Human rights heroes are all around us

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Hollywood films, historical texts and countless other anecdotes and stories which have happened in the past, depict heroes in our world.  Not to lessen their importance and contributions, but  I cannot help but shed some light on another thread of contemporary heroes.

I recently attended the European Anti-Trafficking Day in Stockholm – an event which was hosted and arranged by RealStars, an NGO which campaigns against human trafficking in Europe.

In listening to the many speakers from both government and private organizations, and in hearing the questions and the passion from the audience, many of them young adults who are concerned about this global issue – I was impressed. If this one gathering was a reflection or ripple of the voices speaking up on just this one issue – human trafficking – then one cannot help but ponder on the many hundreds of thousands of other voices around the globe who are also demanding change and human rights to be enforced in this particular arena.

In my lifetime, there have been several heroes – the doctor who operated on me and saved my life – she probably would not consider herself a hero, but she is to me. My 6th grade teacher who inspired me for a life time – also a man of great humility who simply saw potential in a small boy and encouraged him and he has no idea how far his act of simple humanity has gone. I could name others – we all could. Heroes are all around us, and this short article is by no means an attempt to marginalize them. I am simply commenting on one particular thread of humanity which I had the opportunity to meet and who deserve to be spotlighted.

What is a hero?

By definition it is someone who is notable or distinguished in valor, courage, accomplishment, in the face of challenges or danger.

Every person who goes out of their way, who steps across their own boundaries and comfort zone, and extends themselves, their hand and their efforts to help another human being – is in fact on that very road as a hero. It is just as noble and brave to fight for the rights of people enslaved by traffickers, people who cannot fight back themselves, as it is to pull people from a burning fire. One is possibly more dramatic, but in the long run, they both save human life.

There are, reportedly, well over 20,000,000 people on this planet who are currently trafficked, like objects, most of them sold into sexual slavery.

While governments in many nations simply turn a blind eye, or even sanction this activity by legalizing prostitution (which makes it easy for traffickers to force more women and children into that human pipeline) there are people amongst us who are standing up and saying NO.

It takes a great deal of courage and a quality of character in order to take up this campaign – or in fact, any campaign in the name of human rights.

Whether it is trafficking, or the right to freedom, the right to speak one’s voice, the right to practice one’s religion, the right to be equal – human rights activists, such as those whom I had the opportunity to meet at this Anti-Trafficking Day, are truly heroes in their own right.

As a writer and a human rights speaker, I consider it an honor to be associated with this thread of humanity, these crusaders for the rights of mankind – because in the long run, they are the reason that we have the freedoms that we share today. It is heroes, such as these, who in the future will be talked about, whom films and stories will abound, but today, they are just doing what they know is right and what must be done, and no doubt, they could care less about the accolades and praise.

Real Laplaine speaking 4

Réal Laplaine is an author and human rights speaker.

www.reallaplaine.com     www.reallaplaine-lectures.com

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The game…where to next?

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Consider this. Our galaxy alone contains billions of stars; while the universe at large contains billions of galaxies. When we look up at the night sky and we see the glimmer of some far away star, that light will have travelled hundreds of millions of light years, spanning eons of earth time, before it arrives to our eyes.

These are pretty inconceivable concepts if one stops for just a moment and considers them.

Considering the magnitude of these dynamics and the forces at play, it sheds another perspective on our own lives.

Why would we be engaged in wars, power struggles, hatred, discrimination and other ills – when the magnitude of the potentials for new horizons are unlimited?

It may seem as if the cosmos is beyond our reach, but I suggest that is not the case and that if we were to focus our attention on developing the technology as fast as we have accelerated the world of electronics in the past decade or two, we could pass over amazing new thresholds.

Look back in your own lifetime – twenty years ago there were no mobile phones, no GPS, virtually no laptops, and many other electronic devices which are now normality in our lives. That is just one avenue of rapid development in human endeavour.

Clearly, when mankind puts its attention on positive goals – it can and does accomplish them.

The pitiful engagements, the wars, the killing, the power-struggles, are engaged upon by those who cannot envision such a future in the stars – but who, rather prefer to keep everyone’s noses and attention fixed on activities which suit some other end.

Whether one believes in the theory of the “Big Bang” – the scientific assumption that the universe was conceived in one spontaneous coalition of forces, or whether you believe that it was created by the hand of some God, does not the change the fact that the scope of the game is so very much larger than the issues which we find ourselves engaged in.

Carl Sagan, in his book Contact, shows us what would quite likely happen on Earth were we to make irrefutable contact with an off-world intelligence. Wars would stop, conflicts would end, and pretty much everyone would be focused on discovering the truth.

Call it “greener pastures” or just the pioneering spirit inside all of us, but when a man finds out that there is a continent across the ocean, with unlimited space and resources, where he and his family can start a new life in spite of the dangers of such a crossing – the small plot of land upon which he lives, haggles and fights for means virtually nothing. Values change in the face of new horizons.

I venture to say that considering the billions upon billions of worlds out there, isn’t it possible that we might encounter other species of like kind or intelligence? If you believe in Darwinian theory of evolution, then surely the spontaneous and sudden spark of life which apparently resulted in mankind could happen elsewhere? Or if you believe that a supreme being is behind the entire show, then surely such a great god would not stop at creating life on such a small planet as Earth, but would grace other worlds with animation and life? There are many theories, but even the most passionate disbelievers cannot deny the fact that purely by numbers alone, the odds of such is not inconceivable.

But that aside, what the sky above us represents is POTENTIAL.

George Orwell, in his book 1984, suggested that civilization is cyclic, and that power struggles between the Worker Class, the Middle Class and the small, but ultimately powerful Wealthy Class, have always been with us and will always continue to be so, in one form or another. There is truth in what he says, and arguably, history seems to support this – except, there is one wrench in the works – the human soul. Our potential and our expectancy of such potential, is immeasurable.

Fifty years ago, no one really knew, or possibly believed, that we would land men on the moon – but we did. The technology that we have today, in our hands, was the subject matter of science-fiction writers back in the 1940’s and 50’s. In less than have a century, we have changed our world significantly.

Where we fall behind is in the humanities and in our own self-expectancy. But even there, we are making ground.

Historical precedence is only a lesson in experience gained. Whereas the future requires visionary courage, faith, the willingness to step outside the box and true leadership skills.

The game of life, where it succeeds and endures, would seem at least, to follow certain natural laws, or harmonics, already set into the very nature and structure of the universe around us.

There is a natural polarity which exists at every level of the world in which we exist. Atoms stay together because of the push-pull, the balances and counter-balances of positive and negative forces within. Our planet is held in orbit by the medium in which it floats; which as Einstein and other scientists correctly pointed out, is not empty space, but in fact, an energy flux, which helps to bind it in connection with other forces and bodies around it. Such is the same with our solar system, our galaxy, and the billions of others which are looped and latched, and spin in a universal harmony.

The evolution of our culture, from mere survival to a higher order of lifestyle, activity and luxury, is a natural evolution too. People have a natural tendency to form bonds and dynamic forces between them – such as the most successful group in history – the family unit. Increased knowledge brings about increased potential and there is no stopping that exponential curve.

Culturally speaking, the platform for our societies must, per force, also follow a natural progression and not one which is brought upon it by past “isms” such as communism, socialism and dictatorship-ism. As people become more educated, more knowledgeable, as they gain more time and freedom to tap into their innate potentials, the world will continue to spin upwards into whole new realms. At the same time, political and ideological platforms must too advance. We cannot continue to operate on ideology laid down generations before which exploited people, capitalized on ignorance, or promised freedoms which it could never deliver. True democracy is anchored in the free will and capitalism of each individual – not collective mentality or governance.

Our very platform, politically and ideologically speaking, must transform and morph with the growing zeitgeist of mankind. As our general humanity grows, as transparency in the world becomes greater, as permeation of knowledge and learning becomes more broadly disseminated, so must our governance. By whatever name it goes by, it cannot be precisely the same concepts as before. Democracy works because people make it work – and as those people achieve higher intelligence, better health and lifestyle – the form of democracy which it chooses must too morph. Nothing is static in this world.

The world needs leaders, at all levels, who envision a greater future for all people. It needs those who inspire, who remind us and our children that we can be everything we ever wanted to be – and that the universe is big enough for all of us to accomplish our dreams.

We have the opportunity to reach for the stars now, to step over new thresholds which will vault us, as humanity, into games which are incomparable in size.

Pragmatically speaking, if you want to get rid of wars and hatred, killing and discrimination, change the scope of the game. Like two kids fighting over a ball, just drop a hundred balls around them – new game, no more fighting.

The game of life does not end here on this one tiny planet. It is even arguably possible that it never even started here – but that is a moot point and is not the crux of this article. But it certainly suggests that if we are to find out the truth about ourselves, that we must step up to the game plate and throw the next ball.

As a people, we cannot permit ourselves to slide back into the mud again, when we could be sailing to new frontiers in the stars.

 

Taking on human traffickers

woman naked in a caddy shopping cart

This Thursday, October 17th, I will attend the Anti-Trafficking Day in Stockholm, hosted by RealStars at the TeaterStudio Lederman. I will be announcing the official publication of my newest book, Quantum Assault the second in the Keeno Action Novel series. Quantum Assault is an action-thriller, wherein the special Canadian crime-fighting team takes on a human trafficking ring which takes them on a man-hunt across the globe.

The story is inspired by the millions of women and children who are enslaved by traffickers around the world. The book concerns one, fifteen year-old girl, who escapes from the traffickers, and her courage to do so, starts a domino-effect and a global tidal-wave.

While the story is fictional, the facts are not, and Quantum Assault will make another step forward in the assault against these criminals who traffic people for profit. Part of the sales of Quantum Assault will be donated to the campaign against human trafficking.

If you are in the area, join us. There will be many speakers spotlighting the issue.

Download your copy of Quantum Assault. It is available in eBook – published by Asteroid Publishing and now available through Amazon.  You can download the free eReader to your phone or laptop in just seconds (see below) and then download the book and start reading right away.

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If you could reboot your mind…

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Like a computer, if you could reboot your mind, that is, clear it of everything that you did not want and then rewrite it, what would you put into it?

Possibly you might give it the freedom of unlimited imagination and thought?

Or even unlimited belief in yourself and your ability to achieve your goals?

What about love for anyone, even your enemies?

How about tolerance and  compassion?

What is interesting is that all of those things are actually already there. We sometimes bury ourselves in stuff, piling up ideas, fixed ideas, dislikes, beliefs, which cloud our ability to simply LOOK at the world and see it for what it is.

I would recommend this approach; For one hour, stop thinking.

When you walk down the street, just look at what you see. When you are talking to people – don’t think about something else, just listen to their every word. Don’t make any conclusions, don’t assume anything. If you see people, greet them but omit any subterranean thoughts about them. Just interact with the world without letting your mind jump in and start adding other things to the mix.

It’s challenging to do, believe me. We are so accustomed to permitting our mind a free reign, that it runs automatically – almost with a life of its own. But that’s the point, it can be controlled.

You may find, as others have, that when you do that, when you take away the automatic reactions which our minds tend to throw our way, you see things and people very differently.

How WE perceive the world, versus how we see the world through OUR minds, can often be two very different worlds.

Our minds tend to make us anxious, we are constantly thinking about consequences, or what comes next, or what happened an hour ago. That is the mind – it is not you. Consider it like a storage bin for memories, ideas, conclusions etc. – but it isn’t the essence of who we are, really.

If you unplug the mind, your native abilities, your intelligence, and your overall drive is not suddenly lost. In fact, the real beauty in life is when we can see it for what it is – without the different shades put on it. When you stand and watch a stunning sunset over the ocean, and you hear the waves rolling in and the seagulls clamoring in the background – that is YOU interacting with the world. It is not your mind. When you look out your window in the morning and see a grey cloudy day and you feel depressed – that is also not you, that’s your mind casting a shadow over you.  A day is a day, whether sunny or cloudy, and it certainly should not affect your response to life and living.

Try it sometime – just park the mind on a shelf and go look at the world without any pre-ordained ideas, fears, assumptions, anxieties, or ideas about things. You might find that it is really quite amazing how different it looks when the veil of your mind is not pulled across your eyes.

Réal Laplaine is an author and speaker at  www.reallaplaine-lectures.com  and

www.reallaplaine.com

 

Your biggest challenge in life

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It is my opinion, corroborated by some experience in having lived a rather adventurous life so far and having walked many roads too, that our biggest challenge in life is in finding ourselves, and then staying true to who we are.

What does that mean?

We live in a culture which is anchored to the fundamental concept of survival, which translates to making money.

When you start formal schooling, no one hands you a manual which says “This is who you are, explore yourself.’ No, they start teaching you how to fit into the system, how to conform, how to be become a part of the cultural machinery.

Oddly, when you have made money and are sitting there with the house, two cars and all the perks it brings, you may still, very likely in fact, be asking yourself the question, who am I and what do I stand for?

This could be taken as a spiritual question, but let’s keep religion and spirituality out of this, because those are arbitrary labels affixed to something which is as natural as saying that you have two legs and two arms.

Who we are, is essentially more fundamental than the components of our body – and yet, most of our lifetime is spent feeding, protecting and servicing our body. In the end, we are of course, safe, secure, healthy and happy on one level – but I assure you that it is not all there is to life.

If that were the case, the wealthy on earth would be the happiest people in the world, and they are not – in fact, many of them don’t have a clue. They have anchored themselves to possessions, identified themselves with material wealth – and no matter how many cars and homes they possess, they don’t have peace of mind.

There is a balance – and it is important to find that balance between material wealth and true knowledge of oneself.

Darwin introduced the idea of “survival of the fittest” and the “theory of evolution” – reducing us to something which slithered its way up some evolutionary chain from amoebic muck, to monkeys and then magically, US, a higher intelligence which is fundamentally engaged in the rat-race of survival. His theories, which were scooped up and avidly used by certain schools of thought, have promoted the idea that our basic impulses are limited to bestial inner forces which drive us to eat, copulate and survive. It supports the cultural mindset quite well, but it is not true. Laughably, although taught in schools to our children, these concepts have holes in them the size of the Grand Canyon, but this is not a thesis about the mis-concepts of Darwinism – but rather it is a talk about the grander aspects of humanity, that essence which makes us truly great.

Beauty, tolerance and love are qualities which are consciously exhibited, manifested and attained to by people. If one forgets these qualities as the highest manifestation of who we are, then one sinks into lower motivations, fixing oneself to material possession, seeking happiness through things outside of us, instead of from within us.

I am not advocating any single approach to this matter of knowing oneself – but I am certainly advocating that one must look inside for true happiness. Whether one does it through religious or spiritual study, reading, or just soul-searching, it is a vital part of the process of reaching our true potential.

The culture around you will not tell you to do that, because of course, the general commerce, buying and selling of goods, the movement of money hand to hand, requires that people be constantly induced to buy more, to make more money and to buy even more – as if, in the end, that is the road to true happiness. People spend most of their lives working and sleeping – with very little time devoted to exploring themselves – and there is an entire universe of YOU which is there to tap into.

As I said, there has to be a balance. We all love our iPads, the luxury of our homes, the comfort of a good meal and family – none of this is discounted here. I am also not decrying capitalism or money – these are infrastructures for our society, but they are merely building blocks leading to a higher level. Thankfully, and in spite of what gets pounded into our heads daily from the moment we are born, money is not the road to happiness – YOU are.

 

Your ripple can affect the whole world

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Countless others before us have said this.  Great leaders have said it. Teachers have uttered these words. Parents have whispered them into our ears.

The world can seem daunting to us. How can one woman, one man, change it? One might think, I am just a drop in that ocean, what possible effect can I have on billions?

I am not a philosopher in the conventional sense, but I have walked a few roads. As a writer I have had the opportunity to delve, to look at our world from different perspectives, and I can say this.

One drop, the ripple that YOU make, can change the world.

Whether one is spiritual or not, an atheist or a puritan scientist, there exists inextricable evidence to show that EVERY human being in this world puts out a frequency, every single millisecond of their lives.  The thoughts that you think, the emotions you feel, these are projected into the world.

Many schools of thought exist which promote that if you think positive thoughts, you will get positive results, and while there is truth in this, the point of this short article is to remind one and all that we are vibrant, living and animated beings – and the positive ripples you project into the world, can and do transcend vast distances, and even the thickest of walls.

Negative ripples by the way, if there could be such a thing, do not project very well. A frequency is a wave pattern, up and down, and while there are frequencies of hate and anger and intolerance, they have far less ability to penetrate than do the higher wavelengths of love, tolerance and beauty. They are in fact, incomparable in their relative ability to influence.  Put two pictures side by side, one of death and one of a beautiful landscape, a pretty girl or a rose, and it takes no genius to figure out which one appeals to the consciousness of the majority of people. That is because the higher wavelengths of beauty, aesthetics and love are far more powerful and touch us at the core of who we are, whereas the heavy, ponderous wavelengths of hate and intolerance are only capable of acute, short-term effects, mostly appealing to the mentality of the masses, not to individuals.

Your word, your effect, the vibration you put out, can, in fact, be felt on the other side of the world.

I don’t mean this in some paranormal, metaphysical or esoteric way. I mean it in a very REAL and pragmatic sense, because you are doing it ALL the time.

A wise man once said that if you want to change the world, then be the change you expect of the world to be.

When you help someone – a complete stranger on the street; give them a dollar, help them push their car from the snow, give someone advice, or just listen to someone with a problem – that is a ripple. It doesn’t stop there. That action resonates through them and to others.

When you say a kind word, when you encourage someone, when you demonstrate understanding and tolerance, instead of hate and rejection, you are emanating more ripples, which are aggrandized by others, who echo your actions.

It is said that there are only six degrees of separation between any one man or woman in the world. I don’t know if it is a fact or not, but even so, it suggests that  if one touches another’s life, and that person goes on to touch yet another, and so on, eventually, the ripple-effect reaches people in ways and lands beyond one’s immediate scope.

You don’t know where those ripples will or could go, but by the very nature of the laws of physics, by the very fact that a cell tower in Los Angeles can emanate a frequency which is picked up by a cell phone in Cape Town, Africa, or the Antarctica, proves that a frequency or wavelength does not stop. When one further considers that billions of such devices are emanating wavelengths around us, one sees the power of a mere ripple in the air.

Case in point, the Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched in 1977, has just this year passed from our solar system, covering a distance of 12 billion miles, and the frequency from that tiny spacecraft still reaches us nearly 36 years later.

Don’t underestimate the ripples that you set in motion in this world.

Don’t discount the effects you create with your thoughts, with your words, with your smile.

It isn’t just a matter of thinking positively – that is an understatement, a sort of redundancy, because you ARE positive – and if you remember that, if you project that, if you give the world the best of yourself, then those ripples will help to change the world one person at a time.

Imagine then what happens when billions of people are doing the same?

What then would our world be like?

Do these pants fit you?

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After many years of living, looking, philosophizing, making mistakes, succeeding, falling on my face, watching others fall on theirs, I have come to a conclusion about how to succeed in life. It’s a real killer – but it works. And it only works if you have the courage to do it.

  1. DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH IN YOUR LIFE.
  2. DO IT.

Sounds too simple doesn’t it? You would surprised how many people are not living their dream but are following the mediocrity handed to them by others. It’s a fact.

Generally speaking, we all set out with goals in our life – and along the way, “reality” sets in and we are convinced, bit by bit, that we have to compromise, that we must “accept our limitations”. It’s absolute hogwash.

I would save you the pain and embarrassment (to yourself) of arriving at your midway point in life, normally called “mid-life crisis” only to discover that you have been following a path which doesn’t even vaguely make you happy or fulfilled. When you get to that point and you discover that your life is half over and you haven’t accomplished anything nearly close to what YOU wanted to do with it – that is a wake-up call.

I would happily suggest that you not wait until that point – because shifting gears can sometimes be more challenging.

I managed it, somehow. After over thirty years surfing the waves of corporate America, living a rather exciting and adventurous life – I came to that very conclusion; “Where the hell am I heading to?” And so, at the age of 52, I jumped ship. I swam out into the wide open ocean, cleared my head and then I re-set my ship on course. In less than six years I have accomplished what I wanted to do my whole life – which is not to say that the game is over, far from it. The game has really begun.

It’s a wonderful feeling to empower oneself by making one’s deepest motivation come to fruition.

But that is life, that is the real game – pursuing a purpose and staying the course. Then you know that you are living YOUR life and not that pallid, beaten, trite, overused pair of pants which society hands out and says, ‘Here you go, guy, these should fit you.’

There is nothing wrong with your goals. There are those who will tell you that you are biting off more than you can chew, that your dreams are unreal, too large, and that you are setting yourself up for failure – it’s absolute, unadulterated crap. Such people are merely admitting that they have already failed to accomplish their goals.

What is reality but the accomplishment of the dreams of men and women before us?

We would not be where we are today if it were not for the individual men and women who dreamed big and then persevered in the accomplishment of their visions, in spite of daunting obstacles.

That is the secret to success. Decide where you are going, and start walking. If the road gets rough, suck it up, bite the bullet. If you get knocked off, hit, run over, pick yourself back up and keep going. No one is going to get you to your goals except for YOU. That’s the big secret.

Ask anyone who has achieved some semblance of their goal in life, and I guarantee you that in the majority of cases, they will confirm every word of what I have said.

I am not advocating that everyone has to jump ship and abandon their current lives in the pursuit of their dreams – but I am most certainly recommending that if you feel unfulfilled by the course of events, re-evaluate for yourself what you wanted to accomplish in life, work out how you can get there – and do it.

Don’t ever give up on yourself – because you are the best thing that you have – so splurge on YOU.

Taken from the talk entitled Navigating the Waters of Your Career by Réal Laplaine

Réal Laplaine is an author and speaker. For details, please visit his sites at www.reallaplaine.com  and www.reallaplaine-lectures.com