Birth of a new year

Happy New Year

As the clock strikes midnight, the world cheers triumphantly. Not because we all got 1 second older., but because of the arrival of the new year. There is such fanfare, party hats, streamers, noise makers. It even bestows upon many, an ability to go up to perfect strangers and give them a kiss, even if. It is something we normally would never contemplate. Yes the booze might be a catalyst but the kiss still happens.

This one night brings with it the gift of hope. If the outgoing year has been a particularly difficult one it allows us to put a period on it. Taking a moment to breathe , we embrace the new year , along with all its endless potential. There is a keener awareness of the power of a new day.

I am going to go out on a limb here , and suggest that every day has that same ability to effect us.. We would only need to allow ourselves to be open to that possibility. It is within us to do just that.

When things were going sideways for me, I would wake up and decide that no matter what the day had in store, I was going to make it the best one I could. If that was too much, I simply cut the time down to a manageable level. Sometimes I would break it down to half a day or even smaller. I was in control. By dong this I allowed myself to smile and enjoy the moment for however long I could make it last. Did I have epic fails? I certainly did. I did however, know that there was a new tomorrow just around the corner. I would wake up and set the very same challenge. Make this day as good as I could . Make each moment meaningful. This day is just one moment in time.

So in the spirit of the new year, always take the positive with you , into each new day. Make every attempt to kick the negative to the curb. This day, this moment in time is all we have . Make the most of it . Just as we declare to one and all HAPPY NEW YEAR for the remaining 365 days as 2016 is a leap year let it be HAPPY NEW DAY.

Emotional weight loss, the sequal

Just like when we loose weight ( or more specifically fat ) we need to go through our closet from time to time to discover what still fits. That has been a particularly pleasant monthly event for me this past year. I haven’t been dieting. Instead ,Harley’s regime of ever changing exercises had me loosing inches as well as the standard poundage. All without making major changes to my diet at all.

On one occasion I had been looking forward to fitting into a particularly nice pair of pants that I had buried away in a bin of clothes downstairs. I opened the box with great anticipation, only to discover that they were already TOO BIG. I had missed my window of opportunity. I had already moved on to a smaller size.

The same could very well be true of our emotional baggage. Are the things that upset us years ago ,still even relevant? We attach so much importance to ” things” or “events” don’t we? Cast your mind back for a moment, to your youth. As you grew things were routinely changed because they just didn’t fit any more. This didn’t take lots of thought it just happened. It was easy to recognize that we had outgrown the things around us. Like my ever shrinking waistline, things change.

If we never take the time to check on what we have, to see if it is still relevant, we end up just adding to the pile and running out of room. Is this what may be happening with our mental baggage I wonder.

Over the years, perhaps because hopefully we get wiser, our opinion on things changes. It could be something as simple as now preferring the colour red over royal blue, right up to our core beliefs about people and the world around us.

So when we finally venture into our baggage closet, be prepared to find some outdated stuff. When you come across such relics, hit your mental delete button and move on. It is so empowering. You might find that even this portion of the exercise frees up space. Yes the hazmat suit is ready to come into service at a moments notice. When it is hazmat time , you will know. At least some of the excess rubble will have already gone when you get there.

Emotional weight loss

A great number of us could stand to loose a pound or two. We can commiserate about the struggle to achieve just that. What if however, the needed weight loss isn’t physical at all but mental.

The weight of emotional baggage can, over time, be just as debilitating as the extra pounds that have settled in for the foreseeable future. Everywhere you look, you can find advertisements for weight loss products. Some valid and others just money grabbing gimmicks, preying on our vulnerabilities.

There are no scales we can jump on, that tells us how much our emotional weight is. There are no warning signs that we might be exceeding our maximum acceptable baggage allowance . Wouldn’t it be brilliant if there was such a thing. We carry the emotional tonnage around just as surely as our excess fat. So how much is too much?

Because it is easier to scatter emotional baggage wherever we leave it, we end up with bags everywhere in all sorts of nooks and crannies. Anything to avoid dealing with it there and then. I think of this as emotional hoarding.

These scattered bags, are what trip us up when outwardly we look like we have our act together. The only person that truly knows if the person we have been portraying ourselves to be , is just an oscar worthy acting assignment or the real deal is ourselves. We all answer to that as individuals.

So what if we discover that we are indeed emotional hoarders, buried under a mountain of debris from our lifes journey. At this point, most of us would find it too daunting to even think about the arduous task of hunting down the discarded baggage, never mind going to the baggage claim desk.

How do we even rocognise it? There are no hazardous warning labels that clearly let us know we have come across emotional baggage and to proceed with caution. There is no one answer for that one ,as everyones emotional triggers are different, The triggers are anything that sets off the emotional avalanche within us.

For some it is being around people that make us feel less than our best about ourselves. Perhaps you have come across a professional put down artist. We have all met someone along the way that puts people down in an atempt to make themselves feel better. This ” con” is actually their issue. By deflecting it onto someone else the culpret is feeding off of that persons kind nature in order to make themselves feel good. Once we SEE that for ourselves we take away their power to suck the life out of us.

This is just one small example. Another could be recognising the guilt factor. When we feel we should do soomething that we only agree to do in order to keep others happy. This can be traced back to guilt. It is one of the more powerful holds on us.

Don’t forget the emotionsl eating triggers. Eating though, is the EFFECT remember, not the CAUSE. The cause could be anything from being annoyed, to disappointment, even jealousy. It is not a one size fits all situation. What could cause that reaction in me would not necessarily cause that reaction on you the reader.

Whatever your baggage is, as you get to know your inner self more deeply it will be easier to not only recognise emotional baggage but send it on it’s merry way once and for all. When we bring our mind into the process of being, you just might discover that you have all you need to tackle the emotional debris and win.

The thing is, once you have identified that the debris exists, you can’t continue to lock it away. Don’t be alarmed, there is no need to call 1-800-GOT-JUNK right this very second. May I suggest something slightly more manageable. We all have emotional baggage that is taking up space. We might even need a hazmat suit before wading in any deeper to the stuff we have carried with us literally sometimes for decades.

So why not start by giving it our upmost effort to prevent new baggage from taking up residency. Deal with the here and now. Don’t beat yourself up if the odd thing manages to slip by. If it does , try and keep it towards the front of the pile. The newer stuff hasn’t set in like cement. Put yourself on notice that you will deal with the new stuff as soon as you can and mean it. By stemming the influx of new baggage we can get a better handle on the situation. Knowledge is power.

As we become more comfortable with recognizing and dealing with the baggage ,the easier it will be when, we take the journey into the nooks and crannies of our mind with our luggage cart in tow, ready to load up,claim our baggage and meet the 1-800-got-junk vehicle to haul it away for good. What a delight.

Once the emotional fat becomes lighter , in conjunction with the standard food weight loss it will become apparent how the body and mind really do effect each other. Instead of loosing the battle on both fronts let your mind and body get reacquainted. Together they can be an unstoppable force.

The significance of milestones

There are all kinds of milestones as we go through our lives. From the moment of birth we have instantly achieved our very first one, just by being. For the most part, cameras are at the ready to capture the essence of the moment for posterity. From first steps, first words , first day of school ,graduation, weddings. The list is endless.

Today is one of those days for me , being off the roller coaster of medical appointments, prescriptions and being subjected to random drug tests, just for the privilege of taking legally prescribed medications for pain relief.

The good milestones ( The DIAMONDS ) are ones we look back on with great fondness , year after year. Christmas, anniversaries… even birthdays if you haven’t already stopped counting them that is.

There are also the milestones that are ( The ROCKS ). We remember them just as clearly as the diamond ones. The difference is ,that just the idea of them weights us down. Perhaps an anniversary of a health scare, or an accident. It can be anything that is the catalyst that triggers a downward spiral. A particularly difficult one that we all experience somewhere along the way, is the death of a loved one. Perhaps someone without whom we can’t imagine having the ability to even breathe.

Be they diamonds or rocks, milestones will continue to play a significant part in each of our lives. Whenever possible, I try to celebrate the diamonds as they come along, The harder I have had to work for a specific diamond milestone, the more I treasure the achievement.

For the rocks, or on occasion the boulders. I do tend to tread lightly. They can be among minefields of emotional baggage, that I don’t want to detonate. Milestones are more retrospective something to look back on. For the New Year ahead I see myself mainly focusing on creating new milestone moments. As I hopefully evolve into a better version of myself. I’ll give it my best shot anyway. We all continue to be a work in progress.

Exercise the revolution not just a resolution

With New Years resolutions on the minds of many, it seems a perfect time to shed some light on many peoples number one resolution. That being, get healthy. Loose weight or join a gym.

January has to be the busiest time for gyms. Perhaps only slowing down just in time for that delicious box of Valentines chocolates, a short six weeks away. With best intentions , we put on our spanking new workout gear and head in masses to the exercise bikes and treadmills. We get in , Get the work done. Then hurry home again.

Dare I even ask. How many of us reward our hard efforts by stopping and getting a fancy coffee and treat on the way home? We could in fact consume more calories with that one activity than we just burned off.

We go to this massive annual effort , only to then end up putting that very same resolution at the top of the list the following year. Could this be, because when we showed up we weren’t actually there at all?

Imagine for a moment, you are sitting comfortably, watching your favorite program, munching a bag of potato chips or your snack of choice. You aren’t even conscious of the taste. Not to mention the calories being consumed. Isn’t that part of the reason why loosing weight is high on the resolution list in the first place? It’s the same thing if you leave your mind at home when you come to exercise.

For me it wasn’t New Years when I concluded that whatever it took, I needed to be in the gym. It was when my neurological pain had become relentless and the medical profession had moved on to someone else. It then became crystal clear that I was going to have to get myself out of the mess I was in.

My pilot light moment.

It was at that point I got the idea that if I could train myself to accept just a little more pain, then perhaps I could exercise. Then over time, I could at least prevent my health from getting any worse. It was literally what I perceived to be my last chance.

Before I could talk myself out of it I joined a nice smaller local gym. I Went religiously every single day for a month. Nothing changed. I didn’t loose an ounce of weight and my pain was as bad as ever.

So now what? Then it came to me. If you want to fix a vehicle, you go to a mechanic. You wouldn’t just play around with the engine without getting expert advise. The same thing, I find out, applies to fitness.

So I made an appointment to see a trainer. I chose Harley Preston based on his write up. He is a trainer at the gym I had chosen. The fact he, among other things, is a medical exercise specialist made him an obvious choice. At least on paper. I was about to put his knowledge to the test. The old me , would have not even entertained such a notion. Upon meeting him as expected, he knew his stuff. Harley listened patiently as I reeled off my long list of ailments. To my surprise he didn’t pass judgement. He actually seemed connected with what I was saying. That first meeting was much like confession. I had to be honest with not only myself, but with him, if I had any hope of getting better. At the end of my time he said. “Ok, there is a lot going on isn’t there? let me know if you want to work together”. What kind of sales pitch is that, I thought instantly.

It was at that point the light went on. It doesn’t matter if there was a sales pitch or not. It was in me. I had to WANT to do the WORK. Without being talked into it. He needed to know I wanted it enough to work for it. So thank you Harley for not trying to sell me. It confirmed for me that I really was prepared to give it everything I had. I wasn’t doing it for someone else, I was doing it for me.

Mindful exercise has been the greatest gift I have ever given to myself. I have never asked him, but I suspect that he routinely does not do sales pitches. He clearly doesn’t need to. The client has to want it for success to be realized.

There was one thing he said that I will never forget.” Wouldn’t it be nice to be off the medications?” It wasn’t, “you should be off the medications.” Or even how such a thing could even become reality. He simply allowed my mind to go there. I loved what my mind saw. No medical professinal had ever even contemplated my life without medication. From that very moment the path to better health had begun. You would think at this point it would be endless sit ups, push ups and all kinds of exercise torture. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

What kind of alternate universe had I stumbled into?

I had a long way to go before I could even think of trying the exercise torture. I still could not step off of a simple curb while holding something with both hands. The only thing I knew for certain, was that I didn’t get this bad overnight. It took years for my pain disorder to develop into the debilitating condition that had become my reality, so I had to allow whatever time was necessary to regain my health.

The first nugget of wisdom Harley told me, which I took to heart, was to allow myself to be fully present when I exercise. He didn’t mean simply to show up and move heavy objects. He meant for me to clear my mind which routinely is full of everyday stuff and focus only on how I felt at that moment, in the process of the exercise. Harley didn’t even care If I could do the actual exercise. That would come in time. All He asked was for me to be fully there, to become present in the process of my own being, and learn to soften and release any tension that I may be holding. Up to that point I had never thought about tension patterns never mind how they effect my health and overall well being. Who knew that exercise can often make tense areas worse if we don’t know what we’re doing. Without a knowledgeable professional like Harley I could have done more damage than good even though I had the best of intentions . Harley has managed to teach me to understand my tensions, and my weaknesses, and then how to balance these into harmonious movements patterns. Harley refers to process as primary surrender.

One other thing that was such a crucial key for me, was learning not to worry about what everyone else was able to do, or what I weighed on any given day. Harley encouraged me to simply accept that where I was, was the way it is for that moment. A simplified version on ridding ourselves of what he refers to as outcome fixation.

I have learned a lot from Harley. Far too much to write in one post. He continues to be why I never just show up at the gym. It has developed into more of an arrival now when I go.

I become one with the moment. One with the movement.

For continued good health, exercise needs to become a REVOLUTION In our thinking and our being. In our very culture. Not just a resolution we write down just before the stroke of midnight on New Years eve. To be discarded almost as quickly as it is written.

It has to become movement. Every day. Going forward for as long as we live. Cycle, walk, swim , dance, run , skip ANYTHING other than staying still. Do what you can, and build from there.

Don’t get me wrong, resolutions have their place. Perhaps though, the greater success is achieved from not setting a goal of loosing 20 lbs. and only then getting on with your life.

Don’t put your life on hold. Instead embrace movement as the centerpiece of life itself . Thus creating a revolution of epic proportions.

The Best Gft Ever


As we settle in to enjoy the magic that is Christmas with our family and friends. I find myself thinking beyond the commercialism. The pressure to find the perfect gift and the excessive food and drink consumption.

For me, one of the greatest gifts we can give or receive ,is that of true friendship. Over the course of our lifetimes we meet thousands of people. Only a very small number , carve a place within our heart. How does that even happen? I have yet to know the instant I meet someone , that they are going to be an actual heart carver, Your very best friend was a stranger at some point.

Friendship warms your heart and can light the darkest of days. No one gets through their life without needing people somewhere along the way. Be that person for someone this Christmas. You won’t find friendship on sale at your neighbourhood big box store. It won’t break the bank. You don’t even have to stand in line to return it on boxing day. It even keeps on giving.

So this Christmas may I suggest making time to allow friendships to blossom. Our hearts always allow us to make more room to love people. The love of your life friendships may only come along once in our lifetime. Don’t let yourself miss out though on the other loves that are equally important. The love of people just for being the people they are and enriching your lives. There is no quota when it comes to friendship. There is always room for one more.

Missing Ingredients


It takes many ingredients coming together to create our favourite meal. Even better, that decadent treat that makes our mouth water, at the very thought of it. The same can be said for our physical well being.

Doctors look after us physically, prescribing medications to cover up the pain. It might be a great temporary fix . It doesn’t however , get to the core of the problem . That being, the original cause that created the pain in the first place. The next thing you know there are new medications to take care of the side effects from taking the original medication. A slippery slope indeed.

Even with medical intervention, I discovered that my physical being was just a small part of the whole picture. I concentrated so much on what my physical body was going through, that I overlooked my mind and spirit completely.

Along the journey to better my health I discovered almost by accident that your mind and spirit need just as much attention to make us feel complete. So are they 3 separate ingredients? Or is it all just the same thing but looked at from 3 separate angles?

Each of us might answer that differently . That doesn’t make us wrong . it is whatever works for us. For me ,I look at the body, mind, and spirit as working as one. When all areas are nurtured it allows me to feel my very best. Not unlike putting premium gas in a finely tuned custom vehicle. It wants to purr as we travel life’s roads, rather than clunking along in a beat up wreck of a vehicle.

We all deserve to feel like we are the star attraction in our own lives. With proper care we can all become a vintage classic.

Home Sweet Home



I begin exploring the boxes of Christmas decorations before me, joyfully rediscovering the treasures collected from Christmases long past. It feels like all the previous Christmases are the foundation, upon which I wait to accept the Christmas yet to be.

In the warmth of the season I take a moment to think about my home. The place where I can BE anything, DO anything , and FEEL anything , with total acceptance. It is my sanctuary. It was only 18 months ago that I would barely ever leave the place. The exception was to go to medical appointments. From time to time meet up with friends. On weekends I would push myself to get groceries, even when it took a lot out of me. Perhaps a small drive, then it was right back home. I timed everything around medications, to get the most out of my outings. It would take the rest of that day and sometimes into the next to recover. Now that I can reflect on my previous reality, it wasn’t truly living. It was a case of comfortably existing.

The journey to feeling better had to begin by stepping out of the comfort of my home, and reclaiming my rightful place in the world beyond my front door. It was not a conscious decision to close myself away. It did however take shear will power and determination to step back outside and let the world know I was still here. Not only that, I was putting the world on notice that I was going to come back stronger than ever, living every minute to its fullest.

Watch out world, here I come…

Every step is simply a case of placing one foot in front of the other. What happens though, when one step takes on a dimension of its own and feels monumental? This one step has far more significance than all the other steps ever had; doesn’t it? This is the moment when one step becomes a true challenge, rather than something we do daily without thought.

If this is your moment, your challenge step, you might find it helps to remember it is just a step. No need to jump the Grand Canyon in a single leap. Baby steps are just as significant. You still get where you want to go. It just takes a little longer. Even the smallest of steps moves us from where we once were. It is a lot safer than canyon jumping could ever be.

If that is overwhelming, may I suggest you find a comfortable spot, and take some time to visualize yourself taking that first step through the door of your ever improving self. Stay with that thought as you explore the sensation of going through that door; perhaps it feels more like a wall. Try to slow down and feel the texture of the door itself, or the sensation of your hand grasping the handle. Go only as far as you feel comfortable. Come back to that thought as often as you need to. It just might over time allow your to move forward.

We are all just on loan to the universe for our lifetime, be it long or short. I can’t get back the years my illness robbed from me. I can only live for this moment and make each one meaningful to me. Wether that is spending time with loved ones, giving back or even just enjoying my home in a quite moment.

If the world beyond, at least for today is too much to take in, allow yourself to make all the moments you can matter. Hug the dog, phone a friend, let someone know you love them or simply sip a wonderful cup of tea or coffee. Experience that warmth going down your throat. Savor the moment my friend.

Welcome To The Pilot Light Initiative


Welcome to the very first blog of The Pilot Light Initiative.

Let me begin by explaining how the initiative came to be. I had seriously declining health issues for 12 years. During that time I saw enough medical professionals to last a lifetime. The results were all the same no one was able to make me better. I always thought medical improvements happen all the time. I just needed to be patient. i waited … and waited one day after the next ,week in week out, year after year nothing changed. I only managed to get worse.

There was literally no one else to see. I was going to be the way I was until I died. Maybe I had nothing to loose at that point. I felt invisible while in plain sight . Could it be that I became so talented at not drawing attention to myself that the invisibility was now woven into my very being?

I became very conscious of my breath I was indeed breathing normally my chest rising and falling in perfect rhythm , yet I felt I was gasping on the inside, just trying to hang on. I refer to this as my pilot light moment. Each of us are made up of more than DNA, muscles , bones and tissue. It was the pilot light that keeps my spirit alive that was in danger of being extinguished. I could live another 40 years or more but the sparkle that makes me whole would not be with me.

You might find this hard to relate to, yet even though I was having a serious pilot light issue I was not depressed. I knew I needed all my strength to move forward . I could not allow myself to take extra baggage . Like an economy airline only essential carry on baggage would be allowed.

Call it a leap of faith, momentary madness, or an act of brilliance . in reality it most likely was a combination of all three. I just don’t know in what measure.

I knew I could not stand still a moment longer. rightly or wrongly I was going to move forward and accept whatever came my way. In my case I happened to be blessed to meet a wonderful young man named Harley Preston. His approach to mindful fitness completely changed my life. He was able to achieve what the medical profession could not. There will be more about the journey to better my health and his major role in achieving that in future posts. That being said ,this blog is not intended to provide a platform just to tell my story . You would read it once , and never have the need to come back. The pilot Light Initiative through this blog hopefully will allow people that perhaps are unable to see a possibility of hope , to find their own inner strength to move forward in their own journey through hearing about other people and knowing they are not alone .

We have had many deep discussions Harley and I , on both physical and emotional pain and how it effects the body. I know I am not the only one out there who’s pilot light began to flicker. If you are reading this and have experienced anything even remotely similar I would love to hear from you. Everyones pain is unique to them, no matter what the cause. I would like to think together we can keep the light burning brightly.for …  that is the very mission of The pilot light initiative .