As a writer there’s always a degree of self-consciousness in penning your personal thoughts and feelings into prose.

But that’s not art is it.

I’ve always felt an affinity for artists who’ve made a conscious decision to let their art imitate life in the sense that their art tells a true story.

To me that’s integrity in art; purity.

As Rick Ross would say it’s that A1 Perico; It’s raw and uncut. However, Rick Ross is a prime example of an artist who chooses to create a product that’s packaged as art, rather than unfettered and vulnerable.

Because here is the truth: we are all vulnerable. We all encounter a diverse enough mix of situations to take our emotions across the full spectrum of the human experience.

We all have our own hopes and dreams and fears.

We’re all just trying to get through this. I don’t know the answers to the questions I ask the universe but if I signed up for life, the present incarnation of my consciousness isn’t aware of it.

Some days we’re eating popsicles at the zoo and some days we’re just sloughing along, trying to accept the defeats that we’re handed in spite of our best efforts.

Some days you eat the bear and somedays the bear eats you. – The Big Lebowski

And then on those nights when you’re laying awake in bed, listening to the silence that has overtaken the song in your heart, those nights are a humble reminder of why we do all of this. For me, it’s thinking about my family, present and future. I’m chained to this treadmill for my grandchildren. That’s the humble honor of being a man.

But, they’re not due at my dining table for a long time. I’m still just a 27 year old kid who is scared shitless that I’m capable of fucking everything up.

And it’s not about a job not working out, or the unexpected fright of moving to a new city alone, it’s about the fear of not being where I’m supposed to be, and not ending up where I want to go.

I think that all of us reevaluate our priorities and values in life as we mature. And yes, that sounded cliche to me too – up until it started happening.

Now it’s simple. If the people I love can be proud of me for the things that matter and I can be accepting of myself for the things that don’t, then I’ve earned the treasured love and respect of both. And that’s how I’m going to keep score from hereafter.

Based on the aforementioned score-keeping method, I’ll be the first to admit that i’ve thrown those things in reverse at times to the pain and chagrin of both parties.

That pain is tough; being less than who we are is a painful tragedy that has marred the souls of every person who has ever lived.

But there’s no shame in that. There is no shame in our humanity. There is so much beauty within the patina of our souls. We just have to discover the meaning within our own human nature.

We have to find a place somewhere between a Pollyanna and Chicken Little where we can honestly and positively decipher the messages hidden in our DNA and discovered via this process called life.

That’s a very human way of processing pain. Everything isn’t roses – but knowing where to sow your seeds and how to properly care for you and yours is worth something. To me it’s worth passing on. Making life a little bit easier for the souls to come after.

But I’m still figuring out the answers. And in life, it’s not a test, it’s not a drill. The universe doesn’t have a pause button. So, shit happens. Things get fucked up. Hearts hurt and the plane crashes into the mountain from time to time.

Sometimes it feels like I’ve been reincarnated a thousand times and I’m still hoping that this life is going to be different. I’ll make this life easy.Ha! What a fallacy to think that we can make life easy. We should instead focus on making our ego easier on our spirit.

If we could all just let go of the expectation for things to go as we plan, we might be less disappointed when they don’t.

The only way we can predict the future is to create it. The future can be more resolved than it is, the past isn’t as great as it was, and the present isn’t that fucking bad.

We come from a wild species that has colonized the planet very effectively because we are very resilient and adaptive.

You’re going to make it, no matter what. And the majority of the pain you are going to experience will be unnecessary ego-driven torture on your spirit.

There’s a great word for suffering. It’s called humanity. It’s also a great word for joy, and love, and peace, and romance.

What you see in life will be a reflection of what you see in yourself. So pursue the joy. Don’t subjugate love. Find peace. Be romantic again, even of you just try to fall back in love with life itself.

All that suffering, all that pain, all that heartache, all the pain from your old wounds – it’s time to love yourself as you wished to be loved. That’s the love that G-d has placed in all of our hearts – we just have to awaken the awareness that we have the ability to love ourselves as only we can.

Just breathe deeply and do it. Come on, you know you’re the shit! And, if after reading this you feel the need to simplify life, or make adjustments to your life – make them. Don’t apologize for doing it either. Do whatever you have to do to make your life softer on your spirit and easier on your soul.

That’s the collective gift human progress has granted us. The struggles of your 15th century predecessor were extreme. And as a result we have a standard of living and a quality of life that their royalty could have only dreamed about.

But the funny thing is, we don’t even think about our ancestors. Despite the fact that they left us a very strong and constant reminder of their struggles in our DNA.

That reminder is in our fight or flight response to things and other extreme evolutionary carry overs that cause us to involuntarily respond to situations with a disproportionate amount of fear, worry, doubt, anger, sadness, etc.

We are constantly treating inconsequential things as if they are matters of life and death. And while we may be able to honestly deny that on a literal sense – we have to see our emotional responses as largely automatic and as such we should be aware of them and in control whenever possible.

Because while we can’t reprogram our DNA, we can reprogram our psychology with newer, healthier and gentler schemas and we can reprogram our physiology with better diets, exercise, and lots of slow deep breaths.

It’s life. Let’s help each other figure out how to live it best. And let’s realize that we live in a world where don’t worry, be happy is a viable way of being.

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