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Weird is the New “Normal’

Let your light bring colour to the world

Wait …. what?!.

I asked my eight year old son, my wife and my ten year old daughter, individually, to answer two questions –

  1. Did they think their dad/husband (of 20 years) was weird?
  2. What 3 things (out of the hundreds) they think is ‘weird’ about me?

I got some interesting answers and when my son was asked the question .. he answered it (like he has been since he began talking … saying –

wait … what?!

My wife’s three things were –

  1. What I eat
  2. How I think
  3. How I dress

My daughter’s three were –

  1. Things I liked
  2. Music I listened to
  3. How I eat

My son’s three things were –

  1. What I liked
  2. How much books I had
  3. He always sees me working

If that is what they see as ‘weird’ and is also part of why they each love me … for being … no one else but me, then so be it – I am weird, and proud of it. If being weird is a crime, then, I guess I am the biggest criminal in this world.

Beautiful art with my favourite colours

Weird to me is …

I was asked a question by a group of thinkers I’m a part of –

“What is weird to you?”

I typed my response as I sat down and thought … I”m a very fast typer, so I typed as I think … weird to me is .. 

Weird is being comfortable within yourself. With YOU.

Weird is closer to learning your truth, your beauty in life. Weird is heightened awareness that your truth lies within you.

Weird is being less self-conscious and not using that energy worrying about what other people think,

Weird is picking yourself up and trying again, no matter how many times you fall/fail or stink;

Weird is having abnormal strength, not from the gym but from all the times you’ve picked yourself up

Weird is never, ever, ever … giving up, simply because you’re ‘tough’;

Weird is loving the Journey song – “Don’t Stop Believin!” and use it as a mantra when you fail,

Weird is being courageous at just being YOU, in a world where everyone else is trying to be ‘like someone else’, following one another’s tail;

Weird is loving YOU, unconditionally and others you value, too

Weird is loving others enough to enlighten them with your truth and take time to admire the sky, so blue;

Weird is being open and prepared to listen to their truth,

Weird is allowing yourself to be vulnerable even at the expense of ridicule and shunned

Weird is speaking out against injustice when the majority won’t, without the use of a gun;

Weird is not accepting the ‘status quo’ and always seeking a new and better way of doing something,

Weird is always questioning the wisdom passed down from our forefathers … even two plus two equalling four and why do bees sting;

Weird is being self-less, about reaching out to connect through communication,

Weird is communicating with more than words … it is a communication from the soul & using your vibration;

Weird is respect, responsibility and peace, personified into every thought,

Weird is wisdom and strength disguised as UN-Normal, for all battles fought,

Weird is spiritual discipline revealing hidden treasures from one’s infinite creative source within and sharing with love

Weird is acceptance, freedom and contentment disguised in your physical form, taking you places by a dove;

Weird is courage, humility and integrity to oneself and others,

Weird is giving .. hope and gratitude as a daily habit, similar to that existing with lovers;

Weird is offering a hug or shoulder for someone to cry on when no one else will,

Weird is accepting you don’t know anything and your curiosity and energy keeps your search beating down new paths of knowledge trying to get your fill;

Weird treads the fine line that many fear to walk …

Weird is the precarious fine line between insanity and … genius, but for those who don’t understand, all they do is – talk;

Weird is closer to genius that you think,

Weird is knowing that which way you fall comes down to becoming a Master of Mind Management, let’s put in down in ink;

Weird is knowing that Mind Management involves 3 main areas –

Weird is knowing and doing better thinking because –

Weird is the summary I put forward here –

Weird = Thinking (focused) + Feeling (Heart) + Imagination (Goals/Dreams) ==>Good Life.

If you’re Weird, wonderful.

I like Weird.

I am Weird.

Being weird was seen and treated with distaste and branded ‘abnormal’ in our history of mankind. But that was history, this is the present.

We’re living through unprecedented change in our current history, the present. A gift. We’re creating our new history, beginning now … I pronounce that –

Find your truth, create your beauty.
Be the light you want to see in the world

Weird is the New Normal … 

Let’s be Normal, together … with all our other weird friends and … help imagine … and make this world a little better than how we have found it.

What do you reckon?!

Who’s with me?!!!

Do you believe this?

Cheers from Sydney, Australia

Paul e Valentine

**Vitality, Health & Lifestyle Coach/Entrepreneur**

Be the person that YOU are.

Be YOU.
As YOU are.
Accept the uniqueness … and weirdness that you know you are.
Embrace YOU.
Never imitate.

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Needs, or Greeds?

Do you have to satisfy every desire you think of?
I don’t think so
Need, or Greed?

Don’t be a fool, you’re better than that

We have been told that the Top 1 to 2 percent of the world’s Rich people (which includes Nations), control and own 96% of the earth’s resources. I sit back and go ‘wow!”

How did it come to this? Why was it allowed to continue to happen?

I find a clue when I read up on the evolution of science and scientific thought over the last 5 thousand years. One thing is certain: Big Business is intricately connected to Big Politics, to Big Sports & Gambling and to Big Religion. That is the Macro-Business Summary of this imbalance in ownership and resources.

This has been happening before and during Biblical times, for instance, The Bible states –

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”

You, me and most of the world’s 98% are in debt to someone or some thing (bank, lender, mafia, government etc). It is just a matter of degree to you and your life. Anyone who read that biblical statement knows there is utter truth in it. Anyone who has borrowed or been in bondage to debt knows the truth of this verse.

Very often, time and time again, people get in ‘head over heels’ over debt and the mis-management of the their debt:equity ratios.

Here’s what you should do:

Look around you, many loan ‘opportunities’ are popping up all over the place in this time of perceived increases of insecurities and fears. You have to be very diligent about this process of accepting loans in these times … and at any time, for that matter. There will be many perceived ‘opportunities’ to take loans but beware during uncertain times like these, especially when there is increased fears.

Firstly, truly understand your position and your ability to service your debs – short term and long-term. Don’t be fooled in to thinking ‘no repayment for 6 or 12 months’ will make the debt ‘go away’.

Don’t be a fool, you’re better than that. You know you’re only lying to yourself if you believe that.

These times are testing, yes, but it’s important to come to grips with and remind yourself of the distinction between a need and a want.

Find your inner-peace but don’t wait too long … or until you’re a skeleton
But, don’t kill yourself with debt

Need or want

My grandparents taught me a lot in my early youth. They raised me.

As I grew up in an extended family in a communal setting, everything had to be done that benefitted the whole. We didn’t have much but my grandmother had this amazing ability to cook a large pot of food to feed the whole family. She always had an “abundance’ mentality and this was reflected in the way she spoke, walked and thought and in everything she did.

Till today, I still do not understand how she managed to feed over ten people in the household every single day.

They taught me how to not only know the difference between a ‘need’ and a ‘want’ but to make decisions on material possessions using this. I have learned over the years that – knowing is one thing but ‘doing’ is a completely different ball-game. Someone can ‘know’ but would not necessarily ‘act’ on the idea. Throughout my years on this planet so far, I am very happy to say that, just like any habit, I am close to mastering my balance between a need or a want.

I don’t have one hundred percent success rate but over eighty percent success in the key things in the key areas in life.

What about you?

What is your percentage so far? Honestly.

Don’t let your ego overtake the Real YOU.
You don’t need to be caught up with ‘the Joneses”
You don’t need to live with ‘status anxiety’ just to exist.

Master-Servant Relationship

The reality is that whenever you have borrowed from another person, in it’s most simplest reality, it is a Master-Servant Relationship and you are a servant … to that person.

Before you take that debt/loan or whatever fancy name it is called … ask youself Are you happy to feel that way?

Don’t get me wrong, that Bible verse, does not prohibit debt, no … but it certainly makes you urr on the side of caution. So, from a Christian perspective, we could interpret it as saying that any person that uses debt for any purpose, at the very least, is NOT using Biblical wisdom. They (the borrowers), may in fact, be classed as –

“Fools”

Are you a fool? Didn’t think so. Debt is important to surviving in this life but the smart choices with regards to debt is key. Don’t over commit yourself. Don’t be ‘low-level, uneducated slave/servant’. Be a sophisticated and educated slave/servant’. There is a difference. Know this difference and then …

Apply this difference.

And that ‘difference’ is your ability to distinguish what it is that is truly a need and want. Thank you grandma.

Don’t be a slave and eternal slave to this Boss “debt.
That is not the best way to live your one and only life.

The UN-Believer is the same as the UN-Provider

What else does the Bible say about uncertainty and the balance between abundance and scarcity? I’m sure, being a strong Biblical Scholar, you could find many. Here’s one I found, 1 Timothy 5:8 says –

“If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

The underlying Biblical principle relative to debt in this verse is that by taking on debt you may run the risk of not providing for your own. Because debt mortgages the future. This is where the negative effect of the ‘compound effect’ works against you. The interest upon interest upon interest on you debt locks up your future life.

It locks you up and prevents you for providing for those you love.

Therefore, this verse says that you have denied the faith and are worse than an UN-Believer. Obviously, this risk is very real and very great and … should be avoided.

Exactly.
That is exactly what many experience when they get more debt than they can manage.
They experience “Holy Shit!”

Abundance vs Scarcity

Yes, it is important to believe (in terms of keeping you less stressed), to believe in the ‘abundance mindset’ rather than the ‘scarcity mindset’ because it just helps you live a more positive life and draws more good to you than bad, if used in the right manner.

In the Bible, Luke 12:15 says –

“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

It is quite obvious what the verse is trying to say – be aware and cautious and be on your guard against every form of greed. This is not, however, a matter of abundance vs scarcity.

Debt makes it very easy to fund short-term greeds; yet in doing so, we may violate the Biblical principle set forth in this verse.

The question to ask is what my grandmother told me when I was in my early youth –

“Son, ask yourself, am I funding my NEEDS or my GREEDS?”

We all have one life.

Where we end up in life has a direct correlation to the quality of decisions we have made to that point. Don’t let greed overpower your needs. Learn to discern between the two.

Your decisions are fuelled by the thoughts you have and these are based on your values and principles and belief system you adopted in your life so far. As my grandfather used to tell me –

Be careful of your thoughts, they determine your actions; be careful of your actions, they determine your habits; be careful of your habits, they determine your character and be careful of your character, it determines your …destiny.”

As you can see, your decisions impact on your destiny in life. Learn to make good and better decisions.

All the very best in your decisions,

 

Best of Vitality to YOU,

Paul e Valentine

Vitality, Health & Lifestyle Coach/Entreprenuer

The Best of the Best.
Phil Waugh – retired ex-Australian Wallaby & Warrahs Captain willing to embrace knowledge.
Increasing his awareness towards being the BEST HE IMAGINES HE CAN BE, using my framework.
An A+ Student!

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Making your Reverse Bucket List is a key to your Happiness

The old Captain Viking Pirate 🏴‍☠️ ⚔️Enjoying a beer 🍺 in a hot 🥵 spring day here in Sydney Australia 🇦🇺

Don’t speak in absolute terms, consider relativity

Whenever my two children make a statement of definiteness like “Dad, this is the best day!”. I would say –

“That’s great, but best day … compared to or relative to what? Is it better to yesterday or last week’s or five years ago on your birthday?”

As Einstein said, every matter is inter-connected to all other matter and one cannot speak of time without considering space and vice versa. So, in effect, to speak completely about space/subject/matter, you should always include the concept of time. To do this, you have to compare it or make the subject ‘relative’ to something else/subject/event.

We’re all seeking success in life or at least our perception of what ‘success’ is. Both the Christian and Non-Christians desire success but like most things in life, success for these two groups should not be compared in absolute terms but one should consider relativity.

Success, relative to the goals.

Be YOU.
As YOU are.
Accept the uniqueness … and weirdness that you know you are.
Embrace YOU.
Never imitate.

Be not better than, but, instead – different from

The difference is in world-view or perspective.

One world-view sees only the here and now, the other sees the un-seen, the ‘make-believe’, the imagination come alive. What one’s world-view or perspective is (or to put it another way, what one believes) has a huge effect on one’s attitude and therefore, actions one takes.

Individually, God has called us to be: salt and light (see Matthew 5:13-16), servants (see Mark 10:45) and stewards (see Matthew 25:14-30).

The idea of being salt and light tells us that God wants me to be not better than, but, instead – different from.

So, the Christian may or may not have more than his neighbour, but that does not distinguish him or set him apart and be ‘different from’. In my eyes, what makes him or her – the Christian, different from the world is the absence of anxiety.

Those who dream … to be different … and aim to share their unique selves with the world, to help … get the love back in return.

The Best Pirates Treasures

The strong Christian, I believe, does not have uncontrolled anxiety that may have resulted from the loss of some material possession or not receiving something that God may have denied.

No, the Christian’s UN-anxious mind-set gives him wings.

Wings to fly when others fill heavy and weighed down with soaring expectations and desires of unbridled, insatiable success.

You see, the Christian’s treasures are not of this earth. If the Christian were a Pirate, sailing the seas of life scouring for treasures, it would be the treasures that is in undiscovered lands that are most appealing. It is treasures that are ‘too good to be true’, treasures that are only in dreams in Fairy-lands that bring unrelenting enthusiasm.

For a Christian, his or treasures is not of this earth. The world and its temporal toys do not brain-wash him. I would advise against indulging every whim and craving, for happiness is not achieved by conspicuous consumption but by keeping desires to a minimum. As the philosopher Epicurus said –

“A man is wealthy in proportion to the things he can do without.”

As I see it, the Christian prays for all but is least anxious about the tremendous uncertainty facing national and the world economy.

Like a Pirate, for a Christian, the Best Pirate’s Treasures are waiting for him in heaven.

My son’s depiction of a Pirate 🏴‍☠️ 3 years before I recommenced wearing a bandana after retiring it for almost 15 years
How did he know?

To own nothing is the beginning of happiness

Obviously, that Christian attitude is not ‘normal’ and could possibly fall under the ever growing definition of ‘insanity’ in today’s society. But, then again, years ago, people with epilepsy were thought to be possessed by evil spirits and needed to be burned out of them.

This attitude may not be ‘normal’ in non-Christian’s eyes and that is ok because I’d like to think of it as being not being better than, but different from. This attitude of state of mind sprouts from having a different world-view and perspective on life.

The Christian’s perspective is eternal. It is held in the hope of treasures in a far-away land … a far-away land we call Heaven. What All great Pirate and Viking dreams are made of, a place that the Viking’s call “Valhalla”.

The pursuit of that kind of happiness is like a dog chasing it’s tail or trying to catch a butterfly. You cannot slip into the same dress twice because the trend of the moment has already flowed on. As the great mad, bad and dangerous Philosopher, Diogenes says –

“To own nothing is the beginning of happiness

This different perspective on life allows the Christian to be free from worry and anxiety.

An attitude of gratitude is key to living a significant life

The material possessions of this world does not consume the Christian for the real treasures are in eternity. Maybe, this is a big part of finding happiness – so many in today’s modern societies work 60-to-80 hour working-weeks just so they can afford the latest fashion or tick off their never-ending “bucket lists”.

An attitude of gratitude is the way of a strong Christian as he or she understands that it a key to living a significant life, filled with richness beyond just the narrow-focus of material possessions and money.

I have always believed, one of the best ways to show gratitude every single day is to make what I refer a ‘Reverse Bucket List” and remind yourself by giving thanks to God for all the things, people, places and activities that you have experienced so far that make up the greatest gift given to you – your Life.

So, whether you’re a Christian or not, I think we can all benefit by creating our own individual Reverse Bucket Lists and run through them off and tick them off your list, in doing so (giving Gratitude to God , if you’re a Christian) and simply, re-living that pocket of happiness that you experienced (if you’re a non-Christian).

I’m sure the Reverse Bucket List will appeal to both the Christian and Non-Christian. No one is better … we are just different. I strongly believe, Making your Reverse Bucket List is a key to your happiness. It is one of the reasons Fijians are the most happiest people on this planet. They give thanks for everything in their life, every single day.

A good habit to learn. A good habit to have. It may just build more life in to your years. Try it, see for yourself.

Your choice, your life.

 

All the very best in your choice,

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & treasures to feed all great Vikings and Pirates

Have no doubt.
Help yourself first.
God will meet you half way …
he ALWAYS does.
All you ahve to do is: BELIEVE.

Your body is the physical manifestation of your mind. It is your ‘temple of God”.
Treat it with respect, clean it, maintain it and repair it.
Love it.
Accept Love.
Give Love.
Build the best temple you can muster.
This is a form of gratitude to God for giving you that body and life to live.

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Death of a Cubicle Worker

Bigger isn’t necessarily better but … it can smash things (like the Hulk)

Bigger isn’t necessarily better

I remember the last words my boss of almost three years say to me as I walked out of his office –

Paul, bigger isn’t necessarily better’.

I nodded at him, smiled and left. This happened a long time ago, back in 2003.

You see I had an offer to go work at one of the Top 2 Accounting & Business Advisory Firms in the world and I was leaving my role as a Senior Accountant of a 2nd-tier Accounting & Business Firm in Sydney, Australia (Top 20 in Australia).

It was exciting and even though my boss was happy for me, I could tell he was a little sad. I had handled his clients for almost three years and did a good job at it, working very hard. Heck, for about six months after I joined, my Manager upped and walked out and I was thrust in to an “acting Manager” role. I held the fort, so to speak for half a year while they looked for someone appropriately qualified and skilled.

He liked me. I was loyal and I was there when he needed me. This was reflected in my six-monthly salary review, I was handsomely compensated and was at the top of the salary range of my peers. “Not bad” I thought.

I could not foresee the future and being a candidate for the death of a cubicle worker.

Funny thing is that that piece of advice also applies to muscles and bodybuilding. The guy with the biggest muscles doesn’t necessarily win on stage in competition. That is because the guy with the most balanced & symmetrical physique with the right muscle: joint ratios and knowledge of the ‘art of posing’ is what builds a champion physique.

I’d understand that fully in my next phase of life, only a few years from where I was then …

 

Exactly.
No one can truly see the future but we can certainly extrapolate current patterns to help predict the future.

When being your Best isn’t good enough

I was hired at a newly-created level just below the “Senior” level I was at my old Firm. It was a blow to my ego, initially, as I felt that I was being demoted. I brushed that out of my mind and told myself that ‘it was only a title’.

Thing is, that initial thought bugged me right through my experience there and every other thing that bugged me just seemed much bigger than what it was. Hey, I was back at a Big Four! (My first Corporate work experience was at the largest of the Big 7 at that time – Arthur Andersen, just after graduation in the late 90s, where I spent over 2 years as a Risk Consultant).

It is now the Big Four.

Was nice to be back, or so I thought.

Let me just say that …I failed at my role. This is when I learned how being your best was not good enough.

I was going from a mid-tier to a Big Four and that was a ‘step up’ in the world, or so we believed. My first, heck, my first three months was nerve wrecking and admittedly, I found the place intimidating, cold and I was filled with fear but also a bit of excitement and loads of nervous energy.

But I had a bit of pride about it all.

I was sort of average at University. Many students had been far above me on the Dean’s list and graduated with honours and straight A’s. Not me. I had never hit any academic home-run except when I was in Primary and High School.

But that was a long time ago…. and besides, I was literally practising my social skills and building relationships and making connections in many sections of life. Skills like honing ‘small talk’ in various social situations, comfortably having conversations with people from all levels of the university and society- from the Chancellor, to having beers with Heads of Departments, to Gym Managers to gardeners. I spent a lot of that time mixing and socialising and finding out more about people as I ran a small business on the side too.

Besides there just so much to do besides study for straight As, and working on developing ‘me’ as a whole person and …. I had the energy and foresight to do that.

“What did my employer see in me? “ I used to ask myself.

They were looking for “well-rounded” individuals with experience along with brains… not just super-brains with no ‘people skills’. Ha! All that time running a business while studying and socialising wasn’t a waste after all. Apparently, many studies from major educational institutions indicate that the ability to connect with people is a key skill to have in life, a part of what is now commonly known as ‘Emotional Intelligence’.

One thing that immediately bugged me after getting that ‘newly-created’ title was I wasn’t getting much more than what I was getting at my old job.

I went from a Window Cubicle with great views to a ‘hot-desk’ and great work colleagues and a wonderful culture to something that was very different. A hot desk means that you don’t really work there and they don’t give you a permanent spot. You’re meant to be at your client’s premises, because if you are then, you’re charging your time to the client.

The firm makes it’s money that way, they had many perks. Employees loved that. I wasn’t phased.

The office was huge. An open-flat plan, comprising of a cubicle-walled jigsaw puzzle that felt like one of those boxes they make white mice run through to find the cheese.

Sometimes taking a bad photo of yourself can be very good for your own good. Just like sometimes, the greatest hurt teaches you the most.

Our Life-Controlling Mechanism

We can fill our minds with inspirational messages encouraging us to “Just do it!” or “Follow your heart!” so when we can’t do something or we recognize we aren’t good at something, we feel stuck. If we quit, that’s a problem (“Just do it! Don’t give up!”)

Sticking with it and quitting is a losing game, it is a lose-lose situation. No amount of positive affirmation can get you out of this abyss.

You feel like you’re unable to move at all.

Not able to think straight .. I felt like an imposter .. that I wasn’t good enough to be amongst the best of the best … not a good feeling to have at all.

I grinded my teeth as I slept, tossing and turning at night, and waking up with a feeling of dread in my stomach. I couldn’t handle that immense feeling of failure that kept rising and rising. Was it that I couldn’t do my job or I just lost all care about doing it? I’m not sure what happened first, my memory may have been a bit distorted.

I didn’t know where to turn.

I felt trapped.

You see, each of us have our own self-image, which kind of determines the kind of scope of person we are – it is our Life Controlling Mechanism. You see, we all have self-imposed limitations and we cannot outgrow these limits we place on ourselves.

We can only set new limits within which we must live.

Sometimes inspiration is not what you need, it is acceptance.

Acceptance so that you can move on and one day be in a position to say –

“I used to do that at one time in my life, but I no longer do”

A very powerful phrase to say. We all need to think we are making progress in life, no matter how small ‘that’ progress is. Saying ‘I used to do that?” gives you at least a perception that you’re kind of progressing in life.

Never give up.
In less than I year of leaving my cubicle in the Corporate Environment I was standing and competing against the best natural bodybuilders in the world at the World Natural Bodybuilding Championships in New York, USA.
Find your strengths .. know your strengths .. continuously build your strength on strengths.
Never give up

It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.

Especially if you’re hard on yourself like I am.

What doorways are you trying to squeeze yourself through right now where … you know what?

You really fit just fine. You are not the problems. It is the environment that you are working in, that is the problem. If you take a fish out of water and expect it to climb a tree, it will fail miserably.

Does the environment make us believe it’s all our fault? Yes, yes, definitely yes.

We live in a world where the screws are on tight. There’s a capitalistic shrink wrap making sure everything is fitter, happier, and more productive. So sometimes the stress on all of us builds too high.

There’s no room for error.

Now, that doesn’t mean my bosses at the Top Firm were bad, they absolutely weren’t. They had lofty expectations and needed me to help. Fast! The screws were tight on them, too.

No wonder it’s such a hard lesson to learn as we’re falling that we’re okay, we’re okay, we’re okay. And maybe it’s just not about us. It simply isn’t about us.

Well, nobody is telling us that. So we always think it’s always about us.

Maybe what we need is simply – a Fresh Start.

I did.

A few years later I did what I really loved to do and that was to coach people how to be their Best – I owned and managed my Family Gym for about seven years. That failure at that cubicle job had many benefits, it spurred me on to very intense self-reflections and an identification of personal strengths. So much so, that in less than a year of leaving the cubicle world, I was competing at my first of two World Natural Bodybuilding Championships, representing Australia.

Finally, this fish was in the ‘right environment’ and my Best was good enough… good enough to be one of the best in the world at my chosen activity (Top 5 in the world two years in a row, representing the country I love).

You see I’ve learned many things from that failed cubicle job experience and one of it is that it’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.

I wonder what yours is?

I know one thing for certain … the future of work will see the death of many cubicle workers. It already has as technology has allowed many employees to work from a distance already. Be creative and consider strategies for your future and the future of work, Now.

Never forget: BELIEVE in YOU, first.

All the very best,

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk

Learning from the best at something, to be your best is the quickest way to get to where you’re going.
No one can teach you what they don’t know.

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To DO NOTHING could be the best thing you could do for yourself.

The brain cannot multi-task, this is a myth.
Neuroscience shows that the brain can only TASK-SWITCH.
You CANNOT multi-task without mistakes.
Teach yourself to DO NOTHING … to SIT STILL. … to …
Just BE.

Sitting still is UN-Easy

My daughter and son are now almost eleven and nine respectively.

I have watched them grow in to enthusiastic and very curious individuals. They have the same blueprint but have very different personalities and appreciate their own uniqueness. Over the years, I have given them many challenges for their growth, in various forms – art, music, sport, mental agility, verbal wrestling etc.

When they were four and two respectively, I gave them a challenge to DO NOTHING … just to sit ‘still’. We first began with 20 seconds and kept increasing. Like any new habit, the first time was quite difficult for them, being kids .. but as time went on, they got better at it. It was the hardest thing they have had to do in my opinion and is one of the hardest things for adults to do too.

Sitting still is UN-Easy, indeed. Some cultures do this better than others and I believe many in the developed world can take a page out of the Fijian’s handbook. It is no fluke that they are the happiest people on the planet. They know when to work … and when to relax. They don’t mix the two.

Try it. How did you go?

Guess how good my children are at sitting still now? Yep, they can sit still for an hour with ease now, when they need to. Like all habits, it takes patience and practise.

People in a hurry struggle to find time for recovery, real recovery. Many look forward to their annual 4 week leave, but by then, it is too late, as you cannot escape your mind. You can only manage it better. Their minds have little time to meditate, to UN-Think, to just BE. Still. Their minds have little time to pray and their problems seem to get ‘blown out of proportion” and usually taken out of perspective.

In short, I believe people in our very fast-paced cities and societies have been showing clear signs of physiological and psychological disintegration because of many reasons. One key reason, as I see it is that we are living at a pace that is too fast for our bodies. It seems that people think that all other areas of life needs to be changed as fast as technology changes.

Nope, very bad extrapolation of ‘correlation’ if you asked me. This, I believe is the Essence of the Stress Problem in society, as this way of thinking feeds in to the ‘instant gratification’ mentality afflicting many in our modern-day societies.

Find your inner-peace but don’t wait too long … or until you’re a skeleton

ACTing to Create Change

It is difficult to get YOU and your mind to be in the Present moment, to have mindful connection with the present moment. Why is that? I wrote that one way to do so is to learn to “UN-Think”.

You see, from my experience, plugging back into the present moment and connecting with our surroundings does not need to be complicated.

Being in the present moment tends to prove most difficult when we are troubled with a major life problem, loss or trauma, and no one reading this and alive, can say that they haven’t experienced these challenges.

As we all know, problems have the habit of filling our minds and taking over our thoughts to the point where we can be emotionally and mentally absent from the people around us. This is why we all need to improve our skill at being still.

You see, I believe, to do nothing and be still is an under-rated, yet, KEY life skill, as hinted in the Bible –

“Be still and know that I am God.”    

  • Psalm 46:10

But many have forgotten how to do so because they are always ‘busy’. “How are you?” I would ask … to a response of – “busy!” . Really, I ask myself.

Like all new skills, practice makes a huge difference and with perseverance, the skill becomes easier to master.

Here are a few routines you could practise to help you get back to the present moment, as part of your acting to create change

  • Apply your senses
    1. Stop
    2. Be Still.
    3. Concentrate on trying to name 3 things you can –
      1. See
      2. Hear Feel or touch
  • Grounding YOU”
    1. Stop.
    2. Be Still.
    3. Push your feet into the ground (feel that force travel through your feet into your glutes into your lower back and up towards your neck)
    4. Consciously straighten your back.
    5. Chin up and shoulders back.

STOP and RELAX
After almost 30 years of training with weights in the gym, I have found that Breathing properly is one of the Key factors in achieving the results you desire. Apart from staying alive, breathing properly allows you to focus better and when you focus better, you have improved ‘mind-muscle’ connection, you become “ONE”.

When you have better mind-muscle connection, you feel and control the weight better and when this happens, you build quality muscle better. Breathing correctly increases your self-awareness and helps you avoid injuries in the gym (part of the reason I have stayed INJURY-FREE since I began weight training in the gym).

Stop and Relax

  1. Stop.
  2. Be still.
  3. Take a deep breath and count ‘one’
  4. Then breathe again ..
  5. And Count ‘Two’ in your head …
  6. Then breathe again ..
  7. And count “Three” in your head…
  8. And keep going to ten.

 

If you can focus on nothing else but the numbers and not let any other thought come in to your mind as you count one through to ten while focusing on breathing slowly and deeply, you would have gotten closer to mastering the ‘art of concentration’.

Try it. See how you feel.

Find that place where you can sit ‘still’ and ‘ do nothing’ … but just BE. For me, it is where the land meets and sea that meets the sky. I sit still and do nothing but listen and see and smell and feel. where do you go?

 Stress-Free Living

I have noticed that many expressions of spirituality have become linked to adrenalin arousal. I believe, can be very harmful. In recent times (over the last 10 years or so), many modern-day sages or ‘saints’ seem to find their peak spiritual experiences in exciting challenges or emotional catharsis.

Why?

[Many] seem to confuse adrenalin arousal with spiritual growth. If their bodies were stimulated, they then felt they were growing spiritually. If they were not stimulated, they felt nothing was happening.

Well, I’ve got news for you … it ISN’T!

The saddest thing about this kind of confusion is that it actually works against spiritual growth. People are confusing adrenalin arousal with spirituality. Many true saints of God as outlined in the Bible found their peak spiritual experiences in quietness and solitude.

Here’s the prescription for ‘stress-free living’:

“your beauty … should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet smile, which is of great worth in God’s sigh.”

  • 1 Peter 3:3-4

This truth, which was meant for wives in the original context is a wonderful secret to stress-free living.

Begin with YOU … the internal-you.

Then, worry about the external.

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & learning to DO NOTHING could be the best thing you could do for yourself.

Have no doubt.
Help yourself first.
God will meet you half way …
he ALWAYS does.
All you have to do is: BELIEVE.

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Headship

To lead, you need to serve … you need to spread your love … you need to spread your wings … and be the wind beneathe other wings …
Here I am spreading my wings … my lats … just like Batman’s cape

Another term for Leadership

Have you heard of the term – “Headship?”

It is another term for Leadership.

I think it has a Biblical origin, whereby the man is recognised as the “head” in marriage and so he was endowed with authority and the right-to-dominate. This set of beliefs would not sit well with women in marriages or society in general, today, and understandably so.

It may have been Paul’s mistake of patterning the man’s role as “head” after Jesus Christ’s position as “Head-of-the-Church” which gave weight to the husband’s role in a marriage. Patterning your life on someone else without thinking about possible negative consequences can be a dangerous thing.

Great Leaders bring out the best in others … Great Leaders walk the trenches with their men … great leaders are great servants
Here I am with the members of my gym
Members that I served for 7 years of my life …
to be their BEST

A True Leader has a Servant’s Heart

Should the husband, become Lord and Master or Servant, I ask you?

The Man and Christ have been compared since, so does that automatically give the Man all the rights and roles to that of the Lord in the home?

I think many in societies today still act out this misconception in families and in other areas of life, like board rooms, sports fields etc. Men dominate to a significant degree. Change is happening but it is happening so slow that the real benefits will be experienced fifty to hundred years from now.

But why?

What are some of the traits of good Leaders anyway?

I think the great Leader and teacher of Leadership, Mr John C Maxwell, stated it rightly –

“The best leaders desire to serve others, not themselves.”

How many of you reading this can honestly look at yourself in the mirror and say that you truly have a servant’s heart?

I agree, totally, … all great Leaders have a servant’s heart. Can you think of some great Leaders? Who comes to mind? Gandhi? Nelson Mendela? Donald Trump? General H. Norman Schwarzkopf? Jesus Christ?

There are many good Leaders .. but not many, Great Leaders throughout history.

Winning this award in 2008 for the BEST GYM in the Northern Beaches of Sydney was the best award I have ever received (better than my 2 x World Championship trophies)
It was an award judged and voted on by the residents of the Northern Beaches on the BEST GYM & related Services in the Health & Fitness category

Headship means responsibility to act in love

We, as humans making our path through the maize of life, tend to seek & gravitate to Leaders, consciously and unconsciously.

It can be a benefit for some people, who prefer to off-load their responsibility in making decisions to someone else – a volunteer that can be used as a ‘scapegoat’ when things fuck up. You see and hear about this every single day – in politics, business and sport and life.

Headship means responsibility and initiative.

Headship is a responsibility to act in love; initiative to act in service to another. And who do you think is the greatest actor in Headship that ever walked this planet? I believe it was Jesus Christ. He demonstrated self-giving love and self-humbling service which gives us a whole new meaning and standard to the term “Headship.”

He truly embodied the qualities of servanthood.

So, to be true Leader, you need to take the initiative in building an atmosphere of loving, self-sacrificing service.

 

What’s you idea of Headship? What is your idea of what a Leader should look like? A Viking? A Pirate … maybe?

Taking on other’s qualities

Are you in a marriage?

It seems that marriage partners tend to become like each other, don’t you think?

After nineteen years of marriage with my partner, Cathy, I have deduced that there are one of two ways marriages can go. Based on my relationship and my observations of other marriages, either partners tend to become like each other and start taking on other’s qualities, or developing the opposite characteristics in negative reaction to the other.

Which way to you choose? Question is: are you still married?

Bowling night out with the Men of my gym
To Lead is to Serve

Real Leadership begins in the home

A person’s fundamental character is learned from the people he or she lives with in the early part of his or her youth, his or her family. Real Leaders are molded by the people that love them in the early years.

Real Leadership, begins in the home.

Leadership, I believe, is a function which should always be shared. I grew up in an extended family where Leadership was shared. That is what I adopt with my wife and nuclear family now.

I find when Leadership is shared in mutual respect for each other, it establishes a climate of dignity, freedom and responsibility. I believe this is part of the secret to my wife and I managing our relationship for nineteen years now. We’ve both changed in more ways than one since we first met but we’ve always allowed one another room to grow.

This climate of dignity, freedom and responsibility in turn creates an atmosphere which is both comforting and stimulating to both partners in a marriage. Do you share the Leadership function with your married partner?

And how do you know if this is what you have?

Well, shared Leadership is one where each is free to grow toward personal maturity and each partner is eager to see the shape of Christ forming in the other (see Galatians 4:19-20).

With Margaret .. the blind member of my Family Gym .. & her dog
Never forget – to Lead, one must have a heart to serve
I served this lady and her blind daughter (who I helped train for her first Paralympics in her teens).

Choking of communication and understanding is a cause of bad leadership

Where one party seizes power, or both the husband and the wife, both struggle for control, an atmosphere of competition and conflict results. The choking of communication and understanding is the fuel of this atmosphere. Even the unconscious assuming of power by one partner or the other will mold the relationship, perhaps in ways neither desire.

We’ve all seen this play out in the Hollywood movies countless times and some of you may have played it out in real life too.

When relationships break up, a common reason is there was a ‘break-down in communication.”

Leadership ability begins in the home … children learn character building in the home
Be the best character you can be … for YOU, first .. and then for your kids

Traits of a True Leader

Here are some ways you can become a True leader:

  • Put others first – being intentionally aware of others’ needs and being available to them
  • Confidence to give power to others – how we treat others is often a reflection of how we treat ourselves. How do you treat others?
  • Initiating service to others without expecting anything in return – the heart of true leadership is in the initiation of service
  • Not status/rank – conscious – your motivation to help others is paramount
  • Serves out of love – the quality of your leadership depends on the depth of concern for others

So, how do you fair in your Leadership skills so far in life?

More importantly, how do you learn to become the best servant you can be and as a result a Great Leader? A mentor once summed it up to me many years ago –

You must be little (seem insignificant) and serve all.

 

All the best to your Headship Role in life.

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & what it means to be a Great Leader

Me, some of my quirks (showing off my muscles, posing at every and any opportunity and my desire to ‘over’ dress than to ‘under’ dress. Also, my quirk of love for dogs (and in particular, my pirate dog) and animals in general.

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The Christmas Nativity Story speaks to our need for Hope

Find your light.
Light your path.
It is YOUR path.
No one can ride that path with you, but YOU.

Your “Right” to something can be very different to doing the “Right’ thing

I am a human and societal observer.

I have been since I was a child and I love it because you learn a lot, just by watching.

Permit me to make this observation: we must be very careful in speaking of our ‘rights’. I think people who constantly refer to their rights tread on dangerous ground. You see this just about everywhere you go in our modern-day, fast-paced societies.

Your ‘right’ to something can be very different to doing the right thing.

That is part of our reality, or a perception of our reality, at least.

Where the land … meets the sea …. meets the sky

The Nativity Scene on Christmas Eve Mass

I signed up my son and daughter to take part in the Nativity Scene on Christmas Eve Mass a few months earlier. My 8 year old son, Zachary, said that I was wrong not to assume that he wanted to participate in it. He said that he was going to church but was adamant he won’t play the “Sheppard” role in the Nativity Play.

Initially, I was angry but then realised that I was at fault for assuming I had the right exercise authority over him, simply because I was his parent. I subsequently apologised to him and said he didn’t have to do it if he didn’t want to.

My wife, Cathy, subsequently persuaded him to play that Head Sheppard role. And he looked and sounded terrific on stage, saying his lines to Mary and the Angels (my daughter, Olivia, played the role of one of the Angels) at the time of Jesus birth. It was beautiful to see them along with other young children re-enact the scene of the Nativity and the birth of Jesus Christ, our saviour in front of a packed out Church.

My initial failure at persuading my son to do the Shepherd role in the Nativity play also reminded me of how difficult I have found when helping people, help themselves to do the ‘right thing’ as they move towards their best selves. Despite presenting all the evidence and logical reasons for making or choosing healthier options with regards to habits, doing so is very very difficult for many.

Thank you Zachary for the reminder.

Father-son relationships take work
A lot of work

Failing as a Dad

After that heated debate with my son, I contemplated my failure as a Dad in relation to what I was observing quite readily in society – that many were referring to and claiming ‘their Right” but not necessarily considering whether they were doing “the Right” thing.

I thought about these questions: do you have the unqualified right to the respect of your children? Do you have an unqualified right to the respect of your spouse for that matter? Do you have every right to exercise authority over your children?

The answer is – No, you don’t!

You certainly DO NOT have an “unqualified right.”

You have a parental duty from God and you cannot sever that right. So, let’s ask this question: –

“Does and should a person demand his rights?”

So, I believe, God grants us ‘our rights’, but in so doing, these rights are only that, and no more … these rights are only granted to fulfil his or her duties. I know I have failed my children many times in this aspect of parenthood and especially in being a Father. I am certainly far from perfect and still very much a Work-in-progress…. in being the Best Dad I can be and also a better husband to my wife.

What do you think?

Believe or not believe.
Get your ass off the pole of the fence (stop sitting on the fence!)
Choose.

Duty to God, first

As parents, we automatically get ‘parental duties’ imposed on us and most of us, embrace them. It should not be forgotten that these parental duties apply towards God and to our children. Then, and only then, should we speak of our ‘parental rights’.

Duty to God, first.

Bare your cross.
Then …
Help someone else carry their’s … only if you can manage both

To exercise and respect, Authority

Each generation speaks of and writes about the rebellious spirit of children and young people of the generation that comes after them. Why do think this is so?

On one hand, it is one of education, whereby I believe, the children have never learned respect for authority as their parents didn’t know better and had not exercised authority. However, on the other hand, it is very possible that these children did not learn respect for authority because the parents misused it. Or parents have completely different views of respect for authority and demonstrate this towards one another in front of the children.

I’m sure there are many of you out there who feel that you’re not respected by something your wife, husband, partner said or did. One or both parties then abuse their authority and supposed power over each other.

It is no wonder, that in life, we have so many examples of men and women, inevitably, abuse power when they attain so much of it.

With the next generation of Valentine males – Zachary.

Authority: a God-given Weapon

We had a major disagreement this morning – my wife, kids and I and some things were said that hurt each other. I needed ‘time-out’ to cool down so I listened to some ‘Enya”. Her musical frequencies (songs) has certainly resonated with my brain wavelengths since I first heard her musci in the early 90s.

All relationships take work and disagreements is simply what people who love each other do … very similar to building and keeping good quality lean muscle mass. You hurt the muscle area (through repeatedly lifting weights and increasing the load/hurt on the muscle over time)… then, feeding it with the necessary nutrition (love and care) and allowing the muscle/person/relationship to heal/recover and become bigger, more shapely and better.

That is a very simplified version of loving relationships.

I think I was guilty of abusing my authority as a Dad and raised my voice unnecessarily when arguing. I was wrong to do that and I demonstrated a lack of control and respect for my power in my family. Others were guilty of it too but I won’t go in to that here.

Authority should not be toyed with. A person that is given that power to wield this authority over others, should understand that it is a God-given weapon.

All who wields this Power (like us, parents), must be constantly vigilant on it’s use and abuse of it. One should always be ‘on guard’ lest you misuse it for selfish ends.

Authority, must never be exercised in an arbitrary, unreasonable manner.

The world is still crying out for more Leaders who exemplify the utmost discipline in the respect of and exercise of authority and power. Leaders that go from good to Great.

Praise the Lord!

My son, the Shepherd

Zachary’s role in the Nativity was – one of the Shepherds.

Got me thinking about the question why, the shepherds?

The announcement of Jesus birth went to the Shepherds, first. Why? I mean, God didn’t go to the Theologians or the elite? The first group would have probably consulted their commentaries and the latter, may have looked around nervously to see if anybody was watching. What about the successful, why not them?

Well, maybe, they would have consulted their calendars because they were so ‘busy.’

Instead, God went to the Shepherds. Why, I ask?

Maybe, it is because they didn’t have a reputation to protect or an axe to grind or a ladder to climb. They were simple men, who maybe, didn’t know enough to tell God that angels don’t sing to sheep and that messiahs are not found wrapped in rags and sleeping in a feed trough.

I have seen this re-enactment play out on Christmas Eve masses many times over the years but it is only yesterday in Zachary’s role playing, my son, the Shepherd … that I asked those questions.

Like my failure to persuade my son to take part in the Nativity initially, many things in life and what we call ‘reality’ is heavily influenced in being able to communicate effectively through storytelling. The Nativity is a great story and the Bible has a collection of great stories, written by wonderful storytellers. Stories that connect and move people. Even all these centuries later, like we do today.

Maybe, we can all learn how to be better story-tellers now and for the rest of our lives to be more effective communicators.

Me and my children.
Children gives you a hint of eternity.
A true blessing to be graced with seeds.
Vv.

Christmas is about … Hope … the vision of Life

Christmas is about many things, to different people. In yesterday’s mass, one of the 3 things he asked the members to consider was that Christmas was not just about ‘your immediate family’ but should be about others. About asking yourself what can you GIVE to others, in whatever shape or form.

I felt good that my family did give.

My wife helped encourage my children to practise sessions of the play leading up to the mass in which they gave their performance. I gave my voice as a member of the Church Choir during mass and helped set up the hall prior to mass. I was happy we ‘gave.’

Here, I am again, in the early hours of Christmas morning, giving you my thoughts … through my writing and I hope it add some value to you and your life, however, small it may be.

It is my gift to you, this Christmas Day.

Don’t give up, don’t give up on what you believe in .. . don’t give up, but use the chance to return to HOPE. Hope that everything will be better and as you imagined.

There are many good and bad things Religions of the world represents. However, the one thing that I believe Religions of the world provide is a strong pathway for the individual towards Hope. This belonging to a sense of Collective Faith is very powerful … which is reflected in Christians all around the world celebrating Christmas Day.

Hope, ultimately is all that we have in life.

Hope is ultimately, all we have in this life

Remember, to stoop in the presence of Greatness

In church, there are moments when we are required to ‘stoop’ or bow our heads or kneel when we are talking to Jesus and God. That is what you do when you meet or are in the presence of Greatness.

Jesus was a great man, a great Leader, a great Messiah. He still is, many centuries later.

As I see it, as you go through life, you can see the world and everything it has to offer – standing tall. But, to witness the Saviour, you have to get on your knees.

So …

While the theologians were sleeping;

And the elite were dreaming

And the successful were snoring …

The meek were kneeling.

They (the Shepherds) were kneeling before the One, our Saviour .. that only the meek will see.

That is the Nativity. That is Christmas Day. They were kneeling in front of Jesus, the son of God.

Remember, to stoop in the presence of Greatness, like my son reminded me in his role of a Shepherd in this year’s Nativity Play.

Thank you, son … for the life lessons you’ve taught me.

My prayer for my son …

I pray that from today forward, I may be the greatest example to you of someone (a Gentle Man in this case), who not only recognises and exercises authority when appropriate but also respects the power it allows me to wield.

In all areas of life, especially, as a parent.

Merry Christmas to you and your family,

 

From my family or Valentine Viking Pirates …

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

The Old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & Shepherd Lessons from my son’s Nativity Role

Find your strengths.
Society only rewards when you’re working from your strengths.
Work to your strengths.
Give your Gifts.
Live.
I like this hat.

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