The Man Who Talks to God


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The view from my sofa

I’ve had a lovely holiday season thus far.  I’ve visited with family and friends.  I’ve attended a few gatherings that remind me how fortunate I am.

This has been a tough year.  Yet for all the challenges I’ve had they’ve provided insight into some of the areas I need to focus on.  One of them is most definitely my health and well being.  I’ve got to take back the level of health I was enjoying just a couple of years ago.

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The gal pals from school.

I woke early yesterday.  I didn’t have any coffee which is unusual for me.  I’d meant to pick it up the day before.  These days, however, if I curl up the sofa with my Canucks  blanket tucked about my person then chances of stepping out into the cold again are slim to none.

I bargained with myself that I’d do it first thing in the morning.

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Walking down through the 4th Street overpass yesterday morning shortly after 7:00 AM.

At 7:00 AM I slipped from bed and dressed to go for a walk.  Two hours later I arrived back home.  I’d walked the length of the Quay from the 4th Street Overpass down to the end of New West Waterfront Esplanade.  I’d stopped at Angelina’s for breakfast then I traipsed over the Quayside Drive overpass and stopped at Safeway to pick up my coffee.  Then toddled back home.

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Walking along the Westminster Pier Park walkway watch the sun come up 

I was in pain, though it was moderate.  I know for the next little while any activity I do will leave me in pain, but you know, I just gotta do it.  The alternative is worse.

I then went and had my hair trimmed up and decided to head to downtown Vancouver to use some of the gift cards I received for Christmas.

This is the first shopping trip I’ve made to downtown Vancouver this year which is really odd for me.  My daughter and I decided to meet up and have dinner later in the afternoon as well.

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Out by where I’m now working in Steveston 

I arrived downtown around 1:30 PM.  It has been so beautiful out and the mountains were just glorious!  I decided to have a gander at the new kid on the block being Nordstroms.  It actually looks very much like the one in Seattle.  It is bright, open and accommodating.  It is also outside of my price range.

Still they’ve made every attempt to make customers feel very comfortable regardless of their income.  On the second level is a bar where I watched three men taking photos of their Ceasars! I suppose there is a novelty to this idea of having a drink while you’re out shopping right in the store.

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Canada Place a couple of weeks ago at the Charity Breakfast

I smiled then wondered how much they’d given their wives to spend.  They may well need another drink.

Nordstoms is competing with Holt Renfrew and The Bay in the downtown core.  I’m sure they’ll do well.

I checked out Old Navy then it was on to MAC.  I stopped in at various stores along the way.  I’m on the hunt for some good work shoes for the docks out in Steveston.  Uggs had a nice pair that was just a little too expensive at this time coming in at $255.

I’ll head over to the outlet stores in Queensborough to see if I can find a deal.

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The mountains covered in snow yesterday at 4:30 PM

I made my way down Robson to Burrard then headed toward Mahoney & Sons on the water where I would be meeting my daughter.  I definitely got my 10,000 steps in and I was feeling it.  I was now in need of a bathroom.  I went into the Royal Centre Mall and could not find a public washroom at all.  The Hyatt Regency Lobby claimed to have facilities but I could not find them.  I was running early so I stopped at the Elephant and Castle deciding to use their facilities, have a pint and rest for a bit.

Pulling out my notebook I began to jot down a few thoughts.  A man sitting a few seats over asked me what I was writing about.  He also told me I had bronchitis when I coughed. I smiled and told that no, I didn’t have this affliction.

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Steveston a couple of weeks ago in the morning

He continued to ask me questions periodically to which I would reply.  A text message made it clear I’d be here a little longer so decided to give up the writing quest and chat with the fellow beside me.  I’ve always enjoyed conversing with people.  I’m seldom intimidated and if the conversation gets uncomfortable, then I politely excuse myself.

He asked me what I thought God was.  Quite the ice breakers.

I told him that to me God was an entity of pure energy that resided within all of us and a.k.a. love.  He spoke of the big bang theory, the collision of light and dark matter.  He spoke of time and our human failings.  It was an interesting conversation.  He told me God speaks through him and that life is about love and compassion.  He went on to tell me that he was clairvoyant as well.

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At the Vancouver Trade & Convention Centre yesterday

Smiling he told me I’m an old soul.  I’ve been told this in the past as well.  He wanted to pay for my drink and buy me another.  I politely declined.  It really wasn’t necessary.  He told me I’d write about him.  I grinned and said yes, I most likely would.  He claimed to have money and lot of it and he was having issues with his family.

We did not exchange names.  There was something very familiar about him though and there was a sadness that resonated through him.  He told me I still have some anger issues.  This is true, though I’m aware and working on these aspects of self.

We spoke about dimensions and the need to get out of the 3rd dimension and into the 4th and beyond.  Now, you may be thinking that he was a little out there.  The odd thing is I’ve been researching all of these things for many years now.

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The world contained at the Vancouver Trade & Convention Centre

Some of the posts I’ve written on this blog deal with these topics as well.

It was time to leave.  I think he would have talked well into the night had I remained.  I wished him well then went to freshen up a bit.  As I left the establishment I noted he was no longer there.

Later when I got home certain parts of this conversation came back to me.  He asked me if I could ask God anything what would it be.  After a few minutes of consideraton I decided that I’d ask if I was done with the health issues I’ve experienced.

The answer was interesting.  If I didn’t want them back then I was in the clear and would live a long life.  And oddly this made sense.

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Winter foliage on the Quay in New West yesterday morning

Now it’s about health and wellness.  I’ve got a long road ahead of me.

The other thing that intrigued me was a comment that he made about the anger issues that are still ongoing.  This is negative energy of which I’m aware.  I described it as peeling back layers of an onion.  You think you’ve dealt with everything only to find yet another issue that needs to be addressed.

“Before you go to sleep tonight, count to eight, then think about the relationship between you father and his dad.  There may be some answers there. ” he instructed.

This struck simply because I never spoke about my family at all and this is indeed a relationship I know very little about.

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Santa’s a little hung up on the Quay in New West yesterday

The conversation had been very much about the great beyond and our place in it.  Dark matter will swallow light if you let it and in many ways he is right in that we are in this struggle currently on our planet.

If we give in to fear and anger it will consume us.  Not a good place to be.

And as I walked down to meet my daughter for dinner I thought of how good it was to converse with a stranger about the state of everything.

And there have been several times in my life when those conversations have indeed steered me in a direction I’d not thought of previously.  Sometimes they open the mind just a little more.

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What a lovely way to commemorate those you loved. Located at the Quay in New West

And sometimes it’s just great chatting with someone you don’t know and will likely never cross paths with again.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

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Another Year…


Fifty-seven years.  Sounds like such a long time doesn’t it?

There are times when it feels twice as long and them seems to have gone by far too fast.

I’ve almost passed another year.

Age really doesn’t bother me so much anymore.  It’s keeping this physical body of mine in good repair and remaining healthy and fit.  These are the factors that will determine how I fare in the next stage of my life.

So many things I still want to do, want to experience, want to see, touch, feel…

For now I have but today and I will try to live it fully.

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For some it may mean that their life needs to be filled with activities and an abundance of wild and crazy stuff.

Tonight I stepped to grab dinner.  I gazed up into the night sky with a sliver of the new moon and a stars dotting the black expanse.

In that moment I was breathless!  Oddly tears stung my eyes as I once again realized I am part of this!

There is an energy that runs through this world and beyond…from our ancient ancestors to those who inhabit other worlds and this energy permeates every molecule of my being.

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Tonight as I walked through the streets of New Westminster, the aches and pains that have resulted from the recent car crash reminded me to take my time.

I smiled.  I’m still alive and kicking, albeit painfully.  But I will recover and rebuild and I will run again.

Shit happens, you know?

Sometimes it feels like you received more than your fair share.  But hell, if anything this only makes me appreciate what I have that much more.  If I can live each day in this splendor then indeed I’m living my life fully.

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I met with friends earlier today. It was an impromptu get together that I tossed out to celebrate the release of the book and my birthday.

Cheryl spoke about Mother’s Day last year…THE BEST EVER!

We were laying on the deck of the Star Princess sunbathing enroute to San Francisco watching ‘Dirty Dancing”.

Yeah, baby!

Then we hit Napa Valley and got delightfully drunk!

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It was ridiculously fun and you know, that’s what it’s all about.  Just being in the moment and enjoying those around you.

Beauty is truly an energy.  It is so far beyond the physical world.

So why do we try to define it?  Try to contain it?  And try to dictate what it should be?

My brother Stephen was mentally handicapped.  He was a forceps baby and suffered brain damage at birth as a result.

He was institutionalized at an early age here in New Westminster.  Thankfully the institution is now gone.

For the last few years of his life though he lived in a facility that provided exemplary care.

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My daughter and I went out to see him often.

Stephen was targeted and picked on relentlessly in his youth because of his condition.  Yet I can tell you he had such a beautiful soul.

Stephen was often given ‘trial’ medications that affected his moods and behavior.  And I hurt for him so much in those moments.

My brother just had such a love of everything and music was right up there.  He loved animals, he loved his sisters and his niece.

He would sing Frank Sinatra and Joe Cocker, though you likely wouldn’t understand the words, but they were there in his beautiful interpretation.  And if I close my eyes I can see him rocking back and forth singing with an expression of absolute ecstasy on his face.

For his 48th birthday we rounded up a bunch his mates and took them all to Boston Pizza.  There was a great deal of planning as many of the guests like my brother had special needs.

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The smile on Stephen’s face that day, well my God, it was just brilliant.  There was such a purity to the joy he expressed.  I remember looking around at everyone that day and saw beauty in its truest form.

Many of those in attendance had lived in conditions that were at times appalling.  They had been treated horrifically at times by an unforgiving society that had cast them out.  And yet despite all of this they found it so easy to love and express joy.

That was Stephen’s last birthday.  He passed away about nine months later.  I was with him as he lay breathing shallow fast breathes.  I kissed his forehead and told him it was okay.  He could let go.

My brother is an angel that I’ve been so blessed with .  He taught me so much about humanity, about joy, about forgiveness, about peace.

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Did he ever look in the mirror and feel less than?

Probably not.

Did he condemn himself  for not measuring up to society’s expectations?

Not a chance!

And here I am now…at the start of another year.

I’m embarking on a new world in terms of the publication and what will be revealed.

This is a virginal moment for me.  There is a purity to it, a newness.

But then in this rediscovery of life that I’ve been blessed with…despite the heart thing and the cancer thing…

I’m coming to understand what it means to just be.

If I can pass this along in any context I will.

Thanks for stopping by and many blessings to you.

Peace.

 

 

 

Affirmation


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This has been an eventful week at the new job. There was a degree of discord from one of the worker’s there who will be leaving as a result of me assuming all responsibilities.

I am a ‘lovely woman’ whom she see’s herself ‘divorcing’.

I was and am very sympathetic  to her sensibilities.  Still, this is business.  Nothing more.  She can work her ass off trying to prove whatever it is she is caught up in, but I know all too well the bosses’ really have no interest in her personal life.  You need to produce.  Simple as that.

That acceptance as made me very good at my job.  And yes, it has taken awhile to learn these lessons.  Not that I’m  a slow learner…just a very stubborn one at times.:

I hope that the vision I am developing for this company comes to fruition.  I’m all business.  This isn’t about what the company can and should do for me.

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I am the worker bee you see.  This is about saying ‘Lets try doing this and that.  We’ll be more efficient.  More productive.  Better overhead results in higher profits.’

It is quite simply, business.

I’ve learned this the hard way.  You must separate to some degree your personal self with your business self.

Because of my journey I actually have a deeper insight into this.

I left work and arriving home tucked my pages and computer into my backpack.  I decided to head off for dinner and do some editing.

Boston Pizza won the decision for where I would dine.

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As I entered the establishment I looked past the host who was intent on seating me.  My eyes were now trained on an old friend.  I was half engaged with the gentleman who wanted to seat me and the friend whom was in my sight.

Brian.

I’d traversed through the hallowed halls of school from Grade 1 to Grade 11 with him.  We’d put together the 30 year reunion together.  He lives with is wife just a meer block from my domain.

I waved my hand and he looked up then rose to greet and folded me in his arms.

Brian had a stroke three weeks ago. This shocked me.

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He smiled rather sardonically and sadly  stating ‘Aging sucks.’

I laughed and agreed. I told him of my issues.  Discussed the emotional head games these things play out.  Then informed him to commit to a few hours out with Marie and I.

The three of us put together the 30 year reunion.  What I can I tell you is that year of  piecing together out past cemented me to so many aspects of who I used to be.

And I needed that.

So if I see a friend who has suffered, know this.  All the positive energy I have is being directed to your well being.

There are people who so quietly touch your life.  Brian I would say is one of those people.

Yet, there is a profundity to it.

Phone Pics July 2014 069He matters. He has all the school pictures of us from Grade 1 to Grade 11. He sees just me, not the latest invention of who I thought I should be.  Brian has gone through his own hell.  And I guess that’s what we need to embrace and understand about our journey during this life.

Despite our successes and losses…at the end of day…we are all simply human.

And I will always try to offer the most sincere and honest response to someone’s situation.

To those I hold dear…know that it is doubled.

And if you cannot articulate what burdens you… I understand this so deeply. I will not speak for you.  Your voice, your emotions, your feelings are necessary.  All I can do is hopefully give them a face.  Give them voice. Give them life.

Long ago I accepted that my roll in this world is souly dependent upon the organic thought provided to me by simply living.

It sounds simplistic…but really its not.

I commit to this world to assist in bringing an honest and forgiving truth to how we live our lives.

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Contemplation


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Much has been going on in this head of mine, in this life of mine, though it seems oddly muted. I’ve been focused on securing a position with another company and I may have succeeded. Next Monday I will be going for a second interview.  Always a good thing if they want to see you again.

And I’m at peace with the rest of it.

I’ve not been able to grow in the position I’m currently in.  I realized that for more than two years I’ve been fighting, defending the job that I am doing.  But why?  And what came to mind was that I was never able to actually do the job I was hired to do.  The partners simply wanted to dictate to me how they wanted it done.

And you see, that doesn’t quite cut it with me.  Hire someone to manage but don’t allow them the freedom to do so?  Redundancy is expensive.

Today at the interview I went to, I felt that spark that I’ve not felt in a good long while. The challenge was laid out, however subtly, the seed planted.

He wants someone who will roll up their sleeves and make certain things happen. He found his candidate for the job.  Just let me do it.

And while he spoke of some of the job costing and tracking they would like to get a handle on, visions of spreadsheets danced in my head.

I like working. I really do.  But I need to feel that what I’m contributing is valid and useful.  Over the past few years I’ve found myself in the hamster wheel running as if the fires of hell have been biting at me behind.

Then I realized I was in some strange version of hell.  When the chains bind to the point that new thoughts and ideas of any kind are quickly extinguished, frowned upon. Painful.

The rest of the ‘hurt’ feelings that I am experiencing are simply ego driven.

It is that echo from a lifetime to the person who sought out and lived for praise and acknowledgement, desperately so.

In the last year my enthusiasm has diminished so much.  Then again, every cruel word spoken was like a poisoned barb that stung feeding the resentment, feeding the mistrust.

And all of this while the effects and treatment of cancer raged through me.

Time to surrender the past to where it belongs and move forward to the life the beckons.  And what I see, ah, it is so good!

It is time to embrace it.  Let it fill my every being.

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It is my hope that I can report back to you that I’ve secured a new position before leaving the old.

And all the emotions that have been roiling about.

To those of you at my work place who’ve pushed me each day, if I could tell you how many times I’ve felt discarded, worthless and unimportant in my life…would it matter.  Probably not.  If I could tell you the fear I felt over the last year, would you understand?

There has been a push on to have a host of things done immediately.  There is a panic on their end. I can feel it.

If they hire someone to replace me upon my absence, I assure you this.  I will sue them.

Now understand this is not out of spite. I know I need to be gone from there. Should I get this position on Monday I will be deliriously happy, but you know, where does it end?

Can you continually treat people like pond scum and not expect repercussions?

I’ve been tormenting over this.  The unfairness.  The disregard. The manipulation.  Oh, they want me go to quietly into that good night.  A hearty handshake and a kick in the ass like so many before me.

There is a part of me that just wants to walk away.  There is a part of me, however, that insists should they breach this ‘parting’ and bring another in…

Well, it’s wrongful dismissal then, isn’t is? And I have it in writing. I’m tired of being treated as ‘less than’.  Nobody should be treated in that manner.  Ever.

And that is why I will take legal action should they breach the conditions of my termination.  And it really isn’t an emotional thing, though it feels as such.  It is, in my mind, a human thing.  A respect thing.  An honour thing.

So you build the best building in the world?  If you’re and asshole, all you’ll have to carry the memory of your life are buildings that will one day crumble.

I would prefer to be remembered for what was in my heart, for the smile on my face, for the time I held a stranger close or was spellbound by a sunrise or sunset.

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The genius of erecting a building, well, I’ve never seen anything built in our firm that took my breath away.  They are very good at what they do. I will not deny this.

Understand that this is the artist in me.  The romantic in me that speaks.

Bodiam Castle sits with a moat around it and provides visions from Arthurian Legends. Built in 1385 it still stands today in East Sussex, England.

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I’ve only seen photos, but to me…this is architecture…this is legend.

In 1,000 years will the concrete and glass structures the firm I work for still be standing?  Will any of what we’ve built remain?

Don’t know.

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But these words that I write, well yes, in a 1,000 years they could well still exist now couldn’t they?  But will they be understood?

It’s a tough call.

My point is simple really.  Why, in God’s name, can we not treat each other with respect.  Why, particularly in the work place, can employees not be given the dignity they deserve.

Employers may be surprised at the productivity they induce by treating those they hire with respect and decency.

And beyond this, I just want to expand. I’m not perfect.  In fact, perfection is a myth.  Perfection is an ideal.  Yet it is a marketing tool.

I can guarantee you that I will continue to make mistakes in this life.  Hopefully their severity will be minimal and they will be of the garden variety.

As I drove through the night, many things passing through this head of mine.  Trying to process, trying to validate and lay to rest so many thing.

‘Runaway Train’ filtered over the radio and I found myself tearing up. The past yet again haunting.  (See link to video below)

Will I ever break free of the pain?

Much to be done in the next while.  I won’t take myself to task for feeling what I do.  It only make me that much more human.

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And as dawn breaks I will throw my arms open in surrender  to the beauty of a new day and give thanks to the life source that infuses me, to the air, the earth, the trees, the ground, to the horse that stands beside me always.  And mostly I will dedicate this heart to be loving and forgiving in all our undertakings.

 

 

 

 

 

I See Stars…


For whatever reason I have been thinking about our existence quite a bit recently.  Perhaps this is not so surprising considering recent events.  Last night a friend of mine came over and we walked along the river with a near full moon dancing along beside us.

We spoke of life events, we joked about with our ribald humour.  My friend thought the idea of a beach on the river would be a great idea.  I disagreed.  Too dangerous with a river like the Fraser whose currents are swift and incredibly strong.  It is a working river as well.  The other factor is that the debris this river has in it could definitely prove to be an issue.  I watch fallen logs coursing down the river at high-speed and would not want to be in the way of something like that.

Still, the idea of having a water park much like they have in Coal Harbour and over by Lumberman’s Arch in Stanley Park is a good one.  There is presently a stretch of asphalt that could accommodate such a venture.

I found myself looking up into sky with an awareness of what is out there.  There is indeed an infinitesimal number of galaxies and universes.  How far out does this space go?  Does it have an end?  Does it have a beginning?

We had been discussing movies and I thought of the movie that is about to debut called ‘Elysium’.  It would appear the rich and powerful built themselves a luxurious space station of sorts once our planet began to sag due to mankind’s raping of her resources.  It would appear that Matt Damon is going to set everything to rights but Jodi Foster’s character is going to try to thwart him.  At least that’s the take I get from the film’s trailer.

This triggered the thought about how people are always depicted as lambs being led to the slaughter in these movies.  As is the case in ‘Elysium’ the state of the planet in this movie shows people living in abysmal ruins.  I got to thinking, if tomorrow we woke up and did not have the technology that we currently enjoy, would we be able to survive?  Could we come together as a people and delegate our resources and produce food and living accommodations to sustain our general wellbeing?  If money was no longer a viable necessity and did not dictate our day-to-day lives how would we manage?

It is a tough scenario to puzzle through.  I would like to think we are civilized enough to come together, yet I know there would be factions that would likely revert to a more primal mentality of a dog eat dog world.

Yet, when we see disasters happen worldwide, I am always moved to tears at how people do come together to support one another.  Oh we do see the ugly side of humanity, those that in their ignorance see the possibility of some gain for themselves at the expense of others. But the beauty of genuine caring and love far outshines this.

And I looked up at the stars, seeing only few due to the light pollution we have on this planet now, and wondered about all the other beings out there.  I have no doubt in my mind that in this infinite known as space intelligent life flourishes in abundance.  I wondered if they have had similar struggles as us or is there something in our primal DNA code that causes us to  behave so poorly at times.

And yes, we as humans still have so far to go.  Women are still fighting for equality.  People are still  getting killed because of the colour of their skin.  Children are still going to bed hungry.  Death is being exacted due to our various beliefs in a supreme being. The divide at times seems to grow deeper.  Why?

Perhaps I am naïve in my thinking but I really do believe the good in us will prevail.  We are amazing creatures.  I think if we came together as one it would be a very beautiful world.

And as John once challenged us in song…”Imagine all the people living life in peace…”

On that note I will sign off and get out there and enjoy this Sunday.

Thanks again for stopping by.  Peace.

In Training (Day 10)…Mending


I slept really good last night.  This was the first night in about two weeks that I slept right through and wasn’t dancing back and forth between the waking and sleeping realms.  I am starting to focus on specifics now.  This morning at the gym I really contemplated what exercises I should be doing considering I am running tonight.  Rather than do my typical core and alternate upper and lower body, I opted for just the upper body today.  The legs are going to get a good workout later on.  Tomorrow perhaps I should bring more natural resistance training into play to allow a certain amount of recovery.  We will see.  I am meeting with Lara prior to the run tonight and will run some of this by her as she is assisting in setting up my training regime and will be giving me some nutritional advice as well.

It was so beautiful driving in to the city as well.  We had a few centimeters of  snow fall yesterday, particularly in New Westminster where I live.  The branches of the trees were encapsulated in snow.  Frozen so silently and still as if in a deep slumber.  The mind was alive and wishing I had my camera then smiling and wondering if I would really have the time to stop and take a few shots.

I went to a few photography seminars on the weekend.  A few years back I had taken a ten week introductory workshop through Vancouver Photo Works and decided to check out a few seminars on some of the other workshops they offer that I have an interest in.  I am a fan of long exposure as well as nudes and I love playing with light in contemporary and street photography.  The workshop that caught my interest was The New Nude with Syx Langemann.  I don’t have any issues with photographing someone who is naked but I think my first time out my be best served under the tutelage of someone who has 20 years of experience under his belt.  If anything, I want pointers on lighting and on how to make someone feel comfortable.  The majority of the models he uses have likely been photographed nude previously, but I want some pointers on if I was taking someone’s photo for the first time in the flesh and they were nervous, what are some of the things I could say or do to relieve them.

In the long exposure seminar Marc Kroegel displayed an image that had been a one hour exposure of a couple making love.  You couldn’t really see the bodies, just various ghostings of arms and legs amidst a brilliant green mist.  And I wondered if the mist was created by the heat emanating from their bodies.  I wondered too if the image had been Photoshopped.  Marc asked us if we would put this image up on our wall.  I raised my hand in the affirmative and this surprised him.  He stated that the majority of people would not want such an image on their wall.  But it was just beautiful and no, you could not tell what they were doing.

Like writing, photography is something I love as well and am trying to become better at it. There are certain things I want to explore in photography just as with writing.  And shooting nudes is right up there.  It’s funny you know, most people think of nude photography and equate it with pornography.  To me they are very different.  The human body is a beautiful thing in all its many shapes and sizes.  Think about its many functions and capabilities.  I have an interest in just photographing ordinary people…not models…just your average Joe and Jane.

For many women we are taught from a very young age to feel shame about our body.  I would like to capture that vulnerable state of just being stripped down with no inhibitions.  To me that is a really beautiful place and I would love to capture in a photograph.

This morning as I was washing up I looked in the mirror frowning at the spare tire that still hangs around my waist.  Then I caught myself in that thought and stood taller.  I gazed once more at the body that was mirrored before me.  What ideal am I looking for I asked myself?  In all honesty as I approach my 55th year I look pretty good.  I reminded myself of this fact and will try to counter those judgements I place on myself.  Again it is the reprogramming aspect to all of this.

Perhaps too I will stand before a camera in my naked state and show that most vulnerable side to self as well.  There is a certain freedom to this.

Best I get to the job at hand.

Have a great day.

 

Manners


An interesting thing transpired the other day.  I recently took over a meet-up group that I have been an active member of  since February of this year.  It is structured as a critique group.  We upload the work we want reviewed and we review the other submissions,  then we get together and offer up our thoughts and ideas as to what is really strong in the piece and where perhaps it may be improved.  This is done in a very supportive and encouraging manner.  I have found this group so beneficial in the completion of my book.  Now that I am doing the edit, the thoughts and suggestions have been invaluable.  It is great to get a sampling of people who write in a variety of genres and all come from different backgrounds.  This creates a fantastic test audience.

The gentleman who started this group is moving to Boston with his wife and baby and since he lives just two blocks away from me I offered to take the group over.  I changed the evening and extended the meetings by an additional hour.  Other than that, the format remains.  A discussion began on the site the other day with members discussing adding additional meetings at other locations.  Currently we have the meetings every second Wednesday in my home.  This was bounced around and by days end I simply stated that I would keep the meetings as they were but encouraged other members to look for additional writing groups (I myself belong to two) and suggested that they may want to develop another group apart from this one.

I just didn’t want the additional responsibility of adding meetings and managing where they would be held, etc.

I left work and went running with my group.  Had an awesome run.  My energy has been a little low as of late, but its coming back.  I got home about 7:45 PM and showered quickly then the phone rang.  One of the women in my writing group wanted to know what my take on the ‘discussion’ that was occurring on the meet-up site.  I had not viewed it since posting my comment about maintaining the current setup.  We chatted for a bit, then I went to check out the comments that had been made.

It became a bit of a battle between two members, one of whom had just joined and had only attended one meeting.  His comments were becoming increasingly condescending and held the note of insult to them.  His last entry that he posted was crude and vulgar and very insulting.

I got very hot under the collar.  I emailed him directly and told him that posting such comments on this site was unacceptable and suggested that an apology was in order.  I got an earful of ‘respect has to be earned’ and ‘if you give in to whiny shit disturbers then you are no better’.  You get the idea.

So I suggested that someone of his advanced years should not feel the need to be reduced to the sandbox mentality of calling names to other people and suggested that if amends were not made then perhaps this was not the group for him.

I just wonder sometimes at the lack of manners a person feels they can display with such an arrogance.  I did point out that respect in my mind is a platform from which to work from.  It is not, in mind, something that needs to be ‘earned’.  It is something that should be afforded to everyone.

I respect many thing.  I respect the earth, the air, the trees, the grass, all life forms, be they animal, human, bird or sea creatures.   I respect a point of view, an opinion, a person’s belief, etc.  And whether I agree with another person or not they are entitled to their opinion.  I might walk away shaking my head because it is so at odds with how I view things, but hey? Healthy debate can be a good thing.  But I will not tolerate name calling and aggressive behaviour.  And in this case, the new member weighed into an area that really did not concern him.  Fine to make your comments, but don’t target someone and this is what occurred.

I had people who were scheduled to come to the next meeting actually cancel after they saw these comments.  So yes, I went in deleted them from the forum and will make if very clear that if no apology is forthcoming, then he is not welcome.  The group does not tolerate or accept this type of behaviour.

So that was my introduction into taking over the writing group.  Let’s hope it settles down a bit.