OK, I’ll go first….

I say that with great pride, affection and love, as this man has been with me all my life. The few of you out there that know me well, will know the role of Leonard in my life…and those of you that don’t know me very well, should get a pretty good idea after reading the next couple of paragraphs.

Firstly, I have only my beautiful mother to thank for bringing Leonard to me….I’m sure I was listening to his dulcet tones in utero.
Leonard was Mum’s ‘era’, so her affection for this Canadian poet/songwriter/singer was both ‘Bieberesque’ (gush) and artistic adoration…good taste I say…sorry Dad, no offence mean’t…I won’t mention Carley Simon eh? eh? eh?
So apologies in advance…the reason why Leonard Cohen will remain a constant thread during this weeks blurb is two-fold…maybe three-fold…lets see what my brain downloads during this process.

Firstly, Thursday of this week was the anniversary of his death.
He passed away on  07/11/16, and I have no qualms what-so-ever in saying that I cried my eyes out when he died.
I knew he was getting well old and his health was deteriorating, but the news of his death, which I received whilst i was living in France, pulled at my heart so powerfully, that I am in fact, welling up right now as I type these words…it feels wonderful, knowing the profound impact this individual had on my life, that even after 3 years since he passed, he can still stir me emotionally…bastard!
Looking back I wasn’t upset/sad per se that he’d passed, It was more of an emotional acknowledgement of the immense thanks I had towards him.
Look, he had no idea what a mentor he was to me, but I certainly did…and that, I think, was represented by my emotional outpouring when he passed.
He had been through thick and thin with me…again, unbeknown to him, and probably a good thing to, as he had his own demons to deal with…which I think he only really reconciled in his later years after entering a Buddhist monastery in California for 4 years.

Secondly, this weeks blurb’s is loosely themed on vulnerability, and why I think we should attempt to always lead with our vulnerability.

[Check out this 5min Video from Brene Bowne PhD,
the straight talking Texan on Embracing Vulnerability]

As I have mentioned in previous blurbs, I strongly believe we all need to seek and find mentors, gurus, teachers, trainers, coaches etc that guide and inspire us…not so that we adopt and replicate these individuals, but to help us find who we are, to help us construct our own internal dialogue and structure our own belief systems.
Who resonates with us, the people we admire, look up to, or the celebrities, performers, artists, spiritualist, religious leaders that we love, will often exhibit the values and qualities that we either see in ourselves, or desire to improve in ourselves.
This process will also expose us to individuals, idea’s and reflections of people that don’t resonate with us…and this is just as important so we can remain objective and establish a broad, un-blinkered point of view. It’s often said that we can learn more about ourselves from the people that we find most difficult to deal with or understand.



So Why Leonard...I’ll try and keep this short

As with Beethoven or Bach, you don’t listen to them for the lyrics…alternaively with LC, you don’t listen to him for the music, or his voice for that matter, as it’s his lyrics…his poetry.
His way with words can both annihilate and exhilarate, they can both stop my heart and make it sing.
In my opinion, and an opinion shared by many many of the greatest artists and musician over the past 50 years would contest to, he was…
A master story teller.
A master songsmith.
His words demand to be listen to…you’re not doing yourself justice otherwise
His most famous song Hallelujah is one of the most ‘covered’ songs ever.

My relationship with LC grew as I got older, the more I got to know him and (attempt) to understand his lyrics/poetry the more connected I felt…the more I also i could understand why he resonated so strongly with others also, like my mother.

He was, and to use own words…”a beautiful loser”…if you’re familiar with him or watch the attached link to his latest documentary you’ll see an incredibly flawed man (like all of us) who had the profound capacity to translate and perform his vulnerabilities into words and lyrics…and why he is revered by so many as a poet/wordsmith.

LC also expressed that he never felt like he belonged anywhere, and that he was always leaving. This was one of my most favourite and not-so-effective “life-strategies” since I can remember…as soon as I left school I’ve been galavanting around this world, ‘searching’ and never, ever feeling at home…anywhere…And I still, to this day, feel like this.
These nomadic decisions where more than likely based on an assumption of a situation, a fear of stagnation and self-induced boredom. I also felt (and still feel like it) like a ‘stranger’ something that was/is oddly comforting.  These days I feel much more comfortable and relaxed in my own strangeness and sense of belonging, or severe lack thereof, because I now realise that I don’t have to be anywhere to be content – because I can “be” anywhere…ooh deep, take that Eckhart Tolle👊🏻

Lastly, being a ‘poet’ he (LC) had many muses (Marianne and Suzanne where two that have deservedly entered popular culture) so his lyrics are feminine dominant, in context, theme, and reverence.
Now, I have never, ever been a ‘fan of men’ per se, the associated toxic masculinity, the alpha attitude, the boys club mentality is something I have always been both turned off by and shied away from since I can remember…to still to this day.
So his focus, attention and adoration to woman has been something very close to my own heart.
I am very contently “self-partnered” (😁) but I adore the company of females, and I’d like to think I have always championed that they should run the show…again, something LC always confessed to.

So Where’s This Long Winded Pre-Amble Going Luke!?

Oh yeah…vulnerability…and why we should revisit our core values (nice segue Luke)

Looking within and traipsing through our own back-catalogue of vulnerabilities is a fun-not-fun exercise, but key to finding out who you are.

What I clumsily attempted to do this pre-amble was, I guess show how, by using a key figure in my life, has provided me an opportunity to not only reexamine my own vulnerabilities, but voice them…to air them out…face them, get over them.
Why…because it does two things.
Makes us stronger and more honest, it improves our own value and self-awareness and love for ourselves.
And two, it gives us an opportunity to revisit the importance of our own core values

Values, your core values are something that you may not been given a second thought to recently.
If asked, would you be able to list your core-values?
It’s a process I completed about 4 months ago after I was promoted to do so after reading something somewhere.
I had no idea…I could list a few random ideas, but I had never actually given it any great consideration.
So I did…over a week to ten day period I took my time and hone a concise list of my own core-values…something I cannot recommend enough (I have a PDF i can share if anyone is keen)
I revisit these values daily, to remind myself to remember that I want these values to play an active role in my day to day. Through the process of journaling is especially helpful to ensure that they’re prominent in my psyche and my internal and external dialogue.What Are Core Values and Why Are They So Important?
Core Values are our principles or standards of behaviour: One’s own judgement of what is important in life. Values are the principles that give our lives meaning and allow us to persevere through adversity.

Values guide our behaviour, providing us with a personal code of conduct.

They highlight what we stand for.

They represent our unique, individual essence.

Values are what bring distinction to your life.

You don’t find them, you choose them.

And when you do, you’re on the path to fulfilment.

This is why YOUR Core Values play such a pivotal role with your future self trajectory, because they rely on present-moment skill sets…and it is what you do now that counts.

Your core values will not only underpin your future self decisions, but will provide the language, the bespoke, positive self-talk language used to address and reprogram your internal dialogue.

Any decision, based upon your core values will heavily influence your ability to add greater ‘value’ to the desired habit or goal. This clarity of purpose will help improving impulse control and potential self-sabotaging.

So Why Am I Bleating on About Core Values?
Your ability to harvest the best of yourself is reliant on your ability to live-best by the values that represent you.
If we make time for deliberate practice to remind our ourselves to remember everyday day what is truly important to us, then our attention, our focus and awareness will be on the present moment.
If our attention and awareness (aka mindfulness) is on the present then our ego, that negative internal dialogue cannot exist and dictate your actions, behaviours, impulses and compulsions.
The ego cannot be in the same room (your brain) during the present moment.
Your ego ONLY operates in the realm of the past and/or the future.

And that is why we must, must use every tool available to us to bring us into and remain in the present moment as much as possible. It is why we must, must attempt daily to not only focus on the macros of life, to respond only to things in our control and sphere of choice, but to also endeavour to relinquish as much noise, clutter, distraction, opinion and assumption that will cloud our ability to choose our state of mind…left untethered and allowed to run rampant, the ego is a f****** tyrant.

We also need to value the ability to experience the broad range of emotions available to us.  Understanding our core-values, living by them and using a narrative structured around our core-values will help us identify our vulnerabilities and work our way through them and grow.

Vulnerability allows us to stretch out, test drive and learn to become familiar with what’s inside
The modern day premise of ‘happiness’, and the pursuit of happiness or ‘always being happy’ is both nonsensical and demoralisingly unattainable…if it’s in fact something that we’d want.
You find out you cat or dog has died and you want to “be happy”?
F that.
I still well-up when I see pictures of my beautiful cat Purdy…not so much because he’s passed, but the memory and great joy that, I’d like to think, we both shared (he wouldn’t care he’s a friggin cat)…he was my buddy.
I love experiencing that feeling of immense emotion, like I do when I listen to LC, or when I’m cycling, listening to music, eating awesome food or waking up early to start my day.

It’s how we experience the experiences that each day affords us is where we’ll find our inner-cheerfulness

Peace 🙏🏻