Study this case study

This morning I woke up with a smile on my face and a clear, cool Summer breeze blowing in from the open window introducing this fresh new day. And it so happens that the universe likes to compliment these beautiful moments in my life by providing me with the matching music. This morning my fresh Summer breeze was Daniel Caesar’s new album CASE STUDY 01. This album isn’t special because of its features (even though Pharrell Williams or freaking BRANDY are pretty amazing ones), this album is special because of Daniel Caesar’s expanded mindset and references to physics, chemistry, neurology and spirituality, all wrapped up in a beautiful sound experience.

So this is actually a Summer breeze with a deep meaning behind it. Starting out the first song “ENTROPY” with a snippet from an interview with the American physician J. Robert Oppenheimer about the Trinity Test which started the nuclear era with the introduction of atomic bombs…that’s a symbolic statement. Caesar uses this to compare the state of the world with the chaotic state his own life is in. He sings: “So come on, baby, in time we’ll all freeze, ain’t no stoppin’ that entropy”. Entropy is a term used in thermodynamics mainly used to measure the system’s disorder (please don’t quote me on that, I tried to simplify it), so in symbolic terms it represents the degree of disorder or uncertainty within a system. In relation to that Caesar references the theory of “The Big Freeze”, also called the “Heat Death” which is a theory by scientists about how the Universe could end. If you’re interested you can read more about it here.  

The next song “CYANIDE” is named after a chemical compound which is highly toxic and symbolic for the toxicity of the love affair he is singing about. In contrast to that the next song “LOVE AGAIN” featuring Brandy is about finding hope for a love that has been faced with challenges “Even on your worst day, love you in the worst way, circling around for eternity, going through the motions you’re turning me, internally”, Caesar sings.

And just as these first three, the following songs are equally a mixture of darkness and light, the challenges of life, the confrontation with ugly truths, beliefs, faith, love and fear. I had initially started going through each song one by one but I would like to take another approach instead and invite you to listen to each song yourself and find your own interpretation and meaning in it. I feel like this album is like a piece of art and it will speak to each one of you in a different way, that’s the beauty of art.

So open your window and let the breeze in.

 

Something different

Last weekend I went to London, to attend a workshop of one of my favourite inspirational people –  the empathetic, intuitive healer and spiritual teacher Matt Kahn. It inspired me to write down some of my personal insights from this experience and I felt like sharing them with you.

Meaning should be optional. Instead of trying to find meaning in everything that happens, it can be more helpful to just be in the moment and receive it for what it is. Each moment has its own meaning in itself. When you are interpreting, you are creating something in your mind that doesn’t really exist. This causes you to worry more and keeps you from experiencing a situation for what it really is. Not interpreting, allows you to move on from situations more quickly, not get caught up in the past and also love yourself more through not criticizing or blaming yourself for what happened.

Things happen the way they are supposed to happen. When you blame someone else for something that happened, you are giving away your power. They are not responsible for your life. If someone hurt you, that is what it is, that happened because you were supposed to feel a certain emotion so you could face it, interact with it and let it go. It is okay to feel hurt, feel the emotion and experience what it does to you. However, when you blame the other person for how you feel, you are giving away your power to them. The truth is, they have been releasing the negative energy onto you, that they weren’t able to process within themselves.

A person that hurts you, experiences pain inside and because they don’t know how to process these emotions of pain, they release and inflict them onto you.

You can blame that person, but it won’t change the situation, it won’t reverse what happened and it won’t make you feel better. Instead, it will leave you feeling powerless, because you’re giving another person the power to decide how you feel inside. So instead, you can allow yourself to feel the emotions that you are feeling, not push them them away but face them and acknowledge them. Treat those emotions with love and give them the attention that you would hope to receive from someone whose help you’re seeking.

In that context, you can ask yourself “How can I help you?”. In asking yourself that question you are taking back the power that you’ve been giving away to others and you acknowledge the fact that the only person, that is in charge of how you feel, is yourself. You can ask yourself that question, whenever you feel you’re not at ease and you’re feeling any kind of emotion that you don’t feel comfortable with. By asking yourself “How can I help you?” in these particular moments, you are giving the feeling the attention it requires from you, you are being loving towards yourself because you are offering help to yourself the same way you would to a loved one, and you are being helpful in a productive way, that will allow yourself to grow and move on instead of being stuck within an emotion without any greater perspective.

Also, if you face a feeling directly in the moment that it occurs in, it will stay with you for a much shorter amount of time than if you would try to push it away. Pushing it away will only work in a superficial way because the feeling doesn’t ever really leave you and will stay with you subconsciously. In every situation possible, it will then reoccur and demand your attention again until you finally face it. Allowing yourself to feel something is self-empowerment because in facing your emotions you are recognizing that they are valid. It is okay to be a person, it is okay to dislike something, to feel negative emotions towards something. In acknowledging that, you are liberating yourself.

Blaming yourself is just as problematic as blaming others, because in it you are giving the power away to fear-based parts of yourself. In doing that you are giving power to and strengthening those parts that you wish would lose their power. Blame, in that context, again, is the interpretation of a situation. It can be a lot more helpful to acknowledge that you dislike something and leave it at that, instead of trying to interpret it or putting too much weight on it.

The truth is, we feel what we feel because we are supposed to feel it. Every feeling arises intentionally so that we can have a learning experience that allows us to grow. If things had happened any other way throughout our lives, we would have still felt the same emotions because we were supposed to feel them in order to be able to evolve. We are not in control of what happens, but we are in control of how we feel and this matters because when we are able to feel an underlying calmness, throughout all kinds of situations and all kinds of emotions, we will live a joyful life. Knowing that everything is here to help us and there is value to be found in even the most negative emotions and life experiences. It is like the saying “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”. In taking back the power over your feelings, you are able to decide how you are going to experience your life.

An additional aspect, that comes with taking back your power, is recognizing that you don’t have to act a certain way in order for other people to like you. A challenge for most people is to be okay with other people disliking them. But when we realize that, whether someone likes us or dislikes us, doesn’t have much to do with who we are, we are liberated from that need for others to like us, and those can sometimes even be the ones that we don’t really like ourselves. People decide whether they like or dislike something based on the associations they have made with it. So when someone dislikes you it can be because of their experiences that your appearance reminds them of, what they feel that you represent. The way someone else feels about you is a reflection of what is going on inside of them. Also, think about it, how can someone really dislike you if they don’t even know you?

You will be free of what other people think of you when you remind yourself that, all that you are really defined by are your actions. You are not defined by your gender, skin color, nationality, beliefs, job, status…You are only defined by the sum of your actions. That’s all. When you make sure your actions line up with what you feel in your soul is right, that is authenticity. And when you are being your authentic self, you are truly empowered and you are living in your purpose. The only thing that God/the universe truly wants for you is to be your authentic self.

Snoh with the warm feels

Today I got a little beautiful gem for you. Snoh Aalegra just released her new single “I Want You Around” that features one of my favourite artists Leven Kali on the background vocals by the way (read my blog post about him here). And I don’t just want you to listen to the song, I want you to watch the video while listening to it for the first time. I feel like a lot of music videos nowadays fail to fulfil their purpose which is to enhance the song and emphasise its deeper meaning. For me, a great music video is like art. It’s more than just about telling a story, it’s colours, lights, setting, interaction between characters, camera angles, filters and little details that underline metaphors and references.

Now, if you’re thinking that you’ve never heard of Snoh Aalegra before, I can almost definitely tell you that you have because I’m pretty sure you’ve heard Drake’s single “Do Not Disturb” from his More Life album where he sampled Snoh Aalegra’s single “Time“. The original is a very beautiful and deeply emotional song about her father passing away that Drake took out of context in kind of a rude way to be honest. But anyways…Snoh Aalegra is a very special artist, she has this timeless grace and beauty almost like she’s time travelled to the future from another time. I had the chance to see her perform live at a small club, last time I was in Los Angeles and she definitely wowed me.

Enjoy this short little romantic movie. Also, shout out to Snoh for reminding us of the greatness of Stevie Wonder’s “Innervisions” album.