Where has time gone? Ten years went by … .like a blink of an eye. Memories… that is all we have … shared memories.
We have many.
He knows he will always have a home.
He has spent his first ten years of his life, with me, his mother and his sister. Spent it in our home .. which is HIS HOME.
I like to think that his home is a place of celebration, a continuous celebration of Life. His home is the place where he can let down his hair and just be, himself. His home is where living happens and laughter rocks the walls.
I’d like to think that his home is the place where he learns to play, to have fun, to relax, to love and … to pray. Each day in our household is a celebration. Everyday, our Family prayers allows us to reflect on our life so far … with GRATITUDE.
There is an abundance of laughter in his home. So loud that it carries all the way to the streets and neighbours.
His home is where Real Living, takes place.
He learns how to work, how to play, how to eat, how to ride in cars together, how to attend Taekwondo lessons, how to play music in bands virtually, how to watch youtubes and videos, how to host friends, how to take care of his self, how To be a better brother, how to be the loving son that he is, how to develop our own private family jokes (usually they love “roasting’ me).
In our home .. his home, we try not to take life too seriously. In our home … a home of celebration we thrive in conversation and accept that humour and laughter is essential elements to our Family cohesion.
Our home … his home … vibrates to us and to everyone around us that …
“This is what life is all about. In a nutshell, life is what happens in our home … it is where he is celebrated.”
Home is where …
My son … has his Nintendo game, his soccer and rugby balls, his books, his swords, his toy guns, his snacks.
Home is …. Being able to walk around in his undies all day … home is Eating cold watermelon and tropical pineapple together at the dinner table on a winter day. Home is where he is allowed to yell … to get angry … and it is ok. Home is where he can play wrestle games in the bedroom and backyard and come out of it … unscathed.
Home is where he gets unlimited hugs and kisses and learns about the important things in life. Home is where he learns how to agree to disagree and resolve conflicts.
Home is where he learns to be appreciated and listened to. Home is where his strong sense of self … his powerful self image … his confidence is built. Home is where he understands his responsibilities to contribute to the family to make it work … that little things, matter.
To sum up … I hope my ten year old son learns much … in our home .. his home.
One day, I hope, he would look back and realise that home is where he discovered wonder and learned to not only Dream … but …. To Dream BIG. One day, he remembers to repeat some of … OUR traditions … OUR unique family qwirks … our UNUSUAL ceremonies.
I hope that one day, my son looks back and views his time in his home .. our home as a period where he not only FOUND but …. EXPERIENCED, JOY.
With … his dad (me), his mum, Cathy, his sister, Olivia and our pet schnoodle : “Mr Fussy/Fuzzy Cuddles”.
Is there anything we read, hear or see ‘the truth’ anymore? THere are so many lies propagated in the media in today’s world. There is one truth – if a lie is being told and repeated enough .. the lie will eventually be believed to be a truth.
What is the truth when it comes to the covid-19 virus? There are many questions that should be asked and no question should be left out and put in an “out-of-the-question “ basket. With so much information at our fingertips, and most contradicting one another, one of our biggest risks is is our inability to sieve through the bullshit to …. Find the Truth.
I just don’t know what to believe anymore. One minute, one ‘expert’ says one thing … another minute, another expert says something else. Even the so-called experts and professional analysts cannot agree on the truth. They usually speak from their own self-interest and try to sell their ‘version of the truth’.
What have we learned in the aftermath of this pandemic?
A question I ask is – why has the containment of this virus 🦠 done already … like six months ago? Why has it taken so long?
What have we learned in the aftermath of this pandemic?
What has each individual country learned and what have we learned as human beings? One obvious thing is that the biggest threat to our existence is not something huge like a war or terrorist acts… it is the very very small (viral or bacterial) that we should be more fearful of. We should be more scared of the INVISIBLES … of what we CANNOT SEE with our naked eyes than … what we CAN SEE.
If you look at probabilities, there is a high probability (greater than 90%) that the virus originated from the Wuhann Lab, in China. The likelihood that the virus originated from “a Lab” is high. Then, it follows that, the likelihood that it originated from the Wuhann Lab is very high.
A question we should be asking is – was there a prior epidemic of this virus … that has allowed this current viral strain to be very effective in spreading? If it came from the Wuhann Lab, what were the protocols/internal controls used at the time? Why was this allowed to happen? On the other hand, if it wasn’t the Wuhann lab, we should be told that it wasn’t. If it was from nature, we deserve to be told. If it was from another lab, we need to know that , too. Why aren’t the governments giving us answers to these questions?
In other fields, say, in manufacturing, if a machine worker narrowly misses death when using a Machine or only loses a limb or his/her life, most businesses would do everything possible to NOT LET that happen again. In a factory setting, they would put up clear signs, get employees further training, counselling, boundaries indicated, protective gear and so forth…
And why? It was a “lucky break “ and control measures put in to mitigate the worst situation (losing a life) does not happen again in the future.
Why weren’t the voices that were raised in concern or this virus back in 2015 not listened to and taken seriously? What protocols were overlooked leading up to this pandemic? Why was the process off-shored to China? Did our current systems allow this? Who was responsible for this system at that time? Why hasn’t people brought to justice yet? Who is responsible for this pandemic? Governments collectively?
Is this going to be another case of INFLUENZA?
… and we will not find a cure and eliminate it but will just have to live with it.
Will it become part of our new “normal “ like the influenza virus has become? Living with the FLU virus has been a huge cost to governments and nations. Imagine the cost of living with the Covid forever? The cost to people’s well-being and the economy will be astronomical…& possibly incalculable.
** Here’s the thing:the ABILITY to ELIMINATE the disease goes down the longer we delay to have EFFECTIVE RESPONSES… to take control of its spread. It will be too late when large numbers of people catch this disease and their mutations and selections will result in adaptations that we just could not possibly manage.
Then we’ve got a HUGE PROBLEM!!
Medicine has come a long way. Yes, it has. The pertinent question is … is this going to be another case of influenza? I feel it will be.
If you look back in history, you will find that hospitals were dangerous places in the 18th century. One eminent Victorian surgeon commented that –
“a patient laid on an operating table … is exposed to more chances of death than the English soldier on the field of Waterloo.”
18th century medicine was not very effective. With all our advances in technology and medicine, can we say that 21st century medicine is ‘effective’ in it’s management of covid?
In the 19th century, Mary Wortley Montagu went back home with the smallpox inoculation/vaccine from Turkey but had a difficult time finding Doctors who would share this with people, given many were not willing to destroy a significant stream of their revenue. Even if it was for the good of mankind. Doctors were looking out for their own self-interests.
After the French Revolution, patients with similar symptoms were grouped together in wards. Doctors started to recognise and treat illnesses as ENTITIES in themselves rather than regarding complaints as being inseparable from individuals.
Is this happening in today’s world? Are beds and access to medical treatment going to be a “bidding war?” will the beds And medical professionals only be given to those with money as it was back in the 19th century?
Medicine … using vocabulary of the Military.
Also, in the late 19th century, medicine started using the vocabulary of the military, referring to diseases and germs similar in concept to enemy invasion.
Words like breakthroughs, defeats, and destruction and “let’s fight this”. Nowadays, they use phrases like ‘we’re in this together’. Like many other scientific metaphors used in the past, these images operated both ways:
Reflecting how illness was conceived
Affecting how foreigners should be treated
Back then, wealthy nations tried to defend themselves against infectious immigrants just as bodies had to be protected against viruses or microbes. This analogy was used. Question is – is it still being used today?
You see, diseases had usually been blamed on foreigners and this case of covid is no different. It also provides new grounds for rationally explaining old fears.
And what are these “old fears?”
Prejudices against race and cleanliness could now be given a “scientific label”. This was utilised by many wealthy nations back in history. Is it still being used now?
Is this one way of the government setting up a screening program to assess citizens health? Are our DNA (through swabs) just another way of science and governments finding out more about each individual? How can this be used against us?
Could the increased awareness through advertising, as “medical security “ really patchy vetting procedures … say, to allow rich immigrants easier process into more wealthy nations? Is this simply a tool to help curb unwanted immigrants?
Governments have had a history of controlling diseases by curtailing individual freedom… which is the same objection given by anti-vaccination supporters.
In science, often what seems straightforward in the labs proves quite complex outside the labs.
Over a century ago, Robert Koch, the German bacteriologist, shot to fame for identifying the organism responsible for Industrial Europe’s biggest killer – tuberculosis (TB).
Even though Koch proved that nobody could catch TB without first, being exposed to the TB, he was unable to explain why only about 10 % of people became infected. What sort of rates exist for the covid? Apart from age, are certain races more at risk?
During Koch’s time, it was found that the “Cure rate” for TB, proved lower than had been hoped. The enemy agent (similar to the covid strain identified today), had been identified but it seemed to leave many potential victims unscathed. Back then, many concluded that many individuals were somehow tainted in advance or had pre-existing conditions that made them more susceptible to getting covid.
Over one hundred years later, society has learned to “live with the disease “ – TB, that is. TB was, only recently, given an identity as a contagious disease that circulates in squalid city slums. A mark of inferiority rather than aesthetic vulnerability.
At one time, to contract TB, was to invite scorn… it was a matter of shame… making it out to be that patients had been picked out rather than innocent victims of neural microbes.
TB was as bad a stigma as contracting syphilis, blamed on prostitutes. Society attitudes stayed this way until towards the end of the 20 th century. Cancer became the new TB…. The big C that could not be mentioned by name.
Given how long it has been for us to respond to the covid strain and managing it, it is highly likely that, we won’t find a cure … but instead, just learn to live with disease, like we did with TB, over the last one hundred years.
A lot of deaths.
A quick reference on Google on world-stats indicates that as of 9th July 2021, there were a little over 4,000,000 covid-related deaths, with the USA heading the tally with > 623,000, followed closely behind by Brazil at 530,000 and then India at > 400,00 and so on. Australia has just under 1,000 deaths. So, there has been over 4 million deaths in just over a year since it began.
A lot of deaths.
In 1999, the American Institute of Medicine published a landmark investigation called “To Err is Human”. It reported that between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die each year as a result of preventable medical errors.
Lucian Leape, a Harvard professor put it higher (at 120,000 in America alone) estimated that a million patients are injured by errors during hospital treatment.
In 2013, a study done & published in the journal of patient safety put the number of premature deaths associated with “preventable harm “ at more than 400,000 per year (in America, alone). Compare this to the number of deaths caused attributed to Covid and it is comparable. But, no one is alarmed at this knowledge because not much is said about it and so not much is known about it, by the majority of people.
Preventable harm included –
Dispensing wrong drugs
Injuring patient during surgery
Operating on the wrong part of the body
Peter J. Pronovost, professor at Johns Hopkins school of medicine testified at senate pointing out that the deaths was equivalent of two jumbo jets falling out of the sky every day for an entire year! Comparing and saying –
“Every two months, 9-11 is occurring.”
Can you imagine, news headlines repeating information of deaths caused by the crashing of two jumbo jets EVERY DAY! It would cause utter chaos .. that could lead to an up-rising. Possibly. The public has lost a lot of trust in the medical systems and are turning to alternative medicines in droves. Question is why has it got to this point?
Why do we tolerate these numbers …. These stats in preventable harm in this area of life when we would not tolerate it in any other sector? We don’t tolerate the covid-related death toll numbers, so, why has the medical profession knowingly or unknowingly, hid this information from the public … year after year?
Upon further study, you will find that the numbers put preventable error in hospitals as the biggest killer in the United States – behind only heart disease and cancer. Can you imagine that?! Third highest!!
And these are just numbers for the USA, what about when we add all the other numbers from other countries? What sort of numbers would that total to? Highly likely be greater than the 4,000,000 reported deaths relating to covid.
This Affects ALL OF US.
But those numbers are incomplete and definitely higher now.
However, it is not just the number of deaths that should alarm us, there is also the non-lethal harm caused by preventable error. Back in that 2013 study, this equated to about 1000 preventable deaths AND 10,000 preventable serious complications per day …
The problem is not a small group of crazy, homicidal incompetent doctors going around causing havoc. Medical errors follow a normal, bell-shaped distribution.
They occur most often not when clinicians get bored or lazy or malign, but when they are going about their business with diligence and concern … but these mistakes STILL happen!
Imagine the flow-on negative effect it had on the patient, their family and friends, their community and wider.
The Biggest Risk right now, as I see it…
Strong Social connections allow for a better and longer life. There are decades of evidence from communities suffering the reverse phenomenon: the gradual loss of social ties.
A study by James House, published in the journal SCIENCE concluded that social isolation is as dangerous for health as obesity’s, inactivity and smoking. The evidence was as strong as in the landmark US government report that in 1964 officially linking smoking with lung cancer.
The House report says that social isolation is actually more dangerous than lack of exercise and obesity. This is the biggest risk right now, as I see it … in most western societies- deaths exacerbated by social isolation due to covid restrictions.
This is probably the single most powerful behavioural finding in the world.
Social isolation is indeed a death sentence!, I believe, as much a threat to iur survival as hunger, thirst or pain. If individuals are deprived or it – “human contact” (as imposed by covid restrictions), the extreme case is we can start to become attached to innanjmate objects. This is demonstrated by Tom Hank’s character on the movie CASTAWAY, who has a meaningful relationship with a volleyball he calls Wilson.
Will this pandemic lead to increased purchases or innanimate objects for companionship? More sales for the IT industry?
Lesson: this AFFECTS ALL of us.
Why do so many mistakes still happen?
Well, I will leave that for a future blog.
So many questions still left unanswered, about our past … our present …. And our future.
But, as they say …. That is JUST LIFE.
You can choose to enjoy your ‘one life’ and worry about what YOU CAN CONTROL … and NOT WORRY about what YOU CANNOT CONTROL.
May God continue to shower his blessing on you and your family and loved ones,
When you’ve done something wrong and/or have wronged someone, you firstly need to take FULL responsibility for it.
You repent because you realise that, that inexcusable wrong can be judged or forgiven. Inexcusable wrongs can never be understood and overlooked. Fake Repentant people seek and beg for forgiveness, with no thought of deserving it.
Yes, you read that right, they don’t deserve it.
That is not fair – to the person that has been wronged and not fair for the person who has wronged.
To gain trust back, perpetrators need to own their “inconvenient truth” (to borrow a phrase from US Vice President Al Gore).
Truly Repentant people are people who finally understand God’s amazing grace. When you truly seek repentance, know you need only to confess to experience the forgiveness from God Almighty.
Forgiveness is ALWAYS there in infinite supply.
Recently, I got into a very big argument with my wife of twenty years. It was probably the biggest blue we’ve had in our time together. It involved her and my family. To get straight to the point, I was an Asshole … well, okay, I was a HUUGGE Asshole! I even called myself one during the fight.
Alcohol was involved. Correction: excessive alcohol was involved.
On reflection, it is quite obvious that I was being a selfish prick! Yep, you read that right. I was being a thoughtless spouse. And here I was imagining that on my deathbed, my children and wife will remember me for many things but for mostly being the most THOUGHTFUL human being they have ever known.
After this incident, that dream/imagination may not manifest into reality. I fucked up, and my selfish choice was not “thoughtful “. I simply fucked up!
You see, whether we are adulterers or thoughtless spouses (like me, in this instance), the problem with all of us is one of perspective. Instead of thinking of our thoughtlessness (in words or actions/deeds) as INEXCUSABLE SELFISH CHOICES, we stubbornly regard our interpersonal failures as UNDERSTANDABLE MISTAKES. Understandable mistakes, can you believe that?! It comes down to a small but significant factor of perspective, or the way we view something.
And in my recent case: I clearly made a selfish choice and my perspective was NOT the right one.
Seek to understand first.
I’m not one for giving excuses or listening to excuses, but during and after that big argument, I found myself giving excuses. It just rolled out of my tongue and the strange thing was that I was fully aware of this roll-out while it was happening. And here’s the catch: I did not stop this conveyor belt of excuses.
When I reflect, I realise that excuse-making has been a part of almost every area of life that has humans participating. Excuse-making has been a natural tendency in people since, I guess, Adam blamed Even for eating the apple and … Eve blamed the Snake for persuading her. It’s been around for a long while.
I guess, without some form of self-justification, we are forced to look at ourselves in the mirror, just as we truly are … not necessarily, the image the mirror reflects.
Now, based on how I argued in that fight, the standards I adhered to fell very short of God’s standards. My actions and words deserved punishment.
I read somewhere that a wise person seeks to understand before wanting to be understood.
That is something I need to improve in my life. What about yours?
Joy evolves from misery.
When we really look at ourselves in the mirror and truly see ourselves as we are, would we accept our status as sinners.
And what are sinners? Sinners, like me, are worthy of judgement. We are powerless to improve ourselves … and are humbled that our best deeds provide no defence.
That is how Joy evolves from misery. Throughout my experience and learning from other people’s experiences, I’ve learned that those who make themselves naked and vulnerable and basically more human, are the ones who get the most trust.
Or at least, get part of or most of the lost trust back.
It is through the process of embracing genuine nakedness, humility and vulnerability, that you find your AUTHENTIC SELF.
I believe, moving closer to your authentic self is not only where life BEGINS but also …. Where JOY blooms and your GROWTH CONTINUES.
Now, as a Physique Artist, I regularly strip down to a pair of “g-strings” on stage, under very strong lights to display the ‘flow of muscles’ … and ‘paint a picture of moving art’, using my sculpted physique, from my heart … to the hearts of the audience.
It is one of the closest you can get to being naked, humble and vulnerable. By being vulnerable, humble and exposed, I find you allow yourself to be more open and transparent. This is important for any relationship. For me and my wife, this is vital. Always has been.
I am an “open book” and this nakedness, this humility, this vulnerableness, demonstrates to her that that I have nothing to hide ( or an impression anyway).
Now, allow yourself to strip yourself of EGO and wear your “G-STRING of YOUR SOUL”. That takes COURAGE. Seek Courage… for without courage, no great achievement is every attainable.
For me, in all my most important relationships, Trust is vital. It is one of the key foundation stones of my 21 year relationship with the most important woman in the world to me- my wife.
Did you have a father that invested a great deal of time and energy in to your life? Or was he in the shadows … or almost never around.
In my 7 years of owning and managing my Family Gym, I came to really know men from all backgrounds and status in society. My gym membership was about 70% male.
Over time, I came to notice correlations and strong causation between their behaviour as grown men and their relationship with their dads in their childhood. It didn’t matter which race, culture or status, there were some strong connections.
Happy Men & Not-so-happy Men.
Do you consider yourself a “Happy Man?”
Who are the happiest Men in society? Not by any kind of horizontal segmentation but as a species – “male”.
I think there are Happy Men and the not-so-happy men in our modern-day societies.
Experience has indicated that the men who are the happiest and most content in the masculine role today are those whose fathers put in the time and effort in their upbringing. And continue to do so.
I’ll refer to them as the “Happy Dads” in society.
These Happy Dads had dads who were around to begin with. Dads that were committed to maintaining a positive, nurturing, encouraging relationship with their sons. These Fathers of Happy Dads provided that secure foundation and supported their sons in their ups and downs.
The sons (Happy Dads) had support from their Fathers with their careers and decisions they made and acknowledged their achievements.
These Happy Dads had dads that were just “there for them”. No excuses, full-stop!
RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)
That consistent loving time spent with their sons (not “quality “‘time), paid off … in time. These Father’s sons, who the the Happy Dads of today are, I believe, among the most well-adjusted and peaceful husbands and fathers in our modern-day societies.
Are they increasing? Are they easily recognised?
Does he look like you? Your friend, maybe?
I believe these well-adjusted and peaceful husbands and fathers is and has been on the decline. They could be safely said to be in the “minority “.
Normally, I would say that in a democratic society, the majority should rule. In this instance, I believe that this minority should rule … these men should be the norm and not rare and abnormal.
We need these types of men … Happy Dads … to flourish again and increase.
What do we do? How do we go about this?
I believe it is up to me, you and … all the current dads/fathers reading this and out there with young sons… to commit to these young impressionable souls.
The majority of men today are struggling to recover from relationships with fathers who failed to nurture, affirm and validate them at some level … or all levels.
These sons (who are now fathers/dads/husbands themselves), are left with a legacy of pain, confusion, frustration, anxiety, bitterness, fear & anger. A lot of these men never had a choice in having their father in their lives as the mothers decided to bring them up as single parent.
I believe a big percentage of These adult sons are the angry men of our societies.
We need to stop rearing angry men.
If you’re part of the minority that is, the Happy Men, congratulations 🎉! Go and give your old man a hug and tell him you love him…. and just give him thanks for being there for you through your tumultuous years of youth.
The Scientist and Philosopher FRANCIS BACON said –
“Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.’
INSPIRATION IS THE CATALYST … that lights the fire or sets the journey of creativity in our ships as we sail & navigate the Seas of Life.
Without it, every Pirate and genuine Voyager … knows there would be no work of art or scientific discovery. In fact, very little that is New and Creative and Innovative would come into the world. Imagine not having your i-phone? What world would that be like? (actually, a lot of you from my generation would know what that was like .. ha ha ).
Like a kiss, inspiration opens the heart in each of us to receive … it gives us the means of reaching the mystery beyond our worldly identities.
I find that surrendering to inspiration brings about a greatness that is the glory of existence (every Pirate and Viking knows this). We all suffer from lack of inspiration at some point or points in our lives, there is no avoiding it.
Question is, what do you do when you’re experiencing it?
There is inner and outer beauty. Appreciate both.
The only requirement is that Love
Romantic poets believed that inspiration came to them because their soul was able to receive such visions. In modern psychology, inspiration is seen as an entirely internal process, like Sigmund Freud believed it came from your inner psyche, directly from the subconscious.
Inspiration to me, has nothing to do with the skill or capability of you, the individual and therefore, anyone and every single person can get inspired. We can find it anywhere – in a book, a speech, a movie … a person .. a symbol … a hope.
To me, the only requirement is that of love. That for you to be inspired, you need to allow the flow (of inspiration) to come from the heart … your heart. It is a Power from Within, necessary for all creation and innovation, which is the way of the future.
It is energy, so you cannot either create nor destroy it .. just become a better conduit of energy .. of what I call ‘un-mind energy’. It is but a brief moment in time … where that un-mind energy flows through your heart … allowing you to transmute that energy … into creating something beautiful.
‘That moment’ is like what the great thinker, Khalil Gibran described when –
“the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the wind longs to play with your hair.”
There is courage within each person, There is inspiration available to all souls … just allow your courage to help it speak to your heart … to release that energy … that light … to light others who are in darkness
Inspiration helps light that catalyst
We’ve all faced many problems and challenges in our lives so far (and many of us are struggling with ones now) and … sometimes people, feel incapable of solving, realising and accepting their own limitations. But, it is in those ‘moments’ of challenges/problems/obstacles lay embedded in them, the hidden solutions.
Every situation and every individual stores a potential and strength that is yet to be discovered.
INSPIRATION helps light that catalyst to tap the source of power within … to face whatever obstacle we face. When our purpose is to give birth to our TRUE IDEAL SELF, inspiration allows us to see ourselves in a New way every time.
When you’re inspired, we glow on the outside from the light within and this radiance shines out from us .. and lights the way for others in the dark. Even the great RUMI explains how we can nurture the power of inspiration by transcending our perceived limitations (from whatever fear we are facing), he said –
” The sound of the bow provokes fear for the arrow wounds its mark. What is sense beyond the unseen is inspired by perception. Increase your necessity to increase your perception.”
Let inspiration be the catalyst to light your inner-world … to brighten up your external world and… those you come in contact with
I love many genres of music and one of them is Raggae and I think Bob Marley was a genius. He sang about freedom and justice and was a great Leader and Thinker and Poet, saying –
“I have no education. I have inspiration. If I were educated, I would be a damn fool.”
But don’t confuse inspiration with motivation, they are not the same. Many make this mistake. There is a major difference and the difference is a “matter of heart’. Inspiration connects with the heart .. and motivation connects the mind and is often ego driven. The ego, may in the short-term give to you … but in the long term, will take ..and continually take from you until you don’t know what or who you are.
As Socrates said –
” I decided that it was not wisdom that enabled poets to write their poetry, but a kind of instinct or inspiration, such as you find in seers and prophets who deliver all their sublime messages without knowing in the least what they mean.”
Find the “Giant” within you … within each person … of which inspiration is the catalyst.
Separate inspiration from motivation
“So, what should we do then? How should we live?”, you may ask.
Here’s the thing, I believe that , one of the ways to separate inspiration from motivation is to be aware that at every moment we have a choice about how to live. With increased awareness, we can observe how those choices affect us. Now, keep it simple … if we allow inspiration to be our guide, then each day can possibly welcome a new and exciting opportunity. When we feel the heart engaging and singing … with and in what is happening ‘in the moment’ to us, we know that we are connected with a hidden source of joy!
Individuals, groups, communities, states and countries all around the world is crying out for inspiration (and for some, for a very long time). Let’s pray for all those in need of inspiration… of more inspiration … to summon the courage to face their fears … to find the solution(s) that may lay within the obstacles/challenges they are facing right now.
I tell my kids, there is no such thing as a problem/mistake,… just opportunities to find a solution(s).
The world needs many things right now … but now, more than ever, it needs – more love … more care … more compassion and … more trust. Please play your part in making this world a better place by giving this to whoever interacts with you on a daily basis.
Inspiration has the Power to Empower. Inspiration has the Power to Change for the Better …. ONE LIFE AT A TIME.
It is a choice. Don’t sit on the fence. Inspiration without ACTION becomes a wasted opportunity.
Embrace inspiration. Embrace Change. Embrace your Heart. It leads to the ultimate Freedom… but you must ACT on that inspiration.
We are all inspired by many things to … Live. Die. With Dignity.
Yours in iron, heart, mind & muscles,
(some people call me – “The Old Cap’n Viking Pirate Muscled Monk”
Find the inspiration within you … to help motivate you to making a choice … the Right Choice … for LIfe… in your life.
Release the Hulk in you .. when appropriate There is a time to be placid and do nothing … then, there is a time to act … and stand for something.
In your opinion, what is your most priceless possession?
Ok, I’m sure you will all say very different answers and none will be wrong. They are simply what you believe is priceless to you at this point in time.
I believe, that your attitude is, specifically, your attitude of gratitude is your most priceless possession. And you need to keep it in check regularly and you do this by structuring in what I refer to as ‘moments of reflection‘ to refresh, restore and/or renew your views, rejuvenate your approach and reestablish your positive focus.
This is (reflection) of your mental attitude is a very important key to your adaptation to the changing landscape in the environments you find yourself in. Do this regularly to repair the damage of wear and tear to your attitude. Life is not a sprint and sometimes we are all guilty of living as if it were. In a grand Prix race, the eventual winner isn’t necessarily the driver that just speeds endlessly and never stops. No, the eventual winner is usually the person who structures in regular “pit stop” into the race with his support crew.
Pit-stops here could be weekends, holidays or vacations that you use to stop, slow down, revive and readjust and then … move on.
You see, your attitude, is your mental position on facts or more simply, how you view things. Remember, your attitude is contagious and affects everyone who comes in contact with you either in person or on the telephone.
Your attitude is not only reflected by your tone of voice but also by the way you stand or sit, your facial expression and in other non-verbal ways.
Stopping to reflect, is a vital key to adjust your attitude if you need to.
An attitude of gratitude is the foundation of a thankful spirit& a grateful heart. There is real magic in this because a thankful spirit has the power to replace many negative worldviews.
As I reflect, I believe an attitude of gratitude has the power to replace anger with love;
Displace resentment with peace;
Supplant fear with faith;
Restore worry with peace;
Substitute the desire to dominate with the wish to play on a team;
Supersede self-preoccupation with concern for the needs of others;
Renew lack of creativity with inspired productivity;
Take the place of inferiorities with dignity;
Replace a lack of love with an abundance of self-sharing.
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Your attitude is never static, it is an on-going dynamic, sensitive, perceptive process.
The attitude you choose to display is entirely up to you. It is a choice. One needs to always take time to take stock regularly, to reflect. One needs to go through the process of self evaluation which leads to attitude renewal or adjustment. There is no other way, no escape.
Always striving to have an attitude of gratitude in everything you say and do to reduce the risk of a high “say:do” ratio or gap. Bringing these two factors in to alignment will help you immensely.
Having a positive attitude, is, in my opinion, the most powerful and priceless personality characteristic you can possess. There is no such thing as remaining neutral when it comes to attitude – you either contribute or subtract from a better personal or work environment.
The old Captain Viking Pirate at his favourite beach. Find your ‘quiet time’. Your place of peace. Here I am at one of mine. Regular moments of reflection.
From my experience, having a positive attitude or always trying to adopt an attitude of gratitude is one of the main keys to success in any problem solving procedure or major lifestyle change or managing your transition to the many phases of life.
Remember, life is about energy and your ability to manage energy. A positive attitude or an attitude of gratitude can certainly provide higher energy levels, greater creativity and an improved personality. Put simply, a positive helpful attitude can cause good things to happen to you. … even to such an extent where a person not considered beautiful by physical standards (someone that is ugly) can still be regarded as beautiful with a cheerful positive outlook.
Adopting a philosophy of an attitude of gratitude and consistently working towards using it in your daily life puts you in a more favourable position to win the game of life in all directions: personal satisfaction, strong relationships and success in a meaningful career.
So, how’s your attitude right now?
Stop. Reflect. Take Stock. Re-stock. Re-adjust. March on ….
Cheers & Ahoy!!!
Until next time,
The old Captain Viking Pirate … & thoughts on attitude of gratitude.
Me and my children. Children gives you a hint of eternity. A true blessing to be graced with seeds. Showing your kids through marrying up your words and actions is an important habit. Bestowing them with examples of embracing an ”attitude of gratitudë” in everything you say and do is one of the best gifts you can pass on. I’m sure you do already. Vv.
Side Chest Pose with the Top 2 Natural Bodybuilders in the World. Year: 2007 Venue: in NY, USA (representing Australia) NOTE: I believe an áttitude of gratitude’ helped me go all the way to the top echelon in the world in my chosen sport. Being the best at natural bodybuilding requires the management of many key habits/variables (on a micro and macro level). One of the keys to my success in 2 World Championships was my habitual practise of ‘moments of reflection’ to continuously keep me going when the going got tough. And believe me, there were many instances when I wanted to ‘throw in the towel’
I ask God to help me be the man my son hopes to be when he is older. I’m far from perfect but I get up and try every single day … to be the man I want him to be. And I have no doubt he will … because I have God on my side/in my corner.
Mens’ needs are simple. I grew up in an large extended family and I heard a lot of things said by many different people I lived with during my first 12 years of my life. One thing I heard one of the older women was –
“the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.’
When I reflect on that now, there is a partial truth, actually more than just a partial truth in that statement. You see, men need a few basic needs (like being fed with warm, proper nutrition) and we’re satisfied. Well, I think most Real Men would be. I also think that men, Real Men, are torn between two extremes, like a Dr Jekyll and Hyde or Harvey Two Face from the DC Universe.
Enjoying a little ‘biceps workout’ with my very good Aussie friend of almost 20 years now. A best man in my wedding. Every man needs at least one good male friend in his life. Just one.
A have a handful of very good male friends. One, I spent a day and half with as he passed through Sydney, on his way to South America for a week long conference, attended by represented by 60 countries, including the USA and Australia. He is a United Nations Legal Advisor. We’ve been best friends since we were in kindergarten, over 40 years ago. We share dreams and sorrows. We ‘open up’ to each other and hug in public. We lean on each other during tough times but also celebrate during wins.
I have another friend, the very first friend I made on my first day of University almost 30 years ago at the start of my first degree (majoring in Mathematics and Physics). He lives only a suburb away from me and we meet up regularly for coffee and ‘debrief’ almost every week. We make time for each other.
I also have another friend I meet up every quarter that I have known for the last 20 years. We share our fears, our successes, our failures and our dreams. We share feelings. Just the way men should feel comfortable doing with other men. He got a divorce 5 years ago, it was difficult period for him. He’s in another chapter in his life.
I also have a few other friends scattered throughout my existence that have travelled with me in different phases of our lives. All there for a specific reason, upon hind-sight.
My very first friend at University on my very first day almost 30 years ago. Lives just a suburb away for the last 20 years. Catching up for a coffee and chat and digging deep in our relationship. Man-stuff!
Yep, you read that correct. And you don’t have to be gay to want that (not that I have anything against being gay or anything like that). No, just talking purely on a ‘needs basis’.
You see, in my experience with males I call my friends and my love of observation and being around mostly men in the last 30 years of visiting the gym, I can deduce that Men need strong, caring relationships with other men. Relationships that allow a man to speak freely about things going on in his life. It is vital to their existence and sense of being and purpose. It is vital to their sanity and management of energy.
It’s to this level that James instructed Christians, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16). I believe that a man who doesn’t have at least one other man to who he can be accountable regarding failures, hurts and temptations is a prime target for masculine anger.
Well, from my observations and dealings with mostly men in the different phases of their lives, I have seen that the angry man in our society seems to be caught between mythical masculinity on one side and true masculinity on the other.
You see, the man feels the pressure to achieve, to earn, to conquer, to win and so forth. Yes, but he also feels the silent pressure to do all these things on his own. Now, that is a lot of pressure, and just like many things in life, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Men all handle pressure differently and have different stress tolerance levels.
Apart from the pressure just mentioned, a man, a Real Man also feels the NEED to love and to nurture those he loves. He also has the need to be loved and nurtured by those who love him.
This is where so many of us go a bit askew and out of line.
Askew, when he tries to reconcile or balance the two needs of love.
The man, the Real Man is constantly torn between two extremes of character, like Harvey Two Face or Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde. He is torn between being invincible and being vulnerable. He is torn between being aloof and being involved and present. He is torn between being self-serving and selfish and being of assistance.
This confusion and imbalance caused by the constant juggling act between character extremes drives a lot of men crazy, which I believe contributes to the high levels of male suicides every year. The roots of this conflict sends up numerous shoots of anger-producing tendencies in his life.
This has got to be stopped or at least managed better.
What we need is a gym like the one I ran for 7 years, in every suburb. A place where men can go and just connect with other men. A place where men can love and be loved, unconditionally. A place where every man came there with the honest purpose to help the ‘man in the mirror’ and to connect with other like-minded men who are there for the single purpose of bettering relationships.
This gym will be predominantly for men. For Men Only. Men need this (and this has nothing to do with sexism). This is about survival of the male species, of what it means to be a man. Today and tomorrow. Consider this: more men die now from suicide in Australia then women die from breast cancer.
Shocking truth: Men suicide rate in Australia!
A last real Man’s Domain: a gym like mine, where everyone knew your name and were happy you came.
Sit back and watch the men that we produce … within families, within communities .. within states … within countries and the … future world.
These will be men with much more balanced characters that will one day make decisions when they will be leaders of tomorrow. Decisions that we hope will be rooted on the foundation of what they have learned while – loving other men and being loved by other men.
Give it two decades.
We will create not only make Champions out of these men, but more importantly we will help form the foundations of Champion Leaders.
I will be smoking my cigar-filled pipe by then, sitting back and thinking “wow!!”
That is life. What a wonderful life and world this is.
Until next time …. cheers to all YOU Real Men out there … never stop believing in YOU … keep on keeping on … Stay alive, it’s worth it!!
Ahoy & cheers!!
The old Captain Viking Pirate … & his thoughts on the battle within most men
Me & some of the Men of the Gym I ran for 7 years … getting together for a simple eat & meat men-bonding session Simply because men need this.
I had a family gym that was predominantly male (70%) for about 7 years. I encouraged the men to speak freely and communicate all their feelings and we shared stories and helped one another through tough emotionally difficult phases of life. What a wonderful group of ‘post-feminite new age males’.
A wise friend told me once a long time ago that if you love life, life will love you back.
I have seen them, so perhaps have you – people who seem to have been freshly scrubbed or newly minted. They have taut skins and great smiles. How do they do it?
They do it partly through increased respect for their body, spirit/soul, heart and mind.
If you see one of these people, ask them their secret and then … get in touch with me and we can tell it to the world. Their secret would be worth more than a pot of gold!
Well, after twenty five years of helping people, help themselves work towards a better version of themselves, I believe a key factor is in better energy management and also that these lucky people have better experience of happiness, daily.
Managing energy better does not only refer to raw materials taken in and outputs expanded from the human machine that is the human body, it also refers to our state of mind and state of heart and spirit.
It seems that many people are of the belief that constantly ‘being happy’ is desired and so they spend all of their day choosing and stressing about being happy. I believe that striving to constantly be in a state of happiness takes you further and further away from the elusive happiness. They do so to such an extent that the drive to be constantly happy leads to unhappiness and an empty feeling.
Happy moments with two long-time members of my gym – in my gym of all ages: 70s, 60s, 50s and I was in my 30s then. The first gym that I ever stepped foot in, in my late teens. A gym that I said I would own one day. A gym that was me and I was it. A gym that I loved. Was a place … that was always happy members came … a place where everybody knew your name … a place where it was ok to just be YOU. I accepted ALL – peoples’ good and bad … it was not a place to be judged. That was and is not my role. My role was to simply provide the environment and leadership required to encourage members to flourish. Because they believed. They believed in what I was trying to do. For ALL to benefit. Remember: BELIEF ===> FAITH ===>HOPE. The vision of my gym: the way gyms should be around the world. There should be my gym in every suburb in the country .. in the world. To bring each community closer … to bring each suburb together … to bring each state together … and the people of the country together. As ONE. This is SYNERGISM: the ability to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, through effective communication and ‘know-how’ of combining seemingly disparate elements. Great Leaders do this – WELL. Very similar to building a World-Class Physique where all the individual muscle groups ‘flow’ together to produce a masterpiece of beauty (balance & symmetry). For all to appreciate. Like an orchestra.
Why is that so, I ask?
Well, it is because, a human being is also an emotional and spiritual being. I believe that to be truly human, one needs to be able to feel ALL emotions, not just being happy all the time. A human being needs to feel emotions including those that are unpleasant – like anger, hatred or sadness amongst others. One needs to FEEL the whole gamut of emotions in one’s life to be truly closer to happiness.
So, in essence you have to experience UNHAPPINESS to experiencing growth towards happiness in your life. There is no other way. This is a keyto happiness.
There is a catch though, as (like anything worthwhile getting), it isn’t as easy as it sounds. To get closer to genuine happiness in your life, you need to strip bare (be honest and brave to oneself); be naked, expose oneself to the world and allow oneself to be vulnerable.
This is a difficult task and for some people, impossible.
Being vulnerable is liberating, it is a genuine taste of freedom. Being vulnerable is truth … it is peace. Being vulnerable is harmony and symmetry … being vulnerable is beauty.
I believe part of the reason people don’t allow themselves to feel the full range of emotions, particularly the unpleasant ones is that we’re all sort of brainwashed to some extent, that ‘getting in touch’ with your inner negative feelings is not recommended and frowned upon.
There is a high need and practise in modern day society to reason and provide an objective and logical explanation to everything, without any feeling. That is the key phrase – “without any feeling’. It seems that people think that they must express everything like this – giving well thought out, logical, step by step reasons for a situation without any empathy and feeling.
You see it everywhere, where people frown upon or look at you with surprise when you voice your disagreement, disgust, anger, frustration and so forth because you actually allowed yourself to experience that emotion.
Oh no, that’s not civilized, not good behaviour … you need ‘anger management’ help. A load of c%ap!
And why is this so?
Well, I have told my wife this many times over the years – that the lack of ‘feeling’ is increasingly a sure sign that peoples’ spiritual lives being poverty-stricken.
Believe. Believe in something. Belong to a religion, any religion. Why? Because most Religions AMPLIFY Faith. This is why human beings invented religion. It is why we have spiritual religions and cultural religions and corporate religions and sporting religions. Because Religion gives our faith a little support when it needs it. Religion at its best is a sort of mantra, a subtle but consistent reminder that belief is ok … and that faith is the way to get where you’re going. Religion at its worst reinforces the status quo, often at the expense of our faith.
Basically, one cannot give and share what one does not have in the first place. In other words, we cannot mirror, cannot radiate the tenderness (of God/positive energy) because people have not experienced it themselves. Sad, but true.
If you believe in God, in a God, please understand one thing: I believe that God expects us to show all of our feelings to him – happy and unhappy feelings, everything. Nothing is off-limits!
However, I believe that before a man or a woman can really FEEL his or her own feelings and be able to express them fully, you have to go back to your past and deal with any hurt or anger. Ask for forgiveness and ask God (and your God) for your forgiveness.
There are few certainties in life – death and taxes are two of them. A third one and one that is relevant to my message in this blog is that God does not change, God is a certainty.
He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Because of this, if you believe in him and you believe in his healing power, you can let go. You can forgive and be forgiven for your past, because it can be UNDONE and off-loaded on to God forever, releasing the shackels you’ve put yourself in.
This is what is meant by being naked.
Allowing you to feel empowered again in your own skin – to be unarmoured … to come out from the wall of invulnerability on those deeply sensitive spots that hold you back from truly feeling the whole spectrum of feelings.
So, being naked, being totally exposed, ironically, provides you with the ultimate armour: increased spiritual connectedness.
A man or woman who has embraced this heightened spirituality, invites wonderful healing of painful memories formed in his or her past. This healing, in turn is the key to be more caring, more empathetic outward expressions (including unpleasant ones too).
Increased awareness of your spiritual part to your whole being allows you to let down the walls of invulnerability, allows you to drop the façade’. It allows the TRUE SELF to be set free, the TRUE YOU.
A great thinker once said that the most difficult thing for a person to do in his or her lifetime is to BE HIM or HERSELF, in a world that is constantly trying to make you somebody else.
So, building your spiritual self allows you to be more of who you really are, not somebody else, not a fake you. You get to love yourself more which ultimately shows in how you show love to others (outwardly), because you are now naked and exposed and vulnerable.
This vulnerability allows you to experience not only the happy feelings but also the unhappy feelings or the undesirable feelings and be more complete.
You see, to me happiness is more than simply feeling pleasure and avoiding pain. Happiness is about having experiences that are meaningful and valuable, including emotions that you think are the right ones to have (others may not think so). All emotions can be positive in some contexts and negative in others, regardless of whether they are pleasant or unpleasant.
Happiness is also about being content, a sub-set of happiness.
Find your light and colours. Be authentic, be YOU. Have FAITH that being naked & vulnerable will get you closer to happiness. If religion comprises rules you follow, FAITH is demonstrated by the actions you take. Of course it is difficult. Be the Leader that you are. In your life.
So, if your goal is to be more happy (and almost every human being has this goal) then to be more happy, learn to feel more. Learn to be unhappy occasionally (when appropriate), don’t be afraid to. It is human to feel these less-than-desired emotions. Learn to be more empathetic. This will take time, if you’re not wired that way. That’s ok. Be patient.
Believe. You will get there. Compassionate, trusting and caring – all elements of empathy.
To get closer to the elusive happiness – be naked (and honest with your spiritual self). Be real and authentic. Be You. No one else in the world can play that role better than you can …. The role of YOU.
Here’s to your happiness (and unhappiness)!
Until next time, Ahoy!!
The Old Captain Viking Pirate … & tips on being closer to happiness
The symbol for Christianity – the Fish. Do you have a symbol that you like, that resonates with you… with who you think you are. I love the DOT ===>”.” I’ll write a future blog on this point (pun intended) What is yours?
The “Most Muscular” (HULK) pose in the sport of Body-building. Roaarrr!!!
We all get angry now and then.
That’s something everyone reading this blog and every citizen of the world have in common. I have always been fascinated with the Marvel Universe characters, one of which is the “Hulk”. To a little extent, I like to imagine that every person has a super-hero in them. That we all have some superhero power.
In this blog, I would argue that there is a Hulk in every one of us.
What’s important is not that we all have that Hulk that could awaken at a moment’s notice but that we get better at managing that Hulk – that anger. Knowing when to unleash your Hulk.
You see, in dealing with thousands of people of all ages in all walks of life in more than two decades in the gym environment, one of the observations I have made is that different people use anger to hide different feelings. The interesting thing is that a lot of times a lot of people don’t know the real reason they are angry.
Think about you when you get angry. Do you use anger to cover different emotions at different times?
Having children brings out the best in every parent and I think many, if not all parents reading this would agree. This includes the best of ‘anger’ too. Having children teaches you many things, one of which is patience and your tolerance for it. “Zachary, can you stop kicking the car seat please!” and then a few minutes later … “For the hundredth time, Zachary, stop kicking the car seat please!”.
Your patience is constantly tested by your children as you do your best to control that lever that releases the Hulk or anger. It is a daily constant battle at times.
Two principles of building muscle: 1) Simplicity and 2} Continuity. Become aware; Apply action: Adapt accordingly.
In this phase of his life, my son’s curiosity encourages him to push limits – push beyond his own physical, mental and emotional limits and also push us – my wife and I, beyond our limits too. An interesting phase in our lives to say the least.
At one point or another, we all find ourselves asking ourselves the question: “Is this the moment to be accepting and empathise so that my child will not be afraid of his feelings?” or “should I put my foot down so he understands that he cannot get away with this?”
What I have found is that there are NO SET RULES TO FOLLOW.
Each situation must be handled separately but this is not as difficult as it sounds.
As an owner of a gym for 7 years, I found myself constantly resolving conflicts – conflicts between members, conflicts between members and their family members, internal conflicts of members and conflicts in general. What I found was that the first response I chose to a situation SET THE TONE for how traumatically an event will be taken. I have also found that this is a very good approach to keep in mind when dealing with children too.
It seems to work with my ability to manage conflicts with my two kids.
When one of my children is hurting, I have found that compounding it by reacting with angry words or action (and letting the HULK out) does not add to the solution. Instead, responding with initial softness and empathy, helps more. I think it allows the child to see that if me or my wife (Dad or mum) aren’t panicking, maybe, just maybe, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
The philosophy you follow heavily influences whether you achieve your goals in life or not.
Where does this ability to be permissive and initiate softness and keep from panicking come from? It comes from WITHIN. The same place the HULK lies dormant. It is a choice. It is a choice that is made by you, the parent, in the good times – the quiet times. That is the best time. The best time to decide on how you respond to a child’s mis-behaviour.
Because if you didn’t decide on such an approach/response or similar, then chaos would prevail and anger or the Hulk will be default system you will react on. There isn’t time to think about ways to prevent a fire, in the MIDDLE OF A FIRE!
If you’re religious, you will believe that GOD works all things unto good.
So, when difficulty first happens, don’t lecture your children, panic or commence scolding. Allowing them to feel the hurt, the anger and initially responding to their behaviour with calm comforting lays an important foundation. A foundation that will allow them to find value in their experience.
Yes, it is much easier to just release the HULK, but it takes a lot of strength to keep it at bay. Calmness comes from within. For you Christians or members of other religious denominations reading this, calmness comes from God’s word. For those of you not so religiously inclined, think of this calmness as being already a part of you. Part of your “inner-self”.
THERE IS A TIME AND PLACE FOR GENUINE, APPROPRIATE ANGER. There is a time and place to let the HULK out. For instance, most of us would respond to injustice and cruelty with anger. Healthy anger can be channelled towards constructively making our world a better place to live in. Healthy anger can be transmuted when one trains with weights. This is one of the un-sung benefits of weight-training with moderate to heavy weights. When executed properly, negative energy (anger) is transmuted through the iron and replaced with a charge of positive energy and vitality.
Anger or the HULK, when released with the appropriate intensity and direction is very positive and a good thing. This is partly because painful trials or conflicts that challenge the threat of the release of our anger/the HULK, produces something encouraging. It produces maturity and growth.
This maturity and growth ultimately leads to LOVE.
Your challenge: become better at controlling the Hulk within. Don’t be afraid to let it out and work on becoming increasingly aware of when to unleash your Hulk. But, only release your Hulk – when appropriate, and with a proportional response.