Gotta love riding in a pack. The Peloton. When you’re at a pace that you can talk.
I’m introduced to a new guy over the weekend. It’s my fave weekly ride with the gang at the coolest (in my opinion) bike store in town. We’re grooving outbound. After the namesy introductions the dude starts telling me how interesting he finds it that they’re so many conversations going on. People have so much to talk about.
No stranger to a good yack I take it upon myself to initiate some dialogue out of him. We roll along in some silence. Then I pose the question.
I know we’ve got triathletes and GranFondo types in the pack. I remember seeing him stretching before we left and thinking he looked pretty serious. His response was refreshing and a first that I’d heard.
“I’m training for life,” he said.
Wow. Brilliant. Great answer.
Sure many of us have goals for this race or that ride, whatever – but really all of it rolled up into one is we are training for LIFE!
During a post-ride coffee earlier in the week I’d engaged a topical on young athletes and motivational speaking. My thinking tangled up in what happens to an athlete when they retire or quit being pro? Inevitably do they end up being trained in motivational speaking?
One of the gals at the table, a once pro rower uttered some different angles into the conversation.
There’s no training out there for an athlete to stop being an athlete. Another wards, how to take care of themselves when they stop moving and become sedentary - or get fat.
Again I mulled over dude’s answer. The most important thing in a day. Exercise. Part of life.
Problem is they’re not cropping up charismatic like they used to. The individuals that stand out. Spark a crowd. Ignite enthusiasm. To want to follow.
Not like a heard of sheep. Chins up. Proud. Proud to stand behind. You want to be a groupie.
Used to be there was core education, accompanied by rich culture – the spoken word. Debates. Physical activity. Live theatre. Mandatory conversations. The circles. Reading books. Playing the cello or the violin. Guess that was when life was a little slower to what we have today.
We’re in limbo land. Generally speaking, it seems to me we lack confident and compelling leadership. I firmly believe we, our home and native land – Canada – isn’t breeding them anymore. Or if we are, I’m not seeing them.
Which raises the question. Are leaders born leaders or are individual’s leadership skills developed post birth?
Before I hopped over to Wikipedia I surmised it was a bit of both. With the whole self-confidence thing taking centre stage.
Leaders stand on solid ground. Know who they are. What they are. What they stand for. Where they want to go. Who they want to go with.
We have them in our teachers. At our Universities. In our non-profit societies. But do we have them in our politics?
Are we breeding leaders?
Watching a BBC News Reporter talk next to a nuclear power plant in Japan has me scratching my head.
I heard my son say powering our lives with nuclear makes good business sense. Now I’m shaking my head.
You don’t see poor fat people do you?
Not likely. They can’t afford the fast food, the dining out or the delivered pizza.
I’m pissed off. I don’t understand how man became so dysfunctional. We erupt to break things, can’t always fix them, then leave them pushing the blame elsewhere.
I really don’t understand.
Yes I shed love. Wherever I go. Honestly. But today, I’m feeling fed up.
What can I do?
Listening to the news, I hear of the extreme levels of radiation in our Pacific Ocean. My first thought is for the whales. Not the fish that we eat.
We all share the air. I remember declaring the first Fresh Air/Car Free Day in my fair city. It happened days after then President George W. Bush refused to sign the Kyoto Agreement. What’s the point I immediately said to myself?
Here I am trying to herald a movement to generate interest in taking care of our air, yet on the southern half of the hemisphere, they don’t care.
Today the Canadian government is fired. Two days ago I received a telephone call. I was asked if there was an election if I would vote for the current Prime Minister.
I firmly shouted my answer into the receiver. Then click.
Monday happens. Scramble to play catch-up. The weekend lost. Before you know, it’s over. Who said we don’t like Mondays?
Tuesday strolls along. It’s dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s to what you didn’t finish up yesterday.
Meanwhile, the “to do’s mount up. Like you didn’t already have enough written down.
Meetings get scheduled. Sleep heads into the negatives. Somehow you scrape the energy to ride before dawn.
Here comes Wednesday. The famous hump day. The rest of the week is all downhill. But wait! There’s not enough time in tomorrow to finish what you didn’t get done today.
Cancel the coffee with the friends. Forget about the dinner with mum. Priorities set straight. The wheels are in motion. Time is ticking. Carry on.
Inside you scream. “How can I fit it all in?”
The un-paid parking ticket nags you. The dishes mount. The vacuuming undone. Silently you walk the dog. Mulling over the moments. What did I forget to do today? Then you ask yourself, the three most important things you need to get done tomorrow?
Before long you’re back home. Dinner done. Dog fed. Jammies on. Status updates check. Bed now. Enjoy the rest.
Ask an elder. Better yet, include an elder in your round table.
I call it brain bashing. Chances are the results will be better.
It occurred to me today, as I sat amongst talented minds and an abundance of positive creative energy that effectively, the more hands that go into making the pie, the better. Providing the parameters are set up in advance.
Given the competitiveness of the workplace today, striking the chord of creativity with an edge, plus activating it with awareness and implanting measureables for the return – constitutes a better plan. A no brainer.
Housing voices to input those requirements along the way makes “cents.” There’s a lot of job descriptions with requirements to be part of the team. Does everyone know how?
Certain high school sports may of helped. Team sports like basketball and volleyball.
Today, it’s a mix of listening (very important) and appropriately timed and targeted input that can make the difference. But you’ve got to talk. To each other. By listening first.
It’s ineffective to me, if ones efforts aren’t shared. Things can only be made better with other points of view. Perception, as we know it, is different for everyone.
It’s what the world needs. Transparency. Not saying personally. Just saying everywhere else.
Suppose you don’t realize that the company that makes your shorts or underwear uses child labour. You buy it, you wear it then somehow that news leaks out. What do you do?
Over the weekend I had at least two incidences where conversations regarding companies, both corporate and Non-Profit need more transparency. Why?
The power today is in the consumer. The power is also with the World Wide Web.
Example. Last week I Googled the dentist I’d seen, years ago. Only because I didn’t feel like getting up from my desk and searching for my soft cover telephone book.
I had to make an appointment as I’d cracked a tooth – badly.
The first links that came up weren’t her address and phone number with a map to her office. It was a big bitch list from users that had been to see her – a site known as Find and Rate Doctors and Dentists.
To be honest, with what others said about her it made me think differently about going back. I booked my appointment elsewhere.
Blogs, Trip Advisors – it’s all out there. How does a company or business manage it all?
Over the weekend I stood in line at a movie theatre. Someone passed by and made an outward comment about remembering the coffee. I barked up not to forget the licorice. He stopped and asked which kind.
Upon his return I was handed a bag of red licorice. I offered some money - he said no. I opened the package and we passed it around. The friend I was with uttered out Pay it Forward.
It’s as simple as that.
Same with compassion. Towards another person and even an animal.
Whether in person, over a text message or by voice mail.
Compassion, sympathy, consideration, even empathy. In my mind what they boil down to is in one word. Kindness.
Two things came to mind. If I won a lotto fortune, what I would do.
Firstly I’d support an affordable housing project. In the elite city I live in. There isn’t enough.
Secondly, I’d support more initiatives in the developing countries for free education.
Then I started to think more about this. Are there enough well educated teachers to teach? Should there be more education for educating teachers?
Boils down to this. Especially in the developing countries. So many people don’t get the chance. That is wrong.
For us, we’re spoon fed learning to read and write. It’s free, it’s mandatory.
For them, the road is bumpy. More then one child in the family, skimpy incomes and not enough food. Who gets to go to school? Chance are, maybe one.
I was so saddened to learn of a close acquaintance in Uganda who didn’t know how to read. He’s almost 27 year old.
When I started to show him how he was like a six year-old boy. Eagerly soaking it all in. Holding up a book, like he was real. Really able to read.
If more people in the developing countries were educated, maybe we could stop calling them developing countries and start calling them another developed country.
Education equals knowledge which equals the ability to self-sustain in business, health care, imports, exports, etc.
Ghostbusters aren’t around. Who do you call? To pick you up, when you’re feeling down.
The dog certainly won’t talk back.
As quickly as a cloud can cover the rays of the sun, the mind and heart can swing. Down. Down to the bottom of the bowl. The pits - where the cherries sit. On top.
Hold hands with those feelings. Walk beside them. Don’t leave them alone. Carry the reason. Harbour the state. Let it flourish, stagnant or die. Let it leave you, when it’s ready.
In a situation where emptiness uptakes joy, what’s the best thing you can do?
Widespread medical practices are to medicate. Alternatives include meditation, yoga, fresh air, exercise, reaching out to friends and family. Talking it out.
Today I learned of a mother whose daughter attempted to end her life. Immediately she was medicated. Both of which came as shocking news to me. Sad. Yet true.
A future shattered. Images of what one’s future may hold – cancelled. Why?
In an event unknown to anyone, things can change. The winds can blow that cloud away. The warmth from the beams in the sky can lift that spirit. To rise again.
The grin from cheek to cheek can open the heart. To love, to find joy, to feel freedom. Leaving behind the old feelings.
The club may have started out drinking triple shots, but these days we're down to Americanos. There’s a few of us. Today a couple for coffee. Women that is. It’s predominantly men that roll in the club. It was during the spreading out of the coffees when I first heard the grumbling.
“What about an International Men’s Day?”
I replied with “There should be.”
Honestly though, I’d never thought about that. Until I Googled it. Sure enough there is one! International Men's Day is on November 19th. It’s been going just over ten years while International Women’s Day has been celebrated for 100 years.
Does this say the outspoken views of gender imbalance are coming together?
Men are different to women. Each of us do things differently. That's for sure.
Before my teens, my father worked hard and my mum stayed at home taking care of us kids and making sure there was always a beautiful romantic dinner every night for dear dad.
He was deserving.
Not like that today in most households. Women work. So do men. Maybe household chores are shared. Yet, is there time in life nowadays for the candlelight and wine?
How is that men are viewed to be more powerful then women?
Why do men in most cases, get paid more then women?
When did it become OK for a man to hit a woman?
Who said a women’s work is never done?
What have we (women) become today and where are we going?
Does society bemoan the truth of the dictatorship. Who really rules the world? Is it a man or is it a woman?
It’s been said, behind every great man… there is a woman.
Yet, our mindset views an imbalance. Zapped through history, the women’s place has been in the home. Barefoot and pregnant.
In a conversation I had yesterday, my African man told me it was Women’s Day in Uganda. (Yes, they’re a day ahead of us.)
He said he would do all the cleaning and all the cooking for me. If I was there.
So that’s what’s expected of our inherited place in societies? That we be the ones responsible for the cooking and the cleaning. I suppose so. Maybe we do a better job? Or maybe we can handle more responsibilities.
In the results driven world of today. Who can accomplish more in one day? A man or a woman?
Not so much a collision course. More like synchronicity. That’s the way my mother puts it. Things happen. Exactly the way they should. When they should. We have to allow. Should the circumstances prevail, which lots of times they do.
At 18 years young I took off to travel Europe. First London, then Paris. Many more after that with the Eurail Pass. My landing strip with time was the Greek Isles.
I digress. The journey began with me alone. Along the way I would find help. Here and there. But for most of the time, it was me.
It happened one day, in the midst of a day of loneliness, I’d decided while in Paris to stroll to the Louvre. All of a sudden I hear my name. She stood before me. A neighbourhood childhood play pal from two doors down. Wow.
We embrace. We hang out. We laugh. Time rolls on. Eventually we carry on our separate ways. Me? I was elated. It was exactly what I needed. To hook up with someone familiar, in a culture completely unknown to me.
We carry through life our thoughts. Our conscious. The dreams for tomorrow.
Instinctively we do what we think is right. What we should do. Because. Like a stream flowing downstream, our destinies unfold.
People come and go. Each with a purpose. All with a reason. Some for a while, others for a little.
Last night I attended as a guest, the wrap-up of a Landmark Education Forum. I’m a sponge. Admittedly. Always open to experiencing more. Particularly in hearing other indivudal's points of view.
I entered with an open mind. What I saw and heard was incredible.
As I idled into the crowded room I was immediately embraced with an uplifting sense of peace. Like walking into the pure rays of the early morning sunshine. Everyone looked so beautiful. They sparkled.
In the back of my mind I wondered if maybe some kind of religious cult thing had gone on. Were they all brainwashed? How is it they all looked so incredibly striking?
It surprised me that I didn’t know anyone. Except for Trish, a participant who had extended the invitation to me.
Years ago I recall a girlfriend attending the weekend forum, in Toronto. Even now I envy her focus and determination. She runs her own company. Has followed her passion. With love and joy.
When Trish reached out to me with the impromptu invitation while we exchanged an emotional thread of conversation on life, something she said jumped out at me and made me say yes.
She had rounded out her abbreviated experience with branches of life’s growth, exemplifying for example, the motivation of getting out of bed in the morning. This is what immediately engulfed my spirit. In the last week bouncing out of bed was not happening for me. It had become an issue.
As I listened to the facilitator and individual testimonials I took notes.
“When you complete your past you begin your life,” illustrated the facilitator.
I sensed from the spoken words, the program had altered many people's picture of life.
Of the nine statements written on the white board, I picked three that struck me as relevant:
Power to make important decisions.
Ability to express yourself fully.
If you have the power to make important decisions, you have the ability to express yourself fully – you’ll be happy.
I even stood up and said it out loud.
When I left I jumbled on some of the key points. And summarized it all to myself: you can hear if you start to listen, when the head and heart come together, there is a world of possibilities. Only actions cause results.
“I need to go!” I jerked into the phone frantically.
Perhaps it has been said. Time moves slowly.
In a manner of speaking - maybe for some.
But when it comes to strategizing an allotment for here and there, doing this and doing that. Not so.
There’s never enough.
Maybe eliminate the shuteye? Seven hours required for full-on focus daylight hours. For me anyway!
True enough, we do with what we have. Yet, an overabundance of commitments can’t always justify existence. Wondering out loud. Hope to cope?
Cut back. Do a good job of what you know you can with the time you have.
P.S. No self-procrastination allowed.
Dial up the to-dos. Get it done. Then move on.
Somehow in my mind, I feel so much pressure. No matter what. It’s like I’m zapped with “GET IT DONE NOW!”
Until today, I twirl around with that connotation. To be reminded not to forget the important stuff. Like the dream. To speak clearly. To speak slowly. To slow down, sit down and shut down. To allow myself to be.
And to instead say, “I should get going soon,” rather then “I need to go!”