I promise you that the same stuff galaxies are made of, you are. The same energy that swings planets around stars makes electrons dance in your heart. It is in you, outside you, you are it. It is beautiful. Trust in this. And you and your life will be grand.
Hard Rock hotel, late night, walking back to my room. Pass photos of famous musicians, stop and stare at them for a while. Kurt Cobain. You can see the pain in his eyes. I look at others, similar. Do all artists have to suffer?
Part of me resists when I ask the question. I don’t want the answer to be yes. But I let go, and the answer, instead, is of a different sorts. They have to experience. To live and experience life fully because when you create art, if it’s not true and real, you know.
Hemingway, Cobain. Both killed themselves. But what if they hadn’t? What if they’d gone with the experience, whatever they were feeling, whatever they were fighting, knowing that it too would pass, and left behind would be the knowledge, the gift they could put into their art.
With the wisdom of age, what else could Hemingway have written? And Cobain, perhaps he might be a poet today or even just another burned out rocker. But whatever he’d created, as long as he stayed true to his experience, it would have connected and changed lives. Just those two, what could have been…it’s sad, I will never know.
I’m old enough to have lost friends. Random deaths are tough. Suicides, the worst. I’ve also lived long enough to look back at those gone and know that whatever they were dealing with, it passed. They didn’t have to. They could have been here, wiser and stronger and better.
No matter how smart we may think we are, no matter how committed we are to our truth, we can lose our way. We’re human. Made of flesh and feelings, not armor. And knowing that, there is one thing we can do to help us, guide us back to the light when we’re fighting it the most.
Set the ego aside. Reach out, share your truth, tell someone you love, “this is who I am. This is what I stand for. Hold me to it.” Be accountable. Often, we’ll do far more for another than we will do for ourselves. Use that to your advantage.
Once, while meditating, I saw an image of my parents standing in front of me. Behind them, their parents. And their parents, and their parents, and their parents. An unbroken line of lives so long that it faded into the horizon. An unbroken line of lives that ultimately led to mine.
Then I thought of those who have touched my life. Minor and major ways. And all the lives that were lived so that just these few could exist and walk the Earth with me for a brief spark in time. Lines upon lines, connections upon connections, ripples spreading across time and generations. Humanity doing its dance so that you could be here, reading these words I just wrote.
Even if we may feel like it sometimes, we are never alone. I write this, expecting that others will read these words. I write them with the hope that they will improve your life. I am giving you my all. My truth. That you will read it is a gift to me. I may never meet you, but that’s ok. I smile, knowing that we are links in a beautiful chain connected in ways deeper than we can imagine.
Whatever you experience in your life, choose for it to make you grow in amazing and unbelievable ways. You owe it to yourself. You owe it to those who came before you. You owe it to those connected to you that you’ll never meet. You owe it to those who have yet to come into your life.
The tools have changed, but the process hasn’t. You sit, an empty page in front, whether it’s pixels or paper or parchment, and you fill it with feelings, with emotion, with life. There is magic here. Real magic.
The world quietly asleep outside the window, the clickity-clack of the keyboard, whatever music I’ve got on – chill, classical, lounge – and the white of the screen slowly filling.
You dive deeper, you strip away the cleverness and the words become more important than your ego and that’s when you know it’s real, when it’s good. Light spreads out over the hills, dawn comes and passes, and a new day begins.
The feeling of when you step away, finished, and you look at the page and you know you tapped into something bigger than yourself to produce this, that feeling is, dare I say, spiritual.
Hemingway said that you write for the one you love. The last book was from a place of giving, written for a dear friend, something that I knew would help. Honestly, up until I hit publish, I was on the fence about putting it out to the world.
I once heard that we all want good judgement, and good judgement is the result of experience, and experience is the result of bad judgement. That made me laugh. In that case, I thought, by now I must be the king of good judgement.
I sometimes think of my past self, the child growing to the man I’ve become. He doesn’t exist anymore except in my imagination. Memories arising when I least expect them. Sometimes, I catch a glimpse of him and I feel such a fondness. I wish I could spare him the pain I know he’ll experience. But I also know the love he will as well. The amazing things he’ll see, the adventures he’ll have.
At the same time, I, who has experienced all that he will, I so often forget the lessons. So I write for him. A guide, perhaps, to the future. To the self that I will one day look back to and nod, knowing.
After Hemingway finished The Old Man and The Sea, the book for which he won the Nobel, he took the manuscript to his wife. She read it, then said to him, “I forgive you for everything.”
The act of going within, finding our truth, and then sharing it, it helps us far more than we know. Because when you find that gift and express it to the world, it is better, you are better. It’s just the way things are.
That is why I write. To share with ones I love, to share with myself, to remember and live the lessons, to make less mistakes – or at least better ones. A guide for me to return to and apply because I know that when I do, my life flows naturally, things easily resolve themselves. The struggle ceases and magic begins.
He does not exist anymore, except in my imagination. Memories arising when I least expect them. Sometimes, I catch a glimpse of him and I feel such a fondness. I wish I could spare him the pain I know he’ll experience. But I also know the love he will as well. The amazing things he’ll see, the adventures he’ll have.
At the same time, I, who has experienced all that he will, I so often forget the lessons. So I write. A guide, perhaps, to the future. To the self that I will one day look back to and nod, knowing. Smiling.
I wrote a book. Something simple, something true. Something I learned that has been beautiful and transformative for me. I put it on the Amazon kindle platform and priced it low. There is a paperback version as well.
It’s about sharing something I believe is important.
I hope you read it. I hope you try out what I share. It works.
The title of the book, “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It.”
(Since I’ve been asked this by a few people, you don’t need a kindle to read the book. Amazon has free Kindle apps for Mac/PC/iPhone/Android/Windows/Blackberry. You can download them here)
I finish at the gym, walk outside, and sit on a wall by the driveway. Indian summer evening in San Francisco. Breezy, cool, fog above downtown. Delicious.
I love my life, I find myself thinking, I love my life, I love my life, I love my life. The thought flows as naturally as the wind. I watch the skyline – people ask why I let my long hair fall in front of my eyes…it’s for moments like these, when I watch the world through wisps of silver – I love my life, I love my life.
Clouds move above, the thought shifts: I love myself, I love myself, I love myself, I love myself. I’m smiling, then grinning. All I am, my hopes, dreams, desires, faults, strengths, everything – I. Love. Myself.
If you can reach this point, even if it’s for a brief moment, it will transform you – I promise you that.
The key, at least for me, has been to let go. Let go of the ego, let go of attachments, let go of who I think I should be, who others think I should be. And as I do that, the real me emerges, far far better than the Kamal I projected to the world. There is a strength in this vulnerability that cannot be described, only experienced.
Am I this way each moment, nope, but I sure as heck am working on it.
Thousands of years ago, a Roman poet wrote, “I am a human being, therefore nothing human is foreign to me.” I believe it to be true. So if this is possible for one human, it is possible for anyone. The path might be different, but the destination same.
Key is being open to loving ourselves. Once we do that, life casually takes care of the next steps.
Remain open to that one possibility and you’ll experience the beauty of watching the world around you dance its dance while inside, you fully accept this marvelous amazing human being you are. The feeling is, for lack of a better word, magic.