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Loving your Wife (or Husband’s) Quirks.

One of my many quirks – my Old Captain Viking Pirate persona

After almost twenty years of being together and over seventeen years of marriage, I’ve discovered many things about what I cherish about our relationship. One of the many things that I love is my wife’s quirks. Habits that are unique to her. Its funny, but in the same manner, her most endearing traits can be (at times) my greatest frustration.

You see, Cathy is a spreadsheet and ‘to-do list’ individual who is World-Class at being a senior Financial Advisor – precise, exacting,  not some of the time … all the time. Me, on the other hand am a risk-taking, follow-your-heart kind of a person, an entrepreneur – impulsive, expressive. Kind of like a Pirate Captain.

Another quirk of mine …. my love of the sea –  the old Captain Viking Pirate Muscle Monk

Some things in life come to you quickly and some comes slow, with time and patience. It has taken me a little while to realize that many of the fussy, overly meticulous things that Cathy does are actually acts of love for me. Her attention to detail is amazing. I couldn’t have represented Australia at two successive World Natural Bodybuilding Championships, two years in a row, placing in the Top 5 in the World without her. Without her attention to detail and skill for accuracy and completeness.

In our day-to-day life, her quirks just makes life more efficient and effective and therefore more enjoyable.

For example, when I go out for grocery shopping I don’t usually make a list (I have tried making them) and I actually like trying ‘new’ things and enjoy the experience of shopping. Cathy on the other hand, prepares a list, which I don’t strictly follow. Usually. But, the point I am trying to make is that she takes the time to do the list and she does this with love.

My quirk of love for great design in – vintage cars, watches … etc

That is a quirk of hers that is fantastic but is also frustrating.

I’m sure she would say that I have quite a few quirks of my own. Things like making sure that the locks on the door is checked when I leave the home, to ensure that my wife and children are safe. She could probably write many other quirks that would most probably be embarrassing because it would make me appear very vulnerable and naked.

But not to her.

These are quirks that she has allowed me to do for all these years that I have know her. Simply because she loves me. I’m sure you could look at your quirks that your wife or husband has allowed you to get away with too.

What a wife. What a best female friend. What a woman. What a human being.

You see, my wife loves making lists of almost every thing. I don’t. That is ok. That is the “yin and yang’’ of our relationship. That is what the balance is of our ‘69’ and has contributed to the success of our almost twenty year relationship so far.

One of my quirks … walking around places with very little clothes on .. ha ha ha !!
Here I am Working out in my gym during a photo shoot

The very quirk of mine of not living by written lists is very obvious. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have them. You see, I just keep the most important lists in my head …. My heart. And I live by them.

From my perspective, the most important thing in my eyes and view of life is that … even though I am guilty of going through life without making lists, I know and she knows that … SHE is on my list of Life.

She is and always has been on my List since the first day I met her.

Everything I have ever done and everything she has ever done and wants to do, has made my (unwritten) but what I call my ‘heart list’. It may not be visible and tangible as the myriad of lists that she makes and lives by (her quirk) but the list (my heart list) is there. It is present, always. Unseen to others, but seen by me … and demonstrated in my actions and words.

That is part of what makes each of us, who we are. We are ONE but we are Separate. We are a union but we are individuals. With and without lists, we have found a way. It is neither the Right way or the Wrong Way.

It is just WAY.

OUR WAY.

World Natural Bodybuilding Championships – New York, USA.
Standing with middle-weight (my category) and overall World Champion.
Me – 4th placed in the world
Competitor beside me – 1st place and World champion
Right: My Team Partner and wife – Cathy. (She has had to live with my penchant to pose at every and any opportunity I have for almost 20 years)

I love her quirks. Always have, always will.

I hope she loves mine too. I know she does. We wouldn’t be together still, after all these years otherwise.

We wouldn’t have done it any other way.

I thank her for tolerating my quirks all these years. Bring on the next twenty years, I say.

That is my wife, my Cathy for you.

Loving my quirks and weirdness all these years.

Even the recently appearing … character … The old Captain Viking Pirate … ha ha ha !!!

 

Cheers & ahoy!!!

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate … & spouse’s loving their partner’s quirks.

My quirk to pose everywhere and anywhere

one of my many quirks – my penchant for never sacrificing form over weight in the gym & practising safe exercise technique all the time. Not some of the time.

Doing and being is essential to muscle building success for your health and muscle goals.
Connect the two. Make them one.
Vv.
Another quirk of mine : my need to teach and mentor and help, help people, help themselves find their best selves.

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Our search for Beauty.

Beauty comes in many forms.
Here I am with my beautiful Schnoodle “Mr Fuzzy Cuddles” and the beautifully designed & constructed Sydney Harbour Bridge.
I just love beauty. Brings you closer to the elusive truths you search for in you life.
Truths that ultimately eliminate your ignorance.
Keep searching I say, never let the curiosity within you die.

I love beauty.

I love truth.

I love fortitude.

I love virtue.

I love temperance.

I love the desire for all of us to be true.

To our – self.

To others.

To the wider community.

We wish to be.

It seems nobody is ever turned off by beauty. Beauty, is by definition, engaging, appealing, delightful. A lot of times, people can talk about beauty with passion but sometimes, without much clarity.

Beauty and the experience of beauty can be so personal and selfish that the act of talking about them, sometimes actually ruins them.

I believe beauty is for everyone – you, me and all. We are all searching for beauty. I think beauty is like happiness, love, understanding – it’s what the human being was made for and work towards.

The search for beauty is intrinsic to our nature.


The altar of worship.
Some find their beauty, their truth in Religion of choice.
Their search for beauty is being ONE with the ONE.
Keep searching for your beauty. Your truth.
No one else can take your journey for you, but you.
Be brave. Slay your Goliath.

In my search for beauty, I am not alone. I think we all are searching for beauty. It is part of our purpose, our purpose in life. And since it is everyone’s individual responsibility to fulfill his/her purpose, beauty, then it is also each and everyone’s moral responsibility.

What is beauty?

It could be said to be ‘the science of sensuous knowledge’. I like to look at it as the pursuit of a more beautiful life.

And how do we do this?

How do we make our lives more beautiful? We have to simply strive towards living morally.

It is as simple and as difficult as that!

Holy Shit!

Yes, holy shit indeed. Living morally? How the fu*k do we do that?! I mean, ‘live morally’, it seems like in today’s world, lying and amoral behavior is part of the way people do things. And here I am saying that part of the prerequisites to living lives that are more beautiful, we need to be morally up-right.

Be virtuous.

Shit, that sounds and feels difficult. And, the truth is, yes it is.

As I see it, the building blocks of living morally has foundations in the appreciation of something, in many cases – the appreciation of beauty. You see, when we see something we like (like something/someone that is beautiful), we get positive emotional responses (like desire, hope) which attract us toward that thing.

This appreciation of beauty via the senses then trigger our passions. Hence the connection between beauty and passion. So, the very experience of beauty (in all it’s forms) involves the perception of spiritual good and spiritual truth.

In other words, it is through beauty that we are able to trigger/fire physical reactions to spiritual reality. As creatures of both physical and spiritual dualities, we certainly have physical reactions to spiritual beauty when we feel it.

Think of a time when you heard a beautiful song and your spine tingled. I do all the time, when a particular song/tune/frequency resonates with me. With my frequency. I feel it.

The city of Sydney engulfed by lights at night.
Beautiful.
Millions flock to appreciate beauty in form … through the dazzling display of light.
Some search for their beauty through the light. They search for their ówn light/colour’.
To … light up their own world.
Their world – within, which can be dark sometimes.
We ((humans) have always been fascinated with light/fire. We are all drawn towards light, like a moth to a streetlamp.
We move towards the light., it seems to bring warmth and energy that we crave. It is innate. It is part of what it means to be human.

This deep feeling inside is a reaction, a reaction of passion – a passionate reaction in other words. It is part and parcel of the whole experience of beauty. You can also hear many songs and not feel anything. This does not give you the full appreciation of beauty, matter of fact, I’ll go as far as saying you’re not appreciating beauty.

You’re not appreciating truth. You’re not appreciating the aestheticness of the particular beauty (in whatever medium/form it is in) that is being fed into you via your senses.

The thing is, I feel that if you’re not having an aesthetic experience, you’re certainly not feeling something. If it does not resonate with your heart. You are simply not appreciating beauty.

So, it follows that the beholding of beauty can and does (if permitted to), direct our passions, which in turn, provide powerful motivators for action toward spiritual goodness and truth.

At this point, as you can deduce, we all have a moral obligation to pursue beauty. As St. Paul writes towards the end of his letter to the Philippians –

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil. 4:8).

So, if someone were to ask me,

“So, why do you want to search for beauty … why do you want to experience the beautiful?”

I guess my answer would be along the lines of, “Because its’ beautiful, fool!”

I don’t need to explain my answer or justify any further.

I have a word I have for this – “Kaka!”. It means exactly that – that is just the way it is and no further explanation is needed, as I am not obligate to give you one. They (my kids) hate the word.

However, the main reason for my search for beauty is because in the search, you find truth. Your truth. You see, there is a lot of evidence around us and provided by great thinkers that have come before us. Beauty, draws a person toward immaterial truth and goodness.

Beauty, you see, motivates virtue. Motivates one to lead a virtuous life.

Beauty comes in the human form.
The nude/naked form that is sculptured is one of the most beautiful things to sit back in awe of.
It is a living masterpiece.
On display, from a masterful poser/artist, the human body exemplifies beauty and truth rolled in to vibrating ball of flow of muscle.
It is one thing to admire beauty, that is the easy part.
The hard part is to CREATE beauty. We all have the ability within us.
To create a beauty through the human form is genius.

Searching for beauty is a continuous search for a virtuous life. Perceiving spiritual truth and goodness in the appreciation of beauty inspires a passion for truth and goodness themselves.

Truth, goodness and beauty are all intrinsically equivalent – each is coextensive with the others. Like each leg of a 3-legged stool is dependent on each other to stay upright.

As John Keats wrote many years ago in his poem Öde to Urn”, I think –

Beauty is truth and truth, beauty. That is all there is on earth and ye need to know.”

I would have to agree with him.

Don’t you?

Continue your search for beauty … for your truth.

In that search, you will find that you will live a more beautiful life. One of virtue.

For virtue, itself is, virtue.

Being virtuous is reflected in a man’s conduct or actions and can be said to be his spiritual beauty.

As John Paul II put it, “All men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life: in a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece.”

So our goal here is simple: to tap into the synergy of energy, the mutual reinforcement , of goodness and beauty, morality an aesthetics. We have to all try to pursue beauty because that is a critical part of living well … of living a good life.

Keep searching. I know I will be.

Until next time … cheers and ahoy!!!

 

 

The Old Viking Pirate …. & thoughts of beauty in all its forms & the meaning to a meaningful & beautiful life.

Admiring beauty is easy.
Creating beauty is difficult. Beauty through – sound (music); sport (athletics); design (cars, watches, clothes); architecture (buildings); engineering (bridges)
My desire to be my best allows me to continuously work on improving myself daily (physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and socially). This search for internal beauty allows me to CREATE external beauty (in the most balanced & symmetrical physique I can design and construct).
Which is my definition of the sport of bodybuildng (done right). The principles of design, mind-body-heart enhancement; engineering construction; empathy & love; care and a sense of self-imposed purity bubble ….
brings you closer to what beauty and truth is.

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Reflection, a Key to having an Attitude of Gratitude.

Me: The Old Captain Viking Pirate

In your opinion, what is your most priceless possession?

Ok, I’m sure you will all say very different answers and none will be wrong. They are simply what you believe is priceless to you at this point in time.

I believe, that your attitude is, specifically, your attitude of gratitude is your most priceless possession. And you need to keep it in check regularly and you do this by structuring in what I refer to as ‘moments of reflection‘ to refresh, restore and/or renew your views, rejuvenate your approach and reestablish your positive focus.

This is (reflection) of your mental attitude is a very important key to your adaptation to the changing landscape in the environments you find yourself in. Do this regularly to repair the damage of wear and tear to your attitude. Life is not a sprint and sometimes we are all guilty of living as if it were. In a grand Prix race, the eventual winner isn’t necessarily the driver that just speeds endlessly and never stops. No, the eventual winner is usually the person who structures in regular “pit stop” into the race with his support crew.

Pit-stops here could be weekends, holidays or vacations that you use to stop, slow down, revive and readjust and then … move on.

You see, your attitude, is your mental position on facts or more simply, how you view things. Remember, your attitude is contagious and affects everyone who comes in contact with you either in person or on the telephone.

Your attitude is not only reflected by your tone of voice but also by the way you stand or sit, your facial expression and in other non-verbal ways.

Stopping to reflect, is a vital key to adjust your attitude if you need to.

An attitude of gratitude is the foundation of a thankful spirit & a grateful heart. There is real magic in this because a thankful spirit has the power to replace many negative worldviews.

As I reflect, I believe an attitude of gratitude has the power to replace anger with love;

Displace resentment with peace;

Supplant fear with faith;

Restore worry with peace;

Substitute the desire to dominate with the wish to play on a team;

Supersede self-preoccupation with concern for the needs of others;

Return sexual impurity with honor and respect;

Replenish jealousy with joy at another’s success;

Renew lack of creativity with inspired productivity;

Take the place of inferiorities with dignity;

And …

Replace a lack of love with an abundance of self-sharing.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Your attitude is never static, it is an on-going dynamic, sensitive, perceptive process.

The attitude you choose to display is entirely up to you. It is a choice. One needs to always take time to take stock regularly, to reflect. One needs to go through the process of self evaluation which leads to attitude renewal or adjustment. There is no other way, no escape.

Always striving to have an attitude of gratitude in everything you say and do to reduce the risk of a high “say:do” ratio or gap. Bringing these two factors in to alignment will help you immensely.

Having a positive attitude, is, in my opinion, the most powerful and priceless personality characteristic you can possess. There is no such thing as remaining neutral when it comes to attitude – you either contribute or subtract from a better personal or work environment.

The old Captain Viking Pirate at his favourite beach. Find your ‘quiet time’. Your place of peace. Here I am at one of mine.
Regular moments of reflection.

From my experience, having a positive attitude or always trying to adopt an attitude of gratitude is one of the main keys to success in any problem solving procedure or major lifestyle change or managing your transition to the many phases of life. 

Remember, life is about energy and your ability to manage energy. A positive attitude or an attitude of gratitude can certainly provide higher energy levels, greater creativity and an improved personality. Put simply, a positive helpful attitude can cause good things to happen to you. … even to such an extent where a person not considered beautiful by physical standards (someone that is ugly) can still be regarded as beautiful with a cheerful positive outlook.

Adopting a philosophy of an attitude of gratitude and consistently working towards using it in your daily life puts you in a more favourable position to win the game of life in all directions: personal satisfaction, strong relationships and success in a meaningful career.

So, how’s your attitude right now?

Stop. Reflect. Take Stock. Re-stock. Re-adjust. March on ….

 

Cheers & Ahoy!!!

 

Until next time,

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate … & thoughts on attitude of gratitude.

Me and my children.
Children gives you a hint of eternity.
A true blessing to be graced with seeds. Showing your kids through marrying up your words and actions is an important habit. Bestowing them with examples of embracing an ”attitude of gratitudë” in everything you say and do is one of the best gifts you can pass on. I’m sure you do already. 
Vv.

Side Chest Pose with the Top 2 Natural Bodybuilders in the World.
Year: 2007
Venue: in NY, USA (representing Australia)
NOTE: I believe an áttitude of gratitude’ helped me go all the way to the top echelon in the world in my chosen sport. Being the best at natural bodybuilding requires the management of many key habits/variables (on a micro and macro level). One of the keys to my success in 2 World Championships was my habitual practise of ‘moments of reflection’ to continuously keep me going when the going got tough. And believe me, there were many instances when I wanted to ‘throw in the towel’

 

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You.

Being YOU means … facing your truth, to some extent.
Here’s ‘me’ in my ‘moment of truth’ before stepping on stage in the NSW Natural Body Building Titles.
I came 1st.
3 x. Remember, an hours’s contemplation is better than a year’s adoration.

I think a lot. A lot.

Of stuff … primarily of the Self, of Business and its operations, and of society. And I also think a lot about Beauty in every form.

You could say that I am many things, one of which is that I am a Thinker. I am proud I am one.

Some people don’t think. Some choose not to. That is ok too.

Fortunately, I love to teach, too. And I just happen to love writing too, within the whole realm of communication. I love communicating, through storytelling and conversations that hopefully, empowering and helping readers in their lives.

I love the human – body and mind and everything about the magic that it is when combined with the heart and the soul/spirit and consciousness. I just find it endlessly fascinating. Just like the Dot (I’ll elaborate on this in a later blog).

The human we call: YOU.

I sit back regularly and marvel at it … and say “wow!”. It never fails to amaze me every single day!

I love communities. I find communities fascinating – all types, small, big, crazy, sporty-type, loud, dangerous, pompous and so on …

I grew up in a large extended family that was kind of like a little community, all living in the same tiny house. Grandfather and mother, mothers, dads, mums, aunties, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins and other distant relatives. There was never a time when there was less than 10 people in my house between the ages of 0 and 12, I think.

Already practising ‘posing’ by the poolside in front of my first audience – my brothers and sisters in Suva, Fiji Islands.
I think I was 11 here.
Posing started very early … took me all the way to the World Championships and against the best in the world in New York, USA many years later.
Ranking in the top 5 in the world at bodybuilding, let alone anything is a huge honour. NOTE: “To own nothing is the beginning of happiness.” – Diogenes’

As I reminisce, I recall the various local communities I was a part of – next door neighbours, street friends, soccer team friends, rugby team friends, church group, school friends, martial-arts group. Formal and informal groups or communities of all types.

They were all little communities within the larger community.

The success of all these little communities and my role in them depended on effective communication and the art of managing relationships between me and all key people in the various groups. I was part of these communities and it was part me and I did my part to contribute to these communities within the larger community. I did my part, played the role assigned to me, to the best of my ability at that point in time.

By playing my role and contributing in my small (but important) way, I gained the benefits given to the members of the group/communities – directly and indirectly. The collaboration between me and the many communities I was part of made for the creation of a sort of electricity, like any good partnership would. All these separate groups/communities were partnerships, whereby we were separate from one another (me and them) but there was a sort of coordination of functions that allowed for the success of the groups goals.

This skill helped me manage my on-going relationships with High Dollar Value Companies in my ten years as a consultant for 3 of the Top 10 Companies in the World and also came in very useful owning my family gym for 7 years later on in my life.

It still helps me maintain and manage my key relationships today.

Managing key relationships in your life is as simple as pruning a bonzai plant, yet, as complex as the variables that go into managing its environment. Remember: “Nothing is sufficient to a man to whom the sufficient is too little.” – Epicurus.

I sometimes think about the human body as a community, and then it’s individual cells as separate people within that community. If I was, for example, a white cell, I’d be amongst 80 million or so other cells within the communities I lived in (within the my body). As we know, the cell is the basic unit of an organism; it can live for itself or it can help contribute and help form and keep the larger organism alive.

The Bible is fundamentally a book of stories told by some wonderful storytellers. I recall the apostle Paul using an analogy in 1 Corinthians 12 I think, where he compares the church to the human body. Paul’s analogy really brings home one of the fundamental principles of God’s creations: that the body comprises millions of cells but it is ONE.

Re-read that last sentence again.

No matter what a particular cell feels or thinks and say, the brain cell for example, “I do not want to belong to the body!”

That is wishful thinking, because it cannot, just for that reason, cease to be part of the body. Or if the muscle cell should say to the optic nerve cell, “because I am not an optic nerve, I do not belong to the body!” …. it would not for that reason, cease to be part of the body.

We wouldn’t want the whole body to be just one particular type of cell, do we? It would cause havoc! I mean, if the whole body were an optic nerve cell, where would the ability to run or walk or sit go? If the whole body were an auditory nerve, where would be the sense of light? So, it is essential that each and every one of our cells play the unique role they were put there to play for the whole human to function as we expect.

How did this all come about?

Well, depending on your beliefs, one area of belief says that in fact God has arranged the cells in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If all the cells were the same, we would not be who we are: the amazing human life form that we see every day in the mirror.

So, you see, there are many cells …. But only one body.

with a fan backstage.
Building the best YOU (physically), requires a very detailed understanding of how all the parts of the variables (inputs) that contribute towards creating a highly anabolic environment, conducive to building muscle and losing fat.
Result: win. Life Tip: “Do not regard as valuable anything that can be taken away.” – Seneca

This analogy Paul gave to us tells us more about life. Allow me to elaborate a little further on the analogy.

You see, a hand or foot or an ear cannot have a life separate from the body, but a cell has that potential. It can be part of the body as a loyalist, or it can be selfish and think only of itself and cling to its own life.

Some cells do choose to live in the body, sharing in its benefits while maintaining complete independence. What do these cells become? They become parasites or cancer cells.

And we know what happens to parasites and cancer cells don’t we? They end the host’s life, eventually, prematurely and dare I say, unfairly so.

There is so much complexity to the ever-changing YOU. Yet, there is a peaceful simplicity to You, too.

Find that simplicity.

Find beauty. Find Truth and … more importantly find and be the Real You. It is the greatest battle and war you will ever fight and continue to fight to the day you die!

As the late E.E. Cummings said “To be nobody – but – yourself in a world which is doing its BEST, night and day, to MAKE YOU everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting!” 

Keep fighting, I say!! YOU are worth it.

 

Ahoy, until next time!

 

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate …. & thoughts of You and Life.

Be YOU. No one else can do better than you at being YOU.
Being the best you can be is probably the single most powerful thing you can do to improve the world.
Just find YOU and then …. improve you.

 

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Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

I ask God to help me be the man my son hopes to be when he is older.
I’m far from perfect but I get up and try every single day … to be the man I want him to be.
And I have no doubt he will … because I have God on my side/in my corner.

Men.

We’re interesting creatures.

Simple, yet complex.

I like to refer to us all, as the simple-complex man, individually.

Women, do you agree?

Mens’ needs are simple. I grew up in an large extended family and I heard a lot of things said by many different people I lived with during my first 12 years of my life. One thing I heard one of the older women was –

“the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.’

When I reflect on that now, there is a partial truth, actually more than just a partial truth in that statement. You see, men need a few basic needs (like being fed with warm, proper nutrition) and we’re satisfied. Well, I think most Real Men would be. I also think that men, Real Men, are torn between two extremes, like a Dr Jekyll and Hyde or Harvey Two Face from the DC Universe.

Let’s run through a few needs or what I refer to as ‘matters of the heart’, as I see it. If we run through the basic psychological needs like – to know and be known, to love and be loved by others, there is one that stands out. I can honestly say and I honestly believe that men, Real Men need deep, caring relationships with other men.

Enjoying a little ‘biceps workout’ with my very good Aussie friend of almost 20 years now.
A best man in my wedding.
Every man needs at least one good male friend in his life.
Just one.

A have a handful of very good male friends. One, I spent a day and half with as he passed through Sydney, on his way to South America for a week long conference, attended by represented by 60 countries, including the USA and Australia. He is a United Nations Legal Advisor. We’ve been best friends since we were in kindergarten, over 40 years ago. We share dreams and sorrows. We ‘open up’ to each other and hug in public. We lean on each other during tough times but also celebrate during wins.

I have another friend, the very first friend I made on my first day of University almost 30 years ago at the start of my first degree (majoring in Mathematics and Physics). He lives only a suburb away from me and we meet up regularly for coffee and ‘debrief’ almost every week. We make time for each other.

I also have another friend I meet up every quarter that I have known for the last 20 years. We share our fears, our successes, our failures and our dreams. We share feelings. Just the way men should feel comfortable doing with other men. He got a divorce 5 years ago, it was difficult period for him. He’s in another chapter in his life.

I also have a few other friends scattered throughout my existence that have travelled with me in different phases of our lives. All there for a specific reason, upon hind-sight.

The point is, men need other men for deep, caring relationships. Like I need these men.

My very first friend at University on my very first day almost 30 years ago.
Lives just a suburb away for the last 20 years.
Catching up for a coffee and chat and digging deep in our relationship.
Man-stuff!

Yep, you read that correct. And you don’t have to be gay to want that (not that I have anything against being gay or anything like that). No, just talking purely on a ‘needs basis’.

You see, in my experience with males I call my friends and my love of observation and being around mostly men in the last 30 years of visiting the gym, I can deduce that Men need strong, caring relationships with other men. Relationships that allow a man to speak freely about things going on in his life. It is vital to their existence and sense of being and purpose. It is vital to their sanity and management of energy.

It’s to this level that James instructed Christians, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16). I believe that a man who doesn’t have at least one other man to who he can be accountable regarding failures, hurts and temptations is a prime target for masculine anger.

Yep, you heard me – masculine anger!

And how does this arise?

Well, from my observations and dealings with mostly men in the different phases of their lives, I have seen that the angry man in our society seems to be caught between mythical masculinity on one side and true masculinity on the other.

You see, the man feels the pressure to achieve, to earn, to conquer, to win and so forth. Yes, but he also feels the silent pressure to do all these things on his own. Now, that is a lot of pressure, and just like many things in life, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Men all handle pressure differently and have different stress tolerance levels.

Apart from the pressure just mentioned, a man, a Real Man also feels the NEED to love and to nurture those he loves. He also has the need to be loved and nurtured by those who love him.

This is where so many of us go a bit askew and out of line.

Askew, when he tries to reconcile or balance the two needs of love.

The man, the Real Man is constantly torn between two extremes of character, like Harvey Two Face or Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde. He is torn between being invincible and being vulnerable. He is torn between being aloof and being involved and present. He is torn between being self-serving and selfish and being of assistance.

This confusion and imbalance caused by the constant juggling act between character extremes drives a lot of men crazy, which I believe contributes to the high levels of male suicides every year. The roots of this conflict sends up numerous shoots of anger-producing tendencies in his life.

This has got to be stopped or at least managed better.

What we need is a gym like the one I ran for 7 years, in every suburb. A place where men can go and just connect with other men. A place where men can love and be loved, unconditionally. A place where every man came there with the honest purpose to help the ‘man in the mirror’ and to connect with other like-minded men who are there for the single purpose of bettering relationships.

With themselves and with other men.

This gym will be predominantly for men. For Men Only. Men need this (and this has nothing to do with sexism). This is about survival of the male species, of what it means to be a man. Today and tomorrow. Consider this: more men die now from suicide in Australia then women die from breast cancer.

Shocking truth: Men suicide rate in Australia!

A last real Man’s Domain: a gym like mine, where everyone knew your name and were happy you came.

Sit back and watch the men that we produce … within families, within communities .. within states … within countries and the … future world.

These will be men with much more balanced characters that will one day make decisions when they will be leaders of tomorrow. Decisions that we hope will be rooted on the foundation of what they have learned while – loving other men and being loved by other men.

Give it two decades.

We will create not only make Champions out of these men, but more importantly we will help form the foundations of Champion Leaders.

I will be smoking my cigar-filled pipe by then, sitting back and thinking “wow!!”

That is life. What a wonderful life and world this is.

Amen.

 

Until next time …. cheers to all YOU Real Men out there … never stop believing in YOU … keep on keeping on … Stay alive, it’s worth it!!

Ahoy & cheers!!

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate … & his thoughts on the battle within most men

Me & some of the Men of the Gym I ran for 7 years … getting together for a simple eat & meat men-bonding session
Simply because men need this.

I had a family gym that was predominantly male (70%) for about 7 years. I encouraged the men to speak freely and communicate all their feelings and we shared stories and helped one another through tough emotionally difficult phases of life. What a wonderful group of ‘post-feminite new age males’.

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Worshipping Work.

How many hours do you work? 30, 40, 50 … maybe 80 hours per week?

If you do, congratulations. I’ve spent a bit of time in the Corporate world working very long hours and ‘climbed the ladder’ so to speak for a number of years, almost 10 years to be exact.

Interesting climb to say the least.

Many workers today are sacrificing themselves for work or rather on the altar of work. In my years in Corporate consulting I saw a lot of things. Good and no-so good. I saw many tolerate hugely harmful symptoms such as anger, chemical dependencies and loneliness in a what seemed to be a blind pursuit of self-fulfillment through career success.

This may be pathological but it may also be idolatrous!

What I mean by this is that, if you’re a Christian, you’ll understand and agree that such a person worships his or her career as though it were a god.

Yes, I understand the importance of work but I think for many, work has been taken a bit too far. Like all idols, work is impotent in the face of true human need. Not sure if you’re familiar with a passage out of Psalm in the Bible (I spent 8 years as an altar boy, assisting Priests in the Big Catholic Cathedral in Suva City, Fiji Islands). Well, 115:4-7 puts it:

Their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but they cannot smell; they have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but they cannot walk; nor can they utter a sound with their throats.’

Now, I don’t want to sound like I am preaching to you because I am very far from a priest. I just quoted a relevant text from the Bible. To get the story straight, I have to admit that I have been very guilty of putting ‘work before everything else’ in many phases of my life.

Many.

My version of the Hulk Pose. Sometimes we all need to ‘smash’ hard, old, bad habits to embrace growth and fulfillment by simply saying and acting ‘no’. Have no fear … like the Incredible Hulk,

When I ran the gym for 7 years for example, I never took leave and I worked consistently between 12 and 18 hour days every day for 7 years. Now, if that isn’t idol worship, I don’t know what is. So, what I am saying is that I am no better than you, I have travelled in the same boat and been ‘in your shoes’. I am just sharing a perspective of what we’re all battling in our lives: this work-life balance.

Back to that passage, what do you think it means? Yes, if you feel it sort of spoke about the powerlessness of idols, you’re correct. That is exactly what the psalm is trying to make us aware of and to take sufficient and appropriate actions, that work as an idol is just as powerless as an idol itself.

I think it also says that those who worship work as an idol are defenceless in the face of true need… as another passage/psalm states –

“those who make them will be like them, and so will all those who trust them. (115:8).

I have spent a lot of time with men of all ages, ranging from teens to men in their 90s. I enjoy spending time with men of all backgrounds and socio-economic status. My shoulders has been a pillow for many grown men to cry on over the years of owning my gym. Those moments spoke volumes.

Take ‘time out’ to reflect about where and what you’re worshipping.
Going on a holiday to Fiji is a great way to maybe, find some answers … and courage to act to change your perspective on life … for the better.
Work, but don’t worship work. There is a huge difference. That difference could be your relationship with you, your close family & friends … & could mean your life.

I have sat with grown men, exceptionally powerful men in business (I once had one of the top 200 wealthiest men in Australia secretly training in my gym and whom I called a friend). I learned a lot about business and property investments from him as I helped him, help himself become his best self. I’ve had grown men weep on my shoulders (luckily I have pretty solidly wide, muscley shoulders to hold down the weight of their heads and tears).

They shared their tragic stories. Some with so much success’ in the financial world but with personal lives shattered, others with families in shambles. Some with their character de-based or their business in doubt, their circumstances out of control.

At some point, I look into their eyes and I see an emptiness for a brief moment in time. The emptiness tells me that all their professional accomplishments, all the machinery of their companies, all their wealth they worked all their lives for …. Is of no help at all. It amounts to nothing.

Simple nothingness.

On a beach in the beautiful paradise islands of Fiji … where I was born and spent my early youth in.
The Fijians understand and live and breathe “Fiji Time” very well (& use it when appropriate/needed)  … and is the way of life … Fijians are some of the world’s hardest and smartest workers but …. they never to worship work like an idol. They only worship one God – Jesus Christ. Full-stop! ‘Take a page out of the Fijian’s Book of Life.’

I see nothingness in their eyes … their souls, as they say the ‘eyes are the windows to the souls’. I have seen many souls in my time. And I have travelled with them, helping them, help themselves find their way out of the depths of despair.

They were in deep trouble and their god (work) is impotent. Of no help in time of need.

I have grieved with such men (and to a little extent, women).

They have chosen the wrong God. How much do they have to lose to realise the emptiness, the sadness. There is power in simply saying ‘no’. The power of no. Use it, if need be.

Of course, I also respect the fact that the same thing could happen to me (and it has in the last 25 years and could happen to anyone).

Work is one of God’s gifts to us.

The problem arises, I feel, when we begin to worship and serve it rather than … the true God, God himself … and Jesus.

Or whatever Higher being you want to call God.

Choose well.

It is your life after all.

 

Yours in iron, muscles and nuggets of wisdom,

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate

Front double biceps at my favourite beach here in Sydney, Australia.
Enjoying the sun and the creator that it is.
Be not like the moon, be like the sun.
Take time out of ‘work’ to enjoy your surroundings.
Vv.

Appropriate outfit given the Rugby World Cup
Go the Wallabies & Fiji! Not excessive time at work/worshipping work allows you to invest your time in to your children. This is one of the best investments you will ever make. Remember this: less time spent with your children when they are young ==> more time in their late teens/early 20s … getting them out of trouble. It will cost you more in time and $$ and heart-ache too. Choose well … and be proactive, do it now.

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Fairness in Love?

Fairness begins with Self. Side chest pose in my gym of seven years.

Do you believe in love?

Do you believe in lasting love?

You’d have to agree with me when I say that we don’t get lasting love by chance. Before I go any further, I want to let you know that I don’t believe in chance or coincidences.

Everything – good or bad, is meant to be, when you make decisions for the best and ultimately to not bring harm to anyone else in the long run. You may hurt someone in the short-term but foresight is a gift, and you may see the benefit for the person in the long-term.

Sometimes, as my grandfather used to remind me – you have to be ‘cruel to be ’kind’ or in his other words of wisdom, give ‘tough love’. People suffer a little bit in the short-term for lasting long-term benefit.

So, lasting love does not come by easily, it takes work – simple, pure hard work. In Australian lingo we say – “Hard YAKA!’, if you believe it is worth it.

Hard work strongly involves working at fairness.

How do I know?

Well, I believe in genuine, authentic relationships. I mean I have many, many acquaintances but only a few very good friends. People I can call friends for twenty, thirty or even forty years. And there are a few new ones too.

Friendship, real, genuine, long-term friendship of any kind takes time and work, hard work.

And really good friends, friends that ‘hear what you say but also hear what you don’t say’, now these are hard to come by. But, they do.

I spent a lot of time with one of my many male mentors for the first 18 years of my life – my grandfather: Mr Garrett Bola William Valentine.

I used to sit there, when he was alive and listen to him (who was like a dad to me) and his one very good friend tell stories and reminiscing of their youthful days. I loved listening to those stories. I thought of my grandfather when writing this because it seems his loving friendship and bond he had with his friend to his last days were based on an enduring friendship.

A friendship that lasted over fifty years.

A relationship, a love-affair between two men, two humans, that, I can only assume, took a lot of work and Hard Yaka. It did not just happen by chance. Certainly not.

Side triceps in my gym of seven years.

A loving, lasting relationship of any kind, needs fairness.

In a romantic one, however, unlike my grandfather’s Bromance, the ‘romance’ can keep love alive for a shining season but unfair love will freeze by late autumn as the relationship goes through the seasons of life, so-to-speak.

Do you argue fairly?

One needs to remember to stick to the facts and don’t make personal attacks on your partner, especially ones that are generalised over a number of years? I believe fairness is at stake in every conversation, in every sharing of duties, in every argument.

In this day and age where there is an ‘opinion epidemic’ whereby people think offering their opinions willy-nilly, left, right and centre is acceptable. These opinions are heavily biased and are not thought out from ‘both sides of the argument. So, arguments are not done in a fair fashion.

We need fairness in our trust. Trust of one another.

In romantic love, we need fairness in our talk. Our communication. Experts say that our nonverbal communication accounts for almost 60 percent of the total message. Tone of voice, for example – the way we say things – makes up 35 percent of the message. The actual words we say account for only seven percent of the total message.

I know I can get very passionate and animated when I speak and so there is always fluctuations in my tone of voice and sometimes this can come across as aggressive. I do struggle with hiding my emotions sometimes and am still trying to manage and control them even now.

If I am angry, you will know it, just as sure as you will know when I am happy. My eyes and face are the windows to my heart, my soul.

So, as food-for-thought, think about the ways you and your spouse/partner communicate without using words. These are all important factors of communication but the most important question is how effective is your communication with your loved one/partner?

In my experience, it isn’t fair to use words that violate a person’s feelings or betray a person’s confidence. Refrain from saying things to personally attack the other. Stick to the facts and in saying that, the immediate or facts of a recent example.

We need fairness when we divide the chores in family life.

We need fairness when we decide who goes out to work for a living and who stays home to mind the children, in the different phases of family life. What phase of life are you or you and your partner/husband/wife in?

“So, when is love fair?” I hear you say.

Well, from my experience, I believe that –

  • Love is fair when it builds up both the lover and the beloved;
  • Love is fair when it increases both and diminishes neither;
  • Love is fair when it brings lovers close but still lets them separate when appropriate;
  • Love is fair when it nourishes both and leaves neither hungry for more;
  • Love is fair when it respects the boundaries of the other person’s selfhood;
  • Love is fair when it delays our most legitimate desires to meet our loved one’s needs;
  • Love is fair when it does not use ancient and forgiven wrongs against us;
  • Love is fair when we don’t selfishly accept current, immediate self-gratification at the price or expense of the other’s pain.

What do you think, is the above statements fair statements on what fair love is?

What do you think is a “fair” balance of closeness and separateness in your marriage?

What do you think is ‘fair’ behaviour when you are disagreeing?

Oh love … oh fairness fairy.

We seek your guidance.

Amen.

 

Until next time,

 

The Old Captain Viking Pirate Muscle Monk.

Members of my ‘extended family’ when I used to own and manage my gym for seven years. Some of the best and hardest years of my life so far. I loved leading the members (predominantly males – 70%) and they allowed me to take them to unchartered territories for us all. The gym was (unlike today’s) a social place. An ‘inbetween home’ between your place of work and your home.
Relationships based on fairness, trust, care and compassion.

Working out in my gym during a photo shoot

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