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Chapter 0 - The Samsara
For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamed of writing a book.
It’s been my only one true dream, the thing I visualize at night when I’m looking at the ceiling and gazing into an imaginary future.
I’ve had countless ideas for a book. I’ve started 2 of them, in one case, I got pretty far in the writing process. But each time, the self doubt and fear would creep in and I would quit. It’s the only challenge in my life that I haven’t been able to over come.
I don’t know what it is about writing the book that seems so daunting. I can’t get over the hump.
When I was 18, I became very interested in world religion. I learned about Hinduism, and about the concept of “The Samsara.”
Simply put, The Samsara is the never ending, never beginning, eternal and infinite cycle of energy in the universe. Nothing ever really dies, rather, everything simply becomes something else.
This made a lot of sense to me and it comforted me to know that I belonged to an infinite cycle of energy. I wasn’t controlled by a deity or by a cosmic being. In fact, the cosmic being was ourselves and everything else. We are all stardust and the idea really helped me in my journey of spirituality and self discovery.
The problem for me was that at 18 years old, I still had many years left in my addiction and cycle of self destruction. I wasn’t yet ready to apply these lessons into my life. Instead, I was more interested in using this knowledge to downplay other people’s ideas and beliefs as stupid or ignorant.
It turns out, the concept of Samsara is a bit more complicated and nuanced than I conceptualized.
None the less, the seed was planted.
What The Idea Turned Into
The book was going to be a half autobiography and half fiction. I was going to use my own experience with addiction, drugs, self harm, and relationships and turn it into a fictional story that would give me more creative freedom.
It was a heroes journey. The main character would go through his struggles, meet his guide, experience many hardships, trials and struggles and eventually would discover the elixir. The elixir was going to be a baby boy. The main character was going to have a son, and when he had his son, the realization of The Samsara was going to be complete. When he looked down at this baby son, he would realize that his struggles were a catalyst of his ego and his desire for self identity. In reality, he would instantly learn that he was not different or even separate from the rest of the energy in the universe. He was simply a part of. He always was and always has been. This realization would bring him great comfort and he would be able to live his life in peace and try to pass on this knowledge to his son, which was another representation of The Samsara, or infinite cycle of energy in the Universe.
The story never materialized. I was always too dope sick or too busy to give myself the permission to struggle through this story and to grind it out in a way that needs to be done. Writing, after all, is not linear.
Believe it or not, I still have the original 40 pages of a rough draft. It’s been sitting in the back of my filing cabinet for years. I’m too scared to look at it, so it haunts me from a quiet place.
I had a son in real life.
When Julian was born, one of the realizations I had was that my book idea didn’t hold up. The concept was good and strong, but it was my internal dialogue that made the book impossible.
I thought having a son would clarify things for me, it didn’t. Rather, it had the opposite affect.
Having a son made it so clear and obvious how little I actually knew about life and the idea of teaching this little boy how to become a man felt bigger than anything I’ve ever done. What do I know about life? Really?
My entire teenage years were spent in this feeling of shame and embarrassment. I never said the right thing, I got picked on, and I was painfully insecure. If it weren’t for sports and skateboarding, I don’t think I would have had anything to keep me grounded.
Highschool was a prison for me. Every day I was anxious because I felt like I was always in trouble. My grades were terrible and I was constantly given the label of “wasted potential.”
It didn’t get much better when I graduated.
I made mistakes, got arrested too many times, hurt people, and made a fool of myself. I have these memories locked away in my mind because replaying some of these experiences fills me with shame.
I got sober and my life turned around, but inside, I’m still that scared little boy that preferred to sit in the corner or skateboard by himself in the dark.
How in the world am I possibly going to teach this baby boy how to exist properly in the world?
You’ve probably seen the American Idol video of this young man singing a song for his dad.
The boy’s name is Iam. He is a Haywain native. He lost his father to what appears to be kidney disease. He auditioned for American Idol and his audition tape is filled with emotion.
It’s impossible to watch this video without crying. I’ve been following Iam’s journey on American Idol, and I think the reason I became so emotionally invested in it is because of what his original performance truly represents.
His story represents the tragedy of a little boy who is forced to go through life without the guidance of a man.
We don’t talk about this enough, because men are supposed to be strong and emotionless. But boys need men. Boys need men more than anything else. There is nothing more tragic and destructive than a young boy who is forced to grow up in the world without the guidance of a man.
It’s the cause of so much trouble in our society, and it’s the root of deep pain that is insidiously embedded in our culture.
Boys need men.
This video is a tribute to a little boy who grabbed hold of everything his father tried to teach him and is accepting the fact that he will live the rest of his life, without the father that he needs.
That’s why it’s so painful. That’s why it makes grown men cry, because every man was once a boy and every man (at least the lucky ones) knows the feeling of being afraid and wanting comfort from our fathers. We need men who can walk up to us and tell us that “everything is going to be okay.”
We live in a society of fatherless boys, and a society of boys who are starving for guidance and comfort.
That’s why this video rips me apart. It rips everyone apart. You can see how Iam isn’t looking for a sob story and he’s not trying to get famous. He’s simply honoring his dad and thanking him for doing his part in teaching him how to be a man.
So This Is Where It Starts
This is the beginning of my book.
I know I’ve said this before, and I’m not going to fluff you up with an inspirational line about how “this time is different.”
Rather, my commitment to you is to show up every morning and write. I will write a little bit of my book every morning and I will publish what I write. I will write it because the greatest lesson my father ever taught me was the value of showing up.
I will write it because I need to show my little boy that I am here to guide him and to comfort him in the best way I know how.
I will write it because Iam reminded me how much us men need to be there for the boys who are starving for our guidance.
I will write it because I need to.