem! The phone company is giving away a free one to keep your business. And the old one goes... umm... goes... Where do old cell phones go? Our kids don't want them!
We spend far too much time keeping up with the Smiths. (I don't bother keeping up with the Jones' any longer since they started letting their dog poop on my lawn.)
Speaking of clearing junk, when do we clear some of the crap floating around in our heads? You know the stuff I mean. Those things that haunt us from our past and return when we least expect like echoes in the dark. While some of those memories may have value – like something that reminds you of college or a child's birth or a marriage – the ones that seem to pop up out of nowhere aren't always the most positive.
And we downplay the good stuff with an almost automatic "yeah.. but".
If it's affecting your life in a negative way, you really don't need it anymore. If it's something you did, forgive yourself. If it's something they did, forgive them. If it's something occurring now, get away from it. If you can't handle it on your own, ask for help.
It's a funny thing about putting out negative or positive thoughts. They really do echo back. Sometimes the echo is quick. Sometimes it takes years. And it always comes back. Wouldn't you rather have something positive echo back?
Perhaps the navel does have value after all. It's a reminder of when we were born. A time when we were innocent and every thought we had was fresh and positive. It was a time when what we put out to the world was exactly who we were. We weren't born angry or sad or negative. All that crap is learned and can be unlearned. By toning down our negative side (it's difficult to get rid of every negative thought) and ramping up our positive side, we're getting back to what we were when we were babies – wide eyed and amazed at a wonderful, wacky world.
Perhaps this is what navel gazing really means; remembering and listening to the echoes of who we once were.
So... I was checking out my nostrils...

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Sunday Musings From the Big Chair in My Altogether

Belize circa 1998
Sometimes things disappear and when they reappear, they're not quite the same.
I was in Belize when I was thirty-eight. During the trip we decided to take a kayak trip through the jungle. It was a few days trip with some overnight stays including searching for tarantellas at night and listening for the padded footsteps of jaguars whilst sleeping in the faux armour of a tent. There were six couples on the trip, all laden with gear and each paddling a two man rubber “kayak”. The kayak itself was a fourteen foot long, two and half foot wide inflatable raft-ish thing that steered like a brick in a wind storm.
Ours had a slow, undetectable air leak.
On the last day in the jungle, we came across a twenty foot water fall. The gear was portaged around the falls. Inflatable kayaks don't generally fit easily along a narrow, rocky path through dense jungle. The solution to the problem became obvious while I was carting my pack to the bottom of the waterfall. We were going over.
I looked at my partner at the time and, without hesitation, I was volunteered.
I trundled back up the trail to the top of the waterfall, scanned the water streaming along the river, stared at the inflatable, dingy and thought, this should be interesting. I pushed the kayak into the river, hopped in the back with a pretty useless paddle in my white-knuckled hand and mumbled “are you shitting me” while drifting toward the liquid edge of the Earth. As I drew closer, the sound of water assaulting itself at the bottom of the precipice grew louder, the jungle-scape moved faster, the spray from below became thicker and I'm pretty sure my eyes got bigger. Then, I was at the precipice.
The front half of the slightly deflated, yellow kayak folded downward and disappeared.
Umm... this can't be good.
I re-discovered the front of the kayak when the back decided to catch up and go vertical. Here I am being all manly, wearing a really cool looking Indiana Jones type hat in a fourteen foot inflatable banana sliding down a twenty foot waterfall with a paddle that's just along for the ride and my brain screaming the ever so coherent and helpful phrase, holy shit, holy shit, holy shit!
Now, one must understand a bit of physics and the dynamics of slightly deflated, yellow rubber kayaks. Generally speaking, if the diabolical mass of rubber and air goes one way, like a swing in the park, it's equal and opposite reaction is also likely to take place. Namely, that which folds one way will likely fold the other. I slammed into the water at the base of the falls and the inevitable occurred. Within a nano-second I was a floating yellow, rubber taco with arms, legs and paddle sticking out each side.
All I remember is the front of the kayak folding and a wet-rubbery fphump as it slammed into my face, compressed my useless cool hat and attempted to turn my sunglasses into contacts.
The kayak eventually sprung open with a sloppy flop and almost flung me into the river. Soaked and laughing, I paddled to shore where the group were waiting. I couldn't describe what it felt like. I only knew I had a sense of overcoming.
If there is a moral in this story, it's this: try everything once that doesn't harm others or yourself. Trust yourself and your ability to overcome whatever may be in front of you. Those who risk looking foolish generally accomplish and experience much more than those who watch from the sidelines. The sense of pride for having done it – for proving to yourself you can do anything – is a building block that can never be removed or shattered.
And it gives you stories to write whilst sitting in big chair in your altogether on a sunny Sunday morning.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The Way Back

See the man with the lonely eyes,
Take his hand,
You'll be surprised,
Supertramp from the song Give A Little Bit
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
When I was fourteen, I was pretty much scared of everything.
Every year about this time of year, I have a habit of sharing something a little more personal than usual. This year is no different I suppose. At least it gives my readers an opportunity to understand what kind of truculent malcontent they're really dealing with.
I received a notice today from one of those semiautomatic, Tommy-gun email sender thingys that notified me in big, bright, bold letters that tomorrow is my birthday... as if I needed some vapid digitized motor-mouthed cattle prod to remind me. Seriously... this is my 54th trip around the big yellow sky God, Sol. You think I haven't figured it out yet?
Besides, if I really want to know I'm getting older, all I need do is put on my spectacles after a shower and look in the full length mirror.
Let's not go there... 'kay? 'Kay.
I was watching the movie “The Way Back” last night which triggered thoughts of a fourteen year old me. To say I identified with Duncan (the main character) would be an understatement. There were moments in the movie when it was painful to watch, as if the writers had been keeping track of me as a boy. I was awkward, uncommunicative, nerdy, gangling, small for my age and couldn't seem to get a toe hold on where I belonged. Which also made me a complete dipshit around girls I thought were pretty... which hasn't changed much. That was Duncan. I had no idea where I wanted to be, what I wanted to do or even if I would make it far enough to bother having goals and dreams. I don't recall wanting to be anything other than survive. I seriously didn't believe I would survive my teens. By whose hand was in question then too.
At this time of year – every year – I begin to assess who and where I am. It just happens and I don't know where it comes from.
This year a book showed up.
I did something called The Baggage Project a few years ago which is now in book form. It's basically a baring of the soul while taking tasteful photos with a bunch of suitcases of varying vintage and size and... well... everything else bare. It was one of the better experiences I have had – if for no other reason – simply for being brave. There was a short interview after the photo shoot. Honestly, I can't remember what I said, which to me means it wasn't important enough; not deep enough or personal enough. I thought about that interview a while ago and knew what I wanted to say... sort of. So I closed my eyes, took myself back to that place in the studio and free-form streamed thought to see what came out and for better or worse, this is it:
I'm mostly scared.
I often feel like I'm broken. You know... pieces laying all over the floor and me trying to pick them up and fit them back together. I don't open up much. Oh, I show the real me while I'm out there but it's only a piece. The socially acceptable piece. I think if too many people see the real me I'll be shunned. There's very few people out there who have seen the pieces lying on the floor. Even fewer know they're my pieces. That somehow these bits fell off.
So I don't get close. I suppose I could say I was always the loner. I know I was a lonely kid. Even when I was with friends I felt just outside the margins. Just different enough to not be “one of them”. I was odd. Fuck... I'm still odd! I'm still outside looking in. I still don't quite fit in and I feel like if I can just get these pieces off the floor before anyone notices and put them back maybe... maybe... maybe I can be one of them, you know? If I can... just get the pieces to fit...
Please let the pieces fit.
So... yeah... I'm mostly scared... you know? Scared the pieces won't fit and I'll be outside forever. Scared someone will notice the pieces are missing... or see them strewn on the floor with an uncoordinated fourteen year old boy scrambling to pick them up. I guess that's it. I'm mostly scared.
Scared someone will get close enough to see I'm broken... and there's pieces missing... and they'll leave me there alone with all the fucking pieces all over the floor.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

I Really Couldn't Care Less

First, let's get the grammar issue out of the way.
The phrase is “I couldn't care less” meaning you are at the bottom of your care threshold and there is no further distance to travel on the "give a shit" meter. Far too many people (myself included in the past) use the phrase “I could care less” as if being capable of caring less is somehow derogatory. If you told me you could care less, I would be quite happy with your response since you obviously mean you do care.
Pfft. Who cares.
I was reading meters the other day and came around the corner of a house to be faced with a coffin. (I shit you not.) Whether one is considering their transitory mortality or not, there is a series of thought bombs exploding in the air pockets of the brain with synapses running around slamming into each other in a morbidly drunken stupor when you're doing a job and wondering if the frigging coffin five feet away is occupied or not. I didn't bother to stick around to find out if Uncle Albert happened to be coiffed in his finery awaiting the spring thaw for burial.
As I departed I checked my undies for brown lumps.
I'm flipping the mileage digits on the birth certificate in few days and have come to the flourishing realisation that I really don't give two hoots. I mean, once you hit the Big 5 oh and understand most of your life is behind you, there really isn't much to care about any longer. There's plenty I want to do and if I kick the proverbial bucket tomorrow and fall face first into the dry, hot dirt, I'm not that worried about it. Yeah, I'll fight to stay alive and at the same time I've caused enough crap and done enough cool stuff and pissed enough people off and loved as hard as I know how in my life to keep the local tabloids busy for a couple days. Beyond that, what else is there?
Oh. There's that list of...
Nah. Never mind. I'll be gone anyway and won't really care.
The thought got me wondering what I really do and don't care about. Do I care about ending world hunger and poverty? Yes. Do I care about equality of rights and freedoms among all peoples? Yes. Do I care if my government makes policy changes that seem unfair? Yes. Do I care about the environment and our effect upon it? Yes. Those are all big things. Global things. Things I will voice my opinion on knowing sudden radical change is unlikely though I remain hopeful. It's fairly likely I won't be around to see those things. But my nephews and their kids might be and I give a shit about that.
Global isn't the issue.
I've reached that point in my life that my uncaring can seem like arrogance. It's not. It's a line in the sand I have drawn through careful consideration and learning about myself where I will no longer tolerate those things that displease me, hurt me or hurt those close to me. I have little patience for intolerance, cynicism, narcissism and hatred. I no longer have the time nor the inclination to listen to a barrage of negative commentary designed only to stroke an ego.
I have no inclination to chase love or attention. I would much rather stand still and wait for those things to show up naturally. I've lost the inclination to please those who don't like me. I've lost the will to smile for people who won't smile back. I've lost the tolerance for those who are rigid and inflexable and refuse to acknowledge their stuck-ness.
I haven't time left to harbour others dishonesty and betrayal. I haven't time left for those who don't understand the power of compliment and encouragement. I haven't time left for those who emotionally attack others for their own gain. I haven't time left to tolerate those who disguise hate and self-loathing behind a parade and call it love.
I don't have time for people who don't have time for me.
If what you are doing isn't working yet you refuse to budge off your position, I don't care. If you're engaged in self destructive behaviour, know it and continue anyway, I don't care. If you want to gossip behind my back, I don't care. If you want to live in a puddle of self pity or hatred or blame, I don't care. If you stand on the position that the world and everyone in it - past, present and future - has it out for you, I don't care. If you can't forgive those who you believe have trespassed, I don't care. If you aren't accountable for your life and what's in it, I don't care. It's not my job to fix all that ails you. 
I know I deserve better in my life.
Here's the deal...
If you ask for help, I'll do my best with all I know to assist.
If you want to work your way out of less than desirable life habits, I'll be by your side all the way. If you decide to be vulnerable in the face of grave emotional danger, I'll provide a shield. I'll be your biggest cheerleader. I'll coach you where I can and I'll catch you when you slip. I'll build you up and defend you at every turn. I'll go shoulder to shoulder with you against anyone who opposes your decision to heal. I'll help you heal your old wounds. I'll help you face the monsters hidden in your shadows with my sword in my hand. I'll make sure you understand you are capable of anything. I'll make sure you understand I give a shit and you are not alone.
If you step up to the plate and decide you want better than you've had, I'll be the first to defend your choice.
If you decide to live in self-pity and blame and intolerance, I couldn't care less...
and I know of a house where there is a coffin...


Thursday, 12 March 2015

In Dog I Trust

History has a habit of repeating itself.
Several years ago when I was an up and coming financial adviser I knew there were some shady characters on the loose in the industry. In fact, the governing bodies and the ethics councils made it clear that they wished to know if we, as advisers, noticed anything out of sorts. This form of self policing is pretty effective when you know you are being scrutinized by a governing body and virtually everyone with whom you are in competition.
I supposed you could imagine my surprise when I learned one of my best friends from grade school and high school – who was himself a financial adviser – was charged and convicted with fraud after bilking his clients for almost $400,000.
It wasn't the easiest thing to face knowing someone with whom I had been close was guilty of such a crime. It's just not a thought that goes through my mind when I'm associating with people. What motivates someone who seemed to have everything going for them to do such a thing to other people? It's beyond my comprehension, no matter how I try to discern the thought process that would lead someone I trusted down such a path. Quite frankly, I just don't get it, you know?
It seems it has all happened again.
It is a different friend and a different accusation. The emotions attached are the same; shock and disbelief. This was someone I worked with in my professional life and on committees. It was someone I admired for their creativity. It was someone I hung out with on occasion and attended parties with. It was someone many of my friends know and I am sure felt similarly about him as I did. He was someone I admired.
Trust the dog and everyone else is suspect.
When events like this come to light, I tend to turn inward and wonder who it is I can trust. Both instances set me back. If I can't trust people who are this close, who can I trust? Is my judgment that far off the mark? I wouldn't have chosen either of these men to commit the crimes they had. (Albeit one guilty and the other innocent until proven otherwise.) Both I would label as nice guys and upstanding citizens.
I consider myself to be a nice guy (mostly) and an upstanding citizen. How do people look at me? Guilty by association? Do I get sideways glances I am unaware of? Do people trust me? These are all thoughts that run through my head at times like these.
What makes me immune to scrutiny?
I think I still have to trust. I have to be able to put some faith in people. I have to trust my gut to determine whether someone is a threat to me or not. I have to be able to allow myself to be seen by others without fear of consequence. It's not an easy thing trusting others. It's the bravest thing we will ever do. And yet, without that bravery, we are no more than an empty shell living an empty life on a deserted island of our own making.
The jury is still out about my feelings around this latest revelation. It's a big deal and something that is diametrically opposed to virtually everything I stand for. I can't seem to get a grip on the dichotomy between what I thought I knew and what I now know. Of course, it's still fresh yet it's a conundrum all the same.
Its scope is perception altering.
The best I can do is trust myself to know to whom I bare my soul and to whom I close the iron door. In the end, that trust in myself, is all I have.