No I Didn’t See The Hunchback

The line up was long, but it gave my radar the time to turn on. I stared at the Notre Dame Cathedral and listen to our guides’ story of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. When I stood at the doorway I realized there was a Sunday service and the great hall was packed. For those to worship you can sit in the middle – for those of you who are touring please be quite and walk the perimeter.
As I stood there I took in the sight of the magnificent building and touched the stone that has stood for hundreds of years.
The warmth filled my body. I gradually moved myself through the crowd and listen to low baritone voice sing hallelujah. The voice passed through me as if it were removing any noise that may clutter my thoughts. I slid to the right to read a plaque in French and see if all those years living in Montreal and attending a french immersion class would pay off. As I moved closer to see – I am still not sure if it was my aging eye site or the limited dungeon like light available. It was just then that I felt a moment of absolute silence. No hallelujah, no echoing whispers from the tourists and no clicking camera shutter buttons.
It was just silent enough to hear and feel the light puff of air on the side of my right ear, cheek and side of my neck. It was distinct and definitive. It was eerily calming and emotionally overwhelming. I continued to stare at the plaque – still not to sure what it was about – I wiped away the tears as I thought about my Mom who passed away a few years earlier.
After her passing I learned more about her quite, but strong religious beliefs. For reasons I am uncertain she never pushed them on us. She always wanted what was best for my sister and me. She often put everyone else’s needs ahead of hers – including her grandchildren. I wonder what she would think knowing her 12 and 14-year-old grand children are travelling through parts of Europe and are presently standing in Notre Dame Cathedral.
Our tour guide mentioned that people have real awakening moments when they pass through the cathedral he was right.
I spoke with him that evening and replayed my encounter. We spoke till 2:30 am (no alcohol required) and he explained to me the origin of the word INSPIRE. He indicated to me that it was from the Greek origin to ‘inspir’ , or blow air in to ones ear.
I guess my mother was inspiring me that day.
Learn to quite your mind and turn on your radar and its fascinating the frequencies you will hear.

What Pooh Bear Taught Me On Vacation

Well it was a long day of travel – but we made it. A long flight through the night while everyone around you is sleeping is a wonderful time for self thought. It’s wonderful what our minds can think of when we have time to think. More often then not we tend to fill our minds with itinerary and what’s next. Actually two nights before leaving I was doing the same thing. We started to skip ahead to the big travel day. When I did this I actually took away from the trip experience. You see in the book ‘The Tao of Pooh’ Winnie spends his time in wonderful anticipation and fascination of the mere chance of finding honey. Sure, Winnie is disappointed when he eventually sniffs out an empty pot of honey, but his rather seemingly sad and troubled response is soon forgotten. He immediately places himself in the present moment and recognizes his opportunity of finding honey again. Winnie’s life is a constant in the moment opportunity of finding honey and the pleasure it brings. The great thing is the moment after he finds honey, his attention immediately returns to the chance of finding more and the day to day pleasure it brings. So we are in control of our in the moment thoughts – we just sometimes let them get away from us.


You Learn Lots About Yourself When You Pack

Well the last weekend before leaving and we began to pack.  If we could only watch ourselves from a ‘third party kind of way’ we just might figure out why we think the way we do.  I realized that I tend to over think the most insignificant items in my life – yet for much more difficult decisions, I tend to be very instinctual.  You see I have this mini playoff in my head on my favorite, shirts, jeans, shorts and unmentionables.  It’s kind of external force, that somehow enters my thoughts.  As if  to say ‘think really hard about the most trivial items and you will ensure the vacation your life. 

That same day I spoke with my brother in-law about a few details of our travel.  When we were signing off, I said we will see you in a few weeks.  He mentioned that he and his family just couldn’t wait to see us.  It hit home.  The magnitude of our trip hit the core of my being.  We are travelling to Europe for three weeks.  I am excited for my wife and children. 

After hanging up the phone, I sat in the living room silently and was truly overwhelmed.  The trip is about the experience, friends and family.  It’s about life long memories and removing excuses about visiting your family oversea.  It’s about doing it now rather than waiting for some other time that may be better.  It’s about enjoying your life and the wonderful opportunities within it.  

I am a little uncertain why I was so emotional after I hung up the phone.  But, one thing I am certain about –  is that it probably has nothing to do with my favorite socks and underwear I’m bringing.

The Trip of A Life Time

About ten month ago my son’s soccer team decided we
were going to enter the Donosti Cup, soccer tournament in
San Sabastian, Spain. In eight days from this post our
family and sixteen other boys and some form of
representative from there family are heading out for an
experience of a life time.
Over the next three weeks I am going to attempt to deliver
the ‘feeling’ of our family experience, rather then a day to
day itinerary of our daily do list. Remember I am trying to
capture the experience – I hope it touches your heart the
way I’m sure it will touch ours.


My Grade 8 Graduation Speech – By Emma Kirk

When I reflect back on my first day of school at CRB, I could never have imagined that I would be standing in front of you today.  →It feels like I have been given a blank canvas to paint a picture of the life we have shared together at CRB.

Where to begin and where should I end? 

 Like many masterpieces they are only moments in time – a snap shot – of the artists view and interpretation of their surroundings.

 Tonight →I would like to paint a picture for you in your mind.  The great thing about the painting in each of our minds is that it will be different.

 To help demonstrate this point, take a look around the gym. →We have all have created portraits of ourselves. Even though we all had the same instructions look at how different everybody’s portrait is. →

 Even the finest pieces of art are interpreted differently.

  For some the picture in your mind will include→ little babies growing up right in front of their eyes. →  For others they will see the next generation of teachers, doctors, business men and women or human right activists. Other’s they will see the graduation gift and party that lies around the corner. →→→→→→

The point is each one of us has the exceptional ability to be unique and capable.

 I decided that my picture will be an abstract painting, because when I layer it with all the great memories I have had at CRB there would be a multitude of colours all mixed together.

 There is a saying that ‘We do not remember days, we remember moments.’

 So my painting will be filled with a series of moments in time.

 Time in the dictionary→ is defined as the continuous passage of existence→ in which events pass from a state of potentiality in the future, →through the present, →to a state of finality in the past 

 If we all take a moment and think about time, it’s easy to understand that our lives are filled with lots of little moments. → For myself I kind of wonder where all of those moments have gone and I’m sure most of you do to.

 Wow, we are off to high school next year (cheer) →→→

  Moment by moment our lives are filled with experiences that define who we are and who we may grow up to be.

  When we look back, I hope we realize that all of the friendships made at CRB, → the teachers that have guided us, → our parents advice good and bad →and the time when we all told jokes coming back from Quebec, has helped each one of us become the people we are today.

 Our lives have been shaped by similar and different experiences.  Yet we all sit here today with the common ground of graduating GRADE 8.

 Our experiences have produced moments of fun and laughter, and moments of tears and worries.

 There were first moments; learning to ski or staying over night at Brock.

 There were band medals, wonderland and spoons with Mrs. Andrews.  Tarzan ropes, Muskoca, rock band with Mr. O Grady and circus school, Moguls and the streets of Quebec.

 First break, second break and pizza day.  →Sorry Mom and Dad there were good lunches and bad ones. 

 Hot days cold days and the best of all snow days. →→→ 

 There was school tragedy and school triumph.

 There was whispering in class and talking by the locker, → the gym, →the library, the portables the………you get the idea.

No matter how you look into the past it is these moments that have united us here today, which are all moments in my life that I will never forget.

 Remembering these moments are powerful because they can lift your spirit when you’re feeling down.

 The great thing about my painting is that these same moments will help shape who we are and challenge us on who we will become.

 Moments will challenge us to make hard decisions – that may sometimes not turn out the way we want. →→→ But the great thing about moments is that there will always be another.

 Moments will teach us that we always have decisions in life – that’s why I want to include moments in my picture

 Moments are opportunities to be great. Anything and everything you do is a moment.  Some you will remember and some you will forget.  Some you will choose to forget and some you won’t be able to.  That’s why I want to paint this picture.  So I won’t forget.

 Today we will stand here before our parents graduating from Grade 8.  They have watched us grow up from babies all the way to teenagers; they too wonder where their moments have gone. 

 The only exception to this rule is a certain person in my family who keeps having another 29th birthday. →→→

 Our parents paint a different picture then ours today but I am certain it includes a swoosh of pride, a dabble of envy and a whole lot of love.

 One thing is for sure this moment is a great feeling. → It’s filled with friendship, excitement, wonder, and emotions. →We can feel the love from our family and friends and the pride our teachers have for us.

 Time is interesting that way. It never stops, and nor will it ever.

 The moments that surround us will keep coming, some good some bad but either way they will never stop. It’s exciting to think of what moments lay ahead of us.

 I would like to ask all the graduates to take a moment tomorrow to paint one colour with one stroke of a paint brush on this canvas to help me create an abstract painting of today’s graduation.

 Remember John Lennon once said

          ‘A dream you dream alone is only a dream, a dream you dream together is reality”

 But for this moment, thanks for making this a great graduating class I will never forget.

 When I look at the painting in my mind, I realized that I painted a beautiful picture filled with love, friendships, and laughter and I couldn’t have painted it any other way.

The Concert By:Dr. Rod Kirk

[This was written about six years ago – it still touches my heart. Enjoy]
The feeling was overwhelming.  There were streams of tears running down my face, my heart was beating in my throat, my hands trembling; I wasn’t too sure what to make of this surge of emotion, I looked to my wife for some comfort –
but she was no better off.  Her camera was shaking and her eyes looked like
two melting icicles.  The whole time our four year old son Fraser was oblivious to our emotions.  He was unfazed by the fact that his six year old sister was
stepping to centre stage to play a solo performance of Twinkle Twinkle at
her school Christmas Concert.You see it all started a few months earlier when Emma brought her piano book to her music teacher and asked to play for her class.  Her class solo led to
a repeat performance for some of the other grade music classes.  I guess
Emma’s music teacher thought she would be able to complete the task at the
Christmas concert.  Emma was asked by her teacher perform on the xylophone
in front of the whole school and their parents.  The xylophone sat by her
beside for the next two weeks.  Every night before bedtime stories Emma
would practice one more time.  It seemed pretty routinely for her after a few
weeks.  Each time she would focus on the music sheet before her practice
session.  She was ready.
On the night of the performance, as Emma took centre stage, I noticed one
glaring oversight, no music sheet!  My nerves were already shot and my
daughter was on stage in front of everyone with no sheets of music to play
from.  As Emma took her cue from the music teacher the crowd silenced as she
struck her first note.  Emma was playing her performance from memory.  No
music, nor worries, no what ifs and no real understanding of the magnitude
of her accomplishment.  The whole gymnasium of people broke into major
ovation, she was marvellous!

I realized a few things that evening.  First, the pressure you put on
yourself often stems from your fear of failure.  Second, when you treat your
challenges in life with the attitude of a six year old child, just try hard
and don’t worry about the what if, your outcome is less important then the
process of your task.  The last thing I learned was focusing through a video
camera while tears stream down your face is a difficult task.



A Clown, E.T. and Love by: Dr. Rod Kirk

It was a clown who introduced us.  I hung out with a friend who practiced magic and eventually went on to make a living as a clown. For any of you who know my wife and me that makes for a perfect beginning. In the age of internet dating I don’t believe there are too many people who can say they met there significant other with the aid of a clown. I was off to junior hockey camp and was not really looking for a relationship- after all I just turned 17.  When my clown friend went over to see one of his friends, I tagged along and met my future wife. Of course I didn’t know that at the time or so I thought. You see when I first saw my wife there was a connection well beyond anything that I could logically explain or understand.  The clown his ex girlfriend my future wife and myself had a wonderful time laughing and talking that evening.   When we left I couldn’t get her out of my mind. Every second of the day I kept thinking of her. The funny thing is that feeling hasn’t gone away.  Before leaving for junior hockey tryouts I needed to see her again. I decide to go to her work and ask her out on a date. I fluffed up my long curly hockey hair, jumped into my dads sporty K-Car and sped off to Wendy’s restaurant, where my future wife worked – as crew leader I may add ( Just re-read the last sentence and I think that is the funniest thing I ever wrote down on a piece of paper).  I eased my way to the cash and just ordered a Sprite, at the time I felt it was the most mature drink to order- the crazy things we do when we are in love.We went to see E.T on our first date, that way I knew I would be better looking then the lead in the movie. The date wasn’t over and I already missed her. That’s when you know you love someone, you miss them before they leave you.Two different high schools, she went to Mac and I went to Guelph. She went to Nippissing teachers college and I went to Chicago to start my chiropractic schooling.  All the time we were apart she never left me, she is always with me. That’s when you know you are in love.

Some don’t believe in soul mates. I do. I feel my wife’s presence in everything I do. She breathes her life into my existence everyday. She is a wonderful wife, friend, mother and teacher. I love her with all my being and when I am with her we laugh like clowns and I feel at home like E.T.

Alayne Happy Valentines Day, I felt like sharing how I feel about you with the world -143 Rod.

Is There Really Nothing To Write About? By: Dr. Rod Kirk

Well I didn’t think it would be that soon but I am having my first experience of writers block.  You heard me I have nothing to say.  Ever since I participated in a life coaching program I began writing.  I have learned to use my journal to capture many of my deepest thoughts, philosophies and reflections.  For the majority of time I rarely struggled with things to reflect upon.  I generally experience my day with the intrigue to identify the little things in my world that move or inspire me.  I often see the world and it’s subtle meaning in my personal quirky way.   The difference this time is I have a deadline to produce material for my blog.  To keep my blog fresh and alive I have been instructed and have researched that I ‘should’ produce a new post a least once a week.  The problem with that type of request is that it is directed at me.  You see as an instinctively driven individual most of my thoughts and insight just pop into my head.  What I have learned to do is simply capture them and write them down.  Now when I am required to write something down I struggle because I am trying to write from my ‘head’ rather then my ‘heart’. I recently figured this out after having a brief conversation with one of the parents on our hockey team.  (I will leave all names out because I don’t want people to stop talking to me in fear that I will write something about them).   Jokingly, I was told to stop writing those stories because they made her tearful.  I guess they pulled at her ‘heart strings’.  Well to let you in on a little secret every time I read my own personal stories my eyes swell up.  So that’s it – I need to focus from the heart not the head when I write.   So when I look at the world using my heart as a lens I generally see things differently.  Today I saw the universe deliver piles of snow.  I watched it come down from the heaven above and smother us in a warm blanket of white.  My children came down the stairs for breakfast and I was blessed by their presence.  I was privileged to share a coffee and a car ride with my glorious wife as I dropped her off at school.  My daughter negotiated an extra cookie in her, and her brother’s lunch today.  The neighbour’s cat came up to our back window to say ‘hi’ to Atlas our cat.  I used my snow-blower to shovel myself out and the older gentleman at the end of street. I then spent an hour at the passport office where I was able to look around at all the people in the waiting area.  Different walks of life all with their own life stories.  Their stories may be sad or they could be happy, nevertheless they are stories.  As I waited I saw how life and the connection to others could pass unnoticably by the workers.  I wondered if the passport employees ever paused in their routine of the day, to reflect.  I wonder if any of you pause to reflect.  And, if you do pause to reflect do you share them with others.  I truly believe that when we stop and reflect we see the brilliance of all that surrounds us.  Life some times comes ‘at’ us and we simply learn to navigate it.  We pass through life as if we are on a Subway watching the stops go by, failing to get off at a different stop in fear of what it may bring.  We often don’t speak from our hearts to others in fear of what the reaction may be.  But, this time I want to thank the parent who truly spoke from her heart to help inspire this story.  

Living The Dream by: Dr.Rod Kirk

I was a ten year old boy once and when I went to bed dreamed of the same things my 10 year old son does today. When I was growing up I would think of playing for the Montreal Canadiens. I grew up in Montreal so it was never even a remote thought to play for any other team. Like millions of children before us and all those who will follow, that one day they too will hopefully don their favorite team jersey.I went into my son’s room to kiss him goodnight and just as I was leaving he said “dad can ask you a question?” “Sure son” I said.  He said it was an important one so I should get comfortable. Sure I thought to myself, I haven’t seen this one before.  It was a perfect parent ‘sceptical moment’.  That’s what I like to call those moments, when you think your children are trying to pull the ‘wool over your eyes.’  If stalling your bed time was an art my son would be Picasso.  My son is the champ. If there was an Olympic gold medal handed out to the best bed time staler my son would be in training for the upcoming Olympics. With my keen spider senses tingling I settled in at the edge of his bed.  I was alert and aware of the upcoming dual between staler and referee.  Tonight I was poised to foil his attempt for an additional 10 minutes.  Tonight he would be unable to engage me in a conversation of insight and philosophical jargon.  Tonight, I will be victorious not just for me but all parents and their bed time routines.   I started to sense my son’s level of importance to the question.  But, I knew I needed to stay on task if I were to foil his attempt of gaining precious awake time.   I was strong that day nothing he could ask me would penetrate my purpose tonight.  “Dad, what’s the probability of me making the NHL?” he askedThe master of stalling snookered me again by.  He hit me with two of the things I love most.  Two items I generally have no defence for.  My son’s wonderful boy innocence’s and hockey.Who was I to shatter the dreams of my son. As a player who wriggled his way up the ranks I knew perfectly well what my sons probability of making the NHL.  But, who am I to shatter his dreams. If he were 17 years old and he told me he wanted to be a Lawyer, Teacher or a Restaurant Owner I would probably do whatever I could do to support him.So how do you support a mere sparkle in young boy?  It was the very same glimmer that I once possessed.  I thought for a moment while I rubbed his back.  “Son,” I said “the great things about dreams are they belong to you, they are real to you and I am glad you have them.”  But, I knew from similar conversations that this answer would not be adequate enough.  The only way I could leave this conversation and keep his dream a probability to him was this.  “Fraser” I said,  “when I was ten, if someone asked me what I thought the probability of having the life I have today, with my extraordinary and beautiful wife, two amazing children, a marvellous career,  live in the home I do and be surrounded by wonderful family and great friends, I wouldn’t have believed them. So Fraser dreams do come true you just have to pick them.”  “Thanks Dad.” He said. “Your welcome, now stop stalling and get some sleep.”  (I couldn’t resist the stalling part) I leaned over and gave him another kiss on the forehead, pulled up his Montreal Canadiens blanket and tucked him in, “Sweet Dreams buddy.”