The Delicate Arches

We hiked in a 108 degree Utah sun. The journey itself a sort of tribute to 2 sandstone sentinels of the desert. But what is heat to 65 million years of stratified rock? To Earthen towers whittled into brittled brilliance by erosion, by wind & rain?

Quick Blog Entry! We hiked in a 108 degree Utah sun. The journey itself a sort of tribute to 2 sandstone sentinels of the desert. But what is heat to 65 million years of stratified rock? To Earthen towers whittled into brittled brilliance by erosion, by wind & rain?

You have to be patient with this part of the continent. In silence, in arches, the desert secrets reveal themselves to you.

Arches National Park, Utah

Nature revels in taking various physical forms. Earth bares her soul through expanses of sand and scrub trees.

The significance of duality hidden in her barren places. The moral of rom-coms and confidence- the edifice of true beauty will always remain.

In turn we also bare ourselves before her. Why else would we come if not to offer a salute, an homage, to honor two sienna colored outcroppings?

Do we see ourselves, our collective future, mirrored in these lone survivors of an evaporated sea?

I am coming to know the desert as a subtle teacher. She left us Earthen statues as reminders of our temporal existence. The stubborn ingenuity of land which is shaped by elements, tools on a planetary workbench.

We are also clay upon the potter’s wheel. We are being guided to new revelations of understanding of how humans fit into the convoluted Cosmos.

Check out the hieroglyphs!

Earth isn’t dying, but the ecological effects on the planet are a result of humankind’s selfish and disconnected behaviors.

Were we to raise our collective vibrations we would change our behaviors on a global scale. The Earth would no longer need to force homeostasis upon us. Once we bring ourselves into submission the natural order will return as well.

Dust be dust but we are towers rising from ochre ashes. Monuments hedging their bets; living on edges of the human spirit. Steadfast warriors guarding the vast sand-baked sinews of our souls.

This is just one interpretation extrapolated from a Universe, a planet, a human race arching out in constant fluxes of creation.

We exist beyond gutters and starlight. And I’m aching to know it all.

Chain-Chain Change

Hikers used the chain at Angel’s Landing because it was a 1,488-foot fall to the ground, but also because the chain existed. Simply looking at the chain caused many people to become fearful. For inexperienced climbers- having a “safety net” of sorts was important.

Of course I went off leash most of the time. Not for a contrary purpose. I just didn’t need the chains to guide me. I barely have a grip on this version of reality, but I have a grip on nature & treading where angels dare to go.

We often hold to the things we’ve outgrown out of duty and familial obligation or material security. It’s okay and important that chain, the religion, the support exists. Sometimes we need that validation and security these things offer.

Still when we are attached to our expectations, relationships, professions- anything outside of us we can become chained in forms of mental and emotional slavery.

These sentences of servitude are subtle and reflect enculturation of societal norms. They are not easily broken and often take years of meditation, therapy, and re-education. Just desiring liberation is one of the most important part of “the work.”

There is more knowledge readily available to humans now than there has been in any other time in recorded history. Yet our cultures are not up to speed with the technological breakthroughs which have come at such an advanced pace. The proliferation of hints about misinformation are almost worse than the actual misinformation itself.

Propaganda from all sides keep pointing out false ideologies. Take your pick of soups and conspiracy theories du jour. But there is no inherent sense of fascism in this type of soup nazi. A problem with taking in so much information is that we don’t know where all to put it. That at the end of the day- people are forced into camps and baskets of good and bad.

We praise logic and lucidity when it matches up with the general consensus of the day. Scientists and theologians start out with the intent to discover something new or to come to greater understanding of their chosen discipline. Yet many observers, of both spiritual and scientific leanings, tend to maintain the status quo- to becoming maintainers of the knowledge instead of advancing it further.

It’s been proven throughout all of history that those in power attempt to maintain that power by adhering to the science and religion that best benefits the perpetuation of that culture’s ideals and motivations.


In his famous allegory, The Cave, Plato presents several chained prisoners who are forced to look at a fire casting shadows/images reflected on the back of a cave wall. He said, “On the walls of the cave, only shadows are truth.” We see mere reflections of the Forms- beauty, truth, life but do not actually ever see “Truth,” “Love,” “Mercy,” as they exist on their own. Everything is just a reflection of an ideal and we cast our own assumptions, experiences, desires and label it good, love, bad.

Objectivity of the material world becomes more apparent in nature. The riddle of “if a tree falls in a forest” becomes more clear when you’re the only one in the forest to hear its silence.


Almost all of us live this way to some extent. Not asking questions which would shake the foundations of our societies, are homes, relationships, and selves. I’ve literally known self-actualized people who said they don’t want to ask the hard questions because they don’t want to know “the answer.“

Often I wish the desire to ask these questions did not burn within my heart because life would be a lot easier to take at face value. But to stay in this false safety net would be boring, predictable, and antithetical to the propagation of life on this planet.

We spend half of our lives deprogramming ourselves from the bogus agendas of lack based mentalities that were socialized into us. But now that we know this- we have a chance to create the life which works for us and for the greater part of human civilization.

I used to think I was in the craggy places because of judgment and worthlessness. I was too precious to be planted in a garden but my heart would not be content alone in the alpines. Hearts have a way of wandering around until they find each other.

Brave hearts are not made for fences, chains, or cages. When we become less dependent on the chains we have grown accustomed to we move into bolder power.

We have the freedom to taking art, thought, life farther than it has been before. Keep following the freedom which is calling within you.

Unchain yourself from relationships, expectations, governments, and jobs which do not serve you. For each step forwards expands creation farther than it has been before and closer to where you want to go.

Beyond Thunderdome

I didn’t know I had fear of camping in the desert until confronted with the reality of its stark dry silence. The solemn landscape loomed with limestone and clay towers. Canyons leftover from a former ocean.

Approaching the desert, I suddenly became claustrophobic, small, and unsure. Surprised by my reaction, I thought,“those feelings happen in the city. Not out in the sanctuary I’ve found inherently in Nature.

I took a puff from my emergency inhaler, long breaths. AC on blast. Windows down. Whispering affirmations. Just real sexy adventurer stuff going on.

My personal wilderness street cred crumbling. A mild panic attack creeping on the edges and being quickly held at bay. Then a thought flashed: “OMG Furiosa would’ve left me out on Fury Road.” A laugh bringing a brief return to normalcy, grounding, and humbling of self.

Hurricane Flats, Utah

After two years of living in a lush pacific rainforest, I was struck by the seemingly barren landscape outside Zion National Park. The vegetation and landscape across southern Utah swiftly becoming arid, cracked. All moisture was sucked from the whipping 50 mph winds. From my breath. It’s like Earth had suddenly shed her brilliance and exposed the fragility of life just a few exits down the highway.

On a conscious level- I knew I could survive in the forest for several days if stranded or lost. I’ve picked up wilderness skills the past couple of years and could survive out in the mountains for several of days if needed. (Pick me for your Zombie invasion Team!)

The desert is a different ballgame. It’s you against the elements. There’s no direct access to water. No forests to provide protection or berries, fish, or other immediate food sources.

What you bring is all that you can carry. What you don’t have you will not find it in here. Was I ready or responsible enough for that? It is okay for a moment I was too in my head about all this?

And there was no one else who could help me were I to need assistance. I was camping solo. Just me out in the wilderness. Just as I have been a lot of times since leaving Texas. Mostly due to necessity and convenience. I travel the way I live: with a loose knit plan going a million possible directions at once.

Yet, in those anxious thoughts one can remember to access our mental health toolbox: mindfulness, meditation, medication. As well as employing holistic coping strategies like actually calling your support system and being open to guidance.

Some of the strategies which work for me may also work for you: reaching out to my support system, affirmations, remembering how much I’ve overcome while also being present, letting the feelings wash over, not attaching myself to thoughts or outcomes, radical forgiveness, attempting unconditional love, forgiving myself when that doesn’t happen.

I called my sister for reassurance. She said she could talk, but was on her way to pick up her son from daycare. I told her just hearing her voice was enough. She spoke affirmations to me. She told me I could leave the desert. That it would be okay if I kept moving. She told me I would also enjoy it if I gave it a chance. I listen to her talking to the daycare as she picks up my nephew, placed him in the car, and while she goes to pick up the dry-cleaning. She kept apologizing for having to interrupt our conversation. I told her it was perfectly fine- to just keep me on the phone. It was comforting to hear her perform these every-day tasks. It grounded me to Earth to myself to family.

Even with our recent disagreements and misunderstandings- our love for one another transcends the differences. I listen to the sound of family in a different room. Because that’s all that we are when we’re away from each other right? We’re on the same channel just on a different frequency.

Maybe that was one of the lessons I was supposed to learn in the desert. This part of the Earth is still the same Earth. Life and landscape existing and abounding in different ways. I needed to adjust my perception and unpack fears of the unknown.

Take the break which life is giving to you in the moment of your discomfort. A pause is just an opportunity to prepare for your next adventure beyond things like fears, and desires and personal Thunderdomes.

Angel’s Rest at Zion National Park

Setting the Record Strait

I was sat in meditation upon a plateau full of rock labyrinths in the sacred heart of mysterious Mt. Shasta. Asking the Universe for answers, as always, and waiting for a sign that I was on my path. Knowing this time I was not the crafter of my life disaster. This time the fuck- up truly was not my fault.

Setting the Record Strait

It’s no small irony that April Fool’s marks both my 2nd year of life on the American West Coast; and the closing of my chapter in Portland & the job in social work I started two years ago, today.

It’s a fitting reminder that things aren’t quite what they seem at first. For a fool’s heart can lead you onto paths of great adventures, broad exhilarations, and deep despairs.

Tomorrow I leave for Mt. Shasta and a 2 week trip to California. I find myself being beckoned back to this legendary mountain. I’m reminded of the surreality of an experience that occurred there late last September, within riddles and stone labyrinths.

In the wake of the California wildfires, and amidst several personal and societal devastations, I received a message from something higher than myself. Thankful for reasons and second chances to fly.

The mountain itself was parched but unscathed from the flames which had vociefrously consumed so many of its neighboring forests. The scorching of the West seemed symbolic of the combustible state of America. George Floyd couldn’t breathe when he was murdered by police.

Many populations across the West breathing in masks and the worst air quality in the world. The tyrannies of systemic injustice and police brutality were punctuated by Covid, and continued collapsing of civil liberties and crises.

I was sat in meditation upon a plateau full of rock labyrinths in the sacred heart of mysterious Mt. Shasta. Asking the Universe for answers, as always, and waiting for a sign that I was on my path. Knowing this time I was not the crafter of my life disaster. This time the fuck- up truly was not my fault.

Like our embattled country, My heart had been healing from twin aftermaths: the events surrounding my first book. And more intensely the accompanying fallout from being drugged by gay white supremacists after a Black Lives Matter rally in June 2020. Yeah, I know how crazy it sounds.

I looked up from my perch and saw the answer in the form a dark long-haired woman walking 1000 feet away, along the horizon of Mount Shasta. Little did I realize pieces of my future would soon come clearer into view.

Perhaps we are briefly guided by signs from another realm. Maybe our trials double as secret Talisman readying us on the next leg of our journeys. And as I set out on a new one, it’s time to clarify my truth which has been misconstrued. It’s finally time to set the record strait.

Rainbow Connection CDMX

Let us give thanks then- instead of to a nation, but appreciating unto each other and loved ones who came before. Let us be thankful for the abundant beauty, biodiversity, sustainable resources, justice spread out in every movement of our planet spinning on an axis- as fractured as it all may seem.

It is from the agnostics, shamans, queers, the “reprobate” of polite society- I have felt at peace with. The awakened, pagan people, inner-city yogis, backpacking explorers, Indigenous spiritualists, those seekers of the divine mysteries, the humble-hearted outcasts are the ones whom I instantly love.

This shaman gave blessings to all without judgement or persuasion of conversion. Love was given without a conversation. In the process to unconditional love- there is radical forgiveness. When we give empathy and understanding to those we deem not worthy of forgiveness- we bring grace incarnate into the world.

For we are still bound to promises

made with those borne of this land.

The promises of your ancestors “Come, now!”

Before we betrayed traded hands.

In achieving equity for all, the co-creative diverse cooperation of humankind will push us father into echelons of brilliance & sustainability. For the porches of our hearts are where we always meet one another; beyond superficial labelings like racial ethnicity, citizenship, or time.

We are united in the pursuit of human rights. And when we achieve justice for and with another person we have seen and honored the image of god who is represented by their being.

Every day is an open chance to live with all

of your possible futures before you.

Fast Slow Disco part 2

Through the healing process you begin to breathe. You accept the fact that some things in your life will never change. You cannot take back what happened especially things that never should have occurred and heartbreaks never meant to be inflicted.

But you move forward with gratitude for the beauty and people planted in your life. The light you allow in begins to overflow to all and everyone who surrounds you.

Still your life doesn’t feel real in some ways. The one who came before you feels like a foreigner. You fear the other shoe is going to dropkick you. You become hesitant to trust others, to trust life- even though you know that it’s always worked out in the past. Life’s inherent nature lies in its ability to cycle. #bikelife 😆

I’ve gotten through the hardest parts of this past year by pretending it wasn’t me living through states of disgrace.

I’ve been partially ready to run my whole life. But now I fucking get why foster kids I work with do exactly that. Because what if this person does love you and this part of your life works out only for it to all go away again?

Everything exists within a state of constant flux and flexible stability. Change and not getting lost in the change is part of the process. Being rooted in oneself makes room for whatever else is coming next. Be it life, puberty, rock ‘n roll, or death.

It seems some people have had perfect lives and don’t understand what it’s like to lose, be awkward, to be dealing w/ secret burdens and shame.

Stability can appear easier for people who have the means to root themselves- mentally, physically, interpersonally, financially.

The Steadfast Souls, the most genuine people are often the ones who have wrestled and laid down with their conquered demons. How can anything shake you when you’ve been torn asunder and brought to a better life again?

It’s not our job to sort out the perceived versions of other people for none of us really even know our own selves fully. We can’t rail against or compare our lives to those who seem like some they have figured it out from day one. Because comparisons only foster resentment to ourselves and those we are judging. 

The real version of ourselves is whoever continually shows up. And it sucks when the person you’re being is far from who you know you have been who you want to be. All one can do is take it day by day and offer grace instead of self-condemnation and bad self talk because your present reality is all you got.

I don’t know what it’s like to wake up next to same person every day and have children but I’m starting to like myself when I wake up. You are not being selfish by not settling.

Sometimes you go on journeys where there is literally not one other person who could have traveled that path home but yourself and by yourself. Trust me, it won’t be like that forever.

When you experience a lot of life-changing things it takes a while for it to settle down, to feel real. It feels like everything is just going to drop again. You kind of get used to living in chaos. When things settle down it’s almost like you become accustomed to difficult situations.

As a social worker, I’ve been trained to sit with someone else’s trauma while they’re in it. I know how trauma affects you more so than ever because I’m still wading through my own. In some ways I feel totally free and authentic, yet I have also become a stranger to myself.

Is that part of the change? Is it normal to always feel in flux? Don’t people eventually settle down? Will that ever happen for me one day?

Closing yourself to love is like closing the windows of a room on a vibrant spring day like quelling wind from the mountain side. Stealing life and draining it away until you become hollow; a carbon copy of the human you used to be.

At times I do wonder if this move was worth it all. Yet I would have also betrayed myself for not following the call which changed my life.

Above all the wandering soul cannot betray their call to adventure for long. The wild hope of wanderlust always beats beneath our flesh carried by metal wings slicing the sky (our hearts) open.

The Great Soul Kitchen

This year of chosen solitude has been a solace- a beautiful clearing in the wake of abandoning attachments. To walk in mountains is to walk in part of your soul. Returning to your breath is a returning to your life in this present moment. Everything else is an adornment distracting us from the real essence of life.

Time spent in Nature brings you into connection with Earth which helps you connect with your own self. You realize all creatures, plants, humanity are having a tangible experience with and on a living planet. You begin finding life can be lived in harmony even if weekend wanderings are few and the work week, the day to day drudgery, the bills are coming to kick your ass. You start bringing mindfulness into your every day life.

Nature is the Great Soul Kitchen where I have become more unconditional, steadfast, trusting in my approach to life than ever before.

You realize this moment is not locking you down, nothing is holding you captive. You hold no one accountable for your emotions. You stop looking for others for validation. You stop needing to be all things for a given period of time. You become content to be here now, be present, to see how things go without attaching immediate judgment to our fleeting thoughts. That’s how life is supposed to be.

Cubicle walls may contain you from 9-5, but a backpacker’s soul, like Nature, is eternal.

To sit alone with Nature is also to sit with your own self. You eventually come to find a deeper love and acceptance for yourself. you see the beauty in the craggy lone wolf places in your heart. You become broken down to love or else your screwed into hanging out 24-7 with someone you don’t even like or want to be around.

You learn to become your own best friend and it’s this surreal process of being muddled and molded in big secret gulps.

Nature offers one the vantage point of interacting purely with your environment. Being part of the land makes one feel in touch with all of life. Scientifically speaking we are biologically hardwired to live in union with our Earth.

Nature isn’t the escape. The escape was moving to the cities and deciding to erect stone walls. The disconnect from nature is what also stonewalled the collective human heart. Returning to Earth melts the Western illusion of segmented life experiences. It’s a return to the heart of all creation.

I’ve begun hiking trails with the intent to love everyone in my heart as they walk by. Sometimes this translate with me saying hello and a smile.

Even if there’s no reply I felt lighter in my heart just giving love without the expectation of return. I realized how quickly we start to seek others to fill that void and become mad at others when they don’t close the a gap we find within ourselves.

I found to be thankful for whatever is in the present moment is the secret to becoming unconditional which in itself is the ability to love freely and without needing the conditions to change to feel love. It is the holding each other responsible for how we feel how they made us feel how they’re supposed to make us feel that we become resentful and can no longer tolerate the people who meant the most to us.

A life of attachment to people, possessions, money, and conditions will be a life of constant lack, reaction, non-fulfillment, and blaming others for our unhappiness.

I still don’t always greet everyone with love in my heart. At times I forget as this rambling mind would would begin to think about other things and kind of tune other people out. But Nature is the great soul kitchen place for solitude for contemplation for peace. It also brings out the best in each other. Hiking outdoors is one place where we meet each other no matter our class or cast for the most part when you see her you’re on the same level ground.

You begin treating others better as you intentionally take time to connect to this alive, beautiful, sprawling Earth. Hiking and being in nature feels more than an addiction it has become a way of life. Nature can be volatile, unpredictable, dangerous but those fears lessen as you discover each one of us is part of this grand creation.

This great separateness is a societal illusion which will continue to be perpetuated until humanity collectively reconciles the Otherness within our own selves.

Can you love all sides of yourself? Without judging your faults without conditions to make loving yourself easier? If the answer to that question is not yes- you’re not going to find love from another person to fill the places you can’t even love.

Humanity will collectively find peace only when we stop looking outwards for people to change. Self acceptance brings inner-peace which is reflected outwards. Choosing to love when it’s not warranted elevates consciousness which changes your life and affects all those you touch.

It’s an ongoing process we must be consciously aware of but not attached to. it’s easy to get caught up in the flight of thoughts and day to day circumstances that need our immediate attention. Coming back to the breath to the now several times a day will begin to open you to allowing yourself to see the bigger picture the greater whole. This state of grace allows us to live our true potential and serve as reminders when we feel like failures and have hurt one’s we love. As important it is to extend an olive branch to others how much more we must first extend unconditional love to ourselves.

“Nothin’ But Time” part 2!

A young forest is now growing 39 yrs after Mount St. Helens’ destructive eruption. New ecosystems have begun flourishing. Wetlands now dot the plains and valleys within the blast zone of St. Helens- becoming home to frogs, amphibians, water fowl in species and numbers that did not occupy this area in the past. Some wondered if this region would ever be habitable again. Their valid fears did not come to pass. Volcanoes in the Ring of Fire have also made these same places habitable- creating rich forests, waterfalls, life for millions of species & prime real estate across the planet.

Things fall apart. Nations are rocked by injustice & wars. Couples deal w/ divorces. Families get shattered by tragic deaths. When things don’t work the way you planned- it doesn’t mean you failed. I only began sharing my writing one year ago. It’s become second nature to write, publish blog posts, and hopefully contribute some positivity or challenge w/ words & photos.

It makes sense that you feel despondent and hopeless after a difficult ordeal- especially if you’re still wading through the mire. The more daunting the circumstances the harder it feels you will get to the other side. And though my recent difficulties seemed- most of which were 💯 my own doing (mental health problems or not) there are so many others who have lived decades in pain, abuse, poverty; who have seen horrors & come out on the other side.

Devastation can never be justified and we can’t choose our struggles. Do mountains want to shutdown and die when faced with the aftermath? Do volcanoes feel guilt regarding the molten core burning in their bellies? Are they beyond apologetic about the effect their destruction had upon loved ones, upon holy places in the wilderness?

There’s no way to know this answer except that the mountain is still there. Trees continued to leaf. Animals kept procreating & adjusting to their habitats. Life continued to grow in an inhospitable environment. But all of that growth took time to come about. A year in our perception might as well feel a lifetime. A year to Earth is a less than a nanosecond in its history.

We are quick to judge ourselves & each-other when working towards a goal and results aren’t immediate. Is the new forest any less of a forest because it is young, because it lost everything and had to build again?

Getting up, trying, accepting your current situation, & working towards future goals that’s what counts in the end. This whole process of becoming relies on standing on your own two feet, a willingness to be vulnerable, to admit you’re not at your best, to admit you need help, that you were out of control, that you are trying.

The horizon begs us to sail outwards to the farthest bounds as it follows the curve of Earth. Most of us begin to see dreams as remnants borne from the zealous pursuits of youth. But the adventurous heart never ceases to feel at home within wanderment. To be at home anywhere you must be at home in yourself. After a year of being on the road, brilliant heights of mania, the depths of depression anchored to the sea. I’m no longer held captive by the past.

The caged bird sings because the door to freedom isn’t solely quarantined by latch and bars.

Most everyone deals with worthiness issues on some level. The need for validation is within us all. Especially those who were brought up in religious households, or in homes where abuse and neglect occur. How about the ones who are noiseless and never voice the issues they find themselves struggling with? We are taught that humans are wretched beings needing to be saved from an archaic god used to separate & divide human kind.

If Jesus, Buddha, Socrates, etc. were guiding us to anything perhaps it was to believe in ourselves- to believe in the beauty of every person & being.

To believe that we are each able to lift our own latches so that we may lift the latch of another. To know that we are bridges to one another. That we are to live unshackled from the constraints social tyranny have enchained us.

Each of us carry struggles that can’t be shared and secret burdens that can’t be buried. We can only shoulder our own weight and lean on those when it becomes too much. Still there is important work we must do alone. It’s interesting that destruction occurs in the sky, in neighborhoods, out where we discuss and tweet and go to battle over. Healing so often happens alone, in secret, among rivers and pine trees, in CPS offices, in hospitals, in homes.

I’ve been mostly solitary for a year. First time I’ve been on my own so long- even the year in China. I see the beauty of solo living and standing on your own validation. Being alone is not a worthiness issue yet our culture tends to make us think we are damaged or obscene if we’re not in romance, without going on vacay w/ gaggles of gays, to celebrate victories in secret.

Aloneness became a sacred ritual when I discovered the power in private excavations of the soul.

The art of non-attachment is rooted in acceptance of self. Acceptance is a by-product created by unconditional love. When we consistently remember that everything is connected and every being is a reflection of god, the Cosmos, as belonging to the Whole- we become more gracious to other people, our blessings, we finally feel home in ourselves.

We call them mountains when they are beautiful & quiet. We call them volcanos when they misbehave & fuck things up. But are they not one in the same?

Kamcatchka, Russia (not my photo)

We call it love when relationships are good and hate when love can no longer cover the faults any longer. We operate in so many dualities. We must see the shadow within ourselves. Of believing there is more to come. That you are enough. I want to become a person who does not live or love others conditionally. Who does not castigate myself for blunders. Poetic words are pale ghosts- reminders of beautiful moments & people who truly lived. Love must be lived and tangibly expressed.

You can see far stretches of the mountain since it exploded 1/3 of itself out hurtling into the valley. Perspective lies in the eye of the beholder. There are 5 mountains you can see from various vantage’s in the Portland/Vancouver area. The only way to see them all at once is when you’ve climbed to the top of another mountain.

The discipline of love is etched within our hearts & found within our forests.

Nothin’ But Time part 1

It’s almost been one year since embarking on the eloquent adventure/disaster that changed the landscape of my life. I keep coming back to Mount St. Helens- a mountain who is no stranger to spewing new effigies upon the land.

It’s the geographically closest and most accessible of the great 5 mountain peaks of I now live by. The gem of the PNW mountain range has now been reduced to 2/3 of its original height and glory. Magma began filling the mountain increasing its mass for a year and eventually reaching 400 yards a day prior to the explosion. How oddly relatable.

Mt. Saint Helens Before & after 1980 eruption

The pressure rose in St. Helens’ until that fateful day in 1980 when this sleeping giant hurled lava, pulverized rock, a side of the mountain outwards, killing 57 people, melting several glaciers and created the largest mudslide ever recorded.  Calamities millions of years in the making only took seconds to raze foundations entire ecosystems and collapse empires.

Yet 40 years later this mountain is now replenishing itself. Life is returning with hundreds of new habitats, ponds, and waterways in this ancient place.  

Which version of Mt. Saint Helens is the real mountain?  A gem reduced to ashes. An antagonistic foe looming in the distance biding time until its next eruption? A ticking-time bomb drowsing until the pressure builds to a crescendo and Saint Helens wildly flings destruction to all in its vicinity? A haven for life, a peak which glacier water flows down providing the source of many rivers? A mother, a place of beauty, a liability a home?

Are you the you who had it all together or are you now the person that is left after blasting your life into fragments? Are you something else altogether?Each perspective is valid but binary conclusions fail us so much of the time. The mountain, the aftermath, the you before and after are all of those things the good, the ugly, and the authentic self.

The volcano where I was unknowingly rapid cycling through a manic-depressive breakdown is also the mountain that has brought me back to life. A cataclysm of eroding glaciers within oneself.

Just as this mountain has done countless times over the centuries. Re-shaping and forging the land through destruction and setting the stage for new creations. Sometimes caused by brutal natural calamities, at the hands of others, at the hands of yourself.

Nature vs. nature is an antiquated paradigm. For It is within nature we find nourishment and true being as we have since time began.

The more we connect to the Earth the more we begin to connect to our truest selves. The false self begins to peel away the false self the egoic nature craving and never at peace.

You realize aspects of your personal identity – the job, the relationships, the home, coping mechanisms, habits, and patterns of self were aspects of the false-self. How many of us cling to externalities to validate and explain who we are?

The egoic nature craves and screeches to satiate desires- to fulfill the idealized version of yourself. Buddha said, suffering is caused by desire. Suffering is also caused by looking for things outside of us to determine our self-worth.

The dizzying thrill of an unrealized manic high was exhilarating. I felt like a rockstar. Everything all my dreams were within reach and anything was possible. Nothing and no one could stop me. Mania is the closest thing to being a superhero and a supervillian at the same time.

Mania mirrors some narcissistic qualities. Writing a book that partially included my life was misinterpreted by some as overly ambitious or egotistical. Those who judged my first book as a vanity affair didn’t even crack the cover.

Yet my personal worth began to be increasingly tied to social media, gaining followers to build a writing platform, and with each gain I began validating myself and experiences with things outside of myself. But mania causes a sort of inner Stockholm Syndrome daring you into climbing stratosphere’s into mountain peaks you would not dare to travel in your right mind.

And when it all stops and you’re left to confront the emptiness and then to build your life the way you really want it. With the first step, the first trickles of snowmelt you begin again. If you’re still alive you still have time to forge the life you want.

When you’ve reached bottom the only way is up from there. We finally start seeking out the people, places, activities & thoughts that are good for us the more we believe in our own worth.

Sometimes it takes losing everything to find who and what is really worth fighting for. And eventually time will reveal the things, the people, the mountains left standing after the dust has settled. You’ll be surprised about how much remains and how much space you have to gain.