I remember sitting with adults when I was a kid, Listening to their stories. They would say –
“Paul, why don’t you go and play with your cousins & friends outside”
I would reply –
“No, there will be time to play with them later”
I’ve listened to hundreds of other people’s stories when I owned & managed my Family Gym for 7 years.
I love 💕 telling stories.
I believe there is power in storytelling.
It begins in the home.
It begins in the Home…. Practising the art of Storytelling, that is.
Home is where the foundation of storytelling starts. I recall listening to my dad & his close friend’s tell stories around the Kava bowl. In the home, I got a strong 💪 foundation… Of a past that lends my existence a place, a sense of belonging, a historical context.
Home is where stories get passed on for generations. I have continued with this 💝alentine tradition. My two kids can retell the stories I tell .. because they have heard them countless times. And as my daughter says –
“Dad, it keeps changing all the time”
And I say –
“Aaaahhh… yes, my dear … that is where facts and imagination fuse in the optimum place”
Home is where I was told that I am built like & physically intelligent like my grandfather, Ben Valentine. A powerful & skilful National heavyweight boxing champion, going undefeated for 3 years in his prime.
Home is where I heard stories of my quirkiness from early age & my creative & innovative nature in my early youth. I heard stories of my country of birth through the filter of my own genealogy.
Struggles, family migrations, family triumphs, as well as ancestral successes & failures were taught to me through the history of my 💝alentine Family.
In my Home now, it is a place where I build my own legacy: through my love 😍 for history & storytelling, I have shared & will share more stories I was told in my youth with my children.
Always, adding my generation’s story to this 💝alentine Novel in progress. I’ve always believed the REAL histories of families aren’t the records of births, deaths & marriages. No, to me …
… they are the stories told after dinner, while having chocolate or dessert. So full and satisfied.
For i have learned many things so far, and one important one is the importance of LEGACY.
Legacy is fueled by US… in our family. It is fueled by ME. And all this evolves from our history… our family stories passed down …
Life is a succession of deals. The three key components of any deal are: an offer, an acceptance and a consideration. We’re constantly making deals every single day of our lives and some times, we aren’t even aware of them. We are constantly improvising, compromising and committing snd re-committing or leaving the many agreements we make.
What is the worst deal in history?
What is the worst deal you’ve ever made? Did you get the “short-end-of-the-stick?” How short?
We’ve all made bad deals in our life so far, haven’t we? If you have not, you’re one of the lucky ones. Or are you?
Think 🤔 of all the worst deals you’ve ever made… snd then, all the worst deals ever made in the history of the world 🌎 to date …
I repeat, nothing compares to or even comes close to the ULTIMATE DEAL… you, me and every person who has ever been born, have by default, made.
A possible solution to this “Bad Deal”: FOLLOWING GOD.
“And what do I mean?” You may be thinking.
Well, it literally means to – follow in His footsteps as we walk through life. “Following God” is another term for “being a disciple.” I think it entails having unwavering belief in God, loving him, faithfully sticking to Him … very importantly – obeying him.
Here’s the huge challenge for many –
You see in this age of abundance, some people are enjoying “the good life” right now, and are soaking in its comforts & pleasures. They’re quite satisfied by what this world has to offer. They struggle to understand the difference between needs and greeds.
But, most of us, I feel, are tired of the hardships, injustices, suffering, pain & sorrows of this life. I know we all don’t wish all this continues without an end in sight.
But… many cannot fathom the thought of life ending permanently. Many simply want to LIVE ON.
Is that such an impossible ideal?
For those that think that Living Life is supposed to be about being eternally happy with no problems at all. This is not the case. They chase happiness. But this is a big mistake
How does God reconcile this?
You see, Jesus said that following Him would be rough at times. He therefore warned us that we’d need to deny ourselves many things, exercise self-control, & think more about others & less about ourselves.
I think I this is a critical step to renegotiating the original Bad Deal with God… FOLLOW GOD. Be his disciple.
To me, one of the most uplifting benefits of FOLLOWING CHRIST … is the SIMPLICITY it brings to the COMPLEXITY of life. Through this … we experience true hidden WONDER.
What if … BELIEVING IN & FOLLOWING GOD brings you CLOSER to HARMONY with his FREQUENCY and …
The OLD “bad” Deal becomes the … NEW “Good” DEAL where ETERNAL LIFE is your ULTIMATE REWARD? Where you experience UNLIMITED POWER.
As the great thinker & philosopher, Nikola Tesla said –
“The Gift of Mental Power comes from God… the Devine being, and if we concentrate our minds on that TRUTH, we become IN TUNE with this great power.”
The critical question now is … is your mind ready for this inflow of information… is mankind’s LIMITATIONS OF MIND a severe handicap to accepting this Great Power that is UNLIMITED?
Success for you means you need to Prepare YOU.
Are you ready to negotiate a better deal? Have your prepared your Mind to act as a repository of UNLIMITED POWER? And have ETERNAL LIFE.
As the disciple John said – John 3:16 :
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone that believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
In a sense, this is how God reconciles things.
Here’s a tip: FOLLOW GOD. Be the best DISCIPLE you can be.
For some, life can feel empty if they don’t find or grasp a higher calling… a “purpose” in life. These are the people who seek for answers in all kinds of places, some of which would be less than ideal.
Here is the thing about these types: They know they are looking for something, but they don’t really know what it is. Almost like a headless chook.
They have lost their zest for life … that essence of life, I call Vitality.
To me, purpose gives the Individual, hope … the strength to continue past obstacles and unexpected changes we face every day. In some views of life, hope is all we really have.
To find Purpose, I believe one has to find it WITHIN… but get inspiration, EXTERNALLY, from others.
Everyone looks to better themselves & strive to live a BETTER LIFE. Most think that to do this, they need to only acquire more VALUABLES.
Change your viewpoint: life should not be about acquiring more Valuables, instead, should be about making yourself more VALUABLE. We are alive on this planet to primarily, GIVE or express ourselves through sharing, in some creative outlet.
For me, it is GOD.
Success, like happiness, cannot me pursued. Release all desires to achieve success as a self-promoting goal/target. This route, taken by many will not give you the opportunity to live a FULL LIFE. It won’t bring you full success.
Success, true success, in any field, only comes through the pursuit of something greater than you … an ideal… a standard that allows you to surrender to a higher power.
Life’s purpose does not require intense cognitive power. It is not something that you can THINK your way to discovering. Thinking leads to overthinking, which is what many in this left-brain dominated modern societies celebrate – should I try this? What if it turns to failure? Would this work? What if it does not bring income? and leads to non-action or procrastination.
From my experience, I can gracefully admit and share that there is NO “ONE WAY” … THE WAY for me was not Found by simply looking for it… but by DOING IT… by LIVING what I LOVE TO DO.
This Diamond called CLARITY.
Success, in life (& any pursuit in life) comes to those who face their fears and TRY NEW THINGS… without being glued to the end result. What you get, then, is something that is a KEY foundation stone to your building of success: CLARITY.
If is only when you take on the role of the VIKING or PIRATE 🏴☠️ in you, that you sail out to EXPLORE uncharted seas. It is through exploration that you discover this gem … this diamond called CLARITY.
Results come only with repeated ACTIONS, done with sufficiency and appropriateness. Wondering and dwelling on what to do and not actually “doing”, pushes you even further away from reaching your ultimate purpose in life.
In finding my path, for example, I stopped watching tv many, many years ago. And as modes of communication increased, I taught myself to block more of these modes out. Just as I manage what I eat for my body for optimal physique conditions, I manage input into my brain.
Beginning with me, myself snd i snd the Holy Trinity within me : the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit. I did and tried everything – fine-line sketching, body sculpting, writing poetry, writing books, photography, blogging, podcasting & public speaking…
I even tried doing NOTHING…. Snd appreciating the emptiness of nothing…. Ams trying to create SOMETHING FROM NOTHING.
There is now CLARITY, where confusion existed. There is PURPOSE where once was WONDERING and over-thinking.
The WAY to find your purpose is NO WAY. It all comes down to energy .. to that life source … to Vitality, the “essence of life”. The source for this brave discovery you intend to make is from the whispering of your heart.
You will experience more joy .. snd more inspiration when you listen to and follow the guidance of your heart. Here’s the challenge: you need to not only listen, but listen, WELL.
Energy is your fuel and you can find this energy to live … to live out your dream 😴 with purpose and meaning. The next step is to explore creative and new ways of expressing and sharing this energy of creativity that comes from within.
Embracing Passionate Living.
I’ve helped hundreds … no, thousands of individuals for close to 30 years now, many of these people the top of their fields … very successful in their own right.
But, I have noticed that sometimes, at the top of their success wave, some of these individuals acted and felt as if there was still something missing in their lives.
I heard many reasons why they felt that way. I strongly felt (for some of them), that they were feeling that way because they were trying to stay with the one thing they thought they were meant to be doing.
I felt that this way of thinking 🤔 was a self-imposed ceiling … a self-limiting belief … that blocked their journey towards reaching their full potential.
I don’t just consider myself – an enthusiastic World-Class Problem Solver or a 2 x World Natural Physique Champion … I actually wear many hats and play many roles … so apart from being a husband of 20 + Years and father to two kids …. I create.
I love creating through many mediums of expression: I actually create in multi-media, I sculpt, I design, I write (blogs & poetry & books), I coach, I conduct virtual talks & seminars, I design & create my podcast, I fine-line sketch, I educate and share “coaching conversations”, I dance & I do martial arts 🥋, and share NUGGETS OF VITALITY … but most of all …
I continue to DREAM 😴… and fuel my IMAGINATION. My goal is always to not only continue to imagine, but to IMAGINE, BETTER.
All of these constant daily activities brings me joy and helps express my PASSION FOR CREATING.
Here’s a little secret to living a BETTER LIFE: consider learning to and embracing PASSIONATE LIVING. Work towards doing what you truly enjoy doing and this, I believe, will guide your path towards finding Purpose.
Sometimes, you need to simply jump in and giving things a try. Sometimes, we just need to shoot before we take aim. Sometimes, picturing yourself after having “giving it a go”‘and thinking or saying our loud –
“Just DID IT!”
Would bring you an amazing sense of satisfaction. It is the DOING and the courage required & summoned that is the way to overcome the feeling that you are missing out on life.
There are endless opportunities in life and is only limited by your imagination.
And through this discovery, through this courageous Viking/Pirate adventure, you will also realise that it is a JOURNEY TO LOVE 💕. It is this journey that is the process of becoming increased AWARENESS , to fully be AWARE of this flow of the essence of Life .. of this Vitality … this Energy from your heart.
Here’s my tip: BE MORE LIKE A VIKING and/or PIRATE 🏴☠️.
This energy … you won’t see it … and it is not something that is tangible as what you can taste, smell, weigh …
It is more something that you FEEL… that comes from within … something INTANGIBLE.
Be awake when that message comes.
All the very best in being more like a Pirate & Viking… as you sail and Captain your ship through the changing seas of life.
Where has time gone? Ten years went by … .like a blink of an eye. Memories… that is all we have … shared memories.
We have many.
He knows he will always have a home.
He has spent his first ten years of his life, with me, his mother and his sister. Spent it in our home .. which is HIS HOME.
I like to think that his home is a place of celebration, a continuous celebration of Life. His home is the place where he can let down his hair and just be, himself. His home is where living happens and laughter rocks the walls.
I’d like to think that his home is the place where he learns to play, to have fun, to relax, to love and … to pray. Each day in our household is a celebration. Everyday, our Family prayers allows us to reflect on our life so far … with GRATITUDE.
There is an abundance of laughter in his home. So loud that it carries all the way to the streets and neighbours.
His home is where Real Living, takes place.
He learns how to work, how to play, how to eat, how to ride in cars together, how to attend Taekwondo lessons, how to play music in bands virtually, how to watch youtubes and videos, how to host friends, how to take care of his self, how To be a better brother, how to be the loving son that he is, how to develop our own private family jokes (usually they love “roasting’ me).
In our home .. his home, we try not to take life too seriously. In our home … a home of celebration we thrive in conversation and accept that humour and laughter is essential elements to our Family cohesion.
Our home … his home … vibrates to us and to everyone around us that …
“This is what life is all about. In a nutshell, life is what happens in our home … it is where he is celebrated.”
Home is where …
My son … has his Nintendo game, his soccer and rugby balls, his books, his swords, his toy guns, his snacks.
Home is …. Being able to walk around in his undies all day … home is Eating cold watermelon and tropical pineapple together at the dinner table on a winter day. Home is where he is allowed to yell … to get angry … and it is ok. Home is where he can play wrestle games in the bedroom and backyard and come out of it … unscathed.
Home is where he gets unlimited hugs and kisses and learns about the important things in life. Home is where he learns how to agree to disagree and resolve conflicts.
Home is where he learns to be appreciated and listened to. Home is where his strong sense of self … his powerful self image … his confidence is built. Home is where he understands his responsibilities to contribute to the family to make it work … that little things, matter.
To sum up … I hope my ten year old son learns much … in our home .. his home.
One day, I hope, he would look back and realise that home is where he discovered wonder and learned to not only Dream … but …. To Dream BIG. One day, he remembers to repeat some of … OUR traditions … OUR unique family qwirks … our UNUSUAL ceremonies.
I hope that one day, my son looks back and views his time in his home .. our home as a period where he not only FOUND but …. EXPERIENCED, JOY.
With … his dad (me), his mum, Cathy, his sister, Olivia and our pet schnoodle : “Mr Fussy/Fuzzy Cuddles”.
Is there anything we read, hear or see ‘the truth’ anymore? THere are so many lies propagated in the media in today’s world. There is one truth – if a lie is being told and repeated enough .. the lie will eventually be believed to be a truth.
What is the truth when it comes to the covid-19 virus? There are many questions that should be asked and no question should be left out and put in an “out-of-the-question “ basket. With so much information at our fingertips, and most contradicting one another, one of our biggest risks is is our inability to sieve through the bullshit to …. Find the Truth.
I just don’t know what to believe anymore. One minute, one ‘expert’ says one thing … another minute, another expert says something else. Even the so-called experts and professional analysts cannot agree on the truth. They usually speak from their own self-interest and try to sell their ‘version of the truth’.
What have we learned in the aftermath of this pandemic?
A question I ask is – why has the containment of this virus 🦠 done already … like six months ago? Why has it taken so long?
What have we learned in the aftermath of this pandemic?
What has each individual country learned and what have we learned as human beings? One obvious thing is that the biggest threat to our existence is not something huge like a war or terrorist acts… it is the very very small (viral or bacterial) that we should be more fearful of. We should be more scared of the INVISIBLES … of what we CANNOT SEE with our naked eyes than … what we CAN SEE.
If you look at probabilities, there is a high probability (greater than 90%) that the virus originated from the Wuhann Lab, in China. The likelihood that the virus originated from “a Lab” is high. Then, it follows that, the likelihood that it originated from the Wuhann Lab is very high.
A question we should be asking is – was there a prior epidemic of this virus … that has allowed this current viral strain to be very effective in spreading? If it came from the Wuhann Lab, what were the protocols/internal controls used at the time? Why was this allowed to happen? On the other hand, if it wasn’t the Wuhann lab, we should be told that it wasn’t. If it was from nature, we deserve to be told. If it was from another lab, we need to know that , too. Why aren’t the governments giving us answers to these questions?
In other fields, say, in manufacturing, if a machine worker narrowly misses death when using a Machine or only loses a limb or his/her life, most businesses would do everything possible to NOT LET that happen again. In a factory setting, they would put up clear signs, get employees further training, counselling, boundaries indicated, protective gear and so forth…
And why? It was a “lucky break “ and control measures put in to mitigate the worst situation (losing a life) does not happen again in the future.
Why weren’t the voices that were raised in concern or this virus back in 2015 not listened to and taken seriously? What protocols were overlooked leading up to this pandemic? Why was the process off-shored to China? Did our current systems allow this? Who was responsible for this system at that time? Why hasn’t people brought to justice yet? Who is responsible for this pandemic? Governments collectively?
Is this going to be another case of INFLUENZA?
… and we will not find a cure and eliminate it but will just have to live with it.
Will it become part of our new “normal “ like the influenza virus has become? Living with the FLU virus has been a huge cost to governments and nations. Imagine the cost of living with the Covid forever? The cost to people’s well-being and the economy will be astronomical…& possibly incalculable.
** Here’s the thing:the ABILITY to ELIMINATE the disease goes down the longer we delay to have EFFECTIVE RESPONSES… to take control of its spread. It will be too late when large numbers of people catch this disease and their mutations and selections will result in adaptations that we just could not possibly manage.
Then we’ve got a HUGE PROBLEM!!
Medicine has come a long way. Yes, it has. The pertinent question is … is this going to be another case of influenza? I feel it will be.
If you look back in history, you will find that hospitals were dangerous places in the 18th century. One eminent Victorian surgeon commented that –
“a patient laid on an operating table … is exposed to more chances of death than the English soldier on the field of Waterloo.”
18th century medicine was not very effective. With all our advances in technology and medicine, can we say that 21st century medicine is ‘effective’ in it’s management of covid?
In the 19th century, Mary Wortley Montagu went back home with the smallpox inoculation/vaccine from Turkey but had a difficult time finding Doctors who would share this with people, given many were not willing to destroy a significant stream of their revenue. Even if it was for the good of mankind. Doctors were looking out for their own self-interests.
After the French Revolution, patients with similar symptoms were grouped together in wards. Doctors started to recognise and treat illnesses as ENTITIES in themselves rather than regarding complaints as being inseparable from individuals.
Is this happening in today’s world? Are beds and access to medical treatment going to be a “bidding war?” will the beds And medical professionals only be given to those with money as it was back in the 19th century?
Medicine … using vocabulary of the Military.
Also, in the late 19th century, medicine started using the vocabulary of the military, referring to diseases and germs similar in concept to enemy invasion.
Words like breakthroughs, defeats, and destruction and “let’s fight this”. Nowadays, they use phrases like ‘we’re in this together’. Like many other scientific metaphors used in the past, these images operated both ways:
Reflecting how illness was conceived
Affecting how foreigners should be treated
Back then, wealthy nations tried to defend themselves against infectious immigrants just as bodies had to be protected against viruses or microbes. This analogy was used. Question is – is it still being used today?
You see, diseases had usually been blamed on foreigners and this case of covid is no different. It also provides new grounds for rationally explaining old fears.
And what are these “old fears?”
Prejudices against race and cleanliness could now be given a “scientific label”. This was utilised by many wealthy nations back in history. Is it still being used now?
Is this one way of the government setting up a screening program to assess citizens health? Are our DNA (through swabs) just another way of science and governments finding out more about each individual? How can this be used against us?
Could the increased awareness through advertising, as “medical security “ really patchy vetting procedures … say, to allow rich immigrants easier process into more wealthy nations? Is this simply a tool to help curb unwanted immigrants?
Governments have had a history of controlling diseases by curtailing individual freedom… which is the same objection given by anti-vaccination supporters.
In science, often what seems straightforward in the labs proves quite complex outside the labs.
Over a century ago, Robert Koch, the German bacteriologist, shot to fame for identifying the organism responsible for Industrial Europe’s biggest killer – tuberculosis (TB).
Even though Koch proved that nobody could catch TB without first, being exposed to the TB, he was unable to explain why only about 10 % of people became infected. What sort of rates exist for the covid? Apart from age, are certain races more at risk?
During Koch’s time, it was found that the “Cure rate” for TB, proved lower than had been hoped. The enemy agent (similar to the covid strain identified today), had been identified but it seemed to leave many potential victims unscathed. Back then, many concluded that many individuals were somehow tainted in advance or had pre-existing conditions that made them more susceptible to getting covid.
Over one hundred years later, society has learned to “live with the disease “ – TB, that is. TB was, only recently, given an identity as a contagious disease that circulates in squalid city slums. A mark of inferiority rather than aesthetic vulnerability.
At one time, to contract TB, was to invite scorn… it was a matter of shame… making it out to be that patients had been picked out rather than innocent victims of neural microbes.
TB was as bad a stigma as contracting syphilis, blamed on prostitutes. Society attitudes stayed this way until towards the end of the 20 th century. Cancer became the new TB…. The big C that could not be mentioned by name.
Given how long it has been for us to respond to the covid strain and managing it, it is highly likely that, we won’t find a cure … but instead, just learn to live with disease, like we did with TB, over the last one hundred years.
A lot of deaths.
A quick reference on Google on world-stats indicates that as of 9th July 2021, there were a little over 4,000,000 covid-related deaths, with the USA heading the tally with > 623,000, followed closely behind by Brazil at 530,000 and then India at > 400,00 and so on. Australia has just under 1,000 deaths. So, there has been over 4 million deaths in just over a year since it began.
A lot of deaths.
In 1999, the American Institute of Medicine published a landmark investigation called “To Err is Human”. It reported that between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die each year as a result of preventable medical errors.
Lucian Leape, a Harvard professor put it higher (at 120,000 in America alone) estimated that a million patients are injured by errors during hospital treatment.
In 2013, a study done & published in the journal of patient safety put the number of premature deaths associated with “preventable harm “ at more than 400,000 per year (in America, alone). Compare this to the number of deaths caused attributed to Covid and it is comparable. But, no one is alarmed at this knowledge because not much is said about it and so not much is known about it, by the majority of people.
Preventable harm included –
Dispensing wrong drugs
Injuring patient during surgery
Operating on the wrong part of the body
Peter J. Pronovost, professor at Johns Hopkins school of medicine testified at senate pointing out that the deaths was equivalent of two jumbo jets falling out of the sky every day for an entire year! Comparing and saying –
“Every two months, 9-11 is occurring.”
Can you imagine, news headlines repeating information of deaths caused by the crashing of two jumbo jets EVERY DAY! It would cause utter chaos .. that could lead to an up-rising. Possibly. The public has lost a lot of trust in the medical systems and are turning to alternative medicines in droves. Question is why has it got to this point?
Why do we tolerate these numbers …. These stats in preventable harm in this area of life when we would not tolerate it in any other sector? We don’t tolerate the covid-related death toll numbers, so, why has the medical profession knowingly or unknowingly, hid this information from the public … year after year?
Upon further study, you will find that the numbers put preventable error in hospitals as the biggest killer in the United States – behind only heart disease and cancer. Can you imagine that?! Third highest!!
And these are just numbers for the USA, what about when we add all the other numbers from other countries? What sort of numbers would that total to? Highly likely be greater than the 4,000,000 reported deaths relating to covid.
This Affects ALL OF US.
But those numbers are incomplete and definitely higher now.
However, it is not just the number of deaths that should alarm us, there is also the non-lethal harm caused by preventable error. Back in that 2013 study, this equated to about 1000 preventable deaths AND 10,000 preventable serious complications per day …
The problem is not a small group of crazy, homicidal incompetent doctors going around causing havoc. Medical errors follow a normal, bell-shaped distribution.
They occur most often not when clinicians get bored or lazy or malign, but when they are going about their business with diligence and concern … but these mistakes STILL happen!
Imagine the flow-on negative effect it had on the patient, their family and friends, their community and wider.
The Biggest Risk right now, as I see it…
Strong Social connections allow for a better and longer life. There are decades of evidence from communities suffering the reverse phenomenon: the gradual loss of social ties.
A study by James House, published in the journal SCIENCE concluded that social isolation is as dangerous for health as obesity’s, inactivity and smoking. The evidence was as strong as in the landmark US government report that in 1964 officially linking smoking with lung cancer.
The House report says that social isolation is actually more dangerous than lack of exercise and obesity. This is the biggest risk right now, as I see it … in most western societies- deaths exacerbated by social isolation due to covid restrictions.
This is probably the single most powerful behavioural finding in the world.
Social isolation is indeed a death sentence!, I believe, as much a threat to iur survival as hunger, thirst or pain. If individuals are deprived or it – “human contact” (as imposed by covid restrictions), the extreme case is we can start to become attached to innanjmate objects. This is demonstrated by Tom Hank’s character on the movie CASTAWAY, who has a meaningful relationship with a volleyball he calls Wilson.
Will this pandemic lead to increased purchases or innanimate objects for companionship? More sales for the IT industry?
Lesson: this AFFECTS ALL of us.
Why do so many mistakes still happen?
Well, I will leave that for a future blog.
So many questions still left unanswered, about our past … our present …. And our future.
But, as they say …. That is JUST LIFE.
You can choose to enjoy your ‘one life’ and worry about what YOU CAN CONTROL … and NOT WORRY about what YOU CANNOT CONTROL.
May God continue to shower his blessing on you and your family and loved ones,
My biological mum had me before she turned 16. She had a choice to have an abortion but chose to give me life. Being so young and incapable, her parents (my grandparents) decided to raise me as their own.
Because of the societal norms at that time, I now understand that my grandparents adopted me as their own, in every sense of the word. They were the best Parents any kid could wish for. My “mom” (grandmother) died when I was 12. It felt like the end of the world to me because she was the word to me.
She was caring, compassionate and loving 🥰 & very strong (usually welcoming in strangers and the homeless. She would clean them, clothe them, feed them and give them a place to sleep for a short while … and give them a little help on their way.
Some of the Strangers we helped, would return, sometimes years later, to offer money and thanks for her (& my grandfather’s unsolicited care & hospitality when they had hit a “rut”). I recall seeing the turnaround in the individuals and the impact my humble grandparents and their kindness gave them.
A whole new lease of life.
My grandmother was my first role model of a loving & strong independent woman. I really loved her full body massages she gave me to wake me for school almost every morning. This is where my penchant for hugs 🤗 & kisses originated. I thank her for that.
In my pre-teens, my biological mother’s sister (my Aunty) stepped in and assumed a “mother” role for me. She showed me a second type of strong woman. She was a woman’s woman.
My Second Mum: the Ambitious Career Woman.
She wasn’t too lovey-Dovey like my mum # 1. She was very ambitious and career-focused and very risk-averse. Very strategic and almost always chose a conservative approach to many things. Her thing was – “don’t rush life, Paul”.
Two things were important for her – good education and making money. She was very successful and raised me in very rich surroundings in my teens. I learned and experienced life through very wealthy lens and feel very fortunate to have done so. Not many children grow up in a 3 car-garage, 3 storey 6 bedroom mansion with a pool. My bedroom even had its own bathroom and walk-in wardrobe.
I only got to know my biological mum after an uncle broke the “news” to me two weeks before my Final Exams at High School. We had a heated argument and he let out the “truth”. In hindsight, Not the best time. I wish he had waited until I had finished my exams before telling me that the first 17 years of my life was a lie. That my grandma was not my mother and that my “older sister “ was in fact, my real mother!
I was shattered. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing .
I locked myself in my room for a whole week… trying to come to terms with this bomb 💣. I cried a river in my room…. Everything I ever knew … about my family … about my life … was a lie. Who could I trust? Why is this happening to me? I was angry at everyone… they all played a part in the lie.
It had a significant effect on my High School Results. Negative. I was aiming to be in the Top 10 but I failed. I think I made the Top 20. In the whole scope of life, the mark I got didn’t matter. I still got to do what I wanted to do at University.
That was a first. Me, getting to University in my immediate and extended families. The ceiling in academia was High School… but I raised it … and still raising it.
It’s been almost 30 years since I learned of this truth. Along the way, I learned that many other individuals have experienced similar situations. Some famous like Jack Nicholson, who only found out that his older sister was in fact, his mother. He only find out in his late 30s when a reporter dug up his background for a story on him.
In many cultures, especially in Polynesian cultures, “step in”. Grandparents generally stepped in to protect the child and give them every opportunity to succeed. They did. I got all the love and attention any child could have. I am very grateful for the unconditional love life they gave me.
They were my parents and friends & family and schools & teachers and anyone I ever interacted with all played their roles.
You could say my first 17 years was a lie.
That’s ok. Every family has their “secrets” and “skeletons in the closet”. What are yours? Do you have any? Is your whole life “the whole truth & nothing but the truth?” Is the truth better than living a lie? What if living the truth disadvantages you more? Would you then choose to live a lie? If you had the choice?
My Third Mum: the Risk Taker. Biology Matters.
The choice was made for me. Her choice to give me life rather than get an abortion.
And it was made with love snd for my benefit and protection. An unselfish choice by my biological mother in playing her role as my “older sister “.
It was only in my later years that I realised how amazingly courageous and unselfish she was to live in the same household as me … and stop herself from playing the “mum” role to me.
I had many arguments with her and told her off on many occasions. I would see her run into the bedroom, close the door and I’d hear her crying. She wouldn’t cry in front of me or argue with me.
Remember, she was my older sister to me. Little did I know then … who she REALLY WAS. This is the Mum that didn’t always make decisions logically because she usually made it with her heart. She was a “thinker”, the most academically gifted of all her siblings. A rebel, a risk-taker.
I buried my biological mum in 2011, 3 months after my son, Zachary was born. Like my grandmother, My biological mum, Margaret, died from cancer within 3 months of being diagnosed. Aaaahhh… the Circle of Life, as they say.
She did not live long but she epitomised what courage is to me. What a brave woman, who lived & died, with integrity & dignity.
THE OLD HAS GONE, THE NEW HAS COME!
The Bible has been a big comfort for me all my life. It gave me strength in those years (18 – 22) that I refer to as my “lost years “. It was always a source of inspiration and strength for me … in the many times I needed courage.
We have been gifted not only from our genetic background but also by the environment in which we were brought up. Each of us were formed by all the people who have made an impression on us.
From the people who gave us affirmations (like my grandparents did for me) to the people who put us down or belittled us. The former types gave us a positive view of other human beings and the latter, a view that fed our uncertainty about ourselves and … others…
Genesis 1 relays a story that God created living things to bring forth according to their own kind. So, not only are we likely to look like our parents but it is likely that we will embrace life’s challenges just as our parents did.
“So God created man in his own image.” (Genesis 1:27)
So, i/we were not only created in our parents image but also in God’s.
Yes, we all have our past (and even if part of it was not lived in truth like mine), take comfort that we also have God (if you’re a Christian). I spent 8 years as a Catholic Altar boy in my early youth and one phrase that sticks in my mind is –
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the NEW HAS COME!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
This verse has always given me comfort. Especially, after I learned of certain truths at 17. I get Comfort in knowing that the curses and the distortions and sins of previous generations does not hold me back. That it does NOT MAKE ALL “ME”… that I can release the OLD… to make room for the NEW.
We are Built in God’s image. Something that I can … we can ALL use as a springboard to being the BEST VERSION OF OURSELVES.
Yes, We are trapped with our old us … the past experiences… and the good (& imperfections in genetics 🧬 passed down to us) ….
With the knowledge and belief that we, as Christians, are also created in the image of God, gives all of us I mmense COURAGE…. And hope … and belief… that we have a huge capacity to change!!
You are unique! Believe it so…. And you can change!! We ALL CAN!!
But, this is not easy and TAKES COURAGE and … a lot of WORK! In my experience, You MUST TAKE CHARGE of your life! You must stop saying –
“I’ll always be the same … I’ll never be different “
Instead, you should begin saying –
“I CAN be different because of God’s love 💕 working in me.”
DO NOT FEAR CHANGE especially if the change is to make you all that God wants you to be.
When you decide to Invite Christ into your life, know that you have been re-born… snd the Holy Spirit will guide you.
I know I have been “re-born “ many times … in my life, so far. When I reflect, I was very fortunate to have been influenced by three strong & courageous women. They were all different and they were women who loved me differently but all had strong values & principles.
I may have lost two Mums, but there still remains one. Something many cannot say. I will continue to love this Mum that is still alive today….and the other two Mums are always with me in spirit.
Thank you God. Amen.
Ask yourself for God’s guidance and he will answer.
When you’ve done something wrong and/or have wronged someone, you firstly need to take FULL responsibility for it.
You repent because you realise that, that inexcusable wrong can be judged or forgiven. Inexcusable wrongs can never be understood and overlooked. Fake Repentant people seek and beg for forgiveness, with no thought of deserving it.
Yes, you read that right, they don’t deserve it.
That is not fair – to the person that has been wronged and not fair for the person who has wronged.
To gain trust back, perpetrators need to own their “inconvenient truth” (to borrow a phrase from US Vice President Al Gore).
Truly Repentant people are people who finally understand God’s amazing grace. When you truly seek repentance, know you need only to confess to experience the forgiveness from God Almighty.
Forgiveness is ALWAYS there in infinite supply.
Recently, I got into a very big argument with my wife of twenty years. It was probably the biggest blue we’ve had in our time together. It involved her and my family. To get straight to the point, I was an Asshole … well, okay, I was a HUUGGE Asshole! I even called myself one during the fight.
Alcohol was involved. Correction: excessive alcohol was involved.
On reflection, it is quite obvious that I was being a selfish prick! Yep, you read that right. I was being a thoughtless spouse. And here I was imagining that on my deathbed, my children and wife will remember me for many things but for mostly being the most THOUGHTFUL human being they have ever known.
After this incident, that dream/imagination may not manifest into reality. I fucked up, and my selfish choice was not “thoughtful “. I simply fucked up!
You see, whether we are adulterers or thoughtless spouses (like me, in this instance), the problem with all of us is one of perspective. Instead of thinking of our thoughtlessness (in words or actions/deeds) as INEXCUSABLE SELFISH CHOICES, we stubbornly regard our interpersonal failures as UNDERSTANDABLE MISTAKES. Understandable mistakes, can you believe that?! It comes down to a small but significant factor of perspective, or the way we view something.
And in my recent case: I clearly made a selfish choice and my perspective was NOT the right one.
Seek to understand first.
I’m not one for giving excuses or listening to excuses, but during and after that big argument, I found myself giving excuses. It just rolled out of my tongue and the strange thing was that I was fully aware of this roll-out while it was happening. And here’s the catch: I did not stop this conveyor belt of excuses.
When I reflect, I realise that excuse-making has been a part of almost every area of life that has humans participating. Excuse-making has been a natural tendency in people since, I guess, Adam blamed Even for eating the apple and … Eve blamed the Snake for persuading her. It’s been around for a long while.
I guess, without some form of self-justification, we are forced to look at ourselves in the mirror, just as we truly are … not necessarily, the image the mirror reflects.
Now, based on how I argued in that fight, the standards I adhered to fell very short of God’s standards. My actions and words deserved punishment.
I read somewhere that a wise person seeks to understand before wanting to be understood.
That is something I need to improve in my life. What about yours?
Joy evolves from misery.
When we really look at ourselves in the mirror and truly see ourselves as we are, would we accept our status as sinners.
And what are sinners? Sinners, like me, are worthy of judgement. We are powerless to improve ourselves … and are humbled that our best deeds provide no defence.
That is how Joy evolves from misery. Throughout my experience and learning from other people’s experiences, I’ve learned that those who make themselves naked and vulnerable and basically more human, are the ones who get the most trust.
Or at least, get part of or most of the lost trust back.
It is through the process of embracing genuine nakedness, humility and vulnerability, that you find your AUTHENTIC SELF.
I believe, moving closer to your authentic self is not only where life BEGINS but also …. Where JOY blooms and your GROWTH CONTINUES.
Now, as a Physique Artist, I regularly strip down to a pair of “g-strings” on stage, under very strong lights to display the ‘flow of muscles’ … and ‘paint a picture of moving art’, using my sculpted physique, from my heart … to the hearts of the audience.
It is one of the closest you can get to being naked, humble and vulnerable. By being vulnerable, humble and exposed, I find you allow yourself to be more open and transparent. This is important for any relationship. For me and my wife, this is vital. Always has been.
I am an “open book” and this nakedness, this humility, this vulnerableness, demonstrates to her that that I have nothing to hide ( or an impression anyway).
Now, allow yourself to strip yourself of EGO and wear your “G-STRING of YOUR SOUL”. That takes COURAGE. Seek Courage… for without courage, no great achievement is every attainable.
For me, in all my most important relationships, Trust is vital. It is one of the key foundation stones of my 21 year relationship with the most important woman in the world to me- my wife.
Did you have a father that invested a great deal of time and energy in to your life? Or was he in the shadows … or almost never around.
In my 7 years of owning and managing my Family Gym, I came to really know men from all backgrounds and status in society. My gym membership was about 70% male.
Over time, I came to notice correlations and strong causation between their behaviour as grown men and their relationship with their dads in their childhood. It didn’t matter which race, culture or status, there were some strong connections.
Happy Men & Not-so-happy Men.
Do you consider yourself a “Happy Man?”
Who are the happiest Men in society? Not by any kind of horizontal segmentation but as a species – “male”.
I think there are Happy Men and the not-so-happy men in our modern-day societies.
Experience has indicated that the men who are the happiest and most content in the masculine role today are those whose fathers put in the time and effort in their upbringing. And continue to do so.
I’ll refer to them as the “Happy Dads” in society.
These Happy Dads had dads who were around to begin with. Dads that were committed to maintaining a positive, nurturing, encouraging relationship with their sons. These Fathers of Happy Dads provided that secure foundation and supported their sons in their ups and downs.
The sons (Happy Dads) had support from their Fathers with their careers and decisions they made and acknowledged their achievements.
These Happy Dads had dads that were just “there for them”. No excuses, full-stop!
RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)
That consistent loving time spent with their sons (not “quality “‘time), paid off … in time. These Father’s sons, who the the Happy Dads of today are, I believe, among the most well-adjusted and peaceful husbands and fathers in our modern-day societies.
Are they increasing? Are they easily recognised?
Does he look like you? Your friend, maybe?
I believe these well-adjusted and peaceful husbands and fathers is and has been on the decline. They could be safely said to be in the “minority “.
Normally, I would say that in a democratic society, the majority should rule. In this instance, I believe that this minority should rule … these men should be the norm and not rare and abnormal.
We need these types of men … Happy Dads … to flourish again and increase.
What do we do? How do we go about this?
I believe it is up to me, you and … all the current dads/fathers reading this and out there with young sons… to commit to these young impressionable souls.
The majority of men today are struggling to recover from relationships with fathers who failed to nurture, affirm and validate them at some level … or all levels.
These sons (who are now fathers/dads/husbands themselves), are left with a legacy of pain, confusion, frustration, anxiety, bitterness, fear & anger. A lot of these men never had a choice in having their father in their lives as the mothers decided to bring them up as single parent.
I believe a big percentage of These adult sons are the angry men of our societies.
We need to stop rearing angry men.
If you’re part of the minority that is, the Happy Men, congratulations 🎉! Go and give your old man a hug and tell him you love him…. and just give him thanks for being there for you through your tumultuous years of youth.
Passing on the instructions of good decision-making to my daughter is fundamental to my role as her father. Much guidance is given by the Bible.
Wisdom stems from the discipline of Character.
I also ask myself the question of what is the GOAL of a Father’s advice to his children?
It is clear to me that the Goal of a father’s Godly instruction MUST be spiritual and must stem from the insight learned in Proverb’s WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE or UNDERSTANDING.
But, I don’t believe this wisdom is from Academic Achievements measured by membership to University boards or clubs or some Ivy League College. No, I believe this “wisdom” goes beyond scholastic wins. It goes to a place few dare to go.
That place is – MORAL RESPONSIBILITY. Getting there is difficult. Staying there is far greater a challenge.
Like Father – like son.
The Power of Discretion and Discernment.
It ALL boils down to decision-making, the mastery of this Art. Many Leaders and would-be leaders spend years at universities trying to learn the many tools that assist and help them make decisions.
To live prudently means to make decisions that are NOT based a whim or changing appetite but knowing right from wrong. This is the skill and power of discretion or discernment. Exactly what the Bible, Proverbs prescribed.
Whenever I make a decision in my children’s presence, I have a “walk-through “ how I arrived at that decision (s). I let them know the THINKING 🤔 BEHIND THE INTELLIGENCE. I mention the KEY components like – the initial assessment of risks; the consequences it could lead to if not addressed with mitigating controls; the probability/likelihood of the consequences occurring (with and without mitigating controls) and the possible impact, to self and others.
And then factoring in what my heart ♥️ & soul tells me too.
Such instruction DOES NOT presume that the child somehow already knows what’s best. So, if you’re thinking of having kids or have very young kids, I believe that parents need to instruct and educate them from the earliest years.
They must be shown, trained and taught to tell the truth rather than lies; to respect the property of others rather than take for themselves; that harming anyone else is unacceptable;
And … to hold and RESPECT THE MIRACLE OF LIFE... whether it is flora or fauna or human, in respectful and highest regard.
All the very best in your decisions, big and small and may God continue to shower his blessings on you and your family and cherished ones.
cheers & ahoy from beautiful Sydney, Australia!!
* Dr. of Muscle/Energy Aesthetics & 💝itality/❤️Ove *
Children need a good framework to build their character on. Your instructions as a parent and the guidance given in Proverbs in the Bible are great tools ⚒️ to harness.
Think 🤔. To Really think, does not only involve the brain 🧠. It involves the mind, the heart ❤️, the spirit and the “essence of life” – 💝itality. It includes the blessings of Wisdom.