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The Inner Child: A Suicidal Eight Year Old

My story begins at a fracture point in childhood. There was a crescendo of events which eventually lead to me writing over and over, "I HATE MYSELF," in a journal. I had assumed responsibility for an error in being born. It was an imagined error, obvious to a young mind stretching to cope with a broken household.

I lived with my Mother and Stepfather with weekend visits to my Stepmother and Father two hours away. It was almost like living in two different worlds. In one world I witnessed constant arguing and suffered under the thumb of emotional abuse. In another world I was...a kid. There were times when I cried on the way back from weekend visits.

So one day after scribbling my daily mantra in a journal, I wrapped a plastic bag around my head and tied it with intentions of killing myself. There was a very deep sob and so much sorrow behind it that vomited from my mouth. I was done. Something moved me to take the bag off though, and whether it was the body's natural reflex or something else, I leaned back against my bed and decided to close my heart.

I decided never to be hurt again.

It's no wonder that some years later I'd feel trapped by a prison of my own design. It felt like a little boy was on an island by himself, guarded by an array of magical creatures, while waiting deep inside a dungeon. This feeling caked over well into adulthood. The only thing that could get through was death.

My best friend was hit by a train in ninth grade. His death pierced through thick layers of determination to thwart off feeling and I shut down under the weight of unbearable loss. It was in that experience though after weeks of staying in bed that I touched a twinkle of inspiration. Somehow I knew that everything was okay. There was something in me that was much stronger than the sorrow and years of pain I had tried to ignore. It was bigger than any dreams I had at the time. It was an unshakable resolve, alive and deeply compassionate. I wanted to tell as many people as possible and, having grown up spending a lot of time in the church, I became fascinated with becoming a preacher.

My work in the church as a teenager and young adult is directly connected to the values of my inner child. Somehow I became a youth leader and was eventually asked to help build a youth program for ten to thirteen year olds. This began a completely new chapter in my life where I started listening to the eight year old.

The Message

There has always been this nagging feeling to share a message that helps others. It probably doesn't help that many people, from family and close friends to total strangers, have encouraged this. Running alongside this deep desire to share testimony about how remarkable life can be is a fear in the lack of credibility to the message. It hasn't really felt authentic, until now.

I've seen over the last few years that when you not only step out of your comfort zone, but put full, unconditional trust in the universe, it responds. You become open enough to notice an unmistakable magic that permeates all experience. Life truly is remarkable, and I've seen it firsthand.

The message hadn't felt authentic because it wasn't lived yet. It was an ideal, and ideals are meant to be challenged. Otherwise, how would you know their value?

It isn't easy to challenge ideals. I'm always reminded of two very cold nights in San Francisco where I was hungry, begging for food. I was there after following an intuitive pull to travel up to the Bay Area from Los Angeles. A mother visiting from London with her toddler had picked me up on the side of the rode near Malibu and we rode up to San Francisco together. Everything up to that point felt like divine guidance, and then I was stuck. Not only stuck, but the more I reached out and begged, the more people ignored me. I became invisible. It wasn't the first time, but it was so significant because the ideal of a benevolent universe responding to unconditional trust had been crushed, and with it, another layer of arrogance.

Every personal ideal is rooted in arrogance. Being crushed under the weight of it futile self-importance opens the door to discover how tremendously okay everything is. It's a strange paradox to go through feeling abandoned to know beyond a doubt that you're not.

So my message isn't that everything is okay if you believe it. Believing might be a step, but it seems to me that putting belief into action really proves it to yourself that you have nothing to worry about. You have to leap in order to know you've got wings that come up from behind you, instinctively.

My Guru

A project which has been a long time coming, something that my entire twenties were geared toward, is Brian Lathai.

I wanted to create a brand from the ground up that featured a personality, but a personality that wasn't necessarily me. A character, essentially. Stephen Colbert is a great example, except where his message revolves around politics, mine would revolve around spirituality. It's not simple commentary though.

One of those most fulfilling experiences of my career has been to work with kids as an assistant youth pastor. I looked at the Sunday School model and knew that for me growing up, it wasn't very effective. Staring at poorly drawn images of Jesus on cheap comic book paper while an old lady doused in perfume spent more time berating us for behavior was what Sunday School. I wanted to create something different.

The model that was developed was to use personal experience as a way to demonstrate God's love. I encouraged my staff to be open about their struggles and talk about ways they saw God working in their lives. As a result, we created a brand new ministry from the ground up which grew to over 300 students. Not all of them showed up at once, thankfully, but overtime we built a family that was different than anything seen in the church. Personal experience works.

Over the last few years I've come to a place of personal freedom. It's not a freedom that's owned, but one that's recognized every day and I feel it's my purpose to share what that's like. Brian Lathai is a vehicle for sharing freedom.

This feels...good, and that's why I'm doing it. I've learned to follow what feels good. I'm excited to keep this blog going as a way to discuss what it's like on this end of things. That's to say, this blog will remain personal, while Brian Lathai, and everything published under that brand, will remain impersonal. In effect, Brian is my guru.