Who I was
It all started in South America. I didn’t have a pleasant childhood. I was picked on and verbally/physically abused. My self-esteem was low. My parents were critical and I rebelled against those around me. From an early age I developed an anger because I wasn’t happy with the life that I was living. I felt this anger followed me as I went through different stages in my life. All of the decisions I made in my life and even as a child, I couldn’t turn to my parents. I did them all on my own and not surprising, if you are child you can make mistakes when you have no guidance. I didn’t have a mentor although I tried once to look for one. In my house, almost every night, I went to the second floor and just sat in the room on the far end of the house which had an open door to see the clear sky. I never told my parents but I spent many nights alone looking at the sky thinking there has to be a better life. After watching American sitcoms, I fantasied what life would be with different parents, family, and friends. I was a dreamer even that young or call it - creating my own reality. So, one of them was to move to the US. Then an opportunity came where I was giving the choice to move to the US. I'm very grateful for the things that I was able to accomplish. I worked hard to get a good education. I went to a military boarding school and attended an Ivy League School. Professionally, I rose very quickly in my field to an executive level at a young age and even wrote a book. I worked in different countries doing social impact and international development work, went to two wars - Iraq and Afghanistan, became an executive in city government, and received many awards.
But all in all, on the inside, I was getting tired because I felt the insecurity and anger which was the caused to keep excelling and be better than everyone else. I felt like I was living a race to show off. Then I realized, to whom, really? I ran my life in an unconscious state that I looked inwards and said, it was a race against myself.
It was 2015 when I finally gave up and I couldn't take it any longer. To top it off, I almost lost my life and never saw myself so beat up. I had no clue what I was going to do. I spent hours just wandering and getting angrier because I kept making the same mistakes again and again - meeting the same type of people, same type of relationships, and same type of experiences. I asked myself - why? It was on a Saturday afternoon when something happened when I was sitting on my couch. I had a glimpse of awakening. For the first time, I questioned, who is the thought, who is that inner voice, and who is that feeling? Is that really “I”? I was very confused as I felt someone else is doing it but not my real “I.” But who is this “I”? I was scared and super confused. I thought something was wrong with me mentally. During this time, I had no clue on meditation, enlightenment, and spirituality. I had no idea what was awakening.
So, I decided to shut myself off from the world and told myself - I'm not leaving my apartment until at least I have a clue on what is going on or call it "a higher calling" but someone is telling me something or that I must do something. Doing it how? Back then I didn't know. My apartment became my cave and took a dip into the unknown.
It has been a battle of the mind and body ever since I questioned for the first time in 2015, who is this Ego and Mind? From this moment forward, my life has shifted in a completely opposite direction in areas that I never thought I would venture on. I read books and articles on meditation, neuroscience, Buddhism, yoga, motivation, universal laws, and I even found interest in investment, startups, and innovation. I took online classes and it was my desperation to seek for an answer. Something that was very unclear to me was, every time I ventured into spirituality materials, it felt already familiar to me, especially, understanding the ego. I enjoyed designing so each time I had an awareness experience, I drew how I separated the thought with what I was still trying to understand, who is this “Observer”?
The pivotal day came when I decided to leave everything behind in the U.S and took a risk to travel to Asia. I was curious about Lord Buddha and Yoga. I broke my old habit and this time, I traveled to the unknown with no itinerary - one-way ticket. All I knew was that I will land first in India and from there explore. I moved around from guesthouses to hotels, to hostels, to people’s houses, to Ashrams, to Hindu temples, to Buddhist Monasteries, to mountains in the Himalayas, from local airports to local train stations, to local bus stations, to a Zen retreat center, and to meeting enlightening beings.
It has been a lot of hard work from learning how to fast for more than 24 hours to the physical pain I put my body after all the hours of yoga and meditation, but also the suffering I began to observe when my mind poured all sorts of things and I just stood there watching everything. I said suffering because sometimes the mind brought anxiety attacks to sadness which were all old ways on how I reacted to life.
After 3 years of hard work and perseverance, I’m seeing now the tremendous transformation on both the physical and the mind. My physicality has trimmed down probably because the amount of yoga practices I do. Every day I practice 8 hours of yoga. I also became an Isha Hatha Yoga Teacher. And the level of awareness continues to improve daily, as I continued to dismantle my old ways and create new beautiful seeds. It is true the good always triumphs the bad. I realized the bad was just the negative tendencies/karma I created unconsciously. Negative and positive tendencies, experiences, feelings, perceptions, and thoughts, never last and are all temporary.
My Sadhana (spiritual practice) is 24 hours, yoga is every second I breathe, every step I make, how I conduct myself, and always aware. It is the silence within that I’m witnessing and living every moment as “what it is.” And I'm still alive now living daily more pleasant, making every second count with full involvement and intensity while remaining calm, working hard, and grateful for the new opportunity that I was given.
But I can tell you that it is possible that we can turn ourselves around. It is possible.
Turn inwards and you will find the answer.
Surfing the Unknown
I chose challenging paths to make an impact on people’s lives.
It is here where I pushed to go beyond my limitations and brought light to those in need.