3 Reasons To Stop Reading Trump’s Junk

Yesterday I spent an entire day without seeing, thinking, or reading anything about Donald Trump—and it was awesome. Of course by reading this you may have broken your own Trump-free streak, but perhaps after reading this you will consider scrolling past the small-hands man the next time he appears on your news feed. Here’s 3 reasons why you should.

1. It helps him win. As many popular posts online have shown, Trump is popular because people watch, read, tweet, and argue about him constantly on the internet. This is because the things he says are insane. And famous, insane, rich guys running for presidency makes really good television. He is the ultimate train-wreck of a human being, but we have to find a way to ignore it.

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2. It Makes You a Part of the Problem. You might be thinking, “but Levi, shouldn’t I be speaking my voice to say that I disagree with his policies?” Maybe with your friends in person, but public participation online gives his actions more impact. By sharing your anger and frustration you are giving his supporters the reactions they are looking for, and  pushing the conversation to continue.

3. It Makes You Feel Awful. By putting yourself in the negative environment that follows Trump, you are putting yourself in a bad mood. By cutting the Trump, you will find your perspective on life is a lot less jaded. Maybe take that time you would have spent infuriated in front of your computer, and go do literally anything not Trump related.

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Yes, you can argue that this is a passive aggressive, head-in-the-sand mentality. But it will do no good to perpetuate the cycle of trump negativity, and it may actually be harmful to your health to engage with it.

If you really feel like you can’t handle the pressure of his big stupid face all over your news feed, at the very least you can make it funny with John Oliver’s “make Donald Drumpf again” Google Chrome plug in. This handy little extension replaces the word “Trump” with “Drumpf” everywhere it is found on your browser, making his news at least a bit less depressing.

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donaldjdrumpf.com

If you have any other ideas of how to combat Trumperia, Trumpression, Trumpophobia, leave them in the comments below.

 

 

A Revival: The Quarter Life Crisis

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I have recently gone through something of a revival in my life. A quarter life crisis during which I questioned my direction and purpose in life, bringing things, both emotionally and professionally, to a grinding halt. After a good kick in the ass, and a deliberate choice, I began an acting career I started three years ago.

It has been a year since graduation, and things have gone pretty well. I am a now full actors union member, I dropped my cellphone in a Super Bowl commercial, I was the face of Gonorreah in Alberta, and had one line on an american TV show nobody will ever see. However, suddenly I was at the end of my luck, looking out over what used to be a world of opportunity in puzzlement at the lack of excitement.

The truth was I had stopped fighting, and the world had reciprocated. I got caught up in the celebration, and forgot the importance and significance of the work that had got me there. That’s the funny thing about the world, you can’t just take, you must give in equal portions in order to get what you want.

I scheduled a year end talk with my agent about the reality of my circumstance. The reality was grim, and the circumstance was a bit of a dilemma. My beginners luck had come to an end, and I found myself at a crossroads. Either, commit to being an actor, or find something else to do.

I sat down with myself and talked out loud like a crazy person, discussing the pros and cons of the choice I was about to make. After a solid argument with my subconscious, I decided that I would spend the next year pursuing this dream with all of my ability. A full commitment in order to give myself the peace of mind to know that, if it all falls through, at least I tried my goddamn best.

I am now pushing open the doors of opportunity that had closed behind my back as I basked in the momentary sunshine of ignorance. I have made a choice to pursue this crazy career path, but making that choice is only a portion of that struggle. Commitment is truly the ability to continue to make that choice every day, with the same ferocity that you did on the first day that it came into your mind.

Since I originally wrote this I have been on the ground running as they say, and there is a very important thing I think needs to be added to this. 

Acting has been the most consistent thing in my life for the last 4 years, and even with that time and huge amount of commitment already I still find myself questioning my purpose or place within this world that I am so deeply immersed in. I have been depressed because of a lack of motivation and considered quitting the business many times. What I have learned through this, is that you need to have fun.

More specifically you need to enjoy what you are doing. That seems like something very straight forward, but when your job is what you love it becomes difficult to tell them apart. The love that you had for it in the beginning is there it’s just being covered up by the responsibility of the business aspects that are imposed upon it when you become a professional.

When the game stops being fun, you have to remember that you are in fact playing a game. That there is no end goal, no perfect way to do anything and the only thing you can influence it is the way that you experience it. If you are doing your best, then do not guilt yourself, remember every moment is an opportunity, and don’t take yourself too seriously.

Thanks for listening.

I’m Going On A Date With My Ex On Valentines Day

This Valentines day, instead of bitching about how single I am, or bragging about how happy I am alone. I am going to express how thankful I am for the beautiful relationship that I just had. Tomorrow, on Valentines Day, my ex-girlfriend and I are going on a fun date. We didn’t actually plan it this way, it was just the day that worked best for both of us to meet… But in a coincidental way, I’m glad it did. Let me explain myself…

My ex-girlfriend and I’s relationship was oddly mature. We lived together after 1 year of dating, spent 24 hours a day together going to the same classes for the next two years, and after three years we broke up harmoniously, and actually still like one another. It was a relationship with abnormal chemistry, but abnormal circumstances gave our time together an even greater significance.

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The idea of “love”, in the glorified sense, was torn away from us very early in the relationship. The valiant shows of affection and surface level gift-giving was lost when I suffered my first cardiac arrest, 6 months after our first date. Our relationship took a purposeful step in that moment, and she decided to stay. Amongst the enormous amount of pressure from this emotional trauma she stuck by my side. She became a part of my family as the truest friend I have ever had, enduring the next 2 years of my recovery with me in the apartment we shared. In this time I suffered from depression and drug use, I temporarily withdrew from school, and repeatedly landed myself back in the hospital.

Even though we were only 18 years old, our relationship was based around support, and nurturing. Helping one another through the hard times and appreciating one another’s company through the good. My medical issues were my own and only I had the capability to address them, but to have the presence of a loving and caring friend at my side throughout the process leaves me unspeakably grateful.

We broke up, not because our feelings for one another had changed, but because our goals and ambitions simply took us in different directions. In the face of change our intimate knowledge and respect of each others needs allowed us to let one another go seamlessly. The maintenance of individuality throughout our relationship left us very much in love with one another, but respectfully separated.

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Relationships are founded on romantic chemistry, but they grow and enrich through friendship. Taking delight in the simple joys, toughing out the struggles, laughing, and finding common ground together through life’s voyage. When thinking about your relationship today, or perhaps your lack there of, remember than your boyfriend or girlfriend should basically be a teammate or a best friend… that you also happen to sleep with.

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 Happy Valentines Everyone.

 

😉 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgN4WYvs62E 😛

I Believe In “Life”

In the past week there have been so many subliminal messages for me to go traveling I feel like I missed the punch line on a bad joke. Friends going on life changing adventures, taking others to the airport for vacations, and my family inviting me to visit them from the other side of the planet. It seems like the world wants me to travel, but I literally just can’t at this point. So thanks Life… Thanks for that.

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Ever since I moved to the city I have seen planes taking off from YVR in the distance and thought to myself. “God dammit! Missed another one!” Shortly after that I proceed to torture myself thinking about all the crazy adventures I would have out in the big wide world on my own. Then reality kicks me in the balls and reminds me that I’m broke, and a medical catastrophe for insurance companies.

“Yeah I would like insurance to go dune buggy-ing in the sahara? Medical history? I have a heart condition… Yeah it is most volatile during exercising and adrenaline rushes… I’ve died 3 times… Hello?” In order to get travel insurance I need to be medically “stable” for more than 6 months, including medication changes. For the time being, my adventure cape and I work within the British Columbian borders. Buuuuuuut just for shits n gigs, let’s say that I could leave!

What about work? I have just begun the “10 000 years” of an acting career and life as a young entrepreneur… is a quest for world dawesomnation really an option at this stage of the game? My early ambition has gotten me this far, maybe I should plow this field before moving onto the next one? Or maybe, I could plow a few fields a little bit just to see which one fits me best? Perhaps, I should just forget plowing fields all together? Or better yet! I could plow two fields at one time!

When people ask me what my dream job would be… without even a teaspoon of hesitance ice cream, without the tiniest sliver of not-sureness pie, my dream job would be a Travel Host. Combining my love for story telling and adventure, I could elope across the planet, and entertain and inspire people at the same time!

Life! This is addressed to you… If I become a travel host, I will do my very best to show the world how FUCKING BEAUTIFUL you are, and illustrate how truly SPECIAL and MAGICAL it is to be alive.

I realize as I write this, that maybe being reminded of travel was a supportive gesture rather than a malicious one. Encouraging me to remember where my goals are set and to keep my eyes on the prize! So for my initial reproach and lack of understanding, I apologize.

Thank you Life, for all these tearful displays of beauty in my day to day existence, and the second and third chances that I have been given over the years. I just want you to know that I’m working 24 hours a day to make the most of our time together, and that I am appreciative for every single moment that I have. Like the microwave cake in a cup I am eating right now to replace the lack of traveling in my Life right now.

Now Life…I know that you do not grant wishes like some sort of genie bottle, but I just want to put it out there that I am very open to variations on my “dream Job”. I would kindly accept an apprentice role in the anticipation of such a fantasy. I’ll work for it man, I will earn my keep but just wanting to keep my doors open you know.

Thanks again homie, I live you.

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“If you don’t plan anything, then nothing can go wrong.”

On Friday the 17th I randomly decided to journey my way to Vancouver Island. A trip so spontaneous and serendipitous it’s hard to believe it really happened, as I ride the 1pm ferry back to the mainland. I can’t help but smile at all the moments neatly crammed into what turned out to be an extremely eventful weekend.

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A Pink Bag:

The idea of a trip to the island had been trickling around in my mind for about a week. I talked it over briefly with my dad and thought I could do it on a hundred dollar budget. He challenged me, “if you do it, I’ll pay you the $100.00”. The idea settled for another couple days until Friday, when a friend of mine from Vancouver Island asked me to pick up a lost bag of hers from the Translink lost and found.

“Hey man, I’m here to pick up a bag for Jordan?” The guy at the lost and found looks at me quizzically, “What does it look like?” Realizing that I didn’t know, “Uhhh, it’s got a bra inside it?” He returns moments later, with a poorly hidden grin and a flamboyantly pink Victoria’s Secret bag.

I don’t really know why, but I decided then, that I was going to the island. I went home and threw a toothbrush, underwear, and $100.00 in cash into my bag and jumped on the first skytrain out to the ferry terminal.

Serendipitous Beginnings:

As the boat started to leave the terminal, realized I had no plans of where I was staying, how I would get to the city from the ferry or what I was going to do with my time there. I made a post on Facebook, and sent a few messages to people I knew in the Victoria area.

“Hey Jay! So… hypothetically speaking… What’s your couch doing tonight?”

“Hey Jordan, I have your bag… Thanks for letting me know that it’s flamboyant pink and containing ladies underwear! When can I get it to you?”

Throughout the weekend, it just seemed like things worked out. The forces of the universe were in my favour as I glided from place to place going with the flow of activity. People accommodated for my almost startling lack of direction and made my stay amazing with wicked personal suggestions and effort on their part to make it interesting. I never turned anything down, whatever was happening I said yes and figured out how later. The first “yes” landed me in the downtown clubbing scene with Jay.

Clubbin’ With @TypicalJay and Girls:

Jay and I jump in old Becky (a middle aged Honda Civic) and head downtown to meet up with some girls, finding absolutely prime parking in the heart of downtown for free. (BOOM!)

The cover band belted all the classics and we danced like buffoons. As everyone bounced and swayed their way around, my gaze falls on the ATM, charging 5$ per withdrawal, sitting lonely in a darkened corner of the bar. In the cash drawer I notice a glint of something reflective. I took three steps over and picked up what had been left behind.

I stood near the machine looking around for disgruntled customers until I was satisfied that the drunk who left it was probably better off without the extra money for his hangover. In a second of sober awareness, luck had doubled my weekend budget by $100.00 in cash.

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We danced on chicks like it was a high school prom night, and I bought the drinks! Before the night was done, Jay informed me that in the morning, we were going garage sale-ing.

Garage Sale Winning:

With four hours sleep, a list off craigslist, and bit of rope, the team rolls out for our morning of treasure hunting. The first spot we hit is run by a really awesome mother of three who was so nice as to take silly pictures of us with her kid’s old Nerf guns.

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It seemed like the woman could read our minds! After packing the single bed frame, working vacuum cleaner and coffee maker into the trunk of the car, the total cost came to a whopping zero dollars. (That’s includes the iconic garage sale mask shown below).

In keeping with the weekend’s theme, an interaction with the woman running the sale summed it up perfectly: “Dyou think it’s all going to fit in there?” she asks helpfully. I turned to her and said, “We’re twenty… it’ll fit.”

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VIP Sight Seeing:

From epic garage sale-ing, to city sight-seeing, my journey flowed seamlessly from the treasure wagon with Jay, to the private-island-tour-truck with Jordan. I felt as though I was being whisked about the country-side on a guided tour. “All I want… ” teasing Jordan as she drove me around, “is to ride one of those double decker busses! They are so cool! ”

At some point as we drove, the winter clouds parted and the sun beamed down on our majestic journey. My tour, hosted by a Victoria local, was full of hidden beaches, spectacular views and wharf neighbourhoods otherwise unknown to tourist mobs.

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Victoria, and the Island in general, is so spectacularly beautiful. There were moments of reflective silence as we gazed over the rolling hills and oceans with colossal mountain ranges peaking in the distance. There is a reason why west coast rhymes with best coast.

Shark Club Catch Up:

Our adventures came to an end with the sunset, and Jordan drops me off at a pub on her way home where I meet an old friend from another time. Camron and I spent the majority of our childhoods together in sports and in school. After a few moments of conversation, we established that we had not spoken, one-on-one, in over 6 years.

The Shark Club has a game where you pick a puck from a basket with a player’s number on it. If that player scores you get free shots and the house Stanley Cup on your table. I chose a third line defensemen, number 6, Yannick Weber. Despite his scoring odds, I called it, “We’re gonna win this shit!”

After a random opening brawl, 4 defenders are kicked out of the game and Yannick gets put on the first line. Just like I said, Yannick went on to score two goals that game awarding our table two rounds of shots. The Canucks won the game, and we won the Sharks Club Cup.

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The game was a backlight to what I found amazing about that dinner. I met with a friend who I hadn’t seen in 6 years and carried on 4-hour conversation like nothing had changed. Being able to connect with an old friend shows you the value of your relationships and the importance of keeping awesome people in your life.

As the game wrapped up and our evening came to close, I reconnected with Jay. We discussed awesome deals found at garage sales, views and vistas around town, and the awesome existence of double decker busses. Around 1:30 a.m. it was established that an early breakfast was to had at Floyds Diner downtown with Breanne.

Breakfast OF Champions:

Floyds is a renowned restaurant in Victoria, I had been told on many occasions of the legendary “Mahoney” meal. A feast concocted by the chef’s inspiration of the moment. There is no telling what you will receive on your plate, and no idea how much you will have to pay for it when it arrives. The odds are fifty-fifty, a coin toss to see if you pay double the price, or nothing at all.

From the moment “The Mahoney” hit the table, until we forced it into a to-go container, we could not stop laughing at the insanity of this meal. The triple-decker breakfast enchilada hung over the sides of a full size dinner plate. Inside was chorizo sausage, seasoned chicken breast, bacon, cheese, onions, red pepper, banana peppers and a mountain of fresh salsa, sour cream, and guacamole on top.

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And then… A completely unnecessary (but also really awesome) side of potato wedges with hollandaise sauce. I managed to get through a quarter of the meal before tapping out. The waiter comes up to us then pops the question, “so how’re you paying?”

I pulled a loonie from my pocket and handed it to the man responsible for the monstrous meal in front of me and called tails. Yeah… the meal I just described? FREE.

I proceeded to pay for both Jay and Breanne’s meals and tipped generously, including the winning Loonie on top.

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Last Words:

We laugh our way out of the restaurant making sure to shake hands with the owner. Some tearful goodbyes and a thousand thank-you’s later, Jay went home and Breanne walked me to where I would take the bus to the ferry. On the way she casually points out “one of the funkiest thrift places in Victoria”. I casually take note and imagine the jeans I would love to buy from such a place. We share a big hug of celebration being able to see one another, and Breanne gets on her bus.

With 20 minutes to wait, I wander over the consignment shop with a pair of Levi jeans in mind. I walk into the store and make my way to a sale rack of denim where I found a pair of 514 Levi Strauss jeans. I took them to the change room, realized they were perfect in all ways, and then wore them out of the store… A rare and perfect fit for $25.00.

The smile could not have been bigger, I literally skipped across the street back to my bus stop just in time to catch a DOUBLE DECKER BUS to Schwartz Bay.

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Heading Home:

I think it was at this point that my inspiration boner was biggest. I got on and immediately found my way to the top deck where I sat for the duration of the trip. The bus took a scenic route, and soon I found myself sitting in a fishbowl 20 feet off the ground, looking out over fields and little country communities with the ocean spanning out behind.

On the freeway, we passed the scene of a tragic car accident where someone had lost their life. On the ground, medical crews loaded an ambulance as the silent bus rolled past. The roadways into town were backed up for miles, thousands and thousands of cars lined up at a standstill at the scene of someone’s death. I found myself looking at the scenic beauty during the rest of the trip with a deeper appreciation.

Final Ferry: Closure

I was silent for much of the ferry ride home as I wrote this entry. I realize now the amazing impact this trip had on my psyche. I wrote about depression on my way to the island, having just recovered from a recent funk, and composed this uplifting story on the way back… wearing a garage sale mask.

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This trip meant a lot to me beyond the relief of my daily tasks. The connections I found with people, and the passion of living in the moment made me happy. After something as freeing as my experience this weekend, it makes me excited for the future. There was a point in my life when I was not sure if I would ever be able to do anything fun, or spontaneous, and this weekend I proved it all wrong.

To all those who I saw in my time there, and those who I missed, thank you.

Victoria now has a special place in my heart.

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“If you don’t drink, why do you go to parties?

This is what drunk people look like to sober people. Still doesn’t remove from the fact that this was an awesome night, and the love I have for all the people in this photograph. Sober partying is all about perspective.

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“If you don’t drink, why do you go to parties? Isn’t it annoying having drunk people yelling in your face all night?” Whenever I am asked this I laugh, then I explain my appreciation for the occasional drunken yelling match. As a newly sober party attender, I have come to grasp and appreciate the inner workings of the drunken human condition.

The Pretender

The best way to not hate partying with drunk people is to pretend you’re drunk yourself. Immerse yourself in the party culture, and as Ron Burgundy once said, “When in Rome…” In what other circumstances do we greet each other with a shriek of happiness and a big bear hug? Divulge our appreciation for someone in a sentimental heart to heart? Recount tales of greatness with full gusto, and animated hand gestures? This is the stage of the evening that you connect with old friends to reminisce the good old days and make bold promises to hang out in the future.

I love this part of drinking, the passion and enthusiasm for the little things. Finally I have a group of like minded people willing to throw down on the dance floor and fill the airwaves with giggling gibberish. However, this is just a stage, because unlike genuine happiness found without alcohol, there is a always a crash, and suddenly the sober person’s role begins to change.

The Protector

Drunk people are vulnerable. All night they have been saying how they feel, and acting on impulses usually stifled in the office cubicle, and now the night is coming to an end. This is the part of the evening when the euphoria of the initial buzz wears off and the desperation to keep the feeling alive takes over. Fights break out, people hook up, and the final round of drinks are drunk. In this moment, a smart sober person knows to step to the side and let nature run it’s course.

Once the dust has settled and the arrests have been made, you can’t help but feel responsible for these now completely incapacitated, stumbling drunk, helpless people. And so, “The Protector” role develops into the, equally responsible, designated driver.

The Designated Driver

If you are really lucky you will manage to pull a few friends from the wreckage and lure them to the safety of your vehicle. This will take hours of drunken negotiations and perilous scavenger hunts for purses and missing people. Once everyone is in the car and the directions home have been surreptitiously drawn from the slobbering mouths of the semi-conscious, you are a fully legal, driving super hero. This is the grunt work, volunteer, shit shovelling part of the evening, but just like the girl at the Wendy’s pickup window, you have to suck it up and do your job. Throw on some pulsing house music and play the role of the cool limousine driver. You will be showered in compliments, thanks, and  maybe a tip if you play your cards right.

You should expect to be out later than the people whom you took home. You should expect to feel awful the next morning, but you should know that with great power, comes great responsibility. You have the power to enjoy yourself without getting drunk, and therefore it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of those who cannot.

The Observer

At the end of the night you are left to your thoughts. No drugs or fading effects of booze to lull you into a induced, dreamless sleep of respite. This is what I love about going out sober, and probably the same thing that most hate. I get to have these memories and learn from them, take in and appreciate those drunk minds speaking their sober hearts. It’s hard to imagine the positive outcome amongst the mayhem of the last few hours, but as you drive home in silence, or lay in bed before sleep, you run through the events of evening and, for once, you remember them.

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The “30 Day Photo Challenge”

Last night I took on a challenge. A photographer friend of mine named Jamshed challenged me to take a photo a day, for an entire month, using his Nikon FM2 film camera.

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The “30 Day Photo Challenge” 

Jamshed pitched the project to me as a “month-in-the-life-of” style photo shoot. A photo album following my life through my post heart attack, physical and mental rehabilitation. Each photo would be a little insight into a day during this life of changes. The challenge of the project being to capture the essence of an entire day, in a single shot, with no re-try.

For each of the the photos I will write a short description of my feelings at the moment of taking it. The entries will be less that 140 characters long and will be then attached to the final prints once they are developed. A blind evaluation of a captured visual representation.

Shadow Days: 

During this time, Jamshed will also be shadowing two complete days of my life. These pictures will represent the “day in the life of” to go with the month long photo compilation. Jamshed will do everything I do, for all of my daily activities, from dusk till dawn, taking photos of me in my little world.

The First Time Photographer

One of the most interesting parts of this project is that I actually don’t know anything about photography. This camera is completely foreign to me, and was made before I was even conceived. When I finally took my first photo I almost peed, the weight of the camera seems to add to the significance of every shot. After taking the picture I looked to the back of the camera to evaluate my work, to find the smooth leather backing looking back at me. I was immediately aware of my desire to see the photo I had just taken and evaluate it’s worthiness. To compare it with dozens of others and test it’s compatibility with colourful filters… But this isn’t Instagram.

Without the easy fix filters and focus layering of Instagram to tell my story, and one chance to get it right, every click counts.

The Next 30 Days 

Over the next 30 days I will be challenging my noobie photography skills to capture fragments of my life for the sake of personal exploration and art. This journey will require a lot of patience. Patience to take the time to capture the right moment, patience to not immediately judge my work, and patience with Jamshed as he follows me around all day. 😉

The camera will live with me for an entire month, fulfilling my dreams of becoming the true hipster, sporting a classic film camera around my neck as I shop around in the grocery store. I humbly accept this challenge and the opportunity to learn and express myself in new ways.

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To follow the story online, check out my daily updates on my Instagram feed! @levihildebrand #30DayPhotoChallenge

We Met In The “Self Help” Section of Chapters

“I made a new friend today, a friend named Angela. We started as complete strangers and over the course of a spontaneous 2 hour long conversation in the self help section of Chapters, we became friends.

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After leaving an uplifting psychologist appointment I wandered over to the book store to pick up “The Mindfulness Solution” recommended by my therapist. After finding my book I sat down in a bamboo woven chair near a woman reading on an iPad. Without thinking on the implications of what I was saying, or taking into account the given circumstance I asked, “whatcha reading?”.

Angela’s Story

Angela (who I would only know as the-lady-in-the-self-help section until near the end of our conversation) was reading a book about autism, to gain a better understanding for her diagnosed 11 year old daughter. As I would soon learn, everyone has their story. You never know what others are going through.

For the sake of Angela’s privacy I will not disclose all the details of the amazing conversation we had, but I will say that the music playing in Chapters that day was at times, potently appropriate, and at others laughably disconnected.

Angela is a fighter. Sitting in front of me, a survivor of breast cancer and a double mastectomy, the mother of a mentally challenged daughter and an adult from a childhood in a broken home. Angela had fought the odds to obtain a life worth living. Everything that she achieved she did on her own and in this moment, everything she worked for was being challenged. Only the night before her daughter, recently diagnosed with diabetes, collapsed in Old Navy having a seizure because of a diabetic reaction. Angela at one point said. “I don’t think I have had this much stress in my whole life as I have had in the last 6 weeks.”

It seemed that our paths had crossed at the crescendo of what has been the most stressful 6 months of her life. Personal health problems with her husband, her daughter and herself. From the immediate details of her current situation, to tales from her past. As her story developed and her human struggles became more clear, our connection began to take purpose. I was originally shocked by her forwardness and her willingness to share. Then I considered that she may be sharing because she needed the support.

What Makes You Happy?

Our conversation took a very unconventional trajectory, drifting from our mutual struggles and personal details, to stories about how to find clarity and positivity in the face of adversity and change. We became a team at this point, and this was truly where the conversation started to get inspiring for me. Suddenly we were brain storming about how to improve our situations in life and speaking to the opportunities ahead of us. We we’re in the “Well Being” section after all.

At one point I asked her, as cliche as I possibly could. “What makes you happy?. She turns and looks at me, ‘You know a co-worker recently asked a similar question to a group of us and everyone around me could list a number of things but I couldn’t think of anything.” After a possibly overblown reaction and a lot of calling “bullshit”, I stubbornly opposed this statement and began badgering her to find something in her life that gave her happiness.

It started with little things, we realized that we both had the dictionary.com app and got “the word of the day”. We hummed and hah’d over the dogs in our lives, and she confessed that she and her husband quite look forward to their Saturday morning walks at the dog park. I then proceeded to tease her about being an old lady. ;-P

She found a smile in saying that she loved to ski, but regretfully explained she hadn’t done it for a very long time. I began listing the world class ski resorts in the area when she interrupts that her  husband couldn’t go with her because of a recent hip replacement. “This isn’t about your husband, this is about you. If it makes you happy, then you will do it on your own, and he will be happy to see you do it. ”

The Human Connection

Angela and I talked about some pretty heavy stuff. Heart disease, disability, depression, domestic abuse, mental health and rehabilitation. The dialogue had started with her opening up about her autistic daughter and was reciprocated with my battle with heart disease. Not exactly a picture perfect first impression. In a way though, this facilitated a flow of dialogue that most human interactions never achieve. Trust and emotional investment was the first step with one another, and from then on it was a supportive, non judgmental relationship.

We shared a very human experience in that little corner of Chapters. Each of us open and vulnerable in our own ways, drawn together by the forces of nature. Angela reached out to a random stranger in the most personal of times in her life and I was just so lucky to have been that person. She trusted me with details of her life that I feel many who know her on a daily basis do not know.

Near the end of our talk I showed her one of my most beloved and intimate coping mechanisms, my journal. As I brought out the leather bound book her expression changed. Turns out Angela graduated from UBC with a degree in English. She used to write every day in journals throughout her childhood and has not written a word in over 3 years.

After animatedly spit balling the benefits and holistic qualities of journaling, I insisted that we go downstairs and pick her out a brand new journal for her to start writing in again. The whole time we looked she smiled and laughed looking through all the various shapes, sizes and styles. Until she laid her hands on a simple yet beautiful, brown leather journal. She held it in her hands and smiled, taking a breath as she ran her hands over the lined paper, feeling the pages in between her fingers.

We bought our books together, hugged a very long, thankful hug, and laughed at the miraculous way that our lives had brought us together… and added each other on Facebook. ”

"She's a Fighter"

#Yolo Run

#Yolo Run

I have been immobile for the last 3 months. My physical activity comes from walking to and from work, and carrying the groceries home. The lack of physical motivation has really brought me down and now I have begun to feel self conscious about how I look physically.

Today I was having a great day, the last few leading up to it had been positive and productive and I decided that I felt well enough to push the limits a little bit and go for a SLOW jog.

The last time I did this however, I was taken to emergency in an ambulance. This time around I was able to notice the numbness in my legs and discomfort in my chest before my defibrillator engaged. I was able to walk myself out of atrial tachycardia and get home safely.

(Watch the video now) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vmCoG9SD78&feature=youtu.be

I really thought I was going to be ok, I thought that this run was going to be the beginning of my re-introduction to exercise and physical well being. My frustration and disappointment has lead me to one of my greatest weaknesses. Patience.

I have been registered for the Healthy heart Program at my hospital. In one weeks time I will be receiving professional guidance and supervision to aid me in finding the physical limitations of my body. I am nearly there, the answer is coming and I just need to wait 7 more days until that happens. As aggravating as it is, the payoff of waiting 7 more days for the knowledge to empower me to do what I need to do is worth the wait.

And so I breath deeply, remind myself to do my daily meditation, and put it out of mind until I can exercise safely.

Thanks for listening.

I’m Going To Re-Hab

Yesterday I registered for my first Healthy Heart rehabilitation session.

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The Healthy Heart program is a rehabilitation program for people who suffer from, or have risk of heart disease. In the program you find a “new normal” for your life within these new medical guidelines you have been faced with. You are connected with psychologists, dieticians and physical trainers to hone all aspects of your life to be safe and beneficial to your mental and physical well being.

When I arrived at registration I was given a questionnaire designed to evaluate my mental and physical state. As I sit down I realize all the other people in the room filling out this questionnaire are significantly older than I am. For a moment I had the “why me” thought. Most of the people in attendance could easily be my dad and could also be taking better care of themselves in the first place. Until a morbidly obese man stumbled into the room and fell into a chair to my left.

The hospital is a place of judgment. As much as you would like to think it is a place where you can get healed and get help there is always an element of judgement. Everyone is at their worst in a hospital. This man was at his worst, but he seemed to have been dealt a pretty awful hand to begin with. I am reminded of quote my mother always told me,

“If you compare yourself with others you will become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater & lesser persons than yourself.”  – The Desiderata

This man was so fat and ugly that I felt uncomfortable just being near him. He was the most unfortunate person I have seen in a very long time. I hoped that somewhere within this mass of social unacceptable physical appearance he has a nice smile or shocking charisma for me to latch onto. Unfortunately his misfortunes continued with  an imperfect smile with rotting teeth and a noticeable speech impediment. He seemed to have some sort of emphysema making his skin look red and irritated. He smelled, he wheezed his breath in and out even while seated, and he suffered from more medical illnesses than I can name. Every moment he had seemed to be physically painful and emotionally stressful.

The coordinator asks us all to go through and say our names and what we would like to get out of the program. Most of the people seemed rather uninterested in the process but a man beside me a long distance swimmer and was hoping to building his strength back enough to return to sport he loved after a triple bypass surgery. I explained my frustration in my lack of ability from my pre-heart attack life and a lofty goal of being able to run 10K again. Then the obese man to my left explains why he is there. He wants to be able to walk comfortably again…

A man with a life as unfortunate and socially unacceptable as him is still willing to try and better himself. He is statistically undesirable in more ways than I have ever seen, obesity, heart disease, diabetic, speech impediment, skin disease and who knows what else lays below the skin. How can I struggle with depression and heavy mood swings when I look the way I do and live the incredibly fortunate lifestyle that I do? I know that my struggles are real but suddenly felt like a fraud being there, this man, with all the challenges he faces, still tries.

Meeting this man made me realize how fortunate I am, I am always aware of the great gift I have by being alive today but sometimes it require a stark contrast for you to realize the beauty that you have in your life. If he can find the strength to get up and try for the two days a week we go to the Healthy Heart classes I think I can find it in myself to be the best that I can be.

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