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I got to start hiking the PCT with astral Sam.

When the time comes, I know I’ll be able to tell my kids that when I was 24, I chose to leave what I knew, to trust in the universe, and to leap into the unknown.
I’m sad that my story also includes the part about brother Sam dying. His story is a little too short, if you ask me.
My brother Sam Murray lived for nineteen years and five days and he left an inimitable mark on the world. I am proud of and deeply inspired by the legacy of planetary stewardship and authentic relationships that my brother espoused.
I loved to spend time with him, especially doing projects outside, like weeding, or building a chicken coop with Dad.
Primary among the many things we didn’t get around to doing was hike the PCT together.
Now, since Sam lives on in memory, I get to carry him wherever I go. And I’ll admir, traveling with astral Sam is much more cost-effective. For one, like me, physical Sam had an insane appetite.
This morning, Shimee, Tam, Firefly, and Luna and I hiked the “White Rabbit” trail, part of the PCT. It was super fun, my body responded really well to the exercise, and astral Sam came along.
We walked trails with names like “Looking Glass” and “Cheshire Cat,” and indeed the forest here has a very magical feel. It’s the moisture in the air; it’s so green here it’s crazy. And people talk of there being vortices too.
We got to see the Rogue River Valley spread out below us as we wound around and around, up a nice sized hill. We probably did about 3 miles in all, it wasn’t a long trail, but it was steep. After about a 45 minute hike we stopped and ate lunch on some large rocks facing east-ish.
One of the many things we talked about was how our parents met. I’ve heard so many stories about my parents’ life and most of them repeatedly. It was great to hear the story of Firefly’s parents and to hear more about Luna’s parents’ story too. Yet when it was my turn to tell how my parents met, I found it difficult to sift through the tidbits I remember and string them together, even though I’ve heard it like a million times. I felt unauthorized to tell their story. They’re the authorities, after all.
Then it occurred to Firefly, or maybe it was Luna, that one day, when our kids are 24, they might be telling our how-they-met stories to their friends. What might they say about us?
I’ve already rewritten so many of my stories. Here’s a silly example: I used to say that if I was hiking the same trail out and back, it was always best to start the hike with a climb. If I’m going to come back the same way later on, I would prefer to hike uphill first, when I’m freshest and go downhill when I’m spent.
Now, I don’t care if the hike in front of me is all uphill. Now that I see it again, I feel it’s value was greater to me when I was younger. Instead of focusing on the end of the hike, now I prefer to practice being totally present to every step along the way. It’s like Kant wrote about, I strive to see all things in my life as ends in and of themselves, at least where it makes sense to… Every step of a journey is both a beginning and an end. No step is ordinary, no step is just a means to an end.
As I walk my path and write my story I’m excited to continue to evolve. I realize that I decide how to characterize my experiences, whether I’m talking about a hike or a death in the family. Life is full of experiences that appear easy, and others that look hard. I don’t think life is hard, nor that it needs to be. I know that many of my experiences in life will be challenging. Yet instead of resisting those moments, I open myself fully to them. Whatever I need to learn in any situation, I open myself to it.

What would it look like to just do it?

It’s finally time, I’m starting.
In the past I’ve only posted on this blog every so often. Today I am beginning a simple personal challenge: I am committing to creating a brief-ish (<500 words) blog post every day for the next 40 days.
Part an experiment in habit formation and part spiritual practice, this mini-project is an opportunity for me to step into something bigger. What I’m doing in my life right now is crazy and, I humbly trust, interesting and valuable. I love projects, I’m beginning to see I need a project for mental health.
We, my wife Luna and I, are experiencing life on the road together. I want to begin telling the story of this epic trip of indeterminate duration and scope.
On July 27, at my parent’s house in Vista, CA, we celebrated a ritual that we co-created with our community to begin the next stage of our path together. We called it a “handfasting.” It comes from an Irish and Scottish tradition and is a form of temporary marriage. So, at this point our agreement is between each other and the loved ones in our community who witnessed and helped our officiants pronounce us “life partners.” We’ve committed to evolve together as a married couple for a year and a day. It’s not legally binding, and we don’t need it to be right now. We are held accountable by our sacred family, by our community. That’s more than enough for us right now.
For the past nine weeks (a little over two months) we have been traveling between CA, NV, and now we find ourselves in Ashland, OR. The amount of different beds I’ve slept in is beyond count at this point. That excites me and also triggers thoughts about “home,” and about what that idea means for me now. I’m thrilled to say my home is the one I create with my amazing partner in sublime, Luna, wherever we go.
We live in an amazing sphere of possibility and we tap into the infinite supply of the universe everyday. Spiritual practice has become increasingly important in my life as this journey has begun to unfold. I am best Supported in my highest good each day when I take time each day to practice yoga, meditation, and journaling. As I explore adulthood I glimpse pieces of my larger work in the world as it takes shape every day. I have become clear that whatever comes up in my emotional experience each day is exactly what I need to work on. I grow exponentially when I work on emotional development. Luna and I have created an amazing practice of processing through and growing from emotionally charged experiences.
Another part of my daily practice is creative expression through the written (and typed) word. I journal everyday and I amcontinuing on my path of development as a writer. With language as my conveyor belt, my main occupation right now is awareness; I choose to examine everything in my life thoroughly, to live as consciously as possible, and to write about my experiences. Paradigms being malleable structures they are, I acknowledge my capacity to redefine the paradigms by which I operate. I believe the universe supports my highest good; this is “pronoia.” Instead of accepting the notion that the universe is out to get me (i.e paranoia), I choose to operate under the assumption that the exact opposite is true.
Pronoia is not something I made up, by any means. I’ve just seen it work in my life. I love to play with my mind like this, to transform my perceptions to my advantage.

This is where the conversation starts. The topic? Conversation. 

Wait, what?

It struck me the other day that one of the most profound ways in which I experience life is through conversation. Moreover, one of the most effective ways for learning (for me) is a combination of self-study (where I actually quietly study something without distractions for the pure pleasure of it) and agenda-less conversation. I experience an insatiable curiosity about the world, I see infinite knowledge and am hugely inspired by it’s profundity. Though at times the sheer magnitude of information that exists in the universe, what we think we know and infinite mystery, awes me, I am not long daunted. Instead, the immense unknowability of Life inspires me to discover, explore, and experience what ever comes up. The beauty of the two-fold learning style (study and conversation) is that irregardless of what I study, there’s always opportunity to bring it up in conversation. Better yet, learning to do so tactfully and artfully is worth study in and of itself. Better still, going into conversations without agenda means time is suspended and dialogue unbound from convention of any kind. This is what I call the alchemical potential of conversation. There is absolutely no telling where a conversation will lead, especially when you rescind all control and surrender to the flow of conversation. There are myriad cues to pay attention to in any conversation and they are compounded when there are more than two people engaging. Body language and other forms of non-verbal communication play integral roles in dialogue. Learning to read these cues and aptly respond to them is an art in and of itself. 

So why the sudden fascination with conversations? Because I’m living in a new environment and with a fresh outlook on life; the community surrounding me and of which I am a part is incredibly fascinating and diverse. The conversations I have had in the past two weeks of living here, at the Launching Pad, seem to have been some of the most fertile, inspiring, and mind-blowing of my life. It’s funny to put values like that on them, however, because I know in the depth of my being that there are an infinite number of possible conversations in my future that will continue to shift my experience. The experience menu for my life is thousands of pages long. 

One of my favorite things about the types of conversations I’ve been describing is the opportunities for mutual education inherent to them. For instance, everyone brings their own perspectives and expertise to a given discourse and if something comes up that I don’t understand or am not very familiar with, my fellow conversationalist can rise to the occasion, if they so choose. I also love having my perceptions and preconceived notions challenged by those with whom I engage in conversations. In fact, I notice that in the last two years especially I have been seeking out people whose opinions and world views differ from mine. Learning to withstand, weather, and synthesize other people’s perspectives is one of my favorite get-out-of-my-comfort-zone practices. Granted, not everyone I speak with comes across in such a way that I need to withstand anything. Maybe it’s that I tend to seek out strong willed, confident, verbally expressive individuals because that’s one of my primary ways of interacting with the world. 

I bet you’d love to hear about some of these conversations, but I would do them a disservice by trying to summarize them. However, I am fascinated to engage you in conversation. And one of my favorite things to ponder right now is: What are the best ways to engage people in conversation?

Here’s an idea: What are you working on right now, internally or externally, that has you fired up? 

We are all co-creating the narrative that is our shared experience, replete with countless individual voices bringing untold beauty and wonder to the table. Remember that you are responsible for speaking your truth. 

Radical reinventions

For the first time in ages I’m posting content on this blog, and boy have I got stories to tell! 

As many of you know I moved to Berkeley, Ca this past Tuesday. In the past five days I’ve packed so much experience and adventure it’s amazing! I’ve both leapt out and dived into the most extraordinary phase of my life yet. 

I am deeply blessed to be surrounded by such an amazingly supportive community, both that saying a “goodbye for now” as I left my home in San Diego, and that welcoming me with a “it’s about time you got here” in Berkeley. For the next month I’m living in an amazing young adult intentional community called the Launching Pad, located in a beautiful house on College Ave. My dear friends live here so it’s been like coming home; I’ve leapt from one amazing network of love into another. 

So far my experience in this chapter has held amazing gems: my long and wonderful train ride up the California coast was perfect. I am especially deeply grateful to the angels of Amtrak at LA’s Union Station: I actually did need to put my bike in a box and ship it. I thought I could bring it on the train but I was gravely mistaken. So I got to spend a hectic hour scrambling to stuff my bike in a giant box, tape it shut, and get it on the train; then hurry to make sure I too was on that train! I had two amazing men to connect with on that ride, one a quiet, gentle man named Dennis and the other a wild, vivacious 70-year-old runner named Lenn. WOW! What a conversation I had with Lenn. Thank you sir. 

Now, this being the first post on my adventure I want to pack as much in as possible, but some experiences are but my own. Hehe. Suffice it to say, I’m so, so grateful that I am as adventurous as I am. I am so deeply grateful to my families: the Murrays, my Stone family, my San Diego families, and my Bay Area family! What an amazingly blessed life I lead! 

Next order of business: manifesting the perfect job (hello bitchin’ restaurants! There are SO many in these parts) and then the perfect living space. SO EASY! 

I have much more to share, look for posts to come. We’ll see if they follow a schedule. Inspiration and linear time sometimes dance together and often don’t so see you when I see ya! Please feel free to offer feedback, I’d love to see what you all think and maybe you’ll inspire me to write about particular things!

Loving you all, seriously. 

Superb

I feel compelled to express my deep gratitude for yesterday’s events and promote my god-sister Susanna Wold’s Urban Yogi studio at 540 3rd Ave., San Diego, Ca, 92101. 

She’s got an amazing little place she shares with her business partner D who is a massage therapist. On sundays Susanna holds a Vinyasa flow class at noon. My beloved and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, then went around the corner for a bite and to further enjoy the immaculate San Diego weather. 

Thank the universe for yesterday. That’s where I am this morning, grateful to the universe. 

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