Hi, I’m Mike. I’m a husband and a father, a personal trainer, and at one time, a gym owner. I’m a bleeding heart for both human and animal rights, which makes it easy to conclude that I am also vegan. I am an artist, and hope to someday be a musician. My “self” is always changing, and I prefer it stay that way. My worst fear is to become stagnant and no longer capable of growth, change, or learning.

Since We Woke Up | Living Life Consciously | sincewewokeup.com | Mike Picture

The most important things in my life are my family and my growth as a conscious human being.

My wife, Tawny, is my entire reason for existing, my everything. She is my oxygen, infinite and unconditional. Without her, I would still spend every night alone playing video games and eating frozen pizzas, completely oblivious to everything around me.

My step-children, Aidyn and Ely, have shown me how to be a father. I have been blessed to know parenthood through them, to feel their joy and their pain. Watching them grow up in the last 10 years has been life-changing, and I have grown with them.

In 2011, I left the military with a chip on my shoulder and a very misguided notion of what life was all about. If you had asked me back then where my priorities were, the answer would have looked something like a bad action movie – lifting weights, shooting guns, and most importantly, making sure everyone knew, or at least thought, I was a tough guy. It was very important to me that everyone saw me that way. Looking back, however, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t fooling anyone.

Fast forward to the present, and I have shed most of those superficial layers. My notion of this life has changed substantially. I still lift weights and am active in martial arts because I have a passion for those things, but I no longer use them to define who I am. I no longer need those things to validate me. My old self no longer represents who I am.

My transition experience started a couple of years ago when my wife and I decided to become vegan. This is when I began “waking up” and exploring a new level of consciousness. Sparked by an exceptionally sharp and powerful documentary about the exploitation of animals, our journey to this new way of thinking started on a downward slope. In true form of downward movement, we picked up speed as we progressed forward, one thing leading to the next.

Day by day, we were becoming more conscious of the world around us. It was as though a light was suddenly turned on. For the first time, we could see. The most alarming implication was recognizing that we never even knew we had been living in the dark. Like most of the world around us, we were bewitched by all of the illusions that the physical world has to offer.

Most of the illusions broken, we decided to start making changes to rid our lives of the things that no longer served us or our egos.

Today, as you may have read by now, we live in a school bus we converted, named Oliver. We sold our house and the majority of our possessions. We home school our kids and now work online. Doing all of this was key to our goal, which is to travel and explore as much of the world as possible. I want to live everywhere and nowhere. I would rather die poor, homeless, and hungry having seen the world than surrounded by treasures possessed and hoarded over a lifetime.

We never really know where life is going to take us, especially now that we have Oliver, but that is what makes it exciting and worth living. My hope is that we can inspire others to live more fully and genuinely. To live a life true to who we are, instead of based on what is expected of us.

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