Thank you for your continued interest in my crazy true story.
I promise, I will make it well worth your while 🙂
So, where were we? Oh, yes…
Like I said last time, I was born and raised in Kenya.
My mother says the things she noticed most about me was that even as an infant I wanted:
- all life forms to be treated with equality, dignity and honour
- that I loved good quality
- and that my predominant disposition was freedom and laughter
(You will see why this detail matters in the story later on).
Now, I always deeply loved Kenya’s beauty and nature…
…but as a kid, I really hated a lot else about Kenya, because back then I saw and interpreted it as an attack on what I felt within me was my true nature and entitlement. An attack on my beliefs in the right to freedom, creativity, high concepts, abundance, spiritual inclusion, and acceptance of all regardless of dogma, politics, tribe, religion… yes, even as a kid I felt these. And so I just wanted to escape!
To put it another way, Kenya was one of my monsters to overcome, the physical manifestation of my shadow self (my dark side). That is a sad thing to have to say about a person’s beloved homeland, but in my case, that was the perception accepted as “true” by my self-concept.
Let me break it down for you…
First off, Kenya was run by a dictator – so forget about human rights, freedom and development – this was an active and deliberate force empowered with State machinery and government organs, acting daily and deliberately AGAINST freedom, human rights, and progress. Here he is...
Now, listen to this: this guy ruled the country for 24 years, from 1978 to 2002! I was born in 1975, which means that this guy was president for most of my life! A dictator!
I mean, as a kid and young man, I hated this guy.
Now I don’t, but back then, it was on!
Today, truth be told, we kinda miss him fondly nowadays, he was funny! No hard feelings. But back then, hard feelings aplenty!
He ruled so long that even both Bush presidents found him there:
While other countries were growing forwards, Kenya was going backwards with corruption, police brutality, crime and robbery, poverty, guaranteed daily power cuts for hours on end for years…
I’d turn on the TV and watch other countries booming and enjoying life, and then walk out of our house and see poverty and problems and crime.
Broke my heart, crushed my spirit 🙁
Oh the crime, the lack of value for life.
So easy to kill or maim, and it was done so often. WHY???
Metallic doors and grills on all windows in all houses. Strange accidents and deaths. Life was fickle.
Sorry, I can’t resist asking you this question… have you heard of how your childhood environmental conditioning can limit you for the rest of your life? It can even limit people for generations upon generations, like an inherited invisible crippling of the heart and mind!
I bet you understand what I am talking about, I bet you have seen people who are broken because of negative childhood environmental conditioning.
Well, there is a hidden gem in negative or limiting conditioning because if you can learn to overcome it, you can sometimes be even more powerful and free than those who had it easier.
But that is a big IF!
Fortunately, I did. I overcame it. And I would love to show you how I did that later on…
Anyways… back to my story.
Where was I? Oh, yes…
Inside, ever since I was a small kid, I felt I belonged here…
But instead, I grew up here…
Sometimes I didn’t even notice it, I was happy!
But sometimes… it just broke my heart. Why us? Why ME!!??
And that was the life-puzzle I had to solve, my friend 🙂
If it wasn’t for that puzzle, you and I wouldn’t be sharing powerful life solutions right now.
Talking of watching TV, we had only ONE channel (Voice of Kenya – VoK), and it went on from 5.30pm and shut down at 11pm (five hours per day). It was run by the government and heavily censored, and each day started with the national anthem followed by a report on what President Moi said and did that day.
And it was illegal to have cable TV or satellite dishes (in fact, at one time, even fax machines were banned because the government couldn’t tap them as easily as they could tap into phones – and almost all phones were tapped).
You were only allowed to watch that one channel. And one radio station. That’s it. True story. Up until the 1990s. This is an actual photograph of the VoK program line up (actual photograph, not some Photoshop image – you can’t make this up):
So Kenya was my “monster to overcome”, my shadow. But I had a second one… at home…
At home, some things were also strained and constrained in somewhat of a similar way.
My parents are some of the best parents one can wish for. They did a stellar job to the best of their abilities to ensure we had the best education and comforts they could afford- despite what the country offered.
However, I was almost always at loggerheads with my father. And that relationship defined me negatively up until my late 30s when I finally healed from it.
Let me explain…
My father is a doctor. Very principled, very strong, very disciplined, very traditional, very smart and very, very good at what he does. And a great provider. Very generous, even. To be honest, he is a very lovely, kind, and hardworking man, and I am super grateful and lucky to have him as a father. Here we are, my father, my two brothers, and myself (eldest, followed by William and Peter)…
But like all people, he, too, had a dark side – and that is what really drove me mental.
I suspect his dark side arose from the fact that his father (my grand father) was an orphan who ended up having 42 children and 7 wives whom, according to what I hear, he treated with a level of very harsh “tough love”. Physically, mentally and emotionally very harsh, indeed. The stories of the crazy things my grandfather did to his kids is spoken of to this day at family gatherings. They greatly feared him!
Anyways, the problem was that back then my father was very regimented and controlling on what you must wear, how you must look, what thoughts and feelings are allowed and not allowed (yes, it went to that level, controlling the thoughts and feelings that you must have), what career you must take, who you must fall in love with and marry, what and who you must like or not like (yes, seriously)…
And I was, by nature and not by rebellion, quite the opposite of what my father wanted me to be as a person. Conflict was inevitable, almost on a daily basis.
But conflict isn’t the problem. Conflict is fine, normal. I can handle that, no worries.
The problem was that back then my father believed in rage-filled punishment as a way to convince you to change and see things his way. That, right there, along with the accompanying ruthless berating, was the problem for me! It drove me mental! Because I would rarely understand what the fuck a beating was for!! It was like living with some kind of violent insanity that you cannot escape from. I always had to walk on egg-shells, all day every day, always wondering if I am doing the right thing. From my perspective, it was insane! And it gave me a LOT of self doubt, difficulty loving and accepting myself, difficulty feeling valid and worthy and deserving as I am, and so on.
It got ugly and strained, for very many, many years. I was always measured against a standard that wasn’t me, I always failed to meet that standard, and I got beatings for it. And if it wasn’t a hard beating, it was a hard berating and what felt, to little me at the time, as rejection of who I really was – not good enough as a person.
By the way, I like what Einstein has to say about this sort of thing…
And so in that time, I developed post traumatic stress, anxiety and panic attacks, low self worth, and so on.
I became extra fearful whenever I would hear a car drive into the driveway (Dad is home – freeze!), whenever I had a great idea or inspiration (Dad would say “it won’t work, it’s useless” to many of my ideas)… basically fearful of any original thought or action that was not exactly the same as Dad would think or act.
(Even into my early 30s (I am exactly 40 now in 2015), I still automatically felt cold when I heard a car drive into my OWN driveway, I still feared “adults” in authority, I still had a hangover feeling that I was about to be punished by something out of the blue, I still reacted to phone calls with unexplained trepidation, I still wondered whether my work was good enough or shameful, I still felt inadequate or guilty for no reason at all… all that stunted growth junk that plagues children that have been physically, mentally or emotionally “abused”.)
In short, back then, I felt like Dad was North Korea and I was South Korea.
And as I was a small helpless kid, North Korea always won!
Without my mother always lifting me up after my father harshly berating or physically “disciplining” me, I doubt I would have been as fine as I am now. Thank you mom!
Here we are, mom and I…
Looking back, I now see things differently in a whole bunch of ways!
It is now full of light, a new perspective. We have all since reconciled and all is well.
But back then, it was a living nightmare for me as a kid and a young adult.
By the way, I hope you can start to see how this set me up to become a dedicated investigator of the subconscious and how life works? The need to solve my own puzzle!!! More about that later…
Back to growing up…
For high school I was taken to an ex-colonial boys boarding school that was hard core! And cold.
It was mean’t to toughen kids. And there we got even more beatings – from teachers and students alike. And little comforts were illegal and punishable. E.g. taking heated water baths, despite the highland bone-chilling cold, was illegal and punishable (we bathed using jerry cans because thats what we used to fetch water with – one or two cans per shower, depending on water availability, or if the bigger kids didn’t take your can after you had lined up to fill it down the hill). Being yourself was also punishable in a whole bunch of ways – everyone had to be totally uniform, like in the military.
Talking of punishments, the choice ranged from 12 or more hard strokes of the cane, to washing pigs, to uprooting huge tree stumps, to running in bad muddy terrain for 10km, washing dirty grass with a toothbrush, cleaning pit latrines, and so on. Hard core stuff, no “sit in the corner” softy stuff. But education-wise, the school always led in the top 3 at the national exams.
Even several years after I had left that high school, I had recurring nightmares of being back there as a student. I would wake up in a cold sweat, and be relieved to see it was just a dream.
I don’t know, some kids loved that school, some really did. I’m not saying it was a terrible place, but for me, it was like going to jail.
Sure, I did have some great moments there, of course. And I grew up and learned a lot, a great deal, actually. And for that I am grateful.
But a big bunch of the time, it was a place where they “molded you” (their words, not mine) into a person who was super-excellent at working the system, playing the part. Thinking out of the box or being unique was frowned upon or punished.
“David, just pass the exams and keep your head down and your nose to the grindstone and tow the line of tradition and authority at all costs! Never ever question it, that is taboo.”
Anyways, so… I felt trapped in Kenya.
And I hated its unwarranted and sometimes cruel limitations, repression, corruption, restrictions, dangers and scarcities.
I yearned to be free, to be rich, to express myself and my spirituality and desires and joy and nature and choices without fear of punishment or rejection… to take an evening stroll in the city streets, clean modern streets, feeling safe and enjoying the air without worrying about getting mugged or police harassed… to experience a benevolent lifestyle, basically… and to see the world for myself, not on VoK!
I yearned for the good life!
Was that too much to ask?
Next I will narrate to you the bumpy – no, make that the rollercoaster – ride that happened next…