Hard Rock hotel, late night, walking back to my room.  Pass photos of famous musicians, stop and stare at them for a while.  Kurt Cobain.  You can see the pain in his eyes.  I look at others, similar.  Do all artists have to suffer?


Part of me resists when I ask the question.  I don’t want the answer to be yes.  But I let go, and the answer, instead, is of a different sorts.  They have to experience.  To live and experience life fully because when you create art, if it’s not true and real, you know.


Hemingway, Cobain.  Both killed themselves.  But what if they hadn’t?  What if they’d gone with the experience, whatever they were feeling, whatever they were fighting, knowing that it too would pass, and left behind would be the knowledge, the gift they could put into their art.


With the wisdom of age, what else could Hemingway have written?  And Cobain, perhaps he might be a poet today or even just another burned out rocker.  But whatever he’d created, as long as he stayed true to his experience, it would have connected and changed lives.  Just those two, what could have been…it’s sad, I will never know.


I’m old enough to have lost friends.  Random deaths are tough.  Suicides, the worst.  I’ve also lived long enough to look back at those gone and know that whatever they were dealing with, it passed.  They didn’t have to.  They could have been here, wiser and stronger and better.


No matter how smart we may think we are, no matter how committed we are to our truth, we can lose our way.  We’re human.  Made of flesh and feelings, not armor.  And knowing that, there is one thing we can do to help us, guide us back to the light when we’re fighting it the most.


Set the ego aside.  Reach out, share your truth, tell someone you love, “this is who I am.  This is what I stand for.  Hold me to it.”  Be accountable.  Often, we’ll do far more for another than we will do for ourselves.  Use that to your advantage.


Once, while meditating, I saw an image of my parents standing in front of me.  Behind them, their parents.  And their parents, and their parents, and their parents.  An unbroken line of lives so long that it faded into the horizon.   An unbroken line of lives that ultimately led to mine.


Then I thought of those who have touched my life.  Minor and major ways.  And all the lives that were lived so that just these few could exist and walk the Earth with me for a brief spark in time.  Lines upon lines, connections upon connections, ripples spreading across time and generations.  Humanity doing its dance so that you could be here, reading these words I just wrote.


Even if we may feel like it sometimes, we are never alone.  I write this, expecting that others will read these words.  I write them with the hope that they will improve your life.  I am giving you my all.  My truth.  That you will read it is a gift to me.  I may never meet you, but that’s ok.  I smile, knowing that we are links in a beautiful chain connected in ways deeper than we can imagine.


Whatever you experience in your life, choose for it to make you grow in amazing and unbelievable ways.  You owe it to yourself.  You owe it to those who came before you.  You owe it to those connected to you that you’ll never meet.  You owe it to those who have yet to come into your life.

24 thoughts on “Chain

  1. Beautifully put and synchronistically timed as the first thing I read this morning and the message I needed, thanks:)

  2. Beautifully put and synchronistically perfect timing as the first thing I read this morning and a message that was needed, thanks:)

  3. As someone living with chronic depression and having had longer times in stationary therapy, your words moved me to tears. Those moments when you feel that you just can’t anymore, those moments that Cobain and Hemmingway succumbed to, I know them. And I’m hoping to help others going through the same by sharing my experience – what you wrote – with them, in the hopes that they too choose life – as many times as it takes Bless you, Kamal, and thanks for writing more often again! You always make my day! 🙂

  4. Beautifully said. This truth thing you say and how the dance of life revolves around it , is so touching. How to find this truth is tough for me, though. Yet I go on, for as you say, their is a chain , a sequence, a line, a web, we’re a part of, a dance we’re in tune with. You write your truth so well, and it does help us. God bless.

  5. Shit, this is so good. Beautiful awesomeness. My mumma is dying right now, and it hurts. A lot. But I know that the hurt will pass and I will learn the lessons that our relationship in this lifetime was meant to teach me and I’ll show up more vulnerable every single day because of it…ommm.

  6. Sure thing … the Chain of Love ….. the chain of unknown .. the chain that is invisible yet we are so closely linked. Being a jewellery designer I understand .. that its the entire chain that matters and finally its the small links that make it look one and beautiful, one link here and there … and there is no chain… I don’t know if wisdom only comes with experience and our circumstances in life but sure it comes from our past life times we have lived in anger and ego… When we start to love .. Wisdom starts to reside in us .. we realize the chain and its importance … we enjoy the light within us … We get connected to the inner self … the broken link between our body and soul ….. yes not only the links outside us but the links inside us lead us to loving ourselves and finally we realize the importance of LOVE that surrounds us … in infinite forms…..
    As you said we might never meet and you write with the expetation that we all who are your connected links will read it … YES we are reading each word you write but more importantly we are also feeling to some extent what you feel… that’s the power of the links .. connected together !!! we are the links of LOVE !!!

  7. When I was in college, the idea of the tortured artist was very popular among staff. If you didn’t go multiple sleepless nights and numerous revisions, your end result couldn’t possibly be good. I never accepted that idea. Art is about opening yourself to the experience and letting whatever is meant to come through happen. True art is never edited by a committee, and if we look back at many examples of art or brilliance it came in a dream or as a flash of inspiration. Torture is more a factor of being out of balance with the universe than working through an artistic process. Look at the works of Brahms, Tennyson, or Helen Keller and you will find people opening up to the universe and letting whatever energy matched their talents flow through.

  8. Your thoughts brings to mind Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. Having survived being in a concentration camp i do not doubt his understanding of suffering. He writes, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” He also goes on to say that suffering is not necessary to find meaning in life. Meaning is possible even in spite of suffering — provided that it is unavoidable. “If it WERE avoidable, the meaningful thing to do would be to remove its cause, be it psychological, biological, political. To suffer unnecessarily is masochistic rather than heroic.”

    Two years ago, my partner and love of five years was an artist/musician and died unexpectedly due to prescription drug overdose 2 months after we decided to take some time apart. Autopsy points more towards suicide than accidental. He, who was also a shrink and studied male suicidality, understood the possible enmeshment between the monster we want to die within us versus ourselves. But sometimes the path may be hard to decipher without a Virgil by ourside. He had so much talent but could not find the way.

    Thank you for your wise words. I hope it finds its way to those who need the encouragement.

  9. Every particle in the Universe knows exactly the state and place of ALL the other particles. We are ALL linked indeed!

    For those who have passed away, what ever they were dealing with has passed…but we don’t have to wait for death. Everything good or bad, happiness or sadness is impermanent through out life, and it is such a relief to touch that impermanence!


  10. What’s in us, what’s true, what’s burning, comes through the cracks formed from life. Sometimes we think that’s the only access we have, through the broken parts of ourself. I like to think that talent is being able to ride that flow, but skill is finding a way to share our reality even when the wounds are healed.

  11. I work on a private boat that has been traveling around the clock for the past 2 days. I just found your book on Amazon and finished it in hours. I am loving myself as I look out at the sea and the flying fish rippling across it. As I look out loving myself I see that we are but drops in the ocean that make up the sea undulating together and effecting each other. We all are one and it is beautiful and I feel so lucky to have found your book and this particular blog post. Thank you.

  12. Kamal,

    I recently heard of you and found your blog through BlogcastFM. I am moved by the message that in the darkest of crises we need to learn to love ourselves, we need to preserve our best selves for those who are yet to walk into our lives. If we have brightened the life of one other human being on this planet, then our life here is well lived.


  13. Kamal,

    Love this. I discovered your blog via your recent interview with Tripp Lanier. Great stuff.
    You strike me as a solid stand up guy.

    Going to get your books soon. I am a musician and a sound engineer who struggles with these issues of ego and self-loathing and self-hatred. Professionally I made a silly, unintentional mistake last week and it came back to bite me in the ass, and I have been torturing and hating myself for it since.

    Praying for another open door of opportunities, and healing.

    Thank you.

  14. As I sit here far away, I marvel at the fact that a couple of days ago, I got an email from an organization that was somehow linked to you and somehow it was connected to what I have been learning in my life….Love yourself, love yourself , love yourself. and this is what I want more than anything to share with others.

    Tonight I got a response, a personal message from you, Kamal, on Twitter. The world is a strange, yet wonderful place. I don’t know you at all…and yet, I probably walked down the same street you did in early August of this year. I was in San Francisco. Very unlikely, that I was even there with the person I was with, that our paths would ever cross. I am older than you, from the Midwest and it is highly unlikely that you and I run in the same circles,
    And although there is no way to go back and know for sure, I have a feeling our physical paths may have crossed. I suppose it really does not matter, but I know our ripples have crossed. For some reason I watched the talk you gave. For some reason, I related to what you were saying. Yes, you had an impact on me, on my life and not only mine, but someone else’s and someone else’s…. this is how life works.

    About a month ago, my youngest daughter tried to commit suicide. My beautiful child at 16 wanted to end her life. I guess that is why I am leaving this comment at the end of this particular post, .This chain. It is powerful, this chain that binds us.It can be negative or positive It is ancestral, it is familial, it is far reaching. This chain can be sorrowful or beautiful. it really depends on our perspective.

    “No matter how smart we may think we are, no matter how committed we are to our truth, we can lose our way. We’re human. Made of flesh and feelings, not armor. And knowing that, there is one thing we can do to help us, guide us back to the light when we’re fighting it the most.” (quote from above)

    This is taken from your post. It is truth. For whatever reason, I saw your talk, I looked at your site, I saw your words and It gives me hope. You are one of those ripples.

    Don’t stop writing, don’t stop. Don’t for one minute think that whatever you say may not have significance, in one moment in time you have affected one person, and that one person has affected another, and another, and another. Make the chain positive. It constitutes hope. I do not for the life of me understand how or why I came across anything you wrote, but know, without a doubt it has had an impact.

    L Muench

  15. Kamal, I feel that you are speaking only to me. As the thought “I like this” started to come… I hear my inner voice say >> “I Love You”. I was shocked!!!! you write so well. I want to write and I pray that I will reach someone’s soul the way you have reached mine… in such a short time.

    Thank you. Blessings, Ida

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