A Special Mother’s Day

Good morning,

Yesterday was my first Mother’s Day without my Mother since her passing last September 15 and yet I know that despite her passing from this plane of life that she is still here wonderfully touching my own ascension and I feel deeply connected to her.

On Thursday night past, I walked through the door of The Inn on Capelin Bay in Calvert,  Newfoundland, a small community 50 minutes from St. John’s on what is called the Irish Loop. My own property is also on the Irish Loop but inland, not on the Coast. I happened upon it by accident and wanted to open a conversation with the Inn Keeper to possibly partner with him to send visitors from and to Hometel on Signal Hill.

Willingness to grow is important. In this case being willing to get out of my truck and meet the owner outside of the Inn as he was talking with his guests as they headed out to explore.

Kevin invited me in – and once entering, I knew I was in a sacred place. A place dreamed of by Kevin ever since he was 17, when his grandmother said that one day this house will be yours and you will do something special with it.

Over the next few hours, Kevin showed me his passion project.

I then chose to stay also. After all there were still a few beds available at the Inn. After bringing in my bags, Kevin’s guests had returned and Kevin’s cousin Father Gary had dropped by also.

Kevin’s guests were from London England, yet living and working in Toronto. Father Gary was living in London, England although his work took him different places.

Mother Teresa is someone whose life has touched me deeply. When asked, how she did what she did every day – working and serving the poor in the streets of Calcutta, said that “I simply see Jesus Christ everyday in all of his distressing disguises”. This lesson has lived in me a long time.

During our conversation, I heard Father Gary say that many years ago, I worked with Mother in her mission in Calcutta. What? I must say I was dumbstruck. The conversation did not stay there, it was more a conversation about India and how despite Calcutta not being as it once was, the level of extreme poverty was still great and imposing.

All I could muster up to say that night was that I needed to shake the hand a man who once worked with Mother Teresa. I did not even get his picture. Shortly after Kevin left with Father Gary and I was left to reflect on this extraordinary evening.

The next day I spent the morning with Kevin as he shared more about his Inn and his expectation of delivering service with extraordinary love which I believe was an act of worship of his Grandmother Minnie Walsh and his Aunt Harriet. He has three rooms in the Inn – named Minnie’s Room, Harriet’s Room and Kevin’s Room. There will be always room at his Inn – even if he cannot provide a bed – this Inn Keeper will go to great lengths to ensure that those needing a bed, get one.

Yesterday though I know I needed more of a conversation with Father Gary. I had so many things to ask him. I also felt the need to say thank you. Thank you for his willingness to be of service.

I reached Father Gary through Kevin around 8pm last night as I had come into my own Inn – The Country. Not simply a vacation rental – no this place is also sacred and a big part of my life’s mission.

I asked to hear more about his mission work in India. He told me that he served for 4-6 months in 1991. And would you get to spend time with her? He said that whenever she was in India that Mother would do mass and then spend some time with them as they had tea. She would gather them together and teach.

He was always struck by how simply she lived. She taught the same way. She said that through our ordinary acts done with extraordinary love, that we each everyday had the opportunity to work toward Sainthood. That every small act done for another was “You did it to me” – using her five fingers to explain Jesus’s message of serving others.

Nearing the end of his time in Calcutta, Mother told him that she was going to Albania. Albania, an Atheistic Country was emerging from the fall of Communism. She wanted to have a Priest go with her. Father Gary told her that she would need to write to his Bishop in Newfoundland and she promptly got the address.

Coming back to Newfoundland, Father Gary needed to go to hospital to recover from Typhoid which he contracted in India. His Bishop came to see him and told him that he had a letter from a friend of Father Gary’s. Father Gary said he could not imagine who it would be from. The Bishop revealed that the letter was from Mother Teresa asking if Father Gary could come to Albania to serve with her. The Bishop commented, “How can I say no to her?”.

Father Gary’s trip to Albania was supposed to be for one year. That was 25 years ago, and today he is still serving the Albanian communities in London, Ireland and Belgium. Serving the poor; serving the refugee communities; serving Mother; serving God.

At the end of our Church service yesterday morning, Pastor Matt said that Mother Teresa would say that she simply was a pencil in the Hand of God. That as a pencil she did not choose what to write. That all the pencil could do was to be willing to serve.

Father Gary said that Mother would say that we need to pour our whole selves into this day – and serve simply yet with extraordinary love.

I wonder who my Mom is going to bring into my life next?

Have a blessed day – be a pencil; art brush; voice; hockey stick; server; teacher; sponsor; friend; instrument in the hand of God today.

With great love,

Gordon

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Your Children (by Kahlil Gibran)

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.

They come through you not from you. And though they are with you, they belong not to you.

You can give them your love but not their thoughts, for they have their own thoughts.

You can house their bodies but not their souls. For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You can strive to be like them but seek not for them to be like you for life goes  not backward not forward tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which Your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,

and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

(Originally written in the Prophet, 1919)

I love this poem – know it word for word. It inspires me to be a better parent – lets me understand my job as a dad. I am so grateful for my two beautiful children. I love the people that they are becoming. I love to watch them grow and become. They inspire me to be the best that I can be.




A misplaced letter

I was writing an email today

To express how I was feeling

And noticed that autocorrect

Switched the “a” and the “c”

A word of delight, of reverence

Became a word of feeling of dread

A word of prayer and love

Became a word of guilt and shame

A word of humility and grace

Became a word of doubt and fear

While grateful I noticed

I am still present to sacred

Listen Express

My friends may we gather

together in celebration in

thanksgiving

as they do their best

to have us to spend money

we don’t have,

on things we don’t need.

Manufacturing opportunities

for us to participate in this

game invented

Instead

Let us

express our thanks

express our thanks

express our thanks

And listen,

not to what is going

in our head

as they speak

But listen to them

Listen as a space

not waiting to talk

Listen body and bones

till their heart sings

at being heard

Till down in the corridors

of their soul, behind lock

and bolt they know

It is safe

Safe to emerge

Safe to peer out

Safe to venture beyond

walls constructed to protect

and isolate

Join them in the field

Holding hands

In that space

In that open field

Play

With arms stretched wide

Spin

With eyes closed

head back

Dream

When your turn comes

Express your thanks

Express your thanks

Express your thanks

For the blessings

of your spirit

For the blessings

of your soul

And the blessings

of them

And kneel

Arms spread open wide

God’s Tattoo

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Did I jump too soon?

Celebrate too early?

Will I like others before

Become the cliche of sports re-runs?

Will they think I am enough?

go behind my back, cutting me out?

Did I make the right move?

Involve enough of the team?

Questions flood my brain flood

my thoughts

blocking out beauty

Pausing I see amidst the turmoil

I am not these thoughts

They are a playback of an earlier time

Stuck in an endless feedback loop

Blocking the truth

Am I successful? asks this tree before me

Do I have enough?

Did I grow in the right location?

Do I have enough sunlight?

Will my offspring grow tall and be without burden?

Will other’s in my community thrive?

Will I be cut down before my time?

Did you notice my missing limb?

Do they trust me?

Do they love me?

My heart knows that trees

don’t think that way

They are

All their days in the

full presence of God

Connected to heaven

Intertwined with the earth

Allowing

Being

Dancing in place

Ain’t no Saint No Guru

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Ain’t no Saint, no Guru

Yet I am willing to listen to you

And I am willing to share tonight

Just don’t take it as everything right

My words are for me, my experience of strife

They come as I reflect stories of my life

From the death of my dad and now my mother, new

From the places have been, and the people met too, from the mistakes made this pass through.

And I can listen and sit you see and let you talk, let you share with me.

You can share your joy, your pain, just try

We can laugh together or quietly cry.

I have been on this path a time or too

Just ain’t no saint, ain’t no Guru.

New Beginnings & Gratitude

Good morning,

Last night, I shut the door on a place that housed me for the last 32 months. It was nice to clean it completely. I feel it heals a past indiscretion in my youth when I left an apartment in shambles on my way home from University. This time I did complete work – and am grateful.

I have not moved a lot in the past 27 years – this will be only my 3rd move. When I was a kid, some years I moved three times in one year – that is a story for a different time.

This move is about simplifying, letting go of what I don’t need – I am doing that with space – and within this space I will be letting go of many things also.

Mom also lived in that place with me along with her cat Nissa and later our dogs, Keira and Koda. For a time, we all lived their together. Each of them contributing to my life in their own way. And then one by one, I had to let them go as they were off on their own new adventure as I continue on mine.

I continue to work toward building my vacation property management company. Sharing my own slice of heaven is coming along well – and I will let the heavens know that I am ready for new guests.

Beyond my own space, I am in talks with two other companies regarding their properties and with each new conversation, new possibilities are opening up. I have huge learning curve in front of me, how blessed I am.

I am grateful for all who have showed up on my path over the last couple of years. That includes all of you. There are only very few who I did not know.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to be in the space of a monk (actually 3 monks). Bhaktimarga Swami (the Walking Monk) I had met last year. He noticed that I was a lot more grounded this time.

On Sunday, I shared an evening of chanting & discussion with him, his two colleagues, my good friend and teacher, Meranda and others. It was a beautiful evening of song and exploration.

It helped me to remember my first yoga teacher, Sarojini Bremner from 20 years ago. Sarojini once told me that Yoga was not something she did – it was something she was.

As I continue to walk forward on this adventure – I am grateful for all of it.

For the blessings and obstacles, for the lessons and gifts. For my rising faith and my deepening sobriety.

Mostly though, I am grateful for YOU. For what you have brought into my life. Thank you for sharing your life with me.

God Bless, Namaste.

Gordon

Action

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10 years ago, I was an Intern leading the project team for a 350 person sales meeting in downtown Toronto.

During the same week that we were there, Toronto was abuzz with TIFF – the Toronto International Film Festival.

During the pitch a few months before, the advertising company came in and pitched ACTION! as the meeting theme.

That was it!

And yet the marketing folks did not like that they did just one – and so back to the drawing board. A pointless exercise really – – they had it right all along -The ACTION Sales Meeting was born.

In Dec 2015, as I was suffering under the weight of my life awry and sitting in my seat during the Landmark’s Advanced Course, the leader said that most of her colleagues around the world – work for 3 weeks a month and then get a week off. Me she said, I work a week and spend 3 weeks in bed recovering, explaining that she had lupus.

I don’t suffer she said, just take ACTION.

This week I took ACTION placing my Cabin on Airbnb. I had been thinking about it for 2 years wanting to but doubting whether anyone would want to come and not wanting to deal with the rejection and did nothing.

Werner Erhard, the founder of the work that Landmark Education bases its work on says “we need to get clear for ourselves, that the only access to impacting life is through ACTION.

“the world does not care what you intend, how committed you are, how you feel or what you think, and certainly has no interest in what you want and don’t want. Take a look at life as it is lived and see for yourself that the world only moves for you when you act”

And I am seeing that for myself these last two days.

All my thoughts, ponderings, wondering about what to do with my cabin – how could I have it be that I could keep it – afford to maintain it, while working through my current financial space had no impact whatsoever.

I needed to take ACTION.

Yet only hours after the listing got posted, I had my first potential customer, then two. Then I shared it on Facebook and I witnessed other people sharing it also and people asking questions clarifying my rules of the place – Pets – Sure”

When my Rotary Club posts on Facebook, we sometime beg people to share our posts. Liking it does not do it anymore – sharing it is where it is at. So far my initial post has been shared 9 times and liked 37 times And I have had two serious inquiries and one booking. (That’s the world moving for me)

Today, one day later, I welcomed my first 3 guests to my Airbnb. (After 6 hours of ACTION called cleaning) …my house could use that as well.

And my brain is on fire – thinking of how I can market it as the fall & winter approaches.

Along with my 6 hours of cleaning, I made sure to pick up a bottle of Red (the colour of choice) and a new Guest Book, at Hallmark in Mount Pearl. I set up a new category on my expense app that I track all my expenses for Airbnb and Cabin Rental for bookings outside of that model.

I can see that my first guest will bring me $168.78 and so far I have had an outlay of $95.65.

And I want to give a shout out to The Airbnb app – it has been seamless and simple. I have used it twice as a traveller for that Dec 2015 trip to Toronto and an amazing find of a listing in Los Cabos Mexico in Dec 2016. And yet this is my first time as a host. (I wonder if I can augment my house income by doing it also for the house I rent – my mom’s room likely won’t be getting used any time soon)

And I can kick myself all I want about why I never listed it last week or the month or year before that. None of that matters. All that matters is that I did it.

Recovery is like that too – an ACTION program. Suffering is optional.

My mom has been sick for 9 weeks following her fall and broken hip and since that time, both of my dogs have died. It landed heavy on me and I could not seem to get out of my own way in terms of putting pen to paper to write this blog or to write a poem, or take ACTION in the way that I must in terms of my business.

And yet while I have been silent, I have been in ACTION in my recovery. In doing the work, making the calls, reading, going to meetings, and talking to my sponsor. My sobriety is growing for which I am so grateful.

Today I wrote a poem for the first time in a while, called “Taste the Sky” after using those words to tell a songwriter why my cabin was such a great place to create.

For today, I have come to the end – as it is way past my bedtime.

So I have to ask – what are you waiting to take ACTION on?

Taste the Sky

Shall we taste the sky
You and I

Shall we get on our knees
breathe in the dirt

Not in a dress not in a skirt

With our hands the shade
gun metal gray

Watch worms ply their journey
Ants on ant time

Or lie on our backs
Watch heaven go by

Shall we marvel the joy
The beauty felt

As God in his wisdom
Reveals the cards that he dealt

Shall we ponder a rose,
a leaf or a twig

And wonder just wonder
if we could take one little swig

To drink in the lemons
drink in the lime

In this pursuit
we don’t bother the time

Not even a worry
With strife but a scar

The sun will keep calling
Why you travelling so far?

Shall we taste the sky
You and I