Was gonna write and decided to post something on Twitter first. Now wondering about an active shooter in Boulder and if my fam’s OK. How do we handle all this stuff and keep going?
I’m not in that store, or in the millions of other spaces that could be dangerous right now. I’m fortunate in so many ways and try to acknowledge this in action.
“If I can, I must.” Dr. Grace Dammann – States of Grace
Today I can make music, write, connect with friends and fam, support artists and important organizations, and work to share documentary films with messages I believe in.
In 2014 I rapped, “Awake a bit of strange to make your artery strong. No I’m not Mother T but I do care to drop bombs.” The Full Magical Wand
I wanted to recognize my imperfections and limitations while putting weight and value behind my actions, amidst the forever search for ways to keep going when stuff feels and is monumentally tuff, whether right there in front of us or through the safety of a screen.
Looking for that inner-OK and being content without its presence. Taking the small steps to rep how we can.
Originally drafted March 22, 2021
Sometimes the practice works. We realize something that could have been rough was easier. The other day I handled a potentially mega-stressful situation with perspective. From the outside looking in, noticing, “Wow that’s challenging!” “A real difficult situation, you’ll figure it out, chuckle chuckle…” And it fucking worked!
2 days after sending a planned peace/love/moving-on email to a job where I helped launch the distribution of a film, I received another email with the subject “URGENT.” And I mean another. This is one of the reasons I was OK with gracefully bowing out from this gig. No joke, at least 1/3 of the emails had the same subject line and I just didn’t feel like carrying this project’s made-up urgency anymore.
I took a quick glance to confirm it could sit overnight without a response. The next day I had my regular email-free morning, ignored a voicemail from URGENT man, went to another meeting, and intentionally got into the 🆘 911🚨 email at about 11am. After reading it, I took a quick 5-minute walk, breathed intentionally for 30 seconds or so, and responded fun-professionally and carefree. I acknowledged the situation without entering the drama.
There was some confusion between a couple of the partnerships I booked for the film. One of them went HAM with marketing to the point it started to look like the film was their project. Super surprising as most folks don’t do anything more than sending a couple of emails to their list. They made a website and did a bunch of social promo. Mostly OK, slightly surprising, no biggie. It made another group we’re working with wonder what was up.
A few minutes after responding I called back URGENT man, leading with a perspective of looking at the situation from the outside. Not because I had moved on from the project, this was still in my zone and I was happy to help out (on the clock), but because no one needed to be this stressed.
I lead with, “Wow that’s a situation, we’ll get there.” And it worked! He was totally chilled out by it, I was chilled out by it, and instead of being stressed and adding more work to my plate, I left the call free and clear.
This is one of the things we’re training to do in mindfulness, mediation, fun-pro living, and hype. It’s, “Getting a perspective on our perspective,” as my friend Mark says. Being able to sit and think, “Dang I’m super stressed.” Seeing our minds as a space or ocean or desert or whatever works best for you, and watching things come and go. We can be a lil mini-us hovering above ourselves noticing what’s happening. Just the simple act of acknowledging our thoughts can show us all we need to do is laugh and cruise beyond to the living truly happening right now.
There were no wack repercussions from my not returning the email right away. It was fine. No one cared. Because it was an email. Letting the boss man go to voicemail that morning was totally OK too. They just wanted a response — it didn’t really matter when. Did they have a stressful few hours? I hope not, but if they did that’s on them. I was able to leave the situation like a Fun Professional, on even better terms with the team than the great terms I had left on 2 days earlier. Waiting a bit to respond with intention benefitted all involved.
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 consciousness). 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 rarely seen and only visible 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 appreciate 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 nightstands. 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 cologne 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.
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!
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.
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.
I always felt, in any town if you can get to a library, I’ll be OK.
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!
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.