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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Howdy from Canada, eh?

If you're just tuning in, I'm on tour in Toronto, Canada at the moment with a show called Legends! and I'd be happy to email you more complete and illustrated details if you send me an email to
christopher@christophershowerman.com with TOUR NEWSLETTER in the subject line.

The media is still reeling up here in response to the gunman that opened fire last week on a campus in Montreal. Canada has such a peaceful and gentle reputation that violence seems to be felt more acutely by the public than in most other countries where we have become somewhat desensitized. I believe entertainment, and specifically video games in this case, have a huge influence on how we express ourselves. We can't possibly know what was going through this young man's mind when he executed such horrific acts of violence, but I assure you we have all felt the same feelings and impulses he did at some point in our lives. One's character is shaped largely by how they deal with FEAR and the choices that result from being afraid. Before judging, we might benefit by asking how fear influences our own thoughts and actions, and in so doing find compassion for those who are enslaved by their fears.

Take care of each other.

All Things Possible!
Chris

18 Comments:

  • At 2:02 PM, September 17, 2006 , Blogger Tim said...

    Chris
    Fear is an interesting topic as it manifests itself in so many ways. Fear and stress often go hand in hand. We all have fears and while some may seem silly and unfounded, they are very real to the person who has them. I once knew a person who could function perfectly in society but as soon as he got home, where he lived alone, he completely shut down. He was totally afraid to be by himself. He mentioned this to me one time but it didn't click. His answer to his issues was to get "high" on what ever. I lost contact with guy so have no idea how or if there was any resolve to the "problem".

    What compels someone to go on a rampage of violence is beyond me. I do hold the media partly accountable in certain situations such as Columbine. That story was the cover story for almost every media outlet around. TIME magazine printed the pictures of the two shooters on the cover of the magazine surrounded by small pictures of the victims. This was exactly the type of notorioty that these kids were looking for. Shortly there after, we were looking at numerous copycat murder/suicides. I feel strongly that if these stories are not "celebrated" with constant media coverage, that many of them wouldn't happen. I can no longer look at TIME because of that issue as I feel it was a huge editorial mistake to run those pictures in the manner that they were.

    On an ALL THINGS POSSIBLE note, The Chicago Bears just won for the second week in a row (sorry Detroit fans, 34-7) thus proving a blind hog will find and acorn once in a while! GO BEARS!

    Tim

     
  • At 5:31 PM, September 18, 2006 , Anonymous DaveW said...

    Chris,
    I was shocked when I saw the news about the shooting in Montreal - sadly, it was the type of headline I'm used to seeing in conjuction with some horrible event in the United States and not in Canada.

    I agree that fear certainly is a huge influence on people and that how one deals with it reveals just what kind of person he or she is. After all, there are those who react to fear with violence, such as those who lash out in anger over a perceived threat to their way of life (as seems to be the case in the middle east and elsewhere) and those who react with service, a fireman overcoming fear to save someone in a burning building for example.

    I also don't understand those who set out to purposely hurt, maim, or kill innocent people - and to a degree aren't we all innocent? - it has to be more than a desire for simple fame but I'm not sure what...and maybe that's a good thing.

    Dave

     
  • At 2:02 PM, September 19, 2006 , Anonymous Jaschenka said...

    (Totally off topic but I'm writing this on behalf of ANGI who asked me to make a post here- need to think of a comment to make myself on the whole fear issue so I'll be back later but for now:

    Angi is doing fine- looks like she won't be needing an operation on her broken arm for now. She is still on painkillers and has excersizes to keep the muscles moving. She even managed to get back to class to start her new course.
    She thanks you all for your concern and well wishes- it means a lot to her to know she has this forum family to support her! Thank you all. )

     
  • At 8:35 PM, September 20, 2006 , Anonymous Patrick said...

    Chris, in a world where we have the opportunity to enjoy and love and experience, it eludes me how many people are afraid of what they do not understand, or are afraid of what overwhelms them.

    The shooting in Montreal is a blemish on our culture, and a true stumbling block in the development of our race. Sadly, these events happen every waking minute.

    But I need to place here for the Forum Family my very favorite piece of written art, penned by Max Ehrmann in 1952. I first read this art in 1978, and have blended its words into my daily life ever since I first read it. Until recently I never knew how much every line has truly become a part of me. Here is my gift to you, Chris, and the Forum Family for this week:

    Desiderata

    Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
    and remember what peace there may be in silence.
    As far as possible without surrender
    be on good terms with all persons.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
    and listen to others,
    even the dull and the ignorant;
    they too have their story.
    Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
    they are vexations to the spirit.
    If you compare yourself with others,
    you may become vain and bitter;
    for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
    Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
    Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
    it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
    Exercise caution in your business affairs;
    for the world is full of trickery.
    But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
    many persons strive for high ideals;
    and everywhere life is full of heroism.
    Be yourself.
    Especially, do not feign affection.
    Neither be cynical about love;
    for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
    it is as perennial as the grass.
    Take kindly the counsel of the years,
    gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
    Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
    But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
    Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
    Beyond a wholesome discipline,
    be gentle with yourself.
    You are a child of the universe,
    no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here.
    And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
    Therefore be at peace with God,
    whatever you conceive Him to be,
    and whatever your labors and aspirations,
    in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
    it is still a beautiful world.
    Be cheerful.
    Strive to be happy.

    Love to the Family,
    Patrick in Pittsburgh

     
  • At 8:16 PM, September 21, 2006 , Anonymous DaveW said...

    Patrick - thank you for the reminder about Max Ehrmann's beautiful poem. I had almost forgotten about it but it rings as true today as it did when it was first written, if not more so.

    Before we all get too down about tragedy and mayhem in the world let's not forget that there is still a lot of good in the world, too. I was especially reminded of this earlier this week when I sat on a "Board of Review" for our local Boy Scout. The board is where the boys are presented and their accomplishments reviewed so that they can be certified in their rank (Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, and on up to Eagle) and begin work on the next one. If you want a real pick me up it's great to see these boys develop into fine, upstanding young men.

    So, if I may be so bold, I would like to suggest that everyone think about becoming active with some youth group, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H, Campfire, Boys and Girls Clubs, and I am sure there are plenty of the same and similar organizations I haven't mentioned not only in North America but throughout the world. Perhaps if more of us caring adults took a hand in helping the next generation incidents like this recent shooting in Montreal would become all the more rare. As a famous US first lady once pointed out "it takes a village to raise a child" perhaps now, more than ever!

    Just something to think about - keep taking care of each other out there!

    Dave

     
  • At 3:06 PM, September 22, 2006 , Blogger Tim said...

    Dave is absolutely correct. Working with kids has many rewards. Every year I do a dog training session with a local 4H chapter. It is always fun as the kids are really into it. They get to bring their dogs, many of which have had little or no training, and we go through some training steps, behavior issues etc. One kid always gets to be my "dog" and I get him or her to perform a task using possitive motivation techniques (signaling and rewarding correct behaviors and ignoring incorrect ones) and no verbal commands. This years task was to get me a bottle of water out of the dog club refridgerator and bring it over to the chair I was sitting in. It took about two minutes which is a very good time considering we were in a 10 thousand square foot building.

    Next month is the Boy Scouts. I prefer using boys as my "dogs" as I tend to get a little more dirty with the task. I already know that said "dog" will be taking the garbage out to the dumpster. Should be a lot of fun.

    T

     
  • At 6:58 PM, September 22, 2006 , Blogger Christopher Showerman said...

    Awesome conversation in here!

    Thanks Tim for the powerful insight on Fear and the humorous way you train kids on training dogs. Sounds like a new chapter in Chicken Soup for the Soul!

    Yes Dave, you're absolutely right about helping others. Kids are so open to influences too and it's so important for all of us to go out of our way to set a good example for young people as they have plenty of bad ones!! I was a Boy Scout as you probably know and I'm a huge fan of Scouting! But there are tons of great groups for kids like the Boy's/Girl's club, Big Brothers/Sisters, YM/WCA, after school sports and extra curricular activities --- there are tons of opportunities to make a difference in a kid's life!

    Patrick! My mom had the Desiderada hung up in her room when I was a kid ...Hmmm, now that I think about it, I was probably the reason she had it where she would see it often!

    Thanks Jaschenka for the Angi update. What a relief she can go back to school instead of into surgery! Please send our love and well wishes to her!

    It's clear to me that you are all on a cutting edge of evolution and I'm proud to be here with you. THANKS for taking care of each other!

    All Things Possible!
    Chris

    PS: I saw a great documentary about the law of attraction. It's called The Secret. For more info, go to www.thesecret.tv

     
  • At 10:10 AM, September 25, 2006 , Blogger Kimberlilly said...

    I am having a heck of a time gettin gthis in here...but i wanted to say, that there is still a lot of good in this world, and one of the best "good things" is You, my Christopher! I can not recall a time that you haven't brightened up my life since we met so many years ago!
    I know that I haven't stayed in touch like I should, and for that I apologize. I have been letting the challenges of my daily life take me away from my cherished friends. Friends and family are the gravey of life! I did the food analogy for you, Chris!!
    I love you!! Kimberlilly

     
  • At 12:48 PM, September 25, 2006 , Blogger Christopher Showerman said...

    Hey Kimberlilly!

    What a treat! Thanks so much for writing in. I'm wishing all the best for you and yours! And yes you're absolutely right! There definitely is more good in the world than bad. And that which we focus on, good or bad, multiplies. So good for you for focusing on the good! Thanks!

    ATP!
    C

     
  • At 7:38 PM, September 25, 2006 , Anonymous Patrick said...

    Kimberlilly, what a beautiful name! Where do you live? And does "Kimberlilly" have special meaning?

    Patrick in Pittsburgh

     
  • At 9:51 PM, September 25, 2006 , Anonymous Sue said...

    Dear forum family,

    I've been thinking about what to post in regard to Chris' topic on fear and judgment and the violence that can stem from that. I read an interesting thought that relates to that. It was about compassion and how we can easily love our family and friends and those with whom we have an emotional investment. It pointed out that we can extend that feeling of compassion we have for our loved ones to strangers once we realize we have a heart connection. While not always easy, we can learn to extend compassion and empathy toward everyone we meet.

    While I was just reading about this in the morning, I became the focal point of a stranger's compassion later in the day. I had been realizing I'd have to take our 16-year old cat, Mimi, to be checked for an alarming health problem in her jaw area. I avoided going because our vet was out of town. But in recent days it became clear that I couldn't wait until she got back. I think I intuitively sensed what the new vet (a stranger to me and to the cat) would tell me. And when I saw a tear in his eye, I knew I probably would not be taking her home. He asked if I would like to, to say good-bye to my husband and son, but I also knew I might not have the courage to go back. Fear was holding me in a lot of places. My fear that it was aggressive cancer was confirmed. Because of his compassion, empathy and gentleness with me, I was able to let her go, and the fear was replaced by a peaceful knowing. Knowing that I'd made the right decision. Compassion can turn fear around. And oftentimes, the person we need to be most compassionate about is our own self.

    I have loved reading everyone's posts on this topic and all the wonderful things you are doing in your communities, and reading the Desiderata, so meaningful. Best wishes to Angi, and welcome to the forum Kimberlilly. And The Secret sounds intriguing, Chris. Hope to hear more about that. Also enjoying your weekly updates from Toronto. The sound clip is a wonderful touch. Hope everyone is able to experience it.

    On an upbeat, ATP note: The Detroit Tigers are in the playoffs for the first time since 1987, and my husband couldn't be happier.

    Enjoy the beautiful autumn days everyone, Sue

     
  • At 7:50 PM, September 26, 2006 , Anonymous Patrick said...

    Sue, it is good to hear from you! I am so sorry to hear about Mimi. I know your pain and loss as I have been a cat person all my life and have had to make those heartbreaking decisions before. It is like taking a piece of me and ripping it away from myself. But I also know the peace of making the right and compassionate decision. We just celebrated Rupert Timmerus' 16th birthday this past weekend, so your sharing is particularly special for me. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    I just today bought tickets to see Legends in Philadelphia on Sunday, October 29! My partner and I will make the 5 hour trip across the state and visit some good friends while there. Our man Chris may or may not be in the show that day, but I will give a report of what promises to be a very entertaining day. I am looking forward to the whole weekend in my old stomping grounds.

    I trust everyone in the Family is doing well. Please take time to post and let us know what is going on in your lives!

    My best to all!
    Patrick in Pittsburgh

     
  • At 5:53 PM, September 27, 2006 , Anonymous Sue said...

    Patrick, thanks for the kind words about our cat. It's amazing the number of people I've talked to since Monday who've gone through the same thing. Our pets are so much a part of our lives. I was glad to be with a compassionate young vet to walk me through my decision process. And then on the way out, a longtime farm neighbor was leaving and made a point to stop to talk to me. He was very supportive and consoling, remembering a similar event in their lives. Not only that, but we actually caught up on our families. It's so wonderful how the right people seem to be placed in your path, just when you need them.

    I'm glad to hear you're a cat person. They're such marvelous creatures and have brought much joy to our family. I love your cat's name. And I hope he lives well beyond 16 years. Thanks again for your care and concern.

    I hope you get to see Chris when you go see Legends! We're planning to see it when it comes to Michigan in November. Maybe, just maybe, someone in the forum family will be the lucky one to see Chris on stage. Hope you will report your news when you see the show!

    Hope everyone is keeping well and thinking ATP between tour newsletters! Sue

     
  • At 9:11 PM, September 27, 2006 , Anonymous DaveW said...

    Sue, I'm also sorry to hear about Mimi - pets are so special in our lives and it's always difficult to say good-bye at the end. I am sure you will agree though that, as the poet says, it is indeed better to have love and lost than to have not loved at all. Pets certainly seem to be able to become attached to us despite all our hang ups, and contrary to popular opinion I have found cats to be loving creatures just like dogs can be - it's too bad I am allergic - what's that other saying, something like "try to be the person your dog thinks you are?"

    I'm also planning to get up to see "Legends" when it gets to Lansing, Mich - and if for some reason I can't the stop in Cleveland isn't too far from me either - I won't be able to make it to Toronto unfortunately. But the good news is because I will be taking a trip to California for a couple of weeks (work followed by pleasure)!

    Take care everyone.

    Dave

     
  • At 8:38 AM, September 28, 2006 , Anonymous Angi said...

    Hi all

    Firstly can i just say a hugethank you to Jasch for posting on my behalf and to everyone for their kind, caring thoughts and wishes after my injury.

    Today i saw my Consultant and despite only being 18 days since the accident it was a real "all things possible " moment as the bits of lose bone have naturally fallen inbto place and are starting to heal nicely. apparently i'm amazing since i have a far greater range fo mobility than i should have for so recent a break - so much so the Consultant wants me to start physio asap instead of waiting another 4 weeks (minimum) when the break will have healed properly.

    I hate not being at work since I love my job, but obvioulsy having broken the arm just below the shoulder I guess it's common sense that i can't until it's fullty healed. Luckily i can go to college one day a week so was able to start my course so i've been trying to get ahead on reading and suchlike.

    Your posts on the current topic have been fantastic particularly Dave and Tims as part of my studies have been about Child development and how we as adults can improve their learning and development - it's reassuring to know that so many people still care enough to want to try and improve things and support todays children and young people the way Dave and Tim are doing. Well done guys :)

    Sue my thoughts go out to you over the loss of Mimi. She was after all a loved and cheerished member fo your family and your post of how caring and compassionate the Vet was at the time was moving.

    Chris love your newsletters - though for some reason i never got the last one but jasch forwarded hers. love the voice clip and the pictures. may your tour continue to go well and be inspiring.

    Finally thanks to everyone on here for posting and being so warm, loving and caring - reading the posts has helped me to stay sane!

    Love and Bright Blessings to you all

    Angi

     
  • At 8:41 AM, September 28, 2006 , Anonymous Angi said...

    sorry aslmost forgot Partick - your poem Desiderata has good memories for me too - it used to hand in my grandparents hall when i was a child. It has a wonderful timeless qualirty about it and the words will hopefully always have meaning to every generation.

    Thanks for posting it

    Angi

     
  • At 4:20 PM, September 29, 2006 , Anonymous Sue said...

    Chris, my deepest sympathy to you on the loss of your friend, Edward Albert. I enjoyed his performance on Sea of Fear and had also been a fan of his father. -- Dave and Angi, your posts about our cat warmed my heart. Thank you! -- Dave, I hope you can get to Lansing to see Legends! Wouldn't it be amazing if we could gather a group of fans? -- And, Angi, it was great to read about your recovery. I agree with you about the effect of the forum family...always uplifting to our spirits.

    May we all continue to catch the spirit! Wishing you a beautiful ATP weekend...Sue

     
  • At 12:51 AM, October 01, 2006 , Blogger Sandra said...

    Christopher, I think that you hit the nail on the head with your comment in regards to FEAR.

    I am reminded of something that one man many, many moons ago, has once said:

    "What man does not understand, he fears. And what man fears, he hates and will destroy".

    The man who said this was Gajus Julius Ceasar, at the height of his reign. He probably was talking out of experience.

    Some things never change. What Caesar said, makes so much more sense when you put the words into a certain context, like, let's say, homophobia or xenophobia. It explains why some people are so hateful and will resort to ultimate violence in order to destroy the very thing that they hate. Why they hate it? Because they fear it. And why do they fear it? Because they don't understand it.

    Anyway, just thought I'd throw in my five cents here. I just watched "Sea of Fear", Christopher. I rented the movie because of Edward Albert, I am a long time admirer of his work. Besides Edward, you of course impressed me greatly. You are great!

    Sandra from Montana

     

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