Meaning Derives from Giving Our Heart and Soul to What Isn’t Easy, but Essential

THERE’S A STILLNESS that surrounds me, a pocket of time in between stories, my own stories; I’m unsure of what comes next. Whatever comes is meant to be — the future remains uncertain, and I remain at peace.

This past year of writing my first book Arrows of Youth: A Young Man’s Inspiring Journey to Find What Lights His Soul on Fire, has been a defining season of my life.

It’s frightening to close the door on a particular time without knowing what’s to come.

The book consumed me. It gave me a beautiful, meaningful reason to rise at the crack of dawn, day in and day out. That dedication became who I am.

From the ashes, from the depths, from the deep seat of my soul comes a rebirth — a Phoenix, born as something new with the energy of the sun. I transition, in a certain regard, from a state of doing to non-doing, contemplation, and grace.

The book provides a journey through my life to answer the question posed here: What to do next? Where to find meaning? The attempt to answer the question through the writing of the book provided what I was after — meaning.

That tells me something. Meaning, I believe, comes from giving our heart and soul to what isn’t necessarily easy, but essential, to transcend the act of going through the motions.

Or, perhaps meaning comes from going through the motions in a different way. With our sights aimed high, the motions become integral to our being. We must strive to be the best that we can be, irrespective of what those motions are.

An Ode to Life

In 2020, I was inspired by somebody I admire to tell my story, as I see the world now. The act of inspiration turned into Arrows of Youth.

Within the pages you’ll find what I love, how I see the world, and what I’ve learned so far. Arrows of Youth is a story of adventure, an ode to life — the incomprehensible, the beautiful, the painful and the meaningful.

Guided by ancient wisdom, timeless stories and contemporary discussion, this book encompasses my quest to never stop asking: Why are we really here?

Is it to be happy, to find meaning, to come together or to separate? Is it to fall, to cry, to learn and laugh and rise again — or perhaps is it just to be? I don’t have the answers; nobody does. That’s what makes every day an absolute gift, waiting to unfold.

It doesn’t feel so much that I’m putting a physical book into the world, but more so, a period of my life. My entire life, up to this point, which is really nothing in the grand scheme of it all.

But maybe it is something. Maybe it’s everything. This moment, today, is a day I’ve imagined for the past year. The book is out, but what really changes? Nothing really, although I’ve learned quite a bit.

In the book, I look back through history to garner a better understanding of the present. With little time on this planet, where else should we look but to the past?

We consider the past with our gaze set forward on the future, hoping that from what we glean, if we’re eager to truly understand, we may shape the present and the future in the same way as the brave souls who have come before.

Maybe my brief existence, our existence, whatever that may be, is everything. Because what we have is an opportunity — the present — to face the world and make it better. As I consider my next steps, there’s one thing that anchors all else, and that’s traveling.

Facing the Unknown

After this past year and a half, it’s still strange that we literally can’t travel, as it’s the single thing I want to do more than anything else. If this hasn’t taught me patience, I don’t know what will.

An accompanying fear comes with my longing to move to another country for a while to experience a life I’ve never known. Fear that I’m making the right decision. Fear that perhaps it’s dangerous out there.

Fear of being alone for an extended period. But to me, that’s what life is about. To not go would leave me always wondering.

Maybe my time on Earth has been brief; maybe all of our time, collectively, is gone in the blink of an eye. Why are we here, if not to experience? To connect and learn about one another? To ask questions, and push ourselves as far as we can possibly go to see what we’re made of?

Why are we alive, if we’re only concerned with staving off death? We’re all going to die, and before that happens, I sincerely want to live. That does add perhaps unnecessary pressure to constantly do, move, make, seek.

Often when we stop looking, what we were looking for comes to us. Perhaps this is the time to stop looking, at least for a moment.

Stop and look around; life is so beautiful. I’m ready to welcome all of life with open arms, no matter what. Perhaps we’re supposed to be afraid, as life can break us in incomprehensible ways.

But I believe that life meets us where we meet it, and the more we shelter ourselves from the world, the more it will bear down on us. We might get hurt along the way. Things won’t go as we plan; what we imagine to happen seldom will the way we envision.

Life will shift, snake, and toss us every which way. And we might just land on our two feet in an opportunity we never could have imagined. With an open mind and open arms, life can try to hurt us, but we can refuse to stay down.

We can get up and try again, and see people for who they could be. We all deserve a shot at redemption; we all deserve to be seen for what we possess inside, instead of how the world has shaped us from the outside.

So maybe I’m optimistic, maybe it’s naïve, but with the time I have I’m going to live. For now, I’m okay in the stillness. From the stillness comes the answers; they will come when they’re meant to.

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