Posts Tagged ‘Ignite the Future’

Recently we were blessed with the birth of our 3rd child. A beautiful daughter to throw into the mix with my two sons; bright, joyful and full of adventure. It is absolutely sweet to see the love they shower over the wee one. I think she is very lucky to have these two as her older brothers. Not to be coddled and kept from facing what challenges lay ahead for her. But to protect via their love, encouragement, support and unrelenting faith in her capabilities, of who she is and what gifts she brings to the world. They will undoubtedly drag her along on every adventure to be had, idea to be realized and story to be told. Or have to hang on to her coattails. Time will tell ;D.

When Ruhiyya was born, my sister-in-law Erika said to me “It’s interesting how with the birth of each child, there is a unique test that comes to us. I’ve thought about what it is those tests are meant to teach us. What is it we are meant to learn and develop, so we can give that to our child.” And then she asked me,  “What are you getting from her?”

I had to take a minute to think about it. Because I’m a very avid….. test chaser. Meaning, whenever tests come or I see a limitation in myself that needs some shaking up, I dive in head on to figure it out and discover what it is I’m meant to learn. Doing so requires a rather, abrasive process. Because we are going up against very uncomfortable, weak, dark, scared parts of ourselves, which our ego will do all it can to keep us from disturbing.

But I had never really thought about it in this way. I’ve always been a big believer that we learn so much from our children, from being parents. We grow in different ways that we otherwise wouldn’t have available to us. But I had never attributed a specific quality that I needed to develop, so I could then help my child develop it (you can’t give what you don’t already have) because that was what they were going to need as they carry on in this world. So I thought about it, starting first with my eldest.


  Stand For What You Believe In

A couple days before he was due, Olee turnedbreach (head up). We tried to get him turned. Wouldn’t budge. In the end my wife had to have an emergency C-section. When he came out at almost 10 lbs and a very large head, everyone was shocked and then understand why he wouldn’t turn.

If you try to force him to do something, he will root down and not budge. If he is given the opportunity to come to it himself, having been able to work it out for himself, he is more than willing. He is extremely observant and bright. No small detail escapes his attention, or memory. And if your answer to his question does not meet a level of depth and reasoning to his liking, he will ask “Why?” until he is satisfied. Makes you question everything you do and why.

At the time of his birth, I was a first time father, pursuing a career that was not at all stable or secure, seen not as a serious undertaking, but standing by my strong sense that this was the path I was to follow, while at the same time committed to being an active part of my family’s life.

He was sitting across from me when it hit me like a flood rushing over me. He’s needed me to learn to stand for what I believe in, because that’s what he will most need to learn from me as he discovers his gifts and makes his way in this world, fulfilling whatever purpose he finds himself drawn to. And to stand by it, believing what intuition has guided him to it.


 Pure Joyfulness

When Will came, he came in a rush. My wife definitely felt like this baby just needed to get out of the womb. When it was time, it was like “Let’s get this show on the road!” There was alot of uncertainty around whether he would come naturally, because Olee was a C-section. And our experience in the hospital after Olee was born was not the most Joyful experience (the dark cave we were put in, butting of heads with overbearing nurses, Juliet immobile, etc.). But Will was birthed successfully and if he could talk, I swear I would have heard him say “HELLO WORLD!!”. We both remember our time at the hospital after that as though we were staying at a Luxury resort.

And joyful he is. If people are feeling upset, he’s the first to smile. If people are feeling sad, he’s the first to try and get them to laugh. He is the first to wake in the morning, smile from ear to ear. He’s always giggling and laughing. He runs from one end of the house to the other constantly, as though on a wild romp. He loves to tackle and wrestle you. That kid’s fuel is joy. And he can run on it all day long.

At the time of his birth, I was feeling overworked, for little recompense, in a position I was finding uninspiring and suffocating. It was also in

the midst of my transition, as I prepared to launch my own business. Before I could do so, I needed to get out of the mindset I was finding myself struggling to stay out of.

I needed to connect with the joy of what I was pursuing. Funny enough, I later took a peek at the old blog and found the theme I had been writing about at the time (something had been ringing a bell). Turns out, it was Joy. ; )

He’s needed me to learn to find joy in all I do and to connect to it regularly, because that is what he will most need to learn from me as he discovers his gifts and makes his way in this world, fulfilling whatever purpose he finds himself drawn to. To stay connected to his fuel, that joy, as he does so.


 Serenity in the Hurricane

Ruhiyya’s birth was amazing. Juliet felt like she was in no rush whatsoever. She would come when she was ready. And when she did, from time the contractions started to the time she was born, 4 hrs. Yet the whole process was so calm, no rush, very smooth. The essence of serenity through one of the most intense experiences life has to offer. Family came to visit, everything as great. And then at the 6 hr mark, everything changed. Ruhiyya was having difficulty breathing. She was whisked away to emergency. She wasn’t absorbing oxygen. Could be a heart problem. Could be massive lung infection. Could any number of other major issues. And just like that, she had to get transferred to another hospital, to the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Lucky for us, we have access to one of the best Children’s Hospitals in the world. We couldn’t have asked for a more amazing staff of doctors and nurses.

When we were able to get over to the other hospital and finally see her, she was on breathing support, with tubes coming out of every which direction. And yet she was just so calm. Now mind you she was on some drugs to knock her out. But within a day, she was off them and still, so calm. She was getting stuck with needles left right and center. Nothing. Not a squeak. It blew me away. After 5 days she was home with us. She is so amazing. So calm, so content. Such a blessing to have with us.

There was a strength about her. An ability to take everything that went on around her in stride. When Erika had asked me what I got from the whole thing, what I was supposed to learn, for Ruhiyya, it hit me immediately, very visually in my mind, with the words: Serenity in the Hurricane.

Because I have a real affinity for storms. As a kid, when it was a white-out and was hitting -50 C, that’s when I was heading out to play. When the rain is coming down heaviest, that’s when I feel drawn to go for a hike. I am drawn to the “hurricane”. Not in the “I need to be in a constant state of crisis” kind of way. That’s not my schtick. But I am drawn to the challenge. I am drawn to always living on the edge of the storm, to step in whenever the opportunity presents itself, and discover a new facet of myself. But admittedly, while most close to me would say I’m very calm, patient and level headed through times of personal challenge, that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m serene.

And what she needs me to learn is that serenity. True serenity in the face if the storm. Something closer to the way I feel when I’m actually out in one in nature. Because that is what she will most need to learn from me as she discovers her gifts and makes her way in this world, fulfilling whatever purpose she finds herself drawn to. Not running away or stuffing her anxiety as far down as she can. But actually feeling serene as she stares straight into the maelstrom, ready to face what the storms may bring.

To my 3 dearest gems, among the greatest blessings in my life, I strive with whatever strength I have, however humble an effort it may be, to develop these qualities.

For you…for me…..for you.

Daring to Evolve,


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Our “inner voice” is immensely powerful. It comes in two frequency’s, with two seemingly opposing messages. In reality, however, two sides of the same coin. One from the head, one from the heart. But one overshadow’s the other. It’s smooth talking, very rational and knows every self-preservation button to push. It’s influence is old, dating back to our very beginnings. It is the voice that nullifies, decreasing the instances of risk-taking…..or perceived risk-taking. Thus ensuring survival.

Only, we no longer live in an age where the basic necessities for survival are barely available. We have every means to move beyond survive. We have every means to truly THRIVE!

Much of the perceived risk-taking is only the risk of standing out (previously a guarantee of being spotted by something that wants to eat you). But to truly tap into each of our unique gifts, that which only we can bring the value of to the world, standing out comes as a direct result.

The motivation, the drive and the inspiration comes from the other side of that coin. It’s power draws from the very emanating source of creation. It is alive, passionate and creative. It is also very sensitive. And despite its incredible strength and power to transform everything around it, it takes great effort to nurture it, to encourage it, to release it. To fuel it’s blazing fire with confidence means overcoming our deep rooted, genetic instinct to survive.

The fire of our life is at our beck and call, ready to spring forth. We need just embrace our desire to thrive and ignite….

Dare to Evolve,

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Part 7 in the series “Life is Like Climbing a Mountain”.
Sometimes we get a little sidetracked. No problem. So long as we eventually find our way back, and don’t dismiss what we learned along the way to enhance our progress along our path.

Dare to Evolve,

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Wrong mountain or merely the wrong hand placement?

Dare to Evolve,

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Rolling with the terrain…

Dare to Evolve,

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Today I saw a great video by my good friend and fitness professional/physical culturist/life liver, John Sifferman. He was performing CST’s Prasara Body-Flow to soothe his two week old son. Yes, while holding him. If you have Facebook, you can come check it out on my “Wall”. It was great to see and reminded me of a post I wrote a couple years ago on the old blog, Gym Jane, and felt it was still very relevant. So reposting it here for you today. Enjoy!

“Isn’t it great watching a baby, or young child, learn to move? It always seems to bring about such joy, laughter andamazement in those of us adults watching.

The other day, I was putting myself thru a session of training specific movements from Scott Sonnon’s Body-Flow: Freedom From Fear-Reactivity materials.  This stuff is great! In a nutshell, overcoming our blockages due to fear of making mistakes or facing the unexpected, thru movement exploration. Most of these specific movements are also basic components for Prasara Yoga.

You might wonder how relevant doing some movement exercises are to emotional blockages. The next time you head out, go for a walk, to work,  shopping or social gathering, take a moment to be aware of how those around you are carrying themselves, physically. How they are standing, walking, reaching, sitting. What you will most likely see is a wide array of variations. Then take a moment to reflect on the perceived state of mind those individuals are in. I know you can’t know for sure, this is just a little exercise. But you will most likely be able to infer quite a bit, just from the way people move. Even with friends and family, you can see the difference from day to day, depending on their mood. That’s because our body expresses physically our mental, emotional and  spiritual  states. Those states of being start to build habitual patterns of movement, which often develop into restrictive patterns of movement.  Then because we are limited in our movement and trigger pain when moving outside of that range (a positive survival mechanism from our body to help us identify what needs attending to), it starts to conversely affect our mental, emotional and spiritual states. Thus begins the cycle.

So by going thru specific movements that challenge our range of motion and habituated movement patterns, in a space that is meant to allow for mistakes to be made andunexpected events to occur, we create a break in the cycle. Why start with movement? Take a moment to think about how many times you’ve said ” I’m going to change  (habit), now.”  Now think about how “easy” it was to start and follow thru. Or about the amazing, immediate “results” and “success”. Okay yes, I’m being cheeky. But really, it’s dang hard! We can all relate how often we go thru that, if not on a daily basis.

To start with movement; a physical, tangible practice that doesn’t take a whole lot of thinking, just a get down on the floor and start doing it, start playing, provides an opportunity to successfully release blockage, with tangible results. And although the movements may appear simple at first (and don’t make any mistake, they are), you will probably be very surprised at how bound up, tense and hesitant (read: afraid) you are to allow yourself to  perform them. There’s that fear thing. You’ve now just stepped out of merely performing physical exercise and stepped into the arena of unhinging, unblocking, unbinding….everything.

So there I was, doing my Body-Flow practice, with my sons Olee (3 yrs) and Will (6.5 mths) taking part. Olee immitating me and spontaneously creating his own movements, rolling all over the place. Will, army crawling around at surprising speeds, and learning to move forward once he’s gotten up on hands and knees, followed by subsequent face plants. And both are doing it with the biggest smiles on their faces. It reminds me this is supposed to be fun. It reflects that we are all in a similar stage of physical discovery. Wait a sec…..that means for me it’s re-discovery. I’ve had this already. And therein lies the difference. They are just going with the flow, allowing it to lead them thru the process of unlocking their innate gifts. I’m actually a step behind, as I’m having to first learn to get out of my own way, to remove the walls and obstacles damming up my natural gifts and abilities to just go for it.

“Body-Flow is not something to be acquired, but rather something you will learn to avoid interrupting.” -Scott Sonnon-

Go for it, start the crawl, get out of your own way. You may be surprised to find what has already been there all along.”

Dare to Evolve,

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Recently I tested for my Black Belt. Well……my imaginary Black Belt.

After 5 years of studying Tae Kwon Do from two martial artists I truly respect and who to this day, I consider among two of my most significant mentors during my teenage years, I was invited (encouraged;) to test for my black belt. In our school, one did not request to test for black belt. Neither was there a schedule upon which you knew, after this many hours or this much work, you could test. You tested when they essentially felt you had already earned it. You were just required to show it formally, the final “pressure of the test” an acceptance of the honour and sealing the next step being taken.

Although my formal martial arts training didn’t start until I was 15 yrs old, like many of us I  imagine, my martial arts training began when I was young. It began with watching the Karate Kid and an assortment of other martial arts films. Hahaha. That’s okay. Let it out. On the surface it may seem kind of silly. But know that for many who read this, there is truth in it. Included were various medieval films or books, wherein knights and warriors upheld a code (whether established or personal) to which they dedicated their lives. With my upbringing and the blessing of an amazing family, a very strong spiritual foundation was also being laid.

So the principles traditionally upheld by martial arts were developing within. And lucky for me, they did not stay in the realm of theoretical. I was put to the test every single day. Whether it was in facing the extreme environment I grew up in or fighting for my life. Yes, “fighting for my life” might sound a little excessive. But on many an occasion it was the truth. Ego was squelched. Character was forged. Focus and drive ignited. And tempering it all into a productive maelstrom so it didn’t tear me apart. So when I finally came to Tae Kwon Do, I met with a physical expression of the internal process I’d already been undergoing for years.

The totality of what martial arts was “traditionally” used to develop, holds immense value for me. It means alot. More so than the style of the art practiced or the rank held within it.

As anyone would be, just getting the vote of confidence from those I admired and trusted, was uplifting and made me excited at the idea of testing for my black belt. In the end however, I didn’t test. There was another opportunity I was being invited to take part in, which when it came down to it, was also very important to me. And it wasn’t necessarily going to come along again. Whereas I knew I was a martial artist for life. The black belt will come. Well the next chance I had to test came around, simultaneously following in it’s shadow, a similar endeavour to the previous one that made for a very difficult decision. But just as before, this was in service to others and my black belt…..well, my black belt was for me. Once again, no test.

To this day I never did test for it. Do I regret it? Not one bit. I went with my gut and it was right on the money. Interestingly enough, I came to a sudden realization about a year ago.  That in part, though unconscious at the time, was the fact that I didn’t want to test for my black belt. Though others felt I had, I did not feel I earned it. For me, the black belt is a symbol of the time, sweat equity and commitment to mastery put in. And I had always felt like I wanted to put more time in, that I could do so much more and go so much further in my practice then I did. But I was involved in so many other activities, that the time just didn’t permit. And I hadn’t made it a priority. But finally, I got my chance to follow through in the way I’d always wanted to.

I’ve been training in Circular Strength Training (CST) for the last 2.5 years. I’ve been a trainer of CST for the last 1.5 years. When I came colliding into it, like TKD, I found a physical practice that complimented my internal process. Only this time, I knew what I wanted to put into it. I have trained myself in CST every…single….day, for the last 2.5 years. I have worked very hard to continue my mastery  of this system. With the realization last year that I felt I hadn’t earned my black belt test, also came the understanding that my CST practice was in fact my martial art. Everything I was pouring into it (and what I am continuing to gain from it) mirrored what martial arts is to me and has to offer us in our growth. And with that, acknowledging that, should my certification as a CST Head Coach with RMAX International eventually come to fruition, it would represent, for me, my black belt test.

I did not force my development through the Coaching stream. I pursued it further as I felt moved to do so, allowing my internal gauge of whether I’d put enough in, in my eyes, to at least attempt certification. After that it was up to my coaches. Frankly, I was detached from the result, as it wasn’t the title that was important. A few weeks ago, I came to my “black belt” test. A rigorous 5 day examination, for my attempt at CST Head Coach and TACFIT Team Leader certifications. My goal was to put my best foot forward, regardless of the end result. It wasn’t about earning my certifications. It was about earning the opportunity to test and that I did so to the very best of my current abilities. I felt I followed through on my end, and that made it a success. It was one of the most fulfilling weekends of my life.

And the best part about all this? It wasn’t just for me this time. Well it was for me, but it included doing it for all those I have trained, train and have yet to train. My further mastery of this system will continue to improve what I can offer others in their path to bettering their lives.

This humble attempt, for whatever it was worth, is dedicated to my TKD instructors Vlado Brisjc and Dana Rasiah, who saw in me perhaps more than I saw in myself. This is my following through and not leaving in vain, an invitation to go beyond. Thank you.

It is dedicated to my current coaches, Scott Sonnon, Ryan Murdock, Ryan Hurst, Brandon Jones, Joe Wilson and Jarlo Ilano, who have, each in there own unique way as dictated by their gifts, been instrumental in guiding me along, giving me the nudges that helped me stay on the path to exponential progress and growth, both personally and vocationally. Thank you.

Finally, it is dedicated to my Team. Fellow CST Head Coach Candidates John Wolf and Jeffery  Larson. To our fellow Coaches and Instructors, all going the distance with a common vision of bringing something to the world that goes beyond us as individuals. It gets there through us and what we each uniquely have to offer. But we do so together. Keep crushing it!

And yes, I earned my Black Belt…..well, my imaginary Black Belt. 😉

Dare to Evolve,

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