Tragedy

In the time it takes for the next note in a song to ring out, life can go from happiness and enjoying the blessings of life to complete chaos and tragedy. A few weeks back my family was enjoying a wonderful night with friends and food at our friends beach club- when suddenly we hear the scream of our 5 year old daughter. Any parent will be able to tell you that they can hear a scream and know immediately that it’s coming from one of their own. I stood up from the table and scanned the grounds to see a friend of ours carrying our daughter. My wife and I sprung up and ran across the courtyard. I could see my wife get to her first and cradle Olive in her arms. As I got closer I could see a stream of blood running completely down her face. Her clothes were soaked in red. She had been hit in the bridge of her nose with a wooden tennis paddle. My son was still in the court with the other kids looking over the pool of blood. I ran over and grabbed my son and did my best to shelter his view from Olive’s face. It ended up being a late night in the emergency room, stitches from a plastic surgeon, and a lot of tears. It was so frightening to see our child go through something traumatic- and we felt so incredibly lucky that it wasn’t worse, and that we were surrounded by friends that helped and cares so much. This event haunted me for weeks. How fragile life can be. My mind raced thinking about this fragility. The world we live in is hard. We dance through every day breezing by danger and potential life changing events. We have so little control over our safety and stability.

The fragility of our lives is so apparent right now. Another mass shooting, this mass shooting by one man. No motive known as of now. I listen to the news, and read the posts on social media, and hear people speak of this tragedy just dumbfounded by how someone could carry out such a brutal attack on innocent people. People in our own community were killed. A police officer, a special education teacher. There were 6 people from Olive’s school at that concert. I’m not trying to take anything away from the families of anybody that was there, hurt or murdered- I’m just reflecting on how close we all are to these tragedies. It’s not “those people” that are getting killed. It’s us. It could happen to any of us. My wife and I think about this all the time when we are thinking about going on a trip, or going to a concert, a trip to Disney, or even a movie- we are always scanning for exits, trying our best to think ahead on what we would do if some sort of emergency were to happen. We all do our best to not let the fear interfere with our daily lives, but it’s gone beyond that now. We have to live in fear in a way to protect ourselves.

In the case of this most recent shooting in Vegas there wasn’t much that could be done. I hear people saying- “how did he get all those guns up to his hotel room?” How? I’m sure he just walked right in with his luggage. There are no metal detectors in hotels. You could easily fill a rolling suitcase with ammunition and weapons. They don’t take up that much room. Even if it took 10 suitcases- nobody in guest services would even think twice about it. I hear people advocating for strict gun control- but what happens to the 300 million guns that are all ready in the U.S.? What about the homemade weapons that can easily do just as much damage? I’m not saying there shouldn’t be regulations, but I also don’t think that it will change the mind of someone that is planning this sort of tragedy.

I believe that there are a few factors leading to the increase in volume and magnitude of these mass killings; technology / media, population growth, and the division of our beliefs. Us as a county are going through massive growing pains. There are people uncomfortable with where they fit in in, they can pick and choose what they want to fill their minds with from the vast database of information online- and can basically find an argument that falls exactly in line with their beliefs. We are surrounded by people, but many can feel even more isolated due to everyone’s addiction to locking themselves in a bubble of technology- we are around people all the time, but rarely really connecting with anybody. We are seeing a lot more violence daily. We are becoming desensitized. Most of us are strong enough to cope, to live positive lives, and focus on the good. Unfortunately there are people that can’t, that snap, and do horrific things.

We need to watch out for each other. We need to be sharp. We need to watch the people closest to us. We need to take care of loved ones that have mental illnesses. There are a lot of troubled people living in our communities- we need to get to them before they get to us. We don’t need more isolation, we don’t need to draw more lines between us. In the aftermath of such horrific tragedies we need to try not to push for more distance, but to do a head count on the people around us and see if we can’t influence someone on the brink of causing pain and death to rethink where their views are coming from.

Hope, Love, and the Changing Tide

This is for anybody who feels like they are wanting more, capable of more, ready for a shift, and creatively stifled by anxiety. For those of you who have ideas and are ready to put them into action, but can’t seem to find a jumping off point. You try, you sit, you meditate, you pray, and ultimately you push it off until tomorrow because the immense amount of “life” that seems to be blocking your way is just too much to allow you to focus. You are depressed because you haven’t started, and you haven’t started because you are too depressed.

I know it seems impossible to just start, but I’ve learned an extremely valuable and seemingly simple lesson from my wife. You can think something to death (and I often do) – but sometimes it’s better to just get your hands dirty, not worry about the outcome so much and begin.

3 years ago~ I remember coming home one day to our 600 sq ft apartment to my vibrant beautiful wife. We had our baby Olive already, and Lindsay was pregnant with our second child. She did something that blew me away at the time. The whole living room was covered in scraps of fabric, an old sewing machine, rulers, large pieces of paper and her computer was paused on a youtube page teaching her how to sew. Olive was bouncing away in the swing. I was busy trying to turn my small creative company into something that could support our budding family, and Lindsay was feeling helplessly pregnant. She wanted custom bedding for our crib- she couldn’t find what she was looking for, so she decided to just make it herself. What started as a simple project, ended up being way more expensive than just buying something online. One crib sheet, turned into 5, then blankets, covers for nursing pillows, changing pad covers, pillow cases… it just kept going. She was inspired. I’m sure I told her at the time that what she was doing was costing a lot of money, but she persisted and said that she would just start selling it to make up the difference. I tried to overthink it for her and explain the difficulty in what she was doing, but ultimately just threw my hands up and handed her a credit card.

All she had was hope, love, and the changing tide currently taking place in our lives as young parents.

Lindsay was right. She quickly got really good at what she was doing. Her artistic eye translated perfectly to choosing the right prints for people and soon her online shop was pinging away with sales and emails for more custom orders. Often times she would be up until 4am, kneeling on the floor cutting fabric, listening to music and hammering away on the sewing machine. It sounds stressful, but she was happy doing it. The smile on her face was huge. She knew she was onto something.

Fast-forward to now. The operation has grown- but once again the tide is changing. All we have is the HOPE that we can make this happen and the LOVE of our friends, family, and supporters. It’s time for us to take this to another level. We are ready to get our first run of children’s clothes manufactured. It’s the beginning to something bigger. We don’t want to be stifled. We want to build out our future, create memorable products, and try to help and inspire people along the way.

My message to you is this: If you have something you are wanting to do, make, or grow, if you are feeling the tides changing in your life and see that something new or scary is eminent- don’t curl up- push on, make whatever steps you can even if they seem tiny. Do something small that will put a smile on your face and hold onto it with everything you have, then do it again. That is what I’ve learned from Lindsay and Woolf With Me.

I’m so inspired by what Lindsay has done. It pushes me harder to think creatively and to motivate my own actions. I want to see her goals come to life. I want to help turn her dream into a reality.

Please follow to make our dream come to life, Make a pledge and share with someone. Go to this link – Together we can do something really great-  KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN

We have some awesome rewards (dress, romper, knotted gown, blanket, family portraits for those in the LA area & more).

(written by Josh Woolf– the loving husband of Lindsay Woolf)

 

How To Make Happiness Come Easily.

Answer: Be present.

Recognize what you are up against. Importance. Legacy. Accumulation of power and wealth. Your character is under attack by marketers, salesman, corporations, and government. You are being sold a dangling carrot. Your life has a dollar amount attached to it. The work you do allows you to become a target for these marketing efforts. This is not a new idea- you’ve heard it many times. It seems to blow right past you as you put your head down and strive to level-up to the next rung of this economically driven world. I am saying it again not to add to the perpetually negative whine but because I hear a voice in the back of my own mind, and often out loud from others- “Why does it have to be so difficult? Why doesn’t happiness come easily?” The answer is obvious yet I still struggle with it daily.

Happiness is only a feeling that comes with everything else. There is no happiness without sorrow and suffering. Your motivation should not be happiness alone. The elusive happiness can be felt when you decide to be present in your life and not compare yourself to the uncontrollable forces of your external world. The goals you are looking to achieve won’t make you happy unless they are genuine. Money, careers, and even family won’t make you happy unless your motivations are genuine. Accumulation is not a path to happiness. Sellers want you unhappy, unsatisfied, and perpetually wanting. The current world is not built on being present, it’s built on yearning for something in the future- updates, new models, credit lines. It’s not the devious plan of a secret society. It’s economics. You are told repeatedly that you need more to feel more. You are told that happiness will come when you look a certain way, live in a specific place, surrounded by people that think highly of you. These are not wholesome community values. The part we need to reprogram in ourselves is that we don’t need to achieve happiness. Happiness is a state you feel in contrast to everything else, it’s not an achievement, it’s a right. We all get to have happiness. We need to look past the marketing. It’s not lawn chairs and palm trees, white picket fences, golden retrievers, lap bands and antidepressants.

Looking at the etymology of the word is interesting to me mostly because luck is involved:
happy (adj.)
late 14c., “lucky, favored by fortune, being in advantageous circumstances, prosperous;” of events, “turning out well,” from hap (n.) “chance, fortune” + -y (2). Sense of “very glad” first recorded late 14c. Meaning “greatly pleased and content” is from 1520s. Old English had eadig (from ead “wealth, riches”) and gesælig, which has become silly. Old English bliðe “happy” survives as blithe. From Greek to Irish, a great majority of the European words for “happy” at first meant “lucky.” An exception is Welsh, where the word used first meant “wise.”

When picking this apart we see luck, pleased and content, wealth, prosperous… but how much do you need? If it’s just luck then we certainly shouldn’t be in desperate search for something we have no control over- but really we have to look at the idea of happiness and what the concepts is to each of us personally. The Welsh seemed to be most in-line on an attainable happiness with “wise.”

There is always another level. There is no level of success that will make you happy, there is always more. Success is not happiness. People looking up to you with envy will not feel like togetherness. Will having more than you need feel good?

I’m not saying that success is inherently negative. There are people that give back and do great things. Setting goals and working to achievement them will bring self worth. Adding works, technology, serving society often comes with great financial rewards. Having a lot, won’t make you unhappy- It just won’t make you more happy. We’ve all seen the documentaries about lotto winners and expensive purchases only temporarily giving you a “high” and how it takes more and more to get back to that level. This has been proven. What I’m saying goes one step further. Stop looking for happiness. It’s false. Instead, be present. Recognize what it is that is casting darkness on your life- and take the steps to fix it. We need to take a moment to be present and focus on what is causing grief. Address the suffering and move on.

You have to choose at this moment that you have something to feel happy about, and then choose again in the next moment. Continue to embrace life for the mysterious difficult adventure that it is. Sadness will come, sorrow will come- be present in those moments as well. Choose to be present in whatever wave of emotion that is passing through you. YOU are not happy, YOU are not sad, you are just YOU in that moment. The more you focus on that present moment you will no longer identify with the feelings projected on you because that is not what you are made of.

Sorry, Not Sorry About The Kids

Look, it really doesn’t matter if you are the greatest parent in the world (not that there is a such thing), kids will be kids. When we are at family weddings or if we have someone watching the kids while us parents are on a date there can be feelings of guilt about how difficult it can be to watch the kids- especially if the person watching them isn’t a parent themselves.

Here is a list of things our children may do while you spend quality time with them- sorry, not sorry. Growl loudly like a dinosaur. Howl at the moon at all hours of the day. Stomp up and down the hall. Stomp in place. Kick the back of your seat in the car. Try to climb in your lap and then immediately climb back down, and then back up again. Pull your hair. Touch your face. Grab your hand and pull at you until you sit on the ground. Ask you to draw something, then criticize and ask you to do it again. Take your purse/bag/wallet and dump out the contents on the floor. Take your car keys, hide your keys, set off your car alarm. Ask you to take them on a walk, only to find out they want to walk to the toy store. Guilt you into purchases. Break promises. Ask you to cook something, not eat it, eat your food instead. Pull the milk out of the fridge- spill. Pull rice/cerial/anything small out of cabinet- spill.
Cry at your wedding, yell at the funeral, drop silverware at the restaurant. Keep you up late, wake you up at 2am/4am/6:55am. And the list is growing and changing daily.

Dear Future Dads

Foreward: I remember when I first found out I was going to have a kid. A cold blanket of fear came over me as my brain tried to calculate all the life changes that were about to take place. I remember looking online for a blog/story/letter anything from another guy my age that talked about what I was getting into. I searched and found very little in which I could relate. I promised myself then that at some point I would take the time to write what I was looking for at that time in hopes that it would be helpful to someone. It’s been about 4 years at this point since the initial shock. I now have two kids, and a ****load of experience… at least with pregnancy, babies, and toddlers. I’m not saying I’m some sort of guru on the subject, but I can at least tell you what my experience has been like.

Background: I wasn’t yet 30, I co-own a creative company in Venice, CA- and my life pretty much consisted of the freedom that comes along with having minimal responsibility to anybody other than myself. I remember getting “the text” from my wife while I was at work, “hey babe, are you at the studio?” For some reason I knew from that simple text what I was about to hear in person.

10 minutes later I jumped in the passenger seat and got the news. I felt like I was floating 10 feet above my body (probably for the next 12 months). We went to the doctor to get the confirmation. We stumbled around the baby isle in Target for a minute. We drove. We talked. We ate. I took a shot or two. Our future had an immediate new direction and we were just surfing the wave of emotions. We had each other and that was fantastic. Our parents were in a bit of shock as they were all going to be grandparents for the first time (on both sides). But they were happy for us. At this point we had no idea what was in store… my internet searching for “becoming a dad” had began/failed and I was on my own. None of my friends were dads yet. I was blazing a new trail.

This was not a typical “accident”… actually it was meant to be if you believe in that sort of thing. In hindsight all the circumstances that led up to us being together and having our first born are amazing. For the sake of this I’m just saying that I didn’t realize at the time how important this even was until months later when my mom was diagnosed with cancer and passed away after getting to be there for the birth and meet her grand baby. My mom passed away when my daughter was about 3 months old. I’m still so thankful that she got to have that before she died, it’s probably the best gift I could give her.

“I’m going to be a dad now.” Yep, just keep saying it to yourself over and over again for the next 9 months until you are a dad. Your face will probably fluctuate between two expressions- one of total blank goofy happiness, and one of washed out fear. That’s because, you are completely happy and worried at the same time, all the time. You have done what you are supposed to do on this earth (according to nature) procreate. A few hundred years ago this probably wouldn’t have been a big deal, but now it is. People do it later in life, or sometimes not at all, But not you! You procreated. You are officially part of the life cycle on this planet. You are already thinking about your future, the future of your family, and specifically your baby to be. The unknown can be frightening, but fear can also be exciting. Try to embrace it. Use it to be productive. Good Luck.

Don’t forget the most important part: I don’t care how scared, shocked, worried, happy you are and NOBODY else cares either. It’s not about you anymore. Only your pregnant wife matters at this point. The pressure on her is so far beyond what you are dealing with, that your insignificant struggle shall get NO ATTENTION. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Actually, while I’m at it- and I promise you will remember this someday- people won’t ask you how you are, or if they do you honestly won’t want to answer anyway. Friend Without Kid- “How you feeling?” You- “Actually, I’m really scared that our child will be healthy, the birth will be smooth, and that i’ll make enough money for the bare essentials, oh and shit i have to sell my truck to get a car with a big enough backseat, it totally sucks.” Nope, that conversation most likely won’t happen. You will just turn into a quieter more private human being. I’m not saying it has to be this way, but you’ll see. I understand though. It is scary. All the things that have to go right before the baby is born- it’s a lot. But nature is smart, 9 months is about what you need to get over the initial shock and prepare for the shock of the actual baby. I remember trying to describe it like weight lifting. You start out bench pressing under your body weight, but the more pressure you take on every day, little by little, soon you build up and can push more. The stress/fear/anxiety you feel will feel like nothing once the baby is born. It is nothing. I’m telling you. Everything is going to be okay.

Try To Relax.
Spend your time taking care of your wife. Cook her dinner, do the shopping, get her breakfast ready in the morning. Being pregnant sucks. Luckily you are a man and you don’t have to be pregnant. Instead, your job will be to live vicariously whether you like it or not through your wife and her struggle. I just have to say for the record, that I had it very good. My wife was amazing pregnant, both times. But even with the best of circumstances it sucks for her. It’s uncomfortable, hormones are all over the place, she’s going to get bigger (thats how it works) and women worry about this. Be supportive. Say yes as often as you can to all demands. Get her out of the house. Go on walks. Go on a walk every day. Walking together will do a couple things: 1. it will give you time to plan. 2. combat depression 3. stay healthy. Obviously if the doctor tells you not to, then listen, but 99% of the time walking is good.

Back to food again. I’m guessing you are a modern man if you are reading this far, therefore you know how to cook or at least know how to follow basic directions. It’s easy. Don’t be afraid of the kitchen. Find out what your wife wants, look it up, and cook it. It’s really that easy. Cooking (rather than going out) will keep you both healthier, and it will be good practice, because once you have a baby you will be eating at home a lot more. That being said, maybe you should go out every night until the baby comes because it won’t be possible to do it in a few months, hahaha… seriously.

Doctors Appointments.
Go to all of them if you can. You need to be there. This is not just for your wife. Even if she says, “It’s okay, it’s just a checkup- go to work.” Nope, you go, and get used to missing work. You’ll be missing a lot more. It’s important to go to the doctors appointments because believe it or not it will help you connect to the baby. I don’t care if that doesn’t sound masculine, It’s true. Get over yourself. You want to be a good dad right? Open up and let yourself get connected. You are going to love this child. Go to the doctors appointments, hold your wife’s hand, or if she doesn’t want you to, then just play with all the models of vaginas and stuff, they make great instagram models. Ask questions (you’ll have some). Record the sound of the heartbeat for the first time. Look carefully at the sonograms. It’s a very cool experience getting to see the baby when its only the size of a raison, blueberry, grape, date, nectarine, plum, apple, orange, grapefruit… etc. get ready for a lot of fruit comparisons.

Getting Your Home Ready.
Dad, I don’t know what kind of tax bracket you are in… but there is going to be a lot of stuff to buy. There is a thing called a “baby shower” they are great for most of what you need. My wife made a 0-9 month list,’ here it is- give it to your wife and she can go bananas. http://blog.woolfwithme.com/newbornto9monthschecklist/

For our baby shower, we invited all our friends men and women- it sort of turned out to be a party. I made a giant bucket of booze that had champagne, liquor, juice, fruit, all kinds of stuff- it got everyone drunk and we had a good time. I don’t know if I recommend this, but I didn’t know what I was doing and it felt right at the time.

Do you need a nursery/kids room? Yes and No. You will absolutely want a room dedicated to all the stuff that goes along with having a baby. Will your kid sleep in that room? From my experience, No. Our first slept in our room in a co-sleeper for the first 9+ months. The crib is nice for naps and stuff during the day, but at night it was all about the co-sleeper situation.

Baby proofing the house- yes. You have a little time, but it is important because they are crawling in no time and you might as well get it out of the way while you can. quick list: plastic plugs for outlets, secure cabinets closed, if you are in an earthquake zone- get your stuff buckled down (shelves, pictures, tv, etc). Sharp corners? throw that furniture away or put a little corner cover thing on it that will probably fall off right before your future toddler hits her head on it. Gate off the doors/stairs/den. Yes, this is how you will live now.

While we are on safety- The Carseat. Don’t skimp. Look up reviews, buy a good one. Rear facing w/ newborn padding at first. Keep the kid in that rear facing seat for two years. Don’t be one of those parents that turns the kid around early just because your kid is whining. If you get in an accident and your kid isn’t ready for forward facing, her little neck will explode. Seriously.

When installing the seat find the two metal parts that are in the backseat that you’ve never noticed before (usually behind a flap or deep in there behind some random gaps. The carseat base will hook into those. Get in there and put all your weight on the carseat base while strapping and tightening, Make sure it’s tight and level to the instructions. Don’t be one of those parents that half ass the carseat, that’s just dumb. use the anchor if you can in your car (when you buy and READ the instructions, you’ll see what I mean).

Okay You Have 3 Months To Go!
Remember when I told you that being pregnant sucks? Well with only a few months left, it sucks even more. My dad told me something that stuck with me. When your wife is only a couple weeks away or even on the due date, and she thinks it’s absolutely time- You probably still have a week to 3 weeks left. The painfully annoying thing about pregnancy besides everything, is that when she thinks she can’t take any more it just kind of gets worse. By the way, if it’s not too late, I wouldn’t let your wife read this part. Whoops.

So you have a few months left. Hopefully you are in the groove with cooking, making your wife comfortable, balancing work, and getting the house ready. That baby shower is happening or happened and now you know what’s left on your list. Go buy the stuff. Try to get in as much recreational activity (biking, surfing, going to the movies) as you can. Book your wife a pregnancy massage. My wife had to book her own, but hindsight is 20/20. Be a good husband, I can’t stress this enough. It’s literally your only job right now.

It’s Almost Time.
You will be living at the hospital for a few days. Get your gear ready and have it by the door. This is what to pack: clothes for a few days. Sweats. Sandals (for the shower). A blanket (i brought a climbing sleeping bag that stuffs really small). Pillow. Phone Charger. Laptop. Camera (a real one). Headphones (for watching tv when your wife falls asleep). Snacks (the food generally is not the best or over priced at hospitals). Toiletries.

Make a phone list ahead of time. Know who you are going to tell and send pictures to. Agree on it with your wife. Those couples that share on Facebook as soon as the baby comes out … well, it’s kind of gross to bring a kid into this world and immediately put her/him online.

Birthday.
You did it. You are at the hospital. You obviously previously registered months before so paperwork is very minimal and they knew you were coming. You will be nervous. I remember not really feeling like myself. You are going into the hospital as a couple and coming out as a family. It’s so strange in a world of so much red tape, registration, licensing and bureaucracy that you can just have a child. Part of the weird feeling is just that. You can just do this and it becomes apparent how normal it is when you are immersed in the hospital where it happens 400 times a month for these professionals. You think you are special? Well, you are and you aren’t.

Ice Chips.
Okay Coach, it’s go time. This means that you still have hours of waiting around… Or at least we did. Labor takes awhile for most people. It’s usually not like it is in the movies where the dad is driving 80mph to get to the hospital and the baby comes flying out. I’ve even heard stories of couples going back and forth to the hospital multiple times with false labor. Hopefully this isn’t the case for you. So, you will probably be waiting for the labor process. During this time you will need to stay fully alert, attentive, and in the game. You will be watching monitors pretending you understand them, you’ll be trying to comfort your wife with massages that you don’t know how to give well, you’ll be a dispenser for ice chips and water. Just be there and be a team player. It’s honestly frustrating that you can’t do more.

When you get to the active labor portion of the birth (and just so you know I’m strictly talking from experience with no medical insight) you will become a hand to squeeze and continue your job as an ice chip dispenser. Stay close, but not too close. Bite your tongue when you feel like joking around with the Doctor/nurse, shut up and just be a familiar warm body for your wife unless otherwise instructed to do something. Damp towel waving, music change, more ice, breathing, hand squeeze… Pretty much it, unless you take a birthing class that tells you otherwise (but we didn’t).

The Baby Is Here.
Your wife is okay. The baby is out. Immediately all kinds of important stuff happens that goes by in a flash. Grab that camera, follow that baby- get some pics of all that stuff. More importantly (and this is your biggest job) make sure they give the baby to your wife as soon as it’s safe to do so. Oh yeah, you will get to cut the chord at some point in all that confusion. Grab hold of those scissors and do it like you mean it- don’t be a double cutter like some kind of pansy.

Congratulations, But No Cigar.
Yes, the baby is here. I was awe struck. It’s absolutely incredible to see your child, study her features and just be together, but right away you’ll find it’s not that easy. The nurses give the first bath, they will change the first few diapers- but then POW you are in it. Not only are you in it but YOU are in it because remember that wife of yours that just gave birth? Well now she is recovering and that means it’s hard to walk, move, and do just about anything. Her job at this point is to learn to Nurse the baby and heal. Your job is to tend to your wife and the baby. Your wife is going to be tired. You will be doing a lot of holding, and watching and comforting with the baby in the bassinet.

Get Some Rest.
I don’t know about all hospitals but ours was awesome. The nurses took the baby when we asked for enough time here and there for us to sleep. They would bring back the baby to nurse or whenever we asked, but they were very helpful in keeping the baby while we rested. Take advantage of this. You will need your rest, because once you leave there are no more nurses. TIP: order some pizzas for the nurses at some point. They will appreciate it.

Home Sweet Home.
Everybody is healthy, it’s time to check out of this place and go home as a family. Your car seat should already be installed. Go into that bassinet at the hospital and raid the hell out of it. Grab all diapers, wipes, etc they have around in your room- trust me you paid plenty, it’s not stealing.

Load up your stuff and take it to the car first, no need to lug that and your baby and wife in a wheelchair all at once. You are going to be incredibly excited to get out of the hospital and nervous as well. When you finally exit the glass doors and see your car waiting for you that same feeling will come washing over you that you experienced when you found out you were going to have a kid. I believe it’s called terror. You have made it this far though, this feeling is no longer unfamiliar and you know you can do it.

Pick up your baby, give her a big kiss and put her in that car seat. your wife will probably sit in the backseat with the baby. Enjoy this moment, it’s your first road trip. I think my car didn’t break 12mph the entire way home, if I had it my way there would have been flags on the car and warning stickers saying “baby on board.” It’s surprisingly nerve racking to drive with such a fragile life in the car.

That First Night.
We did not know what we were doing. Honestly, I don’t have any great advice for you, just don’t do what we did. We did not have the co-sleeper or a bassinet the first night back home. We got home and went to put the baby to sleep the first night and realized that a crib is WAY too big for a tiny newborn baby. We set her in there and I think our minds exploded, “now what? We can’t leave her in there!” We ended up keeping her in the swing next to us in the livingroom while we “slept” on the couch. It didn’t go well.

We wised up the next day and bought a co-sleeper.

First Few Months Are A Blur.
I remember the first few months but only as a feeling. We were falling in love with our family. It was an amazing time. We slowly got into our routine, got better with the diapers and driving and getting back to work. It’s important to slowly let people meet the baby a few at a time so that you aren’t introducing a party of germs. So you have very small, short get togethers. Very quickly (if you don’t have friends that are parents) you realize that your old friends don’t really “get it.” Sure they are happy for you, but your life just changed 100% and you can’t really expect everyone else to change with you. So, your life as you knew it before is over. It’s absolutely true what you’ve heard. Your life is over, but as cliche as it sounds you have a new life now. For my wife and I it was a solidification to our marriage that could not have happened any better. We started a life that was ours with no baggage or expectations from either side. It was a way for us to start fresh. I’m not saying that a baby is the answer to your failing relationship- but for us it certainly helped us grow.

The Daddy Baby Bond.
This is something that nobody else is going to tell you. This started when my first born was a month or so old, my mom asked me if I was “in love” yet with my child. Of course at that time I said “yes, absolutely,” but I didn’t yet realize what she was asking me, and I wasn’t. Moms have an instant connection with their children. Unless there is some serious postpartum depression moms will connect and have this amazing bond as soon as the baby is in her arms. Dads don’t have this. Of course you will love your baby, you will enjoy being a dad, but you won’t be head over heals in love until you are. For me I remember the moment it struck me. I don’t remember how old my daughter was (maybe 4 months) but she looked up at me when I was holding her in my lap and holy **** it was like a lightening bolt in my brain I was sent back to my mom asking me that question and I just knew that was what she meant. Unfortunately for me, my mom had already passed away and I couldn’t tell her. But man, it really was amazing to get that gift. I think if she would have never asked I wouldn’t have noticed it so clearly, but now that you know maybe you will remember and get a similar experience.

I think that this is enough for now. I’m sure I’ll have more to say, but this is what I was looking for initially when I found out I was going to be a dad. I truly get it, you aren’t alone. Being a father is obviously very challenging as I’m learning that more every day with school, hospital visits, and just trying to raise good human beings. It is well worth it. Be inspired. Be inspiring. Choose to embrace it.

Feel free to write me if you have any questions. Message me on Instagram @joshwoolf

Up High

Your soft eyelids gently shut, lashes long and fanned perfect. I watch you as you lay still. If I hold my breath I can hear you breathe, and I do because I love to hear you breathe.

It’s been a good day. I want every day this good. It’s so simple, and it doesn’t take much.

We hike, we run wild. “Up high, up high” you chant up to me, so I reach down count down from 3 and throw you high into the air. You laugh and point up again wanting another. 3…2…1… You launch high into the air and down into my arms. The cold grass crunches under your muddy toes as I gently set you back down. I chase you both in circles, watch you swing and bounce up and down and twirl. Again you come up to me and stand on my feet stretching your arms up to me, I let you hold my thumbs with your 18 month old hands – you grasp tight enough so that I can lift you off the ground. The way it feels to have you holding onto my thumbs so tight is the best feeling in the world. I want you this way forever.

I love your beautiful smiles, and your goofy faces you make when you say “cheese” and your excited faces when you are surprised or see something for the first time. I love seeing you balancing on your head and hands on the lawn looking at the world upside down. You put all your weight into the flowers you pluck from the garden. I sit from the porch and watch as you dig dirt, pick rocks, and tear grass bringing each new find over to me to inspect and tell you what a good job you’ve done.

When it gets too cold, we go in and get you washed up in a warm bath. Pajamas on and lights out. On good days it doesn’t take much before you crash out in our arms.

Soft folded hands tucked gently together under your side. It’s quiet and peaceful in your room. My boy and my girl fast asleep. The house is still. Will it always be this good? I have to savor every moment I have with these two kids.

Fight or Flight

The brain is triggered by fear and survival- depending on the micro decisions available at that moment we make a decision to stick it out or run away. Sticking it out can be painful, it can lead to touching rock bottom and possibly having your ego handed to you on a paper plate. By fighting we are saying that we are invested in what we have and we are willing to take it all the way. By fighting we are unwilling to let go- the reward of holding ground outweighs the pain of defeat or running away. Flight is what you do when you feel you have nothing to lose. When your current situation is not worth saving. You run only when you think that the unknown has to be better than what you have. If you will have no regrets, no “what if” thoughts, then and only then you should run. Both fight and flight are addictive habits. The people that choose to fight will do it again. You will put yourself in the position to put it on the line and risk everything to hold onto what you have with the possibility of making it all even better. Those who run will run again. By running you are always looking for a better place. You run in hopes of stumbling upon greatness. If you get somewhere and it’s not all that you hoped it would be- you pack up and leave again.

I choose to fight. I choose to scrape and pull and gamble what I’ve made to elevate. I often think romantically about packing up with the family and heading out for an adventure in search of stumbling upon perfection- but leaving all that I’ve worked for and even more so all that I’m working toward is too risky. The risk of looking back from somewhere new and day dreaming about what could have been keeps me here.

The mind game is that there is no right answer. I’ve seen people do both and the results seem to be random either way. People run and discover and find themselves with fantastic stories to tell. Others fight and dream big and build empires.

I guess that’s a better description of these two types of people- are you a builder or a discoverer? Are you more excited by creating something or finding something. The more I look at it, it seems to be less of a choice and more a characteristic innate in us. So, should we go along with what feels more natural, or should fighters sometimes choose to run?

For My Son.

Dear Remington,

You are here. You are “sleeping” in your crib in your room. I can hear you snoring. You stir. Up until now you have never slept in your own bed for a night. you wake up and want your mamma. Who could blame you. I’m hopeful that you will get better at this. You impress me so much. You are strong. I watch you crawl around the house from room to room at 8 months old. You get to tables and objects and lift yourself up by your arms to stand up and get a better view. You bend down nearly impaling yourself on sharp edges and corners but somehow your coordination keeps you from major bumps and bruises. You do fall over now and then. You smile a lot. You laugh. I play a game where I move my finger toward your chest slowly like a worm to come tickle you and you start laughing before i even touch you. You watch Olive all the time. I can tell you love her already. She plays games with you. Sometimes she is a little rough, but don’t you worry we are close to make sure nothing happens. I keep telling Olive “you know one day he’s going to be bigger than you and he will be the one tormenting you.” It’s true. You will be the one chasing her one day soon. I want to be a great dad for you. I want to teach you everything I know and more. We can learn together. I want to take you surfing and biking and climbing. Anything. I am lucky to have you my son. You are going to keep me young. Right now you are my inspiration. Granted, there isn’t much i can do with this inspiration besides take care of you and your sister- but I have faith that you will help me do great things as well. I want to make you proud.

I was walking with you around the neighborhood the other afternoon. You turned your head side to side looking from what was close on the sidewalk to the cars passing by. So alert. As I walked with you I was thinking wow I only have 17 years of this left with you as my baby before you are an adult. It’s boring to say it goes by quickly – but it does. A year is nothing. Some idiot once told me that the older you get the faster time seems to go by because each moment in your life is a smaller fraction of your life as a whole. I detest this concept- and i choose to reject it. I’m holding on tight to every moment I get with you and your sister. Maybe I can slow time down when I’m with you.

I’ll give that a shot.

Daddy Woolf.

When She Was 3.

We hear her wake up across the hall calling out from our bed, “Mama… mama.” Mom’s busy with Remi so Daddy is going to play the role of Mama for the time being. I walk across the house with a sort of impatience from not being able to get more than 30 minutes of quiet, ever. It’s dark in my room. Let me emphasize that she is not in her own bed. As I get closer to the bed I can tell that she is in a half sleep state. She lays the wrong direction on the comforter so I pick her up and prop her back onto a pillow and climb in next to her. Any previous feelings of not wanting to get up and comfort my little girl wash away. I’m exactly where I want to be.

Quickly these thoughts of happiness come to me as I listen to her breathing. I prop my arm up above her head to get a little closer but as I do it grabs her hair and immediately wakes her up. “Daddy! ow. Stop it.” as she swings an elbow my way and arches her neck to stop my arm from pulling her hair. “Sorry baby” I sort of whisper and cringe at the same time. But I give her a hug and go to kiss the spot where I pulled her hair, as I bend down she buckles her head to get more comfortable and makes a direct hit- her skull into my lower lip- which also seems to tweak my jaw out of place.

Its a mess. Even the little sentimental moments I’m trying to savor get tainted.

My jaw feels better though now. Olive has settled down. I relax next to her with my hand on her hand and all is right. My mind is able to wonder for a minute while i listen to her breathe. “This is perfect,” I think to myself. Thoughts start drifting to what it will be like when she is 8, 12, 16, 28, 35. Then to me possibly sick in bed one day laying there half asleep. I picture myself old and Olive a middle aged woman, coming in and sitting next to me.

Just as the thought enters my head “It will be amazing to have her at my side one day when I’m old” … My wife whisper shouts from across the house to me pulling me out of whatever meditation and moment of enjoyment I’m having. She needs assistance in the other room. Remi is stirring and I am tasked to grab a laptop chord.

Moment over.

I roll off my bed quietly.

That is what a night with an 8 month old and a 3 year old is like.

Head In The Clouds

I’ve been a dad for a whopping 3 years now. It’s strange to become a parent when most of your friends aren’t. You see yourself changing in a way that doesn’t totally relate to the way your non-parent friends are changing (by the way there is no judgement here, I think not producing is just as important as producing). One thing I’ve noticed about myself is that I really do care more than I used to. My pre-parental angst of not giving a chips-and-salsa has transformed into looking into my kids’ eyes and seeing down the tunnel to their future.

The struggle to swim through the thick, gooey, media filled day to something real. My head is full of other people’s thoughts and ideas of stuff that makes no difference in my day. My contribution to this world is consistently tainted by advertising via social media and campaigns loosely hidden by an aesthetic of “good design” and commercialized “art.” The music blasting through the window of the car next to mine is a hyper sexualized drug ad packaged in a designer bag.

Abusive advertising ticks me off- that goes for entertainment/media as well. Perpetuating hate and violence and abuse is boring. It’s easy to see through the marketing plan of appealing to the rebellious nature of pre-teen, teen, young adults – 30’s and even “old guys” trying to stay relevant in this young world. We should be smarter than that.

We are being trained. Whether its on purpose or just dumb coincidence- we are being trained. Trained to think alike. We have chained ourselves together in the guise of “staying connected.” I hardly know anybody anymore. Our pictures speak thousands of words- words we quickly swipe through. We don’t talk anymore, we comment. We don’t communicate any more, we connect. We don’t have relationships, we change our status. We don’t develop friendships, we get friended. Soon this training will be complete and we will all watch and believe the same things- we’ll all read the same 140 character news stories and take them as fact without checking.

You are probably saying to yourself, “not me!” and you could very well be right, for now. What about our kids though? What will it feel like to know your daughter or son is logging-in and signing-up and consuming the same shart circling through his little network gone viral because of whatever point some bonehead is trying to make? We need to do our best to teach about credible sources, not believing everything you see and hear, and forming opinions based on who you are as a person. By the way, a 20 question quiz cannot define your soul and tell you who you are. We need real tangible adventures. We need quiet. We need more than Emerson, and Thoreau (although that would be a good start). What happened to reflection and putting the puzzle pieces of our existence together? We need to focus on the physical world, get our heads out of The Tech Cloud, and look back up into the real clouds.

I will not compare any generation to another, I will not blame anybody. This is not a problem that will be fixed. This is what a real-time world shift looks like. I’m not proposing that any of us make a stand or try to change anything. I don’t think anything can be changed anyway on the large scale.

What I am saying to my “friends” is this:

Don’t be swallowed up whole. Take a moment to break away. Be aware that whatever social media is the thing right now will not last forever, but the content you share and upload will be. Know that you are being targeted by advertising constantly. Find a way to be yourself and feel good about what you are doing without having to “share” it with anyone but yourself and the other people there with you.

Most importantly, be with your kids. Teach them what it is to be grounded by being grounded. There is a time and place for technology and social media- but it’s not all the time in every place. Sometimes it’s okay to turn it off.

The Message

I look down and see a text message on my phone from a friend, “Call me. I have something to tell you. It might be weird though.” A strange text to get at 3:38pm on a Friday. I pull over and make the call.

“What’s up?” I say. He goes on to explain that he is producing a TV show based on psychics and mediums. He and the film crew were shooting at his house and the medium was doing a reading on his wife. At the end of the reading the medium asks “who’s Josh?” His wife says that they don’t have any family named Josh but they do have a friend Josh. The medium has a message for me from my mom who passed away. She asks if my mom had any abilities in this spiritual sense, my friends didn’t know to what extent but said she was a writer and definitely spiritual. The medium explains that she can tell because the message from my mother is clear.

A little background: My mom was very intuitive, a medium herself. She was a full body channel with over 30 years of this work. She wrote books, met with groups of like minded people, studied and taught. To say she had some abilities is an understatement.

My mom has a message for me. She tells them that she taught me what she knew, why am I not using it? She said I needed to check in with my father more (we talk everyday, but maybe we need to speak more to each other and not through my toddlers?) Perhaps we need more adult conversation together, this is how I’m taking it. She explains that I need to get out more and be creative- which has been very much on my mind over the last month.

Thus far, this is all very mundane stuff. The medium could have had anybody do some research to find out that my mom passed away or that she was in the “psychic business” – she could even get info from this blog. BUT, she didn’t know she was going to be doing a reading on my friends that day, there was actually another person that was to be the subject for the show, and my friend jumped into it without planning. There would have been no reason to do research on any of her friends.

Here is the kicker- The medium says that my mom wants me to find the pendulum she gave me, that I know how to use it, and to use it. Nobody knows that my mom gave me a pendulum that she specifically made for me just months before she passed away. This is not a thing I wear, it’s been sitting in a cabinet with a bunch of important stuff of my moms for the last 4 years. I’ve pulled it out a few times to look at it.

I have two thoughts on this pendulum. 1. I need to use it like she said (i’ll get back to this), or 2. This was spoken of so that I know that there is validity to this message. Or maybe both.

Okay so what is a pendulum? I’m not an expert, but basically it’s a chain or necklace weighted at the bottom that you hold still in front of you. You ask it to show you “YES” and wait to see which way it starts spinning, then you ask it to show you “NO” and it will start whirling the other direction. I have always just figured that your mind is subconsciously moving it. So when you ask a question you are getting your most intuitive answer. Are there supernatural powers of this practice? Many would say yes, but I am a skeptic. Nonetheless, we used to do this for fun.

I grew up in a world that revolved around all sorts of things like this. When your mother is a psychic/medium/channel summoning the entities of Indra and Saraswati you get exposed to a lot of miracles. I was always very much a skeptic in my nature, but honest to God, hand on the Bhagavad Gita and the Bible I’ve seen some shit, there just isn’t any other way to explain it.

So, I receive an unexpected clairvoyant message from my deceased psychic mother through a medium I’ve never met during a reading for a friend, for a TV show I’m not affiliated with- and it started with a text message.

For the previous month before receiving this message I’ve been having a spiritual conundrum. I’ve been speaking with my grandmother on the phone about faith, meditation, prayer, wanting validity to what we believe, I have been manifesting some sort of clarity to all that I have learned in my life. Do we pass on and ascend to this celestial pool of accumulative knowledge? Is that what “heaven” is? Do the people we love lose their identity and turn into the fabric of what we all are? Is anybody “up” there actually listening? Needless to say, the timing of this message was impeccable. I’ve been asking for a message, and I got one.

I know this is heavy. I’ve been hiding this stuff my whole life. It’s not easy growing up with a psychic mom (in many ways) mostly because people aren’t ready to hear it.

It all comes down to Faith. The Sunday before this all happened I was talking to my wife about my recent spiritual struggle and not really knowing the answers. I had made peace with it at that point. Not getting these answers lead me to understanding what faith is. Faith is more than a feeling, it’s more than knowledge, it’s beyond getting answers. Faith is letting go, it’s not analytical. Faith is something that you earn by prayer and meditation. I had this realization before I got this message. Once again proving how impeccable the timing was. I never would have discovered this understanding of faith for myself if I had got that message a week earlier, it came right on time, exactly late enough for me to not really need it anymore, but to solidify that there are miracles and something out there beyond our comprehension.

Thanks for the message, Mom. I got it loud and clear.

Young Eyes.

I remember looking around the room with young eyes. Looking at everything with young eyes. I remember what it feels like to wake up and feel the sun pouring through my bedroom windows. Content. I remember the feeling of no pressure. What being excited for the day feels like. Enjoying all the little details that made ME. Clean shelves holding found items from explorations- shotgun shells, prostate stones, viagra old bottles. Treasure boxes filled with old motors and electrical wires. Backpacks with pocket knives and flashlights. Perfectly folded clothes in a pine dresser. Thanks Mom. Dress for an adventure. Walking out to the front yard and smelling the earth. I can hear the quiet of the world. Nature filling my ears. Truly grounded. Footsteps and my own breathing as i trek down the gravel driveway. Max the dog, a black long-haired german shepherd mix. My Wolf. I talk to him and myself a little. I’m my own best friend, I don’t feel alone. Soon my fingers will be stained with blackberry juice. My knees covered in clay. Sweat on my face. I’ll dig into the hillside to build my cave. Slide down the long ravine over granite rocks, oak leaves and wet spring grass. Drop down into the creek. Its cool in the ravine. Still. Tromp through the water, examine the different kinds of moss. Check on my damn. See if I can make it to the top of our mountain. I bury things up there. Somewhere, marked by a nondescript rock there is a box with matches, sunflower seeds, a batman car that was my dads from the ‘60’s, notes and other forgotten treasures in the ground. I reach the top and use my hands like binoculars. Over the valley chimneys from small ranch houses still puffing gray smoke from the oak burning fireplaces. The clouds are high in the sky. It’s even quieter at the top of the hill. The biggest finds of these days are rare and dangerous animals. Coyotes, rattlesnakes, bears.

I remember going out in the early afternoon in-between rains. There was a thick cloud settled all around the property. I was in the cloud. Slipping under the barbed wire to get closer to the horses. Hundreds of them all together. They lived off the land, a mix of pack horses and new wilder horses co-living on the property until it was time to be wrangled, trailered and taken across the state where they lived the second half of the year. For now they are here for me. I sat to watch them with my knees at my chest at the foot of a white oak. There are 5 or so horses visible. If I sit long enough in the grass they would forget I was there. The appaloosas would get scared quickest, but were also the first to forget about me. They seemed the wildest. They began to move around each other, rub faces, eat, buck up. Soon they were fighting. The cloud enclosed around us creating the illusion of a private theater. I planned my exit in case the beasts got too close.

I felt as though I wasn’t the only one watching. A cold sweat washed over me. I wasn’t alone. I was still as the tree I leaned against. The horses slowed as well. Soon it was very quiet. The thick rain cloud settled. Something urged me to look up in the tree in front of me. An Owl. The biggest owl i’d ever seen. Probably the biggest owl anybody had ever seen. He sat there with a dominating presence. He was on a branch just ten or so feet above the ground. How could I have missed him before? Standing well over two feet tall, its eyes looking right at me. I was starstruck. I continued to stare for what felt like forever. Afraid that if I looked away he would strike. In the time I’d sat looking at him it got dark around me. I wanted to get closer. I couldn’t get myself to move. As though he had a buffer around him pushing against everything. Forcing the world to keep its distance. He controlled his cushion. Until now he had been still, but suddenly his head twisted. I nearly jumped. It was time to go. I can’t remember the time between leaving and standing in front of the fence.

Again I duck back through the barbed wire. Running back, I hear only my breath the swishing of the brush and my dogs barking in the distance.

The Frequency.

A few years ago we made the decision to change the name of our company. It wasn’t an easy choice, the old name was part of our family and gave us a sense of identity for many years- but we had out grown it and we were working on living our lives in a fresh way. We are truly work-a-holics and as petty as it may sound, identifying with a new name that represented our current journey just struck a chord.

We came across VERY HIGH FREQUENCY [VHF] originally as a name for a blog project we were working on. Our goal was to discover through personal experience what it would take to operate at a higher level, to live in a happier more meaningful way, and to see if this way of being could be obvious or tangible enough for others to see on us. We have all met people that seemed to know something that most people didn’t and emanate a glow of content- it was our mission to get to the bottom of it. This was obviously a bold task.

We didn’t start the project as imagined- we instead held the name close, pondered the possibilities of doing more, being greater, having more fun, and smiling more often. We meditated on the subject for about a year. By consistently striving to live in this fashion things did start to feel different, which is why we ended up ditching the old name and began using VHF as our company.

“Yeah, so what.” You are probably asking yourself.

This choice was the beginning of the Best and Worst year of my life.

The name switch itself didn’t change anything necessarily, but it is a marker for what was to come.

2012 was hyped in the circles of idiots as “the end of the world,” and for others it was a point of a paradigm shift in our culture. I can’t say if that is true or not, but my old way of life was deleted forever during that year.

The Best- I was given the gift of my beautiful baby girl. The timing was a surprise we weren’t prepared for. It was downright frightening at some points, followed by this euphoric rush of LIFE. It was truly the Frequency I’d been searching to find. I can’t imagine not knowing the feeling of being a father.

The Worst- In February I found out my mother had cancer. In June she passed away. For those of you who have not experienced this sort of loss, It feels exactly like the wind is knocked out of you. It burns in the pit of your stomach. And to top it off seeing my family hurt as bad as I was only made it ache more. It’s miserable.

Life and Death. My child growing inside my wife’s womb and disease taking over my mother. The polarity of what we see and experience while we are here is almost impossible to bare. If it weren’t for my daughter and wife I don’t know what I would have done to cope.

But life triumphs. My 3 month old girl was able to protect me, her fully grown father. Her comfort and the distraction of those sleepless nights kept me warm.

My life was forever changed. I am now living on a higher frequency. The understanding I’ve gained is tremendous. I grew up. It’s so complicated and so simple at the same time, we can’t understand everything, but we are not supposed to. We are just supposed to BE.

-JDW

Ijia’s Meditation.

The greatest present I’ve ever received with the exception of my family and a few bicycles, are the lessons I grew up with from my mom. She was able to instill meditational practice in me at an early age, and with this I learned that there is more than what we see, hear, taste, smell, touch. I’m so thankful that I am her son, and that I was able to learn from her. Birthdays can be bittersweet since she passed away, but she left me with so much.

The following is an excerpt from her book Siddhartha and Mary which we’ve finished editing and will be in print very soon.  Just weeks before she left us her wish was for us to make sure it was finished and went into print. I thought I’d give you all a sneak peak and share some of what i’ve learned from her. This is from a chapter called “Ijia’s Meditation.”  enjoy.

“…You’re just going to meditate with me here now. Try it my way for a minute.

You know when you’re in love, and that feeling of anticipation that you feel before you see someone you love and who loves you completely and is as happy to see you as you are to see them, or even happier? It’s that feeling. That’s the way I approach it: I’m meeting my beloved. Just that feeling puts you in that posture.

Rolling the tongue back to ingest prana is a very old technique and my teacher called it nectar. The reason is that when you do that and you open your throat the right way for the ingestion of that life force, what’s happening is that that life force actually has a taste. There’s a taste that is associated with it. It’s sweet and it’s sort of like sucking on honeysuckle. It tastes a little like that.

When you roll your tongue back, it naturally curls and there’s a place that’s almost comfortable for it to sit. There’s not much longevity when you first begin because your tongue isn’t used to doing that. Over time your tongue actually stretches and you develop the muscle to be able to hold that position all the time if you want to. When your tongue gets tired of being rolled back, just release it and let it rest for a few minutes. Breathe in through your nose. When you do that kind of breath, you want to hear it. It’s a soft sound.

You can place your focus on your third eye, between your eyebrows. If that’s not it for you, you can open your eyes, but just keep them unfocused. Either way, the eyes are soft. Underneath the layers of mind and matter, just watch those layers lift and fold back one after another. It might be in a feeling or it could be a visual. It could be a thought or a picture. Just let it roll back, like a veil or curtains or pages. Just let them fall off or roll away because there’s something behind those veils and those pages. It’s that One who you seek. It’s that One

who’s there and waiting for you and who is meeting you.

As each veil, each page turns, feel your heart center opening. Taste that sweetness in the back of your throat. See in your mind’s eye the light playing. Finally there is a moment that’s subtle where something opens up just behind your breast bone. Just let it be open.

Something reaches you. Let yourself be embraced by it. Let yourself be reached. Breathe. Listen to your breath. The in-breath is you. The out-breath is Him. The out-breath is your Father. The in-breath is you. The in-breath is your Father. The out-breath is you. Keep rolling away those pages, those veils.

Enjoy it. Don’t concentrate so hard. Let yourself go. Pretend you’re on a date.

Open your eyes and look around. Bring that feeling here. Close your eyes, go back in. Let the pages roll back, let the veils fall. Taste that sweetness.

Don’t be afraid to put your fingers in your ears and listen to the music in there. Don’t be afraid to rock your body. Don’t be afraid to open your eyes again. Don’t be afraid to open your eyes and stand up and go walk and come back and sit down.

Keep letting those veils fall away. Keep tasting that nectar and listening to that music inside whether your eyes are open or closed. Integrate it with the baby crying, the noise of the fan and the flies buzzing. It’s all the same thing.

There are days when that reaching out gives you instant results and you just feel blasted, blissed out and turned on. Sometimes you show up with everything you have, you’re anticipating, and it’s really quiet and subtle. For me it’s never the same twice, but I guarantee results by just showing up.

Something inside starts to unlock that place that’s so precious, so sweet and so true. It becomes more easily accessible. Then the trick is really learning to remember to access, learning to remember that it’s the medicine that heals.

A friend of mine has all these beautiful things from her grandmother. There are vases and things that were made out of silver. She has an entire set of sterling silverware and they were never used. I think we all have stuff like that that is so precious to us that we keep it put away in a deep part of the closet, in an earthquake proof zone or under lock

and key. It never gets used, it never gets seen, and it’s never enjoyed. It never gets chipped. It’s always perfect—somewhere. Then we forget that we have it. We forget to pull it out.

We tend to save access to that precious part of ourselves for special occasions or just the right moment. In the meanwhile it’s not getting used at all and pretty soon we just forget we have it, or that it’s even there. Because when is it a special enough occasion for something that’s that precious to you? Pretty soon, never. But if you bring it out every day, then this is the special occasion, right now, today, today, today. It does get battered around, it does get worn, it does get chipped. But it takes on a different kind of beauty and luster that’s real. It’s lived in the world. That gift and that relationship need to be lived in the world and messed up a little bit. Be here in the world with that gift and share it. You can’t ruin it.

My favorite stuffed animals and dolls as a kid all had war wounds. Because the tongue of my stuffed tiger had to be sewn back on in an emergency situation, he became that much more precious and real. He lived in the world.

The bottom line is that there’s no good time, there’s no perfect moment and they are all perfect moments. It’s not pretty in some picturesque way and that makes it beautiful. There are babies crying, distractions and flies, but that’s all part of what makes it beautiful.”

– IJIA WOOLF

Half Time.

My Family. My Wolves. My soldiers. These feelings we all hold privately but also collectively cannot gnaw away at us any longer. We must refuse to be ravaged by the negative gravitational pull that stretches us into the black hole. We cannot flourish together if members of our pack are weak. We cannot help the pack when we are struggling. We must learn to be better. We must focus on what’s important. The importance of our togetherness. The importance of being positive. The strength of being “more than.” Even when separated by mountain ranges, deserts, fields, oceans and dimensions our togetherness can stay in tact. The physical structures of this world will not keep us apart. We have full control. Do not feel alone, for when you Feel alone you are alone. Reset. We are here for one another.

Prepare yourself. Be prideful of who WE are. This unit is expanding, abundant, radiating the knowledge that we invent together. It’s time. I’ve heard all your cries, and pains and struggles. That is no more. No more. Reset. Balance.

My Family. My Wolves. My Soldiers. Stay close, open up and stay alert. Pay attention to all your senses. Don’t forget we hold the control. Focus your intentions and keep your head up. This is not a fight, it’s an experience- an experience we won’t have alone. Our pack will survive. You have been tasked. This is it. This is everything. Shoulders back. Stand up straight, balance. Make us proud.

Black Skies.

The colors in today’s sky consists of dark purples, grays, and blues. Beautiful, but from where you’re standing they all look black to you. Your perspective sees the blurred lines melt together you fool. Missing out on the sunset there’s no light left to use. You’d better widen the eyes or close them and pray. There’s no hope in your washed out disassociation today. It only perpetuates and breeds more pain. The rich colorful heavens between day and night, try imagining unfolding wings to take flight.

In Between.

There has been a theme recently. A theme in our lives of escalating obstacles and feelings of impending doom. Obstacles out of our control. Feelings that bubble up from the depths of our stomachs and screech out of control. Turns in the script that make us question the stability of our existence.

It’s up to us to unfold the drama and look underneath it all to stop looking at every twist and crease of the future and past and focus on the magic high-speed moment that is exactly the present. The time that is in between the blinks and heart beats to where silence and still is in existence. It’s only human for us to evaluate the angles but there is no hope in pondering. Only in savoring the immeasurable moment between may we find the peace needed to strive to continue.

Consequences and Options are the root of what destroys us, what makes a sane person sputter words with no meaning and count cracks in the sidewalk in short mumbles of a language conceived as psychotic babbling. This is what we try to avoid.

My mother once taught me to silence the chaos. It seems terribly ‘this worldly’ for such a zen concept but it works. Try this, it’s meditation for dummies. The idea is to not think. To have absence of passing thought. —

Close your eyes, be silent. Every time a passing thought comes into your view… Wipe it away like a windshield wiper on the car window. Each thought is a raindrop and when it pops into your head the wipers push it away and clear your view. It’s inhuman not to have thoughts… Don’t dwell on them. Simply let them be wiped away. Do this for as long as it takes.

Olive’s Home.

I am home. Our home. Where our child sleeps quietly. I go and kiss her on her tiny face, My lips so big they can touch her cheek and the corner of her mouth all at once. She quietly breaths out. Comforted. I’m here to protect her and look after her. Not a worry, only good ahead of her. She’s tired and dreaming of the big week she’s had.

Airports and airplanes. Stomping through terminals and isles. Each smile she gives away brightening up someone else’s day. It’s a big job. Momma guides her through the jungle of travelers with precision. She lands in a new world. Baby trudges through the grass barefoot in the hot sun being watched by grandparents and great grandparents, cousins, and aunties and uncles. So much love from places so far from her treehouse home. Boating down rivers and riding in big cars- I carry her through swimming pools and raise her high above my head to the sky where her strong legs kick and splash. Giggling and screaming in a language between real and child.

Now we are back safe at home base again. Missing and missed by so many. A reset between this adventure and next. Tomorrow when she wakes the house will be clean again and ready for the ceremonial tossing of the toys. The plates are clean and ready for feasts of fruits and breads and meats. Sippy cups full of tasty milks and juices ready to quench thirsts and make puddles.

Everything is ready for you my love. The world is yours. Rest up and sleep well. Dream up all the adventures to be had. Momma and I will take you to all the places you want to go. Hold our fingers with your tight fist and drag us to all the new things you discover.

Continuing.

Completing something is the fun satisfying part, not much explanation needed. Beginning a project is exciting. Continuing something in the works is grueling.

There is a fine line between “beginning” and “continuing.” Continuing will test your patience. You will at times question all that you’ve done to get to the point of where you are, you may even ponder throwing it all away just to be relieved of the burden. Continuing is the difference between having something and nothing. Time wasted vs invested. This is reference to the project you DON’T have to do. The thing you feel you need to do but never really start. Which brings me back to the difference between beginning and continuing. You probably aren’t continuing yet, but you are about to be.

You probably haven’t continued because you know how difficult it’s going to be. Maybe you have started 100’s of times. Little notes, you’ve purchased books, scribbled ideas, you’ve made sketches and had long winded conversations with friends. You’ve been excited about creating something, but when it comes down to continuing you are stuck in the rut of starting over and over again.

Most people end up being that person that talks to their friends and family about the great idea they never finished- a missed opportunity- the infant ghost of a legacy that never was.

I refuse to be like “most people” and fall in the category of never completing. Instead I choose to Continue.

 

Love Letters.

I sit in the dark with just the low glow of the fish lamp in the corner of the room. our daughter has been crying for over 30 minutes. The experts say that you should let them just cry it out and soothe themselves to sleep, which I was skeptical about at first- but now I understand that it isn’t cruel, its just the first step in them learning to cope. The baby will play you, exploit your parental weakness and have you wrapped around her little finger in a snap if you aren’t careful. Some are easier than others and lindsay and I created a baby in our spitting image which means she is a ferocious one.

Just as I finished that sentence she actually fell asleep and I can finally hear the inside of my head again.

Love letters. I wish I could say I write one a day for my wife, there was a time when we did. We’d talk on the phone for hours, mail things across the country, surprise each other, and now we are together. We share a home. So the courting isn’t quite the same, but that makes me think- maybe it should be? She is stunning. My dream. We are real friends, the kind that confided in one another for years and years before romantically falling head over heals. We’ve had adventures. Our relationship has been exciting and storybook-like, brilliant- and often times disgusting to others around us (I don’t care). We’ve been there for some of the toughest times and been there for some of the worst days we’ve ever had. But we have also been there for the best ones.

I love her so much.

Once a baby is brought into the world it’s easy to get filed in line to this parental structure “eat” “work” “feed” “sing” “eat” “drive” “shop” “eat” “work” and so on, (I left out “sleep” on purpose). The outwardly exciting adventures take a break and we are on this much longer adventure of creating a family. This is mostly great but tends to get frustrating for us rolling stone types. Mo•not•o•ny, It can be a dirty word. Luckily for us, we were raised well. We know that family is the most important thing. Our daughter sees how much we love each other and will be a better person for it (*fact). We laugh a lot, we also pull out our hair. We get to see the most beautiful girl in the world growing up before us, but sacrifice so much of ourselves in the process. Being a parent is a very strange sort of mental push-up you perform constantly every day.

This upcoming month will mark our two year marriage anniversary (2 years going on 10).

I love you my wife. You’ve given me the best gifts. You and Olive. We’re getting to reinvent what life and family is all about and that is the best thing I’ve ever had the opportunity to do. I give you my all.

-JDW

Level Up.

Life challenges increase in difficulty, and this is how it should be. We get accustomed to everything being a certain way and then like the switch on a train’s track- Smash -our momentum is jostled, and we are pushed to understand something new unfolding. It’s easy to be uptight and treat the uncertainty as an enemy, but it will do you no good, instead- try to see it coming as it’s inevitable for most of us and welcome this as it may just be what life is all about. There are people that don’t/won’t experience as much turbulence as we do, but watch them closely- they look miserable. It’s boring, unchallenging… It takes no courage. I would pity them but I don’t have time to care as I face the challenges before me. Reflect and move on. Level Up.

Pressure.

It’s a lot of pressure being born into so much opportunity.

There should be no mistaking that we have absolutely no justifiable reason to complain. All of us born in countries where we are encouraged to learn and venture in whatever direction we may have a calling in are clearly in a great spot- but now I’ll go ahead and complain.

Being told your entire childhood that you can do whatever you set your mind to is a set up for disappointment. Even those of us who eventually do what we dreamed of rarely find it as interesting as we thought it would be. And now after putting more than a quarter of your life toward that goal and hurling you and your family into debt to make the dream happen… What do you have to show? Experience. Isn’t that what life is all about? I venture to say- “maybe?”

But wouldn’t being born into a trade in a land that was all you ever knew with your tight knit community and simpler ways of living be more fulfilling in the long run?

Us privileged ones spend all our time getting educated and exploring what we want to do with ourselves only in hopes of then making money and finding the person to be in love with and then working really really hard so that we can then take some vacations and perhaps find a community that we feel at home with to raise our kids and grow old and work and grind and vacation from and work and work and work. At some point if we are lucky maybe we can accumulate enough to set aside a legacy so that maybe our kids and grand kids don’t have to struggle as hard, but more realistically they’ll just take it for granted and fight over it.

So what is the answer? Is it that more simple way of life mentioned before? No, not really. I’m sorry to break it to you but that green patch of grass is hardly as picturesque as it sounds. It barely exists anymore. The World shrunk. People have tried to recreate it, but I believe most of those have collapsed as cults.

The Answer (for me): understand my surroundings. Use my hands. Work smart. Make a difference. We were all born on this planet in different circumstances and its my job to find the best Quality life I can. For some of us that could be accumulating education, for others building a city, for others it’s just Being.

It really is a lot of pressure, the pressure of having so much potential and opportunity and using none of it. Because whatever the answer is here, the one thing we don’t want to be is that person that could of had it all but instead squandered it.

365 Days Ago.

In this culture we remember dates and celebrate years since events happened. It must be part of the caveman in all of us to keep track and record these things because we tend to do it automatically. When you put more thought into this it starts to seem strange. Tradition, boredom, the sales of greeting cards all come to mind. Why does it matter? There is the saying that if we don’t remember history we are doomed to repeat it, but the majority of the days we observe don’t fall into that category. The real notable moments in our lives tend to be remembered everyday.

365 days ago. It was a hot day in Los Gatos. Our family was all gathered at my grandparents house for the past week spending time with my mom as she lay in her bedroom quiet and in a lot of pain. Her body had withered away from the medicine and cancer, but she still looked beautiful and goddess-like in her white robe. It was very peaceful in her room. Quiet with only the sound of the pond outside and family talking with whispering voices. There were 15-20 of us at all times individually coming in to speak with her, sit quietly meditating or praying, and help keep her comfortable.

At this point we all knew that my mom was going to be leaving us soon. There wasn’t much of a chance of her coming back and her silent internal meditation was her preparing herself to go. She was in two places at the same time fluxing in and out of what is here and what comes after.

My sister Lily had been traveling across the country after spending months taking care of our mom, but she had jumped on a plane in Louisiana to make it back. It looked like my mom had been holding off to see her. When Lily arrived she burst into the room and mom pushed herself up to embrace her. It was as though she had been saving up this energy to give to Lily. They held each other- my sister was very strong but still weeping as she squeezed because she knew at this moment the fight was over. We all cried silently together sitting around the room.

In between seeing her in the room we spent time outside on the deck in the sun eating and sipping wine or coffee and working on a mosaic that my mom hadn’t yet finished. Carefully picking up glass with tweezers and placing over my moms painting trying to follow her structure and patterns, often times not up to moms standards. Mosaics are difficult.

We were all exhausted. Emotionally spent. Our inner contemplations spinning at all different speeds just moving around one another with this sort of instinctual pack mentality.

After all saying good bye for the evening and knowing that mom needed to rest, some of us drove off back down the hill to the houses we were staying at, some spent the night there in the living room.

My wife Lindsay and three month old Olive had to make a trip to Texas and so I was sleeping alone that night. It was very strange to reach over and not have them there. I remember reaching my arms out to hold Olive every few minutes. Phantom limb.

Shortly after midnight I received a phone call from my mom’s cell phone. My heart was racing. In my daze of waking up I had almost thought it could be her calling me. On the other end of the phone it was a friend calling from her phone, “it happened, she just passed away” were the words I heard. I said okay- ill be over. Got dressed, woke up my dad- he and mom hadn’t been together for many years, but their friendship was lifelong. The look on his face when I told him was strong, he now had 3 kids all on his own. We made the journey back up to the house in the mountain.

We arrived and it was dark only lit by some candles and small lamps. Everyone was huddled together in the living room amongst the blankets from bedrolls and each other. I went to the room and saw my mom at peace, and said goodbye.

We all slept side by side that night. All of us kids and my dad. My grandparents were close by. Like a pack of wolves we held close and did our best to sleep off our sadness.

The rest of the events were less important. The real world duties that come along with someone passing away are less than special, but those days before mom had to go seem to live in my permanent thoughts every day. It was the end of something and the beginning of another.

Thank you Momma for giving us everything you had, for being the most loving, for teaching us your magic, for your laugh, your sarcastic humor, your energy, your support and for teaching us the most important lessons about what this life is.

Being A Dad.

It’s still surreal when I think about being someone’s dad. It’s tremendously important. The title alone holds the weight of creating and shaping a life. My actions my attitude my outward personality gets soaked up by this little person like a sponge. My little 15 month old notices every detail already and she reflects what she sees with perfection. That reflection inspires me to strive to be my best so that she will be her best. It’s this symbiotic relationship that was so unexpected. Just as much as I’m getting to shape her life she is shaping mine. As a dad you transform. You make adjustments to yourself, you look at the world differently and you base you decisions selflessly- the fantastic gift you get in return is that you do in fact become a better version of yourself. So, thank you Olive Lillian. Thank you for being my daughter, for choosing to be with us. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me.

And- thank you to my dad. Thank you for being my guide, for showing me how to be a man and a good father. I get it now. I am starting to understand the responsibility and the strength it takes to create a family. I know I have a lot more to learn and I’m thankful I have you to help me. I won’t take this for granted.

Service.

Be someone’s muse. Be that person that lifts someone up. Bring success to the people you believe in. If you see how you can help, then help. Give. Learn how to critique positively. Engage artful conversation. Nurture talent. Inspire. Inspire. Inspire. The difference you can make to positively change the people in your life and who you come in contact with can in fact change the world around US. It won’t come back to you in full. You will give more than you receive. Try not to keep count. Expecting a direct return is not the point. This will often times go unseen and uncredited. Think of this as an act of service.

Endure.

Endure – to suffer patiently.

It’s not just you. You aren’t the only one. Someone has it worse. Someone who looks like he has it better could actually have it worse and someone who looks like he has it worse could very well have it better than you think.

The world is a tough place right now. People are starving, people are suffering, people are sick and obese and addicted and depressed and killing and hurting and fighting for every imaginable combination of reasons.

Yet you are here. You are experiencing an era that allows you to see all of it at once. For better or worse you have a more globally broad perspective of the entire human population than any civilization who has ever lived on this earth. It’s true that the mangled media contrives stories and agenda is pushed but through the lies the truth still boils out and You were born at this time to see it.

I’m in awe of how much we can endure. We can see so much negative and still manage to see good and perpetuate values that make us people a species with meaning. Family, Love, Freedom, Individuality, Greatness. We strive to enjoy what is here to be enjoyed and when it’s tough we take pride in the simple. We embrace what is there to be embraced.

As a member of the so called civilized western world I sometimes momentarily forget just how sweet it really is- and that is okay. It’s okay to feel angry or frustrated and even envious as long as it gets dismissed after its felt and you let it go. Don’t hold onto that negativity. It’s selfish and self destructive. Don’t get hung up it’s unhealthy. Dismiss. Exhale. Move on and appreciate all that is here. Meditate.

Sometimes it’s just that way. You work hard, love your family. Be patient. Give back.

Naming Blip.

Coming up with names for products and companies can be an unexpectedly tedious tasks. It can take more thought and forced inspiration than even naming your own child (you don’t have to worry about some stranger having a similar name, and at least with children you are working with a somewhat limited pool). With a company it should feel relevant and not too out of the box while still being creative and be marketable in the genre. You often have way too many cooks in the kitchen and working with a panel of opinions can be time consuming- choosing a name for your own venture can seem like a life and death situation.

Some basic advice. Research, always be writing down interesting ideas, make lists, don’t fall victim to a thesaurus, go out and see something or do something that has nothing to do with the project, don’t ask for too many people’s ideas, try to avoid putting all your eggs in the crowd sourcing basket, meditate, listen to music, read a book, and don’t get stuck on domain names. Remember that the perfect name can come from anywhere. Once it’s right you still won’t feel 100% on it until you see it in action and live with it for awhile. After the name is in use it will be just fine and you probably won’t look back.

Hot Springs Road.

In the last few years of the 80’s we lived in a ranch style house in Montecito CA. 1989 still remains one of my fondest years. My family lived on one side and my cousins lived on the other- only separated by a large breezeway that had two sets of double doors opening up the house. Our parents rented from Dr. David Karpeles the well known mathematician and owner of the largest privately kept historical document collection (now in the Karpeles museum). Karpeles occupied a large mansion and grounds that bordered our humble home. His grounds were some of the most beautiful gardens I’ve seen to this day. There weren’t fences separating the property and as an 8 year old boy this was an open invitation to explore the gardens. Although it was probably not a problem for Mr. Karpeles we thought it was of the utmost importance that we stayed as covert as possible in our explorations. It was a game to see how far we could get, what new things we could find and how close to the mansion we could sneak to without being caught.

To paint a clearer picture of the property there were no less than 3 gardeners on site at all times taking care of the watering systems, ponds, fountains, manicured lawns, fruit trees, flowers, and rock walls that outlined the seemingly endless pathways that cut through every which way. There was a bamboo forest which doubled to us as a sword fight training ground. A few redwood trees jetted up into the sky, one of which had a sort of cradle on the very top that doubled as a human size nest (so I was told, at 8 I was not able to climb that high). A flat area of soft sand like a desert which we called “the dusty dusty dirt” yes, dusty was there twice, I have no idea why we named it that. A literal grove of aloe plants allowed us to get on all fours and tunnel into it for hours.

It was an amazing place. The type of place where as a kid you could make wings out of feathers and actually believe it was possible to fly, which we tried. The type of place where you spent all day outside until you heard Dad whistle loudly which was the signal for dinner. I have memories of silly string fights that ruined the kitchen floor, candle light feasts in the summer, being squirted off with a hose when we came home from the beach, not quite making the jump on the skateboard, life-size home made paper mâché llamas (or giraffes?), rescuing my dog from nuns at the corner elementary school after he snuck in and ate the kids lunches, endless slip and slides, digging in the dirt, climbing up trees and falling out of them, wearing capes, and Family. Lots of family.

To this day all of us are attached. I am blessed to see my cousins every day as we build our studio and art together.

I still get glimpses of what that time felt like, and Santa Barbara still brings back those memories.

Of course from our parents view it wasn’t all rainbows, there were tough times us kids were sheltered from. It’s amazing what we can be oblivious of as children- but even the parents admit there was something special about that place and time. I’m sure they are still kicking themselves from time to time for not buying the house when it was offered for pennies on the dollar to today’s standards.

Nonetheless, it is my goal to give my daughter this same sort of magical childhood.

Challenge accepted.

My Beautiful Life.

My Beautiful Life is no accident.

•Design•

Blueprints.
Control.
Measure.
Craft.

•Lifestyle•

Meditate.
Envision.
Adventure.
Direct.
Discover.

radiance/brilliance/excitement

•Together•

Family.
Wife.
Baby.
Love.
Unite

•Indulgence•

Be indulgent and give indulgence to others.

In Joy.
I Am.
Enjoy.

•Produce•

Make.
Build.
Sweat.

•Grow•

Friends
Wealth
Whole
Health

More or Less to Taste.

10 Seconds.

I’ve been thinking about my mom a lot this week. She was absolutely amazing, and if you knew her you know that. It’s fascinating that events that mean so much to people have almost zero affect on other people who haven’t experienced something similar first hand.

It’s not surprising that we don’t feel anything unless we have a personal connection- after all if we did and we read the news our hearts would probably combust. Once you lose somebody so close to you it changes the way you think about tragedy and people going through something difficult.

A close friend in our circle is going through one of these times with her dad right now, its uncertain if he will live and I noticed how much different I felt hearing about something like this now after everything with my mom last year- The strongest sense of empathy I’ve had thus far.

I was reminded today of something my mom wrote.

10 S E C O N D S

“Don’t we know that beyond loving the people we love, as actively as we can and giving of ourselves and our time to those people and the world if we are able – that the rest is either pretty meaningless or just the details of getting the aforementioned accomplished? Why does it often take a serious illness or some sort of near miss or miss to help us remember and change our lives to reflect what we know is true? Shouldn’t we just be hardwired that way? Why aren’t we?

After a lifetime of trial and error –of making good choices and plenty of really crummy ones – and after all the years of deliberating over life-path choices – it actually took less than 10 seconds for me to know what really mattered to me and what I wanted with life when I was diagnosed. In those 10 seconds all the other stuff I had been carrying around as either what I should aspire to, become, work hard for, hold as worry or fear, anger or old resentments became so very small – or meaningless.

Suddenly my personal bucket list became very clear. 51 years of wondering what I wanted to be when I grew up dissolved and I was left with this rather short list:

1.Actively Love my Loved Ones. It’s pretty much the whole reason I’m here at all. To articulate the love I feel within me.

2.Plant trees and Gardens. Appreciate this Earth.

3.Make Art, Beautiful Food and Write.

4.Give.

It seems like a very short list, I know –but consider how really time consuming appreciating the Earth is. All that appreciating going on and loving people can also be very inspiring. I foresee many paintings and Mosaics in my future… I’ll get hungry which will lead to a great deal of daily cooking and eating…. You get the idea. I’m going to have to live to at least 90 to get through my list at all!…

I want to watch my granddaughter whom I call Owl, and all those grandkids that I just know are on their way soon grow and play and give their parents the run for their money they gave me. I have plans to be the grama that says yes! more often than no –and provides books, a garden to play in and eat out of, tea -parties and space for fort-making. I want to be the grama that lets the kids get dirty and then squirts them off with the hose and sends them on their way. I want to be in a giant puppy pile of grandkids. I want to make trouble and fun so their parents about 1/2 regret bringing them to see me except that we all had such a good time.”

Cadence.

I’m not sure if there is a term for this, maybe one of my language enthusiasts can help me out later, but there should be a way to take a word and look at all of its meanings and use them all in conjunction to give that word a new meaning. If I worked for a dictionary company and I was asked to start my first assignment on a word, I would choose CADENCE.

Here is the quick reference from Merriam-Webster:

1 a : a rhythmic sequence or flow of sounds in language b : the beat, time, or measure of rhythmical motion or activity 2 a : a falling inflection of the voice b : a concluding and usually falling strain ; specifically : a musical chord sequence moving to a harmonic close or point of rest and giving the sense of harmonic completion 3 : the modulated and rhythmic recurrence of a sound especially in nature.

I choose to take all of these concepts and sort of meld them together.

Done.

The cadence of your day to day says a lot about who you are as a person. It’s the rhythm, the flow, the bounce or lack there of in your step, the pep or lethargy in the way you move.

The mental marching powder innate in you.

The events experienced change the sequence of your day. It may feel like a melodic adventure with harmonic resolution or it may feel like a military march set to the beat of a drum grinding away at you for hours. It may feel like one event just flows to the next in perfect mathematical calculation or it may feel choppy and lack direction.

Today’s Cadence. You wake up this morning, put on the headphones and ride your bike 20 miles while listening to the Beatles. The sun is shining and the smells are jasmine and fresh cut grass. Work doesn’t feel like work because you create something meaningful. You feel challenged. Everything is in accord.

The family is happy. My wife and I laughed together. My daughter gave me a kiss. I wrote something inspirational. We ate healthy and slept well.

Cadence.

Escaping The City.

Sometimes living in Los Angeles makes me paranoid. We don’t have any basic human staples here without importing or by way of aqueduct or pipeline so if/when the predictions of high ranking whistle blowers and conspiracy theorists come true and our infrastructure slowly gets pinched off leaving us to fend for ourselves or walk out of the city we’ll probably suffer a bit.

This is why I sometimes fantasize about escaping from the city now. I don’t fantasize of any place specific because if I knew of a place that fit my fantasies I would already be there.

Here is the problem: I like it here.

In my fantasies we would live off the land or trade with neighbors. We would focus on building interesting useful structures and farming equipment, there would be fires and music and feasts. Our families and friendships would be tight knit. I can visualize the end product of what we would build and I can almost get the satisfaction of what being connected to nature actually feels like before…

It comes crashing down by a few realizations.
1. Most towns are filled with garbage. The limited options are filled with Taco Bell and kids acting like the pop culture they see on the Internet. The world got too small. The magic that was once a sheltered small town is erased. In beautiful places that are filled with trees and lush landscapes the town goers are still head deep in their computers. We all now share the same information which just destroyed the beauty in embracing ones own culture. Everybody seems to just adapt to what they are told they need. *Actually bringing it back a little, this is a big reason why I like LA. Here, at least I have an inside picture on where the garbage comes from so that it can be ignored.

2. My fantasy of this out of city, living off the land scenario won’t exist until everything crashes, and even after that it will take time to be at peace with it. We’ve climbed so high as a society that the fall is going to hit hard.

So there’s the rub. It’s nothing more than a fantasy. The only solution I’ve come to is that I need to secure some land not too far, but just far enough. We need to start chipping away at making it livable. We need to store essentials there. Hopefully it will become nothing more than a great place for the family to escape to for enjoying life together in nature. Build, plant, eat, look at the stars and pretend that our digital world as we know it now, is behind us. Have faith.

Coveting Ideas.

For years I’ve been coveting my ideas. Like many people in the creative field I’ve thought these were sacred. I think I sign at least two NDAs a week from other people or companies that think they have the next BIG idea, so I’m not the only one. Recently I’ve made the decision to stop thinking in this fashion. In all reality not all these ideas are great, and most the time they are just a jumping off point to a much more focused idea or a spark that ignites something completely different. In many cases you do nothing with them and it boils down to nothing more than wasted forgotten potential.

If you do happen to think you have spontaneously come up with something remarkable, you probably aren’t the only one thinking it- it’s an idea, a thought circulating in the collective conscious waiting to be plucked and accomplished. The execution of this idea can be designed and produced in more ways than there are people working on them.

Even while writing this blip, I did a quick search on ‘coveting ideas’ and found at least two articles with similar views on the subject. So there you go.

Now that I got that preamble out of the way- I’d like you to sign this NDA giving me some false security that you won’t take my idea that I’m working on to use these half baked ideas for something really “BIG”.

Thanks,
JDW