Celebrating our one year anniversary of first seeing each other, we both reflect on what the last year has meant to us and how this relationship came to be. Written from two unique perspectives, please read through to the end to allow all of the pieces of this puzzle to fall into place.
Almost one year ago today down to the hour, I was sitting at my Zen Den in Nacogdoches, TX with several tabs open as usual, Facebook being one of them.
After I had Skyped that day with a friend and discussed the long dissolution of my former relationship, a visual was given to me of two pinkies holding on to one another. If the metaphor of a relationship working well is used with hands and fingers joining together as the symbolic attributes of a healthy, loving one…. this was one holding on with nothing but the pinkies. For some reason after a year of preparing for the end, this visual struck me hard.
Two days prior to this I had began FB chatting with Sunniva. Tonight we went back to the origins of our chats. A friend request on July 22nd of 2011 had a nice “How are you?” exchange and that was it.
Not until November 27th, 4 months later, would she pop and say “Hey Jared!” “Hey……!” was my response. As we read through them again tonight, you could feel the energy of surprise in the tone of the reply.
To give you some insights into how divine the timing of our meeting, our friendship, and ultimately our relationship that would follow was; I need to share a few details.
A few week later I would find out that on November 27th 2011 my ex wife had signed a lease on a one-bedroom apartment in the complex we had lived at for a few years. That would also be the same day I chatted Sunniva briefly for the first time. I knew that I wanted to go to Europe on a trip alone to do some soul searching. I desperately needed some time away, and had started a FB message thread with 3 people from England and Sunniva.
We instantly peeled off and chatted on our own, but it was a chat with a very sweet and innocent tone to it. Reading back through every message tonight just brought deep smiles to our faces. I was honest in the fact that I did not friend request her because I really wasn’t ready to unlock what I felt would be a powerful connection.
So to be clear on this timeline of events, the day we casually chatted was the same day that the end of my marriage was amicably ending without me even knowing. But to be fair it was years in the making. Good friends, good people, just held on too long for the wrong reasons. While I was unaware of the new lease signing by my ex, it was certainly part of a bizarre series of events that allowed an explosive series of events to occur.
Sunniva and I would audio Skype on Nov 28th, and on November 29th around this time of day I wanted to show her the visual of the pinky metaphor that a friend had presented me with. You can read back the messages and see just how sincere and honest and raw they were. A friendship was blossoming, but it had so much more power to it and we both knew it.
The last message on the 29th I see is “I’m about to Skype Susie, so let’s chat later.” The next message is several hours later, well into the night and says simply. “Explosions…. I already want to be a better me…. THUMP, THUMP, THUMP,” and other incoherent but powerful expressions to each other. Not out of need, but out of something far beyond what we could fathom.
We had evidently chatted via messages on Skype, and I had then talked her into showing how the pinky metaphor of what tiny aspect was holding my relationship together looked like visually. She too had just left a relationship that I was sort of in the loop on. Both of us in a Facebook group together where people often shared personal stories, so while we were aware of each other and the happenings of our life, we had not engaged in dialogue since she joined this group in January.
Not until her post that she was single and I was the first to comment with “I’m sorry to hear that.”
To be honest I was. I knew the pain of a relationship not working. I knew not being understood or pretending to be something that wasn’t fully who we were. I knew…
Yep, what happened when I got Sunniva to turn on video for the minute I asked her to was mystical. I glanced up to see her eyes and knew in one instant, in that one moment, that every single thing in my life had led up until now for reasons I was unable to see.
In the next 60 days we would share over 8000 FB messages until the chance we got to hug in real life in London.
So on December 7th 2011 an amicable divorce was filed. Storage was established and I started moving my stuff quickly. Laura and I were getting along fine and with nothing to hide, and honest intentions I even shared as much as I knew about Sunniva from the get go. The power of this friendship that turned into much more was like nothing I had read about, not even in a Nicholas Sparks book.
17 days later I was loaded up on Christmas Eve and I headed to the little place on the lake my mom has her getaway near the farm I grew up.
I had 3 weeks or so where I began a process of eliminating 6 things in my life including no TV, cutting cords on toxic relationships, gossip circles, processed foods, etc. I had lived a life of very little emotional fulfillment so I had created many feeding relationships. Very unbalanced ones, but suiting who I was at the time. Even though I was drowning and struggling to see light, something inside me said to hold on.
This blog is a lot of things to me. It’s a love letter to my wife who instantly knew she too had found what we both had yearned to find our entire lives. Passion, understanding, depth, intuition, facing the dark shadows of our souls that we had avoided through different ways, but still linked on the avoidance of real inner work. We still linked on the desire to sweep out the dark corners and finally address all aspects of self, in order to let the light shine purely, not the illusion we were used to putting up to family and friends and even ourselves.
This blog is also to let you know that anything is possible. If you are in a box that is your life and it feels very comfortable to you it’s so easy to just stay there. The closet space, the cars you drive, the circle of friends you can’t see switching up, the deep aspect of COMFORTS that come with staying where you are at. Most people in my observation fear big changes because of the friction it means. The fears and short-term pain it can cause, even though it will ultimately lead to such tremendous growth, light, and peace of mind. …but it also means heavy work. And the easy way out is not the most meaningful. At least it wasn’t for me.
If you are in a job you don’t like, a relationship that feels hollow, have a yearning to be somewhere else but feel trapped by conditions. Maybe it’s a mortgage, maybe it’s the kids, ore maybe it’s just the trappings of comfort that our routines in life bring to us.
For me, there was a spark of madness that I needed. A desire to put in all of my chips in the game we call life, but frankly I felt I had little to lose and everything to gain this time.
So Sunniva told me to pack heavy and so I did. It was one big Trek bag and a backpack with a few “just in case” items and our adventure as you know it began in real life with that hug at Heathrow and our race across the English countryside to make our way to the boat that we’d spend 8 days navigating canals in England and learning so much about what the rest of our life would mean.
From there the nerves and uncertainty of what coming to Norway would mean were huge. I had one week here to see what it was like. We knew through the hundreds of hours of Skype, and 8000 messages in under two months that it would be exactly as it was, but the world was a bit suspicious as they should have been.
In one year man, I have gone from being in an empty marriage that lasted a few years too many I suspect (both of us equally empty and inhibited growth in my opinion) to coming into a new land in a new part of the world. A language I did not know and her farm on the Swedish side of the border was in a beautiful, but fairly remote part of the world. This isolation would be a catalyst for spiritual, emotional, and physical changes.
Nature and love did a lot of healing on my soul. We kept facing, and keep facing today new things that without a mirror so perfectly tilted you may go a lifetime without addressing.
Figuring out how to get my residence card that allowed me to stay was one of the first of many hurdles we would face. Working through ideas on how to create a business together was something we did from the beginning. It was time together the first month in the kitchen that we would work out some ideas, some words during powerful brainstorming sessions, and finally a name that I knew the moment I heard it “Solgave” would be a brand that would take root. A brand that would one day be part of a set of solutions to help change the world.
It was important for us to “create” something that would allow us to work together. To build something from the ground up. Not to clock in and clock out and merely exist but to LIVE. I knew by how seamlessly we worked together on the boat that beyond an intense love experience, we would also make incredible partners in every aspect of life.
You are now reading this blog from Solgave.com and we are in the planning stages of our first of many businesses together, Solgave Animal Solutions.
The marriage that for this spiritual connection might not have happened for awhile but in epic fashion came together in 4 days with some of the most beautiful memories and images I’ve ever seen is still hard to fathom. My god was she beautiful.
To share the photo of our hands holding together locked in a symbol of unity as I posted to Facebook from the narrowboat, was an intense image to let the world know that we not only made it to the boat safely. But we had arrived…
You’ll see tears in my eyes, happy tears, as we rejoined our hands together showing the unity we would forever be bound to. Yet still, we had many things to face.
We’ve rescued a horse together that was the first brick of the Solgave Project and went from rehabilitating him to just this week hearing of his passing to colic from the new owner. Yep, this life and this year have been filled with a richness and depth of 40 years. I mean that sincerely.
It’s no secret that since I was a boy myself, after working with 4-5 yr. old kids during undergraduate work at the U of A for 3 years that I had dreams of being a dad. After a 12-year relationship and many attempts had failed, I had honestly given up hope. I had nearly given up hope on everything.
The miracle of our divine timing and all that needed to happen to allow this love story, this romance, and this intensity of life that I so dreamed of finding is…well, divine.
The fact that I am now not just blessed to be learning and navigating the roles as a step father to an amazing 4 year old named Gabi, but as you guys know we are now expecting a child of our own is a bloody miracle.
So much has changed in my life in one year it’s impossible to properly do justice in one blog, but I’m giving it a shot.
If your life feels like your living it for false reasons or you are in a situation because of others thinking it’s right for you, but something inside you yearns for more, then hold on.
Don’t give up hope. I was in the metaphorical comfort box for many years and peeked my head up and looked outside to see if it really could be what I desired.
It took a lot of preparing mentally, and gaining the courage to leap when I did. To trust my instincts, and vow to do everything in my life authentically. Bumps, bruises, and all. Authentically.
365 days. 11,734 Facebook messages. A plane ticket to Europe. A desire in my heart to risk big in order to gain everything. A set of ideas and a personal ethos that led to what we call Solgave. A new marriage. A baby on the way. A business plan being developed.
But even more important is this message. Never think you have to live up to anybody’s expectations but your own. Never fear change and the resistance that is always part of powerful movement. Those willing to swing the hardest have to risk a few strikes.
If a pinky on the full set of fingers is holding you to some set of conditions that is not serving you, remember you can just let go.
This year has been both the most rewarding and the toughest in some ways. A new land. A new culture. No friends. No family. Selling what I had in order to stay and willing to take a big chance.
Alone in the recesses of our mind, out there in the wilderness you will be amazed at what you feel inside your soul. I’ve learned that we have unlimited capacity to change when ready. I’ve learned we have to see the door to want to unlock it. I’ve learned it takes courage to even turn the key. And that spark of madness you need to walk into the darkness of what lies behind the unknown, the unfamiliar.
I knew that 2012 was the year everything changed for me. 365 days from the time I saw my wife’s face I can tell you with certainty I was right.
If it can change for me, it can change for you.
2013 here we come…
One year ago today, was the first time I confessed to Jared what I felt about him. We had only been chatting for a couple of days, but the tension, the intensity and the emotion were pretty obvious from the first “hey Jared!”. We played “the game” of pretending to not notice, but I think we both knew that this was something really special from the very first chat.
November 29th was the night of our first video Skype. At first I said “no” when he asked, but he was persistent and insisted that he had something to show me. Somehow I knew that the game would be over when I would see him “live,” and that was the reason why I initially didn’t want to. I had come out of a relationship just a month prior to that, and he was still married, although “everyone” knew that that marriage was ending.
I ended up accepting his Skype call, and I literally held my breath for the first minutes, while he showed me what he needed me to see. Once he was done with that, he really looked at me for the first time, and I saw him. I really saw him… “I see you, Jared,” I said (referring to the famous line from Avatar). And boy did I.
The moment he looked at me, from way over there in Texas, USA, something fell into place inside me. The missing piece, so to speak. Everything made sense. I saw the same eyes I had dreamed of my entire life – the eyes I had seen in fleeting visions, and who I always thought was “me” in a way. The missing piece fell in place, and I had a strong physical reaction, where I started shaking, and had goose bumps from head to toe.
I couldn’t help myself, and said out loud “Jared, you know I won’t be leaving your side in England, right?” He responded with a huge, shy smile, and he looked down. “I was hoping you wouldn’t,” he replied.
What you guys have to see is that up until that moment, we had talked like friends, no insinuations, no agenda, about meeting up in England. When I blurted that out, the game was indeed over. The rest of the conversation was a blur… I don’t remember much more… I remember telling him that even though it sounded crazy (especially to me), I loved him more than anything. Nuts, right? But I’ve never been more honest.
Because of the nature of the situation, me just leaving a relationship that was turbulent at best (though the outer world thought it was good – as that’s what I said, out of fear of failing, once again), and Jared being in the process of leaving a marriage, we met a lot of resistance. I honestly don’t think I had any real support – understandably enough, seen from the outside. That makes it even more powerful to me, because I kept going, I kept moving, even though some friends and family encouraged me to not pursue this.
I couldn’t NOT do it. I’ve never been more convinced about anything in my life. How could I know? Because I had tried and failed in the past. I had thought I knew. Only because of my past failures and mistakes, could I be so sure I was right this time. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I sensed challenges and obstacles en mas, but I knew this was a road worth taking nonetheless. I had met my soul mate!
This marked the beginning of a huge change in my life and me. I had been such a “pretender” up until then. Never really touching on anything really deep in me, fears, doubts or to be frank – the real beauty. The real, raw beauty in being me, just me. Not the pretend-me, that I don’t think was fooling too many anyway, but the real deal. Jared went through the exact same changes, at the exact same time. We both started living authentically.
The level of honesty was intense, and that was new to us both I think. Have you ever had a friend you could tell everything and anything? The innermost secrets, doubts, desires and dreams? A person whom you trust with your life? Then you know… We told each other everything from our pasts. We got to know each other so well in the first month of chatting and skyping, that when we first met in London, it was like we had known each other for a life time.
December was the month where everything happened for Jared, his marriage officially ended, and he closed off a chapter of his life. A huge change, and I couldn’t do much but support him from a distance, and observe in awe at the ease of which it all happened. He left Texas on Christmas Eve, and I have to say I’m so proud of how he handled everything. God knows it wasn’t easy for him.
It’s been an intense year, to say the least. Most of you know our story, and know that we spent our first week together on a tiny boat on freezing, English canals. You know that that week brought us closer than I had ever imagined. You know that we couldn’t bear the thought of being separated, so we postponed Jared’s airline ticket home around six times. You know that we decided to get married, April 3rd. You know that I have never been happier.
You know that we wanted to start a business together, because we share the same passion, and desire to “be the change” in this world, no matter how we can. You know that we dream big. We aim high. Our love is deep. You know we are now expecting a baby together. You know, it hasn’t been easy. You know we’ve had our fair share of struggles and challenges, just as I sensed in the very beginning. You also know that struggles equals growth, and that everything we’ve faced together has brought us closer.
True love isn’t easy, if it was, it wouldn’t be real. But it’s worth it. True love, is the kind of love that makes everything else seem irrelevant. The kind that makes your heart beat a little harder, that makes you smile for no reason, which makes you wake up in the morning feeling gratitude for being alive. I give thanks for every day I get to spend with Jared. Every day is a new “best day of my life.”
It’s not a fairy tale. It’s better. Why? Because it’s real. I love this man, and you know what? Without doubt I can tell you that I always will.