I used to have this friend who had tremendous charisma. In these days and age, he would get flooded with ‘likes’ on Facebook for merely mentioning that he just woke up. Many would flock to him as they could feel his spell in the air. It was as though they yearned yet could not utter that simple phrase: ‘I will follow you to death and beyond’.
As a teen, it made me envious and jealous. No matter how hard I tried, I just did not have this kind of charisma.
Hence, like many, I too was spellbound by his leadership. The temptation to chase him, be on his side and collect the breadcrumbs he spilled was luring. However, I knew deep down he was not going in a wise direction and I cared about wisdom more than I cared about leadership.
I reckon that to this day, one of my most important life challenges is to reconcile the material with the spiritual, ego and humility. At times, I find myself equally admiring the likes of Ghandi on one side and Donald Trump on the other. It is as if I am looking for a middle ground, a way to be wise but wealthy and materially grounded as well.
Which brings me to relate how I discovered, in 1995-1996, what I would call 2 of my biggest life totems: the eagle and the knight. I remember this period as one of great time of creativity, communion with others and heightened spirituality. Let me explain. Back then, I lived in coop housing in the Annex in Toronto. I had a room in a huge mansion on the main floor. To my recollection we were about 12 students, youngsters living there. Two of them I remain in touch with. A spacy philosopher and a crazy Scotsman I never really lost touched with… As I recall, both were entertaining, fascinating on different levels, inspired and nurtured reflection on my identity.
I developed an interest in deeper self-discovery. I got acquainted to native spirituality and animal symbolism, through which I have found out that my animal totem was the bald eagle. I have always felt attracted and in awe of eagles, especially bald eagles. We say of the eagle that it is a messenger from God. It is believed to carry the prayers between the earthly world and the world of spirits. As of this moment, I knew I was forever connected to this bird and that studying it and its symbolic would be very revealing of my identity and my purpose in life. It has been a gift that I have enjoyed ever since knowing that the eagle is my brother; that we are alike. I would encourage anyone to google the subject to find out more. As I was still relishing the discovery of my new archetype, another fateful event took place.
It was one of these spring evenings on the week-end. There was a Fraternity party in the neighborhood in the Annex. It had been advertised for a while and I was in the mood to join it. Hence, I was on my way, unaccompanied on an excursion to meet new people and make new friends. I ended up in this huge house with a wide open center area and old style stairways that led to the second floor. People were drinking and socializing everywhere in small packs. I noticed this big couch in the heart of the living room and I squeezed in next to this guy who was performing magic card tricks. I was mesmerized with the ease and confidence he was showcasing handling the cards and performing. He noticed, turned around, shook my hand and introduced himself. I do not remember his name but I remember he was a student at the Ontario College of Arts. He froze, stared at me and after a brief pause, said with great focus: ‘You, my friend, were a knight in another life’.
… I found that amusing yet it was a goose bumping experience. I was on my way back home shortly after. It is once back that I fell in some kind of trance. I sat there thinking in deep reflection in my room until late at night. I was absorbing and processing this revelation. I am no Buddhist but I had to admit to myself that he had seized a big part of my soul!?
“Yes, if there is such a thing as reincarnation, it makes complete sense that I was a knight in some other life”, I thought.
Everything about me is tied to the archetype of the knight: Emotions, courage, loyalty, romance, sense of adventure, honor, pride, confidence in my abilities…. I suddenly had this dwelling vision of The Knight in Shining Armor. The king, the leader, charisma, my former friend spellbinding presence… It was all not so important anymore. If I were to be a leader, it would be for good reasons, not for the dark side as they say in StarWars. I was the knight, alone, with his sword and horse, crusading and making worthy and virtuous allies along the way. I was born again with this beautifully clear, deep and empowering vision of who I was. I embodied the Knight and the Eagle’s spirit. I knew I would ride this powerful wave of identity for a long while and so did I. I got the eagle head and the sword of the knight sealed in flesh, tattooed on my right shoulder. My powerful attraction to the Luke Skywalker character, amongst others, took a new, rejuvenated meaning. I revisited the Stars Wars Trilogy with chills of excitement as it was digitally remastered and re-released in theatres. Luke and I were one and the same. Lordy, was I going crazy! But no, no drugs either! Then, I got the title to complete the puzzle. KANI means ‘Constant and Never Ending Improvement’. I read about this in Anthony Robbins’s ‘The Giant Within’ years ago and before my new birth. I took the acronym and switched the ‘C’ for a ‘K’ as to represent the mathematical symbol for a constant and to design the Kani Knighthood ‘K’ logo. No…, it’s not the new Special K or Kellogg’s Cornflakes logo… It’s spiky, it’s cool and it’s made of three segments; ’3′ being my birth day and the symbol of the past, the present and the future.
I was, I am and I will always be The Kani Knight.