(This is an op-ed piece, and as such does not reflect the beliefs of Big Easy Magazine on the whole. Rather it is reflective of those writing and being interviewed within.)
When you see someone on the street who is in worse position than you what do you do? Would your first response be to scoff and laugh, or would it be one of communication, compassion, and understanding? The Dalai Lama would have no second thought as to what the proper course of responding would be.
Saturday night, I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with Drew Varick; a thespian/actor featured on American Horror Story’s “Freak Show.” When first encountering Drew; his appearance and stride gives off the impression of a classy entertainer who has his shit together. This initial impression comes along with many personal accomplishments: living vegan, bodybuilding (you should see how cut he is), being a successful scriptwriter, a producer of adaptability, and having survived a childhood religious cult. With all of this in mind, I try to place myself in his shoes for just even one minute of my time and I can’t help but question how he does it – what gives him the motivation not to retreat into the life of a hermit instead?
I met Drew on one of the occasions when he mysteriously popped into Euphorbia Kava Bar on Oak Street for a kratom. It is a place I also frequent; to hang out with friends and search to connect with people on a meaningful level. Several minutes into a conversation with him we found ourselves veering into discussing spirituality and I became rapidly enthralled with his unique point of view on the path to enlightenment; the connection between size of body and size of soul, the power of unconditional love and thought, and the bridge between compassion and spirit.
I was delighted that he agreed to write this down for the world. Drew has faced psycho-physiological barriers (related to his 107 cm stature in the natural dimension), but through those challenges, he has found cause for himself to search deeper, and in turn, discover a light of hope that he thought was forever extinguished. He gets through the world (not imagining everyone is naked) but by imagining that people are really three feet tall and that he is 10 feet tall — speaking on a metaphysical perspective that is.
His adversity reminds me of the Winston Churchill quote, “If you are going through hell, keep going.” For instance, I considered the size of his feet; he can physically be in everyone else’s shoes, yet everyone else would be hard-pressed to physically be in his size 1 boys shoes. I imagine myself in his shoes- my feet would stick out as if I were wearing high heel shoes, and then it may make some sense to me as my stride would be reduced to half-speed.
On an emotional level, let us take a step back in time to ancient Egypt when small meant big and LP’s (little persons, not midgets) were consistently in Pharaoh’s court. In 2005, livescience.com published a fascinating article, “Ancient Egyptians Held Dwarves in High Esteem.” This article corroborates that as in the past they still place spirituality above physicality. The article points to the lunate sulcus; a centerpiece of the brain known to analyze sensory information and goes on to show that in a 13,000-year-old uncovered skeleton of a dwarf in Indonesia the lunate sulcus was enlarged. This means that there would be a heightened emotional connection for said individual. Just as when a person loses one sense and the others are heightened, the closer you stand to the ground (lacking physicality) it equates inversely to spirituality. Some ancient dwarves have tended to harness the power of thought in a spiritual way and in-turn helps the imbalance in a chaotic environment, such as our dog-eat-dog American society. Think that the hedgehog, though cute and seemingly stupid to some, is actually known as a spirit animal.
Drew has taken comfort in the comprehension that a compact frame illuminates a larger soul. As I tend to think with the left side of my brain more than the right, the discussion with Drew was very thought-provoking, insightful and heightened my awareness on a new positive way to look at suffering and its potential in the path to spiritual awakening and how if our work is motivated and driven by compassion (that derives from our heart) we find the source beyond this world.
In January 2018, Newsweek reported, “Egypt Could Make Atheism Illegal Amid Harsh Crackdown On Nonbelievers.” I asked Drew’s take on this. His response was, “An initiative for a ban makes sense, as spirituality has been a staple point ever since the time of the pyramids when gods with animal features roamed and Pharaoh was buried prepared for the afterlife. Once you understand, there’s no reason to turn back, so why would they.”
To further prove his point of the truth behind intelligent design, Drew introduced me to Ben Stein’s 2016 interview with Richard Dawkins on ‘Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.’ When simply asked on the origins of the universe, even Dawkins, who teaches that God doesn’t exist, still admits that an intelligent designer is still plausible. According to Drew he therein is showing signs that he is simply angry with himself or that he can’t understand the way God does things.
I wanted to ask Drew about atheism, and in a non-judgmental manner, he debates its major flaws, including offering no hope for when adversity really hits one in the face, to which then I conveyed my doubts of an omnipotent and omnipresent supreme leader because there is and has been so much injustice throughout history. I am inclined to be more agnostic/atheist myself.
Where was God when millions of Jews were gassed in camps, or when a whole race of people was enslaved as property to another race, or when I prayed to alleviate my own pain? Since I cannot find answers to these questions, my first instinct is to reject spirituality altogether.
Drew helped to open my mind to question whether or not my thinking is driven from a sense of self-centered ego. His challenges defy my underlying assumptions and revealed lack of faith. His wisdom continued, “It goes along with what adversity means; you must be tested – go through training – to see if you are even worthy of the truth. God does not overburden you but rather wants you to grow, patiently waiting for you to drop your ego. In due time, everyone will realize that everything they’ve gone through is for a purpose for your higher self; are you willing to stick it out?”
Drew suggested listing three positive attributes. I feel it’s just an observation of what is, and not what should be. This way of thinking opens the door to objectivity in the scientific world, an area that has been neglected in objective reality. Speculating on the unknown and neglecting the scientific truths that explain our existence undermines nature’s authority. In essence, Drew sums it to, “There is a difference between what you see with your eyes and what you don’t. The truth is only discovered in the light, and there is no light in darkness.” Unconditionalism is a shift on consciousness, an engagement of the spirit.
Absence of faith does not produce this at all and thus prevents you from truly exploring the sensual aspects of your soul. Atheism does not give room for the possibilities of the shift, as it proposes no model of perfection that we can strive for. If we are already advanced and at our highest plateau, gods ourselves, answering to no one, how do we determine to become morally and responsibly accountable for our actions if there are no consequences, such as the suggested world in the latest PURGE film?
When asked how his spirituality is connected to his work in the film industry, Drew said, “To start – work is not spirit and spirit is not work. Spirit is a way of life.” Being a thespian he is often directed to look inward of another person, vulnerable, because of the understanding or experience of suffering, in order to play the character required for the performance. It is enjoyable as adversity builds character as your soul is engaged and has a chance to become stronger. Drew continues, “We all bleed the same color.
Knowing people want to connect but have trouble knowing how, spirit reminds me to be gentle and understanding, to imagine that if I were a ‘God’ how would I act.”
And with that, his agent was calling him and he had to leave.
Drew has told me that it’s no wonder some of this may seem foreign to me as no church would be sufficient to truly capture all of spirituality. Now, this does not mean go buy a book on witchcraft and invoking demons because you think they would be a cute pet. As Drew mentioned there is no ‘turning back’. Engaging compassion in perseverance and the pure will notice the pure. The power of light is a power that we can all harness, freely. Here are some of Drew’s techniques to help clear your energetic structure.
- Breathe in for 4 seconds imagining green fairy dust going through your nose, into your brain, and heart, and body.
- Hold your breath for four seconds and imagine the said color circulating in an infinity pattern.
- Breathe out in a controlled fashion for 4 seconds imagining darkness leaving your body
These exercises will slowly help make you more in-tune. And as you question values and search to do the right thing out of love instead of fear slowly you can introduce you to your spirit which illuminates all, because it will be run by compassion, a loving awareness.
If you found this enlightening or entertaining feel free to reach out. Drew can be reached via his website for more inspirational viewpoints or general contact.
DREW VARICK – AKA DJ_YODA is a New Orleans based scriptwriter, producer, and actor. He is perhaps best known for his acting work in American Horror Story’s 4th Season, Freakshow.