Sunday, 28 December 2014

Hey everyone,

I sent this letter in to the Red Deer Advocate and I thought it was worth posting to my blog as well. See below:

Have you been downtown lately?

Take a walk along Ross Street from 47th Avenue to 51st Avenue and see the major progress that has been made in our downtown! While you’re at it walk down Little Gaetz in either direction as well. There have been some major enhancements made in the last few years! 

Recently I was playing around with Google Street View and was surprised to find that the Google-Car which photographs the streets to make a 3D map hasnt went down little Gaetz since 2009! So when I clicked on Gaetz Ave I could literally see back in time before all the major upgrades were put in. If you’re interested I made a tour video and posted it to my YouTube page “Wieler4RD”, check it out.

After making that discovery I decided to peruse the Greater Downtown Action Plan on the city’s webpage. I found the plan to be a very innovative and progressive with clear goals and action steps to improve the quality of life in our city and spur business development. 


Comforts The Sole and Hot Pot Studio, Little Gaetz Red Deer
But, progress is a direction and nothing is done overnight. The continued growth of our downtown is a game of chicken and egg. It will take continued leadership from visionary policy makers, it will take the best of our entrepreneurial virtue and it will require the continued passion of our proud citizens to advance in this direction.

I have to send out a big THANK YOU to all the business owners who are redeveloping their properties and enhancing the whole feel of our downtown. There is a very clear message communicated to the public when a business enhances its store front and upgrades its street appeal. The clear message is PROGRESS! 

The evidence of progress is all around the downtown from the Plaza W renovation, the renovation of Budget Car Rental and the facelift to Artistry In Gold to the expansions of Red Deer Hot Yoga, Sunworks, Housewarmings and Fratters Venue. An extremely popular attraction is the Cool Beans Bus Cafe which occupies a previous brownfield site! Then there is the 2014 business of the year, Collegiate Sports Medicine, also proudly downtown. This is progress!


Downtown Farmers Market On Little Gaetz
Our downtown is rebounding and we are starting to see a snowball effect. If the next 10 years are anything like the last 10 years I suspect Red Deer’s downtown will be a cultural hub and a commercial powerhouse that Red Deerians will be proud of! This is progress!

On that note, unfortunately in 2013, out of the 497 businesses downtown there were 65 businesses that chose to leave the downtown. However there were 74 new businesses that arrived. So there is net growth as evidenced by the numbers provided by the DBA. This is progress!


We are already seeing the foundations being laid for our Riverlands district, the upgraded intersection at Ross and Taylor makes pedestrian access possible and safe. The power lines that will supply electricity to the whole area are being upgraded as we speak. Private businesses are receiving these cues well and are making plans to grow and develop. This is progress!


Our downtown is safer by many measures. More street lights brighten everything up sending cues to people that our downtown is safe. Crosswalks are upgraded making them more secure for pedestrians. The Point-In-Time numbers are in and there were 50% fewer street involved people counted than before; our city’s visionary focus on homeFULLness is working! This is progress!

Families are now flocking downtown in the summertime to enjoy the landmark Bluegrass Spray Park. There are more events like Centrefest, the Downtown Farmers Market, Nuit Blanche, the Bike Race and the North Pole Stroll enhancing our culture. The Ross St Patio is a HUGE SUCCESS drawing old and young alike to enjoy our downtown. This is progress!


There is more to come! Our city is blossoming! These are exciting times!

Jonathan Wieler, Downtown Business Owner - Bullseye Safety Inc.


Happy New Years!







Also my You Tube Video I made about downtown Red Deer:

















Sunday, 21 December 2014

Every Conversation Changes The Future

Think of someone who inspired you,

Did they mindfully choose to inspire you? Was it someone who reached out to make a meaningful relationship with you? Someone who cared? Was there tragedy that cultivated blessing?

Come with me on my journey. 

Make this affirmation with me:

I can make a positive contribution!

I am the youngest of 4. My 2 older sisters are 10 years older than my brother and I, and they moved out when I was a kid. My brother Isaac was severely autistic. He never spoke a word in his life. He died 7 years ago. 

I am acutely aware of the problems that families with mentally disabled children face. I am very much aware of mental health issues. As such I am passionate about things like HomeFULLness and building relationships with street involved people to raise them up and be homeFULL. I can make a positive contribution.

I went to boarding high school seminary in Mission BC. It is a seminary run by Benedictine monks. It was one of the best experiences of my life. During that very formative time of my life I grew in virtue and knowledge. I learned to be respectful and compassionate. We volunteered at soup kitchens and we sang at old folks homes. I will carry those experiences with me for the rest of my life. When I need inspiration I look back at them and am able to refocus myself. I am renewed and I know that I can make a positive contribution!

I didn't graduate from the seminary instead I finished school here in Red Deer. I went to Hunting Hills. Very early into my first school year at HHHS the principal made a speech that inspired me greatly. I look back at it and recognize it as a pivotal moment in my life. He spoke about getting involved in the community and being creative. As a result of his speech I joined the drama class and was in every play that I could be in! I know how creativity, collaboration and communication bring people together and enhance General-Well-Being and I know I can make a positive contribution.

I had my first daughter when I was 19 years old and I have 3 more kids through my blended family. I am grateful for my children and I am enriched by them every day. I know how hard it can be having children so early and I am grateful for all the help I received from the amazing people in my life. I realize that there is no such thing as a “self-made-man” but that it takes relationship and compassion to build up the person so they can realize their potential. I hope I can be the the same sort leader for my children. I can make a positive contribution.

Eventually I did what many young men in Alberta do and I went to work on the rigs. For 10 years I slept next to my wallet. I missed out on many things such as my kids growing up and maintaining relationships with family and friends. I grew apart and fell into a cycle of alcohol and depression. But that wasn’t the path for me, after 10 years in the oilfield I have now changed gears. I haven’t had a drink in nearly 3 years! I am building relationships and feel much happier! I am inspired to make a positive contribution. 

While working on the rigs I saw environmental catastrophes, spills that went unreported and damage to the environment that will take years to repair! No one knows better the environmental impact that the oil and gas industry has more than Albertans working first hand in the industry. With that said the culture is shifting and I am proud that we have high environmental stewardship standards and our province is slowly moving in a positive direction; if not from the top down then from the bottom up. I am passionate about environmental sustainability and I can make a positive contribution.

The summation of my oilfield carrier is now the beginning of my carrier as an oilfield safety instructor and the beginning of my passionate involvement in the community. I am an entrepreneur. I will build a business that gives my family a comfortable life and that enables me to give back to the community. I believe that the changes which need to happen will occur through education and passionate leadership. I can make a positive contribution.

The reason I ran for city council the last election is because I see our city opening up like a blossom with so much potential. As Red Deer grows we can really build something great! Some themes we must hold steadfast to are: evidence based public policy, environmental stewardship and enhancing the creative class of leaders in our community. I am excited to make a positive contribution.

My Dreams:

  • I want to give back to the community that built me.
  • I want to increase HomeFULLness in our community.
  • I want to enhance environmental stewardship in our community.
  • I want to raise awareness and show compassion to people with mental illness.
  • I want to have conversations that change the future for the better.
  • I want to collaborate with the great leaders in our community who are working hard to do these things and find ways to be a conduit for good.

Merry Christmas,

"When we are motivated by compassion the results of our actions benefit everyone!" - Dali Lama


Sunday, 14 December 2014

Give & You Will Receive

It really feels good to give.

This Sunday I went to church and Reverend Jeff spoke about something that really hit home for me. He said that we focus all our giving and volunteer efforts right up to christmas but then after the holiday is over people forget that there is still need, perhaps even more need since many families over extend their finances by buying too many presents for everyone.

So I'm going to make an early New Years resolution; aside from the other one I already made, namely to work out more. I resolve to stay active in the community year round. I am going to continue to volunteer and help when and where I can!

My fiancĂ©, Krystal has been a member of a local Rotary club here in Red Deer called Rotary Sunrise for about a year now and recently I was invited to join as well. So in January I will be officially inducted as a new member. The whole club is filled with positive and compassionate people who give back to the community through continued service. I am excited to work with so many amazing community leaders!

I'm also excited to be able to volunteer my services as board member for Volunteer Central, I hope to make a positive contribution! It will be a learning curve but I am grateful for the opportunity! I really believe in the vision of Volunteer Central: to improve the quality of life for Central Albertans by linking people, places and knowledge. If you're interested in volunteering check out the list of available volunteer opportunities here.

Also, I am excited to serve our community as a member of the Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) for the City of Red Deer. I am primed with ideas and questions and I look forward to benefiting the public good! It really is an honour to be chosen to be part of the EAC. Learning to be an effective committee member will be a challenge and I look forward to it.

As I was reading through the Environmental Master Plan I realized that there has been a lot of hard work and a lot of great leadership in Red Deer to make our city more environmentally sustainable. That is really good news. Often the media focuses the environmental discussion on "What is Big Gov doing to protect the environment" but it is at the municipal level where "the rubber meets the road". Cities can make the biggest contribution when it comes to environmental sustainability and I am proud of the leadership in our community.

Recently I had the opportunity to volunteer for the Salvation Army to help with the Christmas Kettle Campaign I would like to close this blog with an insight I gleamed from that experience.

By giving people the opportunity to give I am giving them an opportunity to increase their personal happiness. Every time someone walked past the kettle and dropped some change in I observed that they left with a smile. The smile is evidence they are feeling better for having done something altruistic. I find it interesting that I can increase their happiness merely by giving them an opportunity to give and that they can increase my happiness too! Every time they give I see that my service is valuable and that I am helping and that is a very good feeling.

Thank you for reading. If you like my blog please comment below or share it on social media.

Merry Christmas



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Sunday, 7 December 2014

Cheers to the Riggers!

Hey everyone,

While stopping to fill up with gas last week when it was -30C here in Red Deer, I was reminded of my riggin' days. I couldn't help but think that right at that moment there were thousands of oil patch workers bustin' their's in this cold miserable weather so I could heat my house and fill up my gas tank.


I did my time and now I'm out, but cheers to the riggers! It was a good living and I am grateful for the opportunities it has afforded me. I have a nice house and my kids are well taken care of. My business still serves those workers and I'm continuously grateful for everything. 

Now many of you may know that I have a strong environmental side and you may be questioning me saying "why is he praising the oilfield?"

I am reminded of a Corb Lund song, no not Roughest Neck Around; I wish...

...but another more somber song called This Is My Prairie. Give it a listen when you get a chance. There are a few lines that go like this:

I can't blame the riggers or the guys drivin' truck
For feedin' their families and makin' a buck
But take a close look at the stock that you own
Cuz' this is my prarie, this is my home

No one knows the environmental impact of the oil patch better than hard working oil patch guys! When I hear on the news that people are protesting Hydraulic Fracking and pipelines and the bitumen industry I understand why, I get it! None of that stuff is pretty by any means. 

I know! I've worked there! 

But some of these guys take it to extreme and leave no room for reason or collaboration. Some even make outlandish claims that are clearly based on fear and mis-understanding of what is actually going on.

But then when I hear the other side and guys are denying climate change and the impact that humans are having on the environment I feel like pulling out my hair! 

We will never get anywhere pitting the economy vs. environment. 

We will never get anywhere with mis-information and fear mongering.

Public policy needs to be based on sound scientific evidence. 

Last week I attended the Chamber of Commerce luncheon here in Red Deer and listened to Mark Scholz president of the CAODC speak about the state of the oil patch and the direction it is heading. The room was filled with community leaders representing oil and gas companies. I really got the vibe that everyone there was a strong supporter of the "Drill Baby Drill" philosophy. Who'd-A-Thunk? 

I couldn't help but think that somewhere else there was a room full of "environmentalists" presenting information about climate change. In both rooms the speaker was essentially preaching to the choir. It struck me that we need to bring these two groups together in order to find a solution to the challenges we are facing. 

Mark Scholz didn't talk about climate change, but he did speak about all the hard working people making our province a great place to live. He spoke about how Canada's oil patch workers are the best trained in the world and how our safety practices are superior by far. He spoke about how its more ethical to buy Canadian oil than Saudi oil or Iranian oil as we actually care about the environment and human rights. 

Im sure that in that other room I imagined, the speaker didn't once mention any of those successes but just went on about how "big oil companies" are destroying everything! 

Mark Sholz made a compelling argument that coal consumption in China is by far a larger contributor of greenhouse gasses than what we do here in Alberta and that we could "offset" their dependance on coal by selling them compressed natural gas (CNG)

While his argument was persuasive I doubt China will get off coal because we sell them CNG. China will probably just take more of both and everything else. Furthermore there is serious doubt that CNG is really any better at all than coal.

With all this said I am very optimistic for our future. 

However, Alberta is at a cross roads.

The best minds in the world are finding more and more ways to use less and less of the oil we want to sell them. The global push to become less dependant on hydrocarbons is intensifying and will grow exponentially. Alberta has a shining opportunity to use its oil wealth to become a leader in cutting edge technology that will move us towards environmental sustainability and economic sustainability*. 

Yes there is a place for wind farms and large scale solar plants but I'm not a strong proponent of those as there are large drawbacks. From what I can tell the evidence is pointing strongly towards decentralized rooftop solar, nuclear, compact fusion and bio fuels from landfill gas, sewage and organic materials as an alternative to conventional oil, gas and coal. 

My argument is that wherever the money goes there too will go jobs, wealth and prosperity. 

I fully reserve the right to be wrong but I predict that those 4 sectors will grow dramatically over the next 25 years and they will out-compete conventional oil and gas. Roof top solar is already out competing natural gas and coal. The prices of solar are dropping and the tech is becoming more advanced. There is a company here in Alberta that will install solar on your roof and get your home net zero. I'm having my house priced out soon!

Whatever actually comes to pass lets not fail for lack of imagination! There are solutions to be found. We can have prosperity and environmental sustainability. 

We need: Collaboration, Reason & Imagination!

Cheers,


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*We clearly don't have "economic sustainability" as 20% of Alberta's Operating Budget is dependent on oil and gas royalties and when the price of oil drops our budget is no longer sustained. 







Sunday, 23 November 2014

Backyard Composting!

Hey everyone,

As you may know I am now serving the city of Red Deer as a member of the Environmental Advisory Committee. I attended my first meeting last week and one of the things we talked about was the successes of Red Deer's composting pilot project held over the last few years. It is really exciting to be able to work with so many great minds on this committee!

I completely missed the boat on this project. I didn't sign up in time to get my free composter bin and didnt get to attend the seminar about how to compost. But rather than letting myself become discouraged I built a wooden composter bin and watched youtube videos until I learned what to do!

I used to wonder what was the BIG DEAL about composting. What does it matter if I throw a banana peel into a compost bucket or into the landfill. There are a few reasons but the biggest for me is this:

When organic material breaks down not in the presence of oxygen (ie. trapped under layers of landfill) rather than CO2 being produced, methane is produced and methane is a 20% more potent greenhouse gas than CO2!

By throwing a banana peel into a hermetically sealed landfill you are doing 20% more damage to the climate than by letting it break down in a compost heap on the ground. The methane produced from anaerobic decomposition will release over time and adversely effect the climate. As a side note: by bagging dog poop in plastic we are sealing the fate of the dog poop to become methane instead of CO2 as well.

That was the main reason but here are all the reasons I compost:

1. Produces CO2 instead of CH4.
2. Free way to fertilize garden and grow cheap, healthy food.
3. Nutrients get cycled back into fertile systems instead of becoming locked in toxic landfills for THOUSANDS of years.
4. Extends life of the landfill by diverting organic materials and saves the city money.

These are reasons good enough for me. What reasons good enough for you?

I've now been composting for about a year. My household went from about 5 bags/week of garbage to 2-3. My household produces about 1 bag of compostable material and about 1 bag of recycleable stuff per week. Around the same time we started composting we started recycling as well.

The blue bin provided by the city wasn't big enough.
Am I supposed to remove labels from cans?
I am glad to hear that the city received a donation of $10,000 to in part fund this! The donation came from Shell Fuelling Change an initiative supporting projects that improve and restore Canada's environment. This is in line with my politically moderate view that we should embrace the oil wealth of our country and use it to diversify and move towards more sustainable systems. Our country and our province can afford to lead the way. The technology to truly be sustainable is coming online! But we need vision to see beyond the paradigms of the past that will not serve us in the future.

Nobody understands the environmental impact of the oil and gas industry more than those who have worked in the front lines. For 10 years I drilled and serviced oil and gas wells. Over the years I saw environmental catastrophes and I saw responsible efforts made to clean them up. I know first hand from my experience as an oilfield worker where improvements must be made. But I digress.

Ideally, everyone would compost at home and then use that compost to build up a sustainable permaculture system, a.k.a A GARDEN. There are many benefits, from reducing green house gasses produced in landfills to localizing a percent of our food source and enhancing our diet with highly nutritious food. However I know that one size doesn't fit all. Composting and permaculture aren't for everyone. A multifaceted problem requires a multifaceted solution. Most Red Deerian's will benefit from the planned enhancements to the waste collection system coming in the near future.

I am excited to understand that enhancements to Red Deer's waste management system are in the works. There are visionary leaders in our city working to remove barriers and design more sustainable systems. In the future Red Deer will collect organic waste separately and compost the material. The resulting compost resource will pay for itself in several ways.

1. A smaller impact on the landfill. (Estimated potential 40% waste diversion.)
2. Fewer green house gasses and leachate produced. (Leachate is also costly to dispose of.)
3. Nutrients being cycled back into the earth.

Last but not least...

4. The sale of high quality compost, a valuable commodity in high demand which may offset costs of the program.

Curbside pickup of organic waste will be a much needed improvement to Red Deer's waste management strategy. I would like to see further enhancements to recycling and sewage treatment; and public transit and homeFULLness for that matter, but its one step at a time I suppose.

A friend of mine shared the following link with me and now I am very jealous of the city of Edmonton! I hear they have the largest by volume and size composting facility in North America! Its encouraging to learn this because that means that we here in little ol' Red Deer dont have to reinvint the wheel. The systems are already designed and functioning and the economics are understood and scale-able. All we have to do is copy a system that has already been proven to work! 

With all this said there is still so much to learn! As I write this I am having a twitter conversation about vermicomposting. This is something I have heard of but not yet tried or even considered. But I do like the idea of growing my own fish bait! Just gotta check with the boss if she'll let me farm worms in the basement!

Shoutout to @ClairesOwner and @hezzie7 for the twitter conversation today! Cheers!

Do you have any ideas how to make Red Deer a more sustainable city?

Cheers,

Connect with me on G+, Twitter, Facebook, IRLOC (In Real Life Over Coffee).


Sunday, 16 November 2014

#MindFish

Hey everyone,

I am finally writing again. It has been a while. My last blog was way back in March. Much has happened since then. To get started blogging again I will make this post more like a second introduction. I will leave my previous posts up, but consider this post a strategic pivot. From here on in I have much more resolve and much more focus.

This blog post has 3 parts and I promise my loyal readers that I will weave them all together in the grander tapestry of future blog posts. While this blog is very much about myself; it is also about my family, my friends and my community. This post is just a teaser of what is to come; I have made extensive notes about the things I have learned over the last year and I have SO much to blog about!

Part One: Stories

Krystal and I have been busy getting our safety training business up and running. We have been on a steep learning curve and we are rising everyday to the challenge!

My macbook, which I fixed 3 times and boasted about in a previous post, was stolen; it was taken right out of my classroom by a student of mine! So I have went the last 4-5 months without a computer. Instead of buying macbook again I bought a chromebook. I will update you on how that more in the future.

I finally fenced my back yard in so my dog can now run free! Not a minute too late either! The day I put up the last fence post was the first snow day this winter! I was outside screwing on boards in -20C!

I fell off the bandwagon with fitness, I need inspiration to get back on! HELP!

Stay tuned this summer I have grand plans for my front and back yard and I will be blogging/youtubing about it! One word "Permaculture". OK perhaps another two words as well, "Urban Farming". Call me crazy...

Part Two: Mindfulness

This blog is a tool. It is an innovation pipeline so to speak. It helps me connect people to ideas. If you know me then you know that I am about handshakes and collaboration. In this blog I will write about topics that I am passionate about. Such as increasing homeFULLness in our community. Such as sustainability through urban design. Such as "tribal leadership" and inspiring ways to make life a story worth telling.

When it comes to increasing homeFULLness in our community my goal is to be part of a solution that humanizes street involved people and builds relationships. The real wealth of our community isn't just our dollars and our stuff but our PEOPLE!

When it comes to sustainability, both economic and environmental, my goal is to reduce controversy and increase collaboration. We need everyone at the table. Sustainability not just a moral dilemma or a political dilemma or a philanthropic cause but it is an innovation and design challenge.

When it comes to "tribal leadership" concepts that are relevant to me are being grateful and dreaming BIG. If you think something good about someone, TELL THEM! If your dreams don't scare you then they're not BIG enough!

Part 3: Myself

There are 3 words that I choose to describe myself with.

Curious - I am insatiably curious and this leads to a constant effort to broaden my perspective and be in a constant state of learning.

Personal - I am about handshakes and collaboration. As a family man I strive to be a better parent and spouse. As a friend I seek to give more than I take. As a businessman I seek to be fair to all concerned and enhance value as much as possible.

BOLD - I am motivated to bring about the best in others. I am authentic. I welcome criticism. I don't require permission to think differently.

When it comes to the narrow scope of the traditional political spectrum, I am confused where I fit on it. I have been accused of being a liberal and of being a libertarian. What do you call someone who takes the best from all sides of the argument? Whatever that is call me that! 

This blog IS political. I am VERY interested in municipal politics. I was a candidate for city council in the last election. It was a time of personal growth and expanding mindfulness for me. A question which focuses my thoughts on the issues is "how can we prepare the city for the next 50 years not just the next election?" I will continue in that regard.

Thank you,

Please connect with me!
Facebook - G+ - Twitter - LinkedIn - IRL (In Real Life)



"Leadership is about finding the seeds of hope and nurturing them into something bigger." - Ban Ki Moon 


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

In Passing

Hey everyone,

Firstly I'd like to thank MGM Ford here in Red Deer for fixing my vehicle and lending me such a sweet courtesy vehicle. Their strategy is working! I want one. This vehicle is sweet! I love the Ford Fusion. There are plenty of sweet features and it makes me feel cool.

As I was driving around in this shiny car going through the gears and playing with the features, I was brought back to earth...

I stopped at a red light and had a personal growth moment.

As I sat and waited an old man started to cross in front of me. He had a walker and was hunched over. He shuffled as quickly as he could go so he could make it across before the light turned. In the middle of the road he briefly stopped to hike up his pants because he was moving so fast.

I sat motionless in this fancy car and was overtaken by a feeling that I don't get too often. I cant quite describe it but it was like when I was wearing a fancy suit during the election and walked passed some homeless people on my way to the chamber of commerce event at the top of the Stantec Tower. I felt like my world zoomed way out into space and I was just an infinitesimally small speck.

I talk about gratitude and helping people and all that but many times I get caught up in myself and forget the world.

Seeing that man made me realize that its not about what car I drive or what status I have in life. Its about what I do; or from another perspective it could be about what I don't do.

The impression that Amanda Lindhout made on me when I heard her speak a few weeks ago in Sylvan lake is wearing off. She spoke about gratitude, forgiveness and kindness. I need to renew myself and let the seed that she planted in my mind grow.

With that said I highly recommend Amanda's book A House In The Sky. Check it out.

Cheers,

Connect with me on Facebook, G+, Twitter, LinkedIn and IRL (In Real Life - Lets Go For Coffee).




I am the owner of City First Aid Inc. 

We serve Red Deer and Central Alberta. 

We are now booking spring break re-certifications. 










Sunday, 23 March 2014

Pay It Forward

Hey everyone,

After posting a bunch of pictures about my
trip to Peru onto Facebook I have been inspired to share a story of gratitude which I probably haven't yet paid forward. Reflecting upon this story I am inspired to renew my effort to be grateful to people in my life and to help out people around me.

Way back in 2006, I traveled to Peru. It was my first backpacking experience. Since then I have been hooked on traveling. I greatly value the personal growth that traveling stimulates. This trip wasn't like others I have done since then. I was arrogant and fearful and lonely at the time. So those areas were the first to improve.

Anyways, after about 1 week in Peru I signed up for a bike tour with some Americans. Our guide was a local who knew the terrain and agreed to take us out to see some salt mines and some Incan ruins. We drove out of Cuzco to a remote village and began our adventure.

The trail was dry and the air was temperate. Along the roadside there were many large cacti. All I carried was my camera and a small water bottle. We passed goat herders with their children equally sharing in the work. We passed farmers tending their potato crops. We passed corn fields growing over the foundations of Incan history.

Towards the end of the day when my water bottle was near empty I had the misfortune of riding over one of those nasty cacti! It was sharp and easily punctured my tire! So there I stood. I am amazed how the mood of the group quickly turned. The others blamed me for my carelessness and grumbled that I was now holding them up.

After haranguing the guide the group consensus was that I should take a shortcut by myself through a corn field and meet them back at the highway. There wasn't really any choice for me in the matter as they started off without me!

So I began trekking through the corn field by myself, dragging my bike. Very quickly I started to consider ditching the bike altogether! But I didn't. I dragged it. I carried it. I trudged on!

Once through the corn field I came to the ridge of a grand river valley. It was marvellous! Looking back it was something worthy of gratitude that I had that experience, that I went to such a beautiful place well off the beaten trail. But at the time I was dehydrated and again considered throwing my bike over the edge! But I didn't like the idea of littering. I still don't, by the way.

I looked down and could see the highway and a village separated from me by a magnificent valley and the mighty Ollantaytambo river. That was my destination. But first I had to make it to the shaky bridge. The "short-cut" that the guide had told me about was really a "hard-cut" as it would have been easier and quicker to just stay on the trail and take the long way around. But there I stood overlooking the valley with perhaps 5 more kilometers to go. Five more kilometers of treacherous mountain goat terrain covered in sharp cacti and unknown insects buzzing about!

It was halfway down the steep trail that led to the bridge that some villagers noticed something they had probably never seen before. There was a tall pale man wearing shorts, sandals and a cutoff shirt carrying a bike down a trail that only their goats descended.

I was approached by a small group of men who outstretched their hands to beckon me closer. They smiled and spoke in sincere and concerned tones. Thats all I understood, as me no hablo espanol. They walked alongside me towards the bridge and made curious gestures. They inspected the bike and seemed to indicate that they could help fix the tire. So I followed them into the village and arrived at their house.

There I was greeted by men and women young and old. Small kids were fascinated by my helmet and my camera. I handed out some gold coloured canadian flag pins that I carried for the purpose of giving to kids. I showed them pictures I took. Everyone laughed and smiled. They shared with me corn beer and bread while the men repaired my tire with rubber compound.

Although I didn't understand their language I could still communicate with them as a human being. It was a wonderful experience. They were so kind! They just helped me out! I remember thinking about how my designer sandals probably cost more than all the clothes these people were wearing. I was so arrogant, this experience was humbling. It was truly a day of personal growth.

After spending an hour or two with these kind people I decided I had to get going. They led me to the highway and watched me as I attempted to hitchhike. I stood there for probably an hour as vehicles passed me by. Then a police car stopped.

Oh great I thought! He will help me! Yes he did indeed help me... for a price! I thought I was paying him to drive me to Cuzco (maybe 50kms away). That seemed reasonable. Nope. He flagged down a vehicle and negotiated a ride for me. He pocketed all the money and then made it clear I was supposed to pay the driver as well once he took me to my hotel.

Everything worked out in the end and I was able to continue my journey. The next day I paid a taxi to drive me to that village again and I paid the men $100 USD. Their eyes bulged and they took the money looking side to side to see who saw them take the money. I realized I may not have done a good thing by flashing that kind of cash. I hope my good intentions didn't cause them grief. Sigh...

I am grateful that they helped me. I am grateful for such a meaningful personal growth experience. I am grateful and I will pay it forward. There are opportunities everyday for me to help those around me. I am going to be mindful of them and always ready to share the love.

Cheers,




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Thursday, 6 March 2014

You Have Permission To Think Differently

"The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking."
 - Albert Einstein 

Hey everyone,

When I sit back and observe the world I have a feeling that things are nearing a tipping point. The paradigms of the past are changing and will no longer serve our needs in the future.
We are nearing a shift that will be comparable to revolutions of the past except on a global scale. There are many variables from technology and the economy to the environment and culture and it seems like everything is in flux.

I was afraid; no, I was paranoid. I have heard about all the conflicts in the world as presented via mass media. I have witnessed poverty and economic disparity when I backpacked through South America. I have felt first hand societal ills right here in Red Deer; such as homophobia, racism, sexism and the like. I have been a materialistic, playboy, oil-patch guy with the big truck and the expensive lifestyle. I have thrown myself into jobs that didn't fulfill me so I could feed my family. I live the life of a busy parent and a business owner. But something is changing.

I decided to let go of anger and fear and start living for love, joy and happiness with a spirit of gratitude. It all started when I met a man who taught me about being grateful. This mentor; whom I shall elevate to legendary status because he is really an amalgamation of several men; is that which I want to become. He is mindful and patient. He is happy and healthy and everyone loves him. But what really sets him apart is that he thinks differently.

My experiences over the last year have brought me to a point where I must decide between remaining in anonymity or the opposite, infamy or renown; a risky prospect indeed. But I feel that to remain anonymous, would, at this point be perfidious. I have a greater responsibility. I have a greater purpose.

SHIFT - This isn't about ME!

So what are some practical steps you and I can take to make the proverbial "lemonade" out of our "life lemons"? Here a few that I am currently focusing on.

1) Be attached to the VISION, not the mechanism. Whatever you are doing figure out your "why" and don't be bothered by the "how". Always move towards your purpose and never give up.

2) Develop a legacy of service and of serving PEOPLE. I have found the most fulfilment and satisfaction by helping others and I believe this is key to my personal happiness.

3) Be grateful and pay it forward. When someone does something nice to you keep the ripple of gratitude moving. Be ready to extend a helping hand to someone in need. There is no such thing as a "self-made person" we all rely on a strong community for our personal success.

4) Think differently. Challenge your biases and be mindful of your prejudices. Be empathetic towards others and be cognizant of their plight. Also, don't just believe what you are told but be skeptical and be critical.

I want to connect with people and be part of the community. I want to be part of something bigger than myself. I want to meet you and learn what I can do for you!

I am curious. I am personal. I am BOLD!

Connect with me on Social Media (Twitter, G+, FB) or IRL (in real life).

Lets go for coffee!

Cheers,


Sunday, 23 February 2014

Relaxing Alberta's Drinking Law?

Hey everyone,

Please forgive me if this blog post comes across a bit harsh and know that I am not intending it to be judgemental or antagonistic. I won't tell people how they should live and I don't intend to portray a "holier than thou" attitude. I write about this subject because there was a time when this would have exacerbated the temptation for me to drink my face off.

I want to discuss some thoughts about the recent relaxing of Alberta's drinking law so bars could open early in the morning for the Olympic hockey game. I'll state my opinion in advance and then proceed to examine the topic.

In a perfect world, liberty need not be hedged by government for the sake of our collective safety. On a philosophical level, I am very persuaded by libertarian arguments like that; however, in practice I think it is necessary for the government to "hold our hand" and set boundaries in the interest of public safety. Its a game of numbers. It is hoped that laws minimize harm and in that spirit I support restricting liquor establishments' hours of service so as to discourage all the social ills that come with the over-consumption of alcohol; (family violence, impaired driving and chronic health problems).

So my question is: Why relax the law for the Olympics? To me that says that the argument that restricting bars as mentioned above for the sake of minimizing the societal ills is NOT taken seriously by the government. If a law like that may be relaxed on "special" occasion then does the government really care about minimizing harm?

On another note; should we even be concerned by the "safety" and the "societal ills" issues at all; are they even legitimate concerns? If they aren't then maybe we should abolish the law entirely and allow bars to open whenever they want. Tomorrow the law will be back to the way it was... Why? If it was ok today why not tomorrow? 

I am concerned about this issue from a philosophical point of view and from a personal point of view. There was a time when I couldn't pass a liquor store without stopping for a case of beer. It was very difficult for me to overcome my addiction to alcohol. It took willpower, doctors assistance and the support of friends and family to do so but I did it.

Now I look back and can say that if I hadn't done so today would have been a complete write off for me. I would have made an ass of myself, possibly broken the law and weakened my health. I am SO glad that I can refrain from drinking. But I have empathy for those who can't. Did the government just enable and encourage them?

Now one may say that those who have a serious addiction to alcohol don't need an excuse to drink and that they will do so regardless. To which I say; so what, why do we need to add to it?

Ive been trying to write a blog about my personal battle with alcohol addiction for a long time and I am not quite ready to do so. I have started the blog, however fear has prevented me from publishing it. It is saved to my google drive. It will eventually come out but not now. Suffice it to say: 2 YEARS SOBER!

What are your thoughts about this subject? Was it necessary for the government; seemingly out of the blue, to relax the law? Was it bad? I am seriously interested in seeing some numbers. I wonder if there was a spike in DUIs this morning or if statistically it didn't make a difference.

Finally I really want to know what the motivations were for doing this? Aren't there more pressing matters for our government to address; such as the situation with AUPE, or the Environment Canada Tar Sands Study for example?

Please leave your comments below on this blog, reply to me on Twitter @Wieler4RD, Google+ or on Facebook.

Thanks

Have a great day! Woot Woot for Canada!