Week 12 , Expectations & Resentments

“Unrealistic expectations are premeditated resentments”

It is our job to identify our needs, and then determine a balanced way of getting those needs met. We expect our Higher Power and the Universe – not one person – to be our source.

I believe it’s unreasonable to expect anyone to be able or willing to meet our every request. We are responsible for asking for what we want and need. It’s the other person’s responsibility to freely choose whether to respond to our request. If we try to coerce or force another to be there for us, that’s controlling.
There’s a difference between asking and demanding. We want love that is freely given.
It is unreasonable and unhealthy to expect one person to be the source meeting all our needs. Ultimately, we will become angry and resentful, maybe even punishing, toward that person for not supporting us as we expected.
It is reasonable to have certain and well-defined expectations of our spouse, children, and friends.
If a person cannot or will not be there for us, then we need to take responsibility for ourselves in that relationship. We may need to set a boundary, alter our expectations, or change the limits of the relationship to accommodate that person’s unavailability. We do this for ourselves.
It is reasonable to sprinkle our wants and needs around and to be realistic about how much we ask or expect of any person. We can trust ourselves to know what’s reasonable.
The issue of expectations goes back to knowing that we are responsible for identifying our needs, believing they deserve to get met, and discover an appropriate, satisfactory way to do that in our life.

 

I had a wonderful day last Saturday with my oldest daughter, Emma. When she was 3 years old I took an afternoon off from work to take her to watch her first movie in a movie theatre. The movie was “Beauty and the Beast”. I remember how awe struck she was by the huge screen and booming speakers. That was a very happy dad moment for me and I won’t ever forget it. That was 25 years ago and now Disney has released a new, live-action remake of the original.

eu_batb_flex-hero_header_r_430eac8d

I had initially thought it was just something fun and silly and nostalgic to do with Emma and we could have a few laughs together. Well the movie is very well done and I was a little shocked to discover that I was enjoying the movie. It was great and I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying it. Well done Disney. We kicked around the mall for awhile and then went for a nice dinner at Eau Claire. My Saturdays can’t get much better than that.

 

I got home from work Wednesday and bumped into my neighbour, in the back lane. I asked her how she was doing. Her reply was “shitty”. So I stopped to talk to her and found out that her dog, a black Labrador, had died on Saturday. Vader was his name and he and my dog Hoover always had time to bark at each other through the fences and the shrubs and sniff each other’s butts, as dogs do, when they were on the sidewalk together. He was a year younger than Hoover and died from the cancer that was discovered in him only 3 weeks prior. It’s quite sad actually and makes me appreciate the time I have with Hoover, just a little more.

IMG_2791

Hoover The Dog

Here’s a Ted Talk I recently watched that touched a nerve with me. It’s about finding the courage to speak up against prejudice and bigotry. It’s only 4:18 if you want to take the time to watch it.

 

The song this week is Hey Bebe from Rhiannon Giddens new album, Freedom Highway

rhiannon-giddens-freedom-highway-peets-lyrics-1200x628

 

The quote this week:

“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.”

M.K. Clinton
Thanks for dropping by…….I appreciate it……

Week 5 and You’re Just Not That Important

“You’re just not that important Mike” were some words spoken to me by Morley almost 24 years ago. Morley Moger was my first sponsor, or mentor, when I showed up to the rooms of recovery and he remained my sponsor for 21 years. I was reminded of the time Morley said this to me when I was speaking to a friend tonight who is from my 12 step group. He’s new to recovery and as it turns out these same words were said to him on Monday night by another man. They were spoken word for word although the first name was different. Many of you who aren’t in recovery already know this about yourselves and for those that don’t know it the opportunity to learn it is a must. You’re just not that important. Morley said these words to me out of kindness and love, not out of malice. I needed to hear these words, learn these words and understand what these words meant. Those words weren’t used to put me down. Those words were said to help me right size myself and to begin to learn and understand some humility. You see when I was active and deep in my alcoholism I thought I was so very important. I tried to control the world. Well that is I tried to control that small space that was my world. I had family to control, or at least what they thought of me. I had work situations and problems, of my own making, to control. I had a need to control everything around me so you wouldn’t find out I was an alcoholic.  I didn’t know that you already knew this about me.I was such a great liar that I ended up being the last to know how bad I was because of the lies I told myself. I was sure that if I exercised enough control I could keep doing what I needed to do and that was to drink. I was also pretty sure that this world I was trying to control revolved around me. So by the time I showed up to the rooms of recovery and got sober I still believed the world revolved around me and that I was in control. The 12 steps taught me not only that I wasn’t in control but that I didn’t have to be in control. The world did not revolve around me. People, places and things would do quite well without me. Some would even thrive with my absence. Morley would remind me to count the stars in the sky if I was feeling too important. Or remind me how many people have lived on planet earth before me, who no one remembers. Those words spoken to me were not spoken to suppress me but actually to provide me with the relief I needed ,to know I didn’t have to run the show. It was like the world was lifted off my shoulders for the first time since I was a child. You’re just not that important. And it feels great to know it.So don’t worry,you’re not that important.

I am sharing this Ted Talk with you because it’s worth sharing. Some of you will listen for a short period but for those that listen to it all, well you’ll get it. Lidia Yuknavitch is an American writer and teacher from Oregon. She’s also a misfit! I love misfits.

 

The song this week is from a band called XX who I first heard when I bought their album Coexist in 2012 after reading a great review. I love this band and I am looking forward to buying the new album, I See You.

eb24548f

 

 

 

 

The quote this week is :

“As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 

Marianne Williamson

Honesty,Authenticity and Week 47

Last week was the first week outside of vacation time that I didn’t post my blog since I have started writing it. I didn’t post on purpose. I took the week off from posting. I was busy with work, had a friends funeral Thursday and my aunt’s funeral Friday and I was just too wore out to come to the keyboard and write. When I write I need to commit to being honest and sincere when I post something and last week I had zero desire to talk about funerals. I didn’t feel like opening up at the time. Prior to arriving at the door of 12 Step recovery my life was lived dishonestly and I was never sincere. I was afraid you might not like me if you saw me for what I was. Or worse, for what I thought I was. There never was a time that I was totally comfortable with who I was. I was never really too comfortable in my own skin. It wasn’t always like that. I was always self conscious but I got by okay, had good friends and had a lot of fun. My times in Kelowna were pretty great although a bit reckless and far too carefree for my parents. I didn’t hurt anyone on purpose but I really didn’t care about anyone but myself and a small group of guys I hung out with. But much later, in my final 3 years of drinking I was never honest about anything or with anyone and never with myself.  I would lie for no reason at all except that telling the truth seemed so foreign to me. The lying to myself and the hiding, the hiding of my true self from everyone, was what the alcohol allowed me to pull off. In those final 3 years of drinking I was dishonest with everyone I met. Sometimes the dishonesty was about big things but most often it was minor. “Will you be there at 7?” Yes would be my answer but no would be my action. “Can you take care of _____?” Yes would be my answer but no would be my action. “How’re you doing?” Fine would be my answer, even though I was slowly dying. If I ever would have told someone what was going on maybe someone could have helped me sooner. But I couldn’t get honest. I couldn’t tell anyone how it was for me because I had a real fear that without alcohol I wouldn’t make it through a day. That my whole world would crash and burn and I would melt away. Little did I know at that time that it was already burning and I was the only one who didn’t see it.

So I didn’t post last week because I demand of myself to be honest, sincere and authentic and for the first time since starting this blog I didn’t want to be that guy, for everyone to read, to see. I didn’t want to discuss what was going on and to not discuss it, to write a blog post without mentioning it, to me wouldn’t have sat right. I have been quite open about my life, thoughts and feelings when writing this blog. I’ve had a couple of friends ask me if I am ever scared to be open or to let people see so much and my answer is conclusive; no I am not. You either like me or you don’t like me and today I am very comfortable with either of your choices. A few people who I am close with have heard me say this:

I become invulnerable when I become totally vulnerable

Last week I was just emotionally spent! Had nothing left in the tank for anyone else.I just tried to keep my own head above water and that was taking all the energy I had. And I think I succeeded.

The funerals were for my friend Terry who I wrote about on October 13 in my Week 41 post and the other was for my Aunt Louise, my father’s sister, who passed on at 89 years of age.

I will continue to be as honest, sincere and authentic as I possibly can and always strive to be better at doing this all the time. I also like to surround myself with people that can be authentic and vulnerable. I have quite a few friends inside and outside the 12 Step communities that exhibit these traits and they are remarkable people to be around. I believe remarkable is a good thing for a person to strive to become.

The song this week is from the band Divine Fits and it’s a Bruce Springsteen song titled, Hungry Heart

4c70f996

Album Cover

 

The quote this week is from a thought leader who I like to watch and read the past couple of years. Simon Sinek can be found largely on YouTube and LinkedIn and has written many books and has been featured on Ted.com.

“There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it. …”

 

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you’ll check in next week……….

Pain is the Touchstone and Week 45

Last weekend started with Remembrance Day, a holiday here in Alberta and it was a quiet weekend for us. We stayed in the neighborhood for the most part but did venture out Saturday for a movie and later a burger. It was nice to have a long weekend, without plans and not too busy to be able to enjoy some down time and get a few small things done. We’re going out this Friday for dinner, with another couple we know very well. We’ve decided to go to Bonterra Trattoria which I have been anxious to try since it received Avenue Magazine’s third place recognition for Calgary’s Best Restaurants and first place for Best Italian Food. I’ll let you know next week how it was but if I forget don’t be afraid to ask.

Moving along…..

I have a belief that everything we receive from our Higher Power, God or the Universe, is a gift or a lesson. Life is full of gifts and lessons. Most often our lessons come in packages we don’t want. And if we learn the lesson then we have been given a gift. Why do these gifts and lessons come in packages we usually don’t want? I suppose it’s because most of us are quite content when life is going smoothly and we do not make any attempt to change or grow when things are good. But when faced with physical and more so,emotional pain, we make the necessary changes or adaptations to cope with this pain. Or more importantly, to grow out of this pain. It is through and because of emotional pain that most of us will search for help or seek a way out. This is why I sought out 12 step recovery. It was recover or die. Those were my two choices. Believe it or not I actually had to think about what choice to make. My lessons brought me to recovery and my recovery has been a gift.

In AA’s book, Twelves Steps and Twelve Traditions, on page 93 it says:

“pain was the touchstone of all spiritual progress”

 I am certain that everyone reading this can identify with that statement. We have all had some “pain” in our life , for many it began far too young.I have been given many gifts and lessons in my life and I hope I am around for many more and continue to use them as a stepping stone to growth.I am not positive and I can’t unequivocally attribute the above quote to anyone. Bill Wilson, the co-founder of AA wrote it in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and he was talking about someone other than himself, I think. I believe that someone else to be his sponsor, Father Ed Dowling but I can’t be sure. Regardless the point is well made and proven many times over. Until the pain of where we are is greater than the pain of change, all will remain the same. So as much as we have a disdain for pain, emotional pain, it still remains one of the greatest motivators for growth and more specifically spiritual growth. I hate emotional pain or turmoil but I have been around long enough to know that I will come out the other side a better person.I am responsible for my own growth. I must use the lesson and turn it into a gift.

 

 “The next time you are face with something unexpected, unwanted and uncertain, consider that it just may be a gift”—-Stacey Kramer from the following video.

 

 

 

My daughter Emma has been telling me about a great movie coming out to theaters soon and she sent me this link from the trailer for the movie. It’s a true story and the movie is called “Loving”

 

The quote this week is :

“But pain’s like water. It finds a way to push through any seal. There’s no way to stop it. Sometimes you have to let yourself sink inside of it before you can learn how to swim to the surface.”
 Katie Ray Kacvinsky, author

 

Leonard Cohen ( 1934-2016)

leonard-cohen-gi

This past week we lost a great singer, songwriter, poet and person. Leonard Cohen was a great Canadian know around the world. I think everyone knows who Leonard Cohen is and just about everyone has heard a Leonard Cohen song. My friends know that I have a love if not a passion for music and the last time I felt so affected by the death of a musician it was John Lennon’s death. Now that I have had so much more living and have a much greater appreciation for life, than I did in 1980 when Lennon died, Cohen’s death has been a little more distressing to me. I was very fortunate to see Leonard Cohen in November 2012, here in Calgary at the Saddledome. I sat and listened and enjoyed and it was over far too soon. He said he would be back. It was fabulous night. It’s very sad to think I wont see him play live again. I recommend his books Stranger Music 1993 or Book of Longing 2006. He also released a new album this year . I will miss him very much as I know many of you will be. George Harrison sang “All Things Must Pass” and so they shall. The video below is one of my favorite Cohen songs; enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

Well thanks for drooping by as I appreciate you take the time to read this……have a great week and I hope I’ll see you next week..

 

 

 

Week 18

I turned one year older today and I’m happy to have done it. It’s a privilege denied many. When I was young I would often think about what I imagined my life would be like when I was 25 , 30, 35,40 …..But I never did look this far ahead. I’m surprised at how young I feel and how young I think that I think. I’m reminded of my age when I look in the mirror and then I am sometimes shocked at the man looking back at me. I’m also reminded of my aging first thing in the morning as I roll out of bed and my knees crack and my fingers slowly unfold and straighten out( heated steering wheels were a great invention). Otherwise I’m in great shape. I am in the gym 6 days a week doing cardio and sometimes weights and I’m very active outdoors. I want to be in good condition so I can still be active into my 80’s. Eventually all of our bodies “hit the wall” but exercise and right eating will slow that process. With the mid fifties comes a great sense of self, a sense of security about what and who I am. I have a confidence that is woven with humility. I don’t have to have all the answers and I don’t need to change your opinion on anything. I’m very comfortable with who I am. It’s a very sweet place to be in view of my years spent in addiction where I lacked any confidence or self worth. I feel very good about me. I need fewer things and want fewer things now. I’m far more interested in moments that create memories, time with my wife, time with kids and time with my friends. Sitting here now, in front of my home computer, looking outside at the beautiful trees and weather, having just returned from the river where the dog swam for tennis balls; this is a very good moment. My level of content is high. I get that from being in recovery, being a husband and being a father. These things are cause for an immense sense of gratitude for where I am today. Happy Birthday to me!

images

I have to share this Ted Talk with you from Brother David Steindl-Rast. It’s 15 minutes and very well worth a listen.Aren’t most of us trying to be happier and content?

“I’m happy because I am grateful… “

 

578081130-329529-40712-21

 

The second round of the NHL playoffs are well underway and one of the top stories in Tony X , who discovered his first game of hockey in round one and was the guest of the St Louis Blues in round two. This guy has been funny and good!

Tony X tweets hockey game

 

The quote this weekend is another gem from a 12 step meeting

“The ultimate ignorance is the rejection of something you know nothing about and refuse to investigate”

The song this week is one of my favorites, from when I was 16. From Steve Miller it’s “Fly Like and Eagle”

 

Thanks and I hope you’ll drop by next week…………..

 

 

 

 

Week 48

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends! Keep it safe, share your gratitude and enjoy your families.

I usually post on Thursdays but I have to be on the road tomorrow.

This commitment to blog weekly is challenging. The wisest thing I did for myself regarding this blog is to leave the topic wide open. Or was it wise?  Some days I believe it would be easier if I had the discipline of a topic to focus me.  Today though it feels like a chore. I’m not sure why. It could be that winter has finally and actually arrived with double digit negative numbers and big snowfalls and then the daylight , only from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm! I drive to work in the dark and I drive home in the dark. Maybe these things have something to do with my mood this week. Whatever it is, like I have been taught , I will work through it.

 

I actually enjoy winter. I enjoy the mountains in the winter when we are out snowshoeing. I enjoy the postcard–like scenes of some of the photographs I take in the mountains. I like the dog park when it’s in double digit negative numbers. Then the park belongs to just a few of us and our hearty dogs. I enjoy those cold and crisp Sunday mornings at the park with just me,Hoover and a hot coffee. Hoover is my chocolate Labrador. There is so much more to winter in Canada. Someday I will write about winter and all the things in winter that are uniquely Canadian.

IMG_0018

Yesterday my BU (Business Unit) had a strategic planning session which was actually awesome. I won’t get into our plans or bore you with my work (at this time) but I want to share a book we use at my company that spans all our business units and is a guide to Strategic Planning. We have been using this book and its strategies since 2006. The book was originally written under a different name than the one I will provide you with. This title is the only one available (new) now. The book is called “SCALING UP  – How a Few Companies Make It…..and Why the Rest Don’t”. I recommend this book and its contents to anyone in a leadership role within a private or public company, organization, charity etc. This book is a terrific resource that shows you how to get it done! No matter what your “IT” is. It can also be used for Teams within an organization such as Sales, Marketing, Communications, or Finance.

 

Oh man two weeks ago it was the Hindu festival, Diwali and Steve brought me some samosas his mother had made for the celebration. Homemade samosas and they were amazing. His mother also sent along some chutney for them. I told Steve that next year I want to actually come to his house for supper on Diwali !! I hope his mother reads this and sends more.

 

Thanks to all those men who are growing a moustache for Movember. This is to raise money to fight prostate cancer, testicular cancer and poor mental health. It’s a great initiative for a great cause. Make sure to donate, if you can, to a person you know who is raising money.Every donation helps regardless of size. I have donated to my nephew Martin. His father (my brother) died of Cancer in 2006 and his mother is a cancer survivor.

 

I’m sharing another Ted Talk video today. This talk is by Simon Sinek and there is a powerful message in here whether you watch this for business or for your own personal growth. I first watched this video almost 2 years ago and have watched it 4 more times since. To get everything out of this talk that it has to offer please watch it to the finish. It’s only 5 minutes. It certainly changed the way I thought about my company and it has changed how I think about  my own personal vision.

Simon Sinek Tedx

 

I was chatting with a very good friend a few weeks ago about some childhood memories and how songs can be a direct and powerful link to those memories. This song reminds me of our first winter in Kelowna, BC.  It was 1971 and we had just moved that September from Fort Saint John, British Columbia, which is way north of  Kelowna and a whole different world away.For me at 12 years of age it was lifetime away.That move forever changed the course my life would take.

The song this week is a James Taylor tune

Fire and Rain

 

The quote this week is from the book “Moby Dick”

“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.” 

Herman Melville

 

I hope I see you again next week……………