Thoughts

To Be a Helper

mr rogers look for the helper hand lettered quote

I don't know when exactly it started for me, but at some point after I grew out of my rebellious angsty teen phase I decided I wanted to be a kind man. Someone who helped + gave + served wherever I could. To be the type of person that will see things that can be done + do them. 

I don't know if I am 'there' yet, or if I'll ever get 'there' or even what 'there' looks like. But what I do know is this...

Each + every morning I put out into the universe for opportunities to show up in my house, in my community, wherever I may go on that day...that there might be an opportunity to help someone. 

I'm a big believer in the things you put your energy towards have a greater chance of coming into your life. And creating a present space where I put out in the world that I'm looking for opportunities to help someone seems to always bring me plenty of opportunities to do so.

Like the time I was helping my parents pick out + load their new dining room chairs. We were in the parking lot + a lady asked if I could help her fold her van seats down...that she'd just got her new minivan + couldn't get the seats down. It took me a few minutes to show her exactly how to do it, then she gave me the warmest smile, the biggest hug + I was on my way. I was a helper.

Or all the times I find myself in conversations where nothing is asked of me but to listen. Friends who are struggling, hurting, or just need to know they have people in their life who care about them. Giving my time + listening ear is a way to be a helper.

Sometimes I feel called to write encouraging messages on rocks or leave letters of encouragement for strangers to find. (Note: I ALWAYS have sharpies/pens on me because you never know when inspiration is gonna strike). In those moments, I see myself as a helper, too.

I'm sure there are countless other times I've helped people. Teaching the kids about heart focused breathing so they can better regulate their emotions, holding Jenny when she has a rough day, helping a friend move. There are so many opportunities each day to help one another, if we just pay enough attention to our surroundings + trust our intuition.

My goal as an Energy Guide is to help as many people as possible. It's as simple as that. Life is hard sometimes. Life challenges us. Life stresses us out. Life never stops coming at us. Technology beeps at us. People in our life get sick. People in our life hurt us. So often we're just reacting to what comes our way that we're not taking the time to pause + reset...to nurture our bodies that get us where we need to go.

Because of life + me wanting to help you, I created a donation based mini Reiki/Breathwork session. We'll focus on one specific issue that we'll figure out ahead of time. I'll guide you through some breathing techniques while sending some warm Reiki energy your way. You'll feel great afterwards, I promise.

So what are you waiting for?

 

I'd love to hear how you're showing up as a helper in your life! Leave a comment + let me know!

The Stewards Of Our Own Energies

I'm a big Rob Bell fan. I could seriously listen to that guy for hours. I've yet to hear him explain how paint dries, but I'm sure that he could turn that into a beautiful story filled with life-changing wisdom. He's just a gifted communicator. 

Anyway, my podcast listening time is limited to driving solo to + from the gym. Jenny isn't a fan of podcasts + my kids definitely won't let me focus. And I like to take in every word, rewind if something magical is shared + just soak up all the knowledge my fellow humans have to offer through story telling.

rob bell energy steward quote hand lettered

So there I was driving to crossfit this morning + fan-boying over Rob's take on life's biggest questions. Then it happened. He said something that forced me to pull over to the side of the road because I just had to process instantly.

"You are the steward of your energies. Own the responsibility of being you."

Simple. Profound. Quite possibly life changing. Only time will tell.

I used to be careless with my time. Too much tv. Too much fast food. Too many video games. Too much of not doing anything that brought me lasting joy + lit my soul up. But now? Life is different. I probably spend way too much time on things that bring me pleasure. Scratch that, there's no such thing as spending too much time on things that bring you pleasure.

Meditation. Reading. Drawing. Conversations that don't involve the topics of weather or how busy my is. Reiki. Diving deep into who I am. Crossfit. Eating good, whole foods. 

Something about the way Rob said "You are the steward of your energies." As in, I have control over my energy. I can actively take care of my energy. I can "Own the responsibility of being me" as he says. Here's the thing. There's not much in life we do have control over. We, as humans, have to be comfortable with that or we're going to feel a whole lot of unnecessary suffering in our lives. And I'm done with unnecessary suffering.

Don't get me wrong, I still feel pain, that's unavoidable, but suffering? Suffering doesn't have to be a part of our lives. The people I spend most of my time with don't always react the way I want them too. My kids still have cystic fibrosis. I don't travel as often as I'd like. Living in the suburbs of Kansas City is not the most inspiring place for me. I don't really feel home here. All of those situations could lead to suffering. But by actively paying attention to where my energy goes, I can eliminate the suffering from my life. 

I am actively taking ownership of my energy, a finite source, I might add. I'm accepting that there are countless things outside of my control + not letting them zap my precious energy anymore. It takes work. It takes finding what fills you up + then doing those very things. It requires rest. It requires that you own being you, fully. 

So what feeds you? What are the things gnawing deep in your inner continent that want to be released out into the world? What lights you up? Do you have the energy to pursue those things? Where is your energy going that's negatively affecting your life + relationships? Are you ready to make a change?

I can help you if you're ready to relax, realign + reset your energy centers.

Family Rules

I found myself in the kitchen. Taking some deep breaths, trying to center + calm myself before I had to diffuse yet another spat between my family members. It might've been the 41st one of the day and we weren't even at 11 am yet.

Note: 41 might be an exaggeration.

"That's a very unkind thing to say to your sister."

"Do you two have to assume the other one is trying to intentionally hurt you every time?"

family rules

"In this family we love one another well, and loving one another well doesn't include antagonizing, taking things & making fun of another's musical tastes."

Deep breath in. Note: My thoughts are noted by italics. 'Why do I keep having to say the same things over + over? Where did they learn this behavior from? Was it me? Was it my wife? Maybe from friends? Maybe it's just natural? Does it really matter where it came from?' Deep breath out.

Deep breath in. 'What can we do about this? I'm tired of it. I can't stand the meanness towards one another. This is not the kind of kids I want to put out in the world. Constantly combatting the negative energy in the world is hard enough, I can't keep this up all the time in my own house. Solars don't act this way. We're joyful + fun loving.' Deep breath out. 

"Family meeting in the kitchen right now!" I shouted, probably a bit on the too harsh side. 'Maybe they ARE picking these tonal inflections + mean ways of interacting with one another up from me? I need to be a better leader in modeling behaviors I want to cultivate in them.'

Deep breath in as my wife + kids trickle into the kitchen.  'OK, I got them here, now what. If I was to make a list of rules that I wanted us to live by, what would be on the list? Where's some paper, where's a sharpie.' Deep breath out. 

Deep breath in. 'They're all looking at me. Stay calm. What do I want our family to stand for? First we must be better at assuming the best in one another. We're not perfect humans. No one is. But when you approach interactions assuming the other is intentionally trying to be mean/hurtful, you're starting from a negative mindset. We must assume the best in one another + know sometimes we're going to get hurt, but it's not intentional. Assume the best in each other has to be #1.' Deep breath out.

Deep breath in. 'Ok, what's next? Kindness comes to mind. Kindness matters. We should be kind humans anyway, but especially to those we have to spend the most time with. Kindness is #2.' Deep breath out.

Deep breath in. 'We got assuming the best + kindness on there, what else is there? Connection. We need to connect in healthy ways with one another. Hugs. Hugs are great at that. A good hug builds trust + safety, boosts happy chemicals, teaches us to give + receive + is a natural way to relax + ease tension. More hugs. Got it. We need more hugs.' Deep breath out.

Deep breath in. 'Got the connection + kindness rules out of the way, what else would I like to see more of in our family? My kids are getting older. Hormones + puberty are here. As they get older I want them to know that all feelings can be teachers. All feelings are ok. We need to be comfortable to talk openly about our feelings + to sit with our feelings even if they're negative. We need to have healthy outlets + be good listening ears for one another. All feelings are OK is going on there next.' Deep breath out.

Deep breath in. 'Anything else? They're all looking at me + I haven't said anything yet. I'm just over here writing stuff down. Ok, keep going. I think a lot about love + the power that comes from within when we know that we are loved unconditionally. That we don't have to act a certain way or be a certain way to be loved, we just are, no matter what. I'm writing down we're loved unconditionally so that we have a visual reminder for the times when we inevitably forget.' Deep breath out.

I tape our new Family Rules list up on our kitchen wall in a place where we'll see it repeatedly + go over it with them. It only takes 5 minutes before someone said something unkind to another and we went over rule #2: Kindness matters again. It's a work in progress. But aren't we all works in progress?

Two takeaways came to me as I thought about this ordeal. 

  1. Staying calm through deep breathing helped me approach this situation from a peaceful + relaxed state. I was upset at how we've been treating one another. It would've been easy for me to just yell + lecture everyone + raise my voice. But that would do nothing but leave us all feeling hopeless + negative + that we're bad people. I want my kids to know they're loved...they're fundamentally good but sometimes make poor choices (as we all do)...and that nothing they do can take that goodness + love away from them. Staying relaxed helped me communicate in a way that told them those things were true. That even though I was disappointed in how things had been going in our house that they were GOOD people.
  2. Visual reminders in high traffic areas are huge. I actually rewrote the list this morning in nicer handwriting because the first iteration was so rushed. Having the visual hanging in a space where we spend a lot of time will lead us to take the rules in daily. It keeps them on the top of our mind so they'll sink in. And having a set of rules like this will give us all a chance to stop each other when we're breaking the rules.

What does this have to do with energy work, you might ask? Well, I'm big on paying attention to the energy around me, in people, places + things (Side note: Did you know that trees have a visual aura that you can see? It's pretty dope.) When the energy in a space I spend a lot of time in feels off, I work hard to bring a more calm + loving energy to that space. Maybe it's smudging. Maybe it's getting myself right + relaxed so I can interact with everything from a coherent state. Positive energy attracts more positive energy while negative energy just butts against more negative energy. Being aware of the ways I can influence my environment + actually doing the hard work of grounding myself, staying present + calm has helped me approach stressful situations with a clear head + a love in my heart.

Hence the deep breaths + list of family rules. Positive ways to influence the energy around me to shift us all into living from a more positive state. We all benefit when there's more love in the air.

Namasté,
Josh

From Can't to Can

I recently saw this video on youtube entitled Do What You Can't (you can watch it below) 👇🏼

It got me thinking about all the times I told myself I couldn't do something. Like the time I told myself I couldn't run a greeting card company based on encouragement cards. Or the time I told myself it would be crazy to take my family to Thailand (did that + these pictures prove it). 

Or the times I told myself I couldn't be a good husband + father. That it's not possible to heal yourself without medication (Note: sometimes we do need western medicine). That I'm not a good artist (it's art, some people will like my art + some won't + that's totally cool). 

I think about how my attitude changes when I'm living out the I can'ts vs coming from a place of I can. Living from a negative, fear based mindset will lead you to failure (most of the time). It will leave you feeling unfulfilled when you lay your head down at night. Most importantly, you will constantly feel off. I lived that way for a long, long time.

It took courage + work + a sense of exploration to change my entire thought process to a more uplifting one. Each + every single time I went out + did something I originally told myself I couldn't do I got braver + stronger + pushed myself to do even crazier things. It took stillness + self-love + a deep sense of enoughness. It took understanding how breath/mindfulness + cold exposure affect the body (yes, that's me a few winters ago sitting in the ice hole I made myself).

You have that power, too, and no you don't have to sit in the ice to access it.

The tiny voices inside of you are trying to tell you something. Maybe you need to take control of your health + start eating better + moving more. Maybe you work at a job that you dread. Maybe you're feeling stressed + overwhelmed in your personal life because you've taken on too many responsibilities. Maybe you have a passion project, a book, a business, a dream that you want to put out in the world but don't know where to start + that feeling like it'll never happen won't go away. All of these signs that feel off are trying to tell you that it's time you made some changes. 

You have the power to take control of your life. It lives inside of you. Your body was created to keep you alive + healthy. You own all of the tools you need, right now. You need an energetic reset to find the you that has been missing. I can create a space for you to get rid of your anxiety, shame + limiting beliefs. You don't need them in your life. They don't serve you. 

The Culmination

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How did I end up here?! How did I get to the point in my life where I'm out in the world calling myself an Energy Guide?

I've worn many hats in my days. Started many businesses. Pursued many dreams. My life has been anything but boring, that's for sure. 

When I was a young 'un I cared about sports + video games. As I got a little older I cared a lot about girls. I was busy, active, fidgety...I couldn't sit still, even while playing video games. I listened to really intense music (heavy metal + rap). That period was one of exploration + anger.

I met my wife when she was 14 + I was 15. Besides that one horrible phase early in our lives, we've been together ever since. That's 21 years of my life with the most courageous woman I've ever met. We made 3 babies, 2 of whom have Cystic Fibrosis. We've shared a lot of dreams together. We've encouraged each other. We've supported one another through some rough times. This (on-going) period has been one of self-doubt where she's picked me up over + over again. She exemplifies the strength + resilience I didn't grow up with.

Before we had kids, we spent a lot of time sitting around watching tv + working crap jobs. We felt like something was missing, but could never really put our fingers on what that was. Nothing against my parents, they loved me, they were always there for me, but they lived a typical life...work hard to provide for your family + play sports + watch tv. Take one vacation a year. That was it. Again, I love my parents, but I felt called to do more with my time here.

Enter photography. Jenny + I started Solar Photographers 13 years ago. Taking pictures was always something I enjoyed doing, but it ultimately wasn't about the pictures. It was about the connections. The love. The interactions shared between people who care deeply about each other, whether on a wedding day or a family out snuggling + tickling one another. The fulfilling part of photography for me was being able to create a space where true joy could be witnessed + I could stop time for a brief moment + show these amazing people what their love looks like.

Sometime in 2009 my wife + I started The Happy Family Movement dedicated to helping families live a more intentional life by making their own rules + creating their own family habits + traditions. Again, in the field of connection. I was tired of feeling like life was supposed to look a certain way because that's what society tells us it should look like. I was tired of getting asked all the time about why we had watergun fights in the house, because why not? We created Ned, the Phone Monster (#RIP) to serve as a reminder to put down your dang phone + be present with the folks you love most. I wanted others to feel the JOY + share in the laughter we shared together. 

In 2013 I became depressed + still don't know why. I lacked passion. I just wanted to read books all day. I was angry at myself. I didn't want to do anything + it caused so many issues in my marriage + the way I treated my kids. I somehow bought a watercolor set + started writing letters of encouragement to leave around town. Making art was therapeutic. Writing the letters filled with words to support another was therapeutic. It was like I was channeling something deeper within to find the words + I found healing in the process. By the end of 2014, Hello Happiness Card Co was born. It was a way to put my art out into the world in a way that was meaningful to me. But the thing is, I rarely got to see the healing that took place from people who found my letters. The few times I did, it was magic. Joy, tears + a deep sense of belonging + enoughness.

Connection through images.
Connection with families.
Connection with ourselves.
Connection. Connection. Connection. 

Sometime in 2007 I found Thich Nhat Hanh's Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation. It changed my life. My meditation practice led me to get to know + love myself really well. Yes, I still stumbled from time to time on the self love front. I'm human. I'm not perfect. I make mistakes. I believe some crazy lies about myself from time to time. But I kept coming back to meditation. Metta meditation, Tummo meditation, meditation with binaural beats, the Wim Hof Method. The days I didn't take the time to connect with my inner guide, I felt off. Meditation + stillness became the tools for me to understand + feel + listen to what my body was trying to tell me. 

Then I discovered reiki. My first experience with reiki my heart felt like it was sinking into the ground + I just cried + cried. It ultimately became a magical release of sadness, anger + trapped emotions. I left the session feeling bliss. I needed to understand what happened to me. So I devoured all I could about the ancient Japanese healing technique. I'm Reiki Level II attuned in the Usui lineage. Reiki was the missing piece for me in my mindfulness self healing practice. 

Combining my years of experience in all the different types of breath work + reiki I've never felt better. I've connected with myself in deeper ways than I ever imagined. I want to help everyone else feel the magic I've discovered is possible when we create safe spaces + reset our body back to it's natural energetic state. My journey as an Energy Guide has been happening personally + with close friends for quite some time. 

I felt it was time (with nudges from some close friends) to release this side of me, the part that exists in the deepest part of my soul, out into the world. This is the culmination of all the things I've discovered about life so far. I'd love to share this magic with you. 

I believe we're all capable of so much more than we can ever possibly imagine.
I believe our lives are lives of constant discovery.
I believe in magic + miracles + LOVE.  

If you're ready to book a session, click here. If you have some questions about the process, drop me a line

From meh to WHAAAAAA?!?

You ever think about how long life feels sometimes? And yet, as the years go on, it seems to really fly by. 

Have you thought recently about all the things you're 'meh' about lately? Maybe it's your job. Maybe there's some romantic relationship that needs to go away because it doesn't light you up. Maybe you're unhappy with where you live. Maybe you need to get outside and be more active or eat a little bit healthier. 

Life is too precious to spend so much time in the 'meh' zone. 

But I get it. Making changes. Getting healthy. Taking care of yourself requires courage. It requires a LOT of effort. Finding fulfillment takes bravery + work. 

Unfortunately, no one is going to be able to do that work for you. It requires you to pour your heart + soul + everything you have into self-care. It requires bravery + for you to step up + do the hard things you KNOW deep down you feel called to do. 

I recently read some wise words in an excellent novel by Nicola Yoon. "Life is too dang long to spend doing something you're meh about." 

Take a moment to reflect on all the things you're meh about right now. Little meh's. Big meh's. Think about all the meh's in your life.

Now take a deep breath. Fully in. Hold it. Hold it. Hold it for a bit longer. Fully out. Now take another one. Hold that for a few seconds, too. Feel the air fill up your belly + then take another inhale right into your heart. Sit with the relaxation. Exhale + relax.

Still with me? Good. Now that you're calm, take a few moments to ask yourself how can I turn those 'mehs' into WHAAAAAA's.

A WHAAAAAAAA is something you're extremely excited to be doing in any given moment. WHAAAAA's are what you feel called to do in the quiet moments...in the stillness. WHAAAAA's might be keeping you up at night with joy. You deserve a whole heckuva lot of WHAAAAAA's in your life. 

Feeling a little bit overwhelmed? Here's the good news. I can help you get to a space where your WHAAAA's far outweigh your meh's. Book an All the Heals session now + let's work together to snuff those meh's right out.