Although my life is now filled with purpose, success and direction, this wasn’t always the case. From the moments of my first memories, life in Watts and South-central Los Angeles was riddled with strife, struggles and bore witness to the worst of human experiences imaginable to a young child. Like most wandering souls, I sought ill-guided ways to connect and relieve the pain. It was these misaligned connections that landed me into the world of gangs, drug trafficking… and ultimately prison.
Hard to believe, but my greatest grace was being sent to prison–not in the sense that the prison system did anything useful to reform me, but rather I was left with nothing but the solitude of facing myself and all my demons. I spent many years climbing my way back up to myself–to the real me…the true self that can only be found from deep within.
I’ve been asked, “What would have changed the course of your ill-fated experiences, or the fate of any other child experiencing the destructive side of human influences?” My answer always remains the same…“inner fortification.” This fortification starts with the family and ideally should bleed into a supportive community that develops the sacredness of life and our human potential.
It doesn’t matter whether someone experiences big or small traumatic events. I’ve found that the pathway to get through them is all the same – they only vary in degree. The process begins by having an awareness of yourself, who you really are and what you’re really capable of, and bearing witness to the good within you and others. You see, you aren’t your badness, but youare your goodness. We all have it within us and there’s no discrimination for who or access to it.
The second is having a greater understanding of our human composition and abilities. I wasn’t taught anything about my “human technologies” as Gretchen Downey of Mind Body Spirit Parenting explains it. Information about the technologies we have inside of ourselves to navigate life on higher levels has been kept from many of our education and religious systems.
We must fully recognize that all of us are simultaneously both physical and spiritual beings. When I was in the darkest places of my life, I realized I had obscured and buried the most important aspects of who I am as a human being – my spiritual self and all of its wonderful and amazing expressions and power.
This realization helped me shift and shape the course of my life forever. I’ve seen what the effects of discrimination and ignorance can do to hurt families, disconnect children, teens, and plunder our communities into destruction. Through the ashes of these experiences, we can fertilize the world around us with positive action, messages and connectivity.
We must not waste a moment to teach kids how to use their inherent abilities to navigate life. Equipping them with the knowledge necessary to show them how to regulate their mind, body emotions, etc., will fortify our kids, communities and the world in immeasurable ways!
If a guy who came from violence, gangs and prison can do it…anybody can.