A Blog About Nothing


I’ve made a few videos for my YouTube channel recently that are different from what I normally make. Maybe we could say they’re a bit more experimental, at least for me anyway. Whatever adjective is best suited to describe my burgeoning video work, its certainly been a departure and its certainly taken me out of my comfort zone.


I’ve come to realize that I’ve been taking myself and what I create too seriously, and I haven’t been giving myself room to experiment or space to play. So, I’ve been making it a point try to have a little more fun in the process.


In some ways, this realization, this shift, started when I watched a video on Daniel Pascual’s YouTube Channel. He made a vlog about nothing, purposefully and deliberately about nothing. He said he did it to take the pressure off and to kind of dumb things down a bit. That may not seem like much but, it really hit home for me.
It was oddly refreshing and it felt like exhaling. I came face to face with how much stress and strain I’ve been putting on myself and my creative process. It made me recognize how little breathing room I’ve been giving myself.


I commented on the video saying that I should really try to do a video like that. Daniel encouraged me to do it, or maybe its better to say he challenged me to do it, lol. I accepted. Even though he and I are on opposite ends of the country he still scares the fuck out of me.


I really struggled to get my head around how to do a vlog about nothing. Believe me I know how ridiculous that sounds. I made more than one attempt. I hit record and tried to just go, unfortunately nothing went, lol.


After the false starts and failed attempts at Daniel’s “nothing” challenge, I took the family on a weekend camping trip. I brought my cameras with me. I was thinking that maybe I could vlog, or maybe take some cool shots. In other words, I went to accomplish something, to produce something, to do something. I felt like I needed to. Internally, there was a pressure to use this trip as a means of creating content. It felt like if I didn’t create something then I wasn’t really a creative and I wasn’t really a creator.


I took some OK shots, got some OK footage but, I just wasn’t feeling it. It felt forced and uninspired. It just wasn’t working. I started to get really frustrated about it, and started judging myself kind of harshly about it as well. I felt as though I should have been able to create something brilliant and beautiful on command.


Slowly, I realized that I needed to just put the gear away and just be present. I needed to give myself permission to do “nothing”. I needed to enjoy just being there. This moment wasn’t about creating, producing, or doing. It was simply about being; being with my wife, being with my kids, being with our friends, being exactly where I was.


If I’m being honest, doing “nothing” is disconcerting. It makes me uncomfortable. I place an extremely high premium on productivity, on producing, on doing “something”. So much so that I almost never allow myself to really do nothing.


I’m addicted to “doing”. 


The addiction to doing came up when I Interviewed Stuart Carter from the Simply Mindfulness YouTube channel on an episode of my podcast.
Stuart reminded me that “we are not human doings, we are human beings“. He pointed out that “We so often get caught in ‘I must do this to have value, I must do this to have worth’, when actually just being is all we need.”


Intellectually, I know that my value isn’t predicated on what I produce or what I accomplish. But, I still fall into the trap of equating who I am with what I do. I attach my self-worth and my identity to what I create. Daniel’s exercise showed me how much of that desirous craving for production has invaded my creative endeavors.


I returned from our camping trip with a clearer head, a clearer view of my obsession with “doing something”. But, I had no clearer idea of what my “nothing vlog” would be.


Recently my wife started doing some wood-working projects and she decided to refinish our Corn-hole boards. As I sat frustrated and bewildered, I noticed her begin to set-up for this refinishing project. The thought occurred to me that it might be fun to film her working on it. I needed the break and she welcomed my company. I had no plans for the footage, no goal, no purpose, it was just about play. It was more fun than I even imagined it would be. Once I edited the footage I knew I had to share it. I had inadvertently stumbled upon my nothing vlog. You can watch it below:

This exercise taught me about myself and my creative process. It taught me to accept the opportunities that show up; whether it seems productive or not, and whether it seems purposeful or not.


There is a way of being creative that is more about probing than about producing. There is a way of creating that exposes the limits of what we can create. There is a way of ‘being’ that gives witness to the exceeding abundance of what we can experience.


Working with the medium of video is teaching me to document the dynamic discovery of every daily detail. It does not tell me to do something different or to be something different. Instead, it tells me to see differently, to “Be” differently. We are presented with the opportunity to begin seeing in a whole new way, an opportunity of “Being” in a whole new way.


Sometimes storytelling isn’t about creating a story but, about simply finding where we are in the midst of a much bigger story.


Maybe this wasn’t the vlog about nothing that Daniel would have wanted me to make but, it’s the one that represents where I am now.

New Episode! “Meaning & Melancholy W/ Eric G. Wilson”

I’m so excited to share this episode. I got the amazing opportunity to interview one of my favorite writers and thinkers, Eric G. Wilson.

A few months back I made a video and a podcast talking a little bit about one his books, Against Happiness.

Here’s the video:

And, if you want to listen to the podcast episode you can find it below:

That video put me in touch with both Eric and his podcasting partner, Joel Tauber. I was fortunate enough to have Joel as a guest on a previous episode of the podcast:

If you want to watch the video, here ya go!

You can also read a little bit more about it here and here.

Their podcast, which we talk about in the episode, is called Belt: A 2-Man Memoir. Its funny, smart, and irreverent.

This is an incredible conversation. I’m so unspeakably grateful to Eric for taking the time. 

As the title of this episode suggests, we talk a lot about meaning and melancholy. But, we also talk quite a bit about creativity, writing, failure, religion, spirituality, and so many other rich and dynamic subjects.

Here are a few of his books that we talked about in the episode:

Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck

Keep It Fake

The Mercy of Eternity

Polaris Ghost

I hope you enjoy this episode. If you do, it would mean the world to me if you subscribe to it on whatever platform you’re listening to it on, leave it a good review and share with your friends.

If you’d like to support this work of learning out loud, contribute to creating a community of curiosity then please check out my Patreon page. For $3 a month you get shout-outs in all my videos and podcasts, you early access to all my YouTube video before they are released to the general public, and you get access to exclusive behind-the-scenes Patreon only blogs, videos, and photos.

Keep showing up, keep doing the work, FAIL BOLDLY, and let’s make something meaningful.

“Concentrated Curiosity W/ Jack Stolz”

A few weeks ago I got to do an interview with YouTuber extraordinaire Jack Stolz. I’ve written about it here and here.

Podcast episode below:

Jack is a musician, a vlogger, photographer, cinematographer, and all around awesome guy!

Jack has played a big part in my process of dipping my toes into videography and YouTube. As a result, Jack has become a good friend and he continues to inspire me.

Whether he realizes it or not, Jack has been with me throughout most of this endeavor, in one form or another. He’s been a big encouragement. He has continually made himself available to talk shop, to provide helpful tips and advice, and to give feedback.

It probably goes without saying it was great to spend some extra time talking with him. It was an even greater pleasure to do it for the podcast!

If you want to check him out, here’s all the places you can find him:
Instagram
Twitter
YouTube

If you want to support this work of learning out loud, if you ‘d like to help create a community of curiosity, and if you’d like to get access to exclusive, behind-the-scenes, Patron only content, and get shout-outs in videos and podcasts, then check out my Patreon page.

Keep showing up, Keep doing the work, FAIL BOLDLY, and let’s make something meaningful!

A New To-Do List! What I’m Working on this Week!

Last week I shared a pretty ambitious to-do list. Even though I probably bit off a more than I could chew, I was still productive.

For starters, I said that I wanted to start creating some videos that were a little less serious and a little more fun. I did that. I made a video called “Just For Fun” (full video below).

Next, I wanted to finish editing and post the video of my interview with Jack Stolz. Check! You can find that down below:

Also, if you want to listen to the podcast episode with Jack Stolz…I got you. Its right here:

Finally, I wanted to finish writing Part Two of my series on the book From Mindfulness to Insight. Also, I wanted to finish editing the video of Part One. Well, this one got partially checked off. I finished writing Part Two and sent it off to The Tattooed Buddha. Hopefully that will be going live soon. I’ll keep you posted. But, I didn’t get to start on the video for Part one. (If you want to read the Part One article you can find it here or if you’d like to listen to the Part One podcast, it’s down below:

With that being said, this week I really want to get the Part One video done and posted.

Also, several weeks ago I interviewed an astoundingly awesome thinker and writer, Eric G. Wilson. Eric is an English Professor at Wake Forest University and the author of a number of incredibly interesting books such as Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck, Keep it Fake, and, my personal favorite, Against Happiness. He’s also the co-host of a podcast called Belt: A Two Man Memoir. Last month, I had the pleasure of interviewing his podcasting partner, Joel Tauber.

Speaking of which, full video here:

And, full podcast episode here:

A few months back I actually made a video featuring the book Against Happiness, and that opened the doors to meeting Eric and Joel. You can find that video below:

Anyway, I want to start editing the audio of my interview with Eric G. Wilson this week. I won’t promise that I’ll get it done this week but, I plan on putting a dent in it. That’s whats at the top of my to-do list!

If time permits I’d also like to try to add another fun vlog to my to-do list and maybe try to bring some of that new found lightheartedness to a podcast episode, a ‘just for fun’ podcast episode. Sounds like fun anyway, lol. Fingers crossed!

Keep showing up, Keep doing the work, FAIL BOLDLY, and let’s make something meaningful.

New YouTube Video! “Just For Fun”

I posted a brand New YouTube video today!

I’m definitely guilty of being too serious, especially when it comes to what I make and create.

With that being said, I think I’ve been to much pressure on myself and what I do. So, this video is my attempt at trying to do some things just for fun.

I reference an interview I did with Jim Martin from The Unusual Buddha. The full podcast episode is below:

If you’d prefer to watch the video of the full length interview, you can find it below and here:

If you want to check out Jim Martin and his work with The Unusual Buddha see the links below:


FB – https://www.facebook.com/theunusualbuddha/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/theunusualbuddha/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/notthebuddha

Shout to my Patrons and Contributors Jim Martin and Ben Bridges

If you want to get shout-outs in podcasts and videos, if you want to help support this work of learning out loud, and if you’d like to help create a community of curiosity, then check out my Patreon Page.

Keep showing up, Keep doing the work, FAIL BOLDLY, and let’s make something Meaningful!

Content Update: Mid-Week Check In…Not done yet

On Monday I posted my content creation to-do list for this week. It was a bit ambitious, perhaps even a little too ambitious, lol. But, I’ve been hard at work trying to get everything done that I set out to do. In fact, yesterday I got a lot done, including some things that I didn’t plan on doing this week.

For instance, last night I finished color-grading the video from the interview I did with YouTuber Jack Stolz for an episode of my Podcast “The Process & The Path“. So far, I’m pretty happy with how its turning out. My plan is to get it finished up today and get it scheduled to post on my YouTube Channel on Friday! Subscribe and hit the bell so you get notified when it drops.

With that being said, Patrons gets early access to video before they go live to the general public. So, if you want to see it before everyone else then, be sure to check me out on Patreon.

If you want to listen to the audio of the Jack Stolz interview, check it out down below:

Also, on Monday I talked about how I wanted to make it a point to make a few more fun and lighthearted videos and vlogs. Well, I actually managed to do it! I’ve already posted it to my Patreon page. However, it will be dropping today at 3pm EST on my YouTube channel.

And, speaking of new video content, I made an unplanned and unexpected video yesterday for Simple Shines Cleaning. Simple Shines Cleaning is a residential and commercial cleaning company that my wife and I own and operate. It was my first time shooting something like this for our company. It was a lot of fun and I’m planning to try to do some more. Check out Simple Shines Cleaning on Social Media if you want to see the video:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/simpleshinescleaning/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/simpleshinescleaning/?hl=en

Twitter – https://twitter.com/SimpleShines

Now, what I haven’t done…I haven’t had a chance to finish writing Part Two of my series on the book From Mindfulness to Insight. And, I haven’t had time to work on the video for Part One. But, I’m still planning on trying to tackle writing Part Two this week. However, working on the video…I don’t know if I’ll get to that this week, lol. I’ll do my best. You can find the Part One article here and the Part One podcast here.

Lots of content still to be made! Stay tuned!

Keep showing up, Keep doing the Work, FAIL BOLDLY, and let’s make something Meaningful!

Gonna be a busy week…Content-Creation

Welcome to Monday! It’s a brand new week, and that means I’ve got a lot of brand new content-creation that I’m planning to work on and post this week.

In fact, I think I’m writing this post primarily as a way to help organize myself this week, lol.

With that being said, welcome to my publicly shared to-do list for the week.

For starters, I dropped a New Podcast Interview with the amazing Jack Stolz last Friday. Jack is a triple threat. He’s a bad-ass musician, an amazing YouTuber, and an incredible videographer. I’ve written a couple blogs about the experience, which you can find here and here. Also, the full episode is below:

With that being said, my main priority for the week is to finish editing the video of the interview. And, then, get it posted to my YouTube Channel.

Next on my To-Do list is to finish editing a vlog I made over the weekend. I’d like to start experimenting with the kinds of video and vlogs I make. I normally do a lot of informational/educational stuff. I talk a lot about books, ideas, philosophy, creativity, mindfulness, meditation, etc. But, I’d like to start doing some stuff that’s a bit more fun and lighthearted. I think I need that in my content-creation process. In other words, sometimes I think I take this stuff a little too seriously and I just need to make it a point to create some things that are just about the sheer enjoyment of creating. I’m hoping that I can get that vlog done and posted this week too.

Also, a while back ago The Tattooed Buddha sent me a book to review called From Mindfulness to Insight: Meditations to Release Your Habitual Thinking and Activate Your Inherent Wisdom. I decided to make it a series rather than just a one off review. For part one of the series, I wrote an article and I made a podcast episode. (Full episode below)

With that in mind, I’d like to finish writing part 2 and I’d like to finish up the video for part one.

Wow! Now that I’ve written all that out I’m realizing how much that is. And, that’s not even everything I was going to put on my to-do list for this week. But, after looking at this, I think that’s enough for now.

Wish me luck!

Keep showing up, keep doing the work, FAIL BOLDLY, and let’s make something meaningful.

New Episode! With Jack Stolz!

Hey Friends!

I hope you’ve had a great Friday so far, and I hope this makes it just a little bit better!

Just wanted to let you know that I just dropped a Brand New Podcast Episode today. I got the chance to interview musician, YouTuber, cinematographer, filmmaker, and all around awesome guy, Jack Stolz!

I came across Jack’s Channel pretty early on in my early forays into YouTube land. His work blew me away then and it blows me away even more now. It’s been great to see his work evolve and get progressively better and more captivating. Just when I think I’ve seen the best he has to offer, just when i think he couldn’t possibly get any better, he puts out another video and raises the bar even higher!

I’ve been picking Jack’s brain for the better part of almost a year as I’ve been trying to find my way in the crazy world of YouTube and videography. I’ve still got a long way to go and I still have a lot to learn but, Jack has consistently been there throughout this process, providing feedback and encouragement. Every time I’ve had a question he’s done his best to provide an answer. Every time I’ve asked for feedback he’s willingly and enthusiastically given his attention and time.

With that being said, having Jack on the podcast was an absolute no brainer! I can’t even begin to tell you just how much I enjoyed getting to have this conversation with him. It meant a lot to me that he took the time to share his story and insights on the podcast. Jack’s perspective on creating and the whole creative process is refreshing and inspiring.

In this interview he talks about his past experiences of being a touring musician in two different signed bands. We talk about his shift into photography and videography, and his approach to creativity. We even talk about meditation, and how its impacted his daily life and his creative work.

Give it a listen and let me know what you think! I hope you dig it!

Be sure to check out Jack’s Channel and be sure to send him some love on Social (links below)

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/jackstolz/?hl=en

Twitter – https://twitter.com/TooLateTheJack

Keep showing up, keep doing the work, FAIL BOLDLY, and let’s make something meaningful!

Editing Jack Stolz Interview

Notes for editing Jack Stolz Interview

About two weeks ago I got to do an interview with YouTuber extraordinaire Jack Stolz.

I’ve stretched myself a bit thin So, it’s taken me a bit longer than expected to get start working on putting the podcast episode together.

I’m getting everything organized and I’m putting all the podcast pieces together. My goal is to have it ready to post by Friday. Let’s all keep our Fingers crossed.

Jack has played a big part in my process of dipping my toes into videography and YouTube. As a result, Jack has become a good friend and he continues to inspire me.

Whether he realizes it or not, Jack has been with me throughout most of this endeavor, in one form or another. He’s been a big encouragement. He has continually made himself available to talk shop, to provide helpful tips and advice, and to give feedback. Recently, I made joke that every conversation we have somehow ends up with me seeking guidance. Sorry for the one-sided-ness Jack, lol.

It probably goes without saying it was great to spend some extra time talking with him. It was an even greater pleasure to do it for the podcast!

Jack was even kind enough to provide me with extra footage and audio from our chat! That mean, I’ve got a lot of good stuff to work with. I’m excited to work on it, and I hope you all love it!

You don’t have to wait for the interview to meet Jack. If you’re not familiar with Jack or his channel, you really owe to yourself to go take a look. Hey, while you’re there you might as well subscribe! I can promise you that you won’t be disappointed. His footage is amazing and his editing is full of emotion.

Stay Tuned!

Keep showing up, keep doing the work, FAIL BOLDLY, and let’s make something meaningful.

New Video! Art Meets Mysticism

It’s no secret that I’m in love with learning, seeking, exploring. I’m infatuated with creativity, art, and the whole creative process. Above all I’m driven by the desire to be a better person and to make the world a better place, at least in some small way. Joel Tauber inspires in the pursuit of all of the above.

Recently, I got the great opportunity to talk with Joel Tauber. Joel is an artist, a filmmaker, and an Associate professor at Wake Forest University, teaching video art and film-making.


Joel’s work combines environmentalism, art, and mysticism in a really fascinating way. He does so with the aim of creating meaningful conversations. His great hope is that these conversations will help to generate a greater degree of social and cultural ethics.


Joel is also the co-host of a podcast called “Belt: A Two Man Memoir“. In the podcast Joel and Eric Wilson try to take a closer look at issues of modern masculinity.


Also, Joel’s project UNDERWATER opens at the Adamski Gallery in Berlin on June 22 and runs through August 17, with a one week break from July 20 to July 27.

I’m excited to share this conversation with you and I really hope you enjoy it!


If you’d like to look further into Joel Tauber and his work, check out the links below.
https://joeltauber.com/

The Sharing Project –  https://thesharingproject.net/

You can watch his film “Pumping” on Amazon Video –   https://www.amazon.com/PUMPING-Film-Joel-Tauber/dp/B01HFNWAHA

And also on Green Planet Stream –  https://greenplanetstream.vhx.tv/products/pumping-a-film-by-joel-tauber

You can also watch his film “Sick-Amour” on Amazon Video –  https://www.amazon.com/Sick-Amour-Joel-Tauber/dp/B00NKVFNDK

And on Green Planet Stream – https://greenplanetstream.vhx.tv/products/sick-amour

Big thanks to my Patrons Jim Martin and Ben Bridges.


If you’d like to help create a community of curiosity, get shout-outs in podcasts and videos, and get access to exclusive behind-the-scenes content, then check out my Patreon page! www.patreon.com/duanetoops

Keep showing up, keep doing the work, FAIL BOLDLY, and let’s make something meaningful!