June 28, 2017Comments are off for this post.

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.

May 2, 2017Comments are off for this post.

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.

March 24, 2016Comments are off for this post.

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.

May 26, 2015Comments are off for this post.

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?

April 15, 2015Comments are off for this post.

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.

February 5, 2015Comments are off for this post.

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.

May 9, 2014Comments are off for this post.

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

October 2, 2013Comments are off for this post.

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.

September 6, 2013Comments are off for this post.

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.

September 3, 2013Comments are off for this post.

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.

August 16, 2013No Comments

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.

 

July 16, 2013Comments are off for this post.

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.

June 24, 2013Comments are off for this post.

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.

June 21, 2013Comments are off for this post.

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.

June 15, 2013Comments are off for this post.

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.

June 4, 2013Comments are off for this post.

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.

May 28, 2013Comments are off for this post.

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.

May 21, 2013Comments are off for this post.

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.

May 13, 2013Comments are off for this post.

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.

May 11, 2013Comments are off for this post.

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.

May 8, 2013Comments are off for this post.

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