This year was my first Christmas alone, my first Christmas in Arizona, and the first time I’ve willingly gone to church in probably 20 years, all under yet another life changing full moon… Minus the elk. I decided to play it safe this time around by starting my Christmas morning attending mass at the San Xavier del Bac Mission. The church dates from the late 1700’s, when Southern Arizona was part of New Spain. San Xavier was founded as a Catholic mission and construction of the current church began in 1783 and was completed in 1797. I arrived an hour early to explore the grounds, and in a way mentally prepare myself for the morning service. My grandparents had raised my brother and I in Catholicism all the way up through confirmation, So technically speaking, under the eyes of the lord, I’m Catholic. We were sent to Catholic school after certain public school days of the week. At the time I was not excited about double duties of school, and after studying most major religions I’ve came to the realization that no one book could ever be the ultimate truth, and the institutionalized hypocrisy that’s taught to us as children can actually be harmful if used for anything other than loose guidelines as how to live a quality life. But I have also never been more grateful to have put in the work of Catholicism to the point of reaching confirmation. If you’re confused with the religions, being confirmed is basically the equivalent of a Boy Scout turning into an Eagle Scout for Catholic people. As a baby I had been baptized under the eyes of the church, and in 8th grade I passed my final sacrament, giving me the power of the Holy Spirit. Pretty bad ass right? It gets better, I was able to receive communion, the hypothetical body and blood of Christ in the form of a cracker and a sip of wine, the metaphysical cannibalism of my God! And as absurd as this all sounds, I was a bit afraid of walking back into the church after all those years and taking that look into myself on gods territory, under his roof, under the eyes of my soul, the universe, my placebo induced master, the inner voice.. It was a big deal for me. As I walked into the church I immediately noticed the beautiful mural paintings, bright with color and completely unique. The statues were amazing as well, but ultimately, this experience was happening within me, and my focus was inward. My childhood memories immediately came back to me while walking in as I dipped my fingertips in some holy water and made the sign of the cross. I knelt before entering the furthest pew from the front and began meditating. The mass was not starting for another 20 minutes, but after breathing and clearing my head for about 8 minutes I crossed my knuckles, went to my knees and prayed. I remembered the “Our Father” prayer, it took me a while to get it right but I did. At this point I was already in tears, mostly tears of joy, but sorrow as well. I had allowed myself to feel alone, but I wasn’t. Look, I’ll be the first to tell you that religion is ridiculous, but believing In something greater than yourself is not. Believing in something more is what gives you values. I imagine even men that believe in nothing honor a code, which also establishes their character. I’ve also noticed a slight resemblance with church and martial arts. Holding something sacred, Which gives you the motivation to accomplish the goal. One full lunar cycle ago I thought the universe took away that goal, but it really did give me everything. I felt I needed to thank God, for not only saving my life, but presenting me with more opportunities and experiences than I could have ever imagined. At this point of realization mass was about to start, so I finished up one last “Our Father” and brought my attention to the service. The priest did a great job, giving thanks and blessings, along with a few bible quotes and baby Jesus references. When the time came for communion I confidently stood up and got in line, like everyone else.. I’m not sure what I expected, but in a way, I may have expected people to ask me if I was even Catholic. The mission was mostly Indian, and my tattoos certainly raised an eyebrow or 2. But everyone was cool, and I only felt warmth. After receiving the Holy Spirit and getting back my godly powers I went back to my pew, knelt down, and proceeded to pray again. Although digesting my god was suppose to strengthen me, it actually caused weeping. I can’t really explain this one, I’m not a bible thumper, I’m not big on Jesus, and if I had to label myself (which I hate) I would call myself a Deist. But while at the mission I felt closer, as though I was inside an antenna to the universe. I believe historical places of worship are just that. Because I connected to something. As my tears were dropping onto the floor, back in my quit little corner pew, the outcome of my new possible futures were being processed in my head. I’ve always needed something to follow, to give myself to, to put my energy into, to love.. that void has been filled with drugs, alcohol, hockey, boxing, MMA, women, work, but never my dreams. Within the ashes of my wreck rose Southwinds Farm, (Southwinds are healing winds according to the ancient Indians of this land) a farm dedicated to sustainable growing and living. My quality of life on the farm is next level. They appreciate me and need me as much as I need them, and together, we will grow into something amazing. I have also been given an even greater gift from the ashes, one I never expected. The means to live, and pay for the life I’ve always wanted, the life I’ve been searching for, with all its options. In 2016 I will begin my new job at a major steel fabrications shop serving the greater Tucson area. The owners are 2 brothers with motivation and experience, their offices, steel yards, and fab shops are all clean, organized and ready for expansion. They have even agreed with my farm schedule, giving them just 2 days a week. 2016 will be a big year for me. My schedule will be: Monday & Tuesday at the farm. Wednesday & Thursday at the office. Friday & Saturday back on the farm. And Sunday’s are my days off, and market days! This full moon I was given the clarity to see the new life placed in front of me as a gift. I have made confident choices about my future, by aligning my work goals with my dream goals, I’ll be extremely busy these next few months, but I’ll be doing something I love every hour, something that provides for me and gives me the strength to maintain the course and see beyond the immediate desire and into the future. My foot is in the door at the steel company, after this winter (if you can call it that) they will try to pull my leg in, transitioning to half my time at the farm, the other half working steel. This is what I’ve always wanted, a high paying job doing what I know, steel. Joining with that will be my close connection to Southwinds Farm and the markets. If I decide to follow this path its logical progression is me planting roots in southern Arizona, getting land, establishing a satellite farm with Southwinds, and doing the things I love most, while getting paid for it. I’m back to believing in something greater than myself, so I will embrace my God, for allowing my focus to stay where it belongs. yeah I’m scared. Scared to not be able to continue my journey, but what is my journey? It’s finding those people, places, and things that fill my bucket and put wind in my sails, if I left because I was scared then I’d be leaving for the wrong reason. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. The farm and my new steel job want me to stay, treat me great, and will be able to provide me with the future I’ve always wanted, in a desert paradise. I’m not afraid to want for myself anymore. This life found me, I won’t run from a good thing anymore. After the mass had ended I knelt back down to pray, I thanked God for my life this Christmas, for the reset and the strength to make choices for myself. As I dried the tears from my face, I washed away my doubts. I will begin this new year with confidence and love, for the beautiful and expansive life that has been given to me.. and for the future that awaits me.