The Phoenix Rises

Stop #1: 6/29/2020

Phoenix, AZ - At least it’s a dry heat?… Sweat turns to mud. Dirt and dust. Crusty boogers a must. The kids are still grinding. Chewing on sand. 110 degrees. Passion equally hot. It’s rejuvenating to see people with this sort of fire. It reminds me of my younger self. A more innocent yet aggressive mindset towards goals. Why do we lose this fire? Are we beaten down by failures? Confined by fears, not always our own…

This is where my new journey begins. With an empty-ish wallet and a heart lured towards mystery’s edge, I set off to the desert. Out from under my rent, I plan to travel and work remote for at least the next 2 years. A road dog lifestyle that the late and great Eric Zaun would be proud of. Ironically, the first leg of my journey would be propped up by a pampered experience at the Residence Inn. I would be quoted as saying “just keep the money or put it in my pocket. I will be fine in the car.” I would later be seen praising the warrior gods of the air conditioning. Sometimes people are smarter than me, but I am willing to live through the adventure of some extremes. Albeit, dreams of immaculate balance are what I am striving towards. Alignment and freedom from a system that pens us in. COVID has hyperbolized these feelings. It has put more people at their breaking point. It has brought more awareness to where we lie. On the fringe, so closely tied to our jobs for stability. Held down by our rent, inundated by loans and debts. The monthly waves of payments holding us under. We come up for air. Just enough time to build a flimsy raft that will soon be wrecked by the next set. Your choice, our choice, to be enslaved by security and stability or find an island to recoup and build an arc. One that can withstand a storm, that you can invite your friends on and have more space to help the world. We all need a break. To step back from our day to day grinds and recognize what truly matters to us. But this is difficult when we continue to play by the rules, or listen to that little voice of fear that tells us all the reasons why it will not work. We have relied on the hand that feeds us for so long that we have lost the will to hunt. Like a tiger at a zoo, when released into the wild, we are unsure what to do with our freedom. I am blessed to have so many opportunities in this world. Yet I still bumble through life dabbling in a few things at the surface. I am pretty sick and tired of wearing shackles that I have the key to unlock. I believe that once we get past that first fear of “how will I make it through” and trust the other side of the unknown we can break into a space of true freedom.

Stealth Beach Volleyball is an up and coming program that has burst out of nowhere onto the Arizona scene. Headed by Brett O’Keefe and Jake Sena, they are providing tons of opportunities to the kids in the greater Phoenix area to compete and thrive. A hungry beach volleyball community on the rise. The sport is catching fire nationwide, and it takes getting out of the bubble to fully recognize this. California has always been the Mecca so any momentum feels marginal. But to see it firsthand in the desert was a treat. I have been craving an intersection point in my life wherein my passion is met by financial abundance which is met by making a difference in the world. This week in Phoenix checked all boxes. I was welcomed with open arms and hungry eyes. Early mornings and late nights dedicated to squeezing everything they could out of the sport. I was put to work, gratefully. I love win-win-win’s. The most inspiring athletes to me are the those with the fighter’s mentality. I used to have that delirious will to keep the ball off the sand. That has faded a little bit over time. Watching balls hit the sand with the trending habit of self-condemnation for a failed defensive effort. “Expectations are the thief of joy.” As I have eased up on myself recently, I have felt a relief and release into a more relaxed athletic prowess. It’s healthy. Time off is healthy for a restless mind.

Today, I sit, rattled by a little too much caffeine. Staring off at the stunning Sedona red rocks. The first chapter of my journey has come to a close. I would like to call this one “Gratitude.” In time where I was sinking a little bit. Stealth threw me a raft. I do not like to make things about money, but I am blessed to breathe a little bit deeper today due to their generosity and support. So I move onward, with a little more perspective, a fuller heart, and a more grounded nature. I drift towards Colorado as my next stop. I have always had an affinity for the freshness of the woods, trees, birds and streams flowing. It feels like home to me. A new experience. Out of the heat and into serenity. More coaching in the future. I like to pretend to know what the future holds. More lessons, and hopefully more openness to my own freedom. I crave connection. The extremes of being alone makes human interaction all the sweeter. Cheers AZ, I’ll be back. Thanks for making me your own, and reconnecting me to the amazing impact I can make on the lives of those around me. By just being me. And the equally important lessons and inspirations gained by seeing the light in everyone. The youthful exuberance we can and should all regain. Eyes open wide to dreams. Belief. By pushing through the Arizona heat, and recognizing on the 30th hour of coaching that the job I am doing is enough. I will continue growing and searching for more. But always remember, that this moment is enough. Please remind me when I forget.

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