To Whom it may concern,
I’ve always had lots of impulsive energy as a child and it seems like there is no shortage of that even as an adult. As a result it also seems that my desire for education has always been best remembered, applied and accumulated at the same interval as my output impulsive energy. I feel so happy when a small sentence of term of endearment at the right time and speed meets perfect timing with an obstacle.
About 10 years ago I had started my spiritual climbing followed by my spiritual plateau. What I mean by that is that I had reached my spiritual plateau and about 5 years later it was followed by a gradual fall that came after until recently the day I started this book, 09.03.2014. Now looking back at it there seems to be a cycle of rock bottom followed by sky high that keeps going on in my life and over the years I seem to have captured it in logs and journals I have written. Almost like messages to my future self or evidence that I was there to not make the same mistake. Reading some of the things I wrote in my journals seems to be from another person completely then the person I was at the time in place the journal was written, but that I have a lot in common with today.
At the beginning of my spiritual plateau I was obese, depressed, suicidal, unmotivated, lethargic, unwilling. I used to weigh 240 lb with a height of 5’7’’ and waste size 48. I could not walk an entire block without getting shin splints. Previously to that, about 15 months prior as mentioned, I was in the best shape of my life training to be a Navy Seal. I weighed 155 lb., running on average of 10 miles per day sometimes more, swimming up to 3 miles a day and holding a bench press record of 355lb lifted. This record that still stands at my previous high school on a plaque had not yet been surpassed last time I checked in 2006 when I went to the school to visit my brother who also graduated from Interlake High school. During that time there was nothing more in life that I wanted other than to bring to justice people who hurt innocent people especially children. In fact I remember when I used to train at the top of every hill that I struggled with sometimes telling myself I can slow down, I would look up and see a man holding a gun to a boy’s head. The image was so vivid that I would never give up screaming out lout often “It’s All Mental”. This was our Navy Seal Motto for training! During this whole time I was in more pain than anyone who I was training with. My hip would hurt so much sometimes in the morning when I would wake up for training at 4am and I would sit up right at the edge of the bed and move my left leg with my hand left and right for a few to let my brain adjust to the pain that I would still feel from the previous day just to be able to take the first step of the day. I still have this pain today however not on a daily basis only when I push myself of when the weather changes abruptly. It has become a part of me so much so that if I am not in pain for a few days I almost miss it sometimes. It is my reminder to slow down. I have become accustomed to use it in everything I do consciously and subconsciously. Over the years I consider it my biggest blessing. It is an obstacle that I had to overcome internally with my mind and heart first, which now unfortunately I still often forget but it is the way in which I try to overcome all my obstacles.
My recuperation from obesity all started with Easter when somehow from lack of motivation I had started fasting one day at the beginning of the Easter Fasting. I recall much of my internal negativity during that time in my life but I do not recall what prompted me to start fasting. I do however recall that my best friend, Gavriil, a priest monk, was visiting me at home and in a conversation that was not at all going my way because I was looking for pity and understanding he said to me that If in the next 5 years I am not on the track of becoming the person I am to become that I will never get there. This gave me much to think about as he was the most important person in my life since age 10. Fasting in the Christian Orthodox term is abstaining from all meat and dairy as well as morning and evening prayers followed by prayers before and after every meal. This was a fasting that I had continued for a total of 5 years. Three years before meeting my wife and 2 years after meeting her. Many, many blessings followed the beginning of the fasting. I had lost 100 lb. in the first 6 months. I had gotten a job as a lot attendant at a car dealership and by the time I had quit I was a finance manager, I had started going to church for the first time in my life by my own accord. My family started going to church. I could smell bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, and garlic from the front door of the supermarket when I walked in. Something I still have today. I was the calmest person I knew, never once lost my composure. I do not recall to ever have used any profanity during that time, something I wish I could say about myself today but it would be a lie. I was approached by many people from church, work and friends and was constantly asked about advice especially marital advice. People that I did not even know would approach me. Among the best blessings the biggest one to me is meeting my wife. During the three years before meeting my wife I had contemplated becoming an Orthodox Monk. I had counseled with my best friend Gavriil, a priest monk, and told him my intension. He had advised me that the life of a monk was not for me. This hurt me badly and I had internal turmoil from it on a daily basis. Always thinking “who does he think he is”. “Any monastery would be happy to have me!” “He must be blind!” Being that he knew me best and I knew that I could not live with the thought of knowing that someone that knows me better then I know myself told me that I decided to go to the higher power. I decided to go to God Himself for the answer and so started my internal conflict of the one mindset prayer. During this time I worked in one of the most Ungodly environment one could be in. I was working at a car dealership where dishonesty mandatory daily. I was the top sales man for the dealership 3 months in a row selling over 25 cars a month, but I was fired 6 times by floor managers and called back by the general manager couple of days after. The main reason I was fired was that no sales man can have Sundays off and I knew that. However every Sunday I would leave to church and come back. But more often than not I would have clients that were scheduled to come during the time that I was at church on Sunday and other sales man would end up selling the car but because the client came to see me they had to split their commission with me. The only person who I was able to work with was a Muslim gentlemen that had his desk in front of my desk and we came to the understanding that when a client of his would come in and I was there I would take care of the deal and I would take no commission and in return he would do the same to me on Sundays and other days. This gentleman is now the new car manager for the entire dealership where we both worked at. Other reason I got fired for was for leaving the client leave the lot. For those of you who may not know part of the training for being a salesman in a car dealership is to keep a client there for as long as possible. Under no circumstance let a client leave the lot no matter how uninterested they may be. This rule to be especially followed if the client went on a test drive! As a salesman we would have to trick the client to come in the building and switch them to a different salesman and this person would start all over again. It would drive me nuts, especially if I was the client. So, as a result I would let people leave on their own accord. In fact I would tell them right up front what my managers wanted me to do with them and I would tell them to stay outside the whole time unless there were truly interested. As a result I believe this to be why I had so many appointments on a regular basis. People would just come back. Finally one day I got fired and when I came back all 4 managers were in the same room and they asked me what they can do to get me to come back and I said I wanted to be a manager. Since I had worked there for only 11 months they laughed and told me I needed to have two years minimum with the company before I could get promoted blah, blah, blah, and that it was not a possibility. At that time I said I would like to be in finance and lo and behold I got my wish. The finance director who was in the room said he would take me.
Throughout this whole time my one mindset prayer was “God, tell me if you want me to be a monk or get married”. “But don’t tell my by logical sense and give me chance to figure it out on my own through logic, I want you to hit me hard with it, so hard that I can feel it and never deny it no matter which way you want me to go!” As the fasting had continued and my internal growth was progressing I realized that the one person I had the least amount of trust in was myself. I had realized that what had gotten me in the positions of where I was in depression was myself and I never want “myself” to be in charge again because I do not want the risk falling down and losing “myself” . Most importantly what I felt most guilty about was losing the time that I lost in depression and self-pity. Time that could be spent on going to college or starting a career. I was not going to move one way or the other an inch until I knew for sure where which way I am to go. This battle inside me was very deep yet very peaceful because I was able to stand still and tune in to the life I was living and pay attention to everything around me. As I sit here I ponder back then how beautiful life was when my mind body and soul were all in harmony and unity on the same path and direction. I had patients for an eternity if needed.
As a child my mother used to tell me that I would ask so many questions her head would hurt. She tells me I asked her one time why a cup round followed by who decided a cup should be round, followed by why is it called a cup? Two years into my spiritual plateau, one year before meeting my wife and 3 years before the height of my peak a thought came to me. It was a simple thought, a thought that sparked my curiosity. “What do the greatest minds have to say about everything to do with life like love, happiness, art, romance, religion, marriage, education”. Still having high output energy and wanting to learn at the interval of that pace, with the blessing of the INTERNET I stumbled across quotes. I spent a few months readying hours a day quotes. Sometimes not finding new ones I would read the same quotes over and over again. I would memorize as many quotes as I can. I would write quotes down, especially ones that made no sense at the time. I considered quotes that made no sense at the time to be even more important because they must deeper meaning. I became obsessed with quotes. I had notebooks of quotes collected from different sources. I would have my own interpretation of quotes I liked. I would add to quotes that I felt were insufficient. For example Einstein says: “There are two ways to live life. 1. Everything happens for a reason or 2. Nothing happens for no reason.” I added “but you must still live life”. To me being a reminder to make up my mind which way I want to live my life. I would text all my friends quotes every day, sometimes multiple times a day. I would sometimes get quotes texted back. Sometimes I would see people at the store that would say thanks for the quotes you text me. I was the quote guy! I was obsessed! One day sitting at my desk at work I had gotten this worm feeling in my heart and this big smile that started in my heart was too big to contain and it had transferred to my face. I had gotten the answer that I was praying for. God had told me I was to get married. I felt it go up and down my spinal cord like I was actually touched and I knew. I had no fear of who, what, or anything. I just knew God had made the decision for me and it was game over. Not 5 minutes had passed when Denise, my wife, walked through the front door of the dealership came to me and asked me where the parts department was. We had this long look in each other’s eyes and it was butterflies from then on for at least the next three years daily and 6 years later we still have them at least weekly. She was the one and we both knew it. Although I can’t write from her point of view she tells me the attraction she felt was greater than any attraction she felt for anyone ever and she just knew.