Don’t ask me a thing about football because all I know is touchdown. When I got the opportunity to speak with Prince Ahadzie Daniels, Jr. through Kristen from the Ardent Agency I was excited. To go from a professional career in football to something even better was very eye opening for me. Throughout our conversation I learned that life is what you make of it. If you believe in yourself you can achieve anything…….it starts with you. I was listening and learning to Mr. Daniels as he gave me some pointers on Meditation and Life. Let’s start with his background……………….
Prince Daniels, Jr. was released from the Baltimore Ravens in 2009 due to injuries. With no solid plan in place for life after the NFL, he found hope in meditation as it allowed him to find inner peace, see clearly, and focus on mapping out his future. While coping with his own tragedy, a concept for a series of children’s books manifested itself in his dreams. He called it the ‘I’magíne’ Series which is from the distillation of the word “imagine;” pronounced “I’m a genie.” More focused than ever, he realized how this concept paralleled with his personal beliefs and began writing the first book. Earlier this month, Daniels released Danny Yukon and the Secrets of the Amazing Lamp (The Sager Group), a story about a young boy who loses his father – a soldier fighting in Afghanistan. After his father dies, Danny becomes mute and each night is haunted by dreams of a ferocious tiger. It is not until his uncle gives Danny an amazing lamp—and teaches him how to meditate— that he learns the key to his powers lie within.
Each book in the I’magíne’ Series seeks to inspire young people to learn the ancient practice of meditation as a way of confronting their fears, pursuing their dreams, and enhancing their overall well-being.
KM: Tell us a little bit about your background and how you ended up where you are today.
PJ: I’m originally from Houston, Texas but grew up in Mississippi. My mother is from Louisiana and my father is from Ghana. I always played football, but was raised in a household where education came first. After high school, I was accepted to Georgia Tech. I walked on the football team and earned a scholarship. I worked hard at achieving that while maintaining good academic status and became a two-time Academic All-ACC selection. During the 2003-2004 season, I had a noticeable game in the Humanitarian Bowl where I ran for an NCAA bowl game record of 311 yards on 31 attempts and 4 touchdowns. I still hold that record. I was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2006 and released in 2009 after several injuries.
KM: Now that you no longer play football, what does your everyday life consist of?
PJ: In my everyday life, I like to consider myself as an inspirational fitness instructor. I train people daily in an effort to help them to become better, physically, mentally and spiritually.
KM: With the New Year coming in, why is being fit so important to you and why should it be important to others?
PJ: Fitness is important to me and should be important to everyone all year long because it is such a vital part of life, ranging from adolescents to the elderly. The obesity rate in adults today is about 27% and 74% among children. One way to combat obesity is through physical exercise, but mental and spiritual fitness are just as important. Fitness does not only deal with the body, but the mind and spirit as well. They’re all relevant, and work hand in hand.
KM: Can you elaborate on being physically, mentally and spiritually fit?
PJ: Yes I can. Growing up, my elders would give advice, but they rarely gave thorough instructions on how to do things. I told myself that when I was in a position to give advice about anything, I would make sure to explain and be able to articulate the lessons that I teach.
Mental Fitness: Read a book for 15 minutes without any distractions or interruptions. That means no cell phones, no social media or any other technology; just for those few minutes. This will enhance your mental fortitude.
Physical Fitness: Get active by doing some type of physical exercise for 30 minutes or more. This keeps the body strong and fit.
Spiritual Fitness: Sit and do nothing for at least 5 minutes a day. Find a comfortable place to sit, but not too comfy. Close your eyes for 5 minutes and just let your eyes adore the mind. Eventually the mind will adore the heart.
KM: Do you have to be religious to meditate?
PJ: No. Meditation is spiritual, but it is not a religion, a philosophy, or a change of lifestyle. Meditation is a simple, natural, and effortless technique that allows an individual to access a level of calmness that exists in every human being, in every part of the world, and at all times.
KM: I’ve started doing little things to maintain my sanity, especially when I am with my kids all day. What are some tips that you can give others who want to learn quick ways to reflect and recharge?
PJ: Always reacquaint and calibrate yourself with nature. It’s one of the most essential parts of our lives and we have to remember it is the ultimate reenergizing source on Earth. First, you find a quiet place. Then breathe. Inhale through your nostrils, hold your breath for a three count, then open your mouth wide and exhaust all of the air from your abdominal area. Do this at least 3 times with conviction. Finally, after the third breathe cycle, end with a “Thank You.” Remind yourself of all that you are thankful for. You will be reawakened (from your “me time” or meditation) with heightened vitality and a clear mind.
KM: If you could change one thing about your past, would you? If so, what would it be and would it make a difference in your present?
PJ: I would not change anything because I have learned so much from my experiences which have molded me into the man I am today. I have been afforded more opportunities than most, and if anything had been different, I wouldn’t be in a position to help others in the way that I can and desire to now. I have no regrets.
KM: What life lesson is the most important to you, and how is it teachable to others?
PJ: I was always taught to strive to for greatness for myself.
It is then you can become who you were meant to be.
Now we get into his book which is a children’s book that is a must read.
KM: Why did you write Danny Yukon and the Secrets of the Amazing Lamp?
PJ: I wrote this book because I wanted to teach children about meditating. Children learn by mimicking what they see; therefore, I created characters that they can relate to, and imitate. When the character succeeds, so does the child reading the book.
KM: Is there anything you would like to tell your readers?
1) Nothing is impossible unless you believe it to be impossible.
2) Take the time to learn how to meditate properly. Finding that calm place that exists within all of us will allow you to gain awareness of your thoughts and consciousness about the things you do. It will allow you to see clearly and have some control over your destiny.
3) Stress never goes away so it is up to us to learn how to manage it. [Your thoughts alter your mood even without you being aware.] It’s a cycle that radiates to others, so ultimately we are in control of the energy that we put out there.
KM: What are your goals for the future?
PJ: I want to make an impact around the world, spreading awareness on the importance of physical, mental, and spiritual fitness. I want to be pivotal in helping as many people as I can in enriching their lifestyles, and helping to make this world a better place for future generations to exist and thrive peacefully.
Daniels can be coined “The Prince of Fitness” as he continues to gain renown and build his empire in the fields of fitness, meditation, and holistic health. Touching lives daily, he uses the “3M” principle of motivation, mentoring, and meditation to drive his success in helping others to achieve their goals by combining exercise with meditation to create a healthy lifestyle that encompasses physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
His story is one of determination and commitment to excellence; proving that any goal is achievable if you focus and work hard. Because Daniels believes that the ability to do anything comes from within, this book and the rest of the ‘I’magíne’ Series fosters the idea that there is a genie inside all of us, and we have an inherent ability to create our own reality.
Danny Yukon and the Secrets of the Amazing Lamp is a great tool for teaching kids how to rely on their own abilities and believe in themselves. It teaches them about the ancient practice of meditation, and the importance of finding a calm place within them that will allow for enhanced focus, the ability to overcome fears, and cope with loss. It is a must read; well written, and beautifully illustrated. For more information, visit www.princedanielsjr.com or www.theamazinglamp.com.