Back in 2013, a dear friend of mine in our newly formed mastermind group asked me a silly question, or so I thought when I initially heard it.
“Evan, do you love yourself?”
I scoffed at him with irritation. “Uh. Of course I do. What kind of question is that?” I responded. Little did I know, that question would change the course of my life.
Because just momentarily later, after my defensive nature and ego calmed down, I caught glimpse of a gaping void within me, which sensationally felt right where my chest and heart are.
My mind needed to further investigate this, but intuition knew right away. I absolutely did not love myself nor anything about my life.
The question exposed me for the fake, inauthentic person I was. I thought I had everything figured out, but in actuality I didn’t. Far from it.
I hated myself. I hated my life. And I made the world and everyone wrong for my self-loathing nature. How did this manifest into my physical reality?
Rather than pursue my love and passions, I chased careers that would give me status, power, fame, bragging rights, money and authority so that no one can ever bring my fragile self down.
During my leadership roles, I realize that I was less concerned about the success of my team, customers, or company, and more concerned about dominating everyone and having things my way.
In general, I didn’t care about anyone but myself. I wouldn’t help someone wholeheartedly unless there was something in it for me. If it didn’t make me look good, it’s not something I cared about. My life was the epitome of “conditional love”, and it’s a miserable way to live.
Fear and hatred were the foundations which I built upon my life. I had sought high performance in K-12, UCLA, and the tech industry to fill a bottomless void within me and fuel my harrowing ego while simultaneously bringing people down, diminishing them any way possible so that I can rise above everyone.
The origins of these emotions and thoughts will be covered another day. Just know that I was a bitter, resentful, and angry person who wanted to succeed in small games. And if I couldn’t win, I didn’t want anyone else to win.
I wonder how the hell did I not drive away all my family and friends during my rampage of an existence. Thank the universe a few people believe in me.
Looking back at the past 6 years of my life since my friend’s fateful question, I’ve undergone a deep exploration into the darkest abyss of myself, humanity, and universe to not only seek out truths about myself, but to learn how to live a meaningful, joyful, and compassionate life, unriddled of hatred, bitterness, and resentment.
This self-discovery and dismantling process took me through the grimmest troughs of depression where I wondered if my life was truly worth living, the most extreme heights of anxiety that gripped me with such fear and intensity that nearly ended my life on several occasions, and some of the most lonely and darkest moments of my life.
I believe hell is real. It’s not something in the afterlife, but it exists right here in our minds.
Fast forward to now in March 2019, I confidently say, with a healthy sense of skepticism, that I feel like I have finally arrived home. Never have I ever felt so alive and joyful right here in my own skin, mind, and life.
I’ve found, or created, the sense of self-acceptance, love, and compassion I sought for for many years. 2019 marks the year I gained the highest level of integration between the heart, mind, and soul. My heart has been numb for decades. It feels great to have it flourish again.
How did I get to where I am now? I am attempting to answer that by slowly unraveling the mystery through my journaling and writing practice. This is the purpose of my blog: to figure out how the hell I made it alive to where I stand now and share it with anyone who is open to listening.
As a scientist approaches her experiments with intense rigor and as minimal bias as possible, so too am I going about the research of my self-healing process.
Below are a few things I experimented with, from least objectionable to highly objectionable, that have led me to my current state of affairs:
– Daily meditation for years, particularly Vipassana and Dzogchen
– Reading and learning a wide range of philosophical principles from Freud, Nietzsche, Taoism, Stoicism
– Several hour long writing and journaling sessions
– Multi-day silent meditation retreats
– Many questionable nootropic drugs and supplements
– Lots of weed and psychedlics
– Many solo travel ventures across the globe for intentional isolation
– Working with a healer who claimed she could change the weather
– Transformational festivals coupled with ill advised dosages of mind altering substances
– Foray into the Peruvian jungles to undergo potentially dangerous rituals with Shamans
– Joining a cult-like organization that promises transformation
– And learning about the philosophical themes of my favorite animes
My goal for writing was once aimed at becoming an esteemed writer, obtaining fame and wealth, elevating my social status, and, of course, garnering massive amounts of facebook and instagram likes.
It was all about me. Pathetically, I strived towards building my life upon vanity metrics, creating a foundation that could crumble if anyone or any obstacle challenged me.
But I changed the game up. It’s no longer about me, it’s about “we”. All of us, including you, the reader. If writing and sharing my lessons and experiences can help lift up even one person out of darkness, then it’s absolutely a successful and worthwhile pursuit.
I’m particularly interested in covering topics ranging from philosophy, psychology, the forbidden experiments I put myself through, healthy living, fitness, nutrition, and anything else that may moved the needle for my life.
The secondary goal is for my blog is to pass along any nuggets of wisdom I can to my future children and posterity. Hopefully my kids will at least learn from their old man’s mistakes and avoid 20+ years of insufferable emotional and psychological agony.
Sometimes I get too far into the vulnerable spill-my-guts style of writing, which may make me look overly pathetic and in need of validation. I actively try to refrain from this type of attention garnering, but it happens.
But I’d much rather err one the side of over expressing than under expressing, since lack of self-expression has led me to severe depressive and anxious episodes.