Friday, November 1, 2013

Why I'm not afraid to die.

This past three weeks for me have been packed with life's biggest moments: birth, death, celebration + remembrance (You know, the little things)  and I found myself pondering one question over and over...

What really MATTERS to me the most?
I mean like REALLY, REALLY matters in a life & death sorta way...

photo via Nicole Friend Photography

PART ONE: So lets start with BIRTH
It's a Boy! Meet Crusoe. (Isn't he the cutest?)

My brother Gar + his wife Nicole had their first baby on October 14th. In fact their due date was the same as my sons birthday (crazy, cool right?) but this little guy decided he wanted to meet us early. :)

We're super close. My brother + sis-n-law and me, but lets just say that I didn't expect to be there in person on the day Crusoe was born. So when I got the phone call and invitation to fly down to help them out and hang with their cute pup, Odin, I didn't even blink twice.

Calendar cleared.
Bag packed.
Flight booked.
And all in under five minutes.
(Shhh...don't tell them, I secretly had tickets purchased months in advance.)

Let's just say this was one of the BEST GIFTS EVER!

To be there in person on the day he was born and to witness the moment my brother was about to become a father is something I'll never forget and value forever.
I cried as I held him for the first time. The warmth of his tiny body in my arms. So Trusting. So Peaceful. So snuggly. The way he moved with ever wiggle and stretch and yawn.

I never knew I could love like this again. There's a connection and there are no perfect words to describe it.

All I know is that...this is LOVE.
Love is what matters most. 

My little guy Tobin is growing up. People told me they do that but I never thought it would happen to me. In fact he just blew out ELEVEN candles on Monday.

As much as I love to throw a party + hit a piƱata with a baseball bat I found myself staring at him flashing back to his very first "birth" day. (I kinda think most mama's do that)

And while we celebrated and sang, "H-A-P-P-Y  B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y to You" my eyes overflowed because...

I know how much love he's added to my life.
And I am different because of him.

Again. No words can describe how I felt.

All I know is...that this is LOVE.
Yes, Love is what matters most. 

Photo via Harvest Workroom

My hubby's grandma Bertie, passed away on October 20th. She lived a great life. And we all had a moment to say goodbye over the phone or in person and I'm so grateful for that. She died surrounded by her closest family and I don't think she'd want to go any other way. She was at peace and love was everywhere.

At her memorial last week "Family" was her theme. And family was present. My guy, has a huge loving family and almost all of them were there. It was amazing. You could just feel the love. And It's what mattered to her most...being all together.

Family is Love.
That's what Matters.

Ironically as I'm typing this I got the news that my longtime friend Lance just lost his 2 year battle to brain cancer yesterday.

My heart just broke.
I'm shocked.

I just sent him birthday wishes a few weeks ago. I had no idea he was still fighting so hard. I wish I could sum up his warmth and energy in a few words but I'll let this pic tell you a little bit of what he was like...Such a rockstar huh?! And a heart of gold to go with it. 

I'll always remember Lance with his HUGE welcoming smile on the first day that we met when we worked at Patagonia together back in the day. And I am so grateful for Facebook or our paths might not have crossed again. He sent me so many messages of encouragement, love and support over the past few years...he really has the biggest heart.

And I know this...
One person does make a difference.
That Matters too. A lot. 

Photo via McConkey movie site

Meet Shane McConkey. The Legend. ”The Most Influential Skier Ever” 1969 - 2009

At the same time all of these big moments have been going on in my life another tribute is happening that I have to share. There's an amazing documentary on TOUR called, McConkey with all proceeds going to Shane's family. (see below)

My first introduction to Shane was when Tobin was about five-years-old and he started collecting "huck dolls" (think super hero guys that are actually real athletes) and the first one he wanted was none other than, Shane McConkey.

Shane was his favorite because he came with skis, poles AND a parachute! How FUN is that?! He carried him everywhere and launched him off everything! Not just for the sake of the thrill but also the dreams that went with it.

In our home we often talk about inspirational X-Game type athletes like ShaneTony HawkTravis Pastrona or Shaun White and what's really possible to do if you work super hard and you have that unstoppable passion to go after your big dreams.

Even at 5, Tobin understood.

"Shane McConkey came into this world December 30, 1969. He left at 5pm on March 26th, 2009, only 39 years old." He died when his skis failed to properly release during a wingsuit jump in the Dolomite Mountains in Italy. His wife Sherry and their 3-year-old daughter were locals in the Truckee are, our home town at the time.

After Shane’s passing I talked to friends that knew him, and read articles + blogs + viewed all of the comments on his website. I got a little glimpse of what he was like and how he impacted so many peoples lives. He sounded like such a caring, funny, courageous, daring man and one who lived his life from the soul…and as sad as it was, I loved that about him. 

During this time I was in the middle of creating a fundraising calendar for Re:mix, a creative arts + wilderness retreat for foster youth ironically titled, "Adventures of the Soul." As the founder, I decided to reach out to Sherry to see if it would be okay to include a kickass photo of Shane doing what he loved as a local tribute and as an inspiration for all the big and little dreamers out there.

She said, Yes. And here it is. WIth the same beautiful quote that she also used in his memorial program.

Photo donated by Chritian Pondella

When you're a big dream chaser not everyone always understands.

"Should Shane have slowed down at his age? Should he have given up his passion because he had a child? Could he have at least toned it down a little, skipped the ski-wingsuit-BASEing? Sherry dismisses the notion outright. “People are constantly asking me how I ‘let’ Shane do what he did,” she says. “It just floors me. To me, it would have been like putting an eagle in a cage — a tiny cage.” - from a recent interview in Men's Journal

So while many people call him crazy.
I call it living from the heart.

That's what Matters.
Living from the heart. With heart.

Shane McConkey : photo via Red Bull + Powder Magazine

So here it is, my take.
On Life. Death. Birth.
For what it's worth.

You gotta jump. Leap!
Fuckin' dive off head first (Shane, style) and go straight after what you love...and what makes you feel alive and free.

And always make sure you tell the people you love,
that you love them.

You gotta share your heart and time with people who make you laugh and smile. The ones that challenge you and respect you and make your days better. The ones that know what to say or when to not say anything at all.

And do it now. (Lance, Style)

And always remember that your life makes a difference.
To someone, somewhere.
And sometimes without ever even meeting you...

That's what Matters.

And by knowing this.
And believing this.
And living like this.
Is why I'm not afraid to die. Or live. Or love. Or share my heart.

So to me.
This is Life.
This is Love.
This is  Living.

I wanna know...What do you think?
Please join in by commenting below.

Have an amazing weekend THANK YOU SO MUCH for being in my life.
With Love + Passion,

P.S. Here's the scoop on the film...if nothing else you gotta at least watch the trailer here.

The Film is a heartfelt examination of the legacy one athlete left to the progression of his sports, and the path he paved to conquer his dreams. Shane McConkey is revered as a pioneer of freeskiing and ski-BASE jumping, and through his talent and ability to use his trademark irreverent humor, he inspired countless lives. In a new film from Red Bull Media House in association with Matchstick Productions, “McConkey” celebrates the life of one of the world’s ultimate innovators.

To purchase or view click HERE.
Again all proceeds go to his family. (And only costs $12.99)
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