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Thoughts of a Fractured Soul

Acceptance vs Ambition - Where Do We Draw The Line

Talk about thrilling. I was sitting in my seat waiting for the hit play “Secrets of a Black Boy” to start and I could literally feel the energy and the buzz of anticipation all around me. People were genuinely excited about this show, and after seeing it myself for the first time, I shared their excitement. secretsI was invited out by the writer of the play, Darren Anthony, whom I had just met a couple weeks earlier. We had a chance to chat when we first met, and he was excited about his show’s upcoming road-trip to DC and Baltimore after first debuting just over five years ago here in Toronto. We also spoke about commitment and perseverance, an d the courage to take that final leap of faith and do whatever it takes to follow what you know is your calling.

He was admittedly a bit nervous about making that jump, and we got into a discussion about where to draw the line between accepting where you are in life, accepting what you’ve accomplished and where you’ve come, and balancing that with the ambition you feel to do more? How do you stop when you know in your heart there’s so much more to for you to do, so many more lives to touch and people to inspire?

We spoke about how our loved ones play a role in those decisions, how maybe having a child or long term relationship changes the outlook of what we thought would be our future. And that may be true, and many people can substitute “child” or “relationship” with any other external influence - family, work, time - and have that be their scapegoat of choice.

But anyone who’s been reading my blog for the past year, anyone who knows me personally and understands what I stand for knows scapegoats don’t exist in my world. Teenage parent, so what. I still graduated from university. High school dropout, no problem. Now I’m a successful writer and first time author with readers and fans all over the world.

I create my own reality, I dictate what’s possible, I dictate my present and my future. A few years ago I pictured my life as it is right now, and right now I’m busy creating more mental molds of what my life will be during the next five years. I don’t know how wrong or how right this is, but there is no line for me. My balance is weighted completely on the side of ambition, squarely one sided on the scale of not accepting anything less than what I know I am meant to do, on what I am doing right now. chess-316658_640

I’m not a dreamer because I live this reality everyday. I am not delusional because I set goals and continue to shatter them. I play without a lifeline, without any boundaries to how far I can go. My life is my life.

I was invited as a special guest speaker at my old high school’s graduation. Seeing the excitement of all those young people ready to take on the world, still believing anything is possible, those few hours were inspirational for me and reminded me of how naivete can sometimes be a powerful perspective. All of those students still operate from the belief that nothing is impossible, that they can be or do anything. And really, who’s to tell them any different?

The fact that the influences of the world have not fractured their ambitions is what makes them special, what sparks evolution and leads to revolutions. And we should encourage this behaviour, so long as it is backed by a comparable work ethic and determination to follow through on these passions.

Secrets of a Black Boy received a standing ovation. I saw tears in Darren Anthony’s eyes as he hugged his sister Trey Anthony, an accomplished writer and producer, herself, with The Kink in My Hair as her launching pad. Our chance meeting suddenly ran through my mind, and somehow I feel his decision was already made.

#PassionAndPaper

Get your copy "Thoughts of a Fractured Soul" here.

 

Progress

I remember my first book reading earlier this year. Only four kids showed up, all sitting in the front row attentively listening and asking questions for over an hour. I enjoyed every moment of it, and gave them all a copy of my novel before I left. Fast forward to my book reading this past week at Father Bressani. Three full classes with chairs set up inside of the school library. It wasn't the largest overall group I've read to, but definitely the largest group of students. For me it was amazing, just seeing all those eyes and ears focused on my message; young people curious about the themes of my book, how I got to the point of actually writing a book, and just asking questions about life.

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For me it represents progress, it confirms that I'm taking the right steps and more and more people are seeing value in my novel and its themes. I also took part in the Branded Conference in Toronto as a Consultant. The best part of that day for me was meeting all the other consultants and being inspired by what they've done and the path they're heading down. It was also fun guiding all the eager entrepreneurs and sharing my knowledge and experiences to help them find their own path.

All in all, this was a good week. Met a lot of incredible people and continued to do what I set out to do since the first day I started writing this book and that's touch people with my words.

Till next time...

 

Words of Encouragement

Moment by moment…day by day…everything is coming together.   I’ve really been focusing on all the amazing events that have happened or are happening rather than looking ahead to all the things I still want to happen. Doing this has allowed me to be much more thankful and to actually recognize how amazing this journey has been.

If you haven’t had a chance, check out the “Words of Encouragement” tab on my site. I put three emails I received from readers of “Thoughts of a Fractured Soul” (minus their names). Although I had plenty to choose from, these three meant the most to me for different reasons, whether it was who it came from or what they actually said. One of the emails is from a young student who actually had a life changing moment after I did a reading at their school! I can’t tell you how amazing that feels to know my words have touched someone to that extent.

All of their words have been incredibly inspiring and one of the many reasons I continue to push forward on the journey with this novel. The “Words of Encouragement” tab also has a link to other public reviews and The “Media” tab has a positive review from Writers Digest.

Great things happen everyday, we just have to appreciate it.

Till next time….

Living My Life

I realized my last two posts have been somewhat gloomy. I'm actually not that sad of a person, but everyone has their moments I guess. The last few weeks have been so much more exciting and has helped me realize how blessed I truly am. My goal since I first started writing "Thoughts of a Fractured Soul" was to touch as many people as possible and inspire readers with my gift as a writer. It's been just under six months since my novel has been out and the journey has already been unbelievable. Most recently I've been working with members of the school board - TDSB, TCDSB, and YRDSB  teachers, department heads, curriculum leaders, principals - all who have been incredibly enthusiastic about bringing my novel, it's themes and my personal story to students within their districts. It's emotional for me to see how open they have been about not only welcoming my proposals, but going out of their way to encourage even further connections among their peers.

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I was also interviewed by a student at York University as an "interesting person" for their Professional Writing class. What I thought would be a casual interview forced me to think about my entire journey as a writer, start to end, from the first days of struggling to find my voice, to the very first edit (which was terrible), to finding and selecting the right publisher, to finally seeing the book in print and having people actually purchase it.

The next 6 months are shaping up to be special and I'm itching for the moment to walk into a classroom and see every student holding a copy of "Thoughts of a Fractured Soul." My own soul is full as I reflect on the benefit of being able to live my dream every single day. I only wish that everyone can experience the joy of having their dreams fulfilled.

Till next time...

 

 

 

Chit Chat Turned Powerful

morning-393623_640How often can you say you've truly been moved by the words of another person. I mean truly moved to action, to change, to commit, to be a better person. I recently had one of those moments with a friend of mine through a relatively brief conversation. After some small talk in which I joked about being jealous of her living in warm weather Vancouver while we Torontonians wait in fear for another brutal Winter fighting through ice storms, we got into a deeper discussion about something that I struggle with mightily, and that's acceptance.

Acceptance really is a big deal for me because I really don't know how to get there. Something about the concept seems conciliatory, like I'm settling for something when I know there's so much more for me to do.

"But Kern, I'm not telling you to give up on any of your aspirations, all I'm saying is accept who you are now and appreciate all that you have accomplished thus far. And not just in your writing career, but look at the person you've become, look at the daughter you've helped raise, look at the life you've carved for yourself despite being a teenage parent and a high school dropout. Once you accept all of those victories, you'll elevate your mind to a different level of understanding that will guide you to the future success that you crave so badly."

Finding My Way

Acceptance...the word suddenly didn't parallel mediocrity or failure, or settling for less than what I hope to achieve. Suddenly acceptance became liberating and freed me from the uncompromising burden of not being happy until I reach some intended point of "success" that would supposedly allow my happiness to kick in. That is no longer the case. Instead, I would accept and celebrate all of my victories and be happy throughout the entire journey.boy-185195_640

I am fortunate in that I am able to wake up every day and do what I love to do. I am able to use my voice through my way with words to share thoughts, stories, points of views and life lessons with people who are connected through similar perspectives. I am not an angry person nor am I ungrateful. But it took that conversation for me to accept that it's OK to be happy without feeling guilty; OK to feel proud of my achievements so far even though I'm nowhere near where I aim to be. That conversation brought a feeling of calm over me I haven't felt since writing the first page of my novel so many years ago.

But I am thankful for those few moments. Sometimes that's all it takes to change your life. And I'm not saying that I am a completely different person today since having that conversation, but I am better than I was yesterday and I will be better tomorrow. And when tomorrow comes I will welcome it not with the fear that days are passing too fast for me to grab hold, instead I will accept that it is another chance for me to do fulfill my calling and inspire others with my words. What more can I really ask for....

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