a better life, accountability, asking questions, authenticness, awareness, Beliefs, better choices, care empathy, chaos, communication, compassion, courage, decisions, Energy, examined life, game of life, Goals, gratitude, habit, hope, Imagination, life, love, respect, risk, self, self discipline, self-respect, spirit, spirituality, strengths, success, taking action, truth, weird, you, your life

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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Are you a “Butt” Man?

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

Forgotten Muscles

Just to let you know, first up … I am a Butt Man and also a Boobs Man too, in case you’re interpreting the subject heading from ‘that’ perspective. However, I am writing about a more important issue for Men, like you and others out there … which if, unattended to, can lead to some rather unwanted health issues down the track. Let me elaborate …

You see, I’ve always loved observing people, from when I was a kid. I love observing humans in all walks of life, doing all kinds of activities and apart from a growing problem of very bad posture, many people are losing their bums.

It has become, I believe, the forgotten muscles.

People, especially men over 40 are experiencing an ever-disappearing behind or as the French term calls it – derrie’re. Matter of fact, I believe people have weaker posterior chain muscles in general. What are the ‘posterior chain’ muscles?

They are basically, the muscles that behind you, from your head to your heels – everything connecting your joints together.

Men are at risk of leaving their behinds, behind. They’re losing their butts!

Many men past 40 don’t know this but if they looked at themselves in the mirror lately, it is plain to see that the body profile has changed, and not for the better. Where has this very important muscle group disappeared to? The bum is made up of the gluteus muscles  – the muscular masses posterior to the pelvis formed by the three gluteal muscles (glutes): gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. These muscles are in each cheek.

It seems that these amazingly strong muscles have disappeared and replaced with fat. Very sad, indeed or the part that was once the butt has moved to the gut or belly for some but for many, the arse has just vanished. Does this happen for all men? Certainly not but I believe it is happening more frequently to men that have a desk-job, sitting for hours on end every day, hunched over their keyboard looking at computer screens with very bad posture.

Stand up from where you are and go look at your glutes/bum in the mirror. Feel them, tense those muscles, do they feel strong? Can you see them when you turn to your side. If you can’t, you got to do something about them ass cheeks.

Only if you’re an Butt-Man, like I am.

Progress shots of the ‘back double biceps’ pose prior to contest. Working your ‘back/posterior” muscles is key. It is a life-saving activity you can do for no one else but YOU.

Only one half

In my observations of Boyz to Men in the gym over the last 30 years, I can comfortably say that the upper body is the half of the body that they like to train. It’s as if the bottom half, the ‘other half’ does not exist. They look in the mirror and their eyes don’t seem to look at what’s below the waist, just like seeing only the ‘tip of the ice-berg’ when you see an ice-berg in the ocean.

Most men tend to put unwanted fat deposits in certain areas as they age. This is in the form of visceral fat around the mid-section and neck and chest area (“bitch tits”) and the butt or arse area. In this social media era, many men are trying to lose weight, fast and some are going about it the right way – building muscle with resistance training and combining this with balanced nutrition and cardiovascular exercises.

Problems in the arse tend to arise when they lose muscle in the bum/arse as they lose fat in that area too. Even those men who go to the gym regularly can lose bum muscle or glute muscle too. The latter is rather sad because of the rather foolish approach many men carry out their training.

The culprit: these men only focus weight training on their upper body, only seeing one half of the body. The other half (the lower half) does not exist to them. The loss of muscle in the arse/glute area is due to these men conveniently embrace dementia-related symptoms with regards to the existence of the bum.

To them, the arse does not exist.

Work your back muscles .. you may just build a cape as wide as Batman’s

Maximus and minimus is very strong

As mentioned earlier, the gluteal muscle group is made up of three gluteal muscles in each ass cheek forming a powerful muscular girdle that keeps the pelvis stable and moves the body forward. It is arguably the strongest muscle group in the body.

The glute muscles are not specifically activated and utilised by walking or running and exercises like planks and crunches don’t help either. The maximus and minimus is very strong and are engaged with exercises such as squats, lunges, hip extensions and bridging.

Single leg squats or leg presses and walking sideways helps but unless you’re a crab, it is quite pointless.

Abdominals & Thighs … for the audience. What you should work at is the back/posterior muscles which includes the butt

Exercises to boost your arse/butt size

One day in the past, sometime in the 7 year period I owned and ran my Family Boutique Gym, one of the male members yelled out from the other side of the gym saying –

“Paul, you’ve got the biggest arse I have ever seen on a man!” and joked –

“Paul and his bus” (meaning my backside).

To maintain and even build the buttock muscles, certain exercises must be technically correct. You must have patience and allow yourself to be coachable. You should focus on the functional value of performing these exercise for your overall health and strength benefit.

The aesthetic benefits should be a side-benefit not the main motivating factor (even though there are faster options available from cosmetic surgeons who suck fat out of the belly and re-inject it in to the buttocks – yuck!).

Forget that shit, speak to your Ass-Cheeks and work it like a Real Man+ by doing exercises with weights in the gym that builds these muscles up – squats, deadlifts and leg presses.

My Family of friends in my gym I owned and managed for 7 years.
All working towards being the ‘best the can be’

Emerging trend for Men

According to the American Society for Asesthetic Plastic Surgey, getting ‘butt surgery’ is an emerging trend for men. Really?! Apparently, men account for almost 10 percent of cosmetic buttocks procedures. Twenty years ago this figure was less than 2 percent.

There’s also a cheaper option available – buying padded bottom-enhancing underpants or trunks that provide a lift, like Calvin Klein’s “Body Boost Butt Trunk”, that has hidden support straps to boost the rear profile. So, men can have the appearance of a powerful behind, without doing the hard work to earn it and not having to pay thousands of dollars for surgery.

Never thought Men, Real Men … would stoop this low. But, it happens and is happening more frequently.

work your ‘back muscles’

A strong butt is a strong back and good posture

As you now know the glutes are vital to your movement and has certain sexual and aesthetic appeal. However, you may not know that these same muscles are crucial in protecting the back and lower limb joints from injury. They hold the pelvis steady and keep them aligned with the legs and the torso.

If the butt muscles aren’t strong enough they won’t do their job properly – to maintain erect posture for the upper torso and so the lower back muscles have to do extra work and this leads to chronic back pain which a lot of office workers suffer from.

This could also lead to hamstring problems as they have to work harder and overcompensate. Problems can and will also travel downwards to the knees and ankles. So, as you can see, apart from the aesthetic of a big strong butt, their role in having a strong back and good posture is key.

Back double biceps.
I had this pose covered … from top to bottom.
I won this division in the NSW Titles back in 2007.
work your ‘butt. work your back/posterior muscles

Credit Card Test

Here’s what I’d recommend to you if you feel you’ve been suffering from gluteal amnesia, go the gym and start doing the exercises that target the buttocks, namely – squats, leg presses and deadlifts. But, you’ve got to learn to improve your ‘mind-muscle’ connection and focus on squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement. Always be in control and feel the muscle.

The glutes have become the forgotten muscles because most strength-training routines do not isolate these key muscles.

Here’s a little strength test for the largest of these muscles – the gluteus maximus that you could do in the comfort and privacy of your home or office. Take out one of your credit cards from your wallet and place in between your butt cheeks. Comfortable? No, it isn’t but that is not the point.

Now, squeeze those ass cheeks tight, holding the card in place and then run across the room. If those glutes cannot hold the card in place, then, Huston, we’ve got a problem … a butt problem!

Honesty test: so, how did you go? Is the card still there in your butt?

A friend of mine getting a sun tan on my favourite beach here in Sydney, Australia.
A hot day it was. …

Don’t worry, be happy

I love that reggae song called “Don’t worry, be happy” that came out in the late 80s if I recall correctly. It is not the end of the world, if your credit card was left behind on the floor as you ran to the other side of the room.

If you have a butt problem, believe me, you’re not alone in this world. I believe most people, particularly, most Men actually have butt problems. You need to get them working well again and you can and … you will.

My son Zachary and I at a family member’s wedding. A lovely day.

Here’s my tip: get your lazy ass off the gym, ask for a more conventional assessment by a suitably experienced and qualified personal trainer and get cracking on your butt investment. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who is lazy … humans generally are … we all, are, me included.

After all, aren’t you an butt/ Ass-Man?

I know I AM!

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & being an Ass-Man and loving it!

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
my two children a number of years ago

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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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A Poem for all the Men who have committed suicide

De-clutter your brain of all that noise built up from early childhood clouding your thoughts.
Delete and stop contributing to the bottom-line of ‘bullshit’
Work on managing your funnel better.
Know your limits.
Seek help before it is too late.
As a great book says –
“Seek and ye shall find;
Ask and ye shall receive”
Now do.

 

That LAST WEEK – a poem

Oh, the Old Young – Guy went to his Club,

On the Thursday Night like he had always done;

It is Bingo Night in the nearby Pub,

But he knows where to go to have some fun.

This night was different for his friends were acting like a fool,

But they should have listened as that last week,

They were just focused on being cool.

 

He put on his finest clothing to show ALL,

Trying to express himself in a positive light that last week.

He had the biggest smile and was wearing the best flowery shirt in the fall.

For he was there that last week,

Thing is …

No one noticed him being there that last week.

 

The week before that last week

He went for a long drive, he made a start,

He wanted to talk to someone that would listen the week before that last week,

Which didn’t eventuate – he was dying of a broken heart;

But this old middle-aged guy was ok the week before that last week,

They said he bought drinks for his supposed friends at the bar ..

The week before that last week.

 

So, I asked his so-called friends and family,

That saw him the week before that last week,

If they had dined with him and knew him true,

And they said, jokingly – “Of course, what a freakin’ freak!”;

But there wasn’t a soul I spoke to

That was aware that Old Young man was feeling very blue;

 

With hindsight if they had taken the time to lend their ears,

He may still be around here this week,

Getting rid of all his insecurities, self-doubt, sadness and fears!

And not disappeared off the face of the earth in that golden moment, that last week.

What if?

Amen.

– Paul e 💝alentine-

________________________

 

Find the light …
Follow the light …
The light will show you the way ..
Out of the abyss.
Believe.

Over the years, this Old Cap’n Viking Pirate has lost a few friends to suicide. It is painful for all concerned – the person that ends his life and those that he leaves behind, but dare I say, there is also joy, depending on what view you take. You could debate on whether such an act is good/bad … right /wrong but at the end of the day, we come in to this world, alone and leave, alone.

May God bless all those Men who have taken their lives for whatever reason they felt justified it. To all Men reading this and to all Men out their going through tough times and can’t see through the darkness, I pray that you make the right decision for you.

Hang in there. You will climb out of the abyss. It will get better. Trust me, I know it will.

You are not alone, God is always there with you.

Follow the light … the light is there .. to once again fill the darkness that is suffocating you right now. Head towards the light and you will find peace.

 

Rest in peace.

 

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … support of one of Mens’ growing despairs

Reach out and …
Touch somebody.
By your kind words, your hugs and kisses … or your simple smile.
Reaching out may just save someone from their abyss …
and bring them towards the light.
Their light.
Be the oxygen to the flame that fuels the light … to someone’s remaining life.

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

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S.H.I.T happens

Essential to cleaning up your shit in today’s world.
Don’t forget, no matter where you lie in the hierarchy of status in the world, you still sit upon your arse just like everyone else.
and … your shit stinks just like everyone else.
Even the Queen’s shit stinks

S.H.I.T happens 

I’ll begin my attempting to define SHIT. It could be –

S – Scornful

H – Heartbroken

I – Intimidation

T – Tragic

Every person is battling some shit.

Big and small.

Some people help others battle their shit but ultimately, we’re all responsible for our own shit.

I once worked in a job/profession as an External Consultant/Accountant and cleaned up other people’s shit, financial shit. Some of them were really literally swimming in and believing in their shit. Amazing honest-to-god shit!

There are many professions that have been created to help people get out of shit. And yes, we’ve heard that Shit HAPPENS…& you’ve got to learn from it.

A lot of bosses are.
Are you one of them?

I also cleaned toilets 🚽 twice a day every day for 7 years when I owned and managed my family gym literally cleaning 🧻 up members’ shit.(there is always a shit/boring part/element of every job that no one likes to talk about.

Action speaks louder than words, they say and my staff saw that I did what they did, too … that I also did what I wanted them to do. Because it was aligned with my business vision and my values and principles.

There’s not many CEOs/OWNERS of businesses that literally cleaned shit just as their staff did like I did. These are businesses where shit trickles down to the employees and there’s nothing they can do about it.

Awful shit, I call it, cloaked in special terms called ‘company policies’ and ‘culture’.

Shit comes in many forms, yes

But …

One ☝️ of the worst kinds of shit is the type that comes out of people’s mouths 👄

You know the type… the kinds that just simply

TALK SHIT.

Now, these types, my fiends, can be found everywhere these days and come in many forms, usually in the form of “opinions”

Not facts (based on sufficient & appropriate evidence) but simply … their opinion, just like their opinion of the best colour is blue and not red or green.

That kind of shit.

Generally referred to as BULL-SHIT (B-S)

Apparently, This is the worst kind of shit of all… from the mouths 👄 of people that roll out B-S.

It can come at you, anywhere and anytime but you have to be aware & prepared.

An ex work colleague told me once –

“Paul, your “bull-shit-o-meter” is very strong 💪

I replied-

Yes, and a lot of other things are strong too …. I smell B-S a mile away”

Ha ha ha …

How is your BS detector like, given the extent of BS and superficial stuff that has been prominent in today’s modern societies, we’re all experiencing it almost every day? There is so much BS every where you turn. How do people filter out the essence from all the BS? Like I’ve said in the past, you need to be a better manager of your funnel, your filter.

Anyways, take good care of your own shit as best you can and remember, you’re not alone… ask for help if you need help with your shit. 

I know, sometimes it can be very difficult to ask for help with shit but one of the courageous thing to do is to seek help with your shit when your shit is too much to bare/carry or if bearing it is unsafe because you’re UN-fit.

We all have our own cross (battles/shit) to carry just like Jesus had to bare (literally) his own cross (as our parish priest shared in his lovely sermon last Sunday), what I sometimes refer to as “Holy Shit”

Never forget that YOU are not alone… God is always there. He will help carry your cross with you. He will help you find a way, help you find your way. He will help you carry your shit, even if you’re a shit-head (like some people I have known and people who are known by people I know).

God is you and God is in every living thing around you. God is omnipresent, God is everywhere in this frame we call “Life” in this infinite universe & also in our every-day.

If you believe.

Be healthy. Be safe. Be Aware. Be Action-oriented. Adapt.

Thank you.

that is it … another poem for you

 

Cheers 🍻 & ahoy!

The Old Captain Viking Pirate 🏴‍☠️⚔️Muscle 💪Monk 🤔😎

note: I’m going to get into deep shit/trouble for saying the vulgar word “shit” repeatedly above

To pursue your SHIT and never achieving it is far better than never having a go at your SHIT and living with regret forever.

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Three minutes too late

To lead is to inspire
To help create new leaders
To truly lead is to truly love 💕 unselfishly
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’. The key to making and keeping any relationship is effective communication. This is easier said than done. It requires work … a lot of work.

That awkward moment after you say ‘hello’

Its all about connections.

Life is.

So is the operations of your brain, in what is called the connectome.

In my years as owner and manager of my family gym for seven years, many things contributed to having a ‘family’ culture within it. A big factor came down to not just the connections but the quality of connections. Between the members and most importantly me and the members and the various sub-groups within the membership.

It was akin to being the Prime Minister and leader of a party, with many factions within that party and also the existence of an powerful opposition leader and his party. An interesting, fulfilling and wonderful learning experience.

Whenever a new person walks in to the gym, I train my staff to greet them politely and to simply say “how can I help you?” What I find is the important moments following that initial interaction is that awkward moment after you say ‘hello’.

Communication in life is like a neuron connectome.
A neuron example and its network of dentrites
One of the 100 billions neurons in your brain that make you …
who you are.
Your are your connectome

Three minutes too late

We’ve all been there.

With the potential friend or the new boss. Your brother’s new girlfriend or just an attractive stranger at a party. I guess from my perspective there are two scenarios with social situations –

  • Make a good first impression
  • Just want to be liked

Three minutes too late or so following that awkward interaction that we reflect on and feel and think of what we should have said, instead of what we had said.

Would you take a magic pill if it would get your through that awkward phase after saying hello? Would you take it?

Find your light.
Conversations can take many turns. Key is to stay focused on a few lines of thought at a time.
Multi-tasking is a myth.

Drifting off

Have you drifted off after meeting someone for the first time?

What do you do? I think we all have found ourselves in situations, supposedly in deep conversation but we’re no longer listening to the other person and generally start talking to ourselves.

We basically, start drifting off.

 

Thinking thoughts like –

“What on earth was he thinking combing his hair into that hairstyle?”

“Am I making a positive first impression?”

“what am I going to take for lunch tomorrow?”

“geez, what’s that song’s name you hear on the radio this morning?”

“who the person you came with is talking to”

 

Staying focused on the person(s) you’re having a conversation with is key to connecting. Best.
And stay tuned alert to changes in topics but keep your destination clear in your mind.

The power of Focus

In my experience with owning and managing a gym for seven years and managing the relationships I had with the members in that time, there were many variables but I believe the key was focus.

The power of focus, in particular.

I interacted with members and listened to and talked to members from 5:30am when the gym opened all day until the gym closed at 9:00pm. When I was there, I was there. I was present. In every interaction I had with each and every member, I gave them my full attention (even when I was talking to multiple people).

The most important key to building rapport and trust in any relationship with someone … with anyone is focus.

That is the Power of focus.

This really helps in “connecting” with people – giving them the respect they wish for and giving them our full attention, however difficult that may be.

 

Focus on one thing at a time if you want to maximise results and chances of getting the result you want.
Connecting with people also depends on your ability to focus.
Giving them trust and respect.

The power of focus allows you to achieve results that you strongly desire. My power of focus allowed me to reach and place in the Top 5 of the World in Natural Bodybuilding in two consecutive years. Here’s a little formula for you: –

** Focus (mind-set/attitude) + Effort (hard yaka/work) + heart (feel) + visualisation (imagination) + sumulation (deliberate practice) =====> put in to a quality plan + quality implementation ====>> Results/Success **

Here are 4.5 key things I use when I want to focus on the person I am with –

1). Don’t judge

I just don’t have a habit of judging people. Period. I leave that to God, that is not one of my roles. However, I don’t mind a good debate and agreeing to disagree after hearing what the other person has to say first.

Putting aside any preconceptions and biases in thinking and having an “open mind-set/growth mind-set”, I allow the person I’m with to experience total focus.

Multi-tasking is stressful.
THe brain CANNOT multitask, it can only TASK-SWITCH.
Be kind on yourself and FOCUS on one thing at a time and …
do it once and do it well.

2)Find the excitement in someone even when they appear to be ‘boring’

Yes, this can be very difficult. Very difficult indeed. Especially, when you find yourself thinking about what you’re going to be having for your next meal or the episodes you still have left to watch on Netflix Game of Thrones.

All you can do is – try. Just try.

Give them your full attention and listen, really ‘listen’. What I mean is listen not only with your ears but your body (facing the person), your hand gestures not crossed, your head and eyes looking in to the person. And your heart, your heart should be listening too.

Then, find out something about the person that you find exciting and ask them, and hope that they would love to talk about that thing too.

Try. For God’s sake, just try.

Feel and practice feeling good positive, winning thoughts
Find something interesting in the person you’re talking with

3) Be part of the action and conversation

Especially in a group situation – ask questions about what happened and who was involved and what fears were felt and so forth.

Don’t stay silent, even if you have to nod your head, say a few ‘ahums’ and basically put forward a body-language that is agreeable.

It pays off in the long run.

Don’t stress out in social functions.
They are just human beings and make mistakes just like you
You should only be stressed if you had to connect with lions in a cage or gorrillas.
Relax. Your performance and ability to communicate effectively depends on this.

4.5)Mirror, mirror

Try to mirror or match the other person you’re talking with.

What is it, well, in effect, matching or mirroring is doing the same as the other person. This could be the same body language – she raises her glass and so does everyone else or same nod of the head.

Mirroring doesn’t only include body language, we also make similar sounds – sort speak in harmony with the other person, like “aha … aha, yeah” when we hear them say it.

So, in this world that has multiple communication platforms and social media that allows for increased connections, … is increasingly built on connections, it is not the number of connections that matter or continuously creating more connections in your network. No, I believe it is the quality of connections that matter most.

It is about getting back to the basics and doing the basics properly. Reminds me of building and keeping quality lean muscle mass and training with the basics in the gym. Nothing fancy and not trying to include every new ‘fad’ exercise in your repertoire’.

Whether consciously or not, and it is usually “not”, when we are connecting with someone or keen to get on with them, we adopt similar postures and movements. And when this happens the other person is more likely to assume that our thoughts and emotions are similar so they tend to feel warmer towards us, almost regardless of what we are actually saying.

I experienced this every single day in the gym for the seven years that I owned and managed my own. It didn’t matter who it was, how old the person was, level of education or what level of society they came from, matching and mirroring body language helped me ‘connect’ with them better.

Don’t force it, just ‘go with the flow’ so-to-speak. And relax, don’t over do things.

You’ll be just fine.

Practise thinking winning thoughts.

Practice does not make perfect

No, Perfect practice makes perfect, was what one of my early coaches would tell me.

In other words, there is always an optimal way or right way of doing something very well. Understand what it is, learn it and then deliberately practice it – that way – ALL the time.

Not some of the time.

So, practice some of these key communication points in the mirror. Do it every day. Simulate some of the conversations you may have with people in social situations. Imagination is key … if you can ‘see’/imagine yourself doing something and acting in a certain way and you have practiced the right form/technique/way, you can bet your bottom dollar that you will make a great first impression and make a lot of connections.

Simply because people will be drawn to you and your mannerism.

First impressions, matter. Remember: You never get another chance to make a first impression.

All the very best,

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

The Old Captain Viking Pirate … & why first impression is important in making you connect better.

Me my extended family members; a group of members of my family gym.
They all loved training and being part of the extended family that was my gym
Relationship take time to develop .. just like an Oak Tree needs time to grow

Connections with humans of all ages is important for one’s own personal development.
Try it.

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

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