Finding Family

Today I found out I have two more siblings I never knew I had – to be accurate two half-brothers.

To catch you up I received the gift of a DNA test from my wife a couple of years ago. From it I learned I was half-Jewish on the dad’s side. This came as a surprise to me and so I called my mum and she informed me that, yes, my father was Jewish but this was all the info she could recollect (apparently the 60s were somewhat freewheeling).

So for two years now I have been combing through 23&Me’s database along with others slowly cobbling together a list of 3rd to 5th cousins seeking to figure out anything about my dad’s side of the family.

About six months ago I received an email from a 1st cousin (this changes…stay tuned) who had just received the results of her 23&Me test. She was surprised to learn she had a 1st cousin she didn’t know about. I updated her on the sensitive nature of my parentage and she was very amazing about it.

I told her that if her dad took the test we would likely be able to zero in on who my father was but also warned her that she should talk to her family about this first because these sorts of family secrets can upset people. She was awesome about the whole thing.

Fast forward to today where I learned that both her father and her uncle (who also took the test) are my half-brothers making her, in fact, my half-neice. We are going to let this sink in for a bit before family reunions etc. occur but wow. I know who my father was (passed away). I learned I have two more siblings. I can now fill in half of my family history I never knew. I learned that my father’s side of the family is Samuels.

Powerful stuff.

Who is my neighbour?

Who is my neighbour?

These days the definition of neighbour is getting narrower and narrower. The level of distrust and manic panic in the world contributes to this.

We are taught (many of us) to love our neighbours but when push comes to shove we start hearing rhetoric like “well love hurts sometimes; sometimes saying no is loving; if you love someone you have to let them help themselves etc” which are all generally code for “I have to act in a way that is not loving so how can I rationalize this?”

We have added conditions to love. We have built a wall of laws and legalistic interpretations around love. It is difficult to find love these days amidst the sea of defensiveness and selfishness.

Our biggest barrier to love is the mindset of “if we cannot help everyone we will help no one”. We fall for this individually, corporately and nationally. It is defeatism. It is the belief that loving one person cannot possible make a difference so why bother.

We are so primed to say NO nowadays that we spend no time working out how we can say YES.

We are mostly about WALLS and NO and BARRIERS and GO AWAY and FEAR these days…all stumbling blocks to love.

The biggest stumbling block to love is strangeness. As long as the stranger remains the stranger we do not have to love them. As long as we avoind relationship we do not have to have empathy which paves the way of love.

One simple act begets another. One step in front of the other in the great ressitant stormfront that is this world makes a difference. Just move. Just love.


the wind is white noise through the trees
screaming soft like a hoarse and wordless whisper
and sedentary is a good thing today
(or maybe sedimentary who’s to say);
how many times can i look to the blue
and sit in the golden spill across my body?
again and again and again without complaint.
time has taken restless, ill-advised activity
and turned it to restless, ill-advised words
that spill ceaselessly into bright, sharp being
like untamed whips with wills of their own
projecting my painlovejoyhateglory to the world.

Without Distinction

Without distinction these days those who self-identify as liberals rally very quickly around leaders who espouse liberal values and those who self-identify as conservatives do the same with gusto.

The rabid priority is ensuring key policy stances and buzzwords are intact with little to no regard for almost any other aspect of the person.

Caught on tape telling people he literally grabs women “by the pussy” not a big deal because he promised immigration reform.

Specifically promises to move country away from fossil fuels during the election and then has the country buy an actual oil pipeline for $4.5 billion…let it go, he is a strong supporter of equality.

Complained ceaselessly about previous president’s golf outings…spends more time golfing in one year then previous president spent in eight. Yeah but he’s got a great policy against gun control.

Explicitly promises during election to end first past the post electoral system in Canada and then immediately abandons commitment after election. OK, sure but he has a fantastic record for investing in social and heritage programs.

It really is remarkable that we have found ourselves staunchly in an age where people’s like or dislike of a leader is about as thoughtful and well-researched as a decision to eat a donut.

Increasingly a decision to support one leader over another is driven (manipulated) by emotion, cheap shots, and empty promises. All this does is fuels the division the fuels the attitude in the first place.

Look past the crap journalism that focuses only on the sensational elements of a person for the sake of attention and sales. Look past the propaganda of “the other side” for a moment and look to the reality that a leader is one person on a team of dozens to hundreds.

Recognize the complexity of things and stop over-oversimplifying decisions because it’s easier than doing the work to understand.

Simple Rules of Marketing

  1. If the market doesn’t like your stuff it’s your fault not the market’s.

That’s pretty much it really. I thought there’d be more but there aren’t. This one rule sums up all of the rules of marketing.

You need to meet the client where they are and/or bring them to where you are. You. This is what marketing is about. Stop blaming the market for problems with your messaging or the product/service.