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My Dad, my hero, Andy Stoikos. As a teacher, he taught both elementary and high school classes for over 30 years. Many moons ago, he gave an assignment to his students to write about the meaning of life. They were to title it, “What’s it all about?”

My assignment is 29 years late. But after a deep talk last night pondering my childhood and all of the memories, this topic came up and I decided to take on the assignment. Here is my hand in, Mr. Stoikos.

What’s it all about?

The only thing I know for absolute certain is that we will never fully know what it is all about. You can have a full deck of 52 cards and it is a complete deck; you can have 18 holes and you have a complete golf course; you can have a full stomach of food and you’ll be full.

You’ll know what all those things are about, but you’ll never know “What IT’S all about”.

If you can be ok with knowing you’ll never fully know, you’ll move into the small sliver of space that allows you to get to the razors edge – right where you’re about to know it all. This simply further confirms how little you do know.

On route to the razor’s edge, to the spiritual fractal that can be created in this reality by our souls wish to experience itself as itself, you’ll come across a few lessons.

Quick learners learn once. Solving an issue, and moving on. Slower learners sometimes repeat the same lesson over and over again. Not because they like it, but because our egos can be stubborn.

Admitting to yourself that you’re wrong can be one of the hardest things a person will ever do in this life.

The wisest of souls observe others in their problems, and apply the wisdom to their own life should they come across a similar lesson.

So, What’s it all about? For me, I’ve learned a thing or two in this life. I’ve solved many lessons on the first try and have repeated some lessons 100 times, only to find that right now, in this moment, I am still trying to solve them.

With that being said, I know that it is about integrity.

My Dad defines integrity as: “what you do when you know that no one else is watching.” It’s about love – unconditional love. Many philosophers have preached forgiveness for eons; they’ve preached the power that the human heart has to heal. However, just because the answer is sitting in plain sight with forgiveness as the obvious play, doesn’t mean that we don’t purposely “accidentally” skip that page in our playbook when making a decision.

When things are good, love is easy. This especially applies to those closest to you.

When love is hard, love can be very hard. This especially applies to those closest to you.

Observing yourself, “see red” in any situation. Stepping back, breathing, and readdressing the situation from a different mood can often act as a diffuser before anything gets started. This lesson took me a long time to learn, and I am still learning.

It’s about the little things in life – the moments in between.

It’s not about waking up for hockey practice, or the moment you get on the ice. It’s about the drive to the rink.

It’s not about your first day of school, and it’s not about graduation. It’s about all days in between.

On a larger scale, it’s not about our birth or our death, and it’s definitely not about the destination, or any of the destinations in between.  It always has been (and always will be) about the journey. Because even when we manage to temporarily trick ourselves into thinking we have arrived somewhere, we start something new.

Finding the balance during the celebration is where the answers lie. This is where the Tao speaks the most softly, yet the most clearly.

Jamie Smart taught me that it’s only when the mud settles that we’ll be able to see from above the water down to the dirt floor. Because clarity is the result of stillness.

The paradox of desiring material items creates thought; a thought of polarity that contains the desire to possess the material item and the fear of what will happen if that material item is not procured. Trying to swim through water flowing both ways at the same time is not easy, and makes it hard to rest.

This paradox is a paradox because it’s only once you release all desire that you’ll have a blank mind. A thoughtless blank canvas ready to be lit up with the most beautiful colors flowing from the simplest of thoughts; a canvas ready to be painted without desire.

So when you get to this point, only to realize that you know you don’t know, you learn one last lesson: Write down every moment that gives you goosebumps.

Prioritize these thoughts that are sent down from our higher angels, then walk the path.

Follow whichever way the wind blows. Move closer when you hear your favourite song. If it smells good, get even closer. If she’s pretty, stare into her eyes.

If it makes your heart race, speed up enough to chase it. Then slow back down to get ahead so that you can enjoy the thrill of the chase.

Family – Father and Mother, I love you. This is the most powerful thing we can ever create – an ancestral twine of intangible spirits dancing to one endless song.

One Song. One = Uni, Song = Verse. Universe. Outside of time and space, just so the universe can see how beautiful it really is, all without having to look at a mirror, because it is always looking at itself.

Do not try and follow the Tao. Be the Tao. That’s what it’s all about.