The process of starting fresh and getting a second shot at college and a career is an opportunity I can never repay my parents for.  Well… Financially I probably could, but they would never accept it.  The mere process of me becoming 100% involved in my academic studies and also starting to take care of myself both physically and emotionally held more value than a monetary payment.  During this chapter of my journey I began to see how various aspects of my life could contribute to an overall healthier me.  I began to build self-confidence as my grades went from C’s to A’s, and my physical condition improved all around.  The overall improvement of all these different areas gave me the mental health boost I needed to move forward in other areas of my life, one of which was relationships.

As my second college degree was coming to a conclusion I was informed I would be graduating with honors, this was an amazing accomplishment I never thought I could achieve.  However, an even more amazing gift came into my life around that same time, that gift came in the form of a human being that I now call my wife.  Had my wife not come into my life I most likely would have moved back home and started my career in Reno.  However, I do believe with my new set of personal skills and outlook on life I would have been successful in Reno, because not only had I changed but the vast majority of my friends had also grown and embarked on their own journeys.

If any of you have ever visited the midwest or spent an extended amount of time here then you know how they feel about organized religion.  As my future wife and I had begun our relationship it became apparent that religion was a huge part of her life, so naturally I agreed to give it another shot and for a while I think things went well.  We attended church on a regular basis, became members of a church and eventually got married in that church.  As time passed I would spend my time in church wondering why so many people were sitting around listening to someone tell them how they should live.  I began realizing I had many doubts and that overall I viewed organized religion as a was of time.  Yes, I think its great for people to have fundamentals they base their life around and also that it helps kids develop proper values, but at the same time these teachings make people closed-minded and afraid of exploring themselves and others.  Organized religion in my eyes had made people afraid of something different or “taboo”.  So many times I caught myself saying, “wouldn’t God want people to be happy and enjoy their life, why was the beautiful world given to use if we can’t explore it and explore ourselves”.  With all these thoughts bouncing around I made a radical change, one that led to failure because I had not built a foundation or long term goal for myself, I compare it to someone going on a fad diet.

My first attempt at the whole holistic lifestyle failed big time, I came out the gate swinging and ended up about where I started.  I had bought multiple books on meditation and also researched crystals and conspiracies and all sorts of stuff that ended up freaking me out.  The problem was not in what I was researching, but how I went about the whole process.  Looking back I can say at best I skimmed one of the meditation books I bought, I also read a few pages of the other books and thought “I got this”.  I tried mediation for about a week and lasted maybe five minutes each time, I ate organic and quit drinking for probably a week as well.  So I basically stopped going to church (hurting my wife) and also stopped exploring the other realms of spirituality that I used as an excuse.  Luckily after getting married a great career opportunity came into my life as an advanced practice respiratory therapist in Lincoln, NE.  Moving to Lincoln introduced us to an entirely new community of people who were spiritual, emotional, loving, open-minded, and basically the complete opposite of organized religion in my eyes….  Little did I know our lives in Lincoln would change drastically and we would experience many ups and downs…


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