Thursday, February 11, 2010

"The Hero & His Mentor"--Feb 11, 2010

“Go in search of your Gift. The more you understand yourself, the more you will understand the world.”
~Paulo Coelho, from Brida

Every person believes they are born with a Gift and many people struggle within themselves for lack or inability to discover this elusive concept of one thing that should identify who they are. To say you are looking for a Gift is an illusion. We aren’t necessarily born with Gifts, but rather with Passions that are shared or given to the world, for the sake of others. This act of sharing your Passion is the Gift.

In my time spent studying the human condition I have discovered many people suffer with the notion that they don’t have or at the least, aren’t aware of their Gifts. Because of the nature of my work as a servant and contributor to the Soul of humanity, I am often asked questions such as these: How do you know what your Gifts are? How did you discover your Gifts? How can I tell or determine what my special Gift is? Or, they say things that give the impression they aren’t as special as others for not having any mystical or magical Gifts. My answer and explanation is this: The Passion and enthusiasm that sparks life within everyone around you, either when you do this one thing, speak of it, or act on its behalf is the physical and external representation of your Souls inner voice; that which brings you pure joy is your Passion and the manner by which you share it with the world freely is your Gift.

These two concepts of Passion and Gift go hand in hand and the mistake lies when people try to separate the two, searching for one, without understanding or appreciating the other. Each represents a variance of expression of your Soul or your spirit—your true self. The ability to share your Passion is a Gift; what you share is your Passion. Each of these aspects—one being physical and one being emotional—are components required to create a balance or harmony to your spirit, because they are together a direct representative of your Soul—or your spiritual being. The three—your Passion, your Gift and your Soul—together comprise you as the unique individual. One cannot survive without the other. A greater concentration of one will tip the scales and bring an imbalance that causes distress and confusion within your Soul, which then births turmoil within your mind that is then expressed in the physical form. This is a form of unhappiness. It is not your duty to find your Gift so much as it is your responsibility to discover a means to share your Passion. To discover your Passion is to discover your true essence—who you are as the spiritual being—not what your Ego or mind has led you to believe of yourself. To discover your Passion you have to learn to silence your mind or ignore the Ego and listen to the subtle whisper of your Soul. Your Passion does not come from within your mind, but only from your Soul.

The mind is the palatial seat of your Ego, and the Ego only represents what you have experienced already, what has been conditioned to be your truth of your past experiences—culture, religion, traditions, etc. And the Ego also uses those experiences to create chaos or struggle with who you were purposed to be. This is the duality of individuality—the struggle between who we think we ought to be (Ego) and what we believe we were purposed to become (Soul). This can be viewed as the inner struggle between thought and action, good and evil or responsibility and dreaming. In short, you are your Soul and your Soul or spirit is what births your Passion and your Gift is the manner by which you share your Passion, or the thing or things special and unique only to you. Your Ego is the hindrance to your personal discovery because within the Ego or mind lay the guilt of your past, the fear of the future, the anxiety to act on behalf of your Soul and the doubt to ever move forward or break loose of what or who you have been led to believe you are. When you learn to separate yourself from what your Ego has convinced you to believe of yourself, and thereby allow your spirit to become the dominant force or representative of the self, it is then you will discover your Gift, which is simply the manner in which you share your Passion.

Your Gifts aren’t something you conjure within your mind nor are they subtle inclinations and momentary desires, but an ability to share a Passion, which is the voice of your Soul. Understanding this means you cannot find your Gift, but learn how to share your Passion. I cannot stress this enough. You can discover your Passion, and learn how to share it, and this is the Gift. To give something to someone is to give them a Gift. What you give is your Passion and your Passion is the representation of the voice within your Soul. As an example, I can write stories and I have an ability to share the written word. This is my Passion, but how I share it with the world is my Gift. If a person said they can sing, but wouldn’t dare sing before others, then they don’t have a Gift to give, but a Passion they will not share. And because the Soul is dependent upon both Passion and Gift to act together, by not giving away your Passion you are thereby creating turmoil within your Soul. This again is what we call unhappiness. Joy is the feeling or emotion we get when we give to someone else. Joy is the feeling or emotion we get when we give to someone else freely, without expectance of something in return. To obtain greater joy or happiness in your life, you must first have the courage to share your Passion, or simply give the Gift of your Soul.

Do not let your mind destroy your Passion. As an artist I understand the necessity for solitude, the much needed requirement of silent time alone, away from the masses in a moment of stillness and peace. Creativity is born when the mind is at peace or when the Ego has been silenced or altogether ignored. Some people call this process of quieting the mind prayer and others call it meditation. As an artist, I call it both. It is in the late hours of the night I create my best written work, because it is within the silence of the night and the quieting of my mind I am thereby able to discern the subtle whispers of my Soul, which spark pure creativity. This desire to write and find balance within myself is my Passion. To cease writing would suffocate my Soul. For others, to quit playing a musical instrument, quit cooking, singing, dancing, painting, drawing, etc., would destroy them internally. This is because to refrain from doing these things, is to ignore the Soul, which is to ignore your true self. By spending time alone every day, in silence, you will be able to better understand your Passion, and then when you discover a means to share it, you will find that which you thought you were looking for—your Gift.

Your mind or Ego will work to convince you that you are not worthy of helping or serving others because of your past (Guilt). Your Ego will scare you away from the adventures of those uncharted waters within your future (Fear). Your Ego will convince you to belittle your own abilities within the present moment (Doubt). Fear, Doubt, and Guilt are tools of the Ego which create anxiety and within them, physical pain or outward expressive unhappiness. Your Soul is the part of you that wishes only to give. Your Soul is the part of you that represents the light and all the good of who you were purposed to be. Your Soul is your true self. Have the courage to listen to your Soul and you will discover your Passion today and have reason and cause to share your Passion as a Gift tomorrow. In this process you will discover a greater sense of purpose, reason and more importantly, happiness. Writing these words is my Passion. Sharing these words of encouragement with you is my Gift. I look forward to seeing what Passions you will share as a Gift to the world tomorrow.

~Bobby Ozuna  | Feb 11, 2010
“At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss.”
~Paulo Coelho, from Eleven Minutes

I began my writing career some thirteen years ago, which is to say I began the work of learning and mastering (if there is such a thing) this craft around 1997 after my return home from the Marine Corps—a place that contributed to some of the most powerful aspects and characteristics of my life to this day. It was a time in my life when I gave way to a darker force, surrendering all of myself for a chance to learn how to truly master the power of the tongue. In a foreign land across the ocean, somewhere around 1995 in a dark piece of South Korea (where I will not further divulge) I met a stranger and in casual conversation I made an exchange of my soul for ideals and philosophies that today I struggle to peel away, one piece at a time, one day at a time. I became so acclimated with the darkness that it became part of my mind, my body and my soul, so thoroughly engrained, that to remove myself from that life has been similar to trying to erase memories of my existence. It has taken me many years to get to a place where people see a greater light where a shadow once loomed. When the time came for me to remove myself from that certain walk of life, I struggled dearly to save my own life. I experienced aspects of a spiritual world so frightening that I can’t help but laugh at someone who says there is no such world, for I have witnessed things that would scare a non-believer onto their knees if not for anything but to beg for a means to pray. These experiences would forever play important roles in my life as a writer. The more in touch I became with my abilities as a writer, the greater the complexity of pull from both sides. The whispers which have become my muse started almost to the very moment I surrendered my life to God, and at the same time, my gift of discernment flourished and transformed into a life of its own within a gift of written words. Today I better understand what I had stirring in my soul as a child. Today I better understand how to provide an outlet for the darker side of my soul, whereas the shadow thinks I am giving it life, but in reality I am masking the truth behind the power of fiction.

Dreams have always been a part of who I am, visions and premonitions tormented me as a child, leaving me awake many nights to cry under the covers, on sheets that would be soiled before the morning sunrise. I thought perhaps it was only a phase, but not long after going overseas that same shadow, the one that haunted my early childhood, reappeared in the orient and I knew it wasn’t a coincidence but a revelation of who I was or what I might become. I fought it which is to say I ignored it and shared this with no one, and when I got tired of feeling abnormal, I surrendered to it—to him. This lasted for approximately five years before another powerful force entered my life, dictated and determined by signs that were unavoidable. My desires to write exploded when I converted my life in service to the Lord God. All I learned from my days in the shadow were not erased or replaced, but enhanced, with a heightened sense of purpose now replacing a desire for the self. It was not long after making this choice [that] I began this quest as an author, writer, artist and contributor to the soul of humanity. I set off on the road less traveled—the street of dreams—thinking I was doing it for myself, but realizing, now many years later, that it was for you.

Since setting sail on this journey, beginning this quest to fulfill a literary dream, I have learned more and discovered more of my true self. My patterns of work, the principles and virtues that have bound me to my decisions and my fate and the philosophies of life as an artist are a direct reflection of the journey I set out to participate within and become consumed by. I have surrendered much and lost much more along the way. If one were to evaluate my life on paper, then I believe they might say I don’t have much of a life at all. If you instead measured my life by what I have acquired in terms of self-discovery, then for as hard as it has been to obtain, I have acquired much. But for every ounce of wisdom, there were pounds of pressure I had to endure on this struggle to see my dream become a reality. For every grain of knowledge I acquired in experience, I spent hours becoming the fool.

I have lost the faith and confidence of family members, time with my children I will never get back, a place to live or a consistency in anything called home, clothing, material items, a steady diet, sleep, money, bank accounts, credit and friendships in pursuit of this dream. Yes, there was a time when I would light up with excitement at the very idea of sampling a taste of this dream. Today, that is gone, replaced now by the reality of truth that anything worth having will be hard to come by and patience is acquired when you are forced to sit still, with nothing in your possession to occupy that space of mind called desire. I have discovered that the realm of desire and fantasy or the world of dreams isn’t far from the abyss, but actually rather close to it. Because the closer you get to see your dream become a reality, the darker the clouds, the heavier the rain and the less shelter there is to shield your body from the elements that are purposed only to destroy you. There is light at the end of the tunnel, that is for sure, but you must remember you are in a tunnel, a tunnel that oftentimes does not have light and a tunnel that has many holes, cracks and alternate pathways.

I have in my favor the memories of the shadow and my darker days, which ironically have given strength to my ability to represent the light. I have traveled far enough on this road that I cannot go back, for I have lost everything I started with and I have nothing but the road ahead. Some days there is sunshine but on most days it will rain. The difference I think is having the ability to look past the storm clouds and use the wisdom obtained to know it is only water—and water is symbolic of the life force that comprises who we are, where we come from and how we survive.

Yes, the traveler who ventures out to pursue a dream does so with a youthful naivety, excited and encouraged by what they may become, but upon arrival, wherever and whenever that moment may be, they are different, weathered by a storm not familiar to most, as most of us will only know the simple rain, but never witness the storm whose archetypical function is to destroy you before you reach the roads end. How long you participate within the travels of such a road will be determined by what you set out to achieve and how much you can emotionally, physically, and spiritually endure. Just when you think you left with nothing, you realize what nothing truly means. Just when you think you understand humility, you are humbled on the side of the road. Just when you think you are appreciative, you learn the value of the smallest things. And just when you think you knew yourself, you come face to face with who and what you really are.

It is my life now to live and maintain my youthful spirit, a spirit who wants to do well with the opportunity it has been given, and it is my mind and my wits that will help me survive the abyss, which is always on the other side of this road less traveled. 

I will forever have one foot in the fairy tale and one foot in the abyss, for they are one and the same, and they are me.

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