Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Visits at the end

I am a big believer in honoring people for who they are and what they have accomplished, no matter how small. I am not sentimental and I do not linger in relationships out of obligation or hopes of some magical result. The concept of karma, cause and effect, is not lost on me but I think we as a species worry too much about the quantity of acceptance of others and not enough about the quality.

My perspective does get me into awkward moments where I spend limited time nurturing family relationships that are not normally part of my life. I understand that for many they believe that it is "right" to visit with the aging and not leave them alone as their friends and family die.

I really struggle with the idea of visiting old people at the end of their lives. People seem to have a variety of rationals for doing it but I personally think that when someone reaches the health milestone or age where they know that they are leaving the living that we should respect their privacy.

To each his own, but I personally hope to come to my dieing moment alone knowing that I have helped my family and community to be out living, not holding my hand. 

I want to spend my last years quieting my mind, making piece with my thoughts and listening to the universe.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Why making the world a better place needs to be the developed world's responsibility

We all deserve what Bill and Melinda have found and we need to help the world live to it's full potential.

Helping achieve global goals that lift up everyone will give us more life satisfaction

Leadership is found in many, many places where people have a plan that does not sacrifice community for personal privilege, greed and the perception of personal safety.

Several organizations have set out goals and here are global perspectives to consider.


Social Progress Index

People's Report Card: Accountability on Global Goals

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas...... are you celebrating it?

There are two Christmas celebrations.

One, the consumerist celebration where we bribe each other in hopes that goodwill can be generated with money instead of time and fellowship. A celebration supported by business hoping to keep selling product.

Two, a religous celebration that takes a historical story of God coming in the form of a human to make the world right by showing us that there is a better way and ending that story with selfless sacrifice. (Perhaps an abbreviated version of the religious story.) A celebration supported by the religious institutions that struggle to exist in the increasing complex world and/or good intentioned humans.


Maybe you need not believe in the story of God coming to earth in human form to accept the reality that we need a celebration to remind ourself that being conscientious in our fellowship with others, selfless contributing to the common good and generally not being a selfish bad person.

Maybe, just maybe, we sadly need a celebration that brings us together because our smart phones, social media and "busy" lives have us focusing, dare I say obessing, on the wrong things in life leaving us feeling hopeless in a time where the world has fewer problems than ever before.

The Problem with "Wisdom"

The Problem with "Wisdom" when it comes from old text written long ago, is that the world was a horrible place long ago.

People did horrible things to each other, leaders manipulated people using lies stacked upon lies and death came far too quickly. This statement, is still far too simple compared to the the state of things in humanities past. Just study history.

Why then, would you look to a text written during a historical time where human rights were being trampled on to guide yourself in today's world? Why, when we actually have a chance at global peace?

How does a story, written hundreds of years ago, telling you to kill someone if they violate a rule not cause you to lose trust for that story or the book that it is contained within?

"Context", that is what I am told, "context" needs to be considered. NO, I would argue, its not about context. It's about setting out new stories that help us to consider the challenges of values and ethics in society for tomorrow.

We continue to have a large portion of the world's population that are vulnerable to manipulation and we must stop looking to historical texts as if they were written today. To study history in earnest is to learn from the mistakes and abuse of humankind's past. 

If you are educated and can study history for what it is, then you must write new stories to give humanity's future stories that are applicable to the future ahead. Stories without violence, but filled with collaboration and discussion. Stories without hatred, but filled with community and fellowship. Stories without greed, but filled with success in sharing the common good.

We can learn from historical texts but we must not chain ourselves to the same fates that those who  wrote them faced.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Real Life Satisfaction - My Thoughts on Bill and Melinda Gates

Bill and Melinda Gates are billionaires. Bill could easily disappear to a private Caribbean island and live out his life in complete luxury.  Perhaps he does enjoy that lifestyle more than I do but he also spends a great deal of time sharing his wealth with a lot of people who are not shareholders in his companies, not part of the elite 1% and not the movers and shakers who might ensure he stays wealthy.

Bill and Melinda share their money helping to lift people out of the bottom of society. They are the kind of role models that make me want to play the lottery so I can win, and then my wife and I could create our own foundation to give away money and help the poor. Bill and Melinda are the kind of wealthy people our world needs right now and I think they are starting to have an influence on other wealthy people in the world.

This positive role model and real action for change is the kind of leadership we truly need for a number of reasons.

First, Bill and Melinda are not bound to political cycles or boundaries, therefore avoiding the luke warm response from governments to helping outside their borders when it might negatively affect their results in the next election.

Second, Bill and Melinda are leaders who can make connections across governments, business and NGOs linked to actual objectives that they can deliver on without hoping that one of the partners doesn't back out for some selfish reason of their own. They are strong enough to deliver, leveraged with partners but not controlled by them.

Third and finally, Bill and Melinda can share their stories of work and success with change without being dependent on main stream media covering their story. The internet has changed everything for people like them. Broadcasting with web content or streaming video and viral sharing with social media are incredibly powerful.

So, how does this relate to the people of the world living in a developed nation? The answer lies in our search for meaning.

I truly believe that Bill and Melinda achieve real life satisfaction from their actions. They don't need to search for the meaning of life on our planet, they have found it.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Escape our human reality, it is what we do.

Whether it be into a book, video game, movie, drawing, story or just our imagination we go to that unreal imaginary place to escape our present reality.

It is an amazing ability that humans have to cope with hardship, suffering and boredom.

It is also the largest growing industry on the planet and moving both our potential and earnings the worlds wealthiest elite faster than ever before.

That human potential was needed for us to fulfill our destiny of stewardship of earth and community to leave an even greater potential for future generations.

Can we start back into full engagement with that stewardship, one baby step at a time?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

we are stewards

Public lands and lakes, parks, charities, community groups, churches, oceans, community trust and air are . . . . . . .

. . . . .not yours . . . . . . . .

. . . . . they are gift to be shared with everyone and left for future generations just as they were a gift to you.

Knowing that they will bring joy, meaning, peace, happiness and comfort . . . . . . . 

. . . . . . is your payment for leaving them as good as or better than you found them.

Helping others escape, survive, grow from, cope with and learn from with hardships are not your punishment for caring . . . . . .

. . . . . . it is your history lesson to empower you with what must be done differently so others do not suffer that same fate. 

The homeless, poor, lost, refugees and the abused are not your burden . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . their diversity and adaptability are part of the strong, stable community you are building for the future just as your world and community was left for you.

We are stewards.

This is our role as humans. We have the capacity.

This is not a religious perspective or a political one, it is human.

If we do not put effort into self-less acts that ensure stewardship of the earth and the human community we are not fulfilling our destiny as humans.

If we search inside our inner being we know that selfish acts lead to conflict, war and destruction. The denial of this is the acceptance that the human race is destined to extinction faster and hope will be lost.

The children of the future have a right to embrace the beauty of our planet, you do not have the right to take it away.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

the problem with a label......and democracy

The label states that this product is "fresh", how do you define that?

If you polled your friends, how many definitions of fresh do you think you would get? More than one, I would think.

The problem lies with the label and what it implies.

When we choose a label, or one is assigned to us, associations often come with that label for actions and choices.

If you say you are vegetarian,  then when you eat meat you are a liar?

If you say you are an atheist, then when you go to church you are a hypocrite?

The list would go on and on but the rationale to critize someone based on them not upholding the truth to their label is a ridiculous part of life today.

The worst, WORST, part about how a label affects us is how people participate in a community.  because of their label without thinking first.

That your acceptance of a label would have you blindly following someone leading that label's group so far that would accept a fate for yourself, your children, grandchildren and beyond. 

That your acceptance of that label would mean that you accept that elite, manipulative and selfish peoples would take for themselves that which belonged to the entire community.

This is what happens when you blindly accept a label, without thinking, researching and building a relationship with the people behind it.

Sadly, every four years I see people falling to the trap of labels with politics where the greatest of those amongst the elite and manipulative push to maintain power.


more to come.....

Monday, May 18, 2015

sharing the wishing well

A wishing well is found.

For everyone who takes a sip of water from the well a wish of the natural gifts of the world is granted.

At first the well is known only to a small group of people but as they tell their friends the number of people grows.

As the number grows people start to notice that the taste of the water begins to grow bitter and wishes too start to become tainted and incomplete.

One wise person then asks for their wish to be guidance on how to restore the well to its natural abundance of good wishes and they are rewarded with an inspiration to do just that.

The answer to restoring the well lies in two challenges.

The first challenge is to restore the surrounding area to its previous conditions before the people came and trampled on the natural beauty. People can continue to come in the same volumes, and even increasing, but the space around the well requires an investment of labor to ensure that the physical space is of equal caliber as the gift of the well.

The second way to restore the well is to bring special flowers and drop them in the well. The problem is that these flowers are not plentiful near the well and are spread out across the land. For the volumes to come they would need to ask that all who came would bring the flowers with them to contribute.

Upon learning of these solutions the original group of people who had first learned of the well gathered to discuss what must done.

Some argued that if they were going to labor to restore the land around the well to its natural beauty that only they should know the secret of the flowers so that only they would have their wishes granted.

Others argued that only if they involved all people would they be able to maintain the well and surrounding area to the standards expected.

Others argued that the outsiders should be expected to bring more flowers than them and they could have wishes but their extra flowers would be payment for their labors.

One voice argued that they should share the well, the labors and flowers expected with all. If someone came in need of the wishing well but was unable to provide either labor or flowers they would not be denied.

When their meeting had concluded they agreed to keep the secrets of the wishing well renewal to themselves. They would repair the landscape around the well. For those outsiders who learned of the well they would charge a surcharge. The surcharge would go into their own benefit of the well.

As the years passed the original group struggled with the maintenance of the wishing well and surroundings and they found that they put less and less effort into collecting their own flowers and more and more effort into increasing surcharges on others.

The well became bitter again and the original group simply stayed on near the well because they felt entitled to everything and anything that would come it.

Some years flowers would be plentiful or someone with skills with the land would restore the well and area but nothing was sustained.

Then a strange thing happened.

A stranger, who did not believe in the powers of the well, came with a friend. That stranger did not drink of the well but did witness how beauty seemed to be lurking in the shadows around the well. It seemed as though the beauty was desiring to explode from the natural space but was kept held back by the ugliness of abuse that the land had endured.

The stranger also saw the hope in people when they came to the well, hoping for a refreshing drink that would grant their wish.

Finally, the stranger met the entitled who hung over the well waiting for their next easy wish. He saw how they desired to keep the wishing well and its powers to themselves but that they new that they required the flowers of the others to keep the well producing.

The stranger then met with the appointed custodian and asked about the maintenance of the well. The custodian had grown tired of games that the entitled asked of them. They worked to give access to all who would see their wishes from the well but they knew that the entitled were holding captive some of the greatest potential for the well.

The stranger was perplexed. The stranger did not believe in wishes but was very curious about what the entitled were not sharing with everyone else.

The stranger could just leave, but something made them curious about the mysteries of the well and why some people so badly craved a wish to be granted for them.

What was the stranger to do?

Thursday, April 2, 2015


Silently we move through a yearly cycling around the sun. Along the way we pass locations on that path that are memorable to us. They are memorable more by what happened there in a different cycle than by the location itself.  Round and round we go visiting the same route each time but the history of what took place in that spot helps to remind us that interesting things do happen on this journey that takes us no where.

Our spaceship is locked in an orbit around the sun repeating our opportunity to get our story right.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

truth or comfort?

Do we all have trust issues with people or groups? 

For me, one example of an issue I have with trusting people is with those who we are supposed to trust at fixing our vehicles. I believe that I have experienced, on repeated occasions, where a vehicle has gone in for servicing and in the weeks that followed that vehicle experienced new problems that before the visit did not exist. This just happened to me again, and I fixed the problem myself but I am becoming very suspicious about tampering. Now, I don't trust them and I am looking for a new garage for my vehicles. I find this problem pervasive in so many areas of my life. Do I have trust issues or are people less deserving of trust?

Transactions or Performances?

Things in our lives that should be merely transactional, and based on quantitative objective information, can quickly become subjective, shrouded in colourful drama that evokes emotions and behaviours.

A simple example to illustrate. You go to the store and you can choose between two kinds of coffee. They both have a packaging designed to make you choose their brand. For the sake of this example, lets say that the product inside is virtually identical but one brand is 20% more money than the other brand. The more expensive brand's package sells a coffee "experience" that tells you that it is the best for waking up in the morning and so you choose that brand. In reality, you got the same coffee but paid 20% more based entirely on an emotional response to advertising, not a real difference.

This is a small example but it's part of our problem in that we cannot trust the company to be truthful in their information to us.  Instead of truth, the company appeals to our preferences to choose based on comfort.

I point the finger at a commercial organization here but it occurs at the individual level regularly too.

The employee who comes in late and says they will make up the time.  You trust them to do it so you don't watch their every move but they may not make up the time. The buddy who you help out who says he will repay you the favour but seems to always be busy when you need it returned. The neighbour who says they will watch your house while you are away on vacation and quickly takes in your mail and flyers from your bursting mailbox on the morning before your return.  We continually disrespect trust relationships with others for our own comfort by creating the illusion that we are making good on our commitment to truth.

Fictions (aka untruth that entertains us) have become a vital part of financial wealth accumulation. As consumers and employees in the marketplace what we accept for comfort is vital to the ease with which those in power can increase their wealth.   Making promises of your comfort,  so you will sacrifice your time or money, taking little in return is how the game is played. We are't stupid though, we know the deal is not in our favour for either payment for our time or goods/services received in exchange for our money. We can be quite focused on participating in the fiction though because no one wants to admit that they let themselves be taken in and have become part of the fraud. No one wants to admit that they knowingly let themselves be screwed and the effort required to fight back can be time consuming. 

This reality, that we are required to trust people with our stuff, our money and our well being, is a real issue today. Why is it an issue?
  • people are taking your money by abusing that trust and over charging you, making bad investments, or playing with your money. 
  • people are causing us fear and anxiety with scenarios that should be transactional. 
  • people pray upon those fear and anxieties to sell you things/services you don't need
  • people are playing with information to create an emotional response to gain power or position that affects you. 
  • people are leveraging your desire for that comfort so that you accept a fiction as truth and move on.
  • etc, etc. 
Is there any wonder we don't trust politicians but we do little to change when they defy the good of the common people?  Is there any wonder we continue to be part of systems and processes where we feel taken advantage of when we know we could make a change?

We choose to look the other way when we get ripped off because we want to preserve our comfort. We don't want to deal with the truth because confrontation is not comfortable. 

We choose comfort because the truth hurts. 

To all those who choose to challenge and confront the un-truth and forsake their comfort I salute you. I hope that I can continue to strive to more as well and fight my urge to relax and be entertained. 

still reading?

Are you still reading this blog?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

living vicariously

I am going to say that living vicariously through someone else or a fictional character deepens the divide between the have and the have nots.

Living vicariously through others.

If we choose to experience our pleasure or entertainment through watching someone else in a role, in a game, a race, etc, etc we can cheer them on and celebrate with them when good things happen. It's a very exciting premise to be a part of their good times, advertures and drama.

However, when that character is killed off, that player starts to lose their age, driver no longer wins or any other number of problems with continuing success we do not have to be part of their downfall or failure. We can detach ourselves from this "person" that we have aligned ourselves with and move onto another.

On the flip side, if we take on an endeavour ourselves, building up to that positive result is hard work, scary and challenging to us. Worse yet, if it doesn't go well we feel the pain and discomfort of it not going well.  

Whether it's a quest for knowledge, learning new skills, building, competing, playing, walking, etc, etc there are a million different activities that a person can participate in and they can all go well, or go badly.

When success is achieved it's much more powerful for us than being a viewer into that success and if failure does occur, while painful, we get the full learning experience from that failure.

Sadly, I think the situation gets worse with time.

The longer we go on living through fictional characters, celebrities, sports figures and the like, the more likely we are to lose our physical and mental edge that would help us maintain confidence in the face of challenge when taking on experiences ourselves.  Our comfort zone reduces and things that should not freighten us do resulting in an experience tainted with negativety because our expectations for the experience were not based on reality, but rather someone's reality.

By living vicariously through others too much, we become less of a participant and more of a viewer until the day we die when we can only say that our life was spent in employment to pay for the privledge of watching others participate in life.

I would continue to say that while much of our society would argue that financial wealth is the greatest achievement to strive for I think the "have nots" are actually missing out more on life experiences than on wealth.   It has become a social norm to entertain oneself primarily through viewing others engaged in something. Whether it's real people or characters in a show, movie or video game it's extremely common to have this lifestyle of viewing as where the most time is spent.

I don't understand.

I quest for knowledge, experiment, experience and expression so much so that I really don't know what is going on in pop culture. I don't know what's "good" on TV these days or which movies are doing well at the box office and I don't bing watch on Netflix. The result is I am unable to participate in conversations around the "water cooler" but that doesn't make me sad.

What makes me sad is that it seems to be harder to find people who can talk about science, making, building, the arts, society, history, etc, etc.

What kind of world will my children find themselves participating in as adults? Will anyone talk about real life or will that be saved for a small portion of society running the system that we are contained within?

Thanks for reading. 

Note: Comments are now completely open without requiring an account. If you want to comment on this post please do.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

lets do this 1 - stop racism 2 - replace it with cool stuff

I live in the very center of North America in a very special place called Winnipeg.
Winnipeg exemplifies the term diversity like no other city.
We have diversity in our weather ranging from minus 30c to plus 30c.
We have diversity in our industries, agriculture, housing, recreation, etc, etc.
We also have diversity in our peoples.

Recently, a national magazine in Canada labeled us as the most racist city.

To begin with, I really hate labels and I mean hate in the true sense of the word.  I believe when we apply a label we create further angst in people because of how they/we identify with that label.  Labels are too simple in general and in this case a label of racist is absolutely too simple.

Our community is vibrant and working to survive and thrive, like any other. We have the same disease as any city in that sometimes we choose to see our fellow citizens as competition. Rather than assigning threat to the system of wealth that we are engulfed in we assign a threat to peoples. Like the people before us in history we are more comfortable assigning that label of “threat” to the people we do not know and as such we easily choose those people groups with cultures that are not like our own.

We must to strive to educate each other on the realities that we are the same in more ways than we are different. We must stop the competition amongst us on the basis of cultural practices and histories. We must stop because it is hurting our community and those that benefit are others outside of our community. Other cities and communities benefit from us fighting with each other. Why would we give them that advantage? Why would we let racial tensions eat away at our limited resources to empower ourselves?  We need to build trust amongst stuff.

As we build this trust with each other, connecting communities of different cultural practices, we must align ourselves together as a geographic group to tackle the real competition, the systems that would deny us the opportunity to grow and survive as people. We all deserve to have access to the best education opportunities whether working towards a degree or learning to cook new food dishes from around the world. We all deserve to have opportunities to create and partake in a plethora of artistic experiences. We all deserve to have quality leisure time and interesting activities in our community that go beyond the hopelessness of just watching a screen and living vicariously through other, mostly fictional, lives. All of these things we deserve to be accessible, affordable and available to all citizens of our community.

None of us would actually like a world where we all looked the same, dressed the same and behaved the same, no matter how safe and secure that might sound to some. We need to not look at the colour of skin, accents, styles or the practices of others as things to assign negativity to but rather as things to be thankful for as part of a colourful world. People are the most amazing works of art on our planet and we need to remind ourselves that artwork is better when each piece is different.  

We need our community to be so engrossed in working together that we grow out of these old systems of competitions against other people groups. We need to make our community a safe place for everyone where we are engaged in this task in collaboration and cooperation with each other regardless of our culture background or practices.

In summary:

  1. Educate ourselves on how we are the same
  2. Build opportunities for learning, leisure, arts and activities that help us grow into peoples who see important values in people beyond our appearances and cultural practices.
  3. Celebrate the colour in our appearances and practices as things that make the world more interesting.

So say we all!

P.S. I want to address this label of racist or racism. We need to stop talking about each other as if we are from a different race, we are all part of the human race. I will not say any more but instead link you to the video comments of Edward James Olmos:

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Protecting and Growing the Common Good

Part of my disgust with society, and the way we attempt to demonstrate how one group is better than another, is the resulting loss of space on earth to private ownership and/or control.

I truly believe that one way for us to learn to understand each other is to share common space together regularly.

Important common spaces like parks and libraries are so crucial to embrace both nature, knowledge and the human experience together.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Science Fair

Both of my kids are preparing for the science fair and I wish I was doing my own project.

I was thrilled to be helping them come up with ideas for what their science fair projects could be.

It felt so good to be curious about the world and to discover that not every question that I had was immediately answered by a google query.

Is instructables a science fair?