My birth name is R. Leon Mathews but I was given a spiritual name by a priestess during a Kwanzaa naming ceremony. She crafted the ancient Egyptian name, Askari Ali, meaning "exalted warrior, destined to rule" which I finally feel I am living up to presently. In Arabic, askari means police or indigenous people who have been recruited into the occupying power's military to fight their own people. Talk about the perversion of words!
Currently, I work as a freelance website designer, marketing consultant and event planner. I am shifting back into civic activism in a more evolved and conscious manner than previously when I worked in the fields of HIV prevention/outreach, employment & training, and other areas in nonprofit management.
These days, I am compelled to express myself creatively and spiritually in a number of ways such as writing, fashion design, tarot reading, transcendental meditation, and speaking out on important issues that keep humanity from reaching its potential. In 2007, I had to drop out of the "rat race" entirely because I got tired of being used and abused by the corporate structure and having to look at the asses of all the rats in front of me. At the time, I fond myself unable to get the simplest of jobs was driving me crazy. Having previously made good money in the nonprofit industry was a blessing but the "politics" always got in the way of me progressing and/or helping people in effective, efficient ways. Still, I knew I wouldn't be happy until I was working for myself because I know best how to apply my talents in helping others.
Unfortunately, my mind was still stuck in the social conditioning that I needed to maintain certain non-essential possessions, appearances and financial security even if it meant doing work that far from utilized my talents. When I finally quieted the constant societal buzz, I was able to look at things from a common sense perspective and saw that I really had not been charting my own destiny at all.
I questioned all my beliefs and sorted out which ones were authentically mine and which ones were "accepted" as a result of me not questioning tradition and social norms. When it all came out in the wash, I felt like a society outsider. I have never been much of a money-minded person. I understood what it could provide in terms of material comfort but never felt the NEED to be rich. During my self-imposed exile, I came to the realization that there has never been a time in humanity where our collective focus was the preservation and betterment of life through cooperation. This is an ideal that I am devoted to making a reality.
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