Week 20 & I Love To Write

I enjoy writing this blog. If no one dropped by, I would still do it but it’s far more enjoyable and rewarding to write when I know someone is reading it.

My weekly posts have now slowed down to every second week. Slowed is a misnomer.  I’m very busy and right now I’m not able to find the time to write on a weekly basis. I would like to but I am short on time every day.

We’ve been very busy at work this year, I’m very busy with other commitments after work and I am taking a course right now too. And I need an hour a day for the gym, for myself. I am hoping that soon I will be able to get back to once a week postings.

I love writing and could do it full time but I still have to send money to the bank every month for my home. I enjoy writing my blog and I am enjoying writing a couple of stories I am working on. I have always had a love for writing, prose, and poetry. It rivals my appreciation of music.

I quit school when I was 16 but I had already completed, with great marks, Grade 11 English.  I had a passion for English. My Grade 11 English teacher was an overweight and unusual character of a man named Mr. Loob. He wore clean pressed white shirts, short sleeves and a bow tie. Same thing every day. He too had a great appreciation for literature. He was like a cheerleader for books such as the Lord of the Flies and his enthusiasm pushed my love for literature even further. I’ll never forget Mr. Loob and how supportive and encouraging he was for all my work and projects. He was not only an interesting character he was a nice man. He’s one of the few school teachers who impacted my life.

But I left school at 16. I was bored and annoyed with school so I left. At 17 I was working on my first drilling rig, Westburne #17, outside of Grimshaw, Alberta. The rigs were a harsh place for a 17-year-old but I took to them quickly and I’ve been in that industry ever since. Through everything though I never lost my appreciation for literature.

I have taken some writing courses in the last 5 years. They’ve been in person at The Alexandra Writing Center in Calgary and some online course work. I have also taken courses from Athabasca University which is a distance, online University here in the province of Alberta. I’m applying those credits towards and English Degree but it’s likely I won’t pursue the degree again until I retire. I just can’t commit the time right now. I would have to take the time from somewhere else and I’m not prepared to do that.

I’m reading Stephen King’s book, “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”. My friend Liz L. lent it to me and I am about ¾ the way completed. It’s a slower read because it is some of Stephen King’s life but also it’s a great book about how to write!

So, I will get back to posting once a week I just don’t know when. I don’t want to create some disappointment in myself by not meeting a deadline today, that I can’t reach later.I’ll continue to concentrate on subject matter I know and enjoy and as Stephen King has said, I’m still trying to find my voice.

 

Just when I think I know something about hockey I look back a month at my playoff predictions and am reminded why I work in the drilling business. We’re down to 4 teams and it’s awesome hockey. Pittsburgh is playing Ottawa and the other division has Anaheim against Nashville. For the sake of hockey,small markets and unconventional hockey hotbeds everywhere I hope to see Nashville in the Stanley Cup Final. It’d be great for hockey everywhere. Enjoy the clip below where Nashville is becoming known as Smashville.

 

The song this week is from Willie Nelson from his new album, Gods Problem Child and its a song about his old buddy Merle Haggard who passed on , April 6 , 2016. The song’s called He Won’t Ever Be Gone.

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The quote this week is from Father Richard Rohr.

“The human ego will always try to name, categorize, fix, control and ensure all its experiences. For the ego everything is a commodity. It lives inside of self-manufactured boundaries instead of inside the boundaries of the Godself. It lives out of its own superior image instead of mirroring the image of God. With the Western isolated self in a state of immense insecurity today, we are flailing about, searching for any solid identity.”

 

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you’ll do the same again next time I post………

Week 16 & A New Pair of Shoes

This week a friend of mine is telling a little of his story . I met Mike R. in 2004 when he came into a meeting in McKenzie Towne. He was new and I liked him from the start. I think of him back then , when he had just moved out of his car, to today where he owns his own place,his own business and is a great father to a beautiful little girl.He’s a solid friend and we have done a lot of things together over the years and we’ve had a lot of laughs. One night Mike took me to see Robin William’s at the Jubilee. Man did we laugh! Mike is an avid fisherman and can be found on the Bow River most days. Mike is also a fishing guide on the Bow River and his website is Bow River Blog and I can assure you he will provide you with a great and fun day or 1/2 day on the river and it’s very affordable and most of all it’s well worth it. The laughter alone , that Mike guarantee’s,is worth it.

 

 

A new pair of shoes

 

Walking the red road into a new way of life.

My shoes took me into deep dark places before I found A.A and recovery. Places where normal people are scared to enter. From crack houses to the local bar, the end was close for me on many occasions. My shoes were worn out and tired, deflated and ready to retire. They had stories to tell, mostly of where not to walk in life’s journey. They were cracked and torn, laces broken, very parallel to my life lived deep in the throes of full blown addiction. I would show up on old friends door steps, only for the door to slam closed in my face and the words uttered sternly “don’t come around here no more, you are NOT welcome”. Shame and humiliation kept me away mostly, but sometimes my shoes would take me back to borrow money to fuel the addiction that burned deep within, only to be rejected again and again! It was lonely in those shoes and I was tired of the places they took me, but for some reason I would always end up in the same situations, baffled as to why I was back at the start once again? An old song comes to mind when I think of those days, “these boots are made for walking… and that’s just what they’ll do, cause one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you”.

Addiction walked all over me, and everything I once loved or held dear to my heart. It crushed all my hopes and all my dreams into a million pieces. When I was young I had aspirations of becoming a hockey player, as well as a professional golf pro. I was good at sports, but really good at these two particularly.  I remember many hockey dads telling my mother, he is a star and he will make the NHL if he keeps playing. My mother could not keep up with the cost of hockey, being a single mother of two, and I hung up the skates around the age of twelve and the golf clubs went to the pawn shop around the age of eighteen. At the ripe old age of nineteen I was a full on pot head, using drugs on a daily basis, and by twenty one I discovered the wonderful drug Cocaine. By the time I was twenty three I had discovered the powerful and highly addictive drug, crack cocaine. Addiction never ran in my family, it galloped.

I can recount at least eight different incidents where I should have died from drug or alcohol related incidents, but for some reason the good Lord never wanted me to go early. One day while at work, I got a call from a friend who wanted me to come over and have lunch and “smoke a joint” before going back to work. My shoes were on and I went running. I ran across the street in front of my work and got ploughed down by a car doing 60 kilometers an hour. My head bounced off his roof and my shoulder went through the front windshield, I still have the scars to prove it! I spent a week in the local hospital but was lucky I had no broken bones and came out with a huge lump on my head, some stitches to my neck and a very badly bruised leg. You think that would have been the “turning point” they say we stood at, but unfortunately it was not.

I carried on for many years later and finally coming to that ultimate place of defeat. I woke up one morning, after parking on crown land near a golf course in the back seat of an old 50.00 beater I bought from a guy at work just before I lost another job. That was where I lived for a month before finally admitting defeat and driving to the local detox center for help. I was coming down off a five day binge and kept driving around the block where the detox center was located. I circled the block at least six times. I had the windows of the car rolled up tight and as I rounded the block one more time, debating to go into the detox center or leave and never go back, I saw a lady and her young son doing some yard work. I made eye contact with the young boy, who was about five years old. As soon as our eyes met I could hear him say, with the windows rolled up tightly, “mommy, mommy that man is in trouble”. I could hear his voice as if he were standing right next to me. I proceeded to park in the detox parking lot and go inside, never to drink or drug another day again. I spent three months in a long term treatment center and never looked back, never putting on the old shoes again. I walked out of that treatment center a changed man and then went straight into Alcoholics Anonymous. It took me approximately three months of hard work with a sponsor, to acquire a new pair of shoes. After landing my first job in many months, I went out and got myself a new pair of Nike’s and a new way of living that works, if you work it.

We still joke around about my first new pair of shoes to this day. That was the first sign I was going to “make it”. I have had many blessings in my life, both the people, as well as the material gifts I have been freely given as a result of those new shoes I slipped on back in 2004. There is hope for guys like me, who went all the way to the bottom, and decided to climb out with the hand of A.A to pull me up. There is a light at the end of that dark tunnel. If you want proof of that, step into the rooms of A.A and take a look around. There you will find many bright lights burning, and you will probably see a few with a new pair of shoes just like mine.

Sincerely,

A grateful member of Alcoholics Anonymous,

Mike Robertson.

 

The song this week is from Glen Campbell. Campbell is presently in a long term care facility in Nashville and in the final throes of Alzheimer disease . He played his last show in November 2012 and his daughter was in the band and by his side every show of his last tour, to care for her father who carried out the tour while early alzheimers was taking hold.

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1967

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2012

 

 

The quote this week is also from Glen Campbell.

“You’ve got to try a little kindness, yes show a little kindness Just shine your light for everyone to see. And if you try a little kindness, Then you’ll overlook the blindness Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets.”

 

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you’ll check it out again next week……

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

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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……….

Week 13

Easter weekend was a nice 4 day break. A mini holiday. We had time with family and we had time to relax at home and time to catch up on a few chores. Good Friday was a very quiet day for me but the following day, Saturday, was very busy but add a great Easter supper over at Debbie’s with family and friends and we ended up with a very nice day.

I have a few links I want to share with you this week. The first one is titled “10 Books to Read If You Are Looking For Your Purpose”. I have read 2 of these books. Now just because I am saying I have read 2 of the 10 suggested books doesn’t mean I found anything and I am sure to pick up another of these books soon.

10 BOOKS TO READ

 

This next link is a story of Courage and Faith and is taken from The Players Tribune

Players Tribune- Visiting Hours

Lastly is Naval Admiral William H McRaven addressing the University of Texas at Austin Class of 2014. It’s long at 19:26 but if you can beat back your ADHD it’s really worth the watch and listen. I myself just listened to it for my first time early this morning

Graduation Speech

 

The song this week is from David Gilmour of Pink Floyd playing “Wish You Were Here” on the Jimmy Kimmel Show this past Monday, the 28th. Gilmour is presently on a 4 city tour with the first two dates set for this weekend in Toronto. This song is from the album of the same name as the song ,released in 1975

Pink_Floyd,_Wish_You_Were_Here_(1975)

The quote this week is from Thomas Merton. Merton was a Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky.

“We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being. As a result, men are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have – for their usefulness.”

Thanks for dropping by and I hope to see you 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.

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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……………