A Brief Meditation on the Connections that Create Us

It’s been said that everything in life happens for a reason, and that reason is always for the best. I subscribe to this philosophy wholeheartedly, since it’s yet to let me down. Through my brief studies in Zen Buddhism and my recent reading of Lao Tzu’s Hua Hu Ching, I understand this concept all the better.

Ma Yuan’s “Walking on a Mountain Path in Spring.” Song Dynasty, c.1160.

Everything we do is intrinsically linked to everything we’ve done and will do. Yet too often we take up arms against this natural Way of life, causing ourselves needless stress and anxiety. The sooner we accept what it is we are, the sooner we’ll be able to embrace the success and contentment we truly deserve. I certainly have, and I can only hope it’s the beginning of greater things to come.

In my brief 34 years, I’ve been afforded many wondrous opportunities to be myself. From the moment I received my first acceptance letter from Enigma for my poem “Paradise Lost” (much shorter than that other John’s poem) and turned my first 30-page script into an hour-and-a-half feature-length film to landing my first book deal, I’ve counted myself among the lucky ones who’ve been fortunate enough to share their stories with the world. Attending New York Comic Con this year further whetted a long dormant desire in me to write a comic book after I drafted the first issue of an original graphic horror story. And most recently, I’ve been offered a tremendous new opportunity to work with a team of dedicated individuals whom I greatly respect to lend a hand to crowdfunders and help get their projects noticed and funded, all because someone took notice of the advice I’ve been sharing on Twitter over the past three months under my #CF4Filmmakers hashtag.

Regardless of how it all turns out, none of this could have ever happened without connections. I’m not talking about the people we connect with, but rather the distinct vibrations of the universe that lead us to particular points in the time and space of our lives. For instance, I crowdfunded my short film Cerise on Indiegogo, something I could not have done had I not joined Twitter first and met a couple hundred awesome people who shared my interest in filmmaking. People like Gregory Bayne, who helped pique my interest in crowdfunding when I saw he was raising money online for his documentary Jens Pulver: Driven. Because of this, I launched my own campaign and raised $1,300 over my $5,000 goal from folks like you. My campaign ultimately led me to write a trio of blog posts, and those posts paved a direct path to Michael Wiese Productions, where I pitched the premise for what would become Crowdfunding for Filmmakers: The Way to a Successful Film Campaign.

That’s a proud me holding up a proof copy of Crowdfunding for Filmmakers.

One event connects to the next, and it’s this culmination of events that helps shape what I call “The Pu of You” (hmm…sounds like another book title…) Pu is the ancient Taoist concept of the “Uncarved Block.” The majority of us spend a lifetime trying to make ourselves what we want to be, and this can be a very positive thing, of course. But if the obstacles presented before us are too great to overcome, or if our skills necessary to make us thrive remain uncultivated, we carve ourselves in vain. If we let go, however, and allow the universe to create what it wants of us, then we become something else entirely. I’d always known I was a writer, but prior to my completing Crowdfunding for Filmmakers, I never thought it possible for me to focus on a long-term writing project and see it through to the end. That’s why I’ve billed myself as a poet for the past twenty years –– poems are short and can be finished (contrary to Paul Valéry’s old adage that a poem is never finished, only abandoned). But finishing a 253-page book, including three rewrites and a number of additional revisions? That gave me the confidence I needed to embrace the writer with a capital “W,” which the universe was trying to lure out of me despite my own uncertainty and doubt in my abilities.

And what if the universe has something different in store for me for the future? If that’s the case, it’s just fine by me. I know it’ll be all for the best. The connections that push us in the directions we’re headed have only our best interests in mind. If an obstacle thwarts our way, we need only find a new path around it. And we do this all the time. Some of us just over-think it, is all, and hold tight to things like regret and that heart-gnawing question: “What if?” But the truth is there is no “what if?” There’s only “what now?” We need to leave that kind of mental baggage on the side of the path ahead and never dwell too long on the detour sign that’s occasionally placed before us. After all, a detour is simply a new direction to the same destination. Enjoy the ride.

What advice, philosophies, and/or beliefs do YOU subscribe to on your journey towards greater things ahead? Share them in the comments section below. I’d love to read them!

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