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Remembrance of Faith

“Dwayne … don’t ever loose your Faith.”  Uncle Carl Dobranski

Like most people, I have been Blessed with some very influential people in my life.  Some of those people are bigger than life itself.  Uncle Carl Dobranski was one of those guys.

He was a big strong man with a deep voice and huge hands.  Hands that you never wanted to be on the wrong end of.  Strong, confident and a good honest caring person.  He grew up on a farm, and raised his family on a farm.  Our farm was just down the road from his farm.  He was one of those guys you always wanted on your side, and you never wanted to let him down.  Just like he never let all of us down.

Uncle Carl served overseas during World War II.  From what I understand, he served for most of the war, signing up early and staying until the end.  When he came back he was like most that came back, he lived not to tell about it.

I used to enjoy sitting down and having a sip or two with him.  He would share stories and we’d laugh.  I loved the fullness of his laughter.  He would tell me how much he loved my Dad, and how much he missed him.  It was good to know someone else felt like I did.  He would always make sure that I left a little bit smarter than before we sat down.

On one of those visits, after a couple of sips of course, he opened up for the first time to me about the war.  He never went into any of the horrible memories that he must have had.  All he did was tell me in his deep voice that through all the hell, chaos, turmoil, confusion, despair and the feeling of vulnerability, he never lost his Faith.  He told me the only thing that got him through all that hell was his Faith.

He then looked at me and said … “Dwayne, don’t ever loose your Faith”.

I remember the feeling I had of never wanting to let him down.  I felt the pressure at that very moment when I wasn’t sure if I could make that big of a promise to him.  The confusion that I also felt, as the wheels of my mind were turning, wondering how on earth he could have maintained his Faith in what I could only imagine was total hell.

Uncle Carl passed away in 2000 at the age of 83.  It was an honour for me to be one of the six individuals to carry Uncle to his final resting place, next to his loving wife Auntie Mary.

I often think back to those words that Uncle taught me … “don’t ever loose your Faith”.

For a long time I believed that the meaning of having Faith meant going to Church to prove that I have Faith.  And when you are there give generously, that always proves you have Faith.  Be sure that everyone knows just how much Faith you have!

But what I am beginning to realize is that the Faith that Uncle was talking about wasn’t these secular types of beliefs.  Sure he believed in going to church, and in Christianity, and his Faith in Jesus Christ was an extremely important part of his spiritual beliefs.

What I am realizing is that Faith is not a tangible item that you just show up for.  Tangible Faith beliefs, are beliefs that are created by us humans who are challenged by our own personal valuation of Faith. Just like all of us are from time to time.  There must have been times that even Uncle Carl must have had his Faith challenged.

I believe that the lesson Uncle Carl was teaching me that day was to have Faith that God loves me.  That my Family loves me.  And that I have to love me.  Without Faith that you are loved, Faith is very easily lost.  At the same time that we find it difficult to love ourselves, we loose Faith in ourselves.  When we don’t love ourselves, we make it difficult for others to love us and have Faith in us.  Yes, even God must be challenged to have Faith and to love some of us some of the time!

On the battlefields of Europe, where it was so difficult to find love, those that survived had Faith that their Higher Power, their God, loved them.  That was what got many of them through those dark horrible days.

At this time leading up to Remembrance Day let us give thanks to those who have served.  Take time to honor those who have never let us down.  Express our heartfelt gratitude for their giving.

Let us have Faith that love will always prevail over evil.  Let us have Faith in each other.  Let us have Faith in our Higher Power, your God whoever that is to you.  Let us always have strength to love the you that you are.  Lest We Forget.


Complete the following to contact Dwayne.


In Flanders Field the poppies blow…..


 

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Impermanence

 Go Marauders!
Go Marauders!

Practice makes perfect – now there’s a saying that has been drilled over and over into everyone’s head over the years!  

The problem is that ‘perfect’ isn’t possible.  To achieve perfection in anything would in fact stop progress.  

So, why do we practice to be perfect?  Why do you want to stop growth?  Why is there this goal to stop progress?  If perfect isn’t possible then aren’t you practicing to achieve something that is not achievable?

We do not make something perfect by practicing the same thing over and over and over.  Practicing should be an attempt to make something better, and better,  and better, not make it perfect.  If your goal is to be perfect, then go ahead and keep practicing, maybe you will get there.  Wherever there is! 

But if you want to live and to grow then you gotta make new.  You need to view things with the mindset of impermanence.

What the heck is impermanence – was what I silently asked myself the fist time I heard the word.  I didn’t want to seem naive and ask for the definition.  That would be like asking for directions to get somewhere.  A real man never does that!  Especially when it’s your daughter using this fancy word!  So I did what every brave man and father now does – I Googled it!

Turns out impermanence is in fact a word.  Who knew!  And it’s a good word.  No wonder I didn’t know what it meant! 

Impermanence is one of the essential doctrines and a part of three marks of existence in Buddhism.  I have never purposely studied or practiced Buddhism. I have no idea yet what the three marks are.  But thank you Google and Wikipedia for helping me define impermanence! 

Impermanence, according to Wikipedia, is the belief that all things, whether material or mental, are compounded in a constant or continuous change of condition.  All things are subject to growth, decline and destruction.  All physical and mental events, state’s Buddhism, come into being and dissolving.  Human life itself is in a constant state of change.  As are our relationships with others, and with ourselves.  Everything we possess or own.  Our belongings and our space.  All things in the universe are in a constant state of change.  Makes sense, kind of like the Big Bang Theory!

Enlightenment comes when we realize that what appears to be permanent really is in a continual state of change.

Enlightenment comes when we realize that no matter how hard we practice to be perfect, we never are.  That’s because each of our definitions of perfection is in a constant state of change.  Even our relationship with perfection is in a constant state of impermanence.  Everything is impermanent, even permanence.  

Some of us spend our lives practicing to be perfect at something.  And because we are never able to reach that level of perfection, we are continuously letting ourselves down.  What failures we are for not being perfect! 

Get over it!  Humans were never created to be perfect.  We were created to be unique.  And through that uniqueness we are allowed to be impermanent.

The other truth, or enlightenment, is that by practicing to be perfect does not make new.  It just attempts to perfect something that already exists and is likely deteriorating.  

To continually attempt to make something that is impermanent perfect, is like wearing your old high school football jersey to your grandson’s prom.  The jersey likely no longer fits.  The numbers are falling off.  And the emblem on the front that you idolized in high school likely isn’t in the same condition as it was thirty or forty years ago!  No matter how many times you wear that jersey, and relive that big play in your senior year of high school, it likely still isn’t exactly how it was drawn in Coach Rink’s playbook.  The play you practiced over and over to make perfect, after all these years, still isn’t perfect. 

If your goal is to be perfect, then keep practicing, maybe you will get that touchdown yet!  Even though the game is long over.  

If you want to live though, well then you gotta make new!  You gotta move ahead with your own unique imperfect self.  Take pride and ownership in the creation of that special imperfection you call you.    

Because if you’re not moving ahead, Buddha says you are declining and self destructing.  And that picture ain’t so pretty!

 

In the end, only three things matter. How much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.

— Buddha

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Money is the Devil

 

Can you recall an experience in your life when an individual, or a group of individuals like politicians, have either received allot of money or gain the control of others money. More money than they have ever been used to being in control of.

Does the new found control of this money seem to put them out of control.  Do they loose control.

What happens when the money is gone and the wheels fall off?

Spending the money with no control or direction on how it may affect their’s or your well being. Or your knowledge. Without control the money is quickly depleted.  All the shiny pretty stuff no longer has meaning. The spending was just a crutch. And when the money is gone the crutch is ripped away. The individual or individuals fall hard.

If it was a group of people they may fall even harder and start blaming each other. They fight and they argue.  They have a negative affect on their families and their communities.  Lawyers soon get involved so that each person can prove that the other is wrong. The lawyers take what’s left of the money, and maybe even more.

The individuals end up losing more than the money. They have lost a part of their well being. Their health deteriorates.  Their friendships and loved ones disappear.  Whether the lawyers prove them right or not the reality is they have likely lost more than the money could buy.

The most important asset of all, time, has slipped past them like a thief has broken in when they weren’t paying attention and took it away from them.  Time can never be repurchased.

Yet they focus their negative energy on the money that was lost. And then they call the money evil. Or the devil.

Some people say that money is the root of all evil. They say that if it weren’t for the money they would be happy.  The reality is that money is money. It is a thing. When people give things life, without having a way to control it, the thing begins to control you.

How do you maintain control of things?  By practicing awareness and measuring the impact that the thing has on your health and well-being.  The well-being of your family and the wisdom that is gained through the benefit of having the money, or the thing.  And how you impact the lives of others through your generosity.  That’s how you maintain control.  That’s how you keep ‘the thing’ from controlling ‘the you’.

When controlled and measured by its impact on areas of importance – the money will just be a thing. It’s impact will last indefinitely if utilized and controlled as a thing.

Money is not the devil – those who loose control of it are…


0 comments on “Needing Variety to Survive”

Needing Variety to Survive

Despair can be created when you sit on the sidelines and watch life go by.  This despair is grown from a lack of motivation.  The study of human psychology teaches us that all human motivation can be as a desire to meet one or more of our six primary human needs.  If one or more of these primary human needs are removed from your life then despair will naturally fill it’s spot.

 The six primary human needs are:

  1. Certainty
  2. Variety
  3. Significance
  4. Connection & Love
  5. Growth
  6. Contribution

Today’s blog is on variety with a focus on variety in emotions.    

Variety is the need for stimulus and change.  Our human nervous system needs variety to survive.  Without variety the nervous system will slowly deteriorate, become numb, rot and die.  

The variety that we require comes in many forms.  Variety in relationships.  In experiences, challenges and knowledge.  Where you work or play also requires variety.  Without new challenges in your workplace your job will lack the stimulus required for you to survive in some way.

One of the powerful parts of our human make-up, or our nervous system, is our emotions.  Our emotional state is healthy only when we have variety within it.  We need to be sad to appreciate happiness.  We need to be happy to understand what sadness is.  Sometimes we need to get angry to achieve certainty.  Other times we need to be alone to value connection and love.  

These are basic emotions that we all need to experience.  Sometimes we experience them at a high pace like a pendulum swinging back and forth and back and forth.  One minute we are sad, then frustrated, then depressed then angry, then lonely then in love, not understood then pissed off.  And so on and so on.  Of course to much of a good thing, no matter what it is, is not always a good thing.  Some stability in our emotions is required – balance is the goal.

When asked the question – ‘What sort of continuous emotional state is of the most concern?’ – the majority of people will respond that a state of sadness or depression is the most serious.  Sadness or depression can become a severe problem when there is no variety in the emotion that will lead to happiness.  We see this often when someone looses a close loved one.  Nothing can be more devastating than the death of someone you love.  After all one of the basic human needs is that of love and death physically ends that love.  The spiritual, physical and emotional love that you receive from that person ends in that moment and it’s permanent.  Not being loved though does not have to end at that moment.

Another emotional state that is also of concern is one where the person continuous state of joy or happiness.  Expression of continuous joy and happiness without variety is almost non-human.  It does not reflect the true need of variety in our lives.  How one chooses to express themselves is of course their choice.  One of the happiest people of our age was Robin Williams, at least that is what we all thought.  That’s what he wanted us to believe.  

Sincerity in the personal expression of your own emotions is being true to yourself.  The one person of most importance to you should be you.  Sincerity of this nature will provide you with certainty.  Honesty to yourself regarding your own emotions will also allow others to bond with you in a significant way, in a sincere way, in a lasting way.  This sincerity will most likely lead to another of the basic human needs and that is connection and love.  Love for most people is the most important basic human need.  Love is needed from the time we are in the womb to the time we are in the tomb.  All progress begins with honesty.  Honesty of your emotions and the variety that needs to exist within them is a basic human need.  A basic human need that connects to all other needs.

So the next time you are at the edge of a mountain.  Sitting on your butt in the cold snow.  With a snowboard strapped to your feet.  Don’t lie to yourself that you are not concerned at all with what is over the edge of that cliff – that’s just plain stupid!  Stupidity gets us in trouble.  True expression of your emotions will keep you whole.  Tell yourself the truth and express the emotions that are attached to that truth.  

Don’t let fear keep you on the sidelines.  Approach whatever your fear is with honesty and a commitment to overcome it. Then slowly get off your butt, engage the capabilities that you possess and hang on tight for one hell of a ride!              


Whenever the pressure kicks in, I’ve been able to perform. That’s an athlete’s dream. It all makes me want to try harder and do better!

— Mark McMorris – World Champion Snowboarder