7. Love and the Construction of the Physical World

On a walk last Friday night I was thinking about the construction and nature of the physical world. The way I theoretically understand it is that there is an energetic reality that exists beyond our physical form (beyond our senses, which are what plug us into this physical dimension). This energetic reality, which is comprised of what Dr. Eric Pearl, the founder of Reconnective Healing, refers to as energy, light, and information, exists beyond the visible light spectrum and is comprised of infinite frequencies.

As far as we know, this energetic reality is endless—without beginning, without end, has always been, and always will be. Science calls this reality the quantum field, the zero point field, or source energy. Religion calls it God. The sweet spot, and perhaps the greatest hope for the future of humanity, is the melding of the two, which is why Dr. Joe Dispenza often says, "Science is the new language of mysticism." 

Of this field, Einstein said, “The field is the sole governing agency of the particle.” This means that the field governs all other laws of both the physical and nonphysical worlds. All information within this field is transmitted through the wave function, including our thoughts. Just as you would see a ripple in a pond when you drop a rock in it, that wave is the way the physical world transfers energy. 

As individual people, we are all a part of, and connected to, this greater field of consciousness. This field is consciousness itself—far bigger and greater than what we can comprehend in the human form or with our limited mind.

If you were to continue to move upward into this field of frequencies—which is to say, into greater levels of consciousness and awareness—there would be no separation, only oneness. It’s only when light moves beneath the speed of light that oneness, separation, and division begin to occur. 

If this model of reality is indeed true, then this is how I see the construction of the physical world:

  1. The Field (infinite consciousness/potentials/possibilities)

  2. The Question (consciousness becoming self-aware)

  3. Language (consciousness giving ideas form, structure, composure)

  4. Action (consciousness turning ideas into matter)

  5. Result (consciousness constructing the physical world)

So why the construction of the physical world? What’s our purpose here? I believe it is for consciousness to experience itself in the physical form. This requires us to truly live our life—to take risks, to love, to suffer, to experience loss, to transcend our suffering and loss, to get bruised and battered all while experiencing family, joy, unity, transcendence, wholeness, and all there is to experience in this physical form. (I talk more about this in my book.)

Mostly though, I think it’s about learning to love. Learning to love is a surrendering of our stories, because it’s our stories that create distance—I am this and you are that. When the distance created by our stories disappear, there is only oneness, wholeness, and the energy, consciousness, and awareness that unites us.

When will the human species get this lesson?

Seattle, WA 8/17/18

6. Surrender and Trust

Only publishing this on July 16th, 2018 did I realize there is a mustard seed in the middle.

Only publishing this on July 16th, 2018 did I realize there is a mustard seed in the middle.

Last year was truly a transformative year that began with me quitting my day job to help a NY Times bestselling author edit his book. When I finished, I took off to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for two-and-half months to finish my own book. There, thanks to my friend Linda, I fell into an opportunity to help a Fortune 500 executive develop a book proposal. For the first eight months of the year, every day I was living my truth, and by living in that energy, every day I was excited about my life. I was in a constant state of awe and wonder at the opportunities that were flowing to me.

In August, I came back from Mexico to my life in Seattle and fell into a ‘WTF am I doing with my life’ moment, and those moments turned into more than a season. I began a very subtle slide in the opposite direction of the energy of my truth because I was living in fear and lack. Sitting here writing this on January 8, 2018, I can see how lack, fear, and the correlating contraction affected my holiday with my family, as well as my relationship.

My analytical mind wants to deconstruct what changed, but the reality of the situation is that my energy changed. Our energy is our internal state of being, and that state of being affects our external reality. It’s a very simple equation when you break it down: who we are internally is reflected back to us in the external world.

What I know about the state of being I’ve been living in is that it is ruled by fear, and when you live in fear, you desperately try to control and predict outcomes. For months I've had my life in a vice grip, which has not allowed it to breath and expand. Instead, my metaphorical life has been choking and grasping for air. And so I decided this past Sunday that I have to let go, surrender, and trust. Change only happens in the present moment, so I had to find a way to be who I want to be in the future in this present moment.

But what does it mean to surrender and trust? In the most simplistic terms, I believe it means to allow—to cease controlling and predicting so that the unknown can appear, after all, if you don’t allow room for the unknown, then you are living each day as the previous.

You would think I would have this down by now since it’s such a large part of what my book is about, but the truth is I don’t. Life is a series of expansion and contractions, and there’s learnings in each of these movements if we are living in awareness.

Found January 7th, 2018

Found January 7th, 2018

Yesterday was the first day of living in this new space of surrender and trust. I meditated twice for more than an hour each time on the energy of who I want to be in the future. Despite occasionally feeling the anxiety of fear move up from my stomach into my heart, I managed it by telling myself that what I am seeking is seeking me. I believe if you are living in your truth, then synchronicities and serendipities appear. This is feedback from the universe that you are in the right place at the right time.

It just so happened that yesterday I decided to roll a bunch of loose change. I was on the phone and sorting through the coins when I found one that was an odd size, and so I picked it up with curiosity to observe it more closely. On one side of the coin read, “With faith, all things are possible.” On the other side, with a mustard seed in the center, it read, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, nothing shall be impossible for you.” With awe and wonder I held the coin in my hand, then brought it to my heart.

I had never seen this coin before and I have no idea where it came from...but now I keep it next to my bed as a reminder.

Written January 8, 2018

5. The Pursuit of Art

Berlin, June 26, 2012

Berlin, June 26, 2012

In my book, A Curious Year in the Great Vivarium Experiment, while in Vietnam one of the characters tells the narrator, “One of the most challenging aspects of being an artist is figuring out how to make money when you’re becoming an artist.”

While all arts are a long game, writing tends to be a particularly long one, not only because it takes years of practice to hone your craft, but in some cases it takes years to even complete a manuscript. All the while you’re toiling away in solitary confinement at a vision of which you have no idea whether it’s good or not, nor do you have any idea how it will be received or perceived.

As if that wasn’t challenging enough, as you attempt to create something out of nothing, many days it feels like the devils of self-doubt and fear are whispering unworthiness into your ear, all the while with Kierkegaard’s blind leap of faith you pound away at the keys searching for kernels or breadcrumbs of truth. To add to the already herculean effort of taming those unloving voices in your head, you’re the only person in the world who knows what you are trying to do. You’re chasing the dream of being an artist or a writer—not for fame, glory, or riches—but because you feel like the dream that your life is awakening to could add value to others. From the outside, it’s borderline narcissistic, but due to a particular mixture of nature and nurture, you have no other recourse than to serve the self as an instrument of self-expression.

As time wears on, however, and months then years fall from the calendar, while you toil alone at your desk or in cafes you can’t help but feel a tinge of jealousy as you watch your friends build careers, climb the job ladder, take fancy vacations, and buy second homes. It makes you question everything you’re pursuing and everything you’ve done, yet at the same time, your so invested in your vision you can no longer turn back.

Instead, you’re betting the farm on something that has no tangible evidence in the 3D world—you’re betting the farm on a dream and a vision. This creates what at times can be an uncomfortable internal dichotomy; on the one hand, you find yourself longing for the security and stability of a regular job, but on the other hand it’s primarily through your art that you feel the most expansion in your soul. This is the energy I have found myself living in for quite a few months, and it is an energy of lack.

Last night while speaking with a trusted friend and advisor, she pointed out, “But don’t you see you are living your dream?”

The statement was sobering, landing on me with the force of an anvil dropped from the sky. For months, more accurately years, I’ve been so engaged in the chase that I haven’t been able to see the journey for what it is, and when you lose sight of the journey—no matter what you are pursuing in your life—you lose sight of your purpose.  

February 4, 2018

4. Dreams and Commitments

Deception Pass, WA, September 21, 2017

Deception Pass, WA, September 21, 2017

I was deep in a conversation with a friend the other night about my book and how it took me 5-6 years to complete when she asked me, “What does commitment mean to you?”

Perhaps it was the wine, because even I was surprised by the swiftness of my reply.

“Commitment is marrying an idea with a vision and following through.” It was a thought that must have made a home somewhere in my biology and surfaced through the chemistry of thought, because I had no idea where it came.

“So the bridge is the follow through,” she mirrored.

“Yes,” I replied.

“The bridge is the commitment and that makes the commitment the structural element.”

“That sounds right.”

“You could say then that commitment is built brick by brick of mini commitments, yes? That creates the structure?”

“Yes,” I agreed again.

“So to build a bridge of commitment, you have to start with one brick,”


“And then you lay another brick of commitment.”


 “And another.”


“You get it. So let me throw another idea out at you.”


“Would you agree then it’s not about being clear on the commitment—it’s about actually becoming the commitment?”

Deception Pass, WA, September 21, 2017

Deception Pass, WA, September 21, 2017

“Yes,” I replied again, following the carrot she kept dangling just out of reach.

“So I want you to think about this. With commitment, there’s an idea that we lose an element of our freedom…but at the same time, we gain our dreams.” She closed her eyes and continued.

“Our dreams represent our purpose and vision, so to see them we have to be present—we have to be in the present moment. That means we need to surrender the idea or belief that we are losing an aspect of freedom when we commit to something. Instead, what we actually need to realize is it’s through commitment that we achieve our purpose, goals, dreams, and vision. I think if we live in that space of commitment, we actually are free. That is what it means to be commitment.”

January 29, 2018


3. Awareness and Emotions

Taken on Formentera Island, Spain, June 24th, 2015

Taken on Formentera Island, Spain, June 24th, 2015

A conversation I recently had with a fellow writer triggered within me a very strong feeling of self-doubt. As a result, I began questioning all my decisions about this self-publishing path. It sent me into a heaviness of the heart that was dense and dark, the likes of which I have not known for some time. The more I fed it, the more this anxiety knocked me off my center, and as a result I began to create a story in my head that had no basis in reality.

As I fed the anxiety, the anxiety fed the story, and the story fed a reciprocal feeling in my body. Eventually the voice in my head grew louder than anything I could combat with rational thought.

But here’s the thing about anxiety—it doesn’t actually exist in the external world. It lives in the body as a memory of the past or a fear of the future, and like a parasite on a host, it feeds on our uncontrolled emotions. In my own body, this monster erupts from my heart or my gut, and like a virus it begins to consume everything in its path.

I think most people aren’t even aware of this feeling in their body. Instead of pausing to observe it, they avoid it—the ‘it’ being unresolved or unprocessed feelings and emotions. These feelings and emotions can manifest as fear, doubt, unworthiness, and so forth, but because they make us feel so uncomfortable within our own skin, we numb the feeling with food, alcohol, sex, work, drugs, busyness, exercise, or whatever we need to do to distract us from being confined in an emotional-pain suit, otherwise known as our body.

I think this human predicament has two causes. The first is that we feel isolated, separate, misunderstood, and alone. While these feelings have always been a byproduct of the human condition, it seems it’s become a modern affliction. The second are unresolved wounds.

Like a dormant volcano, when these emotions erupt in us, most often the reality is that we are safe and sound in the present moment, but the feeling in the body—which was engendered by an external experience, the end result of which is an emotion, the root of which is the chemistry in our body—is not the reality of the present moment. Because we are not aware and in control of our internal environment, something in our external environment triggered these old feelings that live in the body. This is why it’s so important to be awake and aware. This is one of the most important steps toward overcoming the self, which at the core is what my book is about. 

That's not to say I've mastered it. Every time we molt an old layer of the self that no longer serves us, another challenge appears in our life. If we look at these challenges as initiations, then we don't become a victim to our life's circumstances. This is but one of many steps on the journey towards mastering the self.

Fall, 2017


2. Places and Spaces

My birthday, July 17, 2011.

My birthday, July 17, 2011.

An “interesting place” is just a point on the map, coordinates comprised of latitudinal and longitudinal lines that allow us to zero in on the ‘idea’ of a physical space in time. A space then is just emptiness until consciousness and awareness is brought to it. This is why I’ve always said travel is not about the places you visit, but the person you are when you inhabit these spaces. Take, for example, the Taj Majal.

The Taj Mahal was a grandiose expression of love, a tomb built by a Mughal emperor to house the body of his most beloved wife. On my 37th birthday, my last full day in India after living there for three months, I found myself painfully aware of being alone, when all I really wanted was love and connection. It didn’t matter that I had just finished volunteering for India’s most important environmental lawyer, a man who sued the State of India over the course of 20 years to create a green zone around India’s most famous monument. He argued that the cultural relevance of the Taj Majal was worth more to India than the short-term gains of Industry, the effects of which had been yellowing and pitting the virginal marble. While I wallowed in loneliness, a couple beside me was celebrating their wedding anniversary. Their awe and enthusiasm could not be contained as they marveled at the extravagant ivory ode to love.

To me, the juxtaposition of these points of view proved that an “interesting place” is only as interesting as the awareness we bring to it. An “interesting place” then is simply a mirror of our internal state of being at that moment in our lives.

When boiled down to its essence, like the breath, being only exists in two states; expansion and contraction. To insert travel into this construct then makes travel a series of micro-choices: Do we bring expansion, which is love, into the places we inhabit? Or do we want to bring contraction, which is fear? I’d be willing to bet my best friend’s 401k that if we all brought love and expansion into the places we inhabit, the world’s borders would quickly evaporate. Think of all the new places we could then visit, interjecting love, connectedness, and goodwill along the way.

Travel is an idea. It is consciousness in motion—a movement through time within a physical reality where our senses comingle with people and ideas. I think it’s safe to say then that the most interesting place I’ve ever visited has been all those places where I’ve been at my best—expansive, engaged, present, aware, and connected to both myself, the people, and the culture. When you travel in this state of being, you can’t help but be a vortex for interesting people and experiences.

A place is only as interesting as the consciousness that is brought to it, for without consciousness, there is nothing.

(posted June 22, 2018)

Note: This was actually an essay I wrote for a travel writer position at The New York Times in the fall of 2017. The assignment was: tell us in 500 words or less about the most interesting place you’ve ever been. The crux of this essay is an underlying theme in ‘A Curious Year in the Great Vivarium Experiment.'


1. Breakdowns and Breakthroughs


I had a damn-near breakdown yesterday.

Not the kind that would find me in a psychiatric ward. This one was more of a tortured, anguished breakdown—an internal collapse—a controlled demolition that took with it the support structures upon which I have placed not only trust and faith in myself, but trust and faith in what at my best I view as a magical, mystical, and benevolent universe. 

You see, I’m at the intersection of a 26-year-old dream, and depending on how you cut it, for the last 5-6 years I’ve been laboring to actualize it. The culmination of this intersection is my life’s work, a fictionalized story of a journey I took after my mother passed away. In it, I attempt to express what I’ve been trying to articulate since I was 17-years old—an honest account of my human experience, as well as my understanding of the heart, the soul, love, loss, suffering, and the power of transcendence that occurs through transformation.

The problem, however, is this: For weeks now—if not months—I’ve been wrestling with and vacillating between the idea of self-publishing versus traditional publishing. I’ve been standing in the same place where two roads have diverged in the wood, and I—I keep looking for assurances, signs, and signals outside of me to help me make the ‘correct’ decision. I’m right at the finish line of this journey (or the start of a new one depending on how you frame the narrative), and yet I’ve been staring at this fork in the road, paralyzed by what at times has been disabling fear, and at other times crippling uncertainty.

Despite trying my damnedest to live a traditional life—to fit into the mythical 9-5 world where health benefits are provided and 401k contributions are matched—I’ve never been one to do things the traditional way. Why start now? So after much consternation, self-doubt, and anxiety, I’ve elected to bypass the gatekeepers and pursue the unknown path of self-publishing.

What you are reading here is the start of that journey to bring my book, A Curious Year in the Great Vivarium Experiment, into the world—a place where once it’s unleased, it’s no longer mine, and that too arouses a sense of fear and uncertainty. I think I have two things going for me, however: it seems like most great ideas in life start with either to-do lists or a moment of serendipity. Fortunately for me, this one started with a little bit of both. So with that said, here’s the start of my to-do list.

  • Start thinking like a businessman and entrepreneur.
  • Think about collaborations.

Fuck…for me that entrepreneur stuff is some other-side-of-the-brain thinkin’.

In this blog we’re either gonna learn a lot about a little, or a little about a lot, but mark my words…we’ll learn sumthin’.

~ Tim

October 18th, 2017