Saturday, February 28, 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015

Who?

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Who’s the most important person on the hockey team? No one. Except maybe the guy who sharpened the skates.

Who’s the most important person on the corporate team? No one. Except maybe the guy who inspects and maintains the company jet.

Who’s the most important person on the synchronized swim team? No one. Except maybe the lifeguard.

Who’s the most important person on your surgical team? No one. Except maybe the person who sterilizes the instruments.

Who’s the most important member of the orchestra? No one. Except maybe fifty first music teachers.

Who’s the most important person on the palliative care team? No one. Except maybe the first responder.

Who’s the most important person on the safari expedition team? No one. Except maybe the person who wrestles snakes for anti-venom?

Who’s the most important person at the anti-bullying foundation? No one. Except maybe the parent who will not accept any excuse for bullying.

Who’s the most important person on the football team? No one. Except maybe the guy who ensures the drunk girl doesn’t get assaulted.

Who’s the most important person on any team? No one. Except maybe you when you know it and you act accordingly. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Muchness

I watched The Theory of Everything and not surprisingly, now I'm wondering about theories for everything. Although I enjoyed the film and found some key sequences quite moving, I felt the film didn't mine the depths of Stephen Hawking or Jane Wilde or science or relationships or time or some of its other themes for the real valuable nuggets. I wanted more. And thus now I'm writing to uncover more.

More. That's a theory right there isn't it?

What is more? How deep, how wide, how much? What are the criteria for more and how do we measure it? How should we define it? What if the scientific process were applied to more?

Hypothesis: less is more. I've spent a lifetime researching this one and I already know this as truth. Only appreciating less reveals more. Take for example the not "muchness" of pairing my skiis with my music and closing my eyes as the chair lift takes me up and up, the whoosh down across rolling hills speed building, zipping around corners, then a home-made cinammon bun, a smiling slobbery baby, talking and laughing with the people I love. I don't need a lot of things; I just need to appreciate the moments. It may not seem like much but it's muchness.

Therefore, Hypothesis 2: um....run that by me one more time. That's the first "more" statement that popped into my head. And thinking it about it now, it's a gooder. One more time. In his 20s, Stephen Hawking was given two years to live. In his 70s now, he's still alive, still enjoying his family, still hypothesizing, still searching, still enjoying that aforementioned muchness, and no doubt, still struggling too. But despite hardships he's recognized what a gift one more time is indeed. What theory could be better than one more run, one more time?

What's your theory of everything?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

Um, a both impressive and disturbing display, I encountered this performance art-piece (?) outside a grocery store so let's hope it's less urine and more someone's "leaky" orange juice.

(Get it? Leaky. Sorry.)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Things one should never outgrow:

Van de Graaff Generator
physics (& curiosity & wonder & play).

(It made my shoes snap! Plus I couldn't stop flinching due to all the suspense. Electricity is dangerous fun.)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sorry?

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I always feel like I should apologize for being sincere.

Many years ago a woman told me that I was too nice, that she and some of her friends had decided that no one could be that nice. I felt a little offended at the time. Um, was this some sort of really bad compliment? Did you have a meeting about me? And which friends? And am I supposed to conjure up some rudeness for you and your friends? What is so wrong with being nice? But I listened and nodded and agreed, "ya, I'm probably a little too nice." Essentially, I apologized for being nice. Canadian much eh?

Stereotypes (and women who struggle to trust kind men) aside, I never forgot that comment because it taught me to pay attention to niceties and how people use them and I still wonder if there were an imaginary scale, when would being too nice tip the balance the wrong way, with whom and why?

I've learned both publicly and privately, I'm not that nice. Frankly, who is? I can be sarcastic, callous, opinionated, and selfish plus I tend to laugh too easily about things I should take more seriously. I've made many mistakes with people's feelings, some irreparable. I know a few people who might think this is total bull. And yet, overall, it's true: I tend to default to kindness, optimism and idealism. And mostly, I like people to feel comfortable and happy. Sorry. I just do.

Cynics might call nice smarmy. But I'm no sycophant. I have no dual intentions. And this isn't about "approving" some and not others either.

My entire work life revolves around communication skills. Thus I have lots of opportunities to both model and reflect on effective communication. Despite many years of practice, I am by no means an expert at any part of it and yet I have come to one conclusion: we humans--from the day we arrive--crave human contact and we thrive when others honour our dignity. In verb form, to honour means to regard with respect. It also means to fulfill an obligation, a duty. In my interactions with people, I feel obligated to start there. Why start anywhere else?

Friday, February 6, 2015

Get out.

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Leopards can’t change their spots, right? I mean, we all know that’s impossible, right? Plus it would be messy, right? Right. But wait a minute. Why can’t they?

Maybe leopards just don’t want to. But WHY not?  (What follows are several other pea-brained questions BUT I will tell you right now I am indeed not really talking about leopards at all if you catch my drift).  

Is it because being spotless might be a disadvantage?
Maybe the other leopards might not think you’re cool?
Is it because losing your spots might mean losing other things?
In other words, is fear keeping you spotty?
Can’t see the benefit of going spotless?
Maybe you like hanging out with Cheetahs? Dalmatians? Holsteins? Giraffes?
Is it a pride thing?
A control thing?
Is it something else?

Ok. I’ve annoyed you again, so here’s my point. Sort of. Leopards have spots because it’s great forest camouflage. Spots mean protection and protection means survival (at least in the short term). Plus, I bet all the other leopards think spots are hot. One problem though: get out of the forest.

Get out.

(Again, I am not talking about the real forest here.) The world needs you. So keep your spots if they are so necessary but don’t stay in the forest so long. If you remain in the forest you will remain in the forest. How will you ever see the wonderful rest of this world? And worse yet, how will you ever change it (or yourself) for the better? 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Really.

But the dog doesn't only need that
soup-bone. He needs me more. So
he drops it at my feet and well,
see how he stares at me? Waiting
for the next story and what's next?
Because that is the beautiful bond
between us. 
When I really want to reach people, when I really want them to hear me, when I really want them to understand, I tell them a story.

There has to be a somebody and a somewhere and the somebody wants something BUT there's a problem (or two) and so then something happens and something is solved or something isn't and whether it takes two seconds or two minutes and even if the story isn't that good, that story is worth something. It is. Always. Even if only one person really heard it, really felt it ring like a little bell inside, the very story that was needed.

All storytellers, all writers know this. And all listeners do too. We see each other in stories, we make eye-contact despite whatever perceived-barriers. Maybe we could all understand each other much much more than we realize, but we just aren't listening to each other's stories as carefully as we need to.

It's child's play. But people grow up and forget. Sad.

The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.” -from ‘Lessons for Grownups fromChildren’s Books’ 
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