One of the Keys to Happiness

Social Gym is always a struggle. I’m getting used to it though. It’s the same feeling I get before I go to the gym. Before I get there, I’m dreading being at the gym but once I’m actually there I catch myself becoming immersed in the beautiful moments with new acquaintances. I’m starting to not care what anyone thinks of me, going outside of my comfort zones to approach anyone. This is good, because now I can build from this foundation and figure out how to create long lasting, real conversations.

Coincidence, or Choices?

Mikey B stood in line for Starbucks, and it was a long line. Social Gym had been initiated, and here we stood in a massive line full of strangers. Both of us were in our head a bit, we didn’t start a conversation with anyone that was in line with us. The morning seemed to wear heavy on the both of us, lack of sleep crept into our voices when we spoke. Giddy and exhausted, Mikey B and I stood in the Starbucks line with a moderately higher energy.

7 customers later, I was standing at the front of the Starbucks line. I greeted the barista and ordered two frappachinos, one Caramel, one Salted Caramel Mocca. Mmm. The drinks seemed to be made in an instant, as I walked over to the end of the bar and have my eyes greeted by beautiful beverages. Mikey B and I picked them up, and started walking towards the front door of Starbucks. In my path stood two individuals with “Mustard Seed” lanyards hanging off their neck.

I’m a firm believe that every decision that you make in this moment effectively changes the course of the rest of your life. I walked by the lady towards the front door, then I doubled back and opened my mouth to speak.

Brian: Excuse me. I couldn’t help but notice your lanyards. Are you Volunteers?

Lady: Actually, I’m one of the managers at the Seed!

Brian: Hmm, interesting. I’ve always been curious about volunteering.

Lady: Yeah, I’m just on my break right now! I’d give you a tour, I’ll be back there in 20 minutes.

I figured it couldn’t be a bad decision. I talked to the lady and the man she was with for about 5 minutes, and parted ways to meet Mikey outside of Starbucks. I told him that we had a date in 20 minutes at the Mustard Seed for a tour, and I knew he’d be open to the idea. A new experience, and finding a new way to give value? Always the right move.

Rejection? PFFF!!

Mikey B and I walked around Downtown Calgary and started conversations with a few more people. I managed to make a woman think that I was about to rob her… lesson learned… don’t run up on people. Mikey B and I saw moderate success today, we’re both trying to calibrate to the energy of the environment while maintaining our genuine intent. Finding that balance in the daytime isn’t the easiest thing to do, but growing is worth the struggle.

30 minutes seemed like 5 as we made our way over to the Mustard Seed. I had all of these preconceived notions for how these homeless people would be, based on Society’s image of these people, but the lady that I met today inspired me to see the situation for what it actually was. It doesn’t matter whether you’re homeless, average or rich; you’re a person.

The lady that I met today was more of an inspiration than anyone I’ve ever met in my life. Mikey B and I walked into the Mustard seed to be greeted by the Manager, she shook Mikey B’s hand with certainty and love. The tour began, as she talked, talked and talked about the place that fueled her passionate fire. The lady talked about how these people inspired her, she talked about how she had raised six troubled children on top of her own four kids in the same house, how she had been helping the homeless for 30 years. I listened in awe, as my silence allowed her to passionately express the idea that she represented.

The tour lasted about an hour, and as it came to a close Mikey B finally piped up and asked the question that I was thinking about.

Mikey B: All you do is give, and give. How do you never burn yourself out?

Lady: I hear all the time about Social Workers burning themselves out. There’s no possible way I could burn myself out, because all I do is receive. People say that they “give and give,” and you cannot see it as that, because you only have so much to give. Everywhere I go, everything I do, I receive the honor of being a light to someone else. Give, receive, it’s all up here. It’s all based on perception.

A life–altering perspective on how Social Dynamics is meant to be played out. I find that now that Social Dynamics is out there, people are talking about how they “give and give” and receive nothing in return. In reality, when you are “giving” you are receiving the gift of giving. “Giving” should never be a chore, it should be an honor. If it is a chore, you are doing it for the wrong reasons, because a gift with a string attached is a bribe.


In the end, we’re all people. It doesn’t matter whether you’re homeless, on the streets, have a drug issue, drive a lambo, own your house, have a million dollars. We are all people, and we all co–exist in this world together. To live selfishly is always the wrong move, because the necessities for survival are moderate in comparison to the extravagant materialistic items that the wealthy purchase to satisfy their ego. Give, and you shall receive. Give freely, expecting nothing in return and you receive the gift of happiness.

Interested in meeting the woman who inspired this article? Visit


  1. Wow you guys, I am so proud that you both took that opportunity to grow and be humbled! Beautifully written Brian, very inspirational and moving.


  2. Good article, Brian!

    I can see through my eyes of what that woman sees every single day. Its something that you have to experience yourself to know it, as for myself – I’ve been in similar situations before and still am at times – though doing for such a period of time, that is something to look upon to!

    As I could of mentioned this before – everything must come from your heart or else its none-sense (For me anyway) Agree or Disagree, its all up to you!

  3. skimmed through it at the speed big waves move on the pacific coast in Puerto Escondido,

    thank you for the words of wisdom at the correct moment

  4. Myke and Jamie… thanks for the kind words 🙂 I’m very happy for the comments.

    Mikey B… I love you like chocolate milk, I’m so glad Social Gym is our experiment and that we’re rocking it as hard as we are.

    Max…. keep it genuine man! I absolutely love it. I hope everything’s going well for you sir, if you need anything feel free to shoot me a text 🙂

    Kevin… you are a wise man when it comes to the Pacific Coast. Thanks for the comment, it is much appreciated 🙂

  5. Hi Brian,

    Thank you for your willingness to come by and to share this story so beautifully on your blog. We strive every day to build community, grow hope and support change in the lives of those we serve, and it looks like some of that rubbed off on you and Mikey as well.

    Thanks again,

    All of the staff and guests at The Mustard Seed

  6. Hi Brian

    I was so honoured the day you showed interest in coming by the SEED while we did that simple gift of buying a coffee. I remember the day one of our homeless neighbours at the SEED held out his hand and showed me a small bunch of coins in his hands. I asked him what that was and he said, “Deb, that is normal!” I asked him what that meant and he stated that every day when he can go into Tim Horton’s and buy a coffee like everyone else, and for a very few moments sit and belong to the community, he is normal. Every day I am blessed to see how much Calgary truly cares about being part of the difference that can be made and you are such an example of that. I just saw your blog today and my heart is touched by the chain of compassion and change that I am only a small link in every day; please drop by and say hello any time and bring more friends!! Blessings to you and Mikey B. Deb

  7. Hey Deb! As I am sitting in front of Brian right now listening to Beethoven, this comment makes me think back to all of the struggles that I have gone through and through those struggles the growth that has been inspired through me through taking step by step with my best friend Brian Mark. This comment means a lot to all of us and everyone that is working with the movement. Thank you for that very special day and thank you for being a part of a solution.

  8. Hey Deb and Sarah!

    Thank you guys for commenting. These comments are given at a time that’s needed.

    Sarah, you and Deb definitely had an impact on the way that Mikey B and I saw the world that day. The work you do at the Mustard Seed is similar to the work that we study. We believe in making a difference and spreading the love in a time where the world needs it the most. There are times when inspiration runs thin but it always seems to find it’s way back to you. I’m extremely thankful for people like you two Sarah and Deb, you bring inspiration not only to the people at the Mustard Seed that you help out on a regular basis but also to people like Mikey and myself when our inspiration runs low.

    I guess what I’m saying is thanks for being awesome, and thanks for stopping by and commenting. 🙂

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