Tag Archives: Friends

Stepping up to the Mic. (Poetry Reading!)

Wow, its been a rough two weeks. It hasn’t been easy conceding to the fact that when I finally decided on a finishing date, that I wasn’t able to get everything in. Injuring my shoulder amongst other personal hurdles stopped me dead in my tracks for a moment. In some ways it was fitting. The emotions that over took me last week were unexpected, but they confirmed that I had given it my all and could move forward confident in that. My date may be past and gone, but my drive to finish hasn’t changed. I will complete this.

This Friday I take the mic in my hands in Toronto, Ontario and face my fear of sharing some of my personal views with a live audience. It’s a scary thing for me, to express myself in front of people, but I know it has the potential to be extremely freeing.

I think facing the right kind of fears is crucial for self development. In the right scenarios fear is a “not so subtle reminder” that what’s starring us in the face is worth fighting to see through. A big recital, the ball in your hands with 1 second left, a love letter waiting to be written, or barring your soul in front of a crowd; its all relative.
That feeling in the pit of your stomach telling you that you can’t measure up to the moment is actually the clearest indicator that you’re about to step into something extraordinary. It’s our emotional attachment to the things that mean the most that make us fear them so much. Giving in to the moment and freeing yourself from the fear is what propels us into greatness.
I think I’ve been able to write something worth sharing, so its scary to put it out there. Who knows what people will think. One thing I do know for sure is; I can’t wait for that feeling of just letting go.

For anyone in the area, I’ll be on stage, Fri March 18th between 4-7pm @ James Joyce Irish Pub in Toronto. 386 Bloor Street West. (Downtown). I would love to see whoever can find the time!

Are you sucessful at making friends? Or being one?

Ask yourself a question for me. Are you a good friend?
Yes? Ok…ask yourself why?
Now ask yourself another question. Do you have a lot of friends?
Yes? Ok…ask yourself how many of them are really your friends? More importantly ask yourself, how many of them are you a real friend to?

It used to be so easy to count your friends. The number always directly coincided with the amount of birthday invitations you handed out. Now we gauge our ability to make friends by how many followers we have on twitter or a number on our facebook page. Does pressing the “like” button, or throwing out a “Happy Birthday, hope its a good one.” whenever you get a notification really make you a good friend? Heck, does it even make you friends at all? Can you consider that person a true friend if that’s the extent of your interaction?
I guess it all depends on your interpretation of the word friend.
Nothing is wrong with wanting to live an easy life. Keeping things simple and stress free is a sure fire way to make it through the day without letting off a round of bullets into the nearest shopping mall. But how fufilling is it? Are you making a diffrence in the lives of the people closest to you? Does having 1,000 friends on facbook really mean anything if you have no one to count on and nobody can count on you. It’s not enough to say your somebodys friend. In order to earn that title, you have to BE a friend.

Being a true friend takes work. Just because you lift at the same gym, drink at the same bar, or “hang with the same crew”, it doesn’t make you friends. Even if you do all three of the aforementioned things and even share a meaningful conversation from time to time, it still doesn’t make you friends. Being friends doesn’t stop with the pleasantries; it begins where they end.

A friend checks in no matter the distance. Friendships don’t cease when the plane takes off, or the car pulls away. A friend isn’t a convenience. You don’t turn them on like a switch when you need light casted on a problem and shut them off when you’ve turned a corner. A friend takes a healthy interest in their friends lives and learns from them. They gain new perspectives and impart knowledge just the same. A friend isn’t a leverage tool. You don’t ever judge a friend by their job, social status or what they might be able to “do” for you in the future.
People say you that you are who you surround yourself with. I say you are the sum of your actions towards the people who surround you. The people we love are going to fuck up and they are going to succeed. They are going to come from all walks of life and have all sorts of beliefs. Religion, politics, jobs, backgrounds; all different. They’ll make mistakes, sometimes small and sometimes so big they’ll push us to the limit. Sometimes we’ll wonder why we were ever friends with them in the first place. Sometimes; the next day, they’ll be wondering the exact same thing about us. The difference between someone who is in it for the minute and a significant friend, is that at the end of it all, they’re still there. Not because you asked them to be, but because, if they’re a true friend you’ll never have to ask them in the first place.
You may be sucessful at making friends, but that doesn’t mean you’re a sucessful at being one.

In order to be a sucess you first need to be significant.

It’s not necessarily always recipical, but if you’re keeping track then maybe you need to ask yourself again: Am I a good friend?

YOU MUST READ THIS POST!!!!!!!!!

After failing to even really attempt a goal for the first time I had to do some thinking. The truth is after leaving the meditation center, I felt like a complete jackass. I know in my heart I didn’t have the strength to see it through, but the real problem was that I didn’t give it a fair shot. It’s less than 24hrs later and I can”t figure out if it was better to walk away, or fail miserably and run away in the middle of group meditation. I would have disrupted an ancient mantra, disgraced a holy temple and pissed a lot of people off, but at least I would have my dignity right?PFFFFFFFFFFFFT!!. The bottom line is both avenues would have led me to failure and that sucks. Failing to even attempt the goal however, puts me in a position I haven’t been in since the 4th week of my trip. I must now replace my “failed to attempt” goal with a new one. I have had a hell of a time trying to add new things to this list. I’ve made a few changes here and there out of necessity, but even then I had to dig down deep for suitable replacements. It wasn’t until I remembered something my cousin suggested (Thanks Jenna) that things fell into place perfectly. If I can’t add another goal to my list, why don’t I help someone else achieve a goal from theirs? So many people have helped me out over the years: Brook Thompson, Maame Barima, Wayne Dawson, Greg Knudsen, Nick Empey, Neil MacDonald, Anand Methda, Chris Bentler, Nadin Kara, Dave Robinson, Jeff Mornan, Ika ven der Vyver, Kanoa Hough, Tein, The Entire Kobra Family, Pawan Kumar…the list goes on and on and on. I cannot even begin to repay the generosity of these people, but I hope that they know how much they have meant to me over the years., or in the short time I have known them. The point is that I have been truly blessed with loving friends and an amazing family. They have all helped me at one point or another and while I have the means to do so, maybe I can help someone else achieve something meaningful to them. SOOOO what I would like from each and everyone of you is to email me, Facebook me, or leave a comment on my page with the NUMBER ONE goal you would like to achieve. It doesn’t even have to be yours, it can be on behalf of someone else you would like to help. It can be anything you or someone you care about desires and I will do everything in my power to see that it happens. One month from now I will randomly pick one out of a hat and make it my mission to help whoever it may be achieve there goal by the time my trip is up. I encourage you to think BIG. Well maybe not too big…I’m sorry, but I can not afford to put anyone on Virgins new ship to outer space, but I think you get the picture. Whether its a trip, physical challenge, meeting a long lost friend etc. just write me. Hell pass this along to you friends and have them write me. Just make sure its something meaningful and I promise you I will do everything in my power to make it happen. PS – I would love for EVERYONE to participate. Don’t be bashful. This won’t work very well if there are two names in the hat and they happen to be something like my Mom and my Aunt!

Life for me is a RiverBoat fantasy…..

After a LONG stretch stretch of failed attempts I can finally throw the word “CHECK” in bring green letters next to a goal. I wish I could say that it was as fun as I thought it was going to be.

This goal of mine was to float down the Nam Song river in Vang Vieng Laos. Vang Vieng is famous for a 4km stretch of river (The Nam Song) that hosts stilted bars and restaurants along the way. Situated at the foot of massive limestone cliffs this river slowly moves along winding its way past humble home stays and under old wooden bridges. When I first got word of this place it was about half a decade ago. It conjured up visions of me gently tubing my way down a majestic river winding through limestone cliffs while monks dressed in their orange gowns meandered past in their slow boats. I dreamed of stopping into to local huts for a drink of lao lao (a local rice whiskey) with a local family and then spending a quiet night drifting off to the sound of silence. Well, times have changed and what was five years ago is a far cry from what is now. Vang Vieng has been transformed into drunken Westerner’s playground with overconsumption being the main attraction.

Now it would not be fair for me not to point out that I only spent three days here, so I can only give my perspective. This is not to slight the people of Vang Vieng or their culture. In fact, judging by what I saw I give the people of Vang Vieng all the credit in the world for being able to be as gracious as they are. If my hometown was transformed the way it has been, I would not be so welcoming.

I guess I should get to the point here and paint you the picture of what I saw and experienced.

The bus pulls in at around 6pm and drops us off downtown. The first things I notice is that everyone is white, drunk and wearing the SAME “Vang Vieng Tubing” tank top. When I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE. I go out to dinner with some guys I met on the bus and along the way we pass by numerous restaurants. Each one has a single TV blasting one of two shows: Family Guy or Friends. They run on a loop and play all day and night! We head off to a bar and everyone is out of their minds, covered in paint, running a muck and sweating it out to heavy house and techno. I lasted about an hour before I decided it better to head back to my room and rest up for the tubing.

The tubing sadly was the “Same same, only different”. I have to admit though it was a site to see. You have this stretch of river with old school stilted huts transformed into day time dance clubs lining both sides of the water. Each on has its own platform for rope swings, ziplines and jumping. Looking down the line and seeing random people flying through the air, playing beer pong and dancing in mobs was in total contradiction to the amazing backdrop it was being played out on. My vision for this place definitely didn’t fit this mold. I was disappointed, but not entirely surprised. I was aware that things had changed, I just wasn’t over joyed with how much this varied from my original vision. This was a goal though and no matter what hoped for I was here and I made the most of it. I danced, play beer pong and did many a back flip off the rope swings. I even tried my hand at flaming limbo later that night and ended up with a nice burn on my shoulder for my efforts.

To say my view is slightly hypocritical considering my willingness to take part in the events wouldn’t be entirely incorrect,, but I can say that if you are looking for true Laos culture, you might want to steer clear of the main town as it is very hard to avoid the nonsense.

I believe that tourism can be an important aspect in raising the poverty levels in rural communities, I just think that it needs to be done responsibly and with extreme sensitivity to the surrounding culture.

This is only my perspective and I know that people who come here have a lot of fun. I just look around at the gorgeous landscape and the laid back people of Laos and cringe when I think of how over run the town has become by Westerners. Everywhere I looked their was some drunk idiot doing something offensive to their culture. I didn’t matter that there were etiquette signs posted in every restaurant and internet cafe, this was their vacation and if they wanted to take their shirt off who were the people of Laos to tell them different. Ridiculous.

I met a girl who was working promotions for one of the bars and asked her how she came about working in Laos. In a hazy, burnt out response she told me she didn’t remember. Just as she looked like she was going to pass out she added “The people here are so amazing”. In her own messed up way she was right, the are amazing; amazing for shining through in light of people like her.