Tag Archives: Life Journey

Tell One Person

photo by Kirsty Knudson

photo by Kirsty Knudson

It is so simple to influence, share and generate change in this amazingly connected world.  After watching KONY 2012 I realized we all can make whatever difference or impact that motivates us, regardless of the magnitude.  Reaching one new person each day or week can create a staggering network of awareness within one year.  Reaching one person can create staggering awareness within one life!  If you are a Facebook user, how often have you “liked” a comment or status?  Imagine something you believe in, something that you are passionate about, something that you want to share.  Isn’t that a better way to use Facebook or any other form of social media?

Watching The Lorax this weekend with my kids conveyed a similar message.  The message was simple and powerful and was only one word – “unless”.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing’s going to get better. It’s not.”

photo by Kirsty Knudson

photo by Kirsty Knudson

Last week I made a slight change in my daily routine.  I attempted to simplify my day by watching no television.  Instead of lying on the coach and watching TV till I could barely keep my eyes open, I had more meaningful conversations with my wife, I read that book that was staring at me for the past two months on my bedside table and I reflected about what I was passionate about and I began blogging again.  I also got out of bed this evening struck with an idea for a website called telloneperson.org.  I registered it. 🙂

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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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Challenging 7 Billion People

Challenging 7 Billion People

Today was a day of celebration and a day of growing concern for many others as the 7th billionth child was brought into the world.  The media labelled it as an honorable milestone while others called for action against world poverty and hunger in the light of continued global economic challenges.

I marked today’s milestone with concern.  Not from poverty or hunger but from something just as basic – how do we get along with each other?   It’s an obvious fact that as the population grows, less and less will become available to us all.  However something we can all find in tremendous abundance (if we work at it) is patience, compassion, compromise, empathy and above all, love.  Like no other time, humanity needs to embrace each other and share.  We can no longer close our door, pull down the drapes and turn off the lights.  In order to survive we need each other.

This growing sentiment is taking many forms today.  The Occupy movement is moving across the globe with tremendous speed with their message to “take action against the greed and corruption of the 1%.”  The middle easts’ Arab Spring has resulted in civil uprisings causing the fall of regimes.

I mentioned to my wife on the way into work this morning the that world “was ripe for something.”  I don’t claim to know what the world needs or what it is ripe for, however,  there is a desire for change in our midst and how that change becomes reality will depend on how well we see each other as partners in this greatest challenge.

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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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Ordinary Perfection

I heard a saying a while ago – “You see the world as you are”. Simple words yet difficult to remember and practice. 

There are times  when I feel energized and inspired by the seemingly ordinary and at other times I don’t even recognize it because I am distracted by life’s many noises.  The other day as I was running, I came across this flower eking out an existence in one of the most obscure places. 

It helped me to appreciate that there is perfection and beauty in those ordinary moments and ordinary places.  Clarity happens often when I run – it helps me to ‘take out the trash’ ( Dan Millman, Way of the Peaceful Warrior)

Finding something you love and placing all of your focus in it, opens you up to new experiences that were always there.  My post from earlier this year called Remember Silence alludes to those perfect moments – the quiet ones.  Perhaps it’s all about getting in the habit of leaving life’s distractions and noises behind and focus on those activities we love that gets us closer to ordinary perfection :).

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Living Dreams

My posts are infrequent but my thoughts are constant.  One of those thoughts that keep coming back to me hit me while I was running yesterday.  While running westward and watching the sun set below the Rocky mountains I realized how easy it truly is to live a happy and full life.  It all comes down to perspective, attitude and recognition of the perfect ordinary moments in our lives.

The simple words of Martin Luther King Jr. – “I have a dream” back in 1963 came to me and I thought of my dream.  The dream was grand, and the dream was perfect and the dream was simple and it went something like this:

“I have a dream that I can become the dad my children look up to. I have a dream that I can become the husband that loves and supports unconditionally. I have a dream that I can accept and learn from the experiences of my parents. I have a dream that I can become a best friend to my brother.  I have a dream that I can live with passion, honesty and integrity with everything I do.  I have a dream that I can love life, capture its wisdom, harness it, share it, learn from it and contribute to the lives of others.  I have a dream.”

I came across a tune other day that helped me to appreciate the fact that I am living my dreams.

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Blue Monday? Seriously?

I wore a blue shirt to work today….

Little did I know that it was also Blue Monday.  I guess the Blue Monday thing has been around since 2005.  

TODAY IS THE MOST DEPRESSING DAY OF THE YEAR. 

Little did know I was supposed to be depressed today!  Thankfully I have this important new holiday to remind me :).  I had to Google this to find out what it was all about.  Wikipedia states that Blue Monday is ” a name given to a date stated, as part of a publicity campaign by Sky Travel, to be the most depressing day of the year.”  Check it out here.  The date was supposedly determined by a mathematical equation.  The doomed Monday falls on the Monday of the last full week of January – (whoever told that it was today was wrong :))  In case some of you math gurus want to see here is the equation:

\frac{[W + D-d] T^Q}{M N_a}

where weather=W, debt=d, time since Christmas=T, time since failing our new year’s resolutions=Q, low motivational levels=M and the feeling of a need to take action=Na. ‘D’ is not defined in the release, nor are units.

I heard a great phrase yesterday – “you see the world as you are”.    Each of us can see, experience and act upon the world around us as we feel at this very moment.  This is why positive thinking is so powerful (there are tons of books on the stuff – just check out your local bookstore for proof!). 

So when you wake up, go to work and someone tells you “hey, its Blue Monday” (even if they got their Monday’s mixed up) just think they must be talking about the weather! 🙂  Let’s make the choice on how we view the world today instead of the calendar telling us.

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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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Milestones

As a project manager, milestones are usually at the top of my mind.  The other night at a hockey game (please see earlier post on sports) I witnessed a significant milestone for Craig Conroy of the Calgary Flames.   Craig played his 1000th NHL hockey game on Oct 28, 2010.  For those of you interested, click here for some footage on Craig’s milestone.

That night as I was standing with almost 20,000 other fans applauding Craig’s accomplishment, it got me thinking about what a milestone really is.  I was wondering why do we place so much significance on an even number – like Craig’s 1000th game or with wedding anniversaries or birthdays?  We place great significance on a targeted number – like an even 40th birthday or a 25th wedding anniversary but what about the days in between?  What about the small victories and accomplishments we achieve by simply being a husband, dad, son, friend or employee? 

I am very happy for Craig’s career milestone and in no way diminish that great achievement of 1000 games.  I too have those celebrated proud moments like my 10th wedding anniversary later this year or the birth of my children, however I want to celebrate those milestones and accomplishments that I achieve every single day by being a husband, dad, son and friend.  Here are a couple of my celebrated milestones today:

  • I have been alive  for 38 years, 7 months and 6 days
  • I have been happily married for 3601 days
  • I have been a father to a boy for 1992 days
  • I have been a father to a girl for 1175 days
  • I have been a friend to someone everyday of my life for as long as I can remember

These are some of my milestones and I celebrate them today.

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Looking Up and Seeing

I was walking downtown the other day between offices as I do at least two times every day.  This time was a little different.  I looked up.  I looked up and saw a mural painted on the side of the building.  It was huge – probably 20 -30 feet tall and just as wide.  The mural was nice but nothing breathtaking by any means.  What struck me was how I never noticed it before.  How long was this mural there?  How many times did I walk past and never even noticed it?  I continued walking to the office but with a strange grin on my face because at that moment I realised how tuned in I felt.  I was tuned in with my surroundings, my breathing, my feelings, friends etc. 

It was a perfect normal moment.

 Since that day, I walked the same street not only looking up but looking at people – looking at their faces and trying to see if our eyes would meet.  It’s an amazing little experiment I encourage anyone with the courage to try.  It’s a little weird at first because you quickly realise how you and many others never really look at the people.  On a 10 minute walk I probably passed by 50 people and out of that only one person looked at me in the face and our eyes met.  When it happened we both smiled.

 I am not suggesting go out there and stare people down as you walk the city streets (that will get you beat up) but take notice of the places and people you pass by.  There is a lot to experience, even in those seemingly ordinary moments :).

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