A week after Adee and I eloped, we went to the Seattle area for a mini honeymoon.
On a Saturday we went out to breakfast. After breakfast I got a call from a friend. I walked outside and stood leaning against the window of a 7-Eleven looking out at the street.
At some point a guy walked by. He had to be 6’4″ and at least 250lbs. As he walked by he was looking at me.
He went a couple steps past me, his eyes fixed on me. Keeping his eyes on me he stepped back so he was even with me.
He said loudly, “God damn boy, you fine as mufucka!” then kept walking.
I nearly fell on the ground, I laughed so hard.
Now according to the Kinsey scale, we’re all at least a little gay. With that said I don’t identify as even remotely homosexual. But damn that felt good. Being very secure with my sexuality I was able to fully receive that compliment.
What’s Sexy About You
Last week I went skiing with a group of friends, and one night we did an exercise.
We went around the circle, and every single person in the group got a chance to be in the “hot seat.”
Then everyone else in the group said what they thought was sexy or attractive about that person for 5-10 minutes. Every single person in the group felt so full and affirmed at the end of their hot seat round.
It’s edgy, but I can’t recommend trying this enough with a group of close friends or even just your partner if you have one.
Anti-Trauma and Birth Songs
On that same trip my buddy JP Sears made a beautiful suggestion.
He suggested that at some point in the trip we put both of the babies (Shai and his kid Wilder) in the middle of the group and have us all give them affirmations. He said that if a kid can be traumatized as a baby in a lasting way, then the reverse must be true. We forgot to do it, but it’s on the agenda at some point. Lol.
This reminded me of something I read years ago about some African tribes that give people birth songs.
The Himba tribe of Namibia, for instance, creates a unique song for each baby.
The mom creates it before the baby is even born. She teaches it to the midwives and tribespeople, and when the baby is born they sing the song to the baby.
Here’s what stuck with me:
As the child grows up, the other villagers are taught the child’s song. If the child falls, or gets hurt, someone picks him/her up and sings to him/her his/her song. Or maybe when the child does something wonderful, or goes through the rites of puberty, then as a way of honoring this person, the people of the village sing his or her song.
If a Himba tribesman or tribeswoman commits a crime or something that is against the Himba social norms, the villagers call him or her into the center of the village and the community forms a circle around him/her. Then they sing his/her birth song to him/her.
The Himba views correction not as a punishment, but as love and remembrance of identity. For when you recognise your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.
In marriage, the songs are sung, together. And finally, when the Himba tribesman/tribeswoman is lying in his/her bed, ready to die, all the villagers that know his or her song come and sing – for the last time that person’s song.
It makes me wonder what rituals we could create with ourselves and our children.
How my ego is showing up as a parent
I’ve shared before that since Shai was born, Adee and I have experienced more tension and conflict than ever in our relationship.
This was not surprising to either of us as we know that this period of time is typically the most challenging a couple will ever face. I’ve learned a shitload, stepped up big time, and the past 2-3 months have been much smoother.
I had a realization recently that I think has caused a lot of my resistance to fatherhood.
I think the majority of our conflict has come from me resisting giving up personal freedom and space at different stages.
The realization that I had is that a lot of this resistance has come from conditioning and my ego.
I grew up thinking that a dad’s role was to go to work, play with kids, teach them as they get older, and discipline them. Since Shai was born I have taken on a lot of things that are not in my typical “lane” like making sure we have healthy food to eat, cleaning, making sure we have diapers and wipes, etc.
The story I’ve told myself at times has been that “I’m being asked to do too much” or “this is not what a dad does.”
What I’m realizing now is that there is no “right” way to parent. Adee and I are doing what works best for our family and doing what we can to make sure that all 3 of us are taken care of. As I’ve slowly started to drop some of the stories about how I think it “should” go and just aim to be more helpful, life and parenthood have been amazing.
Johari’s window and self-awareness
Along those same lines one of my primary goals in life is to make what is unconscious, conscious.
Moving as much as possible into the “Open Self” box of Johari’s Window.
Essentially to see myself, inside and out, as clearly as possible.
It’s also to share as much of that with others as possible.
One of our deepest human desires is to be seen and accepted exactly for who we are. Despite our craziest internal dialogues and beliefs. Despite our mistakes and defects of character.
So we have to share our shit with people and see that not only do they still accept us, but they trust and appreciate us even more than did before.
“What is most personal is most universal” – Carl Rogers
How I (almost) never forget things
For my whole life up until a few years ago, I forgot a lot of things. I was late, missed deadlines, made commitments that I completely forgot about, and in general was known as being pretty disorganized.
Now I am very reliable and almost never forget anything. My productivity has also gone through the roof compared to what it was.
Here’s exactly what I did in the exact order I did it:
- I read the book Getting Things Done by David Allen. He is one of the most successful executive coaches in history, and creating this system has been his life’s work.
- Then I immediately took Tiago Forte’s online course Getting Stuff Done Like a Boss that taught me to implement the GTD system using modern tech (i.e. an app on my computer and phone).
- Next I learned about knowledge management to help me organize projects and create content (like this newsletter) more effectively and efficiently. The main goal with this stuff is to be able to make use of all the podcasts, books, and articles I consume without forgetting so much of it.
- I took Tiago’s Building a Second Brain Course which was my intro to knowledge management.
- Then I took my buddy Nat Eliason’s Effortless Output with Roam course to help me implement the BASB material in the most amazing software – Roam Research (which I write this newsletter in).
This has been a multi year process, and it has been one of the most important things I’ve done personally and professionally in years.
If you’ve been loving this newsletter, I would so appreciate it if you would share it with a friend or two. You can send them here to sign up. My intention is to make this email one of the best things you read all week. To make you think, laugh and hopefully leave you feeling a little more relaxed – like a nice long exhale.