Once again, I sit down at my computer and reflect back on the year that was. (Previous years are here.) If there is one thing that’s constant in my life, it’s change. This year was no different and was filled with some significant loses and transitions, some highs and lows.
In February, I made an application to immigrate to the United States from Canada to be with my longtime partner and wife (as of last year), Anne Williams. My green card just arrived just a couple of weeks ago, so I’m one step closer to becoming ‘merican!
As many of you know, I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to leave the massage profession over these past few years. Last year I decided that I had to shut down World Massage Conference, but someone suggested that we compile past presentations and make them available to the profession. We had broadcast well over 400 classes over 11 years so it was an enormous job! At the end of it all, we had created the biggest library of online education in existence. We called it the “Vault” and we announced that we would retire the site at the end of year.
When Les Sweeney at ABMP heard we were retiring, he offered to take over the reins. So my partners, Scott Dartnall, Melanie Hayden and myself are delighted to announce that World Massage Conference will live on under ABMP’s direction. It couldn’t be in better hands. ABMP Certified Members will now have free access to over 600 CE classes! All we can say is “Wow!”
While waiting for my application to process, Scott Dartnall and I did a road trip in California. Last time we did a road trip, World Massage Conference was born! This time is was for Scott’s new “pet project” Dog Care on Air. We shot footage for a dog care conference and had a blast doing it. Here’s a rough cut of one of our interviews:
Shortly afterwards, my father called me to tell me that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. That’s a bad cancer as it is mostly asymptomatic and most people, like my dad, are only diagnosed when it’s in the late stages. I headed home to spend a little time with him thinking that I’d come back and spend the summer with him. When I arrived home, he was a little thinner and a little jaundiced, but he was in good spirits, was moving around fine and was joking around as usual. To everyone’s surprise, he was dead within three weeks.
He was the best of men. He impacted the lives of so many people, many who consider him a second father. Growing up, we always had “strays” at our house: Relatives, friends and strangers who needed help. Even though we never had a lot, he and my mom did not hesitate to share what they had. I didn’t mind sharing him with so many people. There was lots of love to go around. He was a man of few words, but he radiated love through his actions every day, manifesting his beautiful generous spirit. Helping and loving others was not something he had to think about; it was who he was. He was just being Orville.
I remember his great bedtime stories he told me as a kid. I remember how he would always do school field trips with me and how I was proud to have him along because he was a cool dad. When I decided to pursue a career in classical ballet he didn’t make fun of me, but built a barre in the basement so I could practice. Later in life, he and my mom moved to Toronto for a couple years to help me raise my son. He’d always fix things around the house whenever he was over for a visit. You could count on him to have his tool box in the car and a few odd bolts and washers in his pockets at all times.
My parents are so wholesome that I often joked that they “were here for a long time, not a good time” (Trooper song reference). But I know he enjoyed his simple life tremendously. He was as healthy as a horse. At 88 he had great vision and hearing, he still had his hair and his teeth, and he never had to take any medications. So his sudden decline after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer was a shock.
Thankfully, we always said, “I love you.” We enjoyed lots of time and great memories together. And I got to be there at the end to care for him and say goodbye. I will always carry his spirit in my heart. Here’s the last note he wrote before he died. We don’t know what he was thinking when he wrote it, but I’ll take them as words to live by…
I finished two books this year. A small book called “Sell Gift Certificates“, which endedup being an Amazon bestseller and another big book called “260 Extremely Practical Ways to Build Your Massage Practice”, which I’ll release in the new year.
My real passion project over these past few years has been an online English immersion program for learners of English. I developed a unique methodology and worked with a screenwriter through the fall to develop the script.
But… I’ve put my English project on hold to put my energies into yet another massage project. Yes, I got pulled back into massage. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to leave the profession!
I can’t share any details. All I can say right now is that I’m excited. This will be a game changer. I pioneered online conferences and this will be another pioneering project. It’s a bit of a “disruptive technology” and massage schools will never be the same again. We’ll announce its release in the spring of 2019. Stay tuned.
For the first time in over 30 years, I started taking ballet classes again. I used to dance professionally before getting into massage. I can honestly say that it’s not like riding a bike, unless that bike is old, rusty and has a wheel falling off. Despite the fact that I can barely touch my toes, I’m loving it. I don’t have many pictures of me dancing in my prime. Here is one of the few pics that I do have.
So that’s my life for 2018. I’d encourage you to do your own year in review. It’s a fantastic exercise. Sometimes we get bogged down in the routine of everyday life and forget how much has happened. It’s a great opportunity to sit down and reflect on what’s happened and gets you setup for the new year.