Sunday, July 26, 2009


Tho' your heart is aching,
Smile Even though its breaking,
When there are clouds in the sky-
You'll get by,
If you Smile through your fear and sorrow,
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through-
For you.
Light up your face with gladness,
Hide ev'ry trace of sadness,
Altho' a tear may be ever so near,
That's the time you must keep on trying,
What's the use of crying,
You'll find that life is still worhwhile,
If you just smile.

I'm smiling right now.

I can say this year thus far has been the most intense year of my life. And with reason. The older we get I guess it just gets more and more difficult like a video game and reaching new levels. A few brilliant experiences and epiphanies have hit me pretty hard today... along with a few dives and spills that hurt like I got punched in the face by Mike Tyson (no... I didn't steal his tiger during a bachelor party in Vegas ;P ).

So I was cliff diving today based off of an impromptu trip with a few friends of mine. I had no idea there's a place literally a few minutes away from where my home is where teenagers, the brave and white trash alike hike to go cliff dive. Always being up for an adventure I decided to go.

In truth, I wasn't going to go. I have been very preoccupied with a few pivotal issues and decisions in my life that take up the rest of my mind that isn't focused on dance/art and the new movie I'm trying to get produced. I would say to worry about one's future and endless happiness is very common for most. I know it has always been the case for me, yet, in recent times, these stresses have been almost torturous and exhausting. That being said I go on living life with a smile on my face. I was really expecting to just lock myself in my house today and just download obscene amounts of music and maybe write a song or two, work out, dance by myself and read a little of the good word... away from the world and from any human connection. Something inside of me knew I was going to waste away my day off in a long time just worrying and being a robot. It was as if the happy part of my heart was screaming at me saying " get up fool...let's have some fun. " So, as the cheesy techno song says " Listen to your heart...." - I did for once.

I hiked and tread water and was at one with my surroundings. I didn't think of any of the stresses or pressures I had been facing 24 hours a normal day. Didn't care. I was on an adventure and it was good. The people I was with don't particularly know me super well either (though we did bond very much more today than ever), so I wasn't asked about the issues I have in my life that my closest of kin know about. It was nice... refreshing to just be present in the moment and go forth and be stupid... literally!

I got to a point where my buddies and I reached the highest jump...I don't even know how high it was but it was a little, ahem, intimidating. My and one guy saw all these other guys jumping and having a blast without pain. Though, looking back now I should've put 2 + 2 together that they were all drunk and/or high while doing so. HA! My friend went first. As he was a bit more experienced than i was at this. He lost his footing, seeing that the rocks were really slippery, and kinda crash landed. He belly flopped really hard, knocking the wind outta him, not to mention, he being but a foot or two away from smashing his head from not jumping out far enough.

Before I could think or assess the risk factor, I prepared to jump in the water if he didn't lift his face. Counting down and saying a little prayer I was ready to go....
1..OH he's up!

Yay! I rejoiced!

He got up, silent and white as a ghost... nobody even made a sound who had witnessed the fall. He said he was in a lot of pain, couldn't breathe and it hurt like hell. Well, this should have been a clear sign for me not to jump. But, instead. I kinda had a "Lieutenant Dan" moment. Where I challenged the powers that be and decided I would do it.

Laughing death in the face...
Having been so stressed out and upset in all those moments of dark thought and personal torture... Having the feeling that I had been left in the desert spiritually for so long...
Having the feeling I'll be alone the whole remainder of my life, being soulmate-less...
Having the feeling of, dare i say it, " Why wasn't it me who just nearly plummeted to a belly flop? " ... just because it'd be nice to feel more physical pain than mental torment...
I jumped... with the thought and prayer that innately came as I leapt off the "Lion King"-like rock.

The thought in my prayer was this:

" Heavenly Father, please bless me that I'll survive this. Preserve me so I can enjoy the rich blessings this life has to offer me... be them difficult ones or easy ones."

Why in the heck were those my most honest words and thoughts and desires of my heart in such a moment?!?!?!?! I didn't care about pain. I didn't jump in act of rebellion, though at first it was a motivating factor to climb the rock in the first place. (adrenaline) I just asked God to preserve me so I could have the opportunities, whatever they may be, to learn what i am supposed to learn and do what I'm destined to do. I knew it wasn't my time to go. ( wind ) So many unanswered questions. (screams) So many decisions would be left in limbo had I perished. (blurred vision) So many reasons to live and nothing to complain about. (smile) .....


Amidst the great epiphany that had occurred, where i saw my life for what it really was... I smiled. The next thing I knew was an obscene amount of pain as I had totally left the conscious world for a brief moment all the while I had forgotten I had already jumped from that damned rock!

I landed on the right side of my jaw. No it wasn't a belly flop. It was a punch to the face. That fall made me it's (female dog). Not to mention, the fall and succeeding crash of my lifeless body also nearly dislocated my elbow as i smashed sideways on to the water where it flung back the opposite way.

I remember getting water in my mouth probably cause i was smiling. I normally close my lips when I'm nervous and they go white. But no. My mouth was open as I fell in a funny awkward smile. I got up. I held my thumb up as I swam with one arm and screamed underwater due to how badly it hurt. I didn't tell any of the guys I was in so much pain. I joked around with them and played it off the whole day. But in truth the pain was but a tiny reminder of the little miracle that had passed in my life. 1. I'm alive! Haha! I could've landed on the rocks and never even remembered a thing. 2. A prayer was answered as I realized what I had been missing in this life.... the experience. This life is about experience. And for some beautifully mysterious reason, God, the one who knows all wants me to go through what I go through. And dreading so much of it isn't the point... thought at times I am sure i will continue to complain and contemplate. 3. It took me to put a smile on my face, just as the song says to say " yes, I'm a fun person, I want to go cliff diving today " and go out and do it. But i did it. I wasn't lying to myself. I am happy a lot of the time. I'm both a brilliantly happy person and a tragically sad one as well... at the same time. But I had been neglecting the happy side, and had been doing so in a vicious cycle of stress and personal fault finding. But mysteriously, that thought process has seemed to have left me for the time being. My Heavenly Father, in His infinite wisdom, helped change my heart in a moment where he knew i desperately needed it. And it's beautiful. And funny. And grand.

Will I forever be changed and will the dark clouds ever return? They've never left me. But what's a little rain when I smile and let the sun shine through?

Until next time... smile at your mortality. Smile at the funny stuff. Smile at the hard stuff... because it's very much out of our control, yet has such specific purpose in each and every single one of our lives. Smile at someone. Make someone smile back. i did that today. And got a smile back. It's like living in a Disney Movie. Well, and older one. They're kinda getting dark and deep nowadays. Now I'm just blabbing. Is anyone still even reading this? Hahaha now I'm smiling again....


  1. brilliantly said, benji! thank you for sharing your experience with the world. it's a great reminder to not get caught up in the "drama" of our lives. you've brought a smile and a tear of recognition to my face. love ya!

    TT *:)

  2. Amazing, not only to have an ounce of courage to actually go cliff diving but everything else you wrote about. That song (all due to Mr. Charlie Chaplin) has spanned decades and with every remake it keeps one important thought in mind.. to smile no matter what. I'm glad to have read it and surprise surprise... a smile has graced my lips. As Jo said, it is a good reminder to not sweat the small stuff or big stuff. Later skater!


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  4. What an experience!! Thanks for sharing. reading this made me think about some personal things going on in my life, good and bad, I processed it all and smiled. :)

  5. I for one am glad you didn't bite it! On the selfish side , you're an inspiration to many, but your worth is of immeasurable and unchangable value. Nothing you do or say can make Heavenly Father love you more or less. It is constant. Only our perceptions of our worth change. And while the clouds may never completely depart, you sun can grow brighter and brighter. Don't fret! You have a place in the Plan, and there's a plan just for you. You weren't sent to fail.

  6. I used that song once in a show to illustrate the expectations we have of each other sometimes to smile even when we're depressed--especially believers. In my case, when I'm depressed I refuse to hide it by putting on a happy face; I want to know that it's okay to be real.

  7. what a beautiful blog you have here benji! i hope you keep with it.

    love the smile picture and did you draw the little cartoon? it's so stinking cute! please don't tell me that you are an incredible dancer AND that you can draw AND who knows what else. :) so much talent in one person!

    we learn from it all. we do. afterwards it'll all make sense. why we went through what we went through. we're the lucky ones to have the gospel to help us while it's tough. because it does help even when things are tough. atleast we know there's more and there are reasons... keep spreading those smiles and the Light.

    and yes, one day you'll find your soul mate and the wait will be all worth it. it'll be like you've always been together. the more you wait, the more you appreciate.

    hang in there.

  8. i hope it's ok that i'll advertise your blog on my blog... this is a great blog benji!

  9. Hey Benji! You always look at my artworks, so I wanted to return the favor and look at your work of art here. Each entry in your blog is like an M.C. Escher print. When you first look at one of his prints, you see one beautiful picture and then you start to see all the other little pictures within the picture and you love it even more. Thank you for adding those little pictures in your writing. Like an artwork, your writing grabs a person and gently taps into their heart and soul. You made me smile, tear up, think about band-aids, think some more, and smile again. I'm going to leave your blog enlightened. That's what a great blog should do. I hope to come back and read more of your musings. I hope you have a magnificent Monday! :)

  10. Wow, Benji...this a side of you I have never seen quite so deeply. I read all your entries and I am impressed at your ability to express yourself through words. You've always been known to be "self-expressive" through your amazing dance talent but this....this is really great! Thankyou for sharing your experiences, your beliefs, what you've learned, etc. You have such an amazing opportunity to reach people that NO ONE else has. I too will be posting a link to your blog on my own (if that's okay). I have always been happy to say I know you! But now, I kind of feel like a big sister...and I am proud of you :0)

  11. Thanks for sharing. :)

  12. Yay, Benji is blogging. I rooted for you all through "So You Think...", you are so talented. Working on an album?! Wow, you do it all.
    I'm glad you found the courage to be stupid, have some fun, and smile. And I loved hearing that you still rely on the good word and prayer to get you through, you are an example to all.
    I have a couple of single sisters in law that would love to be your soul mate haha, LDS and all.
    I hope it's o.k. that I follow your blog. I'd send you a link to mine, but I've set it that only invited readers can enjoy.
    Oh, and I LOVE that Jann Arden song, I'd love to see you dance to it.

  13. I understand what you said about being a happy and sad person because I feel it too. And how I handle that is just the same as you do. I smile.
    I think you jumped and smiled because you felt free from everything was hurting you. Sometimes being sad is not a bad thing. But you can never let sadness in the control of your life. Just smile and you'll be free.
    Kisses and hugs from a friend in Brazil.


  14. wow, that was awe-inspiring. it definitely put a smile to my face and to know that we're not alone out there is really quite something else. there ARE so many things to be thankful for, and yes, everyone goes through sad periods, but we all have to remember that the glass is ALWAYS half full, to always look at the bright side of things. it's something that can get you through whatever you're going through, no matter how big or small. thanks for being so inspiration, benji! i hope i inspire my friends & family like you do.

  15. Next time you're in search of an epiphany, try to find it without the risk of killing yourself. It's okay to ask for God's help, but it's not okay to test him . . . .

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  17. Benji, I was greatly touched by what all you had to say about smiling and knowing that God our creator and savior is there with us through it all. The idea of you crashing your beautiful talented head against a rock scared the pieces out of me but I am greatful to God that he protected you and saved you. I also know what it is like to wonder who God has planned to be the one special person He created for you. I hope that God brings that person to both of us someday soon. Who knows someday He might even put us together. I am not a entertainer like yourself but I do have a love of music and a huge appretiation for the art of dance. I would love to someday have the oppertunity to share my talent that my God has given me. Keep up that gorgeous smile Benji it lights up the world with God's love and faithfulness.