Do What You Love

When my body hurts I tend to recoil away from and against the pain.  This was the coping mechanism that I glommed onto at an early age.  For the huge majority of my life I felt like pain was a bad thing... the enemy to be gotten rid of and stopped at all costs.  I still struggle with living the philosophy that pain is my teacher, my body telling me something important.

It's easy for me to understand this concept when I'm not in pain, and it's a completely different story when I'm in it.  I am getting better at it, albeit slowly.  Quick back story: I've been living with chronic pain since I was 15, thanks to my dare devil adrenaline junky ways and high propensity for carving turns, going really fast and getting as much air as possible.  Although I was adept at the activities (skateboarding, skiing, surfing, bmx, motocross, etc.) I was also pushing my limits... so when I crashed I crashed hard!  The list of injuries and traumas is too long to list here, but suffice it to say that I've been paying for that fun ever since.

Lately I've been in more pain than usual.  One of the side effects is depression.  It's so interesting to me how I can go from feeling good physically and emotionally, to hurting and depressed almost instantly.  I simply haven't learned how to 'get over it' or pretend it's not affecting me.  Let's just say that this last week+ I've had a difficult time getting out of bed.

As things generally go in my life, when I most need a wake up call- BAM! -there it is.  Usually it's in the form of some kind of shining example of how blessed and fortunate I am... something to nudge me back to center and remind me to focus on what I want, not on what I don't want.  Yesterday it came into my inbox from my friend, Jeremy.  

Jeremy P. McGhee is one of the most amazing and inspirational people I know.  After a motorcycle accident he has been living with paraplegia.  He has the best, most upbeat and positive attitude and is on a serious mission.  Jeremy inspires folks to DO WHAT THEY LOVE. He sent me a link to his latest public speaking engagement.

At a recent TedX talk in San Diego Jeremy spoke to over 600 people about his experience of living his mission... doing what he loves.  He manifested an incredible crew of people to team up and support him in joining them atop Bloody Couloir, so he could eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with them.  Bloody is a +12,000' peak in the backcountry of the Eastern Sierra Mountains.  Not only did he make it to his goal and eat PB&J's with his friends at the summit, Jeremy then skied down Bloody on his sit ski!

Did I mention Jeremy has no use of his legs?  

Even if you don't need inspiration, the TedX talk is great.  When you have 15 minutes check it out: click on the link below his picture. You can also find his website under my Favorites tab.  Click on Jeremy P. McGhee.

My pain didn't magically disappear, but I was able to say YES to my niece who asked me for a Watsu because she's been in pain.  This afternoon I was able to use the amazing energy of Jeremy to get out of my funk and be there for my loved one.  I've said it before and I still believe it... we're all in this together.


Jeremy P. McGhee, "Do What You Love."

Au Revoir Sobrino

Today my nephew left the only home he's ever known to enter his Freshman year of college in Santa Barbara, CA.  After a very full summer, with a new tattoo that we co-designed, and a recent trip to Minnesota for a family reunion under his belt, he had a party last night.  His friends arrived to wrap up the summer, help send him off- and pack.  I landed at the airport, got dinner, picked up my car and went over for a quick visit.  It was a truly beautiful scene with his and his sister's friends, and their parents, there to enjoy their last night together... of this era.

My nephew has been blessed to grow up and bond with a group of boys since he was in preschool!  It's quite amazing to see these young men now after a lifetime together in school, playing sports, traveling, playing... even staying connected while attending different high schools.  There were other young men and women there as well who have come into the fold throughout the years.  I can definitely appreciate this as I am blessed with friends from as early as 4 years old, preschool, grade school, high school, etc. on up until the present!

The other nice thing is that his younger sister, who's entering her Sophomore year of high school, and he are best friends.  Their two groups of friends naturally blend into one beautiful, joyous and raucous laughter.  I love how close and loving my niece and nephew have always been with each other and trust that their bond is forever.

Things will absolutely change in the home and in the dorms.  One move and everyone is affected.    There is no telling what will happen in their family, as there is no telling what will happen in the future for anyone.  (With all due respect to the prophets and psychics out there.)  I'm excited for him because I know he is excited for himself.  He's an amazing person in so many ways and I'm very proud of him!

As I hugged him last night he had a big smile on his face.  He looked at me and said, "Thank you for everything, Tio.  I love you."  I love my 18 year old nephew and I am honored to have been able to be there for him when I could.

G Paddling Into Life