Me: (in my head: that’s going to be a mess) okay lets do it!
At times I am present to myself not wanting to deal with a mess or the potential injuries that come with being/having a toddler. I’d rather keep her in a bubble sparkling clean and unharmed. I guess just being present to it allows me to interrupt my helicopter parent ways at times just enough to cultivate that curiosity and allow my child to actually be a child. She is very smart and mature for a 3 year old in my opinion. I find myself holding her to a higher standard and almost forgetting how new and exciting everything can be as she experiences life’s lessons for the first time. She held up a sand toy with holes used to sift the sand and asked “lets put water in this and see what happens”. I immediately said “it has holes and won’t hold water… maybe grab your bucket”. It’s amazing how much inner dialogue one can have in such a flash of a seemingly small exchange. (I should of let her figure it out. Am I hindering her creativity and learning? I should just let the wheels turn and let her come to that conclusion. What other situations do I do this in?) Just to name a few thoughts. I find myself now questioning is it valuable to entertain these thoughts or is this just taking me further from the present moment. It never ceases to amaze me how much meaning I can put behind a simple interaction. Makes me wonder what other parts of my life I do that in… oh wait… here we go again.
At first glance these appeared to just be over grown weeds. Then the beautiful purple blooms caught my eye. It’s amazing what nature creates when given the space. It’s interesting how such a small detail shifts my #perspective from over grown weed to beautiful gift from nature. Makes me wonder what else or who else deserves a second look through the lens of appreciation to see the/their beauty.
“The only difference between a flower and a weed is judgement” – Dr. Wayne Dyer
We all seem to be going around in an infinite circle placing blame on each other for various things that we disagree on. I am trying on the idea that there are no facts, only our perspective based on our unique experiences and views. Just as I don’t want my rights taken away or things forced upon me during this covid era. I believe people and companies should have the freedom to put out whatever products they want and it is up to the consumer to choose. As hard as it is to know ingredients may be unhealthy and animals are being slaughtered it is simply my perspective that those things are wrong. My perspective is not a fact. I repeat… my perspective is not a fact. There are unlimited examples of this I could explore as everything I see and do is filtered through my unique perspective. Time to flip the script and consider the alternative perspective of others as they are their truths and valid no matter how uncomfortable. I really really really find that challenging but I also find it creates more mental freedom and peace. I switch the judging/anger to curiosity/understanding which allows for empathy and acknowledgement. I believe that getting angry and making people wrong only pushes us all deeper, blindly into our own perspective/truth. In my mind life is not just black and white. It is far more complex than we wish to know. Right and wrong feel like a simple solution to the majority of “problems” we see in the world. I invite you to consider the complications that adds to everyday life. Try on others perspectives to see how that feels. Maybe see how it feels to get in touch with your truth and the truth of those around you.
I don’t think we will ever know if our response as a society was too much. I’m one to always proceed with caution. You know.. better safe than sorry. But this all just feels a bit much when you start to dig in. You hear reports of nurses being furloughed and hospitals emptying among other things. It’s hard to find the actual truth or facts these days if it even exists. It all seems to be a lot of opinion and personal perspective. My personal perspective leads me down this road. Look at the preventable deaths in this country each year. I’m not saying we shouldn’t take precautions with covid or that it’s not real. I’m just saying we may have overreacted and the staggering amount of preventable deaths from lifestyle/diet, accidental or suicide deserve some thought and more attention at the very least. Not to mention the mental toll this “social distancing” and “quarantine” will have. I don’t fear a virus. I fear us losing our freedom, ourselves and what matters most… our connection as humans and to the world around us. Life has risks, ups and downs and some roller coasters of emotions. But it was meant to be lived in full connection with love for each other and all forms of life. Step out of fear and face the present one moment at a time. It’s time to move forward.
A lot of people ask me why I eat a plant based diet. Do I feel healthier? Have you lost weight? What do you eat? It started as a self serving mission to be healthier and live longer by possibly avoiding diseases that plague my family. Then another layer came to mind. The environment. Based on statistics and research I’ve come across it appears to be better for the earth to eat a plant based diet. Then I really started to think about why I put so much effort into a plant based lifestyle. I’ve always been an animal lover. But actually stoping to think about and watch what happens to these animals changed me. In stores nothing has a face, eyes or really resembles an animal. These items are simply thought of as fuel for survival and a means for culinary pleasure. I’m a believer in energy and karma. I believe when a terrified animal whether abused or treated ethically(if that exists) is about to be killed hormones and toxins release into their bodies. It’s like how stress and anxiety can cause disease or health issues in humans. Whether it’s spiritual or scientific, people are consuming these animals and their toxins or karma. I believe what you put into your body not only affects your health but also our minds and our soul. If you had to kill and butcher everything you ate would you still eat animals? Whether your answer is yes or no, I invite you to look at that. I personally thought I needed so much protein and meat to survive. I’m a 200 pound active male who is mentally and physically able to do just about anything. I thought I would possibly get sick or become weak. Here I am over a year later eating only plant based feeling mentally clear and maintaining a weight with out yo yo-ing constantly. It’s a lifestyle not a diet. It’s about your health, the earths health and compassion. Everything on this earth human or animal just wants to be loved, safe, recreate and thrive. Who am I to take that from them? Animals have souls and are very aware of what’s happening. There is no difference between your pet dog, cat, rabbit, cow, pig or chicken. Just someone decided hey we can eat these guys but these other animals are pets. We live in a society of made up rules and ideology. That’s doesn’t mean we act out and disobey them. That means we challenge them. We question them. We always pursue and strive to be better. We evolve and adapt using the information we have today not blindly following the beliefs of the few from years ago. In today’s world I believe anything is possible. That statement is proven true daily. I invite you to find out what’s possible for yourself by considering what rules and ideology you follow or believe to be true. Then challenge and question them. Anything that is true to you does not need justification or defending, just being. If you find yourself being defensive or angry that’s something you should explore.
What are we doing as people? Are we really listening to those around us? Do we even truly see someone who is right in front of us? Are things really what they seem? Work, social media, possessions and looking good among other things have consumed many of our lives. Maybe not 24/7 for some but I have felt, lived and observed our lives consumed by so many things portrayed/perceived as so important. In my perfect world there would be nothing more important than the person or people around you. And I’m not just talking about family. I’m talking about your neighbor. The person in line in front of you. Anyone who crosses your path. But again that’s my perfect world which I don’t always live in personally. I’ve caught myself rushing to work and seeing someone on the side of the road obviously needing help. But I don’t stop. I continue on with my day as if my being on time for work or whatever I’m doing is more important than simply taking the time to help or maybe just check on another human being. This used to make me angry. Now I just feel sad. In some aspects the disconnect grows and grows. Other times I’m truly amazed by the consecutiveness surrounding me. It’s not my place to judge or dictate how ones life is lived. But I do feel it is all of our duties as human beings to question ourselves as well as others. To really take stock of what’s going on within and around us. A sense of awareness coupled with connection. Life is a beautiful thing and we all get to choose what makes it beautiful. I invite us all to choose willingly, considerately and knowingly.
Below is something I wrote to my daughter before she was born. It felt strange writing it at first, but looking back I’m glad I did it. Even years ago while exploring my spiritual side I would talk to her and dream of her. It’s like she was waiting for her turn in life and had already chosen us as parents. We just needed to choose each other. The more I dive into my spirituality and honestly just life as I feel being here is a spiritual experience. The more I embrace the unknown. To me spirituality requires a lot of trust and letting go in the face of the unknown. Believing in something bigger and more powerful than ourselves. For me the word I use is Universe. I believe everything and everyone is connected creating a universal power within us all and everything around us.
Where do I begin…
I’ve always dreamt of having a little girl.
I feel like I have been waiting for you my whole life.
I knew the moment your mother and I connected she was something special.
Little did I know she would be the one to make all my dreams come true.
From the moment we started dating it felt like I had known her forever.
Even when times were tough,
something inside me knew she was the one I would love forever.
The best choice I have ever made will always be loving your mother.
I know in my heart that you will love her as much as I do. Maybe more.
If there is one thing you should know,
It is that as my heart continues to grow there is enough love for both of you.
I am excited to meet you and I will always be there whenever you both need me.
I have always wondered what my life’s purpose was. Now I know it is enjoying every moment I have with you and your mom.
I always dreamt of having a little girl. Holding her, loving her and raising her. What I did not expect was the profound love I would receive in return. This girl is a lover of all things. Whether you are a person , animal or tree. She gently touches and smells the flowers as she walks by. She gently pets our dog Ziggy and says good boy. She says hello and lovingly touches the trees she encounters. She wraps her arms around your neck squeezing tight and says I love you. She is so deeply and thoughtfully connected with her surroundings. Sometimes I feel as if I’m the one being raised and she is the one to look up to. Her kindness and genuine love constantly remind me of what is true and what is valuable in life. That is just one of the many things my daughter taught me.
It’s interesting to me how we grow to love people but with our children it’s instant. There isn’t a honeymoon phase or first impression. Just pure and utter love. There is something beautiful about it. It makes me think about love in my life. Whether it’s giving or receiving. I’ve always had a hard time telling people I loved them. It did not mean I did not, it was just uncomfortable for me to get the words out. But like anything the more you do it the easier it gets. Now I make sure to tell people I love them. I feel this unconditional instant love I felt for Charlotte has unlocked something inside me that was always there. It allowed me to be clear on what love is to me and where love is in my life. Which brings me back to… there is something beautiful about it.
Getting married is a huge life event and big commitment. Not only is it a big commitment, it is a choice. No matter what denomination you believe in you make a commitment and a choice during the ceremony. Here is a bit of a different outlook. Here we are newly married. We are now legally bound together. We are now committed to each other. I personally looked at marriage as nothing more than a contract signing followed by a party. Everyone is just there for the free drinks and food, right? I thought it was nothing more than another step in my life. It took me some time but I realized it was more than just a commitment or a step forward in life. It was a choice. We chose to marry each other and we choose to stay married every day. We did sign some documents and have a big party afterwards. But it was different and so much more than just a life event. We were surrounded by our closest friends and family who had been there through the ups and downs of our relationship to this point. It was really a special day. A day that changed the way I saw things forever. Although I am very committed to my marriage and love my wife deeply. Commitment always and still sounds like a choice mixed with an obligation to me. I choose my wife. By choosing her as my life partner I feel it takes us deeper than commitment. Deeper than legal documents. Deeper then love. I believe a marriage as well as all relationships are like a recipe. It takes a lot of little things added up to make a beautiful dish. The same is true for relationships. Although every recipe isn’t the same for everyone, I do believe it takes more than love and commitment to make a relationship last and thrive. Some days may be easier to make that choice than others. For me, even when times get tough I remember we are only human and that I am responsible for my own happiness. Probably most of my own sadness as well. If I can offer any advice, it is when times get tough just think back to why you chose and continue to choose this person. Also take responsibility for your own feelings. Only you have the power to make yourself feel sadness or happiness. Do not blame each other, work together because you are a team with a common goal. What is that goal for you?