Knowing is not enough, but I think we’re all victims of information. Drinking my morning café con léche I was scrolling through my social media feeds the other morning, and felt dumber after the experience. You know what I mean?
We live in the information age, where literally everything is accessible to us. We can type in a question and find answers in seconds, find tutorials on any craft or trait, learn software and programs online that used to cost thousands of dollars to take inside a classroom. The options are ridiculously endless. However we all know that not all information is valid, true and helpful.
Elizabeth Gilbert, author or Eat Pray Love & Big Magic, once said “I don’t want more information, I want wisdom.” Whatever you learn, good or bad, true or false, you will never know if it works for you, or if it has any use to you, until you actually do it . . . that experience many consider “wisdom.” When we apply knowledge, and gain a personal educational experience, is when we gain wisdom.
I sat down at Nova Southeastern in the early 2000’s to listen to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, he shared stories of the horror, wars and tragedies he’s experienced in Africa, but each story he shared, he had a sense of peace to him that is hard to explain with words.
He shared one story about a refugee terrorist group that infiltrated a village and destroyed not only the village itself but the loving spirit that once existed it in. Understanding Grace through his faith, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, stepped out in spiritual leadership, and took it upon himself to spend time with the refugee terrorist group at their camp, to change their perspective on recent events, in hopes to prevent this from happening again.
(Walking into a terrorist groups camp?!?! Scary $H%T! Dude is nuts right?)
With time, patience and a whole lot of love, Archbishop Desmond tutu, not only prevented them from committing terrorist acts again but was able to have the whole refugee terrorist group, travel back to the village they once destroyed to publicly and personally apologize, and . . . help them rebuild the entire village. WOW!
The crowd was in awe, they applauded, some even stood up, and Desmond Tutu reached his arms out to the crowd, with his palms facing them, signally them to stop, simultaneously shaking his head in disagreement, “he said no, praising me is not the point” He explained “The reason I went into the refugee camp, was because haven’t we all mistreated others, because we’ve been mistreated . . . destroyed their spirit, because of our own personal spiritual conflicts, haven’t we all committed injustice to justify our own anger and pain with God?
The crowd sat in silence, many meditating on his words. He closed his story, by saying “I wouldn’t have seen their pain, if I didn’t experience pain of my own, I wouldn’t have had grace on them, if God didn’t have grace on me” Arch Bishop shares his story (information) about his bad experiences, pain and struggles, and how he used it to not only rebuild a village but to the change the hearts of their enemies . . . That is what you call wisdom. Using life experiences and applying them to life.
Because, “Wisdom is the application of knowledge”
I know, I’m not the only one . . .
Working Hard, Grinding, Early Mornings, Late Nights; all to enhance my financial income to provide for/and support my loved ones. I remember a couple years go, I got really sick, and the first thing my doctor asked me about was my sleeping habits. At the time I was a full time DJ with a full time 9 to 5, which meant early mornings and late nights . . . 6 days out of the week. (plus gym, dancing, going out, etc etc.
My doctor shared an illustration of a cell phone battery.
think about when your battery is running low, and you charge it, but you don’t let it fully charge . . . your phone will work, but because it wasn’t fully charged, it’s only operating at a partial percentage of its potential, and it actually burns out faster this way.
Our minds and body, is the same way, if you get partial sleep at night, the following day, as much as you grind – as hard as you work, literally and physically you are only working at half of your potential, simply because you only allowed your body to partially re-charge.
Too many of us, over work ourselves for “success” and then get “sick” in the process. We compromise our mental health, our spiritual well being, and our physical wellness. Now I’m all about the grind, the hard work, the focus and having an insane work ethic, however if it compromises your health and overall well being, I do believe we have to re-think and redefine our idea of “THE GRIND”
Just a couple weeks ago, I was FOCUSED! Sooooooo into my work. When I got home, I placed my Nike Lunchbox on the kitchen counter, and my wife went and picked it up; Surprised when she discovered it was much heavier than normal. She opened it up, and said “You Didn’t Eat Your Lunch?!?!”
Feeling sorry, with a sad childish voice I responded “Sorry Babe, I know you worked hard to prepare it for me, I just forgot”, and with an epic response she said “I’m not mad at that, I’m worried about your health, you need to eat”
My friends, I love the grind, I totally get it . . . but don’t get it twisted . . . We work so we can put food on the table and eat (survival), don’t work so you can keep working harder on an empty stomach and red blood shot eyes due to lack of sleep. You are no good to anyone (at work, at home or in any relationship) if only half of you shows up.
Work hard to live a good life, to be healthy, and help others along the way achieve the same.
They say Eat, Sleep & Breath Success,
well I say your Success is defined by the improvement of how much better you Eat, Sleep and Breath!
I used to have a physical fitness trainer, that would always begin our workout session by saying “How do we get stronger? by lifting heavy $H%T!”
The phrase stuck with me for years, and today I still carry that message with me. When we can take what we learn in the physical realm and transfer the lesson internally and into deeper areas of our life, it can have tremendous positive effects. The use of resistance is easier understood when illustrated through fitness, but resistance mentally, spiritually or even emotionally, is what strengthens the unseen areas of our soul. When you think about what has changed you and helped you improve to become a better person, you don’t normally talk about the list of successions and accomplishments. You usually talk about pain, heartache and struggle; you usually talk about life events that had much “resistance”. When we really think and meditate on the subject, struggle shapes who we are.
A couple weeks back, I woke up unusually eager and motivated to go to the gym, I couldn’t wait to hit the flat bench. I couldn’t wait to lift heavy weights. . . why? because somewhere deep inside, I understood that lifting $H%T would make me stronger. What if we woke up like this every day, excited to meet resistance; face to face, head on, because like a muscle, its the only way we become stronger.
“LIFE HAS LEFT TURNS, YOU JUST WANT TO BE RIGHT”
If there is anything I’ve learned, is that I have much to learn.
Life has taught me, that I need to keep teaching,
but to be a good teacher, you have to love learning.
The best Life lessons, are Life experiences . . . and not all experiences are the best.
I can’t tell you why things happen, but I can say they’re apart of our story . . . If we choose to continue writing our novels.
One of my favorite books, is in the wisdom literature of the Book of Books. The Book of Job, tells a heartbreaking story about a good man, who is stripped of everything in life, without reason nor understanding. Job wants a clear explanation about why is life is falling apart, and even has a chance to pour his heart out to God. With all confusion, heartache and pain, Job still doesn’t get what he desires, and feels that God’s way of managing and judging the world is unjust.
In Ecclesiastes, ironically right after the book of Proverbs, (Proverbs, basically a book about rules, good character and how the world works) the opening statement (in Ecclesiastes) goes, “Meaningless! Meaningless, Utterly Meaningless, Everything is Meaningless” – Ecclesiastes 1 -2; The writer goes on to say that – All that occurs under the sun is “Vapor”.
Nothing really does make sense, or at least nothing reaches the expectations of our own minds and the desires of our hearts. So many good people die young, and so many young grow up to do evil things, for long periods of time . . . Job even questions “Why do the wicked live on growing old and increasing in power? I have to admit I have many questions, and I have to agree with Job… even when he pleads with God, “Your hands shaped me and made me, will you now turn and destroy me?” – Job 10:8
Questions, questions, questions…
I think we have all struggled with at some point in our lives, Why God . . . Why?
A respected Pastor and Voicing mentor in my life once said to a woman experiencing similar pain to Job, “I don’t know, and anyone who can give you a clear cut answer, shouldn’t be trusted”.
I remember my first prayer to God, was similar to Job’s, it was a lot more like a rant, an argument and me screaming with anger at God.
However, God’s response… (Chapters 38 & 39)
Job 38 begins with “Then the Lord Spoke to Job out of the Storm”
Life often feels that way (especially in South Florida) just rain, drenched, walking against winds you can’t control, being pummeled to the ground, feeling helpless with no defense . . .
However, Gods response, is strong, humbling and yet loving all at once. The Divine speaks in chapter 38 beginning with, “Where were you when I laid the earths foundation? Tell me if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions, surely you know! (V8) Who shut up the sea behind doors, when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in the thick of darkness, when I fixed limits and set its doors and bars in place, when I said “This far you may come and no farther . . . & in verse 12, “Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place?”, and all throughout these 2 chapters, the Lord speaks and we begin to realize we know very little, and even our own experiences are only particles of a much bigger creation.
You know. . . I don’t know
I don’t have answers, and in my Life, if there is one thing I have learned is “it’s ok… to not know” b/c I believe – that… is the true beginning of Faith itself.
Found in the unseen, the unknown, and unbelievable, and the only other honest thing I can share is that your personal story, is a novel that people desperately need to read. It’s hard to relate to someone, when you’ve never experienced their pain before; it’s hard to know what Broken Feels like, if all the pieces are neatly organized in your life. How can we ever learn to love someone who feels unloved, if we’ve never experienced the darkest hours of our own minds when we felt, lost, broken, alone and unloved.
Personally I’ve learned during grieving times in my life, honestly I don’t want someone to give me advice, a pep talk or tips on how to improve . . . deep down all I wanted was for someone to sit there with me in my pain. And the only thing that really gave me hope, was to see people with similar stories, who made it through. Experiencing humans, with unbelievable testimonies, that inspired me, to keep going. & What helped even more, was walking side by side those individuals and being a part of their story too, to where one day I can share a story about all our collective and connected lives into one bigger story. To stand before someone and tell them I’m here b/c of the people that stood behind me.
My Spiritual experience came from the love and grace from those that learned Love and Grace themselves. Because they chose to follow a path of grace rather than revenge, they walked the steps of unknown blind faith, rather than the character of rebellion, they walked with me, and reminded me what Love was, what unconditional Love was.
A couple months back, I saw a Kid running around in a cafe, accidentally he fell, and when he looked up he was smiling, and then moments later, he looked around, and realized no one was there to help him up, and he didn’t recognize anyone nearby, it wasn’t until then his face changed . . . and then he cried. I realized in that moment, that in life sometimes its not the fall that we’re scared of, its falling, looking up and realizing we’re all alone . . . now that’s something to be scared about.
If there is anything that I’ve learned in my faithful walk, is that “Life Has Left Turns, We Just Want To Always Be Right” . . . but Faith begins with not knowing, letting go of control and trusting, and its always easier to let go when someone is there to help us loosen our grip, when we can all journey together, even if we’re all lost. Because maybe in our journey, we can meet some strangers and share with them our story, in hopes to inspire them to join us in our wandering adventure, to go find more strangers to tell them an unbelievable story about all our collective stories and how through the storm we all learned unconditional Love…TOGETHER
I love traveling, but something deep in my heart knew that no matter where I went I wouldn’t receive what my soul was longing for… The Connection to my roots and my bio-logical family. 27 Years Ago, my sisters & I, were adopted and brought to the United States, where we were raised in Long Island New York. October of 2015, I decided to follow my heart, face my greatest fear with an even greater faith, step out into the unknown, and dive into a mission that would change my life forever. I decided to pause all other traveling opportunities, and take a 15 hour flight to Bacolod Philippines, where I finally met my biological mother, my other sister and brother and the rest of my family. Watch my first ShadeLife Travel video, A journey as I return to the Motherland, Bacolod Philippines.