The meditation of Blessing during service at Unity Spiritual Community of Calgary Sunday was supposed to see the brilliant white light shine through and eliminate the darkness. Usually ease for me with meditation and visualizations (energy work too) … but on this morning what came through was the flickering of a fluorescent tube in a darkened stock room of some b reel horror flick of the 1980’s. Symbolism a bit of how I feel on this journey of neuro life that has changed my direction.  Considering the plausibility this may be a no win for me in my simple life mission of making my own little corner of this world a better place?

I changed the conditions of the test. I got a commendation for original thinking.

-Admiral James T. Kirk, Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan

To become command staff in Starfleet a test is needed so you understand that there inevitably will come a time when you will encounter a no-win scenario. A rescue mission turned into an ambush attack that ends with the destruction of your ship regardless of what you do to win.

Many days, especially recently, I feel like I am constantly taking the test. The No-Win Scenario. That which is to prepare you for a life lived where you cannot always win. The test that is supposed to get leaders used to losing their crew. Or for those in non-life and death service, a test that is supposed to get one comfortable with failure. Think in the world of equipping/mentoring/training. We learn concepts such as “catastrophizing”- once you have worked through the worst possible outcome how bad can it be. Or, failure is where learning is done.

kmYet, what is missing with these and other adages (I am sure you have your own). The concept that perhaps there is nothing that is a no-win. In coaching we talk about the coach rolling with the resistance, so the client can work through what is holding them back from their potential. In a way the resistance is the test, it is the no-win. When we roll with it, re-frame, and use powerful questions we cut through the B.S. (belief system) of the individual on what they truly mean by win or success. What is it this situation needs to look like for you to be able to live into it, live through it or walk away from it with your integrity and youness intact.

Essentially, we, you and I, are like Cadet James T. Kirk. We are confronted with the Kobayashi Maru, and we can take it as we perceive the universe has laid it out for us. As many millions of cadets of life have taken it before and failed, learning the no-win.

OR

nowin

We can do what creates ripples of change. That is change the conditions of the test. Seek that commendation for original (heart/intuition) thinking.

What do you have to lose?

Nothing more than the flickering fluorescent light tube. Nothing more than the rock in the pit of the stomach when your ship is destroyed.

What do you have to gain?

What does the turning the no-win into a win for you look like?

What conditions of the test you are in need to change?

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A wise old Electrician once told me, discover what you love, then if you can find a way to make a living at it. Or at the very least make enough to live while you enjoy your passion. It wasn’t empty talk, that electrician was my Dad. Him and my Mum (the Candy Lady at our Co-Op) ensured that both their kids could pursue their interests, wherever the muse may take them. For I believe they knew in pursuit, was discovery that in this world, we are all the same, as well, in the pursuit and discovery you not only find yourself, you find what fills your soul and can keep you going even in the darkest nights of the soul. In one of the acknowledgements in a book of mine I wrote a thank you to my Dad for taking me to all the different writing groups and courses in my life growing up, even if they were only able to be found in spots that if my Mum had seen them would’ve caused her a heart attack. Writing is one place I have found belonging. Growing up, I also enjoyed law, politics, was apart of Junior Achievement, Future Entrepreneurs of Canada, took the Dale Carnegie Course, and could openly pursue my inquisitive nature into spirituality. Also, my geeked out moments around movies and comics. My folks did not set limits on us based on any assumed societal label, I still have the copy of King Arthur and his Knights my Dad scoured the city for when I was in grade 3, because I had come home sad after my school informed me I was not smart enough to read it.

It is lived experience that has led me to ask the questions in this title in my life building outreaches, ministries and programs. In working integration work alongside individuals leaving institutional life. They can be hard questions to answer. I have found we have  a tendency to over program. Even working with youth from across socio-cultural-religious spectrums, some of the answers I would get started with “My parents registered me for…” not a “well I enjoy doing…”

I look to my own children. I know we are judged by some because our children are not overly programmed. They have hobbies and interests. They have personality, and we figure out how to support that. My daughter loves art, writing, math, Harry Potter, animals and gaming. My son loves animals, his dog, reading, and movies. Can you guess the labels society has placed on them by how they answer the questions in the title? Good. Why should that matter.

Belonging is about discovering what brings us together, fills us up, and makes a better home, community and world. Inclusion, accessibility and welcome is ensuring the spaces with the proper understanding, physical accessibility and individual supports exist for that to happen. When authentic belonging happens, and is replaced by rampant programming we see and live in the 21st century the result.

Out of hurt, anger and burn out comes isolation, hatred, anger. Barriers imposed and created by whatever labels can be thrown out. Common ground is scorched and salted like a raised village in a war myth of old. Hence the rise of neo-nazism, terrorism, extremism, fundamentalism, entrenchment, ableism, barbarism, addiction (pick your destroyer that seeks to fill the void of not belonging, yet uses the language of belonging–the snake oil sold to the mass).  For it is seen in the now, where the algorithm chooses your knowledge that:

Better to destroy before I risk the loss and hurt and joy and love of belonging.

                For what happens if I honestly seek to answer what is my Hobby?

                I may meet my neighbour as a whole person, not a separating label.

Worse yet, one I may have always avoided may become, My FRIEND.

There is no longer Jew or Gentile,o slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

-Apostle/Saint Paul, one who used to live into the labels discovering and sharing the freedom of belonging

-Galatians 3:28 (New Living Translation)


As some may be aware, the spiritual book group that we host in our home with Universal Church of the Master Alberta, chose as the follow up to the Aquarian Gospel, the Qur’an. The Ahmaddiyya mosque was graceful enough to provide a missionary in the early days to answer some questions, and free copies in English for us.

I have read the Qur’an myself, but this quest is better because these texts were meant for discussion, as all the texts in the Abrahamic Traditions are. By Abrahamic I do subscribe to the spectrum of Christianities; the rainbow of Judaisms, the branches of Islam. As well those anthropologically that have roots in these traditions but now can be viewed as their own religion– Jehovah Witnesses; Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints; New Thought; some veins of New Age; Spiritualist; some veins of Metaphysics; Sufism and I am sure there are some I have missed. Yes the texts are written down, but they truly come alive when we understand genre, intended audience, historical background, and then let the current life context breathe spiritual life into these ancient words for us today.

To remember this, sometimes one must step off their usual path of spirituality. Or in the images of Rev. Matthew Fox, take a sip from another’s well.

That is what this quest has done. Refreshing water. Nothing astoundingly new. The language of the text into the first four Suryas is written in contrast, contractual and devoutly covenant between Allah and all those testaments of the people of the book that came before. While discussing, reading and discovering on this quest we see parallels between the Hebrew Bible, Christian Testament, and Eastern spirituality.

I encourage each of you to seek the story that resonates, but never be afraid to sip from another’s well. Within that new water may be the taste to replenish your well…

anew.


The Rambler (2013) Movie…it was one of those discoveries in the Calgary Public Library catalog…so we are out no money (thankfully), and we were on the cusp of turning it off at the 15 minute mark we were about to do the usual “we are done, move on.” when that little sparkle of intrigue kept us going..and… well if you want a movie that leaves you thinking “WTH did I just watch?” then we present the Rambler to you.

Rostered On great comedy series being streamed on Netflix Canada. Believe it is out of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Faux Documentry style around the life of minimum wage workers, corporate culture and manager levels. Those that work their for a living, those that work their to make ends meet while propping up a passion and family. Really a good look at bursting the myth minimum wage work is only “entry level teenager jobs” that the Right-wing-(un)fiscal conservatives try to pop out. It is also funny as hell.

Star Trek: New Visions by John Byrne (IDW Publishing)-Okay 21 issues in I am late to the purchase party here. It has intrigued me seeing it on the shelf, but the price tag is a bit daunting ($7.99 USD, which with conversion at one local shop here + tax was $10.83). Why is it an intriguing merger of artistic forms? Byrne (yes I remember going to the original comic cons in Calgary at the Carpenter’s Hall where he would spend hours with us few huddled geeks) carries on the original 5 year mission. It is a photoplay, images from sci-fi and the original television series to tell stories in a hybrid photo essay/comic book/television medium. It was a curiousity, it was fun, and yes issue 21’s team up of Kirk and Kor was fun (the back up feature on Pike’s Enterprise and H.G. Wells was also fun). I would encourage you to track down a copy at your local comic shop, or a collection at your book store. If your local shop doesn’t carry, ask them to order you issue #22 coming out in June.

Broadchurch- 3 and done (currently streaming on Netflix). It is what I appreciate about the BBC. They do not flog shows until what made them special ends. Yes I would love more of the mystery solving duo of Hardy and Miller. I cannot reveal much of these 3 seasons, 24 episodes without giving away too much, but here is what you need to know. A big city DI moves to a small sea-side town of Broadchurch whose usual big crime is drink driving or vandalism…then a local 10 year old boy is found dead on the beach- homicide. Suddenly the journey through loss of innocence, media, and the cycle of change/grief is tracked throughout the 3 seasons. Watch it with friends so you can talk about it.

Sometimes pop culture illuminates…sometimes it challenges…sometimes it is fun…sometimes it is all of the above.

-30-

 


A bit of humour in Brad Meltzer’s story faster than a speeding bullet celebrating 80 years of the Man of Tomorrow, the Man of Steel…from fighter of social injustice to crime to war and back again. I do not have to go into full out fan boy geek mode.

First all, I want to give the 1000th issue a full 10/10. I had to go track one down as I believed Amazon that the Action Comics 80th anniversary deluxe included said issue, but no, it did not- bad Amazon. BUT find I did, and $10.00 CDN + GST not so bad for what I would sum up as a fun romp through who Superman was, is and will be (and yes the trunks are back).

But here is a ponderer for you dear reader (and I encourage you to buy the issue and read it!!!): Who inspires you?

At the end of the day who has renewed your hope in humanity? Shown you the good?

Who are your heroes?

For that is the question Lois poses to Clark at the end of his day, for who that day was the one for him. The one that showed the good summation of humanity.

Who showed you the good today?


The winter was endless

Had thirds and fourths even

extreme cold…thaws…slush

drips to ice ponds

statue contracting and expanding with each weather change

the melt was swift from the flower bed

the Patron collapsed onto a stone

shattering in allegory

to the stigmata that claimed him in life

peering down

picking up the pieces

watch as they fall into the rubbish bin

sometimes saying good bye

or leaving one chapter to the next

you may not hold the ritual for…

but Mother Nature, Father Time

conspire to provide

the ritual you need.

 


Vulcan, AB. A small prairie town that a few decades ago realized the greatest tourist option ever— the birthplace of Spock. For a Trekkie a great place, they have an information star base with souveniers and once every few years we go by and I pick up a few new things. One year my Dad’s day gift the kids got me a preaching hoody “Keep Khan and Klingon”. This year my daughter who wants to be a veterinarian got herself a doctor t-shirt; and my son got a shirt with a Spock head made from a famous McCoyism “are you out of your Vulcan Mind?”

One of the t-shirts from the 50th celebration sums up though the small minded ableism/elitism of the world, and how I feel in the fray. A caricature of McCoy with a word bubble, “50 years, Damn it Jim I am tired.”

Why you ask?

Because I see my son as a miracle worker, things he was not supposed to be able to do due to his blessings of life (tri-spastic CP, Epilepsy, ADHD, Global Delay)–well to quote Brad Paisley’s song– he’s been crushin’ it and breaking glass-kicking ass. Beside where my daughter got her t-shirt that looks like an original series medical/science uniform…they had an engineering one.

scottyThe fabled and joked in pop culture Red Shirt. My son, who I see as Scotty what a perfect gift, yet I didn’t. Why? Simple, I let the elitist ass hats get in my brain and stop me. Years ago my son so loved Superman that he wanted to be him for Halloween. He got the suit, and was so happy with his cape trailing after his wheel chair. And… adults ruined it for him in their nastiness.

“How could he mock Christopher Reeve so?”

“What a hateful costume?”

Really? A child (in a wheelchair) wanted to be Superman and you caused him to cry.

ac3Now another time to celebrate him, and I let these haters get in my head… I did not buy it because I did not need the negative “you know the red shirts always die first” crap. Not seeing beyond the scope and picture. Uhura was a red shirt. Scotty was a red shirt. The ones that beat the odds.

So yes, I am tired that they finally wore me down. I am tired that I let people like the Halloween haters win. The hateful families that had pushed us out of churches. The Minister that raged at my son from the pulpit. I am tired that in a moment I let them win.

I am tired, but I think another road trip to Vulcan is do.

Why?

Damn it Jim, the idjits aren’t going to beat us.