“Know Thyself,” Socrates said. It’ll be fun he said.
False. Socrates, you’re a fucking asshole for this one.
It will not be fun. It will not be easy. It will be messy. It will get dirty. It will be uncomfortable. It will bring you to your knees. It will consume you with doubt, fear, anxiety, sorrow, and anger. It will make you question everything you thought you knew about yourself. But, it will be worth it. There’s a part of you worth exploring that’s probably looked at the same way you’ve been looking at the Shake Weight you bought five years ago; “I’ll get around to it one day.”
But to explore that part of your inner landscape will make everything, that I just mentioned, seem worth it.
I welcome you guys to “The Roadmap to Connection” series. This series will take place over the next six weeks. Every Wednesday night I will be releasing a new blog as a part of the series. Each blog will cover a new topic, that from start to finish in chronological order, will be a roadmap that hopefully gets you guys more in touch with yourselves.
Sometime within the past couple of years, I was able to narrow down my mission statement (actually wasn’t possible without going through this entire process). The aforementioned mission statement being, help people alleviate their suffering. I think I’ve always had an idea that this was it, but wasn’t quite sure how I would do it. Actually, I’m still not. But, I am trying and this is a step in the right direction.
Regardless, this is something that means a great deal to me because I know what it feels like to suffer. I mean, shit, everyone does. But for whatever reason, once I strip away all the bullshit in my life, this is the direction I feel most compelled to do something about. This is where I feel that what’s unique to me meets the road.
I know what it’s like to live with anxiety and depression. I know what it’s like to wakeup day after day only to be consumed with a feeling of dread that seems impossible to shake. For a period of my life, that feeling of dread would consume my entire being and make me question how I was going to make it through another day.
Over the years, as I would think of my suffering and started shattering this illusion that I was different from everyone else––that no one could ever understand what I was going through (a.k.a pulling one’s head out of one’s ass)––I finally realized that this suffering was in each and everyone of us and what I can say is this; ever since I’ve started going down this road, life has taken a step in the right direction.
I got to this point by hitting my version of rock bottom. I was at a point where I hated who I was, who I was becoming, and the direction that my life was heading. It’s not like I just decided that I was going to go down this path and start doing the internal work chasing down my demons like I was in Resident Evil. Fuck no. That’s some scary shit. Have you ever even fought Tyrant?
The work is not done. It never will be, and I’ve learned to be ok with this. Even that fact was a challenge coming from someone who wanted all the answers right away. This is not to brag but to illuminate, that the way out of suffering is through it.
There is no other way.
I cannot stress this enough. I know people don’t want to hear that, but it’s the absolute truth. If someone’s trying to sell you the secret to enlightenment in four weeks for three easy payments of $49.95, please slap them. There is no miracle pill, or drug, or program, that is going to fix suffering for you. They can certainly help and shouldn’t be discredited, but at the end of the day, all the answers that you’re looking for to help alleviate whatever troubles you’re experiencing––if you are––are within you already. Not even this series will be your saving grace. Hopefully it will point you in the right direction so you can start doing the work if you have not already begun the process.
I’m taking these next couple of weeks extremely seriously and I hope to get you guys to a point where you can deconstruct these ideas, thoughts, and theories for yourself. Come to your own conclusions, decide if what I’m saying is a crock of shit or if it resonates.
This series is going to challenge you, and it’s going to be uncomfortable. I can for sure promise you that. I’m sorry, but I’m not. But I am––not. But I am, not sorry, that I’m not sorry. Sorry (this one’s real). I was having fun.
At the end of the day, there is no difference between you or me. I don’t have the answers, only what has worked for me in hopes that it may help. When I look back on my process, this is the roadmap that got me to where I am at today. It’s up to you to decide if this is a path worth traveling. Only you can answer that question.
So, if I still have your attention, let’s get into it, shall we?
The Pursuit of Self
Before we can even begin to see what these next few weeks have in store for us, we need to lay out the groundwork and ask ourselves, “why is this even worth it?” Why is this pursuit of self necessary? And what does that even fucking mean in the first place, guy?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
The Pursuit of Self – One’s interest in getting to know themselves on a deeper level. But I already know myself. Maybe you do. But are you entirely sure about that?
Do you know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it? Do you understand what you’re saying and why you’re saying it? Have you questioned all of your core beliefs? Do you even know why they’re your beliefs in the first place? Are they even your beliefs? Or are they just a subconscious program that has been playing in the background for the past ten years making you think those are you beliefs? Do you know what your triggers are? Do you know why they set you off? Do you know that behind our triggers there is, most likely, deeply rooted trauma? Are you willing to explore that trauma? What happens if that trauma challenges your identity? What happens if doing the internal work defies your identity, interest, career, or relationships?
Fuck you, Justin. Fair enough.
This, my friends, is the pursuit of self. The willingness to explore who you are on a deeper level no matter what challenges lie ahead.
Why go down this road? – A couple of weeks ago while I was driving home, I was taking a moment to reflect on my life. At that moment I had a sudden overwhelming feeling of gratitude that instantly consumed me. It was in that moment that I felt extreme appreciation for being able to experience life. But, more importantly, I was beyond grateful to be experiencing life through my eyes. The eyes of Justin Alito––some weird, crazy dude.
Again, this is not me bragging or being full of myself. This is me letting you know that this is why the pursuit of self is worth it. For those exact moments. These moments show their face across a broad spectrum, and when they’re experienced, there is no denying them.
I’m sure by now we’ve all experienced moments like this and it doesn’t have to revolve around you. How about a perfect morning? Or possibly, when you and your partner are in unison. Or the type of stillness that can only be found in nature. Maybe it is that perfect cup of coffee while you and your partner are sharing a content moment on a lazy rainy Sunday making it the perfect morning. Boom. Winner winner chicken dinner.
In Zen Buddhism, they refer to these moments as “Satori.” Sudden enlightenment or seeing into one’s true nature. A moment where the ego takes a hike bringing his buddies judgment, attachment, and identification, close by his side.
The more we unravel who we truly are––or I should say who we are not (more on that in this series) ––the more easily we come across moments like these. We start to enjoy our own company on a deeper level. We begin to form a better relationship with ourselves. That relationship helps us manage the things that bother us most. We start to become more of a joy to those around us because we’re stepping up to the plate to look at our bullshit, so it doesn’t spill onto the ones we love. We start to become okay with the idea that we are forever changing; to cling to a sense of who we think we are, is foolish. But we become ok with that, we begin to embrace whatever version of ourselves has yet to come.
This is where the magic is. This is where we realize our worth and become excited about exploring every aspect of who we are.
Our relationship with ourselves will be the longest and the most intimate relationship we will ever experience in this lifetime. There are no re-dos. Even if reincarnation is your thing, you won’t be coming back as Erica, Matt, or Josh. So, get to know every single cell of who you are, right now, in this lifetime.
Unfortunately, I don’t think that this path is for everyone. Not because I believe that there are “the chosen ones,” but because not everybody will do the work that’s required. Not everybody wants to do the work that is required. Or maybe now is not the right time for them to do the work that’s necessary. Or maybe the idea of exploring their inner landscape has zero appeal to them. Or perhaps the person is doing fan-fucking-tastic with where they are.
Do you guys even need to sit here and examine yourself day after day like this? Probably fucking not, man. I’m just neurotic. But on some level, we should be willing to step up to the plate to do the work. There is no right or wrong here. Everyone is on their own path and will know when it’s time to do the work––if it’s something they want to do.
Just because I try and make a conscious effort to do the work, doesn’t mean that my life is fixed. Not every day is easy for me. Putting in the time doesn’t mean you suddenly turn into Oprah. I still have things about myself that I continue to work on. I still struggle with the shadow aspect of myself, a lot. That struggle makes me question everything. That struggle also keeps anxiety and depression close by. But this idea of making it to my grave not having utilized every chance that I have been given to explore this human meat vehicle to the fullest scares the shit out of me.
Six years ago, before all this started, I don’t think I could have ever pictured myself in my current shoes. This is why I’m doing this. When you’re completely surrounded by darkness, the way out seems like a mere fairy tale. But I’m telling you, it’s there. My relationship with myself is the best that it’s ever been and I’ve come to genuinely enjoy who I’ve become. And you guessed it, I owe it all to this process. How bout them apples?
Head down this path if you feel called to it, and I know you won’t regret it. I look forward to these next couple of weeks. Peace out, fuckers! (And I only use fuckers because this blog was one of the heavier ones, so by peace out, fuckers, I mean, well… peace out, fuckers.)