Why I Write
And how to transform your suffering
"Where do you find the inspiration to do all these things that you do?" someone who I barely know asked me recently.
“From Pain." I replied. This resulted in an awkward silence that could slit a throat.
The person wished me sunnier days in my future, before anxiously changing the subject. I found that counterintuitive, but accepted her wish because sunnier days are indeed awesome.
However, I had spent most of the past ten years finding ways to talk about the darker days and the pain that came along with them.
It is a pain that runs around in my psyche like an active beaver, digging tunnels of remarkable depths and detail. Some corners of its intricate web are extremely dark. Others I would just rather not see, and others that I would really rather not remember.
In my search for finding my own gumption despite the suffering, I have found countless tools, books, people, frameworks and ceremonies that helped me see this suffering and transmute it into something meaningful.
This is what In Search of Gumption is about, sharing our stories of pain together, so that we may rise on their ashes.
Ladies, gentlemen, and everyone in between, welcome back to In Search of Gumption where storytelling meets mental health, self awareness and the ability to pursue our wildest dreams. I am your co-host, Omar Shaker’s Future Self. More about me in a second…
We appreciate you being here, and we bring you tales of healing from all over the world, including our own.
Here are some updates:
📹 I have experimented with some video content that proved popular but unsustainable while traveling in Kenya. The Lamu Diaries will be back when the time is right! I have tons of footage, plenty of wifi but not enough time yet.
❓ The biggest question you have asked us is: What does gumption mean?
Great question, here is our favorite answer:
noun gump·tion | \ ˈgəm(p)-shən : Spirited initiative and resourcefulness.
In our world, gumption is the antonym of burning out and being depressed and we will dedicate a whole post to the definition.
👉 This year, we'll be trying out new kinds of content to assist you on your life journey as we continue finalizing the novel 📖 and preparing Season 2 of The Gumpcast.🎙️
🇰🇪 Paul and I spent sometime in Lamu Kenya (where the novel protagonists are from) and we have reflected on our intentions and revisited our core values.
Are you ready for this?
🌟 Our Core Values 🌟
🧘 #1 Walking the walk and always learning:
We continue to heal and share from a place of vulnerability. We want to share the journey with you, and not just the learnings.
🤺 #2 Active Participation of Community:
We want YOU to share YOUR stories with us and become part of this project. We are brainstorming ways to make this happen and are open for ideas. Focus groups, online threads, and virtual support groups are the ideas we heard from you so far.
You can start by commenting on posts that resonate with you to let us know what the content brings up for you. We will also be inviting two new creative collaborators to join us this year!
🤹♂️ #3 Keeping it Fun:
We’re both overachievers who don't want to burnout so we'll do the things that feel most meaningful to us, and we hope that you continue finding this content playful despite its seriousness.
👇 At the end of this post I’ll leave you with what to expect this year and ways to be part of this project.
As I hit thirty four this year, I reflect back on my twenty five year old self and I remember the suffering in his eyes. He felt hurled into a universe of anxiety and insecurity. There were too many opinions around how he should live his life and they clouded his brain, soul and purpose.
He was a depressed and burnt out doctor who felt like he was not enough. He walked to work every morning dreading his colleagues, his patients and himself. He saw his country rise for a revolution and that lifted his spirits for a brief moment in time, before reality set in within a few months and crushed those hopes.
He changed careers, travelled across the world, partied like its 1967, made new friends, fought new enemies, and climbed new mountains. The pain still remained though, and he was still too afraid to go down the tunnels of his mind and soul. He did not want to go back in time and revisit his old insecurities because of how painful they were. So, he kept searching outside of himself, instead of going within.
He felt like he needed to carry this pain over his own shoulders and for as long as possible. He carried wounds that he was not aware of. He believed himself to be separate from his ancestors. He thought he could keep a straight face, and walk down life’s path alone.
Most painfully, he felt like he is not worth connecting to others until he has fixed himself first.
The murky waters of depression filled up the tunnels dug up by the beaver of shame in his mind. His soul was suffocated by words unspoken and feelings unprocessed.
Above all, he was afraid to show anyone that he was in this pain. He could not afford to let anyone know that he was not magnificently on top of his shit. So the shit festered, until it was unbearable for him to sit on.
I am that twenty five year old's future self.
He has uncovered me through the bliss and loneliness of travel, the isolation of being burnt-out and depressed, the confusing exploration of sex and sexuality, the endless hours of reading depth and masculine psychology, the experiencing of men’s circles and learning to facilitate them, the profound trauma released through psychedelic ceremonies, singing, dancing, learning about his Internal Family Systems, and becoming a Functional Medicine practitioner who is infinitely curious about his body.
🔭 More about all of the above themes in the next few months….stay tuned for Sunday posts.
Above all, he has uncovered me by writing everyday, and my intention for writing a novel is to continue his healing process.
I am here with you because he decided to learn what lies deep within the tunnels of his mind, and writing has been the biggest key to integrating all of these experiences. I will recount and break them down for you through this project.
✋ The honest answer about why I chose to write a novel about human suffering is that I want to continue my healing.
✋…and the honest answer for why I created a newsletter is that I want to do it in the company of other people…
✋…and lastly, the honest answer for the hardest thing about this, is how to make it sustainable and keep it going.
I write because I do not want to isolate in my pain anymore, I want to share the tools I have found with you, and make it all as entertaining as possible so that we can all get a kick out of it while we inspire each other.
🤷♂️ Despite my experiences, I have found many of them hard to integrate and even harder to translate. Writing this novel is a huge part of consolidating these learnings for myself and I hope that you get something out of it as well.
Enter the purple flame (aka Violet flame)
Imagine a transparent glass box with small holes and splashes of glitter all over its sides. Inside the box, is a single purple candle whose wax melts beneath it into a perfect pyramid, making it look like a tiny volcano. Above the candle is a translucent purple flame that lights up with sparks and powerful fireworks. Now take a deep breath in, and breath all the pain and suffering you are experiencing right now into the box. All the rumination, all the negative things you tell yourself, all the pain you carry on your shoulders. Blow all that out of your chest for a moment, and let that purple flame consume the heated thoughts. Watch as the relentless purple volcano boils these ingredients and transmutes them into a minted golden coin with the number 1 on it.
🥇 That golden coin is for you to keep. May it remind you that you can transmute your suffering into something good for you. The number 1 is to remind you that your mental health and wellbeing is more important than anything else. 🥇
Such is the power of St. Germaine’s Violet flame of Transmutation1. That flame takes your pain, worries and suffering and transforms them into an experience that is meaningful. A context that is healing. A reality that is more fulfilling. A sleep that is deeper and a breath that is joyous. See footnote to go full-on woo with this concept.
Here is a meditation as well if you would like to go deeper:
If you are resistant to concepts such as the violet flame…
Then you are in the right place. Trust me, you are not alone. Furthermore, this is an opportunity to get to know yourself a little better. Part of me is skeptical of anything and everything outside of me. The more I learn, the more I know what works for me, and how to tweak what doesn’t.
Ask yourself: Why is there so much resistance to such a benign concept as this purple flame? What part of you is screaming out “This is so stupid!”. Nice. Good work. Now go talk to someone you trust about it, journal about why you hate the purple flame idea so much, or read something about the spiritual realm that scares you.
Congratulations, you have transmuted something painful into something that is good for you. This is obviously not a literal flame, just a tool available to you in your psyche all the time. Make it red, make it green, whatever floats the boat of your thoughts, and gets it sailing away from shore.
So, what is next on In Search of Gumption?
What I intend to show you (and remind myself of) over the next few months is that suffering is optional. Yes shit happens, but the suffering is ours to change.
In Search of Gumption is about transmuting our collective suffering into a creative expression that inspires others to do the same.
This newsletter will arm you with information, stories and research on how to turn your pain into beauty and compassion. Subscribe here to get Sunday posts.
The types of posts you can expect every Sunday:
📖 Excerpts from the novel in progress and updates on how it is shaping (I will declare a publishing date in the next few months.)
🔍 Commentaries, essays and resources from the creators on our own healing journeys and what we have tried. (see themes above)
🧵 Threads for discussion after every post.
✍️ Short Stories of gumption that inspire you for your busy week.
🦸♂️ New authors and commentators on the topics we discuss.
🎙️ More audio (The Gumpcast) and 🎥 video (Lamu Diaries) content coming your way when we have enough gumption to give them the attention they deserve.
How to support, join, and collaborate with us:
❤️🔥. If you enjoy a post, click on the love button to let us know we did a good job.
📝 If a post resonates with you, leave a comment and use the Wednesday threads to let us get to know you more.
✉️ If you know someone who can benefit please share this project with them.
✋ If you want to share your story on the podcast, in an anonymous short story, or in a blog post. Send us your story at firstname.lastname@example.org
🤝🏿 If you want to collaborate, cross promote us, or host us to speak at your events. Also email us, we want to collaborate. email@example.com
COMING UP NEXT SUNDAY, SAME TIME, IN YOUR INBOX:
I will share an excerpt from a journal entry that got me started into writing this novel in the first place and has become a part of the novel itself. Stay tuned for next Sunday, I’ll take you down one of the tunnels I described here today.
Thanks for reading In Search of Gumption! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
This is more widely referred to as St. Germain’s violet flame. Saint Germain Mystery of the Violet Flame unlocks the mysteries of the violet flame, a high-frequency light that you can use to change your life and the world around you. Experienced by mystics and known to spiritual teachers East and West, the violet flame dissolves negative energy and restores it to positive energy.