As I looked around my apartment there was trash everywhere, weeks of dirty dishes in the sink, and my carpet was covered in stains primarily from vomit. Crack pipes lay strewn across my tables along with heroin needles, garbage, and paraphernalia of all kinds. The state of my apartment very closely resembled the state of my life at that time, which was, to say the least, in shambles. Tour life had chewed me up, gotten me arrested, and then spit me out into a drug-fueled depression. I blew thousands of dollars, including my college loan money, in the bluffs; and when that was gone, I started selling my stuff and stealing copper piping from abandoned warehouses for drugs.
I picked up the dirty needle I had been using for days and looked at it. It was morphing and shifting, inlayed with colorful geometric patterns. That night was the first time in the six months since starting on the needle that I turned my brain on and opened it wide with LSD. In that moment, I felt the heavy gravity of what I had been doing weighing down on me.
It was like I had been living in a dark cavern, blinded by the basest of pleasures and accompanied only by fellow junkies. I was crawling ever deeper into that cavern and the deeper I got, the less I wanted to look back at the light, much less turn around and move towards it. However, that night, blindingly bright flood lights illuminated every crevice of the cavern, powered by my LSD state. One of the greatest powers of LSD is the ability for users to look inside themselves, realize issues that are dormant, subdued, or normally unconscious, and bring them to the fore of consciousness so they can be dealt with. That night, it turned on the lights and illuminated the fucked up nonsense I had let control my life.
I knew in my intuition that I needed to find something productive and creative to fill that hole. So I started reconnecting with my family and the real friends I had neglected. I returned to seeing live music, something I had also neglected during my period of rock bottom. Yet, in my time outside of shows, I was still finding solace in the comfort of pot, spending a lot of unsatisfied time in front of the television. Although I felt a lot better without the junk in my system, I still had no sense of direction or purpose in anything I was doing.
Soon after, I went to see Sound Tribe Sector 9 for Halloween. I stayed sober for the show and afterwards ended up at a hotel. As I was leaving the hotel, I met a guy who asked if I wanted some free posters – and of course I did, so I dipped into his room and started to talk with him about his art. We sat and talked for nearly an hour. He had just recently started making posters, and they were awesome – sacred geometry embedded into well-composed digital designs. I was amazed by how well he was doing in such a short period of time. It dawned on me that this was a productive and creative art that had the potential to replace my illegitimate ventures. He signed my posters with a note that said “Keep Moving Forward.” The light bulb of my mind began to flicker with inspiration.
Although I already had a basic understanding of sacred geometry, I started seeking out more information about the flower of life and similar archetypes. I started learning about the unlimited creative possibilities within these logical and mathematical structures. I had never considered myself a creative person per se, but the ability to work creatively within the confines of highly logical systems made my light bulb grow brighter.
So I went out and bought the cheapest pack of colored pencils I could. I started to draw the flower of life with a ruler and compass, then color it in with my pencils. I spent hours doing this over and over again. I found myself so satisfied in the time I spent on them, and even more so when I finished the colorful product of my inspiration. I was forgoing my stoned hours in front of the television for hours at my desk coloring, and it was far more fulfilling.
With this realization, I cut back on the amount of pot I bought and put my money into a nice set of markers. I continued drawing and coloring strictly sacred geometry. I was absolutely enamored by this art form that was highly logical and yet, also highly creative. I was beginning to use creative muscles that had been dormant since I was a child and it felt great.
I did that until New Year’s Eve, when I again ended up at Sound Tribe. At one of the after parties following, I watched two live painters work on a piece together. Within moments of watching them, it clicked. The realization that I should start painting came as quickly as my realization that drugs had previously squandered my potential. Just watching them paint, I could feel the enjoyment of creation in every seemingly magical brush stroke they made. My light bulb was shining brightly, radiating with inspiration.
Since then, art has given me an avenue through which I can channel my infinite potential. On any given day, if there isn’t something I have to get done, I have numerous art projects which I want to get done. It has given me direction through a medium which now fills me with purpose and the drive to better myself. My existential hole, the same one we all have within us, feels far less empty. It’s given me a role and means of participation at events that allows me to give back in the same manner in which I received inspiration. Receiving is great, without a doubt, but giving back is where the real magic happens.
In my time in this scene, I’ve seen and tangibly experienced the stark dualism of our community. I’ve witnessed its infinite potential to inspire, lift up, and bring light to people. However, I’ve also seen the ease with which one can lose themselves to the scene through the drugs and partying so often validated under false guises – for anything that has great potential for good has an equal potential for ill…
“You have the choice to be your own best friend or your own worst enemy. Why be your own worst enemy? The purest form of inspiration comes from within the self. We can sit around waiting and hoping for some medium of inspiration to come forth into our lives but it will not come until one realizes that, at its core, inspiration is the acknowledgement of the inherent drive to better the self. To experience external inspiration is to see the reflection of our own personal desires in the world around us; the desires that existed deep within, even before a Muse decides to show herself. We all have the power to walk on water, but the end result is dependent on how far you are willing to go to become the best you can be. So let me ask again, why be your own worst enemy when you can be your own best friend?”
I want to send my deepest gratitude and appreciation for what all the artists in our community have done for me and continue to do for our community at large. It truly is inspiration that can be transmuted into positive change for all of us.