CHAPTER 1: THE TRAVELING POETMy eyes were closed. I was having flashbacks of my entire life and every choice that has led me to this moment. I can feel my breath rushing into my chest like a water dam that has been breached. The oxygen flooded my lungs with an indescribable energy. It's difficult, as a writer, to experience the indescribable because it feels like a straight jacket on my creativity. However, I push through. I am in my room attempting to meditate. I have tried this many times before. My mind begins to chatter and the voices become deafening. I can feel my inner child wanting to be free, but social pressures and family expectations have become prison bars to my aspirations. I can not help but feel that there is more to life than what they told me. Here I am. A young man in his 20's and feeling part of a lost generation in transition. But if the old way was THE way, then perhaps we needed to get lost in order to find something better. Nothing is what they told me it would be. I push through my self-image and the person that I thought that I was. I place a long mirror in front of me so I can no longer hide from what I am. I stare myself straight in the eye for several minutes until my face stops making sense and that is when I realized that my body was just a costume for my soul. People rarely self-reflect deep enough to see past their own reflection. For someone who was born in Jerusalem and raised in a religion, you would think I would know God by now. But I was still on a search. A lifetime full of spiritual struggles on a quest to find truth. To find purpose. To find meaning in existence. I stopped believing in fairy tales many years ago. Yet I always felt there was a layer of reality that was much deeper than what we can perceive. Humans are always trying to put infinity inside of a box, and that is simply not possible. Outside of religion, belief systems, politics, thoughts, and emotions, there is an invisible source that exists throughout the universe. It can not be fully described using only language. It can not fully be felt using only emotions. It can not fully be conceptualized using only thought. However, it simultaneously exists in all things.So here I am at a cross point in my life. As a youth, I experienced low times which included being homeless, being robbed numerous times, including once at gunpoint, plus many different forms of abuse. I also experienced highs like having a show on MTV, finding success, and discovering a deep love. One month, my life would be amazing. The next, it would all come crashing in on me. Up and Down it goes. I always got glimpses of happiness, but that is all they were. Glimpses. The reason these emotions were always temporary is because they were based on the external.At this point in my life, I could not see that everything that I was looking for was inside of me. Not in a Hallmark-card theoretical cheesy catch phrase kind of way; But rather in a very real integrated way. Understanding the psychology behind an action does not place you above it. If my happiness became dependent on something outside of me, it would disappear the moment that 'thing' disappears, or the moment that person left my life. If it is based on something inside of me, it will always be with me. That simple.But how could we know any of this? Our entire lives are spent learning a bunch of useless things and trying so hard to conform to a society and be accepted by others. We have time to go to school all day. We have time to work for other people. But through all this chaos and struggle, how much time do we spend on our selves? How much energy do we place into discovering who we are outside of who life tells us we are 'supposed' to be? We do not even realize how deeply we are byproducts of our environments.So I was still breathing and getting flashbacks of my life. My mind was the projector and each visual would trigger different emotional responses. Breathe in. Breathe out. You got this.....I kind of like this meditation thing. I feel like I am in a safe place. It is just me and my self. There is nobody here to judge me. I get to exist in my own private world without any outside influences. Not bad? But also scary. I am not used to this at all. When you are truly alone with no distractions you are forced to face yourself for the first time. I can't help but feel lost on this journey of self-discovery. I am tired of these self-help books, workshops, and other people telling me what is and what is not. I felt too spiritual for the mainstream community and too logical for the spiritual community. I am stuck attempting to figure out the truth of this existence. So I finally surrender and ask God to speak to me. This was a difficult thing because I studied different religions and do not have a specific representation of what God is. I guess 'Source' is a better word. No. Stop. This meditation is not about defining. It is about being defined.-Inhale-I have bills to pay. People to please. And I have no idea where I'm going.-Exhale-I am alive. I am blessed. I am constantly discovering deeper layers of my being.-Inhale-Where do we go from here? What do I do with my life? How do I find happiness?-Exhale-Instead of being nowhere. I am NowHere. This moment is perfect as it is the bridge between the past and the future. This moment will always be that bridge. The bridge has harnessed my happiness. The bridge is what makes the duality possible.I open my eyes with enough clarity to give purpose to the experience. I discover a very simple truth. It is impossible to know how much you don't know about this life. How could you? We judge every thing through the filters of our minds. We believe that we are right about every thing we believe in. If we didn't, it would not be our opinion. Our opinions are based on many things which were out of our control. The childhood that we had. The images that we saw. The experiences that we went through. We then take these impressions that have molded our personalities and view the entire world through these lenses. So how could we truly know how ignorant we are unless we had complete knowledge of the universe? Since this is impossible for our temporary human minds to fully comprehend, why should I spend my entire life stuck in my 'brain'? It's not about the thoughts. It's about the feelings. It is not about what was, but rather what is. It is not about knowing, it is about discovering. I then realized that life comes down to having as many meaningful experiences as possible. And if you feel that you are not having those, than maybe the true goal is to bring meaning to your experience. We can do this by simply shifting our perspectives.This is it! The answer is to accept that you can never prove that you have the answer. Every single thing can be justified ….I must push myself past my comfort zone. Every thing that I think I know about the world is inside of my comfort zone. Every thing that I do not know about the world lies on the cusp of my boundaries.I knew that this remained as just a thought, it would not have the thrust needed to propel it into reality, since Passion is the fuel that drives our dreams through fear and doubt.*IT IS THE DISPLAY OF PASSION FROM OTHERS THAT SERVES AS A REFLECTION TO OUR DEEPEST APPRECIATION OF BEAUTY. IT IS ALSO THE DARKNESS OF OTHERS THAT HELPS DEFINE AND SHAPE THE BOUNDARIES OF WHAT WE DEFINE AS BEAUTIFUL. CONTRAST IS THE INVISIBLE PAINTBRUSH THAT CREATES ALL. DO NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT THE EXISTENCE OF ONE. RATHER, USE IT AS A TOOL TO APPRECIATE THE DETAILS AND THE DEPTH OF THE OTHER.TOO MANY TIMES PEOPLE GET LOST IN THE DETAILS OF WHAT IS RIGHT AND WRONG, THAT THEY DO NOT SEE THE PERFECTION IN THEIR COEXISTENCE. ONCE YOU LOOK AT LIFE THROUGH THIS NEW FOUND FILTER OF APPRECIATION, YOU DO NOT TRY TO DESTROY. YOU DO NOT TRY TO ELIMINATE. FOR YOU SEE THE DIVINE PURPOSE IN THE DANCE OF OPPOSITES. THE LIGHT. THE DARK. TOGETHER, MAKE LOVE, TO CREATE SHADOWS. WE ARE BIRTHED WITHIN ALL 3. THAT IS WHAT THIS IS ABOUT. EVERYBODY IS STUCK THINKING THAT THE WORLD IS A DUALITY, HOWEVER WHEN BOTH DUALITIES MERGE, YOU INTRODUCE A THIRD POINT, HENCE THE PYRAMID. HENCE THE HOLY TRINITY.THE UNIVERSE IS THE PAINTBRUSH AND OUR STORIES ARE SCRIPTED THROUGH THE COSMOS. OUR HUMAN EGO WANTS TO BE BIGGER THAN IT IS. SO LET US NOT JUDGE THIS. FOR THIS IS THE NATURE OF ALL THINGS IN THE UNIVERSE. EXPANSION IS THE HEART OF ALL OF EXISTENCE. DARKNESS WILL LOOK TO EXPAND, THE SAME WAY LIGHT DOES. IT IS OUR SEPARATION OF THEM THAT ALLOWS THE LINE TO EXIST. WITHOUT THE DESCRIPTIVE DETAILS AND ALL THE FINE PRINT, WE FAIL TO SEE THE BIGGER PICTURE. SO WE NEED SIGN POSTS ON THIS ROAD OF LIFE THAT ALLOWS US TO EXPERIENCE THE IN AND OUT. THE UP AND DOWN. THE ABOVE AND BELOW....WITH US BEING THE CENTER POINT OF ALL THINGS IN THE UNIVERSE. THE CENTER OF INFINITY IS EVERYWHERE....BIRTH IS A DEATH. NO DIFFERENT THAN DEATH BEING A BIRTH. NOTHING IS DESTROYED WITHOUT SOMETHING ELSE BEING CREATED. WE SEE THINGS AS BEGINNINGS AND ENDS ONLY AS A POINT OF REFERENCE. IT GIVES OUR HUMAN MINDS THE ILLUSION OF BEGINNING AND END POINTS. IT ALLOWS THE HUMAN BODY TO FEEL THE BEAUTY OF LIMITATIONS. A SOUL THAT IS ETERNAL DOES ONLY WHAT A SOUL THAT IS ETERNAL WOULD DO. IT CREATES THE ILLUSION OF BIRTH AND DEATH. IT CREATES THE ILLUSION OF TEMPORARY. ONLY TO EXPERIENCE WHAT IT FEELS LIKE. ONLY THEN COULD IT EVER EXPERIENCE WHAT DISCOVERING ITS INFINITE NATURE FEELS LIKE! THESE ARE THE EXPERIENCES THAT LIBERATE US. IT IS OUR NATURE TO EXPAND AND COLLAPSE ETERNALLY. REST YOUR MIND HUMAN. COMPELTE ANSWERS ARE NOT MEANT TO BE KNOWN ON YOUR REALM. FOR IF THEY WERE, YOU WOULD NO LONGER BE IN THAT REALM. YOU WOULD ALREADY HAVE CHOSEN TO EXPERIENCE THE DISCOVERY OF YOUR INFINITE NATURE.ONCE YOU ARE FULLY RECONNECTED WITH WHAT YOU ACTUALLY ARE, YOU WILL CELEBRATE IN THAT DISCOVERY OF THE TRUTH BECAUSE (and only because) YOU CHOSE TO EXPERIENCE WHAT EXISTENCE IS LIKE BLOCKED FROM THIS TRUTH. SO WHY JUDGE YOUR FINITE BEING? WHY CREATE STRESS IN YOUR HUMAN BODY OVER AN ANSWER THAT CAN NOT BE FULLY ACCEPTED BY YOUR HUMAN BODY. YOU WILL BE RUNNING IN CIRCLES ATTEMPTING TO KNOW, RATHER THAN BE. ONCE YOU HAVE FAITH THAT YOUR SOUL KNOWS MORE THAN YOUR BODY EVER WILL, YOU SURRENDER YOUR BODY TO THE PATH THAT YOUR SOUL HAS CHOSEN. THE PATH THAT THE UNIVERSE HAS CHOSEN. FOR A VERY DIVINE REASON. FOR A VERY DIVINE EXPERIENCE. THIS IS NOT TO SAY THAT YOU SHOULD NOT SEEK KNOWLEDGE. KNOWLEDGE IS ESSENTIAL TO YOUR EXISTENCE ON THIS PLANET. IT IS TO SAY THAT YOU HAVE ALL THE WISDOM YOU NEED. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM. JUST AS THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE INNATE AND THE TAUGHT.THE ADVICE OF TURNING YOUR MIND OFF, YET EXISTING IN A WORLD THAT REQUIRES A STIMULATED MIND, COULD SEEM CONFUSING AT FIRST. THE ANSWER IS NOT TO TURN YOUR MIND OFF. IT IS TO RECOGNIZE THAT YOUR MIND IS AN EXTENSION OF YOUR SOUL AND IS A TOOL USED TO EXPERIENCE THE TEMPORARY.WHAT BETTER WAY OF DISCOVERING ETERNITY THAN TO BE NON-ETERNAL?YOU ARE TEMPORARY. THESE WORDS ARE TEMPORARY. THIS BOOK IS TEMPORARY. YOUR STRUGGLE WITH WRITING THIS BOOK IS TEMPORARY. THE MOST ETERNAL THING YOUR MIND BELIEVES IT CAN GRASP IS TEMPORARY. ONCE YOU REALIZE THE INSIGNIFICANCE OF EVERYTHING, YOU WILL REALIZE HOW SIGNIFICANT THEY ACTUALLY ARE.YOUR MERE ACT OF OBSERVANCE IS WHAT MAKES THE OBSERVED POSSIBLE.OUR OBSERVANCE IS OUR PERSPECTIVE. OUR PERSPECTIVE DEFINES THE REALITY OF EVERY THING IN THE UNIVERSE. THIS IS WHY THE EXACT SAME OBJECT CAN BE VIEWED BY NUMEROUS FILTERS BY NUMEROUS PEOPLE AND HAVE COMPLETE DIFFERENT MEANINGS BASED ON THEIR PERSPECTIVES. ELEVATE THIS CONCEPT AND INCORPORATE IT INTO EVERY POSSIBLE THING YOU CAN IN THE UNIVERSE. KNOW WHEN TO BE. KNOW WHEN TO FLOW. ESPECIALLY WHEN FLOWING REQUIRES A NOT-KNOWING.WE ARE WANDERING SOULS ROAMING THROUGH THE UNIVERSE .WE ARE NOT MEANT TO BE ANYTHING BUT EXPERIENCE.THIS POINT CAN NOT BE DRIVEN DEEP ENOUGH. WE ARE MEANT TO EXPERIENCE. THAT IS WHY THIS MOMENT EXISTS. EVERYTHING IS A POINT OF REFERENCE. TIME. SPACE. YOUR REALITY. YOUR DREAMS. EMOTIONS. WORDS. PEOPLE. PLACES. FEELINGS. THEY ARE ALL POINTS OF REFERENCES.WHEN YOU LET GO OF HAVING TO DEFINE, YOU IN TURN, WILL BE DEFINED.DEFINED BY YOUR CHOICES. DEFINED BY YOUR EXPERIENCES. DEFINED BY YOUR LANGUAGE. DEFINED BY YOUR LIFE STORY. DEFINED IN THE DETAILS. OR THE 'SMALL' THINGS........ AMUSING CONCEPT. CALLING ANYTHING SMALL. OR CALLING ANYTHING BIG. IN A REALITY THAT IS ULTIMATELY TEMPORARY, HOW CAN ANYTHING HAVE MORE OR LESS SIGNIFICANCE THAN THE OTHER THROUGH THE EYES OF WHO YOU ACTUALLY ARE.OUTSIDE OF THAT REALITY, THE ONLY THING OF SIGNIFICANCE IS TRUTH. AND THE DISCOVERY OF TRUTH.Whoa...I'm not quite sure what just happened, but I have no idea what I just wrote above in capital letters. Before I continue, let me give you some back story. I started writing a book when I was 16. However, every year, I would go back and re-edit it because I had new-found knowledge that I wanted to incorporate. After a decade of constantly re-editing the same book, I made a choice. I decided to wipe the slate clean and start a brand new book about my journey. I made a vow to not go back and edit the message. I made the decision to just write from beginning to end with no hesitation or attachments. So last night, while I was writing the beginning, my eyes just naturally closed and I began typing. When I opened my eyes, I saw a page of information. I was never a big fan of channeling 'spirits' or any new-age stuff like that. I have seen too many people use it for the wrong reasons and was always a bit skeptical to tell you the truth. However, I am choosing to not judge what just happened to me. I'm not sure if it will happen again throughout this book, but please bear with me. This book will not have as much structure and will free-flow through me. I have given permission for Source to use my body as a tool to set forth a message and I will not allow my ego and constant analysis to get in the way of that download. So.....shall we continue with the story....So there I was! I finally learned how to meditate. And I must say...It is SOOOOO WEIRD!!! But beautiful. Inspiring. Relaxing. In matter of fact, it makes me realize how much better my life can be if I just dedicated even 1% of the day to clearing my mind. That is about 15 minutes. I thought about it and realized that it wasn't asking for much. I can live in the world for 99% of the day and only need to dedicate 1% of each day towards my spirituality. Not that bad of a deal.In the midst of this intensity, I searched within the barriers of my soul to seek what my deepest passions are. I love to travel. And I love to use poetry to inspire others. Hmmmm....How about The Traveling Poet! Yes! That's it. I instantly snapped out of the meditation and woke up full of more energy than a child on a sugar-rush. I went online and searched for the URL, TravelingPoet.com. I assumed that it was already taken, but was blown away that it was still open. I instantly purchased the website and spend all night designing it. I had a fully-functional website, project mission, and tour-route designed by the next day. I was so excited by the idea that I felt it was useless to just sit around dreaming about it. I started selling my belongings and speaking with other travelers, van-dwellers, and show hosts around the country. I gave myself a realistic launch-date of 3 months in order to give me enough time to truly plan. The one thing that I learned later on the road is that you can plan as much as you want, but living in the Now takes priority. However, I will get into that discovery later.I knew I did not want to go back to a corporate job. I knew that I did not want to get stuck in a cycle of paying bills and struggling with little joy. So I worked hard and saved up for what I thought would be enough to get me around the country.Weeks and weeks of non-stop reading helped me tremendously. I read travel books, forums, websites, resources, and inspirational stories. I put together sponsorship packages and was able to get several conscious companies to donate raw foods, marketing materials, and even a 1000 copies of my poetry Cd's. I was making things happen! Not because I was more intelligent, but simply because I wanted it. The truth is that most people think they know what they want, but do not truly put as much energy into it as they think they do. It is easy to fantasize about how great life can be and have dreams and visions. It is entirely different to be fully committed and dedicated to creating your reality.Challenge: Set an alarm that goes off at the top of every hour throughout the whole day. Every time it goes off, I want you to write down what you spent the last 60 minutes doing. As detailed as possible. Then at the end of the day, I want you to create a pie-chart of where your energy goes. How much or your day went into spirituality? How much went into your dreams? Responsibilities? Other people? Your health? After a couple days of doing this, you will clearly be able to see where most of your energy goes and what parts of your life you can re-balance.This was a big awakening for me. The goal was not to follow my dreams. That would mean that my dreams are ahead of me, and I will constantly be chasing them. The goal is to not have dreams. Only an amazing reality. I recognized that most of the entire day was spent towards other people. I would go to work and work for someone else, in order to make money, which I have to give to yet another business-owner. But all of this will stop now. I will sell all these 'things' and just hit the road. No parents. No friends. No job. Just me and the open road... Sounds like a dream! But I had to face the biggest question first. Was I driving towards something or driving away from something?Was I running away from who I was or was I running towards who I want to become?After searching through the depths of my soul, the answer that I discovered was...Several weeks have now gone by and I searched for the proper vehicle. I came across a few people who considered themselves van-dwellers. I was quite surprised to hear their stories. One of them was a gentlemen who had a college degree and what many would consider, a normal upbringing. The only difference is that he lived in a van. You would never guess by looking at him and might not fully understand it until you talk to him. When asked about his reasoning; “I find it ridiculous to pay thousands of dollars just to sleep. I'm barely ever home. I wake up and go to work, then I hit the gym and shower there, and then I might go out with some friends. I crawl into my van and pass out. The amount of money I save will allow me to travel and see the world on my time off and even retire early.”After speaking with him and many others, I learned some tricks to customizing my van. I cut a hole in the roof and placed a roof-vent to allow circulation. I tricked all the wiring and included outlet-converters. I placed a fridge inside the back, along with a bed, 360 degree shading, and an alarm system. It was my mini-hotel on wheels. However, I later discovered that all the 'stuff' that I brought with me ended up imprisoning me. The further I drove, the more clutter appeared and it soon became obvious. When you're on the road, less is more.However, my naïve young mind did not grasp that at this point. I haven't even taken off yet! SEVEN DAYS UNTIL LAUNCH OFFI have never felt so excited in my life. Months of work finally about to pay off. But then, the unthinkable happened. My van's transmission blew out! And it ended up costing me 50% of what I had saved in order to fix it. So now what? Would I have to cancel the trip? What about all the plans I made? Is this my first test?At first, I was going to postpone my trip, get some under the table job, and save up the set-budgeted amount I had in my head before launch-off. But I then realized that this is what I've been doing my whole life. This is what so many people do. We wait for that perfect moment for things to just line up, rather than create them. And in the process, some of us end up waiting our entire lives for what we can be doing right now, if only we could get past the conditioned chains we have in our minds. I decided to move forward regardless and take the leap of faith. I knew I did not have enough funds to complete the trip, but when you get that inner calling, there are only two options. You either answer it or you ignore it. I could no longer ignore who I was or who I was becoming. Before I took off on the trip, I shared my vision with many people. There was a recurring response I received from older people. GO! Do it. Now. Don't think about it. Just do it while you're young. They expressed how they always dreamt about traveling the world and then they got married, had kids, and got stuck in an office job. At first, it broke my heart to see these lost dreams, but it also inspired me to move forward with mine. I have never regretted anything in my life. When I looked into these people's eyes, for the first time ever, the fear of regret went through me. Is it possible that I will someday wake up old and realize that I never went after my dreams? What does that feel like? Do people just bury their passion as a survival mechanism to deny the reality of their situation? All around the world, there are millions of people not living up to their full potential. I experienced a realization of time and its value.I knew I had this vision for a reason and no obstacles will stop me. I decided to march forward and take a leap of faith. I did not have enough to get around the country but I trusted it would manifest on the road.Houston. Apollo is ready to launch in T Minus...3....2....One moment this was a dream. And now it is my reality. The day finally came when I was packed and ready to go. One of the most difficult things I did was saying goodbye to my family. My two parents and my teenage sister. They knew that I would be gone for many months and were overwhelmed with saying goodbye.Emotional realizations can birth experiences of gratitude and integrate appreciation.I felt the sense of admiration in my sister's hug. I saw the feeling of pride in my father's eyes. And heard the thoughts of worry in my mother's cries. I stayed strong through it all. They told me to be careful and that they loved me. As I stepped into the van, I realized how lucky I was to even have a family. I waved goodbye to my ancestor's echos and drove off into the sunrise. I will never forget the emotion I felt as I turned the corner and was merging onto the highway. With tears of fire bathing my cheek, I let out a tribal scream of barbaric release. The mission that was laid out in front of me was heavy. The knowledge that transformation is inevitable combined with the mystery of the unknown made it an epic release of emotion. A bird is meant to fly. A poet is meant to write. I knew that I was answering to a higher calling and fully surrendered to the universe. It was just me and the open road. And then.....Silence.