The Art of Reinvention: (Or, 33 things I've never told you...)
My confession: I haven’t always been 100% honest with you. Since starting here in mid-2010 I’ve consistently portrayed a highly selective and manufactured perspective of who I am.
Yes, I’ve revealed a few juicy tidbits and secrets along the way, but for the most part it’s all been just part of a broad-reaching overall strategy: Speak the truth, turn you on, and pull you in.
Like any good creative marketing director, I was focused on pursuing my mission in terms of what would turn you on and get you hooked -- and for the most part it’s been successful. I’ve had more traffic, tweets, emails and general attention over the past six months than I could reasonably be comfortable with. But instead of revelling in it, I’ve fought it viciously like some celebrity fighting the paparazzi, and hiding out in my hermit’s den; doing progressively less of the creative work, and focusing more on my business and personal life, and other miscellaneous drama.
The trouble is, when I don’t do enough of my own creative work, I start to get cranky. And cranky does not make sexy.
So, here to remedy the crank-factor -- and the shiny happy bullsh*t kool-aid factor -- is a set of random, racy and hopefully thought provoking truths that define who I am now, why I’m here, and why the f*ck you should care.
Why: If you can see who I really am, and get a few buttons pushed of your own, I’m guessing you’ll be more likely to look at who YOU really are, remember what truly matters to you, and hopefully be inspired to do something about it. And if I can do that, then I guess I’ve done my job...
33 things you didn’t know about me that you might hate, love, relate to, or resent, that could possibly change your life, but at the minimum will stick in your brain, make you think, and possibly piss you off:
1. I have a new condensed personal mission statement that informs everything I do: To lead a life that fully embodies and expresses the truth of who I am, and create pathways to enable others to do the same. It’s my experience that this recognition alone has the power to bring on significant transformation that can affect everything and everyone you touch, and create ripple effects of global transformation.
2. I’ve spent about 10 years searching for a way out of the darkest corners of life through awakening, transcendence, yoga, etc., and I’ve finally come to the realization that it really doesn’t matter what the hell I do -- or what my mission is -- as long as I can rest in the truth of my life and who I am, no matter how challenging it may be. Hopefully the realization sticks.
3. I was born November 15th, 1976, in Miami, Florida, and moved to Los Angeles with mom when I was five. Most people think I’m in my late 20‘s. I’m not sure why, but I’ve looked young for my age as long as i can remember -- I reckon it’s just my genes, or my karma (God knows it’s not my youthful outlook).
4. My parents are Argentinean, and I grew up speaking Spanish. My mother’s family was from Germany, having fled to Buenos Aires during World War II. My father’s family is solidly Italian heritage, though the secret scandal was his grandmother was half indigenous, having been born to a native servant on her father’s plantation.
5. Both my parents were meditation teachers, and traveled throughout Europe with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1970‘s. I grew up around meditation and sacred pujas, with a sacred mantra of my own, and I was formally initiated by my mother at the age of 19.
6. I was a natural actor growing up, and loved the theater. My best roles were Odin, king of the Norse gods in 4th grade, Robin Hood in 6th, and King of Siam in our high school production of ‘The King and I.’ I never did theater again after that, but my training in commanding audiences and drama has informed everything I’ve done since.
7. I was a teen goth in the early 90’s and created my own weird grunge-goth style with various hair colors, vampire-chic makeup, fashion accessories and eventually just all black. I went to goth night clubs at least once or twice a week, dressed in various combos of velvet, leather and lace with the requisite chains, and danced all night.
8. When I went to college at 17 -- Sarah Lawrence, a famous school for writers -- I couldn’t type for the life of me, and I really didn’t understand any principles of essay writing at all. I handwrote all my papers, and wandered around campus and the dorms finding exceptionally smart girls and other outcasts to type them up for me on my roommate’s computer -- usually involving bribes of ganja, money and/or Jim Beam.
9. I’ve always broken the rules to do it my way, and regularly submitted to general debauchery and lawlessness when things didn’t go my way.
10. For example: In college I somehow managed to avoid expulsion despite antics like "borrowing" a school van to take a girl on a date and then crashing it, starting drunken fights, setting fire to a huge banner attached to the main administration building (it really seemed like a good idea at the time), and punching in a side window in the same building when the girl I was pursuing disappeared on me one night (that was just stupid -- I felt pretty bad about that one afterwords).
11. My junior year I fell in love with a gorgeous blonde actress who eventually left me and broke my heart. My love for her drove me to a frenzy of passions, and to making crazy documentary art films. I learned the passion and release of great art, and it changed my life. I also got to shoot Super 8 film in Paris on my visits to see her, and fell in love with that strange and beautiful city.
12. Speaking of relationships, I don’t believe in the nuclear family structure we’ve been indoctrinated to worship as a society, and I don’t have any desire for children of my own. I just want to be free to do what I want when I want to do it, and live my life in peace and freedom.
13. Regarding sexual orientation, I’ve come to believe it’s more of a state of mind than genetics or anything else. My feeling is that a smaller percentage of people are actually fully gay, bisexual or straight, and the majority are mostly attracted to the opposite sex, but would be open to experimenting with same-sex romance if there weren’t such a stigma and drilled social programming against it. I’m sure this will piss off a lot of people.
14. I’m partial to highly intelligent, intuitive and creative people -- and women with accents, of course -- the rare combination of artsy, conscious and smart is sexy. Intelligence without creativity is boring, and creativity without intelligence can be cute, but rarely results in anything meaningful.
15. I’m a healer, and am gradually learning to incorporate that into all my work. Creative expression in all its forms is extremely healing, and all people have the potential to be healers. I’ve gone through David Elliott’s healer training, and I’m officially certified as a breathwork healer.
16. I’ve always been pretty sensitive to outside energies, and I began developing stronger intuitive abilities parallel to my growing spiritual practice. I’ve now become fairly intuitive and empathic overall, and can see and feel other peoples struggles, fears, blocks and aspirations in my own mind and body. I’ve learned to read the visual and auditory language of the natural world, and it usually conveys messages about what I’m meant to do or witness or experience or share.
17. At times my own mind and energy field gets clouded by influences, thoughts and emotions from other people, so I have to work extra hard in keeping my space, and keeping myself clear. That’s why I began teaching the energy clearing, shielding and flow work -- influenced by my spiritual practice and shamanic/healer training.
18. I detest online marketers as a rule, and find it sad when otherwise well-meaning and intelligent people fall prey to using their lame tactics in their own work. Anything you borrow from the majority of these marketers -- especially “swipe copy” and promo strategies -- pretty much always sucks. You can smell it from a mile away.
19. I’ve been honing my own brand of self aligned, purpose-driven and effective business practices that abide by a strict moral code, and lean towards selling themselves. I use this in my own work and in consulting with clients. It works better for the audiences we work with, and it feels good.
20. I’m completely self made, and didn’t have special social-class advantages, inherited wealth or family connections. My parents had working class jobs, and worked their asses off pretty much their entire lives, though they are unusually spiritual, independent-minded and intelligent.
21. I run my own business, and have received the majority of my income from my own sweat and tears since starting it in 2008. I do interactive media consulting and development for really cool conscious clients working to make the world a better place. It’s a lot of pressure, and it’s crazy sometimes, but it’s also rewarding. Everyone works remotely, and I’ve been working hard to build it into a true “freedom business” for a while. I'm getting closer.
22. I also make a small income from my writing and teaching work, and other occasional affiliations. My ultimate goal is to grow all these aspects of my work to the point where I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. I’m getting slowly closer to that goal, but nowhere near it yet. Patience is a practice...
23. I’m a really horrible employee -- I hate being told what to do, and I thrive on making my own rules. I’ve been fired from tons of crappy jobs, and not counting a couple short part-time service industry gigs and a brief full-time stint in the Reality TV industry, I’ve been self-employed since leaving my cushy job at the world’s second largest law firm in 2001.
24. I’m suspicious of politicians and government in general, and don’t associate with any political party. I think the majority of politicians are self-serving, disingenuous, power-hungry bureaucrats working through an innately corrupt system. The false illusion of representative government in the US was originally created by an equally power-hungry elite that sought to maintain control, and limit the influence of the masses as much as possible, within a loosely democratic framework.
25. I hate the fact that I’m forced to pay taxes to an inherently corrupt government that uses about half of all money it collects to fund the most advanced killing machine of all time, instead of actually working to make a better world. I fully support the Occupy Wall Street and related movements around the country and worldwide. HuffPost has some great coverage and an OWS Liveblog. I still love this great land, and I'm grateful every day for the freedoms and opportunity we do have here.
26. I was heavily involved with Indymedia in my early-mid twenties in New York -- covering the anti-corporate globalization movement, and related social justice movements there and abroad. I was a cameraman and independent media producer, and did a lot of crazy sh*t like running around interrogating undercover cops in protests, and dumpster diving meals with fellow anarchists in SoHo.
27. Back in those days of protesting for social justice it was all about the transformation of society. That hasn’t changed, but my tactics have -- I became focused on transforming myself from the inside, and helping others do the same. When you change yourself, the world changes with you.
28. I’ve been through some incredibly tough challenges -- especially in those post-9/11 days days in New York City -- but what got me through it all was my commitment to finding the truth of who I am through a spiritual practice. I'm totally 100% committed to this practice, and owe an enormous debt of gratitude to all my spiritual teachers. Without them and my practice I probably wouldn’t have survived.
29. There were times when I was at the edge of misery and wanted to end it all, but along with my spiritual practice, I think a twisted sense of humor has kept me alive. There are times still when I question everything, wonder why I’m really here, and wish I could escape it all. Spirituality can be a great escape. But much like drugs and alcohol, it can become a crutch if you don’t let yourself drop into the gritty truth of who you are. Shifting into a space of gratitude is most always an instant salve in the darkest moments.
30. I can be incredibly hard on myself, and hold myself to extremely high standards in everything I do. It can be a blessing and a curse. The antidote is cultivating a sense of humor, and taking perspective as a witness to it all.
I live in a one-bedroom flat on the mountainside above downtown Ashland, in Southern Oregon. [Not in Ashland any more! -- now on an epic journey to different parts of the world.]It’s a quiet mountain town famous for the year-round Oregon Shakespeare Festival, gorgeous woodsy parks and an artsy/spiritual vibe. I moved here with my amazing girlfriend when she first came out from Australia in 2009, and we made a lovely home together. She's on an epic solo travel quest now, and I plan to move somewhere else, but haven’t decided where or when yet.
32. I love Americanos -- particulary fresh roasted, single origin or artisan-style blends. I drink a short double Americano pretty much daily, and take it black with half a spoon of sugar. If you look at a good strong black coffee in the light, you’ll see it’s actually a gorgeous rich dark red color. That’s why I like to call it fire water...
33. Speaking of beverages -- all good whiskies are my favorite, but I'm also partial to super high-quality vodkas. I also love some of the amazing micro-brewed beers here in the Pacific Northwest. Especially with good french fries. These are some of my greatest weaknesses... :)
In redefining what you stand for, who you are, and why you’re here, you have the great opportunity to reinvent who you are. Make the choice to stand for yourself, and stand for what you believe in.
p.s. I really wasn’t planning on doing 33 things, but when I finished writing and counted them up, low and behold...! My original inspiration was in reading Corbett’s 33 things which I admired ages ago -- Leo Babauta’s is great too, and Tyler’s 16 reasons to unsubscribe. Havi’s got a funny fewer than 33 things and Mark Silver’s 10 random facts (scroll down) were heart-warming to read.
Thanks for reading -- it’s been a lot of fun. I’m really grateful to have a group of people to share this stuff with, and to work together with you in making ourselves and our world a little better. I recommend you make your own list -- it's liberating, and it feels good. Add your links to your own lists, your mission, your comments or your hate mail on Twitter or here at Google+.
Please RT/share this this with your gang, and click here to subscribe to my free 4-part series on Capturing Epic Flow -- thanks for your support! :)
Photos by Ashland Photographer Ezra Marcos