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*NEW* Song: “Over & Over (It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way)” – Song Blog

Finally fed up with waiting for the “perfect time,” I’ve decided to jump back in and start sharing some of my book of songs as best I can. First up: “Over & Over.”

The lyrics in this song (copied below) are some of my favourites from anything I’ve ever written. They came pouring out of me, all at once, on a Sunday morning in August of 2015.


At the time, I had a lot of turmoil going on in my life, but for the first time in many years I had just returned to my family’s original hometown the day before, to take part in an annual event where I performed many of my songs. I went alone, and enjoyed the drive there and back, and the experience of the event itself. I felt completely at peace with my own company, perfectly content to meet and visit with all kinds of people – some I knew, most I didn’t – as they came along. It was one of those kinds of days that plays like a movie in your mind while it’s actually happening.

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Something clicked in me that day, as if I knew I’d finally arrived at a point where I was comfortable inside my own skin, no matter what was going on around me, I could trust myself to be true to who I really was, go my own path  make my own choices and hold on to that no matter how stiff the challenge might be. Perhaps that sounds simple and obvious, however my observations are that many (most?) people are just doing what they’re doing because they see so many else people doing the same thing. And often, what those people are doing is whining and griping about their lot in life while they do absolutely nothing constructive to change it. Victims.

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Looking back on it, I really appreciate what this song seems to be saying on my behalf. It’s probably not an accident that it reflects so much of what I believe very deeply, including a reference to Einstein’s definition of insanity: continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different result.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Song Blog, Vol 2: “Over & Over (It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way)”
(c) 2015 Kevin Bulmer Enterprises
Written by Kevin Bulmer (SOCAN)

LYRICS:

When the tide begins to turn
It’s only natural
One can resist
Or even brace against the flow

There is no favour when it comes
To meeting gravity
The push and pull, the light and dark
We need them both

Holding your ground
Defending ego, chasing average
Clench and compare
With every other tired cliché

But there remains the thread
Of heaven’s possibility
Follow the light, however faint
And it won’t fade

Over and over
We think that we’re sober
But we keep trying to kill the pain
Deflecting, expecting
The results keep infecting
Insanity’s calling again
A tragically comic refrain
It doesn’t have to be that way …

There is no easy explanation
Of the obvious
Or why the simplest things elude
In every way
Relentlessly chasing what’s sitting right in front of us
To become carbon-copy popular cult slaves

Over and over
We think that we’re sober
But we keep trying to kill the pain
Deflecting, expecting
The results keep infecting
Insanity’s calling again
A tragically comic refrain
It doesn’t have to be that way …

Out go the lights
When the truth shines too bright
So the fault is assigned out of fear
But the face on the wall
In the mirror, tells all
It’s the only consistent thing here
And it always follows everywhere …

Over and over
We think that we’re sober
But we keep trying to kill the pain
Deflecting, expecting
The results keep infecting
Insanity’s calling again …

Over and over
We think that we’re sober
But we keep trying to kill the pain
Deflecting, expecting
The results keep infecting
Insanity’s calling again
A tragically comic refrain
It doesn’t have to be that way …

 

To visit the “Song Blog” page, please click HERE.

No Schedule Man Podcast: Episode 6 – Lisa Brandt (Radio Host/News Anchor, Author, Voice Talent)

I’ve been very fortunate to work with some truly interesting and talented people over the years. One of them is Lisa Brandt, my guest in the latest episode of the No Schedule Man Podcast.

Currently the voice behind the news and co-anchor of News Talk 1290 CJBK’s morning show here in London, Ontario, Lisa also maintains the creative daily discipline of blogging each weekday, contributing a feature column to a National newspaper when asked, and serving as voice talent for the productions of many well-recognized companies. Lisa has written and made available four books, including “The Naked Truth,” a real-life look inside the summer she spent working at a nudist resort in her teenage years.

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In this discussion, Lisa takes us behind the scenes and inside the minds of a broadcast media newsroom. She describes some of her career adventures which took her from the overnight show host at a country music station in Red Deer, Alberta, to co-News Anchor at 680 News in Toronto, the largest market in the country. Lisa also recalls giving up her spot in Toronto to come to London, and the many ups and downs that followed, including a terrifying health battle with what turned out to be sepsis, an experience she documented and shared in her book, “My Sepsis Story.”

Lisa and I have been pals for many years and I have always held her in very high esteem. But after listening back to this podcast, I realized just how much I’d never really asked her about. I was fascinated to hear her stories on a variety of subjects and life experiences.

I also think that her answer to me asking, “What have you learned about yourself?” near the end of the discussion should be required listening for us all. Go have a listen and let me know if you agree.

The podcast is now available for streaming, download and subscription on iTunes, as well as on our YouTube channel or SoundCloud page.

Reacting or Responding? Your Perspective = Your Choice

My youngest son had a busy weekend of hockey these past few days, on the ice four times in three days. I believe it fatigued all involved. Sunday’s game in particular got a little bit lively, more so than usual. The experience reminded me of just how easy it is to lose your perspective, and how much progress we’ve yet to make in responding versus reacting.

At that game, the parents from the other team were extremely vocal right from the start. And that’s fair enough. I can appreciate that they want to cheer for their kids. But those kids were also a little rougher out on the ice than what’s normal. There again, I experienced that as an anklebiter also. We used to call teams like that “chippy.” You learn to deal with it and move on.

That's my favourite player, in the grey shirt, taking the face-off.

That’s my favourite player, in the grey shirt with his signature red gloves, taking the face-off.

Tasked with a tough job, the referees are usually selective as to whether to call penalties or not, particularly at this age. Unfortunately, they erred on the side of letting the kids sort it out themselves. In other words, there was a lot of hooking, holding and body contact, and the whistle wasn’t blowing. It escalated, and control of the game began to slip away. Or so it seemed.

As this happened, the kids continued to play, of course, under the supervision and “leadership” of the coaches, the referees, and the rest of the people in the arena (in other words, the parents). But the behaviour in the building quickly deteriorated to inappropriate levels. The energy rose, and tensions with it, and a number of people that I know to be very good, solid individuals, lost their cool and began shouting things which they almost immediately regretted. It was all unnecessary and uncomfortable.

Here’s the thing. As soon as the game was done, and the players came off the ice and sat down in the dressing room, helmets were removed to reveal … 9-year-old kids. And those kids, in my case, were the ones on the losing side of this particular game. But they were happy. The drama and anxiety was all being felt by the people who were projecting their expectations on to the event. But the participants, in this case, children, had not lost perspective. Sure, the game was “chippier” that it probably should have been. It would have been nice to have seen some leadership shown and order restored, but nobody got hurt. Overall, it was not really a big deal, and the kids knew it. But the coaches and parents were still wound up. Some apologized. The kids looked around like they didn’t know what the fuss was for. Meantime, many of the adults had allowed the uncomfortable energy to tell them things were not okay, and they had reacted. Poorly.

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This phenomenon plays itself out over and over and over again in our society. People tend to react to a situation, rather than respond. When tension grows, your perspective narrows, and the “fight or flight” feelings kick in. It’s only later, when you’re calm enough to recognize the larger picture once again, that you realize the situation did not, in fact, merit the anxiety cast upon it.

How many times have you had a bad day at work, or have you received some unwelcome news and suddenly felt your world spinning out of control and all positive thought crashing down around you? What seemed so manageable, maybe even enjoyable, one moment, became unbearably bad the next.

What changed? The bad day at work? The news?

The refs at the hockey game?

The world didn’t fundamentally change in any of those cases. Only your choice of perspective did. Life is going to happen. It isn’t good or bad. It just is. It’s the perspective we choose – the choice we make – that tells us it’s positive or negative. But that’s our choice.

To react or to respond. That’s your choice. One involves taking a breath or two and giving the situation some space. The other does not.

The coach who yelled, “You’re ruining the f—king game” on Sunday for the benefit of a bunch of 9-year-olds is hurting himself a lot more than he may realize. Thankfully, it didn’t seem to be hurting the kids much.

Yet.

Lyric Slide: “We Keep Chasing After What Isn’t True”

This lyric is from a song called “Crusoe,” written in the early part of the 2000’s. I never got stranded on a deserted island like Daniel Defoe’s character did, but I would go on to experience just about everything major in my life changing all at once. And it’s amazing how your priorities and views of what’s truly valuable and worth pursuing change at a time like that.

There’s another line in that song that asks, “Well, maybe it’s the wanting that sustains you?” I’ve always liked to think about that line, too. I figure I’ll put “Crusoe” on my list of tracks to share in my Song Blog at some point in 2016.

Please feel welcome to copy, paste, send or share, or comment with any feedback.

12-13-15 - What isn't tru

For more of these lyric slides more often, please visit my Twitter or Facebook feeds.

Lyric Slide: “Seeing the Drop But Not the Sky”

This lyric is from a song I wrote over a decade ago, originally titled “Brave New Hope.” This particular line is in the song’s bridge, and it speaks with a perspective that I must have had in my consciousness in order to write it down all those years ago, but it was not until very recently that I truly began to embrace its essence in my every day life. Attitude and outlook are, it seems, things that are within our control.

Please feel welcome to copy, paste, send or share, or comment with any feedback.

02-05-15 - See the sky

For more of these lyric slides more often, please visit my Twitter or Facebook feeds.

Friends & Mentors, Vol. 1: Fred Geiger of Custom Mobility

I’ve been fortunate to get to know a great many interesting and inspiring people. I’m grateful to have learned a lot from each of them.

One those people is Fred Geiger.

Picture1Fred co-owns a London, Ontario-based business called Custom Mobility, which provides wheelchairs, walkers, and other mobility devices, as well as home healthcare equipment. Compassion, integrity, transparency and empowerment are all extremely important to Fred, and he brings all of these things (and more) to Custom Mobility on a day-to-day basis.

Currently a weekly host of his own “Ask the Experts” radio show on 1290 CJBK (Mondays at 12:00 pm), Fred has always been one to explore new and different opportunities. He has been in the Military, Police, Education and has helped build private businesses on a couple of different fronts.

Even at the age of 17, he was ready to take on a challenge, feeling at that time that he could (should?) open a McDonald’s franchise. His feelings about it were strong enough that he took the initiative to contact the restaurant chain’s Regional Vice President, with whom he eventually took a meeting … at 17 years of age! Among the many things that came from that conversation was the prediction from the McDonald’s Executive that Fred would be “a millionaire by the time he was in his 40’s.” He was also offered a position in the company at that time, but eventually decided to pass due to potential travel concerns.

Those things will come up again later in this conversation.

All of it has brought Fred to where he is now, at the wheel of Custom Mobility, a business that helps people find comfort and independence in their own homes at a time in their lives when they are more potentially vulnerable – both physically and emotionally – than they may ever have been before.

Fred is a man of great integrity, and he seems genuinely content inside his own skin, so I wanted to talk to him and find out more about his story and what got him to this point, and to see what I could learn from him. It was time very well spent.

Here is my conversation with Fred Geiger of Custom Mobility:

Kevin: Your first real interest was in Policing?

Fred: “Well, first, it was the fire department. But when that didn’t look like it could happen, yes, I wanted to get into Policing.

“Now, part of the problem was that to get on the police department, you needed to have either a two-year college program under you or you had to have two university credits. I had neither.”

Kevin: So why not go back to school?

Fred: “At that time, when I was 18, I already owned my first house, so I thought, ‘I can’t quit and go back to school now.’”

Kevin: So then what?

Fred: “And then I looked at military police because they were taking people, and I thought, ‘Okay, then what I’ll do is go into military police and work at that for a little bit and then from that, I’ll be able to leverage that to be able to get on to a police department.  And so I joined the military police, with the intention of, later on, switching to the police department, which is exactly what I did.

“From the military police, I got on to the University of Western Ontario police department, which at that time was just a security department but it was transposing into a police department so I was there through all that process. From there, five years later, I got on Niagara Regional Police department. And then I bounced to St. Thomas (Ontario) from Niagara because I wanted to be home, closer to my son from my first marriage. My son was living in London and I didn’t want to be a weekend Dad. So I quit Niagara Region and joined St. Thomas City and that was a story in itself.

“But after a while, from there, that’s when I went to Westervelt (College, in London, ON), to teach, and started the Police Foundations Program.

Kevin: Do you mind telling me how long you were in Policing and what age you were?

Fred: “13 years. I’m gonna say I was 35 when I got out.”

Kevin: At some point over those 13 years, and you’re in the prime of your life, are you thinking, “Gosh – I’ve invested almost a decade and a half of my adult life into this. It doesn’t light my fire anymore. But how can I maybe take some of what I’ve invested in myself and extract from it and then apply it in a way that will maybe feed me a little bit more?”

Fred: “I think it was exactly that. What I had also done in the meantime, I started going back to university part time. I did get my university degree. I wasn’t complete by the time I left the police department but I continued with it. What I did was pretty significant because I had been on the police department long enough that I wasn’t going to get laid off. And, great benefits, excellent money, pension. I gave it all up. I just wasn’t happy. My wife Vera has always been wonderfully supportive so with her blessing, I took a big pay cut to go from the police department to Westervelt College.

“I don’t regret that for one second.”

"There’s so much value in your quality of life. And it’s maybe a cliché, but most people don’t live it. "

Fred ( left, with business partner, Kevin Baxter): “There’s so much value in your quality of life.
And it’s maybe a cliché, but most people don’t live it.”

Kevin: Tell me more about what you did at Westervelt.

Fred: “When I started teaching at Westervelt, they had a version of a law and security program. And from there I heard that there was an inkling that they wanted to go to this new standardized training and it was called the Police Foundations Program. So I kind of ran with that.

“It’s getting buried pretty deep now, but even if you Google my name, I have an acknowledgement from the Solicitor General because I sat on the original curriculum development committee for all the Police Foundation Programs. And because we were private colleges as opposed to the community colleges, we were able to beat everybody else to the marketplace.”

Kevin: How long did you do that?

Fred: “Close to 7 years.”

Kevin: So now you’re in your early 40’s. Next thing you know, you’re getting into the truck wash business ….

Fred: “What happened was, at Westervelt, now there were new owners from back then. They had a different vision.

“When I first started there, and I started telling them that I had this vision of the Police Foundations Program, I was telling them, ‘I think I can build you a really successful program.’

“When I started there, they had 8 students in their security program. I said, ‘You give me five years; I’ll have 100 students in my program.’

“Well, within 5 years, I had 150 students in the legal programs.

“We had a great program. I said, ‘You give me five more years, I’ll have 500 students in this program.’

“We put together one helluva program with a lot of credibility and that’s why we were beating so many people out of the gate. But then I began experiencing resistance on how I believed the program needed to develop to grow successfully and to maintain its integrity.  I had a lot of pride and seeing the program shift in a way that I felt was diluting the quality, I said, ‘It’s time to move on.’”

“So, I went from that, I got offered a job to help import this equipment from Sweden, which is a whole other story.”

Kevin: How did you feel about life in general around that time?

Fred: “I remember feeling a little bit of pressure. It’s funny, because you pointed it out. There was a little bit of pressure in me from what that guy at McDonald’s had said (about being a millionaire by the time he was in his 40’s). Because I thought it was almost like I was letting him down at that time.”

Kevin: Him or yourself?

Fred: “Maybe both.

“But I remember thinking ‘You know, I wanted to prove him right.’ But it just turned out a different way. I’ve forgiven myself for that now, because I also believe that at age 17 when I made that kind of bridge – you know – I can’t be an entrepreneur because I don’t have the money, that I went the different direction of the employment route, being on the police department. I think that really stagnated me for quite a while. Because when I was at Westervelt College, honestly, I was a pure entrepreneur. I developed a program, I put the program together. I marketed it. I got the Chiefs of Police to say it was a good program. There was a lot of work. It was like building a business within a business and I really loved that part. That part was just great.

“And I really believe that the only way that you make what you deserve in this world is working for yourself. That’s a little bit harder. That steady paycheque isn’t there or anything. And there is that work in the trenches and everything else. But at the end of the day, it’s not all about money.”

"I’m just a believer that where there are opportunities, you’ve got to take it and explore it. Because you never know where the heck that’s going to lead you"

“I’m just a believer that where there are opportunities, you’ve got to take it and explore it.
Because you never know where that’s going to lead you”

Kevin: That’s a hard thing to learn.

Fred: “We always want to make as much money as we possibly can, but there’s so much value in your quality of life. And it’s maybe a cliché, but most people don’t live it.”

Kevin: So, it sounds like you’re saying that if you consistently do the right thing, the results you require will eventually find their way to you?

Fred: “Yes. Because I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive. I think you can be incredibly ethical and do a good job and still make money at it. You don’t have to cut corners. Of all the industries, it should be able to be done in this one.”

Kevin: And for all the talk of money, it seems to me it would be just as gratifying, if not more so, to go another however-many-years and look at – where there was nothing – and then look at what had been established and the lives that had been effected and the people that had been helped. There was nothing there, just like the Police Foundations Program, but then you created it and helped a lot of people along the way. We talk about money but there’s also this challenge that seems to keep running through everything you’re telling me about.

Fred: “You’re right. Because that is still one of my proudest accomplishments, is that whole Police Foundations thing. Because there was absolutely nothing. And now there are 35 colleges and universities that offer that program. And to say that I was the first guy out of the gate on that … there’s a lot of pride in that.”

Kevin: I was going to ask about what would be something that stands out that would make you particularly proud. It sounds like that would be at the top of the list?

Fred: “That’d be up there. And I haven’t found what the one is yet here (at Custom Mobility). I haven’t put a finger on it. But I get the sense it will evolve around the fact we have so many clients say to us, ‘You know, thanks. You’re the first people that listened to me.’

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Kevin: If you could go back and talk to that 17-year-old Fred Geiger, whether it was the time around the McDonald’s inquiry or even a little bit beyond that, when you were investigating the fire department and you were getting restless with high school … what do you think you’d want to impart upon yourself, knowing what you know now?

Fred: “Probably to have found a mentor in the field of what I wanted to do.

“I really … I never begrudge what happened, because I believe that everything happens in due course.  You develop at every step along the road and I’ve learned transferable skills that I use in my business today. And so I’m happy where I am and I’m happy about the road.

“But if there was something I could change, I probably wish I had have taken that job offer with that guy in McDonald’s, because I think that fellow would have taught me a lot.

And for that same reason today, I’ve encouraged my son to explore a Specialty Management program for university grads offered where he works. When you get an opportunity like that, there are jobs that you’ve never dreamed of in your life and you’re going to be exposed to it.

“I’m just a believer that where there are opportunities, you’ve got to take it and explore it. Because you never know where that’s going to lead you.

“I never would have dreamed in a million years I’d be doing what I’m doing. But it has really brought a lot of my passion together. It’s brought a lot of the entrepreneurship. And helping people. In earlier years, I wouldn’t have anticipated that it would come from this, but it has. And I think it’s a matter of having that open mind, saying, ‘Can it work?’ and ‘Do I want it to work?’

“It’s the same with you. You’re constantly exposed to things. Yet our training over time tends to direct us to think, ‘Ah, that’s not going to work’ or ‘there’s too much competition in that’ or ‘there’s too much this.’

We don’t need to think like that. Go explore it.”

To visit the Custom Mobility website, please CLICK HERE

To access, listen to and share the archived Podcasts of Fred’s “Ask the Experts” radio programs on 1290 CJBK, please CLICK HERE

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