Chapter 7: The punk in me honors the punk you

The day of this picture was the day my eyes open after Luke was born. I mean, I was blind for awhile due to the light Luke brought to me. That day was also the same day Luke opened his eyes physically also the day he flipped everybody off. I mean he was on planet earth for 19 days and all we did was test after test to figure it out what was going on. That was the day things started to change and I understood as: He is fine, he just needs love like any other child in the world.

From that point on my wife and I said enough testing, let’s just wait for more results to come and start seeing what we need to do take him home, taking him out to see the sun, take him to the beach, take him skateboarding, start living in general. We started to work on getting out of the hospital. In other words, we said let him shine and see what support he needs.

Feeling that Luke was fine helped me keep going within and keep working on my healing, he actually speed up the process. That was my promise to myself, I did not want to pass on my baggage to my kids. Luckily, that was not my first transformation, so I knew what I needed to do. In order to change anything you must first destroy the old and that is what I did, something I call anarchy with a discipline of an ironman. I didn’t think twice, and I decided to fully retire form racing and only coach. That felt really good.

I started to build the new or what I thought was the new, but the universe was sending me another way and little by little I started to lose my clients. Until one day my coaching deal with LA Fitness ended out of nowhere. So, we decided to move to Colorado. I tried a to do the same old story, go back to school but that was not it either. I was still confused, so I found a therapist in Colorado and restarted my therapy sessions.

This time therapy were really intense, since I was getting into the core of the issue of my depression. I mean, up to know I have used physical pain (ironman), and it help however it was not healing. I was just a slave of pain. For me, all we need is Love, so I needed to Love myself and that means embrace and accept my inner punk. I knew what I needed to do was to heal my inner child, I was still angry inside. For me that was only one option: I needed to make that air guitar become real. I needed learn how to play my favorite songs in the guitar, that was my goal when I got the guitar before Luke was born. Yeah, those same songs that I always heard it was taking me to hell.

I started to play and since I always wanted to do some non-profit and something the brings change, I was looking for something that could unite both. With time my mission started to make sense, and again the universe made his move and put me in inside a preschool classroom. I did the first year of preschool with Luke as his nurse cause she quit in the 1st month. There I realized that kids are naturally born punks, they know about love and unity. I mean, seen how Luke rocks and keep asking for fast songs, and seen kids in preschool I am sure kids are born punks! Therefore, we just need to teach them not to sell their soul and embrace their inner punk.

The more I meditate the more insane I become, and I know that I need to fulfill my destiny. I decided to turn my anger into something nice. I realize that if I use the enemy (rock) and start them early I could raise an army of punks. An army of love, and love you know, spreads like fire. Therefore, I could make a real change in world while healing myself. As I learn how to play my favorite “Religious” songs they inspire me to create Punk Rock songs for kids. This way I can change the world one kid at the time…. Some might enjoy, some might not, but remember it’s okay to be different, and love is love.

Punkaste,

Rirou

Chapter 6: “I have no belief, but I believe I am walking contradiction…”

Well, we that was how we started our NICU journey. Looking back at my life I could clearly see that I went to 2 big transformations which all of them had a piece of spirituality. The first one was a mental transformation back in 2003 when I decided to start fighting depression, and I started yoga back then. The second one was a body transformation that started back in 2012, that is when I started receiving Reiki. When we got pregnant my spiritual awakening just grew exponentially. In every transformation I went through things get pretty intense at first, specially if is a radical one. They get intense because you need to destroy the old in order to build the new. To be honest, that is the only way to do, otherwise you will never change. If you wanna change you need to be Roots and Radical.

In the NICU the feelings were raw an intense, that push all your limits above and beyond. Those are real human emotions and super intense, you literally go from 0 to 100 is seconds. Anyways, for me, inclusion starts at home, so my wife and I pretty much moved into the room that the hospital provide for families that lived far: The Conine House. And that is where we lived for the next 84 days, after all we are a family, we are all in this together. My mother-in-law stayed at home with Bolt (our dog) that did not leave Luke’s room until we were back home 84 days later. Honestly, he only left to go outside and then back to his room. Crazy!

During the NICU time I heard all kind of things from Doctors. I was scared and confused, but somehow I knew in my heart that Luke was okay. I was so overwhelmed with everything around me. So, I had to slow down. I started to meditate even more, specially next to Luke with lots of mental talks with him. I started to receive Reiki every time I could, and I started to go to Reiki circles in the hospital (super cool that the hospital have a Reiki Circle). I also restarted practicing yoga own my own in the Conine house in the early AM before crossing the street to see Luke wake up. My goal was to be strong spiritually so I could help Luke, and be there for him. I told Luke I couldn’t stay there 24/7 there, but I left the Chewbacca mask next to his bed, so he knew he was not alone.

With time everything started to make sense to me. Honestly, the way it felt was when Luke was born he came with so much light that it blind me for awhile. That being said, as the days went by in the NICU I started to see again but much much more clearly, and things started to make sense, and it was really ironic. Once I heard that irony is the face of God, and as I look to my life is pure irony, like I am literally walking in contradiction. You doubt? let me tell you:

  1. I was a sensitive boy that cried a lot, but at the same time I love heavy metal. I heard my entire life, how I could be so zen and listen to metal?
  2. I am metal head that loves punk rock, usually those 2 don’t match. I hear all the time, you are a punk that likes slayer?Yeah, I fucking love slayer! I also love the dark side of things, because they are real and raw.
  3. I feel I have a really strong spirituality, (intuition, deja-vu etc). I honestly feel that the universe and I have a super strong connection (its a huge story). Truth being said, up to now my feelings were 99.9% of the time right, it’s just hard to trust them because of what I learned. Yet, I don’t believe in God because I hate religion (Religion is simply exclusive, like a box or an aquarium). However, I believe in the Force, the life force that bind us together because for me it’s all connected.
  4. I was a pro athlete that didn’t want to take performance enhancing drugs (I always like weed but weed is not a drug). Yeah, don’t pretend you don’t know, 90% or more of the athletes take something. Even amateurs. Anyways, I was racing for me, because I had a purpose for doing 18 fucking ironmans. I was facing one demon at the time on those races, and that is when I learned that the dark side is your friend. I always loved the dark side, and as a punk I love to face them. After all I love challenging the status quo, like I was born for that!
  5. I always said that hell was a good place. I mean, think about it: Tons of beer, weed, rock and roll for eternity? Where do I sign up? and I think most of my friends will be there, so hell here I go!
  6. In school I didn’t want to cheat, and I didn’t like to study either. That is why I flunk 3 times. I am not perfect, I did cheat a few times but mostly on group work, where some of my friends saved me. But in general, I did try to take responsibility for my grades. In the triathlon was the same, I didn’t want to cheat, where 70% of the athletes did cheat. I honestly rather finish last than cheat, again I had a reason why I was doing those races. Physical pain helps with emotional pain.
  7. Now 2 triathletes have a son with muscle weakness, how ironically beautiful this is? I mean, who better than 2 triathletes, to parent a kid like Luke?

For me being a Dad is accepting a Soul that is coming, and that soul is coming for spiritual growth, meaning we are all perfectly imperfect and life is a challenging school. Therefore, the way I see it is I got the son that I need for my spiritual growth and Luke have the parents that will help his spiritual growth, same thing with my daughter that is coming soon (we are at 32 weeks today). My biggest fear in the NICU was how I was going to teach Luke about acceptance, if I haven’t accepted myself. Meaning, I dealt with depression for a reason, and now it was time to heal.

Punkaste,

Rirou

Chapter 5 – I’ve got another confession to make…

I’m no fool… yeah that is from a Foo Fighters song, title best of you. Foo fighters was the most heard band during Luke’s pregnancy in the house. The truth is Luke came with illuminating the best side of me, however that is a side that I have never really shown. In fact, that is the side that I hid for a long time for numerous reason, and the biggest factor of my depression: my spirituality. However, I am far from being religious, in fact, in that sense I am very very PUNK! And no, is not Luke from the bible, is from Luke Skywalker (Star Wars), but I think I prefer Luke SkyRocker like a friend of mine told me. Anyways, Luke lighten up that side of me like the Tatooine sun.

After Luke was transfer to Joe DiMaggio Children’s hospital at midnight, my wife stayed in the hospital with her Mom and I went home try to sleep. By coincidence my middle brother was in USA for work from Brasil, so he stayed with me. We woke up early the next day and went to Joe DiMaggio, and as I was going in to the hospital I had at least 3 deja-vus. I was still confused, but it really felt that I already knew, and in fact felt like I already knew that place even though I have never been in that hospital before.

Got in the NICU the nurse explained to me all the test and what was the plan. I was able to change Luke’s diaper for the first time, and I told Luke what was going on. I also, started to play with him like he was doing chest press since we knew it he was not moving much. That is when I stopped to look the sticker in the incubator and guess when that incubator was clean? My birthday 2 weeks ago. For me, that was no coincidence, it felt like it was written in the stars.

The social worker asked me if I wanted any spiritual practice for Luke, so I requested Reiki since I always believe in energy, and energy do not lie. For my surprise they had a Reiki master in the hospital. Meantime we were waiting for the Doctor discharge my wife in the other hospital. The hardest part of all that was to explain to my wife everything that was going on and the fact that we gonna arrive home without a Luke for now until we know more. That is extremely fucking hard.

For me, when you decide to become a parent your are actually bringing a soul to the world, and each soul have a personal challenge. Why? is life and life is challenging. Luke was no different, he has his own personal challenge like every other soul in this planet (we are all perfectly imperfect), and in my view, my job as a parent is to empower that soul to achieve their personal challenge. That being said, I told my wife: “The answer for all of this will not be in the realm, and I believe we choose our parents, therefore Luke choose us for a reason, there is no coincidence” and I also show her this video:

That was the begging of the 84 days in the NICU…

Punkaste,

Rirou

Foo Fighters song:

Chapter 4 – I believe in miracles

A few days before we went to the hospital to be induced, we talked to the doctors since is was showing too much amniotic fluid. The doctor advise inducing since it could create dangerous for mom and baby, so we all agreed in the day after July 4th to induce. That night, I went to Doctor Google and read about extra amniotic fluid and first thing I saw was stillbirth. I simply refused to believe that could happened, because it was not what my heart was saying, and I always trust my feelings and now I was starting to learn how to listen to them. So, I said fuck you Google and went to sleep.

We went to the hospital with Dark Vader mask, and a playlist of Luke’s favorite tunes (based on reaction his in the belly, on that time his favorite was Kids aren’t alright by Offspring). Funny thing is when I marked on Facebook that we were in the hospital I marked the NICU without realizing, anyways she got induce at 7 am July 5th. On that time we didn’t know what was going on, expect the extra fluid.

By midnight contractions started to get stronger and by 4 am we had a scary moment when Luke’s heart rate drop to 40’s. I was so scared and nervous that our Douala told me to go for a walk. I remember I went to have a coffee and I sat at the hospital zen garden, looked to the moon, that was waxing crescent, and I literally said “what the fuck?” and I started to meditate. After a few minutes I went back to the room.

Things just started to get very intense at 7 am with another heart rate drop, and by 9 am another drop in the heart rate. From that point on the room was full with 3 doctors and 7 nurses. By 11 o clock am Luke was born, and his Apgar number was 2. He was basically brought back to life in my wife’s belly the Douala told me “he needs a familiar voice”. So, I told him “Luke, I am your father”, just kidding, I said “Dad is here”, he grabbed my finger and that was PUNKASTE at first sight. I honestly felt like he was giving me knuckles and saying “boom, I got this!” I kid you not, I felt whole, literally like “The punk in me honors the punk in you”.

In 9 minutes Luke was intubated and we went to the NICU. I felt whole and secure but scared. It was confusing how I felt with what was going on, but I knew one thing for sure…

Yes, I believe in miracles cause is many ways I am one…and I also believe in a better world…

Punkaste,

Rirou

Song lyrics:

I used to be on an endless run.
Believe in miracles ’cause I’m one.
I have been blessed with the power to survive.
After all these years I’m still alive.I’m out here kickin’ with the band.
I am no longer a solitary man.
Every day my time runs out.
Lived like a fool, that’s what I was about, ohI believe in miracles.
I believe in a better world for me and you.
Oh, I believe in miracles.
I believe in a better world for me and you.Tattooed your name on my arm.
I always said my girl’s a good luck charm.
If she can find a reason to forgive,
Then I can find a reason to live.I used to be on an endless run.
Believe in miracles ’cause I’m one.I have been blessed with the power to survive.
After all these years I’m still alive.I believe in miracles.
I believe in a…

Chapter 3 – The punk awakens

February 22nd of 2016 I completed 1000 days and I was officially injured for the first time in 13 years. That day was a Monday and after I tried to run I went to therapy. My therapist asked me, what you really want? I responded “I want to change the world”. She looked to me and said “you can start with kids, that is the best way to change the world but guess what? Our time was over for today”. That got stuck in my head. Anyways, I got in the car and went to the doctor to check my neck with that sentence in my head. I wanted to change, and I needed to change. My soul was screaming!

Some people say that the soul of the baby incarnated around the 12 to 16 weeks of the pregnancy, and that was happening right about that time. Everything was changing, my relationship with professional sports(in general), my business and with myself. Fatherhood really makes you think what you gonna teach your, and that is when things started to get interesting, because Luke was awakening the punk inside of me.

Since I was not training much I started to paddle-boarding since it was good for my neck, and also spending time in the ocean was helping connect with my soul again. The moment you get pregnant you step in to a huge matrix and you start hearing all kinds of things. My favorites were things like “Luke is gonna be a great athlete”, “you have to baptize him” or “you not gonna teach him the devils music”. My response was always one and very punk: “He is gonna be whatever the fuck he wants and needs to be”. Based on that you can have the idea of what my response will be for the other questions. For me we are all unique therefore Luke will be LUKE.

I kept doing my therapies, paddle-boarding coaching and things were changing fast. My projects with triathlon were not going forward at all. I tried to more with fitness stuff besides just triathlon and it was not working either. It was like the universe was telling me “yo, that is not the way to go bro”.

During this time I created an email for Luke to write about the preparation for his birth. I believe that connection between Dad and kids starts in the belly just like the moms, however in a different way. I talked to him a lot and lot of talking energetically with the emails.

Anyways, the connection was only growing and I was more and more awake. A few weeks before Luke was born my wife gave me a guitar for my birthday, and 4 weeks later we were heading to the hospital to receive Luke. Dark Vader mask was ready, and also a playlist for the birth.

Punkaste,

Rirou

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