Welcome to Indefatigable Artist Podcast.
Episode 19 - Let It All Out There
Today, I tried to listen to Jazz while writing, my favorite being John Coltrane, but something about Jazz makes it so hard to concentrate on writing. I know for most writers it would be, how do you even write while listening to anything?
But that’s the thing, you’re never in true silence, there is always a noise happening, always, no matter what there is a noise unless you’re in a sensory deprivation room or a soundless room where people can only last a few minutes in.
So given that there is always a noise, no matter what, I choose to have control over that noise, listening to the same music when I write, which for me has been Ludovico Einaudi. If you have followed me on social media for any period of time you have probably heard me talk about it, but finding him on Pandora in 2010, right around the time I went back to college really, I was trying to get into the mindset of reading and studying, and for me it was listening to music, that was the game changer for me in terms of concentration.
And now I am seeing a lot of recent studies showing the benefit of listening to music while studying. How it releases dopamine in the brain and encourages you to want to study.
I listen to a set playlist when I am writing, one I now have on Spotify Ludovico Einaudi’s Full Discography. And I have his albums lined up one after another, including his 7 days walking albums which I think is one of the most remarkable projects a pianist or any musician has ever put together, the way those albums ebb and flow is just incredible. Ludovico’s music just takes me away on a mental escape, a journey somewhere. It used to be the Free-Floating Planet of Consumptia when I was writing the first two novels.
And today, I tried, I just wanted to try and write to something different, to try and maybe get a new perspective. And it was like a block, like my mind was yelling, WHERE’S LUDOVICO EINAUDI?!?! Then all of these background distractions came flooding in, work on this, work on that, work on this, work on that, and I literally just went to work on another animation.
I truly just enjoy creating, getting lost in the creation. And I have a lot that I want to do. Sometimes when I think about all that I want to do, and all that I thought I would get done by this time, it brings a wave of panic over me. I freeze up, I feel like I am trapped in a room, handcuffed on a sinking ship, like that scene in Titanic. Handcuffed to a sinking ship. Water filling the lungs, the weight of a dresser pushing on my chest, half of my mind screaming LET ME REST!
I try to get it all done in one day, for fear that I may not awake the next day. What if tomorrow is completely different. Wake up to a fire alarm an hour before your actual alarm, have to rush out of the building and wait an hour, ear piercing noise echoing off the wall, your dog in agony, no time to think, entire day is spent trying to get back on track.
It’s like you were barely keeping it together as it was, death in family, taxes due, unexpected bills popping up, have to move to another fucking state, holy shit, what the fuck is this alarm, why the fuck is it going the fuck off right now, holy shit fuck, fuck you, it’s the damn dryer in the laundry room again? How the fuck is that still in the building, this is the 3rd fucking time this month with this loud ear piercing noise that shatters your fucking ear drum, like what cruel sick fucking person would come up with such a sound?
You just have to let it out sometimes, express yourself, however you feel, there is a big difference between expressing yourself and acting on anger. Acting on anger or frustration is ripping the car door off, punching a whole in the wall or door or mirror, whatever was in front of my teenage face.
Creatively expressing my anger though, changed everything for me. I could let it all out through Skriller.
All that pent up rage I could let it out, get it all out on paper.
I have come to love those thoughts as much as I love the happy positive ones. It’s allowed me to get to this next level of perspective, this next step of consciousness. Seeing these thoughts, these words, and trying to find the source, where they came from. Think about the thoughts you have, why do we hear words in our head? These humane symbols. These Environmental forces on our brain, that surround us even before we are born humans are talking to us in the womb with these words.
Eckhart Tolle in his book, The Power of Now, which I have been devouring the past month since moving here to NYC, he writes Not able to stop thinking is a dreadful affliction, but we don’t realize this because almost everybody is suffering from it, so it is considered normal.
If you have read my novels, you know how much I go into the word “normal” and that of malignant normalization.
We say humane as if it only have a positive connotation. Is it not humane to drop bombs on others? I don’t see other species on this planet do that, or want to do that? How many other species kill for pure pleasure? Is first degree murder not inherently humane? Orcas are said to kill for fun, to play with a seal by tossing them into the air, but this is rare and not nearly comparable to what humans do on a daily basis.
I bring this up to say there must be a more positive and progressive way. We have to become more emotionally intelligent. This goes back to my question that I ask in my thesis paper and the one I posed to Chat GPT. How can humans intellectually compete with the exponential rise of artificial intelligence? The answer in so many different ways, was emotional intelligence and creative problem solving.
We have to get creative in dealing with emotional intelligence.
There is one dream that I keep having and want to share with you as it’s something that I have actually wanted to do at some point.
Realize that we are all actors
That when I put on that headgear, when I put on that singlet and step out onto that mat I am playing another role, I am a wrestler, it’s pin or get pinned
I am going to do the best that I can to win, focus on what I have to do to win, not focused on who is stepping out onto that mat with me. I am so focused in this moment I don’t see anything out there but me, a plastic dummy and a guy wearing black and white clothes who is going to raise my hand up when I win
No more hearing “what will they think of me if I lose? I can’t lose cause then what will everyone think of me. I look so ridiculous in this outfit. Think they can see my little thing in this singlet, I look so ridiculous, if I lose I will cry because I am so ashamed. They will call me cryin’ ryan on the bus.”
Not thinking of any of that now. In this dream I am wiser. I feel I am a warrior now. I have respect for myself and my opponent, yet I do not fear losing. That is not a thought in my head. I have ended harsh self criticism. I SAID END HARSH SELF CRITICISM YESTERDAY!! DO IT! Where are those words coming from? When is the first time you even heard those words that still linger in your head? Why do you carry them with you? Why do you listen to them? Why do you take them as yourself and not something else?
When I step out onto that mat, I do what I do every day in practice. I take 3 deep inhales, through the nose and out through the mouth.
Saying the words, Anger, Frustration, Helplessness, Embarrassment, Shame and Vulnerablility.
I realize that stepping out onto that mat is a vulnerable situation. It is just me and my opponent wearing nothing but a singlet, head gear and shoes.
But I have let out that deep breath, I am embracing that vulnerability, I am growing from it. I know that no matter what, no matter what I am going to grow from this situation, as a winner or as a loser. I am going to be the one who gets the most out of this match, me, not the opponent, I am going to give 100% of my energy in this because I am so present in this moment that it has all of me, it has all of my, all of my conscious thoughts, all of my years of working out, hours in training each and every single fucking day, blood sweat and tears that I have put into this moment, this opponent is going to feel all of it, I am going to unleash upon my opponent all of my harnessed energy, whether he beats me or not is insignificant, what he will do by the end of this match if fucking respect me as the warrior that I am as he and everyone who watches this match will see me give it my absolute all, give all of my energy, I am going to be so focused you will see it in my fucking eyes that they do not waver, they are aimed directly at my objective, the singular objective before me, I take life one step at a time and for me, this match, this moment right here, right now, that is what I have to overcome and I will give it my all to overcome that obstacle, I let nothing stand in my way, and I will apply the growth mindset to this situation, I know win or lose that I am going to learn from it, I am going to go back and watch the tape and learn from my mistakes so that I don’t make the same one twice.
Does a bulldozer shiver when it sees a mountain? No, it plows the fuck ahead, one inch at a time, however long it takes, give me more fuel, and it’s ready to fucking PLOW!
You do this as a team, you embrace this mindset as an entire team, you really focus on the 90% mental part as a team, each and every practice, give it 3 month and see if you don’t see results.
I just want to go back to my younger self and really focus on psychology more.
I did wrestle for a long time in Michigan. I wasn’t the greatest at it but I always finished above .500, which I was pretty proud of. I cried almost everytime I lost because I was just so ashamed and embarrassed, being out there on a wrestling mat in front of a big crowd is such a vulnerable place especially for a teenage boy who is so utterly insecure of himself and constantly hazed by the cool kids and is constantly seeking their approval which they never gave, was tough. I also missed a lot of time do to injury in high school, I was constantly getting hurt and breaking something, spent a lot of time in a cast, just what you do when you grow up on a farm absolutely fearless. I really did live without much fear of getting hurt, always down to try something new, ride that horse, wrestle that calf, jump from that barn, sure why not?
Well I am definitely feeling those injuries now that I am older.
I think we all wish we could go back and give a piece of advice, it’s where these dreams steam from. I think it’s great how much wrestling affected so many different aspects of my life. I haven’t formally asked my old coach to come back and just give a speech about that as fall in spring were always hard for me to get away and come back to Michigan during that time, but I am hoping to this year and think I might ask if I can talk about that as I think it’s so important for them to know how lasting this time will be on the rest of their lives, to really put what they are doing in this moment into perspective, that they are young, their minds are young and this time is extremely impressionable on who they will become in the next 5 years.
Wrestling, that mentality and the grit that it took to complete a whole season, really didn have a lasting effect on my work ethic and to Coach, Steve Vlceck I am forever grateful to him. He is one of the few lasting pillars in my hometown of Manchester. There isn’t a person in that town that hasn’t heard of Coach. It’s incredible what he has done to the wrestling program there and the positive effect he has had on so many lives, so many wrestlers. He was never one to get Angry, and I will always remember that time when I was getting in trouble at school, he said I’m not mad, I’m disappointed. Oh that hit me hard coming from Coach, a punch in the gut, I could barely get up from the chair in his office.
It's growth to look back on those who had a positive impact and how important they really were along your journey.
I will definitely let the listeners know if that comes to fruitition. I just throw it out there as it relates to the dream I had and my encouragement of others to keep a dream journal, it can really lead to some fascinating developments. This wrestling dream, and wrestling dreams in general, are ones that I have quite often, sometimes a definite metaphor for an obstacle in life I am currently facing that has nothing to do with actual wrestling.
And writing out that dream like that, just puts all of that into more perspective and can easily lead to something entirely different where you see the situation from a new lense that you may not have seen if you didn’t write it out, if you didn’t get out all of the ideas and angles, just free flowing and seeing what words come out and in what way. I am often surprised by phrasing and where a morning writing will go. I just put on my set music, which is Ludovico or this Yoga Meditation album I found and Moby’s new album with ambient sounds, it’s been really beautiful to write to, just put on my head phones and let me fingers type as fast as they possibly can.
Wrestling is perseverance, Manchester Wrestling motto is Believe and Achieve. I just didn’t recognize how powerful that was mentally, I guess at that age I never wrapped my head around the power of thoughts. I was really succumb to thoughts, like thoughts were bigger than I was. I was constantly in my head, obsessing what others were thinking of me, am I cool enough, am I wearing the right clothing, please don’t think I am poor, please oh please just think I am normal – hahaha. All the usual thoughts teenage boys in America have, not realizing how infantile it all is.
If I were more emotionally intelligent I really think it would have drastically improved my wrestling ability.
I would psyche myself out, I would lose the match before even stepping out onto the mat. I would focus on what the other wrestler looked like, oh he looks tough I don’t want to wrestle him, I hope it’s the other guy, the scrawny one, why is it him and not the other guy, oh what are my friends going to say, blah blah blah. I wasn’t focused. I didn’t focus on the believing and achieving. I had to get in the right mindset. The best tournaments I had, one I went undefeated, I had tuned out all my thoughts, no one in the stands knew me, I was free. I left it all out there on the mat, each and every match on those days, I remember them vividly, I had all the physical abilities, I knew all the moves, I just had to get focused.
But I didn’t realize why I did good then. I didn’t see it. Now, I do and would love to share that with others who are into wrestling. Think it’s such a great sport to teach self discipline, respect and a great outlet to let out teenage testosterone, to let out physical anxiety, to get the body going. Not everyone is going to be an undefeated state champion wrestler and that’s ok. Apply the growth mindset and realize that wrestling, that mindset can be applied to anything you do in life. As it so often has in mine.
I hope you found today’s topic interesting and I appreciate you listening. As we continue to Go Further, One Episode at a time, One Step at a time!