The Therapeutic Effects of Beer and Weed

Hi Bloggers, disclaimer. I do not support the regular use of recreational drugs. They can be damaging, especially to a young mind.

However, I’ve taken the odd toke. And yeh, I inhaled!

And coughed, and smoked too much in my younger days and had a lot of really fun and weird experiences. But that was back then….

So the previous occasion for me, was about 5 years ago. I was hanging with a friend and a joint came out. Ok, I thought, why not? It was chill. I giggled a bit. When I left that place to return home, I kinda bounced down the street, feeling high as a kite. Probably laughing to myself most of the way! ok, cool.

So recently, in Oh-Canada, the stuff is legal. Anyone can buy and consume it. Yay!

Ok, so with friends, I had been at the pub. After a few beers, I was feeling a little sudsy, that’s for sure. I got invited over to a friends house, and out comes this big bong. It’s pretty mild, he says. Ok, so why-the-fuck-not? Right?

I toke back, I coughed a bit. Nice feeling a little lighter. He told me before it was more of a body stone. I agreed. I felt it in my body. In a kind of nice way, like becoming more hyper aware of body parts but in a nice way. It was just – chill…

So, yesterday afternoon – snow day, the place is frikkin jammed with snow everyfuckingwhere… so I didn’t go to work.

Phone goes off, text from friend ‘hey so and so is having some ppl over for drinks, come over’. So I asked my Mexican flat mate if he wants to head, and off we go.

A couple of drinks in, and out comes this peace pipe. ‘It’s pretty mild, this stuff’ says our host. Ok, why the fuck not? Right?

Have a toke. Ok, cool, have another, pass it on. Cool.

Maybe 10 minutes later my other buddy says ‘how fuckin stoned are you?’ I was feeling a bit giddy for sure. We were laughing. Other buddy said it was mild, but first buddy was saying ‘that’s not fucking mild, I’m wasted, lol’.Image result for laughing gif

So that’s when the laughing fit started for me. Imagine about 6 people in a living room. A couple of Americans, a Canadian, us Aussie Canadians, two dogs, and just a whole lot of stoned bullshit being talked! I fucking laughed.

I had to leave the room. This was ridiculous! I spent a SOLID TWENTY minutes laughing to myself in the boot room at the back. Every time I tried to return to the living room I could hear everyone talking shit and I just restarted my laughing fit.

So, what did I get out of that? Sometimes, you just need a little circuit breaker. I take everything so seriously – my life, my relationships, my work, etc. Sometimes, its ok to just have a beer or three and have a toke and laugh your arse off!

Cheers, and Namaste!

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Sunday Musings, and Other Random Bullshit

Hi Bloggers, it’s almost mid February. I turned 44 this week, quite a milestone, eh? The winter here in eastern Canada is dragging on, but the days are getting longer, and soon enough the spring will be upon us.

Image result for happy birthday mother fucker

This morning, a beautiful bright sun greeted me. I rose early enough, and drove to my gym for a morning work out. I thought about having a swim, but decided that I was good with just the workout, so I said ‘fuck it’. It’s nice to do that sometimes ;).

Friday – the day of my birthday, a friend had offered to cook me dinner. Based on some missed communication and a longer than expected work day, when I arrived at the house, she had left to drop off her daughter somewhere. That would have been ok, except that I would have preferred to stop at my place to get a change of clothes as it was more or less on the way from my long drive home from work. So I drove the extra 15 minutes to return to my place to get changed… where I promptly had a nap, for a couple of hours. I woke to receiving several texts. Not happy ones…

My activities were not appreciated. Yes. I completely shit-the-bed. Not literally, but figuratively. I should add that there was some correspondence during the day and I mentioned that i wanted to stop at my place, and she insisted that i should come right over after work, and I expected her to leave at 8 pm (as she earlier said she would), and I was there at 7.10pm, so I did not expect to miss her….

She was quite upset that she had prepared an evening, and I just dropped the ball. I felt like a proper turd. She messaged me with a bunch of wtf’s etc, and I didn’t have much to add, other than, ‘I’m sorry’.

So, here I am, on my birthday, with a pissed off friend, and all of that, lying in my apartment bed, alone.

Something’s not right.

So I got up, and went over. When I arrived, she wasn’t at the house. Ok, what’s this about? I thought maybe she went out, maybe she was mad. I messaged her. She had gone to pick up her daughter, from the event that she dropped her off at earlier. ok. I waited.

I walked up and down the street a few times. It offered me time for reflection. The cold wind was blowing, I was dressed adequately, but still, the cold air permeated my pants and got in around under my jacket. The road was icy and slippery, so I had to really watch my footing as I negotiated my foot falls on the road.

The stars were bright in the sky. The clouds moved overhead with astonishing speed. There was such clarity. Not only in the sky, but in my mind. I could clearly see the big dipper, and the little dipper, and Orion. I mused that its amazing that I am here, in Eastern Canada, at the opposite end of the earth from where I came. As a side note, in the southern hemisphere you can see Orion, and you get to see the southern cross, whereas there, you can’t see the big or little dipper.

It was a sort of clarity, at least. The kind of momentary clarity that allowed me to see, and feel, and be, and just be ok. Despite the upset of the evening, I was still just ok, with being where I was at that moment.

My friend got home. As she left the car in the drive way, we didn’t say a word. I went into her room, put my things down, and didn’t say a word. We didn’t talk, didn’t touch, nothing. It was a kind of a tense stand off meets passive acceptance….

In the morning, her hand reached out. We held hands. At some point maybe we hugged, but that was it. No big romantic gestures, no intimate passion, we just started to talk. She said ‘let it go.’

Pretty good advice, I’d say!

My Tele – One guy’s love affair.

She/he waits for me. It has been too long. Way too long. We were the best of friends. I could take it out and play with it any time. I would practice for hours. We made beautiful noises, sometimes awful noises. It was a solid friendship of wood and steel and metal meshed with art and love and wonderful caress and power and obnoxiousness and sweet melody. tele

I would strap this thing on, like a musical erection…. I would strut, and buck, and work it like a crazy mother fucker. I would bend and crouch and ram it at who the fuck I liked. Because that was me. Just me. Tight jeans, fitted shirt. Attitude. Rebellious. Sexy. Dangerous.

Sing. I would sing. Get your mouth on the mic. Press your lips against the warm metal of a Shure SM58. A smell of smoky cigarettes, alcohol, saliva. Someone else’s saliva. Where had this microphone been? It felt, just a little bit, wrong.

All eyes on me. I owned the fucking room. Yes, but sometimes I ate humble pie too. Fuck up with this thing and you could crawl under a rock. Some of my best moments for sure, and some of my most vulnerable. Plug in, turn up the volume. That dirty hum of an idle pick up. Turn a little and the feedback hum grows. Pick and strum. Overdrive. Omg, overdrive. The stuff of rock and roll.

The bass and drums groove and the venue’s sound system pumps this shit out at plus fort volume. You can do so much with just a guitar, bass and drums. It is the essence of rock and roll. Add some keys and voila. Fuck yeah! She/he is a demanding instrument. Get it right, and you’re a rock star. Fuck it up, and you look like an amateur, all in the space of a heart beat.

Better practice, hard son.

I got her/him out the other day. Caress the curves. A half committed polish of in discriminant parts. Smell, feel, taste. Remember.

I will be back for you, and I know you still love me. Not like that human love that gets all kind of fucked up but a real kinda there-when-you’re-ready love, like a willing musical whore.

A Short Essay on Mindfulness….

Hi Bloggers,

Mindfulness. It’s a word that gets tossed about and if you go to any magazine shelf in your local pharmacy you will probably see at least one publication with a title that speaks to mindfulness.

This by no means will be a scientific discussion, or an expert psycological opinion. I’m just a guy who lives like you do, with all the stresses and hopes and dreams and embarrassments, and all that other bullshit. I promise to ‘keep it real.’

See the source image

How did I first come across this topic? I was doing a business coaching session, and was lucky enough to be put into contact with a lady who practiced meditation twice daily since she was injured and used it for pain management twenty years ago. The coaching was supposed to be about business, and teams, and all that other shit but honestly I just wanted to talk about the things going on in my life, because that’s what I needed at the time, and she was very gracious in being open to talk about all sorts of stuff.

So I thank her, because she gave me a gift. Why? Because for my whole life I have suffered from anxiety. Sometimes crippling anxiety. Sometimes it affected my work, my relationships, my ability to enjoy ‘just being’. The triggers, cause and effect, or particular experiences are not for public discussion, and so I won’t go into them here…

So getting to the bottom line, meditation, and mindfulness freed me from my own internal anxiety ‘engine’. You cannot begin to understand how important that was for my life. I would describe it like this: before practicing meditation, my anxiety levels would fluctuate, and could be any where between zero, and say, absolutely panic ridden, in a particular timeframe, depending on the situation and the activity that I was engaged in.

After meditating regularly, I found that it had generally two effects: one being that my anxiety ‘levels’ were generally much better regulated, and two, that if I had a moment, the severity would be generally less. Think of it as one of those seismic meters, and if you drew a line over which was a peak threshold for comfort to panic, I found that I don’t reach that line much anymore, ever.

But there was other tangible benefits also. Specifically, those migraines that plagued my existence every 3-4 weeks forever dissipated. Typically I would have a decent one every month, and be bed ridden for 24 hours every 3 months. They have all but disappeared. I still get headaches. Any migraine sufferer will tell you, there’s a big difference! Also, moods in general are better moderated – particularly getting angry or wanting to lash out.

But it’s not a magic pill. I still spend plenty of time dealing with internal dialogue/life challenges and I dwell on unhealthy things, and yes, sometimes I might have a patch of anxiety here or there. But I will say, that I would never go back to where I was, ever.

Ok, if you’re thinking ‘sounds great, but I don’t get into buddhas and yoga and shit’ or ‘I don’t have the time for that’, I think you may be really missing out. It is a discipline. It does take some time. I suggest a session of about 10 minutes 3-4 times per week. Don’t let a bunch of new wave ideas, or complicated concepts put you off.

It’s this simple:

Stop. Sit or lie down. Quiet space is best. Just be. Don’t fight your thoughts. Allow them to come up. Allow them to pass. Be here, now. Don’t be preoccupied by your dinner plans, or late rent payment. Just be, here, now. Focus on the breath is a good way to remain present, here, now.

Sometimes things come up. Sometimes, you have to work through some stuff that you’ve been hanging on to. Be open to that experience.

I have found that even in my most turbulent or troubled times, I have NEVER come away from a meditation session feeling worse about an issue or person. I am almost always likely to come away with a greater sense of empathy, and be a little less judgemental.

There is a book called ‘Full Catastrophe Living’ by Dr Jon Cabot-Zin. I was referred to this book when I started and its a good reference. He pretty much wrapped up the medical benefits etc in his studies over the past 30 or 40 years.

Give it a go. Really! Good luck!

Learning French – 12 months in.

Hi Bloggers,

Learning a new language is a real life long endeavour. When I moved to New Brunswick, one of the reasons that I wanted to come out here was that the Province is officially bilingual. On a more practical level, there are many people here who speak the language as a first language in the home, or a second language by way of education or for their work.

So, my approach to begin with was pretty basic. I attended some lessons at the local university – just a Monday night community class. It was not absolutely earth shattering, and if nothing else it was a commitment, within myself that I was going to do this and do it seriously.

My intention when I began was just to be able to have a conversation in french. No big agendas, just to be able to talk back and forth about simple things. Realistic enough. Ok, 12 months on, and the report is in… I can speak french! Ok, its not fantastic, and anyone who is francophone will realise my limitations in the first minute, but I can understand and be understood.

 

By no means, am I ‘fluent’. I am ‘semi-fluent!’

This is a big undertaking. A new language is not something you take on lightly if you wish to be successful and learn enough to be able to use the language in a practical manner. If you want to know how to order a coffee on vacation, and that’s enough for you, then ok, good luck.

I have gone through several stages/iterations of learning. One must realise that this isn’t easy. I have put literally hundreds of hours into reading, speaking, watching, listening, having conversations, listening to conversations, etc.

If anything, its very humbling that I don’t understand more than I do. But never the less, I learn fast and I find that every couple of months I break a new plateau in my learning curve.

At first I thought I would just like to be able to speak. Along the way I realised that this is a major limitation in two ways – you need to be able to read in order to learn and make use of the language, and secondly, without writing skills, you are seriously limiting your abilty to communicate.

Here’s my rock solid recommendations on how to get it done: Ecoute bien, tout le monde.

  1. Get some french books, such as Collin’s French Grammar and Practice, or French Demystified, or Painless French. Read, write out the phrases. There is NO substitute for study. None. Just accept that.
  2. Listen to radio broadcasts, or tv news in french. Absorb. Breath it in. It will make NO sense and first and you will hate it. Gradually, so gradually you will hear some words repeated, and soon you will be able to follow along. Its not a short process!
  3. Speak. You will make tons of mistakes. You will feel like a fool. Just do it! Find people who speak the language, and be prepared to test their patience!
  4. On point 3, have as many conversations in french as you can. Ask, ask, ask. Find those who speak the language!
  5. Watch youtube. Lately I have been watching TEDx talks in french. There are tons of videos in french, some with sub titles.
  6. Write. Write. Write. Copy phrases, use google translate. Get it on your phone. Text message with a francophone.

Above all, be prepared to have this thing kick your arse. There will be days when you feel like you got this, and other days where you feel like you know three words. Its the most humbling experience of my adult life!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tonight’s hot yoga, and my dream of the buhddist temple.

Hi Bloggers,

Tonight I got down to the yoga studio for some hot power flow. Man, was it hot in there. The class was packed. It was one of those sessions where I sweated so much, and it was so hot, there were moments when I thought I would pass out rising to mountain pose after a flow or a fold.

I drank plenty. I remembered the conversation I had with a lady out front before class, just breath, lower your heart rate, and you won’t sweat so much. I’ve never heard such bullshit, but it kept me going.

When I was totally overheated. When I was sweating like a stuck pig. When I was wavering, I gave in to the yoga. Cause that’s what you gotta do.

And when you give in to the yoga, you let all your shit go. With the purge of sweat, there is a release of all the negative bullshit that you’ve been hanging on to for days, or weeks, or years.

And so, to my dream. I’ll keep it short… anyway, in a scene, I was holding, hugging my daughter. She was younger, maybe 4 years old. I was hugging her and holding her and there were other people there – like family friends. They saw me as a single dad, and I got the feeling they felt that I was ‘doing the best I could do’. It was beautiful, tangible. I could feel my daughters hug. In real life she lives about 12,000 miles away. 

In another scene I was inside a Buddhist temple. There were these pipes of metal but like brass up on the walls. There was something causing a vibration from a distance, and these pipes made a sound, almost like a chant from a monk. Then I was seated. I could see someone blew smoke rings. I sat and the smoke rings went over my face. I was left with the most surreal relaxed and content feeling I could imagine. I woke up feeling so calm, so at ease.

After I woke, I called my daughter and told her about my dream. It was really nice!

Yoga, sunshine, freezing weather, and the most important words an absent father can hear from his daughter…

Hi Bloggers, I’m writing this from a kind of make shift desk in my bedroom in my apartment. It’s an old building. There is a lot of stained wood – all the trimmings, a fireplace with mantel (the fire place is not functional), and wooden floorboards. I don’t know the age of the building, but I’m guessing it’s 100+ years old easy.

I sometimes think about the scenes that might have played out here. I’m told it was a doctors or lawyers office and more recently a quilt shop. Way back before any of that, it was a house occupied by some Loyalists (those who sided with the Brits) during the English/French territorial dispute in Eastern Canada.

Image result for sunshine and snow

It’s been cold this weekend, like around -17C, with a wind that provides for a nasty wind chill. Walking around the city streets is frosty. I’ve lived in a lot colder, in Western Canada, but heck, -17C with a wind is fekin cold enough. The days are short. The nights are long and cold, and driving to work in the dark, feels like a grind.

So, along with the usual stuff that a guy going through a divorce deals with (money, lawyers, bills, etc), there’s been the usual life challenges. Not really important, other than to say sometimes its hard to see the bright side.

So I did my yoga on Saturday. I made it down for the 9am power flow class. It was good. I did not get really spiritual. I sweated a bunch, as usual. I’m nursing a shoulder pain so I was really testing the waters to see if it had settled down any. After class I showered and toweled off and got on with my day, which was just, hmph. I did get a swim in which was pretty decent.

So I was in bed early this morning, and I felt pretty terrible. Headache, a little nauseous. I had some tums to settle things down. I was not in a great place. Then the phone rang…

It was my ex. She said my daughter wanted to say something to me.

At this point, I felt pretty crap. I was expecting a spray, a bunch of blame, and other stuff like that, because it has been sort of normal. I have tried talking with my kids every week or so, and it has been exhausting, because often they don’t want to talk to me. That’s difficult because they live almost exactly on the other side of the planet. I don’t get to see them. Ever.

But then, as I listened, and she was upset, she said something I didn’t expect. She said “Daddy, I love you, and I miss your hugs”.

I – went – to – pieces. I sobbed. Like in the way that an almost 44 year old man who hears these words for the first time in at least two years, can sob.

I told her that I loved her too, and I want to move forward and develop the relationship. I told her that I have been heartbroken because my children have rejected me. They have their reasons, I cannot argue any different. But none the less, I see dads taking kids to the movies, or at the mall, and I would love to have that opportunity again.

So its a new day, and the pain and anguish has been released just a bit from my battered heart. I’m ready to move forward. It’s always going to be challenging. My daughter gave me a gift. When I felt like giving up, when I felt that I am working as a zombie, with no purpose, she helped me remember what’s important. She allowed herself the opportunity for some forgiveness, and I hope that she is old enough to appreciate how special that is.

Namaste. Peace and love to all of my readers.

A good afternoon for a walk around the lake….

Hey Bloggers,

This afternoon I had a lovely walk around a medium sized lake on the north side of Fredericton. Conditions were almost perfect. No, actually, it was perfect. The afternoon sun filtered through the trees, a fresh snow fall had fallen on the lake, and there was practically no wind.

It was warm enough such that some of the snow and ice was melting. People were out with their kids, and their dogs, and snow shoeing and cross country skiing. Afternoons dont come much nicer that this!

Meanwhile, I changed my computer default language to french, so when I try to make a question mark, I get a É so, um, ok. That will explain some of the punctuation missing from this piece.

Tonight, Im cooking for friends. I have an Mexican couple who are sharing with me. I was thinking today how nice it is to be surrounded by people of the world. Here I am, an Australian, living in eastern Canada, speaking french (at least part of the time), and living with spanish speaking mexicans.

Seriously, based on this pair, and some of the other Mexicans that Ive met, Im thinking theres no need for a wall!

Ok no more politics!

 

Il fait neige. J’aime l’hiver – parfois ;)

Bonjour tout le monde. Ca va bien? Je suis content. Hier après midi, j’ai fait le raquettes de neige dans le parc près chez moi. C’était bien. Très calme.
Je suis marche sur le sentier. Avant moi, quelqu’un faire du raquettes de neige, je sais, passe que son pistes dans le neige sont apparent.
Il fait beau. Il n’y pas un vent, et c’était pas froid aussi. Après quelque minutes j’ai montée le cote, et j’ai eu besoin enlevé mon manteau. J’ai eu chaud.
Ce matin, je réveille, et il fait beau encore. Partout sur les arbres, il y a givre. C’est très joli. J’ai oublie a pris une photo. Désole.

Image result for hoarfrost
C’est pas mon photo, mais il regard meme chose.

Après j’ai part la maison, j’ai faire des exercice. J’ai pris une class de spin sur les bicyclettes, et j’ai fais mon natation, trente tours de la piscine. C’était beau!

Maintenant, je assied a la table, avec mon l’ordinateur. Je réfléchir une peu, mais pas trop. Je me écrite cet blogue dans français. C’est une nouvelle bon chose a faire pour moi!

Cette après midi, je pense je vais faire des patin sur la glace a centre ville. Il y a patinoire pour tout les gens. Parfois je voir les familles, et la jeunesse patiner.

C’est une bonne idée pour un dimanche après-midi!

A la prochaine!

Hot Yoga Conventional Wisdom

Hi Bloggers, I have a mild shoulder injury from some other sport that I was playing recently, so I’ve made an effort not to work out to hard. Its a minor irritation but I am concerned about it becoming a major issue so I have to stop myself from pushing to hard with the weights etc.

I got down to hot yoga yesterday. There is a session that is a lighter type of work out. The room is hot, like 40 C. There are a lot of stretches, a few flows, some balance poses, and some meditation/breathing exercises as well.

Image result for hot yoga

I wore my grey powermesh hot shorts over my man thong. Totally comfortable in the hot conditions. I got myself a new cork lined yoga mat too. I have an issue with slippery surfaces. I can’t get the traction with my feet or hands. I can’t say that cork is a way better option. Once I get a bit of sweat up I have to use a towel for the traction.

I find static poses can be quite challenging. The effort required to hold a pose when your muscles are tiring can be as challenging as any big weights work out. I give kudos to a lot of the people who do yoga because its tough to hold some positions. But I also know that you get used to it and that strength improves with yoga conditioning.

Well into the session, the sweat is running from my body. I see myself in the mirror. Tattooed. Muscled. Sweaty. My tree pose is a bit wobbly. I can’t get the arms to interlink in eagle pose. I need to let my arms down after an extended warrior sequence.

At the end of the session, I am feeling hot and sweaty, yet energised. I complete the final Savasana, and as others ready to clear away their mats, I stay. After some time I find myself kneeling, legs folded down on my ankles. I take my hands to heart centre. I say a prayer. It’s more of a reflection/thank you statement than a prayer.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own ‘shit’. I find its a constant state of internal tug of war over what we think we are deserving of, what we should expect of or accept from others. I’d like to think that I have a truly balanced view in which I was not affected by my own thoughts, opinions and expectations, but that’s just total bullshit. The reality is that we should be saying where we are dissatisfied or uncomfortable, and we should also be ready to listen to others for what they have to say too. 

I am grateful for those who have helped me, grateful for my health and wellness, grateful to be alive. Mostly, just thankful. Very thankful.