A baby’s guide to getting what you want out of life…

Baby Joella causes things to happen. At only 6 weeks young, she has power and control over her environment, in certain ways. She makes requests and those requests are fulfilled most of the time. Without recognizable English language skills, or even rudimentary pointing and grunting, she can specifically communicate. It’s pretty amazing, although quite plain and normal and ordinary too.

I expect most babies make understandable declarations, just like she can.

She has many ways to translate her condition and how she is feeling at any given moment. We like it a lot when she is showing signs of peaceful sleeping, or bright eyed curiosity. We like it too, when we know what will silence her cry, like milk or a clean diaper.

These are the kinds of things you expect a new dad, to type about on his blog; The fascinating and mundane moments of living with a newborn and today, I’ll share my findings… kinda…

So far, I know she needs her Momma, and sometimes me too. I know more about babies and nursing and how to install a carseat, than I ever have before. I also, was just shown a profound truth about the nature of life itself this week, while playing with our little Joella.

See, I tend to believe that our most pure intelligence is brought with us, from the ether of no-where, to the substance this world, the now-here, right at the beginning of life, after birth. A newborn baby has clarity of mind and a singular understanding, a clean slate, completely uncluttered.

Our baby has showed us only a few things so far, about what interests her. Obviously she likes to eat, and to stay cleaned up. Now she is starting to develop her recreation and exploring modes.

She has been reluctant to spend much time in her mechanical swing. She does do some tummy time with toys, but doesn’t want to grab the rattles and shake just yet. She likes one of us to talk to her and coo and make faces, but something she really truly seems captivated by, is her Mobile.

We have a sea-life themed, battery operated plastic blue whale that has a stem coming out the top. It is strapped to the side of her crib and the hook that dangles three small stuffed fishy creatures, can rotate either over the crib, or over her changing table. We sometimes set her in the crib, or during a diaper change and turn on the device… She’s enthralled! You can see her lock-in and gaze at just one of the little animals at a time. They are dancing in a circle and she can only follow them so far. Once out of site, she tracks back across their path and picks up a stare at the next one in line.

There is one specific yellow smiling crab that seems to fascinate her more than the others. Sometimes she gets very worked up watching her mobile. She kicks out with both feet and her clenched tiny fists bounce as her arms wave in little circular motions. Lindsay is sometimes concerned that it is too stimulating to leave her with the thing for too long.

It’s funny though, her attention to this toy is what has created the instances where she gets to play with it. HER focus on it, gives us a reason to put her and mobile together. She is making this happen, even more than we are. She has a swing, it sits empty often, because she doesn’t seem to have interest in it. So we are trained to bring her the thing that is interesting to her, and to not engage in things that don’t.

It’s fun to watch her ‘play’ with the mobile. I see her looking at the little yellow crab. I wonder if she knows it is the same one again, once she has lost sight of it from before. I watch her less enthusiastic gaze on the other two fishies, certainly she doesn’t grasp, that these are on an endlessly repetitive slow-race course above her head. She can’t possibly know yet, the simplicity of this system. These three danglers just keep coming, again and again, she still seems so excited by it…

Such is our own experience of life, isn’t it? How have we missed the scaled-down metaphor of our own existence present in this cute little example? How can I honestly say, that I am any different at all, than my newborn daughter, when it comes to things that grab my attention, the things spinning constantly and repetitively, into my vision too.

How clearly I now notice that things I see in my grown-up world are the things I have always seen, just passing again in front of me one more time. How true it feels to examine circumstances and experiences and opportunities too, as just fresh examples of the same issues again and ever again. I feel that I have been shown a glimpse of the mechanical clockworks of life, while watching my daughter watch her cheap Chinese-made toy.

The Law of Attraction is something that I have read about. Maybe you have too. It has been touted as a secret key to getting everything you want out of ilfe. I think it may have worked for some, in the format presented in books and videos. However, the concept of it, never was concrete for me, until I saw this phenomenon with Joella.

Less a magnetic force, and more of the only answer to an equation we constantly are authoring, I see the attention she gives to something, to be the most powerful tool she has. Good or bad, her Attention is attracting the experience in again and again.

I give things attention too. Things, or people or circumstance or problems or joys or concerns or surprises or fears grab my focus. I see now that these issues seem to become danglers on the repeating mobile of visions that pass as thoughts across the inner theatre screen of my mind.

Some of the entities that live on the massive menagerie on my own personal mental mobile, have been cruising by my brain for decades. Some of these ideas captivate me, they can overtake my entire consciousness for awhile. I may want them to pass, and be gone for good, but it is my own fierce lock and fascination with the problem, that in essence, brings it around again, and again.

I can clearly recite, situations that have come to me, over and over and over again, different people, different locations, different almost everything, but the same sensation of frustration, or anger, or disappointment shows up again. That emotion, the one that I grab onto and study and dissect, mulling over and over, is the one that will arrive again soon, suited up in slightly different garb next time.

It is the fun side of this truth that I seem to let slip away in the last few years. Back in the day, in the party times and younger years, I would have all my attention and focus on the next elation experience of intoxication with friends or family. I loved those moments of a slight buzz and laughter all around.

Too many times, the buzz went too far, droning louder and louder, vibrating the world inside my head. The low thunderous tones of that deep drum would send me sometimes into the blackness, the abyss. Then, when the hangover later came, I would focus once again on the emotional crap-storm of consequences that climbed out of that dark hole.

Whatever it was, that held my attention, would be riding around and around and around, on the mega-version of the My Life Mobile. I could try as hard as I wanted, for things to change for me, but until I gave less attention to something, it just wouldn’t go away.

Just like in our little house, we introduce things to Joella, and see if she gives them her attention. A force of love bigger than I could ever imagine, must do the same with me. So much for me changed when I decided to shift my attention, to new things, and let the old ones pass by, without me engaging them.

That, for me was transformation.

My personal mobile of experiences and circumstances and opportunities too, has changed drastically in the last few years, mostly for the better. I am not done yet though, learning about what lessons are important for my soul to encounter. I see now, that if I choose to lock my gaze, either in love or in fear on any one thing, it will continue to show up and again and somehow magically again.

I do have powers to steer my own environment, and to consciously begin to co-create a world that I enjoy the experience of, more than dislike. If Joellla can do that, in her world, without any words or ability to do almost anything herself, surely You and I have those capabilities too.

Just the noticing that I have used my attention to request the repetitions of situations in my life has really helped me in this most recent week, navigate difficulties. Maybe some of these words typed here can bring light and assist you in your own personal journey too. I hope in some way it does.

God Bless J


Aaron Nichols

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A kick in the bee you tee tee

So we’re a nation of consumers, so what. We are excited and committed consumers aren’t we? We share with each other our stories and recommendations of things we want, and the best ways to acquire them. We neeeeed things and food and entertainment in a constantly streaming fashion, do we not?

I at least can see my own silly addictions to the internet, to tasty fried food snacks and new gear, or shoes or jackets or electronics too. I love all that ‘stuff.’

But somehow that stuff doesn’t always love me. Nope, I am up too late once again, watching silly YouTube vids, just putting off, for another few minutes, this weekly tangle of text that I write here for me, and for you.

Silly isn’t it. The Creations, are so much more daunting of a task, than the Consumptions… Actually taking a blank canvas and filling it with letters by making this post, is much harder to do, than to take a blank block of time and fill it by passively watching videos.

By nature I prefer the pressure of procrastination. I like the squeezed down clamp of an impending deadline to motive me. I don’t however usually pre-create that intensity, so that I feel polished and disciplined in my work ethic.

I wonder what lessons I am experiencing about my own inclinations of consuming vs. creating. As I create, I am emboldened and my self esteem goes up. As I consume, taking in, and gorging my selfish appetites, I feel weaker and more spent. A let-down occurs, after getting that thing or that bite of candy, and I am instantly hungry for the next.

I write to myself. I send messages that I need to see on-screen and hear with my own ears. The chances I take to produce something, to construct and to expend my energy, in creative service is inherently good. I can feel it at the core.

The times I indulge and kick-back, sinking deep into my own desires just aren’t adding up to true happiness.

It’s a simple premise tonight, and one that I may tell myself over and over and over again. The ignition, the action, the expense of oneself, results in satisfaction, far beyond any pampering or spoiling or entertaining, seems to.

A little note to myself designed to motivate my tomorrows and the tomorrows after those too 🙂


Aaron Nichols

What would you tell your 12 year old self?

A few things were different in 1991. Gas was $1.12 per gallon. The average house cost around $71,000 and eggs were only .85 cents a dozen. I was in 7th grade. The Cold War was ending and Desert Storm was beginning. If you look up the year 1991, you can see a ton of news stories that seem like today’s headlines. There were political uprisings, earthquakes and fires; assassinations, murders, bombings and social unrest too…

So in some ways, not much has changed since 1991.

I did look up that year however, to remind myself of the context and the history surrounding my 12th year of life. I recall that at that time, I was struggling socially. I had been inflicted with a juvenile-arthritis type of disease for a couple years. I didn’t enjoy the experience of being a 7th grader much. I suppose that age is tough for a lot of people.

Funny though, when I watch interviews and biographies of people who have done something noteworthy or interesting in their career or life, the age of 12 seems to come up often. It’s not an exact number for each case, but many times, the successful entrepreneur or actor or leader will express that they had visions as a young person about their own future. Often times, they seem to have a direction or focus of interest, maybe even a passion, that begins before their teenage years.

I suppose once the real changes of adolescence set in, and the storm of developments occur in mind and body, it is less likely to find your true life’s calling. I know that if I really take an honest personal accounting, I am much today, just like I was as a 12 year old boy.

What advice then, would I look back and mention to that 7th grade version of Aaron William?

I remember at that age, that I wanted so dearly to fit in. I wanted to be more like other people seemed to be. I wanted my inborn characteristics to magically alter and become different, more inline with a sporty jock persona, or a class president, or maybe like Zach Morris, from Saved By the Bell. I just didn’t like the me, that I found in the mirror in the morning…

Well, some days here, at age 36, I don’t seem to have grown much beyond those early pubescent personal thoughts and desires.

I do however, have the ability now to separate and look back, and advise myself about just those very ‘defects’ of personality, that bothered me so much. I know now that a force too loving to imagine, has handcrafted me, and sculpted you, and painstakingly assembled each one of us to be fantastically unique. These qualities may seem to separate us from others at times. Our weirdness can feel lonely and wrong. When we see things differently, or don’t quite homogenize with the in-crowd, that can be a good thing too.

It is these distinct characteristics that make our journey worth our personal investment into creating our life in this vast sea of humanity.  There is a reason that we were given this exact combination of personality, talents and early life experiences. The things that I used to find so ‘uncool’ about myself at age 12, are the very things that have helped me the most to navigate life since then.

I don’t exactly believe that we need to follow every whim of our desires. I’m not promoting, throwing away common decency and love for your neighbor, in favor of your own selfishnesses. I do think however that we were designed to know on a deeper level, at the very core of our being, where the truth and where the light is guiding us. Inside our 12 year old selves that purity exists. Deeply and foundationally, we are as intelligent then, as we ever will be.

The culture, the in-crowd, TV and now Internet, can confuse and bomb our waking consciousness with static. The maelstrom of fear, of violence, of sex and gunshots, can fully consume our attention. No more so, than today on the 14th anniversary of the 9-11 Terror Attacks.

Headlines will scream today to Remember, and to Never Forget. One truth though, is that headlines will keep coming, just as they always have. The wars on this plane of existence will always be with us, in some fashion or another. Let’s ask though, our inner 12 year olds, and the 12 year old of today, and those of 12 years from now, to look within. Let’s ask them about the implanted truth that just they have been given. Let’s cultivate those youthful passions. Let’s give credit to pre-teen audacity and intellect. Let’s lead as loving children, instead of grizzled and weary veterans shot full of mental shrapnel by the primitive sales force of the media.

So much easier said than done… But again, that is probably the ‘prudent’ and ‘cautious’ discernation of my adult mind. The 12 year old me, might have known better.


Until Next Week,


Aaron Nichols


A ride down memory lane

Nothing like the feel of wind in your hair and bugs in your teeth. I tasted that freedom today, on my motorcycle. I fired it up, after a seriously long hibernation period. I haven’t ridden it all summer, I hate to admit. Also, my ride was pretty short. I massaged the throttle, and once it was purring real nice, I drove it out into the front yard.

Letting the bike rumble and snort, I proceeded with my garage cleaning task and then after awhile, tucked it back into it’s corner… Ha. Longest ride of the summer was probably 100 feet round trip.

It was just long enough though, to trigger an old memory. There is something about a motorcycle and the front yard, that I will always be fond of. Not just the yard though. The trip from the yard, down onto a sidewalk, dropping with a squishy comfort of the shocks onto the street, is an old but vivid recollection of mine.

I am sure it started with riding on short trips with my Dad around the block, or around town. I’m not really sure though. He passed away when I was four, and those memories may be too faded to recall. More likely, I was with Ray Steanson, or maybe Rod Harris (?) on a couple trips when I was just a bit older.

I remember the heaviness of my helmet. The G-forces of simple motions on the bike would cause my head to bobble hard one way, then the other. The strap was probably uncomfortably tight and rubbing me raw under my chin.

I was nervous and excited and wanting to ride. I didn’t have a place to put my feet, as I was tucked in between a big adult body and the gas tank. I remember the searing heat of the motor and white hot chrome exhaust. I think at least one time I was wearing shorts and caught a burn on the inner side of my skinny leg.

I cannot tell you where we went. I don’t know how long the ride was. I do know though, that excited feeling I had as we departed the yard. It such a thrill to feel that big machine clunk into gear and begin forward. I loved the smooth bumpy transitions from the grass to the sidewalk, down off the curb, and onto the bricks of Hickory street. Specifically, that memory jumped to mind today.

When I was a kid, there were tons of definite detailed moments, like this one, that would stick in my mind. I know that every time I put on a pair of shoes, the first thing I wanted to do, was to wiggle my toes. I wanted to be able to cross my big toe up and over the next one. If I couldn’t do that, I didn’t like the shoes. Too constricting. My whole body would feel terribly claustrophobic.

Same thing with jeans. A stiff new pair felt like a straitjacket. I loved sweatpants.

There are probably tons of things that mattered to me then, that now I never think about. They were super important to me. A big deal. I wanted to feel those first few feet of the bike ride and then the rest didn’t matter. My shoes had to fit a certain way. I was probably a picky eater about some things too. No mashed potatoes for me… warm mush?? yuck!

Today there are things that matter to me. Big ol’ deals. Tomorrow they may fade to nothings. It does seem to work that way.

Something new in the future will be a big deal, and my issues from today, will be just a memory, maybe a fond one, maybe a sad one.

I do know that remembering these childhood concerns reminds me, that we are in motion. Nothing lasts forever. Even when it seems like it does. It must be God’s grand design; to simultaneously be clearly fixed in a focused position, and yet spinning ever onward into our own future.

God bless you my friends. May your motorbike rides be bouncy, your pants stretchy and may you always have the room to wiggle your toes 🙂

Until next week ~


Aaron Nichols