"You can take the boy out of the third world, but you cannot take the third world out of the boy." LOL
As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Canada's Maple Leaf flag, I think about how being here have changed me.
It has been more than a decade ago when my foot landed on Canadian soil yet I still get a strong mix of feelings of gratitude, extreme humility, and pride each time it dawns in my head that I am now a part of this Great Nation that I have come to deeply and truly admire.
As an immigrant from a third world country, I am still in absolute awe of how everything seem to work well here in Canada. Being here is like being a part of an efficient and well-oiled machine where each part is as important as the whole- and the machinist (the government) really do care about the well being of the parts. I hate to compare but back when I was in my native land, I hear about Equal Rights and Equal opportunity all the time and I thought that I get it- but landing here made me realize that you don't know the meaning of equal rights and equal opportunity until you experience it- I had my first taste of that right here.
It is here where you can get free education and have access to world class healthcare without breaking the bank (all six of us in my family have experienced this first hand); the politicians here do not distribute instant noodles to the poor and needy with their faces printed on the packaging in hopes of a better election results; journalists don't get killed en masse; the media is not polluted with stories of killings, useless trivia, and corruption; the color of your skin is not a topic; women have their voice; and there is a refreshing religious tolerance.
Torontonians like to complain about the traffic on 401 and the DVP- as someone who lives literally right next to the DVP, I just laugh at them and carry on with my quiet meditation amidst the gentle hum of hundreds of engines passing by- the typical cacophony of third world traffic noticeably absent.
I am very happy to report that we hit and surpassed the initial production requirements! We only needed 7 to get it rolling but we were very fortunate to secure 10 pre-orders! These awesome checkered-floor inspired Italian-made leather low top sneakers are coming to life!
I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to the 10 brave and generous souls who, despite FraternalTies being on somewhat troubled waters lately, decided that it would be wise to trust us with their hard earned money and spend it towards the production of our very latest premium merchandise (our very first Italian made footwear!). You ought to know that your untiring support helps keep our business and our family afloat. The first batch of 10 pairs is now currently being handcrafted in Italy and will be shipped to you directly from the factory. They will be ready for shipping by the first week of March. I trust that everyone is just as excited as I am!
Now that the initial requirement was met, our manufacturer in Le Marche, Italy, through the new creative startup AliveShoes, will begin the production of the first batch and will lock down this particular design configuration exclusively for FraternalTies. It is ours and will never be reproduced again. You have until April 5, 2015 or 54 days from the time of this writing to reserve a pair of these elegant looking sneakers. Please click this link to pre-order https://www.aliveshoes.com/FraternalTies
I intended to write this piece two days ago in support of Bell #letstalk day, a program that is close to my heart. LetsTalk primary objective is to end the stigma surrounding mental health. Not too long ago, I opened up and talked about my own battle with depression, in return, our Masonic Brothers from all over the world shared their stories and their own struggles with me. I learned that I was not alone- many of our Brethren are also fighting similar battles- a lot of them in silence. I thought that it would be a good idea to share with you a few slices of wisdom, seven to make it perfect, that I picked up from those learned Brethren who came before us. May these words enlighten your path as they illuminated mine.
7. “My brain is the key that sets my mind free.”
- Harry Houdini, St. Cecile Lodge No. 568
Your brain can process 70,000 thoughts per day. Push out the negative frequencies, or at least learn to turn their volume down, and focus on what is good and positive. If you haven't yet, try memorizing certain parts from the ritual. Surprise yourself with what you may discover.
6. “The things which hurt, instruct.”
- Benjamin Franklin, Tun Tavern Lodge
You cannot have a perfect ashlar without repeatedly striking a rough ashlar first with tools of violent force- the Gavel and the Chisel.
5. “Illusion is the first of all pleasures.”
- Voltaire, Lodge of Nine Sisters
Like all pleasures in life, learn to take this in moderation. You cannot be the change that you want to be if you're living vicariously through your favorite characters on TV.
4. “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
- Winston Churchill, Studholme Lodge No. 1591
Take it from the Brother who went through years and years of failure before holding office and later to emerge as one of the greatest iconic figures of the twentieth century.
3. “It is better to be alone than in bad company.”
- George Washinton, Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4
Solitude can trigger depression. But it can also be your best ally in your quest to find yourself. Remember number 4, "an opportunity in every difficulty."
2. “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”
- Oscar Wilde, Apollo University Lodge No. 357
Choose your friends wisely.
1. “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
- Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain, Polar Star Masonic Lodge No. 79
The one with the most heart always wins.