Student of Life, Love, & Being
I was raised in the suburbs of Salt Lake City by incredibly loving parents, whose example of unconditional love and service remain a permanent fixture in my heart and mind. As a young teen, though, I ran into a lot of problems with their Mormon faith – moral disagreements, logical contradictions, and philosophical problems – that led me to reject the faith and set out on a search for truth.
Turns out, though, every time I’d catch a glimmer of truth, I just ended up with more problems. Essentially, my initial problems grew deeper and deeper — I learned more about what I don’t know. But as I got to know my ignorance in this way, I was able to ask better questions and, in turn, create better answers.
These problems and their evolution have consumed me now for well over a decade. They have pushed me to learn about the world’s religions, past and present. They have given me a relentless appetite for science and philosophy. They have sent me around the globe to explore people and customs — to break bread with Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims.
They have led me to explore the nature of my own mind — to sit for week- and month-long meditations, to participate in a traditional ayahuasca ceremony with the Shipibo tribe in Peru, to inhale Sapo toad venom, containing 5-MeO-DMT, otherwise known as the ‘God Molecule’, and to explore many other empathogens, psychedelics, and ‘religious’ or ‘supranatural’ states of mind.
And after all this–books, travel, people, meditation, empathogens–I am now confident about only one thing: that I know nothing, that whatever knowledge I have will always be engulfed by my ignorance, that I’m just a kid playin’ in this cosmic sandbox without a clue about much of anything.
I do have a few ideas, though, that have helped me gain some sanity in the endless mystery, ideas or frameworks that have helped me discover, shape, and understand myself, the world, and my place in it.
I’ve also come across some useful practices and cultivated practices of my own – practices that have helped me become more concentrated, more aware, more open to and interested in life and experience, meditations that have made me more composed and resilient, that have made me less reactive. I have practices that have helped move me past concepts and connected me directly to the unformed space of awareness, meditations that have pointed me to a boundless love and an unshakeable peace.
Just remember, though, your life and your understanding are up to you. No one can walk your path for you. All I can do is point you back to yourself. I can be a polished mirror for you to see your own reflection, a hard rock to sharpen up against. But, in the end, the real work is up to you. The truth can only ever be found in you.
May you find an inexhaustible source of love, gratitude, and appreciation for yourself, for others, and for the world. May you embody a lasting peace.
Meet My Love
My partner, my friend, my teacher, my human, my Deb, expands every wall of my being. With her, I feel full. I feel at home. I feel safe, seen, and felt. She is my backbone, my courage, my strength, and my window into the eternal. No eyes have penetrated me so deeply. No voice has blanketed me so carefully. No presence have I felt so strongly. She keeps me honest and awake. Her vision is too vast and her perspicacity too sharp for anyone in her gaze to lose sight of themselves. All must stand bare, utterly exposed, in her presence.
I can’t believe I get to witness her, that I get to stand in awe and marvel at her, marvel at all the beauty she brings into the world, marvel at her words, at her poetry, marvel at her art, at her expression. I can’t believe I get to share a home, a life, and children with this extraordinary being.
Meet My Kids
And then there are my kids. Where do I even begin to describe their genius, their goodness, their individuality and unwillingness to be anyone but themselves? Everywhere we go, the world reflects its astonishment at them. Everyone, including me, is so caught off guard by them, by their virtue, and by their ability to live purely from their hearts and not by the persuasion and influence of the rest of culture. All we can do is study them, marvel at them, and learn from them.
Meet My Gideon
Gideon, my oldest, is among the most remarkable creatures I’ve come across. There is no room for dishonesty around my Gid. And don’t slack-off with your words, either. He’ll put up a mirror for you to see how illogical, inconsistent, or unclear you’re being. The child is impeccable with his speech and virtue. And also there is nothing unoriginal about him. His gender is his own. His personality is his own. Everything about Gideon is his own. The way he occupies himself, the way he stands in himself so confidently and so calmly, will shake anyone to their core who has even a shred of self-doubt or insecurity. Though, at the same time, with an uncanny goodness, he makes you feel soft and warm and full of hope and confidence to do the same – to be unabashedly yourself.
Meet My Annelise
Then there’s Annelise, the most heavenly of angels. Children aren’t supposed to carry the emotional intelligence she carries. Like her mom, she knows when anyone is even the slightest bit off. Though you might think she isn’t paying attention, oh how wrong you’d be. The girl is remarkably observant. And she holds her observations carefully, behind the curtains, and reveals things only with reflective discernment. Also like her mama, my sweet girl has an astonishing eye for beauty. She is a hair-raising artist in the making.
Meet My Olivia
Then there’s Olivia, both a warrior and a caretaker. Olivia has a remarkable connection with nature, with plants and creatures, and has held consistently the dream of becoming a veterinarian. She is so at home in the mud, the dirt, the water, and the mountains. And has a relentless energy and reverence toward life. And, though she embraces life so tenderly and compassionately, at the same time she carries such a boldness and courage to her. She doesn’t shy away from conflict or disagreement and holds herself stoically in these situations.
Annelise and Olivia, as you likely noticed, are identical twins. They lived in the womb without separating membranes and remain to this day about as close as two people can be. At night when they sleep, some part of their body will always find its way to the other. And, though they are inseparably a part of each other, they are in no way defined by or limited by the other. They are each their own unique person. Their character and quality traits, though almost opposite from each other, in no way oppose or conflict but rather uplift and expand each other.
Meet My Naomi
Finally, there’s Naomi. Oh, Naomi. The world doesn’t know what’s coming. Seriously, ya’ll better watch out for Naomi. She has a brilliance that is terrifying. Her intellect is piercing. And, with it, she studies you, she studies your behaviors, your facial expressions, your tone, and your motives. She knows how people work and she knows how to use that knowledge to her advantage. Though my baby girl could probably pursue and be good at any career path, I imagine, based on her natural interests and impulses, that she will most likely work in fashion or design – some field where there is an intersection of art, beauty, and social interactions. My god, do I love my baby. Girl not only keeps me sharp and awake but keeps my heart full.