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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kenny's Story

Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening... I think I got it all covered now.

I am writing to you from my desk, in my house, in my town... I am back home :)

My European adventure is over.  I cannot believe how fast the time went, I mean it went really really fast... have I mentioned it went by fast?  My, how time flies...

Ok I am running out of time on the time jokes :) hahahaha Ok, I will stop now, I am serious.

Anyways, when I got home, I was greeted with quite the surprise, Kenny.

Before I get to Kenny, a couple quick updates

12-12-12- event and Holidays around the world event's will be posted this week.  These will be photo event's so get your camera's ready!  :)

It is time to start thinking about what you will challenge yourself to do  in 2013.  I have an idea to help us all stay more accountable.  I am putting the finishing touches on it and should have something to share with you all in the next week or so.

My monthly newsletter comes out this Friday.  If you have not already subscribed to it, click here to do so.  It is free and full of good tips and information.  Who does not want FREE tips and information?  :)

 That is it as far as updates go, now, back to Kenny...

Meet Kenny:

When I got home, I walked into a house filled with the aroma's of Thanksgiving dinner, familiar faces, and a couple new dogs.  My housemate, seeing the surprise on my face, quickly told me that he was helping out a friend by fostering two dogs for a few days.  One of these dogs is Kenny.  As he told me Kenny's story, my heart melted.

Kenny,  was found abandoned in a field, lying in the freezing cold, bleeding to death.  Kenny was a "Bait Dog."  Bait Dog's are used in dog fighting.  This is the Wikipedia description of a "Bait Dog"

""Bait" animals are animals used to test a dog's fighting instinct; they are often mauled or killed in the process. Trainers obtain bait animals from several sources: wild or feral animals, animals obtained from a shelter, or in some cases, stolen pets. Sometimes the animals are also obtained through "free to a good home" ads. According to news reports compiled by the Humane Society of the United States, the snouts of bait dogs are wrapped with duct tape to prevent them from injuring dogs being trained for fighting. Their teeth are filed and their nails are cut until nothing is left.The dogs bite, and tear to subdue the opposing animal by incapacitating or killing it"

Bait animal, that's what Kenny was.  And apparently he had served his purpose and was discarded like a piece of trash, left to die.

When they first found Kenny, they were not sure if he would even live. He was so emaciated that his ribs were all protruding from his body.  He was covered in blood. And had dozens of scars all over his face, his neck, and the rest of his body.

I am not sure how the next part of the story goes, but from what I understand, word about Kenny got out and  a Facebook page was made about him which quickly got over 10,000 likes on it - people were trying to get him rescued before his set euthanized date which was 3 days ahead. People as far as Utah were posting about him on Facebook.  People wanted to save Kenny and help him find a home.

Kenny has been at my house for about a week now and he is one of the sweetest, most gentle animals I have ever met.  The idea of him being bound up and left defenseless while people are encouraging other dogs to bite and claw at him, breaks my heart.  I was talking with my housemate about this the other day and we both said we have not even heard him so much as whimper, let alone a bark or growl from Kenny. 

I have never known a dog that holds eye contact with you as long as Kenny does.  He comes up to you, very sheepishly at first because he is terrified he will get hurt, but despite that fear he still approaches.  Once he feels safe, he locks eyes on you and does not break eye contact, not even for a second.  You can see it and you can feel it, he wants so badly to connect with the person who is petting him.  He wants so badly to be loved and to be able to give love. 

Kenny was so abused, that he does not even know how to play.  I watched yesterday as my housemate through the ball for the other dogs and Kenny stood by and watched.  After seeing the other dogs fetch the ball, Kenny tried it himself.  The only problem, he is still not quite sure how to run, and he is still pretty weak.  So after a few laborious gallops, he had to stop.  I was amazed that he tried, and then that got me thinking...

Humans, as evolved as we think we are, we really are way behind our four legged friends, in a couple very big areas.

Kenny has experienced more pain and trauma than most people will ever experience in their lifetime.  His face and neck is nothing but one big scar.

Humans have this bad habit of taking painful experiences and giving a more painful meaning to the experience.  Dog's have a painful experience and want only the opportunity to move past it and love.  Humans hold onto the pain because the pain allows them to form an identity from it - this happened so I am not good enough, I am not loveable, I can't, I am a failure, I am stupid, etc....  You all know how that list goes.  Dogs want to let go and move past the pain because they want their identity to be as far removed from the pain as possible, they only want their identity to be associated with love.

Why do we do this to ourselves?  Why aren't we more like dogs?  What would our day to day life be like?  What would the world be like if we all acted a little more like dogs?

If you were Kenny, how would you recover?  How would you go on living?  Would you shut the world out?  Would you blame everyone and everything?  Would you fault God for letting "this" happen to you?  Would you use it as an excuse to justify why things just seem to never go right in your life?  Or, would you resolve to leave it in the past and move forward and do your very best to give love and be loved?

Kenny loves to cuddle, he loves to eat, he enjoys being around other dogs too.  He loves to hug, he likes to dance, he enjoys learning new things like learning how to play.  And, what Kenny seems to love more than anything, something he gets so excited about that he nearly wags his tail right off his body, is he LOVES to be loved, and he LOVES to give love.

Maybe that is the key for us humans - to simplify the world and focus on the things Kenny enjoys the most:  cuddling, eating, being around other people.  Giving great hugs, an occasional dance, learning new things and playing.  And, most importantly love... giving love without any expectation of it in return, and soaking up every ounce of it when it is given.

Here are a few more pics of Kenny,

I have shed quite a few tears spending time with Kenny the last few days, I think as he his healing, he is helping me heal a part of me that I did not realize, or did not want to realize, needed to heal too.

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,


ps.  if you enjoy my photos, be sure to check out my photography site by clicking here.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Going Home

As the title implies, my time living in Europe is coming to an end.  I cannot believe 4 months have come and gone already!

It seems like the time has at times flown and at other times crept by.  It seems like a lifetime ago that I was filled with the excitement of the Olympics and the adventures that lay ahead.  It really has been only 4 months...

Before I get into the meat and potato's of the blog, mmmm meat and potato's (said with my best Homer Simpson voice) a few quick updates.

December I am planning on holding Two 1000 Challenge Community events.  A holidays around the world event like we did last year - it was a lot of fun wasn't it?? :)  And a 12-12-12 at 12:12 am/pm event similar to what we did on 11-11-11 at 11:11am/pm last year.  Details will come out in the next week or two.

On the subject of December it is the gift giving season.  Who is in need of a new wall or office calendar?  If you said yes, check out my photography website.  I have calendar's there as well as many other great gift ideas:  Jesse Brisendine Photography

It is funny because when I left California for Europe way back in July, I had visions of a much different experience than I have had.  I imagined traveling on the weekends, visiting all the cool spots to eat at, having beers at some of the local pubs, and covering every square inch of London by foot.

It started out that way.  The first month I was here, I would say I walked about 7 miles every weekend around London.  I would finish that walk with a stop at a random pub for a tasty cold beer.  And then life happened.

An ongoing stomach/digestive issue, to put it delicately, and the medicine I am taking to try to help with it put me on the sidelines from doing some of the things I enjoy.  Since that first month, I have gone out to eat maybe six times, and have had two days where I allowed myself a couple beers.  My body has been so sensitive that alcohol, red meat, spicy food, greasy food, sugary food, buttery food, fatty food, fun food, etc... really unleashes havoc on me almost immediately after.  For a couple weeks there I thought I was getting better, and then took several big steps backwards.

I am  not complaining though.  Although I would be if I was not flexible with my dreams and visions that I have for my life.

I was talking to a friend a few days ago about dogs and how they spend so much time chasing their tails.  They will spend hours in the pursuit of trying to catch up to something that is.... that is already behind them.  And what they miss out on while engaged in this endeavor, is all the potential fun that lies in front of them.

Humans get caught chasing their tails too.  We all have times where we wish we could go back, "if only we could do this over," "if I could just be like I was at this time" etc... We can't go back.  We can only stay right where we are, or move forward.  So why do we spend so much time holding onto the past.

We marry ourselves to ideas we have.  Visions, of how life is "Supposed to be," when Life has other ideas for us.  If we resist the ebs and flows life throws at us, we end up like the dog, spending a lot of our time chasing our tails.  BUT, if we learn to ride the waves that come with the ebs and flows of life, then we will always be able to find a new opportunity that was hidden behind the vision of what we thought life was "supposed to be."

I'll offer myself up as an example. 

I had this vision of what my down time, my personal time here in Europe was "supposed to be." Travel on the weekends, adventures at pubs and various restaurants, exploring the city on foot, and of course documenting all of it with my camera.  I had dreamed about this, I was excited about it, I could not wait for it, I got a taste of it, I wanted more of it, then life decided it was time for an ebb and flow.

Decision time for Jesse, do I hold onto the above dream, chase my tail, only ultimately to be let down when I realize that I can never catch it?  Or do I get flexible, do I ride the wave and flow with the ebb and flow?

I opted for choice #2.

The time that was going to be spent on pubs and restaurants got redirected into refining my diet, eating well, and getting rid of extra body fat I have been carrying around for far to long.  As a result of this decision I am going home in better overall shape than when I left.

The time I was going to devote to traveling and getting out in the countryside I re-invested into myself.  I spent some time rehabbing nagging injuries and learning how my body moves and ways to correct imbalances that have caused me problems for years.  And while I am not fully healed, i am definitely healing, and stronger in some ways than I have ever been in my life.  As an added bonus, I now can be more empathetic with clients who experience similar injuries.  Something I was not able to do before.

The time I was going to spend walking around and exploring, I re-invested to my own personal learning and growth.  I have been talking about taking online classes for the last 3 years.  I love to learn, but never make the time for myself.  I decided to finally do it.  And since I was given this gift of extra free time (notice the choice of language "given a gift,") I was able to really dive into this class I am taking and as a result am probably 3 months ahead in it than I would be otherwise!  And the best part is what I am learning here is only going to make me more effective as a Life Coach which means it will only help me better pursue what I am really passionate about - helping people.

Other little things that I was able to do with my extra time I was given:
  • Read three more books than I would have normally read.  
  • Get ahead on some of my business development and expansion.
  • Learn to meditate ( I have only been talking about doing this for 6 years or more)
  • Learn new creative ways to challenge my body with exercise combinations
I am sure there are a couple more in there, but that is all I can think of for now.

The point is this:

Life is not always going to work out the way we think it is "supposed to."  We are going to get thrown curve balls from time to time.  Life ebbs and flows, it always has and it always will.  If we don't learn to hit the curve or to ride the ebb and flow, we will be left like our four legged friends, chasing what's behind us, never able to catch it.

On the other hand if we learn to hit the curve, if we learn to flow with the ebb and flow, if we learn to look for opportunity in places we had not thought to look before, then one thing is for sure, we will never find ourselves hung up on dreams of the past.

Opportunity to create and make your life better exists around every corner, we just got to be willing to look for it.

So I did not get to have the European adventure I had envisioned.   I still had a great time and I am so thankful for the opportunities I did have, all of them.  I know I will be back and I know there will be other opportunities to see Ireland, Scotland, and many more places. But I may never get the opportunity of "time:" Time to heal, Time to learn, and Time to grow that I have had these last several months.  I am so glad I took advantage of the opportunity.

And now for the next adventure, back to California!  Who knows what opportunities will in store in the near future. I will certainly be looking for them :)

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,



Monday, November 5, 2012

It Can't Rain All the Time

Helllllooooooo EVERYONE!

I have been visiting the small island of Tenerife, part of the Canary Islands for the last 10 days.  I was so excited to come here as it brought with it the promise of sunshine, warm weather, a tan and clear skies.  Four things I was no finding a whole lot of in London.

Three of the first four days were amazing.  The weather was perfect, the sun was shining, my tan was returning, and then the rain came.

And it did not leave, it rained, and rained, then rained some more, and then rained even more.  Before I get to all that a couple quick notes:

1.) I have a Youtube page where I upload weekly videos.  These videos are meant to help, inspire, motivate, and educate.  I encourage you to check them out.  After all they are free resources!!!  Here is the link:  My Youtube Page

2.)  I have a couple ideas for a few end of the year and beginning of 2013 1000 Challenge Community Challenges.  Before I get those up and running, I wanted to check with you all and see if You had a suggestion.  The more the merrier. :)

3.)  On the challenge note:  start thinking of what you will Challenge yourself to do in 2013.  I have some new ideas that will help with our accountability and ensure we make 2013 our best and most successful year yet.

4.)  The holiday season is here!  If you are looking for some cool gift ideas, check out my photography page.  A motivational calendar or a pretty picture make great holiday gifts.  Check it out here

So, onto the rain....

As I was saying it rained, then rained some more, then rained even more than that, then it stormed!  When all was said and done, there has been more rain here in the last 6 days than in the last 2 years combined!  Two days ago I was sitting by my window watching the rain come down, and I remembered a quote from, "The Crow," one of my favorite movies growing up:  "It can't rain all the time."

"It can't rain all the time," is the title of a song from the lead character's band, but it is used as a metaphor throughout the movie.  Just to give you a little background, the lead character and his girlfriend are murdered on "Devil's Night" a night of looting and mayhem that crime lords organize the night before Halloween.

One year later, Eric, the main character, is able to come back to life, kill all the bad guys, and avenge his and his girlfriends death's.  The metaphor from "It can't rain all the time," is formed throughout the movie.  "It can't rain all the time," comes to mean: that we will all experience some rainy days during our lives.  Some of those days will turn into severe storms, storms that may seem like it is impossible to survive, but you can.  No matter how  dark the skies are, no matter how horrible the reality may seem, the sun and promise of brighter days are on the horizon because, "It can't rain all the time."

So how does "The Crow" tie into me sitting at the window on a rainy Canary Island afternoon?  Well, earlier that day I had talked to three of my friends who live on the East Coast (Connecticut and New Jersey).  They were very fortunate to have minimal damage from Hurricane Sandy, but others, as you all know by now, were not.

I sat thinking about Hurricane Sandy and all the people affected by it.  Then I thought of "The Crow," and as I was thinking of "The Crow," the storm broke for a few minutes revealing a small patch of blue sky.  And it reminded me of a few important facts that are definitely worth mentioning here.

Hope can be bred out of chaos and destruction.  Whether you are dealing with Hurricane Sandy, or your own personal storm, keep searching for hope.  Hope has the power to guide you through the darkest of days.

Perspective is so important.  When we are hit by a storm, whether it is a physical storm the likes of Sandy, or an inner one that rages inside you; it is so easy to develop a negative perspective.  Your perspective is your North Star, it guides you through life.  If you form the perspective that the world is against me, God hates me, etc... you will go through life experiencing just that.  If instead you look for a more empowering perspective, something like: this is my opportunity to help others, this is my chance to be a better neighbor, friend, etc... your North Star will guide you on a path that allows you to experience more opportunities to help, be a better neighbor, etc...

Strength is not just for bodybuilders.  Strength is something that resides in all of us and when the storms of life hit, it is the time we need to dig deep down inside of ourselves and summon our greatest strengths.  We all have the capability to be stronger than we are. 

Love.  It is so important, our most precious natural resource, and during stormy times, there can never be enough of it. Spread as much love as you can during these trying times, love will eventually prevail.

Every second of every day people around the world experience extremes.  A man in Texas can be experiencing the miracle of life, the birth of his first child.  While at the same time a woman in Egypt is watching her son get murdered.  Life happens in the blink of an eye, it always has, and it always will.  We are not guaranteed a tomorrow, we are only promised this moment that we are living right now.  No matter how perils the situation may seem, it is important to stop, take a breath, and take a few seconds to be grateful for all that you do have.

Amidst devastation it is so easy to focus on the have not's: the loss, the destruction, the injuries, the injustice's.  These may be a reality, but they are not the only reality.  That other reality lies in gratitude: your breath, your still alive, your abilities to make a difference, friends, family, your ability to move, to read the words in front of you.  Stay focused on gratitude it will help you through the storms.

"It can't rain all the time." Eventually the storm will pass and the dark skies will give away to the promise of a brighter tomorrow.  Stay strong, look for an empowering perspective, spread the love, express gratitude, and keep hope alive, for without these things, we are nothing and life has no meaning.

My thoughts and love are with all of you who are weathering a storm.

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,