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.

Trip to Ventura

The moment I heard Anderson .Paak’s new single “King James”, I knew this album was going to be good. The energy of this song conveyed through soul with soul and a message is both positive and strong. It makes you smile with hope. That’s meaningful and so, so relevant. So when I woke up this morning and listened to the eleven songs of Ventura (don’t think it’s a coincidence that it’s eleven by the way) I was surprised by the lightness and playfulness of Paak’s new project.

Starting out with an angelic choir and promising drum roll the first song of the album “Come Home” let’s the listener dive right into the VIBE. “I’m begging you please come home, no one even begs anymore” he sings and André 3000’s eloquent spoken poem is the cherry on top for this Sundae vibe track. Next is “Make It Better” with Smokey Robinson which is about reviving a love that is slowly getting rusty, “and it’s easier to run away than to look for what would make you stay, do you want to make it better, do you want to stay together?”. I feel like this is going to be a hymn of hope for a lot of couples, at least that would be nice. Opposite to this, on “Reaching’ 2 Much” with Lalah Hathaway, Anderson .Paak is giving up hope and talking about walking away from a relationship.

Not limiting himself to one topic, this album feels like lots of different snapshots and stories from his life. Speaking on relationships, struggles, his career and lessons he’s learned like protecting his energy (“Yada Yada”), all in all this album is much lighter than some of his previous projects where he spoke much deeper about his hardships. A feature I was especially pleasantly surprised by, was Brandy on “Jet Black”. Let me tell you, this clap-along song will definitely be played at a lot of rooftop parties this Summer. “Twilight”, produced by the legendary Pharrell Williams, embodies that 90’s vibe by the Neptunes and is a lovely tell of a mutually supportive relationship, “You’re my twilight when it’s awfully dark and I lost my way”. However, the most surprising feature of the album is definitely on the 11th song. Anderson .Paak makes Nate Dogg come back to life on this one through unreleased vocals. Ironically, at the end of the track, you can hear him tell Paak to erase his part. Well we’re glad he didn’t. R.I.P. Nate Dogg.

Fun fact, if you were wondering about the dot in Anderson .Paak’s name, according to him it stands for detail. That’s why I advise you to pay close attention to the details of “Ventura”. This is definitely a piece of work that will reveal new layers of sound and meaning with every new listen. Also, I think it’s very special that Paak used a picture with his son Soul Rasheed as the artwork for this album.

That’s it from me. Enjoy!

Three Albums You Need To Listen To

So when I woke up Friday morning I was admittedly a bit overwhelmed by the amount of great music that had been released over night. I started listening and going through songs and albums and for each one I was thinking, wow I definitely need to write about this one. But since the listening alone will take you quite some time I don’t want to bore you with three elaborate album reviews and instead I’ll present to you the ones that I currently LOVE, short and sweet (in addition to “The Jungle Is The Only Way Out” by Mereba that I have written about in my last post which you can read here).

Solange When I Get Home

I’ll start with the obvious… “When I Get Home” by Solange. If there was a Guggenheim Museum for sound then Solange’s music would have its own exhibition there with her grand music filling the halls. I love that she takes risks, she’s rising her delicate middle finger up towards the mainstream and is dancing on her own little cloud of musical genre. She’s not letting anyone put her in a box and especially not letting anyone limit her to the label of being Beyonce’s sister. “I can’t be a singular expression of myself, there’s too many parts, too many spaces, too many manifestations, too many lines, too many curves, too many troubles, too many journeys, too many mountains, too many rivers”, she says in the second interlude of the album and I’m personally very inspired by that. Just one more side note, do not listen to her album on low volume! Either turn it all the way up or leave it. Anything else will be like turning your back to a sunset to watch it in the reflection of a window.

2Chainz Rap Or Go To The League

Next up is “Rap Or Go To The League” by my dear 2Chainz. This album starts out with a bang featuring the amazing Marsha Ambrosius which I’ve loved since 2010. As always, 2Chainz is coming through with the epic samples like “So Good To Be Alive” by the Truthettes on “Threat 2 Society” and the signature piano keys as on “Statute of Limitations”. In general, I have to say that even though he got quite a few interesting features on this one like Kendrick, Lil Wayne and Chance The Rapper and others, I like the songs without features the best. And I think that just speaks for him and his talent and presence. However, the use of Amerie’s “Why Don’t We Fall In Love” beat on “Rule The World” with Ariana Grande is pretty epic. So yeah an album for the whole family. Alright not quite but I’m extremely pleasantly surprised by 2Chainz shining at his best.

American Love Call

And last but not least is “American Love Call” by a group that I hadn’t heard of before but I am glad I discovered them and am therefore twice as happy to be able to introduce you to them now. They’re called Durand Jones & The Indications and I mean it in the best way possible when I say that they’re music sounds super old!! I was confused when I saw the release date of the album because they sound like they fit right into my “Classy Classics” playlist which features songs by The Temptations, Al Green, and Earth, Wind & Fire. Behind the music are a group of old souls in their twenties (counting in Earth years). Durand Jones, who is the singer, and his 4 friends who make up the group met at Indiana University and released their first project in 2012. Their new album “American Love Call” was recorded at Studio G in Brooklyn, New York and within it is a call to acknowledge the cruel reality of America’s history and at the same time step forward truly united to help create a future that our children will enjoy experiencing. So to describe it in short – this is relevant classic soul.

Watch the video to the first song on the album below, it made me really emotional.
(Oh and shoutout to Solange for making the visual to her album exclusively available on Apple Music…if you happen to know why she didn’t put it on Tidal please enlighten me)