yes, we’re still in lockdown but I’ve discovered that within my 10km radius of allowed venturing, I have a LOT of parks around me that I have yet to explore. And so, I took my camera out and filmed some snippets to try and remind you and also myself, that although the monotony of lockdown can be suffocating, notwithstanding the uncertainty of my own future and outcomes of plans, nature is ever changing, ever different, and gives us a glimpse that there is hope and light at the end of the tunnel.
What does it say about my long term vision and the manifestation of it, if I am incapable of saying ‘no’ to short term escapes and pleasures?
What does it say about how clearly my long term goals – a fruitful podcast, music school business, performing career, motivational speaker, writer, notable investor, holiness – are articulated and festering in my mind, if I do not have the motivation to stop scrolling on Instagram, or to go to sleep and wake up punctually?
Jordan Peterson, when talking about porn, alcohol, and other addictions, that the reason people are still addicted is because there is no clear, crystallised, and loftier purpose, vision, mission, and drive for something beyond the immediate pleasures? We give up on our future selves when we submit to our old habits – habits and pleasures we KNOW do not and will not truly satisfy and fulfil us.
So, what’s the cure?
Write down, read, and visualise one’s goals, purpose, and mission in life everyday. Be accountable to yourself through your own word. If you set your eyes on heavenly and mountainous tasks, your hunger and craving for the broken, temporal, and fickle treats of this world will diminish.
I will never get back the hours I’ve spent mindlessly scrolling on Instagram. Pursuing, seeking, and suckling on the parched teat of a medium that holds no tangible nourishment, I’ve been there so much it will no doubt dismay my future self.
And that’s the thing too. Every moment I work hard, do what is right, pursue meaningful relationships, practice deliberately, pounce on what is uncomfortable and difficult, relentlessly fight for perfection and holiness, is a moment not wasted on my future self.
That future self does not magically find itself successful, holy, accomplished, righteous, knowledgeable, wise, and influential. It’s built on these moments: these minute-to-minute micro decisions that accumulate over time to build a life worthy of having lived.
Every musical phrase starts with a breath. And with that breath, we paint the poetry of life’s joys and sorrows. Inevitably, some phrases reach a climax, a cadence. In that moment, just before the release, we hold our breath, in awe of how powerfully these words, these cries, these vibrations in the air, can pierce into the shell of our masked human-ness.
It strikes, it pierces, and then it evaporates. Comforting, enfolding, and surrounding us with warmth and strength of feeling as we exhale, foreshadowing and reminding us of the phrases within our very own existence.
I feel incredibly creative and motivated when I have buffer time. Buffer time includes train or bus rides where I have no choice but to sit and wait. Or when I was in quarantine. The parameters of buffer time include an unexpected or expected large X amount of time where they’re physically and logistically in limbo.
It allows for reading, listening to podcasts, reflecting and thinking, blogging, creating social media posts.
What buffer time, when used wisely – having a window seat helps immensely with creativity and joy – allows for the brain to feed. Often, our brains are geared towards output and processing, in the case of work and practice. Or the brain is involved in managing movement and mediating between the conflicts of pain prevention and pain absorption (as in the case of workouts). Or it’s forming language and articulating ideas, balancing various emotions and intuitive senses as one holds a conversation.
It’s not often the brain is left simply to eat in peace. The ever changing visual stimuli of being on a vehicle is unimportant and rudimentary. The brain feeds lightly on what is entering the brain through the speakers – yet it knows that it does not have to engage fully in response. Sometimes ideas can be observed in various perspectives like a glass prism. Other times, it can feed, sit back, soak in the sun, and chill out.
Surprisingly, this is when the brain is able to come up with pretty excellent ideas. It’s the force of not having to try too hard that allows for soft whispers of revelations in the breeze.
Thus, the crazy idea for today isn’t to give your brain any particular demand. Give it that train, bus, or plane ride (if possible), or even a leisurely walk. Sit by a window and watch people walk by. Being momentarily and intentionally unproductive can lead to some pretty interesting things!
If I may venture to give advice, although I don’t believe I am qualified to as this is also something I’m in the process of working out fully, I think this may be one way to become fearless
It came to me whilst I was reading a 3-2-1 article by James Clear. Of satisfaction, he quoted author Ann Hastings on the availability of satisfaction:
“Satisfaction is always available. It is just not always looked for. If, when you enter any experience, you enter with curiosity, respect and interest you will emerge enriched and with awareness you have been enriched. Awareness of enrichment is what satisfaction is.” Ann Hastings.
It dawned upon me that fear should also be treated in the same way! If we can treat something we fear with curiosity, paint the task, person, or the event with respect, build interest and knowledge within that looming darkness, we twist the arm of that which we are afraid of. We become aware of this shadow in our lives via a different lens.
And this is perhaps how I’ll work on my procrastination and my fears.
This is not particularly radical but upon watching Billie Ellish’s Same Interview, I really do think it’s worthwhile for me to do the same. For my YouTube channel.
I’ve always been obsessed with having a record of my thoughts, my development, and my change throughout the years. At the more arrogant age of 20 or so, I thought I would be some famous person one day and someone would need these diary entries to write a biography about me.. ahahaha
But I think this is ultimately an amazing way for me to reflect on my life and provide a portrait of who I am, who I was, and who I’ve become.
On a slightly separate note, I’m still working out whether I make content for me or content for others. To sort this out would get to the crux of how I could stay inspired more consistently.
In any case, for my podcast, I think I might do the same for my friends who I interview.. a series of the same-ish questions I ask each time they come back on. Just to see how things are. I believe humans are intuitively hooked on observing change – thus sunsets, the sky, gardening, time lapses, and character development in entertainment intrigue us so much. I’m going to lean into that.
Get inspired with documentaries. Get inspired by how real people, not fictional characters, overcome adversity, find solutions, and seek that victory. Get inspired by knowledge, by story, and by fellow human beings doing the best. They suffer like you and me. They worry, get frustrated, become unmotivated and uninspired. Watch documentaries like The Last Dance to see how our heroes became our heroes.
Even if the next day is depressive, slow, and painstaking, at least you’ll be armed by stories, anecdotes, and the right ideas to fuel that battery – emotional, spiritual, and physical.
I wish you all the best. You’ve got this.
Habit creep. An idea that I read about from the amazing James Clear. He writes about how we should adopt habits in the same way lifestyle changes happen slowly yet surely (subscriptions to Netflix, upgrading your phone..)
So what habits do I want to creep into my life?
What I want to keep up: yoga, cold showers, blogging, posting on Instagram, reading
What I would like to slowly have creep in my life: daily workouts, French, Chinese, daily finance research, more content on social media, more practice hours, and focus.
Like in the last post, focus is key here. If I’m to maximise my day so I can fit extra activities, something has to go. So it begs the question: what do I dispose of? What drains my time and energy?
I was brushing my teeth and daydreaming.
I dreamt I was performing at Koerner Hall. I had finished playing some Schubert Impromptus and had gone backstage for a quick breather. Upon coming out, the stage was set up with a guitar and a keyboard on top of a nice rug. The second half was going to be a concert of singing, jamming, playing my own songs, and vibing with the audience.
I loved that. I wish I were able to do that. And can I? I think the incredible Chris Thile is as close as it gets to someone who meshes artistically and sincerely many different genres of music to give a beautiful music experience. He’s got some bluegrass, some Bach, and somethings in between.
I want to do that. And do that I think I’ve gotta start expanding my repertoire, continue to focus, and work hard.
A concert of classical, indie acoustic songs, improv, songs from the 60s – 90s, a little bit of slow jazz.. is that too crazy to ask for?