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Creating space and honoring connection
A few weeks ago, I was walking around Providence, Rhode Island with Rob Hardy akaand experienced an unexpected sensation. As we walked along the river, I felt each step connecting me more and more with the ground. A pleasant familiarity flowed up from my feet. As I pointed across the water at the different neighborhoods, I felt an unexpected pride. A bubbling up of warm energy in my chest. An appreciation and love for this city.
I was at home. With a deep sense of rootedness. An awareness that is my place. Where I was born, where I grew up, and where I left never expecting to return.
Yet here I am. Here I plan to raise our children. Here I plan to grow old.
It still feels strange to write that. But also true and beautiful. I've spent much of my life chasing new places and things. Keeping doors open and maximizing optionality. Now I'm drawn to commitment. Allowing paths of possibilities to fade behind me. Deepening into the pathless existence that springs from this place.
It’s been a weird and wild last 18 months.
After 5 years of being mostly offline, I spent 2022 very online. I started sharing on Twitter, began writing on Substack, and recorded a podcast with internet friends. It was a blast. I connected with amazing people, discovered new ideas, and embraced new activities. I evolved in more ways than expected.
My broader life was also changing. My wife and I had our first child, who transformed from a tiny nugget nestling on my chest into a rambunctious toddler racing around our house. We moved back to my hometown, trading our comfortable life in North Carolina for a complex reunion with Rhode Island. We left a small lot in a cozy suburban neighborhood for a few acres nestled between a conservation forest and a cooperative farm.
In early May, I sensed I needed a season of solitude to let these changes settle in. I needed to stop talking, stop posting, and stop writing. I needed to listen. To create space to align more with our land, to connect more with my body, and to deepen more into our local community.
Interesting things began bubbling up in unexpected ways. The energy I was channeling online flowed into daily life.
I discovered neighbors raising goats, creating meadows, and growing mushrooms. We gathered for community events around the farm, milled trees, and built picnic tables.
I stumbled into a new yoga studio and immersed myself in the practice. I connected with local breathwork practitioners and discovered new modalities to connect with the body. Slowly, I began to imagine different ways I might create local offerings and contribute to our community.
It's too early to write the full story of these last few months. It's too soon to make meaning of everything that has emerged. But I can share a few pieces that feel particularly relevant.
Bridging online and local worlds
In my life, I've experienced the extremes of being totally offline running local businesses, and very online. Parts of me feel pulled toward each existence. Yet, I sense the real magic for me occurs at the intersection. It's contributing to my local community and participating in the broader virtual conversation. It's nurturing activities that exist only in a single space and time. And, also creating things that ripple out through the internet to unknown places and future moments.
Relationship to and interconnection of everything
In my work in fitness, I often talk about the importance of our relationship to the activity. It's not just what we do, but how and why we do it that matters. This extends to all aspects of our lives. Our food. Our home. Our gardens. Our work. Our relationships. Our community. etc, etc.
More and more, I'm experiencing how connected all these areas are. It's impossible to isolate my approach to exercise from the rest of my life. It exists in connection to where I live and what I eat. It contributes to the energy and emotional state I bring to my relationships, work, and community. The same is true of everything we do.
Playing long games
For most of my life, I've been in a rush. Driven by an inner pressure to race through achievements and milestones. Lately, I've encountered a new way of operating and being. It’s unfamiliar and uncomfortable.
Patience, perhaps. In place of sprinting, there is comfort going slow. In place of chasing, a willingness to pause, stop, and create space.
My best explanation is that I've finally begun to embody a quote by John Steinbeck I first encountered in’s fantastic book, The Pathless Path:
"If it is right, it happens—The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.”
On the horizon
In the spirit of this, I have a few updates on this newsletter and my broader creative pursuits.
In the weeks ahead, I'm going to merge my writing "On Renewal" and "Intuitive Fitness" into a single newsletter. I’ll also be noodling on a personal site that helps me better organize my different endeavors and explore my interests.
I want to create a container that honors the connection between all these areas. I cannot write about exercise without incorporating ideas I discover through ecology. I cannot explore themes of renewal without integrating the role of embodiment, movement, and vitality.
Grouping these together under my name acknowledges the reality that I don't know what will unfold and emerge over the next decade. I only know I want to keep exploring, writing, and sharing.
No action is necessary on your end as I'll combine the publications on my end. And no pressure to join the next chapter of this journey. You can unsubscribe at any point if it's no longer resonating with you.
One of my core life philosophies is that we can build in conditions that honor change and nurture our ability to adapt. These tweaks in my creative containers and approach are a few small ways of leaning in on this process.
Thank you for reading and joining me in exploring these themes. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out directly or via the comments if you have reflections, ideas, or questions.