In the 29th year of my life I find myself feeling as I have in many years past; happy, confident, and healthy. The path that got me here now is one that has been fluid, natural, and intuitive. I was conceived on election day of 1984, Ronald Reagan won in a land slide. Im sure I have distrusted politics from that day forward. I was Born on the hot summer day of August 3rd in a small home in the middle of Ashland, Oregon. Born true to the sign of Leo I carry with me a lions essence; a leader with a strong mind, patient tongue, and large heart. I was a happy fat baby, easy going and content on my mothers milk. My first "memory" was of the night she weened me. I remember it as if I was watching it from above. Quite simply, when I understood her intention I had no other option than to crawl to the back left corner of the bed and cry.
Fast forward to my child hood, my sensitivity remained, I grew out of my rolls and I learned how to live as the one boy in the middle of three lovely sisters. In school I was always in blended grade classes 1-3, 4-5, 6-8, 9-12. Although one of the youngest of my grade I have always been friends with the whole range of ages. Earlier year I was hesitant to read, but fast to experiment. My curiosity was one of mixing concoctions of mud and other natural products or playing sports, romping in the woods, or skiing down hills. Living in a small cabin a good ways out of town I would spend afternoons or weekend sleepovers with a varied group of good friends. From birth till about 10th grade I made some of the closest friends a person does. Im happy to have maintained these friendships and added a handful more threw-out my many adventures.
Rural living has time and time again proved to be transformative in my approach to the world, my life and the relationships I experience. My parents, John and Dana, my sisters Sheylan, Tess, and Kai, and I all shared a small cabin in the woods of Tyler Creek. The cabin was rustic, a joined living room and kitchen heated by a large Great Western wood stove, and light by kerosene lanterns. We shared the loft as the communal bedroom until Kai was about one and my parents moved their bed down stairs. I took the top bunk, Tess and Kai shared the bottom and Shey the thriving and dramatic preteen took her bed to the other side of the room. For as long as I can remember we had a simple elegant and impact-full tradition before bed time; every night we would each say "Good Night Sweet Dreams I Loooove You." It was a heart to heart connection of my family everyday, natural and true. This connection and our love for each other gives me great comfort because I know; regardless of where I am or what happens in life I will always have a family who loves me unconditionally and effortlessly. I continue this blessing still to this day with my wife Yaoska. It feels that these words said with intention and truth are deeply healthy to hear before sleep on any given day. “Good Night, Sweet Dreams, I Love You."
No electricity, no running water, what? The lack of these things taught me the simplicity in life; I learned that happiness was a choice. A choice so simple as appreciating your presence in the surrounding world. By setting aside what you attain or do not attain one can always be happy within their simplest emotions. This philosophy and experience help me blend into Central American lifestyle and culture rather fluidly. I first traveled in Costa Rica and Nicaragua for 6 months with Joseph, Will and Derek. We surfed, partied, traveled, learned spanish, played soccer, and lots of other fun things. We met a man that changed my life. Alix Fermin introduced himself to us at the second house we rented in San Juan Del Sur. Hoping to learn english he instead taught us spanish. A fisherman, a father, and a continually positive and kind soul. Alix passed away a short time after our return home, so Joseph and I, without hesitation or doubt, decided to move forward and help complete Alix's dream. He had asked for our help to build a house on his land for his only boy Alix Fabian. Eight months later we were on our way back to Nicaragua with funds and a work party of 7 ready to team up with a local crew and build a small, simple, and beautiful home for Alix Fabian in Barrio Auxiladora.
A spark had started a fire and the next year my inspired and active group of friends had rallied another trip to Central America. This time I drove, the focus was biodiesel on a small scale, the vehicle a large diesel bus, and a group of young intelligent philosophers, scientists and adventurers. The result; 2 international conferences, 4 processors, a spanish how to manual, a bus crash, shoulder injury, and a timely introduction to my wife, Yaoska Liduvina Rosales Suarez.
She met me in a dream, and introduced herself the next night. We talked till 4, she brushed my hair, I walked her to a cab. She came to find me a few days later in San Juan just after my 21st birthday. Nuestro primer beso fue abajo la luz de la luna abrazados en el oceano. I had been swept off my feet and matched with a lady who instantly and fully connected with me. The only reason I did not stay was because I was young, and had the spirit of the mountain calling me. I left for home wondering "what if she's the one?" It took me three years of skiing my hearts desire before returning to Nicaragua with hopes to rekindle an intimate relationship with Yaoska. Lucky for me she was still just as curious as I.
Skiing is my anchor, it is how I learned to ground myself, take deep breaths, focus, fly. The mountains taught me how to be completely in the present. I pursued skiing with a professional intention and found myself deep in the Wasatch mountains. I lived for being in the mountains, gliding through deep snow, sweeping through groves of trees, and airing at every opportunity. I maintained health and strength from regularly practicing Bikram yoga in the heat. Exploration, progression, adventure, adrenalin, these things have me hooked, but not as much as Love.
At the end of winter I traveled to see Yaoska in search of the next step. We again quickly fell into a natural rhythm together. Simultaneously my friends Joseph, Curt and Trinidad decided to start working on another social change venture. Naturally I invited Yaoska to move with me to Guatemala as I co-lead and founded Semilla Nueva. Nearly three years we lived in Xela. I traveled the country connecting with farmers of all sizes and styles. From Corn to Coffee I learned the seasons, processes and lifestyles from my friends in Guatemala. I taught soil and plant science, nutrition, testing methods, farming techniques, communication, leadership and accountability. Sadly I have recently stepped away from Semilla Nueva. After years of effort providing sound consultation, I now feel as if my voice has become more of a struggle to be heard than a guiding force in the organization.
Yaoska has bravely accompanied me on our path of love, laughter, adventure, and my occasional excessive work habits for the last 5 years. I never had a lot of expectations for love. I have always assumed it would come naturally, as it has with my family, and stay forever once developed. Yaoska has done this with me. She is comforting, understanding, provocative, strong, sensitive and true with me. We are healthy with and for each other. Our love is easy and so we speak in spanish to be expressive, heart felt and gentle. To add to our family Yaoska and I adopted our dog, Rio, he has been a joyful, friend, teacher and companion. His playfulness, and sincere affection reminds me to slow down, and take time out of any given day to care for those around me.
Ten months studying massage almost every evening has now opened a new chapter. I undoubtedly put myself in the right place at the right time. The Ashland Institute of Massage, took a unique and specific approach to educating about our bodies and the profound impacts that can be achieved through massage. My fellow classmates added a great many levels of perspective and curiosity, that together we all gained a greater depth of knowledge. Now I will turn this education towards my family and friends, as | continue to explore the depths of touch, the relationship between structure and energy, of wholeness and fragmentation, and learn how to clearly focus my intention to open flow and balance throughout the spaces of our physical form.