How Zen Found Me

While driving around the charming streets of Long Beach California, the second-largest city in Los Angeles County, zen found me in the front seat of my 2015 Toyota Prius. At least that’s how it seems to me. I imagine it is much like what a musician experiences with their instrument of choice after many years of practice and professional playing. It’s like a switch flipped one day and now for the most part I feel like I’m just along for the ride as I flow from one ride to the next.

As an Uber driver, I find myself spending most of my time behind the wheel in the city where I was born. One of the benefits is that I know where all the potholes and unruly bumps are to be found. Most of the time I miss them, but occasionally they do creep up on me when I look away from the road for a moment to check the navigation or a song title. Such is life.

After 12,500 rides I can look back and see that somewhere around 10,000 rides things changed. I would say that I went from being reactive to simply responsive. Things that would have bothered me previously stopped bothering me. At first, I would have described it as though I had simply grown numb to the whole driving experience. It’s more like I quit being surprised by the unexpected behaviors of others around me. Of course, the potholes still bother me because the only time I hit them is when I glance away from the road for a moment. I’m just not so sure I will ever be able to get used to them.

 

 

Conversation With a 12 Year Old Me

I was doing some Uber driving the other day and someone asked me what I would tell a teenage me if I could go back. I kept it simple and told them that I would say 3 simple things that would be easy for any teenager to remember.

    1. Eat only when the sun can shine on it. 6 am to 6 pm.
    2. If you eat something one day, do not eat it the next.
    3. Eat 100% whole-food/plant-based. No animal.

Of course, if I could do that and had thoroughly convinced that younger version of me to do these three things, I wouldn’t be here writing this today. I wouldn’t have had to suffer through the last 4.5 years of recovery from bad decisions that led me to an advanced state of disease.

If I could go back and convince that younger me to live life the way I do now I would have never learned the things that I have given me the life experience and subsequent knowledge that has the potential to help a world full of people do the same as I have. Recover their health just as I have mine.

“I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.” A line from the 1990 song, The Dance by Garth Brooks. Never have any more true words been spoken as I write this short essay. I could have missed out on this pain, but then I would have never had the opportunity to become the person I am today, nor would I have the future that lay before me as a result of that experience.

So in that sense, I am in some way grateful for all of those decisions that ultimately led me to be the person I am today. And that brings me joy knowing that I can now speak from a place of experience that can help many more people than just a younger version of me. And who knows what kind of impact that will have.

Maybe it will be one of my children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren that I am able to help in the same way because of my experience. Maybe it will be a whole host of people from all around the world for many generations to come long after I have breathed my last breath. Maybe it will be you; whoever you are that is reading this.

I do believe that I am here for a purpose. I imagine that my existence alone is that purpose and that I am currently serving out that purpose even now as I am typing this short essay. Maybe that purpose is to scavenge the excess oxygen produced by organic plant life on Earth in contrast to the organic life on Earth that sequesters the carbon we exhale with every breath we take.

Of course, my self-esteem or sense of self-importance would like to think I am still just warming up for something greater that is yet to come. There’s just something about my personal identity that wants to believe I’m still yet to arrive at the plate to hit my grand slam out of the park. Until then I am just going to keep writing every day. I will keep banging away at this keyboard until I have mastered this form of communication. If it takes 10,000 hours then so be it. Maybe it will take less.

My goal at this point is to author a whole series of books on how to avoid diseases of any kind. A series of books that will be understandable by young and old alike. A series that will keep people from having to suffer the same fate that I did. Words that will move people to action. To a life of more sober-minded decisions that will ultimately change our future generations of life here on Earth without having to depend on pills or technology.

A simple life. A life of ease, rather than disease.