Our purpose, in life’s journey, is staying in tune with the infinite; finding a way to always connect to the source of your peace. Learning to notice the sensations, emotions, and changes happening through you. To notice when you are scared, lonely, and longing. Also learning, if you are an artist, to notice when you are terrified to put pen to paper or brush to canvas, when love feels destitute, and you haven’t felt a connection to your passions in a while. Then learning to transform that inability into a genuine pursuit of the heart. Following that journey to the core of your spirit is the means of finding your source; you’ll discover the reason we fall in love with people that have been through the hardest times but overcame. Because we have such an obsession with the overcomer, we must also fall in love, and gain compassion, with the sufferer. My journey in falling in love with the sufferer has been using all my resources to gain a deeper understanding of my spirit. The sources of my peace include loving, writing and yoga; this discovery brought me much contentment, but a tremendous responsibility.

A devotion to love, compassion, and commitment involves putting all your eggs into the basket of the present. While difficult, but extremely rewarding, without a commitment to the present, we lose the opportunities to connect and the spontaneity of new experiences to unfold within us. We are prevented from putting ourselves entirely into love with some future hope of a utopian Edenic bliss. We must save our hearts from the idealism of the future; allowing the birthing of new memories, and we cannot forget pain is a signal, a beckon of heavens light, within our physical bodies sending a message. Pleasure and Pain are spiritual guides that have to be named, discerned, and divined; allowing us to peak behind the subtleties of our nature. We have a tendency to close our mouths in the presence of pain — hiding behind a thin veil of shame that when closely observed reveals our uncomfortability — unknowingly preventing ourselves from experiencing the depths of our vulnerability. Meeting this vulnerability happens through the development of our comfortability with isolation. We must learn to walk alone, so we can learn to trust the influences of the heart. The world attempts to pressure the route of our journey, often very subtly, but the uncharted pain, I believe, is the one we must have the bravery to trek. Personally, my journey with learning to love has become a most dangerous/rewarding and isolating/connecting experience during my years on this planet. It has been a cosmic battle of balancing the complimentary forces in our life.

I’ve loved people that have left my life either through circumstance or death, and those moments with them felt like eternity; now it feels like eternity since we have spoken. Learning to love has been a process of accepting both the physical and spiritual deaths of relationships; they must be allowed to end, so there can be a new beginning. Terribly, we miss out on this new beginning attempting to remain locked in a dead past. This acceptance requires a, somewhat, terrifying commitment; one must learn to consistently recognize endings, while appreciating the loveliness of the time shared. We all have a tendency to put the past onto the future — I am also fully aware trauma is kept in the body, so being put in similar situations can cause somewhat of PTSD feelings — however, it must be attempted with all our might to release that past; one must not taint the treasure that awaits us in the present. However, to really mature, one must not become an exalted victim, but must recognize the errors of his own experience. We all have been a Judas to someone’s Jesus, and if there is any regret or shame within that truth; one must be allowed to forgive the transgression and move on consciously. Love is not an easy responsibility, but an active pursuit to recognize yourself. The depth of experience love has brought me, while mostly inarticulable, has given me the confidence, strength, and insanity to feel everything in this peculiar world.

My journey as a writer, probably the voyages’ most menacing aspect, has been a combination of high discipline, high expectations, and little focus on the rewards; all the focus on the, genuine, commitment. This is a very lonely part of the journey; I often hear writers say, “If I could not write, I would die”, and I wondered to myself is saying, “If I couldn’t write, I would be living a zombie life”, passion-filled enough to become a writer. Short answer, yes, I had to define “become” in my own terms, and the definition that came involved writing everyday until I went to sleep; then if I could not sleep, write a little more. The overarching message of this journey became “listen to my inner voice by trusting the solitude”, also trusting the strange combination of letters in the English alphabet. I have come to the understanding that while I may not die from a life without writing; I would live a prolonged sadness, a terrible relationship with silence or even a schizophrenic happiness. Writing began, truly, as an attempt to define my experience; when I began writing, consistently, I had no sense of self, so I began, as most writers do, by attempting to articulate my sadness, anger, and tell a young lady I loved her through a letter. Now it has become a necessity that requires me to follow the beat of my heart, and listening to that beat has required solitude with commitment. All young artists, I believe, may struggle with trusting the source of their creativity. But creativity, said many times before me, is truly like a birthing process or the rhythm of sex. The energy has to be used, but with a partner that can handle — or maintain — your rhythm; and you discover the rhythm between these two solitudes. Then you find, or announce through your body, the pace; internally a warm comfort fills your entire being, and you are locked into the moment. Soon everything erupts like a volcano, but surprisingly there is still a warmth covering you. Because this process cannot be rushed, this is how we discover patience; the erotic is useful for every part of our lives. My journey as a young writer is following my bliss courageously, and accepting that this journey will only continue to demand every ounce of my breathe. As James Baldwin said, “Societies never know it, but the war of an artist with his society is a lover’s war, and he does, at his best, what lovers do, which is to reveal the beloved to himself and, with that revelation, to make freedom real.”

Oh yoga, oh yoga. Yoga gave me access to the world through a spiritual lens; connecting with people that attempted to understand the world with a spiritual consciousness, and did not treat conversations about love as a nuisance. While, in the moment, everyone shared similar hesitancy about vulnerability and trust; the conversations showed a sign that the consciousness was shifting. Through yoga I discovered the beauty and disaster of revolution and love; I discovered that no matter how eloquent the quotations, governments have always attempted to silence a devoted lover. Also, I discovered, things always get better, but not in the way you expect. Change is always walking around the corner, but how we decide to meet this shift determines the future of our world. Because we cannot predict the future and our intuition can only travel so far, one must develop the patience will power to not let sadness, or grief, overwhelm us.

It’s been a long
A long time coming
But I know a change gonna come
Oh, yes it will — Sam Cooke

Yoga gave me a historical perspective to my conflict with the world; granting a macrocosmic perspective, of the historical value, of love in the heart’s of the people. For that philosophy, provided me with the tools to begin carving my manhood, authentically, from characters I admired. This continues to be an extremely difficult sculpting, but I continue to actively remain present with this process. However, none of the books I read reflected my experience, having to consider, of course, when the Upanishads, Gita, and Siddhartha were written; all those books were written before the colonizing of America, transatlantic slave trade, and discovery of the American Black man. I grew up extremely different than the buddha, for all I knew was poverty. I was never granted the choice of becoming a poor boy; I was born one and sickness, old age, and death were all around me. I was forced to define the term enlightenment; however, I believe it can be replaced with the word acceptance. It takes a lot of work to accept that death is a friend that only visits when it’s time for him to show up. We get angry at death for visiting our loved ones, but yoga granted me the space to see the beauty in mourning; then gave me the chance to see the artistry of death. The current state of my journey is requiring me to find a new relationship to the art of yoga. One that touches our current experience with all its envy, insecurity, pain, innovativeness, love, and longing. I have been blessed, maybe cursed, with an immense responsibility to dive into the language of yoga and interpret the truth for an audience yearning for a new direction. Maybe, we all share this responsibility; but I have decided to claim it and see where the process takes my spirit.

Yoga took me out of my mothers’ house, and provided me with the opportunity to create sacred spaces for sufferers. Those sufferers shared stories, back when I was in that pain, that I assumed only happened to me and me alone, and I discovered, beyond the text, what is meant by the world being externally, internally, and eternally connected. Yoga and I have a very special relationship because it laid the foundation for me learning to interpret the sensations of my body. Trusting the source of those sensations, and following those sounds to my, particular, path of healing. This country has trained us, especially those that played sports, and especially men, to ignore our sensations, and push through the pain. They forgot to inform the players when to use all that rage, anger, and frustration; they forgot to tell us what to do when football is over. When I am attempting to love someone, or when I get frustrated with the world; what do I do then? Yoga provided me with the tools to become a spiritual explorer of the wilderness within my being. Starting with my childhood and examining everything that came after; the repressed pain from beatings, emotions being denied, the loneliness from feeling unaccepted, the embarrassment of being rejected by family, and the hatred from never hearing an apology. It also provided my spirit with the tools to accept the humanness of everyone around me; through yoga I learned compassion.

My journey is still in its beginning stages, but my feet are ready for the trek through following my bliss. This journey is dark, lonely, and demands listening to your heart. We all have our own beat that gives us access to the best route for our spirit. Every human being, I believe, should grab their life from the jaws of the lions mouth, and take the journey to becoming. I am a young writer, yogi, and lover; I will continue to devote my life before these arts and give everything I have to them. I owe these three the world.