Tag Archives: honesty

A Step Back to Simplicity

“In response to people saying you can’t go back say well what happens when you get to the cliff and you take one step forward or, you do 180 degree turn and take…one step forward which way are you going? which is progress?” – Doug Tompkins (Founder of North Face)

Movies are great.  They move, transform and build on your imagination.  Last night I watched the movie 180° South and it inspired me to write again.  The film is about Jeff Johnson and his journey retracing the epic 1968 adventure of his heroes Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins to Patagonia.  It was easy to get awestruck by the great cinematography however it was the will, drive and passion of every single character in the film that caught me and my own imagination.

In the movie, Yvon said, “the hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life. It’s so easy to make it complex.”

Tomorrow is Monday and for many, it is one of the hardest days of the week.  Mondays are usually met with a laundry list of commitments, scheduled events or activities and filled with many things that exhaust us before we even start.  Sunday nights are often sleepless for me for many of the same reasons.

As a challenge to myself, I am going to simplify my life this week.  No TV after 8pm, I will read, write or have conversation with my family or even play a game.  I will not schedule anything for me to do other than be at home.  I will wake up in the morning and focus on the moment and not the day ahead of me.  I will take a 180 degree turn and walk back to simplicity.

I will blog within the week and release the results of my week. 🙂

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Jack Layton – Helped us ‘Get it’

I joined the NDP party last Spring. Partially for the policy (I am a little to the left when it comes to politics) and partially for the leader – Jack Layton. Jack Layton passed away one week ago today. His impact to Canadian politics was honest, true and rooted in common values around equality. Listening to Jack was like being in college again. He helped me to remember the idealism of my college years. Whether Jack or his party could have led the country successfully is not a concern of mine. What I did care about was the passion, honesty and integrity he brought to the job. How can you fail with those three awesome qualities?

I was in Denver for a business trip last week. When I left in the morning the taxi wound its way through the side streets of the city. I travelled through a part of the city less known to tourists. I saw crowds gathering at food banks and drop in shelters. I saw their tired faces and large back packs that they carried with their entire life’s possessions. I saw the comradery that they all shared with each other as they lived each other’s reality. I sat there in the car and wondered what would it take for society to ‘get it’? I think Jack was on to something and I hope others saw it as I did. Thanks Jack for helping me to ‘get it’.

Here is an article that sums up Jack’s impact in his last letter to Canadians.

He couldn’t have said it better…..

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.” – Jack Layton

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Your Life is Not Your Own

Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the effect you have on people when you are mired in your own thoughts.  I was reminded of that today when I told my son to “move it along” when we were walking back to the car in ~-20 weather.  He told me that he got in trouble for saying that in school the other day (my son is in kindergarten). 

After he told me, I realized I was probably a little harsh when I said it.  That whole situation got me thinking about a similar incident that happened to me when I was younger.  I was a little older (probably around 9) and I was on a field trip.  My class and I were heading back to school on the school bus.  We were traveling through the countryside and we passed a farm that smelled really bad.  I said a comment that my dad used to say to people all the time when there was a foul smell.  Much to my surprise, I got a huge strip torn off me by my teacher for saying what I said.  I know now that what I said was much worse than what it meant to a 9 year old at that time.  I felt so ashamed at that moment but what was worse I was confused (because I didn’t really understand).  I ended becoming a little ashamed of my dad for saying such things and resenting him for getting me into trouble. 

In either case that incident was a long time ago but it came back to me as true as the day it happened. When I heard my son getting into trouble because he was only mimicking my behavior I wondered if he too was ashamed and confused with himself and me?  The interesting point is my son told me what happened to him, I never told my dad.  I apologized to my son and found myself driving home feeling pretty crappy overall.

Realizing that my life is not my own but rather shared (or followed – i.e.Footprints), how do you live knowing what you say, what you do and how you do it may be impacting others around you (especially if they are little sponges like kids)?  All I can do is get in front of it, be honest and hope my kids tell me when I did something wrong  :).

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Leaving Footprints

….while we may be crossing the river our footprints will always remain on the other side….

I heard this the other night and it brought a flood of all the life decisions I made – good and bad (well not  all of them).   This time of year always puts me in a frame of mind where I reflect on those choices and decisions that has made the life that I live.   My wife, children, friends, where I live and where I work all result from the millions of choices I made everyday till this moment.   I don’t believe in luck but I do believe in choice for every moment.

A few weeks ago I travelled to Montreal to visit my uncle who I have admired and respected my whole life.   He was dying but his life was very much alive.   It was probably one of the most difficult and beautiful moments of my life when I hugged him and told him that I loved him.   His life, honesty, love and most importantly, his choices have left footprints on the other side of the river, footsteps that I follow.  

Knowing that my journey (and those of others) is a shared journey,  leaving footsteps for some to follow and some to witness is a comfort.   I am thankful for the people in my life that have let me witness their footprints.

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