Category Archives: Empowerment

Sporting Life 10K, an empowering experience.

A while ago I began posting about my experience as I trained for my first real run, since highschool anyways. Even though I failed miserably at contributing to that campaign of mine I ended up raising a fair bit of money and running the full 10K. So all-in-all, I’m calling it a win.

The Sporting Life 10K is held in Toronto on Mother’s Day and begins at Yonge and Eglinton, extends down Yonge to Richmond, then heads West to Peter Street, South to Front, and then West to Bathurst before heading South West on Fort York; just to give you an idea. The race is a fundraiser for Camp Oochigeas which sponsors time at summer camp for children misfortuned with cancer, which costs $250.00 CAD a day.

Can you imagine being the parent of one of those children wanting nothing more than to give your child a life, but suffering from financial burden? I can’t. Which is why I raised nearly $400.00 in total, shy of my ambitious $2000.00 goal. My intentions were there but the time and effort needed wasn’t.

While I was training and fundraising I got caught up with work and unfortunately ‘fell off the wagon’. I also got sick with three different problems at once and it set me back even further. I’ve made full recoveries however, so not to worry.

When it came time for the run I felt anxious, nervous and maybe a little scared. I’m a smoker (guilty, but working on it) and have minimal experience with running besides Cross Country in elementary school. My initial thoughts were ultimately failure.

But when the sound went to give us our start I threw my ear buds in and felt a wave of exhileration come over me. I started with a jog and picked up pace as I ran South on Yonge Street enjoying the cool yet sunny morning Mother Nature had bestowed us with; taking in the concrete jungle under construction at its’ most quietest of times.

Before I knew it I had made it, 53 minutes later.

Shocking, right?

That’s what I thought too. Even more so I finished in the top 4,000 out of 20,000 people meaning I was in the top 20 percentile, and truly, I have never felt more accomplished.

I succeeded for not only myself but also at providing a day and a half at Camp Oochigeas for a child with cancer. Safely, an extremely empowering experience.

I think one thing I’ll be doing again is participating in another one of the runs held in Toronto this summer, but also getting back into action for the Sporting Life 10K Run next year.

Join me?

pG.

Finding ‘Time’ 

Too many times we hear from friends, family and yes even customers,

I don’t have time to take care of myself the way I wish I could, I just have too much to do.

I mean this statement in and of itself is a load of bogus, and we should side with some who may actually not have the time. Now keep in mind we all have the same 24 hours in our day, so the playing field is quite even across the board. However if we truly want to be able to care for ourselves in the ways we wish, whether that be indulging in our favourite luxuries or just getting on with the basics that keep us at our best, we sometimes need to make the time we seek.

As it goes for most things in life, cue the broken record, nothing is ever just handed to us. At times it may feel like we’ve been dealt a really good hand but that’s probably because we earned it through hard-work and perseverance. It should make sense that the same goes for the concept of seeking time that we can use to care for and pamper ourselves with. We’re going to need to create that space and find that moment on our own terms, so let’s get on with it. 

And if that means we need to start getting up earlier, quit the whining and let’s shake things up because ain’t nobody gonna beat that face for us.

We say that in order to have well cared for hair and skin we need to get morning as well as evening routines, and be consistent with them. Let’s take a look at how we can balance our time in order to do so.

Assuming you shower in the morning everyday like myself that’s your first step, where we cleanse and prep ourselves for what’s to follow.

Personally, an am post-shower routine consists of the following products:

  1. Toner,
  2. Blow-Dry Oil,
  3. Eye Cream,
  4. Serum,
  5. Face Oil,
  6. Moisturizer,
  7. Primer,
  8. Hairspray,
  9. Makeup,

… and I give myself 1 HOUR to get them on and get myself out. While doing so I also make sure my hair is given a blow-dry (daily), to my satisfaction, but I also feed the puppy and prepare my things for the day – while maybe snapping a quick photo and/or video for all you fabulous Instagrammers.

NOTE: I also meditate for 20 minutes every morning, walk the dog and make breakfast so I ensure that I’m up at least 2 1/2 hours prior to any shift. If it’s a training day, tap on an extra 40 minutes for a run. 

Mhm Peter, but how can we replicate this in our own lives?

Multi-tasking not only saves time, but preserves sanity as well.

Here’s an example…

We begin with the shower where all of the face, body and hair are washed, then follow the steps:

  1. Quickly towel-dry the hair,
  2. Pat-dry the skin to throw on some toner,
  3. Apply the blow-dry oil and brush it through the hair,
  4. While that soaks for a moment apply the eye cream of choice,
  5. Follow with the serum,
  6. Proceed to blow-dry the hair until it’s completely dry but don’t throw in styling product or hairspray just yet,
  7. Apply some of the face oil,
  8. Style the hair,
  9. Apply the appropriate moisturizer,
  10. Finish with primer,
  11. Feed the dog while the primer dries,
  12. Complete the full make-up application,
  13. Brush those teeth,
  14. Get those belongings and get on with it.

    In that time we’ve done our hair, performed our skincare routine, applied makeup, fed the dog and got out the door. What we’re doing by following such an intricate schedule is:

    1. Allowing for the continuous use of all of our favourite products,
    2. Producing maximal results with our routines (allowing for a few monents between each product application while we perform another step),
    3. Keeping ourselves happy and satisfied with our newly adapted means of indulging (while not taking away from our scheduled day).

    Now we’re out the door and on our way with smiles to bare, booyah. Job well done. Trust me when I say that it all becomes such a regular routine that we forget what we’re even doing by the time we’re applying the eye cream; CONSISTENCY will forever be our friend. 

    However… we are going to have to cleanse ourselves of the day once it’s over and this may take a little more effort than getting ready in the morning does; depending on what kind of motivation and drive encompasses you as a person.

    We’ve just worked a full-day, it might be late, we may even still need to cook dinner and just don’t feel like washing our face. But, don’t we want to get all that makeup, dirt and sebum out of our pores before letting our skins’ natural renewal process take affect throughout the night? Yes, yes we do.

    Let’s imagine we’ve just eaten dinner, it’s 7 pm, the dog still needs walking and fed; but we still need a few moments to ourselves in order to indulge and peform some personal care.

    The nightly routine may  look something like this,

    1. Cleansing Oil,
    2. Cleanser,
    3. Toner,
    4. Eye Cream,
    5. Serum,
    6. Face Oil,
    7. Moisturizer.

    … not nearly as enduring as the morning, and no haircare to boot. How hard can this be?

    1. Use the cleansing oil to remove makeup from the eyes and face,
    2. Follow instantly with the cleanser of your choice,
    3. Pat-dry the skin and apply toner,
    4. Apply eye cream to all contours of the eye area,
    5. Go ahead with the serum next,
    6. While the serum dries take the dog out for their walk,
    7. Come back in to apply the face oil,
    8. Prepare the dog’s dinner while that dries,
    9. Finish with some moisturizer,

    … the dog is happy, we’re happy and our skin is happy. We can now say goodnight to another phenomenal day and brace ourselves for the one ahead, because life is precious and as I’ve been reiterating, it is what we make of it.

    These examples above are drawn directly from my personal experiences as they always are and I use them to serve as a guideline. We all lead very different lives and that will alter the way in which we take care of ourselves. Some of those conflicts may be:

    • Children,
    • Pets,
    • Work Commute,
    • Long Work Week,
    • Low Energy,
    • Lack of Motivation.

    No one is perfect and we are all so unique, so let’s do the best that we can to make modifications to our daily lives so that not only are we happy and achieving great things as a result, but because we are becoming the best version of ourselves that we can possibly be.

    Who agrees with me when I say that as much as we hate to admit it, image has a lot to do with our successes and the way individuals view us, but the way we also view ourselves…?

    In a nutshell, negative psychosocial implications have no place in the lives of individuals with an eagerness to indulge themselves, and that’s the truth.

    If we need some assistance in getting our motivation up and our commitment to ourselves strengthened, I’d love offer you that empowerment at your discretion.

    Together we can accomplish so much.

    LET’S TALK

    Stay Indulgent,

    Peter. =D

    Keeping Passionate 

    Generation Y, X or even the Millenials are all too often faced with the same question regardless of what generation we belong to; comfort or happiness? Or so this is what we’re taught when searching for meaning and/ or purpose in our lives. Why though? We could start by taking a look at the perpetuated idea stating that what brings us comfort won’t make us happy, and what keeps us happy won’t often bring us comfort.

    Matcha Green Tea Latte, Aroma Espresso Bar

    Example #1, a man/ woman becomes a Lawyer because they come from a family of them and are expected to maintain the name and reputation, as well as the fortune. Little does their family know that they have interests elsewhere in Film Production.

    Example #2, a devoted artist graduates post-secondary schooling with a degree in Fine arts and finds that they have all the time in the world to paint. However this person doesn’t necessarily have the best comfort in life. 

    Society often makes it difficult to have the best of both worlds so we tend to settle under the belief that we can’t have it all. However that is a phony myth and shouldn’t be manifested as being the case for everyone, because each and every one of us has the power and capability within us to create our own future; and to ensure that it’s one that we’re genuinely going to be satisfied with.

    Why not change up the landscape and prevent falling victim?

    What we tend to fear is that all of this may take some dedicated time and focus in order to do so, and that is certainly true. Surely I’m not the first and won’t be the last to say that absolutely NOTHING comes easy. 

    Well then, let’s get to work…

    Before determining what more it is that we need from life we’re first going to need to take the time to realize what’s missing. Whether we are the Lawyer with interests beyond our field or the Painter in need of greater finances, figuring out what aspect of excitement or necessity is missing from our life will start us on a path that becomes easier to follow with time.

    Take me as an example.

    I have a job that I love because I found ways of creating my happinness at work through inspiring myself not only when working but also at home. I have also found ways to extend my role beyond being just another sales associate. I realized over time that much of the gratification I experience is a product of teaching individuals to indulge in themselves from an honest and genuine place on my end; and I’ve not only incorporated this into my routine at work but also in what I do outside of work. Phenomenal customer service and genuine interactions with an indulgent ending is a forté of mine.

    What did I do to incoporate my passions into my work life AND personal life? Well mot only do I extend my guidance to the customers I serve but I also started blogging, sharing stories, as well as product knowledge and favourites from an unbiased place of insight.

    And this his is what keeps me happy.

    Once we’ve been able to determine what exactly it is that our life is in need of, whether that be of comfort or of happiness, it becomes time to find a means of introducing the concept and/ or idea to our life. This means that we need to either take up a solo/ group hobby after work OR start a position at a new job/ work from home, aside from our primary passion. 

    We fear that all of this is going to compromise our use of time and generate a lack of it. Let me ask this though, if we aren’t investing our time into what makes us happy and what get’s us by, then what are we actually doing?

    Sure, what we’re about to take on may consist of using a great deal of our time, but don’t mistake it for time wasted.

    If it’s a hobby that we end up taking on, it isn’t all-too difficult to set aside an hour or two a day to make time for it. On the contrary, if it ends up being a job that we need it may require up-to 5 hours a day 3 times a week. Though maybe it’ll become easier to sleep at night once we’re happier, and that itself would balance out our new use of time.

    In a nutshell some of us are optimists and the others pesimists. I find more than often it’s us optimists that are in it for both the happiness and the comfort all at once; because we believe in the possibility. 

    ** Side note, I highly recommend reading You are a Badass by Jen Sincero whenever we’re in need of a kick in the rear. If there’s one thing the book taught me it’s that we should never hold ourselves back from reaching our full potential.**

    You are a Badass, Jen Sincero

    What brings us comfort won’t always bring us happiness and what brings us happiness won’t always create comfort. The beauty of being us, humans, is the freedom to individuality and the potential to curate a life that brings us homeostasis and a lifetime of joy.

    So get up, get motivated and get started.

    Life is too short to live under someone elses’ governance.

    Stay Identified,

    Peter. =D 

    9 Years in the Making 

    The date was Friday, August 15th, 2008 and I was at Canada’s Wonderland for the day with two of the many girls I had grown up with; innocent as we could be at 16 enjoying a day at the waterpark. While in line for a waterslide this little man with blonde-hair caught my attention with his profuse waving from just down the stairway, the two Catholic-raised friends I was with began making fun of the situation and I was instantly uncomfortable. No one enjoys being laughed at, right? Anyways, slightly off-put by the situation I decided to ignore all ends and move on in the moment. However it was after the waterslide that a young girl approached me with a piece of paper that had a phone number written on it and said, “This is from my friend.” Would you look at that, the first guy to ever hit on me. 

    Funny enough the concept of being gay was one I had yet to even think of, considering my former peers at Dante Alighieri Academy Catholic highschool claimed that I was on their own terms, and so endlessly bullied me because of it. Even more off-putting, why would anyone ever want to be Gay if that was the lifestyle that one were to be subjected to because of their sexuality? 

    It is with great confidence when I say that before I even came out of the closet I endured more than what most do; but still less than some others have. You see I took a grade 11 Geography course in grade 10 and that is where I met the few boys whom I would grow to hate OH SO MUCH over the following two years. 

    However I will thank you now for the thickened backbone,

    XOXO, Gossip Girl. 

    These men went on to cat call the word ‘faggot’ at me while going down the hallways loaded with students on a regular basis, but better yet consistently (weekly) egged my familes’ house by the dozen. Not fun. Although the icing on the cake was when I received a call from my Mother in Toronto while I was visiting my family in Glasgow, about 4 am Eastern Time so 9 am for me overseas. She exploded with anguish and despair into the phone while explaining to me how a group of young boys had just paintballed the exterior of the house I lived in. My family thought someone was trying to murder them, and all because a group of monkey’s wanted to expose that I was gay before I did. 

    I will tell you that by the time I had gotten to grade 12 I took no more shit from anyone and so began the emancipation of Peter. One day I personally drove to each of these boys’ houses, those that were vandalizing mine, and explained to their parents that the vehicles they allow their sons to borrow would soon be part of a criminal investigation should the one-sided war not come to an end. It is safe to say that mommy and daddy were not to impressed, specifically with the one boy who got smacked across the head right in front of me. Ha, what a win. Now you must be able to imagine how all of this made it extremely difficult for me to pick up the phone and dial the number I had received at Canada’s Wonderland on August 15th, 2008.

    Although eventually, I did… 

    Christmas 2015

    What would happen next would be 3 years of phone calls between me and the cute blue-eyed boy with blonde hair, with one or two meet-ups as well. Stevie, is that young boy’s name – now a handsome young man. He is the catalyst as to my coming-out. He knew well before I did and put his bid down before anyone else could, but that could not stop be from neglecting his feelings for me and exploring what else the gay community had to offer instead. Not the nicest move on my end but you cannot blame a young boy and his curiosity; Stevie and myself did keep in-touch through social media on occassion, during this time.

    While time went on I dated, partied, travelled and experienced all that has shaped me into the man I am today; the way life should go for most of us. In October of 2015 I began to settle and slowly began thinking of Stevie more and more, for whatever reason. Eventually I decided to reach out after about 4 years of no direct contact and asked him out on a date. Between us I expected a huge no, but totally got a yes instead. We ended up having that date AND many more to follow. 

    January 2017

    January 23rd, 2017 and here we are living in our Downtown Toronto apartment together with our precious rescue puppy, Crockett. I would be a liar to say that it has been a fairytale the entire time because no happy ending is without the struggle first. We are currently seeking our second apartment together and as I sit here to reflect on the last 9 years that has led us to this point, I have strong faith in where we are going to go. 

    Despite the harassment, obstacles and objections endured thus far, fate had it planned so that we would somehow end up together after all. I do not think either of us would want it any other way  because our bond is strong even through the years. That being said, whatever bullying you experience or taunting you endure just know that it is not forever and you will one day be a much stronger person than your oppressors are today. As hard as it is to believe, by keeping your chin up, shoulders back and eyes straight you will frighten off any piece of shit who thinks they have entitlement over your life; confidence is terrifying to the weak. Your time will come and your love will shine, patience is a virtue after all. 

    If you ever need to reach out and chat, or know someone who does; do not hesitate to email me at thecityconglomerate@gmail.com. My door is always open to those in need of guidance and or comfort.

    Ps to those who bullied me during highschool, your names and faces are forever engraved. Shame on you.

    Stay Confident in your Path,

    Peter. =D

    Blue Skies on Blue Monday

    Since 2005 the term Blue Monday has stuck with some and is essentially known as the most depressing day of the year for those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere. The idea was first publicized by Sky Travel and is considered to be of pseudoscience, a term which refers to claims or beliefs which are capable of being defined by science but based off of exaggerated, contradictory or all-in-all unprovable claims. So is Blue Monday really that blue after all? While the theory does take into consideration the time spent since Christmas withdrawing from all the livliness and excitement, the levels of debt incurred and peoples’ inability to maintain their New Years Resolutions; I would like to think that it is what you make of it. 

    Toronto from the 7th floor

    When I wake up this morning I take a look from our 7th floor balcony and what I see is bright and blue. Nothing like a gloomy, winter day that you would expect for Blue Monday. Already, there is nothing remotely depressing about the day given that the temperatures are not unbearable and my view of the Toronto Skyline is lit well and crisp with morning smog. Crockett, our puppy, agrees that the day is right and so he insists that we go for a walk and that is exactly what we do; now that I am outside on this glorious day, I cannot wait to make it mine and not a product of some pseudoscience travel agency. 

    Stevie is already out and on with his day which means that I have no choice but to get on with mine. Evidently we are a household on the move, the way we like it. I chose not to neglect my commitment to my daily Transcendental Meditation practice, I throw on some soothing sounds and take my place in position for at least the next 45 minutes. If there is one thing that will certainly prevent me from feeling blue vibes today it is a slow and relaxing pass through the few levels of brainwaves in order to silence any unproductive thoughts or impeding voice in my head. Today’s meditation is different from others, there is more settle in the air than there has been in previous weeks.

     I blame retail for this. 

    The hustle and bustle of the Holiday’s manifests itself differently between those who work retail and those who shop retail anytime between November 1st to at least the middle of January. Some withdraw from the excitement and some do not withdraw at all. The reason why I say there is much more settle in the air now then there was weeks ago; I have taken up a position with one of my favorite luxury brands at the Toronto Eaton Centre and we just had our first Christmas in the mall, and a wild one at that. It has been years since I have braved the retail environment like I do now, better yet during the Holiday’s, and so I forgot what was to be expected. With extreme love for what I do was able to brave through it and now sit here and be able to write about it, while I re-encounter the many emotions felt during the season. It is about this time of January that we begin to move back into the usual 10-month cycle before the next 2-month break in routine and for that I am forever thankful. Yet another reason my Monday is bright and not so dull after all. 

    Working the Holiday’s, photo by Darren Eagles @darreneaglescreative

    I am able to Transcend AND got this post up so I move on to the rest of my day, and I am not entirely sure where that takes me. I have the day off work and after getting the majority of housekeeping done last week I have not left myself much to do. However the lingering thought of moving in 4 weeks is one that is beginning to sit heavy and should need appeasement asap so I do suppose that is a great place to start. But first, allow me to indulge in my favorite morning skincare routine with a super refining exfoliation to boot.

    Now, if you read this far and are wondering why it is possible that  you are feeling blue on Blue Monday and have no reason to be; and maybe you have just to realize that. This life is what you make of it and I guarantee you that any optimist or individual with a brighter outlook on the overall grand scheme of things would have to agree. That being said today is my day of peace, the calm AFTER the storm.

    As always, there is no better love and care than the one for ourselves. 

    Stay Vibrant,

    Peter. =D 

    Meditation has Ultimately, Changed Me.

    Yes, Meditation has most certainly changed me as a person and my ability to hold multiple perspectives in situations thus giving me more control over my thoughts and actions. It really is a powerful experience that anyone can benefit from if we just allow ourselves to Transcend. If you think this is crazy talk, then be prepared for more to follow. Now someone might ask why I started Meditating, as I too have asked people before. Sadly enough it begins with a visit to the Vetirenary Emergency on the Civic Holiday of August 2o16.

    Last April we rescued a Jack Russell/Dachshund Mix from the Toronto Humane Society, a cute little 6-month old bugger by the name of Crockett. 4 months into owning him he breaks his leg, and that’s where the stress and anxiety really kicked in full throttle. To be quite honest I knew there were going to be issues, visits to the Vet and some obstacles to overcome with adopting a puppy; but I did not expect any of it to happen so early in the game. As you can imagine, being caught off guard with a very expensive surgery and bi-weekly visits to the Veterinary Emergency Clinic did it for me, it began to make me feel things I hadn’t quite felt before. 

    August 2016, Crockett helping me read during his recovery

    Come September, 3 weeks post-operation for Crockett and a few days before my Birthday, I reach the final part of the book I’m reading which is Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself by Joe Dispenza. It’s a fantastic read if you really want ‘out with the old, and in with the new’ and isn’t overly scientific or over-baring with beliefs and opinions. The final part of the book walks me through a 4 week Meditation called Transcendental Meditation, where I’m taught to connect to the Quantam Field by travelling through the four different levels of Brain Waves: Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta. I was not kidding when I said there was more crazy talk to come. To Transcend is to leave reality behind for a short period of time, 45-60 minutes a day in my case, and extend beyond the boundaries of knowledge and experience to “Fire & Re-Wire” the subliminal past that currently encourages me to take action or react in ways that ultimately make me feel uneasy. The product of a very stressful few weeks.

    4 months, going on 5, of daily Meditation has given me the strength and power I need to push forward in difficult situations; but has also given me, and continues to, much more clarity in terms of what my purpose is and where my life might be headed. How? Transcendental Meditation gives me full control over the outcome of my future by allowing me to leave the past, in the past. This includes my overly-anxious or stress-induced responses in certain situations, my fear of repeat outcomes in particular scenarios or my own self-defeating belief that things can’t and won’t get better, ever. Up until now I’ve worked through emotions and feelings such as anxiety, stress, anger and the occassional lack of confidence. Let me tell you, I feel 100 times better and I’ve been told that I have grown into a much wiser and much more mature individual over this period of time. Don’t we love seeing the fruits of our labor?

    I’m not telling you to that you need to take a class on Quantam Energy and the steps it takes to Transcend to feel like a well-balanced human being. What I am sharing with you is how committing a small portion of our day to understanding ourselves on a deeper level of meaning, beyond what we experience here in reality, can really invigorate the spirit and assist in guiding it appropriately. I know that I have subliminal triggers that cause me to act out in certain ways and this makes me feel ultimately uncomfortable. So, the feeling of having no control over the outcomes in my life terrifies me and there’s many ways to avoid these kinds of experiences, Transcendental Meditation being one. Take the time for yourself to focus on yourslef, you won’t regret it. 

    Remember, what you put out is what you get back.

    Stay Calm… and try to Carry On,

    Peter. Xo.