Meditative Music: Jean-Michel Blais - Roses

‘roses’ is a funeral piece dedicated to my friend’s mother who died from cancer. The ostinato, the repeating single note in the intro, represents her beating heart, and the ever-present tumour, sometimes forgotten but still growing.
— Jean-Michel Blais

Buy / Listen: http://smarturl.it/jmbroses

Jean-Michel Blais On Tour: https://jeanmichelblais.com/#tour

Make Room for the New with A Content Cleanse

If you're reading this it's likely that you're a little bit like me - an information junkie who loads up on "elevating" material throughout the year. Half of which ends up in life's forgotten folders. Like a bookshelf stuffed with unread books.

It's also likely that you've engaged deeply with a lot of that same material - daily subscriptions, netflix queues, etc. for a specific season in your life. An awkward break-up, a death in the family, a career change.

In either of these cases, the turning over of a new year is a good time to shed some of that weight and make room for new revelations. A few places to start:

- Apps (the good, the bad, the ugly and unused)
- Emails (like notifications from a dormant Snapchat account)
- Calendar (e.g. recurring meetings that no one ever shows up to) 
- Browser Bookmarks (do people still use these?)
- Books (easy to donate or gift a friend)
- Podcasts (you know when you've heard enough)
- Contacts (that mute, unfollow, or block - even if it's temporary)

No content cleanse is the same. It really is up to you and the place you're at in your journey. Listen to your intuition and let it guide you without self-judgment.

My cleanse this year is centered around 3 major themes.

--- Self-help that is no longer helpful. It was right about the time Thanksgiving rolled around that I realized how much "help" I had surrounded myself with in 2018. Daily emails, IG posts  (#mondaymotivation), YouTube business gurus, articles and listicles -- all dedicated to the same thing. Develop better habits, get in better shape, be a better entrepreneur. I had to take note that much of this content was just a distraction from doing the actual work, and inhibiting my process of taking it one day at a time. This year, I'm acknowledging that I already have all the help I need. No more new books or gurus -- instead I'm picking my favorites and revisiting them. Everything else is already inside of me.

--- Research tools that are no longer useful. I'm the type of person to comb through a few 100 reviews before making a big ticket purchase. It's served me well - I'm generally getting the best of the best of what I really want. And most of all, I get the invaluable reinforcement of my own control-complex and the satisfaction of making a right choice. But it becomes a problem when this mentality leaks into my every day choices. I often find myself on a carousel of endless internal dialogue about the perfect thing to say, perfect time to call, or perfect thing to do. And Google is always there to feed my compulsion. The feedback loop can be paralyzing. That's why I want to say goodbye to obsessive researching and the tools/apps/websites that encourage it. Life-hacking my way to happiness is no longer the vibe.

--- Relationships that have run their course. I want to say thank you to the people I've learned from and listened to, who've given me insight and guidance, who've been there along the way. I'm grateful for the memories, but also acknowledge when a match has gone stale. Moving on or agreeing to a lower frequency of contact is hardly ever going to be easy, but that doesn't mean it has to be a bitter end. A newlywed buddy of mine so matter-of-factly explained to me over drinks one night how he had erased from his phone every single number from a female-identified person other than his wife. I had never considered a move like that, but I could see that the clarity he gained from removing the weight of the past was palpable. It wasn't a big dramatic gesture for him. Just a simple and effective way of clearing a path for his new and exciting future.

What are you clearing out for the year ahead?

Photo by Ameen Fahmy 

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An Accomplishment Journal Is The One Daily Habit I've Bothered To Keep

It’s not that I haven’t tried others. Waking up at 5am. Running a mile. Doing 100 pushups.

It’s just the reality. I've always had trouble starting and keeping any kind of daily habit. I’ll have a good two-week run if I’m lucky, reward myself with a day off, and then it all collapses.

But last week when I flipped through the Moleskine hardcover I specifically purchased for this ritual recommended by my coach and saw that I had 6 months of consistent entries I was pretty blown away.

It's simple: Every night I task myself with remembering 4 small things that went right that day and writing them down. As someone who has been historically really good at uncovering all that’s wrong about a situation, I've found this practice to be invaluable for training my brain to focus on the positive.

Even if I miss a day or four, I always make sure to go back and fill in the highlights - from the big to the very small. Career related or personal.

Here’s a real-life example:

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  1. Went to Speedplay workout

  2. Caught up with artist friend at brunch

  3. Worked on writing and vocals for new song

  4. Grocery shopped, made meals for the week

It can be plain, sometimes painfully mundane. But it works.

Since I’ve started the practice, I’ve become more aware of my tendency to find the fault in everyday things - the crack in the wall, the mispronounced word, the dirt under the fingernails of life. And while that attention to detail has been helped me succeed in many ways, it has also hindered my pursuit of happiness. Allowing myself to be grateful for the highlights (in spite of or in light of the imperfections) is making me a better human. More pleasant with myself and with others.

Here’s to celebrating the little things.