WARNING: This is long and super fucking real and raw.
My name is Ken.
My brother and mom call me Kenny.
My dad calls me Kenneth.
When I was five years old my nickname was Speedy Gonzalez, I was the fastest kid on my soccer team. Until I got hit by a drunk driver and couldn't run for more than a year.
Then my dad started calling me Tuffy—and Tuff.
Because I survived a near-death experience—and a double skull fracture. My head split open like a ripe watermelon.
And because only three years prior to this I survived a near-death experience the night I was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes.
It wasn't until a few years ago that I discovered that Ken was a word, not just a name.
Ken: one's range of knowledge or sight.
My mom says that I changed radically after the car accident.
I became more serious.
My school friends were having fun, playing—and sure I did too—but something was different, even if I had no conscious knowledge of what that was.
Since the spring of 1990, when the car accident happened, life has taken me on quite the ride, with many twists and turns. Some I've shared publicly and some remain close to my heart.
My body, mind, soul, and heart have grown and matured.
I've died and been reborn more times than I can count—or even recollect.
Cracked and broken only to regenerate and rebirth.
Yet amidst the many timelines of growth, I've come to notice a single pervading container of maturation.
A deepening expansion into the embodiment of my name.
I spent a lot of my youth fascinated by science. While my friends were exploring alcohol and pot, I was exploring string theory and cellular biology.
While my friends were chasing girls, I was chasing the meaning of life through my studies of Kabbalah and Buddhism.
I've spent my life studying and learning; acquiring knowledge.
To this day, my thirst for truth, for deep embodied knowing, persists and pervades my experience of life.
Every encounter, every experience, every teacher, every book, every hawk that flies over my head helps to expand my range of knowledge and sight.
Often I'm alone in what I see.
You know, as much as I do, that what our eyes see is but a fleeting spark of the divine fire.
What I see and what I know is beyond my eyes, even beyond my words, but I try.
When I was hit by the car I lost my peripheral vision for several weeks.
Blinders were placed upon my eyes.
Those blinders served me to go inward.
To see without the vision—and the eyes—that I had come to depend on.
I learned to see without seeing.
In so many ways that car accident was a rite of passage and an activation of my spiritual vision.
Seeing what others can see is a beautiful gift to be shared.
Coming to see what others cannot see; coming to know what others do not know, has been my road to self-mastery.
I am an X-Man.
So are you—or an X-Woman.
And this power has not come without its fair share of challenge, hardship, difficulty, and deep existential torment.
Yet here I am.
Far more refined than that six-year-old laying in a hospital bed, uncertain and unclear of his future. Unable to imagine how to navigate his life.
Each day my range of knowledge expands.
Each day my sight is sharpened.
Fortunately, I now have 20/20 vision. The loss of peripheral vision was only temporary, a means to unearth a more potent and powerful spiritual vision.
Through direct experience, I know that my inner vision far exceeds my outer vision, yet our world does not measure inner vision.
The eye doctor says I have 20/20 vision.
I say that I have 20/-400 vision.
I can see from 20' what someone with 20/20 vision sees from one foot.
Like an eagle.
I can see in the dark.
Not at night, but in the night of the soul.
Navigating the darkened spaces of the Spirit is where I soar.
And each day that I wake to a new sun, my vision sharpens.
Each day, as Ken expands his Ken, my vision grows.
Ken, Kenny, Kenneth.
The choice is yours.
Either way, I see.
I see me.
I see you.
I see the world.
I see, what was, what is, and what is becoming.
Often what I see weighs heavy on my heart. The pain, the suffering, the hardship, the challenge of being human.
I see the homeless person, with her oxygen tank and wheelchair and wonder where she gets her oxygen.
I see the single unemployed mother doing her best, but uncertain.
I see the shipping containers arriving at Long Beach port, certainly some filled with women for sex trafficking.
I see the innocence being stripped of the smiling child as parent says, "No!"
I see the oil rigs out my window.
I see the struggle of the indigenous.
I see the trash at the beach.
I see the mountains craving water.
I see the layers of sediment in the dried river bed.
I see the fog plaguing men and women.
I see so much more than I can share with words.
I see...and to see is to feel.
I feel, all that I see.
I feel the tremors of the earth beneath me at night.
I feel the grief of the father who lost his son to drugs.
I feel the fear of the birds as drones fly through their playground.
I feel the pain of my friend who lost his wife of 35 years.
I feel the shame of the teenage boy ostracized because of his acne.
I feel so much more than I can share with words.
When I played baseball in the little league my nickname was Smiley, because I was always smiling.
Keeping a smile on my face challenges me.
To smile, amidst all that I see and feel, sometimes feels like a burden.
Other times an opportunity.
Knowing that my Ken, my sight, has a ceiling so to speak.
That I'll see more tomorrow than I see today.
A truth and a knowing that I, and I alone, must carry.
Aria calls me sweetheart.
I am—and have—a tuff smiling sweetheart.
It takes a Tuff Heart to see and feel in this world.
Ignorance is Bliss—and what a paradox that is.
I am ignorant, but not as ignorant as I was yesterday.
And tomorrow I'll feel, for a moment, how ignorant I was today.
Yet, to disconnect bliss from ignorance, this is the path of a master.
To know that my bliss is independent of my ignorance, this is spiritual work.
To see—all that I see—and to smile, that my friends is my work.
And some days it's just easier to smile than others.
Yet, to know, that to smile is a choice.
You can see the original Facebook post here.