Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Death Race for POGO

One of the best things to come of my participating in The 2011 Spartan Death Race is my ongoing involvement with POGO, an organization supporting children coping with cancer. Last year you helped me raise approximately $6,000.00 for POGO - and that was an enormous motivator for me as I went on to be one of just 35 finishers of the 255 who had registered for the race. My thinking was that if these kids can endure years of cancer treatment, and still be smiling at the end, then certainly I could endure a few days of racing in the mountains, woods and stream of Vermont. This attitude helped me greatly, and I was known as the guy who was always smiling, no matter how awful things got through the 45 straight hours that the race lasted :)

Here are links to posts from last year ...
I am headed to Pittsfield, VT again later this month for The 2012 Spartan Death Race, which promises to be tougher and longer than ever. Whereas, last year, people were astonished that I would take something like this on, now I think it is what they have come to expect. So, I am not exactly asking you to "sponsor" me by donating to POGO. More accurately, I am using this race as my platform to direct your attention to POGO and I hope many people will make donations simply because they believe in the important work POGO does.

From POGO's website ... "The Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO) was founded in 1983 by a group of pediatric oncologists to champion childhood cancer care and control. As the representative voice of the childhood cancer community, POGO works to ensure that all of Ontario's children have equal access to state-of-the-art diagnosis, treatment and required ancillary services. We also aim to make certain that Ontario's children have the greatest prospects for survival with an optimal quality of life. "

It is important to note that POGO has a dedicated satellite clinic at Orillia Soldiers Memorial Hospital, allowing area children to receive their treatment right here at home, saving thousands of both kilometers and hours, otherwise spent driving to and from Toronto.

First, watch this amazing video. It is not by POGO or The Spartan Death Race but it is very relevant. It was put together by the Seattle Children's Hospital and features childhood cancer patients singing Stronger (I still cannot watch it without crying tears of love and amazement at their awesome spirit).

Then, to remember how much life can still be waiting for these amazing children, watch this ...
(It was posted by a friend of mine, and you can vote for this inspiring athlete in a contest >>HERE<<)

Now, click below to donate to POGO!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

If you have ever wondered ...

... if all of my positivity and gratitude "works". The answer is a resounding "YES"!

In the macro, I get to be a happy, blessed person day in and day out. No "in order to" or "because of". I just am.

But, it is the "micro" about which I am writing today. Real world results. Where the rubber hits the road. So, here is a true, recent, personal story about my putting my trust in "The Universe" to help me with something specific and measurable.

Three days ago I was facing a dilemma. There is a coaching course I had been invited to attend, training me to deliver a program that I knew would add greatly to my ability to help people. Financially, though, it was not feasible. Taking stock of my other obligations, I knew I had to say "No" and pass on this great opportunity. 

When I woke up the next morning, however, I was still asking myself if I might be overlooking some way to make it happen. After some focused meditation on the matter, later in the day, I wrote this blog post ... "A Note TO The Universe", and published it just before going to bed.

So, what happened next?

Well, I woke up to find that, thanks to the generosity, trust and confidence of so many friends (and the "miracle" of Interac email transfers and PayPal), overnight I had received almost exactly the amount of the course! So I did it - I am registered and confirmed for Mike Dooley's "Train The Trainers" conference in Orlando, June 8-10, 2012. And over the next day and a half, the rest of the course was covered and most of my flight. 

And that is just the beginning! Here are other amazing results from that one simple experiment ...
  • enough people Pre-Registerd to fill TWO sessions of my "Gifts From The Universe" program this Summer!
  • plus, several friends in the Toronto area sent contributions - despite not knowing if they'd be able to attend. So, I AM HOLDING A SPECIAL G.T.A. EVENT THIS AUTUMN especially for those awesome people!
  • several people said they want so much for their kids to experience this positive message and approach - enough that I AM DESIGNING A VERSION OF THE PROGRAM SPECIFICALLY FOR YOUNG PEOPLE AGES 12-16. Stay tuned for details.
  • many people chose to SPONSOR a stranger in the program - something that moved me quite literally to tears of gratitude and admiration - and I will be offering those spots to wonderful people who could not otherwise afford to attend. IN ADDITION to honouring all of those spots, I am going to be working with the director of the local Youth Center to deliver the program (as often as desired) to at-risk youth in Orillia and area
  • Only AFTER registering, did I find out that Mike JUST announced who his Saturday dinner speaker is going to be ... FRANK FERRANTE! Anyone who attended the Premiere of Elevate Orillia (Uplifting Film Series), will recognize him as the star of "May I Be Frank". So, this is a massive bonus for me!
There was another phenomenal benefit to all of this. I generally do not like to ask for help - and I will admit that it is all because of ego. It was very therapeutic to admit that I could not do this on my own, and to ask others to consider helping me make it happen. 

My approach was inspired by Kickstarter campaigns (I recently contributed to Theo Dore's album "Loveolutionary Music", the film "People In Motion" and a similar initiative by Sleeper Records on RocketHub). In each case, there is no "panhandling" involved. The objective of the project is clearly stated, and its spirit honestly expressed. If people are inspired to be part of what you are up to, they are rewarded with something of value ... in my case, deeply discounted registration in a "Gifts From The Universe" course to be offered later this summer.

People really do want to help where they can. Every email and money transfer that I received included the comment that the sender was so happy to be able to assist me in pursuing this opportunity. They were far less motivated by the proferred reward than by the chance to express their love and contribute to something worthwhile. This moved me deeply and was both affirming and humbling.

I learned that there is nothing wrong with asking for help! People who wanted to help did, and I am so grateful. People who weren't moved to weren't, and I don't mind a bit. Every day we make choices about where to place our attention, energy and money. I decline many requests, both direct and indirect. But I also accept many - and am always enriched by that choice. The album, movie and record label in the examples above are a perfect illustration of this - I am very proud to be a small part of those awesome endeavours. Similarly, everyone who has contributed to my upcoming adventure with Mike Dooley feels very good about their role in that!

So, three weeks from now I will be in Orlando, being trained personally by one of our greatest living teachers, Mike Dooley, and "breaking bread" with Frank Ferrante. I will post a blog(s) about the event and will, of course, keep my "funders" apprised as the resulting program takes shape and is ready to be delivered this Summer and Autumn.

I often post Jason Mraz's amazing ode to Gratitude (Who I Am Today), but today I feel that this other song of his is even more fitting ;)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Since this IS really happening, and I AM offering the "Gifts From The Universe" program this year, anyone who wishes to register before June 8th, can do so at the "Thanks for Helping me Manifest This" rate, as per the instructions in the aforementioned blog post :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Note TO The Universe ...


If you happen to be on my Facebook friends list, you have no doubt seen me post "Notes From The Universe". The most recent one I shared was just yesterday.
"If you knew how much you have in common with every single person now living in time and space, in terms of your deepest hopes and dreams, fears and worries, you'd wonder how I manage to tell you all apart."
They are written by Mike Dooley, and invariably inspire me while pointing the way to my becoming an even better human being. If you are interested in receiving these "free daily reminders of life's magic and your power", please click >>HERE<< to register. It is as simple as entering your name and email address. Trust me, you will be very glad that you did!

Several years ago, I declared that my life would be defined by "JOYFUL ADVENTURE AND LOVING CONTRIBUTION". I am doing my best to live up to that credo, and I believe I am doing a pretty decent job of it. In addition to being kind and generous in my day-to-day activities, I have been able to make a positive difference for hundreds of people through my hypnotherapy practice, as well as coaching and personal training. While I live (by choice) relatively simply, I am as happy as I could ever have imagined, with fulfilling work, incredible children, and exciting adventures (including my extreme endurance racing challenges, through which I have been able to raise thousands of dollars for support groups for children with cancer). I wish for everyone to experience this kind of joy.

Recently I committed to designing an inexpensive program I can offer to people who "just don't know where to begin". I have met so many folks over the years who are wishing desperately to start moving their lives in the "right" direction, and I know that I can help them. In researching and generating material for this program, I have found myself referring to Mike Dooley's work more than anyone else's, because of its beautiful simplicity and remarkable accessibility for pretty much anyone in any circumstance.

Getting to the point of this post - this week I received an invitation to be trained personally by Mike, becoming certified to deliver exactly the sort of program I have described. Mike initially developed this material while working with prison inmates, speaking to them "about life's beauty and power ... to help them deal more effectively with life and make better choices upon their release." After tremendous success with that population, Mike extended the training to people in addiction counselling, to victims of violence, to at-risk-youth. Of course, the same principles and philosophies - optimism, personal responsibility, possibility thinking - are equally valuable to people in less dire straits as well. Reflecting on this, I realized that, rather than "reinventing the wheel", it makes infinitely more sense for me to work directly with one of my greatest "mentors", and to be better equipped, sooner, to help more people fully embrace and enjoy their lives.

My challenge is this - the training is in Florida, next month. It is very reasonable, with my tuition and travel expenses totaling less than $1,000.00, but I simply cannot afford to go. Between providing for my kids, investing in my business, covering my racing expenses, and taking so much time away from work to volunteer as a youth wrestling coach, my finances are as tight as most people's. In fact, just last evening, I decided that I could not possibly attend and actually declined the invitation.

Still, I tossed and turned all night (odd for me, a deep deep sleeper), knowing that I am supposed to attend this training and deliver this valuable work. So, on waking, I turned to my "Notes From The Universe Perpetual Flip Calendar" for ideas. Thumbing randomly through the pages, these are the first thoughts that jumped out at me...

"Whether or not you can now see it, there is always a way. Let this truth be the guiding light in all you think, say, and do."
"If it's hard, there's something you're missing. Give it a little more thought, and remember, you're not alone - you have "helpers", and the entire Universe is on your side ... with insights, guidance, and support only a whisper away."

So, this afternoon, I sat with that for a few minutes. Alone. In silence. And then, in an instant, I knew how to make this all work. I remembered that the whole motivation for taking this training is to offer a very affordable, very effective program for people. And I am already blessed with a great many people who have seen the difference that I make in the world and who have tremendous confidence in my ability to help others.

So, THE SOLUTION: Offer YOU the opportunity to register yourself, or another, in the workshop, in advance, at a huge discount. Y'all will be my "charter" attendees in my "Gifts From The Universe" program, to be delivered in Orillia, Ontario in July and August of this year. WIN, WIN! I get to take this training now, and you get to benefit from it in the immediate future at a small fraction of the cost and value of the program.

(UPDATE: As one of the very first to respond to this idea was a dear friend in Toronto, I have decided to offer a few of these initial workshops in "the city" as well! If that helps you get on board, all the better!!)

Here is where I am going to ask you to take a leap of faith. 
  1. Ask yourself if you, or someone you know, would benefit from eight hours of guided reflection on how to work with yourself, the people in your life, and the various elements of your personal environment, to envision and materialize the goals and dreams that are important to you.
  2. Register NOW to attend a workshop this summer. I will be conducting it in small groups, so there will be several dates to choose from, ensuring your ability to attend (And if, for any reason, you are unable to, your money will be refunded in full).
Here is the offer. (This workshop has a value of, and will be offered in the future at a cost of, at least $200.00)
  • For only $75 - REGISTER yourself now.
  • For only $60 - GIFT a registration to someone of your choice.
  • For only $45 - SPONSOR a deserving attendee (I will work with local service organizations to identify appropriate candidates). This generous support of my endeavour, and your "random act of anonymous kindness" for a stranger, will be greatly appreciated!
Whatever you decide, THANK YOU very much for reading this far!

If you are declining this invitation, I will know that you are still sending me best wishes and I am grateful for that good energy ... :)

If you do wish to participate in this adventure with me, I want to, first and foremost offer you my most heartfelt appreciation. Whether your motivation is to help me or to participate in a powerful and positive workshop with me, I am both thrilled and humbled. Here is how you can do so ...
  • Send me the appropriate amount ($75, $60, $45) by one of the following methods
    • PayPal or Interac Email Transfer, to
    • or personal cheque to 115 Coldwater Rd W #6, Orillia, Ontario, L3V 3L5 (please email me to let me know you have sent this)
  • Identify, with your payment, who will be attending, along with a contact phone number and email address.
  • I will be in touch by June 12th with available dates for July and August!

P.S. If you have any doubt that Mike's thinking is in line with mine, here is the theme of the trainers' conference ... 

Spreading the news that life is the ultimate adventure!