Wishing Forward, not Backward

Wishing is a human trait that has (like all of our traits) a dual nature: good and bad or helpful and harmful.

Perhaps too often, we find ourselves wishing that our past had been different. In extreme cases, this backward looking wish mental activity becomes so obsessive that we fail to experience the moment as anything but mental anguish. And here is the worst part: when we fail to wish forward, hope barely glimmers in the dark depressions that can follow.

The moon reflecting the light of the sun back to us–reminding us that even in times of darkness, light remains.

If we think about it, a backward wish cannot do anything, while a forward wish can move mountains. As trite as it may sound, we cannot change the past, but we can change the future. But the future will not change if our present is mired in regret, guilt, anger, self-pity, inactivity, self-loathing, self-abuse, etc.

Fishing is essentially a wish-forward activity! “Fish” and “wish” rhyme…coincidence?

Our physical, earth-bound selves are wired to learn from mistakes: this is, of-course, a key survival mechanism built into our humanity. So it is very easy to let this natural tendency to obsess over past mistakes occupy more of our minds than than future actions and possibilities. This is why I believe it takes so much more human effort to wish forward than backward.

Another strange thing about our humanity, is how intense and vivid our memories are of past mistakes and emotional trauma. For example, I have had gout attacks off and on for the past ten years. When the attack is on, the pain is so intense that I could almost cut off my foot or leg to get rid of it. But when the attack is over, I cannot bring up a vivid memory of the hurt. Whereas, some remote emotional hurt, like when I was insulted or had lost/failed some dream of years ago, can come to the surface/present with the same burning intensity.

We hold the future in our hands, and the past is beyond our reach or repair.

These two aspects of our humanity may be why our wishing tends to be more backward than forward, thus doing us and our brief time on this planet more harm than good.

So when I find myself falling into those backward wishes, I have to make the effort to start wishing forward, kindling hope instead of despair. It works almost all the time (for me) to pull me out of that dark world of regret, guilt, and lost hopes/dreams. It changes my focus to what can be from what was and cannot be any different.

“If you never shoot, you can never score.” – Wayne Gretzsky. “If you never cast, you can never catch.” – Marv Machura

Perhaps this is why so many people find prayer helpful? Because prayer is essentially a wish forward and can be a very powerful weapon against those mean adversaries of guilt and self-pity.

As far as we know, the Universe goes forward, not backward. So should we.

Marv Machura with daughter, Emily. “Teach your children to pray” May be another trite expression, but prayer may be one the of the most effective wish-forward techniques we have!

New Song/Video!!!

Hi Friends!

So happy to announce the launch of this new song and video!

It has been a while in the works: I first learned of the Chilcotin War in 2018 while looking through some library books at Okanagan College, this picture caught my eye.

Chilcotin Chiefs by Shawn Swanky

I started reading about it and was hooked. I knew immediately that there was a song in here. And after a few months of research, the song took shape.

I presented my research and song at a few conferences over the past year, but did not get down to the recording until this past spring. I recorded it in a studio I built in my home in 2016: I call it the “Walter Machura Studio” because it was my first solo-building project that I had ever done. I will never forget the day when it was completed, and I was thinking about naming it.

As I thought and enjoyed that incredible moment of accomplishment (along with a nice cool scotch and soda), it occurred strongly to me that my dad (who can build and/or fix anything) is in this work that I have just done! That’s the name!!

It has taken me more time than I thought to start releasing some music from this great studio, but oh well…we all know how life laughs at our plans!

So, without further ado, here’s the video and song–the first song from my upcoming album, btw.

The Chilcotin War

Marv Machura

The Medium is Still the Message

Marshall McLuhan’s Family Home in Highlands Community of Edmonton, Alberta. I used to live on the same street in this great neighbourhood and would frequently walk by this home which has now been restored and preserved for its historical and culural significance.

Here we are–another Sunday in the Covid lock-down of spring 2020. It is a beautiful morning here in the Okanagan with a promise of warm day ahead, of which we have had not too many lately.

I have added a couple of new pages to my website lately that are both directly related to the late, great media theorist, Marshall McLuhan. The first is a copy of my 1990 Master’s Thesis: The English Curricular Response to the Mass Media. In this thesis, I show how English Language Arts Curriculum has responded to the introduction of various media of communication that got their start and/or reached their peak during the 20th century.

Also, I have added another Machura on McLuhan selection: On Internet Porn. This is a piece that explores our pair-bonding natures and our relationships with our tools and technologies.

Have a great Sunday everyone! Life is good! And the “unexamined life is not worth living.” – JP Satre.

After the Storm

Lake Okanagan, Vernon, BC. Looking out over Adventure Bay.

Conflict is not part of the human condition; it is the human condition.

One of the things I have done since moving to Vernon, BC. is perform at many seniors homes and long-term care hospitals. If it were true that we are happiest when all of our needs are being meet, and we are provided with the most conflict-free environment possible, these places would be incredibly happy. Yet, the opposite is true–as with life in general.

A conflict-free life is not a life at all. And those of us who buy into the capitalistic/protestant work myth of aiming for a conflict free-future, as with a golden retirement and future bliss of comfort and ease, may be missing the point entirely. And importantly, we, as a society largely driven by this myth, are not only wasting the earth and all her abundant and precious beauty and resources the process, but also wasting our own precious few days and years that we are allotted on our wonderful planet.

The storms of life come upon us–and some we create ourselves. Either way, these conflicts challenge us to stand up, be human, and experience the range of emotions that are our birthright and ultimately the fire/rain that shape our destiny.

We can thank the storm–especially, as we carry on (stronger, better, and more humble) and perhaps with the divine spark of life shining a bit brighter in our eyes and smiles, for all to see.

Hope Sustains Us

The hand of fetus reaching out to grab the doctor’s finger during in utero surgery.

The shortest pessimistic poem in the world goes like this: “Hope? Nope.” – unknown author.

We can see in the photograph the hand of the unborn child reaching out of the womb and holding on to the surgeon’s hand. He or she is not giving up or letting go; he or she already has hope in his/her small, beating heart in the world of not only today but also tomorrow.

It is hope and faith that keep the black dogs of despair, self-pity, depression at bay. When they threaten us, we as people, couples, families, communities, cities, nations, and world citizens, can sicken, resort to senseless violence, forsake our fellows, and even self-destruct.

So it’s good to keep hope alive in our lives and perhaps realize that our daily struggles and conflicts are best backstopped by the great human gifts of hope and faith.

My dad puts life’s struggles and conflicts into a simple adage by which he has lived: “As long as you leave the place better than you found it.” And I agree. Perhaps we get closest to our purpose as mortals when we see that our living and dying, underpinned by hope, will not turn to gloom because we keep our aim on that rule and heroic struggle to brighten–and not darken–our world.

Today’s the Day!

Hi Friends,

I have working on this website for the past few weeks and am now ready to start promoting it! Yeah! And now that I have my vision in place

My life has been an interesting, engaging, and exciting experience being a teacher, writer, and performer. I have done a fair amount of work in each of my three life disciplines–and continue to engage in them now. So, they are all up here with the latest information and updates. Thanks WordPress and the World Wide Web for the privilege! As imaginative as I was as young boy, I did not dream of this happening in my lifetime.

I remember when the Internet was first coming out; my brother who has always been on the vanguard of technology first showed me how he hooked his computer up to the Internet. He said, “See, I can find out the weather in Vancouver.” I said, “I don’t see much future in this Internet because who wants to see the weather in Vancouver!”

I also once said, “I can’t see a future in software because once you have the program it will never wear out like a machine, and it is all you need.” I think I said that when WordPerfect 5.0 came out.

Cheers! and happy launch day for this new marvmachura.com site!

Pre-Internet Days: Ice Fishing somewhere near Smoky Lake, AB.

Feelings are Real

Recently biking the Rail Trail along the wonderful Kalamalka Lake

We should never deny our or others feelings. People will forget what you have said to them, but they never forget how you made them feel. And getting control of our feelings or emotional state is not a matter of subduing feeling. The contrary is true. The more we engage in our emotional life, the stronger and more important it becomes. If our emotional engagement is mostly self-pity and despair that is not good–but the danger comes when our engagement in these emotions seems uncontrollable. Be kind to yourself; let yourself feel these emotions. The greatest danger is thinking that these emotions are not real. They are real.

What I mean here is to not deny your harmful/destructive states as much as you do not deny your positive/constructive states. Engage in your emotions–the greatest of this gift manifests itself in a rainbow of colours and light that under-pin all the life and energy that we perceive as real–and it is real. Engage in that powerful dance of light/energy/vibration that is contained in the several trillion cells that make up your body and even the quantum light/energy/matter of each swirling molecular particle wrapped in our skin.

Website Coming Together!

Hi Friends,

I have been getting this website together over the past week or so; it has been a bit of steep learning curve with the software and then now the adding of content and downloads is taking up a few more days.

Yesterday, I was able to get my book Wonder online and available for download. Today, I hope to get more writing up there as well as more.

Thanks for visiting!

Cherie Amour!

Another Sunday at Home!

Had a great visit to Shuswap Falls north of Lumby with Brenda and Eric Fraser.

Sometimes we need to just step back from the current problems and 1000 reasons to get a person down and give thanks for what we have. There is another side to each situation, and we don’t know much more than how we feel–that is all that is for-sure real. And, for the most part, we are in control of how we feel. It’s good to practice gratitude for the amazing gift that life is. We don’t see the world the way the world is; we see the world the way we are.


Hi Friends,

I hope this finds you all doing well. Here’s an older poster from a wonderful night at the Haven Social Club when I released my first music video: CN Grain Train.

The video was shot and put together by my colleague and friend, Les Sawyer.