Yo Dre, Why Are You Always Talking about Changing the World?

earth

I’ve been reconnecting with a lot of friends recently and it’s been cool to catch up with all of them. As I’ve shared with them the many changes I’ve gone through over the past year and a half or so, there has been a trend I’ve noticed: people asking me why I care so much about changing the world.

Wait… wanting the world to be a better place is a weird thing? LOL.

Okay, okay, I’ll explain it like this because after a call I had with my fiancé, I feel like I finally found the words to properly convey my mindset.

*deep breath*

Much like everyone else, most of my life was spent just trying to make my way through this world. I tried to play fair within the boundaries of the rules everyone told me to follow. There were exceptions, of course, but for the most part I was just the nice guy who had to earn his confidence over time rather than having it all my life.

Actually, I started off as a super confident kid, but adolescence isn’t for the weak of heart. A brother’s confidence caught a beat down, y’all.

There was also a nagging thought I had had ever since I was a kid: I’m alive right now and one day I won’t be. I kept that to myself for YEARS because I figured I’d be looked at like a weirdo if I started posing such esoteric concepts as a ten-year-old. Still, why was I alive? Am I supposed to just live and die and that’s it?

Was I a sinner for making a joke about Jesus? I mean, it’s Jesus, for… uh… Christ’s sake. He should know I’m kidding, right?

Am I supposed to spend my entire life working and hope that I stay alive long enough to enjoy retirement? That sounds like a bum deal.

I kid you not when I say I had these thoughts and questions for the majority of my life. I felt like an effing alien because no one else I knew seemed concerned about any of this.

Andre: King of the Weirdos.

During college and afterward, I met a handful of awesome, open-minded people. Folks who are fine with conversing about this stuff. Coupled with that, I soon found out that everything for which I had ambition (a high salary, lots of stuff, a misguided definition of love) brought me temporary happiness at best and straight up unhappiness at their worst. I mean, by and large I was a happy person, but every once in a while the disappointment of not being able to swallow society’s expectations of me and the goals I was taught to have manifested itself in not so pretty ways. In short, I was lost.

If only I knew I wasn’t alone, but people who are lost rarely see the big picture.

I took it upon myself to figure this thing out. I’d love to get into the details of how I did it, but not everyone in my personal life would be accepting of the choices I’ve made even if they’ve helped me for the better. I personally don’t care about the opinion of others, but I’m not about to stir the pot unnecessarily either. That being said, I figured myself out. I figured out that I was much more and much less than what I thought I was. To be specific, I’m not special. Not as an individual at least. But I’m also much more than just a man; I’m a part of everything. Just in the same way that a blood cell is both the individual cell and the blood. I am this reality in which I exist, the individual and the collective.

It may sound crazy to people who won’t get what I mean, but stick with me on this because it all ties back together.

I found my happiness and it was pretty awesome if I do say so myself. I spent some time patting myself on the back for having the wherewithal to discover my own answers while still being open to the beliefs of others. Unfortunately, I quickly discovered not everyone reciprocated this feeling. On top of that, I was all too aware that I didn’t actually care about the fancy job, having a bunch of stuff, or many of the other things I was taught to want. What was the point? My happiness and sense of peace was far more important and I learned I could have that independent of any external factors.

So why was I still here?

This next part may sound concerning if you don’t know me at all, but I’m not about to apologize for thoughts that crossed my mind. I seriously questioned why I should keep playing this unfair game of life. You know, the one where we’re expected to follow rules that not everyone is actually following. Where people hate, murder, cheat, steal, and whatever other vile acts humanity is capable of. Why do I want to continue working at a thankless job where I didn’t agree with many principles? I already found my happiness. What was the point of continuing? None of this would help me maintain my sense of inner peace. For all intents and purposes, I would have welcomed being done with life. Not in a negative way, but more like there was nothing I felt this world could offer me and I certainly didn’t want anything from this world either. I was happy being benign, but family, friends, and the rest of society had invested too much in me already. I wouldn’t be let off the hook that easily.

Sigh…

Then a funny thing happened: I met my soul mate aka my fiancé. The story of how we met is nothing short of fate. I say that because, seriously, how it happened is ridiculously improbable (I’ll save that for another day). The point is, I found my reason for enduring a life in which I had no stakes. Soon afterward I was laid off from my job, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise despite it being an initial burden. I had the opportunity to create a life that I wanted, not one shaped by what I was taught to want. I wasn’t about to sacrifice my own happiness again.

But then I looked at the the rest of world and couldn’t help being put off by all the ills around me. Remember, I saw myself as both the blood cell and the blood. I’m both the being and the reality. Therefore, how could I just sit idly by and be unconcerned with inequality, war, discrimination, greed, etc? That’s quite the impossible task given the way I think nowadays.

We’re all sharing the same house. If I was living with someone who treated me unfairly and was trashing our home, I would probably move out or ask them to leave. I don’t have that option. I have to figure out how to coexist in this house. But I don’t want to live in a sh*tty place either.

This time there are no questions. I have to do what I can to fix this house. Not just for me, but for all the people out there who are walking the path I once walked. We’re all just trying to figure our way through this life and we’re the victims or beneficiaries of people who came before us. That doesn’t excuse crappy behavior, but I understand why we aren’t living in utopia right now; there are a lot of lost people out there just trying to fit in where they can.

And this is why I want to bring positivity to this tiny, insignificant rock we call Earth. If I have to be here I’m going to do my damndest to only make an impact that helps rather than hurts. It’s why I’m going vegan. It’s why I want to exclusively use reusable energy. It’s why I’ll always be against our current form of capitalism. It’s why I’m writing this now. Believe me when I say I love you all and I only want to see you happy too. ALL OF YOU.

But I’ll always love my fiancé more. After all, I don’t know if I’d be here right now if it wasn’t for her, heh.

Peace out, party people.

Positivity of the Week – The Answer of Love

Photo Credit: Benurs

Photo Credit: Benurs

Why do we need love? Why does it exist? Plenty of animals exist that don’t show this notion of love (as far as we can tell), so why do we need it? Well, though we may not need it, we have it and, if used properly, it can be the remedy for all things. Think about this seriously. Love would stop all wars. It would stop inequality.

Discrimination.

Poverty.

People who love each other wouldn’t love money enough to know poor people exist at the expense of that greed.

People who love each other respect the fact that everyone’s belief system is valid as long it does not hurt others.

What other emotion can do all that?

But we don’t use it more. Why? Such a powerful solution in a world of men and women searching for answers. In a world where some people chose hate, fear, anger, jealousy… things that never bring us answers.

I’m not even asking you to think with your heart; approach it logically instead. Love creates happiness, empathy, and builds trust. Those other emotions don’t; they only hinder. So despite where we are as a society now, if more of us chose love at all levels, we’d resolve many of our issues.

What are you going to choose?

Previously: Everything Will Be Okay

Positivity of the Week – Everything Will Be Okay

Photo Credit: John Willis

Photo Credit: John Willis

I had a phone conversation with a friend of mine on Friday.

Remember those?

She’s at a crossroads in her life where she is conflicted between following a passion and working purely for money. On top of that, she’s trying to pick a particular passion on which to focus. I know how tough this is because I was there myself.

Here’s the thing: we have little to no control over our decisions. Sure, it feels like we do, but our actions are a product of our experiences. Think about it; would you think the way you do now if had a different life? Different parents? Different friends.

So on and so forth.

What you do have control over is how you view your choices and situation. Do you want to be positive or negative? Your current choice will still be the same, but your state of mind will lead you to either more positivity or more negativity. Otherwise, all we know is that one day we won’t exist in our current physical forms. This is the case if you believe in reincarnation, heaven, or nothingness after death. What does that mean?

Everything will be okay.

No matter how hard you try, your life will be your life and you are driven forward by your experiences. One day you won’t. It’s easier said than done, but what’s the point of having a whole inner struggle about it? The same thing will happen at the end of the day: you will make a choice and your life will continue accordingly. That choice might suck and it could be “bad”, but you’ll never know until you make it. But at the end of the day, all you can do is enjoy the ride an, hopefully, maintain a positive outlook.

Otherwise life might just be that much more of a downer if you don’t.

Have a great week, party people!

Positivity of the Week: The Perspective of You

Universe

You’re not special. And yet you’re incredibly special at the same time.

How’s this possible?

Well, in the grand scheme of things, you’re sort of a nobody. No matter how important you think you are, the universe was fine without you and will continue to exist well after your physical form has perished. Your opinions, possessions, everything you love and hate. None of it matters.

NONE. OF. IT.

But you know what does makes you special? No one will ever know what your experience is. Only you know. Even the person who knows you the most in this world can never know you 100%. Therefore, your version of reality is unique to you and only you. This version of reality is your experience and it’s the only thing you truly own in this world.

So I suppose you are not special, but your experience is.

As such, why not make your experience as great as it can be? Why make your experience sad or mediocre (unless that’s what you want, of course)? Why not make the most out of this silly little thing we call life? Why waste your experience on negativity and pain? I’m not saying you have to be a certain way. I’m just saying, if your experience is all you have, it might be worth a try to make it as amazing as possible.

Have a great week, party people.