“The first task of the person who wishes to live wisely is to free himself or herself from the confines of self absorption.” The Art of Living Epictetus (Sharon Lebell).
One of the hardest things to learn, perhaps the hardest thing to adapt, was the ability to de-value all the material things in my life. I mean everything, from the smallest insignificant receipt to larger things like appliances to more sentimental things like old journals and photographs.
In my challenge to declutter my life I had to take a mobile home worth of stuff, that’s six rooms, and condense it down to only what would fit in the back of an SUV. It would have been an impossible task if I had not first looked at my material possessions in a different way.
The first thing I collected up to get rid of was all my office supplies. I had piles and piles of pens, tape, notepaper, notebooks, rulers, hole punches, calculators, the list goes on. I kept only what I needed to pursue work and occupancy in another place and the rest went into a box. I asked a neighbour of mine if they could use the supplies and they happily took them off my hands.
The household items were the easiest to part with because I didn’t know where I was going to be ending up so I really wouldn’t need two cheese graters for a while. Yes, that’s the first indication I had that I had too much junk in my life when I found two cheese graters in my kitchen drawer. You might be wondering why this is so significant? I mean, everyone has a cheese grater these days and by chance I happened to have two, big deal. Well, you see, the thing is, I don’t cook. I mean sure I’ll throw bags of vegetables and a roast into a slow cooker now and then but I don’t compile ingredients and mix them up into a conglomeration that will hopefully transform into something edible.
In addition to the fact that I don’t cook is the fact that I have grated cheese in years. I think I might have grated it once about ten years ago, and only because someone told me to at the time. So, the fact that here, in my kitchen cupboard drawer, were not one but two cheese graters was a clear indication that I bought things for the sake of owning them and that habit needed to change. And it wasn’t just cheese graters in that drawer, I had an entire collection of spatulas, graters, ladles, knives and enough utensils to serve a gathering of a dozen. I’m single, live thousands of kilometres from family and I rarely had anyone over to my house let alone a dozen people. The kitchen items were easy to part with and except for a few of the essentials I boxed everything up and put it in the pile to donate.
I had a brand-new microwave I offered to sell to someone but they didn’t take me up on it so it, along with a crock pot and various other items were lumped into the donation pile. Someone somewhere just got a good deal on a three-month-old microwave.
All the cleaning supplies I had accumulated had to go. Dryer sheets, air fresheners, toilet bowl cleaners, hand soaps and cleaning cloths were all piled into one box and given to a neighbour. They ended up giving me $10 for it so that was cool.
Clothing was another easy one to part with. I had a lot of t-shirts, sweatshirts and other things that I never wore. I disposed of all my old underwear and socks, literally, and bought new ones. This not only allowed me to replace my current stock with fresh new un-holey pairs but allowed me to dictate just how many of each I would have in my wardrobe selection. I had several bulky coats and light zippered ponchos I never wore and were in very good to brand new condition. I put all of them into garbage bags and added them to the donation pile.
I sold them one of my televisions and even threw in a power bar for good measure so it meant that everything went in one trip. I made $50 off the whole pile and that would pay for over half a tank of gas so I was happy. I had recently purchased an acoustic guitar but just never found the time to learn to play it let alone even tune it so I gave it to a neighbour to give to a young relative of theirs. I didn’t ask for money, someone else was going to get use out of it and that’s all that really mattered to me.
I sold another television, yes, I owned three televisions, to a friend of mine. He paid $160 for it plus a Blu-ray and a DVD player with power bar also included.
I had a collection of over thirty “owl” related items, figurines, pictures, garden art and much more. All of it, along with a dozen or so other things around the house, were placed in the donation pile. It’s amazing how much crap you accumulate only to sit around your house, look at once in a blue moon, and collect dust constantly. Perhaps that’s on purpose, I mean if we didn’t have little things sitting around the house collecting dust we might never be reminded that there is dust that needs to be cleaned. Yeah, I don’t believe that reasoning either.
Now, with food I learned growing up the importance of keeping canned goods in reserves so I had a lot of that to pack up. I wasn’t about to donate it because I can eat it and it just saved me about $50 in grocery costs. So, I packed up my food, it took 3 file boxes to carry it all.
Paperwork and files was the hardest one to sort, at first, mostly because there was just so much of it. I had piles of old tax records that I’ve had to carry around year after year. I checked the Canada Revenue site and it said to keep them for six years (not seven) beyond the last date. Which was great news because about three quarters of it was from 2011 and before.
I had piles of journals covering everything from the weather to whatever thoughts I had drifting through my head at the time to various comments about work. I decided to keep only the one that I wrote during my drive out west back in 2013 and I manually shredded the rest. In total, it took about two days to go through and destroy all the old documents and pile them into three garbage bags. Next time I need to buy a shredder. And finally, old photographs. I don’t think I kept more than a dozen of them, mostly of my parents, and the rest I shredded along with the files.
In total, I think it took about a week to go through my entire trailer home and declutter my life. I took two truck loads to the donation, half a load to neighbours, and two loads to the dump. When I was finished though I had 2 duffel bags of clothes, 3 boxes of food, 1 pack with camping and survival gear, 1 suitcase full of books, 1 carry-on bag full of paperwork and notebooks and my entire life fit in the back of my SUV. Mission accomplished.
It is anti-democratic perhaps, but I believe every Citizen, not resident, Citizen, should be issues a Canadian Citizenship Voter Photo Identification Card, AND, I believe that voting should be mandatory even if you vote ‘Abstained’.
Everyone goes on and on about democracy and freedom yet do little to uphold those rights they enjoy daily. I was one of those people, for reasons I will outline below, who did not vote in every election, but not anymore. Now, I will vote and vote and vote again!
Let’s look at a few of these terms I am tossing around, in particular democracy and my participation in my right to vote.
A “democracy”, which means to “rule by the people” was first used by the Greeks of ancient Athens to describe their city-state’s system of self-rule. Their society peaked around 430 BC under the politician and skilled orator Pericles. Pericles was born of the noble family Alcmaeonidae. It was through connections made by his mother, Agariste, that Pericles entered the political realm. Pericles promoted his populist socialist policy following the ostracizing of his political opponent Cimon. Peracles sought for the expansion and stabilization of democratic institutions and did so through war and conquest.
A democracy, defined by Wikipedia, is a “system of government by the whole populations or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives”. In other words, to have a democracy our government representatives must be elected, this is achieved through voting in elections.
The “right to vote” in Canada has been a long process spanning most of its early development as a nation. In pre-Confederation times the right to vote was first extended to property owners only, this condition was later removed. It is interesting to note that women had the ability to regularly vote in Canada from 1791 to 1849 and there are reports of women voting in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
The Canadian Encyclopedia states that “a few women have also been identified as voters” including “at least 27 Mohawk women” who cast ballots in an 1825 election. Some “Catholic, Protestant and Jewish women with property voted in early Quebec elections”.
It was in 1843 with the insertion of the word “male” into law that New Brunswick differentiated between “male” and “female” and denied women the right to vote, idealizing that women were the guarantors of cultural survival and therefore had no place in a political life. It was the clear legal distinction between “men” and “women” (much like what we have today) that led to the removal of women’s rights to vote or participate in politics in a couple provinces.
In the other parts of Canada women were not allowed to vote until the women’s suffrage movement which granted women the right to vote and participate in politics in 1900 with the first victory to vote in a provincial election, in Manitoba, in 1916. Quebec was the last province to grant women the right to vote, in 1940 followed by the North-West Territories in 1951.
It took me about a week to do all the chronology on my life. No one says when you are 16 “hey you might want to start writing down everything you do because at 47 you will want to look back on it to write a blog article”.
When I was sixteen, we didn’t even have “blogs”. I remember in grade seven and eight we would have assigned “diary writing” as part of our creative writing class. This involved writing about the days’ activities, or, the all important first entry “what I did during my summer”. The diary would be placed in a stack on the teacher’s desk, and, after the teacher had left the room the troublemakers would go up and start reading through aloud everyone’s private thoughts. I knew this happened so my entries would be short and lacking much personal detail, I guess you could call that one of my first experiences with ‘self-imposed censorship’.
I can still, to this day, remember some of the things I wrote about. A visit to a friend’s grandparents’ cabin (which, I initially did not write about but my mother corrected me on it when she asked what I did in school that day, so I had to write something about it the next day) and the downing of Korean Airlines Flight 007 that was shot down by the Russians in 1983 (I was 12).
Okay, back to voting. I was able to track down through memory all of the times I believe I voted in an election. I was legally allowed to vote in 1989, as a Canadian male citizen having achieved the age of maturity, age 18. The first election I voted in was in 1993. I voted for the Progressive Conservatives. It was not because I really knew what they stood for but instead I remembered watching a politician by the name of Larry Grossman on television back in the 80s and I liked the guy. I knew “Liberals were evil”, probably because of the whole Chretien-speech mocking I had heard. So, I guess, voting Progressive Conservative, I voted for a female Prime Minister. Too bad it was another decade before I learned just what a terrible joke Kim Campbell turned out to be. Murray Cardiff was our local MP back then, he lost to Paul Steckle, a Liberal, in 1993, by 8,000 votes.
The next election, also while I was living in Ontario, was not until 2006. From 1994 to 2003 I had moved to Ohio, where as a Canadian citizen, I married an American woman. I am not going to go into that right now, you can read about my previous entry called something like ‘Victim of Divorce’. I remember that while living in Brampton in the early 90s I had the idea in my head I wanted to start my own political party. I would call it “Party 16”, since Canada had 15 political parties jockeying for a position in the 1993 election many of which had candidates in Peel region.
In 2006 I had quite the expanded view of politics, living through the Clinton and Bush Jr years firsthand, and, of course, 9/11 (also a previous blog entry). What I saw had pretty thoroughly disgusted me and when I returned to Canada in 2003 I had very little interest in either the PC’s or the Liberals. The NDP were losers back then, not quite as much as they are today, but no one voted NDP unless you supported Layton and his war on the unions (back then Unions were good). In 2006 I voted for our Independent candidate, whoever that was, and again in 2008. I had no desire to vote for Larry Miller, Conservative, he was controversial, from Grey County (not Bruce where I lived) and worst of all, the same party that brought us Mulroney and Campbell.
I did, however, have a passion for politics and, in 2006, I was the first person to submit my nomination application to run in the Municipality of Kincardine municipal election as a “candidate at large” in their new hybrid system. The system voted on by referendum was a combination of candidates representing specific “wards” and others “at large”. It was their way of trying to bring better representation to those constituents living outside of the developed areas of Kincardine and Tiverton.
At the time I was working for a local retailer and, while I could have approached customers to garner their support in the upcoming election, I did not think it was right. My boss, however, had no problem with letting one of my competitors stand for hours at a time in the store talking it up with local residents in a feeble attempt to win their support. I did not win, I did not come close, but I did beat this person (who finished dead last) by sticking to my morals and not sinking to the level of using my workplace (or his if he even had a job) as a soap box for politics. Maybe that’s why I lost, too moral to be a politician?
In 2009 I think, or 2010, I was operating a bookstore in Hanover, and I did not pay much attention to politics. After that closed, I was in Nunavut for almost a year, during the 2011 federal election. I think I returned to Ontario around the same time as the election, so I did not vote because I did not know the candidates or the platforms they represented.
In 2013 I moved out west for a few years, settling in Alberta. Out west I got a real taste of two philosophies, the “old boys club” (which I had also experienced while running for office in Kincardine) and “frontier justice” (the understanding that the police were not always there at your beck and call, like Ontario, and sometimes you had to take the law into your own hands). As it turns out, the RCMP, whom I had never experienced in Ontario (the local RCMP office closing over a decade before that) were not always the “good guys”, a discussion for another day but in the meantime, you can look up “High River”.
By 2013 I had completely lost any faith in, what would later in 2018 be called, the Libcon bird. Both the Conservatives under Harper and the Liberals under pretty boy Trudeau (oh, and I told people even before the Conservatives did that he was “just not ready” to be a leader but I based that on his experience and age more than what would later be his personal ethics and beliefs). In 2015 though I was voting in the Provincial election.
And this is where the Albertans and I disagree, perhaps because I was an “outsider” voting in the election, but I feel I got a more objective view of what was happening. In 2015 the Conservatives had been led by the atrocious leader we unlovingly referred to as “Princess Redford”. It was clear, in the minds of everyone including Albertans, that the Conservatives, after 42 years, had fallen to the same level of corruption as other parties. Though even then Albertans could not admit that the Federal Conservatives were corrupted, to them Harper was a God.
In the 2015 Provincial election in Alberta the New Democratic Party won a landslide victory over the Conservatives. I rarely participated in Provincial elections and did not vote in one until 2015.
You will still have Albertans today trying to claim that the Wildrose Party (the official opposition before and after 2015) somehow “split the vote”. This is bonafide Albertan ranch horsepucky. One has only to look at the election results to see the Wildrose followers, myself included, had absolutely nothing to do with the horrible choice that ALBERTANS made of placing the New Democratic Party (NDP) and Rachel Notley in power. I mean seriously, get a grip.
Let’s look at the numbers, NDP 54 seats, Wildrose 21 seats, PC 10 seats, Alberta Party 1 seat, Liberals 1 seat. Now I don’t know, maybe Albertans are using some of that “liberal math” when they say the Wildrose Party “split the vote” (just like the PPC’s will do they say) but when you add 21, 10 and 2 together you get 33, which is FAR BELOW the 54 seats the NDP won.
No folks, sorry, it was NOT a vote split that caused the NDP to win Alberta. It was arrogance and pig-headedness that voters chose to send a message rather than choosing the party that was right for Alberta’s future. The same mentality that brought us Trudeau and the Liberals into the Federal majority governance.
Wildrose Party was the first political party I became a member of, around 2016 until 2017 when they lied to me about Jason Kenney and sold their souls to the Conservative party. I recall Brian Jean was the leader of the Wildrose Party then, having taken over from Danielle Smith, who had also sold her soul to Prentice and the Conservatives along with seven others. The corruption of the Wildrose Party ran deep and so did the lying. When Kenney started trying to recruit members of the Wildrose, myself included, to become Conservative.
I emailed Wildrose HQ on September 15, 2016 “Who is Jason Kenney and why am I being asked to join the PC party?”
On the same day I got this reply
Thank you for your email.
Jason Kenney is vying for the leadership of the PC party and is pushing a united conservative agenda that is spearheaded by idea of the Wildrose and PC party merging. At this time, we are open to have these discussions but have not decided anything as we continue to work hard for all Albertans as the Official Opposition.
Do you know who contacted you?
I replied with: “I got an email that said it was from him info at jasonkenney and at the bottom of the email Unite Alberta Ltd. I didn’t join Wildrose to support the PC’s, I first chose them specifically because they were Not one of the Big 3, so I hope they don’t go that route.
And three days later Jennifer replied to me once again,
The Unite Alberta Ltd is not affiliated in any way with the Wildrose Party. The Unite Alberta Ltd is a private venture that is lobbying in support of Jason Kenny’s proposal.
The Wildrose party is independent of the PC party, it’s lobbyists and any fundraising/donation campaigns that may be going on. We conduct our own fundraising and membership drives and only contact those people from our database.
Thank you for your support!
Apparently, no one had shared the memo with Jennifer that Brian Jean, beacon of all things moral and god-like in the Fort Mac fire, was in the process of selling out the Wildrose Party to, what would later be coined, the United Conservatives. I wonder where Jennifer is today? I wonder if she was one of the 5% who opposed the merger. I was not because when I found out about the merger, I cut up my Wildrose Party membership card in disgust.
In 2016 the “2008 Recession” had finally settled into Alberta and by 2017 I was out of a job. After a couple months I moved back to Ontario in May 2017 and was working by June. The interesting thing to note, today Albertans place so much blame on the current government for losing their jobs.
In 2013 or 2014, when I first moved to Alberta, though, a few of the “old boys” were talking about how the big oil companies were getting ready to ‘move their head offices to Vancouver and their operations to Saskatchewan’. Now I don’t know all the details, but it seems like the collapse of the Albertan economy was already begun long before Trudeau took office in 2015 (Trudeau, the Liberals and the NDP just made it far worse).
In 2018 I voted in two elections. The first was the leadership of the Progressive Conservatives in Ontario. I had paid attention to the nightmare that Wynne-bag and the Liberals had placed Ontario into, particularly with this ridiculous “Green Energy Initiative” and I wanted to do what I could to defeat them.
I liked Doug Ford’s almost Trump-like attitude toward things and while I do not agree with him on about half of what he has to say I still figured he was what was needed for Ontario. I still believe this to be true even though he has repealed some of the things I support. He is, though, far more of a true Conservative than Andrew Scheer will ever be. I voted for him as Leader of the Conservatives and then again for Premier of the province. If you don’t like that, too bad. I will make it worse by saying I applaud his efforts to repeal all of this ridiculous gender sex ed nonsense from our schools and government.
And, in 2018, the Municipality of Kincardine had a municipal election that I voted in, and, in keeping with my spiteful tradition of not voting for the popular candidates, I did everything I could to vote for the people I had not heard of before or had had no previous dealings with. I have always supported the “underdog” (like the Wildrose Party) and I am always wanting to see “new blood” in office. That being said, the “new blood” must be sensible and logical (so basically anyone who is not Liberal or leftist minded).
So, a few statistics here. I voted in a total of seven elections in my lifetime. That is not really that many given the fact that, only based on my time while not in the US, there were eighteen elections in the municipalities, provinces and country of Canada that I lived in at the time. My participation, or lack thereof, I associate mostly with the fact that I frequently moved from place to place. If I do even the very rough calculations, I have moved approximately a dozen times, and that is only in Canada (living for a time in Ontario, Alberta and Nunavut), many of my moves within three to six months of an election.
Interestingly enough, even though I’ve blocked their number and, last time, told them not to call me ever again. I got two letters from the PC Party of Ontario. The first, my membership card, better late than never I guess since I joined them back in February 2018 or so, and, a receipt for my donation of $25. Gee thanks, I filed my taxes about a week ago, so I guess I’ll save the whole $5 tax credit til my 2019 return.
I joined the People’s Party of Canada in October 2018. I am the President/CEO of the Huron-Bruce PPC Association (Electoral District). I have no intentions of ever voting Conservative again (and I have never voted Liberal in my entire life, sorry whoever that troll was who once tried, no twice, to say that I had). If the PPC does not have a Candidate in my riding I will vote Independent once again to take another shot at downing the Lib-Con bird once and for all.
UPDATE: I decided that the only way to make a difference in this country, and my riding, was to stand up and run for office myself. I am the People's Party of Canada candidate for Huron-Bruce riding 2019.
Lately there have been some trolls and anons (you know who you are, but don't worry I know too because I've taken screenshots of all of your remarks) commenting about my divorce, in particular saying things like "no wonder she left you". They don't know me, nor do they know anything about my divorce. In truth I left her. A year or so I wrote a blog entry about it, that they clearly didn't read. Here it is for you once again.
Write What You Know – Parental Rights
When I asked several people what I should write about in my blogs most replies were along the line of “what about your past experiences”. I think people like to read about your, or my in this case, childhood experiences all the way up to yesterday for several reasons. It expands their view of the world, it passes on traditions and ideas that they might not have thought of, or, it invokes some emotional response that they miss or don’t get to experience much in the here and now.
So what do I write about, well, I guess the best thing to write about is usually the hardest thing to talk about and that would be my daughter. Yes, I have a daughter. I know, my friends and co-workers who will end up reading this blog at some point probably didn’t even know I was married (almost nine years of hell) or that we had a girl together.
I don’t talk about my daughter because I don’t even know her anymore. All of you women out there who have divorced someone, and kept their kids away from them. Shame on you. You talk about the emotions and feelings of the children and then you do things like that?!
Okay, so let’s begin at the end. I moved out, separated, at the end of March 2003. My daughter had just turned seven in January. I had left my job, I lost my home, I lost everything that wouldn’t fit in the back of a station wagon, well, two technically. I moved back to Canada and in with my parents at thirty-two years old.
Now, we parted ways on fairly amicable terms, which was kind of surprising seeing as most of our marriage had been filled with verbal abuse and financial debt. I won’t go into details, this isn’t about that.
The timeline after is what matters.
In 2003 I got divorced. We settled on me paying no child support for the first five years. It was her way of allowing me to get back on me feet. My way for her was to not be mean and pull the rug out from under her. I left her the equity in the house, all of the furniture and, most importantly, my daughter.
I mean, I had no choice. I couldn’t support her. No job, no house, hell I didn’t even have furniture. I had a used car full of personal effects and tax records.
So, the first summer apart my ex did her part and brought my daughter up to see me. You know, to be honest, I can’t even remember now if it was one summer or two, but only a couple weeks I think. The point was after that my ex said that I had to pay for my daughter to come up to Canada and that she wouldn’t bring her the fourteen hours by car anymore. She implied that the expense was too much for her.
Did I mention that two weeks after our divorce she, my ex, married her fourth husband, after secretly “hanging out” with him before our divorce and getting him to buy things for the kids? Oh yeah. He was a computer tech for a major Ohio bank and made over one hundred thousand a year American, but bringing my daughter up to see me for two weeks of the year was “too expensive” for my ex. At the same time, I was working as a stock clerk making around thirteen thousand a year Canadian and she still had a management job netting over three grand a month. Yup, too expensive.
Anyways, so five years passed and by then I was about ten thousand in debt and working at the same job. I was up to about sixteen thousand Canadian gross income at that point. I had had little contact with my daughter since 2005. I think I might have received a couple brief letters from her and that was it. I also heard about the letter my ex sent my parents, I read it, alleging that I had been involved in an affair. It was kind of ironic actually, since I possessed emails from her “male friend” talking trash about me and serenading her. The “girl” I met, online, I never actually met in person. The thing was, and I had told my parents the whole story before my separation, was that I asked for a divorce on November 8. I met this girl, woman, online on November 10 – and I never met her in person! Ever. Anyways, I digress.
One day I got a letter from the court stating that I would have to pay, literally, hundreds per month in child support. If I remember correctly it amounted to about 75% of my pay. Naturally I protested. I had offered to pay less, and I’d paid a couple of the medical bills – even though none of the medical/dental procedures had ever been discussed with me nor did I think some of them were really necessary. But anyways, I digress. Dig… the rest?
So, in short, I talked to her lawyer a few times and during that time my ex tried to scam the court with some old medical paperwork of hers claiming she couldn’t work. It was a year old, the court threw it out. I ended up in a bind though. I couldn’t travel to Ohio to fight it because I was broke. I couldn’t afford to pay child support, which I proved was just her way to make my life miserable. My ex’s fourth husband had died and his life insurance likely paid off the house, plus she had a $20,000 vacation booked for herself and ALL of her family, daughters, their husbands, their kids, her parents… and here she was suing me for support??
I talked with the lawyer some more, and through negotiation I agreed to give up my parental rights if they reduced the child support to $0 a month. I did, however, add as a stipulation, that should my ex die (one can only hope) that my daughter would be left in the custody of my ex’s youngest daughter from another marriage. I didn’t trust her parents and since I was pretty much forced to give up my rights I couldn’t challenge for custody if the situation occurred. And, they agreed. That was 2008.
Talk about my ex and money. I found out that her fourth husband had died, the only way to get away from her I guess. She tried to lay a guilt trip on me, oh, not about how heartbroken my daughter was after finding him keeled over in the livingroom – oh she did briefly mention that. No, she said that (paraphrased) “had you only let him adopt her then they could have received (something like, I forget now) $2,000 a month in death benefits with her as his adopted daughter, but because I didn’t then she got nothing”. Adopt? I told her that had she even asked me I would have signed the papers just to get my ex off my back (in 2003). In the end all my ex ever cared about was money and this just proved it. Oh, yeah, I could tell you some stories alright.
I think the last time I heard from my daughter was 2008, in the time I called down there to rip my ex a new one over the court case. I believe, yearly, my daughter had contact with my parents. I seemed to remember them talking about her, but I tried not to think about it. I couldn’t.
So, I guess it was about 2011 or so that I found some “stories” my daughter had written online. They contained a lot of lies and inaccuracies. If they had been true I would have just left them, but they weren’t so I contacted the website provider and ordered them to remove them or face legal. They were removed within the day. I knew that my daughter had been completely corrupted by lies that my ex had fed her over the years and there would be no getting her back.
It’s 2013 then 2014 and my daughter, now 18, contacts my father telling him that she is “18 and she can call whoever she wants to”, additional evidence that my ex made sure my daughter never contacted me in any way. And, the court made certain I couldn’t contact her, under penalty of violating our agreement of non-contact. I was, by the court, no longer her father and therefore had no right to contact her.
My father told my daughter that my mom had passed in 2013 of cancer. He told me he gave her my contact information but she has never tried to reach me. I’m everywhere, I’m not hard to find, but two years later… I know that my ex (and probably her kids too) corrupted my daughter with so many lies, so much paranoia, but sometimes you just can’t undo what has been done…
I guess the last time I spoke to my daughter was about eight years ago, during the legal issues. I know where she is, I know what she looks like… but I’ll probably never contact her. She doesn’t want to talk to me, I guess that’s for the best. I once told my parents that I would wait for her to contact me. I knew it would be years, or perhaps decades, but I felt that by that time I would have mostly forgotten all the things her mother had done to me. I thought that by then I’d be able to carry on a normal conversation without the bitterness and hatred of her mother. After all, your father leaves you the last thing you want to hear from him is how much he hated your mother right?
Do I hate my ex? A part of me still does. A part of me hates her for the way she treated me but you know what, it was mutual. I admitted that and accepted responsibility for my part in that years ago. And no, I never ever hit her, it was verbal and mental abuse on both our parts. A story for another time. So I don’t have any real emotions connected to that “hate” it’s more just a word to me to express strong dislike. My ex just turned 62 last November so, yeah.
Do I love my daughter? A part of me never stopped loving her. I did what I did, leaving, because it was the best thing for her. I know most people don’t get that and will disagree, but when your parents argue non-stop every day for years how can that be a good house for you to grow up in? It can’t, I knew it couldn’t. And it wasn’t for me either, that’s why on November 8, 2002 I asked her for a divorce “because my soul is dying” I told my, now, ex. If your soul dies how can you help another soul to grow and flourish?
Today I want to write about “unconditional love” and why I do not believe in the concept as most people understand it to be. A friend of mine brought up the topic briefly yesterday and I said that I do not believe in the idea of unconditional love. As this statement surprised her, coming from an empath, I explained it a bit more.
By Wikipedia’s definition “unconditional love is known as affection without any limitations, or love without conditions. This term is sometimes associated with other terms such a true altruism or complete love”.
Unconditional love is said to be the continuance of love regardless of the conditions, but for love to be “unconditional” this means it must be felt mutually from both individual people involved. For one to see the conditions of “unconditional love” a couple must be placed in a situation that is consider “not normal” by society standards. I picked a situation to define this more, alcoholism.
Alcoholism is not a “disease” it is a “disorder” of the mind, it is a “disorder” of the choices you make. You don’t wake up one morning and find the lump of alcoholic desire in your throat as you would a tumor of cancerous cells. Drinking, like drugs, is a choice, regardless of the environment you grew up in or the genetics you were born to drinking alcohol is a personal choice. Too often I hear it said that so and so is an alcoholic because they were “predisposed to alcohol”. No, sorry you are not.
You might be “pre-exposed” to alcohol or even drugs, but with the latter we know every effort is made medically to move you away from such pre-disposition when you still an infant. In the case of growing up in an alcoholics’ household the simple solution is to move away from both alcohol and the alcoholic. I know you can not do that as easily as a young person, but I am talking about unconditional love and adults not children. To tell people otherwise, and to be told otherwise, is an excuse. Alcohol is an addiction that can be stopped.
Let me use a more subtle example of an addiction – caffeine. Every morning I must start my day with a cup of coffee otherwise I find I am more easily irritated by the little things through a good portion of the day, until I finally get a cup of coffee. Is this a disease? No, it is an addiction that I can change more easily than I think. There have been a couple mornings when I did not get a cup of coffee and still had to function through the day. I went about my activities and managed to survive. I did not run around abusing people, that I am aware of at least, nor did I curl up in the fetal position in a corner whimpering about coffee beans and creamers. If I really wanted to, I could quit drinking coffee today, but I find that I enjoy the taste of a good cup of joe as much as my body enjoys the caffeine. I do not have to stop drinking coffee because, in moderation, coffee drinking does not hurt me or others, certainly not in the same way drinking alcohol excessively does.
Let’s say you are a regular alcohol drinker and you meet someone who might, at best, be considered a social drinker. You get drunk, regularly, and they, in this case let’s say your girlfriend, believes they must tolerate your behaviour because that’s what people in love do right? That is what they think “unconditional love” involves. Perhaps they are right as they define it, but it is unfair to place them in that position where the love in the relationship is one sided.
I know this is the part where you say, “but I love her” and you would be right and wrong at the same time. If you truly loved someone you would not abuse them in this way. I do not mean you have laid a hand on them, or even yelled at them, but you have placed them in a position where they must choose between you and the reasons they fell in love with you – and I am pretty certain that you getting drunk on a regular basis was not one of those reasons.
I frequently tell friends that you must “find someone who does not complete you but someone who compliments you”. I know this goes against the whole mythos of “soulmate” and the idea that at one time two souls were one, split apart by the gods, and forced to spend the rest of their days seeking their other half. I was raised, not by my parents but by society, to believe that a soulmate is one who completes you. This is incorrect. A soulmate is one who compliments that which you are.
Let’s say, that a soulmate begins as a single entity split apart. This means that each part is made up of the whole. As that soul travels through time and space it picks up experiences and an education different from the other soul. When the two halves come back together to form a single soul, they are not the same entity that split apart from the beginning. They have each evolved on their own to be entirely separate individuals with differing hopes, dreams and passions. The coming together of these two halves is meant to merge these experiences together again, however, in doing so, not to lose any part of each individual half. I know I am not explaining this very well because you will likely say that the two halves coming together would mesh or merge together into one, completing the process. Perhaps you are right, but it is not what I believe, and you are reading this blog to get my perspective on this not yours.
Unconditional love involves two people who love each other no matter what, or, at least, one person who displays love or affection for another because they did in the past even though circumstances today make it hard for that love to be mutual. Bullcrap. Love is mutual, love is two hearts coming together as one, two souls sharing one path in life, and “true love” means not placing someone in the position where they must deal with your addiction as a condition of loving you. Unconditional love means never being placed in the position where you must sacrifice a part of yourself to love another.
What I am saying is that first, do not settle for love or more importantly do not settle to loving someone unconditionally without receiving the same unconditional love in return. If you love someone and they love you together you will be able to avoid those situations in life that are “not normal”. No one forced you to take that drink or to use that drug. It was a personal choice. If you do not want to do it you must choose to walk away from it. You must choose to love your girlfriend, boyfriend, whatever, unconditionally as they unconditionally love you. That is what true love is.
That is probably one of several reasons why I am still single. Too many women I may have shared commonalities with are in situations like these, continuing relationships with other people because they feel they must sacrifice something of themselves for another. That is where the whole halves of the whole nonsense come into it. Love is not about sacrifice it is about acceptance, but acceptance with a conscience not with blinders on.
New Years Eve 2019
When I think back to New Years Eve’s in the past, I recall only a few that stand out in my mind.
I remember one time getting so drunk I passed out and woke up in a panic feeling like I was going to die. I remember the Y2K New Years Eve, I was in a townhouse in Worthington, I can’t recall any positive memories from that place.
I remember celebrating with friends, having a sleep-over at one friend’s place in his attic rec room. Omg I just remembered, one time when the three of us were up there partying we started throwing pretzels out the window. One of the pretzels got caught on a branch far enough from the window it couldn’t be retrieved. Now those memories those are good ones.
New Years Eve used to hold meaning to me as the time you would write resolutions for the coming year. That was, until I discovered like most people that I did not keep any of the resolutions I had written. It felt like a waste of time and it was. Now you may be saying ‘goals’ are the same as ‘resolutions’, as I have come up with four goals for 2019, but they are not the same thing.
The Dictionary tells us that “resolution – a firm decision to do or not do something”, whereas a “goal - the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result”. For example, a resolution is like saying “I resolve to always be on time for work”. This is a firm decision with a definitive outcome, either you are on time for work or you are not. Whereas, a goal could be “My goal is to eat healthy meals at lunch”. There is a number of variables involved that affect whether or not you will reach this goal to eat healthier. There is no immediate punishment for not eating healthier, unlike being late for work which comes with a penalty.
Resolutions, to me at least, just seem to be something you want to place on the most common things in life, your schedule, your behaviour around others, your firm unwavering actions. Goals are something you ‘want’ to achieve to improve or enhance the conditions around you.
The point is, I don’t set ‘resolutions’ for myself on New Years Eve anymore. And, because of the traditions that stuck with me following my neo-pagan years, I now set goals more often throughout the year and particularly on October 31 and December 31. The first, in October, is more a look back at the past year, and tweaking what I can before the entire calendar year has concluded. Those set in December tend to be more life path goals, while those in October tend to be more spiritual goals.
And then there is the periods of transitioning, those months or years when things are just to unstable in my life to set any goals for the future. This past October was one of those times, and, unfortunately, it leads to uncertainty and a state of contemplation that never seems to really be resolved.
When I returned to Ontario in April 2017 it was after a year of negativity in my life. There are so many people out there who seek to do nothing but treat you like crap, to boost their egos, and to do their best to ruin you. I wanted to stay out west but take this cloud of negativity and add in the almost ten percent unemployment rate to the mix and I felt I needed to ‘come home’. Well, now, about eighteen months later and I think I have recharged enough to pick up my proverbial backpack and set off walking down my path again.
I need a better pair of ‘shoes’ for this journey, in the virtual sense, for example when I take to writing in my blog or a roleplay, I now play videos of meditative study and concentration music on YouTube. This helps me to concentrate by freeing my mind of worldly distractions like my smartphone or noises of people moving around upstairs.
Another foundational (footwear in this metaphor) task is to not be laying down in bed while I’m trying to read or write – it’s just not successful. I will usually occupy my mind with other things until finally I am too tired to process words or thoughts and I will fall asleep with the task incomplete. I found out recently I am not the only person to be plagued by this, and I told them the best thing to do when you want to write is to use music, when you want to read find a place that is uncomfortable – for me that’s the front seat of my truck. It might be nice to lean the chair back and put my feet up on the dash but it’s still not a bed or reclining chair and that’s enough to keep me alert and focused on the book.
Music has started to play a bigger role in my life again, and not the Top Ten horribly repetitive crap you hear on the radio on the drive to work. I am talking meditative music, instrumental piano and violin, music to write with or study or sleep to. I’ve tried that a few times now, playing music designed to help me sleep. I didn’t stick with it, it was more like a sleep aid, once I got my sleeping patterns back on track, I was able to fall asleep naturally with just white noise in the background (usually a fan).
I am listening to music right now while I write this. The video includes a slideshow of a variety of nature images to accompany the motivational piano. Right now, there is a picture of snow-capped mountain peaks and in the foreground a deep lake reflecting the clouds and rock. I would love to download hours of this type of music onto my smartphone, so I could just listen to it and relax whenever I need to or write whenever I want to.
I guess that’s it for now, have a good night!
First, let me begin by saying I am not a scientist or used to writing papers on scientific theory, therefore, I apologize in advance for the simplistic way I have defined things in this blog. I am not trying to write a paper for college I’m trying to express my views as generally as possible to the widest audience of readers. My definitions of each theory will, no doubt, vary some from the experts and from my readers and that is okay. I hope in the end my definition, at least, generally defines the theory.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comment section below or by emailing me. Your emailed comments will be edited and may be shared in future blog postings anonymously.
I have been wanting to write about this for several years, but I felt I did not have a complete grasp on the question until now. It was only around 2010 that I understood one of the theories I will write about below.
What is Pre-determined and fluid?
Pre-determined is defined as “a course defined or decided in advance”.
For example, let us pretend that there are two towns, Town A and Town B that are located on a stretch of Trans-Canada 1 (Interstate 80) twenty kilometres (14 miles) apart from each other. I need to travel from Town A to a meeting in Town B and I am running late.
There are other rural roads available that I could have taken but the best course is clearly defined as TCH-1 (I-80). I will drive the shortest, fastest route to my destination, TCH-1 (I-80). The direction I will take to get to Town B has been pre-determined.
Fluid is flowing and more optional in its definition as an “object with no fixed shape that is subject to external forces”. In my example, the objective of my trip does not change. I still need to go from Town A to Town B for a meeting. I will, however, change “I am running late” to “I have two hours to get there”.
The course of the events remains pre-determined. Traveling from one town to the other for a reason. The direction I take there, however, becomes more fluid. The outcome is ultimately the same. I arrive in Town B for a meeting, my arrival time becomes fluid.
The conclusion of a pre-determined and fluid future would be that the course of events and outcomes are established, however, the driver (you) gets to choose the course through their actions. Each course remains pre-determined and, overall, not clear to you but the outcome remains the same.
What are Cause and Effect?
A cause is an action and those actions create dozens, if not millions, of effects. It is defined as a “relationship between things where one is the result of the other”. Wikipedia defines “causation” as “in general, a process has many causes, which are said to be causal factors for it, and all lie in its past. An effect can, in turn, be a cause of, or causal factor for, many other effects, which all lie in its future. Causality is metaphysically prior to notions of time and space”.
To summarize causation is defined by Newton’s third law of motion that tells us that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Another name for this is “karma” where each action has an effect and a reaction. Positive actions yield positive effects while negative actions result in negative effects. Now I know some of you are reading this and thinking ‘well that is not an opposite reaction to my action’ and you are correct. In the law of motion, 'Ball A' rolls across the table and strikes 'Ball B'. The ‘pushing’ of 'Ball B' away from 'Ball A' is equal to the force ‘pushing’ 'Ball B' in a direction. Rolling To something and rolling Away from something are opposites.
Let me give you another example. The alarm clock rings. I need to get up for work. Instead of getting up for work I turn off the alarm and remain in bed. An hour later the phone rings and it’s my boss calling asking why I have not shown up for work. I tell them I am sick and staying home. My boss then calls a co-worker and asks them to come into work in my place. They go into work. The result is that my co-worker is at work in place of me based on the chain of events that were created when I turned off my alarm clock.
The theory of cause and effect (causation) was present in the movie “The Butterfly Effect” starring Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart. (spoiler) To summarize Ashton’s character went back into his past and changed an event. This caused what is known as the butterfly effect. Basically, his character discovered that altering one small action (choice/decision) can have a rippling effect that changes everything else. Causation is the closest thing to “free will” that humans have.
I can not really provide you with a personal experience on this one since it involves going back in time and following a different timeline. There are pivotal moments in my life where my actions, my decisions, changed the course of it entirely.
For example, April 27, 1989, on that day I rode my bicycle down to the park, saw a girl sitting by the bridge and gathered up the courage to speak to her. She would end up becoming my first official girlfriend. We dated for six months and I took a summer job at a lodge for six weeks because of her, right before I went off to college.
On August 27, 1989, we broke up. That was one of the pivotal moments in my life. I went off to college alone and at the edge of depression. I completed my first year but withdrew before my second. I do not have any regrets, but I often wonder what would have happened had she and I stayed together. How my life would have gone from that point involved in a long-distance relationship with someone who could have been emotionally supportive.
What is random chance?
You know these two words “random” and “chance” in your day to day life. Random is when things happen that are not pre-determined, and a chance is the random outcome of pre-determined actions. Many circles, religious, scientific, like to call this “fate”. When all hope fails, and it seems like the world will not change fate steps in and opens a new possibility.
Now I will not write about how all “random outcomes” are “not random”, I will leave that for another day. The basic understanding of random chance or fate is the deviation from the original course.
This “fate” or “chance” is present in the movie “The Adjustment Bureau” as the reason for the characters paths crossing even though “the plan” was different for each of them.
Random chance, now I have a story for you that I think falls under this category. Whether it was by the hand of some omniscient power or simply dumb luck it changed the course of my future.
I was thinking about running in the upcoming election for the position of councillor-at-large, but I needed $100 for the application fee. I was living on a very fixed income and owed on a credit card, so I did not know how I would get the money to apply. Then one day fate stepped in.
I was at work doing my job as usual. I was thinking about how I could come up with the money while I was straightening one of the sections in my department. I believed strongly in the ‘law of attraction’ and I was starting to see the ‘signs’ all around me that there was a greater force at work in the universe than just dumb luck.
I turned the corner, looked down at the floor, and there before me was a $100 bill. I looked around and no one was anywhere near the section. I reached down, picked it up, and did a double take around to see if I was being pranked. I held onto that $100 bill for the rest of the day being mindful that someone might report it missing. No one ever did. To be honest, how do you lose a $100 bill? It is not like it would just fall out of your wallet or purse. Someone, something, left it there right where I was about to walk in answer to my desire. I used the $100 for my application fee a few days later and ran in the election. I did not win but events through the course of running changed my life forever, stories for another time.
What is pre-determined and fixed?
I have defined pre-determined above, fixed is exactly that – fixed and unwavering from deviation. Fixed implies that any course has a set pre-determined direction and no matter what you do to try to change it things will be forced back to the path. Think of pre-determined and fixed as the guard-rails along the highway of your life. If you slip off course and hit them they are designed to push you back on the path.
This idea was presented in the movie “The Adjustment Bureau” starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. (spoiler) To summarize the architect of your pre-determined life (the Chairman, in the movie) writes the course your life will take and all possible outcomes of your decisions. There is no “free will” only the ‘appearance of free will’.
My views on this topic
For the longest time, I believed that my life was this way. It seemed like nothing I did would work out for me and my life was heading into a downward spiral. I was not raised this way specifically, but I came to believe that the stereotype was the life that I needed to live. Friends, college, career, marriage, kids, mid-life, retirement, death, in that order. Ironically while I lived my life going through the motions another part of me felt there was absolutely no plan at all. The two worlds collided in 2002 when I saved my soul from dying by asking for a divorce.
I sometimes wonder if life is not fixed. If the victories and pitfalls we experience throughout our lives are not lessons required either for future events in our lives or the conclusion of it. I think the best example to use is the one I call “my minimalism”.
When I owned my store, I could not maintain an apartment and my business and had to live in the back of my store to cut expenses. But when I lost my store to bankruptcy I found myself living in a mock up room in a friend’s basement. I was forced into the lifestyle of having few possessions and only owning the basics that I needed to get by. This minimalist experience prepared me for my next adventure, living and working up north in remote Nunavut.
I spent most of my time up there being shuffled around from room to room never really having a place of my own. And when I returned to Ontario, and to a different restrictive setting, I lived in a small bedroom on the second storey of a cottage sized home. I was there for several months through until spring when I decided to load up my van and head west.
This move out west with no destination in mind required me to live out of my vehicle for a month with none of the comforts of a ‘home’. I would use the facilities at Husky Travel Centres for showers and washroom, and park in many public places like parking lots as campgrounds were not yet open for the season. I had received the skills to take this risk and travel across Canada thanks to losing my store and to living up north.
I say that this is pre-determined but fixed in that it gives an example on how skills that are acquired through what seem like cause and effect are required for future events. This implies that our futures are pre-determined and will follow a set course no matter what we do if we ‘go with the flow’.
And now, the survey. I asked 33 people the following question.
“Do you personally believe your individual future life to be…”
And provided them with the four responses, that you read above, to choose from. I did not provide them with my view and, while offered, no one asked for clarification on the definition of any of the choices. I have smart friends and followers.
Here are the results of the survey.
B. Cause and effect 46%
C. Random chance 12%
Nearly the majority of those surveyed, 15 out of 33, believe that “cause and effect” or causation is the governing force behind their own personal future lives.
Now, three people, including myself chose two possibilities. For the sake of simplification, a response of “mostly B and sometimes C” meant that they dominantly believed that “Cause and effect” was the answer.
Another comment I received was “75% B 25% C you really reap what you sow, but there are always those random elements that ‘come out of nowhere’. They are unanticipated, no matter how careful or well prepared you are, sometimes you are ‘saved’ by some eternality that prevents or aborts a bad result”. This response was counted under B – cause and effect. It is interesting to note that these three individuals who answered with two choices all believed that a percentage of their future is left up to random chance.
I answered D 75% and C 25% much like the plot behind the movie “The Adjustment Bureau” mentioned above.
I believe that, while my future has the illusion of being undetermined, it is in fact pre-determined by a force greater than myself. I do wonder sometimes if our world does not have ‘angels’ that adjust the course of events. I do not see the course of our civilization having a ‘finish line’ anywhere in the next few millennia. I believe that fate or chance can add challenges to that fixed course, that things do not always work out ‘to plan’. Perhaps fate is residual ‘free will’ bouncing around in this box of pre-determination.
I am curious to know what you think and what your views are. Please respond below or send me an email.