Investing in Pasts?

  • October 18, 2018
Investing in Pasts?



Are you investing in pasts or futures?

A prudent way to learn more and guess less in ten minutes or your money back – wait!  You didn’t buy anything! And there’s a gift at the end!

By the way I am NOT anti sci-fi but a lot of us are preoccupied with what the future holds, and in my opinion at least, we waste a lot of time worrying about that and what to study while anticipating what might happen in the future.  No, there there is some wisdom to that and yet in comparison, here’s the thing about the past – it never changes!  You can actually count on that 🙂  You don’t have to guess .. you don’t have to speculate about what might have happened – it happened!  Go find out and study that.

Unless we can figure out time travel and can screw up the past, studying the past will probably give you the bigger bang for your buck every time.  Now there’s two sides to this:

  1. obviously studying the pasts of other people
  2. – but don’t forget your own!

I think there’s value to be had in both worlds.  I want us to be able to embrace every past event as being the key to who we are today.  That’s what made us.  If you look at life this way, nothing is wasted.


Smurfs vs Banjo the Wood Pile Cat

I want to share a cute example from my past – I think it’s cute 🙂 – and how studying my past turned out to be a huge investment for me.  This is a story about the Smurfs and Banjo the Wood Pile Cat.  So the Smurfs – you’ve probably heard of them .. Banjo a lesser-known cartoon.  These two cartoons never knew about each other.  They didn’t live in the same world, they didn’t happen on the same channel on Saturday morning cartoons – just up here [points to head] .. and they used to tug-of-war in my head and change channels up there a lot.  Until about age nine, I had all kinds of original tunes and images floating around in my head – very creative, I thought this was fun, this was a normal part of life – but once I was nine, I was put on my first mental health medications and at that point I started distrusting my creativity.  I started believing what everybody else had described my creativity to be:

  1. I was distractible,
  2. I couldn’t concentrate,
  3. couldn’t focus

.. and these are my doctor’s, my parents, my teachers – well-meaning folks but I listened to what their description of my creativity was and I started getting really worried about myself – and so back to Banjo the Wood Pile Cat and the Smurfs – I would have these two playing in my head all the time and I’d come to my younger siblings and confess to them: I’d be like “I don’t know what’s going on! First Banjo the Wood Pile Cat [singing] and BANG! the channel changes then all the Smurfs [singing] and BANG! then back to Banjo the Wood Pile Cat and these channels keep changing – I’m losing my mind!  And then fast forward now to about two years ago: I’m sitting down writing some multimedia for one of my speeches. I use a lot of multimedia in my speeches (they’re more like “speech-formances”) and in this particular piece I’ve got an old-fashioned TV set with some cartoons and video games playing on it – of course Banjo the Wood Pile Cat and the Smurfs also take their turns on this TV but I start slowing myself down as I think about this and I start paying attention to the tunes that each of them have and OMG .. they are so similar I mean “la la la la la la” [singing] .. Smurfs, then “Banjo the Wood Pile Cat” [singing] .. Banjo, so it wasn’t that I couldn’t focus back then – it was that I was hyper focusing!  I could listen to the patterns and recognize the similarities between those tunes and that’s what was so intriguing to me!  And now I think about how this has helped me in my past as a software developer winning all these awards.  You really need to be able to be good at pattern recognition and being able to modify patterns, mimic patterns.  And then I became a musician – again, important being able to recognize patterns and mimic and modify!  Something that I thought was a disability back then, really was an ability that I had discarded.


Question for You

All right, so what does this have to do with you? Here’s a question for you:

Are there any parts of your past that you’ve accidentally or purposefully discarded, and if so, could you maybe instead, look for the hidden clues in those moments that would help you make less choices but more bold and heartfelt decisions?


Now I say less choices because the world we live in offers many distractions to choose from when we don’t know who we are!


Study Your and Their Past

So as I said earlier in an earlier video it’s it’s been a lot harder and much slower to go backwards through life like I’ve had to just removing all the things that I didn’t want so I could make some room to focus on the things that I did want.  I mean, it’s so much easier to go forward learning from other people’s mistakes …

… experiences, seriously that’s been the biggest takeaway for me.  The biggest thing I’ve learned is to seek mentors.  After studying your own past, learn from their pasts, you know, seek and learn from people that are doing the things you want to be doing one day and similarly from the same people who are avoiding the things you want to be avoiding.  What did these guys do to get there? Right?  Invest in yourself by investing in the knowledge that these guys have.  It’ll save you years of trial and error.


Smile Intersection

.. and on that segued note, I’ve got a small gift for you today.  Whether you’re going backwards through life like me or you want to save time by going forwards through life by learning from people like me, I want you to find that intersection we talked about earlier where your passions brought others AND you the most smiles.  So you’re gonna want to turn your phones to landscape for this one and if you’re on a desktop .. flip (** LOCK ORIENTATION TO PORTRAIT 🙂 ) your heads?  Tag a friend, share some hope, see you soon! I’m Rene Rafael and thanks for traveling with me.


10 Ways to Embrace Your Past and Rewrite Your Future

Up to now, what’s been your life story?

Do you get how valuable it is? How valuable you are?

  • $62,000 on mental health medications and psychology visits that left me emotionally scarred.
  • Another $125,000 on an education that dismissed everything I thought was important about myself and my life and left me mentally scattered, chasing everything under the Sun, except the gifts that God had already given me – at birth!
  • $340,000 on stressful jobs that slowly, silently killed me .. my dreams – killed those too .. and left me debilitatingly scared of making any of my own decisions – that’s half a million dollars!

Half a million dollars and 4 decades of trial and error – that’s what it cost me to come to the conclusions in my own story!  But was it all bad?  It certainly wasn’t all good!  God’s kept me mostly objective about how I look at my own story.  I’m not interested in wasting time on blame or guilt or the trappings that those two provide.  In the end: love, compassion, forgiveness – these are gonna be the most important things to give to others and yourself!  So if you think you could benefit from the wisdom that I personally gained on my journey to sobriety, I’d like to offer you my Rebirth Program entitled TEN Ways to Embrace your Past and Rewrite your Future.  While creating this, I needed to dig really deep into the archaeology of my life story, you know, forgive myself for quite a number of things and eventually make the bold decision to fuel my keynote performances with my story.  We all have stories!  This is the group hug part right? 🙂  Yeah, you all have stories!  You live long enough, that’s generally what ends up happening – you have stories!  But the strange thing is that we often don’t think of these stories as being as valuable as they really are.  Your stories are valuable .. not just to learn from yourself but to share so that others can learn, and more importantly, to embrace as the unique ongoing dream that God has for each one of us.  Use these!  Use these to make a better today and a more beautiful tomorrow. There’s no “too late” time to start dreaming again!

Old stories can create new ones.

So if you want to discover the value and the power of your own stories and then use these to fuel your dreams, this program could be a very encouraging tool for you.  It definitely was for me in writing it.

God bless!

Hey, looking to fill a 90 minute spot with some reflectively humorous and life-changing ear candy?  Download Rene to your device and take him in the woods on your next hike.

Shuffle! If you like chaos.

Uncheck! If you like order.

Buy now and walk with Rene today!

Hobby or Calling?

  • October 10, 2018
Hobby or Calling?



Hobby or Calling? One is an Expensive Experiment!  In seven minutes, I’ll tell you which it was for me.

When they tell you “hey you know, you gotta have a job and do something that is … stable, that’ll support your family, that’ll bring an income, you know, you gotta do that!  And sure, you can have your hobbies on the side …  You can have your hobbies.  You can have your hobbies but you definitely have to do something that’s more legitimate … that’s more realistic .. that’s gonna bring income .. that’s gonna bring you a stable lifestyle for you and/or your family”

But the phrase I want to focus on is when they say:

“You need to do something stable .. but you can have your hobbies“.

I’m here to tell you that’s not true 🙂  You CAN’T have your hobbies,  OK.

If you treat your passions as a hobby, what’ll eventually happen is that you will have overextended yourself and overcommitted to everything else that is considered “stable“, quote unquote air quotes “stable“, to things that are more realistic.

You will have overcommitted to all those things that by the time you get to your hobby, what little energy is leftover to do that will be so minuscule that what you’ll end up doing instead … is recover .. from all the other stuff you were doing .. by sitting in front of the TV set, by doing something mindless – playing a video game, watching a movie, going out with friends – all those things are great – but my point is you will have not enough energy left over if you don’t also enjoy the stable thing you’re doing!  Why?  Because if you don’t enjoy it, that means it’s taking more energy from you .. than you’re getting from it!

So that’s why you CAN’T have your hobby!

Because when you get less energy back than you’re putting forth into something, you need to recover from that.  So the time that you could’ve spent doing your ho.bby is now spent!

So no, you CAN’T have your hobby.

You need to think of the things that you really enjoy as being a way of living and making those lucrative and viable and helpful for yourself as well as others.  Help everybody, as many as you can with your talents and the things that you’re passionate and your purposeful about.  Don’t treat those as hobbies because they will stop happening!

… as you run out of energy …

And let me ask this:

If pursuing your hobby until it becomes a professional vocation – with you – as the on-demand expert receiving an overflow of energy because you truly enjoy what you’re doing – if that,  is considered un-stable,  how stable is it really to work in an area that doesn’t engage your UNIQUE personal value, and because of that .. consistently saps your energy?

How long could you sustain that?

In the last video, I admitted to engaging in a very “Expensive Experiment”.  Yeah, this experiment was valuing everyone else’s ideas and chasing after these instead of mine, only to find out that many years later, my ideas actually were quite valuable, so much so that everybody else had made money off these before me 🙂

Seriously, jokes aside – living this way proved very expensive for me in so many ways.  Because I didn’t value my ideas enough, I didn’t have the confidence to expect a fair exchange for these.  Yeah, I’m talking about money. For many years I worked long hours, giving away all my creativity in exchange for a salary that couldn’t support a family of 4 – not without the use of credit cards and living in crippling debt!  That was financially expensive.

I destroyed my body in front of a keyboard for 10-14 hour days for years on end.  Had to go to all kinds of chiropractors, physical therapists, had to switch my career when my back gave out, took a whole year to repair that and my lower spine – killed all my savings doing that, killed my 401K so that I wouldn’t lose my house!  That was financially AND physically expensive!

And I also destroyed so many of my relationships because I was constantly working long hours to dig out of that debt. By the time I had time to actually spend time with friends and family, I was so beat up, so frustrated and just had nothing really positive to say in conversation.  I lost who I was and there was just nothing cool to say.  That was emotionally expensive!

It’s a lot harder and slower to go backwards like I’ve had to, pruning away all the things I didn’t want in my life.

College is a HUGE opportunity to magnify who you already arenot become someone you’re not.  YOU!  Definitely are enough.

So here’s some things to consider while you’re there:

  1. Why are you going? 🙂
  2. To develop yourself (hopefully)  To develop your character, your passions?  Your hobbies … are you bringing those with you too?
  3. Are you going to college to become the leader in something really cool?  A cool combination of God-given gifts, in which you, are uniquely and solely positioned to lead people?

Or … are you going to college for someone other than you?

Are these worthwhile questions to ask or am I just crazy?  There’s no real way to make money from doing things you actually like doing right? Right?!

Smack me up in the comments below.  Yeah I never thought I’d be providing for a family of 4 with my music videos and my performance art – I get it!

Thanks again guys.  If you found my words hopeful, encouraging  …  tag a friend, share some hope, and see you soon.

Until then, I’m Rene Rafael and thanks for traveling with me.

Majoring in Undecided? Decide your Dream!

  • October 3, 2018
Majoring in Undecided?  Decide your Dream!



Majoring in Undecided? In six minutes, let’s first Decide your Dream.

I had an unusual reaction to some students who shared how inspired they were and how super relaxed I seemed on stage …
I got depressed for a bit.
Depressed because I realized how late in life I chose to do something that made both me and other people smile 🙂

See until age 9 I knew exactly who I was and mostly what I was gonna do with my life, you know, some combination of music videos and stories and unnecessary noises .. and inventions – yeah.
But from ages 9 through 35 (and that’s 26 years now I’m 43 years old) I spent most of that time running away from who God made me to be because I didn’t think that was valuable enough.

That … turned out to be a very Expensive Experiment.

A lot of us are brought up with the idea that there’s a specific prescribed path to follow in life especially in education for anybody that wants to make a decent living one day.

You need to pursue a career in:

  1. a field that’s already proven to be a moneymaker, or
  2. at least a hot new field that’s guaranteed to be making money by the time you graduate from college …

So up the ladder you go, rung by prescribed rung and along the way many of us are encouraged to discard our dreams and passions because you know these are too risky and not monetizable – but you can still keep these as hobbies they’ll tell you 🙂


You actually can monetize your dreams.

The question, it’s not whether you can, the question actually is whether you’ll be monetizing them for someone – other than you!

After I decided that all my childhood dreams were childish and in need of some discarding I went on a rampage throughout college.  I tried five or six different majors and then the workforce trying to learn and do everything that other people thought were valuable.

You know I sometimes still did my music videos, sometimes wrote my stories, sometimes inspired folks with my crazy inventions but those were on the side.  Those were valuable enough only as hobbies.  So job after job I woke up 18 jobs later to recognize a very unsettling pattern.

I’d worked in academia, the corporate scene, startup scene, the nonprofit scene … The things I was good at as a kid, the things I had been passionate about, that made me smile, that made others smile – those I’d put on the side to make money …

But in every single place I’d worked, the things that got me the most smiles, the most praise and awards were for these very same things: my creative videos, my multimedia, mobile apps, my commercial script writing, acting, singing, my emotional intelligence … my communication skills and collaboration –

I had monetized my dream for everybody else.

Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that by the way if you’re consciously aware that that’s what’s happening it’s okay it’s okay to monetize your dream for someone else if you’re okay with it!

What’s not okay is being oblivious to your UNIQUE personal value.

What’s not okay is thinking that your passions and your dreams are not, in and of themselves, valuable enough to make money.

Someone else will definitely find yours valuable and use them .. if you don’t

So here’s a little exercise:

  1. Look back across all the jobs you’ve had, paid or unpaid.  The point here is to think about times where you have given people value.  Your time your talents are valuable.
  2. OK, which activities do you recall doing at these jobs where you brought the most smiles to other people?
  3. And now, which ones brought you the most smiles?
  4. Where do those two worlds intersect? Where your efforts give you and others the most smiles.
  5. What things can you start doing today to spend more time at this intersection?
  6. Here’s a little hint: Which activities take you away from this intersection?
  7. And how many of these can you safely stop doing?

If this sounds silly, if this sounds really simple, it’s because it is guys.  But we we live in this distraction-rich clickety-click-keep-moving-forward world and ignore-where-we-came-from world and not many of us stop long enough to think about this – I woke up just eight years ago but I’m really glad I did because I’m really excited!  I’m excited as heck to wake up these days!  I can’t say I’ve ever felt this way about any other job I’ve had in the past 43 years!  This really isn’t a job to me.

So if you find yourself still majoring in undecided like I was back then,  Decide your Dream, instead!

That’s it for today.  Thanks for watching or listening or reading.  As always tag a friend, share some hope, see you soon.

Until then, I’m Rene Rafael and thanks for traveling with me.

Hey, which path should we take?

Over here?


Yeah?  Ah-right!

Lyrics to Small Mental Room

  • August 10, 2018
Lyrics to Small Mental Room

To those who asked me for the lyrics to Small Mental Room – thanks.


Added below and in the music video.




–Verse 1
New memoirs sewn
Into the fabric of my memory
The ocean
Calls me
On my ship-recked intentions
I float on to my destiny

The stars above
Sometimes they guide me
As long as I’m willing
To lose myself
In their eternity
But bound by Earth’s oceans
Kills me
When the oceans above
Await my escape
From her gravity

–Chorus 1
I woke up one day
To find that
I wasn’t home

My mind
Had entered the unknown
Everything about the world
That I knew had changed
In my small mental room
Would need to be

–Verse 2
Locked inside the cargo-hold
Armed only with a
Broken mirror
For my vanity!

Monetary duality
Two sides of me on a coin
I flipped into the abyss
As I dismiss
My own plurality

Can you buy me!?
Can you buy me some time
I need some more of that!

Can I sell thee!?
Can I sell thee a small mental room
With a view over a sea of cataracts!

–Chorus 2
[[ For only 1 review of Chorus 1, you too can save an electron 🙂 ]]

Discovered lands
In my mind
Had been erased

That I knew
To be true
Had been replaced

–Chorus 3
[[ For only 1 review of Chorus 1, you too can save an electron 🙂 ]]


Lyrics in YouTube
See description and embedded in the actual video itself! (need to do this in realtime one day)

Heal with me – Rene at Stillwater May 12

  • May 23, 2018
Heal with me – Rene at Stillwater May 12

Stillwater Episode 3:

Small Mental Room

To all who attended, physically and in spirit, thank you!

It was an unbelievable pressure-valve-release to finally play the guitar in public for the 1st time!  I’ll admit, as I was walking around the stage with my axe, I mentally slipped into a few of my heroes, namely Kurdt Kobain (if you get that, I’ll treat ya to coffee – darn expensive idea considering you can Google that :-))

Seriously, mistakes and all, it was a wonderful energy you created for me so I hope I created right back.  Thanks for giving this “grown-up” a chance to be the fearless co-creating kid Christ wants us all to be.

And on that note, I repeat the previous blog title as a wish to us all: Go ahead, be AFRAID … but be FEARLESS about it!

Enjoy Episode 3, the resulting music video airs Fri, 5/25!

Stillwater Episode 2:

Go ahead, be AFRAID .. but be FEARLESS about it!

The title is NOT a command.

As a kid who’s spent his life consumed by fears, it’s just a wish I have for all of us.

Enjoy Episode 2, the story behind my 1st PDG or Public Display of Guitar – don’t worry nothing indecent 😉

Episode 2 aired Wed, 5/23

Stillwater Episode 1:

T Minus 12

If ya know me, ya also know my love of trilogies 😉

If you have time this week, Episodes 1-3 air Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!

Rene’s Ridiculous Answer Unveiled:

Continue below for Pancakes + Syrupy Inspiration this May 12!


What do Pancakes, Inspiration, and Rene have in common?

Stay tuned for a ridiculous answer ( hint: May 12 🙂 )



On July 4th 2010 …

He simultaneously took his last pills and played his 1st live gig with Vintage band-mates. The next 3 years of sobriety would bring more pain than the previous 26 years of drugs combined as he began the process of re-discovering the world and himself through eyes that had never seen clearly … until now. 8 years later, he’s still sober, re-discovering, and healing family wounds. The pain is still there too, but worth embracing to rewrite a future full of hope, purpose, and possibility.


On May 12th 2018 …

Join us at Stillwater United Methodist Church on May 12th for Breakfast* at 9AM and their awesome serving of pancakes, followed by Rene Rafael at 9:50AM and his awesome serving of compassionate hope!

*Men of God Breakfast is a great morning of breakfast, inspiration and fellowship usually between Christian men, but on May 12, doors are excitedly open to ALL who could benefit from Rene’s message!

6911 Frederick Pike, Dayton, Ohio 45414

For more event details, please contact: Marie Flora (937) 454-9405


  • April 19, 2018


Hi there,

My name is Rene Rafael and I’ve got a soft spot for students when it comes to my inspirational speaking on topics of adversity!  If you’re visiting this page, there’s a good chance our paths crossed at the Montgomery County Regional Stakeholder Meeting at Stivers High School on March 29th 2018.

Below, you’ll find my responses to the questions I felt strongest about concerning the Strategic Plan for Education in Ohio: 2019-2024 (#EachChildOurFuture).

I hope I’ve inspired you to reach out so we can inspire students together soon!


My Responses to the #EachChildOurFuture Plan

1. What are the plan’s greatest strengths?

1. As a father of 2 teens, I’m truly encouraged by the emphasis the plan places on social emotional learning.  It is evident that emotional intelligence is being valued as much as traditional academic tracks which was not the case during my education.

2. As an educator and synthesizer, I’m excited by the encouragement the plan currently strives to give students in the area of synthesis.  I see the plan empowering students to “identify their passions” so they can then use these as the catalysts to combining knowledge from multiple disciplines to create their own futures.

3. As a creative technologist, I’m happy to see the intention to no longer leverage technology as a tool for merely elevating existing bodies of knowledge & disciplines, but as an integral force in the creation of new bodies of knowledge and currently-unheard-of disciplines.  The integration of technology with education democratizes the creation and consumption of knowledge.  Treating students as creators and not just consumers will have a drastically positive impact on our future.

4. As an openminded survivor of many “prescriptions” (mental health & edu), I’m reassured by the plan’s intention to similarly be openminded and lovingly smiled at your following sentence: “This plan is not a prescription” 🙂

2. What might be missing from the plan?

1. A clear intention and description of how students will be enabled via a life-long “passion project” so they can feel empowered as creators of their own knowledge, empathetic towards consuming existing knowledge, and confidently excited to synthesize from both bodies of knowledge – either in collaboration or alone.  I had many innovative ideas during my edu that didn’t fit the offered tracks, including interactive music videos. I felt told to limit my future by choosing from the small pool of “sanctioned” ideas.  This was frustratingly discouraging and I see similar frustration in my kids.  Allowing students to claim a “passion project” that follows them throughout high school would be an early enabler to becoming productive members of society.  They would: discover their unique gifts and confidence earlier, be more engaged across classes as they seek the relevant knowledge that will make their projects succeed, develop accountability as they carry their projects forward each year, and become more adaptable as they grow and recognize the need to modify their projects.   They would be more respectful of others because respect was given to them first.  The trick here is to give students entire responsibility over their projects.  Mentorship/Co-Mentorship would work well here, but should never devolve into another prescriptive process based on age or seniority.  As a litmus test, if we’re asking any derivatives of the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, we’re doing it wrong.  Ask instead and regularly: “Who are you today?” … and then … let THEM answer 🙂

2. I see brief mention of coding and developing apps.  I suggest making certain these activities are always and easily available to all students.  For those who’s academic trajectory seems to be following the entrepreneurial track, this availability is paramount.  I discovered code in 5th grade but it quickly became unavailable to me until 15th grade when I decided to major in CIS 🙂  I’ve recently been able to make my dream of “interactive music videos” a reality as a multimedia performance artist and speaker on topics of adversity and education.  Coding levels the playing field for all learners by giving them the opportunity to transmute their inner-world ideas into external manifestations for the rest of the world to experience as well.  Not everyone can become a guru programmer (I am certainly not) but anyone with access to coding can create what does not exist today.  As similarly mentioned earlier about technology, coding also “democratizes the creation and consumption of knowledge.  Treating students as creators and not just consumers will have a drastically positive impact on our future.”

Thanks for considering my input and feel free to download the PDF version here.
Inspirational Keynote Speaker
Multimedia Performance Artist
CXO Remnandt ® Records

Hi Paulo DeMaria

  • April 18, 2018

Hi Paulo!

My name is Rene Rafael.  I participated in the Montgomery County Regional Stakeholder Meeting at Stivers High School back in March we didn’t get a chance to meet in person so I wanted to say hi and let you know that I’ve got a soft spot for students when it comes to my inspirational speaking on topics of adversity!  Since I couldn’t find your direct line but found you on Twitter,  I’ve tweeted you a link to this blog post 🙂

I’m hoping you might know the event planner for the SuccessBound West Regional Conference coming up in May at Sinclair Community College.

My number is 937.260.2033, my name is Rene, and I look forward to speaking with you Paolo!

Have a great evening sir!


May I Empower Your Audience?

  • March 7, 2018

So encouraged by the many who freely shared their own mental health struggles with me after reliving this topic thru my Keynote Concert at the 2018 LA Music Prosperity Mastery conference – THANK YOU!


Do you need a keynote speaker for your event, but don’t want to spend a lot of time and effort searching for “the one”?

Ask me for my top 3 reasons why I think I’m your guy. And, I’d love to send you the link to my video demo reel and speaker sheet.

Looking forward to combining forces and empowering your audience together 🙂

Seriously? Inspirational

  • January 3, 2018

Spawned from the previous 30 Day Speaking Challenge, my YouTube playlist Seriously? Inspirational is another think out loud experiment. Advanced planning is sometimes involved 🙂

30 Day Speaking Challenge

  • November 14, 2017

A challenge posed by FSA leader Tiamo De Vettori: record yourself speaking for 30 days non-stop!

Just kidding – just once a day for the next 30, for at least a minute, and with at least 1 recording lasting 1 hr 🙂