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.
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.
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 hereand 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.
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.