Often we tell ourselves, “don’t just sit there, do something”, but when we practice awareness, we discover something unusual.
— Thich Nhat Hanh
As I look out my window, overlooking Coit Tower and the beautiful rolling hills of San Francisco, I notice the pretty blue skies, the sound of pigeons singing beautiful music, and the sound of a bustling city in the Nation’s tech capital. It’s a beautiful experience just looking out thew window. Simultaneously, I am aware that I am noticing music in sound, art in city views and fresh air coming off the ocean. I am also aware of my mood, how I feel. For me awareness has been a skill that has developed over years. I struggled to understand how beauty exist everywhere. Instead my mind was plagued with negative thoughts, which lead me to severe depression. This depression made me selfish, always complaining about whats going on with me. It blinded my compassion and social intelligence. As I reflect on this past moment, I realize that I am not being kind to myself by not practicing self-care. And too add to the ongoing mental health issues I was running a tech company, e-commerce site for hair products. Also, I was in and out if depression since childhood, and my family and I were unaware. I call this period of life the ‘dark ages’. However, I did not allow any of these things to stop my progress, I finished college and started a company, it was amazing feeling but that feeling was drowned my those dark ages thoughts. I did enter a phase where I the dark ages started to end I begin and enlightenment phase or I like to call it Age of Jarquevious(AoJ). Jarquevious means light under stress or the light in the cold and dark. As I journey through the AoJ, I learned by traveling what it means to experience the sacred.
I experience the sacred in nature. Going to the beach and sitting allows the sun to radiate on my skin and melt away tension I feel. It allows my mind to rest. It makes my body calm, tingly because of the mist. I notice I also see natural art i.e. the mountains and see life. I say to myself God is a great multidisciplinary artist, it’s fascinating how the oceans blend with the landscape to create a beautiful panoramic, breath-taking, refreshing view that refreshes my spirit and mind makes me realize that I am privileged to be able to have access to such a beautiful view.
I experience the sacred at my desk. I study, reflect, meditate at my desk. I reflect daily so I can see I am effective. One thing to do is go over the small wins for the day. Where did I win? This helps with confidence exercises. It also aligns me with my purpose and my mission as a tech entrepreneur. Most times this is where I realize the impact I have on people and the role I play.
Balance is spending time on several things that keep me sharp, in harmony, and in a peaceful state. Balance means keeping various aspects of your life in order without having one aspect dominate your energy and time or pulling you in multiple directions. Balance is key for me. My zodiac sign is libra, which is represented by scales, signifies that Libras are in perfect harmony when life is balanced.
In 2012, I noticed my attention was all over the place, I was always moving, I had a lot going on in my head. I was depressed, stressed and experiencing a high case of anxiety. Also I was getting cluster headaches. I didn’t feel good about myself. In my personal life, my family was the cause of a lot of it. Or at least I thought. I was a first generation college graduate and entrepreneur. I needed money so I worked part time as a server. My car kept breaking and I didn’t know what to do. I also had three other jobs and volunteering. I was a hot mess. I attempted an accelerator program for my startup, but couldn’t focus. I decided I’m never going to achieve my goals with my current mental state so I went to therapy. Long story short, I have been in therapy for 6 years, I am more emotional stable, improved executive skills, mediation skills, time management, goal setting, self reflecting, more self-love. I am loving life. Partly, because I am in San Francisco, a tech city that loves tech and supports its growth. So the environment, people, travel and self improvement keeps me balanced.
I experienced origin in reflection. Like writing this answer for example. As I reflect on balance, I realized I have come a long way and I have shown grit and commitment to tech entrepreneurship. When I reflect, I often think of times as a kid where my parents would encourage me to read. They really were gently forcing us. Reading makes me experience origin because books have different genres that are exciting. I’m grateful for that because I love to learn and read. Also, I have experienced cultural immersion in China and Thailand. I even spent time immersed in subcultures in America, such as middle and upper class families, tech communities, civic tech communities, grad school at Emory(America’s 20th school ranked) and at HBCUs. These experiences shape my journey. It makes me feel joyful and makes me happy when I reflect on these experiences good and bad. Also, I experience origin through struggle and crisis, these are moments where I prayed harder, feel despair. Somehow the outcome makes me smile because I cry to God. Lastly, eating dinner with family and asking myself how did I become me? When I answer the question, I think about my family history and how we have endured the economic, social, housing, criminal and racial injustices but also have been entrepreneurial, change makers, innovative, intellectually curious people.
The practice of art in my life
My art history is an amazing one. I started off as a bad kid in art classes thinking I was not an artist. I took an art history class and it opened my mind to art. I introduced myself to paintings, architecture, city design and culture as a way of living is an art. Years later I worked with a neighbor to build African bowls. And After I worked at a co-working space for creatives, which exposed me to balance, mental balance, and self sustainability. These experiences in addition to reading the tiny buddha blog, therapy, conversing with others and traveling has developed how to practice art. From my style of dress, to my environment, rather than my home or work desk, I have color and things placed in a certain way so my experience is beautiful to me, Beautiful meaning efficient and easy to do. Also, I believe my life is a #1 ranked Netflix show, so think like a character who i think is me. That’s how I live. It’s artful because it’s design with colors shapes, emotional appeal, plot, storyline makes a great story at the end of the day.