Sunday, May 24, 2009

Safety in Peanuts

Linus has his security blanket,

Schroeder the piano,

Pig Pen exists in the midst of that wonderful swirling dust and dirty exterior, his security blanket that keeps people from getting too close.

Peppermint Patty is safe in her tough exterior.

Lucy finds her safety in telling others what to do.

Sally finds safety in her yellow curls.

Woodstock is pretty comfortable with just hanging out.

Snoopy, his safety is ripe with adventure and

Charlie Brown’s safety net could be his insecurity,

or maybe it’s his friends, he’s part of the group even though the world seems to be crashing down around him. Snoopy is his trusty dog, Schroeder his friend, Peppermint Patty his motivator, Linus his confident.

Safety is not at the forefront of my mind but I was in Irricana and they handed out emergency preparedness brochures, last year they had 3 hurricane warnings. When I head out on an extended trip I take precautions and I carry a first aid kit when hiking and camping. Fear isn't something that motivates me, being prepared comes naturally after leading numerous wilderness trips. As the leader it's just part of what you do.

Wikipedia defines safety as the condition of being protected against physical, social, spiritual, financial, political, emotional, occupational, psychological, educational or other types or consequences of failure, damage, error, accidents, harm or any other event which could be considered non-desirable.

I wonder about the attention to each of those areas by leaders. Are all of them considered, do we need to protect others? I was talking with some therapeutic recreation colleagues and we talked about the standards of protection in place for their clients. I wondered if they were in place to protect the client or the service provider, it seems like they're for both. I'm thinking that Snoopy's safety net of adventure might just be the way to go, or could it be Charlie Brown's of friends?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Music in the Making ~ Play long and loud

If you are reading this in a newspaper you’re likely a Boomer who grew up in a computerless world, void of ipods and twittering. Boomers still purchase newspapers, read it sipping their coffee at the kitchen table, then wash the black ink off their hands and nose. If you’re online, then you might be a Gen Xer, Millennial or an early adopter who is more comfortable getting news (if ‘traditional’ news is important to you) from the Net. Have a sip of designer latte, water or natural herb tea and click away.

It is this same technology that is providing new freedoms for many in terms of choosing where they want to live.

Established communities around the world have highly developed rich, creative cultures. They boast live musicians and poetic masters. People snuggle among the intricate architecture, gathering at outdoor cafes and town squares where they dive into ideas, innovate and connect, building strong economies. These are the places people want to live.

Communities with unique character and an authentic nature attract the creative class – young, talented, passionate people. What are they looking for?

- Cultural variety; neighborhood art galleries, eclectic music venues and exciting nightlife
- Opportunity for active, participatory recreation; special events, Frisbee leagues, activity clubs
- Convergent spaces; studios, theatres, social networking sites, blogs, forums
- Authentic, historic neighborhoods; renovated train stations, restored character homes, corner store/cafes
- Natural settings; amphitheatres, natural trails and parks
- High-tech infrastructure; supporting communication, interaction and education

Creative industries are among the fastest growing economic sectors in sustainable communities. Placing value on arts and culture ensures opportunities for participation and expression that fuels the growth of a creative community. What is the political will to support cultural interaction, activity and education? Visionary leadership that encourages creativity, risk-taking, and innovation is vital to kick-start and realize creative projects that result in economic and social benefits.

Rethink the importance of technology to enhance art appreciation and reform education through the arts to craft your home grown creative class. Infuse a culture of creativity by engaging in opportunities that compose the music to distinguish your creative community. Be it a symphony, jam session, or hip hop masterpiece, play long and loud.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Simplicity the KISS of death?

We’re doing the best that we can but at times may feel overwhelmed with all the things we’re told we should be doing. One of the latest is simplicity but it may feel like the kiss of death adding to the stress so I’ll Keep It Seriously Simple and hopefully add a pinch of pleasure:

1. Consume Less
Keep your wallet in your pocket. If you’re consumed with consuming dig into your inventive tickle trunk and come up with ways to buy less and live more sustainably, it’s time to reduce and reuse. Some ideas to start:

 Volunteer with a friend rather than going shopping.
 Give the gift of home made chutney (what is that stuff anyway?) or baking instead of a something that’ll make the re-gift rounds (it’s very important to test out the baking before handing it over so indulge!)
 Try a free trade party, not Harper and Obama style, share clothes between friends.
 Use a site like (a grassroots, nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns) to give away unwanted stuff.

2. Clear a Space

Have you been Feng Shui-ed? Forbid if you have your back to the door or a mirror facing the entrance! Skeptical or not this way of purposefully arranging an environment so that it positively affects those who live there involves both practical and some pretty cool ideas. Here are a few ideas to open space and live more simply:

 Clear your clutter, ship out the old decreasing all that stagnant energy which will open up your receptivity to new.
 Open the windows to keep it fresh and let the energy flow freely.
 Create your own yoga, meditation or reading room. It’ll be a space for you to take a deep breath, ground yourself and sooth your soul. Pick warm colours, surround yourself with rocks, sand and bamboo and chant your heart out, or just all your books and a cozy chair and blanket.

3. Connect

To simplify life, cherish meaningful connections by:

 Providing opportunities for others and yourself to make meaningful connections. How about a day at the park, barbecue or drop in on new neighbours by foot or bike. Nothing beats the outdoors to inspire connecting.
 Being yourself and smiling…people want to connect.

It’s that simple.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Exploding Cars and Hard Core Action

OR if you like

Technology to Telepathy

Time Warp a pretty cool show with guys who blow things up and show it back in slow motion, their photography equipment captures high speed events so you can see what’s happening and analyse it. They went a step farther to see the invisible with a Schlieren camera that captures light distorted by air, so you can see shock waves, heat rising, and a whole bunch of disturbances in the air from things like speeding bullets. They shot at a bouquet of balloons and you could see the impact of shot gun pellets striking balloons but better yet the reverberation of the energy passing through the balloons before they were hit. It showed airwaves breaking due to bullets traveling through the air. They had to do more shooting so set up a line of 10 pop cans to see the impact of a bullet, you get the picture. To see some bits and learn more about Schlieren photography visit

This got me thinking about communication. From storytelling and tablets, to telephone and snail-mail, to email, voice mail, text messages and twittering…it’s changed so what’s next? Well, Bill (Gates) has predicted that we will have microchips in our heads, no more cell phones, blackberries, but all the information will be stored in a microchip in our brains. Okay if that’s a little removed, how about our intuition and connecting through telepathy?

It seems that we’re moving back. Moving ourselves from that scientific, proven, can see it happening, to the transcendental realm that we knew was there and started with but had to have hard facts to prove. Now because of science and technology we’re starting to prove, something.

Heard of the water crystal guy? Masaru Emoto is a creative and visionary Japanese researcher whose work shows how water structure reflects our consciousness. He freezes water and photographs the crystals from different parts of the world, different types of water, the same water with different words written on the bottles and shows the reaction of the water, to some extent showing that intention has impact. Ya I had to look at some of the crystals and really think about this one too.

With books like “A New Earth” and people like the Dalai Lama drawing crowds to enlightenment where’s our next step as a society? Déjà vu, the coincidence of thinking about someone and then they call you or vise versa, a dream, random thought, all those nudges may just be our own microchips, the one we’re born with, sending a signal that is linked with more than randomness.

If we step back and look at our communication patterns over the years, we’re possibly a little more sophisticated because we have a deeper understanding and some ‘proof’ of why and how things are connected. Maybe we've just come full circle.

The emergence of this spiral force in the larger context of communication and connection is intriguing. A friend of mine is in India and she’s stayed in an Ashram, visited the most sacred of places, and taken horrendous train rides (40 degrees, jam packed, filthy conditions, 28 hours with chickens, goats, people staring…).

As I stood outside one day we connected. Was she meditating with the monks? Or possibly paying homage to the golden (or not so golden) throne on the train, that I don’t know, but I do know the intention of connection was there. I didn’t need a microchip to tell me that.