Personal Development


CHAPTER XLIV – The Apex Weekend

I am Jude. The Apex Golf Tournament Weekend has always been more than just a sporting event.

It has served as an annual homecoming and an important commemoration of African Nova Scotian culture and community for almost 50 years(49).

It’s a special weekend that people mark on their calendars every year and one of the few annual feel good events that I personally still look forward to.

There is a Christmas-like anticipation in the weeks leading up to August every year and yet the date still seems to somehow arrive unexpectedly. And then, just as quickly as it arrives, it’s gone.

This year the weather was perfect. There was sunshine and 30-plus temperatures all week.

The men’s 2022 tournament bragging rights went to Terry Clarke while the women’s division winner was Heather Maxwell. Congratulations to you both. 

The organizing committee presents the AJ Award to nominated community members who exemplify the principles espoused by Apex co-founder Arthur Jordan. 

This year’s deserving recipient was Truro Deputy Mayor Wayne Talbot, whose active volunteerism and personal accomplishments are too extensive to mention. 

He is one of the most active and dedicated 74 year old’s that I have ever met and I am proud that I can call him a friend and mentor. He continues to climb metaphorical mountains and leave a luminous trail for others to follow.

The tournament also sponsors a scholarship fund that continues to support the academic success of black learners. 

To date, well over 100 scholarships and almost $100,000 has been proudly awarded to deserving students of African descent attending post-secondary institutions. 

There wasn’t an Apex sponsored Saturday night dance this year which left a lot of people disappointed.

However, it was miraculously replaced by an impromptu street dance.

DJ Nathan Conners set up speakers and started playing music, and as if drawn by some R&B inspired Pied Piper, people began filtering in from everywhere. 

The word got out and within an hour there was a congregation of people dancing and partying on the street right outside of my house. It was an unexpected treat. 

Seniors in our community got an opportunity to show young cats how to jive and everyone  got a chance to participate in the Electric Slide, which remains a prerequisite at all Black functions. 

To top it off, the Town of Truro celebrated Emancipation Day in the Chook Maxwell Park on Sunday afternoon and the Kimberly Paris Memorial Karaoke Night and Fundraiser closed the final night out. 

What a weekend! 

Although I don’t play golf, it is truly a privilege to be on the tournament organizing committee and serve my community. This year provided another example of the central importance of this annual homecoming event. 

Side Hustle – Unshackled Solutions Life Coaching and Consulting 

To gain experience, I am gifting coaching sessions for three(3) people during the month of August.

It consists of a virtual discovery call where we discuss the benefits of life coaching and determine whether we are a good fit together. 

Then we complete two full coaching sessions where we work on whatever issues you identify as important; career change, discipline, work-life balance, etc.

You set the agenda for the conversations and we partner to find effective ways to transform your life. 

I utilize a solution-based approach, that is future focused and seeks to provide you with effective tools to Break Free and Be Better

If you find benefit from working with me, we can discuss what a formal coaching relationship would look like.

What is life coaching?

If you are interested in finding out more about life coaching or exploring what working with me would look like, please contact me directly to schedule a discovery call. No expectation or obligation. 

You Next Best Read – The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Micheal Singer

I am personally convinced that EVERYTHING happens for a reason. 

Over the past number of weeks I have been exploring books, podcasts, and videos that examine the ego.

This book was recommended to me by another life coach. It came at the perfect time and has already provided me with tremendous value. 

It was as if the first part of the book, Chapters 1-4, were written specifically to inform my current spiritual journey.

He asks the question, WHO ARE YOU? 

And although it seems simple, it requires some serious consideration if we seek to define ourselves beyond the titles, roles, experiences and identities we possess or occupy. 

Stripped of all of that, now who are you? 

“Who are you that is lost and trying to build a concept of yourself in order to be found? This question represents the essence of spirituality. You will never find yourself in what you have built to define yourself. You’re the one who’s doing the building. You may assemble the most amazing collection of thoughts and emotions; you may build a truly beautiful, unbelievable, interesting, and dynamic structure; but, obviously, it’s not you. You are the one who did this. You are the one who was lost, scared, and confused because you focused your awareness away from your awareness of Self.”

Positive Reflections – What’s Good?

There’s Always a Choice

I misplaced my phone on the weekend and what an unexpected blessing it turned out to be. 

I somehow lost it Saturday night at the tournament dance and in the past, time would have stood still until I got it back.

I would have allowed it to ruin my whole night by spending the remainder of the evening moping around, complaining and asking why bad things always happen to me. 

Instead, after I realized I didn’t have it anymore, I accepted that I couldn’t do anything about it and I CHOSE to continue having a good time. I let it go.

I CHOSE to avoid investing any negative energy into where the phone was, who had it and whether I would get it back. It served no purpose so I made the decision to continue sharing laughs, old stories and inspiration as opposed to anger and frustration.

I CHOSE to focus on the now.

Now mind you, there wasn’t an emergency and I knew I lost it amongst friends and family so I knew there was a good chance I would get it back, but it was a practical example of the benefits of EQUANIMITY

In demonstrating acceptance, I was able to remain calm, composed and mindful that  although we can’t control what happens to us, we have complete control in how we respond.

Can you imagine what life would be like if we could confront all of our hardship, adversity and loss with this transformational mindset? 

I am confident I would have a lot less stress, anxiety and emotional disregulation and greater joy, peace and fulfillment.

And I did get it back. My wife got a text the following morning advising her that someone found it and got it back without incident. 

However, it was another revealing lesson for me to remain open to all the universe’s offerings, both good and bad. 

Photo by Count Chris on Unsplash

Public Announcement

Did you know that there is peer reviewed research that smiling has practical benefits for both your body and your mind?

When you smile, your brain releases tiny molecules called neuropeptides to help fight off stress. It also activates our endorphins and other important ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin which act as pain relievers and antidepressants. 

We all know this to be true because everyone of us has experienced the universal benefits of smiling. 

However, here’s something interesting. Research shows that children smile an average of 400 times per day, compared to the typical adult who smiles only 20 times per day. Think about that. 

What would happen to our moods, interactions and perspective if we began simply smiling as often as children? I believe it would fundamentally change the way we live. 

Photo by Erick Tang on Unsplash

Here are three practical benefits of smiling? 

  1. Improved Health and a Longer Life

The physiological benefits of smiling include reduced blood pressure, pain, stress and a healthier overall immune system. Additionally, people who smile more often live longer. Enough said. 

  1. Improved Mood

There is a direct correlation between smiling and a positive mood state. In fact, there is research to suggest that the physical act of smiling not only creates internal positive feelings, but also causes people to see the world in a more positive way,

  1. It’s contagious

It turns out the benefits of smiling aren’t just personal. Countless studies have shown that the very act of smiling triggers an automatic muscular response that produces a corresponding smile from others. You literally have the power to make someone smile. 

My Personal benefits

The benefits are real for me. I now find myself making an effort to smile much more frequently to positive effect. It provides me with an immediate burst of energy and relieves feelings of anxiety, dissatisfaction or frustration

No matter if I am on top of the world or experiencing a shitty day when nothing seems to go according to plan, I am always rewarded when I remember to smile. 

So if you see me walking alone smiling to myself, believe me, it’s all good. I’m probably just thinking about the cubs, demonstrating gratitude or experiencing the now. I am Jude.

Photo by Alex Block on Unsplash


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