I love this snippet from Russell Simmons new book Success Through Stillness.
To be honest, I don’t know much about the man except that I see his picture and autograph in every vegan restaurant in NYC. I know that he’s a hip-hop mogul turned yogi and activist. I know he exudes silver swagger, and everything he touches turns to gold. And I know a thing or two about Run-DMC, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, and Public Enemy.
Oh, you know I had a big gold hoops and matching track suit moment, circa 8th and 9th grade;)
Simmons has been on my radar as someone to look out for. I am always intrigued by people who make such huge transitions in their lives, remaining successful in their growth. This book might be that opportunity to get to know the man who has piqued my curiosity for some time now.
What I love about this piece, which I’m sure he elaborates on in the book, was the recognition of stillness in the midst of chaos. Although my messages weren’t quite as loud, or perhaps I would have been more motivated [read: successful], I recall several moments of clarity among the thick blur.
For more than a decade, starting at fourteen, I partook in some serious self medication to chase away my thoughts. I didn’t have the bank account, thankfully, for rockstar kinda partying, nor was I a big fan of uppers, so blunts, bongs and beer became my Prozac. I had little respect for my body then and even littler willpower, so I pretty much ate, swallowed, snorted and smoked whatever was offered–at least once.
I give mad props to my guardian angels, because Lord knows I put myself in some ridiculously dangerous situations, and not only did I come out alive, I’ve also never been arrested, or harmed another human being–except through peer pressure, some minor bullying, and that one time (OK two times) I fought those bitches talking mad shit.
See how quick the bama comes out?
Although I managed to graduate college somewhere in there and start my career as a teacher and get my masters degree, much of it seems a blur. Yet, years later, when I began the transformation that became the foundation of who I am today, I remembered those glimpses of stillness amidst the chaos, the intuitive moments that told me I was bigger than “all of this,” that this is not who I was.
I had a deep, yet fleeting yearning to be a writer, although I wasn’t even a reader at the time. I had flashes of clarity that told me I had something to teach, yet I had hardly become a student. I had esoteric experiences that pointed to something greater, but they always seemed tragically lost in translation. Friends along the way had dropped some clues that I would get out of this, that this wasn’t me, but I was still blinded by fear and lack of trust.
I distinctly remember melt downs, which led to long winded monologues in reference to this feeling of mourning (not in so many words), mourning the person/artist I was too afraid to become.
I didn’t realize that they were aha moments until much later, after I’d gain some perspective and could piece it all together. My life had been filled with so much noise, both literally and figuratively, it’s no wonder I heard anything at all.
Once I began the intense work to get quiet and find stillness, those early clues gave me the assurance I was on the right path. They were the collections of poems I had written and saved over the years, the sporadic journal entries, the runs and bike rides in nature I savored that reminded me where I felt most alive.
They were the stepping stones that led me back to me, the same me who I’d essentially been running from my entire life. The me that is greater than my fear, greater than my thoughts, greater than my story.
Marian Williamson says it so beautifully: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”
I leave you with this: What glimpses have you possibly seen and perhaps ignored cutting through the noise of your life? What intuition do you think you could uncover in stillness? Are you willing? Shhh.
PS … There are only a few more days to jump in on Elisa and I’s Spring Cleaning: Mind, Body, Soul 6-week online course. Get your clean on, welcoming a brand new season of possibilities!