Writing an Article for U of T Med Magazine, who me?

You ever get one of those emails that comes out of nowhere and feels great? Well, I was just asked to write an article for UofT Med Magazine. This alumni magazine is put out to support graduates of the U of T Medicine program has been doing great stuff on mental health for physicians and how medical professionals need to learn to support themselves and their colleagues in this wildly challenging field. I’ve been asked to do a piece on comedy in medicine. I’ve almost got a first draft cooking; and a second draft that’s about to go in the oven.

We’ll see how this cake turns out.

 

Hello Canadian Cardiovascular Pharmacists!

Is that a prescription in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

I am very excited to be presenting The Wellness Solution: Help Yourself Help The World for the The Canadian Cardiovascular Pharmacists Network. 

The 20th Annual Contemporary Therapeutic Issues in Cardiovascular Disease will be attended by pharmacists from across the country. I will also be presenting the workshop You Can Own The Room: Lose Your Fear and Present Like a Pro.

Can’t wait!

Are you addicted to Trump? 3 Signs you might be, and what to do about it.

While drinking my  cup of coffee in the morning and scanning the headlines for the latest outrage, I had an uncomfortable thought. Was I addicted to Trump? The answer is “Yes”. You might be as well. Here are the warning signs.

level of stupid obi wan

1: You read about him everyday. Obsessively. You might click on the news to see what crazy thing he has done or tweeted in the last ten minutes.

2: You start a lot of conversations with “Do you believe the crazy sh*t Trump just did?”

3: You wake up in the middle of the night after a nightmare where Trump actually became President of The United States. Then you realize he did and you cry/drink a lot.

We are convinced that the world needs us to do this and that we are helping the situation by being in a constant state of worry. The world doesn’t need us to do this. In fact, its very counterproductive.

“But Rob,” I hear you yelling, “Its my responsibility to be informed! I must be a world citizen who knows what’s going on and then I can participate in a meaningful way.”

That’s what I thought until I noticed something. I was checking google news virtually every hour and ignoring my own life. Trump is a master at creating news and attracting attention. He’s like a snotty, spoiled rich kid who goes to a friends birthday party and doesn’t care if he wrecks the whole thing as long as he is the one everybody is looking at. And I have to admit, it is incredibly entertaining-too entertaining.

He makes us ask questions like “Is he actually serious about the travel ban? Does he really think he was bugged, or is it just some master plan to draw attention away from his relationship with Russia? Is he really a bit unhinged or is he a strange dark genius?

viking 2

Imagine this guy with hurt feelings and a bunch of caffeine.

I have a question for you though: What has happened to your own story during this time? Are you pursuing  your own hopes and dreams? Have they been advanced or helped by your attention to this political confusion? Unless you have a stake in Breitbart News (and I truly hope you don’t) then probably the answer is a resounding “No!” .

You may have found ( I certainly have) that “Trumping” has moved past being a fascinating distraction to being a drain on your creativity and productivity. Its hard to stay focused on our own story and contributions to the world when a man with control over the most mechanized military in history is  flailing around like an angry viking hopped up on  vodka and Redbull.

This level of crazy is captivating and terrifying to watch. It is nothing short of addictive.

However there  is very little we can do to change it. Heck, I’m sitting here safely in Canada and wondering what I can do to make it better and the answer is “Nothing”. I can make my voice heard and that’s it. I’m not saying we should give up on the world, say screw it and go have a nice dinner with wine (actually that sounds perfect) but maybe our precious attention is better spent elsewhere.

Want to make the world a better place? Here’s a few ideas off the top of my head.

You could…

1: Hang out with friends and make them laugh.  kiva

2: Make a meal for someone you care about.

3: Lend money to brave 3rd world entrepreneurs on Kiva.

4: Take a moment and do ANYTHING positive except feed the crazy train that is the Trump presidency.

Someone much wiser than me said “Be the Change you wish to see in the world” (It was Gandhi) . Well, I think right now the world needs many of us to step up and really demonstrate who we are by not just saying “Oh this is terrible” but by creating more of what we want by showing generosity, kindness, integrity and dare I say it? A bit of LOVE.

Rock on Everybody.

Hawke out.

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Canadian Mental Health Association Kenora Branch

I am thrilled to be presenting The Wellness Solution: Help Yourself help The World to The Canadian Mental Health Association Kenora Branch. It will be terrific to go to this marvelous part of the country and meet professionals in health care who are doing work supporting the community. Kenora has always been a bit of a mythical place for me and I am excited to go. Heck, to be honest my fishing rod is already packed in hopes of meeting Huskie the Muskie.

Looking forward to it CMHA Kenora Branch!

huskie the muskie

My Adventures in Madonna’s Bedroom

I was sleeping in Madonna’s room. For real. No Kidding. How was it that I, A Led Zeppelin fanatic was sleeping on a bed that Madonna had slept in? Good question.

Recently, my wife and I had a trip to Spain. We are pretty much in love with the place. We love its people, the depth of its history, the architecture, the food, the wine, the ridiculous mountain roads and the food. (I may have mentioned food twice but really it is that good.) One of our favourite places in the whole country is a small town in the south called Ronda. Hemingway was crazy about Ronda as well. In fact he called it the most romantic town in all of Spain (and I would agree). Its built on mountains that drop off on sheer cliffs to the valley below. Sound dramatic? Well, it is. Here have a look at this pic…ronda-spain

See what I mean? Beautiful right? Well all off this beauty did now go unnoticed when Madonna (or somebody who worked for her) was picking locations for the video for Take A Bow.

Now, I am not a huge Madonna fan. I am a fan of Jimmy Page of Zeppelin. I’m not even sure that its legal to be a fan of both of these artists at the same time, However my wife LOVES Madonna and she arranged for us to stay in the room that Madonna stayed in when she was in Ronda called, funny enough The Madonna Room.

It was awesome. There was a small terrace, fancy wooden windows, a view of the countryside, lots of wood,  and a surprising amount of S&M gear (just kidding). It was really cool and even for a non fan like myself, I couldn’t help but be a bit star struck by the fact that we were staying in the room where someone that famous had been. It was a bit weird. It was also remarkably human. You see there was all this regular stuff in the room as well, like a bed, with a mattress and dare I say it? A toilet. with a chain that you pull. madonna-room

You see after a few hours of being impressed with the fame of the person who had stayed there, it struck me that it was a room (albeit a REALLY nice one) that had all the human stuff in it that all of us need. Whoever had stayed in the room be they famous or not, had all the same basic human needs that we all have. We all need to sleep, eat, wake up, go to the bathroom and get the guck out of our eyes in the morning, regardless of who we are.

No matter how much we try to fool ourselves we are all walking around looking for the same things in different ways, we’re looking for warmth, connection, fun, security, a way to contribute, appreciation and a good deal on a archery equipment (ok maybe not that). The details and circumstances of our lives might be radically different, but our nature as humans, I think is remarkably the same. So it is with our quest for wellness. No matter our different the circumstances and details of our lives, we are all trying to get through this day and the next with a bit of dignity and even love.

 

If you want to stay in Madonna’s room. you can! Its in one of the best and funkiest places I’ve ever stayed.

The Hotel Enfrente in Ronda Spain. Its a funky, bohemian boutique hotel in one of the best places in Spain. I completely recommend it.

Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, have a good one. And now…Here’s Madonna…

 

Long Live Gilda’s!

A Huge Thank You to Lianne Mauladin Anna Gustafson and The Coincidence Men for a tremendous show last night at Glida’s Club Toronto. It was one of the magical nights when everyone had a blast. Our gifted comedians were in amazing form. The members of Gilda’s were a great audience. That my friends is the power of laughter and imrov in action.

Good Feels all around. Many thanks, we’ll do it again. Long Live Gilda’s!

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Need a Facilitator? Well, you came to the right place…

Sometimes in a meeting or conference you need a trained Facilitator to help your team get the most out of their time together. I am thrilled to announce that I have just been certified as a trained Facilitator through Facilitation First .

Facilitation First is the premier trainer of meeting skills in Canada.

 

The Coincidence Men are up for Nomination for A Canadian Comedy Award

My Improv troupe “The Coincidence Men” is eligible to be nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award. Just click on the pic to give us a nod! (We’re under “T” you know for THE Coincidence Men)

coincidence-men-troupe

“You’re a better person than I am!”

When I said this to a participant at The Canadian MPN Network Conference, it got a huge laugh. One of the great aphorisms of comedy is “Its funny ’cause its true!”

mpn-network

In this case, the lady I was speaking to was telling me that as a result of her being sick, she said she felt more empathy for people. She could understand others’ feelings more and she could cut other people more slack. Isn’t that fascinating?  You would think that after a tough time, a lot of people would become bitter or resentful.

Often we have a chunk of adversity in our lives and somehow we manage to keep on keeping on, but after getting through the stress and navigating our way through a very difficult time often we are different. You could even say we are transformed. Some of us develop more empathy, others of us (like myself) get unreasonably pissed off for a while and pray that someone will steal candy from a baby on our street so we can start a round of fisticuffs. (After a while this anger calmed down into a state of assertiveness. I am really glad because fisticuffs are inconvenient.)

fisticuffs

But what I have found after working with healthcare professionals and people going through life altering diseases is that our most arduous experiences change us.

One of my favourite questions to ask during a keynote is “In the experience of your journey with cancer (or another issue) what learnings or insights have you made?” People always have an answer. Nobody ever says “I feel exactly the same!” I have heard people say they are more sympathetic, more adventurous, more thoughtful, less resentful, more independent, more open to new ideas, more resilient and that they eat more dessert– to name a few.

All of this is good stuff don’t you think? I do. I love all of those things (especially the one about dessert).

dessert

So, where does this come from? Well, you may heave heard of a friend of mine called Joseph Campbell. (OK, He’s not my friend, but I like to pretend he is.) He came up with the idea of The Hero’s Journey which in a very tiny nutshell, is the idea that when we go on an adventure and face challenges and adversities that we are transformed and even improved by the experience.

I really think that is what happens to us when we deal with a transformative experience with our health.  Our experience changes us, it molds and shapes us until we can look at who we used to be in the past and say “Hey, I’m a better person than I used to be.”

 

star-wars-7

 

 

Speaking at Health Quality Transformation 2016

I am absolutely thrilled to be speaking at Health Quality Transformation 2016 on October 20th. There will be over 3,000 participants this year and a plethora of great speakers and impactful content. HQT 2015 was really inspiring so I’m sure this year there will be a virtual hotbed of awesome.

For more info and to register just hit the logo!Health-Quality-Transformation-logo