bday reflection

(picture taken today with my folks after birthday lunch)
family on bday
Today I turned 37.
It’s funny….
I still think of myself as “post-college-aged.”
But 37 is definitely “not young.”
Hell, lots of people have already had their mid-life crises by this time.
And I still like to think about what I’ll do “when I grow up.”
But when I sit back and look at my life, I am pretty darn happy with where I’m at.
In fact, this last year has been nothing short of extraordinary.

The Hugmobile
From the idea’s inception, to her artistic transformation, to grandpa’s ashes integration, to the 6 city Hug Tour of last October. As I described the whole thing last weekend, I realized it may be the artistic “performance” I am most proud of.
Andicat, Huggy, & Me

This birthday marks our year anniversary since first contacting each other online. It has been a growth-filled journey of rich communication and supportive adventures.

as happy as I get
Caleb J
Spending time with my nephew this year has been so wonderful. I feel like his purity teaches me lessons as profound as the wisest spiritual teachers. I’ve also found a renewed respect and awe for all the parents out there.
family on bday

My social life has transformed into far less clubbing and far more brunching. The truth is I really, really enjoy spending time with my parents, brother, sister-in-law, and nephew.

This year I tried to let go of ambition and focus more on being true to the moment. I tried to make ‘living in love and integrity’ my main objective. The result was more opportunities (with less stress) than I have ever had before.

I am so blessed.
If you are reading this, thank you for being a part of my life.

Grandpa on my mind. Grandpa in my heart.

Grandpa & me

I found myself telling stories about Grandpa and HugNation a lot this weekend at the Lightning in a Bottle festival.
Of course, I was living in the glorious Hugmobile, so grandpa’s presence (and his physical ashes) were very close. Plus I gifted dozens of Grandpa Caleb ‘Love on demand’ DVDs to new and old friends.
Even so, Grandpa played a much bigger part of the weekend than I expected.

As I prepared for the event, I was more focused on my cool new outfits and my daring “no pink fur’ proclamation.
Thankfully, my attire did not remain on the forefront of my mind. (Although I did look fabulous.)
It seems much longer than a year ago that I was at the same festival. Grandpa had just passed and I was filled with uncertainty.
I was unsure if I should keep doing Hug Nation.
I wasn’t sure if I was worthy.
Then the Hugmobile idea was born. And the hug tour. And the universe seemed to steer me exactly where I was supposed to go. Grandpa never felt very far away.
And even though I don’t have anything as concrete as a weekly lunch date with him, his spirit influences me stronger than ever.

When I got home from the festival last night, I checked email (of course) and saw a number of comments to old youtube videos of me and Grandpa.
So I clicked to read the comment, and found myself watching the video.
And I started crying.
I have told stories of grandpa so much, that the stories are almost as vivid as the memories.
So watching him was more emotional that I expected.
Seeing him. Hearing him. Feeling his energy through the screen.
I couldn’t stop crying.
Partly because I miss him.
Partly because I wish he could see who I am becoming.
Partly because seeing him radiate so beautifully, was just…too much.
I could see now that much of the growth I’ve experienced in the last year has been towards Grandpa consciousness.
Even without fresh words or hugs or physical presence, he teaches me – subconsciously- from deep inside. Maybe they are seeds planted long ago. Maybe it is something else.
Watching the video made me respect him even more. Things I dismissed as an old man’s silliness seem deeply profound now.
Realizations I have had in recent weeks were things he embodied all along.
I rarely miss him. But while I watched the two of us interact and could see the love between us, the tears would not stop.
My gratitude for our shared time still FAR outweighs the pain of loss…but I was definitely feeling the loss last night.
I miss you, Grandpa.

p.s. HugNation is today at 1pm PST. Join us!