…As a $2 Bill…

This morning was a momentous occasion, well that’s probably an exaggeration.

I’ve been trying to get into the habit of writing every morning after I meditate and before I bring my daughter to school. Yesterday, I filled the last remaining pages of a notebook, which means that today was time to open a new notebook.


I took out a fresh journal. I always keep a few around, who doesn’t? Right? I pulled the cover back, cracked the spine, eager to enter the freshness of the notebook’s beckoning blank pages, I noticed two crisply folded $2 bills. What else could I think but “that’s weird”? I don’t remember when or why I put them there but, I’m glad I did.


I’ve often quipped that I’m religious but not spiritual. I don’t have an affinity for the “other-worldly”, the supernatural, or what some might call the transcendent. I think “this-world” has more than enough amazement and wonder to offer. I think the “natural” is plenty “super” on its own, and often my most profound experiences of “transcendence” comes from deep experiences of the immanent.


And yet, I have a relishing fondness for ritual. I think most creatives do. We are often meticulous and almost superstitious in the observance of our creative routines. We take great care to create at the same time and place everyday. We drink out of the same mug. Some of us are compulsively particular about the notebooks and pens we use, as well as the ceremonial ways in which we use and prepare them. It’s interesting that the near monastic ordering of our creative ritualizations becomes the opportunity for the expression of our weirdness.


In a lot ways I think that’s exactly what creative practices are, the routinized rites we methodically perform in honored observance of our weirdness; the ceremonious celebration of our peculiar strangeness.


In fact, James Victore goes so far as to say that “the things that make you weird as a kid will make you great tomorrow”.


On a daily basis we are bombarded by a legion of outside influences and forces all vying for a chance to smooth out the unevenness of our peculiarities, so that we can better fit into the current cookie cutter shape of normalcy.


We need to find, formulate, and routinely carry out rituals that remind us of our strangeness. 


Today one found me…


I think from now on, whenever I open a new notebook, before I ever dot an “i”  or cross a “t”, these $2 bills will be ritualistically paper clipped onto the pages of the journal to instruct me that no matter what happens here, no matter what you do…Keep it weird…

Hurricane Daze: What’s Coming Next…?

It’s Thursday. The week is coming to a close and yet, I feel like my week is just getting started.


Let me explain.


I live in Central Florida and if you’ve been following the news at all you may have seen that we’ve been living with the threat of Hurricane Dorian for the majority of the week. 


I’ve lived here in Central Florida since I was eighteen. This was not my first hurricane experience but, the unpredictability of it is something you never quite get used to. When you’re waiting to see what happens or what’s going to happen, it’s like your whole life gets paused and everything is thrown into a perpetual and all-consuming “waiting”. You make preparations, you check the updates, you double check your preparations, you check for new updates, you make sure there are no gaps in your preparations, but ultimately you’re just waiting…


After a few days of “waiting” it’s difficult to distinguish what day it is, they all start to blur together.


Today is our return to normalcy.


We got lucky. Hurricane Dorian didn’t make land fall in Florida. Unfortunately, the Bahamas were not as lucky. My heart goes out to them. I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around what they’re going through and what they’re experiencing. My words fail. I know it doesn’t help but I’m sending them as much compassion and concern as I can.


Before the tumult of hurricane preparation took over our daily routine, I had the good fortune of interviewing Rajan Shankara. Rajan is a former Hindu monk who lived the monastic life for 12 years. Almost a year ago he left the monastery and returned to the world. He’s now a personal trainer, a meditation teacher, and a life consultant.


He and I began chatting near the end of year after we had both been guests on the Project Mindfulness podcast. (You can find Rajan’s episode here and mine here) We wanted to collaborate together in some way but, we just weren’t sure how. Since our initial contact I started my podcast and the time was finally right for us have a recorded conversation. 


Rajan was an absolute pleasure to speak with. I had a great time talking with him. The impending storm pushed me behind schedule in editing the interview but, I’ll be starting that process today, and I’m hoping to have ready to release sometime before the end of next week.


I’m sorry to keep you “waiting” lol. If you want to listen to the latest episode of the podcast you can find it here and if you want to watch the video of the latest episode you can find it here.


Wish me luck.

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

The Itch of Acceptance…

About a month ago I wrote an article about acceptance, and I still can’t get it out of my head.

Usually when I make a piece of content about a particular subject it’s because its been buzzing around inside my brain for a while. In that regard, creating content around that idea is like scratching an itch in my mind. Most of the time that creative scratching provides relief from the intellectual agitation. But, sometimes…the mental tingling surrounding a certain subject doesn’t subside. Sometimes it lingers, and sometimes it spreads. Even after I’ve explored an idea in a video, a podcast, or blog, sometimes it still sticks with me. “Acceptance” is that kind of enduring itch…

I just came across a tweet from a blogger named Ben Simons that returned “acceptance” to the center of my focus. He wrote the following:

Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation. We can accept things as they are, without being resigned to them staying that way. In fact, that acceptance helps us to see the most skillful way to respond to our circumstances.

Needless to say, I find myself thinking more and more about “acceptance”, what it looks like on a day to day basis, what it means, and more specifically what it means to me.⠀But, I’m not sure why…

There’s a lot about myself I have trouble ‘accepting’. There are parts of myself that I just wish weren’t there. I’m moody, and socially awkward. I get easily disheartened and disillusioned. I’m prone to periodic bouts of depression and melancholy. I see the glass as perpetually half-empty. And, as you can probably tell, I’m pretty critical of myself as well.

I’m coming to understand that practicing acceptance doesn’t mean we have to like those things, and it doesn’t mean that we have to resign ourselves to the idea that we can’t change or that this is how we’re always going to be. Acceptance shouldn’t be confused with apathy or indifference, acceptance is something much more radical and subversive.

Acceptance is the realization that who we are cannot be concretized by our characteristics. We are more fluid than that. The wide openness of acceptance sees our story take place across a sweeping landscape, a broad horizon , instead of through the narrow tyranny of a judgmental gaze.

Acceptance is a kind of clear-sightedness. In the book From Mindfulness to Insight , authors Nairn, Choden , and Regan-Addis explain that “Our perception is obscured as soon as there is resistance and the impulse to struggle with what we don’t like”. They go on to say that “what we refuse to accept hangs around longer because our mind gets locked into resistance and, ironically, we hold on to the things we don’t like”. Acceptance is the recognition that before we can begin to see things differently we must first clearly see and understand the way things are.

Acceptance means that we refuse to be broken by our flaws. Instead we see simply see our shortcomings as bends along the path that we continually press forward upon. It’s easier said then done, believe me I know. Maybe that’s why it still itches…

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 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!