The resilience of the human spirit never wanes but increasingly glows with an effulgent light. As long as there is a day, a tomorrow, a future, we will face it and do so with inexhaustible ardor.
Life pushes us in many directions, asks us to make sacrifices, it gives as much as it takes, but it continues to give as long as we have the one most precious gift of all, life. Though some shoes are more worn and weathered, lacking luster and polish, making the walk painful, difficult, and a humbling experience, still the triumph is that those of us walking in these shoes, continue to walk until their soles are scraped raw and their bare feet are calloused.
In their honor, we stand with gratitude for their sacrifice, for bearing the burdens of life that sometimes is unfathomable, and we extend a conscious mind with a helping hand to show them that they are not alone; that we stride together in times of difficulty and celebrate in times of joy; that their footprint continues to impress our minds long after they walk out of sight and we will cherish this memory of once walking together.
This is what the holidays mean to me. When I see the greatest in need with tattered clothing and a tarnished visage making an effort to smile despite their circumstances, standing with brittle shaking legs, and grasping their own shoulders to conserve warmth that rapidly escapes them. If they continue to stand, what can possibly knock me down and defeat my spirit?
When everything is taken away from you, even the cloth off your backs rendering you bare against the elements, the instinct is to curl up into a fetal position to cover yourself…until a kind stranger walks by with a blanket, lifts you up to your feet, and wraps you with the warmth of love. Every day reminds me to be that stranger, and especially the holidays when the disparity of joy and neglectful sadness are at their greatest. But I can be better at this…I can always be better…and so I strive to be.
I don’t need to compare myself with others and use that to modulate my sense of kindness. As long as I give until the point that I myself have the same needs, then I can never stray too far away from love, because the intimacy of the experience will always humbly remind me that, I too, am human; I am a part of this beautiful panorama called existence and my life is a spectacular speck of light on this unending reel.
In the darkest of night I thought my soul to be unassailable; that no matter what happened, whatever opposition I should face, I would be invulnerable. However, the light of dawn reveals my injured soul as a shattered kaleidoscope, broken into myriad save for the love that lends me its breath.
Imagine that the integrity of who we are is sustained by the four walls of a tin box; we are these metallic boxes. How much we are changed depends on the amount of impact impressed by the hammering forces of the external world and how well our barriers are constructed. The substance with which we use to build our framework then determines how affected, vulnerable, and resilient we are in the face of external influences. We can allow the world to arbitrarily shape and mold us, or we can completely barricade ourselves behind an impenetrable fortress. Alternatively, we can build ourselves with a substance permeable enough to allow a degree of integration with the external world and flexible enough to change form without losing memory of its original shape.
Life is activity and with that, chaos. When we come into excess, there’s a process of desensitization, a numbing indifference where pain and pleasure fails to trigger the necessary stimuli to produce feedback: a signal that affirms we are alive. this insatiable void consumes the very spark of motivation and compels us to pursue life for only for the sake of “the thrill”, at all costs, to exhilarate oneself in order to feel that fractionated stimulus streaming through our bodies, and waking us from the slumber of monotonous routine; as though it were a force of salvation, an obligatory reward for none other deserved, or the long awaited light at the end of a dark tunnel.
During extended times of deprivation, the hunger becomes too overwhelming to not appease, too unbearable to ignore, and could only be described as “sensory death” in a manner of zombification. But why must I succumb to the reign of chaos and be a servant of his bidding? Why should I subject myself to the whims of the world, become a slave of its mechanical clockwork, a pipeline of sludge through which flows the putridity of the higher echelon, a broken canteen that is unable to retain the nectar of life and surrenders everything to oblivion?
Why is my reliance held by the hands of substances pre-supposed to render my world in a wider spectrum? Why am I so adamantly fixated on paths of effortlessness to propel me to new heights when everything in life worth living for requires effort? Only in transient passing can I embrace love if I cannot with due effort offer her tantamount that which she bestows upon me. How long can hold on to friends and family if the only things I have to offer is use and abuse? How far will I succeed in my profession or any other worldly endeavor if I refuse to expend that which is necessary to pursue my desires? What heights can I ultimately attain if my roots are so tightly bound to the earth as such that it prevents me to shake from my state of stagnation?
When I use any vehicle for such ends—to elevate us above the insufferable reality–I stake my life at its mercy as a passenger of an aircraft taken to the skies: I relinquish my control in the take-off, landing, and all events in between. If I can fly by my own wings, then I can more readily ascend and descend with grace, adjusting for the turbulence with consideration to my own body, and my own livelihood; in this state, I am the vehicle and the passenger, I choose the destination, and wherever the journey takes me, it will be of mine own volition.
Such an innocuous temptress is she who promises to lift my spirits, erase from my memory all pains, and empower me with irresistible charisma to woo the toughest of sirens…but I don’t need her. I will not allow her to be the surrogate of my personality, to bear arms in my stead in circumstances where I may despair, and to be the glue that bonds me to others in the social exchange.
Though I will not be repulsed by her invitation in heeding social graces and respectful observance of courtesy, without shame and fear of repudiation, still I can easily decline out of self-respect and the trust that courtesy is paved as a two-way street; those that drive on the wrong side of the road out of negligence or purely spite, they certainly don’t belong in my social contract.
She is not inherently evil, nor is she pure. She is who she is and I tread with caution when I’m in her affections. My love for her is superficial and though she penetrates my veins, she does not control my thoughts, my actions, or my will. As long as my lust for her is a stranger to addiction, then she remains as an idle tool upon a shelf that is animated only by the power my command. I am her vice and she is to me as courage is to a brave man.
Freedom is always bartered at a price: money, blood, and sacrifice. For whatever reasons born of our need to be free, it is understood that when humanity is stricken by the chains of bondage and oppressed beyond the threshold of sufferance, the collective body will cease to evolve. Incontrovertibly, society as we know it will regress from light into gradations of grey and eventually darkness. But when one rises to challenge an oppressor many times his magnitude, he stands in the light of humanity and barters for freedom with his life–to liberate humanity from the enslavement of the mind and body. Thus, it is our duty to bring light into the shadowy prisons that silence those who stood and have fallen to the opposition. We become the substitute of their voice, the surrogate of their strength, and the soul of their struggle; for without, our struggles will resolve into an exercise of futility.
Philosophy has always been an essential part of who I am, and its significance in my life profoundly shapes the mold of consciousness through which all of my experiences are filtered. I think in terms of universal paradigms. This is analogous to the properties of elasticity. Let’s briefly examine its characteristics and tie its relevance to the definition of my personal attributes.
Elasticity exhibits three properties:
perviousness, resilience, and metamorphism.
Perviousness is a state of being receptive and penetrable. An elastic band forms a loop and it is through this opening that new ideas take passage.
Resilience is the ability to sustain original integrity after distress or deformation. This is a corollary of adaptation and tolerance: an elastic band can extend itself to conform to other objects and is eager to accept change.
Metamorphism is complimentary to resilience wherein if the latter is a transitory utility, then the former becomes an enduring catalyst. They both are executors of change but one is more extemporaneously effective, while the other is an evolution that produces residual impressions: an elastic band takes on new forms through rigorous effort.
Every man is bound by an inescapable fate from the moment of his birth; but, this is not to diminish his hopes and dreams. In this state of bondage, every man also shares a destinyâ€”one that defines his humanity and empowers him to impart upon the material world an immortal legacy: an essence that transcends his mortal breath.
As one in this brotherhood of man, I cannot help but accept the irresistible fate and be utterly compelled with a sense of purpose to predicate that I am willing to give all that is within my mortal faculties to discover this destiny, and further manifest its tangibility in the collective world; to advance the understanding of our role in the vastness of the universeâ€”pressing against the threshold of personal limits, learning as I falter along the path of experience, and breaking through to higher ground. This has been and continues to be my progressive contribution to society.
In order to evolve, I must subject myself to failures and dedicate myself in my successes. It is my belief that only in our deepest failures will we find the utmost inspiration to conquer what seems unconquerable, develop a spiritual resilience to tread on through murky waters knowing that the shore can and will be reached, and further, that it will bridge the flux between dreams and the preeminent reality.
I’ve always been fascinated with virtual worlds and this predisposition manifested in me an enduring infatuation with a world that I could somehow, mysteriously, exercise a degree of control; and further, I was determined to unravel the heart of its mystery. Acting is creating a simulacrum of reality; it is surrendering the solidified self to become a nimble shape-shifter. An actor hollows himself to be a universal container of substance; at once, to produce an effect, be effective, without being affected. The eagerness of youth gravitates toward role models to align its aspirations; my ally, is a malleable sense of conscience that lends me the ability to be essentially whatever I wanted, provided that I have the fortitude to endure the opposing forces, and the focus to be a self-catalyst for change. This self-induced invocation of change parallels the art of acting because when the actor assumes a role, the character consumes him for the duration. After the role expires, a residual imprint of the character remains, and it becomes to him an asset at his disposal.
What’s the difference between a ‘crazy’ person and a ‘normal’? The former is incomprehensibly ignorant of the fact while the latter matter of factually commits incomprehensible crazy acts in spite of cognizance; neither, can truly know each other’s condition. Further, one is normally crazy and the other acts crazily normal to attest his sanity. As for me, I am crazily normal under circumstances where normal people would be normally crazy, and I’m normally crazy, borderline neurotic, about the craziest normal things where normal folks would just be in their element. Does this make me crazy or normal? That’s right! Normalâ€¦because I’m fully aware that I’m normally crazy. So much so, in fact, that I simply tell these voices in my head that provoke me to do the normally craziest things to just all piss-off and leave me alone. Sheash, haven’t these crazy voices nothing better to do than to pester normal people?
There have been times when certain experiences elevate my being to an inspired state, whether the stimulus were in words, visuals, or a combination of sensory perceptions, I can feel a physical reaction that originates from the crown and descends internally through my body to the area above the solar plexus, expanding horizontally to fill my face, arms, and hands with an electrically-charged tingling sensation in its descent which causes my to shudder as if exposed to cold weather. Perhaps the best description of this condition can be defined as a “spiritual orgasm.”
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been under a crisis of faith though, ultimately, I think this is conducive to my infinitely inquisitive nature. It isn’t that I am faithless, but rather I’m more invested in possibility. I am not comfortable under the constraints of any one religion and as such I extract the value from each and assimilate its truths into a general sense of awareness that enlightens my perception of the world and instills me with a lesser degree of bias in how the construct of the reality around me is conceived. I am simultaneously representative of the Mulder and Scully psyche. That is, “I want to believe,” but “is it rational?” Enter faith, which is an invisible bridge that connects the immediate reality and another intangible realm: magic, manna, aether, spirits, extra-terrestrials, gods, demons, guardians, angels, dragons, sprites, unicorns, magnetism, gravity, and the Divine. To varying degrees we can visualize these intangibles, believe them to exist, and by the virtue of believe, perhaps could manifest them into the collective reality if the esoteric universal mechanics are accessible to us, as it were. And so, the only points of division are along the degrees to which our imagination is able to stretch. Being that we are unique, the diversity of our capacities and predispositions are limitless, and if only we can imagine a world unlike our own and make belief that this is another lens peering into the universal perspective, then we may begin to harmonize our own visions with that of the collective. One needs not lose religion in order to be gain it in proper but rather a gentler approach would be to reconcile the construct of our own “house”, in which we are comfortable, and visually deconstruct the artifice into its most simple building blocks, then we can see at the base of every house of worship is a foundation that rests on one single earth. The only castles floating in the skies are those supported on our own shoulders held in place by lofty ideas stemming from a false sense of superiority, and still, at the very base, our feet are firmly planted in root of the earth. So if you ask me what my religion is/was, I will respond, “my fidelity rests in the providence of possibility.”
Through the course of life, Iâ€™ve observed, scrutinized, and have concluded, thus far, the following to be the most essential and core motivation of existence. I believe these to be the innate directives of all things and every action can be traced to these ends. They mark the source of lifeâ€™s inspiration and the destination from which springs transcendence. They are categorically labeled as “Existential Imperatives”:
experience | endure | evolve
Synesthesia: [sensation produced at a point other than or remote from the point of stimulation, as of a color from hearing a certain sound]
Often while lying in bed, in the silence, with my eyes closed, and I hear the slightest of noises, simultaneously, I sense a jolt of electrical current run through the length of my body in the instant and a fantastical array of shapes and colors dance in my mind as seen through the lids of my eyes acting as screens to this cosmic show.