The View From Here – Bryan’s notes at Christmas

There’s nothing like stopping at a light on the way to the Mall to spend $600.00 to upgrade my Iphone and seeing a homeless man with a paper cup to make me think about what exactly we seem to value in our world. Or don’t.

The light went on for me about 5 years ago.  I arrived at that age (never mind) when I really didn’t want more stuff.  Or the latest stuff.  Christmas was starting to feel empty as I practiced being a good consumer, spending more and more on things no one really needs.

So the light…

It dawned on me that I have this all wrong.  That Christmas really is a time for reflection (as in ‘what have I done’).  It’s really about giving as opposed to stocking up and getting. But give what?

I talked with a close friend who’s spent his life working for the Red Cross. He told me what $30 could do – on another continent.  I walked away thinking; Let’s see do I need that new dress shirt or would I like to feed a child for a month?

The light wouldn’t go out.  I was moved to do something bigger; to start paying it forward.  So how do I do that?  I mean who’s got cash to give away to charity at this time of year?

I wrote myself 3 notes and put them up on my wall:

  1. i need to invest in THIS world.  To give back.  Not to consume or reward MYSELF with more stuff.
  3. I will give to world causes and to local causes.  The world needs a lot of care.  But investing locally raises up others RIGHT HERE who WILL themselves give back.

So that’s why I donate.  I need to give thanks, maybe open the road for someone else however I can.  And I feel that my life is about more than just me.  It’s our relationships with others that count.  It’s not the-most-stuff-wins.

I encourage you step back from the buying and donate this season.  It’s the heavy-ask time of the year because a lot of us can use a tax receipt against our income.  But that’s not the big reason.  The big reason to donate it to do it for yourself, not someone else.  Be the mentor.  Be the hand-up person.

Who you support and how much is completely up to you.  I can tell you that $10 gifts are valued as much as larger ones.   I like to support monthly; it’s less painful and the donation adds up over time.  But you decide.

And I encourage you to support local charities.  The Aeolian happens to be one.

We are a non-profit registered charity.

We give tax receipts.

We are a community of doers bringing support and education to all we touch.

We bring musical production some of which you probably won’t find elsewhere in town.  That’s because we think it’s important that you see some of the bigger centres see.

We fund and encourage El Sistema, now over 100 strong and growing.

We send reconditioned used pianos to young players who can’t afford them so they can pursue their passion.

We fund the RebelHeart Collective so young players can learn from the masters.

We co-established the Pride Mens Chorus – a group of diverse men that want you to hear what an enthusiastic male chorus can do.


You get the idea.  The year-end campaign is now on here.  We need to raise significant money to fund 2018 activities.  I invite you to give back at whatever level you’re comfortable with.  Just don’t miss the chance to be involved, to be a supporter. To be a RebelHeart.


Next month I’ll be outlining the 2018 calendar and I’ll have some questions for you.   Have a wonderful holiday.