Brighter Diamonds on Haight-Ashbury

We block our light because we don’t believe in our own brilliance. We are more than cobwebbed echoes floating through eternal space. We are brighter diamonds, sparkling in the deep night sky. ✨✨

I moved to San Francisco 3 weeks ago and am filled with gratitude. The way that took me here has been winding, filled with adventure, and absolute heartache. But I’ve come to realize that we are the ones holding ourselves back from our horizons.

11/16/2021 Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco.

We block our light because we don’t believe in our own brilliance. We are more than cobwebbed echoes floating through eternal space. We are brighter diamonds, sparkling in the deep night sky. ✨✨

Love on Haight, San Francisco

We are vast beings beyond our physical bodies and minds. We are consciousness born anew every day. It’s startling to witness & difficult to understand. True being can only be lived wild and unfettered- out beyond our finite comprehension.

Freedom feels dangerous because we’ve been conditioned to fear the strength of our own dreams. The ways to awakening are before us at every moment.

In each attempt to create the best version of yourself you actually become that person. Through every act of conscious co-creation we bring Earth into greater expansion.

For we too will one day be buried, and all of this will have become so beautiful.

In that final moment what will your last thought be?

Perhaps we are here simply to guide each other along the conversation of life. Pieces and people come together when you are ready for them to be put into place. Inspiration arises organically when you surrender to your dreams. Walking every arduous step led you to now. 🔥

All of us is everything and everything is us. Separation is an illusion. Nothing is greater than being the love that changed you. Everything which came before was preparing the way to your calling. Become your full potential. That is how the light gets in. Go to where your destiny is taking you. That is how you change the world. 🖤🌈🌏❤️✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽✊🏼✊🏻🥰🙏✨

We Are Natural Mystics

We Are Natural Mystics:

There are pockets on Earth that no human eye has seen. Great mysteries of life are hidden in riddles and rivers. Ancient secrets sag in the marrow of oil.

If we have not been able to catalog and observe all parts of our planet, then how do we bound in all of this together, know how it all works? The limits go as far as we are willing to wonder.

The brilliance of human ingenuity has taken us farther than those who came before us. There are still myriad of seas to ride, underground cave systems to navigate, rain forests to keep virgin, and so many sacred mountains to ascend.

There is so much data and raw information coming to us every day that we can barely scratch the surface to ever knowing anything. We do not truly fathom how really big our world is in relationship to other people and how closely are values align. If we were to stretch all 7.8 billion people in a line across the planet it would take countless years just to say hello to each one of them.

We limit ourselves to our realities based just upon what we can see within the scope of our influence.

We do not truly fathom how really big our world is in relationship to other people and how closely are values align. If we were to stretch all 7.8 billion people in a line across the planet it would take hundreds of years just to hello to each one of them.

There are vast deserts to traverse, people in Papau-New Guniea we’ll never see, species we haven’t even conceived of are out there living undiscovered. There are long spans of human history we cannot account for; and many records have been intentionally altered, transliterated, and destroyed.

“I think therefore I am,” Descartes once implored. But thought does not necessarily translate to knowing. We are electromagnetic beings of consciousness and flesh.

It is we who are the avatars. We keep being told not to peer at the one who pulls the strings. We are lulled into this broad illusion by the dullest of means.

What is it to know oneself when for generations we have been cloaked in the trappings of conquerors and colonialists? When do we know who we really are? At what age do we become the culmination of circumstance and events that have brought us to this moment?

What about our thoughts, and days of laughter and inside jokes with friends; what about those plans we have laid in our unknown futures? Clues of where we’ve come from are written in genetic DNA. Couldn’t answers of our future be found there too? They’re somewhere muddled up and tangled in parts of all of we have become.

We have exchanged our power for fast food answers and back-seat spirituality. The American Dream brought to you by fast cars, loaded ammunition, student debt ambition, and qualified immunity.

If we have not individually fully fathomed our greatest personal potential, then we have not come into our true power as a human race.

What miracles we could accomplish if we lived out our personal visions daily? The paradigm would completely shift if everyone knew we could. “Teach one. Reach one,” like Letha said. Let’s decide to be miracles to each other. In doing so, we’ll all be forever changed.

Part 2


We are being held away from our own answers because we were taught to ask the wrong questions.

Everything about our world is set up to do other people’s work and live out other people’s value systems.

We look not to each other because our ties to community to the land to our own families to ourselves have been severed. Whether through war, enslavement, purposeful reconditioning of the human being during the conformity Assembly made mentality of the industrial era.

Who determines the rate at what things cost? The exchange of an ideas has been given value based on some else’s and generational assertion.

We are taught to live in constant states of disconnection to self. This in turn disconnects us from each other. To keep the cycle of oppression going- the oppressors need to create more oppressors.

Those who are oppressed must continue to believe and see that they are being oppressed. They must not be allowed to wield the magnificence in their minds.

The limitations are systematically manmade and reinforced through generational betrothal of a system to its populace whose members are scarcely aware of its motion.

We can break these limitations and the false scarcity with the sheer power of our spirit and the willingness to just be open.

The more of us who awaken will bring the future we want to come. These rumblings in our world are signs they are happening. The paths to freedom are only road blocked within our hearts and minds. I’m really starting to understand what that means.

Yes, There are other forces running the show, but Spirit cannot be held back by plastic, a racist police state, or even your manicured facade of existence.

The idea that there is more to your existence also dwells somewhere inside of you! Your true nature is worthy and good. You are wholly evident and valid based simply on the fact that you exist. You have a right to be on this planet. You have a right to be exactly who you are and want to be!!

“I am who I am.” The profundity of that message is that it was secretly an affirmation of our own worthiness all along.

We have each have callings birthed deep within our spirits. Some have developed along the way from childhood and youth, others which are unfolding along the way. Some dreams stretch out on lost canyons crossing chasms- scaling breakdowns and breakthroughs we don’t fully know we’ll cross.

But between Nature and time and forces we don’t understand, the gaps are filled in. The knowing comes as quickly as we are able to ascertain its delivery. The pieces of my own life are coming together into clearer view, because I allowed my purpose to manifest even though I don’t know what that’s all supposed to be yet.


There there must be a reason we don’t know what’s farther down the road. We don’t know where we came from, and where the hell are we all going? But it must be something about the wanderings in between the struggle and the turnpike.

Like Bob Dylan sang, “Feel like my soul is beginning to expand
Look into my heart and you will sort of understand.

You brought me here, now you’re trying to run me away

The writing’s on the wall, come read it, come see what it say.”

Sometimes our calling is pulled taut like a drum ready for our moment to come. In moments of abandon we become guided by the blind-faith clarity of our higher purpose. Sometimes a higher consciousness surges through us in the form of creative bursts and materializations; dancing like pagans, to the rhythm of unknown ancestors.

We are natural mystics.The knowledge lives within us. If leave room tiny illuminations will catch flame.

Thoughwe don’t have all the answers. We are not alone out here. We are asking the same questions together. We are as brothers and sisters clothed in forest and nurtured by streams.

For we are all linked and intertwined together Within the earth itself and across vast distances through civilizations, some which have never known or been seen by our post modern eyes, we are connected with the same lineage multiplied and refracted through the various ethnic and diverse communities in groups of human beings spread through six and sometimes seven continents.

With all of our great declarations of conquest andIndividual and generational achievements, we all go back to the earth or into dust.

And Somewhere on Earth the sun is always shining.

Mountains rise above us to reach into a deeper sky. Out there the stars are distant voyeurs witnessing infinity spreading anew.

Gushing in secrets and other eternities, perhaps the Universe is bringing us exactly what we need to grow. Our eyes are tiny voyagers catching truth in glimpses of what we’ve just begun to see & ideas we’ve yet to even conceive. ✨

Radically Rooted in 2021

I asked what my mantra for 2021 should be & found a black diamond run named “Radical” while skiing yesterday. It seems sort of obvious considering my Instagram name/other account which was inspired by the BLM & social justice revolution in America last summer. The revolution for human rights which continue today.

The label “Radical” has come to be to designated as “political extremists” as “perverse, “unpatriotic,” or “terrorists.”

It is counterintuitive and maddening that the human race is pitted against one another instead of being mutually cooperative.

If believing in simple human rights for each other means “radical views” than myself & many others will hold these beliefs & that label forever.

But the word #Radical has many other meanings and a long linguistic and genre-spanning history than what political overtones the word has come to be associated with these days.

According to Webster’s “When something is considered extremist or very different from anything that has come before it, call it radical.”

The earliest uses of radical are indeed all about literal roots, hinging on the meaning “of, relating to, or proceeding from a root.”

Being radical also means something that is “Markedly new or introducing revolutionary change.” By going to the roots and re-structuring, building new, becoming a new creation from the roots up.

From Webster’s- None of this will surprise the botanists: they know that radical leaves grow from the base of a stem or from a rootlike stem, and radical tubers grow from a plant’s root.

And linguists know that a verb’s radical form is its root form. In medicine, radical surgery is surgery that’s designed to remove the root of a disease.

And mathematicians and students of mathematics know that the radical sign—√ or √⁻—is used when you’re finding the square root of a number or formula.

Root itself is a familiar element in metaphoric language—we talk about “the root of the problem,” “putting roots down,” “a family’s roots”—and so perhaps radical was destined to develop figurative use too.

Radicals can also be political or societal groups. I.e. Radical feminists view society as fundamentally a patriarchy in which men dominate and oppress women. Radical feminists seek to abolish the patriarchy as one front in a struggle to “liberate everyone from an unjust society by challenging existing social norms and institutions.”

This idea and many like them gave birth to LGBTQ liberation and movements.

The Black Panther Party has been denigrated by the White Capitalist government to draw on White fears of rebellion, changing the status quo, and armed black men and women- when instead they were mostly non-violent and created social initiatives to help those within the Black communities- whom had been marginalized and purposefully forgotten.

The founders, Huey Newton and Seale drew on Marxist ideology for the party platform. They outlined the organization’s philosophical views and political objectives in a Ten-Point Program.

The Ten-Point Program called for an immediate end to police brutality; employment for African Americans; and land, housing and justice for all.

The Black Panthers were part of the larger Black Power movement, which emphasized black pride, community control and unification for civil rights. That continues today in the work of Black Queer Feminist social activism most notable in the Black Lives Matter movements across the world this summer and which continue to this day.

Perhaps the most interesting & important of all the multiple iterations of this word may lie in the idea and practice of “Radical Forgiveness.”

(RF) has the ability to shifts one’s perspective on life by fundamentally seeing struggles through an altogether different lens. From the RF perspective, life’s events happen ‘for’ us, rather than ‘to’ us.

Radical Self-Forgiveness/Self-Acceptance takes the embodiment of unconditional love & gives it a sort of framework. When You feel a negative automatic thought or emotion you accept & redirect it- similar to Cognitive Behavioral therapy.

“I’m not OK, you’re not OK; but that’s OK!” RF captures the truth about who we are and the fact that we were never meant to be perfect. If we were, there would be no one to create opportunities for us to experience forgiveness. Our perfection lies in our imperfection.

I also love the following definition of Radical Forgiveness, which is along the same lines: It is the unconditional acceptance of what is, as is, because that’s how it is meant to be.

Putting the two together then, we can say Radical Self-Forgiveness is accepting the consequences of being ourselves, just as we are. Period.

The challenges presented by 2020 have affected us all across the world. But maybe 2020 was the year we needed- to truly empathize with one another,

To see that the old ways were not working. That we needed a revolutionary change.

Radical “is something is considered extremist or very different from anything that has come before it, call it radical.”

The problems we are facing globally, societally, in our communities, personally are different and more complicated than those that came before in recent collective memory.

A challenge also presents the opportunity for solutions. When we open ourselves to the possibilities of fulfilling our true purpose the way will make itself more known. Fulfillment in our role to each other, to our planet, to our destinies are being clarified and prepared in the midst of chaotic and uncertain times.

There are answers to generational longings that are coming into being through the year of questions and uncertainty. It’s okay that we are weary and saddened by the suffering of others. This must encourage us to keep up the fight that we are currently in.

We must not grow complacent. And we are not alone. We are always in the process of becoming. We have the chance to become something more beautiful and radically different than came before and that’s exactly what all this shifting and sorting of humanity has been about. We are going to be greater than ever before because that’s where the Universe, this Pandemic, the fight for social justice, for police and authoritative accountability, where global prosperity, where the hearts and souls of our children and humanity is leading us towards- just as it always has. 💙

Rider of Waves (Part 2)

In the process of becoming unconditional, you become like water. In living your truth in resilient flexibility you will start setting yourself & others free.

Everything in the known existence shares pools from some part of the 118 elements. We all come from the same initial Source. We are fulfillments of the genetic promises brought forth from the union of the first primordial cells.

In the process of becoming unconditional, you become like water. When living your truth in resilient flexibility you will start setting yourself & others free.

Spiraling up doesn’t mean you aren’t going to have downs and breaks downs. It’s part of the progression to moving your life & dreams along the ineffable way. Sometimes your trials may be someone else’s blessings.

In the process of becoming unconditional- Bipolar disorder will no longer take my inner joy. I’m learning to accept & give love to and from others without strings attached. You don’t need a commitment to be in love with life at any moment. I am steadying my sea-legs by understanding what’s beneath the sea.

Perhaps that is our task- to become so free & unfettered those around your begin living their highest truth too.

Everything in known existence draws from only 118 elements. We all come the same initial Source/Big Bang. We are fulfillments of genetic promises brought forth from union of the first primordial cells.

In the process of becoming unconditional we see no separation between the natural world and that of the spirit- because they are bound together. Each brook a tributary paying homage to the rivers from whence they were poured from.

We get the choice to stay in the comfort of our squalid complacency, or arise to the dawn of new creations spread out before us. Like mountains piercing to the heavens.

Those who stay vehemently attached within their cultural milieus are living in the hierarchical rat-race constructed to live. Unless you awaken you are still just a by-product of Consumerism & religion of the country you happened to be born into.

Because in becoming unconditional- you acknowledge everything you can’t control and choose to love anyway. All of the frustrations you feel are valid. The vapid squalor society makes you feel like the one who’s fucked up.

For throughout time there have always been people who have been pushed behind, swept aside, cast out, forgotten, enslaved, ensnared, erased. Someone else’s struggles might be someone else’s blessings.

We are taught self-care and acceptance, coming together as diverse communities, inclusion and equity aren’t as important than the goals of a dominant culture built upon intimidation and mass production.

Perhaps some of our ancestors would see we have collectively made some progress forwards and together. Banded, abandoned, Hearts barbed and tender, brought back in circles six wide feet apart.

In becoming unconditional you become unafraid to speak the truth even if no one else will read it. In becoming unconditional you are becoming stronger and more self-assured.

For each condition that breaks us, for each limitation that blocks our path to becoming, in each moment of valid frustration there is a new pathway opening- a new door being opened, another path to be unlocked, unsheathed, and unshielded from ourselves.

We are water in waves looped forward, gushed upwards, and crashed onto the back of cliffs planted in seas. All must swing through that mortal coil and out we must also go.

In becoming unconditional life and death are equals. Mania and depression are 2 coins in the same brain. The pendulum never hits both sides at once. We will be here and we will be gone.

On that day,

each one will say,

“I am

become elsewhere.”

And lovingly fade back

into all of Creation.

Express Yourself, Respect Yourself, Baby!

There’s a freedom to be who you are in Portland and it’s sacred. This city is unlike any place I’ve lived. The overall ethos of the city is to live with respect and communion with all people and harmony with the Earth, without pigeonholing everyone into tidy labels and categories. That’s one reason why this city (and so many others) are ready to come together to helping other people, communities, social groups.

If it’s good for the goose it’s good for the gander 😅

Speaking out against oppression and refusing the status quo has been a hallmark of Portland’s overall championing of social justice and human rights in various domains. The added bonus of empowering others gives one a new sense of ownership in their own lives.

Facing down police brutality and calling out fascism with thousands of like-minded people emboldens even millions more to physically and mentally stand up to corruption and agents in many facets of society.

It’s helping many of us grow and retrain our private thoughts and actions in our personal lives.

You cannot grow in the same place that forced you to expand.

And if you are not growing it will be very hard to stay in complete balance. Too often contentedness leads to complacency with apathy not too far behind. One begins to wither, grow bitter, or blameful without continual observation, discussion, and contemplation. We must tend and cultivate our inner gardens even when they are not in beautiful luscious blooms of life.

Until recently I realized I still had/have shame of owning or talking about the sexual aspects of my sexuality. Though I am gay and proud of it- many of us have been conditioned through the lens of cis-gendered hetero-normative White Christian practices and policies.

We have been culturally manipulated by the Church, as a whole, to believe that our sexual organs are to be hidden- tucked away. The act of sex is restricted to procreation and otherwise is condemned and mostly immoral.

We are shamed out of acting upon our innate biological drives. The reproductive organs of our physical form are shamed due to cultural and religious mores that have caused women and so many other people groups shamed out of not only being comfortable in our own bodies.

For Black people, and Indigenous and People of color they are shamed, generationally oppressed, and persecuted just for the color and melanin of their skin.

The falling away of stifled and unnecessary cultural mores- of even the ability just to be free from the constrains of clothing in Oregon & other places in the world has given many people (self included) a new ownership in many areas of our lives.

Especially where owning the physical and sexual ascpects of myself proudly and without fear of breaking rigid taboos that seem so silly and antiquated now.

The more comfortable one is with themselves the more they able to make spaces for others to feel safe and also express their individuality.

Symbiotic relationships aren’t just relegated to sea creatures and cute orange fish with a short fin. We exist in constant feedback loops- of a taking in new information, processing that information, and our reaction is a result of variables and life experiences that cause us to grow, shrink away in timidity, recoil in disgust, aid in oppression, or revolt against tyrannies.

The broadening and active efforts to achieve social equality, championing of human rights, and equity across is all tribes, races sexual orientations, gender identities, polyamorous and many more identities and lifestyles embolden each one of us to embrace our own selves and elevate to a higher aspect of ourselves.

To Those who are struggling with your sexuality, gender, coming to terms with a non-heteronormative identity. I truly hope you will find yourself. You are worth living your truest life.

Follow your inner guidance- your life is your own. The Earth is ready to teach us the true power of humanity.

We must first accept that power for ourselves and not be afraid to treat yourself right, Express yourself, Show it off and show yourself and others a sustainably respectful good time.

The Long Ride Home pt. 1

In 2017 I told myself, “When I move to Portland, I’m going skiing after work.”

I moved here one year ago, and for the past 2 months I’ve been gratefully skiing on the Earth’s mirror, scarcely believing this is home now.

It was one of those dreams we all have like building a house, visiting some far-flung land, getting married, working a great job, wanting to be happy. Often the dreams we most want start from a small place of desire without resistance and without knowing how or if it’s all going to come together.

Initial desires seem far-fetched at first, but the mere possibility that a dream could actually come into being has spurred on almost every piece of music, and war, building of homes and skyscrapers, each knitting together of a family that has ever existed.

When you’re young you must depend on another to provide your needs and desires. What if there’s no one there you can trust or depend on to make this happen? What if you grew up without a suitable parent to trust? And those of us who did have that initial trust wish we grew up with a trust fund. As we get older all of the responsibilities lay on our shoulders.

Doubt in our ability to attain goals, and relationships, our states of being, begin at a young age because certain experiences ended in a bad way for us, or we watched it end badly for others, or were told of it in Bible stories and political propaganda.

Or because of dead-end jobs and life in dead-end states or series of failed dates and families have shown us that we don’t get what we want. That dreaming is wasteful. That it is easier to live that life you were born into and the chip on your shoulder you’ve been given. The kids and parents I work with often feel this way and they’re not wrong for feeling so. They’ve been betrayed by family members and country for generations.

When I moved here a year ago, my life had recently devolved into chaos and loss. A published book and traveling adventures came at a huge cost. Mental health issues that had been wading in darkness were finally brought forth into light. That glaring light shone upon the frayed sutures holding my life together. I discovered they weren’t there at all.

Relationships fell apart at seams that seemed unbreakable. Upon reflection I was trying to keep together a life that had not been fulfilling with some relationships where I was pouring into others without much in return. It felt like I was pouring myself into others whose wells were bottomless and insatiable. The water ran dry within myself until there was nothing left to give and finally snapped.

I came up here not knowing what was going to happen or if I was actually going to make it. “What if none of this works out?” I asked myself. I could not handle another devastating blow in any sense of the word.

There was literally nothing physically left in my physical possession save my car and everything I had taken on my cross-country road trip and to Mexico. The plans made and money saved to make a smooth transition from Texas to Portland were unintentionally torn asunder by my own two hands and addled mind.

The first 2 months of 2019, were spent in Texas taking stock of what was left and what had ended. Most of what was still true of my life actually remained. Family and friends still loved me. I still loved to hike and be amongst open-minded kind people.

With the proper diagnoses you can then utilize the tools which can help you live a vibrant and authentic life. Medication, therapy, being enveloped with nature, starting almost completely from scratch were some of the tools in my new wheelhouse.

The West had been calling me forward for a long time. Years before the recent schism. So I asked myself, “What if moving to Portland actually does work out?” Some callings are greater than our circumstances.

Slowly, the same two hands and a properly medicated mind created the life I now find myself living. Everything brought me to Now, and I am happy. What good is it to curse the former difficulties?

I strive to make decisions for the highest good, maintaining boundaries I had so easily let be taken of advantage of in the past, pouring into others while keeping enough in my own well. Positive friendships and relationships have blossomed and have begun to flourish. And as is the way of life New challenges are always on our horizons. Sometimes the horizon itself has literally shifted due to where we find ourselves geographically in the world.

PNW winters challenge the hardiest of souls. To go weeks with cold rain and without sunlight cause many of to withdraw inward. The respite was welcoming at first. But as the perpetual gloom lingered I went into nature less and less. Being in nature was part of my healing process and I stopped going outdoors because of the wet and weary weather. Then I went skiing for one of my roommate’s birthdays and remembered how much I loved this winter activity.

At the end of January, I took new stock of my situation and realized “this life up here is working out and I like it.” When you have recovered from difficult periods you begin really appreciating the reasons that make you live. The shift happens when you begin to seek them out.

So I bought my first ski season pass, skis and gear, and it’s unexpectedly changed parts of my life. Skiing has become a passion and one I often do on my own. Learning new skills help to imbue oneself with confidence that translates into other areas.

I’ll be speeding 40 mph down a black in exhilaration and wondering how the hell I didn’t crash.

Then I tell myself, “I’ve done this before, I know how to ski on piste, and how to talk to this client, and I know how to get out of bed and out of debt. I’ve done each many times before.” And I get out of my own way.

There are times I do bite it, are not as scary as the first time and it happened and now I know how to more easily correct myself when shredding powder or craving on ice.

Skiing is a fluid conversation with the mountain. It’s a mind-body, seasonal and multi-elemental connection. Finding ourselves upon mountains, to ski upon them, is honors the mountain within.

There is nothing more alive than when you feel the thrill of living. It’s as close to flying as we can come. The closest to breaking the bonds of Earth- of our frailties and also of our courage.

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.

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.

Running Up That Hill

She spoke out of the side of her mouth on a sunny Seattle morning,  “I lost 4 kids to the state. I was the one who wasn’t supposed to make it, but I did. It took two decades and finally my fifth child to get it all together, and now I help parents who are in the exact place I was in. I went to rehab and all the classes. I did everything it took to get my son back. I was clean and sober but still toxic inside for a long while.” #relatable

A room full of social workers sat quiet and stunned by this woman’s incredibly powerful story. Her vulnerability was buoyed by the steely strength reflected in the angular ridges of her sharp cheek bones. She was made of true grit, borne with cards stacked against her, and full of personal tragedies scattered throughout her life.

She didn’t talk about many generations of societal oppression, decades of prejudice, inequality, poverty, denial of rights, betrayed promises, lack of resources that are disgustingly common to so many Americans & people around the world.

And If she only could, would she make a deal with god? Would she want to shout profanities to the mountains too? How many of us have done the same only to hear the resounding shrill of well-meaning Christians but not the voice of god. The void of silence is deafening. At least it is quantifiable. As much as it sucks at least silence is real.

The hardest part about social work is that there are just too many underlying factors that have brought families to their lowest points. There is often a lack of knowledge of the resources available not to mention the Manila and brown folder bureaucracies sidestepping the way to freedom.

Parents and caregivers are often depicted and treated as villains– when in truth they are often using substances to self-medicate, to just get through the day, to function in a world that sees their disabilities and mistakes as another reason they are unsafe, unfit, worthless, unsalvageable. There are those who have committed unspeakable acts against vulnerable children and who should have no access to their children.

Washington has a ton of resources available to aid parents and children- related to housing, mental health, medical care, counseling, dietary needs, summer camps, and programs that work to strengthen parental skills and personal development. The strengthening of our most vulnerable populations should never be seen as a handout. There are millions of people who have not been afforded opportunities that so many of us have taken for granted because we lived in two-parent households and graduated from school districts that reflected a certain tax bracket- or those of us who barely made that echelon and have been trying to keep up with the Joneses and the Richers, who often live a very guarded and gilded lifestyle- putting the blinders on to the plights of people living across town and sometimes just across the street.

But now I have felt the harsh judgement from people who used to be closer than family. The darkness enclosed like a coffin, like an abusive lover holding you down along with your shame. And then I held myself in the lair of guilt and self-recriminations. I will make sure my clients don’t go it totally alone.

I’m the one who made concessions and apologies but have not gotten any in return. I didn’t hold certain people accountable for being there for me when I needed them. I let them off the hook now. This bitterness does not serve me. The reminiscing over the wounding only infuriates the healing. It takes a while to get your life back on track. Especially when you’re the one responsible for the fuck up.

Part 2: A deal with God

Not gonna lie, this transition has been amazing, but quite solitary; it’s not terrible it’s just different than I imagined. It’s also just the beginning.

I had been living in patterns of devolution for months. A persona unrecognizable to others who knew me well. I hit upon a rage that had never been expressed and a volatility of shockwaves that rippled beyond the bounds or intentions of my person. It all had to burn away before I would have accepted a bipolar diagnosis and that I needed help- that I needed to change some ways of living.

Moving is an inherently solo journey- one I’m so fortunate to be complaining about. Things could be seriously so much worse. I’m very thankful they are not. I’ve been lucky to have a lot of amazing people & friends physically present in daily life.

I wish could take back and redo a lot of last summer. I wish I was over it all. Most days I am. For awhile it was all I could think about. Now I’ve accepted that it’s all part of the ebb & flow of healing.

Sometimes you wonder if you’re alone because you want to be or b/c you’re the problem. Maybe it’s your time to “work on things,” but when does the working cease? When is someone finally worthy enough?

The annoyingly spot-on answer- You’re the only 1 who can determine that for yourself. And in case you want to argue spoiler alert- the fact that humans and this Earth even exists is a 1 in a quadrillion chance miracle. *don’t @ me on that math. 😂

A client told me if he had known what would have happened he’d have done it differently. Wouldn’t we all? He strangely didn’t seem completely remorseful couldn’t figure out why at the time. Then it hit me- he’s accepted the reality of awful circumstances that led him here and apart from his family. I’m grateful the stakes have never been that high for me.

This current journey into social work is much different than it was in Texas for many reasons. I now know what it’s like to feel out of control, embarrassed, regretful, alone, sober, forgiven, in treatment, and finally becoming the best version of oneself.

The ones who have seen the error and changed course- those are the ones who are worth fighting for, and deserve the resources to get their life on track, to get their children back.

How many times have you regretted an action and let it play out over and over in your mind? You remember the events that led up to certain actions and thoughts. Your body revs with anxiety as you relive the event in your mind. When recounting or thinking about a trauma the human body cannot qualify whether that action occurred in the past or present.

Whatever you focus upon will also reflect in your body as your neck tenses, heartbeat increases, etc. In essence we are reliving that past trauma every time we talk about it which often causes involuntary physical reactions. It feels like a haunting at first but distance from a problem or a helps one to see things w/ perspective. Never underestimate the power of your breath in a chaotic situation & therapy to address everything else.

It’s true you can’t win every time. You can’t save everyone and there are some relationships not worth saving (which is tough b/c I’m a life long friender.) My sister gave me the gift of being present while I confronted the personal beasts raging in my head and heart. She gave me the gift of family. My dad gave the gift being there without me even knowing it. So many friends have done the same.

All we really need is someone who will stand with us between the raucous & silent phase of darkness. Western skies are filled to the brim with nights made of stranger diamonds.

There is a beauty in new beginnings- wildflowers blooming in wind. Fragile miracles embedded in the tomb of dirt and earth. We are plants bursting through soil. That initial thrust must have been initially painful, but so worth it now that everything has bloomed. Trust the process for if you are trying- the harvest will eventually bring its bounty.