The “I’m Sorry” Post.

If I wasn’t afraid, I would tell a bunch of people that I’m sorry… And I don’t know if I really want to or not. That is where some of the fear is rooted, but as I mentioned last week, why wait till I’m dead to let it out…

So here goes.

I’m sorry, truly sorry, for those relationships that I have disconnected over the last several years. I’m sorry for those that I’ve let slip, in just the last couple months. I have been so blessed and so lucky to have such wonderful friends and family and spiritual guides. Lately, I decide to wait to respond. I don’t make the call. I don’t even send back a ‘hello’ message, to someone who’s reached out to me, to check in. Ouch.

This is the beginning of Labor Day Weekend. Historically, it’s one of the most exciting and important weekends that I look forward to. Last year, it was my wedding weekend. Yeah! But truly, a former spark of excitement with camping and laking and hanging out, is dimmer. It’s hard to say when exactly this occurred, but it’s been a challenge ever since.

Having fun, in the way I used to have fun, just isn’t as much… well… fun, anymore. I was the one who ignited that kind of fun. I encouraged and threw gas on the fire (sometimes literally) and now I don’t want to.

Even these wonderful moments between client and coach, that I have enjoyed for the last year and a half, are far from my mind. I won’t pretend that it wasn’t discouraging when my coaching practice didn’t flourish. I didn’t do exactly what I needed to do, I didn’t choose to, and I judged myself for that too.

It’s about work now. It’s about hard work, and long. I sat many hours in this house, pretending to build a business. Now I do it for real, but not here. Play like the old days seems a whisper of a memory. A quiet laughter faded in the background of the mind. It’s been sooo long, since I really cut loose with friends. There were good times then.

This sobriety, this walk with Christ, this new gig as host to our customers and janitor and inventory’er and scheduler and other stuff, just has an entirely different composition than my olden days. Waaay different.

From in here, the answer is cloudy, as to whether or not it’s better sometimes. Fun? Smiling? Party times it isn’t. And back then it was all about the party…

But where ‘in here’ am I speaking from? In a place that flashes on the outside of the brain. In a place that satisfies rumbling hunger and soothes stressfull itchy-ness. In a place where I want to judge and bitch and connect through my complaints with another person, I am lost now. These things, that I used to fix so easy and quick and have a team to share life with, I have chosen to let go. I am sorry for that.

Special people, so special, so wonderful, right outside my grasp now, have lives moved on, have stuff without me. Have maybe some of what I’m missing, and I miss them.

There’s another place though. It’s deeper within. It’s a knowing place, if I will settle down there, behind the gut, a spiritual core… If I check in with that place, I get another answer. I love so much, the people I miss, that I will need to make this new life work out. I will entrench and abide and pray, just sometimes, that Christ’s victory will show thru me. If it does, then this change is worth something to those who knew me before.

God can use crooked sticks to make straight lines. I’m crooked. I’m sorry. I was bent that way, now this. I’m ugly in many places, broken too.

Out in Colorado, walking the aspens, you’ll see funny shapes. They are many; a beautiful stand of white speckled stems, but not all straight. Some grow a couple feet off the ground, and hit an obstacle. Maybe another tree, maybe a rock outcrop. They bend around it, they make a weird shape. Then straight again they climb. The tree can be straight on top and bottom, but with an obvious and permanent bend in the middle.

I was straight before. Straight as I could be. I wouldn’t give an inch. I wanted to be me. Those who knew me, knew that. Then an obstacle, then something impeding my growth, then I bent. Maybe I did choose that obstacle, it’s entirely possible. If that has hurt you, I’m sorry. I turned and bended and contorted things. It messed up a straight line. And I was hurt when the world didn’t turn with me. I was a Bitter-Betty tree…

The sideways growth and contortion still continues, doesn’t have the feeling of straightening out yet. Maybe it never will. Maybe I’m no beautiful Aspen. There are other trees I admire though. Those old bristlecones. Not one of them is pretty. They are solitary too. They have few virtues appreciated by the masses. They aren’t everyone’s friends. Look at the graphics on this screen, you can see the pictures I took among them. They have survived thousands of years through all kinds of history, not just the good times. Yes, individual trees, have lived thousands of years. They are the planets watchmen, perched upon the roof of the Sierra Nevada’s. A dry and lonely place, an amazing story to tell.

I admire them. I ‘get’ them. I miss them too. God has made all kinds of trees, all kinds of people, all kinds of lives in this place. Lucky we aren’t trees. We aren’t rooted in one place. We get to move and travel and transform. We are shape-shifters incarnate. I have shifted-shape, and God wants me to share that story. I want to go back sometimes and forget it ever happened.

Funny huh?

Without that sorrowful regret, this journey wouldn’t mean much. Without really giving up something you truly loved, then the sacrifice means nothing.

I’m sorry my friends. I miss you. I love you, always.


Aaron Nichols

Don’t Wait till You’re Dead, Aaron Nichols.

A man posted a blog this week. It was his 60th birthday, and his blog was full of stories of his life and his opinions, and how he really felt about things. The blog was posted as a message to those who would miss him, because he ended his life, the same day.

I clicked on the link when I saw ‘suicide blog’ or something like that on Facebook. Hmm… tough subject for me. Lost someone very special to suicide. This man too was special, a child of God, like we all are. And he spent hours and hours and hours writing and planning and constructing this website, all about his life, as he prepared to leave it.

I usually don’t comment on pop culture stuff, or viral stories. I wish my posts to be ‘evergreen’, meaning they could be read by me, or by someone else at any point in life, and see something universal, or relatable or just ‘real’ within it, apart from the latest headlines.

Anyway, I break my own rules all the time ๐Ÿ™‚ so what.

All I could think, while reading this man’s postmortem-posted words on his website, was Why did he wait? Why did he choose to gather up his ideas and thoughts and stories and then send them out, after he was gone. Actually, this answer may have been revealed within the texts, but I really didn’t read that far. I’d read enough to get the gist. And we already knew the end of his story, it was finished. For me, I didn’t need anymore words about death in my brain, so I clicked away…

On my wedding night, as the dancers were dancin’ and the reception was underway, I was approached by a lot of people. They said nice things, they shared smiles and congratulations. One person in particular came to give me some fatherly-type advice, it was touching and he may have cried. He wasn’t sober, and I was. He probably doesn’t remember these sentences, but he shared that one reason he was drinking, was to be able to share the ‘Real’ him. He said, I drink, and I can say these type of things, emotional things, deep things…

One man could say them, as a sayonara to this world, another when drunk. I myself have trouble really sharing, what I really think, in the real world to a person. I could be much better at that. I want to be better at that. There are conversations locked away in my mind, that I have never had. There are people with whom, I’ve left things unsaid. There is a lot, that may be better, never said. But Love, emotion, truth, and finding, creating appreciation, gratitude isn’t a wasted breath.

What about wasted words, posted here online? I looked at that website, a life remembered firsthand, and it was clouded by the man’s suicide. What about these words, I type here? It’s a death as well. Dying while still alive. It’s actually an ancient warrior’s technique for personal growth. To let the myself go, here in this place, where I find it comfortable now. To release the connection of ‘what people may think’, in some degree. To cry, with tear drops of clinking here on this keyboard. Do it while Living, not as a postcard from beyond.

I remember my first blog. It was a roadtrip blog. I took pictures and wrote captions. They were small sentences jotted below a photo. It was so uncomfortable to share to the public, myself. I felt as though people didn’t want to read my words. I thought I was taking up their time. I was so hesitant and afraid that someone would make fun of how I wrote, or what I wrote, or if I shared something that maybe was wrong, or incorrect, or embarrassing. I was worried about using proper English, and punctuation. I was timid in this space. I wanted to get in and get out, as quick as I could. I wanted to get through it.


I could give a hearty ‘Thank You’ to the ones who posted positive feedback, way back then. I needed it. Still do, but not as much as then. It was sooo critical then. I may have never continued without the encouraging words, that I could read on the screen, while sitting in my car, alone, in the mist and salty fog of northern California.

Doing it now. Sharing something now, is one thing I can do. I can learn to do it better in person too. I can continue this journey, with every breath. I can keep failing and falling back too, like I do. But I want to tell YOU, that sharing is something human. Really relating the truth of your life, is something that enriches the collective consciousness. I don’t know exactly what these blog posts will ever become. Maybe nothing. Maybe something. One thing is clear; a couple people have been moved, by something written through me here.

Funny enough, it’s rarely the point I am specifically trying to make. It’s rarely a ‘me’ thing, it’s usually a ‘them’ thing. It’s something in their mind, their experience that is ignited through reading the description of my lens of the world.

For all my worry about how I write, or what I share, or if I type the word “I” too much… It ain’t about ‘Me’. It’s about them. It’s about the ‘out there’, not the ‘in here’. For me, it has added mortar to my shaky personal confidence, in some areas to get this far, with this blog. To continue, week after week, to do something here online. To commit myself to this one thing. For you, I don’t have a clue what it’s done, but probably, I not what I think ๐Ÿ™‚

I will be giving a presentation in a month or so. It is going to be based around this blog. I think about what I’ll say, what there is to say… My message seems to be, ‘share something real.’ Put something out there, that is a deep truth, and die to the idea that everyone has to like it. Be that little child again within you. Share a fear, a terror, a disappointment, but be bold, and share it as loud as you can. This is as loud as I have gotten so far. I may get louder as time unfolds. Be excited and giddy and silly too, in this sharing. Maybe playful and curious. Just be as real as you will let yourself be, and someone, somewhere will be glad you did it.

I have found that the posts I was most in fear of uploading, those I thought were the most polarizing and fiery, got the most response. Ones like these, a comment, or a passing thought, are quieter, but someone still reads again.

Don’t wait till you’re dead, to say the things you really think… Aaron Nichols.

Do it now. Life is where the progress can be felt, and the fruit of your work is harvested.


Aaron Nichols

With the sweet smell of SoCo in my nostrils

So I bought a bottle of beer tonight. Actually, been buying lots of them lately. Cases and cases in fact. I’ve bought liquor too. Liters of all kinds of it. I’ve bought beers, wines, rums, whiskeys, tequila’s, scotch and other stuff like SoCo, which I’m not really sure of it’s exact alcoholic category.

Strange actions for a guy who has been sober since Oct 1, 2011.

Not really that strange if you look at the last 20 or so years of my life. Not strange at all. Buying alcohol, and being around it, was a Big part of my teenage, and adult years.

Until 22 months and 15 or so days ago…

Yeah, since then life’s been different. Different in some amazingly awesome and some not-so-awesome ways.

Being clear-headed for this long has taught me some stuff about myself. I am not really that clear-headed at all, by nature. ย Many of my mental pre-occupations, or quick-switch temper-flashes, are just about the same now, as they were back then. Back when I could blame my actions and re-actions on the alcohol. Now I can’t. It’s just me. It’s just what I’m choosing in those moments, without liquid encouragement either way.

So why is a sober guy, buying so much alcohol now? Well, I’m now helping manage and run a restaurant that contains a bar. Our bar contains alcohol. I am in charge of inventory-ing it. And sometimes, like tonight, my aunt has a birthday, and celebrates it with us. I’ll buy a beer for her. So there. Simple, right? ย Just part of the job. Nothing more…

Well, as it turns out, not exactly.

See, if you divorce and separate yourself from an abusive relationship (like I did with alcohol), you’re angry for awhile. I’ve been angry at alcohol for a good bit of my almost 2 year sobriety. I’ve put blame on it for so many of my personal mistakes. My transgressions. My abuses of myself and others. It has been a poison drenching the worst times that I recall, and my own judgement of myself and of the alcohol too, has been harsh to say the least.

The anger period has shifted lately though. It is part of my job now. I am around it alot. I see lots of people using this stuff. Some drinks are simple relaxation and unwinding after work. Some are a tragic crutch, a sopping-wet bandage, poorly disguising deep emotional wounds. It’s a magic elixir and fixes everything for awhile… till it doesn’t. Then it just shows the shit, exactly as it is, raw and painful…ย And I usually leave the bar early ๐Ÿ™‚

So, what’s the freakin’ point here?

Last week, the tension was high for me, as I actually tended bar. For the period of one solid hour, I not only served bottles of ice-cold brew, I clanked glasses and filled our metal one-shot measurer with the good stuff. I popped the button on the pistol-grip and splashed soda, in the just the right amount, to make it sweet. I smelled that SoCo. That sugary caramelized and candy aroma. It was so enticing. I really really engaged again with those old motions, those old e-motions… it was electric. A jolt. A jarring shock. And my mind was engraved again with new pre-occupations. Can I continue this sobriety? What if I have put in my time, I have proved to myself I could do it, so now I can go back. Do I want to go back? Is this where the agonizingly slow detour of my last few years, reconnects with that busy thoroughfare,that I used to know so well? Wow, think of the life I could have, if only I was back to my old self, and managing a bar too… A dream-life?? Or No?? I’m so confused!

Well… the dream life has showed up, in my sobriety. The dream life has materialized within those challenging and cold-sober moments. I have been on detour, clearly. But that path has produced so much rich nutrient fruit! I am living a dream now. My lovely wife, a Godsend. Travel, personal enrichment, living out ideas, instead of just wishing to. And the Bar, I love working it so much. It’s so hard and so deliciously fun. At the Brand’N Iron Bar and Grill I get to constantly problem-solve. I get to serve, literally. I get to build and shape and design business. I get to engage all of me, all day and almost all night long.

I don’t sit and pine away the hours, waiting for the clock to hit five, so I can get the heck out of this j-o-b and get to what I really want to do. I’m already there, clock-be-damned.

So. Back to these crossroads. Back to these temptations. There was a character in the movie, The Matrix. His name was Cipher. He had been released from the grip of the illusionary/oppressive brain-controlling construct of the Matrix, and he has seen real truth. He has seen human beings being farmed, not like livestock, but as fields of crops. He sees the machines, using humans as literal powerPlants. Yet, He is uncomfortable in the world of truth, it’s yucky and hard, and not pretty at all. In the beginning of the movie, he’s making a deal with the enemy. He wants back in. He wants to be plugged back in, like the other slaves, and to forget forever the truth. He wants the fantasy world that leaves him powerless and basically a vegetable, to be his life….

Cipher is working with an enemy that lies to him. He cannot be returned to his former existence. He wants to believe their promises that it will all be the same again. He imagines and designs a rockstar life, for when he gets to be a slave powerplant battery for the machines again…

Poor Cipher. He just wants comfort. He just wants relief. He is me… sometimes.

So there. Sometimes a person, working through this challenge of sobriety has Cipher moments, where we want back the lie. We want the magic elixir that soothes. We want to forget the truth. The hard truth, that the hard work is still always here, with or without the alcohol. It’s not a solvent, it doesn’t sustain. The real stuff of life, the gritty and gorgeous moments are best absorbed with clarity, not cloudiness.

I do find myself challenged, and I promise you nothing. I promise you not one iota of anything, that I can’t guarantee. I promise myself, this moment right now. This one deep clean breath, before I hit the sack with my beautiful bride, completely sublimely clear of mind. A moment I cherish and have worked hard for, amidst temptation and urge, even cajoling. I promise myself, right now, I will enjoy this moment of freedom from alcohol in my body. I enjoy this moment, not fully, but fighting for it. It must be the path and the place that I am trained to travel and toil, for now.

In my high school English class, a teacher said. ‘Wherever you are, Be there.”

Well, Here, I am.


Aaron Nichols

I’ve fallen, and I can get up!

Hurting caused a change in me. This week, a simple jump to block a volleyball (which I probably didn’t block) stretched strained and spasm-ed a muscle in my neck, and it hurt real bad. I saw stars for a second, felt spikes of pain and was left without easy movement of my head or left arm.

Big deal, I pulled a muscle and it will eventually get better. Sure.

A couple sleepless nights, a couple pain-filled days, I did get some pills and a heating pad. I am proactively working to feel better. But there was something interesting about this hurt, this neck injury. It changed me.

After this event, I could feel every slight twitch and micro-movement of my upper body. I was well aware, through these intense signal blasts that my body was giving me, the feedback that I was injured. I could not physically keep the same normal habits of raising myself out of a chair, or rolling around in bed, or bending down to pick up some trash off the floor of the restaurant.

Every simple movement of my being, now needed to be adjusted to account for this hurt. I didn’t need any instructions on how, I could feel the pain when it was a wrong move, and feel less pain, when I had corrected it.

Funny actually, my posture has been better all week. I’ve been lifting with my legs, and keeping my back straight when moving up and down. It still has hurt, and I am not completely healed yet, but the pain has showed me places physically, where I needed to get healthier. I know that over the summer, I haven’t been exercising, I have been eating for flavor and indulgence, instead of what is most healthy. I am running myself at a near break-neck pace, and it has felt as though that all came to pass this week, with a near broken-neck feeling. (Thank God it really isn’t ๐Ÿ™‚ )

The pain and the injury, is showing me where I am weak. It is changing me. I really have little choice, but to slow down and take better care of myself right now. I used professional help, I saw how weak and irritable and whiny I can be, when in pain. I haven’t handled it all that well actually.

Injury can instruct us. Injury will change us. I did wonder to myself, that over a lifetime of injuries, how have I reacted to them all? Have I been the ‘victim’ of some wounds that left me paralyzed, and unable to move in certain areas? Probably. Have I noticed that with this neck injury, I literally changed the way I operated physically? Yes. If I had emotional injuries, can I see, that I was out of emotional shape and well being, and that I could work to improve my emotional fitness levels?

In this neck injury, there was no one to blame, but me. In my emotional injuries, if I take Ownership of them also, I could see that I am also, the One, in control of nurturing and healing myself. It’s not within the hands and powers of others to do this. As I write these words, I know that I am failing to live out, this idea, fully. I am a blamer at times. I do want the ‘other person’ to change sometimes. I am seeing my pains, falsely, as coming from ‘out there’ instead of ‘in here.’

My neck didn’t have a real arrow stuck in it, that someone else shot at me. Even if it did, the signal of pain would come from inside me. My emotional pains and inflammation and anger and irritability and everything else, is felt from the inside too. We do experience this world from inside ourselves, and that is where All the work is to be done.

Even if I understand this and ‘get it’, I will not be able to instantly remove all distress from my life forever. The natural process nudges our movement spiraling ever upward, through new levels of challenge and victory, as well as pain and discomfort. ย How will I react, as life unfolds and I feel good things, and bad things?

If I can look back at this week, and remember, that I did still move and act and work, even with pain. I did seek help and adjust myself according to the physical discomfort, in order to feel better, I can do the same for my emotional well being. When I am receiving signals of distress emotionally, I can choose to stop myself, and to cease the pressure on that injury. I can get help too. I can see this as instructional, and helpful to show me where I am weak, and need exercise.

I will never be in perfect shape. There is no such thing as a painless life. If so, it would probably be boring anyway. We need these moments to remind us how good it does feel in our healthier moments. For awhile, I will be really grateful for the simple act of being able to roll over in bed, or get up out of a chair, or take a deep breath, or yawn, without hurting.

There is one big key to all this making sense for me. I had to know, that my natural state of health is to feel better, than I do right now. I do have to expect, to not wake up every day in searing spikes of pain coming from my neck/shoulder (and now lower back) areas. I do need to think, that ‘I could feel better than this right now.”

That is the contrast. That is the knowing that my natural state of my body is health. What about my emotions? Could I see the same thing? Could it be, that when I am upset, or angry, or irritable, that I could ‘know’, that my natural emotional state is peace, even joy? I could then look for real solutions and adjustments to make, rather that just to lean into my emotional injuries, point fingers outward, and express the detail and depth of my emotional pain to someone else, who I ‘think’ has caused this issue. Wow, I want to hope so. The world, my life, my health, could be beautiful, instead of ugly. God knows this ๐Ÿ™‚

Lindsay, my wife, I love you. I apologize for my hurtful words this week. I know that I have things to heal within me, that you cannot be responsible for. I love you, thank you, for all that you are.

So, a big ole painful week is passing by. I am now mending and improving, and yet again, I’ve laid out here on this page, to remind myself later, where I was today. I know we are in a world of both joy and pain. I hope that I can use these moments as exercise equipment to make myself stronger, instead of chains and locks and spikes holding me fast in place, paralyzed and indignant with myself and my life.

I hope something in here, has touched something in there, with you today.


Aaron Nichols

Oops! I’m not perfect… at… all…

I have a very rational logical mind that can do lots of computing and creating. It is balanced and compassionate and forgiving too. It sees the big picture and communicates positive momentum regardless of the exact circumstances at hand.

I do have Access to this beautiful and wonderful mind always… BUT, there are days, like today, when I just don’t use it at all.


Nope. Some days I believe every little negative idea buzzing around in my tiny crocodilian pea brain. I get stuck within small petty moments. I make mountains out of molehills. I spend long agonizing minutes physically buzzing with tension and irritability. I can snap easy and cut the conversation short with razor-blade studded words…

Question here is: Why would I want to write about this here and now? Funny thing, this junky mood/grumpiness that I chose to experience today. I had a very full and eventful schedule today. I accomplished good stuff. I trained a new employee. I fixed small problems and some big ones. I had the type of day, that months ago, I would have dreamed to have. In a way it was awesome.

So then, does my ‘feeling’ about my ‘happiness’ or ‘grumpiness’ really matter in this day? Do I see that there was still alot of good forward positive action, even through the junk? Why did my creative and aware and peaceful mind show up, when I was ready to sit down and write, wasn’t it gone? Aren’t I a bad person? Don’t I deserve to just stew in my poopy pants, since I wasn’t as nice as possible at every given moment today?

Not really. See, once the pressure of the tasks at hand was released, and I could see things from a fresher perspective, I started choosing some better thoughts. I did begin to let go of the little problems, and see the abundance and goodness all around me. I’m actually getting to live out a dream. I get to work hard, and serve people, and food too. It is a ton of fun ๐Ÿ™‚ Even when I’m being a grump.

So. Here’s the real reason I write this post tonight.

My life is messed up. I don’t do everything right. I don’t always feel good. I purposely choose not to post small sentences every day on my facebook page, that paint the exterior view of my life into this new-style social media version of perfection.

Instead, I’ll once a week, sit down and really tell something true about myself, pretty or not. I’ll post it online, which also saves it for later, for me to read again someday. It’s a note to myself, that may track some greater arc of transformation, than I can see unfolding, in myself, day to day. Sometimes You will come and read this stuff too. I do have a hope, that by me simply saying that I spend days in a bad mood, although I really don’t have reason to, then you might relate to that. Or maybe, you can just be glad that you never ever find this cloud of irritability or even anger, and it can increase your happiness through thankfulness that you’re nothing like me.

Either way, I’m helping ๐Ÿ™‚

Some days are like this. I can Thank God, that it’s not all of them. I can’t count all the blessings in my life right now, but the more I try to, the better I feel.

Thanks for coming again this week. You are a special person in this world to me.


Aaron Nichols