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Words to inspire the belief that we have all we need to be the change we wish to see.

Month: April 2016 (Page 2 of 2)

Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh was an artist in the 1800s.  During his life, he painted 800 pieces and only sold one.  To a friend.  He died at age 37 poor, destitute and hungry.

Today, his paintings sell for hundreds of millions of dollars.

So was he an artist?  Even though he wasn’t appreciated until he was gone?

I was recently in Glasgow at the World Irish Dance Championships and I brought my young sons into the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.  I don’t know a lot about art, but I do like looking at it.

One painting drew me over.  Even though it was just a portrait, I couldn’t look away.  So much so that I took a picture of it.  Then I realized it was a painting by Vincent van Gogh of a Scottish art dealer he shared a flat with in Paris.  There was a quote beside the picture where van Gogh said, “I want to make portraits that will be revelations… in a century’s time… I am not trying to paint using a photographic likeness.”

Well he succeeded.

He had a gift, as we all do.  He couldn’t stop himself from using it.  Society wasn’t buying what he was selling, but he kept painting epic pieces.

Vincent once said, “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”  It would be a blank canvas.  No colour.  No inspiration.  He said, “I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.”

What do you dream of?  Are you taking steps in your life to make your dreams come true? Even if the world around you doesn’t get it yet?

Never stop making a masterpiece of your own life.  You only have one canvas.  Make it a picture to remember.

When second is first

Both my sons made it to the gold medal round of their hockey season yesterday.  The 10-year-old played first and in a nail-biting game, they won the cup.  Cheers and celebrations created wonderful memories.  Then it was my 13-year-old son’s turn.  They won every game in the regular season, except the final one, and ended up top in points.  They came second in the round robin before winning the game that brought them to the finals.  They were ready for the ice.

In another nail-biter, they were up 2-0 and then tied at 2-2.  The game ended and we entered the first overtime period.  And then the second overtime.  After multiple shots on the opposition’s goalie, the other team bounced one in to our net.  In that split second it was over.  Cheers erupted on the other side of the stands.  Silence on ours.  There is nothing wrong with silver, but it tastes a little different when you were going for the gold.

It’s hard to lose a game like that, but I tried to explain that if you give your all and try your best, you win in the bigger game of life.

Michael Jordan once said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.  I’ve lost almost 300 games.  Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.  I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed.”

And Richard David Bach once said, “That’s what learning is, after all; not whether we lose the game, but how we lose and how we’ve changed because of it and what we take away from it that we never had before, to apply to other games.  Losing, in a curious way, is winning.”

I know it doesn’t feel that way at the time, but I do know that failure always comes before success and if we get up when we fall, we are one step closer to our goal.

In hockey and in life, I know that as Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss one hundred per cent of the shots you don’t take.”  So here’s to taking shots, not worrying about winning or losing, and growing into the people we were all meant to be.

Mayor Rob Ford

Love him or hate him.  Agree or disagree with his politics.  What you can’t deny is the thousands of people who showed up at Rob Ford’s funeral and celebration of life when he passed away recently at age 46 of cancer.  Most politicians would never draw that kind of following.  Especially after a public downfall.

He was flawed, but so is every human.
Most of us are not doing hard drugs, however I believe we all have a chapter in our life story that no one reads but us.  For Mayor Rob Ford, it was all hanging out for the world to see.  
I think what resonated with those who voted for him and supported him was the fact that he was what he said he was politically.  He was a representative of the people.  When constituents called, he called back.  When they had a problem he listened and tried to fix it. His campaign promise was to stop the gravy train. And although some would argue he cut too many services, the fact that he was chastised by other politicians for not spending enough tax payer money showed that he was walking his talk.
As we sit and watch the election process unfold with our American neighbours, and see the tabloid stories break about many “family values” politicians around the world, we can see what Aesop meant when he said, “We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.”
So many politicians say one thing to get your vote and do something completely different once they’re in power.  It’s a rare thing to see a politician who truly fights for the little guy. Even with his demons, Rob Ford must have done something right for his voters as they supported him so strongly even when he was falling apart personally.  They remembered how he made them feel.  
At his funeral, his brother Doug spoke of a night when Mayor Ford was eating at a local Subway. The shop owner, working the night shift by himself, got a phone-in order and realized he couldn’t deliver it because he was on his own.  Rob jumped up, paid the $32 for the order, and said he would drop it off with the customer. He later said that not only were the people surprised at the delivery man, but he met four new supporters, and they gave him a three dollar tip.  Talk about grassroots campaigning.
In a world where as Texas Guinan once said, “A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country” it’s kind of refreshing to think there are people out there who truly want to be a voice for those who don’t have one.
Winston Churchill once said, “Politics is almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times.”
Rob was in the line of fire often during his time in office.  He faced his addictions in the public eye, he continued to go to work during chemotherapy, and the voters he impressed remained by his side to the end.
Whether you supported him or not, may his story inspire all of us to be engaged in politics, to do research during elections and, above all, to vote.  
As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Elections belong to the people.  It’s their decision.  If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
RIP Rob Ford.
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