Category Archives: relationship

If you want to go far, go together

By | Adventure, Creative, play, productivity, relationship | No Comments

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” ~ African Proverb

When my wife Kelly and I first bought our shiny yellow tandem bicycle, I was so excited to take it out for a test drive. I expected the tandem to be just like, well… riding a bike. If perhaps just slightly more awkward? When I jumped on the back seat, I immediately realized that I was in for a surprise. You see, on a tandem bicycle, the back seat handlebars are fixed in place. They exist only to help you keep balance, and contribute nothing whatsoever to the steering of the bike. I then quickly realized that tandem connects both sets of pedals with a single chain, forcing the riders to cycle in sync. As we made our way out into the neighborhood street, one thing became clear; my job here was to pedal and to lend unquestioning support to Kelly in the captain’s seat.

Personally, as someone who likes to take charge, I found it very difficult to surrender control of the bike to my wife. When I tried to lean over to look ahead, I threw us off-balance and we would begin to wobble. When I shouted out steering suggestions, they were misinterpreted (putting it kindly) and always ended up doing more harm than good. I slowly began to relearn the lesson that we first discovered through our practice of acroyoga: it requires trust in order to be graceful.

Ultimately, I had to let go. I had to learn to be playful despite my lack of control or direction in the ride. Once I was able to fully let go of my need to be the in front, the experience became so much more fun. While Kelly steered us to good places, I put in the extra pedal power to give us momentum. We were having a great time, we were in sync, and we were cruising.

Given our current political climate, I think many male leaders could learn a thing or two by taking a few laps around the block in the back seat of a tandem bike. In so many arenas, males dominate the leadership positions. Women make up just 16.6% of corporate board officers at Fortune 500 companies, and own a staggering 1% of all titled land in the world.*

When learning how to row or ride or work together, it takes good communication and equanimity to stay in balance. Arguments arise easily when you’re in the thick of it and, in my experience, this friction often stems from the man’s need for control, and from his belief he can do better.

Through the years, I’ve learned that if you win an argument with your partner, nobody wins. However, when you treat your relationship like a team, everything changes. You realize that you are on a long journey together, and that a win for her means a win for us. Whenever I catch myself growing argumentative, I try to take a deep breath and remember that teamwork makes the dream work!

As a creative couple, Kelly and I have been working for years on how to thrive as married business partners. This year, things are getting even more interesting. As we enter into a new year under our new brand of CIRCUS PICNIC, we do so for the first time with a team working around us. We have recently hired on a staff of four editors and producers to take our work to the next level. With this creative cast of characters, we’ll be able to hoist up even bigger circus tents and climb up even steeper hills.


You can go farther when you’ve got a team! The CP Team!

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Sure, we didn’t need to build a team. As the proverb suggests, we could just as easily go the road alone and pedal quicker with less complexity. In fact, for years, Kelly and I did just that, working in tandem to produce amazing videos and events while collecting unforgettable experiences. However, we realized that our mission of bringing positive movement media to the masses is far too big for our four legs to support alone. When you have a team moving forward together with a common vision, there is so much more strength and momentum.

I see us pedaling collectively towards some incredible projects this year, and we hope you’ll follow along to see what we create together!

P.S. Does anyone know where we can find a 6 seater bike?

* statistics referenced from the phenomenal book Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life.


I have a Kelly.

By | Adventure, Creative, Love, productivity, relationship, Travel | No Comments

Somebody asked me, “how do you do it?” Good question.  How do I juggle all these balls in the air?

Came at the perfect moment, because today I felt like I was really behind on things that matter to me.
I thought for a moment. I looked back on this epic journey I just returned from, only to hit the road again in a few days.
The simple answer:

I have a Kelly.

@yeskelly helps me endlessly. And she nourishes me in all the ways that restore my health when I am hustling.
It’s been a tough day. But there’s nothing like coming home to this woman. This weekend we celebrated 6 years together.
What a love, tested by trials and marked with miles of smiles all the same.

This photo was snapped at Burning Man by@danieldav_is –and this art piece still hits me right in the heart. When we are turning our backs on one another and suffering, our inner child, a deeper essence is yearning to reach out in love.
So grateful to be surrounded by a whole community of loving connection. The past few days being back in Austin has been beautiful. 1,000 yogis chanting at the capital, bringing rugged Texas Rangers to tears, and all the little moments in between that shake me awake. You guys got me gushing… Life is great. Everything is going to be okay. Reach out when you need help, and you will be supported. Even if you haven’t found your “Kelly” yet.

#burningman #austin #art #inspiration#motivation #love #greenheart


70 Years of Love

Commitment: 3 Lessons learned from 70 years of Love

By | Food for thought, Love, relationship | One Comment

Recently, I had the good fortune of interviewing my Grandfather before we celebrated my grandparents’ 70th wedding anniversary.  70 years married is a huge accomplishment, and I wanted to get some insight on how I could apply his wisdom toward my own relationship.

That handsome old guy puckering up for a kiss is my grandfather, Robert Rulapaugh.  That colorful lady smiling?  That’s my grandmother Dorothy.

Grandpa Bob married his sweetheart Dot just 10 days before Germany surrendered WWII.  So you could say they’ve got some history between them.

I sat Grandpa down and asked him to share what helped them survive and thrive so many years together.

These are the major lessons I learned from him:

1) Be Helpful

“Be helpful to one another.  Make the bed together in the morning.  Always be doing something to make your partner’s life a little easier.  That’s the secret.”

Be helpful, plain and simple.  Of course it’s important to take good care of yourself in a relationship, too.  But I think we focus too much on autonomy, aloneness, and independence these days.  It seems like we seek it as a sign of strength.  One of the greatest gifts of marriage is having someone there to support you when you need it most.  You lift one another up.  And we offer a mirror of the best and worst in one another.  And when we see something we don’t like, that’s where we get tripped up…

2) Stay Together

“Try to be together as much as possible.  You have rough times in life.  Sometimes the road gets a little bit rocky, but don’t ever go to bed mad at each other.  Never do that.  But also learn to not carry on in useless arguments.  What’s gained in that?”

Half the battle is staying together.  Why do we huff and puff and blow our own houses down?  I do believe we need to keep healthy friendships that help us grow and connect outside the context of the relationship.  Being too close offers its own set of challenges.  As I look at my own relationship, I think we’ve got the “spend as much time together as you can” part down.  We’re headed on another Summer roadtrip together.  We work, play, and do everything together.  And that brings us a sense of deep understanding and shared experience.  It can also be a real test of patience sometimes, but it’s all about alignment…

3) Make Decisions as a Team

Grandpa, how do you make good decisions as a couple?  

“You know, that’s my downfall.  Many times I should have waited and talked things over with her before I did them.  A lot of times I made the decision, and WE should have made the decision.  You regret it afterwards.”

I really appreciated hearing those words.  Making good decisions together is such an important lesson.  It’s too easy to get prideful and think you know the way.  The reason why we pair up is to build a life together, and we should be respectful of our partner’s perspective.  They may see what’s been in your blind spot.  Especially when it comes to the big choices, always make them as a team.

I asked Grandpa one last follow-up question…

What career advice do you have?

“Liking a job and the people you work with is a big part of it.  If you’re not happy there, you’re not going to do as well.  I always enjoyed my work and I worked really hard.  And it didn’t hurt me.”

We’ve been programmed to believe that commitment is hard, oppressive, and limits our freedom.  While this is mostly true, I think we’re looking at it with the wrong lens.  Whether we’re talking about work, relationships, or creative endeavors, commitment is the key to longevity in doing what you love.

Commitment is defined as the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.  A second definition identifies commitment as an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action.

The way I see it though, commitment gives us laser focus on what’s most important.  It frees us from passing distractions.  It challenges us to truly devote ourselves.  And when we apply all of our energy toward the loving, nurturing, and tending to what needs or calls us the most, we build a happier home, a consistent career, and guess what?  In the long run we actually learn we’ve afforded ourselves more freedoms than we could have ever imagined.  When we see commitment show up in our relationship to community, it becomes a currency that supports us in all we do.


The other day I discovered an insanely awesome video of a dancer doing the robot.  I ran the video by a dancer friend asking, “is this even humanly possible!?”

Her response rang true: “Crazy right?! I know…I feel it’s very possible for me, if I commit.”

70 Years of Love

Bob and Dot share their advice for a lifetime of love.


Does a relationship change after marriage? To our surprise, YES!

By | Love, relationship | 2 Comments

When people asked Jefe and I if we thought our relationship would change after we got married, we immediately said no. We have an unconventional lifestyle in the way that we spend more time together than most. We had been living together for five years, we owned a house and a company together, and had spent two of those years living, working, and traveling full time in an 37ft RV. So what could possibly change except our legal status?

For the record: a lot changes.

It’s crazy to say, but things actually do change. Below I list six of the changes that we personally experienced. Please know that by no means am I saying this happens to everyone.  Read More

20 Ways to Say I LOVE YOU

By | Creative, Love, relationship | 5 Comments

What are the creative ways you share your love?  We asked couples to show us how they express and experience intimacy in their relationship.

The process of filming with these love birds leading up to Valentine’s Day was heart-warming.  Although we list 20 ways to say I love you, Kelly and I realized there’s a few missing from the list that we practice each week together in our own relationship:


For the past several years, we have been hiding a golden coin around the house.  She may find it under her tea mug, or I might flip to a page in the book I’m reading, and there’s the golden coin!  This small surprise has come to mean “I treasure you”, and every time I find it equates to a burst of positive feelings.  And then it’s my turn to hide it for her.  I can’t tell you how many times this token of affection has transformed my day.  It’s another way to say I love you, and has been a special source of wonder in our relationship.  If you like it, by all means try it with your partner!


We all have our rituals as we get ready for bed.  We’ve tried essential oil diffusion to relax us, and a number of other ways to cap off the night.  None has stuck like our “toothbrush trick”.  Imagine entering the bathroom and seeing your toothbrush already freshly pasted with toothpaste–you don’t have to squeeze the last little bit from the tube, clearly someone has paid you an altruistic act.  It’s so small and you might think it’s silly, but it makes all the difference in improving my mood when I am trying to prepare myself for sleep.  What are other ways you can lighten the load of your lover?  You’d be surprised how simple little things make a big difference!


Sing a funny song in the kitchen, invent your own language, and invite your partner to PLAY.  Couples do strange things when no one is watching, and apparently there’s major health benefits when we teach each other to be more whacky and playful.  Kelly and I have noticed how life gets stale when we take things too seriously.  Also, set a spark by doing new and exciting things together.  Go skydiving, learn improv comedy, go out of your comfort zone as a couple!  It’s the best way to rekindle the passionate love that releases dopamine.  Companionate love is warm and comforting, but a dose of passion is also what we all need.

Photo by Ed Lehman


Kelly and I used to co-sponsor a love parade every Valentine’s Day.  We’d walk through downtown on our stilts together with a whole tribe of friends.  Perhaps it was that exciting peak experience we were after!

Let’s strive for less chocolate and more connection this Valentine’s Day, and please share a story with us about your unique ways of sharing love!

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