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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Physical Pain an Almost Full Disclosure Part 2

Hi All,

I appreciate all your comments and feedback from my blog last week.  The authorship process is one I want to learn and grow with.  Your feedback is invaluable to me and helps me to better myself as well as produce a better book for the world at large to benefit from.

Before I get to part two, I wanted to pass on a couple of updates:

The next 1000 Challenge Community event has been scheduled.  If you are going to participate in one event, this is the one to join.  It is a very special one for me.  Please click here to learn all about it.  Also be sure to invite your friends and family to join in.

Our next Youtube chat has been scheduled.  Sunday, September 7th, at 7:30am PST.  The topic will be: "Moving Forward from Grief, How to Honor Those You have Lost."
You can join the chat by clicking here:

Signups for the next 28 Day Flat Belly Challenge will be open on Monday September 22nd.  I will only be allowing 30 people to the opportunity to participate.  If you want to join you need to make sure you are subscribing to my newsletter as newsletter subscribers will get the first shot.  Click here to subscribe to my newsletter.

Ok: Physical Pain an Almost Full Disclosure Part 2

As I said last week this is a brief excerpt of the book I am working on.  Any/all comments, suggestions, and feedback are welcomed and much appreciated.



In March of 2012, nearly nine months post hernia surgery, the pain downstairs had subsided enough were I was starting to feel more normal in that area.  Normal in the sense that I was no longer getting the constant pain I had been previously, but there were still problems.  My back had gotten so bad that my movements were very limited.  Sitting for more than 20 minutes was a challenge, as was walking, hiking, etc...  (those of you who have been following the 1000 Challenge page since the beginning have noticed the decrease in hiking photos) This again affected the more intimate parts of my life because if I made any sudden movements, I would be greeted with a shooting pain through my body.  Reaching out to open the door hurt, imagine how much other things would hurt.

I was in so much pain, I felt completely emasculated, and was so frustrated with not being able to do some of the physical activities I enjoyed doing.  I began seeing a chiropractor that I was referred to by a friend.  I saw him for several months and my back did not improve, it only got worse.  In late June of 2012 I was referred to a Physical Therapist.  I saw him a couple times and for the first time since April of 2011 I felt a little better.

When I left to live in Europe, July of 2012, I was hopefully and optimistic that I was finally healing.  I had made a promise to myself that I would take a long walk around London every weekend.  The first weekend I was there I took about a seven mile walk.  The second weekend I walked the length of the Thames River up to London Bridge.  It was awesome.  I was doing the exercises religiously that the physical therapist had prescribed.  I was excited to continue to heal and return home in the fall back to my normal self.

Two weeks into my London adventure I went to the bathroom, number two.  It was really painful.  I thought that was weird, but figured it would go away. It didn't go away, it was there the next time I went to the bathroom and the time after that.  Not only was the pain there, but it was getting more intense and leaving me with a bloody mess.  

It only continued to get worse and worse.  After two weeks of this I was terrified to go anywhere or do anything.  If I walked longer than 10 minutes I felt uncomfortable.  I was scared of being away from a bathroom because the whole process of going was now taking me three times longer than normal.  It hurt so bad that I found myself at times biting down on towels to try and keep myself from yelling out in pain.

I was able to fly back to the States in late August to go to the doctor. By this time I had scared myself stupid by reading horror stories on websites about what could possibly be happening.  The first doctor I went to suspected I might have hemorrhoids. I started taking medicine (the kind you have to shove up your ass) as well as spending 30 minutes a day, two times a day, soaking in an epson salt bath trying.  As you might imagine, I was feeling really good about myself, especially since I had just started to feel better about my sexuality a few months earlier.  Now I am back to having pain and problems in areas that are some of our most sensitive.

 I also went to an acupuncturist who prescribed me to drink aloe vera juice (which tastes gross) as well as wheat grass juice, everyday.

I did all of this and it still did not get better.  I flew back to the States again and went to a different doctor.  He told me a I had an anal fissure, which is basically a tear in the tissue of your butt.  He said it was a fifty fifty chance it gets better on its own.  If it didn't the other option was surgery.  I again read the horror stories about how if the surgery did not go right you could lose control of your ability to control those muscles needed to go to the bathroom.

There was no way I was going to roll the dice and do the surgery, especially after I had had such a "positive" experience with the hernia surgery.  I convinced myself that I could heal naturally and I resolved to do anything and everything possible to heal.

I was doing everything I could to be proactive with my new “condition.” I changed my diet around by adding in a ton of extra fiber, stool softeners daily, eliminated alcohol, and eliminated red meat.  I stopped going out to eat because I was so terrified of not having full control over what went into my body.  Naturally this had a pretty shitty (Pun intended) affect on my social life.

I continued to take the Epsom Salt baths twice a day for 30 minutes at a time. The baths were frustrating to me because they took up so much time, but I had committed to follow instructions.  I began using the time in the bathtub to meditate.  I would go through a visualization of healing energy entering inside of me, healing my body.   Along with the Epsom Salt baths, I was applying this cream one to two times daily that if I put to much of it on it made me light headed, dizzy, and gave me an instant headache.  There was more than one time I almost passed out using this stuff.  The cream of course has to be applied to the injured area, so needless to say the rubber gloves that you see at doctor’s offices became staples in my day-to-day life.  I got very familiar with a part of the human body that most of us never have to acknowledge save  for disposing of our  “wastes” and that is it.  This was definitely some of the more humbling times of my life.

I was miserable.  I had finally started to feel better and now here I was with another problem below the waist.  I felt emasculated even more so and horribly inadequate as a man.  All those feelings I had of not being good enough, of hating myself, of being unattractive that I had fought my entire life were beginning to come rushing back to me.  

A large part of my adult identity had been built around the physical aspects of who I was: being able to be fit, active, and desirable by the fairer sex.  Now my ability to move was again limited; my back was only getting worse and now I was having new problems downstairs. More significantly for me was the emasculating feeling.  I was in so much pain I could barely think about sex let alone be sexual.  It was challenging, in my mind I did not feel attractive, in my mind I felt broken and focused on pain.

I can go a couple ways with next weeks blog... I can share with you part 3 or I can switch it up, save part 3 for later, and go with a different topic.

It is up to you.

Thanks for reading and your feedback. :)

Carpe Diem,

Jesse

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Physical Pain an Almost Full Disclosure part 1

As many of you know I have been busily writing my second book.  A couple weeks ago I asked if there would be an interest in me sharing some of what I had written.  Today's blog is just that, a small excerpt of some of what I have been working on for the book.

This is my first share and so I would appreciate your feedback from two perspectives: One as a stand alone blog post and two as a perspective reader of a larger book... is this something that interests you, what more would you like to know, what can make it better, is it something you would want to read more of?

Thank you in advance. :)

I say "almost" full disclosure because I want to do my best to be fully honest, but at the same time I will spare you all from reading some of the less pleasant details.  I will include more of those details in the book as my intention with the book is to be as transparent as possible in hopes that it will inspire others.

Some of the stuff I am about to share is pretty personal.  I am not going to lie, I am a little embarrassed talking about these parts of my life, but I am going there in the hopes that my sharing can maybe help inspire at least one other person out there who is struggling with pain.

What I also help you all will take away is this:  That while I have kept this part of my life hidden, you all have still been able to watch me over the years.  Watch me grow, watch me share my message, and watch my choose my attitude and how I wanted to experience life.  I could not control some of the physical stuff, but I have always had a choice in my attitude.

We all experience pain in various forms throughout life.  Mental, emotional, and physical pain will affect us all in some way and at some point in life.  Different types of pain have different affects on each individual.  When it comes to pain, there is not a universal right or wrong for how to experience it.

The last three years I have been in a lot of physical pain.  As painful as the physical part has been, the real daily challenge for me has been the mental and emotional obstacles that my physical pain has imposed.

I have had back and neck problems since I was a little kid.  In fact one of my earliest memories is of being in a chiropractors office, getting my necked cracked, when I was about five years old.  Over the course of my life my back would "go out" at random.  If you have never had your back go out on you it feels, at least for me, something like this: like you got punched in the lung and the fist that punched you is still there squeezing your lung making it hard to breathe.  While you are struggling to breathe, your entire back seizes up making it virtually impossible to do the simplest of movements like standing, sitting, or even reaching out to open a door.

When I got into college and started exercising the frequency of my back going out dramatically decreased.  I had begun giving my spine the structural support it needed to stay in place.  Without fail, it would still go out once every six to eight months, but the recovery time was now quicker.  Usually I would be able to be back to normal function three or four days later.

So in early April of 2011, as I was sitting in a hotel room in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, working on my taxes, it really did not come as much of a shock when I turned to my side and felt my back snap. It was painful, but no more painful than it had been in the past, and I figured it would be back to normal within a week.  A week came and went, but the pain remained.

Not only was the pain still there, but my range of motion had started to diminish, especially on my right side.  I was having a hard time bending or rotating to my right.  When I would try to, I would instantly get this shooting pain through my body.  If I tried to push through the pain I would get a feeling like my spine was about to snap... it would take my breath away.

I was cautious with day to day activities and did my best to take care of it as I always had in the past. Since this happened right in the middle of the 1 Year 1000 Challenge, I was constantly on the go and did not give it the attention I could have or probably should have.  Plus shortly after this had all started I had to have surgery to repair an inguinal hernia that was bulging and beginning to cause me a lot of pain and discomfort.

I never got a really good vibe from my surgeon. This was confirmed the morning of the surgery when he showed up 15 minutes late, rushed into the room looking a little disheveled and asked me, "what are you here for?"  I remember thinking to myself: It is reassuring to know my health is the hands of someone who obviously cares so much about it.

It took several days for the initial swelling to go down.  By the end of the third or fourth day most of the surgery pain (pain that comes from getting operated on), had subsided.  I seemed to be healing with the exception of lingering pain in my testicles.

As the days turned into weeks the pain below the belt not only remained, but got worse.  When I asked the surgeon about it during my post op check up he said (if I recall correctly) it could take upwards of 12 weeks for pain to full subside.

12 weeks went by and the pain was not only still there, it was really impacting my life.  I tried to run, the impact hurt to much... felt like I was getting punched in the balls over and over again.  Even things like hiking had become difficult because the downhill vibrational impact really hurt.  I can vividly remember driving back from San Diego in early September when suddenly I got an intense pain, again feeling like someone was beneath my seat punching me over and over again in a very sensitive area.

Naturally this affected certain other areas of my life... without mincing words, my sex drive all but disappeared and the act of having sex became way way more painful than pleasurable.  I felt horribly inadequate and unattractive.

In the fall of 2011 I went to one of the top penis doctors in the world.  He had me get an ultra sound ( is that what it is called where they take the instrument and look inside you like they do for pregnant women?).  Results said I had a lump in one side and it may or may not be the cause of the pain I was experiencing.  He also revised my post op window for side affects and said to give it until 16 weeks.

16 weeks went by... the pain was still there, not as bad, but still there.  What also happened during this time was my back got worse and worse.  With some of my physical activity being reduced (no running, hiking, jumping, etc...) I was sitting a lot more.  Sitting meant more compression on my already painful back.  I did not pay as much attention to it because I was so preoccupied with what was going on downstairs.

Part two will be posted next Sunday...

Carpe Diem,

Jesse

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Forgiveness of Self

Hi!

I hope this blog finds you happy and healthy.  Before I get to the blog I have one update I wanted to pass along to you, as well as ask a quick question.

Quick question: I was thinking about sharing with you all in a future blog a little bit about what I have been writing for the new book.  Any interest in that?

This coming Tuesday, August 12th, at 5:30pm PST will be our next #Youtube chat.  The topic will be: "Fear, what it costs us and how we can overcome it."  As always there will be a Q&A portion of the chat.  I hope you can join me.  Here is a link for Tuesday's Youtube chat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeW1YXHNCOc

The other day I was chatting with a friend about life.  Life is one of my favorite things to talk about and conversations about it can be fairly broad: love, death, changes, fears, hopes, relationships, dreams, and everything in between. On this particular day we talked about forgiveness, specifically forgiving of self.

When forgiveness is talked about it is so often talked about with the context of forgiving others.  Forgiving others is important, as the act of it allows us to free ourselves from the emotional control that the act that was forgiven, had over us.

So often we put our focus on forgiving others, that we forget to look in the mirror and acknowledge who else needs to be forgiven.

When we hold on to our own mistakes, our own missteps, and our own short comings, we are essentially allowing weeds to be planted in the garden that is our mind.  These weeds, will spread like wildfire when given the slightest bit of attention.

When we fail to forgive ourselves it is like putting on a back pack and filling it with heavy rocks.  Each rock represents something we are holding onto.  The more we hold onto the more weight we have to carry.  The more weight we have to carry the slower we move, the faster we get worn out, and the more rapidly we cease moving forward. The power in forgiving yourself is that it allows you to live in the present rather than be held back by the past. 

Forgiveness with yourself begins by first honestly acknowledging what part you played in whatever happened.  Allow yourself to see the situation for what it was, not better than it was and not worse than it was, just for what it was.  Accept that what happened has happened and it is now in the past.  You can't go back and change it (as much as we all my like to in the moment), what you can do is learn from it and resolve to use it for a greater good in your life going forward.

Remember you are human which means you are not above or beyond making mistakes.  You, despite your best efforts, will likely cause pain, hurt feelings, piss off, and frustrate other people.  It is a part of life.

What does not have to be a part of life is holding onto the pain that comes from those events.

Free yourself by forgiving yourself.

My questions to you is this:  Are you willing to forgive yourself?  Can you remember a time you forgave yourself?  What was that experience like and how did it impact your life?  Is there something you are holding onto and have not forgiven yourself for?  What is it and why?

Unchain yourself from the past by forgiving yourself and embrace the life that is waiting for you.

Carpe Diem,

Jesse

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Life of an Author

Hi All! :)




A couple of quick updates before I get to this weeks blog:



1.)  The start date for my Six Weeks to Your Greatest You program has been pushed back by one week.  Additionally, I have opened a couple extra spots to give a few more people the opportunity to participate in this program.  If you are looking to and ready to make some changes, You NEED to click this link and sign up for the program.  Click here to learn more and sign up.

2.) Our next 1000 Challenge Community Youtube chat has been scheduled.  It will take place on Tuesday, August 12th, at 5:30pm pst.  On Monday morning August 4th, I will put up a post with the opportunity for you to choose and vote for the topic you would like me to discuss.  I am excited and looking forward to chatting with you all then. Youtube Chat

As I shared on the 1 Year 1000 Challenge page yesterday I have fully immersed myself in the writing process of the book about the 1000 Challenge.

What has been interesting thus far is the book has begun to take on an entirely new life than what I originally thought it would be.  Initially my intention, at least for the last couple years, was to have a book that was all about the 1000 Challenge and my experiences in doing so.  In the future I may still write that book.  This book I am writing now, is turning into more of a tale of my life, experiences I have had, what lead me to the 1000 Challenge, and how life has changed since.

This, as many of you know, will be my second book I have written to completion.  Over the years, I have "attempted" to write four other books, with only one of them Ouch My Heart Is Broken, being written to the finish.

When I wrote Ouch My Heart Is Broken, it felt like it was something I had to do, something that needed to be done.  The process was very satisfactory and I am extremely proud of what I produced.  However, writing it was more of a challenge as at times I struggled to get into the writing flow.  I believe this in large part to be because I was writing the book as I was going through "my stuff," and learning.  In the near future I will update the book to add on how I have learned and grown since.

With this book, the writing process is different, it feels like I am writing and doing what I am meant to be writing and doing.  Mental and emotional blocks that have held me back from writing seem to be gone and what is emerging in their place is a flow of words, concepts, ideas, thoughts and feelings.  All with the intention, to help anyone who reads it to learn, grow, get inspired, and live their best life possible. :)

Even the writing "process," of this one has more of a process to it.  I have a block of time each day that I am allocating to writing.  During this time, I sit down, put my headphones in, turn the Superman theme song on repeat (yes I really do here is the link to which version I use) and type.

What comes out during these sessions has been typically anywhere between 2-5000 words about my life, my journey, how I have viewed and experienced life, how I have changed, how I have grown, and how I am still learning.  Of what has been written: there are sections that will make you laugh (I hope readers think I am funny), will make you cry, will make you stop and think, and will hopefully inspire you to take action to change.



Every single one of us has a story worth sharing.  Every single person has a great novel, great idea, great concept living on inside of them.  The only difference between the ones that get told and the ones that don't is the actions that get taken to get the story told. 


What is your great story?  What is one action you can take to get it told?  Note: this does not mean you have to write a book.

I am excited to have this opportunity to write, to share, and hopefully inspire millions all around the world. I will keep you updated and share more as the process continues along.  For now, I must bid you adieu for it is time for me to transition over to the book.

Until next time,

Carpe Diem,

Jesse



Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lessons from My Dreams Part 2

The reason this post is titled "Lessons from My Dreams Part 2," is because two years ago I wrote a blog with the same name about a dream I had about my Dad.  If you would like to read that blog, click here.

A couple days ago I had another dream that I wanted to share with you all.  I have told myself on numerous occasions that I want to start being more mindful about writing my dreams down.  When I woke up from this dream I quickly typed up notes on it and boy am I glad I did as I feel the meaning of the dream sinks in more now than it did when I was experiencing it.

Have you ever seen the movie "The Never Ending Story?"  If you haven't, I highly encourage you to watch it, it is a fantastic movie.  The reason I ask is because some of the characters and themes that appeared in my dream were from the Never Ending story.

The last few months I have been spending a great deal of time reassessing my values and what my highest values are in life (more to come on this in future blogs/videos).  What I have discovered is that love has always been my highest value, I just never identified it directly (again more to come at a later date). 

I share the above because it sets the backdrop and provides the inspiration, I think, for the dream.

In the dream "The Nothing," (the same Nothing from The Never Ending Story) was coming to consume the world. The Nothing is essentially a void of darkness that consumes everything, especially all light and love.

In my dream I took on Atreyu's role as the hero.  I realized the only way I could save the world and stop The Nothing was by poring as much love as possible into The Nothing.

Even though I was up against The Nothing, a gigantic void of darkness, in my dream The Nothing, like most bad guys and evil things, had an evil layer that it liked to linger and lurk at.  I conveniently knew where this was and was able to drive over to it... again, very convenient. :)

On the drive over, someone who had been consumed by the nothing got in the car.  The person was dark and soulless. he looked like a cross between an evil zombie and an evil ghost.  He tried to get me, but I was able to grab onto the side of his head and focus on pouring my love into him.  This was the first real test of my strength and I was able to free the person, but doing so left me in a weakened state after.  This process repeated as I continued moving towards The Nothing; every time I gave my love to fight The Nothing, I was drained of love available to give.

I had reached a point where I was so drained that I felt like I was not going to be able to continue on when suddenly Falkor ( a half dragon half dog from The Never Ending Story) appears.  (Side note: as a kid Falkor was one of my favorite movie characters.  I used to pretend that one day he would appear and I would jump on his back and together we would fight bad guys and help those who needed help.) Falkor had somehow managed to escape The Nothing.  When he flew up to me I began to cry tears of joy because I realized I no longer had to face The Nothing on my own.  (As I slept I could feel the tears running down my face, the dream was that powerful.)  I jumped onto Falkor's back and off we went to fight The Nothing.

Falkor got me to where I needed to be and I began to make progress in my fight against The Nothing, but as I continued to fight on, I had begun to die.  I was dying because I was rapidly running out of the love I had to pour into the fight and was not getting refueled.  Much more was going out than what was coming in.

At some point during this fight, I am transported to a briefing room, the type of room you see in the movies where all the military people are sitting around making decisions (the best part about dreams is the ability to time travel and be in multiple places at once.)  While in this briefing room I am shown a map of the world and how fast The Nothing is consuming the entire planet (think any Zombie movie where they show the map and how fast the virus is spreading).

Everyone looks to me to decide what to do, but they can all tell I am dying.  That is when a few people stand up and offer to help me fight The Nothing.  When they do this I regain some of my strength, it is like their act of kindness/love refilled me enough so that I had more love to use to fight The Nothing.

I resume my fight with The Nothing and again am making progress.  I can see the top of the hill where The Nothing resides, but the hill is getting steeper and steeper and I again am running low on energy.  The Nothing is to powerful and has to many minions and evil allies. At this point in the dream I am fighting an army of The Nothing's prisoners.  I am running low on energy and slowly begin to die.  I see something in one of the prisoners, I don't know what, but I go to her and pour what little love I have left into her.  As I do this and she changes, she changes back to a human and then into a warrior who begins to fight along side of me.  I free more prisoners and they continue to turn into warriors who help me push on up the hill.

The warriors are able to hold off The Nothing's evil minions long enough for me to make my way to the final battle at the center of The Nothing.  I am in the car driving up the hill (don't ask me how I got back into the car, it is a dream remember) right before I get to the top of the hill, which has now turned into a mountain, I stop the car because I don't have the strength to drive anymore.  I begin to cry, again, feeling defeated, feeling like I am letting the world down.

Suddenly people show up and offer to help.  I recognize some of their faces as people who I freed earlier in the dream.  One picks me up and helps me back in the car, another takes over driving, the 3rd begins to hug me, and then hugs me tighter and tighter.  This person hugs me as tight as they can and tells me, "thank you, I am so grateful that you are fighting this fight to save all of us and give us all a chance at life."

This act of love, their embrace and words, from the unidentified person give  me a new level of strength.  I felt like Link from The Legend of Zelda must have felt every time he got all of his hearts fully recharged.  I actually think that image popped into my head during the dream.  ( See this video for an example ).

Before I go into the final battle I am able to record a speech that eventually gets played around the world.  In this speech I talk about how love is the ultimate power and that if we all, from this day forward, live our lives focusing on loving others and putting our love out into the world, then The Nothing and all other evils have zero chance of ever existing again. (In the dream the speech is very heartfelt and dramatic).

I charge into the battle and then the dream ends with The Nothing being defeated and white light fills up my mind.  I do not know if I survived the battle or not, but I was aware that The Nothing's presence had been eliminated.

I have reread the above a few times now and each time I find a new metaphor or a new interpretation of different elements in the dream and the dream as a whole.

What do you think of my dream?  Are there any particular elements to it that stick out?  What metaphors did you find?

I would love to hear your thoughts.  Please share them in the comments below.  If you found value in this blog, please pass it onto your friends and encourage them to "subscribe" to it.

I am looking forward to hearing what you all think of my dream.

Carpe Diem,

Jesse

Monday, July 21, 2014

Transformers vs Critics, a Metaphor for Life

Have you seen the new Transformers movie?  If you haven't, it is a must must see, so much fun!

I will do my best to keep this post free of spoilers for those of you who have not seen the movie yet.

A couple quick updates before I begin:

International Trash Clean up Day is this Saturday, the 26th.  Are you ready?  Click here for more info.

Signups for Six Weeks to Your Greatest You begin this Friday for the RSVP list.  Remember I will only be taking 20 people in this program.  If you would like to have your name added to the RSVP list please email me by clicking here.

Let me first start off by saying that I am a BIG kid at heart.  There is nothing more my inner big kid likes to see than to see his childhood hero's come to life.

I rarely go and see movies in the theater unless they are ones that involve childhood hero's like Optimus Prime, Wolverine, and Spider Man coming to life to kick some bad guy butt.

Easily my favorite film franchise of the last several years has been the Transformers.  So you can imagine my excitement when Transformers, Age of Extinction debuted in theaters. 

Before going to see Transformers, I did my best to tune out the "critics," who seem to like to ban together to do what their name implies and criticize these movies.  I don't want to have my viewing experience influenced by people whose title implies negativity and criticism.  Similarly, I do not want my life experience influenced by those who insist on criticizing.

I have seen the movie twice now and loved it both times.  The first time I saw it my little eyes welled up with tears of excitement when the Dinobots made their debut.  It was an amazing moment.  I went to see it a second time to see if I enjoyed it as much as the first, I did.  My eyes started welling up even earlier in anticipation for the Dinobots.  Hahaha, yes, GEEK moment, I know! :)

After watching the movie I read some of the critics reviews.  Most of the reviews were littered with lines like "the plot has holes," "the movie is loud and long," etc...  Lots of criticism, and very little praise.

A couple days after my second viewing I got into a discussion with a guy at the gym.  He told me he did not like the movie, I asked him why?  He responded, "Optimus Prime flying at the end, c'mon."  I retorted, "You do realize you were watching a movie about aliens from outer space who can shape shift into cars, right?"

He then said, "Well there were like three slow motion sequences where the people go flying and the robots catch them and the people don't even have a scratch on them."  I calmly replied with, "and in this same movie there are robots who can shape shift into dinosaurs that breathe fire, and that is ok/normal?"

My point in all this, is this:  I know Transformers is not the most well acted movie or anything like that, but it sure as heck is fun, if you are willing to go in there, suspend beliefs, and watch with the wide eyed excitement we all used to have as kids.

If we could all learn to take life a little less seriously and focus a little more on having fun and being kids, I think we would all enjoy life a little more.  If we could all learn to focus a little less on the "critics" of life and a little more on the needs of our inner children, I think we would enjoy life a little more. 

In life there will always be critics, there will always be people that focus first on what is "wrong" with something instead of what is "right."  Life comes down to perception.  How we choose to perceive, ideas, events, actions, and people will change the way we view and live our lives.

Make it your mission to look at the world with the wide eyed excitement of a little kid.  Do this and you will be in store for some amazing fun.

Carpe Diem,

Jesse

P.S.  I would love to hear what you do to bring out your inner big kid.  Please share your thoughts/ideas.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Swimming with Sharks a very Special Trip

Hi All,

I hope this blog finds you smiling and happy.  If that is not the case, I hope that by the end of this blog you will have smiled at least once, and experienced a few happy thoughts and feelings. 

When I was 5 or 6 years old (or around this age) I saw the movie "Jaws" for the first time.  It literally scared the shit out of me.

No joke, by the time the movie got to the point where Jaws eats the guy in the little jetty area in front of Chief Brody's kids, I was in the bathroom crapping uncontrollable with freight.  

Also around this time, the first season of "Baywatch"had made it to TV.  Towards the end of the season one of the lifeguards, Jill, was killed in a shark attack.  I vividly remember sitting on the toilet, crying, saying "Jill why did you have to die?"

After these two experiences I was terrified to get near the ocean, go into the river, or even get into a swimming pool.  I would still go into pools and the river, but not before nearly hyperventilating and psyching myself up telling myself "it is ok."  It took me moving to Santa Barbara to be able to finally get up the nerve to get into the Pacific Ocean.

At an early age I wanted to get past this fear.  My best friend growing up owned "Jaws," so every time I would have a sleepover at his house, I would watch the movie.  I can't begin to count how many times I stayed up late, while he slept, making myself sit through the movie, trying to get over my fear.  To date, by my best estimate, I have probably watched this movie well over 30 times. Haha

Several years ago I set out to start facing my physical fears.  I went skydiving, rode on some roller coasters... I faced all of them except for the sharks.

I actually had bought a ticket to go and do the shark dive in early 2010, but the earthquake in Haiti happened, and I decided going over there to help was a better and more important way to spend my time than going to the Bahamas to swim with the sharks.  The sharks would still be there.

Over the next four years I talked often about doing this trip, but the trip didn't happen because I didn't make it happen.  Instead life went on, time passed, and the trip remained in the back of my mind.

Beginning with the end of last year, the last several months of my personal life have been very challenging.  I lost the two people I was closest to: one killed in a tragic accident, the other to changing life needs. They were (and still very much are) the most prominent, important, and loved figures in my day to day life. 

A couple months ago I began talking with my good friend Steve about how I needed to change things up and do something to help me get back on track.

(Before I go any further let me be clear.  I am a happy person, and I have worked very hard to condition myself to experience daily happiness in my life.  With that being said when you experience losses in life that person's departure brings with it certain emotions, thoughts, etc... I am a firm believer in experiencing these thoughts and feelings as they are important in the grieving and healing process.  What is essential is that when we are experiencing them, we do not become them.  I think the worse thing a person can do for their own healing process it to lie to themselves and pretend like they are fine, etc... when at times they are not fine.)

Steve and I decided that the timing was right to plan on doing the scuba driving trip to Nassau, Bahamas, to dive with the sharks.  Steve's brother joined us.

The trip was an amazing experience for multiple reasons.  

The flight out there was one of the best.  I had two different flight attendants come up to me and tell me that Steve and I were the nicest people they had ever had on their flight.  I took this as quite a compliment considering how many people they must meet on a daily basis.  It just goes to show you, even when you may not be aware that it is being appreciated, kindness is always appreciated. :)

The diving was incredible.  The first dive I saw three or four sharks that were just hanging out following us around.  It was during this dive that I was able to fully appreciate the beauty of these creatures.  They did not care about me or any of the other divers down there.  They were just doing their thing, hanging out.  I had psyched myself up so much for this moment, the first encounter with the sharks and how scared I was going to be, that I surprised myself about how calm I was and appreciative of their beauty.

When it came time for the final dive of the trip I found myself humming the theme song to Jaws before jumping into the water... I try to keep things real hahaha. 

On the decent I could see several sharks nearby.  When the party got started there were no fewer then 20 -25 sharks swarming around us.  Never once was I scared, only once, (when a 6 + foot shark came within 8 inches of being nose to nose with me) was I nervous.  Instead I again found myself marveling at how amazingly majestic the sharks were and how they just could care less that myself, or anyone else, was down there.

The fear that had consumed most of my childhood and teenage years was non existent.  What was there instead were feelings of peace, tranquility, excitement, joy... HUH?  How do these emotions exist in a place where Fear is supposed to exist?  It doesn't make sense, or does it? ;)

Isn't it interesting that in life we spend so much time fearing something unknown, or something we think we are supposed to be afraid of.  Yet when the time comes to face it we find that what we once feared is really not that scary after all.  I had this same realization when skydiving. 

This trip was one filled with amazing experiences, heart to heart talks, lots of reflection, lots of remembering, lots of questions, lots of love, and a lot of self realizations, insights, and understandings.

When life challenges you, I encourage you to take some time to get away and clear your head and heart.  Treat yourself to an experience so unique and so new as it will help you to become more present to your own thoughts and feelings.  Presence leads to clarity, clarity leads to the emotions you need to feel, processing and feeling these emotions leads to them being freed, freeing these emotions leads to healing.

Thank you for experiencing my journey with me.  I am curious, how do you deal with loss both loss as the result of death and loss as the result of someone choosing a different path in life? If you feel comfortable, please share your thoughts in the comments below.  I would love to read your insights and ideas.

I hope you enjoy the pics

I promise I will get some video put together soon so you can see the sharks up close and personal. :)

Carpe Diem,

Jesse 


















Something that made this trip extra special.  The place we dove at is called Stuarts Cove located in Nassau, Bahamas.  I knew about this place because Paul had told me about it.  He said he spent a lot of time here filming a movie and that the people at Stuarts Cove were some of the ones they worked with for the underwater shots.

Before I did the shark dive, I recognized Stuart and introduced myself, telling him we shared a mutual friend.  We chatted for five minutes or so and he shared with me some memories he had.

I had hoped in coming here that I would feel an added closeness to my friend at a time in my life where I wish more than anything I had him to talk to and get advice from about changes in my personal life.  Being down under the water, swimming with the sharks, I definitely felt that closeness.  It made the trip that much more special. :)