Daily Prompt: Betrayed

via Daily Prompt: Betrayed

In the past, I have felt betrayed by outside sources, be it an individual, or a business. I would feel that they owed me something and when I didn’t receive anything in return for my efforts, I just wanted to turn my back on them. This fed into a certain level of depression and loss of self-worth, which I, in turn, used as fuel to accelerate my anger and frustration.

Over the last year, I have been working toward the betterment of myself, by taking the advice of Gary Vaynerchuk, whom I look to as sort of a spiritual guide, so to speak. He is as forward with his message as I tend to be with mine, which can be overwhelming for some, but necessary for all.

As a result of this new self awareness and motivation, I now understand that the only one who has ever betrayed me, is myself.

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Daily Prompt: Quartet

via Daily Prompt: Quartet

I grew up on the oldies, 50’s and 60’s music. When I got to high school, I discovered heavy metal, and fell in love. I felt the power of the music, and searched for the bands that had an inspiring message. My favourite band to this day is Tool, the progressive rock/metal band with a cult following for it’s high quality musicianship, open-minded perspective, and mystery.

After a couple of years I was submerged in a sea of metal bands, and thought that this was the be-all-end-all of music for the rest of my days. My mind would soon be changed when I received a burnt CD of a Tool tribute album by the Vitamin String Quartet.

I gave the album a listen and couldn’t believe how this group of classical musicians could absolutely nail every note, beat, and melody. It acted as a catalyst into my journey through the ever-growing spectrum of music.

I have since expanded my love of music into a number of different genres, with the exception of country music, which has never been appealing to me.

Learn more about the Vitamin String Quartet and the bands that they have covered: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_String_Quartet

Daily Prompt: Micro

via Daily Prompt: Micro

Do not micromanage me!

I have worked for an eclectic mix of employers, in a variety of different industries. They all have their upsides and downsides, but my biggest frustration with any manager/boss/owner is micromanagement.

Once I have been trained, if you’ve done your job as a trainer correctly, I do not need someone standing over my shoulder every minute of the day. In fact, I will begin to freeze up, and second-guess myself if they’re watching my every movement. This includes role-playing scenarios, “pop quizzes”, and shadowing. Even if I have done the job for years, and am perfectly capable of performing all tasks entailed in the position, when management is watching I get nervous and can’t do my job to my fullest potential.

If I am underperforming, a clear and concise conversation between manager and employee can get the information across in a fraction of the time, without feeling like I need a babysitter.

If you are happy with my work, good. Leave me alone, and if I need your help, I’ll ask.

Daily Prompt: Swallow

via Daily Prompt: Swallow

I used to not chew my food enough. I would take gargantuan bites, mash it down just enough to swallow, which resulted in eating too fast and feeling like garbage afterward. My dad used to ask, “What are you on, piecework?” My answer was always a quick, “No”, but my actions told another story.

Recently I have figured out why I do this. I absolutely love the taste of food. Chewing for too long, as the food mixes with saliva, neutralizes the flavour. So I follow up by swallowing quickly and shoving more food into my mouth, in order to restore the flavour intensity.

As my body tried desperately to digest the food, I would be in pain from the stretching of an overloaded stomach.

Over the last year, I have begun to slow down, take smaller bites, and really savour the food. I have since noticed that I do not eat as much, leading to healthier and more normal sized bowel movements. But more importantly I do not feel sluggish and unmotivated, or gain unnecessary weight.

Look Into the Black Mirror

Recently, Charlie Brooker, the creator of the Netflix hit, Black Mirror, revealed that the title’s meaning relates to when the device you are watching the show on, turns off, and you are left staring at your reflection in a… you guessed it, black mirror. While this is a fitting title, I feel that it definitely delves deeper into the human psyche, becoming far more than such a literal definition.

When watching an episode, the viewer is challenged by the content. Usually there is some sort of plot twist to try and figure out, a difficult ending to the character’s story, and an inner demon that they must face. This is the first step to the deeper meaning of the Black Mirror. The characters must face the dark side of their own humanity as it intertwines with the newest technology, and the importance of that tech as it is determined by their fellow man. This can invoke an emotional and psychological response from the viewer that most are not quite prepared for.

For me, the meaning goes one step further. By challenging viewers to put themselves in the character’s place, the show turns the emphasis back on them. How would you, as that main character, deal with this situation? Would you do the same thing? Would you have the same emotional reaction? While many of us couldn’t truthfully answer these questions, forcing yourself to be honest, is the first step in revealing the truth, that you have a dark side, aka. your reflection in the Black Mirror.

The Benefits of CBD

Many of us who are generally healthy tend to take the ease of daily activity for granted. We go about our lives, only experiencing ailments sporadically. Unfortunately for those living with a physical or mental disease, daily activity is not always a reality.

When the average person thinks of a horrific disease, they think mostly of cancer, AIDS, schizophrenia, or Alzheimer’s. They forget about the thousands of other debilitating diseases that plague Canadians everyday.

For one in every 1000 Canadian citizens life includes an ongoing battle with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, more commonly known as Lupus. This debilitating autoimmune disease, nicknamed the Great Imitator, is very difficult to diagnose. It can affect any and all parts of the body including major organs. Some of the symptoms include fatigue, chronic pain, rashes, arthritis, and osteoporosis, which explain the difficulty and long timeline for doctors to diagnose the disease correctly.

For Anna, a 56-year-old Ontario woman, living with the chronic pain, arthritis and fatigue caused by Lupus has become the only life she knows. Diagnosed at the age of 28, Anna has gone through a laundry list of prescriptions. Currently she is taking Prograph, Ramapril, Plaquilnil, Hydromorphone, Pregabalin, Risedronat and Amlodipine. These different medications allow her to have a slightly better quality of life but not without their side effects. Having lost track of all of the side effects after taking a number of different pills over the past 28 years, Anna chooses to focus her attention mainly on what helps her the most. If she is prescribed something that has adverse effects she immediately consults her doctor and her medication is adjusted accordingly. Thus far nothing has been perfect, however a new and somewhat controversial medication has recently been introduced into Anna’s daily routine, resulting in some positive changes.

Cannabidiol or CBD as it is known in the medical cannabis industry, is one of many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Patients both young and old have used CBD in various forms such as; smoking CBD-dominant strains of cannabis flower, applying topical creams, adding CBD-rich salts to a bath and most effectively micro-dosing CBD tinctures and pure extracts. These different methods are used to combat ailments from a wide array of physical and mental illnesses.

At first, Anna was nervous and skeptical due to having tried so many different cocktails of medications over the years. Had it not been for a close family member who first introduced Anna to CBD in early June of 2017, she likely would never have tried it. Anna, like many others had not been properly educated, associating cannabis only with Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the main psychoactive chemical that gets users “high”. However, Anna quickly warmed up to the idea once she was assured that CBD, as a chemical compound is free of psychoactive properties.

Anna is now more than seven weeks into her daily use of her new CBD tincture. It has allowed her to cut in half the daily use of Hydromorphone, her current pain medication, at the same time providing better rest while asleep or awake.

Anna hopes that CBD will replace more of her current medications in the future and says that she will continue to use it in her daily routine. She also highly recommends it to anyone suffering from chronic pain as a result of just about any disease, especially Lupus.

Know Your Guide

When visiting a new province, state, country, or an unfamiliar body of water it is best to head out with a guide, at least for your first trip. Most beginners or non-anglers would believe that any guide service in a particular body of water will get you on some fish, maybe even that trophy you’ve been looking for. But any avid angler that has chartered a guide, especially a one that isn’t great, will tell you to do your research.

Recently, I took a trip to Fort Myers, Florida to visit my parents who have a small condo on a golf course. The bass fishing in the ponds around the course is good, but I had grown a little tired of fishing the same old spots. My brother-in-law, who also happened to be there at the same time, suggested that we go goliath grouper fishing. We had seen the videos online, which were absolutely insane, and decided without doing research on the guide or experiences had by others, to book a trip. He was charging $800USD for a 4-hour trip. I thought the price was a little steep, but he was supposedly the best.

We showed up to the marina about 15 minutes early and proceeded to wait. The guide showed up 20 minutes late, and made some excuses for his tardiness. It wasn’t a big deal to us as long as he gave us back the time on the end of the trip. However, to our disappointment, the story got worse.

He took us to the bridge pilings where the GG’s shelter themselves from the sun. He instructed me to grab a jack – a small but powerful fish – out of the bait well so that he could hook it up. I assumed, as I began to open the lid, that there would be at least a dozen or so in order for us to have enough bait to last the entire trip. Man was I wrong. He had one. Yes, only one baitfish for us to use on these monster fish. I grabbed the jack by the tail, pulled it out of the water and handed it to the guide. He hooked it up, then handed me the rod. He then verbally instructed me on how to lower the fish into the right area, and right away I got a bite. This is when things started to go really sour. Myself being a bass angler felt the bite and tried to set the hook. The GG ripped the jack from the hooks and I was left with no bait. The guide decided that now was the time to tell me that I was supposed to reel down on the fish, which was no help now that we were out of bait. He also had the audacity to ask if I had ever seen his videos on YouTube, hinting that I was supposed to learn everything about GG fishing from some low budget videos of him basically screaming like a banshee.

With no bait left, much to our dismay, we were now paying to do his job, which is preparing for a fishing trip. So he threw out a large bait net and dragged in a bunch of small bait fish, dumped them in the bait well and started up the motor so that we could head over to another area in order to catch more jacks to use as GG bait. Three hours later, we had two jacks in the boat and less than a half hour left in the trip. With the ride back, which he counted as time on the water, we were done for the day.

I have since been informed that this is not a unique experience, which did very little to calm me. I was angry because I had overpaid for jack and snook fishing which basically set up the guide with bait for his next trip, was yelled at for not being able to read his mind, and all the while had to listen to delusional stories of greatness by a guy who had just ripped us off.

I can’t stress enough, that should you use a guide service, do your research before you book anything. There are review websites and social media outlets that are littered with customer experiences. You could even call around the area to the marinas or bait shops, which usually know a number of guides. While they may not throw one of their own under the bus, they can steer you in the right direction.

Fishing you the best of luck!

You Need More Gary Vee in Your Life

“Get off your ass, find out what you’re fucking good at, and triple down on that thing.”

This was the first line I had ever heard from Gary Vaynerchuk aka. Gary Vee. He’s rough around the edges, he’s unorthodox, and he’s unapologetically straightforward. Gary takes the message of motivational speakers like Tony Robbins, flips it on its head, and beats you with it, but he’s not trying to be a jerk, just a realist.

Last year I was unemployed, stressed, angry, and sitting at home feeling sorry for myself. As I would do most days, I found myself searching for jobs that I didn’t want, and scrolling through the endless feeding trough of Facebook. I was consuming mostly mental garbage, when I stumbled across a video of Gary. He was harsh and he cursed a lot, but he told the truth and his words resonated with me. “If you’re lucky enough to be good at what you like, become tunnel fucking vision,” exclaims Gary. “The reason most people are not doing that thing [they’re supposed to] is they’re worried about the opinion of somebody else.” It was there and then that I stopped trying to live up to what I believed others expected of me, and decided to pursue a career in what I have always loved as a hobby, writing.

I have since been following Gary on different social media platforms, and have learned more about myself than I ever thought possible. I know that I am not unique in this personal revelation as millions of people following him throughout social media share similar stories. Gary also has dozens to hundreds of people voluntarily showing up to his “meet-ups”, which are impromptu gatherings in whatever city he finds himself that day, and are initiated through his social media channels. He openly answers questions, and to his benefit, has a chance to network with new and interesting people. He gives sound business and personal advice by telling people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear

Gary the Entrepreneur

At a very young age, Gary was already an entrepreneur. He would buy, sell, and trade baseball cards, comic books, and toys on the weekends, making himself thousands of dollars in the process. After graduating from college, Gary began working at his father’s liquor store. He transformed it from a 3 million dollar company into a 60 million dollar empire called the Wine Library in just 5 years. From his success in the wine industry, he branched out to digital marketing and investments by starting the companies Vayner Media and Vayner X. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies such as PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch, and General Electric, and helped and invested in successful tech start-ups such a Twitter, Tumblr, and Uber. He continues to invest in new companies, start new businesses, and has recently been working with individual social media and music personalities, such as Rome Fortune and Tierra Whack, helping them to forward their own careers.

Gary believes that social media is the most powerful tool in business today and anyone not using it to its full potential results in missing numerous opportunities. Much like a contractor, he understands that the use of every tool (social media outlet) is necessary to do the job effectively. “If you have the greatest hammer, the greatest screwdriver, and the greatest wrench in front of you. If you don’t use them properly, you will lose,” he says.

Purchasing ad space on Facebook can help, but getting into the heads of your target market and penetrating all of the media channels available today is the way to truly win. He uses his own advice in all of his businesses by working 16-18 hours per day and providing content and information about his companies, his personal brand, and his mentorship to his followers and fans on a daily basis. He speaks mainly of his successes, failures, the realities of business, and the amount of hustle required in order to succeed.

For people like me who are relatively new to Gary Vee and his accomplishments, he can conveniently be lumped into a sea of social media personalities. However, unlike most people making money from social media and documenting their entire lives for the world to see, Gary understands how and why social media celebrity works.

Gary continues to be highly influential and a driving force behind a number of young entrepreneurs. He doles out new business ideas, by the mouthful, and when asked if he cares about people stealing his ideas, his answer is as direct as can be expected. “Ninety-nine point nine percent of people listening will not think twice about these ideas. Of the few that will, maybe one or two people will actually attempt to make it happen,” he says. Gary fully understands the reserved state of mind possessed by the typical human being, and does not fear having an idea “stolen” by someone. He would rather see someone take his idea, make it happen, and ask for advice if they get stumped somewhere throughout the process.

Gary Vee’s underlying message to anyone willing to listen is simple; self-awareness is the key to personal growth and success, love the process, put in the work, “don’t give a fuck about others’ opinions of your failures,” and patience, patience, patience. With a global following of millions of people ages 13-80, many successful businesses, and a keen eye for the next big thing, Gary isn’t just playing the game and winning, he’s rewriting the rules.

The Big J is for Jerome

The caravan of tourist driven rental vehicles snaked slowly up the mountainside toward what was once known as the “Wickedest town in the west”. In the distance, rocks formed a large snow-white letter J which contrasted with the foliage and red rock of the Cleopatra hillside as it overlooked the tiny ghost town. I ran my sandpaper tongue over my dry, cracked lips as we passed an old sign that read, “Welcome to Jerome, Arizona”. The anticipation of fulfilling another bucket list item grew stronger with every passing mile. The intense heat of the Arizona desert only served to increase my anxiety. Our twelve-passenger van proved almost too large for the narrow, winding streets of this abandoned copper mining town. As I laid my eyes on my true destination, a pinch on my arm was necessary to confirm my being conscious.

I hopped down from the oversized vehicle, like a child on his first field trip, full of excitement and anticipation. Four of my five senses were abandoned leaving me to survive solely on tunnel vision. I crossed the single lane meant for two-way traffic in a zombie like state. The cavalcade of tourists and local hippies roaming aimlessly throughout the art shops and the spillover of bikers from the neighbouring town of Cottonwood were merely a blur. Being drawn in closer as if caught in a tractor beam, an invisible wall slammed me to a stop but a few feet from the door.

Breathing deeply, I inched forward, for there was no turning back. I had finally arrived at Caduceus Cellars, an intimate wine tasting room owned and operated by a lifelong idol, Maynard James Keenan. Having been a fan of his bands, art, and philosophies on life, I felt a tangible connection to him and his work.

Floating through the winery, my senses were restored allowing the scent of wine and weathered oak barrels, along with the familiar sound of Maynard’s music to comfort me in this surreal experience. Awaiting the arrival of my group, I squeezed past the other patrons, scanning the inventory of wine, clothing and other memorabilia, which lined walls and covered tabletops.

Trickling through the door one by one, our group was boisterously greeted by an unrefined yet welcoming tattooed woman. She stood no higher than five feet with a larger-than-life personality. She promptly took our order returning only moments later with glasses and our first tastings.

I closed my eyes as I sipped away, allowing the fruit and tannins to fill my mouth and nostrils. For the first time I understood the effort involved in the arduous process of working the land, as well as the years of back breaking labour and mental exhaustion before a single harvest was made possible. Most overwhelmingly I heard the Arizona desert call out in approval of my presence.

Jerome, Arizona holds a permanent reservation in my heart and mind, however any visitor will feel an undeniable spiritual connection to this hidden gem.

MMJ Canada: People Over Profits

Delving into the world of medical cannabis can be a frightening venture for anyone. “Do I have to be deathly ill to acquire cannabis for treatment?” or “aren’t they just drug dealers with a storefront?” are just two of the thousands of questions someone new to medical cannabis may be asking themselves. Those who have experienced these feelings of reluctance can rest assured there is a place that you can go to have your questions answered in a safe and comfortable space, without having the overly conflicting messages and click bait articles of some major news outlets and social media.

At MMJ Canada, CEO, Clint Younge works alongside Director of PR and creator of I Heart Dispensaries, Ben Rispin, and Rebecca Taube, Manager of the Hess Village location in Hamilton, ON and Founder of the LOST organization. They believe that education and healing is the most important aspect of their organization. According to Younge, MMJ is best considered a wellness retail boutique, where “[our] goal is to be a global brand, but more importantly it is to strengthen the community”, all while raising awareness of what medical cannabis can provide. “People over profits” is a saying at MMJ that can be witnessed through the staff and management’s consultative approach to assisting patients. “It’s really important for us to educate not only our staff, but the community as well. I run this store with complete transparency”, states Taube. The transparency is evident. Bud tenders help one another to answer their patients’ questions. The management deals directly with new and existing patients, and the on-site practitioner of traditional eastern medicine recommends not only the cannabis related products offered at MMJ, but other natural alternative products and healing exercises.

The demographics of MMJ’s patients span all age groups and ethnicities. However, the commonality between each is physical pain or mental illness. Both, when treated correctly, can lead to a better way of life.

It has been known for some years now that cannabis helps immensely with pain management. Indica strains, topical creams, and pure CBD (Cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid) extract, among others, can rid the body of (even if just for the short term) pain caused by illness or injury without the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs. MMJ also has some canine patients who are treated for ailments like hip dysplasia and high anxiety with CBD-infused dog treats. While the evidence is clear about the effective pain management properties of medical cannabis, there are still many who are skeptical of medical cannabis and it’s effects on mental illness.

Taube, a sufferer of mental illness created The LOST Organization (Living Outside of Suffering and Trauma). LOST is a mental health support group which aims at changing the way the world approaches mental illness by removing the stigma and creating an accessible community for those who are suffering. LOST works very closely with MMJ and Collective Care, an initiative started by Younge and Rispin to raise funds for individuals and charities, to inform, guide and most importantly, listen to the needs of people who suffer from mental illness every day. These illnesses include, but are not limited to, depression, anxiety and PTSD. Perhaps you haven’t been diagnosed with one of the more, well known mental illnesses. Maybe you suffer from severe stress due to your line of work or an obligation to a very sick family member. Perhaps you just need to relax and be able to clear your mind and enjoy life. Rispin proclaims, “Recreation is an important part of what the brain needs. It plays largely into your happiness” and consequently your mental health. For the government, however, regardless of what the community says and feels, there is a specific difference between medical and recreational cannabis.

 

The Uphill Legal Battle

Lately, the Ontario government has been cracking down on cannabis dispensaries, raiding every storefront in every city. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of products designed to help those suffering from mental and physical ailments are being seized by the police to be locked away in evidence rooms or destroyed. While MMJ Canada is continuously trying to work with the government to change legislation, the battle is uphill for now, and the entire Canadian market is waiting to see if and when Mr. Trudeau will make good on his promises.

Through the voices of their patients, MMJ and all affiliate organizations; Rispin believes the examples of real stories from real people will help to shape legislation to include medical dispensaries. Rispin speaks of his contact with the public, “Because I’ve been overseeing social media, I’m the one who was getting all the messages from people saying ‘thank you for getting me off opiates”. And to further the reach, through I Heart Dispensaries, Rispin encourages people to send their testimonials directly to government representatives at all levels. In turn, he has agreed to post the testimonials online in an effort to encourage more people to come forward.

The economical benefits are also apparent as has been confirmed in places like Colorado. The February 2017 tax remittance shows a total reported tax, license and fee revenue of over $17.7 million. This newly generated revenue increases significantly when added to the money being saved by not having to police archaic laws, backlog courts or imprison violators. Also, by creating jobs and more taxable incomes, the profits soar to near immeasurable heights.

MMJ is happy to pay taxes, help local economies, and fit into the industry wherever the government feels is the right place. Rispin explains, “[whether it’s] a free-market or mixed economy approach with cannabis, the focus of MMJ will not change.” He goes on to explain that working directly with the government and community to increase exposure and debunk the myths behind mental illness is “how we will help and benefit the most people”.

As part of the MMJ mission to bring medical cannabis and mental illness to light, Clint Younge spoke at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Berlin, Germany on April 10-12, 2017. Other speakers included Tommy Chong, U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, and a number of high profile doctors and entrepreneurs.

For those interested in becoming a patient of MMJ Canada, you can book your free assessment by calling your nearest location or going to mmjcanada.ca, selecting your region (B.C. or Ontario) and clicking the appointments tab.