Shane Eric Mathias
Growing up in the turbulent 60's and 70's, as an only child, I witnessed what seemed like a world going mad. My family lived in Los Angeles, which was then the epicenter of racial tensions, resulting from social and economic friction, between Whites, Latinos and African Americans. I have early recollections of my father keeping a rifle and pistol within reach, out of fear that our suburban neighborhood would eventually be consumed by the violence we watched unfolding all around us each week, on our small black and white television.
In 1974, The Vietnam war ended, just short of my 18th birthday, but prior to that, my father, in an effort to protect his only son from combat, was studying how to sneak me off to Canada, were I to have been called into service. My subset of the Baby Boomer generation also lived through the assassinations of JFK, that of his brother Robert as well as the Rev. Martin Luther King. Many of us were too young to understand the implications, but the shock and fear etched on the faces of our parents foretold a narrative that we would only begin to understand many years later.
During my rebellious years, like most of my peers, I experimented with drugs, which then, just seemed like an innocent, generational shift away from the norms of our parents. But our innocence was eventually shattered, as many of our cultural icons began to fall victim to the destructive, drug dependent lifestyle, that for so many, became a legacy of those tumultuous years. Jimmy Hendrix, Van Morrison, Janice Joplin and many other zeitgeist heroes, dropped from their thrones, making our parents' pleas for restraint seem suddenly more credible.
Another feature of those years, which is now sure to never return, was the free love movement. And it was only able to flourish because sexually transmitted diseases were still treatable. The biggest thing a young couple had to fear from an intimate encounter, was pregnancy. Suddenly, the term HIV/AIDS seemed to appear out of nowhere and new cases were being reported every week. Quickly, the disease hit epidemic proportions and from that point on, the days of unbridled hedonism were gone forever.
In the last half-century, I have witnessed and experienced tremendous upheaval and change. Personally, I have gained and lost careers, had many long and short term relationships, been a son, a husband and step parent, faced down death during a battle with heart disease, cared for 2 elderly parents, been a musician, an artist, an engineer, an entrepreneur and now a writer. And still, life is fascinating and mysterious, a fact which I spend many hours contemplating and documenting in my work.
I, like the rest of us am an amalgam of my own personal challenges and successes, superimposed against the backdrop of the social environs I have inhabited. Now, that I have received the mixed blessing of "maturity" I can finally view my life more clearly in the rear view mirror. And my rather neurotic need to make sense of it all, creates an unquenchable obsession to distill events, emotions, behaviors, fears, passions and social phenomena down to their elemental structure. I will sit and study, or ruminate, for hours, if need be, to arrive at a way to comprehend and describe my subjects in crystal clarity. My interests range from science, to religion and art. Human consciousness, sexuality and relationships.
For authors, due to the digital revolution, opportunities abound, but also, a greater number of voices now compete for readers attention and loyalty. Ultimately, sharp, insightful and entertaining content will win the day and it will always be my passionate mission to provide just that.
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The Happiness Tree
by Shane Eric Mathias
Today, loss of joy is at epidemic levels across the globe. This creates huge negative economic and public health factors that reduce everyone's Happiness quotient. Individuals and cultures can grow happiness by cultivating healthy, creative and purposeful lives, but it requires commitment and focus. The Happiness Tree reveals a method for making happiness the norm, rather than the exception.
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