Not another reason

The other day started with my dog Lug (aka mi perro alarma) waking me up at 5am to eat. Not always the most fun experience but since he didn’t used to eat his breakfast until like 3pm it’s encouraging and we deal.

I hooked him up, made a cup of tea, and did my morning pages (3 pages, hand-written, stream of conscious). From there I meditated for 10 minutes or so, read a bit of hype stuff (currently The Pocket Maya Angelou), made a maté, and set my TimeTimer for an hour and got into some writing.

From there I usually take Lug for a walk, get ready a bit (as much as you need to when you work from home and are only seen from the waist up), eat breakfast, and get into some worky stuff.

I typically roll into work a bit after 9am, wondering how that’s even possible, retracing my morning to try and figure out where literally 4 hours went.

I’m really lucky to love my current job and have worked enough less-fun jobs to appreicate it. I’ve had the gig where my boss would hang out by the time clock and spend 2-3 minutes lecturing me if I clocked in at say, 8:01am. He once told me, “This is his time.” You can bet I left that pep talk giving no fucks about pulling orders and alphabetizing auto parts for him.

There must be a book out there called Managing with Fear that these types of bosses keep on their nightstand. It always feels like an act—like are you really that big of a dick? It comes off as a weak, easy-to-see-through attempt to control, and never once helped me to do better work. I think my old coaches read the same book tbh.

My current work sich mostly allows for a flexible start time depending on if I have meetings booked. What a concept! Being excited to work because my boss is supportive and understands when I start in the morning is up to me 🤯

I landed this job via the slow process of one job leading to another, earning more respect and trust, and more complete 180s from the above bro and another boss on the Managing with Fear email list who got way too close one morning, inspecting my stubble, asking if I shaved that morning. While he was still close enough for me to smell his tough-man colonge his sidekick explained how he came to work 15-minutes early to iron his shirt. This at 5am at a job microwaving eggs for corporate folks at the bottom of a big tower in downtown Portland.

My chef friends might like to know the secret recipe for our egg sammies: 1 egg and 1 coffee creamer. 1-1, just like brown rice 🙂. At the end of a shift, I’d have a garbage can overflowing with those little buckets meant for AirBnB’s or diner tables. I mean, why just buy a bigger thing of creamer? How could you trust someone like me to measure the precise quantity of sweet milk-like stuff to mix with the eggs? I’d whip the 2 together with a fork in a little dish and toss it in the microwave for a bit too long before popping it on some margined-up toast, bagel, or english muffin.

The 2 chefs who cooked lunch were great. They showed me how to safely use one of those giant soup caldrons that could def soak you in boiling yucky lobster bisk if you hit the wrong switch, and even brought me some tequila on my bday (to be sipped right then and there) for a fun morning shift.

The front of the house crew were chillers too. Hustlers working multiple jobs. My bud who worked the register on the other side of my station and I used to crack up because somehow on my first day I messed up the name of one of the bosses (the ironing bro) and in my most eager, first-day voice, called to him, “Good morning, Larry!”

I don’t remember his real name thanks to some solid motivated forgetting but I do know it wasn’t anything close to Larry. Luckily he was so awkward it didn’t matter. He wasn’t sure how to respond and pretended it didn’t happen. From then on my friend and I would crack up and be like, “Larry is on one today!” Def the fun that got us through.

Ooof that was a fun job to split from. No more tired mornings of dragging myself to the kitchen and literally making coffee by pouring yesterday’s brew back through yesterday’s beans to get a hot weird cup of sorta-coffee. Have to own up to this being 95% laziness and 5% lack of dough. I could have gone to the store and bought more coffee but then who was going to smoke this weed and spend 5 hours on the MPC?

I also could have learned how to use the espresso machine at work, and made myself a real coffee (probably a secret, real coffee given boss Larry’s stingy wackness). Funny the stuff you look back on when you’re young and wonder, “WTF, old me?” Always down to reflect, learn, grow.

My next restaurant job was at a dope locally-owned pizza shop in Dinkytown, Minneapolis. The owner and I would jam Sugar Minot and crush through lunch rushes. I learned a ton from him and looking back my creamy egg sammy experience could have had something to do with getting the job.

After all my training on being where I don’t want to be at a certain time in the morning, I still carry the weight. The old-school capitalistic view that you’re not doing well if you’re not clocked in at 8 or 9am, regardless of how miserable you are. The same wack norms that devalue artists or anyone not “so busy” from the hours of 9-5pm, Monday – Friday.

In an attempt to ditch this inner battle, my dog Lug and I hit the path around our house for our 15-minute slow walk, leaving at around 9am. It’s almost impossible to not see neighbor friends and one of our favs is Mickey, a slightly older rocker, radio DJ, and construction guru with 2 dogs.

Mickey is our neighborhood Mr. Rogers. It’s easy to imagine him doing a spin and grabbing a lemonade from a kid while laughing with another neighbor all in stride. Today as he came towards us he patted a dog on the head who was standing on its hind legs behind a fence. The other day we saw him, in one single motion, take a big piece of styrofoam out of the recycling bin at a house full of college kids and throw it in their front yard, not slowing his pace at all, and not even glancing to see if they noticed their quick education on recycling.

You never know what type of conversation you’re going to get with Mickey and I kind of love it. Could be a quick hey, a neighborhood update, bird sightings, or a detailed account of the day’s job site. This time, after our typical what up’s he just shook his head and said, “God, I just can’t seem to get up and get going anywhere before 9 these days.” I thought for a sec as he hit on exactly what I’ve been practicing for the past few weeks. Being OK with not being somewhere right at 9am. Since this was fresh in my mind I was able to respond quickly in a way that surprised me a bit, something like…

“We don’t need another reason to be hard on ourselves.”

He paused and nodded a bit and we went off in opposite directions on the path. It was fun to get to share what I’ve been practicing and I was proud to come at a neighbor I respect with support and knowledge. I’m openly a late bloomer in life so giving advice like this to an elder still feels a little weird sometimes. I usually notice myself quietly agreeing or nodding instead of going in with my heart. I was proud to have responded confidently and in the most trippy/grounded way I could. Celebrating wins is part of the practice and it felt good.

From there, Lug and I had a typical walk. Sniffing, peeing, and trying to eat weird stuff. As we got closer to the house we were about to run into Mickey again. My anxiety and pandemic social skill depletion had me in that awkward turning point in my head when you’ve already said it all, like when you say goodbye and then run into the person again 30 seconds later.

I went basic and honest hollering “I hope you have a great day out there, Mickey!” He stopped and said, “Thanks for what you said earlier. I needed to hear that this morning, I don’t need another reason to be hard on myself.”

We cruised off and Lug and I headed up the last block to our house. I felt honored to have helped him feel a bit better, and hearing him repeat those words helped the practice resonated with me more strongly too.

Both of us are right here as people and neighbors. As folks OK with not clocking in when the capitalism bell clangs and we’re supposed to be at desks doing something important (like Facebook).

Both of us are happily walking on a beautiful morning. Enjoying nature and practicing worrying less about where we aren’t.

Seth Godin wrote recently about finding your time. Mine is early in the morning for my creative work, and later in the afternoon too if I can slide it in. By the evening I’m usually tapped out, choosing to read, podcast, cook, have dinner, and lounge.

What’s your prime time to create, work, or be productive?

Maybe the point is finding our jam, and not letting wack norms make us feel any way about it, positive or negative. Another nod to doing you over anything, as that’s your way to make the best contribution to the crew/fam/movement on a whole. We’ll all thank you for it, even if your boss never will.

CREW

DREAMS tonight at 7pm PST!

hey buds hope to see you at DREAMS tonight at 7pm PST on the WTV twitch! we’re gonna debut a new music video from the desert guitar legend @stussy69wizard, do a mystery unboxing, and as always — read hype words and chat with crew from inside crystals, spaceships, and other trippy spots.

the phone lines open up at 7pm PST. hyped to hear your voices and read your chats. hyped to CONNECT with y’all. creW!

How to eat a frog

Watching this great blue heron take so much time to score a snack from the reeds. Thinking it’s probably eating frogs since my wife and I saw a green heron figure out how to eat one as big it itself last weekend around the same spot.

This dinosaur of a bird is completely focussed and fully free from any rush and norms of busyness or output. It’s just here being a bird knowing it wants to eat and it needs to be patient and meticulously slow to catch something. Slow to me, as I doubt if it’s thinking, “God this is taking too long…”

Feeling this lately. The schedule. All love to hustle and drive but I’ve been practicing checking in to make sure it’s coming from that magic space of love and creativity VS the constant pull into the cauldron of capitalism.  Should be working, hiking, running, posting, writing, producing. All stuff I love 100%. But am I doing them to my personal right amount or playing into the forever-busy norm and subsequent wackest convo in history? “How are you?” “So busy!” “Me too!”

“Ask a seagull what day it is.”

Thanks to my buds Mars T and STLB3 for this mantra. My great blue heron bud might have said a good day to eat frogs, look out for dogs, and keep one eye on this bro watching me while scribbling in his notebook.

miracle

The hype comes in infinite ways. It’s nonlinear and surprising. One day it’s hearing how amazing a friend is doing, the next receiving love for something you worked on, and the next a trip into nature. The list is limitless — helpful for me in times of feeling less hyped (totally OK btw) — knowing another batch of inspo is always around the corner.

Yesterday my hype was the fact that I’m walking around and breathing. The miracle that my body is doing all the things it needs to do for me to keep doing what I love. To move, communicate, exercise, create, work… it’s all such a privilege. So taking it wayyyy back to the og hype. The simple miracle of existing. Of living.

My neighbor and fellow neighborhood history committee member Miriam is having her 3rd eye surgery this week. Doctors just aren’t sure why she’s losing her vision. She was cracking jokes about trying to get on Zoom for our first little meeting, laughing about using Siri, and openly hopeful this surgery goes well and she can continue to see.

Not to take a thing away from what she’s going through, but there’s a limitless supply of stories similar to Miriam’s. Just now realizing the idea to write this came up a couple of days after the recent shooting in Boulder.

We all know life is so f’n fragile. To get to exist, to breathe, is sometimes all I need to feel grateful and happy. In re-reading this it’s working right now. Hope it works for you too.

CREW🤝

There’s no bad day to discover Wu-Tang

I always felt, in any town if you can get to a library, I’ll be OK.

Maya Angelou

PSA: Libraries are dope. Getting a library card doesn’t even require leaving the house and you can use it 100% online if you’re not a physical book rocker. Here are links to sign up online in PDX and TUS.

I put my library’s app on my phone. When I hear of a book or person I want to know more about, I do a quick search and in less than a minute I have a few of their books on hold.

Days or even months later, I get an email about a book that’s waiting for me to pick up.

Eventually, this book is sitting on my shelf. I might not start reading it right away, but it’s there, and when the timing right I might discover something.

This just happened with The Gift by Lewis Hyde. I have no idea why or when I put it on hold. I think it was a blog post from someone I dig referencing it as part of their path. I got an email from the library and cruised up to pick up whatever they had for me. Turns out it’s a prolific work on creativity written in the early ’80s.

The timing is perfect. I’m at my best when reading 2 books: 1 fiction or memoir (usually read at night), and 1 on the uplifting, creative, self-help, self-hype tip (typically read in the morning). I’ve been lacking a good hype read and am already feeling and seeing the benefits 2 days in.

Sometimes my holds go unread before the library wants them back. All good, wasn’t the right time. Usually, I find the space to check them out and get a dose of unknown hype thanks to that convo with a friend, podcast, article, post, tweet, or the other millions of ways we hear about cool stuff to peep.

Just started this process with adrienne maree brown who I’m totally OK admitting I only recently learned about. Her stuff is pretty sought after so I’m like hold #50 but that’s fine. I’m in line to receive her greatness.

I’m practicing stopping pretending I know about someone or feeling like I should have read their stuff years ago, sitting quietly when their name comes up. This attitude is mega-defeating, on the inside and to any progress. It’s the simple fear of asking, “Who’s that?”

Nowadays I try to ask this question openly and add something from their collection to my library holds to learn more. We can’t know what we don’t know. And this is one way to keep learning and growing as adults not forced to by work or school.

There’s no bad day to discover Wu-Tang.

“The hardest part of self-education is that there are no external rewards or structures,” writes William Upski Wimsatt in A Gourmet Guide to Self-Education from his 2nd book No More Prisons, “You must accept the responsibility that you are the student, the principal, and the superintendent.”

Upski Wimsatt goes on to share 19 ways to self-educate including keeping reading lists, setting goals, and ditching the guilt and fear tasked with holding us back from discovering new ideas.

I just love y’all and love sharing anything that might add even a touch of inspo to your already amazing brains and hearts. Writing this as a reminder to myself to keep listening, learning, and growing. If any of this helps or if you know of something I should put on hold, holler!

cr📚w

PS: More library nerding 🤓

Your new or dusted-off library card also gives you free access to stream movies on Kanopy and download audiobooks, ebooks, and access all the big newspapers and magazines with the app Libby. A solid F-you to Amazon and other companies basically repackaging and selling the library’s forever-model.

Bonus: A friend who visited recently didn’t love the Libby selection when signed via the library in her small-ish city so she loaded her old Portland library card to the app and uses that for her digital stuff. Libby is kind of a blank slate and just shows you the digital stacks of whatever library you plug into it, so her selection grew instantly.

Inner-bully ignore-bore

There’s no time to worry if we stay cruising into our dopeness, and luckily we all have countless examples of existing in this space free from self-doubt. Only when we’re questioning ourselves and our path do we have time to critique our work and situations, worrying about a tiny flaw most people probably never noticed.

Why would we bring down our vibe by focussing on an impossible and limiting level of perfection? Why add judgment to whatever we’re creating or doing, instead of letting the world experience it?

Sometimes we can’t help but feel low and these judgemental feelings come fast and easy. A big part of the practice is learning what works for us to turn them around, and being OK with feeling less hype for a bit, which can in and of itself naturally encourage a u-turn.

It’s like ignoring a bully. I call mine the inner-hater.

Alright inner-hater, I’m not feeling all hyped to write, rap, work, hang with crew… got it. Acknowledging this and breathing, sitting, or walking with it can help us get a bit of space and perspective.

Just like in middle school, when we ignore or accept what a bully is doing, the inner-hater gets bored and moves on. Leaving us to get back to doing the awesome stuff we’re here to do!

The balance for me is:

  • YES to always learning from the past and improving
  • NO to overthinking the past in ways that limit what I’m able to do right now
  • (and) INFINITY HELLLLS YEAH FOREVER 🎉 to knowing it all comes in waves

This helps me feel less shocked when the inner-hater shows up, and possibly even OK with it. Knowing it arrives and gets bored as part of this cycle of waves, and lurking behind could be a heavy dose of hype.

4me4u4cru

Writing hype // Notion nerd-out

Thought it could be fun to share a quick vid of my Notion board and talk about how it’s been helping my creative process.

Notion is a free notetaking app I just learned about thanks to my friend Alex. I can log in anytime and let my creativity fly. If I’m up for it, I’ll open a new page and write something new. More commonly, I’ll work on an idea that’s already there. One I added days or weeks ago.

Part of diving into Notion was admitting what I was doing wasn’t working. I wasn’t creating the art I supposedly love. This is a hard realization for creatives. OK, I love to write, did I spend more than 3 hours writing this week… or this month???

This method forced me to set my ego aside and learn something new. Such a creativity opener! I watched a bunch of YouTube videos and eventually learned a ton from this one (thx hermione!).

Their vid got me started, and a few more hours and a couple of free templates later, I was posting my ideas and writing, all inside Notion. When things are done I copy/paste them here or wherever else they’re headed.

Maybe this can work for the creative work you do too? Or maybe you have a different method that works best for you. Either way, I’d love to hear about it. And holler if you have any questions about using Notion. I’m happy to share what I’ve learned so far.

creW🤓 🧡