Original Thought · Sharing Economy

A Gift for Me

Friends,

Bighorn Country is the next Kananaskis in Alberta.  Like K-country, it is a network of protected areas and managed multi-use areas for all Albertans.  It is the missing piece between Banff and Jasper and is home to the headwaters of Edmonton.

The government of Alberta has proposed protection of this area but they need to hear from you!  Please take 5 minutes to fill out the survey below or send a letter to support the creation of Bighorn Country.  This is truly a gift to Alberta and you can be part of it.

bighorn1

Please share this widely with your networks and ask 3 friends to do the same as part of your giving efforts this season.  This Christmas, give the gift of the Bighorn.

bighorn2

Thank you and happy holidays,

Bob

Original Thought · Self Improvement · Uncertainty

Social Media

I am a consumer and producer of social media. I read, write, shoot, and listen to the positions, opinions, ideas, and meanderings of hundreds of posters on a daily basis. I distribute original content daily and share the content of others many times a day. But, I confess that Not very much sticks. I don’t remember yesterday’s blitz and barely recall what I offered as my contributions to the noise.

Untitled design (35)

 

Most days, I don’t hear anything because I hear everything.

Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she laid an asteroid. ~ Mark Twain

Most of what occupies me (us I suspect) is noise. If I thought noise canceling headphones really did what they promise, I would invest in some for my ears and my eyes, but they seem just to dampen the din.

Is there a place ‘in the world’ where the filters screen out the clamor and still allow the clever, the charm, the caring, the charismatic, the cute and the curious through? Do I need to get past the fear of missing out (FOMO) and the addiction to notifications and begin censoring others and myself?

As we get closer to tearing the last page from the calendar, I am wondering about what I fear for the new year. Maybe that will be another post before I shut off the noise that I am creating.

If not, Happy 2019 and may your days be filled with curiosity,

B

Self Improvement

Joy

Does joy, happiness, pride, anxiety present itself in our lives or are we producing it through our mindset, disposition, and choices? I tend to believe that we are in the midst of circumstances and get to choose how we relate to them. I can be fearful of an adventure to the top of Mount Norquay or excited by the challenge or prideful that we are attempting the climb or many other emotions and feelings or combinations of many of them.

Untitled design (4)
It doesn’t seem likely or possible that joy is floating around looking for a place to land. I can’t accept that anxiety is in the ether waiting for a turn to crowd into my life.
They all come from within and can be prompted by external situations, but if I run the sum of the circumstances through a reflective sieve, I can choose to be optimistic, pessimistic, realistic, skeptical, or naive. What gets collected after being examined has more to do with the process of rendering that the initial ingredients.
When faced with a choice between positive and negative, what prospers a man to lean into the dark? I am committing to the awareness that I most often do get to make a decision. From that point, I am adamant that I will turn to the hopeful, the outrageous and even the ridiculous instead of spiraling into the pit of despair, distrust, distance. When I can move closer to a friend and her joy or sadness, I will draw near and spill happiness at her feet. If I am faced with a situation or struggle, I am willing to live through it and see how my anxiety and pain can be sapped.
In the end, it seems that I/we get to decide what we are feeling, how we react and what we embrace. The emotions live inside us not in the world so if I desire joy I need to begin being joyful.

B

Original Thought · Self Improvement · Uncertainty

Wisdom

We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.
~ George Bernard Shaw

Untitled design (1)

Remarkable people use their strengths to strengthen themselves and others. They don’t use power to overpower. They don’t use words to denigrate. They don’t puff themselves up to make others feel small.

Wisdom is dynamic. As knowledge shifts and perspectives change, wisdom adds and synthesizes and then recompiles with all the available data and restates, if necessary. Wisdom isn’t “courage of conviction.” It doesn’t just resort to tradition. It is open to observing the circumstances of the world and saying ” today the wisest thing I can be sure of is that yesterday, I was wrong.” The courage of curiosity can be a path to wisdom if we are willing to do the work to investigate, analyze, and adapt.

*Tongue in cheek comment – I must be very wise because I often realize how wrong I have been.

Make this mid-week moment full of wisdom and then make a wise choice.

B

Original Thought · Self Improvement · Uncertainty

A Dog’s Life

I woke up this morning to icy streets and pathways and a light covering of fresh snow. After a week of mild weather, I had hoped to ride my bike again because I have a number of meetings at different locations. I was disappointed but trudged out the door, dressed for the cool temperatures, heading for a bus stop. My route was a bit slippery. I took a familiar path where I often have a moment with an old dog who comes down off his stoop to greet me and get his head scratched. His age has reduced his mobility but not his enthusiasm for connection.
This morning, he was on the sidewalk plowing snow with his nose and sensed me from 200 meters away. He bounded down the sidewalk, leaping into fresh snow and celebrating the opportunity. It has been ten years since I saw him with so much energy. I was captured in his zeal and lifted in appreciation for the nip in the air and the snow under my feet.
I don’t know what his owners call him but I always greet him with ” Buuudddyy” and this elicits a wagging tail. This morning he responded to my voice with a jump to his hind legs and a big shake of his head. He was (anthropomorphically) living in the joy of the moment – not worried about lunch, not concerned about transit schedules, not racing to the next thing, not thinking lofty thoughts or imagining what he should do tomorrow.
There is much that I can learn about being present. My tendency is to live through time rather than in it. When I catch myself getting too far ahead of myself, I take three breaths and lean into the moment without concern for the imagined consequences of being ‘late.’
My stroll to the bus stop was filled with unexpected ease, and my disappointment about not riding my bike was gone. Buddy’s presence was a gift that I get to share with others, as early as today and as often as I can.

B

Self Improvement · Teamwork · Uncertainty

Human-scaled Dreams

Where I live, we just came through months of debate, discussion, dialogue, vitriol, sloganeering and dreaming about hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics. This Big Idea was supposed to create imagination, energy, economic output, and reenergize our City. After a referendum, the debate is over. 56% of voters chose not to support the bid. The morning after – there was lots of ringing of hands (understandable) and accusations. ” Now what big idea will save us?”

It got me wondering about human-scaled dreams and human-scaled actions. Would 10,000 dreams taking flight lift our city to new heights? Could we learn about each other and what we are capable of if 10,000 people recruited 10 people to come alongside them and undertake a project to bring beauty, equity, economy, creativity, imagination to life?
Would the as-yet-unimagined be the impetus for us to make our great city even greater? I think so.
I am interested in what you think? 10,000 Dreams for YYC. Would you be a part of the journey? What popped into your mind as a project? or Am I tilting windmills, again?

Let me know,

B

Original Thought · Uncertainty

Deliberately

When faced with a choice, is it always black and white? Is it ever that polar or are there other decisions that widen the options in each moment. In Calgary, we are voting in a couple of weeks on whether we should submit a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics. The nonbinding referendum asks what seems like a simple question on which until last week, I was sure I would vote “No.”
I had a meeting with a Yes supporter on an unrelated issue. I asked, “ are people in your circle were talking about the Olympic bid?” He said; “ yes, and he was enjoying the discussions.”
I said the same thing I have been saying for a couple of months; “if the vote were today, I would vote No.” Before he asked why I chimed in; “ it isn’t an economic consideration, it is about social issues. I worry that this will draw focus and attention away from the important community, environmental, and social issues we are facing.”
He asked; “what if we can be deliberate in putting those issues front and center in the bid and the way that we do the games?” “ What if in 7 years, we could say that Calgary is the most accessible city in North America?” “ What if we made every decision and took every action with the intent of being deliberately nonintrusive in any development?” “ Could we work towards solving homelessness because we invited the world into our city?”
I haven’t been convinced, and he isn’t finished. He reached out today and offered to connect me and my cohort with resources and that he would be available to answer wicked questions. I am not convinced, but I am being deliberately curious and reflective.

How many other times have I seen my choice as binary when it could have been composite? Am I making biased choices without consideration for how I might leverage a different option to achieve a bigger goal? Is my brain capable of wrestling with a bigger landscape? Am I willing?

Take a deliberation break today and see how big you can expand your options.

Uncategorized

I Have Strong Opinions

Even in my embrace of ambiguity or possibly because of my quest for uncertainty, I have strong opinions loosely held. My position on the environment, economics, politics, family dynamics would lean center left on a traditional spectrum, mostly. My views on some other social issues are muddled and huddled in the middle and on some other issues, especially around justice, I lean into the right.

When I am talking about conservation with most of my friends and colleagues, we congregate around science, ecology, greening, and personal responsibility. The confirmation bias of my huddle is strong, and so I try to venture into the territory of other camps and hear what and why they understand and believe. My belief that we are living through unprecedented climate change and that our actions are the most significant contributor was formed by research, reflection, conversation, and personal observation but I hold my conclusions loosely enough to enter into dialogue with others. (Dialogue is the process of sharing ideas, opinions, viewpoints, and facts so everyone is heard and we can all leave having learned something.) Sometimes the nudge is less quantitative than qualitative, sometimes the shift is more about trust, and mostly we all come closer to understanding what the other is thinking.
Over the past four years, I have moved from a self-described recovering post-modern fundamentalist to a fully outed atheist. The move was painful intellectually, and I needed to break down some significant brick walls to get ready to build a different foundation. I still honor people of faith and will participate in the traditions intellectually as a show of support, and they have come to see that I believe lots of the same things as them, without the overarching narrative of God and salvation.
When I am open to the possibility that what I believe or understand may not be entirely accurate or correct, I allow space for the as yet unimagined (my brain hasn’t yet imagined it). I can’t arrive at that Eureka Moment if I remain stubbornly locked in my own prison of certainty.
Have you taken a certainty break this week? Are you actively exploring something that doesn’t fit with your biases? I am sure that the thought of shaking your foundation sounds a bit overwhelming and crazy, but I encourage you to give it a try.

B