My Essentials.


Being a big fan of yantras (spiritual symbolism) and fashion (seeing it as a daily form of self-expression to project and shape perception), I found myself reading a lot of blog posts (HYPEBEAST Essentials, Anne Munition’s Tattoos) about why people decided on the things that they did and what made them partial to the things that they considered to be their “essentials”, or items that meant the most to them.

So, for those of you out there who also like to dissect the minds of creativity like I do, this post is for you. These are my “essentials”:

[1] Plastic “Divine Mercy” bracelet. I got this from my uncle and his family in the Philippines on the last day before my girlfriend and I left for Hong Kong. Why this bracelet means a lot to me is twofold. 1) It represents an awakened spirituality that was likened to yoga to me by that same uncle and his family, 2) They worked so hard to not only hide it from me the day they got it when we all visited the Divine Mercy, but also in getting it blessed by one of the high priests from that denomination — which ended up taking up until the day we left. A lot of love and care went into acquiring this inexpensive, but meaningful piece.

[2] Guyanese “seed” bracelet. My girlfriend got this for me on her trip to Guyana with her father. Being half Guyanese, they went to visit the rural areas of Guyana and, while there, they met a group of little girls selling bracelets made out of seeds. Again, a twofold reason as to why I like this bracelet. 1) It marks one of the first times I had gone a long period of time without speaking to her (being that there is hardly any wifi in Guyana), showing me that independence is both healthy and key, 2) As described on Netflix’s Chef’s Table, seeds are a great representation of the circle of life. One seed drops and that seed eventually turns into a beautiful flower. In turn, that same beautiful flower produces its own seeds, creating more beautiful flowers over time; and so on, as a fractal of creation. This is the circle of life in a nutshell, and the bracelet serves as a reminder of not only nature’s majesty, but also our own innate ability to create.

[3] Random sunglasses from Zumiez. I have a penchant for losing my sunglasses. After the third expensive pair of sunglasses I lost, I decided to just opt for cheaper ones instead. The most appealing feature about sunglasses, for me at least, is their ability to manifest a greater sense of video game-like engagement amidst daily living. One second you’re seeing the world through unaffected vision, the next you’re in a virtual world of pink, blue or even yellow hues. After all, what we see affects greatly what we believe.

[4] iPhone. Undoubtedly one of the greatest inventions of all time! iPhones are the future in the present; allowing us to not only call, but create and learn through various apps, right at our fingertips. From shooting video, to taking photos, to listening to podcasts, to surfing the web, to accessing infinite bounds of new music, iPhone’s are a creator’s dream, conduit and escape. What’s with the stickers, you ask? Well, Yoda is basically the Buddha of our time (Neo would be the Jesus) and “From Outer To Inner World” is the slogan and sticker from the Yoga/ Martial Arts Academy I founded, Persistence Academy.

[5] iPhone earphones. Earphones are the s*!t. They help you drown out the rest of the world and allow you to act as the star in your own movie called Life. Working, dancing and creating to your own chosen, personal soundtrack. Music is the force which drives emotion, and helps drive a story forward. But why the standard set of iPhone earphones when there's all of the other great headsets out on the market ? Well, I always find a way to break my expensive pairs…...

[6] Apple Watch. It goes without saying, sometimes you can’t just look at your phone in certain situations — it’s just not appropriate. Thank you, Apple Watch, for making the transition a lot easier.

[7] Gold-plated “Michael The Archangel” pendant & necklace. I got this piece while at the Vatican in Rome. No, I’m not a devout Catholic or anything, the real reason this piece means so much to me is that (after having travelled in rapid succession from Cambodia to Rome) it serves as a constant reminder that archaic systems are just as pervasive today as before science was accepted. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend you to take the trip from Cambodia to Rome; just so you can see that the temples from over 5,000+ years ago are still around to this day (just in a different form). Additionally, I'm also a big fan of this piece because it was so expensive. Granted, there were much more expensive pieces available (this one’s not even full gold!), but the reason expensive matters here is because it completely goes against what its dogma teaches. A tangible hypocrisy. Modesty, wealth, mercantilism; all things you will undoubtedly encounter if you take the trip to the Vatican. But why Michael as opposed to other great saints/ angels? 1) He’s a warrior *duh* 2) The metaphor is a great depiction of what Steven Pressfield coins, “resistance”.

[8] Silver and gold Buddha/ lotus pendant. I got this pendant at Lan Tau island on my first trip to Hong Kong. The reason why it’s so special, aside from what the Buddha and lotus flow represent, is that it marks the first time I broke out of convention and started to bend reality to the story of my own desired video game; directing life where I wanted it to go. I still remember the day, my friend and I were sitting in our university cafeteria and I saw a poster for the Global Edge program promising a lucky few the opportunity to travel, live and work abroad for two months alongside the government’s assistance. I was reluctant, but my friend pressed me to “Go for it. Either go big or go home!” and that was that — while on that two month workaway, GottaLightMyFire was born.

That's it, those are my “essentials”. The interesting part is not in the material, but in the story behind each of them. Each piece has a narrative that is driving it and that piece is a reminder of that narrative. For, it's not just what we want to do, but the stories that help get us there that benefit us the most. Mindfulness is the art of becoming aware, and so, take a moment to try this exercise for yourself. Become mindful and reflect on — what stories or narratives are driving you and why are you allowing them to?