When I was 24, I went through a period of my life that I refer to as a dark night of the soul, or ego death. During this experience, I saw everything around me and everything that I thought I was working towards essentially disappear, as I was met with a new reality which only provided me one place to search for answers: inside.
My story starts as I moved from being a teenager to a young adult. When I was younger, I was told to go to college, get a good job, and I would be successful. I had aspirations of having a house, having a great job, having financial success, and being able to have all the things that I wanted, including a loving, committed relationship. I had a strong desire to not want to have any trouble with money, friends relationships. I essentially had the blueprint of what I thought I wanted in my life figured out.
The root of my desires came from growing up in a household filled with financial issues, as wll as parents who would constantly argue and fight about money. So naturally this made me desire a state of success where money was abundant and I didn’t have to worry about if I had enough to pay my bills.
So as I was senior in high school, I listened to my guidance counselors, my teachers, as well as my parents, and decided that I was going to go to college for business and eventually get a successful career. Although my ego death and dark night of the soul experience didn’t happen for another several years, I began going through a transformation as soon as I went to college. I slowly started realizing that this path was not for me, and after going to 3 different colleges I remember the moment where I truly realized it.
I was in a marketing class and had an advertising executive visit us and explain what he did for his job. In his career, he made a lot of money making advertisements for different companies. It was in that moment that I realized I didn't want to give my creativity away only to make money, and started realizing money wasn't my end goal. Instead, I had aspirations to express myself creatively and build something unique in this world, and although I didn't know exactly what it was, I had sensed a calling in my heart.
This eventually led me to telling my parents that I was dropping out of school and that I just couldn't do it anymore. They were a little shocked and disappointed at first, but assured me that if that wasn't the right path for me then I needed to do something with my life that would provide me with security.
So throughout the next couple years, I began developing more of my own skills as a creator who loved art, music, and design work. I was very creative, but I didn't have a clear focus on where to put my energy. That started to change when I was asked to join a friend's band and began playing bass guitar with them. We played live shows, recorded music together, and had so much fun creating.
I started to see a new life form for myself, and as I began learning about the law of attraction, I began focusing on what I wanted, and believed that I could have it. Many things ultimately came true for myself, including winning a music contest to play a show at the Vans Warped Tour, one of all of our dreams.
Eventually however, our band broke up and I was kind of left at a standstill over the previous year and a half. Upon leaving that band, I realized that all of these friends and associations I had weren't truly based on my true reality but were simply in my life because I was in the band. At this point in my life, I was working one uninteresting job to the next to just get through life, never being able to save or able to follow my dreams, such as moving out of my parents home and living my own life.
I kept my aspirations high and that next summer I started working with my brother in Ocean City, Maryland, eventually moving in with him and his girlfriend. Everything started looking up, as I began making some amazing new friends as well as a new girlfriend who all came to America from Turkey on a work exchange program. In regards to our living situation, we had an awesome place and freedom to be ourselves, and my brother and I enjoyed hanging out and working together.
At that time, I began really focusing on building a clothing company, so I was extremely inspired because I finally had a new focus of my creative energy as it was being directed into something that I felt could grow as far as I could take it.
That summer was one of the most fun summers of my life, and I truly felt like all the pieces of my puzzle were starting to come back together. However, at the end of that summer, everything essentially shifted in a matter of just a couple weeks. All of my new friends moved back to Turkey, my girlfriend dumped me, and my brother and I had to move out of our place because he and his girlfriend broke up as well. In addition to all of that, my job came to an end due as the summer season ended, and I found myself extremely lost, confused, and ashamed with myself due to being unable to see into my future and being naive to think I finally had things going right for myself.
At the last day of my job, when I was the only one left at work, I remember driving home and having a complete breakdown, which was the first time I've ever had what I would consider to be a panic attack. I remember during this drive the many beliefs, ideas, thoughts, and concepts that popped into my head, and realized that I had been codependent throughout many relationships in my life. Not just intimate ones, but even relationships with friends, jobs, and even myself and how I viewed my life.
I thought about how I was raised, and the certain aspects of relationships I learned of from seeing my parents interact through their own, which ultimately led me to coming home and telling my dad everything I was going through, deep down hoping that he would say sorry and acknowledge part of his role in shaping my perspectives and beliefs. What happened was quite the opposite, as he became angry and defensive that I was bringing this up to him, as he believed that I was blaming him. He told me he would not accept the responsibility for what's going wrong in my life or for how I turned out, and that I would have to deal with it as it was my responsibility.
Looking back at this moment, I see where he was coming from, as we have a great relationship now, but when that situation occurred, all of my emotions just rushed out of me at once as I let out more than I ever had. Tears upon tears poured from my eyes and I was completely shocked at everything I was experiencing.
When I became a little bit more relaxed, I left to go hang out with my brother, who happened to be with a few other friends, as a way to calm down and reflect on what just happened. As he had been witnessing the events unfolding in my life, he had a friend gift me a surprise which was waiting for me, which happened to be a small amount of psychedelic mushrooms. Having experienced psilocin earlier in the year, (although with friends who didn't understand the spiritual and transformative properties of such a psychoactive substance) I felt completely ready to experience what this medicine had to show me. Amongst the accompaniment of friends who I could trust, as well as my brother who was acting as a guide, I was ready.
I also believe that it was the perfect timing, as earlier that day I had just released many emotions of blame and resentment towards my father and the world, and was slowly accepting my own responsibility for what was going wrong in my life.
As I ate the mushrooms, I began feeling a calm peace as I was expecting a new awareness to take hold and possibly give me some of the answers I had been seeking. What happened was even more beyond that. Once the psychoactive effect began, I began having all types of downloads of information enter my brain, which ultimately changed the course of my life forever.
I began realizing that I was a visitor to this planet, that yes just as I had assumed, there were certain reasons why I never fit in with the majority of society as a whole. My intuition had always been right, and I wasn't meant to do the same things everyone else was in my life. I wasn't meant to follow the same path, instead, I was meant to be myself. I was immediately shown the importance of expressing myself as an individual and stepping outside of the mold of what society had prescribed to me.
I was shown that there is no space separating my friends or me, or anyone or anything else for that matter, as everything is always connected and we are always a part of each other. I was shown how all life on this planet is one energy, and that all life is sacred. I instantly knew that I would no longer eat animals, kill insects, or harm any other life. I was essentially reborn with the awareness that my heart was and has always been the right path for me, and with deeper knowledge of my universe.
After this experience, I settled more and more into my reality, at that time a young man In his mid-20s who now had an opportunity to rewrite his perspectives and beliefs on life.
Although the coming fall and winter was difficult, lonely, and at times heartbreaking, I was forced to look at every aspect of my life and understand what was driving my actions, why I made certain choices and decisions, and why I reacted certain ways between all the aspects of my life. I started breaking down my life into different categories, such as health, money, relationships, family, friends, my sense of purpose, my sense of self, and with my relationship to God and the universe.
I began realizing that many of the beliefs that I had held in my mind were ones that I've been taught or influenced to believe by other people. As I wrote these beliefs down, I immediately was able to tap into what I truly believed in my heart, and wrote those beliefs down as well. As the next few days went by, I realized the potential of this information and my ability to find hope where I was feeling desperation, and began writing this information down and compiling it into a book.
I titled this book Become Yourself: A Guidebook to Discovering Your Higher Self, and realized that if I shared my experiences with others, I could help people who were going through similar circumstances and emotions. After many months of looking into myself and trying to understand my soul and what I wanted to achieve on this planet, I realized that everything starts with my own self perception. The reason why I was unable to achieve stability externally was because I had not truly understood myself internally first.
As March came, I moved in with some friends about 3 hours away and began trading my creative talents in the form of creating music videos to help pay my portion of the rent. With this being a new aspect of my life, I was able to express myself in new ways I had never been before. Being behind a camera and learning how to edit allowed me a whole new sense of creation and storytelling, and was awesome at the time as I was still associated with music.
But after several months of this, I found myself ready for something more, and was ready to get back into the world and increase my income as the previous months I had been living on unemployment and food stamps. I was barely getting by, and as my self-worth was diminishing, I knew I couldn't follow that path much longer. I knew I wanted abundance in my life and knew that there was much more that I could give. I decided to revisit Ocean City, the same place where I lost so much the previous year before, and got a serving job within 24 hours of making my decision because I knew I had to make my own money and start building myself back up. I knew I could manifest somewhat and this was something that I 100% knew I could do.
As time went on, I finished my book and began telling people about my perspectives. At first, it was extremely unsettling, and any time I spoke about something deep, all my pores would open up and I would begin sweating and feeling as if I would be persecuted for being true to my heart.
The more and more I spoke however, even to average customers who would come in and spark up a conversation about what I was doing in my life, I began feeling less and less ostracized and more at ease with my new beliefs and perspectives.
Throughout the next year, my passion for music moved from just making a couple beats here and there on my computer, to realizing that I had the potential to speak my truth to others and to share my experiences with the world. Whereas I used to film music videos for my friend rapping, I realized that I had the potential to rap, to spread my message, and to be the one in front of the camera, not just behind it sharing someone else's story.
This led me to creating my first song and music video, ‘Stars’, which I released on November 11th, 2014. It was also around this time where I began dating my partner Jenny, as I believe I had found her because of my newfound beliefs in regards to creating a interdependent relationship where we both are giving instead of only in the relationship because of what we can get or take from it. At that time, I was already in the process of moving to Las Vegas with some friends, and after being there for 4 months and being unable to create stability for myself, I decided to move back to Maryland and figure out what would be best for Jenny and I.
After working another summer in Maryland and focusing on where we could move, we realized we needed to move somewhere that gave us opportunity, spiritually and physically. We took a trip to Asheville, North Carolina based on our excitement, and our trip ended up bringing us to what would be our new home. During this trip we realized there was so much potential to be ourselves here and to express ourselves in alignment with our hearts.
As we moved, we built up a videography business and I continued creating music as well as videos. That was just over two years ago now, and here I am looking back at my book that I began writing 5 years ago seeing many things in my life now that I only dreamed of back then.
I can now truly reference that by changing my beliefs, I changed my thoughts, and changed my actions, which ultimately changed my physical reality and my day-to-day experience. Things aren't perfect of course, but my life is so much more aligned with my heart than it has ever been before. I’ve released over 11 songs that I've produced and written myself and have plenty more written. I have a loving relationship that's lasted over 3 years, and I live in a beautiful new area that is filled with endless nature to explore.
I have finally begun to see abundance through my passion and have started to make money by sharing my music with the world, my favorite expression of my creativity that I have found in this life.
Not only that, but I've done dozens of live performances and have been able to share my messages face-to-face with others, a dream I remember having back when I was feeling so alone and so disconnected from life, just dreaming and hoping that one day I would have this opportunity, and now it's an exact reality. By understanding this, I've understood so much more about my life, about reality as a whole, and how we are guided through this universe and yet also co-creating it at the same time. God is not just an external figure in the sky, but is the energy of love that exists through us and through everything around us.
All energy is God, and when we align with it through our hearts, we're able to express more of that through our world to impact not only ourselves, but our families, friends and the world at large. Psychedelics were not the main reason for my awakening, but certainly a tool that allowed me to see what has always been inside of me. If it wasn't for my heart's whisper and my ability to listen to it, then I never would have found my relationship, my new home, my new passion with music, or a deeper and healthier relationship with my family.
I urge everyone reading this to listen to their heart and to follow the heart's path, because if you do you'll be taken down the road that allows your life to constantly expand through love as you experience more and more of your soul's truth.