My name is Kevin Kline. I am a May 2011 graduate from the College For Creative Studies (CCS). I, like most of you, began my college career straight out of high school and I simply had no idea what I was getting myself into. Having grown up in the motor city around a very automotive-driven group of people and being very creatively engaged in my upbringing, it seemed like the natural progression for me to go to CCS for automotive design. Upon arrival to the school, I quickly realized just how serious my program was. I had no concept of what I was about to go through in the next four years. It didn’t take me long to get knee deep in trouble. During my freshman year, I became very familiar with the “all nighter”. My time management was poor, my ability in many regards was lacking, and I was struggling to find my way as a creative. Developing as both a person and a creative at the same time is a rather interesting process to go through. It can do some interesting things to your work output, sometimes for the good, other times not so much. After my freshman year reviews, I didn’t make it into the program I wanted to get in to. I was forced to re-evaluate my goals and question what I really wanted out of my experience at CCS. I became very driven throughout my sophomore year and made the final cut into the program I had missed the prior year.
The following two years can be summed up in this way:
Work, work, work, work. The main thing that began to work against me in my final two years was my own mind. I would let my stress consume me and I would live in my stress and anxiety on a daily basis. I put so much pressure on myself at times that I simply couldn’t get any work done, further shifting my time schedule. Sleep became a foreign idea to me as did general well-being, such as eating healthy and exercising. I put myself through the gauntlet and hit some really low places in my being that I didn’t even know existed.
During the Fall 2010 semester I began to see advertisements for a class called Creativity, Consciousness and Bliss. I was immediately intrigued given my experiments with meditation and stress reducing methods in the past to connect to my true self and realign with all in the universe. Then I met Chelsea Richer, the driving force behind getting the class started. We would go on to have a short but rather deep conversation in the most unlikely of settings, the infamous CCS student hangout, Northern Lights. I had just fallen out of touch with a Chelsea very close to me in my life and I was fascinated that in that moment this Chelsea had come into it and solidified my choice to take the class in my last semester at CCS.
Upon my first session in the class I was made aware of how special it was going to prove to be. From the onset, Professor Molly Beauregard was able to create a comfortable environment I could step into for 3 hours and feel at peace. When the class was told we would be learning transcendental meditation I was very excited and curious of its potential benefits. Once I had learned how to meditate it became a calming force that would radiate throughout my being and help me be present to deal with stress better. I made myself as regular of a meditator as I could within my crazy schedule, and every time I took the time to meditate I would fall back into that peaceful feeling and be reminded of how great it was to operate from that space.
Molly and Chelsea’s guinea pig course proved to be a very successful experiment. I think we all had some subtle notion that each of us in some way was affected by the course. Naturally some people took to the message from the class more than others but on the whole there was a good understanding of the peace that we could cultivate. And how important that peace is, given the cesspool of stress we were meandering through that is CCS.
Looking back I wish I could have taken this class as a freshman and applied its message and techniques to help me manage myself more effectively. The course in part inspired me to follow through with a far out idea that I had to travel to Maui after graduation and go on a pilgrimage with spiritual teacher, Ram Dass. Upon arriving, I spent five days in paradise with a group of people that on the first day were merely strangers to me. Upon leaving, I felt I had known many of them for a very long time. There was a certain openness and incredible peace that we all felt while there that was something very special to me. I was able to learn yoga, try all sorts of meals I had never had before (all freshly cooked vegetarian), learn about several different spiritual traditions, hear some incredible Hawaiian and Indian music, travel to some of the most exotic and beautiful locations that Maui has to offer, travel to Ram Dass’ house to swim with him in his pool, listen to Ram Dass’ lectures, and so much more.
After doing a lot of traveling this summer, I am now working heavily on my portfolio. I am optimistic that my right job is on the horizon. I am so grateful for all of my experiences I’ve had in my life and I know they have molded me in such a fascinating way into the being I am today. As I grow up I realize the utter importance of being connected to my innermost self and allowing that part of me to be shown and observe that part in all others as well. I suppose I will leave you with a little note I made the other day while listening to an incredibly beautiful 24 voice motet.
Beauty, beauty, beauty
When we stop to see
When we stop to listen
When we stop to feel
To taste, to touch
It’s all around us
Open yourself and be amazed by the new world you’ll find yourself in.
If you have an opportunity to listen to this, I highly recommend it. Allow yourself to get a little lost in it all. Don’t worry, you’ll find yourself later 🙂
Thank you for sticking it out if you read all of this. I didn’t make it too easy on you since I tend to say too much.
If times are really trying you, remember that we all are going through similar life experiences that challenge us incredibly throughout our time here. We all have our “stuff” that at times plagues us and the sooner we realize we aren’t alone in that we can really begin to help ourselves. If you can cultivate and bring to light the peaceful core of your being, your life will change and so will the others around you. I wish the best of luck to you in your part of life and that you may take sometime to really, wholeheartedly enjoy the ride.
Automotive Design student, College for Creative Studies