Tuesday, January 20, 2009



JOY! JOY!!" - Ren & Stimpy

While millions of people around the world tuned in to watch the inauguration preceedings, my buddy Laurens and I retreated to the valleys of Waimanalo to celebrate the new presidency by spending more time with new friends at Olomana Gardens.

We thought it appropriate to take step back to nature and simplicity as the rest of the world held its breath and wept while Barrack Obama, the great Icon of Hope for our generation, was sworn into office.  In celebration of new beginnings, we questioned and further explored new territory in what we want our lives to stand for, and how we want to live.

In doing so, we spent the morning the interns and WWOOFers living on the farm to learn more about organic permacultre and aquaculture, then hiked watertrails in the mountainsides with the group to learn more about the local watershed and water quality issues.

"[Living on a farm] is not how I want to live", Laurens explained to me, "but I LOVE learning new things and connecting with people who are leading the way and using their resources to actually DO what they love to affect change."

Laurens is one of my best friends, the kind of guy who looks at a challenge and simply figures out how to make it work; no whining, no drama.  He is a fellow alumni of HKU...Hard Knocks University.  We've both built our businesses with our bare hands, and little more than our wits + a burning desire to provide as many options as we can for our loved ones.  Money....and lots of it....is important because of the options it affords us; it is the means, not the ends....though in recent times we have found ourselves questioning our definition of "lots"...

In some ways, I feel like I have lost my business so that he doesn't have to lose his...there are mistakes I've made along the way that he doesn't have to make himself since I've crossed them off the list as "things not-to-do."

He is facing his own set of challenges to....as we all are....and I admire the way he looks to make the best of whatever comes his way.  In many ways, he and I are on similar paths, though from the outside our lives look very different: 

He = married, 3 young children, still in business, driving us in his Mercedes.
Me = single, 1 small dog, out of business, driving my uncle's beat-up 1992 Volvo...

...yet each of us questioning and exploring and discovering more and more about himself with each passing day.  Fighting the good fight.  The fight to listen to your own heart's true desire, true purpose.

Henry Ford famously said, "failure is simply the opportunity to start again more intelligently."

So, when President Obama proclaimed, "Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America," I hear it with slightly different ears.

Starting today, I must pick myself up, dust myself off, and begin again the work of remaking myself.

No more laying in bed feeling sorry for myself.  No more avoiding phone calls or old friends reaching out to support and connect with me.  No more hiding.  Time to hold my head high and dive into the work of rebuilding myself....and to start from within.  

This is the part of the movie where the main character gets beaten down by his nemesis, and retreats into the mountains humbled and bloody to lick his wounds.  Thus begins the battle that is fought within, the battle of "Can I really do this?  Am I worthy enough?".....the wandering and the wondering and the soul-searching that goes with it....this is the part of my life I am entering into now.

We have been called to “a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.”

Character.  What am I made of?  Is my desire to travel simply me running away from my challenges?  Or am I on the path of searching and discovery that envisioned by the movie running in my head?  Will I come back?  Will I even leave [I haven't yet bought my tickets...]?

Task.  How do I want to make a difference to our world?  Why am I here.....what do I want my life to stand for, and be about?  What is it that I want to do with my life? 

We emerge from the rainforest into a new world...on the drive home, the dark  clouds of challenges still ahead loomed ominously in the valleys to our right...and rays of sunshine blazed patches of blue sky over the ocean to our left.  The earth itself is whispering to us of what lies ahead.



  1. hi...this is me...your buddy laurens ;-)...i COULD live on a farm, but my farm would be a little more sunny, less mosquitos & more veggies. Plus instead of tents i would have monolithic domes. thats all. it was a great morning out there. it really made me forget that we were on oahu for a little while. felt almost like kauai or big island. wonderful. i love the combination of nature and technology. how we can get our feed muddy in the morning and then register for the web2.0 expo in san francisco in the afternoon, go for a little swim on the way home in the ocean and then write some blog comment that can be viewed from anywhere in the world...anytime! i love this period of time, this precious state of exploration that we are lucky enough to be part of.

    i can't wait to talk to my little TAU when he is in his twenties to thirties and hear from him how a blog seems so old school. think about it. it will be like a vinyl, or vhs or tape or so...heck i dont even remember the last time i used a actual cd?

    WOW...and now we have a leader for the US that is seems o have gotten his feet a little wet before he took the job.

    the next 4 years will be amazing, interesting, weird, funny, scary, new, classic, all at once.

    the best to obama, may he guide us on our path towards a sustainable future.

  2. Doesn't it feel great to publicly express the 'real, deep down' you? It may not look like it, but you are in a very, very good place. This is your 'hero's journey' and you find yourself at a low point. You take your licks, learn your lessons, let go... and transform. It's only up from here! Better we find ourselves in this life experience now than in 20 years, no?

    The last 13 months have been painful for me and I was also in a deep slump. I had to close both my companies, incurred tremendous debt, ignored friends & family for a long time, went through a breast cancer scare... and have finally come out of my cave and the world looked beautiful. (Like your photo!)

    Whatever you choose for yourself will be right as you follow your heart & soul. There are no SHOULDS or SHOULD NOTS in life, much to the dismay of societal, political, and religious pressures. You are the only one who can live your life. Make each day remarkable.

    Thank you for sharing YOU with your readers.
    -Amie Chilson