01 March 2016

Open Letter to my soon to be born son

(your goddess of a mother and you in her belly w/ glorious Mt Shasta in the background)

First and foremost, I feel compelled to get this out there right from the get-go, just so it is absolutely crystal clear you understand this important bit of truth, I love you, son. There will never be a time in your life when that is untrue. I mean it son, no matter what may ever happen, no matter what you may or may not do, I love you. I love you and I accept you for the person you are, regardless of whoever that person you are grows up to be (hopefully you don’t turn out to be a complete asshole though, because that would kinda suck). Sincerely though my son, I will always be there for you. No matter what.

So, if all goes "according to plan", you are going to be born in the next couple weeks here, really it could be any day at this point. The truth is, I meant to sit down and write this to you months ago, But that is a part of this letter I suppose, giving you a glimpse of how your father operates in this world. It’s not that I’m a total procrastinator but sometimes it takes great effort to stay focused and follow through with whatever task it is at hand. That’s just one aspect of me though and by no means is it a defining trait. This letter is partly a way to give you an idea of not only who your father is, as a friend, son, father, lover, employee, boss, or whatever, but also to give you a heads up as to what this beautiful, often crazy, outrageous and absolutely confusing world you've decided to come into is all about (from one humble and admittedly limited perspective).

I did set an intention in my mind to write this to you months ago, though. I had a good feeling that I'd get it done before you were born but, as you'll likely find out as you get older, your old man is a dreamer and sets out to do all sorts of shit and maybe half the time it actually comes to fruition. Sometimes I repeat myself, too. And often I say in 50 words what could be said in 5. It's a part of my journey and I suppose because of that, it is going to be a part of yours as well. The goal here though is, that by the time you’re old enough to formulate some complex thoughts and observations about where you are and what you have in this world, at the very least, you'll be able to see that you have parents who (as weird and ridiculous as they are) have succeeded in providing a good, wholesome life for you. That's really all I wish and pray for when it comes right down to it.

I imagine at this point in my life, there's a nice big and wide spectrum of opinions (and I'm sure a fair amount of judgements) about who the man you call dad is in this world. I'm a “good guy” to some, a “bad guy” to others, and to others I’m somewhere in between. The truth is, I've devoted myself to being as good of a person as I can be in this here reality. My life's ambition is to always be a generous, thoughtful, kind, helpful, hardworking, compassionate, human being. I simply desire to create as much peace and harmony in this world as I can, and yet I - just like everyone else alive - can be an inconsiderate asshole sometimes, too. And of course, there's this important point, that being that I'm also a big damn optimistic fool with coyote/trickster tendencies. To be sure, I'm on the fool's journey, the hero is also on the same path of course, and I'm certain at different points down this road I travel I may even be confused as the character playing the role of that guy as well. The hell if I know what is actually going on around here though (I'm just doing the best I can like everyone else). But that is also a part of the reason I write this to you, to be able to understand myself and share with you what sense I’ve made of this crazy ass thing we call life. Anyone though who claims to have any of it figured out - at all - is full of shit by the way.

So here's the scoop. At this point in time, your mother and I have a reasonably small amount of debt (which is actually amazing considering most people in the U.S of A are victims of pretty much what amounts to debt slavery or some twisted form of indentured servitude). You have no concept of what debt is just yet and that is a good thing...  I've worked over 30 different actual "jobs" in my short life and I still haven't exactly figured out what is going to consistently pay the bills. Admittedly, I am what you'd call an "artist" and I've chosen to boldly, foolishly (stupidly?) attempt to make a living doing something that I both love doing, and am proud of as well. What I am not is a good business man though. That basically means I’ve spent the last 15 years or so throwing shit at the wall - while most of that time primarily working in the restaurant/service industry to earn an income - and so far, having little of it stick. Needless to say, I have yet to succeed in making a living out of my artistic passions just yet.

So, at this moment I'm presently also doing manual labor building garden beds for organic gardening with a bit of landscaping in the mix, too. You bet your ass I’m still throwing shit at the wall though son! Thankfully, I'm loving this work and it does bring a level of satisfaction into my life that I am pleased with. It's good, honest work and growing food is something I've always been in to. You’re mother and I also rent out our little back house and have a modest income from that as well. The reason I say this here and now is because there's probably a fair amount of people out there who don't have a clue what I do with my life (or what I'm doing with my life), as far as how I provide for my family and earn an income and I'm willing to bet there are plenty of opinions about that (and judgements of course), too. The artist part of me is not so easy to describe but in short, I love to take pictures, write, draw, make videos, tell stories, make fabric art, make folk herbal medicine potions, paint, and, create using any medium I find suitable in the whim of the moment. I've attempted to make a few of these artistic passions into a career and so far, none have proven to pay the bills regularly and so, until they do, I persist in working the grind (and seeing if I can get more of this shit to stick)...

Did I mention I love you? Because, ultimately, that is why I am sitting in front of this computer writing these words right now. I wanted to at the very least, leave you with some words to reflect on (if you feel so inclined) about your father, knowing that they were written specifically to be read by you. There's no guarantees in this life (except death) and I may not be around to tell you all this one day and so I am taking this opportunity now to express these thoughts and feelings with you, my son. Yeah, it's true I'm going to share them publicly, well before you are able to read them. The thing about that is, as a partially “self aware” fool, I have hopes that these words can reach other eyes and hearts and who knows, maybe even be seen far and wide in one of those crazy viral posts that just spreads like wild fire (I've always wanted to create something that would do that!). It probably won't but it would be cool if it did... I imagine plenty of people can relate to what I'm writing here. For real though, son, these words are meant for you. This message is directed at you. I love you and this is my attempt to express that as coherently as I can while also doing my best to give you an idea of how your father views this world, this reality, and how he interacts with it and try's fool-heartedly to make any sort of damn sense out of it all. We're - all of us - just making this all up as we go after all, now that I'm the "grown-up" I'm in that position to pretend even harder like I have any clue what to do next. Also, while I will have read through this a few times and edited it to the best of my limited ability, the truth is, my writing skills are only so-so and so, I thank you for compassionately sticking with me as I jumble together the next few thousand words...

So, let's start with the facts. I'm now 34 years old as I write these words. Your mother, your sweet, lovely, kind, creative, passionate dear goddess of a mother, is 42. We live in Portland, Oregon. I was once married to another woman and have a daughter who is now going to be your sister, she’s almost 8 and she is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me in this life. Her mother and I were young and damn foolish and while our marriage didn't end up working out there was plenty of love that brought your sister into this world and I don't regret that for a second. And more importantly, that relationship helped me to learn how to be a better partner and husband now, many lessons were learned and I apply all of them to my relationship with your mom. I am grateful that her and I are so close and are both invested in each other and are also taking care of and loving ourselves as well (which is hugely important to everything we do in this life). I’ve learned how to be a pretty decent father and have had nearly 8 years of mistakes and lessons learned through trial and error that are going to be to your advantage this time around. I think you’re really going to dig your sister, too. She’s awesome.

If all goes well, in a couple weeks here (or at any moment) you are going to literally come into this world out of your mother's womb and join us in this very house where I write these words.  Your mom and I are presently in the midst of attempting to create and self-publish a children's storybook called Honey for a Song, it has a sweet sing along song, too. It's adorable. Your mother is needle felting the images for the book and they are incredible. She's so damn talented that mother of yours... Anyways, we live in this cozy, quaint house and may live here for another many years though if we have our way and our dreams become our reality down the road, we're going to live on our own land where we own and operate a hot springs resort, with a goal for it to eventually be completely “off grid” and self sufficient and we intend to spend the rest of our days living on that land. If we can pull this shit off, son, it's going to be so amazing. Oh, and if you haven't gathered it by now I'll go ahead and point out that I like to use swear words from time to time. I add that because, some people are offended by them but honestly, for me they are a welcome addition to the english language, primarily used for emphasis by me and also, I just find them enjoyable to use. I do keep them to a bare minimum in front of the little ones though. With that said, my favorite declaration for 15 plus years now has been “Fuck yeah!”.

Anyways, the thing about this reality for me is, I do my best to remember it is a duality we're dealing with here and each of us lives a life filled with contradictions (and to some degree, we all are dealing with some level of hypocrisy in our own lives, too). There is good and there is bad and while that can get out of alignment and seem unbalanced, the truth is, if we live in a paradigm where there is duality, life will always be filled with ups and downs, light and dark, and good and bad and that's just that. There's a whole lot out there in the world that, if you look at it closely, would lead one to believe that the endt times are near. Though, with a slightly different perspective, there's a way to see (and believe) that things still might just turn out alright. Maybe...

Well, there's just a few other things I'd like to "get off my chest" as they say before I wrap this up. The first big thing is, this world is pretty fucked right now. I have no intentions of sugar coating it for you. I mean, there may be hope for us humans and this world as it goes, but at present, the direction we're heading and the momentum with which we're heading there, well, let's just say the wheels are likely going to fall off at any point now and the floor is going to collapse beneath our collective feet. Shit's fucked up, son. Politics in general are as corrupt as ever, there are wars that are raging all over the world, natural resources - the staples of our very survival - are being diminished faster than we can even begin to start replenishing them, there's hatred in the hearts of so many people right now that I just am not sure how their hatred isn't going to poison and destroy us all. Racism is as strong and ugly as ever, sexism is a horrendous part of our "civilizations" reality. There are religious wars being fought all over the place, too. We've got a rigged economy and an unequal financial system that is so appalling that to actually take it in and realize what is happening might make you literally sick (and should make you mad as hell). Save for a tiny few of us, we really are the 99%, the 99% getting fucked that is... Sure, there's some sort of glimmer of hope that it will all change and get better but at this rate, I guess I just apologize for the fact that you have to witness it yourself and try and make sense of it all as you come of age. It doesn't make sense to me of course and on top of that, I'm terribly sorry you have to witness and experience it and I'm super embarrassed it still exists on any level, too, son. I really am. As I write these very words there is a man running for president of the United States of America, a front runner for the position - that millions of people support mind you - who is a reality television star (among other things) who is openly both racist and sexist and on top of that, is filled with hate and rage and is an extreme advocate for the perpetuation of war so, I guess that gives you a good example of just how bad things have gotten around these parts. I'm admittedly an idealist though and with that said, there is a growing glimmer of hope if you happen to feel the Bern...

Then there's the atrocious shit like the fact that the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are loaning money to third world countries as a way to force them to open up their markets and resources for looting by us here in America (and other big nations). I've also just been reading about how central banks are intentionally impoverishing their host countries to justify economic and legal changes which allow looting by foreign interests, as well. People getting fucked every which way, son. Basically, from where I sit, it would appear that there are a number of wealthy and powerful people and groups in the world today that specifically (and solely) have their own interests in mind and mainly those interests are to be more wealthy, have more power, and control the masses, and not in a benevolent - we know what's best for you so we'll take care of you - kind of way but instead in a despicable - we know what's best for us so we'll "take care" of you - kind of way. These folks could give two shits about the next seven generations. And because of this the global economy and its house of cards is ready to topple at any moment here, it almost happened in 2008 but I’m pretty sure it actually is going to happen sooner rather than later. As I’ve said before son, shit is pretty fucked up right now.

The healthcare system here in America is just awful, too. There’s been efforts to improve it lately (Obamacare is a pretty good example) but overall it’s still all sorts of fucked up. We’re in the midst of dealing with a couple of “headaches” ourselves in regards to your birth and also dealing with our dear cat Maximoose, too. It’s financially nearly crippling for us and quite frankly it's terrifying. It has caused so much hardship and stress in our lives that I do not wish for anyone to ever have to experience anything like it. And of course, unfortunately it is happening to people all over the place as I write these words (often with much worse circumstances than ours, too. We're “lucky” we just “qualified” for more credit/debt…). I could get more into detail with this but I’ll leave it at healthcare in the country we currently live in (while seemingly getting better)  is still absolutely fucking terrible. It has ruined millions of people’s lives and has added to the horrible business of debt and indentured servitude I’ve mentioned above. It’s so fucking gross. I feel compelled to add here that I've typically been a fairly happy-go-lucky kinda guy who almost tried to will the shitty shit in this world out of existence, pretending that it doesn't exist even but that is not the guy (your father) who is writing this now. This is as cynical and pessimistic as I have ever been about the state of this reality. It's quite an exercise in being more realistic, more angry, and less idealistic I suppose, but I digress...

There are also military forces committing mass genocide right now in different parts of the world that is amounting to millions and millions of people dying every year. That’s right. Right now, as I write these words that is happening. This summer when your mother and I were traveling through Europe on our honeymoon (you were hardly much more than a zygote then), Syrian refugees were on the trains we were riding, fleeing their war torn country. This is a part of our reality right now, son. It's fucking appalling and it is taking place in different parts of the world, every single day. There are homeless people everywhere, human beings, our species, a part of our greater collective family, that live without shelter, without access to clean water, food, clothes, and basic resources and this exists in every corner of the world and so far, son, we the people have not gathered together and ended this in our world. I'd like to be able to explain why that is to you, but so far, I still have no good answer to give. The military budget of the United States of America alone could eradicate homelessness and poverty world wide, I'm pretty sure in one single year if it were to re-direct those funds that it currently has being pumped into machines of death and destruction and training humans to be agents of death and destruction as well. There seems to be little to no chance of that happening though, it's not even a part of the collectives narrative at this point in time. As I’ve been saying son, shit is pretty fucked up right now.

Our environment, the ecosystem of our world is all sorts of fucked up, too. The whole entire planet is rapidly rising in temperature and while that may not be entirely a direct cause of humanity's destructive ways, we're certainly giving it a go to encourage it to get worse before it gets better. We’re blowing the tops off of mountains, fracking deep into the earth, pumping chemical cocktails into it to extract oil and natural gas, and raping, pillaging, and plundering the natural resources of our world with a reckless abandon. The water has been systematically poisoned and when not being poisoned, bottled and sold instead of it being a free birthright of every single living organism on the planet, no, in this world, we have to pay for water! The air and soil are filled with pollutants, toxins, poisons, heavy metals, and things that do absolutely no good to all the important living aspects of our world (Symbiosis be damned!). Just days ago we here in Portland learned that our air has been filled with cadmium and arsenic and other heavy metals that came from a couple glass factories that have been emitting them for decades now into our precious clean air and apparently this was known by environmental agencies for years and years and years and nothing has been done about it and the public went on un-aware. It’s just now being publicly addressed.  I know, explain that, right? I think there is about to be a state of emergency declared over this actually.

I’d like to say ignorance is bliss about all of this but...

There are parts of the ocean right now that are filled with entire island sized piles of trash, plastic and junk is just swirling around destroying ocean life and diminishing the diversity of life on the planet. This is happening all throughout the animal kingdom on land and sea and can be linked to humans and our negligent and destructive ways. This extinction rate is on level with and is happening as rapidly as any of the previous known mass-extinction periods that have occurred in our Earth’s history, and we’re responsible for it.

And yes, son, make no mistake,  we humans, your fellow man, we are the direct cause of so much of this horrible reality that I've just illuminated here. It is us (you and me included) waking, living, breathing human animals in this world that are a huge part of the problem. I think for the most part - here in America at least - most people have been lulled into complacency and gotten comfortable with the level of repetitive mediocrity that allows us to collectively just let this all happen right in front of our eyes. The bread and circus of today is just good enough of a distraction for most people to not feel it necessary to change a thing. It's not pretty is it? The prospects aren't that good are they? Aren't you glad you've decided to join the party, son?

Sincerely though, there is the other side of the spectrum that I'm going to go ahead and look at here a little more closely and ideally, leave you with a slightly better taste in your mouth. Now, we've established pretty well that shit is pretty fucked up, right? That is abundantly clear I would even say. I hardly scratched the surface on why it is so fucked up but I've laid enough of it out for you to get the picture. There is good news, too though. Peace, consciousness, mindfulness, compassion, and harmony are getting some time in the spotlight. Life expectancy overall seems to be going steadily up. Technology has lead us to a point where we are so connected that one's thoughts can now literally travel nearly instantaneously all around the world if one so chooses to share them, the implications of that are nearly beyond comprehension. Before this was available to the average person the Mainstream Media was basically the only source of information available to the masses and they only shared a narrow, controlled perspective of fear and worry that fueled individuals desperation and feelings of unimportance, but now individuals can share positive stories (and the horrible ones that are hidden from the light) which reveal truths that help spread this knowledge far and wide helping to break down those walls of basically an intentional ignorance, an ignorance that systematically fuels and perpetuates the said complacency and passivity that rules so many. This "awakening" process is proper paradigm shifting business right here!

There have also been exciting advancements in solar technologies and other "green" renewable energy sources and now the energy harvesting and storage of these systems is to a point where it is replacing fossil fuels entirely in some countries and parts of the world. Also, we're getting closer and closer to a point where space travel can actually, truly be a viable part of our future (I know it still may not happen in our lifetimes but I'm an eternal optimist and not-so-secret sci-fi nerd!), while the bigger benefits of that might not be realized in my lifetime it is still pretty awesome to consider what may come of it (unless of course the secret space program is real in which case this is already happening…) Travelling to other worlds as a way to save humanity might not be the answer but it’s still intriguing to think about. And while racism and sexism are rampant and are a systemic problem still in a lot of the world, because of technological advancements (and through them nearly instantaneous communications), we've collectively gotten angry enough and fed up enough with these being a part our reality that the masses are demanding things change, and indeed, the narrative is changing and these issues are seeing some improvement. Black Lives Matter is a great example of this. The power of information is now pretty much in the hands of everyone who's willing to look for it and share it.

And perhaps one of the greatest bits of good news I can share with you is that you have chosen to enter into a family with a mother and father who love and care for each other dearly and are brave and foolish enough to believe they can help tell a better story for today and for the future. There are many more people out there doing the same and as we continue to practice kindness, compassion, true forgiveness, and be examples of peace and love, this will spread and transform our lives and those around us, too. We also are absolutely blessed in that we have a network of friends and family who love us and are a part of a support system that you now fall into the fold of as well. Not everybody is fortunate to have this and we are so grateful for this. We also try and bring as much ceremony and healthy traditions into our lives as we can because, well shit, this life is fucking hard man! Ceremony helps bring us together in the present and gives us an opportunity to have a richer and better quality of life, in the moment. And of course, as I’ve mentioned above, I’m not perfect and by no means do I think that your mother and I are going to be able to be shining examples all the time of these ideals I’ve set forth as a part of the new story we’re attempting to tell, but I do believe that if we persist in living with peace and love in our hearts and with actions that reflect them, this will ripple out into the world at large and that is really all we can hope for. There are so many ways to live in this world, each of us has our own idea of what is “right” or “wrong” and “good” or “bad”, ultimately if we are as kind as we can be to each other and actually practice forgiveness (with ourselves and others), that is absolutely enough. It comes down to mindfulness and balance. We are all in this together no matter how you slice or dice it so compassion, true forgiveness, and respect for all living things is a huge personal act!

Yes, son, there are a many good things happening in this world that give one hope and a sense that maybe, just maybe, we've not fucked everything up beyond repair. Maybe...

One more thing, son. It's now the month of March in the year of 2016. I'm very glad I've sat down and written out these words for you. Truthfully, this is very important to me. You see, while I love my dad dearly, and indeed, I consider my childhood under his and my mother's care to be for the most part pretty great even (and that I thought I had one of the greatest dads of all time growing up), lately though (for basically my entire adult life), our relationship has become less than exemplary. I think after I reached a certain age, my early twenties I suppose, I made enough foolish choices, stupid mistakes, and enough brazen declarations to have lead my dad and I not to have a very good relationship. And let me tell you first hand, that fucking sucks. I'd like nothing more than to be close with my pops. I love him so much and it has been painful this past ten plus years or so to not have a close bond with him any longer. I accept him for who he is, we don't agree on everything but that doesn't stop me from loving him or make me want to deny him a relationship with me, for him though, this seems to be exactly the case. A conditional relationship is what we have at this point and I don't seem to meet his conditions. And I hope, wish, pray, and would do basically anything in the world to see to it that you and I stay close and have a wonderful relationship till my last breath. It is of course a two way street and I don't get to call the shots on whether or not you'll want that when you’re older. Maybe I'll do something so horribly bad in your eyes as to be forever unforgivable (a term I don't believe in). I sure hope that doesn't happen but I'm just a human being who's bound to fuck up a good number of times more in my life so who knows? Ideally that doesn't happen though, maybe they'll be a time when I embarrass the hell out of you, and you don't want to be caught dead in public with me and you know what son, that's just fine. As long as at the end of the day we still are tight and we have respect for one another and don't hold onto any shit that ends up getting in the way of us just loving each other, that's just fine with me. There's still hope for that with me and your grandpa too and I'll continue to be a foolish idealist and believe we will one day achieve that level of mutual respect, kindness, compassion, forgiveness and of course most importantly, acceptance of each other as well.

Okay, alright, here's the thing, son. It's just, I love you so much. You haven't even come into this world yet and I love you beyond comprehension. That first moment I hold you will be one of the greatest moments of my life. That is a fact. Your mother and I are going to do our best with you and as I wrap this up I also send out a huge, gigantic, blanket apology for all the times we fuck up, argue, embarrass you, get mad at you, and unfortunately, make you feel bad, during our lifetime. I assure you, that will never be our mindful intention. I can say that with certainty. Your mother and I are going to do everything in our power to make your life as safe, comfortable, loving, peaceful, and harmonious as we possibly can. It likely may not always be that way but dammit, that's what we're going to try to give you! There's a million books on parenting and everyone has their opinion on how one should best parent their child, and while I will read some of those books and listen to many of those opinions, I am always going to do my very best to treat you with love, kindness, compassion, and respect. That is my declaration to you with these words.

Okay, that’s all for now. I love you, son. I will cherish every second of my life that I get to share with you. I truly have no idea what the future may bring. All I can be certain of is that you will have my undying love and affection. I am more certain of this than nearly anything I've ever been certain of in all of my life.