Student of Life, Love, & Being
I was born in the suburbs of Salt Lake City into an incredibly loving Mormon family, whose example of unconditional love and service remain a permanent fixture in my heart and mind. As a young teen, though, I ran into many difficulties with the Mormon faith – moral disagreements, logical contradictions, and philosophical problems – that led me to reject the faith and set out on a search for truth.
Turned out, though, every time I’d catch a glimmer of truth, I’d just end up with more problems. Essentially, my initial problems grew deeper and deeper — I learned more about what I don’t know. But as I became better acquainted with 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 physics, biology, 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, psychedelics — I am now confident about only one thing: that I know nothing, that whatever knowledge I have will always be engulfed by my infinite ignorance, that I’m just a kid playin’ in this cosmic sandbox without a clue about much of anything.
And after all this–books, travel, people, meditation, psychedelics–I am now confident about only one thing: that I know nothing, that whatever knowledge I have will always be engulfed by my infinite ignorance, that I’m just a kid playin’ in this cosmic sandbox without a clue about much of anything.
I do have a few thoughts and practices, though, that’ve helped me build my own understanding of the world and my place in it, which I am happy to share with you. I can point you to some models or frameworks that’ve helped me to shape my conceptual understanding of all this – whatever it ineffably is – and to help me navigate through its endless mystery. I can point you to some exercises and practices that’ve brought me closer to my own direct experience, that’ve opened me and made me receptive to it. I can point you to practices that’ve brought me more freedom, more love, more joy, more happiness, practices that have brought me an unshakeable peace. But in the end, I’m not you. Your life and your understanding are up to you. You must walk your own path.
If you’re interested, though, I invite you to explore yourself, to explore this awe-inspiring space of possibility. Come explore some truly warm and expansive states of mind, come explore some truly extraordinary states of being. Connect directly to experience. Find an unprecedented sense of love, gratitude, and appreciation for your self, for others, and for the world. Embody a lasting peace.
With Unconditional Love Always,
Meet My Family
Oh my god! To have, to give and receive, to feel, to know, a love like this – no words, no work of art, no musical composition, no expression, nothing, can capture its majesty, its expansiveness, its depth, its beauty and its warmth, its joy, and its fear.
My partner, my friend, my teacher, my human, my dearest love, 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 warmly. 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.
As if life wasn’t already beautiful and magical enough, when I count her among my blessings, I can’t help but actually laugh out loud. It’s not fair to have so much goodness in my life. I can’t believe I get to witness her, that I get to stand by her in awe and marvel at all the beauty she brings into the world with her art and her poetry and the astonishment of her sheer being.
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 and marvel at them.
Gideon, my oldest, is among the most remarkable creatures I have ever come across. 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. Though, at the same time he instills in you a soft and warm confidence from the space he gives you to do the same – to be unabashedly yourself.
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 a reflective discernment. Also like her mama, my sweet girl has an astonishing eye for beauty. She is a hair-raising artist in the making.
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.
No, those weren’t more pictures of Annelise. Annelise and Olivia 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.
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.