Life is a journey, not a destination. It’s not about accomplishing something or fulfilling a desire and then relenting. Instead, we always aim for more, meaning we are always looking for a fuller experience, for the life force to express itself through everything that we are, do, and create. The constant of change is inevitable. In retrospect, we will realize that we are not the same as we were even six months ago. As our awareness expands, so does our perspective shapes into becoming wider, fuller, and more inclusive with ourselves and everything around us. Therefore, it’s safe to say that the goal is not in the destination, but in the journey itself.
Oliver Trevena, a British artist who moved to LA seventeen years ago to pursue the dreams he is currently living, says, “I’m a man who’s still on his journey, and that’s the simplest way to put it. So, to some extent, I guess I figured who I want to be and the kind of life I want to live. But at the same time, I still uncover new things all the time—every day is a new beginning, and I am observing what presents itself next. I know I am loving, ambitious, and creative, but I don’t particularly appreciate using those terms to describe myself. So, even in my work, I’ve never really put a label on myself. And I believe it has benefited me since it has opened up so many doors and opportunities for me.”
Every single moment is a new opportunity for us to direct our flashlight of attention in the direction of where we want to go. It’s an infinite dance where we clarify our preferences by observing the variety of our world and then moving to discover the steps towards experiencing that wanting in our physicality, and so on, and so on… Of course, we often think the opposite of what we desire to accomplish, but it’s always our choice how long we stay there, as moment by moment, we can start shifting our thinking to be in harmony with who we want to become.
“When you truly believe in yourself, believe in the Universe, believe that what’s meant to be will be, and what’s ahead is what’s coming, and what’s behind is completely irrelevant, that’s when you find yourself truly happy. I believe the key to where I always try to pull myself back to is a moment of gratitude for where I am right now. I always have faith that what’s ahead is meant to be, and I’m exactly where I should be at this moment. This kind of calm and peace in life makes me the happiest. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how good I’m doing or what I have, or how well I am from the outside. If I’m still stuck in that mindset of needing or chasing, it’s not a happy place. We can always want more, and there’s always someone from the outside who appears to have more, especially in a city like LA. So, for me, it’s a constant journey of just believing in myself that I’m exactly where I should be and giving it my best from there. I always have a very early start, but not this morning, as I didn’t have to be up until eight. My alarm clock went off at seven, and I was like, I’m gonna lay in bed for another 45 minutes. And then I thought, ‘No, get up!’ So I got up, did my breathwork, and I felt better because of it. You have to have faith that you did your best, and it will work out,” shares Oliver.
We can only begin to consciously go forward after recognizing where we are and be at peace with it. Therefore, it’s important to show up for ourselves, which means taking care of ourselves by making time for breathing work, or any other process that can ease up our intellectual mind at least once or even several times during the day. That practice of tuning out for a few minutes allows us to soften our thoughts, which is typically the result of our mind racing from all of the content impressions we get. That will bring the balance between the physical focus and unfocusing ourselves from the world, which allows us to navigate our existence with greater ease. Ultimately, we can offer to ourselves and others the state of beingness that we are currently experiencing. In that balance, we are ready to include everything and everyone around us.
Oliver speaks about how he has expanded his awareness of inclusivity by saying, “I’m from a small little town south of London, but it was always incredibly diverse. As you get older and learn about life and history and what’s still going on globally, it can be very disturbing. For nine years, I’ve been with an organization that works to end slavery worldwide, which is even still going on today. So, it’s still crazy to even consider it mind-blowing. But to be inclusive is to include everyone, and I’m talking about everything, every walk of life—that’s when change really happens, that’s when we start to come together – when truly change how we treat each other as humans for the better and align as one.”
Oliver’s artistic roots originated in theatre arts in his home country, England. Since then, he has appeared in many feature films and guest-starred on numerous series. He has also hosted many interviews with many other talents. Regarding the process of acting and becoming someone else, which has expanded his awareness, Oliver shares, “In general, I love acting because it’s fun. I love the balance between hosting and acting as well. I hosted for so many years, so I was just myself. But I also love being someone else and expanding my mind that way, and it has a significant impact on me. For example, I was doing the film The Rising Hawk, which is a 13th-century movie. I rode on horses, cropped the fields, and lived it all at that moment. So, even though I lived in a hotel when we were on set, I do have those moments of, ‘Oh, my God, life was pretty simple back then.’ So, there are definitely those moments that expand my mind; it definitely brings awareness because I end up being in the role where I can’t be in my modern-day mindset but trying to play a warrior in the 13th-century, and I have to go into that zone. And then it’s crazy because when I get back to my hotel, it does change me; I didn’t want to be on social media all the time; I didn’t want to be on my phone all the time. But then, of course, I went back to LA, and I’m completely back in this world again. So, there are definitely lessons I learned during those processes.”
Then, when Oliver portrays a TV host, he shares his experience with the question-and-answer dance, adding, “I was fortunate to have a great career as a host. And who knows, I might never close that door again. For me, I think I genuinely enjoyed it. I believe, as a host, it’s so important to listen and respond organically to where the conversations lead the same as you and I would if we were in a restaurant. And I feel like that’s where it sometimes slips off. When it’s a fun interview, I tried to keep it fun, organic, and let the interviewees say what they want to say. And obviously, I would have the knowledge of their projects or know them enough to steer the interview in that direction. I think listening is not just as a host, but something we all need to do better. Because we’re all so excited to tell our answers or tell our piece. It’s like going on a date and wanting to say everything, which you occasionally catch yourself doing. So, it’s just good to listen too.”
Being grateful is seeing your world from a wider perspective where we don’t get so much caught up with things that could be considered small compared to many who might not even have their voices heard. “I have a docu-series that I’m working on, called Unmuted, which is telling stories of female voices around the world that would otherwise be unheard. So, we did a peace in India by talking about very important issues. I was in India for six weeks around the issue of forced child marriage. We did film a piece in Uganda around the issue of acid attacks. But obviously, we got slowed down because of COVID-19 and travel restrictions. But when we’re up and running again, we will be going to Thailand to do a piece against human trafficking there. So, I’m very grateful,” Oliver says candidly.
Beyond Oliver’s successful artistic career, where even now he booked a film but still can’t speak about it, he is also an avid entrepreneur. Oliver mostly creates projects where he focuses on expanding the awareness of health and well-being. Weola, who is one of the inspirational leading-edge teachers nowadays, says, “You have to be selfish to be selfless.” It means that taking care of ourselves is taking care of our steady balance first and then applying that balance to everything and everyone we encounter.
“I have a lot of business projects going on right now. Vanessa Hudgens, one of my best friends, just launched a beverage company called Caliwater. I’m publicizing it now, and so that’s really exciting. It’s a new venture. So, I was a pretty healthy kid to some extent when I found myself in LA; although it can be a very lonely place, I went through some challenging times. I adore my three older brothers and parents and we are very close. Being away from them for so long is tough at times, and I found myself like my mind was slipping a bit. I found myself depressed a lot and kind of feeling a bit lost. I’ve taken the risk of being away from my family to pursue my aspirations, sometimes questioning if it was the right decision. Additionally, there were a lot of what-if scenarios. So, as a result, I begin to stray a little off my life’s path. It’s like you’re on a healthy path, but then you try and do things to make you feel better like drink, alcohol, drugs, whatever it is. Finally, I started to really get passionate about the health and wellness awareness of what makes us feel good instead of what gives us a quick fix. It’s finding that balance of other things that make you feel good, like leading a healthy life, and I really got inspired to create and be involved with brands that represent that.”
True empowerment comes from recognizing that there is value in every emotion, and in that awareness, we can deliberately choose how long we want to stay in any emotional state. When we try to skip or run away from the way we feel, we are just temporarily covering that emotion instead of facing it, and then moving from it into a softer feeling.
Oliver says, “Every time I’ve tried to dodge the storm, run around it when something bad happens in life, and I try and take the quick exit or the quick fix, it never worked out. The only way is to go through the storm, feel the pain, embrace it, and then come out the other side, and the storm is gone. If not, it’s going to last for a fu*#ing long time. So, I think that’s empowerment for sure; that’s a lesson. My grandma always used to say, ‘It’s always okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.’ And then that’s kind of my style of doing things.”
When I asked Oliver about the favorite aspects of himself, he said, “Now the tough one, as a host, I just never got used to talking about myself. I think my favorite is that I’m proud of where I’ve come because I’ve been through a lot. I know other people have been faced with more. But it hasn’t been easy. I’ve nearly died twice from meningitis and septicemia. When I was 15, I was hospitalized for seven months and in a wheelchair after that. Then, when I was 18, I was beaten into a coma on a street attack and had my whole face rebuild. Now, when I look back, I’m proud of myself at the time; it was just the English way of getting up and carrying on being strong, but those were difficult times. And I’m also proud of making the move to America because I don’t go a day without talking to my parents, and I don’t feel that it’s hard to not be close to them.” Oliver shares emotionally and then continues, “So, now 18 years after, I can still cry over missing my mom or dad. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. Although I’ve definitely made mistakes, I try not to make those mistakes again. But, again, I don’t think there’s any human being that hasn’t made mistakes. I think anyone that says they haven’t made a mistake is probably delusional. It’s just about you trying to honor those mistakes, not running from them, making a right for our wrongs. Keep pushing through but be easy on yourself.”
When we realize that our minds can be too active at times, we also become aware that measuring too much and comparing ourselves to where we are and where we want to be will bring some kind of resistance. Being in peace with where we are at the moment, appreciating how far we have come, prioritizing time to balance through breathing work, sports, cooking, walking in nature, or anything that can soften up our thoughts, takes just a decision so we can move in the direction of more ease.
Just like Oliver says, “Be easy on yourself.” And once you have had that experience, there is really no way back.
Photography // Randall Slavin
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