Thursday, April 28, 2011

Poem - I Use To...

I use to say "I can't"
And I could tell you why
But it doesn't really matter
All that does is I didn't even try.
I use to run from this feeling
Even though I knew it was right
Until I surrendered to the fact I deserve happiness
And stopped the upstream fight.
I use to think that love
Came with a price too heavy to pay
But now I know there's nothing I won't do
For love, verily.
I use to let my physical
Rule what needs had to be fulfilled
Thank God I've turned my spirit into my Captain
And developed true free will
I use to despise discipline
For I viewed it as a prison cell
But now I see it for true freedom
For what I say I'll do I know I will.
I use to think that vulnerability
Was weakness in the flesh
But now I know that this is one quality
That allows me to be my best.
I use to think that going Diep
Was something I should fear
Cause I thought there would be nothing worse
Than losing someone I hold dear.
I use to make the easy choice
But not the one I knew in my soul was right
I once was lost but again I've been found
Thanks, in part, to Her light.
Now I know I can
And I'll do more than just try
For with hunger, humility, faith & Love
"Whatever it takes" I'll fly.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Dreams vs. Reality or Making Dreams Reality. Your choice.

"There are some people who live in a dream world,
and there are some who face reality;
and then there are those who turn one into the other."

A friend of someone I adore sent this to them & they shared it with me to help add to my inspiration for the day (one of the many reason I can list why I adore 'em).
And now it's my turn to pay it forward.

Let me go on record to say that I believe positive thinking is ruining our society. The secret is an awesome tool or concept or theory. The problem with theories, concepts or tools is that they don't do much on their own. Ever see a screw driver walk over to a loose screw & just tighten it up? Exactly.
Positive thinking takes you out of the realm of reality which takes you out of the role of cause in affecting your ability to effect your circumstance, situation, perspective & results. Positive thinking is a band aid solution to an issue. Positive thinking is a hope for attitude usually followed up with a post action free nothing happened expression.
The other end of the spectrum is negative thinking. You know the "it's the end of the world, how can I go on, life is so unfair so I'm just going to stop fighting or making any effort to move forward" type thinking that doesn't serve any of us in a constructive manner. Throw this out too.
Reality is where it's at. You see when we look at things from a realistic point of view we're able to figure out what we have, what we want & what direction to head in to get it.
When we look at things from a realistic point of view we are able to assess, evaluate, plan, take action and then re evaluate, measure, manage and continue towards our goal. We are in affect, able to effect our outcome. Or be at cause which is the only path to the joy of setting sail on the life of our dreams.

This quote sang to me. Why? Because of it's simplicity. Because of what it presupposes. Because of where it came from.

I've got dreams. Big dreams. Huge dreams. The reality of the journey I've been on is that each step towards each dream has been wrought with more & more tests of my spirit, my will & my passion. Each step closer proves to be harder than the last yet easier than the next. I've worked on in joy. I've shuffled on in despair. I've walked, ran, flown, climbed and crawled towards 'em.
I don't know how long it'll be until I complete this step but I know I'll complete it & move to the next. How else am I to be one of "those who turn one into the other."
Hope you find your simple but not easy path to making your dreams & reality one & the same.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I'm Coming Out/Movies Lie.

2 titles. One message.

I'm coming out!
My name is Mark Sparks and I am an Actor. My chosen profession leaves me with a wee more free time than most people so I am also a Conditioning Specialist. People always ask me if that means I'm a personal trainer and to keep interactions light I say yes. Usually preceded by a long "ummm". What I really do is work with people to help them gain things in their lives that they desire and deserve. With many of the men I work with (shout out to - and if you haven't seen it swing on by to see what the buzz is all about. Shameless plug, season 2 was so much fun to shoot and so enlightening) the topic that comes up most frequently is dating. Well actually the lack of dating. Which usually leads to the lack of relating or as most people call 'em relationships. My job? To help them discover the inspiration within their own souls so that they can first shine and then attract to them that which they desire - in this case relationships.
My name is Mark Sparks and I just came out.
(please email all requests for coaching to

Okay, now to the second part, Movies Lie!
I am always searching for understanding of human interaction. I am inspired by people who are able to make changes in their lives by changing their habits, actions and in turn beliefs (shout out to my home girl E!) In my search to understand my own motivation and in turn what motivates other people to take action I read countless books, travel to seminars, pay very exceptional professionals for mentorship, interview experts, host a show, watch documentaries, television and movies and speak to a lot of people face to face or via email or the phone. In my 10 year search I have concluded a few things that are true. What does this have to do with movies lying to us you ask?

Movies make us believe that life happens in 90-120minutes. Sometimes a little longer but not much. Movies make us believe that we will meet the person of our dreams, that we will instantly change from who we are to the person we desire to be with minimal effort, that we are in an instant able to dismiss all the situations and circumstances around us that make being in a relationship with our dream person impossible (read all those other guys/girls you've been 'casually' dating - whatever that means to you).
Movies lie.

Movies will have you believe that "and they live happily ever after" is it. That attaining the dream person is not only the beginning of the relationship but the only part that requires our effort. In movies the guy will jump onto runways, run in the rain, stand outside a locked window freezing or outside a locked door confessing his undying love. In the movies the woman will succumb to his romantic proclamations of love and end up in his arms. In the movies love prevails and the two hug, kiss and then the credits roll.
Movies lie

In real life, "the end" is really the beginning. In real life saying "I love you" means far less than showing it. In real life the connection, trust and respect necessary to build a lasting relating experience takes a little longer than 90-120minutes. In the movie the guy gets one shot, takes it and against all odds wins. That's probably part of why we like movies so much. It's probably also the biggest relationship lie.

Gentleman (and ladies), the awesome thing about life is that it's a marathon, not a sprint. We get more than one opportunity at 'the dream person'. In life we mess up because we don't have a team of writers to aid us in articulating our true thoughts. We don't have a director mapping out our blocking (where you need to go to make the scene work). We don't have a co-star who is there to first create drama and then fall for you at the directed and scripted time.
In life we say the wrong things, we do the wrong things and we sometimes even do the wrong people (yes I said it, we grown you know what I'm talking about). The beauty of life is that we always have another shot. And more than 90-120minutes. The truth is that too many people quit fighting for what they want - or specifically the woman (or man) of their dreams because there first attempt was brushed off. How's that for passion?
Here's something my Grandma taught me - if you want something, go out and do whatever it takes to get it. Do that from a place of love and you can't ever fail.
That's passion. But that takes patience & perseverance and if your living according to a movie you only have 90-120minutes.
Luckily life is not a movie.
Now excuse me, I've got someone to call...
Stay Blessed,

Saturday, April 23, 2011

"I Feel You"

I feel you.

You ever "just know"? As in, no words, no reasons, no factual data to confirm nor deny yet you just know?
Knowing without knowing.

The Tao Te Ching speaks on relativity:
"We know beauty because there is ugly
We know good because there is evil
Being and not being
Having and not having
Create each other."

The bible calls it faith:
"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for
and assurance about what we do not see."

Even the movie Avatar –You’ve never watched the movie Avatar? Really? Wow. I mean my Grandma's seen it and she’s 96 – anyways, there is a part in the movie where they use the phrase "I see you" which refers not to a physical sight but one of spiritual insight, or seeing the spirit of someone, the light that shine from within.

Confidence in what we do not see... Knowing without knowing... “Seeing”… Hmmm.

Knowing without knowing. You know? (Hehe).
It’s a crazy thing to feel someone. Like feel someone.
It’s one of the rarest of emotions. And I’m not talking just physically either, deeper. Though I am acknowledging it’s physical as well.
It’s not a sum of attributes or a combination of admirable qualities. It’s bigger than any resume could describe.
To feel them before you see them. To know before you know.

There’s this concept I’ve been meditating on for the last little while: Surrender.
It’s crazy how freeing it truly is. I’ve also meditated on another subject quite heavily for the last year: putting your whole self in.
Lots of times we give ourselves options ‘just in case’ to make sure that we don’t get hurt, that we don’t loose what we have or can have by going all in. Sometimes we know we need to go all in, we want to go all in, we’re destined to go all in but there’s a part in all of us that yearns to control our lives, control our futures and control our feelings. And to an extent we can. And then there’s that other piece which we cannot.
That piece where we simply “know without knowing”. That piece that we feel before we see. That piece that creates something within us that cannot be replicated by anything else but demands our all in order to ever truly realize it’s full potential to make us wholer. Yes I said wholer. It’s a word that describes being whole alone and finding that which makes your whole even more whole. Wholer. Now that you understand that back to the ‘point’.
The redemption found in risking everything and the pain that comes along with it, as was once said, isn’t the pain itself. Or the suffering. It’s in what or rather who we become on the journey and more so that on the other side of that pain awaiting us is a joy unknown. A joy that can only be found on the other side of that pain.
And there in lies the redemption.
The pleasure that can only exist after the pain of that journey.
The pleasure that can only “be” after the passage to the other side.

So back to the title “I feel you”.
Translation --> I know without knowing. I feel without thought. I understand without explanation. I dig without a shovel. It’s effort not work. It’s simple not easy. I know because relativity makes it so. I know because I just know.
Why? Cause even before I see you I feel you. No proof. Just faith.

So when we know, just know, we need to go. Just go. No questions, no pause for understanding. Just go.
Surrender yourself in order to experience unexplainable freedom.
Go in. All in. No noise. No other option.
Cause you feel it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

F@*k "Critics"!

Hi, I'm a "Critic". Huh?!
How is that a job title? How does one person become an expert in the art of "critic"? Do they walk around practicing? Do they just decide one day that there sour attitude should be shared with other on the hopes of enlightening folks? I mean really. What's next "Professional back seat driver designations? Jeesh.

Look, I'm all for constructive criticism but c'mon your job title says it all... You're a "critic" for goodness sakes. I mean that's not a job, that's something you do - generally when you're an asshole with just enough courage to "critique" people who actually have the
grapefruits to do shit.

Sorry 'bout the language, I'm a little heated.... Why you ask?
Well I've got a friend who happened to pour much of his creative and financial energy into an amazing project and I open the paper to read a professional asshole, oops, I mean "Critic" proceed to brutalize an amazing piece of work. I wish that were it. I've got a client who is making tremendous strides at changing her life, her habits and in turn the shape of her body. Amazing right?! Wrong says the "Critic" with words such as 'well she can't keep it off' or 'what do you mean workout at least 5 days per week? That's not realistic for you.' No critic. Who happens to be wildly out of shape and out of control in the discipline department. Just thought I'd throw that in.
If I wasn't a gentleman, and I didn't read all my writing to my 102 year old Grandma I'd call "Critics" by the name they are known for where I grew up. Use your imagination.

Listen to me - if you have critics, either professional or the growing population of amateur one's remember one thing: they are liers. They are not telling you something is bad/impossible/cannot be done etc because that is the truth, they are telling you that because deep down they are jealous of the power that you have in saying something is going to get done and then doing it. They are jealous of the freedom which you earned in turning discipline and hard work into your comrades. They are angry that they choose to believe that they cannot accomplish greatness and that your striving for greatness only goes to further magnify their mediocrity. So don't believe their lies. And don't be angry with them, in fact love them for it is a hard place to know you want to change, need to change and yet doing nothing.
In fact next time you come upon a critic just smile cause it means you are on the right track to somewhere good. I mean who has ever heard of a critic showing up at a dude's sentencing hearing? Or the concert of an artist who sells a whopping 5 seats? Or... Well you get the point. So love the critic, the person of course. And if you feel their criticism seeping through your shield of faith and humility then feel free to let them know that you are quite willing to plug their lie hole with a righteous dose of truth fist.
Figuratively speaking of course.
Or not.

Cheers to all y'all who are walking your journey, working towards what you desire & deserve and enjoying the trip.
Now it's Saturday night. I've got to go find something to do.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Inspired And Reminded, Dream Attaining Is Simple...Just Not Easy.

Funny how much there is to learn when we are paying attention. Yesterday I was fortunate enough to be in Toronto to see the soft opening of Woody Harrelson's play "Bullet For Adolph" starring Ronie Rowe and a bunch of other extremely talented actors - Side note, if you are in Toronto you need to see it - while the night before I was fortunate enough to take in the Premier of "Textuality" Starring Jason Lewis, Carly Pope & Liam Card. Another funny movie, like "Hey dude, if you weren't so big I'd make a joke about how loud your laughing all the time" funny - Side note, It releases on Friday at AMC theatre's nation wide and you need to see it.
I was fortunate to be accompanied to both events by the intelligent, beautiful, funny Ms... Well, that's not so much your business but I was blessed most by the company I was with.
There was an after party for both events and I was able to meet some real cool cats, many of which had done a whole lot more in their industry that they'd ever let you know if you didn't know. I'm talking Oscar nominee's, retired at 40, Sex and the city, just flew in on my plane yes I said my plane in a matter of fact type of way from some island which I've never heard of type Cats. Heavy. And yet, each of them carried themselves with a humility that was both refreshing and surprising. Not that fake "I suck and I know I suck" crap that people spit. But real humility. As in "yeah I work hard and am great at what I do but that's just what I do and not who I am" type humility.

I had a conversation with a couple of them about how they got to where they are going (lesson I've learned - when you meet someone who is further along on a path you'd like to explore it's wise to ask Why and then shut up and listen) and there was some awesome theoretical & practical advice shared with me (Book coming soon. Yes my book. Jeesh.) Everyone had a different definition of success but the one common denominator was this: Passion. Preparation. Perseverance. To make it mathematical:

Hunger + Humility + Faith = Results (i.e Making The "Impossible" Possible.)

That's it. Yes there is work involved but it's simpler than you think. In fact, someone just shared with me her amazing journey of weight loss (Yo Go Girl!) and... Well that's for another post.
For now, remember Stay hungry. Stay humble. Work Faithfully.
Dream attaining is that Simple... Just not easy.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

April 17th, I'm Headed home...Conference Time

Sunday April 17th from 2:30pm – 4pm
At Vagabondo (32 Front Street, Toronto)
Host of the Mens’ Room And Former Calvin Klein Man of Steel
Mark Sparks
will be joining an amazingly talented cast for
Youzus Toronto Spring Workshop.
Check Out The Website For More Details
Limited Seating Available
Email For Tickets & To Reserve Your Spot!

About Mark…

Mark Sparks is an accomplished athlete, a Conditioning Specialist of 10 years and the owner of S.P.A.R.K.S Conditioning
(Speed. Power. Adaptability. Refinement. Kinesiology. Satisfaction)

Mark received a theoretical knowledge that included time in College studying fitness and health, certifications as a personal trainer, group trainer and a Neuro linguistics practitioner and a practical background that includes years of training, national rankings, a national championship, provincial awards and recovery from two catastrophic injuries – injuries which as he was told would end his athletic pursuits for good.
As an athlete and a former Calvin Klein “Man of Steel” he has learned what it takes to create the body you desire and deserve.

“It’s quite simply really – people just seem to enjoy making it complicated…
I keep to the 3P’s:
Passion. Preparation. Perseverance.”

With his unique approach to fitness that utilizes your body weight, complex movements and enjoying your journey He will teach you how you can simply create the body you desire and deserve and in the process create habits to help you create the life you deserve.

Sunday April 17th from 2:30pm – 4pm at Vagabondo
(32 Front Street, Toronto)
In His workshop you’ll learn:
1. The 3 P’s to success in and out of the weight room.
2. The importance of goal setting and goal management
3. Why Focus, Frequency & Intensity will be your greatest allies in attaining your goals – fitness and otherwise.
4. How to carve the body you desire & deserve even when a gym isn’t available – by using your body!
5. How vital it is to seek and find great help en route to greatness.

Email For tickets.

“Part of my purpose is to help you achieve yours. And that starts within you. I’m looking forward to helping you create the body you desire and deserve and I look forward to being a navigator along your journey.”
Mark Sparks