Sh-Boom

Oh, life could be a dream (sh-boom)
If I could take you up in paradise up above (sh-boom)
If you would tell me I’m the only one that you love
Life could be a dream, sweetheart

Sh-Boom, The Crew Cuts (1954)

Over the past few years, there has been an ever-growing chatter as to whether our existence is real or just a simulation in some super powerful computer.  Reading these metaphysical discussions can end up causing an existential crisis of faith type moments in some people.  But that is only partly what this post is about.

Continue reading “Sh-Boom”

I’m not myself today

How many of you can say that they always honestly answer that basic question – how are you?  The usual response people give is “fine” or “good.”  But are you really being honest when you say that? Or are you just telling the other person what they want to hear so as to avoid awkward conversation?

May 1-7 is Mental Health Awareness Week.  Having known many people who have experienced mental health issues throughout their lives, I feel it is important that we break the stigma around talking about these issues.  I’m happy to say that my employer is on board with this initiative as well. For the second year in a row, we’ve partnered with Not Myself Today as a means of getting the communication going here in the workplace.  Being an insurance and health care organization, particularly one with nearly a thousand employees here at our head office, it’s important that we be open and honest about mental health.  It’s okay to not be okay.

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Many of our employees will be walking around with these mood buttons this week.

Being a Reiki Master, I understand the importance of taking care of oneself, of being mindful of how you feel and when you are feeling unaligned.  Yet despite this, I still have the same challenges.  Over the past few months, I’ve struggled with my job.  The work I do has not changed.  It has not gotten more complex or demanding; yet I’ve struggled with it.  I’ve realized that it’s a mental block that is in place currently.  My moods have been shifting, and I’ve felt down and with no drive.  I’ve lost some of the passion that I had.  I have found little interest in what I’m doing, and I feel it’s beginning to show.  It reached a high point a few weeks ago when I took two mental health days to stay at home and just get away from it all. When I returned to work on the following day, I had a mini panic attack at my desk at 9:30AM… not even 2-hours back to the office.

While mental health days are not always well-viewed in the workplace, I recognized that I needed them.  I needed to take a step back, reassess and find a way forward for my own well-being.  But those two days were not enough.  As part of my realignment process, I decided to take a couple more days this past week, but this time it was scheduled vacation time.  I headed off to do a 2-day silent retreat by myself at a site nearby called La Solitude.  My two days did me a lot of good.  I spent the two days walking through the woods, looking inward and trying to get back on track mentally.  No phone, no internet, no TV, no books.  Just me and my thoughts.  Scary, right?

This is an on-going challenge.  One that I will need to be diligent with and continue working towards finding the right balance for myself.  The couple of days of solitude did me worlds of good, but having now been back at the office for half a day… I can already feel some of the old mental state trying to creep it’s way back in.  And that’s okay.  I just have to be able to recognize it and talk about it.  It’s okay to not not be yourself.  But you need to ensure that you don’t lose yourself down that spiral either.  I’ve identified a few things that will help me on my journey.  I won’t list them here since they are the right tools for me, but not necessarily you.

Any of you reading this now, whether you feel that you truly are good or okay, or whether you’re feeling down, sad, grumpy, lonely, numb, etc… do some soul searching.  Listen to that little voice inside of you and find ways to turn things around.  Sometimes all it takes is to talk to someone.  Or find that one tiny glimmer of light/happiness/joy in your life.  It might be the smile of a child, the nuzzle of a pet, a thank you someone says when you hold the door open.  No matter what is going on in your life, there is some good.  It may not always be easy to see, but it’s there.  When you find it, latch on it it and nurture it.  Help it grow and spread it to others.  Maybe the act of holding the door for that person will be the one tiny glimmer of light in someone else’s life today.  Think about all of the good you can do when we stop focusing on ourselves and spread a little light in the world.

My name is Chris, and I am not myself today.  And that’s okay.

Chris

 

 

Disconnected

In my previous life, I was well-connected.  From morning til night, I found myself in front of a computer for nearly every instant that I was not working or sleeping.  Actually, even sleep did not always dissuade me as I’d often pull my laptop next to my bed in case someone would message me in the middle of the night.  (I did have friends in Australia, Europe and on the West coast after all!)  I would get up in the morning and the first thing I did was sign in.  I would get home from work – sign in.  I had even set up my apartment so that while seated at my computer, I could watch TV.  My life consisted of being online. I had become an extension of the internet.

It was during these years (the majority of my 20’s really) that I “disconnected” from the real world and connected electronically.  All of my friends were chat buddies.  I would spend countless hours in chat rooms, or just messaging my friends.  I’d communally watch TV with people, chatting about the show during commercials.  (How many “OMG can you believe that?!” conversations about Lost did we have Nat?)

hatch

LOCKE: Why don’t you want to go down there, Jack?

I’ve found myself, over the past couple of years, going in the opposite direction.  By becoming more “disconnected” from the online world, I am becoming more connected in the real world.  I still have my online presence, but it is severely limited.  Even my net-surfing is almost nonexistent.  There are 5-6 sites that I check once per day for various reasons (Facebook, email, local newspaper, wrestling news, t-shirts).  I’ve realized on a few instances that I hadn’t even been in to check my email in over 24 hours, which would have been unheard of a few years ago.  As another example, I started writing this post 2 days ago during my lunch hour at the office.  I just needed to sign it from home, reread and add a couple of pictures.  I didn’t touch the computer last night and had to force myself to finish this post tonight.

I’m wondering if this is something that is occurring due to my own life journey, or if it’s something we’re seeing more with my generation?  For those of you in your mid/late 30’s, do you see yourself having a smaller online presence?  Maybe it’s part of the fact that we’re growing up.  We’re in the age of having children, families, real world priorities.  Even in a world with constant contact via smart phones, I’m finding myself online less and less.  I’m even too cheap to pay for a data plan, so only use WIFI on my phone.  I just don’t see the necessity or value of having an internet connection at all times.

On our previous trips to Disney World, the one thing that my darling wife and I have loved nearly more than anything else was our disconnected rule.  From the time we arrived at the resort until we were on route back home, we did not go online (in actuality, we would turn off our cell phones all but for 5-10 minutes a day in case there were any urgent messages from family, which there never were).  We did not watch the news (or TV really, apart from Disney programming).  We did not look at newspapers.  We would completely disconnect from the rest of the world and live in the present moment – enjoying the magic and splendor that is Disney World.Cinderella's Castle - Magic Kingdom

On our last visit this past summer, things changed.  Disney has now moved to an online-driven account to book your reservations for restaurants and Fast Pass bookings for rides.  Their app would provide real-time wait times for the various attractions around the parks.  WIFI is available in all resort hotels and in the four Disney parks.  We caved.  We both brought our phones with us the entire time we were there.  While we did agree that we would not really “go online” other than the My Disney Experience app, both of us did.  While the trip was still amazingly fun, I did have a sense of sadness over the fact that we weren’t able to fully disconnect the way we usually do.

Next week, I’ll be heading to a silent retreat for most of the week.  No computers, no cell phones, no radios, no iPods, no books.  I am very much looking forward for this chance to disconnect once more.  Disconnect from the world in order to connect with myself; in order to connect with the universe.  I can’t wait for the experience. While some people are uncomfortable with this type of activity, I’m very much okay with it.  I like the introspection.  As a call-back to the quote above, this Jack isn’t afraid to go down there.

So what do you think, dear readers?  Do you think you could do it?  Could you cut off any and all communication and connection for a few days and just be with yourself?

Nose-Picking and Butt Stuff

If there is one thing that I can say about myself is that I am an observer.  I am always watching, listening, observing everything around me.  I tend to notice things that other people don’t.  Over the years, I have always delighted in picking up snippets of conversation of people that I pass by and wondering where the conversation was going or where it started.  Am I alone in doing this?

Occasionally, these little moments of conversation will spur on an idea or catch me in such  a way that I need to jot them down.  Who knows when you might find the perfect reason to use them?  I’ve started keeping a list of pieces of dialogue, ideas, characters, etc. with a hope that I can someday use some of them.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had three specific snippets of conversation that have stuck with me.  The first was by a 4-5 year old kid who said to another child “ça va faire mal à la butt-crack, Nicholas!”  It struck me as so funny at in the moment.  While I know what the context of the dialogue was, I’d rather leave it unspecified here and let you make up your own scenario.

The second was a day or two ago, walking through our building while at work.  “Just let me touch your butt.”  That was it. And they were gone.

The most recent happened today, again at work when I overheard someone utter the phrase “It never fails – every time someone gets up to ask you a question, you’re picking your nose.”

I don’t know that I’ll ever really need or have the opportunity to use these pieces of dialogue in anything I write, but I like to think that by sharing them with you all, you’ll at least imagine a scenario where these bits and bobs were being used.

Happy imagining!

gratitude rock

Appréciation

appreciation

Aujourd’hui, je suis très reconnaissant et appréciatif de tout ce que j’ai dans ma vie.  J’apprécie:

  • mon corps parfait dans son imperfection
  • ma santé
  • l’amour, l’amitié et l’accompagnement que je reçois de ma belle femme
  • notre vie en couple
  • notre belle petite famille avec Roxie
  • toute ma famille et mes amis
  • mon emploi
  • ma belle ville
  • le fait que je suis capable d’aller marcher pendant deux heures un vendredi matin le long d’une rivière, sans me déplacer
  • ma dualité linguistique
  • que nous pouvons nous permettre de retourner à Disney World dans 50 jours pour célébrer nos fêtes
  • que je puisse me traiter à un PS4
  • la musique qui m’entoure
  • le silence qui m’aide à apprécier le bruit
  • le bruit qui m’aide à apprécier le silence
  • ma belle, belle maison de lumière
  • tous les animaux qui viennent visiter notre cours
  • l’amour et la joie que je vois dans les autres autour de moi

En court, j’apprécie ma vie, comme elle l’est.  Parfois je dois me rappeler ce fait, mais de plus en plus, je le reconnais à tous les jours.

One step at a time…

 

Cue the Music

Music has played a large part in my life.  Growing up, my father was a music lover, so we always had a wide variety of music in the house, whether it be records or cassettes.  My music collection started fairly young with “Weird Al” Yankovic.  This progressed into various other genres and types over the years, ranging from Hard Rock/Metal to Alternative, to Pop, to Swing, to Jazz, to Blues, etc.  I’ve pretty much gone through the entire roster, with the notable exceptions of Country and Rap.  And while I do have a faint appreciation for very small samplings of these two genres, they aren’t my favourites.

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My name is Chris, and I am an addict

addiction
Addiction

It takes a lot of courage to admit that you have an addiction.  Admitting the problem is the first step towards recovery.  I’ve struggled with this addiction for many years.  It started out innocently, but slowly became something bigger than me – something that I just couldn’t control any longer.  That’s when I decided that it was time for me to do something.

Continue reading “My name is Chris, and I am an addict”

2016 – A Fresh Start

2015 has come and gone.  2016 is now nearly a full day old.  The year has started off well for me though.  My darling wife and I began the day with Pillsbury cinnamon rolls for breakfast, followed by a walk down the street to Starbucks for a drink – a grande soy chai with no water for me. (yes, I’m one of those people with a 5-word drink order)

While we sat there, each with a notebook and pen, I decided that I was going to skip the whole New Year’s Resolutions for 2016.  Why set myself up for failure?  Does anyone ever actually go through with those anyhow?  Rather than choose a resolution or two, I’ve decided to work in a more generalized way this year.  Instead, I will break things down into two categories:  “Do More…” and “Do Less…”. Continue reading “2016 – A Fresh Start”