Several years ago I reached out to Zeal Optics with the hopes of becoming an ambassador. While snowboarding, I wanted to create less impact on the environment and Zeal was on the leading edge of eco-consciousness. I had just experienced a huge awakening in my life bringing attention to my daily decisions and the repercussions they have on the world around me. An annual trip to Chile for the Southern Hemisphere winter season led me to meet a human that would change my life forever. His name is Tamo Campos. Tamo is a fellow Zeal ambassador, inspiration, and dear friend of mine. Getting to know him many years ago inspired me to change and grow in so many areas of my life. A chain reaction happened from the information I was absorbing. I switched up all my sponsors for snowboarding, I made the deliberate choice to stop flying around the world to chase snow, and I invested in converting my truck to run on waste vegetable oil. He opened my eyes to the many ways that I was disrupting the symbiosis with this living planet. After awareness blossomed in me I couldn’t help but see potential impact happening everywhere in the world around me.
My connection to nature was strengthening. Every day in the mountains became a ceremony of life. Bringing awareness to every breath as an exchange with the plants and trees, feeling the sun rays warming my skin, and embracing the snow under my feet in a way I had not yet opened to. I no longer wanted to degrade this world I cared so much for.
I became obsessed. I went deep into rabbit holes of knowledge. Learning about waste, fossil fuels, manufacturing, pollution, soil degradation, and many other subjects. I followed Tamo for some time supporting him in his environmental activism. For me becoming aware of the destruction of the natural world was a painful transition. It's heartbreaking to live in a society that places sustainability at the bottom of the scale of importance. I got depressed. I was angry. I lingered in pain over how much guilt I felt. I was feeling the agony of everyday patterns such as pumping fuel in my car and throwing away trash.
My life was ridiculously gifted. I had sponsors, I was getting paid to enjoy my greatest passion, and all the while spending time with amazing people. I was living the life of my dreams.
But the truth was that I was suffering inside. . .
I can’t remember what cued my epiphany. . . It was almost as if it came from nowhere. A thought bubble from infinite space and possibility burst in my brain.
How could I expect people to care about the natural world around them?
They hardly cared about themselves. Consuming toxic chemicals, negative energy, drama, dysfunction, fear, and a plethora of degrading substances. Most of us were not raised in a society that taught us about personal care. At most, some of us received teachings of physical care, maybe a little on nutrition, but mental, emotional, and spiritual care barely get a whisper. Our attention has been drawn out of ourselves. Doing, achieving, acquiring, owning, and external appearance has been the general focus.
A very wobbly foundation to live and create from.
It became clear I was going about it all wrong. I was focused on a topic that was a bi-product, developed from a lack of leadership and wisdom.
Our inner worlds are full of turmoil and dis ease. Too much doing, not enough being. Without awareness, our perspectives are merely reactions accumulated from our life experiences. What is going on inside of us dictates how we feel about what happens around us. Mental health and emotional intelligence is something that affects every moment of every day. Humans commonly overeat, over-consume, medicate, and numb, in an attempt to feel better. As a species so much of our environmental impact comes from our attempts to feel happy and fulfilled. In our current society our ability to be present for life, to respond instead of reacting, to feel gratitude instead of scarcity, rests in the habits created from our upbringing.
Not many of us had perfect parents, exemplary teachers, or wise mentors. So as a community we can come together and share this knowledge built from experience. We are not setting ourselves up for success currently.
If we want to address the environmental issues we have to dig up the roots. Chopping off the tops of weeds will only result in them growing back later.
DROPPING IN is a new series focused on personal growth as a way to make an impact in the world. Zeal will be teaming up with ambassadors to share a variety of perspectives and life experiences.
Taking our attention inward. Diving into self-awareness.
Thoughts. Emotions. Breath. Presence. Needs. Love. Care. Balance. Mindfulness.
What is going on outside of us is a reflection of our inner turmoil. The natural world, the animals, the plants, the swimming creatures, and the birds in the sky all need us to get our act together. In this interconnected world, every little piece we improve in our own life ripples out to everyone we come in contact with.
I am so stoked to announce this journey to you. I also want to invite you to be a contributing force. Let us know what works well for you. Let us know the subjects you have questions on. Where you struggle. What you wish we would talk about. Comment, message us. I personally will be making sure to watch and listen to what is being said by the community.
This is a new journey and we need as many people involved as possible.
With the collective voices of so many, we can come together and increase transformation.
How you feel about your life, the perspectives of joy or misery, your awareness of the environmental impact, all rests on your inner development. No one else can do it for you, but we can walk this path together.
Just like any other adventure, let’s enjoy the journey and reach for those inner summits.
Get ready to DROP IN.