I grew up in a rough neighbourhood and harsh circumstances.

My identity was suppressed, my brown skin hated. My siblings experienced the same things.

We had to learn to fight. To win.

We had to learn to please the powerful, the authorities, to wear a second face. We were scared in the world and scared at home.

We were fortunate though. While home wasn’t a haven, we also had love. We had wisdom. Our parents did the best they could and sometimes it wasn’t great at all. Sometimes it was beyond what a child could hope.

We were abandoned by our father, raised by a step-dad out of his depth and a mother who battled her own demons and eventually overcame them.

In the midst of it all we came through.

We came through strong and ready for the world.

And our family has been healing and growing closer.

So to transform all that hate and anger and sadness and loss into hope, love, joy and giving…that’s been my life journey.

Am I perfect at it? Heck, no.

But I’m doing my best. Every day.

And sometimes doing my best means that I make mistakes. I speak in a moment of frustration when I should be silent and laugh at myself for taking “me” so seriously.

I have emotional reactions to moments where I feel abandoned or unloved. Sure, these moments last seconds now instead of years, but I do have them.

Sometimes I don’t want to soften my heart. I want to win. I want to assert my ‘rightness’. Until I do soften and I see how silly those feelings were.

But it’s still a journey for me. I am still shedding the young man who bloodied noses, had his own bloodied more than once.

I’m still learning to open my heart and give unconditional love to all people.

I’m still learning patience for those who purposely try to hurt others with cruelty, disdain or indifference.

We all have our story, and for most of us human beings, it hasn’t been an easy one.

We all have our humiliations, our betrayals, our losses and grief.

But what are you gonna do? Live there?

I promise you that there’s no point to it. It’s spiritual cannibalism and we consume our selves and others.

I promise you that choosing to love instead of being right is fulfilling in a way that “winning” could never be.

I promise you that the journey is awesome. For some, like me, it takes time, mindfulness, meditation and prayer. For others it can be instantaneous. But it’s all the same road, and we’re all on it whether we admit it or not.

And I know, it seems like deciding to love instead of win feels like giving up, like losing.

But it’s not.

It’s something better. It’s going beyond all of it. And you still care, but that’s the thing: You actually *care*.

It’s not an anxiety or anger laden thing. It’s a literal care, a love and nurturing thing.

If you don’t see that’s how the world can change then look again.

It’s the only way the world changes.

And to get there, you have to give up the world, give up all the stupid things that weigh you down. Give up jealousy and hate and personal injustice. It makes you small. It holds you down.

You were made to fly.

Drop those weights. Give them up. They’re not important. Protecting life, protecting our children, protecting our four legged, two legged, swimming and winged relations, that’s what’s important.

And we do it in this new way.

Without negative emotions, only truth.

Without reprisals or debates, only love.

We can’t fix things with the tools we used to get into this jam, can we?

So be the best version of you every day. The one who drops the ego, drops the judgement and drops the fear. The version of you that raises others, raises yourself and raises your community.

Be the version of you that you always wanted to be.

Who cares if it’s hard. Of course it is. It’s like learning to walk. No…it’s learning to fly.

And sure, it might take a long time…but are you doing something more important? I know I’m not.

You are a legend waiting to happen. A story waiting to blow people away with how awesome it is. You are the most incredible person to ever be born.

Why? Because you’re right here, right now, in the most pivotal moment in history. That’s not by mistake. The world needs heroes.

The world needs you.

The world needs you to stop fighting and start giving. Stop shouting and start listening. Stop wasting another moment.

We only have so many of them and while life is long, it’s also way too short once you start living it, but so, so incredible and worthwhile.

There are bigger dreams to be fulfilled ahead of you than you’ve ever imagined.

I came from nothing. No inheritance, no influence, no future. A halfbreed kid with no hope who got in fights and saw nothing ahead but crime, poverty and a cynical life. Friends died, or just gave up. Why not me?

But I had what you have:

A heart.
A will.
A voice.
A body.

That’s all it takes.

Use your gifts. Use them now. Use them every day and make them incredible. Strive, work, excel. Strive, work, excel.

Strive, work, excel.

Everything you want in this world will come to you if you can imagine it.

But you gotta work. You gotta move. You gotta take your dreams and make them physical by physically making them.

If you’re not sweating, you’re not living.

The world needs folks who work with intention, with the biggest dreams the universe has ever seen.

That’s who you are, that’s your purpose, that’s your destiny.

Catch on fire, light your spirit, charge your soul.

There’s a reason for all your suffering until now. The reason was to see this message, to read these words, to hear them in your own heart.

Time to start.

Time to really live, love and shine.

It’s your time.

Start now.