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Thursday, March 28, 2013

And Now Presenting...The Reverend Rivedal (A Message on Suicide Prevention)



On St. Patrick’s Day 2013, I got a chance to preach at Union Baptist Church in Mystic, Connecticut. My message was entitled “We are All Worthy” and it covered compassion, kindness, community, and suicide prevention. It was from a Biblical perspective and I want to give you a few highlights because, and if I do say so myself, it was the bomb!

Before you all start giggling and wondering how I crossed into the threshold of a church without lightning striking me dead, I am an ordained minister through the Universal Life Church. I don’t talk about my faith too often because it’s intensely personal and something we can have an intimate conversation about when I see you. The message was also in anticipation of the “I am Worthy Project” which I’m collaborating on.

Here goes:

...I want to read a passage from 1st Kings 19: 4-8. This is right after Elijah defeated the prophets of Ba’al. He was on the run and was going through a very dark time in his life.

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”
Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel[a] touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.
Elijah wanted to die. He fell into a deep, dark despair. One of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament. That guy. What did God do? 
God didn’t try to make him feel guilty. He didn’t say “Hey Elijah...how could you?” or “Think of your family” or even “You’re being selfish right now.” Nope. He didn’t do any of that.

He didn’t give a bunch of advice. “Hey Elijah maybe if you got a little exercise once in awhile... take a few laps around the mountain and sweat it out.” Nope. None of that either.

God didn’t even tell him he was a sinner. 

What did God do? He was compassionate and caring. He listened. He provided support, a professional helper if you will, an angel.

And we can be that same guardian angel that God provided Elijah. We can be a support. We can do more listening than speaking, we can be sympathetic and without judgement. And we can refer to professional help.

That was just a sample, some of the middle of the message, but I’m pretty proud of it and wanted to share with y’all. If you so some faith-based Christian stuff, feel free to take the message and expand upon it and use it! 

Thanks for playin’ 

- The Rev. 


Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Sneak Peek into the book version of: "The Gospel According to Josh"



Hey there friends...so I decided I want to share another little piece of my soon-to-be released book with you. I just got back the second three chapters of my memoir from my editor and made a few changes and wanted to show it to you first. Barring any major revisions to the rest of the book...I’m giving you a sneak peek into :

 Chapter 9: A Visit from an Old Frenemy

        ....This money was the nicest gift my father had ever given me outside of not aborting me, feeding me, and occasionally throwing a football around with my younger self. He could have left everything to the church or some right-wing militant Christian organization, but instead he chose to give me something that didn’t come with a card signed by my mother from the both of them. 

This conundrum of what to do with my money reminded me of the Biblical Parable of the Talents as told by Jesus, the Jewish carpenter and not the Dominican baseball player, that had me leafing through my Bible for the first time in over a decade. 
* * *
To make the Parable of the Talents a bit more relatable to our Muslim, Atheist, and non-Bible reading friends; I will tell it re-imagined as a 1980’s blockbuster Broadway musical starring the supremely talented Colm Wilkinson.
A wealthy hedge fund manager also a Scottish Lord named Lawrence Wankersford III, played by Wilkinson, was leaving his four story Brownstone apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan to do business in Monte Carlo for a year. As he departed he gave three of his servants “talents,” which in the 1980’s was an interchangeable term for a large sum of money. 

To the first servant (played by Mandy Patinkin) he gave five talents. To the second servant played (Michael Crawford) he gave two talents. And to the third servant (Angela Lansbury), he gave one talent. 

When his year in Monte Carlo was over, Lawrence came back to Manhattan with a fresh tan from the French Riviera sun and partial ownership of a Monaco casino. Much to his delight he found that the first two servants invested their talents in IBM, Berkshire Hathaway, and a series of high performing junk bonds that made their talents grow exponentially. 

Lawrence was so pleased with the first two servants that he gave them honorary titles of Gentlemen within his House, more talents to invest, and a vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. 

But the third servant put her one and only talent under a mattress in the basement of his Brownstone apartment and waited till Lawrence came back from Monte Carlo so she could simply return him the money. Lawrence became furious with her for being all too cautious and punished her by taking away her talent. He then expelled her from his service, forcing her to live out her days as a poor purveyor of mysterious and delectable meat pies. 

The moral of the original story Jesus was telling may very well have been, “use it or lose it.” And he may have been making a valid point. 


* * *
I hope to have another little something for you in about a month. Oh and leave a comment, please! Thanks for playing!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Worry and Panic: The Sirens that Lead to Shipwreck



This week I got lost while driving in Mexico. We were in Tijuana and trying to get back to the border and somehow I took a wrong turn into a very peligroso (dangerous) looking part of town. Street signs didn’t exist nor did actual streets in some places. We were down to our last eighth of a tank of gas and making right turns that led to nowhere for at least a half hour and soon I would be writing this blog to ask for my ransom money.

We had to get back to the U.S. and panic and worry were not going to get us there. There was a solution to this problem (there always is). 

  • Keep driving, looking for ways to stay parallel to the highway
  • Keep on the lookout for a gas station
  • Find a friendlier part of town to ask for directions
  • Turn international roaming back on to my smartphone (Google Maps)
  • Put my glasses on to read the few street signs that existed
  • Learn the ways of the Los Zetas cartel and join them as one of their own (kidding)

It’s funny because in hindsight, these options all look to be relatively simple and easy conclusions. But if I allowed panic and worry to set in, phrases like “We’ll never get out of here,” “We’re going to run out of gas,” and “I’m never going to make it to my thirtieth birthday;” would have entered into my conscious and I would have been right. But those thoughts aren’t solutions, they’re sirens setting a course for shipwreck.

Whether you’re stuck in a dead-end job, a business that’s going nowhere, a stale relationship; there’s always a solution. The outcome might not be as imminent as the need to escape a dangerous neighborhood but every second we spend worrying or in panic mode over something we dislike about our lives—we’re spending time in a dangerous neighborhood which isn’t always ugly. That neighborhood may have the sirens of panic and worry living in it; singing to us about financial security, fame, or comfort—which might not be what you really want or need.

There’s always a solution...and you are a big part of it.


(PS. we found our way out of Tijuana just fine, thanks for your concern)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The i'Mpossible Project …According to Megan Densmore (40)



This is the fortieth edition of The i’Mpossible Project: A series where anyone can share a personal story of inspiration or an event in life where they overcame tremendous odds. Everyone has a powerful story to tell and something to teach the world. (See HERE for guidelines on how you can write for The i’Mpossible Project.) Here we have Megan Densmore with Training Pain Free 
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My name is Megan Densmore. I have a blog. It is mostly about kettlebells and Kettlebell Sport and occasionally other
inspirational tidbits or fun things that I feel like posting. To say that I am obsessed with kettlebells is a gross understatement...as I train for my second Kettlebell Sport competition to be held in NYC on Saturday April 6th, I realize that every day of my life revolves in one way or another around my sport. Three to four days a week I make time for kettlebell workouts that last about an hour and half and often include me running anywhere from 2-7km after the kettlebell portion of the workout. I also make time for two light Pilates workouts per week to keep my body feeling limber and healthy. Every single day of my life requires me to plan meals and food intake and not just for my sport. I am intolerant to gluten and severely hypoglycemic. I am also hungry, let’s be honest more like starving, almost all the time. My workouts burn an extremely high amount of calories and my body fat is very low which means my metabolism is very fast. It never seems to amaze me that my body is able to handle all of these demands with no problem at all. Especially since I have Fibromyalgia. Yes, you read that right, I have that widely misunderstood and often misdiagnosed condition called Fibromyalgia or Fibro for short. I was conclusively diagnosed at age 13 and have received confirmation from two other highly regarded specialists since then. I was told as a pre-teen that I was going to be in pain for the rest of my life, was given prescriptions for scary medications like Celebrex and Vioxx, and was told with complete certainty that I would never be a competitive athlete. Well, I am 29 years old and I am a competitive athlete. Never say never because anything is possible.
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Why is this "The i’Mpossible Project?" 
Inspired by Josh Rivedal's book and one-man show The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah. Gospel (non-religious) means "Good News" and Josh's good news is that he's alive, and thriving, able to tell his story and help other people.

On his international tour with his one-man show, he found incredible people who felt voiceless or worthless yet who were outstanding people with important personal stories waiting to be told. These personal stories changed his life and the life of the storyteller for the better. 

Josh's one-man show continues through 2015 and beyond and he is looking for people in all walks of life, online and offline, to help give them a voice and share their stories with the world.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mindset is Everything




Whether you think you can or you can’t you’re right. 
-Henry Ford


This week after doing a show in Saginaw, Michigan; I was scheduled to be on a flight from Detroit to New York City which got canceled at the very last minute while I was in the airport.

It was 3:30 p.m. on my birthday, I had to be back home for dinner reservations, and a big job in the morning that if I missed would cost me hundreds of dollars while costing the client thousands.

What the heck do I do? There are no more flights with this airline until the following morning, but that singular flight that would get me home on time is already full.

I can’t rebook a flight with another airline unless I want to pay an astronomical fee... but since everything is an adventure and this cancelation, a minor speed bump, I decide to rent a car and make the eleven hour drive back.

Since I’ve made the decision to drive home and there are other people in line who need to get back to New York, I find three other people to take the trip with me to throw in for gas money and to relieve me behind the wheel when I get tired.

To make a long story short, I made it home in one piece by 2 a.m. that evening. I made three new friends, two who were from Australia, and I got a chance to do some great work for my client the following morning. All is well that ends well.

That impromptu road trip was brought about by the horrible people at Voldemort (He who will not be named) Airlines, elbow grease, and a positive mindset.

“Everything is an adventure,” was the only thing I let go through my head as I pulled in those complete strangers and drove the long journey home. 

A great deal of those 200 other passengers stayed in that re-book line to b&%^h and moan, to give someone a piece of their mind, or left to go to Big Boy Airlines to pay a thousand times what they should have.

But in life, as entrepreneurs, as people of unlimited potential but of limited (usually financial) means; when things go awry we must put our heads down, rely on others a little bit, take a leadership role when the moment is right (and not always when it’s easiest), minimize as best we can the collateral damage, and soldier on.

Your mindset is one of the most powerful thing you can employ. You have a choice—will you continue to live as a victim of Voldemort Airlines, or will you do whatever is necessary to overcome that unfortunate circumstance to tap into the vast potential of your greatness? (Hint: You’re better than the unfortunate circumstance.)