Saturday, December 4, 2010

A review of the book "ME" by Ricky Martin

Ricky Martin's life is beyond extraordinary and although most would think he's at a young age for writing a memoir you'll for sure agree that the pages that fill this book have much in them that needs to be shared. The timing for Ricky is perfect. He's at a place where he really knows who he is and with fears buried he opens up and bares it all for the world to read and in his words. This is more then a memoir; it's a spiritual journey. Anyone who has ever taken the time to question their purpose in life will for sure understand Martin's quest for the truth and his journey to find self acceptance. Many people will never take that path because it is layered with so much fear. Martin says this fear was all in his own head. Martin is truly courageous as he not only gives details of his journey with all the facts but also describes them with words that come straight from his heart. There's so much authenticity here that as you read the pages you'll realize that this is not just a story of a mega super star. It is a revelation of his inner world beginning with all his initial struggles. As he opens his doors to his deeper side he welcomes you to experience how his journey has brought him to his present state of peace, humility and love. You can't help but wish you could feel the same way. And as Martin is a living expression of his passions, this book is written no differently. "Passion is a vital aspect of my existence. I consider myself to be a realistic dreamer, and my life is full of intense emotions. I live and feel deeply."

You'll learn that Ricky is honorable, soulful, driven, courageous, analytical, simple, generous, and most importantly a humanitarian. You'll get to see and understand the backstage side of him. We've watched him shake his hips, sing his hits and seduce us into his sounds. However, this book will take you into his spiritual journey and allow you to experience it with him. I see Martin now as not just a performer, actor and singer but also a spiritual teacher and leader who's mission on this planet is far greater then producing number one hits and selling records. This man is here to serve in a capacity far greater then perhaps he himself has ever realized.

With music as his primary focus early in his career, Martin was not an over night success. In 1999 he created a Latin storm with his infamous performance of “The Cup of Life” at the Grammy Awards, the theme song from the World Cup. This single performance got Martin North American attention. He walked away that night with a Grammy in his hands for Best Latin Pop Music Album, for Vuelve and an American audience asking “who is that guy?”. However, since the age of 12 Martin was singing to sold out concerts with the popular band Menudo. Martin may have assisted with the Latin invasion in North America but at that point he had already reached world wide recognition. He had 4 previous albums under his belt and the top charting hit song Maria which in 1996 drove Martin to become a world wide super star.

It's clear in his memoir that Martin felt misunderstood by the media and his fans. He is labeled as a Latin artist however, he’s always been more then that. Indeed fans from all over the world have been able to identify with him and his music. Simply said, Martin sees music as a universal means to bring people together. His music reflects not just Latin influences but also sounds from all over the world appealing to many audiences including different cultures and age groups. The words "Where words fail music speaks" are posted on Martin's Twitter page.

As his career grew Martin allowed himself to become so immersed that his own personal identity became lost. His career was running his life. One day he looked at all the pieces of a broken glass and compared it to his own life. Martin felt shattered because he had given so much of himself but it was time to put the pieces back together. Only it left him with the question of "who am I and what really does all this mean?"

Some of his answers were found in India where in an ashram in Calcutta he discovered stillness and peace though the practices of kriya yoga. But although that allowed him to become grounded in his own body and feel balance in the chaos of literally "livin la vida loca" there still remained a piece of the shattered Ricky that still didn’t seem to fit. And so a courageous Martin continued his search with a deeper question asking “what am I running away from?”

There were many questions before coming to the end of his search. He wanted to know why the driving force which led him into an extremely successful career was now driving him away from it. He wanted to know why he was shying away from the sold out shows filled with the sound of people screaming his name. He wanted to know why he was going to India to discover a deeper meaning in his life. He wanted to know why he felt the need to change the lives of children by giving them hope for a better existence. And finally the answers all came when Martin was able to come to terms with his sexual identity. It was this issue that Martin had been running away from. He then made the following statement on his website: “I am proud to say that I am fortunate homosexual man, I am very blessed to be who I am.”

Speculation of Martin's sexual identity was the subject of rumors for many years. Following an interview in 2000 the rumors escalated as Barbara Walters put not only the question on the table but tried to further force the issue when Martin made it clear that he wasn't ready to talk. The world watched at what seemed like an eternity when Walters put on a pair of punching gloves with her questions turning into an interrogation to force Martin to answer. He was left to defend himself as we watched holding our breaths feeling helpless. At least that's how I felt while I was watching. Today we would refer to Walter’s tactics as bullying. A gracious Martin who doesn't hold any grudges regarding the situation looks back and all he can do is laugh about it. "I stayed firm with my answers-as much as possible-but I remember that my vision went blurry and my heart started to race. I felt like a boxer who had just been hit with a decisive punch-staggering and defensive, but already knocked out, waiting to fall. But I did not fall. I stayed strong The fact is, all I can do is laugh."

Recently Martin and Walters were reunited on the show “The View” where Walters and four other's of the show's host interviewed him with regards to his memoir. Walters sat right next to him throughout the interview only this time she refrained from asking a single question. Walters, one of the worlds leading journalists had nothing to say. This was clearly intentional on her part. The reason for her silence during the live telecast leaves one to wonder the reasoning behind her actions or lack of.

Martin found himself too immersed in his work to worry about the consequences of the interview. Still burying the issue of his sexual identity, Martin boarded a plane at the end of 2000 back to India to help a friend who had opened an orphanage for girls. There he assisted with the rescuing of young girls from the life of prostitution. This experience, though, far from the inner discovery that the practice of yoga brought him on his previous trip, led to a philanthropic mission, the ultimate mission of Martin’s life. ‘People for Children was born’. This project was under the already established ‘Ricky Martin Foundation’. The ‘RMF’ was started to help disabled children in Puerto Rico. ‘People for Children’ defends children who are being exploited or who run the risk of exploitation. This continuously growing foundation currently has partnerships with ‘UNICEF’, ‘Save the Children’, ‘The Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking’, ‘Microsoft’ and others. It made Martin the face of a leader in the war against human trafficking.

Martin’s philanthropic efforts took him to Patong, Thailand in January 2005 in response to the devastating tsunami. With the concern that vulnerable children are often abducted for trafficking during extreme times including earthquakes and floods, Martin along with his organization and a producer from the Oprah Winfrey show set off to Thailand. His intention was to get the message across for people to pay attention of the threat the circumstances were imposing on the most vulnerable. It was during this time Martin met the youngest survivor of the tsunami, Baby Wave, who was found floating on a mattress just days old with only a note asking for someone to care for the infant. This event not only brought hope in the form of a miracle, but it sparked Martin to seek a greater fulfillment in his life. That being fatherhood.

Determined to make his desire a reality, and at the time a single man, Martin opted for surrogacy. Today Martin is the father of twin boys Matteo and Valentino. Having always led an unconventional life, his new family life would be no different. Martin serves as both mother and father to his twin boys and he is prepared for the moment when one day his sons may ask why they do not have a mother. He states that he will tell them “I wanted to have you so very badly that, with God’s help, everything lined up so that you would come into my life.”

Martin’s memoir displays a new sense of transparency and freedom in his life. His words are refreshing and define a deeper awareness in the way he views his life. Parenthood has brought him greater authenticity in the way he chooses to live, both for himself and for his children. His connection to himself by coming to terms with his sexuality seems far greater then any yoga practice or trip to India could have brought. Martin proves that the real journey in our lives is the one that lies within us. That is if you are courageous enough to go there.

If you are looking for inspiration, if you are looking to find a deeper meaning in your life and if you are looking to learn from a great teacher I suggest you pick up this book. I congratulate Ricky Martin on such an accomplishment. I feel he is at point of rebirth at this time which means he has only really begun.

Picture of Ricky Martin published with permission of Celebra a Division of Peguin Group

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Best Fitness Instructor in Canada!

When I heard the news I was voted "Best Fitness Instructor In Canada" I had to take a moment and reflect. My thoughts were all over the place at first. I was feeling euphoric and a huge sense of pride. The person who began this journey had definitely proven to be someone that was a far off memory. It was like thinking of an old friend you went to elementary school with and you sit there wondering "what ever happened to........?" That's what it feels like! Most people see me now and they'd never believe I was the over weight non athletic kid who struggled with his weight. Know one would ever believe I was the one who was always chosen last when it came to participating in any sport. Know one would ever believe I was the one that skipped swimming lessons in gym class because I was so fat I didn't want to be seen in a bathing suit. Yes that was me. And to come from that place to being awarded the title of "Best Fitness Instructor in Canada" is by far the greatest accomplishment I have ever achieved. I have proven to myself and to many that anything is possible!
At the age of 15 I embarked on beginning the process of my transformation. I'll tell you now this road had a lot of bumps. I had no knowledge of what I needed to do to lose weight. I had no knowledge of how to eat right and what exercises to do. All I knew was I was tired of being made fun of in school and I was also fully aware that in high school the popular kids were the ones that were in shape and played sports. That was all the motivation I needed.

It was my fifteenth birthday and I asked my parents to get me a membership at the North York YMCA as a present. My father and mother both turned me down. They felt that was too much money to spend on a present that they felt would go to waste. So I did what any fifteen year old kid would do. I threw a tantrum. I slammed doors and kicked the walls and screamed till my father came into my room and wrote me a check for a year's membership at the Y. Let me tell you. It was the best tantrum I ever threw and the results were a future I never could have imagined.

So off I went. I tried squash, swam and ran the track. I was completely petrified of the weight room but I figured that would at least get me started. I took a course that they offered for the youth on how to use the equipment and that was my first introduction to resistance training.
So I dabbled a bit in the weights and even though my best friend who joined with me at the time quit I kept going. I was determined to make changes and for once was in an environment where I was in control of what I wanted to do without my gym teachers grading me and other kids teasing me.

That summer I was looking for a job and stumbled on a position as a receptionist at the Y. This latter lead to a position for programs for children. Then one summer I was stuck for hours as I was moving onward to university. Because of my history with the Y they hired me to work in their weight room. I was fortunate that the staff there was wonderful and trained me on how to use the machines correctly etc. As part of my job I had to monitor all the fitness classes. So I would spend countless hours watching each type of class being taught including low impact aerobics, strength training, stretching and others. Then one day an event took place that would completely propel me into a future I never planned. An instructor for an aerobic class didn't show up. Standing around with no other staff who could teach the class I stood there in complete terror as I was handed a cassette tape with music and told "You'll have to teach it!"
I walked into a room of already annoyed members and introduced myself. I looked at the faces that were further annoyed at the fact that they had no idea who I was and what kind of class they could expect. The room was completely packed and my heart was already hitting it's max range before I even started. So I threw the tape in and off I went to teach my first ever class.
Turns out the feedback was so great that the members wrote comments on how much they enjoyed it! And so I was graduated into the position of fitness leader and I had absolutely no training what so ever. The next thing I knew I became the regular teacher for this class.

Each summer I came home from university and continued to teach. My skills grew stronger and so did the ranges of classes I taught. There was abs class, muscle conditioning, step, spinning and kick boxing. All of this came so naturally to me and for the first time in my life I could do a physical activity and do it well. And what still amazes me to this day is I had never taken any official course in the beginning to become certified. I was and am completely self taught.
After completing my degree in physiotherapy I continued to teach and only this time I had knowledge as a physiotherapist that I could bring to my classes. That only made me a stronger instructor. I applied what I knew and the quality of the classes I taught made me a popular instructor and finally gave me true credit as someone who has sound background knowledge.

I decided to take my career to a higher level and was accepted to present at the Can Fit Pro Conference in 1999. In that session a recruiter from Australia happen to walk in and see my session. A year latter I was presenting in Sydney, Australia. This was followed with many other international opportunities. My career took off and with incredible excitement I was traveling all over the world!
My dreams continued to come true as I pursued the title of Reebok Master Trainer. In the fitness industry this title for me was like being Knighted by the Queen. The year I applied they cut the team down and was not looking to expand. I had just began my presenting portfolio and the suggestion I was given was to build my name and brand. And so I did. Most of my advising team thought I should just forget about it and move on. I refused to accept that idea. In my mind being part of this team was the only possibility and I refused to believe anything else. After a meeting with Reebok it was suggested I get myself on TV. Two days latter I received a call from two casting agents. It all just came to me. I didn't even have the time to worry about how I was going to get myself on TV.

My first appearance was for a live television show and I was invited to offer my expertise as a fitness expert. This lead to many television appearances including the "In Shape With Sharon Mann Show" which today still airs on Fit TV in the United States! This was beyond what I could have ever imagined.

Three years after that meeting and three interviews latter I got a call from Reebok. They were ready to expand and wanted to know if I'd be willing to go to Boston to Reebok's head office for training to become a Reebok Master Trainer! Of course I said "YES!." And so there I was in Boston and surrounded by mostly everyone I had ever looked up to in the fitness industry as my role model. Only this time they were one of my piers. This I took some digesting but very quickly I felt right at home with the team I would spend the next six years working with. What a dream come true!

I really believe that your passions can turn into a career. I really believe that anything you dream of can become a reality. I really believe that there isn't anything you can't do. I really believe that this Farhan will continue to evolve and grow each day. I really believe that God had this plan for me. I can't even imagine what my life would have been like if that instructor decided to show up.

Angel Miracles to ALL

Here' s a picture of me at 14 And now at the age of 39

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Divine Synchronicities in Chicago-Oprah Will Have to Wait

Chicago October 29, 2009.

I waited over two hours in line at Harpo Studios and everyone in front of me got in to a tapping of Oprah but me. I have to admit I was disappointed and with a big sigh off I went into the city of Chicago with no plans or ideas as to how I was going to spend my day. I started walking directionless thinking about the possibilities as I only had the one day to explore. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. As I was walking down Grand Ave. I coincidentally ran into my friend Terry from Toronto who happened to be in Chicago on holidays. He was out sight seeing so we quickly caught up and I asked him for some suggestions on how to spend my afternoon. Terry said to check out the water front, and also mentioned a couple of city parks and then he said a must see was the cities architectural tour which was on a boat. I thanked Terry for his suggestions and now with some ideas on what to do off I went.

Since I was closest to the water front I figured I'd go there first. But after I when I got there something didn't feel right so I decided to head down Michigan Ave. After a stop at Starbucks I continued my walk and happened to arrive at the point where the boat tour started for the architectural tour. It was 5:10pm and the next boat was leaving in five minutes. Perfect timing I thought and spontaneously jumped on the boat. The sun was setting around that time and getting a feel for the city by boat made for a perfect evening but I soon learned why this was called the windy city. I sat on the boat with my hands in my pocket trying to keep them warm while the wind blew heavily on my face. Shortly there after I began to feel a different kind of chill. The boat tour guide pointed to the spot where in 1871 a great fire began which was responsible for the destruction of Chicago. It seems that year was quite dry and according to legends told the Great Chicago Fire was started by a cow that belonged to an Irishwoman named Catherine O’Leary. She ran a neighborhood milk business from the barn behind her home and carelessly leaving a kerosene lantern in the barn after her evening milking, a cow kicked it over and ignited the hay on the floor. Cosequently, the city of Chicago was up in flames. As the tour guide was telling the story I started to feel even colder. I thought for a moment that the winds had perhaps picked up and the temperature was dropping. But then I realized what I was feeling were the presence of many spirits who had lost their lives in that fire.

That evening I started processing everything that had happened and as I tuned in I realized that my purpose for being there was to help these lost souls. It turns out there were 333 of them. As per the guidance of the Angels I called Arch Angel Azriel to help cross these souls into the light. All of them crossed over effortlessly. Then with the help of Arch Angel Michael I cleared the land from the energy of the trauma that had taken place. Whenever there is a fire, accident, murder etc. the energy from that incident still remains and so clearing that space of the negativity helps to lift the vibrations and the Angels do this by replacing that negativity with unconditional love.
Suddenly I wasn't so disappointed about missing Oprah. I realized the universe had orchestrated something bigger for me. Running into Terry was no coincidence. Everything was divinely synchronized for me to be there at that place and that time.
My Angels use the numbers 11 or 111 or even 1111 to let me know they are around. Now if you look at the date October 29, 2009, the 2 and the 9 in 29 add up to 11 and so this day was 11 11. Furthermore the boat I was on departed at 5:15pm and if you add up these numbers they add up to 11. Also my room number at my hotel that weekend added up to 11, my flight from Chicago arrived in Toronto at 5:15pm which adds up to 11 and even when I went to workout at the gym in my hotel I was given a key by the attendant for locker number 11. With all these signs it was quite clear to me that the Angels were with me all along the way.

My dear friends sometimes when we don't get what we want its because the universe has better plans for us. If we allow ourselves to be in the 'flow' with trust instead of feeling our disappointments we will always be guided to our higher purpose.

Everyday is a Miracle

Angel Healing Miracles and Love to ALL