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Five Reminders of Change

Change is in the air, but the more things change, the more they stay the same.

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. ~ Steve Jobs

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.
~ Jack Layton

When you blame others, you give up your power to change. ~ Robert Anthony

The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it. ~ Flannery  O’Connor
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Election Day in Canada

I have been asking young people, 10 to 17 year olds, how they would vote in the election if they had a chance. I figure  that regardless of the results, nothing changes in my life on October 20. The next generation may see the ramifications of the outcome but living in a global community means that the variables are too complex as to be decided by a few million people.

Yesterday a 10 year old said ” If you are completely satisfied with the government, then your decision is easy. If you aren’t completely satisfied, you have to make a decision.” I am much less than satisfied but the decision isn’t easy. I have been lead to believe that I should distrust the other possibilities. I’m not sure if I arrived at that conclusion through discernment and reflection or after being inundated with messaging that would make a behavioural scientist blush.

Everyone that I talked to over the past couple of months has had some emotion about the election. They were either frightened by the ‘fear tactics’, excited by the possibility, or disgusted that they may need to hold their nose and vote for the best of the worst. Media hasn’t been helpful because journalism flew out the window in favor of opinion and bias. Social media has been filled with hate and vitriol.

Polls open where I am and I will be waiting to vote at 7:30 am. I know how I am not voting but I am not completely sure where the X will get placed. I can play it ‘safe’ but that doesn’t seem to be what democracy is supposed to be. I could be strategic but that requires a clothespin over my nose. I could choose to spoil the ballot but that seems pointless.

My only hope for this day is that at the end of the counting more than 65% of eligible electors exercise the franchise that we are privileged to have.  Vote Today, as you choose, but Vote Today.

B

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Don’t Over Think About It

Get past the fears today. Make a ruckus today.

Oh, What a Life

“Think About It” is track #2 on the album Oh, What a Life. It was written by Accetta, Aaron / Goodman, Michael / Sanchez, Matthew / Barnett, Zachary / Shelley, James / Rublin, David.

In the jungle that we roam
To search and find and to explore
All we all we all know
All we all we don’t know

Pushing back remove the leaves
To find something bigger than me
All we all we all know
All we all we don’t know

So far so good
So don’t turn back
So far so good
It’s been hard
Trying to find the best of it
I’m always hung up on the risk
Don’t over think about it
Hard
When all that’s left is rearranged
And everything is in the way
Don’t over think about it
Don’t over think about it

If I think too hard and never leave
I’ll watch the world turn without me
All we all we all know
All we all we don’t know

To hide from lions and the wolves
Would never break the fears we hold
All we all we all know
All we all we don’t know

So far so good
So don’t turn back
So far so good
It’s been hard
Trying to find the best of it
I’m always hung up on the risk
Don’t over think about it
Hard
When all that’s left is rearranged
And everything is in the way
Don’t over think about it
Don’t over think about it

So far so good
So don’t turn back
So far so good

So far so good
So don’t turn back
So far so good

So far so good
So don’t turn back
So far so good

So far so good
So don’t turn back
So far so good
It’s been hard
Trying to find the best of it
I’m always hung up on the risk
Don’t over think about it
Hard
When all that’s left is rearranged
And everything is in the way
Don’t over think about it
Don’t over think about it
Don’t over think about it

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Five Small Acts of Rebellion

Again, Don’t do anything I tell you to do. Thinking about my dissatisfaction with the state of affairs causes me to plot out very civil acts of disobedience; nothing monumental burt unbelievably satisfying. Here are five acts you can take this weekend.

  1. Not  paying for parking when you know you’ll only be ten minutes or twenty
  2. Sneaking a few extra items through the ten items or less line at the supermarket
  3. Not just eating dessert before dinner, but eating dessert INSTEAD OF dinner
  4. Turn your cellphone on before flight attendant gives you permission
  5. Have a private boycott of a business that has treated you or someone you know badly.

Make up your own rebellion. Stand your ground. Don’t cause harm but don’t give in. Test your mettle today, tomorrow and Monday.

Make Very Civil Disobedience your mantra,

B

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Very Civil Disobedience

Don’t do anything I tell you to do. I recognize the absurd impossibility in that statement but I believe it is time for a tiny bit of rebellion. For the next four days I am challenging you to join me in some VCD (see title). I would live to have it become part of your ongoing philosophy and practice and that you think, talk, try as a daily habit. But just for the next few days lets shake up the party.

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Every day in every way, I am tacitly and implicitly told how to live my life. What shampoo to use, what car to drive, when it is safe to try something new, who to vote for, what I should think. For most, the temptation to surrender to the dangerous din is impossible to resist and they fall into the mire of mediocrity, absolving themselves of personal responsibility rather than involving themselves in collective change.

I am a minor rebel. I walk against red (when it is safe) and think that I am Baaaaaad. I am an anti-starbuckian who gets my caffeine fix from a local and less ‘popular’ shop, I listen to music that others find abrasive, I read commentary that I disagree with and I say things that provoke (if not offend). I break little rules every day.

When I recognize that I am being told not to do something I usually consider giving it a try. Our mayor, Mayor Nenshi said “he was disappointed that Uber was launching without the City (read Big Brother’s) consent” because it might be unsafe (hear fear tactic) so I used my Uber account an took a free ride home (free because of launch in YYC).

The opposite of courage is conformity. Don’t conform for just four days. Find your Uber moment or your Don’t Walk moment or …today. If you struggle with this, take heart that you are in the majority but also know that the sun is till shining on the other side of your choices.

Make Today Remarkable, by being disruptive,

B

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There are Consequences

There are real consequences to our individual and collective action and inaction. Regardless whether you are a pre teen student or the government of the United States, every decision to act or not act has consequence. Sometimes the result is good, in the short term, great in the long term sometimes there is calamity and disaster. The impact may be causal or corollary. You may not know immediately or not at all. That is why consideration for how my actions impact others is so important. Consideration may be more important than the actual decision. If I  consider how my support, words, choices,  intentions may cause joy or harm to others, the opportunities change. Without stopping for a millisecond, a month, a year I just plow ahead oblivious or worse uncaring.

If the person who cut me off or didn’t let me merge had acted differently, if I had held the door, if I held my tongue, if I spoke up, if I bought organic … There isn’t a magic elixir that will allow you to see all the impacts or make mostly positive decisions but the practice of recognizing that we cause unexpected side effects makes our relationships better and makes us better.

Make Today Remarkable, by considering,

B

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Spotlight

Is your consumption conspicuous? Do you wear designer labels and have a designer car? Is it important to be wearing/driving the best and be seen wearing/driving the best? Or is your production conspicuous? Do you produce amazing results that are widely recognized? Is doing good work important?  Is being recognized for your work important? I am not judging how you add value or find value in your life. It is just that I have become acutely aware that ‘flying under the radar’  works very well  for some people. They seem to succeed without needing accolades and applause. In fact they avoid the spotlight and reflect credit onto others. This admirable characteristic may be the trend we will see over the next 20 years if luxury designers and producers are ahead of the curve. Many high priced quality products and conspicuous in the absence of labels and trademarks. The user knows the quality and if you do too or don’t doesn’t matter. It is becoming a private rather than public statement. Subtlety rather than garish seems to be earning a foothold.

spotlight

What does this say about human behaviour? Human status and power? Is this sincere or faux modesty?  Can we appear more egalitarian without actually practicing equity?

My confession would be that I am addicted to the spotlight – I write therefore I am. I run so I can talk about running. I read so I can discuss books. I work hard so …

Damn, more personal reflection is likely going to cause a change.

B

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Meaningful

Bernadette Jiwa published a new book ” Meaningful” and since   I have been following her blog “The Story of Telling” for many months and have read a couple of titles, I ordered a copy. When I receive my copy and have had a chance to read it, I will write a followup post here.

In the mean time and post Thanksgiving, I am pondering what is meaningful in my life. I have been blessed with stuff, privilege and interesting opportunities but the things that really have meaning are experiences and relationships. Memories capture the fragments of experiences and relationships glue the pieces together. Spending time with my grandmother and cousins when I was 9 or 10 has provided rich fodder for remarkable recollections (true but I.m not sure they happened) and important lessons that are still valid in my life.

Forty years together pours experiences like a fire hose and add in kids and travelling and the incidents and episodes start to merge into a select amalgam until another current experience brings focus and clarity and resonance.

All the stuff of today; houses, cars, clothes, books, treasures fade and lose their appeal and allure but drawing from the adventures and ordeals of a life shared get fuller and richer as they arise from the recesses. Life is meant to be experienced with others we love.

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Make Today Remarkably Adventurous,

B

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The Wind at My Back

Two great runs the last couple of days – fastest time and longest distance. It feels great to be moving along with momentum, charging ahead with a friendly breeze at my back. I have a birthday this week and looking ahead, I worry that the wind might blow me past some remarkable goals (that I haven’t set). Am I missing out and sailing along when I don’t have any new goals ahead of me? Can I still run faster, farther? Can I still learn new valuable skills? Can I continue to add remarkable value to the world? Of course I can and will. But I realize that just as I set goals for this weekends runs ( I planned for both and worked of them for  2 months), I need to be laying out 100 day markers to my remarkable 1000 day goals – again.

I am going to spend this week dreaming, evaluating, stretching and launching into the next season. I plan to kickoff the next 1000 day goal set next Saturday while volunteering at Illuminasia, a spectacular event at the Calgary Zoo.

How are you planning for your tomorrows?

B

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Thankful and Thinkful

From a 6 year old post on Grammarphopia 

The etymological appendix at the end of my dictionary suggests that “think” and “thank” are related. It has taken me a long time to connect my thinking and my thanking, especially to think before I thank, and thank before I think.

Thinking about Thanksgiving here in Canada and whether I am thinkful about being thankful. Do I take for granted my blessings? Do I recognize how gratitude can bring more gratefulness to my mind? Can I express my appreciation from a heartfelt and head felt space?

I am grateful for so much stuff outside my control – where I was born, my privilege, my beloved, my faith, my health and by abilities. I am in awe around those things that I have in my life that I make a small contribution towards – opportunities, relationships, health, prosperity, knowledge and faith.

Mostly I am thankful that I can be thinkful. On a day when I ran a personal best in the Alzheimers Run, it ways heavy on my heart that there are thousands who are having pieces cut out of their lives; memories of life, loved ones and lessons learned. I ‘fear’ the possibility that that could be in my future but relish the opportunity to make new memories today with family and friends and trust that they will hold them even when I can’t.

Make Today a Remarkable Adventure,

B