Saturday mornings were a special treat for me when I was growing up. That’s because they meant two things: no school and cartoons. Today’s youth can’t relate in this age of always-on self-serve entertainment. But back in the day we didn’t have instant access to everything. If there was a show we liked, we had […]
I’m so proud to announce the debut of our song “Another Lifetime”.
Valerie and I met in 2004 courtesy of the online dating site, Yahoo! Personals. Don’t laugh; it was before Plenty of Fish and OkCupid’s time!
We went on one date, and then didn’t see each other for over ten years. We each endured our share of heartache during that time. When we reunited, I had just come out of a failed marriage, and Valerie had just come out of a failed relationship.
It took a long time to finally find each other – a lifetime in fact. But we both agree, it was worth it.
And that’s what this song, “Another Lifetime” is about. It’s about our unique journey to love and happiness, culminating in our union in holy matrimony.
Shortly after we were engaged, Valerie floated the idea of us writing a song together. I was both excited and terrified. We both had written songs before, but we had never written a song together. And I had never written a song “on demand”, so I didn’t know how that would work out either.
But we decided to go for it anyway and quickly the song began to take shape. We collaborated with Jeffrey Allen Spence and R. B. Blackstone of GratitudeRoad Studios, to hammer out the musical arrangement and get the song recorded. The video was expertly done by Sixto Serrano and Nicole Silveira of Serrano Films, and contains actual footage from our wedding day and our studio recording session.
And here it is…”Another Lifetime”.
Right now, in this video, I want to talk about some of the symbols and patterns that may be recurring in your life that may give you a clue as to what kind of Beast you are, what your nature is, and how you can respond to and overcome challenges.
In my life, I’m going to share an example of [the symbol], the Phoenix
Back in April of this year, 2016, I was in Phoenix, Arizona, and I kept seeing these pictures of the Phoenix. And, it really brought a flood of memories to my mind that I didn’t even think about as I bought the plane tickets and flew out to Phoenix.
But once I got there and saw that symbol, it reminded me of, first of all, a dream that I had in 2011. And, in that dream, I was being pursued by some people that were chasing me. They were trying to stop me for some reason. It was kind of like a movie: it was very cinematic.
And I was jumping from rooftop to rooftop – like doing parkour. And I was just getting away from these guys – they could not touch me!
So, it cut to another scene where I was an observer. Now, instead of running from these people I’m observe[ing] and I can see the people that were pursuing me. I can see the head person talking to a shaman because, now they’re going to resort to magic to try to stop me.
So, he gets the shaman to do some kind of incantation. All of a sudden, this flame pops up. The shaman stops dead in his tracks and starts packing up.
And so, the pursuer says to the shaman, “What are you doing”?
And the shaman says, “Well, this person you’re trying to catch is protected by the Spirit of the Phoenix”.
So the pursuer says, “Well what’s our next step? What do we do now”?
And the shaman says, “No, you don’t get it. We don’t do anything because: when have you ever heard – even in legend – of anyone defeating a Phoenix”?
And so the dream is pretty much over at that point. But that dream stuck with me because what I felt that [what it] was saying to me was: no matter what obstacle comes my way, and no matter what loss I suffer – even if I’m reduced to ash – just like the Phoenix, I can be reborn. That reduction to ash is actually the process that causes my rebirth – therefore I can’t be defeated.
This symbol kept appearing in life. I feel like it kept showing up in my life to remind me that even though I was going through difficulties, and even though I did suffer loss – and I have suffered a lot of loss since 2011 – but there was always that reminder that “you can keep going”. “You can be reborn from this”. “Don’t give up”.
And that’s the one thing I can say that has stuck with me.
And this symbol has showed up other times.
I joined a team and we made team t-shirts. The t-shirt had a coat of arms that I did not choose myself – it was chosen by other people. But in that coat of arms, it has a symbol of the Phoenix. So that was like – wow there’s that Phoenix again!
And then back in 2015, I went to Guatemala to to volunteer to build a school. I was given, as a gift at the end, this medallion which is made with the Guatemalan coin which is called a Quetzal. And, a Quetzal is also the bird that symbolizes Guatemala. That bird – I came to find out – comes from the Mayan Spirituality and that Quetzal bird is said to be the same bird – or the same kind of bird – as the Phoenix.
So there’s that symbol once again! It just keeps coming up!
And then in April , I found myself in Phoenix, Arizona and I thought “Man! What better time for me to be reborn than in Phoenix, Arizona?”
So I’d like to challenge you to approach this whole thing maybe from a different perspective in this video. Think about some symbols that have recurred in your life. You know, it could be the symbol of some type of animal or mythical creature or whatever it is. But if it keeps coming up, just make note of it and think about what that might mean. Think about what it means about you – about your character.
In Native American culture, they had totems. In totems – what I understand is – they had different depictions of different animals and different creatures that reminded them of the qualities that they believed they themselves possessed.
So think of it kind of in that way – that you’re thinking about a totem or something that represents or reminds you. It’s just a symbolic reference point of the qualities that you possess and the things that remind you of the strength and the power that you have to overcome obstacles and opposition that are inevitably going to come at you.
So I want you to take some time to get a pen and paper. Get a voice recorder. Get a video recorder. Whatever you have to do – and just capture – you know, brainstorm and capture that information of what kind of symbols may have recurred in your life and what that is telling you about your nature as the Beast that I know you are.
So, maybe you’ve heard this meme or seen this on the internet somewhere. It goes something like:
“Everybody wants to be a BEAST until it’s time to do what BEASTS do”.
And the message behind that is: that being a beast is hard. It’s tough. It takes a lot of effort and not everybody – or not many people – are willing to make that effort in order to be that kind of Beast.
Well, I’d like to suggest to you that not only is it not hard to be a beast, but it’s actually the easiest thing that you can do once you embrace it, and once you accept the kind of Beast that you are.
Now here’s where I’m coming from.
I don’t know if you may be familiar with The Animal School fable that was created by George Reavis. It goes something like this:
The animals got together and they decided “Hey, we want to have a school just like people do, except our school is going to be all about what animals do. And that’s going to be a curriculum of swimming, climbing, running, and flying because that’s what we do”.
Well, what happened is, all of the students were required to take all of the classes and receive at least an average or better score in all of those subjects.
While the duck excels in swimming, he’s averaging in flying, but he’s having trouble [and] falling behind in running and climbing. So, he’s got to makeup; do extra running, and then do less swimming since he’s already okay with that. And then his little web feet get worn out and now he’s failing swimming too, because his webbed feet are worn out.
And then the squirrel.
They insist on making the squirrel take off from the ground in flying, instead of coming from the treetop down, so he’s not doing well in flying. He’s about to [have] a nervous breakdown.
And the eagle is always being reprimanded because, in climbing, he makes it to the top of the tree fastest, but he insists on doing it his way and not the way that they are taught in school.
So, you know, there is an obvious moral of the story: that the education system is is a one-size-fits-all type of a system instead of allowing children to develop in a way that honors their particular strengths.
So, the the moral of the story is: everybody has certain strengths and gifts, and something – or some set of things – that they do better than any ninety percent of the population. But this effort to try to become average in everything instead of focusing on the strengths really brings everybody down.
So the truth of the matter is, once you know what kind of Beast you are – once you know what your strengths are – it’s really not hard to do, or to live in that. The effort is really in just realizing and finding what those [strengths] are.
Like, take anything that you’ve ever had to learn. If you were really interested in it, and if it catered to your talents, you put the effort in without any complaint.
When I was learning to play saxophone when I was in school, I had a trash can that I would kick every time the horn would squeak and put out a sound that I didn’t want it to put out because I was very frustrated. And it took a lot of effort for me and a lot of hours of practice to get proficient at that instrument.
But the thing about it is, I’ve always had a love for music deep in my heart; so the time and the effort that I had to put in really [didn’t] seem like effort.
So that’s what we’re really talking about when I say “it’s not hard to be a beast”. And I’m also saying, “it’s the easiest thing that you could do”.
It does not mean that it’s not going to take effort.
It’s going to take effort. Anything that you learn to do – and do well – it’s going to take lots of effort. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take practice. It’s going to take repetition.
But when you’re in the area of your strength – when you’re just being the kind of Beast that you are – this is going to be activity that ultimately is going to be energizing to you instead of draining and just kind of sucking the life out of you.
Like a duck learning to swim versus a duck trying to learn to run and wearing his feet out.
So that’s the point of this. That being a beast is not hard. If you embrace this process it will be the easiest and most rewarding thing you’ve ever done. Although, it will take effort. It will take persistence. And it will take time.
But embrace the process and you will be astounded and you’ll be glad that you did, and you’ll be really surprised at the Beast that you are.