Always On My Mind

morning-glory

In the glory of the love we share,

my respect for you is raised.

Always here holding me and watching over me

All my my dreams of you amazed.

*

And I know how it feels to be

Sad and lonely

When I leave you far behind,

I just think of you right in front of me;

And you are always on my mind.

*

I think of you when I’m hard at work

I think of you when I play,

I honour you for the Love I feel,

Each and every day.

*

You lift me when I’ve fallen down

My pain, you wash away.

You help me reach beyond my grasp,

When my colours turn to grey.

*

(c) 2013 – Kevin Collins

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The Day My Life Changed Forever – 2

Every dark cloud has a silver lining! :)At such a young age, I never considered the existence of out space to be bigger than the universe God created for us.  Man hadn’t landed on the moon yet, so what little I knew were the space walks and John Glenn.  To think space went on and on forever … well, I suddenly felt so small and meaningless.

So, in the darkness and alone, when I learned that our galaxy was one of a uncountable number – I just about died right on the spot.  (You remember last post about the world stopping?)  Given this information was not on TV (where I knew it was mostly fake) and in found in a library book, I had to consider it true.  That was the first blow to my min and difficult for me to understand – and I was confused as heck.

Then I thought … why is science, history, and religion so different?  It seems like we are supposed to believe – but what?  How am I supposed to know what is true?  Another slap in the head with another thought … if religion is true, why is there less proof?  Why do so many believe?  How is it justified?

As you can see, I had a fertile mind (and still do).  I loved understanding things and how it all fits together.  My mother came to have a habit of saying: “You will be a jack of all trades and a master of nothing.”  I was/am in awe of everything. (And she was right, I guess.)

And then to top it off – I panicked.  Then I started thinking things like: Now I’ve been duped by everyone.  Everyone is in on a conspiracy.  Is there something I don’t know yet?  What am I supposed to do and believe?  This is where I am practically wailing (silently) in the cold attic.

All of my pain and agony started to come back.  I put a lot of trust in religion.  I invested all my hope in it.  Now how do I approach religion and my spirituality?  I felt my greatest growth and development as a person through experiences that began from a religious source.  Now this astronomy thing …

***

I already had many traumatic experiences up to that point in my life (for example – I vividly remember being up close and intimate with the psychotic murder of a family next door as it happened).

Scared as heck, I tried to fit in as “normally” as possible, i.e. “not be seen or heard”.  I did what I was told; did it without question; and did it to the best of my ability.  My father conditioned us very well – we were all little child soldiers ready (and fearful) at his calling.  I did it out of safety, a sense of belonging, and for acknowledgement. (I got none!)

Then I found religion; and upon discovering everything it stood for (to a child in distress) – I thought I hit the jackpot!  It had all the answers to everything that was wrong in my world:

  • Patience, forgiveness, unconditional love, corporal punishment, sacrifice, reward of paradise, threat of eternal damnation, and much, much more.
  • It helped put my pain and suffering (and to my siblings) in a palatable acceptance of life

The biggest thing I noticed the religion I was born into did to people is what I witnessed as a power of belief and the changes it made to them.

Heck, for years, my father was transformed for 2 hours every Sunday morning for years as he proudly towed along his 8 kids to church.  He even walked differently (with attitude)!  When I caught an understanding of this a few years earlier, I knew there had to be something to being religious.

So, I remember thinking to myself that if I wanted any happiness in this world of plenty, then religion was the way to go.  By that time, I was attending St. Michael’s Choir School in Toronto, Canada.  I had the scholarship and the musical talents (piano/voice); and from that, religion wrapped me in a spiritual blanket.  My inspiration was fueled with thoughts of hope, faith, humility, and service – all of which brought me great joy in those years, and they set another layer to my personal foundation.

Yes, I learned forgiveness, albeit the difficult way; and I still gained valuable lessons about people and myself.  I still benefit greatly every day from these lessons learned.

A small confession:

Being a realist at the time (in hindsight, a budding Existentialist), I always felt the Bible wasn’t something to be literally believed.  I understood clearly they were stories written down to teach us things.  When I saw people expressing their 100% devotion to the faith, I didn’t understand how that could be so.  But one thing for sure: I DID believe in Heaven an Hell – and now this astronomy.

I realize now that I was questioning the trust I put in Christianity.  I trusted every other authority figure I met; and the level of trust had eroded to the point where I thought – at least in this case – that I didn’t believe enough.  I thought I could do better, or look for more suffering, or put myself down and then I will be happy.  And don’t get me wrong.  I had a great many spiritual experiences with people over the years hence.  But …

***

According to my plan, everything was going along great at this point.  I learned to avoid my father’s wrath, I kept up my school marks, and I practiced the piano every day (the Conservatory was expensive!).  Oh yeah – I prayed a lot too. Didn’t seem to make much difference though.

I’m sure you can understand how my life could change with this new knowledge.  And I realize I was just a kid, but my thoughts grew with the expectations set upon me from all the adults in my life.  All I know and remember from almost 50 years ago is that it was a common occurrence for the adults to have a plan for me and not tell me about it.

In a great lesson from that, I learned about Fear.  I guess that’s why I have no issues with experimenting, discovering, change, creativity, expression, performance, and all the other great things about living life.

***

As you can see, my world was rocked.  In a matter of about 2 hours one evening in the fall, I had (and wasn’t aware of it, btw) a personal experience that set in motion a path for a journey that would have me take on life with an unquenchable desire to understand the world.

(tomorrow – final part: How the next 40 years turned out …)

Ten Ways To Get Everything You Want

In the pursuit of our lives, we are often distracted with the most important thing in our life:

the ME.

We do everything to make the ME comfortable, as it should be, and ensure we are pain-free and without external conflict. It is the most natural thing the body does; and our minds, well it ensures we are emotionally pain-free.

***

rays-on-the-meadow

We are always looking for secrets on how to be comfortable (and still safe) while enjoying the fuits of our existence.  We bathe, sprinkle, cosmetize, stretch … well, you get the idea.  And hopefully, we get what we want out of life.

We spend, and record, experience limits, buy swag, eat and eat.  This way we get what we want – right?  All we have to do is indulge ourself, right?  Or is it?

***

Personally, I think – in this day and age, we would know enough about life and society and ourselves that tell us that all of these kind of distractions get us nowhere except further into the pit of ‘waiting to arrive’.  We work hard at it too.

But if we were to concentrate less on ourselves and more on others, what are the chances we probably would have more than everything we ever wanted?

Sadly, in all our worlds we experience, there’s this underlying current of fear, mistrust, and misunderstanding that always gets ourselves into trouble. You know – the interpretations, assumptions, whispers, rumours, etc.  That, of course, only gets us 1 thing for sure: trouble!

So, I’ve compiled a list of things we can do to get anything we ever wanted from people and our life.  It’s not in order or comprehensive.  I didn’t give much thought to it other than just write as I think it here. Do you want everything you ever wanted?

  1. Be a Friend

    No matter what, be there for someone. It always benefits everyone for a long time.

  2. Listen more

    It’s easy to tell when someone is not really listening. When listening happens – things you never imagined before happens.

  3. Be a Risk-Taker

    Enjoy a little lottery of life without the money. Do something different that stands out. The greatest expression we can offer to others.

  4. Love Life

    This is the only go around. We don’t get out of this life alive, so enjoy the leaf, flake, eye colour, tear, and all the beautiful results of life.

  5. Understand “WII-FM” (what’s in it for me) concept

    We all live in the realm of life that protects ourselves first (that’s why heroism is recognized).  When we understand people – on an individual basis – and what they seek from life, we can connect on a deeper and more profound level.

  6. Buy It

    The easiest and cheesiest way to get what you want. (Unless, of course, you worked your butt off saving money for a long-held dream). Besides, the joy wears off quickly enough.

  7. Love People

    Do this and people will love you. What else is there to want, huh?

  8. Influence

    Is influence a good thing? Does it depend on it’s motives? Can we influence and maintain the goodness of getting everything we want?

  9. Serve

    My personal favourite. At service to others can be an honour if employed in an altruistic and ‘good’ way. The world has many ways of looking at service as a way of being; and I tend to see it as the gateway to getting along with each other. Besides, we cannot survive without each other and that has a lot to do with serving others.

  10. Be a Bully

    I suppose this is a way – and it works most of the time.  But while the bully is getting everything s/he wants, where the real meat of living takes place in the little interactions between people.  The whole point of having everything is moot.

Here’s a bonus one, but I wouldn’t recommend it:

  • Wait for it to Happen

    Sadly, this is where we tend to lurk when we want our goals and dreams to happen.  And not even just those – but the next promotion, the minor surgery, the fitness, the …

Things I Love

Image

This Valentine’s Day, in particular, I am feeling down – not at all what I expected. I was feeling lonely and off-centre. Life just didn’t occur to me this way – not in a hundred years to me anyways.

I had plans.  I was jazzed to enjoy today as probably the most important thing that was ever going to happen to me for a long time … but …

*

I belong to a couple of LinkedIn groups, I enjoy watching and reading more than participate too much (because it will overcome me, for sure).  I was emailed a discussion – and for the first time (I think), I actually got down and wrote something on the computer that wasn’t work related.

And boy-ole-boy – I needed it today!

***

Nope!

It’s not happening!

(I hope she doesn’t read this > ), but I was to visit a dear out-of-town and long-time friend of, maybe by now, close to 30 years.  It’s been a long time since I saw her – maybe 20.  We have been talking about it for some time – all by email. Every time I write, I can hear her voice as if she’s right in front of me.  Every time – I can see in the vivid minds-eye of my memories:

  • her animated and hilarious antics
  • her laughing and putting the guys to shame
  • she was the smart one
  • her 2 beautiful (now grown/ing) daughters (only pics for now)
  • the most fun person I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing – because it’s all fun.
  • she has more balls than some guys (sorry – to everyone, lol)
  • it’s not about sex – besides, we’re two old buggers, now!

I was going to visit her after all this time; invest some time into each other’s lives (you know, get the scoop on all the drama and such from the past – console, yada yada) and share as much as any moment we were able to cherish or dare to remember.  We were planning on 3 or 4 days together.

Nope!

So yes, I am disappointed.

***

Yet, lo and behold – I was saved by the web (or eaten) and came across a group with this LinkedIn post:

“Quick! In honor of Valentine’s Day, name 20 things you love!”

In a most uncharacteristic moment, I decided to sit right down and start writing.  I knew this would help.  And it did.

To make a long post (story) short, this is what I posted as the “Things I Love”:

  • a light sprinkle of snow on my face on a sunny afternoon,
  • the joy of a boy and his dog frolicking and talking to each other as they tumble together in the snow,
  • when a stranger comes up to me at a coffee shop and wishes me “Happy Valentine’s Day”
  • chocolate when I shouldn’t … shhhhh!
  • a busy, busy day and get absolutely nothing done >> yet still had fun!
  • getting a compliment from my coach(es) and a wider share on a blog post
  • all the women who ever said they loved me 🙂
  • all my nieces and nephews (they eventually go home, lol)
  • my housemates – to a point, lol
  • my ability to recognize an opportunity when I see it … by start writing.

I can’t come up with any more for now.

Thank you Jeanenne at NonProfitCommunity for posting this activity. I was feeling lonely as my Valentine plans went to … {8-/

I needed that; and now I can get on with my work.
Kevin
Happy Valentine’s Day” everybody.

A Life of Freedom Begins Here

Do you really want to be happy?  I mean, really!!

If so, what is it you think will make it so?

Have you pictured what your happiness will look like when you achieve it?

How about the people who will be in your life when this epoch is your expression to the world?

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May I offer a suggestion?

When we go through life, the most important thing that is going on is our relationships.  They guide us, suggest to us, help us, warn us, attract us, and on and on.

What I am getting at, is that our life begins to transform (not change) to reflect our goals and aspirations (and all those hidden dreams from the world) when we begin to get along with others – and ourselves.

Therefore, I have reposted a pic from a post a few months back.  I am making an assertion that these MAY be the keys to fulfilling the desires of what we want to accomplish in our short life before we go.

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What I have written below is the way I approach everyone I know and meet every day.  I always consider these 3 points when I look at everybody because it makes is so much easier to be in relationship with them.

  • I don’t have to get angry with anybody because I know what’s really going on to make us react and do things.
  • I listen more intently because I can hear the real meaning behind some of the stories (about their lives) they share with me.
  • I can laugh off possible put-downs (through jokes and little comments) because I know they can be true about me.
  • I can be more honest with (most) people because we’ve developed a deeper relationship.
  • I can be more selective with whom I wish to be in relationship because the ‘quality pool’ is much improved.
  • I can go on and on, but I think you get the point.

(Copy and print the pic and carry it with you for a while to remind yourself.  Try out the exercise for a week or so and see what a difference it would make in your life.)

Why We Are The Way We Are

Remember, I don’t suggest I know and believe these thoughts to be the truth.  They are just a culmination of thought, observance, and experience with hundreds of people I’ve met in my life.

Try considering giving a thought to my assertions.  If anything, it will get you to start you thinking one way or the other.

Until next time,

Kevin

What Prevents Us From Getting Along With EVERYONE?

If there is a secret to living the life to which I aspire, then it’s got to be in how I relate to the world, to the people in and around my life, and to my self.

I have to be able to deal with the conflicts that come with those relationships in a healthy and effective way that empowers all parties.  There can’t be any other way.

Getting along with others has always been a constant and major topic of discussion in the world.  What I don’t fully understand is how we all know the significance of relationships in life; and yet, somehow we tend to casually (or fearfully?) overlook the critical impact they have on our ability to experience many moments of true joy, happiness, and freedom EVERY SINGLE DAY – regardless of our station in life at any given time.

I hear you chuckling in the background as you read again the above statement. True Joy? Happiness? Freedom? EVERY DAY???????

Got you wondering what new meds I am on now, or if there’s a great strain going around the neighbourhood?  Regardless of your musings, I can honestly assert – I truly and honestly experience a certain amount of zen most days. It is possible.

***

After years of experimentation and study, I’m testing a conclusion:

Any level of achievement or happiness in my life lies in every single relationship (and their meanings) and how I live and respond within them.

From a very young age, we learn to understand our relationships with different people come in many different forms on different levels.  We learn, even in early childhood, how important and complex they can be – and we even exercise it early and often.  (Do you remember, huh?)

***

I figure the meaning and level of relationship is

based on their expectations which is

based on their values and beliefs which is

based on their previous experiences which is

based on their secret memories which is

based on their private fears.

 

THIS IS THE SAME FOR ME, AS IT IS FOR YOU
and EVERYONE ELSE.

We are all the same.

 

AND, this is where conflict lurks in relationships, because it is all STORY made up in our minds and we have certain expectations on how the relationship should be.  The reactions from those stories lead to conflict because they come from the past; and for the most part, we are all convinced WE hold the TRUTH – regardless of who you are!

***

Fortunately, distinguishing how we are “being” in our relationships are not that complex to sort out; actually, it’s rather easy with a little time, some focus, and personal honesty with our self.

The best news >>>

How we deal with those relationships (the “doing”) and the conflicts that come with them are even easier still to rectify.  All it takes is a little time, some focus, and personal honesty with our self. (Sound familiar?)

Regardless of all the talk, the expert advice, and eons of knowledge we have we’ve gathered and shared about human relationships, we still don’t get it.  Proof of that is found in the exploding industry of therapy, self-help, building esteem, motivation, etc.

Yet, with all this knowledge and activity, the world still experiences violence against humans.  It’s very obvious:

We still don’t understand how to relate to each other.

Do we really want to understand?

 

We’ve learned from the world and everything around us (and from our own personal trials and errors) that there is no way we can survive in any way on our own.  There is evidence all around us that gives validity to the importance of relationships – regardless of all it’s baggage and drama.

We are constantly bombarded with the message thatthere is a better way to treat othersin religion, business, media, politicians, and social sciences among others.

To empower people, industries like film and television create stories on how people overcome their conflicts in human relationships.  The actual story issue is not that important – it’s usually how the characters act and react towards each other.  The character depth is always important in any story and we know we are interested in how others are ‘being’ under certain circumstances.  The hero always is a relationship-builder.

And STILL, we struggle.

Is the fear that crushing?

Relating with others is the most common occurrence we experience – and we still don’t get it.  Even with the knowledge that there is no way we can survive in any way on our own without these relationships – THE MOST CRITICAL PART OF MAINTAINING OUR SPECIES and our futures.

Regardless of the level of relationship we have with someone, just the fact that we’ve crossed paths with each other creates a RELATING OPPORTUNITY for us each of us to express ourselves – and it happens ALL the time.

***

Let’s look at these relationships

(for each of us, the categories have different levels of priority, so the following list is not rated):

(Please remember, these are only my observations and experiences I had over many years. This is not the truth.)
  • Family: eg: siblings, parents, extended families …

    • Blood is NOT “thicker than water”.
    • A long history in the relationship has a tendency to create long-term (and unspoken) grievances
    • The deepest form of Love and connection – creates emotions with the deepest crevasses and the highest peaks
    • Not relationships that are necessarily wanted – by default
    • Different shared memories from growing up together
    • Not based on common interests
  • Friends: eg: childhood, hobbies, volunteering, school, recreation, lovers …

    • Based on common interests with different levels of commitment
    • WANT to be together with each other due to similar wants and needs
    • Can end the relationship at any time without repercussion
    • The more often together, the deeper the relationship
  • Business and Professional: eg: co-workers, superiors, subs, customers …

    • Based on career/job status
    • Plays a role in each other’s lives
    • Can be long-term if carried beyond working relationship
    • Can have deeper implications on life due to type of relationship
    • Other than those types which are equal, relationship can be manipulative (and vicious)
    • Usually, based on fulfilling own personal needs/wants
    • Can end suddenly with termination of work relationship
  • Life Partners: eg: committed monogamous relationship …

    • Can be the most gratifying relationships we ever have
    • Very personal and deep with knowledge of partner’s secrets and fears
  • Miscellaneous Acquaintances: eg: people on street, local shops, neighbours, services …

    • Usually transient
    • Nothing at risk in the relationship – easy choice to maintain or end
    • Not too personal
    • Not based of knowledge of each
    • Develops over a long period of time
***

So many of us have a difficult time with relationships.  For a lot of us, when we enter into a relationship, we don’t know what we are getting into, and as a result, it is this void which creates the possibilities of conflict.  We have expectations.

Part of that is due to the way we see life in general; part is due to what we’ve learned about people; and part is due to our own insecurities we learned over the years about our own inabilities to have a healthy relationship (negative-based thinking).

***

Here are my general assumptions about relationships:

1

We have to accept that we are forced
to be in relationships with people.
We have no choice.

I am experimenting with this concept; so at this point, I place my trust and belief in this assertion.  As I go through my day, I keep in the back of my mind this assumption and see how I think and relate to people I meet on the street – both familiar and strangers.

2

If we don’t have ups and downs in our relationships,
then there is probably something not working.

.

Given we know that all relationships will have ‘ups and downs’ and ‘ins and outs’ as it develops over the years, we can count on a few conflicts to sprinkle over the growth; and it is absolutely normal.  Again, this is a good sign that the relationship may be waning and suffering in silence.

***

As the world is today, we know there are good people, not so good people, and downright evil people.  Because we know this (and the evidence is shown to us at 6 and 11 nightly), a good many of us realize that with all the pain and suffering perpetrated by these people, it is difficult to keep a level head when determining (in our head) what to do when someone wrongs us.

***

Why do we have difficulty getting along?
Do we want to?

We have a set of social norms (or rules) from which we play.  Acknowledged or not, they are always based on LAW, ETHICS, MORALS, and INTEGRITY.  These rules give us guidelines on what is socially acceptable in any given culture (family, local, urban, national, etc).

We learn these rules from EVERYTHING WE LEARN and EXPERIENCE.  The rules are complex, without limit, transient, specific to person, place, and thing, always changing, always created, hidden, and not usually talked about (unless in bad taste or academia).

I have an assumption why relationships fail:

There are many ways to get along with each other; but at the end of the day, we either feel like an imposter, secretly remain angry, or we don’t feel vindicated.

Here is a list of some of the ways we have been taught to deal with difficult people/situations in a healthy and respectful way (Remember, they are based on our backgrounds):

  • Forgiveness

  • Giving in/up

  • Tolerance

  • Indignation

  • Conflict Escalation

Sadly, for those same eons we’ve know about the richness of great relationships, we’ve also failed at effectively dealing with conflict big and small.

***

For part two in the next post, we will look at issues of HOW we are reacting in those relationships and what we can do to eliminate the conflict.

***

You will be amazed how easy (and non-labour intensive) it is
to understand how create empowering relationships,

even with people that are unlikeable,
those we don’t much trust, and
people who’s lost our respect

without the games and general feeling of disempowerment.

 

Your Home Library: Inspiring Reading 1 – April 2012

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Growing up with a voracious appetite for reading, I always ensure I am reading 1 or 2 books at the same time.  I like to mix them up to satisfy my wild moods and never-ending curiousity thirst.

I would like to help share the great wealth of information out in the world that I came to read and enjoy with you.  From these books, I’ve benefitted greatly over the past 30 to 40 years; and I can honestly tell you that they have helped shape me to the be the person I am today.

Therefore, each mid-month I will be offering suggestions of great books to read.

I will be sure to mix them up between genres, fiction/non-fiction, spiritual, self-improvement, psychology, philosophy, etc.

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Here are your Inspired Reading suggestions for APRIL 2012

Remember, you don’t have to read them all at right away.
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Leadership The Eleanor Roosevelt Way

Robin Gerber

2002

TOPICS: Leadership, Courage, Passion

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Long overdue, this absolutely compelling account of Eleanor Roosevelt‘s life, but more importantly her strength of character and values, is the kind of book one can’t put down. Long before Senator Clinton (whom she inspired), Eleanor Roosevelt became the first First Lady to shine on her own merits rather than be overshadowed by a husband who was not only a President, but a figure larger than life.

She cared for the disadvantaged, used innovative and creative ideas to help them, but more importantly never shied away from a fight of principle. Then and now, she was the kind of person people aspire to become.

review by Moses B. Altsech, Ph.D
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.. 

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The Alchemist

Paulo Coehlo

1993

TOPICS: Belief, Personal Power, discovery

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This is a story of Santiago, a shepherd boy who dreams of traveling the world and discovering treasures, and is courageous enough to walk in the direction of his desires. In order to realize the best that his destiny has to offer, he travels from his home in Spain, through the markets of Tangiers, and into the great Egyptian desert.

He gets duped, experiences love, loses and makes money, learns a different language, meets different people, finds himself in pleasant and not-so- pleasant situations. His journey is full of adventure and lessons, while he also finds the privilege of meeting a king, a desert woman and an alchemist, each adding to his life new turns and perceptions.

The book emphasizes the values of spirituality, faith, hope and love through symbolic narration of a fascinating story of an ordinary boy with extra-ordinary beliefs. It teaches its readers, in a very subtle and effective way, the power of positivity.

Book Reviewer: Tanvi Singhal
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The Official Guide to Success

Tom Hopkins

1985

TOPICS: Leadership, Success, Personal Empowerment, Goal Setting, Selling

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In this book, he offers his personal success programme. It’s not sales training: it’s training in the art of success – at being happy, well off in mind, body and bank account. This guide teaches the reader tried and tested motivational and inspirational techniques to help achieve one’s goals.

 Review by: Boomerang Books.
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Enjoy your discoveries!