I run into Damian, who with one reservation, “I have a few minutes, I’m waiting to meet a friend,” agrees to share a few words with us and in our meeting I have no idea of the wisdoms to follow.
Damian is a gentle guy and very accepting to sit with me in offering his advice. “Worship music, and reopen the ear to music and life… to find the rhythm of life, not just ignoring it.
Don’t turn music off… it’s like turning the power off.
It’s a hidden treasure that is being buried again and again. It’s becoming so overly commercialized that you can’t find any real artists anymore. There is no variety,” he begins as his phone rings mid conversation.
“Excuse me, this is my friend,” he pauses to answer the call.
I know we are pressed for time, so I quickly transition to question two regarding the years ahead.
Damian resumes, “I think everyone is going to be mostly the same. We are steering toward insanity because everyone is being neutral. It’s kind of sad, but at least people are surviving…”
Again our conversation is broken with the arrival of his carpooling friend, Shashanna.
“Do you think she would be interested to contribute to 365,” I petition.
Damian turns to Shashanna and brings us all together through a thoughtful introduction.
At first she is a little resistant. “It sounds like a very cool project, I’m just not sure I’m ready to have my photo taken, it’s been a long day.”
“Don’t worry, I never force anyone to be in my project,” I comfort as I ask her to pass it on.
No I want to do this,” Shashanna replies and with the support of her friend Damian, she launches into what she preempts, “I have a lot to say.”
“The stage is yours… share all you want,” I invite as we settle in side by side on the bench where Damian and I had only minutes before met.
“Try to find lasting fulfillment, rather than momentary pleasure…” Shashanna ramps up with the most hypnotic of energy, “…things that we find that are quick fix to happiness, or to pleasure… they don’t last long. They are distractions. Lasting fulfillment is what every human seeks.”
I find myself smitten by the most interesting blend of youthful glow and wisdom of the aged.
“To different people it might look like different things…” Shashanna resumes, “’…but overall, it’s things like love, peace of mind, joy, relationships, and in this day and age we have a lot of distractions. And a lot of things that are readily available for us… that we sometimes go for, thinking that is what we really want, end up being counterproductive to what we really truly desire in the long run.
If you keep on repeating something that doesn’t work… try something different. A lot of times it is because we are being reactive to life… rather than being proactive to it. We really do have a lot of power… and one person can make a difference in the world.
It’s really easy to say, ‘I’m only one person and I don’t matter… or, what I do doesn’t really matter.’
But like every penny does add up to a dollar… every person does add up to something bigger.’”
Shashanna warns, “’Consumerism is driving our culture and there is so much more to life than that.
Plus, the media, entertainment, politics, sports, even education and religion, although, all of it has its place and there are good bits of wisdom and value in each of those spheres. But right now, I think they are really used as tools for distraction. It’s like the group mentality, especially if we are not aware, living in autopilot going through life. It’s like being herded.
We all have our own cultures, but we are all interrelated, and we really are not all as different as we think we are. We all are coming from different races, different backgrounds, different skin colors, but we are all people… and we all desire the same things.
Everyone knows what it feels like to laugh, to have joy, to have a broken heart, or to experience pain. We are all the same in those ways… but when we focus on our differences rather than our similarities, that is why we have all the dissention, the wars, anger and misunderstandings.
I think there are some forces in this world that like to inflame those fires and continue to stoke them because maybe they benefit in some way. Someone is benefitting off the wars we are fighting… someone is benefitting off the economic crash and collapse.
We each need to realize the power that we have, not only in how we are affecting the entire world, but in our own lives. We have the power to transform our entire lives. We have to believe, and to never give up.
We can create something that has never been done before. Just like Edison created the light bulb.
If we continue to think, ‘This is what it is’ we will cease to progress. Don’t be afraid to speak out and to be different… to fight for what you believe in. You really can have what you want.
We need to question what is being handed to us, or served to us as reality through the news. Everything has an agenda. If we just accept what is and we think, ‘I’m limited by what I currently see,’ that is a mistake.
It is up to us to make the changes. The rules are meant to be broken, obviously, not the laws, they are there for our well-being. But overall, if we look at things with, ‘There is a lack of this,” perspective, then it is up to us to go fill those gaps.’”
“Like the rule ‘Don’t talk to strangers,’” I ask.
“’That’s what I’m saying…” Shashanna energetically and happily aligns, “…we get taught certain rules that we never think to question. But really, it is good for every individual to look at everything they have been taught their whole lives, even the things they believe; the things that they are telling themselves about themselves or the world. And then to ask themselves, ‘Is it substantiated?’”
Shashanna strikes on yet another impactful thought, “And if we believe the negative then we will become that.”
Per the future, in anticipated Shashanna form, she steps back to the podium, “’The way things are going right now… I see us heading towards a worldwide dictatorship. Everyone is afraid of that… and no one wants to talk about it. And if you do talk about it, then you are labeled as a conspiracy theorist.
Throughout history, for thousands of years, we have had many rise and falls of many great civilizations. Power is something that people crave… they get drunk off it.
My hope is that the good causes are eventually going to take over. But, as long as people are living in fear, we are going to continue to hand over our liberty, and we are going to make our decisions under the disguise of safety.
Fear is an illusion. My father used to tell me, ‘Any decision made in fear is the wrong decision,’
It is fear that is keeping us in slavery to the big system, and directing us in the comparisons we place on each other. We need to learn to trust in ourselves more in being part of the change. We are smarter than we are given credit for. And as long as we keep our walls up… and as long as the walls are up in looking at our differences… the detention will keep on going. We have to look through the chaos… we need to wise up in not just listening to the news.
We have a lot of power and need to not automatically believe what we hear on TV or read in the newspapers. To go beyond that and rise up amongst ourselves… we have the voice to go beyond that.
I see the world moving towards more consolidation for power, with more and more people handing things over to their governments. I think it will get to a point where people will become resistant to it.
I would recommend people look toward listening to their inner voices, or higher powers, if they believe in that; or, at least some sort of spirituality… because in a way, we are all saying the same thing. There is a lot of focus being put on everyone’s differences… and that is what is keeping us at odds with one another.
We need to reconnect. Community is the most important thing, whether one to one or in group, like what we are doing right now,’” She gestures to our conversation, “This is what’s real.
Let’s not be so naive to be shaped by what we are told by the media and the authorities, let’s listen to ourselves… let’s listen to each other.”
Shashanna is advising us that the course of future is not out of our hands. And in her words she proposes a challenge. “Do we perpetuate the snowball of fear, or are we burying ourselves with blind eye in hording what we can.”
“We are in a bubble…” She summarizes, “…and that should concern people.
I know I may sound extreme. But we need to question.”
Shashanna smiles, “I know, I sound crazy… don’t I?”
Shashanna, you are as sane as any of us, and your words are all inspiring. And in supporting the wishes of your patient friend, Damian, your voice has been music to our ears.