Being Red

I’m pretty red right now but I could be redder
I’m pretty smart right now but I could be smarter
I’m pretty handsome right now but I could be handsomer
I’m pretty witty right now but I could be wittier
I’m pretty young right now but I could be younger
I’m pretty flexible right now but I could be flexibler
I’m pretty strong right now but I could be stronger
I’m pretty kind right now but I could be kinder
I’m pretty peaceful right now but I could be peacefuller
I’m pretty brave right now but I could be braver
I’m pretty sweet right now but I could be sweeter


I’m red
I’m smart
I’m handsome
I’m witty
I’m young
I’m strong
I’m kind
I’m flexible
I’m peaceful
I’m brave
I’m sweet

It’ll Be Amazing

There’s TSN, and then there’s me.

TSN is a Canadian sports network. They telecast the Super Bowl yesterday but I didn’t watch. I don’t care about American football. But over the years I’ve enjoyed many of the commercials.

TSN had a recap today about all things Super Bowl, including the five best commercials from the game. I leaned forward on the couch, ready to be amazed. Sadly, I was not. I was not touched by any of them. Most were funny and light, but they didn’t make me pause and stare. The 30-second spots were no doubt effective in selling the product but I don’t care about that. I yearn for the possibility that those seconds could impact my life.

Here is TSN’s view of the best:

1. Singer Michael Bublé knocks on several doors, delivering cans of Bubly drink to the homeowners. They just don’t understand that the name is “Bublé”.

2. Man to woman: “Did you steal my Cheetos again?” Woman to man: “It wasn’t me!” The woman proceeds to throw the package out the window while being accused. Later she points to the cat as being the guilty party.

3. “I’m Drake from State Farm.” The famous one wears a red shirt identical to the one worn by the male actor beside him. Eventually, the actor puts his hand on Drake’s shoulder and says “Stand-ins don’t have lines.”

4. Seems like they’re selling car batteries in this one. A fellow (probably a celebrity) drives his car onto a ship and straight into a large storage container. He and his car reappear on a dock in a cutesy seaside village. On the phone, he lets his friends know “I’m in Norway!” A woman strolling by corrects him, however. “Norway? You’re in Sweden.”

5. Mike Myers and Dana Carvey from the film “Wayne’s World” are on a couch with a beautiful woman. They start singing “eat local”. Everybody changes costumes and jumps around. An Uber Eats box shows up at the end.

Maybe I’m missing something here. The recipe seems to be putting famous people in a silly situation and therefore making millions. (Sigh)


And then there’s this …

A woman is on her back, treading water. Then there’s another woman, answering the phone:

Mrs. Long? We’ve found a baby girl for your adoption but there’s some things you need to know. She’s in Siberia, and she was born with a rare condition. Her legs will need to be amputated. I know this is difficult to hear. Her life – it won’t be easy … Mrs. Long?

It might not be easy but it’ll be amazing. I can’t wait to meet her.

This one makes me smile


Jessica Long, 13-time Paralympic Gold Medalist swimmer


I Am Like Fire, And I Will Burn

I exploded today. And I didn’t hurt myself or anyone else. I was on an Evolutionary Collective Zoom call, doing the Mutual Awakening Practice with a woman. When it was my turn to talk, I felt this surge blasting up through me and out into the world. A cannon was launching me into the stratosphere, out into the starry blackness of space.

The power was intense. I knew I could leap across the Grand Canyon. I could love every being on our dear planet. I could fly.

My partner laughed a lot as I was bubbling away. She didn’t know that I didn’t know anything. There was no reasoned progression of life, no marginal improvement of circumstances. There was just … BAM! If my shirt had buttons, they would have burst.

Hours later, I still felt the residue of this brilliant light. I went in search of a poem that could capture some of the communion, the passing right through things, and the awe of what I experienced. Happily, I found Marisa Donnelly:

I am like fire. I am wild and emblazoned with color
every step, every sound billowing up around me
When I speak, the words leave my lips
already sizzling. When I stand, the ground shakes
beneath me, both fearful and proud of my feet

I am like fire. My hands spark energy. One touch
and the world around me comes alive
When my fingertips graze over skin
goosebumps appear. When I hold a hand in mine
I share silent stories. I create warmth
with a single kiss

I am like fire. Like light. Everything I embrace grows hot
grows bold, grows brighter. I bring passion
into places where there is none. I turn flickers
into flames. There is a fierceness in my fingers, love
in my lungs that I breathe out with tenacity, with purpose

I am like fire. Something you long to touch, to experience
but are in constant awe of the way I move and grow and become
Something you must only admire from a distance as I rise

I am like fire. I can destroy or save, ignite
or keep a body breathing when the temperature falls too low
I choose not to set the things I touch into chaos
I choose to heat, to calm

I am like fire. And I burn for the things I love
for the strength I feel in my chest, for the beauty I see so wild
and alive all around me. I will burn for places, for passion.
For memories that have been and will come
I will burn, bringing light into darkness
An energy that cannot, will not be extinguished

Last Minute Advice

Imagine, if you will, that you’re lying on your deathbed.  It’s been a good life, happily a long one.  It’s been full of fascinating characters, many of whom you’ve hugged in love.  You’ve been places – some that show up in travel films and some that perhaps you alone have seen.  You’ve been good to people, even those who have been mean to you.

As your eyes feel like closing, the bed is surrounded by children who are sad, mourning your leaving.  What would you say to them?  A few pieces of advice to carry them along.

If I were that person, I’d look in those kids’ eyes and say …

Go towards people, towards experiences.  Don’t back away.  Don’t let your fear turn you around.  Get close and see who’s there.  Feel their gifts as they find their way to you.

Welcome everything … the precious and the demeaning, the uplifting and downtrodding.  Every experience has brought you to today.  Every future moment will carry you amid all the tomorrows.  And you in turn will be welcomed into the full spectrum of living.

Love outrageously, because reason has no place in such an arena.  Love the flowing hair and also the warts.  Let nothing distract you from communion with the other.  And challenge the beloved to be the best possible version of themselves.

Throw out the books with all their borrowed wisdom.  There’s plenty inside you to see you through.  Trust the goodness there.

Know that you are unique.  Never before and never again has someone just like you come this way.  You have the power to touch the world in a way that it’s never seen before.

Express yourself … over and over again.  Be kind in your expressions but don’t omit them.  Ask life “May I have this dance?”

Look in the mirror a lot and see the folks gazing out from your eyes.

Finally, don’t try to remember all this.  Just live in gratitude for the time you are here.


Two Human Beings

The top photo shows Leylah Fernandez from Canada.  That’s Angelique Kerber of Germany in the bottom one.  They’re both professional tennis players.

Before I reveal my tennis fandom, however, I’d like to return to the days of yesteryear and my passion for golf.  I could glue myself to the TV set with the best of them, and the object of my adoration was Mike Weir, a Canadian professional golfer.  Mike stood 5 feet 9 inches and was a masterful shotmaker.  Speaking of which, he won the Masters tournament in April, 2003, an event that many people consider to be the most important in men’s golf.

Even before the Masters, I lived and died with every tee shot, praying that it would find the fairway, not the rough.  I’d watch Mike’s long irons soar towards the green, groaning if the ball flight seemed to be veering far away from the pin.  I held my breath as a long putt slid towards the hole.  Would the curves of the green take it to the bottom of the cup, or would the ball lip out?  I was a fanatic.

As I look back on my marriage with Jody, I feel remorse about a few things I did.  One of my most vivid pains comes from a vacation we had in Montreal in August, 2003.  On the final day of the PGA tournament, Jody wanted to go exploring.  I wanted to see Mike play in the last group.  I won.  Through a mean display of willpower, I cajoled my wife to hang around the hotel while I lived and breathed Mike Weir.  (Sigh)


“What happened to tennis?” you ask.  Two years ago, Bianca Andreescu came into my TV life.  Essentially, change the details of the sport, insert “Bianca” for “Mike”, and you have the story.  My fanaticism included the purchase of a red t-shirt online, honouring my heroine: “She The North”.  Sadly, Bianca’s been injured for more than a year, so I had to find a new shining light.  Enter Leylah Fernandez, an 18-year-old Montrealer.  It was easy to transfer my fervour to her matches on TV.

A few months ago, I looked in the mirror and saw some things:

1. I need heroes
2. I cheer for you if you’re Canadian
3. I cheer for you if you’re young and therefore an underdog
4. I cheer for you if you seem to be a nice person
5. I cheer against you if you seem to be a mean person

So I cheer for Leylah.  But what about point number five?  During one tournament, Bianca was playing Angelique Kerber, a pro who’s been near the top of the game for years.  Bianca had one or two medical timeouts to deal with an emerging injury.  At the end of the match, which Bianca won, the two players approached the net.  Angelique told Bianca “You’re the biggest drama queen ever.”  That was it for me and Angelique.  I’d always want her to lose.


Fast forward to yesterday.  “What’s happening, Bruce?”  Leylah’s match against Maria Sakkari from Greece was about to begin.  But my head was spinning.  I looked at Leylah on the screen, and yes, I wanted her to win … but it was no big deal.  I was loving Leylah, but not in the sense that if she does what I want her to do (win), I’ll be happy.  My love was vaster.  I simply wanted her to be happy.  And wonder of wonders, I wanted Maria to be happy.  I wanted both of them to make great shots.  I wanted long rallies.  I wanted the back-and-forth adventure of three sets, ending in a tiebreak.  I wanted to hear “Match Point” for one player and then the other.  I didn’t care who won.  And I felt immense sadness when Leylah played poorly, and Maria dominated the match.

I’m sitting here a day later … stunned.  Where did my partisanship go?  I still love it when Canadians excel on the world stage but there isn’t a need there.  How did this shift happen?  I certainly didn’t grit my teeth and start willing a new attitude.  I didn’t do anything.  But here I sit, enamoured of tennis, of each player giving her all, of each one pushing the other past supposed limits, of each one being happy.  It feels good.

Tonight Angelique Kerber plays Maria Sakkari.  I’ll be there with a smile.  May the match be epic.


As I headed off to my dentist appointment this morning, the sun was shining and each tree was adorned with ice. It was glorious. By the time I pulled over to take a photo, the sun had gone in. But the scene still shone.

Minutes ago, I looked at this pic and felt deflated. It didn’t capture the glory of the world that was out my window.

Just now, I went to the internet and found this:

“That’s better” was my initial reaction. “I’ll use this photo. It’ll help me tell the story better.” I was launching into my new plan when everything just stopped. Something was calling a halt to the proceedings.

“You can’t do this, Bruce. It’s wrong. Not that it will damage anyone else … just you.”

Oh, that voice! It keeps speaking its mind. And from somewhere in my psychological past, I hear the words “cognitive dissonance”. My friend Google gives me the lowdown:

In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance occurs when a person holds contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values, and is typically experienced as psychological stress when they participate in an action that goes against one or more of them

Okay. I have two things going on:

1. I want you to like my sparkling photo
2. I want to tell the truth

I’m clear that one of these values is larger, or “senior” to the other. So … you can gaze at the bright trees all you want. My Belmont, Ontario trees were just as bright, but not when I had my camera ready.

I vote for cognitive concordance.

Being Praised

The Buddha said that life includes both praise and blame.  We can try our darndest to avoid the blame part but that effort will be futile.  Perhaps we imagine a reality in which only praise comes our way, and we think that would be marvelous.  Looking closer though, I bet most of us don’t know what to do with people singing our virtues.

Today I was in a Zoom meeting with five other folks under the umbrella of the Evolutionary Collective.  Each person was to be the focus for fifteen minutes.  The rest of us simply gazed at the human being onscreen and asked ourselves what we “got” … what aspects of the person were speaking to us.  In the most profound, who is this person anyway?  We didn’t know biographical details.  Except for one of them, I didn’t even know where they lived.  All we did was look and respond aloud to “What am I experiencing?” as we looked into their eyes.

When it was my turn, the other folks showered me with praise with words that touched far deeper than my personality or good deeds.  I choose not to tell you what they said.  I don’t see the purpose in doing that.  It’s not important that you agree with their assessments.  It’s not valuable to hear various adjectives being laid on my shoulders.

So what’s a guy to do in response?

1.  Aw, shucks
2.  No, no … that’s not me
3.  (A big and nervous smile)
4.  Thank you

I’ve always liked the number 4.  “Just receive it, Bruce.  Let it in.  Let it inform you about what’s next in your life.  Let the goodness spoken find further expression.”

I remain unbloated
I know that I’m here to serve
I will continue to do so

What’s Alive?

Last Monday I had minor surgery on my right hand.  For the first few days, the pain meant that no WordPress posts were forthcoming.  Since then, my dear hand has been feeling better and better, and here I am tapping away on my laptop.

My digital journey has been fascinating, from the strange sensation of cords being cut under local anaesthetic, to the freezing coming out, to trying to shave.  But sitting here right now, the story isn’t alive.  It isn’t juicy in my soul.  It feels like old news.  Oh, I could scribe about the last week with some level of proficiency but the writing wouldn’t bounce along, since I’m not living it now.  Sometimes on WordPress I’ve told you about events that happened before but they were also bubbling up in me as I sat down with my computer.  Not so for my recent hand adventures.

My last post was called “Hair Loss”.  It was accompanied by a shaggy photo of me, courtesy of Covid closing my hair salon.  I ended the piece looking forward to Amazon delivering a hair trimming kit.  There would have been much to tell here as well.  Trying (for a long time!) to remove the blade from the trimmer in anticipation of future cleaning, the same lengthy process of reattaching the blade, watching several YouTube videos about men cutting their own long hair, the first attempt at cutting, and today’s tweaking.  All of that was there … and I just don’t want to write about it.  The story isn’t singing to me.

What is alive to wanting to write again after an absence of nine days.  Right now, I’m being pulled forward to having my thoughts show up on screens.  I want my words to reach people, and to touch at least a few of them.  I want contact.

Will tomorrow offer me a topic that I can throw myself into?  I think so, without at the moment having an idea of what that topic will be.  The past has shown me that when my heart is revving, my fingers will find the keys.

Oh … and here’s a photo of the new me.