A new sensation

A few days ago I spoke to a very good friend of mine, a really good human being that made me think lots about what I’m going to describe here.

Although we spoke about many things, by mere chance I mentioned this to her, who says that it is important for millions of people to know.

After long consideration I realized she’s right. So here it is.

Like the majority or people in the world, I was born in a developing country. My upbringing was difficult but successful: my family was blessed to have been poor, yes, but lived with no huge conflicts such as war or other horrible and constant threats. There was violence and other bad things, however, but we left those environments unscathed, and better yet, with enough experiences and education that made us be in better position than most of the other similar families.

Arguably, I was the most successful sibling in every sense: I learnt to work since I was a kid, and was able to study lots, and finished university, and then got a good job that made me develop in every possible sense. Thanks to that, I travelled lots, and met people in many different places.

That experience made me think about moving to a different country, and so I did. I moved to Canada, back in 1998.

The first week or two of my new life went by very quickly: looking for a definite place to live, learning the city and transportation system, adapting to the weather and people ways, and all that that is new to a newcomer took a very good chunk of my time.

As time went by, I started to realize I was feeling something I had never experienced in my life. It was a sensation that I could not identify, yet is was a positive feeling. Every day for at least three weeks I would try to decipher what that new feeling was, but was unsuccessful in my tries.

It took me probably more than a month to finally know what this new veil, aura, shield, or environment was. It suddenly hit me one day right at awakening: tranquility.

Never before I had felt safe, secure, rid of worries, calm, happy to know that I didn’t have to be preoccupied for my physical integrity or belongings. Yes, many of us know how that kind of vicious life is, but have no idea there’s another type.

Some of us, the minority of the world, just take that tranquility for granted, we will never experience real worry, real fear, real anxiety each and every day and night.

I don’t know whether publishing this will make anybody who lives in a violent place know that there are better ways, better places, better times and environments. It is very likely that all those millions will never experience that feeling. Ever.

Neither I know if those lucky enough to be in a peaceful place think about how good they have it, but in case they do, I hope they make an effort to acknowledge we as a species have a long way to go and lots of work to do.

If you are in that minority, please remember, constantly, that the world needs more tranquility.

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The best three trophies

It was weird to notice that particular mother looked at me with a very big grin. At first I though she was looking at someone behind me, but on checking a few times I realized it was in fact me who she was smiling at each time our eyes met.
It was a relay race in which primary schools participate each year, my youngest 10-year-old was in the girls’ team, and her also fifth-grader was in the boys’.

With all the people around and in between, and the races taking place and all, it was until almost the end of the event that I approached her, slowly and with some hesitation, of course.
As I got closer her smile grew bigger, as if she was proud of our kids, or happy to see me, or as if there was something else and she wanted to urgently tell me about it. And so she did.
As she began talking I realized it was in fact a strange yet beautiful occurrence my runs of late were a little bit different than before, and that such runs made me a better person in so many levels.

I’m a 51-year-old father of three. I’ve been running for health purposes since I was in university, and although I’ve never run any races competitively, I participate in a few each year, training throughout the seasons.
However, this year started a little bit differently: almost every time I was running on the street, there had been honking cars and/or cheering shouts coming from their insides. I obviously don’t identify the occupants going at such speeds, and don’t know whose cars those are, so all I have been able to do is wave back to them.

But I’m not waving alone, my 15-year-old has been with me on some of those runs. And that’s precisely why the cars honk, the cheering happens, and the happy shouts are produced. As this mother told me, it’s so beautiful -her words- to see a daughter run together with his dad.

It just struck me that, in fact, some of my happiest moments have been those when I’m running with my kids, for so many reasons. Such feeling is not related to watching -for instance- her long strides on beautiful, healthy legs, or admiring her soft, clean skin, or hearing her breathing in sync and then not in sync with mine. No.
It’s way beyond explanations.

I seize every opportunity I get to run with any of the three. I know in a matter of years the probabilities of still running together will be slim. So I am taking every chance to glance to my side and see a smaller (surely faster) loved one politely keeping or setting the pace.

This mother told me it’s something rarely if ever, seen, and she said that she would love to be able to see some other families do just that, hers included.
As she went on to say that the mere fact of seeing such pair running together made her day, I realized the winner on such occurrences is nobody else but yours truly.

Understand it or not, believe it or not, no medals would ever compare to what I’ve already won. VBG

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One long year gone…

It’s been a year since the last time I posted anything here.

There are many reason why I’ve been silent for so long, and I’ll describe my thoughts, emotions, ideas, beliefs, dreams, and feelings in a subsequent post.

For now, please just know I’m still around. Life happens, and sometimes with more intensity, treachery, and advantage than before.

Please be patient and we’ll get to know each other better from now on.

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The Media in Social

Do we realize the fact that what we call Social Media is, precisely, because the ‘Media’ in it is just that: an information board, a mean, a bulletin, a path, a poster, a way, a pointer?

Please: do not just stay here watching the display for hours on end. Allow yourself to let these electronic marvels make the social contact we all need as a species.

Yes, the video-clips are funny, the photos cute, the comments wise, and all that…

But the thing is, why not connect to those friends and family, and then invite them for a walk in the park? A nice cup of coffee? At least a long and nice telephone conversation?

Wouldn’t we regret later that we made the mistake of being in front of the screen more time than face to face, and real voice to voice?

Remember “Social Media is Destroying Society?” Indeed.

Open that chat session, or send them a brief message, and then suggest that you are available. They will appreciate it. There is no better quality time than that when closeness is ever-present.

By the way, once with them, have the inclination and courtesy of turning your smartphone off. The pleasure will be gladly magnified.

 

Use the Media, get the Social.

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Falling in the Snow

It was a late snow storm that covered the city for three days. Having forced most of us to stay in for most of such time. I really longed for some physical activity, aside from shoveling the driveway, of course.

The day after the stormed ceased, some sidewalks were cleared by the city workers, the skies opened a little, so then something deep prompted me to go for a run, despite the fact it was still cold and that snow was still present at the trails. On top of that I did not have trail or mountain shoes either.

So, for a few times I resisted the idea, but the subconscious push was too much. I gave in and laced up, covered in a few layers of clothing.

I started the run on mostly clean sidewalks, and in no time got to the park where the trails were covered in absolute white. There were traces that some people had already ventured into it to walk and appreciate the scenery on the most accessible trails, but there were other sections in which the powder was fresh, others in which it had turned to mush, and others in which it had compacted already, turning to ice.

I knew it was going to be difficult to advance in some sections of my favourite 4 km trail, yet I was already there and was not going to back down, I was committed to finish the run.

After some minutes my legs were the first to complain: having to exert extra effort in stepping out of the sinking holes each step created, tensing quickly where the slippery ice invited me to become horizontal, having to dodge low branches heavy with snow and ice, going around frozen puddles, supporting the extra weight and imbalances when chunks of snow falling from the trees hit my head and shoulders… the works.

After a few minutes of incredibly beautiful sights, and lots of heavy breathing, I heard the crunching of the snow created by steps following and approaching me. Another runner had had the same deep desire to run that day, however he had been smarter: his shoes were trail shoes. He was catching up to me quickly.

No fifteen seconds had passed from the moment I turned to see him when suddenly everything was upside down. I fell hard. I slipped in a flash, realizing that my fast reflexes in putting my hands in front to muffle the fall and cover my face were ineffective because my hands slipped too. I was flat on the snow.

“Are you all right?” He asked as he got close to me, “are you hurt?”

“I’m fine,” I said as I stood up and started shaking the snow off, “only my pride hurts.”

And we continued the swosh, swosh, swash, swosh, swash, swosh, swosh sound of our footsteps on the white stuff, he started creating distance ahead of me, and eventually disappeared.

After a few more minutes of solitude running, leg consoling, and deep thinking, my face was covered in white again! I fell for the second time, my legs had been warning me they were becoming more tired and weaker, and I could not break the fall with my slippery gloved hands. This time, though, nobody was near to ask me if I was not hurt.

In starting to stand up I realized both times my left knee had been the first to hit the ground, well, the snow. So, yes my pride hurt again, but then my knee was hurting badly too. Shook off snow, and continued the run, more slowly though.

Why do I tell you this? It’s not interesting or even funny. I know, I know.

It’s just that once I finished the run, rested for a few minutes and took a shower, I understood why the strange desire to do it was born: it was just a reminder.

Whether it is a new school we are about to attend, or right after we move, or when we start a new job, a new enterprise, go live in a different city, or country, whether we start a new relationship, personal or businesslike, whatever we venture in, it is as close to a run in the snow as it is in real life.

We know it’s not the most appropriate setting, but we start anyway.

We know it’s going to be difficult, but we start anyway.

We know we don’t have the best or most suitable tools, but we start anyway.

We know it is not the best time to do it, but we start anyway.

Then, once we started and as we go along, realizing in fact it is difficult, we continue no matter what. Then we fall, but we stand up not giving up.

Then we are tired, but we press on not giving up.

Then we fall again, but again we stand up not giving up.

Then we are hurt, yet we do not give up.

And, isn’t it life itself a run in the snow? How many times have we fallen? How many more times we will fall and be hurt physically, or in spirit?

Yet we know we will finish the run.

Continue anyway, do not give up.

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Show Yourself

I know you are close, I don’t know what or who you are, I know you approach me, but ignore whether it is in time or space, yet I feel your presence constantly and lately.

Like last Sunday, for instance, that when going running at the park I looked behind every so often, because I felt as if you were following me. And then all of a sudden I believed that instead of behind me you were underground, and that’s why I went so uncomfortable, looking down and breathing forcefully. Or yesterday, that when returning from the office toward the parking lot, I kept looking up, for even the birds’ presence made me felt nervous.
Or today early morning, just before waking up I felt as if your breath was within an inch from my ear, along with a soft musk and flowers scent, and when opening my eyes I perceived nothing but darkness and silence, besides my own nervous sweat odour.

If you’re my past, and only want to know about my status quo, look: see the blood lines in my eyes, touch my skin scars, listen to my tired and clumsy voice, appreciate my firm yet slow walking. But also look at the fruits of my studies and years of labour, the medals won, read my thorough lines, and ask me anything, for I don’t keep any secrets anymore.

If you’re death, and have approached me to whisper that this time is for real, and that such time is near. I’m ready. I’ve been ready ever since the first time you insinuated me this journey’s brevity, and also on the other successive times you reminded me, in different ways, how quickly one can depart swiftly, without farewells.

If you are life, I’ve been longing for you: because even being in a better position than most, there have been times when I’ve felt I don’t have you, or that what I have of you is too little. If it is so, and you need to make it up to me, deliver yourself along with interests, so that we both are at ease. I promise to return the restricted and the stolen smiles, and not to keep anything, and to share everything good I receive.

If you are my future, then you’ve taken an eternity to get near me, for my life today has been a longer one than the world’s population average life, which means I have less and less time to get to know each other well. Do not hesitate, and come now. Just give me a sign and I approach you, if you suppose it’s not quite time yet. In either case, for me you are already late.

The thing is, I need you to come across me now. I don’t care what or who you are, do not doubt it, for it takes you nothing to suddenly appear and stand right in front of me, and say hi, I’m here. I promise to stop what I’m doing and receive you the way we receive a newborn, the expansive wave, the New Year, the final exam result, the sunlight, a bad news, the surprise party, the verdict, the uppercut on the jaw, a water sip, a rejection message, a new day.
Just stop being around me in time, stop being around me in space. Your quantum energy only causes me nervousness, excitement, and confusion. Do yourself and do me a favour and appear right here and right now.

Show Yourself.

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Spend your Money Wisely

I must sound like a broken record now. This post is a brief one.

 

At lunch time you enter a food shop and spend an entire hour’s earnings in just one product. What is it?

Would you prefer a big popcorn bag, or a fancy cookie, or an overpriced cup of coffee, to a sandwich, or a salad, or a soup bowl? Honestly, what would be your choice?

 

So, in terms of Social Media, do you get in there and look for the jokes, the gossip, or the endless arguments between your tribe, instead of a link to a novel review, or news on the latest reports on global warming, or joining a good cause group? Honestly, how much time you spend on such sites?

Do you follow and favourite someone simply because they are your friends? Or as a courtesy because they follow and favourite you? Do those people provide you with something of value? Anything?

 

At the end of your daily Social Media journey, what did you get in return for your time?

Time is money. Spend it wisely.

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