Everything – the good and bad – is all part of the world around us and makes us who we are. Internal good and bad – external good and bad. This morning thinking about this helped me be less hard on myself for something I did over the last week that I kept thinking was in the ‘bad’ category. And maybe it is – but the balance of realizing its all a part of a much larger whole helped me sit with this in a new way. From stuff we did way in the past to stuff we’ll do or witness in the future, maybe this is a perspective that can help us dip through it. 🚢
We’re a blank slate in the morning, and it’s our choice what starts shaping our day…
I woke up at about my usual time today, always shooting for 5:30 telling myself ‘discipline is a muscle’ and actually getting up around 6.
Most mornings I get my tumeric/honey/lemon drink steeping and head out to my lil shtudio (aka og brown shack aka Xanadu) for about 15 minutes of yoga and then a 15 minutes meditation – capping it off with walking my dog who depending on the day is either losing his shit or asleep on the couch.
I kept reading about how having a solid morning routine is huge for setting the day off right so I slowly worked my way into this version and it’s been a pretty badass way to slide in and set myself in the right direction for the day. *I also totally acknowledge being lucky as hell for not having to jet out for work this early – shoutout: my brother*
Today was a bit different as we didn’t have any water at the house and live in Tucson which is home to not the best drinking water. So I grabbed a 5-gallon jug and started the day with a water mission.
Lots (and maybe most) of my drive time is reserved for blasting Joshua Johnson or other journalists I dig. So I got in the van thinking I’d get some early morning NPR time but stopped short of that and put in the new Busdriver instead.
My day was totally open. 100% free from any sources beyond my fam. To add anything but raw art to that felt wrong.
Plus Busdriver’s new album is news. It’s only a couple months old (which I’m old enough to consider new) and consists of track after track of dope vibes and stories reflecting everything happening in our world.
Getting water was so damn fun! I let it bump with the doors open while I filled the jug in the empty liquor store parking lot where our fav water dispenser sits – feeling honored to hear this music and let it meld my morning.
I went into the day knowing I could do or make whatever I want. The things I was about to do felt creatively charged and less like work.
Same goes for our bodies. I’ve been trying something for a little while where if I’m pretty hungry (and still in control of my actions so not hangry) I’ll shoot for some fruit or something small first to subside – instead of smashing right into that sammy.
In the same way my day was wide open this morning, I feel like my hungry self is open for whatever and loves it when I drop some good things inside first.
Is that a stretch? What’s your morning routine? Ever try jumping into some 6am ‘Driver?
Holler if you want and thanks for peeping ♥
I’m just back from a trip where I spent time with my parents, a bunch of crew at our 17th annual yearly camp out, and my sister and her 3 awesome kiddos.
Here are 6 reasons I’m freshly hyped and how I’ll use these travel vibes to crush it.
1 – Coming home
Years of jobs, relationships, and everything life has thrown my way lead me to my current house in Tucson, living with my amazing wife and our dog and cat. As much as I love the vacay vibes – coming home is kinda the best. It represents returning to my intention – the space in the world I’ve worked hard to create.
Our place feels like vacation sometimes, from the homemade blue curtains my wife made out of fabric I thrifted in northern AZ flapping in the wind, to the outdoor cast iron tub in our backyard, to the shed my friends helped deliver, fix up, and paint into the trippiest/hypest creative space. We laugh and remind ourselves “This is real life!”
Coming home is a reminder to maximize this inspiring place! Oh you have a rad recording studio? Use it! A dope bike – hop upon! An amazing parnter – hang out with them a ton!
2 – Unreal friend/family support
Sharing space and time with a crew living vastly different but inspiring lives is like reading 2,000 self-help books at the same time while swimming in the coolest waterfall you found on a cross-country road trip with your dog.
It’s such a great challenge to do you to the utmost. The crew isn’t going to check up on me when I get home – “Hey, Nick are you still feeling super inspired by your trip, I hope so!” It’s more like – go forth and kill it – we believe in you, and that should propel dopeness until we hang again and re-up the hype.
A couple years ago at the same campout 2 of my main dudes took me aside and thanked me saying they might not be here if it wasn’t for me. Both are incredible artists, musicians, friends, and humans. Thinking about it still makes me shake a bit. When doubt comes up I go back to this memory and know if these 2 have my back this hard I’m 100% good.
3 – Kids
Kids are better at living in the moment then every adult who’s ever preached or read about it. A couple years ago the first thing my then 6-year-old niece said to me after not seeing each other for more than a year was something like “If you close your eyes really hard it looks like a laser light show.” Hells ya it does!
Same kiddo this year was going super hard jumping off the dock and boat like it was no big deal. She didn’t brag about it – just wanted to do it over and over and over again! Reality is she humbly conquered a fear and it’s f’n incredible! Last year she was scared to do both. Now it’s second nature. Killing it ✓ moving forward ✓ and having fun ✓
4 – Sacrifice
Crew-ups like this get you thinking about people who couldn’t make it. As an avid hater of FOMO, I get inspired by the sacrifices they’re making to do what they need to do.
My brother is killing at work and couldn’t come. It would have been dope to hang but he needed to keep crushing it for his life and that’s exactly the choice he made. Same with my wife. I missed her a lot but what an amazing person she is to prioritize the incredible work she’s doing.
My sister had to take off to go run the summer reading program at the library she started – DOPE! My best bud had to roll early to get back to Detroit and prep for leaving to go cook on the Drake tour. Fun Professionally amazing!
5 – Passion
My 14-year-old nephew is so down for this new X-Box game its crazy. When I told him I didn’t know what it was he stared at me blankly for the weirdest 10 seconds we’ve probably ever had. Totally cracked me up and reminded me how down I used to be for stuff at his age!
I was into vids, basketball, Wu-Tang, and Tribe. I remember listening to every song on every CD I owned with a best friend – carefully deciding that Award Tour was the greatest song in the world. It was for sure the most important thing to do that afternoon – and we questioned it Ø!
6 – Parents
I’m incredibly lucky to get to learn from parents who’ve been married for 46 years. They’re so inherently down for each other at this point it’s one of the sweetest and inspiring things I witness.
They have a small sailboat and are the coolest team for getting it set up and out on the water. I got to be their boat hand which mostly meant watching them carefully rig the boat and make sure their partner stayed safe while hopping on and off during the process.
They eat together, volunteer together, and talk about the future together. They live each other’s dreams realizing how much one partner benefits from the other’s – whether it’s living on a lake in a small town, or traveling to a specific place to escape the cold Minnesota winter. It’s a version of compromise that isn’t really compromise at all, but being down for your partner and knowing them being happy will make you happy too.
What motivates you post-travel? How do you use it to do more of what you love? Comment or send that hype my way! firstname.lastname@example.org
This song has literally been on repeat at my house for like 2 weeks. My wife is constantly bumping it and texting the link to it to me and probably the rest of the crew/ most people reading this 🙂
Mad Skillz – In A Minute
The video’s dope. The concept is hype – where taking it/making it easy come first and life works out smoothly as it should.
And the rapper Mad Skillz has a super interesting history if you want to nerd out about a 90’s rapper with tons of ghostwriting cred and now a super inspiring artistic move: making cool new shit!
Also this cover is dope, and I can’t stop cracking up about the dude in the back of the vid with the mustache!!
One of the weird things about getting older is a feeling of detachment from newer music, especially compared to stuff I love from a few years back.
We all have records that were huge for us earlier in life. I don’t like to say when we were becoming who we are because that seems like an excuse to be done learning, growing and changing. But something about these albums touched us in a really special way.
I’ve been trying to make some space in life lately so I’m selling a few records I rarely bump. Turned out a few of the newer People Under the Stairs records I own but never connected with (timing/life/my bad?) are worth a bit of dough. Since I’m in my second week of working freelance you already know they’re up on Discogs (unlimited $5 shipping!)
Anyways this got me bumping one of my favorite albums of all time: PUTS – O.S.T
The last week has been so cool thanks to this! I constantly have songs from it playing in my head – bringing me right back to the dope feelings I had when I first heard it on Radio K (MPLS) through a tiny radio duct-taped to the forklift I was working on. Total magic ✨
It’s giving me lots of energy and joy and is showing me (with the benefit of some years) how much this record shaped me, the crew, and the art we made and still make.
What’s an album that feels this way to you? Try playing it on for a week or so and see if it hypes you up.
We all listening to new/digital music (which is such an amazing resource) but then there’s that moment you stopped paying attention and Soundcloud moved to a yoga vibes coffee shop station without asking.
Take back your vibe and see what it feels like to bump something you really love.
My neighbor parks in front of our mailbox every day. We’ve gotten a super cool 80s note about it in our mailbox and it changed nothing. I started to think this has to be pissing off our awesome mail carrier – an older gent who rocks mutton chops wayyy tougher than any hunter or bro in history.
He remains unphased. Because he has to. His annoyance threshold is 100x higher than any of us. If it wasn’t every day would be totally crappy!
Same goes for bus drivers. They’re almost unshakable. Sitting quietly while people fight, drink, and even worse – clip their fingernails (seen it twice in life so far – one bus, one plane 🙏)
These pro’s don’t get annoyed because if they did everything suck! Their annoying threshold is lifted so high that stuff that bugs us out doesn’t even register. They hustle too hard to care, and since they work directly with the public if they decided to get start stressed it would create a never-ending shitty crescendo.
*Honorable mention: the badass cart attendant at my local Safeway 🙇
I’m going to give props to this gang for a sec before showing you how to harness their superpowers for personal inspiration.
I’ve always held mail carriers in the highest esteem. I write thank you notes on the outside of packages that say ‘mail carrier’s patience appreciated.’ I dig their fashion and was once told I looked like one at a party 😊. I even tried to get some USPS gear once but learned its actually illegal to unofficially rock the uniform – which is pretty cool for making it a little harder for sketchballs to act like they belong ringing your doorbell. Still – let me get some shorts and a sweater!
And bus drivers changed my life for 12 years in Portland, especially the one who told me he was ‘bordering superb!’ If you ever road the 15 in the mid-2000’s you know… “Tripple Nickel!!”
One time on the 20 (Burnside) a rider was drunk and screaming (SURPRISE!)… The driver didn’t flinch, calmly stopped mid-intersection and asked him to get off the bus. Dude kept swearing and yelling “What is your name!!” The driver quietly answered “bus driver” and asked him to leave again.
Eventually this drunk cartoon knew he couldn’t frustrate the all-mighty-mega-chiller and hopped off. The whole bus cheered and laughed – the driver gave us a slight smile and drove on.
Let’s learn from the masters of only giving a fuck about stuff that matters.
Save your energy for being an awesome friend and leave your problems confused and hungry for beef like the drunk fighty bro who eventually gave up. The stuff that annoys you will do the same.
Heroes change, just like us.
When our heroes change it’s scary, because it reminds us we’re always changing. One of my new heroes is a writer, and he’s turning into lots of new writer heroes. Typically I’d spend all my time and energy on music. Researching, listening, creating, supporting… Now a lot of that time is spent reading, writing, brainstorming and buying books.
It’s scary because it questions my identity – if my identity is a musician! This is where labels can really turn against us. It’s possible to feel like seeking out rad written art is a diss to my love for music! bummertown.com/hellno.
What if my label was just me? Or my vibe? And it can be influenced by anything I feel like absorbing in the moment? Film, convos with friends, music, books. Walks with my dog. Staring at a bird. Fuck a label. Change (or add) heroes. Remove any barriers and just keep giving yourself all the experiences you want – judgment free.
Part of this may be dropping some ego off, like when I stopped feeling the need to be a rapper in every conversation I have. Thanks to some rad friends I’ve learned the slow build is so much better! If you tell someone you’re an artist or – even worse, in a band, right off you might get a lackluster ‘oh, cool.’ Doesn’t really pull any weight because why would they know if they like what you do yet!? If you have a bunch of awesome collaborative interactions with someone who later finds out, ‘holy shit, you made this?’ … you just fueled your art in a rad humble way without doing anything but hustling on being you.