Category Archives: Autobiographical

Love Thy Enemy

What have I learned from the people who hurt me and why do I still hold love in my heart for them?

  • I have developed a stronger and deeper faith in Baha’u’llah as the Great Teacher for our age.
  • I have gained more empathy and compassion for others (including myself).
  • I’m become more humble (although there’s definitely room for improvement here).
  • I have learned more patience.

Each time I have been hurt, I have learned something about myself and about humanity. I choose to view those experiences as an opportunity to grow. I am more an optimist about the future of humanity than I ever have been before. Our struggles have an ultimate purpose: the development of an ever-advancing global civilization. I am but a very small part of that, as we all are.

I don’t want to say too much about how I have been hurt, but some might wonder if those hurts were really so bad if I can be so positive about them. The answer will always be relative; what hurts me may not hurt you and what hurts you may not hurt me. Nevertheless, some of those hurts are objectively severe by any standards. I struggle every day with traumas from those hurts.

I sometimes wonder why I was able to withstand and then grow from those hurts. I want to credit that resilience mostly to how I was raised by my incredible parents, Valerie Senyk and Garry Berteig. There are probably other factors, but they both demonstrated in words and actions a standard that I have always admired and tried to live up to myself. They introduced me to the Baha’i Faith and the incredible principles and guidance that gave me a growth mindset. They supported me through many of the hardships that I have experienced. Thanks!

As a result, I don’t have enemies. There is no one that I hate. There is no one that I wish vengeance upon. There is no one that I will not try to empathize with. Even those who gave me some of my worst hurts, with the deepest, most permanent damage… I wish them well, and I hope their life is full of love, healing and progress.

Forty-Eight Years Old

Had a great birthday today. I turned 48. Two years to go until the big 5-oh.

My day was simple, but lovely. The main highlight was spending time with my family. In the early afternoon we did a puzzle together. All six of us: Melanie, Justice, Haifa, Verity, Ocean and myself. At about 3pm we all went to the Feast of Sovereignty together. This was particularly wonderful since it is rare that we do so all together.

The day was full with other things too: shovelling snow, errands, a great dinner (steaks, mashed potatoes, and steamed veggies), and packing for my work trip tomorrow.

I’ve set two new goals for my 50th year:

I will do 50,000 push-ups by time I turn 50. So far I’ve done just 25 since I set the goal 0.05% – yay!

I will say 5,000 “remover of difficulties” prayers by time I turn 50. My first spiritual development goal. I will add more.

FWIW, I’m making great progress on my first goal: 500,000 sit-ups… although I’ve had to modify it slightly. I hurt my back so I can’t do proper sit-ups. I’m doing isometric stomach clenches instead. I usually do 1000/day. Here is the chart showing my current progress towards 500,000 (weeks on the horizontal axis, total on the vertical axis):

One other little point of note: I finally crossed the million mile threshold with Air Canada. I’m now a lifetime Elite 50k member. I haven’t yet received my “package”. When I do, I’ll share some photos of stuff.

3485/500000 and 10th Day of the Baha’i Fast

My day of rest was good and I’m taking another ont tomorrow (one a week). This past week I set two new records: 100 reps of sit-ups in a single set (!!!) and 800 reps total for the week. The 100 reps was really hard and I felt awful afterwards. I also did another 150 reps day. However, I’ve added crunches to the traditional sit-ups, and I’m just calling them all “sit-ups”. So now, I will do 100 proper sit-ups per day and start working on increasing my crunches. I’ve also lost a bit of weight, about 7 lbs, mostly due to eating only one meal per day due to…

The Baha’i Fast has been great this year. It’s a little harder than last year, truth be told, probably because of my week off of work. I find it hard to ignore hunger and tiredness when I don’t actually have to do anything during the day. The part I’m having a hard time with is really getting some good prayer time in. There are distractions, but also I’m just having a hard time remembering. I have, however, been trying to spend time with each member of my family during this week. I have to do something with Ocean and Justice still. I went for dinner with Melanie, dinner with Haifa, and a movie with Verity (Captain America – good, but not great, btw).

I’ve tried doing a bit of pottery/ceramic art, but I feel like I haven’t got the hang of it right now. I tried an experiment for making tentacle sculptures, but it didn’t work out so well. And this evening I started a new “vase”, but it’s too early to say if it will work out.

I finished reading “Great North Road” by Peter F Hamilton. Fantastic sci-fi/detective/creature novel. Some really touching moments. Nice long read too, and completely self-contained. No sequel to wait for. No really unique ideas, but extremely well-written and enjoyable. I highly recommend it!

1st Day of the Baha’i Fast!

First day of the Baha’i Fast was tough… but I got through it. Lots of service to my family including shopping, chauffeuring, and cheffing. Went to the market in the morning, didn’t snack (like I normally do). Went to Costco and the Chinese grocery store in the afternoon. Took my family to pottery in the morning, and took Ocean to sleep over at a friends in the afternoon. Made dinner (with Melanie’s help) in the evening: fruit smoothie, turkey and onions, and yucca fries. I also took a nap and did some pottery stuff at home, and built the LEGO set Melanie got me for Ayyam-i-Ha.

My eating plan is simple: eat between sundown and two hours after sundown, eat healthy and no sugar/sugary foods, drink lots of water throughout the evening and early morning. Sunrise, say some prayers. I’m also continuing my sit-ups goal… not sure if it will be sustainable… but…

Today I set a new personal record for continuous reps of sit-ups: 70. I did it listening to “bury a friend” by Billie Eilish.

1915/500000 New Records Set

600 sit-ups this week! 55 reps in a set! 105 reps in 4 sequential sets. Next week’s goal: every day 100+ sit-ups. Here’s the deets for this week completed:

Exercise record:

20190219 30 SU + 200m swim + 20 SU + 20+30 SU

20190220 30+15 SU + 25+30 SU

20190221 30 SU + 50 SU

20190222 30 SU + 20 SU + 30 SU

20190223 20 SU + 20+20+20 SU

20190224 238.0lbs 124/93 108bpm 34bmi 33% body fat 166lbs lean mass 55 SU

20190225 236.2lbs 25+20+20+20+20 SU

New 50 Goal: Lose 50 lbs by Age 50

So I’ve made some good progress on my goal to 50000 sit-ups by time I’m fifty years old. I’ve been thinking a lot about other goals and I will have several more… but for now, I can announce my second 50 goal: to lose 50 pounds by time I am 50 years old. I weighed 238lbs this morning and losing 50 would get me to 188lbs. This is a little higher than my ideal weight of about 170, but would still be an enormous improvement. My current weight is the highest it has ever been. So, as I work my way down, I hope to find ways to make it completely sustainable. I also know that I can lose fifty pounds much faster than the three years until I am fifty, but by making it a long term goal, I can also aim for sustainability. I will start by doing some things that have been successful in the past:

  • having green smoothies or green juices every day,
  • eating keto-style stir-fries regularly,
  • restrict my eating hours (probably noon to 8pm),
  • drinking lots of water, and
  • doing more and regular exercise (beyond my sit-ups goal).

For exercise, I know that cycling and swimming are good. But bad weather can kibosh those so I will also get back to using the elliptical. I’ll start tracking that exercise and reporting it here too.

(Photo is me today as I post this. I’m not going to share a full-body image. I think those are kinda gross. As my weight improves, it will be easily visible in my face. )

1315/500000

425 sit ups this week. 50 reps in one set. 4 sets of 20 reps in one session. Three new records for me this past week. Goal for this week: 550+… gotta really push myself. I’ll start by doing 30 reps every morning instead of my more normal 20. Gotta average 80 reps per day. Starting to seriously consider that I need to lose weight to make the overall goal possible; probably 25-35 lbs!

In other news, my brother has a great proposal up on the LEGO Ideas site. Check it out and vote to support it:

https://ideas.lego.com/projects/5d8d64af-1292-4714-b0ce-9bdbd123a94c

890/500000 + I Am A…

I got only 300 sit-ups done this past week. I skipped Thursday and only did a few on Wednesday. But, I did 45, my highest in a long time in a single set, then did another 22 a couple minutes later. I can feel my body reaching the “this is easy” threshold. Soon. This coming week, I definitely want to do 350, but hopefully 400. I also need to accelerate. I don’t know if it is possible, but I hope in just a few weeks to be doing 700+.

We had a great team meeting today. There was lots of great consultation. One personal high note was an insight about myself. I listed off some things I aspire to being good at: a Baha’i, a father, a husband, a teacher,… an artist. When I got to that, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I couldn’t speak for what felt like a couple minutes. I have much to explore with that idea.

Here are some photos of a recent clay sculpture, after it has been glazed and fired:

Preparing for School

I’m working on getting ready for school. I will be taking two classes starting in September: Mathematics 2155 “Mathematical Structures” and Mathematics 3020 “Introduction to Abstract Algebra”. Both of these cover material I am broadly familiar with, but… My calculus and my linear algebra are very rusty. So, I’ve been using Khan Academy and a couple of old textbooks to try to catch up enough so that I’m not out of my depth when I start. I’m comfortable with basic differential calculus now, but I do need to memorize a few more standard derivatives. I’ve just started on integral calculus and linear algebra.

I’m really tempted to also start a few more “projects”… I’ve got a hankering to study French (again), do some electronics fiddling, and even try my hand at some sculpture (inspired by our recent family trip to Paris).  But, I need to be realistic about my capacity.  I’ve still got lots of work to do before my sabbatical starts including training, client consultations, and handing off more things to my colleagues.  Then, when September comes, I’m going to have to make sure that I’m completely focused on family and school.  After that has settled in, then maybe I can bring on another project or two 🙂