Tuesday, March 21, 2017


I believe I am clear at this stage and age, of what Life Branches I need to prune. And how to keep my new found blossoms bearing fruit. As well as which buds I need to nip on a daily basis.

 Twenty years ago my concerns was growth on the outside: Money, prestige, and catching the elusive rainbows of shiny happiness. It is by chasing, I believe, that I missed the moments. I missed my "reason we are here" moments for lack of a better metaphor. So arriving at this new station in life I allow David to enjoy the rainbow in all it's splendor. Rather than mourning the fading sun, I now marvel in awe at it's magnificent glory.

Three catamarans sail in my view as I write this. Now there are 6 multi coloured sails in my view. Awesome!

Old world David would not have noticed or cared. Today I note the colours of their sales, and admire the sailors technical ability to tack in these  Caribbean winds.
Reading Ian Brown's "Sixty" in this oasis is enlightening and appropriate. So much has gob smacked at once. Many lines in this book are worth re-reading as well as retelling to Mary in our short time on this Island paradise.

"Sorrow is the rust of the soul. and regret is the oxygen that makes it".
Holy Fuck!
"Everyone experiences the exfoliation of the remembered soul at a different rate, and in a different way"

I honestly feel the book this book is worthy of purchasing a paper copy (I am on a tablet), so I can re read whilst making liner notes.
"...this is what I long to be, as I head into the late innings: Less hidden, less afraid, more naked, less ashamed. I want to wear my fragility on my body -  not just my so-called need, but my intentions, and my doubts about those doubts, and the laughable wobbliness of my progress n all things. I want to be human and complex, more that I want to be right and clear".
Yes, yes, yes!

Just past lunch on Day 5 here, as  I finish "Sixty". Feeling more comfortable about my doubts about my doubts, and more secure in my decisions to be less afraid and less ashamed about them. The air here in Cayo Coco has a sleep tonic effect on me. Even after a day which has me polishing off 4 cappuccinos, I sleep like a baby from 9 pm to 6 am. Sleep for the most part here is uninterrupted, which is odd for me. Unusual when at home. Just to go 9 hours without a pee is wonderful!

There is a feeling I have of internal discovery. Reading "Sixty". Being in the moment. Paying attention to the moment. Noticing what I notice. More today than ever in my past.

The growth of my Joy is in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectation.

It's time for my afternoon siesta, then a wander to get a superb Café con leche.



Monday, March 20, 2017

This Is Why We Came Here

My wife Mary said something yesterday that hit me like the proverbial hammer. We had some struggles at our resort with very minor issues. Some long line ups, poor customer service etc that gave rise to a momentary anger and bitterness. As I began to mentally compare "better" vacation resorts that we have been to,  it led to this inner struggle. Mary, later that day on the beach while looking out at the aqua and turquoise Caribbean ocean and walking on the velvet white sand, listened to my bitterness patiently, waved her arms around gesturing to the wonders and beauty of Cayo Coco and said "This is why we come here !" Not only was she spot on, but my internal negative thoughts changes for the better.

I am for the most part, very much a glass half full guy. At times to my determent, as I refuse to accept the worse case scenario. I find the joie de vivre in most situations that life tosses our way. Is it too idealistic to view each and every moment in life as "This is why we came here!" ? Or even "This is God's grace and this is why we are here! To take part."

So now the questions I ask myself as I write on this beach are : Have I now reached the age of concession? "It is what it is", or have I reached and age of Gratitude : "This is why I am here, and am so grateful for it all"?

Mary has just returned from a fruitless expedition at the resort where "No towels today. Maybe Mayana" is the frustrating speech from an overworked towel lady, then the line up to book us an a La Carte meal gave us another "not gonna happen. Third world country (Cuba) is giving us First world grief. So I go to this: Should I be grateful for my Caribbean view as I lie under a Cabana on this world class beach (I am by the way) or should I be UN-accepting of the "What is"?

this Glass half full lad knows the answer to his question.

As a young boy in my "first quarter", I saw the world of  adults as the world of Oz! Streets paved with Gold, no curfews, eat what you want, when you want it; go to bed when you feel like it, not when you're told; sleek and wonderful cars to take us to destinations where "WE" wanted to go, and as fast as "WE" wanted. My "second quarter" was proof, in retrospect was that streets of "Gold" are not what gives inner joy. There will always be a street that has More "gold" on it. I always thought I needed to find that street to be happy until I realized Joy does not evolve from that. What I found was that there is always a nicer, faster car, bigger boat, better house. More importantly I discovered the difference between JOY and HAPPINESS.

So arriving at the "Sixty" train station, I now know that it is the "inner world.....MY" inner-world" where JOY exists.

And that my friends is why we come here!



Sunday, March 19, 2017

Notice What I Notice

Judging by the suns position and the activity on this Caribbean, I figure it must be 10 am. I mentally take note of this not to record the the time, but as a confirmation in my personal growth. Matters not really what time it is, but what matters is reaching a milestone point in my life where I no longer wear or feel the need to wear a watch. As well,  I make a conscious effort  to keep my "Smartie Pants Crack-berry" phone parked in pocket and ignored as much as possible. Mindfulness meditation is a wonderful teacher. Yet there remains   plenty of "pruning" to be done in letting go of the digital distractions,  and becoming more mindful in every moment. My shears are out in full.

"Notice what you notice" has become a mantra of mine. I try to  practice this gospel, and kick ass and pull myself back when I stray. Did my deafness start me on this journey I wonder? Did my utter and profound deafness/silence which arrived overnight ten years ago put me on this journey? Or is it an inner unconscious reaction to being in the remains of my day/my 4th quarter/the late innings in my game?
I sit on this beach now and mentally divide my life into quarters. If I live to 80, then that puts me in my last quarter. Even as I write the word "last", I do so slowly to make it "last". Is this my answer to the why and how I want to slow down the moments, and notice everything I notice?
In my first quarter (birth to 20 years old) life is carefree for the most part. The second quarter is the "Better get my shit together" before half time. Go into a hurry up offense before the 40 mark arrives. After all who wants to be 40 and a loser? But for me, and perhaps most, the second quarter has the carefree exuberance of enjoying life at 75 MPH.
So why is it that I feel that I missed (there is that word again) so much by traveling at the "speed of life" in my "Q2"? I was 29 years old when my Father passed away. I don't recall being tremendously sad, but it was not a happy moment either.
It was what it was.
Where these feelings a result of me not taking the time to know my Dad? To take note of his life's accomplishments, and question him on his story, rather than focus on his failures as a Father?  Was it a selfish reaction from being a son of an alcoholic, and finally being being free of the questions from my school mates: "So, what does your Dad do? Where does he live? I saw him lying a field last night, is he okay or just a Drunk?"
Answering those questions in a truthful way was cause for embarrassment, so perhaps my non-reaction to his untimely death at 59 years of age was indeed selfish.
Now in my 60th year, I have outlived my father. I find no real significance in the number 60, nor do I take any joy in outliving my Father. My marvel comes from taking almost 60 years to reach this stage stage of serenity and acceptance.
Am I where I want to be? No. My journey has not ended. But I know (or think I know) where my growth has to come from. I know which branches  need pruning.
This in itself is an achievement
It is what it is



Friday, March 17, 2017

Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light

Ten months and a few days will be my 60th! A milestone to be sure. The sunshine and peace of the Caribbean called and we answered. This post was written over sand, surf and beside my best friend : My beautiful wife.
What is about things ending that brings a feeling of remorse or a sadness? The end of a perfect day. A week of vacation. The perfect meal that we prolong the last taste. The last swallow of a cappuccino that gives us cause to swallow slowly and savor. That inner battle that makes us struggle to hold to that feeling of "wonderful".
As a young boy, the end of a day felt as extreme as the end of a life of a good friend does now, in my 60th year on this blue planet. I always fought a losing battle with my Mother to end my games of hide and seek or road hockey, and come inside as for bedtime preparations as night fell. The sun went to "Hell" in my world during those times.
It seems in a sense to rob us of the enjoyment when we know the end of something wonderful nears or arrives (Leaves?) I wonder how does one grasp the pure acceptance of and "end"?
As I contemplate the distinct difference in one word and it's two tenses: Miss and Missed,I realize that the two words are completely different. Missed seems to have regret in it's meaning. "I missed my chance...", and I "miss the chocolate Macaroons from Hunt's Women's bakery from my childhood that were baked fresh and a great treat for me as a young lad of six" has regret, but without the sadness.
Comparing life's, is about as futile as comparing cars, cuts of beef, houses, and even vacations. Not just futile, but also without merit or worth. Oprah is the same age as I am. Oprah has more money than God, has a dream job, and probably has a noble and Honorable life. But I am content and am finding a serenity that I honestly doubt she has. I suppose this has taken me 60 years to reach this conclusion and accept "it is what it is". That statement alone has given me peace, or at least started me on this serene journey.
A native Cuban plies his trade in front of me as I write this. He is offering fresh coconuts and pineapples for 5 peso's. He carries the weight of his tools and fruits (A bottle or two of Rum as well) back and forth in the 30 degree sun. With the skill of an artist he carves open the fruits for his paying vacationers. I marvel at his artistry. I admire him and offer a smile as I mentally compare his life to mine, and wonder if does the same. Or perhaps he has the serenity that comes with acceptance. I ask this question to myself as I compare the complexities of my life to his life. It is in writing this that I reach my conclusion that we both may indeed accept our life circumstances with serenity.
It is what it is.



Sunday, January 15, 2017

I am a Card Carrying Member of the Human Party

Spoiler alert: This is NOT a political post!

I may  scream my liberal thoughts, toot my conservative horn, or even show my socialist colours. But I AM a member of the "Humanist party". If we all could step back and drop our fathers ideology of rooting for OUR team and our team only, then we might come to a simple fact: We are all members of the same  Two-Legged tribe.

Colour me different if I support a leader that promotes equality, takes care of those in need  and provides a open and competitive marketplace for all to prosper to wish to, and all to get help when needed.
Colour me in a just plain shade of weird if you must, as I declare publicly that I am NOT against taxation. What concerns me more is how our money is spent.

Canadians got their knickers in a knot over our PM who recently spent his vacation time being helicopter ferried to a Billionaires Island lair. The media (read National Post) had a field day screaming to it's readers that "Possible violation of federal law as Trudeau admits he used Aga Khan’s private helicopter". 
Apparently getting picked up by your host in a helicopter is violation of some sort of law. I am not a legal scholar, nor do I intend to mine the legal tomes in search of this wrong. What I do know is this: To those with wads of money, getting picked up in a helicopter to take you to their private Island is akin to you or I dear reader of flagging a Uber on our smartie pants phone to take us to our Aunt Maria's 80th birthday. I do not condone this trip by any means. What upsets me is the uproar the NP has caused.
Oddly enough,this same publication failed to mention in the last 6 years:

1. The fake lake

The Harper government built  a $2-million tourism pavilion at the 2010 G8/G20 summit media centre in Toronto, which  which included a fake lake that simulates Ontario’s cottage country. The Conservatives spent a record $1.1 billion hosting the events, including $160 million in hospitality, food, security, and infrastructure bills.
If I ran the National Post I would be first to label this $1.1 Billion expenditure as “obscene, “unprecedented,” and a “poor example” of government spending. I hoped we would see responsible government spending, as all Canadian did, but all we got in this boondoggle was a fake lake and some expensive lawn furniture that is still rusting away.

2. The photo op

Taxpayers funded $47,500 for a 2010 Tory press conference during which then-Defence Minister Peter MacKay posed for a “hero shot” in a fake F-35 fighter jet built by manufacturer Lockheed Martin, which was brought in from Texas for the special event.Yet we post venom vigorously and continually  if our current PM posts a "selfie", which last I checked costs us fuck all!

3. Fighting sick mothers

From 2012-2015, the Conservative government spent more than $1.3 million  trying to prevent new mothers who fell seriously ill during maternity leave from collecting disability benefits in addition to the employment insurance (EI) currently paid to new parents.
According to The Globe and Mail, two Calgary women launched a class action lawsuit three years ago seeking more than $450-million in compensation on behalf of thousands of new mothers who were denied EI disability benefits, or dissuaded from applying for them.
Members of Parliament demanded an explanation from the Tory prime minister after breast cancer survivor and new mother Jennifer McCrea was refused EI sick benefits. The jab here is that our then Fearless leader did nothing for these sick mothers because he was too busy with the Mike Duffy Nigel Wright scandal. He should of asked his then boy wonder/chief of staff (before he threw him under the bus) : “Hey Nigel, could you fix this for me? Could you make it ‘good to go’? 'Cause you have fixed my shit before" That is before you became a liability and I had to pay you a fortune to go away, despite the fact that you are independently wealthy beyond any Canadians dream to begin with.

4. Big-ticket beverages

Our former International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda and our former Finance Minister Joe Oliver seem to have shared a taste for costly coolers, provided taxpayers are footing the bill. In 2011,Ms Oda expenced a $16-glass of orange juice and a $1,995-stay in the swanky Savoy Hotel during a government trip to London, England, where she also hired a limousine to cart her around at a cost of nearly $1,000 per day. Yet the free helicopter ride is  "Violation of federal law"!!!??? WTF??
 In 2012,Joe Oliver expenced  $16-glass of scotch he drank at the rooftop restaurant of the Mamilla Hotel in Jerusalem. He later spent $5,593 on two one-way flights between Toronto and Calgary to hold roundtable meetings with oil, gas, steel and pipeline companies. All hail the almighty oil companies.? BTW dear spenders of our money: My wife and I bottle our own wine and shop no name orange juice to make ends meet.
While Oda repaid more than $3,500 in expenses during her time in office (and eventually resigned), Oliver's spokesman maintains that he followed all the government business travel rules. Take one free copter ride and.....

5. The ad blitz

 An estimate of over $750 million has been lifted from our public purse since 2006 to pay for government advertising, much of which has been labelled “partisan” by critics.has been lifted from the public purse since 2006 to pay for government advertising.,
The ads — which have repeatedly run during expensive primetime viewing slots like NHL playoffs and the Oscars — have included $5.2 million promoting the Economic Action Plan and $24 million touting Canada-U.S. relations in Washington to increase support for the Keystone XL pipeline.
One 2013 ad by Employment and Social Development Canada even won a ‘Teddy Waste Award’ from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation for a $2.5-million blitz promoting the new Canada Jobs Grant months before the job training program was even available.This is our money used to help reinsure their reelection. Nary a mention of this ever in the NP! This spending is one sore spot for me and all parties and politicians do this on all levels. We are currently at the halfway point for our Municipal politicians. This past week we have seen the full colour, multi paged, high quality brochures disguised as Midterm report cards, but in reality are the council and Mayors legal way of spending our money to ensure they get reelected in 2 years. Yup, we pay for it out of our tax dollars.
Stand in line for days to see a doctor. Line up to get EI after your company moved production to Mexico. Cry as our Indigenous people drink sludge from the oil sands tail-ponds. But for God sake do not take an offer of a free ride to a nice Island if you are our leader.

Now back to my Spoiler alert. Please do not read this as a Paid Liberal/NDP/Green party/ "Insert your party here" plug. All this boy wants is for our paid politicians to spend our money sensibly.
To be perfectly honest, I believe we have great deals on our gas prices.Not long ago we were paying almost $2 a litre and not a peep was heard. We went down to $1 a litre and we drove to drive thru like they were just invented. Put a 4% tax on that to look out for our green world and we went ape shit!
"How can we afford to drive with this tax on a tax" was heard throughout the nation.
 Our water costs in our house runs about  $1/day which is far to cheap. Colour me a weirder shade of green when I ask the municipality to raise the price to encourage conservation.

We have become a nation of whiners who want the government to lower the price of gas, offer them cheaper hydro electricity, give them free road access everywhere. We bitch and bellyache on each and every tax without thought as to the good some taxes do.

My wish is for  our leaders to look where they spend. all our leaders in all levels: Municipal, Provincial and Federal.
Instead of a fake lake or a Pan Am Game (the cost of hosting the international sporting event was $2.423 billion, sadly attended mostly by the Municipal and city politicians who were given free tickets. This family did not budget for the tickets.) How about looking at feeding and housing our homeless. It might be cheaper to house the homeless than to house a few thousand athletes.

 Instead of taking the council to a retreat in Newfoundland or Hawai to see how other cities deal with traffic problems how about thinking about free University for those in need and NOT free toll highways for the Moms in mini vans.

Instead of spending on legal costs to fight sick mothers how about free prescription drugs to go along with our free health care, as we are the only country that offers universal health care without a drug plan.

Take better care of our lands and stop heeding those that work in the oil industry that we need to dig holes in our land to pull up the gook. We are all members of the Humanist party and we all belong to the same two-legged tribe. Let's show Gord Downie that we can do Canada a solid by being Humans.

Can we all pay a $1 and sign up for the Human party of the world?