the next level

life is a lot of learning the same lessons again and again. recognizing old patterns that seem to derive endless pleasure donning different masks.

today i’m lucky. a few classic lessons have landed on my tongue and whilst the taste is familiar, there’s a tad more nourishment this time around.

  • stop smoking i was on the no smoking wave for a while and then life intervened.  2 cups emotional turmoil, 1 student loan debt reminder, and a 1/4lb of free weed later, and boom.  all inertia built while abstinent–fully dissipated.  and weed isn’t a bad thing, it’s just happens to be running rampant. completely unchecked.  and (for me) when weed reigns unabashedly it boosts some of my worst drives: apathy and complacency.  it allows me vaca away from the turmoil of stagnation without any of the work required to exit. this morning i tossed the remainder of my cartridge out (it had a good 9% left) and the day went by just fine. in fact, i went extra hard at doing much of the “blah” or “annoying” tasks i’d been avoiding over the past week.  however as the day wore on, that zest and will power began to diminish.  how the fuck am i supposed to cold turkey this bitch? then i remembered how i did it last time– CBD oil. for those of you that don’t know, that’s THC–the main element in weed, without any of the psychoactive elements. this satisfies my oral fixation WITHOUT changing my mental state.  this forces me to remain in the present.  which in turn pushes me to work buuuuuuuuuuut throughout, whenever i want to smoke i can hit a pen that won’t get me high! last time i did CBD for about a month before doing away with smoking entirely. the main win?  i never slipped up and smoked weed weed during this phase.
  • listen to dark nai i trust most of us have some form of inner dialogue in our heads.  in many cases the voice that chastises us is the amalgamation of 100s of voices over the years. those judgmental comments from mom and dad.  the papercuts and soul stabs left in the wake of classmates, friends, bullies, actors in movies, etc…they’ve all contributed to some variation of, “you’re weird/inadequate/overbearing/insignificant in x, y, and z ways.” and subconsciously that shit sticks with us.  however, among those voices, there’s our voice. that thing that hopes. that dares to dream. that what if. my “what if” voice is really dark. his standards for greatness are enormous. and the pressure at that altitude is tremendous. such concentrated ambition is why i keep the door between he and i sealed.  if we’re being real, it’s dark nai’s ambition AND the hope in my mentor’s eyes that intertwine to form the noose i most often hang myself with–overwhelm and inaction.  however dark nai can be flipped… USED instead of FEARED.  wild i didn’t see this until now but this is what goggins does when he pulls deep. he talks TO himself. currently i numb dark nai through liquor and weed. instead, as i continue to try and push forward i can draw upon his strength and evolve. i can coach myself the same way i do others. with a clearer mind, i can do this. it won’t ALWAYS work but (sober) i have faith it will work more times than not. tough love is very effective, especially when there’s nowhere to run.  i must sit and tea with the inner ambition and disappointment that haunts me.  once aligned in purpose, we can walk forward together hand-in-hand. in short, allow the “tough unrelenting part of me” (aka dark nai) to hit me with that tough love. combine this with a clear mind, scaled down objectives, and a stronger sense of purpose and we’re cooking with fire baby!
  • be transparent,  connect, add value, share my art for most of my life, if not all of it, understanding this portion of my being has proved a real bitch. i feel great empathy/love for humans. in the same breath, i also loathe our propensity for self-harm/neglect as well as our tendency to defer to the constant pull of our egocentric nature.  i sense it in myself and others.  and young nai used this as a rationale to let the chips fall where they may.  i’ve seen a world of good done by amazing people, i’ve been lucky enough to be shielded from some bad experiences, and i’ve also seen those same “kind and loving people” muted by an indifferent universe. this position primed me for apathy.  now to be clear this paradigm no longer blankets my view of the world BUUUT it did for many years–how i crawled out from this is a loooong story for another post, but long tale medium, while a part of me is pulled to love and expression another part is awash with a deep sense of banality.  from the corridors of my soul there’s always that whisper, can i really tip the scales? [enter dark nai, who ALWAYS believed we could. who always knew suffering and sacrifice would be involved and i was just too chicken shit to play ball] but i have been able to shake this BELIEF over the years. there were parts of me that did shine. moments of love and connection that did bubble up. and they always centered around my love of TRUTH, however harsh, that’s where the transparency aspect comes in. at the moment i don’t have it all down. i don’t have the answers sway! but i do want to find them together.

so this is one element missing from the work i’m doing– an open dialgoue with my audience.

as i stumble forward, do so openly. call upon the help of others. let’s figure it out together. that’s what the conversation series is about, connection. podcasts aren’t revolutionary. their heyday is here and i don’t see this series breaking the matrix. but this is about connection. open dialogue is how i’ve built most, if not, every meaningful bond in my life. i must honor this and continue to find ways to add value to people’s life. i do that now on a one-to-one level, this series is an attempt at scaling or at the very least, increasing the frequency of this phenomenon. to remain committed it’s really important that the work i do: connection and transparency lead to art. sometimes i doubt the value of this contribution because of my old almost nihilistic mindset. however, it’s on me to keep the fire of dark nai alive and burning. if only 4% of his will is realized, comparatively, that’s a very fulfilling life! and i want him to get 100%. aka i want to get to 100%!


so what the fuck does all of this have to do with the conversation series? all the content in my channel will now roll into three categories:

  1. conversation series: sit down and pow-wow with interesting peeps/artists/humans. keep experimenting with format. build a community that holds space for one another. bind the diff people in my life together. invite others to join. learn from the process. collab w/ artists involved. experiment with splicing some narrative elements into this? brainstorm on mixing diff guests. play with the idea of having a conversation AND making something with each artist (season 2?)ep 000 jon – short (we’ll think of something)
    ep 001 zoo – courage diaries reboot
    ep 002 chase – we’ll think of something dope
    ep 003 swan – 7 deadly sins (vid portion…combine w/ chase photo portion?)….maybe a whole new concept??
    ep 004 zoo pt 2 – mini JC piece
    ep 005 vic – skate/comedy vid?
  2. portfolio: showcase all the work i’m doing in the freelance world. feature the work of other artists on my page.
  3. transparent convos/vlogs: talk directly to my audiences on each platform about stumbling through the process. share thoughts from other friends/arists/creators on the same issues i talk about


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