person holding torch in building interior



One of the very last things written by Leonardo Da Vinci was a small, handwritten note which read:

“We should not desire the impossible.”

Da Vinci was [also] left-handed, and he wrote backwards, from right to left, in order to prevent his hand from smearing the still-drying ink as he wrote. Unlike his other diary entries, the words were written incredibly small, as if he were embarrassed his hand had written them.

Da Vinci died a man of many ideas that never took flight, one of which was one of the first sketches for the modern helicopter. Even back then, he dreamed of conquering the skies. Yet, he never lived to see the day where man would conquer the air. Perhaps his sketches for the helicopter were in the back of his mind as he wrote ‘impossible’ – we’ll never know.

Unlike Da Vinci, the writing on my blog can’t be written in small, indistinguishable letters that convey my own emotion and battles within my head. Rather, they’re clearly written for all the world to see, without regard to who in the world discovers them.

A good portion of my life is spent in solitude, with the company of a growing toddler and faithful dog. Most of my life has followed in similar fashion – sans the dog and son.

Along the way, I’ve discovered little hacks that have helped me navigate the journey. One of which includes being a regular at places. As silly as it sounds, I deeply enjoy connecting with people on a surface level and being greeted by name when I walk in the door at a local business. It makes me feel a sense of connection.

This afternoon, I walked into the gun range and was warmly greeted by every single employee who I came across. I’ve shot nearly 10,000 rounds at that range, and have gotten to know bits and pieces about each employee with each visit, most of which have shot my latest gun and given over-the-top reviews about the way it shoots.

“That’s one of the best damn trigger pulls I’ve ever felt, and I just shot a $5,000 gun…”

Shortly after emptying a magazine into the target, I felt a soft tap on my shoulder. I turned and was met by the range instructor, who asked me why I was shooting my Glock with a single hand.

“In case I’m ever holding my son and need to protect him.” I responded.

He responded with a miniature lesson on how to improve my stance, as well as grip holding the gun; suggesting I turn the gun at a slight angle – ‘partial gangsta style’ to get a more natural firing position and alignment with my eyes.

I fired off another 50 rounds, each hitting a small 3-inch target. It worked. He came back to check on my progress and gave me a smile when he saw the holes.

I walked away from that encounter feeling accomplished, while also aware that it’s a rare moment to be asked why I’m doing, how I’m feeling, or what’s really going on inside of my head.

I’ve lived nearly all of my adult years holding a lot inside. From deep feelings of failure, to compressed tears that never came out after the loss of my Father – and now, the battle of being a single Dad. On late nights like these, I find a bit of respite in letting some of these thoughts out in the comfort of a dark room.

When Atlas gets older, I want him to know that his Dad didn’t take life lying down, but did everything in his power to make the most of what he had been given. I want him to know his Dad, even the parts that are raw, broken and incomplete. I don’t ever what him to see me crumble, lose my cool or speak disrespectfully to another human being – or to him.

More than anything, I want to set an example that Atlas will want to follow, with his mind, body and spirit. I learned a great deal from my Dad, through lessons that were both aspirational as well as the lessons that made me want to do things differently than he did. Both were gifts in their own right.

The journey through solitude has been a fruitful one for me, it’s carried me across continents, through dark and desolate places and has helped me navigate one of the most dangerous minefields a man can encounter; his mind.

In “Iron John: A Book about Men” the author, Robert Bly, guides readers through the journey of the main character; a prince in a kingdom who had to go through his rite-of-passage before becoming a king. It wasn’t a glorious journey, but rather one in which the boy needed to descend to the lowest levels of the kingdom in order to one day rise to be King.

When I look at my life, I see a similar journey through the trenches. I see the times I’ve won, lost or have had to pick myself up to greet the bell again for another round. Through all of it, there’s one thing that’s kept me going; the knowledge that each day holds a little bit more of the life I want, recognition of the life I have, and acceptance for what was.

There are two letters that transform you from being a victim to being a victor; i-m. I AM.

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