I don’t think delivering bad news about someone you care about to someone else you care about gets easier. It shouldn’t. I can’t compartmentalize and detach myself from this situation, it’s real and painful. Forgive the vagueness, but I wasn’t able to deliver the message to the recipient today. I just couldn’t do it. I tried to psyche myself up and make the call, but I failed. It’s a bad one, and will require action. Again, vague-but maybe if I talk around it, I’m not keeping it all inside.

However, we bear burdens in the name of family. It’s what we do. We weather minor inconveniences and struggle with helping loved ones through sickness, addiction, dark valleys. “Bad news travels fast”, as the phrase goes, and with distance, you rarely get to share in triumphs and valiant efforts.

I will take courage and do it. It will not get better right away. It will strain tenuous relationships. It is the right thing to do. Peaks and valleys, right?

*3 deep breaths*

In an attempt to segue to a more positive note to resolve the composition, I would like to share that I reconnected with an old friend, the one my old blog post Autodidact is about. After I left Hawaii at age 20, our lives took very different trajectories, but are now moving somewhat in parallel, as far as family life, making sense of our hardscrapple upbringing, and career stuff. It’s a good thing.

I also had a really good phone conversation with one of my hanai aunts. Though we are not related by blood or marriage, and we speak infrequently, and I haven’t seen her in 15 years, we are family.

This weekend I’m going to meet some folks we met as friends-of-friends, and we’ve been talking online for a few years now. I may get to see an old friend from high school. It’s going to be weird and fantastic.

I’m choosing “weird and fantastic” as the lens through which all things are viewed. I will recognize the awful, take it in, fight it if needed, and let it go, but “weird and fantastic” is my default outlook.




A Temporary Denouement

After the hustle leading up to Easter, it’s nice to have a bit of a slowing-down forecasted. The kids will be on spring break, I’ll have a week between semesters, and I’m taking a few days off from work. I’m anticipating sleeping closer to 8 hours a night, at least for a little while. Perhaps I’ll even be able to read a few books.

Things are winding down at work as well, as I hand off responsibilities. I want to leave the Air Force well, and have closure. The tradition is to have a luncheon. Since my departure is almost like a retirement, after almost fifteen years of service, I know my co-workers want to do something big. I’ve never been one for parties in my honor, but I am willing to go through with it for them. I do get to ask the machinists to make something for me, which is cool. When I left my previous base they made me a pair of brass knuckles which doubles as a bottle opener.

I know my next job will be challenging, that the grass isn’t always greener,and perhaps I’m projecting too much-but I’m really looking forward to this change. My stress levels are lower. I feel hopeful. I make a practice of gratitude, but it typically starts out as being a bit forced, whereas now it’s spontaneous and flowing. My mood has been stable. I don’t feel like eating junk food all the time.

I know they won’t connect to it now, but I hope in the future my kids will understand why I left the military, that it wasn’t easy, that it scared the shit out of me, but I did it anyway, because Who Dares Wins. I hope they internalize how I set goals, worked toward them, and achieved them. I hope they soak it up and learn from it for their own lives, which I’m pretty hopeful won’t turn out terrible.

Hope. Hope is something I haven’t consistently felt in about 2 years. It’s nice. When I was at my lowest, the most stunning aspect was the absence of hope. Perhaps I will also leave behind this tough season I’ve been weathering as I take off my uniform for the last time.







Have you ever had a thought which you were afraid to share because it would make you feel vulnerable or silly? Fear not, dear reader, I will be your surrogate. Vulnerable is kinda my thing.

I had a thought when I was praying/meditating/lying on the floor-“I give myself permission to love myself to wellness.” Maybe you read that, see touchy-feely, new-agey buzzwords and think, “whatever dude.”



But…this is radical for me. Love myself? I often don’t even like myself, and my attempts at self-improvement/growth were to shore up a surfeit, to overcome a shortcoming, to fix something I didn’t like. And most of those attempts have failed.

I don’t want to do that anymore.

I used to be a positive person. Genuinely, annoyingly optimistic. Cheerful, even. This is who I was. I oftentimes still didn’t like myself, but it wasn’t too hard for me to find the silver lining in everything. As stress built up, I was less and less able to find the good, and eventually stopped looking.

This isn’t going to be easy. It’s going to shake me up, force me to refocus, to examine my motivations, to guard my heart, to be a fierce bodhisattva, to be exceedingly honest with myself.

It will be really uncomfortable at first to get to know myself. It will probably hurt a little.

How will I do this journey? I don’t know yet. But I do know it will take sleep, yoga, jiu jitsu, journaling, service, prayer, quiet, eating differently, and again, yoga. And likely more I’ve not yet considered.

And the Earth will stop spinning as I, Zach Morris-like, pause time and hang out with the man in the mirror.


Make that change

No, of course not. I’m still going to be married, and have 3 daughters,  a full time job, be a full-time student, be a busy church elder, have hobbies and friends, and somewhere in there have time to change careers and occasionally use the restroom.

I am choosing a challenging path, because it is drastic. It’s what I need. It’s Theodore Roosevelt’s strenuous life, but it’s my life.

I am taking responsibility for the life I want to live. I give myself permission to love myself to wellness.




33 Things

For the past few years, I’ve set loose goals in commemoration of my birthday ,which was this past Thursday.  I don’t remember where I got the idea. I type them up, print them up, and stick them on the wall. It’s kind of like my personal New Year’s resolutions. The number of goals correspond with the age.  There’s no penalty for not achieving these goals, but it helps me work toward something, and makes sure I don’t let time drift away from me. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever completed all of them. I can modify them to become more realistic if I need to. They’re very specific, since there are so many of them- “Read Moby Dick” is easier to quantify and qualify than “read more”. So here, in no particular order, are my 33 goals for my 33rd year:

Reminder- We are moving across the country soon.  We don’t know where. A good deal of these pertain to our transition.

1. Deal with attachment to stuff-get rid of old crap you don’t need or really like
2. Write at least 1 poem per week- even if it’s awful. Publish collection of 52 poems upon end of year
3. Pray with family every day
4. Write at least 2 blog posts per week
5. Get placements with more online media outlets
6. Compete in at least 2 bjj tournaments with the preparation/serious intention of winning
7. Get at least 2 more tattoos
8. Purchase and begin riding motorcycle
9. Purchase home
10. Foster relationship with neighbors
11. Do not over-commit in order to please people
12. Do yoga 2x/week
13. Continue to network, become mentor for newly-diagnosed Dravet Syndrome parents
14. Conduct DS advocacy work
15. Upon arriving resume social justice work/ministry, find dark places that need light

“TangoLesson4”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons –



16. Start dancing the Tango with Lindsay
 17. Continue to make art
18. Read to kids as frequently as schedule allows
19. Develop more fun family traditions
20. Begin seriously saving for retirement
21. Pick a new major and be dedicated
22. Don’t get frustrated so easily with Selah
23. Work with Stella in developing confidence
24. Increase nightly/weekly hours of sleep through more effective time management
25. Continue to set aside daily “quiet time”
26. Procure tools for common home repair/hobbies
27.Keep working with hands for fun- carving, block printing, etc. Consider blacksmithing/welding
28. Resume practicing archery
29. Go camping
30. Practice gratefulness
31. Continue to develop and progress technically/kinesthetically/pholosophically in BJJ
32. Visit Dad/Hawai’i
33. Be better at following through/following up/completing tasks

I think I can get to a great deal of these.  What do you think?  Would you make such a list for yourself?

Risk Being Fully Alive

I stumbled across the phrase “risk being fully alive” about 9 months ago, right before I started this blog. It’s a promise I’ve made to myself- I will not settle, and I will not float aimlessly. I will not let comfort be my god. I will not blame my shortcomings and difficulties on circumstance and inertia. I will be responsible for my results of lack thereof.  I will risk, which will increase my chances of failure. So be it.

Far from being a “YOLO”-style rally cry, Risking Being Fully Alive means that I must set goals and be fiercely determined to try.

I will not let my internal lawyer talk me out of doing what I want to do.  I must also be certain that I am not being foolish, or investing resources in the wrong area, or to the neglect of something more crucial. My goals must be S.M.A.R.T.E.R.

I challenge you to risk being fully alive.