Moving beyond the stormy weather.

As the storms, here, clear… I looked out over the mountains and just felt the sun warming my face. The air was so sweet. There is a calm cool breeze… as compared to the hammering, yesterday, that ripped pieces of siding off the place. Serene silence replacing the unrelenting howl and pounding rain.

Mother Nature is capable of unleashing beastly amounts of power that can destroy and wipe a landscape down to nothing. Yet, here she is, offering me a world of peace, warmth, and serenity. As if to say:

“I’m sorry that you had to witness and push through such turbulence, but I had to do my thing to keep my earth healthy and balanced. Thank you for your patience, understanding, preserverance, and unconditional love; we will have some amazing days ahead.” 🌄🌎❤

A reflection of my personal message to my family and friends, after I go through stormy periods in my own life.

Break the mold, and just be you. Whatever that may be.

There is something, about myself, that I am coming to understand and accept. I have a deep sensitivity to others and their emotions.

Some may call this empathy. It could be that I have felt pain in so many areas, that I can connect and truly understand other’s pain. I have been told, by some, that it ould be something greater than that – people who believe themselves to be gifted or Empaths. Perhaps every human has this sensitivity but chooses to numb it out – as I did for most of my life.

This, I don’t have an answer for.

What I do know, is that for most all of my life, one of my greatest joys has been to go on backpacking retreats for days at a time. To isolate and be with nature. I didn’t understand why, at the time, but it was a way for me to center myself and hit the “reset button”on my own emotional state.

It took (over) a year on the road – isolated much of the time – to plant the seed on this personal revelation. When I stayed with a friend in New York City for a few months, I could only be in the city a few days at a time. I was so overwhelmed with stimulation, that I was almost rendered useless. I didn’t feel like I could conentrate long enough to accomplish anything. After a week, I went camping in upstate New York and stayed in my tent for a month and a half. Some of the most peaceful moments in my life, there, at the edge of a farm property at the entrance to hiking trails. I only visited my friend, in the city, a few times.

Currently, I stay at my workshop for most the time in the middle of the desert. Completely isolated. I flourish here. I make progress. Make leaps and bounds in personal and spiritual growth. It is home. The only reminder that I have, that I am attached to civilization, are a few houselights twinkling in the distance, the glow of Las Vegas on a hazy night, or the line of cars driving out of the mountains towards Pharump.

It will be a while before I am ready to co-habitate with a mate, as I enjoy my solitude greatly. I value and need my time alone. When I do reach that point, that person will need to give me vast amounts of personal space – as I need it to function as a human.

I say all of this because I have so many friends that are unhappy in thier life. I think we are conditioned, beginning at an early age, that there is a certain way that we should live our lives. A particular format for relationsips. We see this mimicked in our friends and family. On TV. Magazines. Everywhere.

I have some fortunate friends, though, who have broken out of this mold.

I have so much respect for how they balance an 8 – 5 corporate job and handle responsibilies during the week. On the weekend, they deviate from the normal and travel, have adventures, and do the things they love to do. Or, friends that are in relationships where the two of them have trust and respect for eachother and encourage eachother to go do their separte hobbies and ventures. Learn from eachoher. Love that they have different interests and needs. Find a way to accept and compromise to find a balance.

If you are unhappy, in your life, then I challenge you to do something different. Don’t be held back by “what would… think” or “people would think I’m crazy…”

Find your joy. Discover your talents. Step out of the box.

No more excuses. Love the monent, find yourself, and just be you.

Take a moment to connect – to people and the beauty that surrounds us. It’s a beautiful place to be.

I hate using the word “client,” because the people that have come into my life become so much more. I would say they become family.

Maybe part of that is because I have learned to slow down and connect with people. Listen to their stories and grow from them. I think part of that is because I have to understand them and connect to them to create their functional art. What I create can be very custom across several mediums and materials; I have found that there is a huge emotional component to their vision. I must feel that to see it.

But, we were at a salvage place looking at materials for the 20 foot by 25 foot wall mural that I’m preparing to build and found this table. Solid wood and just beautiful.

She haggled then down to 25 dollars and bought it for me – to see what what it would become. It’s so beautiful on so many levels. 🙂

I say this often, but when we slow down, and live in the moment, then we become open to all the beauty that exists around us.

My first interview, on DevTalks – it was a great experience.

I had my first interview. A chance to tell parts of my story that led me into life challenges and ultimately to building my path to hope and happiness.

The entire episode is fantastic. My part starts at just after 27 minutes. Check it out, and don’t forget to support Dev’s show with a “like” or a comment.

I had so much fun before, after, and during the interview. A few times, I said,”I wish we were recording THIS!” As I giggled uncontrollably.

Thanks Dev for an amazing experience and putting my story out there. It was an honor and privilege.

Would you like some Happy Dust? Welcome to my world.

I was told by one friend, that it’s “like you carry happy dust around and sprinkle it on people. Make things better.”

Another recently told me that it feels like I pull him into my world. When he is visiting this place, he feels “more creative, inspired, and better about himself.”

I think the equation is simple. I no longer focus on the negatives of people. I don’t try and control them or shame them for being who they are. I don’t react to their anger, when it’s directed at me, realizing that my actions could not possibly cause such a reaction – instead, I try to understand what is happening in their world.

I look for other people’s value, skills, and talent and try to elevate them. Sometimes, they don’t see it yet, at all. That’s okay.

When I approach people in this way, then I can learn from them. I can grow, develop new skills, learn new ways to cope and let my belief system evolve. Maybe I do see the world differently, or have imaginary happy dust… I’m not sure about that. But I do know that when I feel respected and valued, it raises my esteem, allowing me to reach my potential even further. I believe a friendship should be a two-way street, in that matter.

However, there are times where people come into my life that are stuck where I used to be. Negativity, blocked by self-doubt, or stuck in unhealthy cycles. I can show them a taste of the hope and happiness that I have found; how I am doing it. But, I’m not able to make it up the mountain with someone piggybacking on my shoulders. I can’t carry that much weight. We all need to walk that path on our own. I can share a path with someone or have hope that those paths will intersect again. However, I had to find my sense of direction within – it has taken A LOT of hard work, pain, challenges, and a continued daily regimen. This isn’t something that could have been handed to me, I had to want it and work for it. I can’t give what I have to someone else. They have to put the work in, themselves.

I wrote an article on my Litmus Test for relationships. It’s sad, but occasionally I meet someone spectacular, that can’t see it. They suck the energy from those around them, instead of radiating positive energy – like most all the people in my life, today. I don’t shame them. I don’t hurt their feelings. I don’t even tell them I’ve made a decision to separate unless I’m confronted. Then I am honest, as tactfully as possible.

I step back and give them space to walk their own path. To discover the things that I have seen – and someday they will. I’ve already shared my path with them, as well as tools in my mental toolbox. Now it’s up to them to gather their own tools and find their path to hope and happiness.

Years later, I have some amazing friendships with people that I have had to separate from. I also have some amazing friendships, now, with people who had to separate from me for the same reason.

**This picture is from a year ago. But looking back, I teared up a bit. There is a mystical connection between the three of us. We are three people all on a path to our peace and happiness. Came into each other’s lives in a random way, about the same time. Kade took a chance with a stranger (me) and embarked on a 4000 mile adventure, crisscrossing the country on the road. My aunt, whom I had not seen in SO many years, took a chance of having a lost nephew find his way to her with a mysterious friend. We all boded in ways that I can’t describe – and reconnect in ways that cannot be random. Always there when we need each other. Love you guys.

Science or Religion? Whichever, I find gratitude and celebrate the small moments on a path to happiness and self-love.

God created humans to be self-critical, but also curious and inflective. God also created us to recognize the gifts of beauty that are everywhere, to find gratitude, humility, spirituality, being centered, at peace, and finding self-love. I have never believed that God is an angry punishing God – I’m sure he has a lot to do and no time to micromanage us – but instead created a system that manages itself. Ways to find ourselves back to our path when we are open to his spirit.

I say this often: I am not religious. One of the gifts of bipolar is that we are able to use both sides of our brain. I am both immensely creative and can live in science and the abstract. So I understand the science, physics, and chemistry of how things work, grow and thrive on a biological and chemical level. BUT, I believe that a Higher Power MUST have created this universe, spun the laws of nature into motion, and spawned the energy that cannot be created nor destroyed. We, as humans, can change it, we can bend it, we can transfer it, we can send it to the moon – but, that I know of, we cannot create it.

As a curious person, I have been to the church of every denomination of Christianity, meditated with Buddhist Monks, and been to Mosque and Temple. I have found a way to connect spiritually through all of them. I have had conversations of deep growth, that have changed my belief system, through my faith-filled friends -when I am in a place of peace, understanding, and love.

So I say this: It doesn’t matter to me if you are Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, Buddhist, Athiest, or just like to stand on tree stumps doing Yoga poses… Take a moment, as often as possible, to stop, take a deep breath, look at a beautiful fluffy cloud or smell the flowers that are for sale in the grocery store – and find a place of gratitude for that moment. Find a piece of joy and LOVE at that moment.

If you suffer (emotionally) in silence, there is a path to hope and happiness. You are not alone.

I was shooting some time lapse while bored last night (this morning) and had an idea to throw this video together. Well, I had an hour to really reflect on how alone I felt, in my push through life, before getting diagnosed and taking full steps towards managing my bipolar disorder.

I wrote this and then made the video. There is a lot more I would have liked to have done with it, and it might become a future project. But at least I got my thoughts down, before I took a nap and rested a bit. Long drive, made much longer by constant storms.

For most of my life, I was sure that happiness would never be achievable. I did not want to live and tried to end my life

I knew, from the depths of my soul, that I was different. There was something wrong with me. I was sick.

When I reached out to friends and family, I was told that everyone feels the way I do.

I watched people closely. Observed human behavior. Mimicked other’s reactions. Wore a very heavy mask of happiness.

My bipolar disorder was repeatedly destroying my life, relationships, successes, spirituality, and joy.

I didn’t know how to talk about it. How to describe my silent suffering. Physical pain of depression and out of control mania.

Today, I have made a choice to be happy. Understand my illness. Use its strengths. We can find a path to happiness.

If you are in pain, as I was… Know this: