It’s very easy for me to be brutally honest about my past for some reason (in my writing, or even talking to strangers)… to a fault I’m told. I’ve been told to watch what I write, to edit things out, take out names, etc (all for good reason). I’ve noticed that it’s not as easy to be honest about the present though, probably for a multitude of reasons, but primarily because I don’t like worrying people. I feel like I do that a lot, to most people that know me already.
Anyhow, I sold my house in San Diego. I did it for a couple of reasons. One was financial. It was the only way to pay off a business loan I could no longer afford, for a business that failed a couple years ago. The second reason is more interesting…
It was the Florida retreat. That experience gave me such a closer connection and relationship with nature. And ever since being there, under those trees, on the medicine… I just knew I needed to find a better property for me and my girls. One that had trees, soil, gardens, land, more trees, more wildlife. Less people, more scenery. Better air, less concrete. More life.
I think a lot of people underestimate just how important these things are. How healing they can be. I think people need to remember to take their shoes off and walk on the land every once in awhile. It’s so good for your soul.
I was told that selling my house was a horrible idea. That I’m making a mistake by uprooting my daughters. And maybe they will be right, but I’m doing my best to prove them wrong.
I found (in my humble opinion) the most perfect house in San Diego Country Estates (Ramona, CA). It’s about 40 minutes northeast of San Diego. Out in the country, in the mountains. It’s perfect. It’s just under an acre of land, so nothing huge but every inch of it is utilized. There’s tons of San Pedro cactus growing everywhere (contains mescaline, similar to Peyote), lime trees (the limes are so good, they taste like oranges), a pomegranate tree, a eucalyptus tree, so many more trees…. There’s a bridge, a sauna, a hot tub, a beautiful gazebo, outdoor beds, speakers and lights all around. Raised garden boxes. Tons of land for the dogs and cat to run around and finally enjoy this planet. A horse stable… All built by the previous owner, and almost all the material was re-used from something else.
The most amazing sunrises, sunsets, full moons, mountains, one (of many) hiking trails that wraps around the mountain behind us, a waterfall, and more. And our neighbors have horses, chickens, roosters, goats, llamas, and other amazing animals. So cool!
That’s just the backyard
Most of the interior walls of the house were custom painted by the previous owner’s son. Some really cool designs. My daughters have bigger rooms than the old house, but the master is smaller. The house is just a little smaller than my old house. But the best part… There’s none of that old energy that the old house had … The energy it just couldn’t help but hold on to. The energy that I allowed into that house, primarily because of my alcoholism and addiction problems of my past. This doesn’t exist in Ramona.
You can feel it when you walk onto the property. I can see it in my daughters’ faces when I get home. You can see it our pets. Even Rexy, the bearded dragon, has more life in him.
More than just a new address
So many changes had to be implemented. First, a very large purge had to happen. Over the last decade, I’ve accumulated an obscene amount of “stuff”. Almost all completely unnecessary. It took about two dumpsters full, to just get rid of the things prioritized for the ‘first wave’, so we didn’t have to bring all this stuff to the new home. The ‘second wave’ is in process now, and that’s getting rid of things that are at the new home but we just don’t have the space for or the need for. It felt good to get rid of so much stuff.
With the help of some friends, I was also able to sell a lot of my more valuable items I needed to get rid of, which is what we lived off of for awhile (along with loans I got from numerous friends and family… Thank you!!).
I also made a firm decision to better my health, my behaviors, and be the best role model I can be for my daughters.
First step was to clear my body and mind, and with the help of my dear friend Ty, I participated in an iboga ceremony to help me on this journey. It lasted 3 days, and the first night was pretty intense. Since taking this sacred medicine, I feel healthier in the mind, body and soul. There was a lot of introspection that gave me the motivation to make other positive behavior changes that I started implementing right away.
It’s a practice I started to do around sunrise every morning for 15-30 minutes, and also at night. Other changes I’ve made to my morning routine… I drink cacao instead of coffee. It’s so much better than coffee and you don’t get the jitters. It doesn’t constrict your blood vessels like caffeine does. It does the opposite (dilates them). It doesn’t increase your cortisol levels (stress) like caffeine does. And it tastes like hot chocolate with a little spice to it. It’s wonderful and I try and get as many people to try it as possible. Feels so much better to not rely on caffeine. Caffeine causes the tiredness that you are trying to avoid by using it. It doesn’t make sense.
It gets hot
After my cacao, I usually go in the sauna. It’s set at around 190 degrees fahrenheit, and after adding just a few drops of water onto the rocks, it gets super hot, pretty quick. Going into the sauna every morning for 15-20 minutes feels amazing. But not only that, there’s so many more health benefits, like decreasing your risk of dementia.
Did you know…
There’s studies that show using a sauna 3+ times per week, decreases your risk of dementia by over 50%. That’s crazy good results (even 40 years after the study started). There’s no medication that can claim anything even close to those results. You still have to be careful though, because too much heat for too long will actually double your risk of dementia. For example, people that used over 100 degrees celsius doubled their risk of dementia compared to people using <80 degrees celsius during the first twenty years of follow up.
Frequent sauna bathing is also associated with reduced risk of hypertension (Zaccardi et al., 2017) and cardiovascular diseases (Laukkanen et al., 2018b).
Increases in beta-endorphin levels are why you get a feeling of well-being after the sauna. You also get sleep benefits from using a sauna regularly, which lowers your risk for Alzheimer’s and many other diseases.
There are still risks…
All those benefits go out the window, and negative side effects may occur if you set the temperature too high, or you go in for too long of a duration. Stick to 15-20 minutes, 4-7x a week. It seems like a sweet spot.
Oh and it doesn’t make you lose weight. The amount of water that you lose is quickly and easily replaced. So you still need to do some daily activity. The sauna doesn’t replace needing to do physical activity.
Immediately after leaving the sauna, I take a very cold, outdoor shower with the hose, to rinse off all the toxins (from the day before) that I just sweated out. This kind of shocks your system too.
No matter how healthy of a lifestyle you live, there will always be toxins in this modern world. If you eat any fish or seafood from the ocean regularly, you’re probably ingesting a surprising amount of plastic unfortunately… If you live in the city, all the exhaust, and other manufacturing fumes, etc., etc., We are our environment, and vice versa. Can’t get away from it. Heck, if I have an iced tea, I feel a little hungover the next day… and tired. It’s annoying. The sauna helps get all that out of your body and mind.
There’s also a hot tub, which is always at 102 degrees, and occasionally I’ll use this instead of the sauna. There’s similar health benefits, and it helps relax the muscles and back. The jets feel like you’re getting a back massage.
It’s hard to describe. But it’s what I’ve been missing for awhile. Since selling my house, and buying another house, buying a car, selling the car, and buying another car, then moving in and unpacking… I haven’t been skateboarding. When in the mix of all that turmoil, I forgot one of the most important parts of my day. My daily physical activity. My daily dose of being outside, in the sun, sweating, getting into that flow state, that feeling of zen, where you can do no wrong. You land every trick with style. You run faster, farther, and you feel no pain. The runner’s high. I put myself in that state multiple times a day, every single day of the week. It kept my depression non-existent.. It kept me from smoking. It kept me from drinking. It kept me out of trouble. And without it, I get irritable, easily frustrated, things don’t seem to go my way (even when it’s not so obviously me that’s causing it)… My depression comes creeping back in the room, slides in like a creepy fucker leaning against the wall, acting like they’ve been there the whole time…
I forgot just how important physical activity is, not just for my body but for my mind as well. Without some form of activity regularly, everything just feels shittier.
The new driveway isn’t very large, and I’m getting rid of my skateboard ramps, because there’s no room for them, and the streets aren’t paved very well around here… It’s just not the best area for skating… So I bought some running shoes.
There’s a trail that starts right behind my property. It goes around the mountain that’s right behind the property. It’s a 3 mile loop around the mountain, and takes half mile to get there and half mile back, and the trail has a lot of up and down, and some of it is sand, other parts are dirt.
I’m usually one of the only ones on the trail (sometimes I see a couple other hikers). I have to remind myself to look up quite often, because most of the time that I’m running, I’m looking down ahead of my feet, on the trail. Primarily to avoid any domestic animal or wildlife poop and to avoid running on all the ants that are along the trail. Or I just wander off into some zone, in my head.
I can’t run the whole distance without taking a few seconds or minutes walking here and there, but those breaks are required less and less, the more times I do it.
But I always get a runner’s high, every time I go out on the trail. And it’s awesome. Sometimes I’ll be running for awhile, and then I realize I haven’t felt the runner’s high yet, and I’ll just start running a little faster and it just puts me right into that state. Like the push of a button.. And when it happens, the hairs on my arms and neck feel like they’re sticking straight up. The first few times it happened (recently), it felt like a flood of emotions were being released. Was intense. I immediately felt a fog lifted from me, as my depression waned…
It’s interesting… After about 30 minutes of running, my mind seems to start working overtime. I start remembering things that we’re owed to me. Things I’ve forgotten to do. I start worrying about things. I start getting angry (at me, at the world, at all of us, at humanity, the list goes on…) and sometimes I feel entitled… out of nowhere. And it seems to snowball until I notice myself getting into this weird frenzy of thoughts… this storm of non-serving anxiety. I literally have to tell myself to slow down, breathe… stop being an asshole… And sometimes I take off my headphones, and continue to run and just listen to me breathing… listen to the birds and bugs, and other wildlife, just going about their day. It’s a weird cycle but I’m getting better at minimizing that storm… or at least, not let it bother me so much. It will come, if it needs to… Just need to recognize and deal with it.
I find I’m definitely more productive after a good run. If I write, right after running, the sentences come out very easily and instinctly. <– my computer thinks that word is misspelled, but there’s references from several other sources that use the word as I have here.
Don’t get me wrong…
There’s days I don’t want to do some parts of the routine. If I’m being honest, most of the time, I don’t really want to. There’s mornings when I start my run, and I’m dreading every second of it. It sometimes feels like I could not even possibly make it all the way around the mountain… Sometimes, it feels too cold (depending on how early I go out. But if I just do it, it feels that much more sweet, when I’ve accomplished what I promised myself I would. It feels amazing and makes it all worth it.
I also need to remember … all these things I’ve put in place or set in motion.. They’re all important. It’s how I’ve got to where I am right now, and I like the trajectory I’m going in… If I stop doing one of them or several, it would be very easy to unravel and come complacent and stop growing. And that’s boring, and just wasted time.
Not too far…
Julian, CA isn’t that far from where we live so we jumped in the car and just went one morning.
It’s a pretty cool little mountain town, with an old gold mine, and great apples. They’re known for their cider, apple pie, cute little shops and restaurants along main street (which is only a few blocks long). There’s a tour of the gold mine, and the tour guide is the same guy that’s been doing it for years. The girls had fun. We were going to go to the pumpkin patch there, but by the time we got out of the gold mine tour, it was too late. They were closed. Bummer.
This was a major stressor for the past few months. Where the girls were going to go to school. They had a lot of anxiety about it. But I think we got it figured out. The girls didn’t want to change schools, but to drive back to our old neighborhood is about 40 minutes each way, so that wasn’t really feasible. They didn’t want to start a new, big school in the middle of the year, so we decided to try an alternative school. It is a hybrid model… between home schooling (independent study) and daily classes.. The classes are very small (like 10 kids). They go for a couple hours most days, and the rest of the time they’re supposed to get the work done at home. Which is perfect. It allows us to travel and not be penalized for attendance. Which is something we’re planning on doing a lot more of (traveling). I met some of the teachers, and I really like their vibe.
I’ve been trying to get as much of our food from local sources as possible. Support the local farmer and all. Plus it tastes so much better, it’s organic, and it’s sometimes cheaper than grocery store. There’s an egg farm down the road, and for our meat I go to this butcher off of main st. There’s a stand on the side of the road, that sells various fruits and vegetables, open on the weekends. And there’s this amazing natural market off of main st. that sells all organic produce, all locally sourced when possible, and they have a juice bar, a restaurant in the back, and live music on Thursdays. It’s not cheap but it’s so much better than going to the Albertson’s down the road. And on Saturday’s, there’s a decent farmers market in Poway, which isn’t too far. I don’t eat any processed food anymore really.. And I’m trying to get my daughters off of fast food and store bought, packaged food, like oreos and dino nuggets… It’s a process.
The pets got an upgrade
I started noticing that Cocoa (my mini daschund) was very easily and noticeably affected by the brand or type of food I was feeding her. There was one brand that she loved, but looked like grey slop.. After one week, couldn’t walk up the stairs. She was too fat and heavy. She would just cry until someone picked her up. So I found another line of food (from the same company though) that seemed like fresher food and she did much better – but it was expensive. So I decided to make their food at home. I just make the rice, heat up the organic frozen mixed vegetables, and cook some ground beef, or ground turkey, or chicken. The dogs (and cat) love it, and I think it’s better for them and it’s definitely cheaper. The meat I use for them is also from the same butcher. I’m still researching if I need to supplement this kind of diet with something they’re not getting, for these dogs and cat. Will update later…
I started eating fish again. When I was in high school I think, I ate some salmon my mom cooked (which we had regularly), and for some reason my throat closed up and I had to make myself vomit, in order to start breathing again. From that day forward, I never ate another piece of fish or seafood again. Until a couple months ago, I decided to try some fish tacos my good friend made, and I didn’t die, so I tried fish a few more times, and all is well! I still don’t like a lot of seafood, but some of the more basic fish, I’ll enjoy trying again.
I also started eating mushrooms (the kind most people eat … not referring to medicinal mushrooms). Never liked them for the 44 years I’ve been alive. Until about two weeks ago.. we fried some in butter and salt and pepper and they were delicious. So I’ve been buying as many different kinds of mushrooms as I can and trying them all. So far, there’s not many I don’t love. I can’t believe I never tried to eat them before.
Now, there are lies in the facets of everything that we see“I Am” by Satsang
It’s so strange… how set in our ways we get. Or at least me… It’s why some plant medicines are so powerful. They disrupt these kinds of set behavior patterns, allowing me to be more open to try new things… to see things that are going on in my life, from a different perspective. To reconnect with nature. You’re allowing yourself to heal again. Assigning your energy to places you need to make changes to, instead of cementing further and reinforcing your old ways that no longer serve you.