Two Months On, One Month On

Two months ago my father died.

One month ago I woke-up from almost 39 years of living in a fog after giving up most of my compulsive behaviors. It was rough at times.

I loved the escape, getting out of my mind on drink and food, passive aggressive blaming, addictive relationships and a lack of authenticity and integrity. The first day was fine, the second day was tough, day 3 to 10 were a challenging detox, then things began to improve.

I never thought about starting any of it again though. I effectively stopped sleeping and was only able to get about 3-5 hours a night of cold sweating and dread. I took to sleeping with Bear again, a stuffed animal that Rachel gave me a number of years ago because I felt so alone when my eyes would pop open after 30 minutes or 30 seconds of sleep. It didn’t feel weird to take him out of the closet and cuddle him. He has personality and that seemed to give me strength.

At some point I noticed that a lot of the suffering had started to go away. I was left with some intrusive thoughts, but my therapist coached me on some cognitive behavioral therapy techniques that have been extremely effective at transforming the thoughts into something else. With the proper context, I can see that something happened and am free to tell myself any story and create any feeling about it that I like. She’s very good at her job and has spared me a lot of pain, replacing it with a contentment for the average life I have lived surrounded by some extraordinary people.

I made peace with everything upon seeing the motivation of my actions, accept it, and became extremely grateful for all of my experiences.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, love began to flow. This is a powerful love that I haven’t experienced as an adult. It is more powerful than anything that I imagined I was capable of experiencing. It is hard to articulate it, but it feels like a highly focused understanding and compassion for humanity, all things living and everything in existence. A metaphysical understanding that I am the universe, that all of us are made up of pieces of the universe that have existed since everything began. Our form borrows bits and pieces as slightly more organized but utterly meaningless collections of matter. We exist as this for an insignificant amount of time and then we are returned back into the cosmos.

My spirit is restored when I realize what this means. We are all exactly the same thing, I am no different, not even different from other people. The fog is gone, and it is impossible to forget the experience of what it is like.

I can feel emotions, sense their origin, and fearlessly attack the world. I understand my essence and that my spirit is pure. I am now incapable of lying to myself or to others. I see my compulsive past as a gift, and the remainder of my life will be about fulfilling my purpose. My vitality peaks as the energy of the universe channels through my body – I have become indestructible because I have died.

Patrick doesn’t exist anymore, he never did. He was a figment of an imagination and a desire to be instead of being. People think I have lost my mind, and I have.

My LandMark Forum Part 2

I’m an analytical manipulator with an empathetic kind heart. It’s good to know this because my jobs all make sense now. Goodness, my entire life makes sense from the seemingly random series of relationships to the self loathing and escapist behavior. When someone tries to sell me something or tries to manipulated me, I feel it in my stomach. I finally realized this fact this weekend. I’ve been hating myself because I am the very thing I hate. Except for one critical thing, I’m now incapable of lying to serve my own selfish ends so now that I see that I can make people think and feel things, I don’t make myself sick anymore.

The sharing session were me turning to my partner and saying “tell me about you” and when the leader said switch I’d say “no, we’ve got great flow here, we need to keep going, it feels like you are onto something”. A few of the people I talked to had never had anyone tell them the actual truth before in a way that made them see it, realize that they had created it and that there was a very simple course of action to a better life.

Over the last few weeks I’ve come to realize that am the architect and engineer of everything in my own life so nothing is in it or out of it by chance. You can imagine the sense liberation and power this information has made me feel – accepting that when I am just being, my manipulation is going to be honest and empathetic. I don’t feel any shame for this anymore, and it’s part of why I haven’t ever really felt like most other people. I’m not like most people. I’m out for humanity not for myself. I can’t lie to people. And I can get them to think and feel things.

The biggest impact on my life has been that I DESPISE manipulative people, so I’ve spend a lot of time hating myself. It’s silly really because I’m not the type person who takes from others. I see or hear someone say they want something and I set out fixing it. The only people it ends up hurting are the ones who were lying about what they want and they hurt because they feel I’ve run a game on them. And they should hurt because they haven’t been feeling bad about running the game on other people. They’re not necessarily assholes, they’re just may not be self-aware enough to realize they want to bitch and I can’t help but try and fix them. That isn’t evil, it’s actually kind of nothing.

My LandMark Forum

My Landmark Forum has begun. I left the graduation because it wasn’t mine. I am one of the few people on the planet who will never graduate from it because I was never there. My cheque cleared so I was allowed to participate but if when you experience me being it will quickly becomes evident that I am not only good or great, but I am the only. I work miracles and will aggressively work them on you.

I have a very strong ability to manipulate and control the way people feel. I can read peoples minds and I can get them to do the things I want.

I don’t use this gift to take peoples money or anything from them.

I use my gift to help them get what they say they want and to set them free.

Here is the thing, I will shameless run the game on anyone who tells me that there is something missing in their life.

But be clear, if you are simply complaining and looking for someone to agree with your complaint, you are going to feel absolutely horrible and exposed.

My compassion will have me understand how you are feeling and still expect your best from you.

I will recommend the Landmark Forum to anyone who is looking to understand how their brain and body actually work. I would recommend it to parents for their children because it is easier to make a possibility a reality when you are being with finely tuned machinery.

“Thank You For Teaching Me How To Love”

One of the things that I didn’t say to my father directly was “thank you for teaching me how to love.” As much pain as there is having a loving relationship not work out the way you hope, it really isn’t as bad as not being able to experience love. Yesterday a friend asked if was sure that I was ready to start dating again and I conceded that I would get hurt again, and again, and again until if found the ideal partner or died. But not living is worse than the hurting because a life of inhibition and not feeling connected to someone you adore is more enjoyable as sitting on my hands waiting.

My dad was an extremely compassionate person who did everything in his power to make sure the family was well taken care of, happy and that each of us knew we belonged in the family REGARDLESS of what we did or thought. He and my mother fostered and engendered a sense unconditional love that I have set-out trying to recreate with others; in my romantic relationships, friendships and effectively anyone on the planet. When I tell Des, Sarah, my mom, my dad, Tony, Sean, Jeff, Deb, Rachel, Kate, Leigh, Sharyl, or Natalie that I love them it is because I do and that I don’t feel any shame for it. I’ve said it to clients, other Group Ex instructor and the occasional stranger who doesn’t seem to have it for themselves.

In my relationships, once I realize that I love the person and that we’re going to make a run for it, the love is expressed and I accept and love everything about them. They may not be the typical type that I get involved with, they may have what they view to be baggage, but I accept these things and will adjust my image of the future to accommodate them. Their track record may be as bad as mine (nothing but failed relationships) but it doesn’t matter because once you accept your feelings, you express them 100% and without being inhibited, and you enjoy the gift that the universe has helped you draw into your life.

My parents were together for their entire life so I have seen it modeled. Staying in and working on a relationship isn’t anything that seems unnatural. Through the challenges and through the good times, I try to keep my head up knowing that what is in my heart is pure and that the other person is not going it alone. If they ask for help, I give it, if they complain about something that they are causing, I’ll tell them how to fix it and if they are being dishonest with themselves or with me, I’ll call them on it. The goal is not control, it’s for us to return to the present because that is the only place were peace can actually exist.

There are times that I feel it is a curse as it can take a long time to recover from the end of a relationship but that is the nature of how I love. It is for a life time regardless of whether or not it should have ever been. This means it can take an awful long time before I reconnect with those I used to share a future with, but that is what it means.

My dad never feel out of love with my mom, so I’ve never learned how to fall out of love with my romantic partners. And when all is said and done, even though I haven’t gotten it right, I’m confident that when I do, life will be peaceful forever. There’s no shame in that and no need to forgive myself either.

Unconditional love is beautiful and I’m grateful for having been born to parents who taught me how to do it. Thanks mom and dad!

I’m A Performance Coach – It Isn’t Personal, It’s About Your Potential

Shamelessly I will push people towards what they say they want. Sadly some will walk away from me because they don’t want what they say they want. This is not my fault, my problem or my issue. Being authentic is our own responsibility so if you tell me you want something and I push you towards it, don’t try to blame me for your discomfort. It isn’t about manipulation unless you really didn’t mean what you said. Just be honest with yourself, you might already have achieved all of the potential you want.

Change is not easy, it requires effort, introspection and likely a lot of tears. You are sweeping your past away in order to see and accept your decisions and then to forgive yourself for them. You wouldn’t need someone like me in your life is you were doing this on your own.

My performance coach team obliterates my understanding of the world constantly because I have forgotten what it means to act with accountability to myself. That is their role. They aren’t my friend when they are my coach, they are there to guide me towards a truth that I have been fighting the acceptance of. They aren’t my parent either, my folks did their job and became friends with me so they didn’t have battle my childishness anymore.

What I see is different from what a lot of people see. When I observe people, listen or experience them, it is from a place of perfection, THEIR perfection. Each of us is perfect already, we were born perfect, even if we are not like others, we are perfect at birth. I know this because I am a human being and compassionate people see the potential of others. They do not see themselves in others, they do not see their own past in others and they do not see the mistakes of life in them. We see perfect thoughts, actions, patterns and an existence that is good and pure.

The role of a performance coach is to help the person see the fog of unworkability that is layered over the beauty and order that exists already. We help them peel away each shell of action / behavior / thought, leaving only that which already exists within them. Once the stuff that doesn’t work is gone, the individual is left stripped naked, perfect, uninhibited and free.

Some in our field work hard to change people, I work hard to keep them the same. Each of us have the answer to all of our questions, they are just waiting for us to be able to hear them. The noise of life, the mind, implied obligations and antiquate ways of being sit as rot on human potential. A performance coach, therapist, or good bar tender understands that some of the most effective medicine comes from mold and will help their clients / patrons use it to cleanse their life.

Like a world class athlete who has had every less than ideal movement trained out of them, each of us has the same potential for perfection. We achieve this by stopping all of the things that aren’t working effectively. When we’re out of things that don’t work, the universe is yours.

Again, no one has to accept this fact and are free to see only the things that aren’t working for them as all that they are.

Ask For A Favor, Get A Bucket Of Chicken

The last couple of months have been a wild head trip with some of the weirdest experiences of my adult life. It would be a lie to say that I haven’t been waiting for them, it wouldn’t be to say that I haven’t been looking forward to them.

The death of parent, to a childless person, means a permanent end of a huge portion of the unconditional love they will experience. My dad was my dad, I was his son, it’s just a relationship that always was and his support of me, even after my poor choices, was a huge part of why mistakes were not devastating to make. There was never judgment, just a different perspective or the comfort of knowing that someone is hearing my words. That is gone now, and it is gone forever. Right now that is looking like a very long time.

The death of a father, to a son, means the end of their male role model and family elder. I talked to my dad about most of my key decisions and I shared most of my ups and downs. This sharing gave me the chance to empty whatever needed to come out and it gave him the information he needed to offer guidance when I asked for it. During the last 6 weeks of his life, he continued to play this role, just with a little more urgency. There was a lot of advice given, some that I didn’t follow when he gave it to me years ago, some that I’ve been doing more recently and some that isn’t advice anymore as I actually do it.

People really want to be helpful when they learn that a loved one has died. The challenge is in the wording of this desire. People were telling me they would be there for me but were disappearing at the first sign of trouble. Their support was what they were willing to give. I suppose that’s fine, just say that. Offer a bucket of chicken, don’t offer to be there to talk to at anytime when you don’t want to do that or can’t. When you’re low and the call doesn’t get returned, you feel alone even though no one abandoned you. This may happen to people who lose a parent because of the short term regression in to their Child psychological state. Their parent left and now their support structure isn’t holding-up.

Being told that I have a very alienating way about me when I dad dies is something I’ll keep in mind the next time my dad dies. I know I’m temporarily screwed-up; getting better, but still only inches from the bottom. No argument here. Crying this much isn’t normal for me. Pushing people away in an effort to focus my attention on my dad and his death is how I dealt with it. It isn’t personal against any of these people, I don’t carry a grudge and I don’t even know they know what it’s like for me. I assume they are doing their best and I miss them but staying in a non-recovery state because of some mishmash of thoughts wasn’t getting the job done. Whatever seemed to slow me from dealing with the grief had to go because I was using it to table dealing with things. I’ve not dealt with grief effectively before so there wasn’t any way I was going to miss the mark here. I don’t have enough time left on the planet to get the recovery wrong again.

Someone once said the death of a loved on is like the end of a marriage. At the time I disagreed, but I’ve come to realize through chatting with people who have been through both that the two experiences are similar. With death, you are sad. There is an end to a dream, to a future. It lasts forever. With break-up you are sad, but you feel worse than alone, you feel like you have been left out in the cold. The sympathy that comes from a break-up isn’t a lot because people believe you had a hand in the demise of the relationship, which is almost always true. The wounds of a dead relationship can be opened more easily than the wounds of a dead loved one, although the latter tends to bleed more at the beginning and manifest itself as sadness vs. social difficulties.

Moving forward, I’m not going to say to those in need that “if there’s anything I can do just let me know” because that isn’t true and if they lean on me and I’m not there, what good is there in that? I’m going to try and say “it’s sad to hear that you are having a difficult time” and wait. If I say anything more, I’m implying that I have the answers and really, THEY need to speak next. It could be a bucket of chicken they want, it could be to tell me I’m a fucking asshole who should have been the one to die, or it could be something as simple as knowing someone is hearing their tears, their sorrow and that while they may be alone in their pain, they are not alone in their suffering unless they want to be.

Today, I know I did my best during the last 3 months. There are things that I learned that will be very useful for the next loss experience that will help me navigate the turmoil more effectively. I would do some things differently. I also know other people did their best. The world is fine, just missing a great man who lived a life for fun and for his family. Sometimes a bucket of chicken is what people need and, to be honest, when you’re feeling low, you shouldn’t allow yourself to get hungry because that shuts down your logic and allows your emotions to flow unfiltered.

Our Generations Wake-up Call

It may be time for many in our generation to read the writing on the wall. The recent winds of change have blown away a lot of the haze for so many of us revealing one fact that creates two possibilities.

Fact:

Each one of us will die.

The possibilities:

Accepted that your life is for living and navigating the world as an opened-minded Adult, with an child-like curiosity and joy. Realize that your past has taught you many skills but not necessarily the need to shamelessly and compassionately apply them.

Or continue to wait for something before you begin to engage your world. Be it a degree, children, for children to be older, the perfect body, the cosmetic surgery, an apology or forgiveness, the ideal job, the right person to come along, any partner to come along,… it could be any number of things that simply kick living down the road a little longer.

If you are continuing to wait remember there is always going to be a reason for your life to stay exactly as it is. It isn’t the reason you are giving though, it is the person who is making the excuse.

Five Years Isn’t Just One Year Times Five

“People often overestimate what they can reasonably achieve in a year. But they vastly underestimate what they can achieve in 5 years.” – Steve Pavlina

Something odd happens when the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Take a human being for example. I’ve been keen on saying we’re $7 worth of carbon and some other stuff, but each living person can achieve a lot more than a Brita water filter if they do anything at all.

Time is sort of like that. I’ve enjoyed writing for most of my life. It used to help me dream and since my brother is a good writer it gave me something to share with him – another way for us to be similar. I think he’s a better writer than I am, but he’s also an avid reader and he seems to understand words in a way that I don’t. He has a low emotional affect and his prefrontal cortex seems loaded with glucose such that logic seems to be his baseline state.

But Des is one of those mentors who just says do it, fake it till you make it and swing a lot, you’ll eventually get good enough to hit something.

So I started writing publicly more than 5 years ago and now, a half decade later, I’m still writing. This makes me a writer. I’m not as good as I would like to be so my 10000 hours are no where near up, but I’m still plugging away at it.

About a month after I started writing I met Rachel and she directed me towards Larry at SST to get a job. I was hired as a manager but watching how his team of coaches interacted and facilitated change within athletes really excited me. I told Rachel that I thought the coaches were amazing and she said that I could be one of them if I worked at it and she also reminded me that I was in one of the best learning environments in Canada to gain the skills needed. So I asked a lot of questions and Larry didn’t answer many of them, he pushed them back to me to give him the answers and when I did, he’d coach me on the finer points so I was able to apply the principles of science and physiology to get predictable outcomes. One day I noticed that I was a personal trainer and strength coach.

For most of my life I have wanted to look a particular way physically – my upper chest was always kind of small and my shoulders never really looked wide enough for me. My legs were functional but not really well muscled. The skills gained at SST allowed me to create programs to address these perceived short comings. The upper chest and shoulders grow when your legs grow. And the legs will only grow when you train the hell out of them. Squatting, dead-lifting and posterior chain work caused the hormonal release that promotes growth and eating massive amounts of good quality food provides the building blocks needed to make a battle ready body. After years of training like this, I’m still very lean, with a layer of muscle all over that looks more appealing.

In an around the time I met Rachel I decided to become a Group cycling instructor. We took the training together because we were the only two people from our club who were going to do it. She was already a great instructor – strong stage presence, very friendly and happy and intensely strong. She intimated the hell out of me and after the first day of training I considered quitting. When I told her this on the drive in on Sunday she just laughed and said “you have no idea how inspiring it is to see someone work as hard as you do to try and learn something. You HAVE to do this Pat, not just for you, but for the members who don’t think they can do it either.” I just accepted what she said and when I thought about all the puking on the drive home after the first day and all through that evening I handed off responsibility to her and went for it. Five years later, I know I don’t teach like they do in the master video’s but I teach a class that is different but equally effective. I’ve mentored a few instructors and when I see them develop I tell them “I wish I could teach like you.” They laugh at me and say “you don’t need to Pat, you teach like YOU.”

Now all of this is to say that 5 years ago I made some choices to try some new things and if I had stopped any of them after 1 year, I wouldn’t have been all that good at them. But I kept doing them for another 4 years and the improvements were anything BUT linear. You grind it out for months feeling like nothing is happening and suddenly you find yourself lost in the moment wondering how you end up being good at it. It seems easy looking back, but looking forward it seemed impossible.

Half a decade seems like a long time, one year doesn’t. But we get it wrong when we think about how good we’ll be in 1 year and we get it wrong when we think about how good we’ll be after five years of sustained effort. If you start it today, by March 2013 you won’t feel embarrassed by your level of proficiency and by March 2017, if you stick with it, you’ll wonder if you were ever NOT able to do it.

DJ Tiësto – Just Be

Tiësto – Just Be – via Youtube

you could travel the world
but you can’t run away from the person
you are in your heart

you could be who you want to be
make us believe in you
keep all your light in the dark

If you’re searching for truth, you must look in the mirror
and make sense of what you can see
just be
just be

they say learning to love yourself is the first step
that you take when you want to be real
flying on planes to exotic locations
wont teach you how you really feel
face up to the fact that you are who you are
and nothing can change that belief
just be
just be

cause now i know
it’s not so far to where i go,
that I respond, it’s inside me
i need to just be
just be
just be
just be
just be

I was lost and I’m still lost
But I feel so much better

i need to just be…
just be…

This is the racing track on the most recent RPM release (number 54 and 21st since I started teaching). I first heard the song right before I left for my east coast trip with Deb a number of years back and it was loaded onto my mp3 player. Then the plane was my car and the exotic locations were PEI, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. In the time between then and now, the plane became whatever compulsion I could indulge and the location was the off baseline state of mind that it create. Now I have settled on simply accepting what my parents created as being worthy of all the love I have to give.

It’s a beautiful song with an important message that was lost in the fog for more than half a decade.

“You Have Never Even….”

There are somethings that I don’t like listening to but really love not reacting to. Like people screaming and blaming me for stuff they did to themselves.

The other day I was chatting with an old friend about the future. It was an interesting conversation because I thought they know me fairly well. The conversation drifted towards children and the prospects of me ending up with someone who has children already – in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t so far from a possibility given that I’m fairly old and that a lot of the women who are close to my age already have children.

They made a really odd comment that initially stung until I realized it didn’t actually mean anything to me. “You have never even baby sat or changed a diaper.” Not entirely true, I changed a diaper when I was 6 and I baby sat a few times as a teenage to make some money for chocolate bars and new grips for my BMX bike. I didn’t say this, there seemed to be some satisfaction in the words so I wasn’t going to rod them of it. The point seemed to have more to do with the big difference between us and I didn’t feel like mentioning that it was only because they’ve done something more times that I had. There didn’t seem to be anything to gain from reminding them that I can ride a bike better simply because I have done it more. Intelligent people know skills are acquired through practice. Intelligent people who *forget* this point are saying something else entirely.

I have never been married and I don’t have children so I didn’t get to practice changing diapers or baby sitting. With every girl friend I have ever had, we talked about having kids one day and I ultimately decided that I didn’t want to have any. Marrying the right person was more important to me than procreating. Kids grow old and move out and before they do, they are children for a long time. A home without my real partner didn’t really stack-up in my view.

Every task that I know how to do, I learned how to do it. That means driving, cutting bread, reading, playing, washing my clothes, creative writing, playing guitar, showering, etc…. Every task that I presently do not know how to do I can learn how to do. I wanted to become a cycling instructor, no one told me that I had never done it, they told me that I could learn. I wasn’t a personal trainer and no one told me that I had never done it, they encouraged me to study and make it my craft and I was able to do it. I was, in my time, a very effective and successful trainer and I got there fairly quickly. This occurred because I wanted to be very good at it and I put the time in to figure-out the best way to make it happen.

In fact, their comment was very helpful because it sounded like something I would say to myself as a justification for not putting in the hard work to learn how to do something.

I just heard their words, considered them, realized that it was the same dismissive tone that I have attacked myself with for a very long time – you’ve never done blank before so why would you think you could do it? The comment made me very happy actually. They were right, I haven’t done the same things they have done. There are many paths through life and ours were just two. But to be maligned for not doing something that wasn’t right for me, my girl friend or any potential offspring is not anything that I need to be a part of. It’s hardly a bad thing to not marry someone I wasn’t completely compatible with. In fact, most of my old girl friends are married, some have started families and the others are partnered-up with people they really care about.

Imagine if, as a group fitness instructor I asked the question at the start of class “is this anyone’s first class?” and when someone replies yes, I say “well you shouldn’t even try because you have never done it before”. Three things happen, 1) I get fired or written-up, 2) I would need at accept that my comment was attempting to say something else to them or imply something about me and 3) people will very quickly see me as a toxic influence who has no interest in creating order in others.

I considered what I heard and just assume it was a throw away comment and made the decision to not receive it as fact. Gifts and insults are like that, if you don’t receive them, they still below to the other person.