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.

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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.

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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!

 

Finding yourself, then losing yourself, then not really being sure….

Hi Bloggers, yah, as the title goes, this is probably going to be part coaching, part reflection and a healthy dose of bullshit. So here we go…

This year, as I mentioned earlier, has been a turn around year for me. It started very tentatively with a lot on the line and some major changes. I have made it successful so far, and will continue to do so. It’s all about attitude.Image result for finding yourself

One of the most liberating parts of my journey is that I have met and found people that have been very gracious, very kind, very understanding and empathetic. If the environment that I came from was one of judgement and criticism, it was enormously refreshing to discover that that is not the currency everywhere. I have been humbled by the way I have been treated when I set foot into the world.

So in my journey, I found a place in the world. I met new people. I was taken in, physically, spiritually, emotionally. I have been sheltered and nurtured. I have been listened to and heard. I have been given the opportunity to rebuild and heal. What a wonderful gift. I will always be grateful for this.

At a point, however, you ask yourself what your really important life values are. Are those in your world on the same page? Do they need to be? How much can you accept about the differences with others? Do you compromise your feelings to maintain harmony, or are you setting yourself up for a long term disappointment?

These are the thoughts that keep the hamster on the wheel in my mind lately. I recently heard from a friend, who referred me to the concept ‘if it’s not fuck yes, then it’s no’. Great concept I think. You could really whittle down the things in your life that are not ‘fuck yes’ and live in a very lean way. But for me, I think its a dangerous proposition, because, well, what if I’m not ‘fuck yes’ about something that is still very dear to me? Even in the ‘fuck yes’ philosophy it allows you time to gauge the situation, to adapt, to adjust, and to accept and decide.

If I said no to everything that wasn’t ‘fuck yes’, then I’d be really just limiting myself to um, I dunno, gym and yoga. Everything else is ‘ok yeah sort of fuck yes sometimes.’ But that’s life, right? It can’t be just a series of awesome experiences, like the bullshit some people post on fb.

I read somewhere else – something that probably popped up on insta or fb, it said something like ‘just let life happen,’ or words to that effect. I think that that is a good strategy, for now at least.

Having said that, here’s my outlook:

  • I’m saying no to negativity. If you want to be miserable, ok, that’s your prerogative. I will support where I can, but not at the expense of my health.
  • I am letting go of people who do not hold me dear. Unfortunately, this includes some of my flesh and blood. I will be here if and when they need me.
  • I will put myself first. I won’t do this at the expense of others, but where I have an option, I will consider myself first, and be affirmative in my choices.
  • I will continue to have an open heart and an open mind, because these are truly beautiful things.
  • I will be available to those who want my support, and value my input. I will share what I can with those who need my help.

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My First Anniversary of Blogging

Hi Bloggers, it has been a year since I started this crazy, occasionally scary, daring, stupid, emotional, regrettable, fun, inspiring, embarrassing, arousing, and sometimes baring roller coaster called “The Random Blog of Irreverent Thoughts.”

Ok, so the blogging itself wasn’t so scary etc. but life, during that time has had enormous ups and downs. There is no doubt about it, my life looks completely different today from when I started my blog.

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For this piece, I’m going to interview myself, as there is no one here to interview me, and in any case they aren’t about to write in my blog, so please, bear with me!

 

Mr Random: So why did you start?

Moi: Great question, thank you. I think I’ve always enjoyed writing. I read a book about a guy who started a blog – he was into building a fitness empire or whatever, that was never my thing. I just wanted to write and reach out to people. Also, it provided a kind of chronology, a semi public journal if you will, and in this I documented a lot of my most personal experiences.

Mr RanImage result for relationshipsdom: What motivates you?

Moi: Well, I have been inspired by a lot of great photo blogs, but for me, that would not have floated my boat on its own, I wanted a photographic, travel meets residential collection of stories, an erotic literary playground, a fitness room, relationship clinic, etc. Really, I just want to be me, and to be accepted by the world.

 

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Seems legit.

 

Mr Random: What have you learned?

Moi: Nothing. No, wait, um. For me, its a realisation that your blog can affect people, even if you didn’t ask them to read it, or preferred that they didn’t. I mean people close to you. If you are writing shit about latest handbags and your resort stay in Thailand, no one is going to be upset by that. If you write about stuff you’ve done and feelings that you have, and that doesn’t jive with those closest to you, be prepared to take some shit! 

Mr Random: All those pictures – what was that about?

Moi: Ok, this interview is getting sticky, who made up the questions, anyway? Ok, honestly, I’m an open book. That kind of means that I am proud of my body and a bit of a poser. I enjoy showing it off. There. It’s just the human body. People have enjoyed it in sculptures, film, theater, strip clubs and other seedy places. Let’s just celebrate being human.

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Can we just celebrate human sexuality and leave out the baggage?

 

Mr Random: What’s your favourite thing to blog about?

Moi: Well I like writing about everything. Photography, travel, sexuality, emotions, experience, animals, cooking. I’m a bit all over the shop.

Mr Random: Do you worry that your readership (as small as it is!) might be confused or even alienated by your apparent ability to genre jump?

Moi: Yes, sometimes, but also I find one dimensional blogs a bit sort of, one dimensional.

Mr Random: Any regrets?

Moi: No. This is me. It’s take it or leave it. Hopefully someone out there can appreciate the craziness and beauty in what I do. If not, then it’s a great outlet for me.

1 Year Anniversary Achievement

Vivre c’est mettre au defi (to live is to challenge one’s self). Je suis content!

Bonjour Bloggers.

Je suis apprends le Francais. C’est mon numero une blog en Francais. Pardon moi pour la errors. Je ecrite mot en Francais, je utlize google translate pour correct la errors, mais, c’est moi ecrite en Francais.

Vivre c’est mettre au defi (to live is to challenge oneself). Je apprends Francais pour duex mois. Ce soir, Je suis alle au l’epicerie. Une femme cashier assist moi achete la groceries. Je parle Francais avec la femme. Elle est Anglophone mais elle parle Francais bonne. Nous parle Francais dans l’epicerie. Je suis tout excite!

Je n’ai jamais pense que je parlerais Francais; mais ici je est.

Tres bien. Je demande vous – encore plus blog en Francais? Dit moi. Merci.

 

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Aujourd’hui sur auto route conduit au travaille. L’homme est beau, oui?

 

 

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Encore plus neige. La route est merde aujourd’hui!

 

 

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Je lit livre d’Scooby Doo et toi – Le Mystere du Cavalier Sans Tete

 

 

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Le plough de neige, Nouveau Brunswick style

 

 

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C’est moi, dans Rue Brunswick. Regard, l’homme avec neige ventilateur a travers la rue.

 

Letting Go

A friend of mine spoke to me about letting go. This is a very powerful life skill. Without doubt, letting go allows us to be free-er, less burdened, more agile, and less resentful.

But it’s not that easy, is it? Why? Because perhaps, we have good reason to cling on. Such examples would be if we were thrown overboard and had a life bouy to keep us afloat, or if we are holding our mother’s hand on a busy city street when we were young children. But typically, for adults, the ‘letting go’ takes on a whole new dimension.

So what sort of stuff do we ‘hold on’ to? Well, hopefully, we hold on tight to the things that are most dear to us – perhaps our family relationships, our treasured memories, or our dwindling and ever-threatened bank balances? But that’s not always the way. Sometimes we hold on to bad habits, jobs that are demeaning and soul sapping, or relationships that are toxic.

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Sometimes we hold on to resentment, because our ego tells us we are right – that ‘those fuckers’ did us wrong, and someone has to be held accountable for making this situation shitty, at least in our minds. Sometimes, is possessiveness, or jealousy. We hold on to a person, or a set of expectations that seem totally legitimate to us.

 

 

 

What happens if we let go?

Fuck.

That’s scary, because we are giving up apparent control. It’s apparent control because it’s not real control, its just the control that we construct in our mind that boxes in what ever we are trying to control, because we are holding on, to expectations.

Now, I’m going to suggest something. In the universe, there is equilibrium. All things are in a constant state of force, reaction, and adjustment, with the end result being equilibrium. When equilibrium is found in our personal relationships and situations, the tension decreases, and things settle to where they will be, naturally.

But that’s not straightforward either, because life is a series of negotiations, occasional disappointments, and some glorious moments too.

I’m going to suggest that letting go a bit – of expectations, of resentment, of control, might just be the answer to reducing a lot of turmoil in our lives. I’m not saying let everyone and everything off the hook, there has to be balance, but allow things to be, and see what happens.

Namaste.

 

Ahlan (hi!)… Shaking hands with the Arabs, craft beer, Skyping my daughter, and the failed ANZAC cookies.

Hi, Ahlan (Arabic) bloggers.

Bit of a random mixed bag for you today. I wanted to share some good things, simple things and some inspiration.

So I work out at the Y. I noticed when I got there that there was a group of maybe 6 or so Arabic speaking guys. I thought they were loud. I honestly found them a bit intimidating. In a moment of tired crankiness I found myself getting annoyed at they way they spoke.

I chided myself for being so intolerant. I am an immigrant, in this country of immigrants. Canada is known for its kindness and willingness to take in people from all nations. Especially those in need.

Image result for syriaAbout 3 years ago, when the crisis in Syria was at its height, we saw images of bomb-shelled buildings and men, women and children fatally injured and others bandaged, and bleeding. From the comfort of a computer screen I flicked through headlines, then got on with my day. 

 

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Utter devastation in Syria. I’m glad we helped these people escape this chaos.

 

Canada, via PM Justin Trudeau announced that we were going to take in refugees from Syria. At one stage, Saskatoon had taken in about 450 of them. It was on the radio a lot, especially in the first year of their repatriation, and of course I would see them around the city.

 

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The Arab States.

 

I told myself, a couple of weeks ago, that I was going to make a point of shaking hands with the young Arab men at my gym. I was going to get past any awkwardness, and say ‘hi.’ I did that the other night.

I was quite impressed. One of the guys told me that he had only been talking English for a year, and he spoke quite well. They are in high school here. He plans to study engineering. It was really nice to break down the barriers and just be friendly. I will always say hi when I see them now. He told me that they went from Syria, to Turkey for a year, then came to Canada.

Ok, craft beer. This is like some sort of East Coast obsession. I’ve been visiting some of the local breweries here. There are some really nice taps for sure. Its nice to ride my bike around town and park up and get a pint. There’s one brewery/bar that is about 2 blocks from my house, and they have a fire place, and let people bring their dogs in. Its a really nice atmosphere, but it does get noisy.

 

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The view past my pint glass at the Cider House, on Queen street.

 

I stopped at the Cider House bar last night. There was a couple of girls serving at the bar, and of course they spoke French (parle francais), so I got the opportunity to have a mini conversation in French. That was cool.

Tonight I Skyped my daughter. It was the first decent conversation that we’ve had in many, many months. I was very glad and grateful that she gave me the time to talk to her ‘ole dad. I plan to do that regularly. She’s a gorgeous young lady. Hopefully this will be a new direction in daddy-daughter relations, but we will see.

 

 

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Bridge over troubled water? The old rail bridge, now a pedestrian bridge over the Saint John River. 

 

 

Tonight, there was an attempt to make ANZAC cookies. These are the recipe that most Aussie kids grow up on. Famous for being baked back in Australia for the troops on the front lines of Gallipoli or France – because they would be put in tins and stay well preserved by the time they made it to the troops. The cookies went kinda flat, so rather than ANZAC cookies, they were more pancake like. Nice effort though.

 

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The view from Graystone Brewery. Contentment in a pint glass.

 

That’s about all I have to say at the moment. A good day. Bless you all. I hope this blog finds you well. Thanks for taking the time to read.

Namaste.

 

A (lighthearted) message from the dark side of divorce… A Heart Shaped Box.

Ok, hi Bloggers. I hope you are all well. Today, I want to talk about marriage, and divorce. When we are married, and much in love, the mere concept of being divorced, and all that it entails scares the living shit out of us…. Yoda says it right:

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Wait, I’m not actually divorced. I’m legally separated. Separated in space (two continents with the Pacific Ocean between us). Yet, connected. Financially, biologically with children, in name, with 23 years of in-erasable history between us. That stuff is never going to wash out. It’s in the past. It’s done.

But is it really all that bad? Well, yes, and erm, no.

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So where I was some months ago – if you troll my blog history you can see it all laid out in technicolor detail, was not a good place. That was when I was married. I had been married for about 18 years, and with my marriage partner since 1993. If you don’t remember 1993 its either because you weren’t born yet, or it was so long ago.

1993, hmmm. Nirvana were killing it. Paul Keating returned in a second term as Aussie Prime Minister, Bill Clinton got his sax out to celebrate taking the reins from the first George Dubya Bush, and a bunch of other way-back stuff was happening. I was a young buck of 19. There was no internet, cell phones were like bricks, and technology was pretty simple compared to where we are today.

So where am I going with this?

There’s so much judgement and puritanical shit about marriage as an institution, and to go against the grain, to challenge that institution, depending on the tolerance of  your community, family and partner can be perceived as the worst thing in the world, ever. Ever! 

From the dark side, I give you, the divorced guy’s state of the nation:

It’s really not that bad!

I’m broke, lol. But who cares, because I didn’t have any money when I was married, and at least I get to control my bank account now, lol.

I run my own schedule. It’s like being an adult, but now you have to actually plan your own shit, like bills and things. Previously, I just earned the money, and she spent it, or stressed about how we were going to pay bills.

I go where I want to go, when I want to go, and generally don’t have to check if that’s like ok, with everyone else. Awesome!

 I don’t have anyone to blame if my apartment isn’t clean, and I’m not stepping over anyone else’s crap. Pure bliss.

I have my own place. My. Own. Place. OMG what an awesome concept!

It’s quiet. Can you imagine?

But its not all beer and skittles. No, no, no!

I miss my kids. I don’t get to see them, and I talk to them maybe once a week, for a few sentences on the phone. They are on the other side of the world. They couldn’t be any further away. I don’t know when I will see them next.

The relationship with my children is extremely strained. Due to my biological disposition as a man, thus being the breadwinner etc, I went to work, while my ex stayed home. This meant that she got to be with them to get them ready for school, pick them up, and was there while I travelled for work. During this time she had their ear, and of course they were influenced by the tone of her perspective. So when she chose to leave, she took the kids.

I want to repair the damage, and I hope that the passage of time allows us all to come to terms with each other.

Lawyers. A necessary evil. A weapon of mass expense. I dare not say the hourly price my lawyer charges to quibble about who-owes-who-what. It’s scary, and stupid. It’s not that I don’t like my lawyer as a person, but I just hate the thought of burning through hundred dollar bills to establish BASIC SHIT. Spending money I don’t have. Dumbest concept ever.

Real estate: complete shambles. Losses deeper than the Mariana’s Trench.

Other than that, life is grand! Really, I am content. Happy. Doing ok! 

Just to finish off, I have identified two camps of people in the world. Those who have been through divorce, and those who have not. I have found that those who have been through it are typically more balanced in their judgements, more empathetic, and accepting. Not to say that non-divorced people are not open minded or prejudice (some are for sure!), but divorced people have a broader perspective on the hundreds of possible iterations that could lead a person to choose divorce over remaining married.

I’m not going to say that you should jump into something like this, because the implications are major – like monumental and the biggest type of decision that you might make. Having said that, if fear is holding you back, you might benefit from knowing that it’s not so bad, on the ‘dark side’ of divorce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snowman Pickup Truck….. hmmm.

Hi Bloggers,

Some randomness for you today. I have internet at home now, so I will be able to get on line and blog a bit more again, but having said that, I find myself busy/preoccupied with life, and there’s nothing wrong with that!

So driving home from work yesterday afternoon, I stopped at the gas station in Harvey, New Brunswick. I saw a snow man, in a pick up truck. A couple of local lads got creative and mildly inappropriate, but it is only a snowman, so whatever. This snowman had a big hard woody! Yep, a snowman boner!

I’ve never seen anything like it and I had a good laugh. Of course, I had to get a picture. I reckon that’s pretty fucking funny!

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After the Storm Has Passed

Hi Bloggers,

It is calm. I am feeling composed, relaxed, balanced and happy. Image result for calm

Previously, it was as if I were a boat on the ocean, battling heavy seas.

Now, the clouds have parted, some welcome sunshine has filtered through, and the morning light is gently caressing calm seas once again.

Relief, that’s the main feeling. Contentment. Happy in my own space, happy to make new work colleagues, to be able to contribute without shadows of speculation and resentment being cast over my contributions.

I am free to engage, to enjoy, to rejoice in the simple things. To pat a friend or colleague on the back, to give some good feedback to others, to say thanks, and to let people know that I really care about them. Because, I really do! 

I’ve let go, but in a good way. Let go of resentment. Let go of shame. Let go of the negativity that seemed to surround me and I was trapped like a shopping bag being blown around in a vortex of shit.

I realise that I was just hanging on. Using all my strength to tell myself that I could continue. Some days were really good in spite of the situation, and some days felt absolutely fucking desperate. It was like the rug had been pulled. I was angry. I was frustrated. I kept a positive outlook as much as possible in the situation and I did my best to not get dragged into the whole shit-pile, but in reality, that shit-pile was – my life! I don’t and haven’t blamed anyone else. Like I’ve said before, I was the architect of my own demise!

Image result for rough seas memeLife still has its challenges. Things will never be perfect. I can accept that. I watched a Ted talk recently that said that people affected by serious hardship, like a debilitating injury, and those who experience good fortune such as winning the lottery end up at the same place, after a few months, in terms of acceptance and who is happiest. This is counterintuitive because we all think that of course, winning the lottery would just about assure happiness – with  all our ‘real’ problems put aside by having lots of money. Right?

Without getting into pop-psychology, the evidence would suggest that those who go through challenging and life altering events do adjust, and are generally content to accept, perhaps even find happiness in their apparent misfortune. I’m not suggesting I’ve suffered misfortune, just saying that the recent events of my life have certainly been challenging and life altering.

For a rough a journey as it has been, I am better for it. Stronger, more self assured, more independent and less resentful of the situation that surrounded me. What I learned is that people will accept you. Ok, some won’t that’s ok. But people will, if you open your heart and be genuine and sincere, no matter who you are.

Namaste.