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This Christmas season...

A year of reflection, love, amazing experiences, loss and tolerance. That pretty much sums it up so I am outta here... This year I reflect back on what a great year 08 was and what a tremendous success I believe 09 will be. I learned a lot about myself, my limitations (mentally of course) and the ability to push through. I also just today found out about a loss of a great person that I really did not know only by association. I also want to reflect ever so briefly on tolerance and what this holiday season really opened my eyes to.

Let me start by saying that the sporting community, the world and the Smith family lost a great person yesterday. Dave Smith was an icon in the sporting industry and in the words of the amazing Emily Levy:

"Dave was somewhat of a celebrity in the world of Major League Baseball, once a relief pitcher for the Houston Astros, later the Chicago Cubs, and more recently a pitching coach for the San Diego Padres. He was widely respected among the baseball community for being an exceptional pitcher and coach, a valuable teammate, and an MLB record-holder. But more importantly, thanks to the many comments shared today, I have discovered how deeply Dave was respected for being a fantastic human being. He was an easy-going guy who lived a gentle and laid-back life as only a California surfer can. He was known for his tremendous generosity, for being patient and kind, for taking time to notice people. To those whose lives he touched, he was a mentor and teacher, a trusted companion and a solid friend."

I don't think i could have said it any better. You see I am not a sporting enthusiast and to many, i am a fair weathered, opinionated person about sports. I think we put too much emphasis on sports and not the connections that really matter. Many people married, in a relationship or even single, tend to put tons of energy into sports and what it stands for. I commend them for that, however, i will never pass up a great bike ride, or a fantastic hike, or the opportunity to go someplace new, or pass up an opportunity to blow off a good friend just because a game is on. Dave seemed to get that. He understood the importance of balance in life and from the sound of it, he was passionate and kind in everything he did. I hope people say the same about me when i am gone so Dave, thank you for being a model in this time when we all need inspiration.

This year I started, and almost walked away from a company that I started on the first of the year. I learned that patience is a virtue and persistence is key when doing anything. My nature is to walk away from something if it gets too hard. In August, I almost did just that and walked away from a large investment in time and capital. Luckily for me, I met someone who breathed life into this dying company and who believed enough to say, "I think you have a great product/idea and I can definately sell it for you" Actions are more powerful than words and thankfully I gave this person a chance and because of it, our company is growing towards the direction of success. Lesson learned: Be patient and don't walk away because things aren't going as perfect as you envisioned them to go.

Love is another area that I looked at, concentrated on and dabbled in briefly. I realized that I have so much love to give the whole world, that maybe I can't share it completely with just one person. I found that opening up is not a bad thing and that trusting can be mildly comforting. For me the problem is that i fall in love every day, not just with a beautiful woman, but a fantastic cloud in the sky, a beautiful tree as it sways into and out of a coastal breeze, a gorgeous glimmer of the sunset as its rays are reflected on a tranquil blue canvas. Polyamourist love may not be a bad thing when redefining life and learning to live all over again. Just because we don't love one person or one God with all our heart and soul, is that such a bad thing? Maybe when we fall "head over heels in love", we stop seeing the beauty in other things around us. We have been led to believe that monogamy is the name of the game, but maybe, just maybe, we stop appreciating when we become monogamous? Lesson learned: I don't have all the answers about love. The more answers i find, the more questions that reveal themselves. I am learning to love whole heartedly and not Hole heartedly.

I have had the opportunity to be friends, counsel and talk with many people throughout this year. Some of my friends keep coming back because they like the advice i give them. My friend Noah and I share often about life, love and the pursuit of happiness. The reason i love talking to Noah is, many times we are extreme opposites in what we believe in, however, we are always able to see and appreciate the other persons point. I also have the opportunity to help people out of ruts. Many times in our lives we get into a little valley in our life as to where we cannot see the sun or the beauty that the road of life really has to offer. I try to offer guidance and a compass.
Lesson learned: We need to stop thinking of things in terms of "right and wrong" or "good and bad". I think we need to realize that life is amazing and that we are all the sum of those that surround us.

Finally, conclude on the Holiday soap box. This year, someone actually got trampled in a wal-mart on black friday. My thoughts go out to this person's family, whomever they may be. This will be a sad holiday season for them. I think about the insanity of what the holidays have become. Getting the latest gadget at the cheapest price before everyone else has. Have our lives become so meaningless that we will kill our brother or sister for $100 off? I don't know what our society has come to, but it sure isn't love. We live in a constant fear of losing our jobs, losing our homes, losing our health. We try to buy the best and greatest products to make us better people. We would be better served by looking inward and seeing what changes we can do to make the world a better place. This holiday is supposed to be about love and family and instead its turned into something that even i can't recognize.

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