From Chaos – Meet Shep

Herstun asked me to tell you what ‘from chaos’ means to me.

And here I am.

From Chaos means many things to me, but most of all, it is the force that created who I am today.

Established in 1989.

I was born into suffering, innocent and unaware.

Death has surrounded me and been my greatest teacher.

It has brought me acceptance, insight, enlightenment, and a bit of emotional disconnection.

My father passed in ’93, a few months before my 4th birthday.

How does a child mourn, if at all?

My earliest memories are in death.
Things I learned to belive early in life.

The adults who surrounded me did not cope with my father’s passing well, and there was a feud between families.

As a result, my father’s family disappeared a few years after his death, and my sister and I were left abandoned of their love, or the lack thereof.

(I’m still unaware of the actual reality of things, and since reconnecting as a senior in high school, some occasional truth will surface anew.)

My mother as a single parent did her best to raise two children on her own.

She worked full time and furthered her education.

She was a warrior.

I had to grow up fast and was given much responsibility as a child.

So, I was always quiet and observant.

Quite a few of my fondest memories as a young lad are running through the wilderness carefree.

Some deep seeded non-conformity has always coursed through my veins, so school and authority were always an issue.


I’ve fought my entire life to live outside the box and the expectations of society.

After living in my hometown from K-12, I often thought to myself that I was destined for great things. I just had to escape from that place first.

University was not an option for me as a young rebel so I decided to join the military of all things.

My last couple days in “imprisonment” I figured I’d snap one last picture of me in my Monkey suit for you beautiful people… trust the journey. (Real footage and caption from me 3 years ago.)

It was a family tradition and was really the only way to escape a harsh reality.

I went in for an opportunity to travel and the education benefits.

So, at the age of 20, I found myself in South Korea.

With a prestigious job and a significant amount of pride in myself for the first time in my life.

Not long after being in South Korea, I received a message —

In loving memory.

My high school sweetheart was in a severe car accident, she died instantly.

I was devastated, but emotionless.

She was the only thing I loved in this world, and she made it seem less dismal.

My earliest love is in death.

I turned to alcohol and partying for some time after that to fill a void.

Not even a year later I found myself back to the United States.

I received another message after returning to America. —

My best friend in Korea had committed suicide.

We had just talked the day before via Skype.

My friendship is in death.

Through all of that, I still managed to hold myself together and stay positive through the influence of reggae music, and the understanding that death is only in natural order.

For some time I looked to the sky and asked what I did to deserve all of this?

I would go on to spend another 7 years in military service.

I became complacent and really didn’t know what I was going to do with the rest of my life. — I was lost, physically and emotionally.

Death has always surrounded me.

I watched “Into the Wild” in 2013, and the first time in my life I felt I could actually relate to someone.

“I read somewhere in life that is important to feel strong, not be strong..”

I felt the same anger he did.

The corrupted and greedy minds of society,

the mindless conformity,

the impact that broken homes have on the psyche of adolescent minds.

It was a maddening time in my life.

I grew very solitary.

Began to question reality and I lost faith in everything outside of myself.

I just wanted to be happy and to live life by my standards.

Feeling scammed out of my existence.

Buy, Consume, Obey, Repeat.

One day, I found a trailhead towards some internal peace.

And I began to walk it despite scrutiny.

I left the service 2.5 years ago.

Got a pup.

Donated most of my possessions.

Bought a van.

and set out on a journey to find myself.

Since then —

I have started rock climbing.

Became an Alaskan Commercial Fisherman.

Finally enrolled myself into school.


And I’m writing this.

My journey has just begun, and I feel a rebirth soon on the horizon.

Just remember, From Chaos… Comes Clarity

And from death comes life.
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It’s times like these. Gratitude.

A post shared by M.D.S. (@fromchaos_) on

But life is duality.

And death is all-Around us.

Until we meet again.


curated by w.d. herstun


Written By Chaos. Edited By Herstun.

All imagery sourced from Chaos personal library.

I met Chaos AKA Shep, at the end of my tenure in the military. We were both pretty beat down spirits that vibed over some deep conversations about living a purpose-driven life. We were both knee-deep in chaos.

Obviously, Chaos has different views. But damn I admire him. I think a theme on my site is bravery. I know some brave ass people. And Chaos is one of them. Being thoroughly spiritual and wholly in touch with the inner self is a dynamic activity. As Alex J. in Guinea reminded us on Tuesday, love sounds easy. But it’s not always so. It is brave to admit the chaos in which you exist. I taste a little of that every time I unveil my thoughts.

Chaos lives in it every day. I am so proud of him for finding some of that balance. But I hope his spirit stays out there in the wilderness. I’ll meet him out there one day. Perhaps we will find ourselves waist-deep in clarity.

Something else I want to tackle. Shep is one of the most spiritually in tune human beings that I know. I wanted to title this post — From Chaos, the journey of a spiritual adventurer.

But I chose not to out of respect to American indigenous people that identify strongly with spirituality in the very way that Shep practices it. Close to the wilderness and at one with the cyclical nature of life. I love that he does not need a label. But I question why? Would we view people of different races the same way? As spiritual adventurers? I also wonder if Shep’s lack of labeling has left him feeling lonely at times on the flipside of that coin. I wonder if he wouldn’t have found a home in a Rastafarian community had he the right accent? Or if he would have been embraced by indigenous populations?

I think it is okay and respectful of all parties to ask these questions. How else will we learn to co-exist and retain our cultures in ways that behoove generations to follow?

America has to address the way we treat all of our people, including white men and boys. I don’t need to link in the stats to know who is leading the country demographically in suicide. Love our American brothers. Even the ones from chaos.

4 thoughts on “From Chaos – Meet Shep

  1. Best thing on the internet for me. Meeting new people through their journey. It is beautiful to read growth frkm each writer. I am proud of you all.

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