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.

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)

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“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.”

 

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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

This just in…Sex Makes you Happier!

Yes, what  you have always suspected is true. That wonderful feeling you get after making love, having sex or getting lucky (depending on who you’re talking to) is good for you. Contrary to what they told us when we were 16, 17 or even 35, sex is healthy. In fact, it can increase your level of happiness quite significantly.

sexy pharmacist

BTW, this is what happens when you google “Sexy pharmacists”.

You know the feeling you get right after a particularly good sexual experience? Well, there is a chemical reason for that. There is a virtual pharmacy in our body creating the chemicals and hormones that we need to get through the day.

When we have sex, the tiny pharmacists inside us look at each other in their white coats and say “Gerald! our human had sex! We need to make some dopamine!” “That’s not all Marjorie, we should give them a huge dose of serotonin as well!” “By the way Marjorie you are looking very shapely in your white lab coat.” “Why thank you….perhaps I should unbutton it a bit, because its so hot in here…” At that point its all lava lamps and sexiness inside the body…That’s right even your body gets turned on by itself after you make love!

Alright I may have stretched my metaphor (and a couple of other things) in the last bit, but the point, is when we have sexual activity, our body produces both dopamine and serotonin that floods our system. When that happens, we feel good!

Alright this is the best statistic you will hear all day…

sex and money

….and this is what happens when you google “sex and money” at least the ones I can show.

Having sex once a week gives you the same boost of happiness and increased level of satisfaction as getting a raise of $50,000 a year.

Isn’t that the coolest? I can hear you now saying “Gosh that sounds great Rob, but what’s your source? Well a feature article in WebMD states

…”sex enters so strongly (and) positively in happiness equations that they estimate increasing intercourse from once a month to once a week is equivalent to the amount of happiness generated by getting an additional $50,000 in income for the average American.”

 http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/features/sex-and-happiness

Ok! So that is pretty awesome! So, you want to feel as good as you would making another 50K? Have sex once a week and you are good to go.

I know I am being a bit flip about this but this has some really terrific implications for us. Making love or having sex  can really positively impact our lives.

Alright, let’s talk about the scary thing…MASTURBATION. There, I said it so we can all get on with it.

Well, what about masturbation? What if if we do it ourselves (as it were)?

Again, the good news is we can the same increase in both serotonin and dopamine, So you’re good to go!

Want to learn more about how to be happier? Sure you do! My new book Doing Happiness: Uncovering The Benefits of Feeling Good is out on Amazon! Check it out here!

doing happiness cover amazon

5 stars and everything! Have a great day. – Rob

Doing Happiness is LIVE on Amazon.

Gold star

Five Stars On Amazon! Many Thanks!

 

For every 10 reviews on Amazon, I’ll donate 10 copies of Doing Happiness to Gilda’s Club of Greater Toronto
I won’t tell you how good it is, but Hugh Culver will!! Thanks Hugh!

“Even if you are a happy person, I want you to read this book. What Rob Hawke has done is to boil down the best of positive psychology, self-help, and sage advice into a very readable (131 pages of goodness) guide to, as he says “uncovering the hidden benefits of feeling good.”

doing happiness cover amazon

I just completed my new book “Doing Happiness: Uncovering The Hidden Benefits of Feeling Good” The good news is there are simple things we can do everyday to help us feel true happiness. More than that, I talk about the many tangible benefits our happiness brings to us and those we care about the most.I could use a bit of help.

Would you be willing to read it and write a review on amazon? It would take all of two minutes and it’s really easy.

You will get a FREE digital copy of Doing Happiness for your time.
 
Step 1: Hit this link (or the title below) and download a FREE digital copy of Doing Happiness,
Step 2: If you like it, leave a positive review! (If its 5 stars that would be so terrific)
Your positive 5 star review with even a few kind words would have a lot of impact. Sound easy? Well, it is!
Here’s the link again…
Many thanks for your help!  -Rob

What do you get when you have 400 people with chronic conditions in one room?

It sounds like the set up for a joke doesn’t it? But that’s what we had on June 30th. The very first Self Care Movement Summit in Toronto went off like crazy.

what do you get

People came from far and wide to participate. We had folks drive in from 5 hours away just to be there for the evening.

When you see a large conference room packed tight on a Monday night, you know that there is a real need for this. Folks needed to not only learn about what they are going through and how to deal with their situation, but they also wanted to connect with each other.

Some of the things we addressed were mindfulness, dealing with chronic illness at work, sex, intimacy, and using humour as a tool to help us every day. We had a patient panel that shared stories about what it was like to deal with our different conditions and we even managed to squeeze some laughs out of it.

OK, so we may have tried to cram too much really good content into one evening, but can you blame us? That’s like complaining that a meal has too much food or that somebody gave you too much chocolate or that your birthday present is too big to fit into your car. You get my point.cake

After working with cancer patients and their families for years, one of the most common things that I have heard is that once we are finished our primary care, we often feel lost. That was certainly how I felt after I got over my initial cancer treatment. My physician even looked at me and said “You’re cured” I was expecting triumphant movie music to come in as we hugged in a manly way, but the hug didn’t happen. Instead I thought “Really? I don’t feel cured. Besides, the cancer might be gone but I have this chronic situation to deal with for the REST OF MY LIFE. So, how is that cured?”

That’s what the summit was for. We were all there to talk about what happens now. How do we adjust to our lives in this “new normal”. How do we not just exist but help ourselves to thrive with the capabilities that we have?summit

When several hundred committed, smart and passionate people stand up and start sharing ideas, you feel it. You feel the energy shift from complacency and acceptance of the status quo to hopefulness and possibility. On Monday night a group of patients who were strangers just hours before, shared their wisdom and strategies to help people just like them.

So, back to our original question: What do you get when you have 400 people dealing with chronic conditions in one room?

Answer: A huge amount of courage and hope.

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Celebrity Fan Moment

Don’t you love when you meet someone famous and they’re more impressive than you thought? I was very excited to meet Margaret Trudeau and I actually got to say hello to her backstage. I am rarely at a loss for words. However, in meeting Margaret, I was virtually tongue tied. When she did her keynote, she spoke with such wit, honesty and vulnerability that I became a fan immediately. The standing ovation she got was proof that she connected with our group.

Many Thanks Margaret!