Coffee Shop

You know it when you find it

The aroma rushes into your nose

The beans aren’t burnt, fragrant

The parking lot was not full or empty

People know good coffee

But it can’t be full

A full coffee shop contains you

You might as well have stayed at home

~

There are staples, people you see everywhere

The older man in the corner reading the newspaper

The young entrepreneur working on an idea

The writer, with space to let their mind roam,

Creating next to the window

A small group of twenty-year-olds

Catching up on college or relationships

~

So what ruins this image of perfection?

The boisterous businessman on his phone

The group of people loudly laughing at nothing

Or too many of the regulars

Cramming in because it’s “their spot”

Slowly boxing everyone in

~

So, when you find it

The perfect place to escape

Hold on to it

Cherish it like the gem it is

It inevitably won’t last

~

Until then, learn about it

Find the ebbs and flows 

Find those perfect hideaways 

Communicate with it in a way you haven’t before

~

Because when it comes to an end 

Whether it’s amicable or torrid

You’ll be on your own again

~

Homeless, you’ll search

Looking for the next, perfect match

~

You’ll know it when you find it

~

Photo by Kris Atomic on Unsplash

Time to Come Clean…

I wrote a poem recently titled “Vulnerable” where I spoke to how much of a strength vulnerability is. But I haven’t been living fully in that truth of vulnerability because I have been hiding my work from people in my life.

So I need to come clean. I’m at a point in my life where I’m finally comfortable with who I am; flaws and imperfections as well as my strengths. And as people have inevitably left and entered my life, I’ve realized that I only want people to be in my life because they know ME.

If someone isn’t comfortable with who I was, who I am and who I am becoming, then they won’t play an important role in my life anyway.

So, this article is for a very small portion of people, and it’s only people who know me in real life. For everyone else, feel free for a brief recap of my last ten months or so.

~     ~     ~     ~     ~

For the last ten months, I’ve been writing. For some, it may be considered a lot. For others, it may be chump change. But it’s me.

I’ve talked about my bouts with depression, alcoholism, and relationship struggles. And I’ve talked about what inspires me, what brings me pure joy, and how much I’ve come to love myself FIRST, before trying to bring someone into my once chaotic circle.

I’ve explored basic blogging formats, poetry, my desires to someday write a novel, a book of poetry, and really everything in between. Writing is the purest, simplest way for me to express myself, and it has helped me process trauma in my past, both internal and external.

I’m not a sob story. There are millions upon millions of people who have gone through much worse than I have. But everyone has a story, and I believe that it is all of our jobs to tell ours.

I also adopted a “pen name” (for lack of a more correct term. Liam Silas. Liam is a shortened version of my actual first name, which means “resolute defender”. Silas is a name I chose, meaning “of the forest”. I chose this because I’ve never felt more at home and at peace as I do when surrounded by trees.

As a teenager, my friends and I would have probably referred to someone like who I am now as a hippie. And I have a lot of “hippie” tendencies. But now, I just see myself as “truth”.

I hope my family and friends go back and read what I wrote. Not for views or any selfish reasoning. But for understanding and also, for some opportunities at deeper, more meaningful conversations with them.

To anyone who has ever read anything I’ve ever written, thank you for taking a moment for me. It truly means the world to me that anyone gains anything from my words. I’d love to make a career in writing, and I have some ideas on how to get there.

Until then, I’ll start by just being myself, finally, with the people who know me, have known me, and will know me. Thank you.

~

Photo by Nitish Meena on Unsplash

View at Medium.com

Raw Writers Wanted

I’m noticing something on Medium. And it’s not egregious. It’s not even necessarily a bad thing. But it’s something that doesn’t resonate with me.
 
Medium is a beautiful place that gives voice to anyone. It’s given me a platform to express myself and it has changed my life for the better.
 
That being said, I’m noticing that a lot of people have started to conform their writing to fit into the status quo. I read an article today that was talking about how people who stand out in life don’t conform to society. They blaze their own path and go out of their way to find the unique moments in our lives and turn it into something magical.
 
And I agree with every bit of that. The problem was the way it was written. It came across as very disingenuous and was full of sentences that were saying the same thing in different ways.
 
Before I go further, I want to confess my own sins. I know that I have been guilty of all those things. And I’m not here to be the Medium police or get bent out of shape about someone else’s writing.
 
And all of us are here for different reasons. Some are here primarily to consume. Some are here to gain a following and “make it” as a writer. Some are here to purge thoughts and express themselves in ways that we never felt we could. And none are wrong.
 
So, it really comes down to what you’re here for. If you are here for free, quick self-help guides and people who haven’t figured their own shit out telling you how to get YOUR shit together, perfect. That is a sizable portion of the posts that I come across and good on you. I’ve spent plenty of time reading those same articles.
 
But if you’re here for something that speaks to you. Something that moves you, presses all your right buttons, and takes you in beyond words, well, that’s different. I’m not saying that doesn’t exist on Medium. On the contrary, I’ve found some beautiful, amazing writers on here that I would have never known existed before. That’s the best part about Medium.
 
But these writers typically aren’t pushed in the same way. I’m not sure if it’s the algorithm or maybe I just read so many of the “Top 5 Ways to…” articles at first that I continue to have them pushed into my inbox every morning. Either way, I want more.
 
I want more voice given to writers who word vomit onto the screen. I want more writers who throw things against the wall, hoping something sticks. Writers who write about what moves THEM, in the hopes that they can move someone else. Those articles are where the truth lies.
~

What happens when we die?

Thoughts on the afterlife, spirituality, and death.

Once you have walked in the shoes of every race, religion, gender, sexual orientation

Loving and hateful person

It is only then that you will understand how precious life truly is

How do we handle the moments before death? Very few of us are ever “ready” to go, so how does our brain and spirit process the knowledge of impending extinction? 

I think it matters what we’ve done leading up to that moment to allow ourselves to feel at peace with how our lives played out. But not everyone gets the hospital bed to have time to come to terms with our decisions. 

How does it all change for someone who dies in their deep sleep cycle in the middle of the night? Or the person who only has a split second of consciousness before they get hit by a car?

How does it change for someone who’s taking their own life? Does suicide give you more or less mental acceptance of the end of the line than someone who has to dwell on their life for months as a disease slowly brings them home? 

I have many questions, most of which I have little to no inkling of an answer for. But I believe that thinking about these things opens our minds up to a much greater, more lived in experience.

~     ~     ~     ~     ~

Where do we go? When it’s all said and done, where do we go?

 Obviously, I’m speaking in the ethereal sense. Physically, the ground awaits us in some capacity. Whether we get a wooden sarcophagus, our ashes spread or we become a tree, almost all of us are becoming reunited with the earth. Which is poetic. From the ground we were born; to the ground, we return. 

But where does our spirit go? Spirit is a pretty neutral term, right? I don’t think any religious group would argue that we have a spirit. Sorry atheists. 

Is it as dualistic as heaven and hell? I don’t believe so. What about those of us that are average? Not objectively great people like Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi or Mother Teresa. Not objectively bad people like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Pol Pot. Just, average. Plus, this implies that any religion is correct, which is its own separate article.

So if it’s not heaven and hell, do we just…disappear? Does our spirit enter the next sentient being it can find? 

I’m not here to be right. But my thinking on this changed when I listened to the track Waiting Room by Logic. His album Everybody was my spiritual awakening. Sounds strange to say an album with a song called Killing Spree would be the source of a spiritual awakening but alas. There are levels to this.

Anyway, in the track Waiting Room, it’s an almost five-minute conversation between god and a man named Atom. Atom and god have a long back and forth about the afterlife, what it is, etc. 

The basic premise is that there is reincarnation, but it’s not linear. Meaning, if I die today, I could come back as a warrior in medieval times, a farmer in the 1930s or a dictator. The lineation instead comes from our spiritual “wokeness”. Someone like Gandhi is much farther along in the spiritual timeline than most of us.

It’s also revealed that Atom’s spirit is the only spirit, which makes sense if we’re tracking this spiritual journey through reincarnation. Then, god decides to drop the bomb on Atom (pun intended):

I created this place for you, Atom

This entire place was made for you

Every time I send you back, every life you live, you grow

And mature and understand the grand meaning behind all of this

Just a little more each time

And if that wasn’t enough, god tells Atom that he will eventually become like him, mature into an all-knowing being. To which Atom replies:

I’m a god?

And then god altered everything I had ever believed about life and how I approach the world. 

No, not yet. You see, I was once where you stand right now

It is not until you have lived every human life inside of your universe

That I may take you from this place

Once you have walked in the shoes of every race, religion, gender, sexual orientation

Loving and hateful person

It is only then that you will understand how precious life truly is

Reading this again for the first time in a while made my eyes tear up. It’s such a beautiful way of looking at the world and makes you reevaluate what we’re all doing, why we’re all here, and who we are growing into. 

But it’s also a bit nihilistic, which is a perspective I hadn’t considered before this moment. This belief also presumes that we are all preordained to be a certain way. We may grow, but it’s all been decided. I can aspire to have the spiritual enlightenment of Gandhi, but it’s much more likely that I have a ceiling on how “woke” I can be, and that ceiling has already been decided. 

I still think this explanation makes the most sense to me, at this moment in my life, but I’ve changed my belief system several times in my short life and I will probably change it again. 

~

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

How to be an Eternal Student

We lose our curiosity by age 12. I read that in another Medium article by Danny Forest. It’s a fantastic article about reinvention, and you should definitely read it. But it sparked in me a visceral reaction. “I still ask a million questions about everything.”

 

I’m not certain that I’m the outlier, but I do know there are people who absolutely lose their curiosity by age 12. And that scares the shit out of me.

 

That means that there are high school students who are done challenging themselves. That’s not to say that they won’t learn anything new. But it does mean that they are done challenging what is being presented as true.

 

As Danny Forest explains further, school does a great job of giving every type of student the exact same information. That’s how we end up with good students and “bad” students. It’s reminiscent of the Albert Einstein adage about how we judge people’s abilities.

 

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

 

I could go down a rabbit hole about how broken the United States educational system is, but I’ll save that for another time. But the adage highlights how we must not only adjust how we teach other people but also how we learn from others.

So how do we become eternal students if it doesn’t come naturally to us? These are the things that I notice when my curiosity strikes and I believe can help unlock your student mind.

Question Everything

This one is arguably the most important thing. It’s easy to learn without asking questions. It’s more beneficial to learn by asking questions. Even as a kid, I questioned everything. And I don’t just mean a simple “Why?”

 I always hated math class (ironic because I now love working with numbers). But I used to wonder how much of algebra, calculus and the like that I would actually use in my everyday life once I got older (spoiler: none of it).

The same is true of my life now. Any time I’m presented with new information, I want to know more. I love playing devil’s advocate to see the other side of a situation and attacking every angle.

It slows my decision-making process sometimes, but I always feel like I’ve made the right decision when I do.

Pay attention to what the people who tell you “no” are saying

I was recently listening to a podcast that highlighted this skill perfectly. On Rich Roll’s podcast episode with Alex Banayan last June, Alex told the story about his pursuit of Bill Gates for an interview. It’s a long, winding road and I highly recommend the podcast.

The part that stuck out with me was when Bill Gates’ Chief of Staff told him no. Alex was attempting to write what eventually became his book, The Third Door, and was trying to interview Gates for the book.

When Gates’ Chief of Staff told him no, he also said that if Alex could get a book deal and some momentum, he’d reconsider it. So while Alex got a no, he also was told exactly what he needed to do to get a yes.

Very rarely will anyone tell you no without an explanation as to why. The why is exactly what you’re looking for in this situation. The why is what you need to gain in order to get the yes.

Google It

Google is your best friend. We can find any information that we want if we search for it. I have a rule: if I have a thought and want more information about something, even something “meaningless”, I Google it.

I’ve always wanted to write. When I was a teenager, it was poetry. Through my early to mid 20’s, it was blogging and shorter pieces. And for the last year or two, my focus has been on novels and longer form pieces. And to be honest, there was a bit of imposter syndrome with those ventures. I’d start them, but I’d struggle with my own self-doubt and they fizzled.

Again, I knew I wanted to write, but these more straightforward methods weren’t clicking. So, I googled. I searched for ways to express myself that weren’t those traditional paths. And I stumbled upon screenwriting.

I love well-done movies and television, and I love the marriage of writing combined with the visual representation of those words. It’s something that I dove headfirst into and I don’t have the imposter syndrome feeling. It feels like home.

Always verify your sources when using Google. There are a lot of pages of information, but only some of them are accurate and factual. Do. Your. Research.

Operate from what you DO know

Begin from a place of what you know for sure, and work out from there. I knew FOR SURE that I wanted to write. The problem wasn’t the writing, it was the outlet. Having an awareness of what you DO know allows you to only pursue what you don’t.

If you are about to start a business and you know a lot about the day to day operations but a lot less about marketing, which are you going to study? It does you no good to ignore the marketing aspect because you’re going to need both.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to get better at something you are good at, but there is sometimes more to be gained by taking something that is a zero and making it of value.

~     ~     ~     ~     ~

Being an eternal student isn’t easy. It’s not supposed to be. What is easy is existing in what is known, never trying to grow beyond that safe space.

 

But if you want to grow beyond that safe space, knowledge is power. Taking that more difficult road and developing those muscles is not easy. But it’s well worth the investment.

~     ~     ~     ~     ~

Photo by Debbie Pan on Unsplash