People – Problem and Solution

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YYC Evening Sunset
Photo taken by the author

When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.
– Dale Carnegie

There’s this saying I have had in my head for quite some time now about human relations:

People are always the problem and people are always the solution.

I have always innately believed this saying and it’s only been within the last few year’s that I have actually been able to put this belief into words. And yet, time and time again this saying continues to prove true for me. I don’t know what it is about this line, but it has been my observation that this saying just seems to play out like it does, in nearly any interactions involving people.

It seems that in any area of life, somehow or another, people are involved. This can be in the workplace, at home, while running an errand, at church or our own place of worship, the grocery store, the library, filling up your car with gas at the pump, doing a favorite hobby or playing a favorite sport, literally any place that you may go throughout your week. Even with the increase of machination, it still holds true today that it takes a person, or a group of people, to get something done. And generally speaking, when a task goes well, it really is cause for a celebration, no matter how small or large the task may be. In other words, this successful task is really a miracle, considering all the steps, stages, and people it takes to execute one particular task to completion. This is so because in any process or way of life it usually involves people, lots and lots of people, to ensure the successful completion of one thing from beginning to end. And the steps along the way normally require a whole string of people needed to ensure the process actually does get done, gets done well, and on time.

Yet, this same process can also be when a breakdown could occur at some point during the beginning to end of whatever is trying to be performed. Of course, we all know what it looks like and feels like when either a product, service, or task goes wrong. In the same way that negative news sells, so it is when a process breaks down. In other words, people tend to talk about it far and wide, as these people whom are affected recognize that at some point along the way, some person or group of people, did not do what they should have done in the necessary steps towards the completion stage.

I have seen this from time to time in the various company stores I frequent in getting the things I need. That being said, when there is a problem it’s because people are involved, and when a product or service turns out as it should it’s because people are involved. There is simply no escaping this fact of life that it takes people to give something a person may want. We live in a world of over seven billion people on God’s good, green Earth. The idea that any one of us could get something we desire or want on our own is simply a ridiculous and ludicrous idea. Essentially, we are all part of one larger picture of human relations and each of us is learning what it means to work together with our fellow man, whether the end result turns out well or could be improved upon, because again, people are involved, for better or for worse. It’s no wonder it can take a lifetime in learning how to deal with this fairly simple and straight-forward concept of getting along with those in whom we interact with. This concept of human relations really is quite mysterious and wondrous when you think about it in this light.

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Tribute to Lady Di, the World’s Princess

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Westminster Bridge with Big Ben in the background
London, England
All photo’s taken by the author

I don’t go by the rule book… I lead from the heart, not the head.

Life is just a journey.

They say it is better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable, but how about a compromise like moderately rich and just moody?

If you find someone you love in your life, then hang on to that love.

Helping people in need is a good and essential part of my life, a kind of destiny.

I’d like to be a queen in people’s hearts. 

– Diana

Do you remember where you were when you heard that Princess Diana had been in a car accident?

It has been 20 years since the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Known as the “people’s princess”, she is a global ambassador for women, motherhood, and promoting humanitarian aid. Her life and who she was shows the far-reaching effects of what a person with passion and a devoted cause, close to her heart and mind, can achieve. Diana was like a modern day Mother Theresa, only transfigured from royalty to touch the common person, everywhere she went.

I can remember hearing about her death in the news that fateful day of August 31st, 1997. It was an abrupt end to the conclusion of summer and before school began that fall. I remember this event more than the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre. 

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Looking down The Mall from Buckingham Palace

There’s a road near where I live, John Laurie Blvd, which has an overpass connecting 14th Street above and a tunnel underneath. It is here where I first envisioned Diana’s unfortunate death occurring when I heard the news. Ironically, there is a police station a few blocks up from this tunnel. As you’re driving along this long and winding road there is a beautiful spacious green park, Nose Hill Park, on the North side. This green-side, natural beauty resembles and emulates a certain level of peace, calm, and urban respite despite being able to see Calgary’s downtown core on the opposite side of the road. I don’t know why it is at this place, but I guess this location seems to match that fateful tunnel in Paris where she was driving when her car crashed. I think about Diana each time I am on this road and when I approach this tunnel. I envision how her life was cut so short and what her life would be like if she was still living.

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Westminster Abbey at sundown

I recently watched two documentaries about her life on Netflix and I was profoundly moved and touched by her and the life she had lived. I was reminded how completely drawn and captivated I was to this magnificent women, as I think we all were. I guess I didn’t realize how much of an impact she had on my life all these years.

Her death was a tragedy and in my opinion one that should never have happened. Her departure from this world was quite frankly, untimely. She was only 36 years old. She had SO much more life in her yet to live. I’m 32. I can’t imagine my life being over so soon. There is simply no end to what she could have achieved and become, had she lived a full life.

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The famous dome atop St. Paul’s Cathedral 

Lady Diana was seemingly personified as a divine angel sent from above and appeared in humanity’s form. Everything about her was glorious and transcendent. As I reflect on her extraordinary life, here are some elements I appreciated most about her:

  • her ability to be so graceful while the entire world watched her every move
  • her charisma and win-some approach
  • her radiant smile that drew people to her every time she smiled
  • the warmth in her eyes
  • her confidence
  • how she showed hope and courage when appearing to us all, while fighting her own inner battles
  • her love for the world and everyone in it
  • her desire to make the world a better place to live in
  • her compassion
  • her ultra-loving heart
  • her humanitarian efforts and her willingness to travel great distances to help those in need
  • her strong love and affection for her two boys as they were the greatest joy in her life
  • her ability to move on with her life and to find love again
  • her ability to use the media in an uncanny way and to her advantage
  • her creativity and zest for life
  • the platform she created for herself and her ability to use it for the good of other people
  • her ability to relate to the everyday person and make them feel a personal connection with her
  • her strength of character and integrity
  • her resiliency & “bounce-back” ability 
  • the enormous influence she drew
  • her ability to think by herself, for herself, yet with other people in mind
  • her ability to boldly confront and stand up to that camera man while she was trying to enjoy a ski holiday with her boys
  • her ability to say ‘no’ to people invading her life
  • her ability to stand up for the truth and for what is right, despite the costs involved 
  • being a spokesperson for those who don’t have a voice
  • her ability to stay true to herself and who she is
  • Di coming into her own person

 

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Looking up at St. Paul’s Cathedral, front entrance

When I was in London five summers ago I went to one of the memorial’s for Diana in Kensington Gardens. This area of the park was fairly quiet the day I visited. As I walked along the grounds I couldn’t help but think of how much she had meant to me personally, even though I had never met her. I also was thinking about all the noble and admirable things she had done in her brief time on earth. This of course led to my thinking of how much more she could have done for the betterment of mankind had she still been living 20 years later.

What would she be doing now? Where would her humanitarian life have taken her? What laid in store for her next 20 years, 40 years? Would she have been re-married and found someone that could love her for who she is and share in both her personal and professional dreams? In what state would the Royal family be in as a result of her effect on this prestigious family? Where would her two sons be with their mother and greatest advocate by their side? 

These and so many other questions are to remain unanswered but only wondered by those of us who grew up alongside her. Yet, I believe, she would be living in the best years of her life, doing what she loved most, and forever impacting our world in a very powerful and far-reaching way. As you can see, Diana has inspired me and I hope she has inspired you too, in some way. I am thankful for Diana and her impact on this world as well as my own life. Thank you Lady Di for making me a better person.

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Overlooking the city of London outside the Golden Gallery, St. Paul’s Cathedral

Young Love

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Hole #1
Stewart Creek Golf Course
Photo taken by the author

 

“Let me photograph you in this light
In case it is the last time
That we might be exactly like we were
Before we realized
We were sad of getting old
It made us restless
Oh, I’m so mad I’m getting old
It makes me reckless
It was just like a movie
It was just like a song
When we were young”

– “When We Were Young” by Adele

 

This song lyric is the crescendo of the popular hit song by Adele. It’s at this very moment where she just cuts loose from the song she’s been singing and goes for it in her full-on musical and vocal talent. You can tell that this lyrical material comes out of a very real and raw place deep within her; that is, coming from a place we can all relate to – one of openness, realness, and vulnerability. Adele is putting words to her hopes and her pain as she reflects back on this period of her life. These words are one of love and loss; yet more than that, it is the ability and the will to move on to better things, to another lover, so to speak. No wonder this all feels like a movie and a song, as we’ve all been there before. Therefore, we want to and insist on trying to hold onto the photograph of that prior one, him or her, in what appears as that perfect lighting we remember them in from those glory days.

It’s as if Adele is trying to capture a mental picture to hold onto forever in her mind’s eye. It’s an attempt for this person, this guy, to be remembered always in her heart and her memory. As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and perhaps this is what Adele is trying to achieve for herself and for her own reassurance. In another of her famous songs, Someone Like You, Adele expresses this point both poetically and beautifully as “sometimes it last in love but sometimes it hurts instead.” That’s the thing about love, especially in the beginning stages, as one, or both people, never really know if it’s going to last or for how long. There is always this uncertainty about love. People change, as do their thoughts and feelings, in which case decisions follow close after that determine whether it’ll last or hurt.

Throughout this piece of the song Adele is looking back on a time in her life when she was younger, or rather, when she and this guy she’s referring to were younger. Younger in life, younger in age, and younger in love. The beginning point of a relationship can often be the climatic point between two people in love. This is because it’s a time full of hope, newness, and it seems to reflect near-perfection where two people who are madly in love can do no wrong towards the other. However, Adele moves on as she reflects back on those times from an older place in her life where it makes her feel restless, mad, and reckless. It’s as if she’s moved from a place of young love to longing for what once was as she is clearly yearning for those former days in this relationship.

Enduring

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Cascade Mountain in Banff, AB
Celebrating Canada’s 150th Anniversary
Photo taken by the author

en-dur-ance (noun)
the power to withstand pain or hardships; the ability or strength to continue despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions.

I once heard someone say “the body is designed to endure suffering.” For whatever reason this thought has stayed with me since that time and the more I think on it the more I realize how true it is. This has been true in my own life as I have gone through many challenges and obstacles. This one line seems to encapsulate those experiences and at times I wonder how was I able to endure and keep on going during those difficult times? I believe this also rings true with the difficult experiences other people go through. The Rwandan genocide of ’94 and the recent Syrian refugee crisis are what come to mind. How is it possible for these people groups to keep on going in the midst of their world being completely uprooted?

Answer, in part: the body is designed to endure suffering. Call it the power of the human mind or the strong will that each one of us has, the fact remains that I have, and these people have, continued to live and endure through these trying times. The song “Stronger”, by Kelly Clarkson, comes to mind: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger / Stand a little taller … / What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter.” It’s almost as if someone from above has put a switch into the human body enabling it to withstand and endure the hardships that come as part of the not-yet-perfect world we live in.

In the end, the human body is a lot stronger than perhaps we give it credit for. Ironically, this statement is being played out and tested every day right before our eyes, whether we are aware of it or not. Whether it’s happening to us, or to those around us, or to those we do not know across geographical lines and boundaries, our bodies are continually enduring suffering. So reader, just hold on and remember those difficult times you have faced and came through on the other side.

Seasonal Friendship’s

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Photo taken by the author at
YYC International Airport

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. – Marcel Proust

I have noticed that certain people seem to come into our lives for a specific purpose at a specific time. These people, who become great friends of our’s, tend to enter through circumstances or during a certain season we are going through in life. In other words, they come into our lives for a certain duration of time, and it can be an intense time too, and then all of a sudden their presence is gone. Not forever gone from our life, and certainly not from our memory, but rather for the expanse of time they had once occupied in our life. It seems one moment they are here and the next they are gone.

As King Solomon once said, “There is a season for everything”, and I think this includes the people we encounter in our day-to-day lives, especially those closest to us during any one particular point of our life. As I have come to realize, life is one big season with lots of season’s in between, which present seasonal changes, if you will. After all, this is what season’s bring: change. Whether you love change or despise it, I think we all know by now that in the end change does help us and it is good for us. It’s often the beginning point of a change that can prove to be the most difficult point when a particular kind of change is upon us. But after going through it, whatever it may be, we come to realize that it didn’t seem all that bad. Then, when it’s over we can’t believe what all that fussing was about, and even still, as we look back on this time, perhaps months or years down the road, we are grateful for this rude interruption that was brought upon our life. I believe this is so because in hindsight we can see with greater clarity and clearer understanding of the positive effects that emerged out of this season of change. To put this from a perspective of nature, we entered the change as a caterpillar and emerged as a butterfly.

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Throughout our life we will go through lots of “seasons of friends”. These people, who are often short-term yet very dear friends to us are, what I believe, sent from above to us for that specific period of time. Their purposes are many-fold, including: guidance, encouragement, support, special help and assistance, as well as just someone to be there with us and to offer a listening ear. Then, when the assignment is completed, (our’s as well as their’s, as it is often both ways in a relationship) their company departs and we wait for the next friend(s) to enter. It’s as if our life is a doorway that is always hinging on a proverbial hinge as the door is never fully closed, but just sort of hangs there, swinging open for a new friend to come in or swinging back for that very same friend to go back through again.

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend. — Albert Camus

A Musical Effect – con’t

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Photo taken by the author on an exhilarating ski day
with family at Lake Louise Ski Resort

“I know that the most joy in my life has come to me from my violin.”

Albert Einstein

What would you pick as an alternate career choice were it not for the one you currently have? I know for me, being a musician wouldn’t be on the radar, or at any point down my proverbial list of careers. I don’t even like playing an instrument (besides, of course, banging on the drums), so that option would be completely ruled out.

By Einstein admitting this (that if he weren’t a scientist, he would have been a musician), we know that, with music there is much more than meets the eye. I think if we are to understand ourselves better, music holds great insight into more of this discovery into who we are and what we love and are passionate about. There is just something there, that holds like a magical key, in being able to figure things out about ourselves, each other, and the world we live in. I don’t really know how to put this or even how to write it, other than to say that music just works. It just does and it’s this mystery of being unexplainable that further points to the idea of how powerful music really is on our conscious being. It’s like its full capacity and capabilities are multi-layered, with each layer separated by another layer of mystery, or invitation to be entered into.

“It occurred to me by intuition, and music was the driving force behind that intuition. My discovery was the result of musical perception.”

Albert Einstein

By way of an analogy, music is like a doorway awaiting to be opened. For the door to be opened it needs to have the correct key to unlock it. Once opened, a whole new world awaits the door opener. That open door, the music – that is, leads to unending places and hidden treasures awaiting to be found. It is the golden key that serves to unlock unlimited human potential, along with vast amounts of creativity and stimulation of the mind, unleashing who-knows-what kind of information, understanding, discovery’s, and pearls of wisdom.

“Creativity is contagious, pass it on.”

Albert Einstein

Music also holds true for discovering more about our world and universe. The implications here are enormous for this musical effect once it is tapped in to and explored. But we need time, lots of time, to dig around in here. Elegant sand castles aren’t just made in thirty seconds. Rather, they are the work of the master sculpterer having put in many, long hours into the overall design and concept of his creation, while painstakingly correcting and smoothing out each and every detail until it has culminated into the full expression of work and art it was intended to be.

Music is like this also. Scores of time goes into each song, accompanied by each instrumental and lyrical arrangement. This alone should give us a clue for the next time we hear a song we really like. It can serve as a reminder that a lot of time, effort, and people went into making this really terrific three-and-a-half to four minute song. This holds true not only for music, but for any type of work that is done with such skill, precision, passion, character, integrity, and excellence. Take any hobby, profession, or work of art and if it touches your heart you will then see and understand the truism of this.

A Musical Effect

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The author striking a pose on one of
WestJet Encore’s Bombardier Q400 Twin Prop Aircraft

Photo cred’s: A fellow colleague

“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.”

– Albert Einstein

I have noticed the effect that music has on our conscious being. It plays such a powerful and pervasive role on every part of our being. As I write this section, I’m sitting on a lounge chair by the pool at the Rimrock Hotel. Guess what’s playing in the background? Music. It’s background music that is designed to help set, shape, and create the mood of the atmosphere for each guest to enjoy during their stay and time here. The tone that this instrumental music creates is one that is peaceful, relaxing, soothing, inviting, one of calmness and stillness; yet, marked to allow each person to escape and enter in to their own personal space, whatever that may be or looks like for them.

Situated high up in the Canadian Rockies, this getaway experience for me also amplifies the experience of being surrounded by one of Mother Nature’s most prized and exalted creation’s: a series of unending mountains. They seem to stretch from one tip to the next in a continual fashion. By music, we enter a place of tranquility where the garments of the eternal can seem to be touched and embraced upon, even if only for a short period of time. See, I have already entered into a favourable and desirable mood for writing, one that is primarily set by the music playing around me. Music is pervasive and, more so, it is effective. Highly effective. It is so because it reaches deep into a person’s internal realm and takes them to a place that is far too less visited, yet that is most meaningful and wanted; needed.

I find it quite interesting how Einstein once said that if he wasn’t a scientist, he would be a musician. Just think about that statement for a second, coming from someone like him. He is internationally regarded as one of the smartest people to have ever walked the planet, in the last 150 year’s or so, and perhaps even farther back. His brain and his extraordinary high-level of intelligence has allowed him, of all people, to say that for his choice of profession, employment, enjoyment, and ultimately – his source of provision, were it not for being a scientist, he would’ve chosen to have been a musician. This is a remarkable statement and one that is very revealing.