Ten Things I Want To Remind My Children on Father’s Day 

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Ten Things I Want To Remind My Children on Father’s Day. 

10. You only get out of life what you put into it! The world is full of could’ves, should’ves, and would’ves who tell their sad stories of why they aren’t happy. Somewhere along the way they bought into the idea that life is magically supposed to work in their favor without ever putting in an honest effort. The world is also full of people who are wildly successful because they never gave up on themselves. Never forget you are your greatest asset! 
9. You’re the expert on you! You don’t need an authority or institution telling you how you should live. Not even your mother or me are the experts on you. We would be happy to give advice and suggestions, but ultimately, this is YOUR life. Speak your truth—even if your voice shakes. 
8. Always be curiously skeptical! Never accept anything at face value without your own litmus test. A word of caution here; don’t discount too quickly those with more experience and knowledge—just ask for proof via battle scars, degrees, or financial statements. Everyone has an opinion, but cherish those whose advice is battle-tested. Research all sides of an argument yourself. Well-meaning people can be very convincing and yet still be very wrong. Check it out yourself. 
7. Drastically limit your consumption of sugar! This one has been my nemesis for years. Our brains react the same way towards sugar as cocaine—the food companies know this and the government turns a blind eye since they are paid handsomely to do so. Ever wonder why you’re still craving more after you already ate? That’s sugar! Enjoy the dessert, just don’t let sugar control your life. 
6. You don’t need to desperately search for a partner to complete you—you’re already complete! While your friends are all love-struck and can’t live without their current fling, enjoy this time of your life when you don’t have to answer to anyone. Sure, if love knocks on your door, let them in for a cup of tea, but let them know early and often your standards are high, your patience for drama is thin, and your confidence doesn’t depend on whether they stay or go. 

5. Carve out time for the things that make your heart come alive! This took me some time to learn. I’m not me when I’m not learning, growing, and writing. If I allow even a week or two to transpire without learning, growing, or writing; I tend to throw colossal hissy fits. You may have witnessed this a time or two. Only YOU know what makes YOUR heart come alive; if you have doubts, try several different things until you do. 
4. Work your ass off at what you’re passionate about! This ties in with number 10. If you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Of course, that’s if you have any stinking idea what you’re passionate about. If you’re like most teenagers, twenty-somethings, thirty-somethings; heck, EVERYBODY, you may have to figure out what you’re passionate about by trying a bunch of different things until one thing gets most of your attention. I can tell you this; when you’re doing something and you lose all track of time and truly enjoy it, that’s something you’re passionate about. 
3. Never lose your sense of wonder! Lay out under the stars. Contemplate how and why you find yourself floating through the galaxy on a big rock. Where did you come from? Where are you going? What is the meaning behind all of it? You could literally astonish yourself every day if you ask yourself the right questions. There is a mysterious flow to life that cannot be put into words. 
2. When in doubt—CREATE!! No matter what it is, create. Write a song, make pottery, paint a landscape, write a novel, shoot a movie, learn an instrument, build a barn, construct a sculpture, piece together a mosaic. Nothing speaks on a soul-level more than creating. You never know how your creation will affect someone else. The random idea you decide to create could be exactly what someone needs to see. 
And the Number One thing I want to remind you is…… 
1. Being your dad has been the greatest joy and biggest honor of my life!! Simply put, I’m not me without you! Because of you two, I questioned everything I was ever taught, I dug deep into my psyche to discover my true self, I learned what it means to be selfless, I had the courage to take a journey of the heart, and I discovered what true love looks like. Sure, one could argue I may have eventually got there, but I certainly cannot imagine my life without either of you in it! I could not ask for two better humans to co-create with during this lifetime! 

I love you!! 

Dad

When I Truly SEE My Children 

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When I truly SEE my children

I’m astonished every time.

Behind every attitude,

questionable behavior, 

snotty remark,

dirty bathroom,

fender bender,

late-night emergency, 

or unplanned interruption;

there stands before me

the greatest gift this

lifetime could ever bestow.




When I truly SEE my children 

I’m humbled every time. 

Behind every curious question,

light-hearted conversation,

comfortable silence,

or bold proclamation;

I’m reminded we’re all

spiritual beings having 

a human experience:

learning together,

growing together,

loving one-another.




When I truly SEE my children 

I’m thankful every time.

For they singlehandedly 

chipped away at the 

fortress of protection

I worked so hard

to build around

my vulnerable heart. 

Once they allowed the

light to shine through, 

my heart and soul 

joyfully sang hallelujah.




When I truly SEE my children

I’m overjoyed every time.

My beautiful daughter,

so cunning and courageous,

refuses to accept the

status quo for herself.

My handsome son, 

so kind-hearted and gifted,

lights up a room with

his presence and smile.

Each one opens my heart

in ways I thought impossible.




When I truly SEE my children

I’m able to clearly SEE 

all of the world with my

eyes and heart wide open.






Peace and love, 


~Travis


Their Fragrances Linger

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Their fragrances linger
Each one unique
Carefully hand-picked
By both of them

After they get ready
For school each morning
Their scent chases them
Up the stairwell

And while their aroma
Gently drifts through
The house, my heart
Fills with unspeakable joy

Out the door they go
Rushing off to school
And as their fragrance fades
My Love never will

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It’s An Awkward Feeling

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It’s an awkward feeling some days
Watching two portions of my heart
Walk freely through the world.
They each have their own mind
And both certainly think independently
As I always hoped they would.
But my blood courses through their veins.
My Love envelopes their every move.
And my heart is now split into three.
It’s an awkward feeling some days. 

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Peace my friends!

~Travis

The Little Boy, Authentic Self, and a touch of TMI

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Do you ever wish you could soak in all of the world’s wisdom in one day? In one week? One year? In a lifetime?

As I sit in my office and I look at my bookshelf behind me, I’m moved by the wisdom that resides in my house.  Men and women who took the time to put their ideas out into the world.  Human beings who decided to make a difference.  They sat at their desk or their kitchen table and they purposefully wrote down their ideas to share with all of humanity.

Some authors state that what they wrote about wasn’t really what they had in mind; but instead the ideas simply flowed through them as though they were basically the vessel for the idea to be born through.  They talk as though all they did was take dictation for the idea to share itself through them.  It makes me wonder what ideas want to be born through me or through you?

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When I think back on my life, I rarely find much to regret.  I have lived a joy-filled forty-plus years on this planet and have many fond memories.  Sometimes I turn the clock of my memory way back to my childhood and watch an insecure young boy trying his darnedest to figure life out.  I wish I could report to that little boy to not give up on himself or on seeking wisdom and eventually he would figure life out.

That little boy was resilient!  He was handed a rule book for how he was supposed to conduct himself but unfortunately that rule book was blank.  So that little boy decided he would pay attention and try as hard as he could to fill the rule book himself.  Certain things he did were met with a harsh scolding so he wrote down his behavior in order not to do that foolish act again.  Other times his behavior resulted in spankings so he tried real hard to not forget those rules.  The little boy eventually filled the rule book up pretty full and learned when to talk and when not to talk, when to be funny and when to be serious, and the final most important lesson he learned was to make sure he was everything everyone else wanted him to be.

With that lesson firmly in place, he lost all contact with his authentic self.  For a long time, that young boy did nothing but try to survive by being whoever he needed to be just to get by.  He had genuine glimpses of his true authentic self and even attempted to share that part of himself with his family and teachers.  But more times than not, being authentic was strongly discouraged; and usually with a belt.

That little boy didn’t give up though.  He kept playing the parts he was expected to play.  He said what he was supposed to say, did what he was supposed to do.  But in the back of his mind he still held out hope that one day he would throw away the rule book he so carefully filled.

Eventually when the little boy became a teenager, he realized that some things were worth breaking the rules for–mainly girls.  The seductive and sensual taste and smell of the opposite sex caused the young boy to rethink his position on keeping ALL the rules.  Surely he could relax on some of the rules for his own enjoyment as long as he skillfully continued to APPEAR he was on the straight and narrow.

When that young, robotic, rule-keeping boy discovered the female body, something in his heart woke up (Okay, thanks Captain Obvious, yes I know something else woke up too).  But instead of feeling guilty like before when he broke the rules, now he felt more alive than ever.  His experiences catapulted him to a whole new level of personal satisfaction that could never be attained by just sticking to the rules.

Life has a funny way of calling out to your heart and inviting you to stop faking it.  Even tho you think you’re living authentically, your heart never lies.  Opportunities along the way call out to you–sometimes scream at you–and mysteriously pull on your heartstrings.

I recently read The Five Levels of Attachment by Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. and he discussed this authenticity.  “There is a moment when the Authentic Self becomes no longer an abstract term, but an experience.  I believe we all experience such a moment.  It could be during meditation, while painting or dancing, working or working out, lecturing or talking, making love, eating, or playing.  It’s the moment when judgment stops and pure harmony takes over.”

You could say when that young man first experienced the long and slow touch from his high school sweetheart he also discovered his Authentic Self.  The sensual act unleashed something in him that was more than just sensual or sexual.  For the first time in forever, he felt alive!  He felt like he could conquer the world–or at least die trying.  Sure, he was experiencing new and exciting things, but more importantly, his Authentic Self was coming to life.

Fast forward five years and he was still playing the roles and living by rules that he did not write for himself.  In his early twenties, he made the assumption that he was supposed to get married. . .

. . . So he did.

After he was married for a while, they thought they were supposed to have children. . .

. . . So they did.

A couple years after that he grew sick of playing by everyone’s rules and wanted to do his own thing. . .

. . . So he did.

His actions were less than exemplary for a loving husband and father so his wife warned him she would leave. . .

. . . So she did.

He heard once a man regains his freedom he could party like a rock star and sleep around all he wanted. . .

. . . So he did.

Then he heard from a dear friend that told him he was a great guy and if he wanted a great girl he would need to start being a man a great girl would want. . .

. . . So he did.

At that point he realized he needed to start reading books and changing his life. . .

. . . So he did.

He learned all about the ego, his Authentic Self, breathing techniques, people who were revolutionary characters, how people shape their beliefs based off their accumulated knowledge, how people are human beings not human doings, how real joy and happiness can be found in life only in the present moment, and how our society and environment shape our opinions and outlooks which cause our unintentional shift away from our authentic selves.

He also learned that his relationships with women were unhealthy–He was either trying to manipulate them to sleep with him or he was . . . well, he was basically trying to manipulate them to sleep with him.  Furthermore, when it came to women, he had a tendency to pick the ones who never liked him for exactly who he was.  He always seemed to pick the reflection of who he was on the inside.  If he wasn’t happy with himself, he picked girls that weren’t happy with him either.  He attempted to heal his wounds relying on women who were incapable to offer him healing.

I’m not bagging on all the females that crossed his path or trying to blame them for his shortcomings.  He dated many phenomenal women who were wonderful people, but his mistake was taking his ultimate question to them for an answer.  He didn’t ask them directly and most of the time he rarely comprehended he was even asking them anything at all by his actions; but, nonetheless, he took his question to them anyway.

Am I Good Enough?!?!?

It wasn’t until he answered the question for himself (with a resounding YES, by the way) that he was able to steer clear from the nagging external approval he so desperately sought.

I think it’s safe to say that little boy who desperately longed to know all the rules and lived his life for everyone else’s approval has finally grown up.  Through the help of years of counseling and a decade of deprogramming, I feel more authentic now than ever.  I still have a ton to learn and a lifetime of authors yet to read, but my Authentic Self is finally in the driver’s seat for the rest of this journey.  I’ve taken that young boy by the hand, thrown away the rule book, and gave him just one rule to remember–first for himself and then for others–LOVE!!

authentic-self

Peace,

~Travis

Why is choosing to LOVE so difficult???

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Maybe it’s my recent head injury, maybe it’s my growing impatience for ignorance, or maybe it’s just time I said something.  Who knows, but I’m curious about something:  Why is choosing to LOVE so difficult???

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I watched the movie Selma recently and it struck a chord with me.  I cannot fathom being a part of that movement and what it must have felt like.

I believe I have rooted out any prejudice that may have lingered from my ignorant immaturity.  Yes it’s true that racism is not born into someone but rather taught.  Children who are young enough not to see in color love unconditionally until the day they are taught to love sparingly.

Besides racism, we all have an Us vs Them mentality.  We compartmentalize and label ourselves and everyone around us.  We are emphatically tribal.  We love those who are in our group, who think like we do and then we hate those who are different than us.  Sure, hate may be a strong word, how about this: We withhold love from those who are different, those who are outside of our tribe.

Why???

Golden Rule

The Golden Rule can be found in every single religious book.  Treat others the way you want to be treated.  But somehow we forget that along the way.  Many people that read Matthew 7:12 and consider themselves Christian still feel justified in treating people poorly.  There is no asterisk below that verse.  There is no Black, White, Gay, Straight, Democrat, Republican, Christian, Muslim, American, Japanese.  The Golden Rule is plain and simple: Treat others the way you want to be treated.

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Whatever excuse you have for not choosing to love is a poor one.  It may cause you some discomfort at first.  You may be going against your parents.  You may have to question long-held beliefs you have grasped far too long.

The answer is inside yourself.  LOVE!

Start with those in your family.  LOVE!

Move to those outside your family.  LOVE!

Look at those in your community.  LOVE!

How about those across the country?  LOVE!

Different political views?  LOVE!

Different ethnicity? LOVE!

Different sexual orientation?  LOVE!

Consider those overseas.  LOVE!

In what ways can you open your heart?  It really truly does come down to choosing.  Do you disagree?

I choose LOVE!

My Father’s Day Musings

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(I wrote this in my journal and decided to share it with the Universe)

On Father’s Day I think it’s important for me to express what it means to me to be a father.  First, I can’t think of any greater privilege than raising my children.  Having the responsibility to teach these two amazing teenagers about life and love and individuality and presence and forgiveness and transcendence and thankfulness keeps me on my toes.  Truth be told, I Iearn more from them every day than they could possibly learn from me.  I have days when I simply drop the ball at being a great dad, and yet, they graciously allow me to keep trying. 

I don’t know if it’s because I only get my children half the time or because this is just how I’m wired, but I cherish every second I get to spend with them.  I understand that fathers who aren’t divorced and who get their children every day have their own struggles to deal with, but any parent–father or mother–must face the loneliness that comes with their little ones being away for long stretches.  I don’t know any parent that prefers to have their kids every-other week. 

I recently heard a quote that I hope my children could say about me someday.  Clarence Budington Kellard once said, “My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” 

I don’t torture my children with long tirades on how they’re doing everything all wrong: That never worked for me and it would never work for them.  Instead, I attempt–some days rather unsuccessfully–to let my life do the talking.  I worry less about the people they are becoming and I worry more about the person I am.  I don’t know any parent who successfully controls every aspect of their children’s lives–especially once they get to be teenagers.  But I do know parents that lead more by example and less by their mouths, and those are the parents that tend to earn respect from their children.

I can divide my life very easily into two parts–before being a father and then becoming one.  That hot August day in a hospital delivery room changed my life trajectory forever.  Life has been full of plenty of ups and downs since then.  I have had many triumphs and a few defeats but the one constant since that day has been the love I carry with me for my children.  I’m reminded of that touching poem by e.e. cummings:

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) i am never without it (anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)           i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true) and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky a tree called life; which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)

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As a father I continue to strive every day to learn more about this crazy world I’ve brought children into.  I strive to learn because it makes me a better father.  I strive to be a better listener so I can hear past my children’s words.  I strive to have better vision so I can see beyond my children’s behavior.  And I strive to gain as much wisdom as possible so I can not sweat the small stuff but know what the big stuff is that may require some sweat.

Some fathers go into fatherhood with fear and trembling; that’s never been me.  For as long as I can remember, I have tried to live my life to the fullest and dared to face fear head-on.  Why should fatherhood be any different?  Some day my children may get into trouble that all of us wish they could have avoided.  I don’t fear it, I expect it.  But if I never get that phone call in the middle of the night telling me they’re in trouble, I won’t live in fear of it.  Instead, as they get older and are exposed to more of this world’s craziness, I will savor every second I have with them and I will continue to learn from them every day.  And if I do get the tear-filled phone call full of shame and embarrassment, I trust I will be the calm anchor they need at that time. 

There are no guarantees in this life.  Nothing in my studies has proven to me we are entitled to anything.  We have no idea what tomorrow may bring, but there’s one thing I want Kelsi and Keaton to never forget: I am eternally grateful you each chose me as your father and I will love you both forever and always!

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Travis

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