Friday, February 22, 2008

follow your bliss

candycane, originally uploaded by boxersiciliano.

today at the bar after work..yes, I went to the bar after a long day at the ski mountain...did i mention employees get 2.50 pints of microbrew? ok..and I only had one cause at 9200 feet that is all i date...anyway...i am home safe and writing now so there...i sat with a gentleman who is 53 years old and as we discussed skiing and cycling and life he suddenly said..."can i give you some advice?" sure...

"follow your bliss...if you do anything in life...follow your bliss." there, simply stated and presented to me again as if I can never hear it enough these days...follow your bliss...what that bliss is may not always be tangible and as I follow mine i realize that I don't always know what "it " is...but I do know that being happy on a consistent basis due to the environment, the friends, the work, the love, the passion of our life adds up to some damn good bliss...simply put, follow your bliss...whatever that bliss comes from. For me it is being in Colorado and living a life that in someways doesn't always seem real...sometimes i sit at a happy hour in boulder at the end of a day and it still feels like I am in a permanent mode of ski vacation or is just amazing how the every day things are so much easier here...maybe cause i was in LA for so long, everything just seems a tiny bit unreal...and then i realize, that this is the life i am creating in my bliss...that is our responsibility in this follow our bliss...i don't think we can be reminded of this to follow your bliss and don't be too hard on yourself about the definition of what that bliss means and where that bliss comes from...remember, it may not always feel blissful in the moment, but look around and make sure that you see the big picture...maybe a change needs to happen or a recognition of what "bliss" means to me, at this moment, bliss is walking down the street and having sushi with my new found friends i have made in Boulder...

love and understanding.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What's the point?

framed, originally uploaded by boxersiciliano.

ok...something important for us to remember..especially for those of us that have maybe just made a huge transition in life or chosen the path less travelled....Does it feel ungrounded? Does it make us question ourselves? Do we doubt? Do we worry in large amounts at the moment we go to bed and the world is silently shutting down all around us while our body and mind is firing non stop questions, doubts, worries and self chastising criticism? If so, keep are perfectly, 100%, completely, absolutely and hilariously normal...i'm not saying you don't need help of some sort, but you are normal. I use help loosely, not the type of help that some may need in the form of white jackets and pills in a small plastic shot glass Ala Nurse Ratchet style, which by the way, we should all be so lucky to have Chief as our friend. (if you have never watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest with Mr. Nicholson, you should...for two reasons, it is a great film and it will make you feel less crazy...) I am talking about the help in all of our resources, our minds, our lifestyle, our everyday moment of ability to change and cope...for some, therapy may be a huge downer, somehow triggering a thought they are weak and can't do it on there own...good, that is what you should can't do it on your own and you might be weak in some area of your life...that is ok and awesome because now you can start practicing how to get stronger...for example...i feel like a week man with no muscle in my leg and all the things that have come along with it...the very first time i went to Physical Therapy I hated it cause it made me feel even weaker..being around other weak people..but then I remembered...that is the process of getting STRONG again...being even STRONGER THAN BEFORE...the things that don't kill us DO make us stronger. I don't care how cliched that may is accept the weakness of whatever you need to and take a deep breathe and realize that we are all weak at one time or another and need the help of those around us that come from experiencing that triumph over the so called and percieved is a great strength to recognize your weakness and embrace it and use it to grow and become wiser and stronger....Don't do it alone!!! who ever thinks that they can do it completely alone is either totally insane or stubborn or unwilling to accept that very few things in life can be done alone..ok, maybe some sports and some creative activities are "done" alone, but i'll bet they didn't get there alone..i'll bet that they had someone at sometime, inspire, teach, push, expect, hurt...whatever the catalyst, they got there with when we look at this in the grand scheme of life from a more complicated view of subjects like....i feel guilty that I have this or that I did this or whatever it may be, then we need to learn why...we need to be strong enough to admit that we feel that way and need someone to guide us, if only for a moment...that is doesn't mean you shouldn't go to the depths of sorrow, anger, should, but you should also be ok with speaking and reaching out and realizing that it may be time to reach out to your tribe....i had a tribe member reach out to me yesterday...and it was sooo brave and meaningful and the strength it took to admit to me that she felt ridiculous and guilty and sad is a great moment in her life of looking inward...of waking up and unmasking the "perfect" life we all think we might have...that angst and frustration and confusion is the best thing in the world to means you are a human many times i have felt that way...why just last week i think i was catatonic on the couch feeling like i had somehow failed and that I would never be the same again..silly, but true, but it needed to go there and go deep and feel....otherwise we are not alive and true and in complete denial of the ups and downs of beautiful is it that we get to feel all of that....beautiful is another day to test face our fears, and our doubts; to give into the scary unknown of today and not worry so much about the grand picture..keep it simple and breathe and know that you are not alone in this grand adventure so full of love, joy, fear and unknown...what fun would it be if we had all the answers and knew everything that would happen?

I say live life the best you can in any given moment, no matter what, even if that moment is filled with in the guilt and accept it...completely.

love and understanding.

Friday, February 15, 2008

the flash

the flash, originally uploaded by boxersiciliano.

well...that's it...i have decided to no longer sit on my ass...after a great PT session the other day i bought a motorcycle and rode around town........ok fine...i sat with my camera outside on a beautiful sunny day and took this shot of a sweet 1000S Ducati riding by...mmmmm....the day was close to what I think spring will be here. Warm and beautiful with a perfect sky above. I was able to walk around without much trouble and felt really good overall...I really don't have much to say today...I am tired a bit from my new job as Program Director for Eldora Ski School...sounds more glorious than it is, but I have really had a good time with it...feels good to work even if it is at a desk...i get to spend the day in the mountains still! I will be 36 years old March 22...i just realized that today for a moment and it made me feel good actually..not the usual feeling of "oh my gosh, i am getting older"...i welcome it and feel that because of my life i am able to do so many amazing things and that only comes with time and experience...well for now.. I hope everyone has an amazing weekend and continues to breathe deep and smile....

for now,
love and understanding.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


today is a beautiful sky and warm gentle wind.  It may be the first time in a few weeks that I actually woke up and didn't feel totally off...Yesterday i went food shopping for the first time in a long time and bought all sorts of good i made oatmeal this morning with blueberries, almonds, brown sugar, and vanilla soy milk, with a glass of grapefruit juice and some V8 to wash it down...breakfast of champions i suppose...or maybe just breakfast.  Either way it feels good to feel "normal".  Last night I went to the boxing gym and rode the bike a bit and tried to work out some and it felt good to just be there...trying....the lesson of life...trying.  It is amazing how many times we get up and go through the motions of each day in a haze or fog and not take in the actual directions and moments of what may be brewing...I have been reading some blogs that i love and the most common line seems to be taking flight, doing what you want, living in the moment, not looking back and being wild and matter what...i think it all comes down to the concious decisions of each not quesiton our have fun and be silly and take not stop doing the things we love for any fear of any kind or any doubt, to be open and relaxed so we don't miss the moments in front of us and so we stay limber to flow with the gusts of wind that blow us go into the deep depths of the dark forest, knowing that the other side will be lighter than before, to ask ourselves "why?" ask others "why?" to laugh and smile and play and breathe a deep breathe whenever we can remember to....sometimes all of this writing seems like cheerleading and huffing and puffing, but it is is the first step to constantly remembering all the things we want to be and do...if we don't think about it and practice, just like anything else, we will never get to that i am glad to read this over and over from others in different ways and i am glad to share my thoughts of the subject over and over for me and anyone who wants to read it...I have found an inner strength lately that is coupled with the unusual feeling of loneliness, not the type of loneliness one would associate with not having friends and things like that, but the type we feel when we make a very difficult decision to actually follow our love, dreams, thoughts and can feel lonely at times due to our own minds telling us it is too hard, too quiet, too slow, too is a self loneliness that is beautiful to be in as it gets us closer to ourselves and we no longer depend on the thoughts of others and the world to tell us what we want and who we should be.  At times this life can seem so full of complications and troubles and sorrows, but when we stop, just for a moment and ask ourselves if we are ok...if we are really walking down our path, then at least there is one less soul in the world that is adding to the big blue world of despair, and is actually adding to the big blue world of bloopers, love, silliness and passion....

today i will walk among my dreams, loves and passions...and in doing so I will give to others.

love and understanding.

Friday, February 8, 2008


light, originally uploaded by boxersiciliano.

as in light at the end of the tunnel...tonight i ate my first real meal since my surgery!!! it was heavenly....Broccoli, potatoes, salad and an amazing pork loin..mmmmm....all prepared by my godfather Richard Turley...a fitting thing since he used to babysit me when i was just a wee pup...i mean wee as in first born...thanks Turtle for the amazing dinner.

Well, to say the least, the last two weeks has been quite the ride and sometimes i felt foolish feeling tired and angry and grumpy and other times i just felt helpless...and it was hard to imagine something bigger than this right i drove a car to work and had my first day back since i hurt my knee...granted i am not teaching skiing, but nonetheless a stimulating desk job was just what the doctor ordered...i have my own office in the ski school building and I actually get to do my own thing a bit...nice really and especially since it is a job...after sitting on the couch for that long (and I know and recognize that this is minor compared to some, but for others we have our extremes and this was mine right now) was tough...I don't think i have really been taking life for granted per se, but as usual an experience like this will for sure help one remember to appreciate the little luxuries in life...I look back at the date of my injury which happened on Jan 8...a month i can't believe it is only a has seemed like an eternity..i'm not out of the woods yet as I have a full month of Physical Therapy and I can't just run around happy go lucky. Last night i almost killed myself falling down two small steps in the middle of a restaurant..just one wrong step and I went down...funny, no one helped me up and no one asked if i was ok..i think they were just shocked and most couldn't figure out if i was limping before or after the fall..i felt retarded and silly and embarrassed and all the things that our ego feels in those moments, and then it was gone...who cares? so what? yeah, i fell...and then i had the slightest, teeniest, smallest inkling of what it must be like to be handicapped and have people look at you out the side or steal a glimpse of you to try and understand what the problem is...i don't know what they thought, but i had a moment of proud, "hey, i'm stronger than you can imagine, but right now i am having a moment so deal with it."...i don't know if it makes sense, but all the moments lately have been trying to, once again, teach me about self compassion and patience, which i ran out of the other day (ok, maybe for 3 days) and it is those times that i walk away feeling like i didn't quite make it to the level of understanding i had hoped, which is ok...i actually think i did pretty damn good overall for the last month...knowing me....I have had so much support throughout the ordeal and really owe it to all of those who love me and care so much about me...that is really the biggest thing for me to remember...thank you thank you thank you.....for your love.

So, let's just say, i have been through a relatively dark forest and come out the other side and the sun seems to be just a bit brighter and the trees just a bit greener and the smells just a bit stronger and my knee...well, my knee...just a bit more character with 35% of the meniscus gone...i now qualify as someone who has had knee surgery...and i kid you not, almost everyone i meet (especially working at the mountain) has had some sort of knee surgery at some time or

For now, i'll continue to do my little leg raises and tiny squats and scissor moves and rubberband thingys and try and walk as normally as possible and smile...because i can.

love and understanding.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


SELFPORTRAIT.JPG, originally uploaded by boxersiciliano.

Get up from your bed,
go out from your house,
follow the path you know so well,
so well that you now see nothing
and hear nothing
unless something can cry loudly to you,
and for you it seems
even louder than yours
and in your own darkness
cries have gone unheard
as long as you can remember.

These are hard paths we tread
but they are green
and lined with leaf mould
and we must love thier contours
as we love the body branching
with its veins and tunnels of dark earth.

I know that sometimes your body is hard like a stone
on a path that storms break over,
embedded deeply
into that something that you think is you.
and you will not move
while the voice all around
tears the air
and fills the sky with jagged light.

But sometimes unawares
those sounds seem to descend
as if kneeling down into you
and you listen strangely caught
as the terrible voice moving closer
and in the silence
now arriving

Get up, I depend
on you utterly.
Everything you need you had
the moment before
you were born.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Little Things

roses are red, originally uploaded by boxersiciliano.

So the last day and a half I have been pretty low, but there are some things that happened..actually one in particular that made me remember the little things....I got a postcard from Winter Park which is where I hurt my knee...a bit dazed and confused it took me about 3 minutes to figure out who Mitch Wesp dawned on me...he was the Ski Patrol that took me down in a sled... a big bear of a guy with a full beard, probably weighed 210 (sorry if that isn't right Mitch...but you seem like a big healthy guy...) I remember being embarrassed when he came and got, a 24 year ski vet and a ski instructor...dumb...but then I realized, Mitch does this probably 20 times a day if not many during the week...He had a very calm and low baritone of a voice and reminded me of a young Santa...actually, as I think about it now...more of a very large angel who, once he got me in his care, would do anything to make sure I was safe...I could feel the bumps in the snow through the sled on my  back and knew how hard it was to ski out and down from where i had fallen with over 250 pounds behind you in the form of a sled and a human being, but I never felt in danger from then was almost peaceful knowing that Mitch was calmly and quickly getting me down to safety...occasionally asking me how i was feeling and if I was enjoying the view...I tried to joke, but I actually remember the view quite vividly...the sky was blue like the bottom of a glass bowl held over a refraction of the ocean and the pines were passing by my view, but only the top 1/4 of them as I was completely wrapped from head to toe, with my helmet and my goggles, and I could see them gently swaying in the open sky.  I had never noticed the trees like I was at that moment...i remember thinking, I need to look up more was a surreal view and one that I would not like to see again anytime soon, at least from that vantage point.   By now, the occasional puff of cold snow had blown up from Mitch's skiis onto my face and goggles and my feet were like blocks of ice in my boots...we stopped and they hooked me up to the back of a snowmobile..ahh the old familiar smell of two we were on the flats, too hard for Mitch to pull the sled, but the ride from here on out was pretty nice...smooth and a little faster...and then I saw people in the chair lifts doing that old familiar look of "oh man, that guy is in a sled, bummer"...i've done it 100 times....we pulled into the Trauma Center at Winter Park and from that point forward, Mitch took care that I was comfortable and warm and through all of it, he always had an air of soothing bearness...that is the only way I can describe it....Soothing Bearness...the kind that feels safe and seriously concerned, yet gentle and true.  Mitch and his other Ski Patrol were in a constant state of and out, wheeling others in who were far worse off than I...and i mean constant...It was equivalent if not busier, than any ER I have ever been in...another day for all of them..saving lives, and helping and being there....My life was never really in any danger, but when you are hurt, it sure feels good to have Mitch around..I think I thanked him profusely, but now I am not sure....I was out of it and feeling sorry for myself.

Then I got the card...right at that critical moment of being down and grumpy and bummed out...the card from Mitch.  It says,
 "Justin, Hope your knee is doing well.  Get back on the "horse" soon." Mitch Wesp.

That was it...a simple card...a simple gesture in a world so full of distraction and life...Mitch took two minutes out of his day, to not only remember me, but to write me a is the smallest thing in the world....and it reminded me how important the little things are. I mean, Mitch probably does over 25 calls a week at has been a little under 4 weeks since I hurt my knee...that is a lot of postcards.

Mitch has reminded me that i will be skiing again shortly and all of this is just temporary, but more importantly, Mitch reminded me to take my time and go slow and not to forget the simple things in life....the things we take for granted, but someone else may depend on it for their life at that moment...funny how those small things can change a persons life.  My day turned around after I got that card...

Thank you Mitch...I'll be back and this time we'll ski a run together...

(the following is a piece I found on my mom's cupboard this morning, as I woke up and bitched a bit about how uncomfortable I am...jeez...)

There are four parts to this, but I will only do one a day...
-sending love and understanding.

Commentary by Pema Chodron:
Maintain an awareness of the preciousness of human life.  Beginning to realize how precious life is becomes on of your most powerful tools.  It's like gratitude...once you have this feeling of gratitude for your own life and the preciousness of human birth, then it takes you into any realm.

Friday, February 1, 2008

the old self

self, originally uploaded by boxersiciliano.

well, today i had my first day of PT...really this whole thing has been tough. I don't do well not doing...i was pretty emotional at one point, hobbling around feeling like i was useless, but i also think i was emotional because i was on the way to healing and getting back to my old self, but not just my old old self with more perspective on life and what i am able to do...not being able to function normally sure wakes you up and makes you be thankful...for example..i got to ride a bike today for 10 minutes..albeit slow and with not much vigor, i was riding a bike....I CANNOT WAIT TO RIDE MY BIKE OUTSIDE!!!! the simple act of being able to walk even...all of the obvious things of course. But the reality of it still sucks sometimes and the ability to go in and out of the times when i feel totally ridiculous and low and depressed and then letting that go and looking outside and changing my attitude to one of thankfulness, excitement, grace and respect, not only for myself, but all things. Sitting on the couch for the last 5 days has been one of the hardest things i have ever had to I have done it before through 2 hernia surgeries, but those are such distant memories for me that this feels harder...funny how doing nothing can seem so hard...and i also don't realize how much my body was effed up on the pain killers, surgery etc...a trauma...the body is reacting to the invasion and has to shut things down to do so...crazy our bodies...wonderful though when you really think of it..anyway, i am on the couch now, but i feel like i rounded the corner a bit as i wait for the pizza i ordered and i get to watch another movie...sometimes is takes a setback to really remind us of all the important things and that life is so precious. I hope everyone is being precious to themselves right now and enjoying each moment completely with fire and ferocity and peace and purpose....thank to all of you for your love and support...

Gimpy McNoodle