My dad is a Guy Clark fan. He especially loves ‘Stuff That Works’.

“I got a pretty good friend who’s seen me at my worst.
He can’t tell if I’m a blessing or a curse.
But he always shows up when the chips are down.
That’s the kind of stuff I like to have around. Stuff that works. Stuff that holds up. The kind of stuff you don’t have on a wall. Stuff that’s real. Stuff you feel. The kind of stuff you reach for when you fall.”  – Guy Clark

There was a time when my dad was into stuff, but like the banks of a river,  the ebb and flow of life have changed him. In his early 70s, he set out on an adventure to discover a new part of the world and in the process, something more about himself. A few years later I did the same, partly an attempt to live a long held dream of mine, and partly because I was ready to learn something new about myself too. I recently asked my dad what  ‘living the dream‘ meant to him, and this was his response.

“Living the dream” isn’t a phrase that resonates with where I am in life…it’s not really my tempo. For me, it’s not a matter of what do I want to do, but more, who do I want to be?

I do hold deep hopes for positive changes in our broken world and I am optimistic in that regard. I am saddened by the tragic events in the lives of those around me and in the world at large, but I refuse to give up hope that a better time is a comin’.

Back to “who do I want to be?” I have a strong desire (not a dream) to be a compassionate person in my daily walk through life, as I engage with family, friends and strangers. It is how I want my government in Canada to be, basing their decisions on what is caring and right, not “how much does it cost?” It is how I want other Governments to start treating their people; our national and global response to the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe; and the list goes on. I can’t make these global changes but I can exercise compassion each day of my waking life.

Am I living this desire, this dream? Maybe only at some times in my day, some days in my week, but it’s a worthy task so I will continue the trek.

My father is warm and compassionate and a classic introvert. He rarely speaks of himself but is a zen master at uncovering truths about others, and appears to embrace life through moments that many would miss. The best thing about the gift of growing older alongside my father is this—as he discovers and reveals more about himself, so too do I, and in the process, I am learning to accept and embrace others with a deeper love, compassion and understanding.
Thanks dad.

In October 2012, I drove 6,800 kms with my artist husband, Ric Kokotovich (, and my dog Iggy, to spend 6 months in our adopted city of Merida. Leaving the fast paced world of Calgary behind, I packed my books, art and entrepreneurial spirit, and set off to explore what lay beyond the borders that had become my life. In October 2013 we hit the road south again, hoping to find out what ‘living the dream’ really means. This is my adventure.

7 comments on “Stuff That Works

  1. What a good question to ask your father Alison…how many of us ask our fathers that question? I love his response and his outlook on life and the world…he also must be very proud of you. 🙂

    • Thanks for reading Vikki. I’m sure many many of us have been inspired by our fathers to be ‘good’ people, and I do feel lucky that he is still a part of my life.

  2. you’re beautiful babe… don’t ever change!
    xxx su boy

  3. Merrill Wattie

    A lovely Father’s Day gift and I should have known that you being the writer you are, wouldn’t throw away any note coming your way. Seems a long time ago when I sent that note to you and the work to be a compassionate person still goes on.
    Love you

  4. Rock Paper Sisters

    A perfect post for Father’s Day. We are fortunate to have a Dad who embraces his flaws, searches for peace in challenging times and lives quietly from his heart!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: