Although I have talked about robbing from ourselves and others, it should not be lost that true criminals also face the same issues. When you have a lack of something, you take it from somewhere else. Wesley Chapman would be one of these people to me. He has so many secrets and even more sleepless nights because he robs people intentionally with the guise of doing good for youth. I know this because he robbed money from me and never fulfilled his promise. He collects donations for a camp that hasn’t existed in years now and uses the donations for his own personal lifestyle. I can’t even imagine the amount of lack he feels from being a shadow of his father and a complete fake. He feels this so he takes from other people like a parasite.
Had Wesley ever practiced the Yamas or Niyamas, he would have probably had some form of self-realization that he not only steals from strangers, from the very family that he claims to protect and himself. He wants to provide everything for his two wonderful children and his ‘beautiful bride’ but the means in which he does this robs them of knowing the real Wesley. Unfortunately, he will take a wrong step somewhere in his plans and they will read about his true self in newspaper headlines with pictures of him in shackles.
For people who have no criminal intent whatsoever, you can still rob someone of something. For example, when I opened the Griffey School for the Arts, I had a lack of purpose and a starved lack of community for whatever reason. I filled that lack with a lot of positive things for our community. It was my first true act of Karma Yoga. My mission was to show people that you can do good with the arts and our community while spending very little money. No one took a salary from running the school. All of the money went right back into the school for the programming.
The school’s mission was to combat and bring attention to suicide awareness and suicide prevention through the arts. I had a friend commit suicide and I had no idea where to put that grief and pain so I got in front of people to do good for everyone. The community was robbed when the board and myself dissolved the organization. We did programs with Mosiac Lifecare’s Behavioral Unit, at-risk youth, artists of all kinds, yogis and brought people to a safe space to create and let out whatever was on their mind. All of these people were robbed because programs like ours no longer exist.
I, meanwhile, robbed myself of my sanity, energy and taking care of myself. I, myself, struggled and dealt with suicidal thoughts. I gained almost 45 lbs in a year when I was prescribed anti-depressants along with sleep aids. While I was doing great things for the community, I was at the lowest point in my life and I didn’t let anyone see it. I robbed all of them of the ability to help me as my friends and my support system. On the outside, I was like this Superman with never-ending powers and on the inside I was hollow and burnt out.
The robber in all of us always present. How present are we to that robber? Anytime you are not present you are robbing yourself of living your life right here and right now. It is safe to say that, in that moment, you don’t even exist if you are not present. So, next time you are on your cell phone scrolling through social media and your child is trying to tell you something about their day, don’t rob them of their joy and listen. When your parents are trying to pass on knowledge to you, don’t rob them of the experience of having an impact on your life. And, think twice about the child that is insistently knocking on your window trying to sell you umbrellas because none of us have the right to rob anyone of the very best life they deserve.