51/ the only battle there is
you can have everything right now
“if it is bread that you seek, you will have bread. if it is the soul you seek, you will find the soul. if you understand this secret, you know you are that which you seek.” — rumi
i could be the founder of a unicorn tech startup. i could be a senior managing director in an investment bank. i could be the ceo of a multinational corporation. my peers are holding these positions. i was on the path and i had the ambition. yet i am living in a rented home in the countryside reflecting and writing about life and my spiritual journey.
why, you might ask? he could have had it all yet there he is: single, alone with his books, his cat and nature. my family and i am certain some of my former colleagues, bosses, employees and friends are wondering. they probably don’t care or think about it much but they might ask themselves when we cross paths online or in person.
i believe there’s an inner force within us. i believe we all know it. we might have drowned it in the noise of daily life but it’s there. and it keeps popping up regularly and inconveniently asking what happened to our life.
how many times did i sit in my office or at home wondering what i was doing, why i was with the person i was with, why i did not have my own family or a fulfilling relationship with my family? i had the title, i had the money, i seemingly had a great life and yet i didn’t feel it. i wasn’t at peace. and so i started asking questions.
i was born to ask questions, it’s in my nature, it’s who i am, who i always was and always will be. it runs like a red thread through my life now that i see it. when i was only a couple of years old, i would take everything apart, trying to understand how things worked. in my twenties working in banking, i would ask why we were doing things a certain way with those questions often not being welcomed. later, as an entrepreneur in brazil, i asked how we could do things better or more successfully.
but to ask the ultimate question, i needed to be pushed out of my company. adversity is a gift in disguise to nudge us in the right direction. eight years ago, i started asking: what is life all about? why are we here and what are we doing? the desire to find the answer grew so strong, i had no choice but to find it.
so here you are reading what i have written as i near the end of that journey. i discovered what was happening within me that allowed my clever mind to adapt and pivot in any direction: i could do anything — but not be me. the disparity between the many different parts within me and the actual one self were begging to be reunited.
i have been very fortunate to have met with and been guided by many awakened and aware souls who believed in me and supported my search — without doing the journey for me. they empowered me to take big steps towards allowing me to be my authentic self. to overcome the fears that were holding me back.
what do i mean by being myself? ask yourself, do you love the role you are playing every day? with your spouse, colleagues, friends, whoever. if you are not 100% authentic all the time you are playing a role. how does that feel? it sucks, right? yet this is what so many of us are doing including me most of the time. we people please, we say the right thing or don’t express what “should not” be said.
and little by little over years and decades we become someone that we don’t recognise anymore. next time you are in front of a mirror, lock eyes with yourself and ask: who are you? don’t look away. keep seeing yourself. really look and feel any discrepancies. it’s powerful.
today, friends of mine wanted to stay with me on their way back. i was on a call when they messaged me. my intuitive response was no and then “vincent” came online and “said”: but you are meant to be nice, loving and welcoming so you gotta say yes. but my soul, my true, intuitive self, had said no. not because i didn’t want them to stay but because i had to do something else.
i had to have a profound conversation with my coach, reflect on it in stillness and solitude and then sit down and write this article. i didn’t know at that time this is what i would do, i just knew i couldn’t host them. if they had come over, i would have not had these realisations and they most definitely would not have made it on paper. it took courage to say no. it was not my natural response. and it was the only right response because i was true to myself. i was authentic.
i told them i would love to have them anytime (in fact, i just hosted one of them for a few nights) but today i was in a process, that i needed time by myself and i thanked them for understanding. and they understood. it was much easier than my mind made me think it would be.
and so it is with all of our resistance: it is a mental construct. and as long as i give in to it, it imprisons me: my life, relationships, work, everything becomes something that i am not. and one day we all will die and wonder what all the struggle was for. hell, people commit suicide because of their lack of being able to be themselves.
authenticity requires courage and its reward is freedom.
the freedom to be yourself, to live in alignment with yourself. and it might mean not to build a unicorn, not to be a managing director or ceo of a large company. even if you could be all of that. i am, you are and we all are here to express our full authentic selves. and when we do, magic happens. and it feels magical too. call it bliss, serenity, presence, flow, love, it’s all the same. it’s our birthright to experience it.
we are taught that we need to do, to have, to be someone. but it’s the inverse: we want to be ourselves and from there what we do and have are simply products of our being, they are neither the purpose nor the origin of our existence. riches or money are not wealth but our relationship with self and others is. abundance is having both but it all starts with who i am being.
and it’s hard to be myself. i want to be liked, loved, understood and agreed with by everybody or at least everybody i care about and especially the people close to me or those who i look up to. the price of this people-pleasing is me becoming someone i am not. and that’s a very high price to pay, really the highest price to pay in life: not being myself. it means missing out on the very purpose of my life. that’s the nagging we might be feeling or the emptiness we see when we look at ourselves in the mirror: who have i become?
but there’s wonderful news: i can change all of that in the blink of an eye. i can change it right now. i can show up differently in my relationship or leave it. i can change my job, start my own thing, finally take that sabbatical, try something new or spend a year travelling with my family. whatever the thing is i need to do, i can take the first step towards it right now. i most likely even know what it is without thinking: it’s this decision i am resisting which, if i am honest, i knew all along needed to be taken.
i am not saying it’s easy. maybe i need to take a few intermittent steps. maybe i need to make some financial or comfort compromises to get there. but it’s worth it. it’s the only thing that is worth fighting for: my authenticity and expressing it fully. every step i take towards it will make me come more alive. this i am now certain of. don’t believe me? call me and we will figure it out together: +351 912 388 33x [the last digit is the sum of the two digits of this episode number].
i’m being serious. this is important. this is your life. if you have ever wondered how you can feel more alive, how you can finally arrive, how you can feel peace, freedom and love for life, this is it: to be yourself. be authentic. be you. say and do you. isn’t that wonderful news? all we have to do is to have the courage to be ourselves. to be it with kindness and love but without deranging ourselves for the fear of stepping on someone’s foot. if i am afraid to be myself i will never feel fully alive.
what is my purpose? i don’t have to find my purpose. it is simply to be myself and everything else is an outpouring of that. and when we allow ourselves to be our true selves then not only will we feel free but we also allow others to be themselves. imagine what a world that would be.
this is the human journey. this allowing myself to be me and to be the most giving version of me is why we are here. and when we are, we are present to life, we live in the now and we are fulfilled. as wayne dyer said: “you can either be a host to god (your higher/true self) or a hostage to your ego (your people pleasing want to be loved by everybody else). it’s your call.”
based on what i discovered in my journey this is the one factor that determines the quality of my life. the only real one. am i being myself or not? it does not matter how important, rich, loved, appreciated, admired, beautiful, sexy, tall, smart, intelligent or — insert whatever your most sought-after trait is — i am or if i am none of these things. they are things most of us want to be to compensate for not feeling ourselves — because most of the time we are not.
but there’s a much easier, even instant way to the proverbial paradise on earth: i just have to be myself. i just ask: am i being authentic? do i express who i am fully and unconditionally? yes or no?
i left my careers to seek and find this message and then to develop the courage to live it. it might sound too simple to be true but real truths are very simple yet often hard to see. it took years and many sacrifices and experiments to find it. this is the journey i was meant to take. it is just me being myself. and it is no coincidence you are reading this.
being myself can feel like the hardest thing to do. there is and always will be lots of resistance. a fulfilling life is not an easy journey. as the saying goes: easy choices, hard life. hard choices, easy life. but isn’t that worth dying for: a fulfilling life? we don’t even have to die, just our ego needs to. being ourselves is the ticket to experience the heaven we, i believe, are all secretly hoping for but might have given up on.
and the incredible thing is: we can all be it and experience how amazing it feels right now. but we will only know when we are ourselves, when we have overcome our resistance to follow our natural way of being, when we trust our intuition — and not a millisecond before.
with love, vincent.
if you enjoyed this read, continue the journey with me on substack where you also find all the other episodes of this newsletter including me reading them for you.
you might enjoy my favourite poem — by marianne williamson:
our deepest fear
our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
it is our light, not our darkness
that most frightens us.
we ask ourselves
who am i to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
actually, who are you not to be?
you are a child of god.
your playing small
does not serve the world.
there’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
we are all meant to shine,
as children do.
we were born to make manifest
the glory of god that is within us.
it’s not just in some of us;
it’s in everyone.
and as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
as we’re liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.