Maybe it was too early.
Asking the big questions about life & reality at the age of 14 wasn’t ideal — I opened myself to a portal of darkness well before I was ready to handle it.
By the time I turned 19, I’d already been through a few years of internal hell.
An unrelenting cocktail of questions, frustrations, anger, fear, and self pity had me walking on thin ice. I was helpless and lost in the jungle of life… in the jungle of my mind.
On the inside I was totally detached from society, but on the outside I was being sucked deeper into the system. And within the mishmash of conflict, rebellion, forced compliance, contradiction, isolation, and self pity, I lost all my dignity. I didn’t even know what it was anymore…
I spiraled into a black-hole of depression.
For the next 3 painfully long years, I masked everything by drowning in alcohol, drugs, negative companionship and never ending work days — culminating in a dark 4-week period, when I made consecutive attempts to end my life.
Multiple failures on, I had turned into a numb-soul, who refused to take responsibility for my actions. All had pretty much seemed lost, when in one of those prolonged hours of darkness, I screamed out:
It was a powerful moment, because it led me to a point of reflection. I realized I was the ultimate contradiction: Everything I hated about the world, I was that towards myself.
It also led me to recognize that my rebellion was a reaction to the internal contrast, and not a response from a set of values clearly understood by me.
This was one of those ‘holy-shit’ moments!
I knew, for the 1st time in my life, there’s a way out of this self-induced hell. But this was no longer going to be an escape. This was to be a liberation.
I had to break the artificial mold.
This meant breaking-up with everything which had been familiar until then. I thought hard, cried about it, felt good for a bit, then cried some more, as fear deeply paralyzed me along this process.
Eventually in a moment of madness, I summoned the courage and shattered this demon!
Now… I was completely lost.
But how could I be lost? I was lost because I shattered the artificial mold, and I no longer had an identity to hold onto.
It lasted very briefly. I didn’t know how to sustain it and my fears made a swift return.
Although, this time something within me decided I wasn’t going to just cave in. I felt the fear, recognized it, listened to it, but despite all of it I embraced what was to be my period of ultimate transition.
So one bright Sunday morning around 12 years ago, I decided to give away all my material possessions, toxic associations, and the old sense of misery…
I decided to walk into the unknown.
I began my journey of self discovery by unplugging from the matrix.
All I held onto was a $20 note, a backpack of clothes, and one last sandwich. Taking this step was absolute madness, but somehow it felt right.
This was in complete contrast to how I’d been living / feeling most of my life: Wallowing in fear, negativity & pessimism.
It’s hard to try and express the feeling of lightness that came upon me, as I took my first steps out the door.
As I began walking down the street, 3 years of painful depression, in an instant just fell away. It felt like the entire burden of my past had been let go, in one single moment of madness.
This madness seemed like the perfect antidote for my previous kind of insanity.
I walked down the street feeling so totally present that in some strange way all of a sudden everything seemed possible. It was such a weird feeling for someone who didn’t know much else, apart from fear, pain, and confusion.
I smiled at pretty much everyone that day, while I sat in silence in a corner in the middle of a crowded city.
I was in such a unique place within myself; in some weird way I was even excited while wondering where I would sleep that night.
Just as I had this thought, a name spontaneously popped into my head.
It was the name of someone I’d chatted to— for all of 15 minutes — many months ago in some random bar. But in those few minutes I do remember we’d had a fantastic little conversation.
Beyond this, the only details I could remember were his first name, the far away town he lived in, and quite vaguely, his profession.
So my crazy feeling was to turn up at his house (3-hours away), unannounced. I didn’t know if he’d even remember me, considering the man was pretty intoxicated the evening I met him.
My rational side immediately shot back: ‘What, you fuckin’ crazy? Don’t do it!’
But I was in no mood to shake off my intuition.
I made my way to the train station, only to find at the ticket booth that I was short of the required fare.
I was not disheartened though, and I decided to make myself feel even lighter. I put my backpack into a storage locker (which cost me 10 dollars) and decided to go down to the beach to relax for a bit.
I knew there was going to be a way to make this trip happen…
As I strolled down towards the beach, my attention was drawn to one of the taller buildings, which was the Casino.
It’s a building I had always feared to visit. I had survived all my life by not taking chances — keeping things tightly controlled.
But on this day I had nothing to lose, so I said: ‘Screw it’.
I walked in, exchanged my remaining 10 dollars for two shiny chips, and put $5 on number 29 on the first Roulette wheel I found.
Dealer then called ‘no more bets’, spun the wheel, and a few seconds later, fate smiled on this first timer… with a 175 dollar win!
What I felt in that moment is hard to describe because I knew I had unlocked something beyond just the win.
I also knew what I had to do next, so exchanged my chips and immediately left for the train station.
I caught the evening coach and arrived at this sleepy little town around 8pm. It took me about 30 minutes to walk from the train station to the center of this little town.
The main street was made up of roughly 7 shops. The only thing open at that time of the evening was a tiny general store, which the lady was about to shut for the night.
For a moment I felt foolish, wondering if this was indeed a stretch too far?
But I decided to chill out, and take a seat on a wooden bench near the store.
The lady from inside the store spotted me. She curiously popped her head out the door and asked: “You don’t seem from around here?”
I said: ‘No. I’m here to surprise a friend, but I seem to have lost his number. It’s my 1st time in this town, and don’t even have his address.’
She asked me his name? I said: ‘It’s Bob’.
“And what is Bob’s family name?”, she inquired.
‘I don’t know, but I do believe he’s a sculptor of some sort’.
“Ah, you must be looking for Bob Finn”, she said.
‘Sounds about right’, I concurred.
“He lives just across the bridge over there”, she pointed, “the little house with the flickering outdoor light.”
I thanked her, and made my way up past the bridge. I knocked on the door.
Bob opened it…
And without the least bit of surprise or hesitation he said: “Hey, welcome!”
This particular moment changed my life forever. It validated — once and for all — the wonderfully mysterious power of intuition.
I spent about a week in this little town. I ate good food, drank good beer, had great conversations, and when I was quite satisfied, I decided it was time to make my way back.
I now had about 50 dollars left in my pocket after paying for my train fare. I arrived back into the city and put my backpack into the locker again. I decided to head down to the beach, to figure out my next port of call.
My wish, however, was to have freedom for a whole month. To just have a nice little place to live in, so I could do some self reflection and maybe write some poetry.
As I walked towards the beach, once again, I saw the casino building on my left.
So I did it again.
This time it took 3–4 spins, but I won again!
I had no strategy, I was simply having fun exploring this new way of being in my life.
I bet on random numbers I observed around the other Roulette tables in my vicinity. Somehow, I kept winning.
But my analytical mind had to kick in at some point. After a couple of hundred spins I began recognizing some relevant patterns of play.
Long story short. Combining an unbelievably calm mind, active instinct, and the ability to quickly recognize interesting patterns, I walked away with just over a 1000 dollars.
I was now set-up for a month, exactly like I had wished for. I took the cash and decided to head to a new part of town; somewhere I’d never been before.
Strolling down the eclectic main street of this new neighborhood, I came across a little sign on the window of a weird little store. It said room available in house above the shop.
The rent amount per week was perfect to last me just over a month. The owner was an eccentric Jewish guy with 9 kids! And as I found out in this conversation, the entire suburb was mainly a Jewish community.
I’m not Jewish, but for some reason I have crossed paths with this community over a period of time far more than others. Haven’t quite been able to put my finger on why this has been so.
I enjoyed a beautiful night’s sleep at my new home that night. I woke up the next morning to be greeted by a lovely European couple in the kitchen. They were travelers, who’d arrived just an hour earlier.
We shared pleasantries over breakfast, when, out of no where they asked me: “Do you know where the local Casino is?”
I had to pinch myself; this was strange indeed. I had certainly not told the shop owner anything about my adventures.
So I said to them: “Yes, I do know of it.”
Now, I was respectful of what had transpired so brilliantly over the last week of my life. I was not going to mess it up. I had no intentions of going back to the casino — definitely not out of greed.
Then, they asked me: ‘Can u take us there tonight?’
I was in such free flow with life over the last week, and they both seemed so friendly, I said: ‘Yeah, sure.’
We headed down to the Casino that evening.
When we got there I asked them what game they wanted to play?
To my surprise they said Roulette; they had no idea about my previous wins at this point.
I said, ok, lets try the personalized Roulette screens. The personalized section was set up in way so the wheel and the dealer were in the center, and individual betting screens & seats were set up in a circle around him.
I decided to let my new friends play for a bit, while I watched. It turned out that they were quite horrible at this game!
After they’d lost about 80 dollars, I said to them: ‘I’ll sit on a screen opposite you guys, and prompt you to the numbers I’ll be betting on.’
With a wry smile, I said: ‘Trust me.’
They smiled back, realizing I may just know something they don’t...
Over the next couple of hours, I seamlessly moved from 100 dollars to a 1000 dollars. I was betting in denominations of 2 and 5 dollars straight on single numbers, giving myself the best chance of getting the highest return.
My European friends, however, were conservatively betting 50 cents on each of these numbers.They were simply happy to be winning, instead of losing their cash — they were actually a bit amazed.
Then the inevitable happened: Greed arrived. I began to lose focus and started losing money — quickly falling from 1000 to about 150.
I was aware that I’d arrived at the casino with a 100 dollars, and I decided at worse, I was happy to go back home with that same amount of money.
The moment that I made this decision, I felt something change inside me. I knew somehow with a strange amount of certainty, what the next number was going to be.
I motioned my friends to put 10 dollars on zero. They said: “No way”. But I insisted: ‘Put 10-dollars on zero. If u lose it I’ll give u 20-dollars for your loss.’
So we all bet on zero.
Despite my offer, they only bet 5-dollars, but I bet 50 dollars straight.
I was now up by 1,850 dollars. No sooner did this happen, my state of feeling and certainty went to a completely different level. I felt sharp, clear and focused. It felt like everything around me had slowed down.
It was that feeling, which is often described as being in the zone. If you’ve watched the movie Limitless it felt like maybe I was on nzt.
I started betting 100-dollars straight, on numbers I deemed to be good bets. It’s a real pity the casino had limited the maximum bets on these electronic screens to a 100 dollars for single numbers. If not, I would’ve walked out of there with stupid amounts of money that night.
Even with the maximum limits, in about 2 hours I was up by 15,000 dollars. I had now brought myself about a full year of living and relaxation.
I felt this was certainly enough for now; I decided to call it a night.
Needless to say, my friends ended up winning 10 times more than they had ever won, in any casino in Europe before.
Following this, things only kept getting better. One amazing experience after another kept coming my way throughout the year. It ended up as one of the best years of my life.
A magical year, in which everything I touched turned to gold! In fact, I didn’t even have to do anything; opportunities and amazing people were just drawn into my world.
Most importantly, the conversations that came about were just so extraordinarily deep and soulful.
All of this ran its course for about 10 or 11 months, before finally for the 1st time that year I sat down and consciously thought about what I had managed to achieve.
No sooner did I have this moment of reflection, it started to happen...
Everything started to collapse around me — almost like it had never existed.
It seems, my journey of self discovery, had only just begun.
Little did I know I was destined to spend the next decade of my life in darkness. Exploring it, understanding it, battling it, refining it, and most importantly, accepting it.
Oh boy, it has been some journey.