This is a creative exercise in writing about another person’s story from darkness to light and how it interacts with my own journey in discovering my light in the world. Isaac put this short video together (below — turn on HD & SOUND) from video he shot for some creative projects we worked on together. He is an incredibly talented photographer, videographer, & all around artist of life. Yet, just a few years ago he thought pictures were stupid, was stuck in a job he hated, and was living a life only half-alive. This creative piece tells our shared journey to a life worth living. See more on Isaac Gautschi here.
Success can be cultivated through a view of longevity. As we look at the big picture we are better able to see the little movements that draw us forth into greater integrity & authenticity and ultimately consolidate our true power — self-mastery. When we are expressing and acting in alignment with what has heart & meaning to us we are powerful beyond measure. When we are in this state everything seems to flow. Life seems magical. Coincidences and chance interactions all work together in harmony to draw us forth into greater expression of what really brings us joy.
Sometimes we must go through some chaos and turbulence to find what has heart & meaning. Isaac’s story of his motorcycle accident and how that led him to his photography and filming is an awesome example of this. Sometimes the most horrendous things wake us up to our heart & meaning. This is why darkness is so beautiful.
It is usually in the darkest times that we discover our light. The stuff that not only lights our spirit on fire but enacts the same energy onto others as they share in our gift. As we share our gifts our dreams are made manifest and we provide avenues for others to experience their own heart & meaning in their own ways.
Go slowly. Isaac’s discovery of his passion for film didn’t happen over night. Though the story was told to me in minutes. His actual experience and transformation happened over a period of time. Years in fact. Yet, we often see or hear of someone’s transformation and resulting success and lose touch with the time, energy, and growing-pains it took for it all to coalesce into its present state.
In the beginning Isaac resisted photography. He even thought pictures were stupid when he was younger. But through a motorcycle accident that left both hands in casts with one working finger his calling came gently knocking. He lost his job and opportunity to go to school because of the accident. His parents literally had to hand-feed him like a child as he was unable to do it himself.His great joy of playing guitar had been lost in the same accident. Making music was infinitely more important than a job he hated and school he was unsure of. Things got dark. He was miserable. Depression hit. He had no idea where he was going. Plunged into the depths of despair he sat creatively chained in his hand casts.
Then one day his Mom brought him an old camera and suggested he try taking pictures. Wallowing in his misery he resisted. Still stuck with the idea that he thought photography was a waste of hard drive space and time. And then… Destiny!
One special day he picked up the camera, balancing it upon the cast of one hand and using the one working finger of the other hand he began snapping photos. Something stirred inside of him. An awakening maybe. It wasn’t fast at first, but it did grow. And as it grew it began to grow faster. Like a spark that slowly catches something aflame. At first the fire creeps along slowly growing in size. Then it hits its tipping point and the whole thing bursts into flame.
(Isaac on his road to recovery. This self-captured was taken one full year after the initial accident that occurred on April 18th, 2013. His current success was still years away, but the creative-fire is catching flame here in this photo.)
With Isaac it began with people randomly asking how much he charged for his photography. He thought to himself, “Wait, what? People want to pay me for this?” The flame grew. Then Ashton Kutcher shared his photo and people began to take notice. Isaac is still in disbelief at all of the synchronicity. The flame had burst into glory. Goodyear Tire licensed a few of his photos. He had to quit his day job and become a full-time photographer. His light that he found within his darkness would allow for nothing but a full commitment. That is how powerful his creative calling became.
Man ablaze. Fueled by passion and paid for his creative spirit. Now Isaac shares his glory with abandon. He shared it with me. Bringing his passion-fire to light my own creative vision. He is the light shining through my dark film casting a vision upon the wall of the world for all to see. His gift is unlocking my gifts. Giving form & worthy expression to what I see in my heart & spirit. Truly crafting & unleashing my vision of myself as transformation artist & leader.
Together we co-create and co-live what has heart & meaning to us. Forever alchemized by one another through shared experience, passion, & vision.
What we need is the intention to allow creativity to create through us. A surrender to the creative force that lies within us all. The eternal ever-burning Sun. Do we hide it away in some dark deep closet? Hidden from all, including ourselves. Or do we open the door and let whatever reflections of brilliance are there shine outward into the world? What mystery and revelation will come bounding out of this inner door of light? It is so exciting it can be scary. I am scared. But once again I embrace the darkness with love. Transmuting it into light consciousness to cast forth into the world with valor. God grant me valiance.
I do not know what will come forth, but I trust the Universal design. I trust that as I tap into my diamond consciousness and the Universal Mind whatever is meant to come will come and it will be right.
I have been wrestling with my old self. My old self who says that I cannot live my artistic creative dream and have the rest of my life (and family) be okay. Or more succinctly, I cannot live my artistic creative dream with integrity and commitment if anything else in my life is out of order. This is the old commandment I have been living all my life. The wounded warrior character that never gets to do what his inner child artist wants to do. But it is time. Time to change my story and change my life. To recognize that my compassionate heart is strong. I can hold everyone in my life in compassion and live my artistic vision with truth at the same time. I have the power of the Sun ever-burning within. There is more than enough energy to create and hold all of my life and those within it in compassion. It is time to let go of this self-defeating illusion. There is nothing wrong with creating my bliss and sharing it with others while other aspects of my life are under the fire of healing, growth, and transformation. This is the infinitely dynamic way of life. An infinity of moving parts. I can trust they are all working together in a divine dance for divine evolution. I reach in and grab my trust and I wield it with a furious heart. Sun-fueled. Let me burn away this ice that freezes me in stagnation. Spring is here. Let me call forth new growth in all its green glory. As I shine this diamond brilliance on these frozen memories I compassionately watch as they melt away. Freeing myself from their frosty grip. A goodbye to winter. Spring-time veneration.
The Sun is here and it’s shining bright. No longer enveloped in the bond of my frozen emotions, memories, patterns, and DNA — I evolve. No longer frozen, I grow forth and go forth into the world and share my brilliance. Light-bringer awakening. Old commandment broken. Self-imposed chains dissolved. Darkness alchemized. Self-integration realized. Time to dance with freedom of Spirit.
“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.” —Rumi
Create for the perfect receiver. The one who will get everything that you are trying to convey with no explanation. Dig deep. Grab the stuff of truth. Your truth. And bring it forth to bear without shame or alteration.
So often I find myself judging my creative work as it is coming out. “Will others understand and like it?” I ask before I even put it into form. When I am in that space of creativity I’ve already lost. Lost myself. Lost my art. Lost my unique flame of creation.
So I dive back down into the depth. The unknown. The unseen. And I float. I lose myself in my abyss so as to loosen myself from the constraints the external cares place upon me. I hang myself upside down. Let the all the stuff I am carrying fall out of my pockets. Upend my thoughts and feelings. I release the disappointments of the past, present, and future. Renewal. Self-renewal. Return to my vision. The one I was born with. The one that has always been there. The one I have spent so much time running from. The one I am beginning to embrace with ever-increasing conviction. And I stand in it. Upside down. I let the vision consume me. I let it break me. Break me through all the self-imposed barriers I’ve accumulated. Through self-crucification I find renewal. As I sacrifice my ego I return. I return to personal power. I return to self-integrity. The inner citadel that is always there — the inner home.
As I hang out, arms dangling, thoughts un-jangling. Release. Surrender. The tide washes the grime away. The equinox of darkness passes. The light begins to return. Emotional purification. Intellectual clarity. True-flame Spirit. The golden path to creative integrity in the world shows itself once again. I walk my path. A unique legacy. I know my past. I’ve seen. I shed the unwanted weight. Lineage-breaker. I can see. Free to blaze a new trail. Free to share from that innocence and excitement of pure bewilderment. Goodbye cleverness. Hello awe.
I think I am finally understanding that quote by Rumi that I’ve ruminated over since stumbling upon it. I always prided myself on my “cleverness.” I was ego-attached to it. How could I sell something I was so beholden to? Something I considered a part of my identity. Now I see that it was a suit of armor I dressed my true self in so that I would be safe from the the outer world. But in my self-protection I hid my true self away. From others. From myself. Ego-driven, I become lost to myself in my clever-suit. I unknowingly hurt others as I bumbled about ironclad. And I dumbly wondered why others were offended. But my vision and understanding were so limited. I could hardly see out of the protective visor. My range of sight hindered. So of course I crashed into others. Causing unnecessary and underserved pain. Forgive me. For I could not see.
I take off my helmet. Free my consciousness. I shed my suit of cleverness. Liberated. Unconditional love & compassion for myself and others begins to blossom. Wow! I am so light now! Floating in bewilderment…
Starting before you’re ready… and the beauty of being unfinished… THE ART OF THE START
(This video is far from perfect or even excellent. It is not a finished product. It’s messy, I make mistakes, you can hear the nervousness in my voice, But… I started. And I’m sharing my messy unfinished artistic process in service to others finding their own courage to start something that both calls to them and scares the hell out of them.)
“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.” –Hugh Laurie
The old version of myself took forever to start anything that I deeply dreamed about or deeply desired to do. The more intense the dream or desire the longer it took. A prime example of that is starting a blog. I thought about it for almost a decade. I finally started it sometime in 2014 and even then it was a painful and slow birth. I don’t think I even managed to get a piece of writing up until 2015. Really it wasn’t until I committed to posting one piece of creative work every week that it finally began to gain momentum [more on that commitment here].
Another thing I have deeply desired to do was start a newsletter. I thought about this for several months. I’ve made a commitment to myself to just jump in and start on the things I dream of. Instead of waiting another decade I am starting now. To free myself from my own self-oppression. To embrace the fear of the things that call to me. To make mistakes, look like a fool, and not know what I am doing. To hold ever so tightly to the wisdom that it is by doing and taking action that we learn, grow, and transform. I am still pretty slow to start on these deep callings, but I am getting faster. So, in the spirit of just jumping into the fire of life…
Welcome to my newsletter–> ALCHEMIZED
*I will never send spam or share your email. Only awesome alchemical things I want to share sent directly from me to you!
This is my commitment to discovering, making, and sharing ART & TRANSFORMATION in SERVICE to others.
I have discovered that one of the best ways to illuminate oneself and others is to SHARE. It is through people and shared experience that we find inspiration, consolation, healing, growth and transformation.
When we share something that has authentically touched, moved, or inspired us something magical happens. It not only transforms those we are sharing with, it transforms us.
The full disclosure is that I don’t really know what the iterations of Alchemized will be. This here is the first one. And I’ve already revised it over 50 times… No joke! Learn by doing & incremental improvement are KEY.
The whole point of this is to start something while allowing myself to sit in AMBIGUITY. And then to let the whole thing evolve into whatever it decides to be.
My initial guess is that it will be some sort of email of several things that I have recently found particularly transformative in some aspect. They will likely be things I have created, discovered, learned, found fun, fascinating, growth-inducing, transformational, soul-soothing, and maybe even lit my spirit on fire.All of this in the SPIRIT of SERVICE, ILLUMINATION, and TRANSFORMATION. My own and others…
And who knows what this will become. I am definitely the one most anticipating the unfolding of this. Nonetheless, I am deeply appreciative for all who join me in this journey! 😀
This whole project and concept both scares the hell out of me and is at the same time incredibly exciting. The line between excitement and fear is often almost impossible to find.
Regardless of what Alchemized becomes my commitment is that it will be in service to alchemical transformation.
The goal of the Alchemized is to be a renewable resource of potential catalysts. I firmly believe that we should interact with catalysts of awe, wonder, fascination, magic, growth, healing, and transformation each day.
LifesRake and the Alchemized are all about ALCHEMY — the seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, and combination.
Sometimes we discover one small catalyst and a whole aspect of our life literally transforms… I aim to be a lantern-bearer & a bridge for others in discovering those catalysts.
The main vision of this inaugural Alchemized is to to share the scariness, vulnerability, and transformational power of creating and starting something that calls to you. And sharing it even if it isn’t finished. By no means is this easy. And we often have to forgive ourselves for holding ourselves back before we even begin. Or begin again… I am constantly forgiving myself for holding myself back…
In this newsletter are three videos I created in July of 2015 all about starting before you are ready [see version 1 at the top and version 2 & 3 at the bottom – FYI: these are far from the first few versions – I filmed this a TON of times (30+)…]. These are three versions of the same filming. I filmed this concept over and over. And still I lamented over the belief that none of them were good enough to share. It has taken me 6 months to gather the courage to post these. Half a year to embrace the unnerving fear of judgement, both from within and without. Over 180 days of being too scared to share my art and connect.
(Work on La Sagrada Familia, one of Spain’s most famous and epic pieces of art, began in 1882. Over 130 years later and it is still not completed. They are still working on it. I used to live right next to this mesmerizing piece of growing artistic magic. Every day I even glimpsed this living piece of art I was blessed with creative sustenance. I cannot even quantify the loss of life experience for myself or others if Antoni Gaudí, the architect behind this, had chosen to wait until it was finished to share it with the world. Imagine how much less grand and less awe-inspiring this world would be if we were only allowed to view completed creative works of art? I am not laying claim to this level of art, but how much more compassionate, inspiring, and inspired would this world be if none of us were afraid to show our creative work in progress?)
To be crystal clear — at the time I compiled this post I had little-to-no experience writing, blogging, filming, recording audio, and have just barely started to learn how to edit any of these. I am sharing all of this because I am tired of hiding my creative process. Tired of trying to be perfect. And I am tired of treating imperfection and vulnerability as an excuse not to create art and share it. I now harness my imperfections and vulnerability and show it to the world and connect. I now use my authenticity and vulnerability as a source of empowerment for myself and others by sharing it.
I also want to highlight and remember that we all start with little-to-no knowledge, experience, or expertise. We are always in a state of becoming. Let us always remember this. So the next time we feel the call of something and the fear of starting rises to challenge us… we embrace the fear. Deeply knowing & understanding that FEAR is often our best guide for UNLEASHING our most AUTHENTIC, POWERFUL, & HIGHEST-SELF. It is also often our WAY-FINDER to living a life of PASSION & PURPOSE.
Or in other words, a life worth living…
My inspiration & alchemical discovery that lead to this idea (Alchemized) being actualized:
It goes perfectly along with the vision of the Alchemized. It’s a book all about embracing your fear and creating art. It will awaken your inner artist. And if you don’t think you are an artist this book will change your mind about that too. It is the book that was the final catalyst I needed to birth Alchemized. Even if you would never consider yourself an artist this book will catalyze some area of your life — career, relationships, life, etc. If you are an ENTREPRENEUR in any way this is a MUST READ.
Please join me in this mission to let people see and understand that IT IS OKAY TO FEEL LIKE YOU ARE NOT READY. It is okay to SUCK. It is okay to be SCARED. It is okay to have no clue what you are doing…
But we must do it anyway… Because the fear shows us our higher callings…
So far in my life it seems like fear and feeling like you’re not ready are always front & center anytime you are doing anything that you are really deeply desire and/or are destined to do…
The paradox of surrendering to fear is rarely easy in practice (at least for me so far). But…
Maybe even try what I am doing & just jump in and learn and grow along the way. That is exactly what I am doing with this newsletter, my blog, my writing, my filming and all of my creative work.
I am starting with the faith that I will become something by doing. I will discover, learn, and maybe even that something will be great. But really, who knows and who cares…
Let us live for the journey! The magic always & forever lives in the adventure (not in some final destination).
And before I end, some suggestions for getting the most out of the Alchemized:
Try what grabs your attention.
Keep what works for you.
Share what you personally like.
And leave the rest.
THANK YOU for being a part of the birth of the Alchemized! It is always through others that we manifest, realize, actualize, and LIVE our VISION & DREAMS. Because YOU have taken the time and energy to view this (and maybe even share it) I am living my vision & dream of being a transformation artist & leader. And for this I will always & forever be grateful to you. Even if we never meet. You are still a part of my journey because we shared this creative work together.
In the following newsletters I will continuously optimize for form, function, and resources that you can harness for all aspects of the alchemical journey of life.
In gratitude & service,
Justin David Carl
P.S. Please forward this to anyone who may find it useful. That would mean the world to me!
“The moment that you feel, just possibly, you are walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind, and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself…That is the moment, you might be starting to get it right.” –Neil Gaiman
If any of this any of this moved, touched, or inspired you please join my newsletter here:
*I will never send spam or share your email. Only awesome alchemical things I want to share sent directly from me to you.
(Another take of “Starting Before You’re Ready” — still a mess. But finding incremental improvement by DOING. And I am learning to embrace my own fear by sharing my unfinished creative mess.)
(And a third version… confidence & flow on film is improving, filming angle & setup improving, and then the camera overheats and shuts down before I finish…FML… Oh, the irony of learning by doing and incremental improvement…)