This Ordinary World


Flying High Above the Clouds
Photo taken by the author

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. – Victor Hugo

Music is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life. There’s not some trick involved with it. It’s pure and it’s real. It moves, it heals, it communicates and does all these incredible things.
– Tom Petty

Music, it appears, speaks to me in loud, yet quiet ways – all at once. Certain types of songs seem to have this profound effect on me. Ordinary World, written by Green Day’s frontman, Billie Joe Armstrong, is one of these song’s. The songwriter takes us through ordinary experiences in life that we all encounter. Armstrong talks about how the simplest form of being in love, with two people just being together, is “more than enough.” There’s no mention of having bigger or grander of anything; just two ordinary people, a guy and a gal, who are together. And apparently, as ordinary as that sounds, it’s more than enough.

Throughout this song, Billie Joe talks about other commonplace occurrences. He ponders where he can find this “city of shining light.” It’s as if he is trying to find some spiritual meaning to make sense of all the mundaneness around him. Like most of us at some point in our lives, he is searching for something, or someone, that is higher than himself, and can provide answer’s to the tough question’s about life. I also believe he is wanting to find and experience a place within himself that has real and lasting peace.

He then talks about wanting to leave a “buried treasure behind.” My interpretation of this line is he wants to leave a legacy after he has left this world. He wants to know that what he has given his life for, will not only be remembered, but will have left an impact and imprint on this world. What he speaks of is every man’s, and woman’s, greatest search for significance. He wants to leave a buried treasure behind in hopes of someone finding his lifetime legacy of treasure long after he is gone.

He next turns to the issue of birthday’s. These annual, celebratory reminder’s of our birth-date, which represents the day we officially entered this world. He mentions how “the days into years roll by” which alludes to as we live out our days, each day at a time, it is like a snowball rolling down a steep toboggan hill, quickly gaining momentum. That is, the days become weeks, which become months, which over time accumulate into year’s, then decades, and finally, into a lifetime. And it’s these “days” where each of us “live until [we] die.” This can be a sobering thought, but I think of it more as a linear approach to living. It’s just like this as this is how the world and our lives work.

Where words fail, music speaks.
– Hans Christian Andersen

The “shooting star” he speaks of are the dreams and desires we each hold deep down in our heart’s. They become what we would “wish” for if we “saw a shooting star.” It is these hopes that add vivid colour to our lives as they give life to us by making our world un-ordinary. It’s not only the wishing that counts, but it’s even more so when a certain wish is granted where all the majestic display of colours come bursting into our world. It is these ultra-cool moments that make living in an ordinary world bearable. It’s like hitting the sweet spot on your driver just that one time during a round of golf. All those other drive’s were just okay, or ordinary, but that one drive that really popped off the centre of the club face is that one extraordinary shot that instantly sends us back to the golf course in hopes of attaining this elusive, driver-sensation, yet again.

He then says, “I’ve walked to the end of the earth and afar.” What he means is, he’s been everywhere. He’s travelled to the four corner’s of the earth, and even a bit beyond, and has seen all there is to offer on the earth. He’s also speaking to each of us in this lyrical line for this is why we travel and go places. This helps explain our innate, and often unfulfilled, desires of each travelling place we venture to. At the end of each excursion there is only one conclusive certainty that remains: we realize that we must travel again – and so, the relentless preparation’s start all over again.

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.
– Bob Marley

This song for me reveals a rich lyrical meaning because what is written is something I can relate to. This song makes sense of living and speaks of how I spend the majority of my days, as well as containing those vivid dreams of mine, which for me are those extraordinary, remarkable, and special moments – splendid gifts – that life offers along the way.



People – Problem and Solution, con’t


Endless Colours
Photo taken by the author

“Here lies one who knew how to get around him men who were cleverer than himself.” 
– Andrew Carnegie

Up to this point, I have been speaking of those things we would like to get done in our lives, but this approach, or saying, of “people are always the problem and people are always the solution” also applies to relationships. Primarily, I am talking about interpersonal relationships, when two or more people are involved. By way of example, let’s take the time when two people who haven’t seen each other in a while decide to get together to meet for a coffee and catch up. This seemingly simple act involves organization and coordination, on both parties, in order to bring a meeting time to fruition. Let’s step inside this meeting set-up, each step of the way. First, one person will usually send the other person a text, or a phone call, expressing their intent to meet up for a coffee in the near future, say in the next couple of weeks. As it has been a while since either person saw the other, there may be an exchange of word’s in relationship building, namely seeing how the other person is doing and what they have been up to. It’s a kind of friendly exchange, if you will.

From here, the other person receives the text and responds, saying something to the effect of “yes, let’s meet up!” There is a mutual agreement reached between both parties in getting together, at some point over the next few weeks. Next comes the arrangement of when and where to meet up. At this stage, one person looks at their schedule and availability and suggests a few possible dates and times for when they are free, to which the other person either selects one of those dates that works for him or her, or suggests other dates that may better work for them. After this back-and-forth dialogue of the place and time to meet up, there is an agreement on where to meet up and what date and time to be there for. At this point, each person then puts this time into their calendar, as a kind of saving-the-date, and more of a reminder so they actually do show up when the day comes.

Then when the day arrives, both parties meet up at the predetermined location at the agreed upon time. As a courtesy in terms of diplomatic, human relations, one person may usually offer to buy the other person a coffee, and possibly add the line, “would you like anything to eat as well?” At this point the decision is on the one receiving this question. This person may choose to accept or not to accept, or offer to buy in return. Either way, both people grab their drink & food item and sit down somewhere in the establishment. Then, both friends chat for a while and get caught up with one another. As for duration, their time together normally lasts anywhere around the one hour mark, but can be as short as say half an hour or up to the one-and-a-half or two hour mark, depending on how much there is to catch up on and if one or both people have another commitment afterwards. Then in closing, both parties agree not to wait so long until the next time they see each other and agree to meet up again sometime soon in the future. After the meet-up, both people leave feeling rejuvenated and excited from their interaction together.

“All virtue is summed up in dealing justly.”
– Aristotle

What I have just explained involves at least an eight step process, from beginning to end, of two people who wish to get together and reconnect. If at any point, one or more of these steps is missed or not followed through on, then the rest of the process can not be completed or is at least delayed until that current step is completed. This is called a breakdown of communication in interpersonal relations. Now, just imagine if there are more than two people involved and instead of there being a coffee meet up, the occasion is for an evening party. As you can see, the number of people increases the complexity of steps involved as well as the people to communicate with and hear a response from. This in turn can put a lot of stress and pressure on the person organizing the party. Now some people are more natural at hosting a party than others; that is, they have a talent at being able to organize and facilitate a large group of people in coming together to connect. This ability is one in which all or most of the people invited actually want to be there as they know from prior experiences, or parties, that it will be a fun time.

I realize this philosophy of ‘people are always the problem and people are always the solution’, can also be extended to other area’s of life as well. In other words, whenever people are involved this saying holds true. The important thing to remember is that anytime there is something we want to do or get done, at one point or another, there are other human being’s involved at one stage or another. Bearing this in mind, there is always the potential for one of two ways this interaction can go: either not-so-well or very well. It all depends on who is involved, what is trying to be accomplished, and the style of leadership offered. I offer this philosophy as food for thought for the next time you encounter a situation involving people.

People – Problem and Solution


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.

Tribute to Lady Di, the World’s Princess


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. 


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.


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.


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



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.


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

Young Love


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.



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


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