I've had the sweetest birthday weekend. Friday night Samantha and I went into a heart opening ritual that is still reverberating through us. And I got to spend all of Saturday hanging out and playing with Darshan. This morning I'm on my way to Miami. I will definitely miss my family. But I am also honored to be facilitating the third Solidarity Summit, a gathering of leaders from the Muslim, Arab, South Asian and Racial Justice communities, people facing virulent cultural and political aggression in this climate of bigotry and fear. We continue to stand together committed to creating a more just alternative, a democracy that is worthy of us.
This is my life. And today I get to celebrate it. I get to celebrate the treasure that is my family and I get to celebrate the blessing of living a life of purpose. This will be my 41st journey around the sun. Turning 40 came with a significant transition, a different way of being in the world. I am enjoying every bit of this decade. I feel like my feet touch the ground. I feel like I have something to stand on and I have something to build. It is nothing short of excilarating.
The year has brought significant changes. I left the Interaction Institute and became independent. I launched the Evolutionary Leadership Workshop. I stopped drinking and smoking pot - this has been revolutionary! I've unleashed a creative aspect of myself, strengthened my spiritual practices and significantly deepened my relationship with the shamanic work that guides me. In the words of Muktananda "I have become alive!"
We get to choose how we tell our stories, we get to choose what we focus on. I like to tell my story as a series of awakenings, as stages of liberation. We all come from somewhere and we are all going somewhere. I come from a precious family that is anchored in love, profound faith and a commitment to work and community. I was born into this.
At the age of 16 I read the Autobiography of Malcolm X and the book helped set me free, it gave language to my experience. By the time I was 25 I had read the critical theorists, Foucault, Bordieu, Deleuze, Gautarri, Hardt, Negri, and they helped to deconstruct the binding orthodoxies that had shaped my life to that point. At the age of 29 I met a spiritual master and experienced a radical initiation, by the age of 31 I finally accepted her - this was the opening of the heart. At the age of 36 I became a father and everything changed forever on that very day.
I outline these moments of revelation because they capture my awakenings, my stages of liberation. I name them because even now, as I celebrate 41, I can sense something else opening up, a special truth reveals itself, a next awakening is brewing. I'm not sure what to call it. I know the feeling of it. I also know it's in process, I know that it's still unfolding.
I know we live in a flow of Grace, and that we can turn ourselves towards it, we can tune our being to this evolutionary thrust that keeps calling us forward. We can allow ourselves to trust and let go, to listen closely, to open the heart, to place ourselves in service of this something that is much greater than any of us. Awakenings keep unfolding, and there is no end in sight.
It is not just for the individual to wake up, it is not just the "I" that becomes free. Ours is a collective effort, a co-evolution through friendship, we are waking up to a new and deeper "we," we are here to define better ways of being-with.
It is good to be 41.