A Panhandler’s Contribution

I recenly had a dream that I was a panhandler.

Okay – it was more like a nightmare – but it ended up still inspiring.

It was such a vivid and interesting dream,
when I woke up I had to write it down.
I didn’t know how I was going to use it, but I knew there must be a purpose.
*

winter flower

Winter Possibility

The other day on a trip into the city core (in Toronto, Canada); I came across the usual people that is often seen day in and day out.  It is rather sad because they put so much effort to be at their corner every day (like a job), they could easily see solutions to their challenges and make a difference in their life.

Then I remembered my dream.  And I’m going to share it with you here.  I hope there is hope and possibility that maybe someone will pass this on to others who can use this idea.

***

I was sitting on the downtown corner of Bay and King Sts – the financial district to Canada’s financial power and major economic decisions.  So anyway, I wasn’t doing so good in getting money from people passing by.  Actually – NONE!

I was so saddened and disappointed in people that they could not spare a quarter; when they often pay $3.00 for the small cup of orange juice they were drinking. I thought to myself, “Don’t people realize there is poverty, despair, struggle, and other challenges that people face every day among all this wealth and privilege?”

Now, remember this is a dream.  Yet, while I was thinking that, I really couldn’t blame them – I suppose.  What do I mean to them other than just another faceless tragedy lost in the game of life.  As the warloads would say, “There’s bound to be collateral damage when progress is made.”

I was a cold morning; and the winds were pushing their way around the concrete structures without any shelter other than what I provided for myself.  Not the best way to invest a life – any life.  Even a dog would be taken in.  I would look up into people’s faces as they walked by and noticed their frustration as well.  Not one smile, or a glance, or even an acknowledgement that a human body was living on the corner for the day.

Sometimes I can be a little dense in my thinking ( – even in my dreams I’m not any smarter, lol); so it took a lot of time to work through how I was going to survive a winter on the desolate wasteland of financial power and oppression.  Of course, it took a lot of time (frustration and humility mostly) for me to work it through.

It took a lot of introspection about myself – about my past, present, future; about my skills and abilities; about my life lived as an “unfulfilled expression to the world” in my own little way. In dreams, as we know, there are no real time barriers or set patterns; so I managed to get in all the learning I got from life from my waking past to cram it all in, lol.

I learned something in Sales (in real life) many years ago and it came back to me in the dream.  It was about human motivation – their wants and needs – and the role it plays in getting people to do things.  It is actually based on psychology and is used in our lives by the media the most.  I remembered the very most single important thing that affects every single human (and sub-species, too).  It is this:

WII-FM:

What’s In It For Me

We are all in life for ourselves.  The individual is most important to themselves; otherwise, there would be no effort to live.  No point in eating if we don’t care whether we want to live or not.  So with that in mind, I came to the realization I had nothing to offer the people as they passed by.  There was absolutely no reason whatsoever to even look at me because I was not more than street furniture.

In the dream, I decided to give something in return for their donation.  So then the idea hit me!  This is the inspiring idea:

  1. I contacted a small business printer who prints business cards.
  2. I sought out the printers that give free cards in exchange for free advertising on the back of the card (WII-FM).  There are a couple in Toronto.
  3. With the cards I had printed 250-500 cards with inspirational and motivational quotes and anecdotes (with the ad on the other side).
  4. When I am on the street, I hand them out to the people as they walk by.
  5. The person will read the quote and (hopefully) get inspired from the “Thought for the Day” (or another title). In the fine print, you request a small donation.
  6. The next day, the person will take another card (with a different quote) and remember to give a donation the next day. The person remembers the feelings the card left her/him over the course of the day. They wanted to get the WII-FM – and they do!
  7. That day next, the person will have some change already taken out (from their cofee shop stop); and when they take a new card, they begin the habit of leaving change every day.

So, as you can see – everyone benefits as I can make a contribution in their daily lives – hopefully it’s a smiling and fulfilled day for the collateral damage of having someone inspired and happy around you every day at the office.  In this process, the WII-FM is fulfilled for everyone (printer, panhandler, donor) involved and everyone benefits greatly.

All it takes is a very little creative thinking and some work in the research.  ANYBODY can do this – no matter who they are!

***

So, that’s my dream from a little while back that I wanted to share with you about the possibilities in even the most worst conditions in life.  I also wanted you to consider sharing with others with whom you may cross paths.

Namaste

k

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Conversations with Mom – Life’s Lessons

There are so many things we learn and live by from our parents.  And from Mom, she gave me her 5 most valuable beliefs about people and life.

In my case, it was my mother who shared her thoughts with me because I’ve only ever had one conversation with my father before I was 45 years old (the ‘condom’ talk) – so Mom was my teacher.

I had many embarrassing convos with Mom (some I won’t share, lol), but other than those, Mom sprinkled her wisdom into my life in many different ways over many, many years.

What I loved most about Mom:

She was a straight-shooter and to the point, so I knew if I wanted to know ‘the way it is’, she was the one to go and get advice. She didn’t mess around with muddying up the lesson with emotional drama or excuses – like I said – just like an unpire (and she loooooooved baseball – Go Jays!).

A point about her opinions and parenting: when I say ‘the way it is’, I am referring to her existential way of looking at life.  She wasn’t an emotional person (and she passed that down to me, drats!), and I think she saw the fakery and illusion life can dish out.  She didn’t say ‘the way I see it‘ or some other attachment, she ‘gave it to me straight’.  There was a strange humility about her because she never really acknowledged her wisdom because she was never aware of her own expertise based on her personal Life Lessons.

She once said to me (as she said to many) as she gave her opinion on her racism (and she was proud of her humour in it):

“I’m not a racist, I hate everyone equally!”

Anyways, back to my point of this post.

She was cynical about life too.  She learned, saw, and did enough living in the big city (Toronto, Canada) to get a taste of everything urban life can offer.  Like most others around her (especially her friends), they were of the same general opinion about life.

Personally, I think some people liked being around her because she spoke for them – for their frustrations, venting, saying something when it needed to be said.  Like I said earlier – she is a straight-shooter, and (like I picked up from her) she didn’t care who the person was thay may have been doing something that wasn’t Ethical, Legal, or Moral – she was going to say something.  She had a saying for it, but I’m getting too old to remember it now, lol.

trelaske_woods

5 FACTS OF LIFE
I LEARNED FROM MOM

_____________________

1 – Everybody WANTS something.

  • She was the one who gave me my first “Sales” training.  She didn’t know it; but in sales, they call it “WII-FM” (no, not a radio station). That acronym stands for “What’s In It For Me”.
  • That’s why marketers are very good at having our average family debt currently at about 165% of income.

2 – Most (if not all) people have ‘something going on’.

  • Mom saw this cynical side of people a hundred times over.  For example, I remember her telling me about all the things she saw at “Maple Leaf Gardens” which was rotten, in her opinion “from Harold Ballard all the way to the basement”.  But she loved working at the former Toronto shrine at Carlton and Church.
  • In her own many travels and adventures she shared with me, she explained how reciprocation worked and the role it played in life.  She practiced it even at home (though we kids weren’t cognizant at the time) – and it was always a reason not to trust someone.
  • The scheming of  ‘something going on’ is the need for a return of the effort/favour/thing you bestowed upon another. A lot of the time, it was an unspoken and understood way of being towards expectations in others.

3 – Everyone looks for the easy way.

  • “People tend to be lazy and they don’t expect much from you.  Put the extra effort in and you could do anything.”
  • She held those views in another rational explanation into why it was easy to impress others (“baffle them with your brilliance or boggle them with your bullshit”).
  • Don’t become THEM.  “Keep working harder – this mark of ‘A’ is not enough – I want an A+!”

4 – Everybody is afraid.

  • If you looked up the word “persistence” in the dictionary, you would see a picture of Mom next to it.
  • Mom knew that everyone was afraid of losing something (a personal thing).  She used threats against systems, businesses, relationships, and every other part of her life where she may have felt oppressed, experiencing a threat to her dignity, and/or finances.
  • In large conflicts with systems and businesses, she often won her issue on the basis that she knew how to fight the battle.
  • Fear plays a big role in life – that’s what I was taught – just not in those words or as eloquent.

5 – Everybody NEEDS something.

  • Mom believed, for the most part, that we are all in this huge struggle – and we are all in it together. If she was political, she’d probably be a NDPer (the left in Canada) or a Democrat (in America).
  • Not only in her life-long critcal battle with health issues (emphasema killed her), she realized that was small compared to the massive number of needs everybody has.
  • She weighed much of her opinion of friendship and other relationships on need. Not overt – but still there.
  • Funny thing – she knew Maslow’s Theory and yet she never studied him or heard of his Needs hierarchy.

Is Something Wrong? or …

“My rant against the bias towards Disabilities”

Serene Pathway

*

I swore that I would,

if only I could

change my life completely around.

From many time of trying,

I’m now used to the dying

when you tell me my mind is not sound.

*

I look in your face,

vainly search for a trace

that makes me want to believe.

I’ve heard it before,

and I’ve come to abhor

your labels designed to deceive.

*

Your smiles are crooked,

and your posture does show it

there’s something amiss in our sharing.

Thinking you know,

I’m not status quo

without ability for the Daring.

*

My abilities – yes different,

my mind – most competent

seeking out dreams – just like you.

I certainly can’t,

and most definitely won’t

humble myself for you.

*

Disabled you call me,

Unable you see me

But I don’t fit your profile.

I make no transgression,

I work at discretion –

your feigned ignorance reviled.

*

Scandalous at times,

most shameful, poisoned minds

your integrity completely lost.

Stolen power is yours

knowing patience wears,

at attempts to create trust.

*

Challenges – indeed,

I still look to succeed

not discouraged from daily falling.

Strength I am gaining,

gathering, sustaining

towards living my personal calling.

*

Chasing My Dream,

Life begins to redeem

and is giving me freedom to live.

I refuse to give up,

I’ll keep getting up

I refuse to be held in captive.

*

I pass now to you,

a chance to renew

your desired belief in another.

I willingly stand,

to help you understand

we are, after all, here for each other.

*

*

Namaste

(c) 2013 Kevin Collins

Conversations With Mom

Growing up with Mom was very … hmmm … very interesting.  I think she’d sum it up the same way – only differently.

irony

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, 1633

.

I don’t know if there is any other way to describe our relationship, because she and I were both alike in so many ways; and yet, we were almost as distant as Venus and Mars.  I love(d) her immensely – she knew it – and I suppose she loved me.

I asked her once:

Me: Mom, why have you never told me you love me?

Mom: I thought it was understood?

She was very cerebral.

I never did hear what I wanted (and needed) her to say.

It took a lot of years to get that one.  8-}

.

… to be continued.

k

Past Hurt

dave

I need to know …

When the pinch inside my heart

is pressing, and a nervous rush of fear

recalls a frozen moment of confusion,

will it always void the possibility of a lesson learned?

.

Will THAT THING always be there?

I’m no longer afraid.

But does it ever end?

.

Overheard at coffee shop …

MCSee

HIM: Well, how about the package I brought over to your place last week?

HER: I didn’t ask you fo it. You just gave it to me.

HIM: Well … you are a friend … and you were a friend ‘in need’ indeed.

HER: If I had known I would “owe you”, I never would have taken it.  You didn’t say it was a loan; you said as a friend you were “doing it  out of the goodness of my heart” you said.

HIM: I didn’t say you owed me.  Never mind, forget it.  You don’t have to pay me for anything.

HER: I’m paying for it right now!

In Defiance of Pain

A WARNING:
The following post is extremely graphic.  I really hope it achieves the goal I have in posting the story.  And that is what it is – a fictional story.  I originally completed it in Sept ’09, but I find the timing of publishing it now is good.

I am undertaking a process of cleansing.  If you have read any other posts of mine or my bio on the blog, you can see that I experiment with my life all the time and I am on an incredible journey right now (as I write).

There are several reasons why everything is done as it is, so …

Please forgive me if I offend you in any way at all.  As well, I hope that you understand on a deeper level of my writing this piece of creative writing.

I will let you know this though, it will become more apparent in this coming year as I commit myself to public speaking and publishing a book.

So, on with the show …

Image

Heard from the summer hot barn, the piercing wails mercilessly caroms off the dusty walls, and the sting of his own screams shoot right back to the heart of the little victim.

With his eyes held tightly closed, all he wants is the stabbing pain to stop; he wants the musty foreign smells to go away; he wants the gurgling heavy breath to tell him to run away and go home.  Yet it doesn’t … it just won’t … end.  Then a pause, and a bright flash and a quiet zeeeeeeee fill their little hideaway.

The boy, no more than eight years old, resigning himself to however worse it was going to get, begins to pray.  He can feel himself moving towards that godly place to seek refuge from the terror in the hope of hopes that maybe at least He could help – at least that’s what his parents always told him so.

“Our Father, who art in … am I going to Heaven?” whispers the boy to himself through his sniffling.

Suddenly, the boy feels warm and the hair on his arms stand up – a gentle wave of trust rushing through his trunk and extremities.  In calm wonder – he feels himself slowly drifting high above the terror.  He could see the large black mass, and it seems like he could almost reach down and touch … the … boy; and there is this sudden amazement to see it was he himself being inflicted with gross indecencies that he could not even possibly understand.  Now there is no longer pain … there is no longer feeling … there is nothing but a total relaxing numbness that convinces him to survive the ordeal.  … And again … another bright flash.

“Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,” laughs the Voice. “If there’s anyone in Heaven right now kid, it’s me, not you.”  The Voice laughs, groans, then laughs again.

No longer with the urge to cry, that inner voice again. Always wondering.  “Then I am not dead?” The echo of the laugh in the barn bellows shamelessly as the Voice works furiously to finish his work.

The poor broken boy, lying on the table in a sea of sweat and blood, resembles nothing of the sweet and innocence that brought him to this hell-hole of terror in the first place.  His still trusting eyes, now circled with dark blue bruises, are unable to look behind him to see who could do such things – to make him feel such pain.  His tiny wrists, tied to restrain any bodily movement, are burned and bleeding as he struggled in vain to fight the onslaught of new pain.  A thousand knives jab him inside over … and over … and over again.  Even with his eyes closed, the boy sees another bright flash.

With the exception of heavy wheezing, there is an unusual silence – no crickets, birds, or passing cars blaring the latest pop hit.  The dusty and oily-smelling barn seems to be transported to another universe.

The boy peers his eyes open and shifts them stealthly from side to side.  If not for another time and place, all he sees is the warm afternoon sun slicing between the decrepit walls allowing the slices of dust to dance aimlessly free in the air; and it would get sticky inside his wet nose.

A few seconds of waiting for something to happen makes the boy’s heart race even faster.  He wonders and waits.  Another bright light makes his body jump like a paddled cardiac patient.  He begins to whimper again.

The cool edge of a large and shiny blade presses against his face and reflects the outside light into his eyes.  The Voice leans into him and all the boy smells is the overpowering odour of stale sweat, urine, and alcohol.

“What do you think I should do with you now, little boy?  Should I cut your throat or set you free?”

“Please let me go?  I won’t tell anybody.  I promise mister, I promise.”  The boy could no longer stop himself from crying.  His big chestnut eyes begin to spill forth tears like a broken dam.

“I know you won’t tell, little boy.  If I let you live, you’ll never tell.  I know your mother, your father, and your two sisters.  I know everything about you and your family.”  The Voice lets the boy digest his words.  “If you ever even think about telling, I can easily come back and kill your whole family.  But you know that, don’t you little boy?”

The Voice chuckles to himself.  “You know kid, maybe it will be better if I do kill you – you know, to save you the memories of today – because you will probably never forget this day.  Not next week, not next year, not even when you are a grandfather.  You will always remember this day because you will always wonder ‘what if …’.  Every time you are with your girlfriend, your wife, your kids – you will wonder.  So the question to you, little boy, is whether you want to live or not.  You tell me.”

“I want to live – please!” begs the boy without hesitation.

As fast as a magician’s hand, a ‘sing’ of the blade set the boy’s wrists free from its bonds.  The Voice looks down at the boy on the bench and smiles a long, satisfied grin.  He brings an instant camera to his face and takes a photo.  Without moving from his position, the boy watches the Voice adjust himself.  The Voice throws a soiled rag on the boy’s bleeding body and takes one last photo.

“Sure, little boy” replies the Voice.  “I’ll let you go because you were my best in a long time.  You were wonderful, absolutely wonderful.  Maybe we can do it again sometime.”

And without another word or sound, the Voice disappears.  It is so sudden, the boy isn’t even sure whether he has actually left.  He waits for a moment and then decides to look around.  When he’s sure he’s alone, the boy slowly lifts his painful body from his fetal position.

On seeing the large knife, he reaches over and inspects the razor-sharp edge closely.  He realizes how this powerful and intimidating knife held his life in the balance – and just a kid, too.  In this case, it set him free.

He is free.

The boy takes a deep breath and pauses; and then slowly and gently, he lies down on his back.  First from his left arm and then from his right; rich, dark blood rhythmically spurts in an arc above him.  He closes his eyes and waits for freedom to slowly take him to Heaven.