Lost and Found

Lost and Found

The feeling of being stuck and the struggle of change. 

I started to think that something was off with me when I started to feel physically exhausted and mentally clouded daily. Waking up was a pain, let alone staying awake for the first hours during work. During the night I seemed alive, and I didn’t want to sleep early at all. 

That’s how it started.

It was a slow buildup of a routine that I thought I could handle. Taking one hour or two of less sleep every day if I could recover them over the weekend, in theory. Add a miserable diet and the recipe was heading for a disaster.

I started to become aware of the hole I dug myself into. A few feet under in the name of productivity and my art. I felt that if I did my job well, and at the end of my shift I worked on music and played video games until late at night I was proving myself that I “could”. To perform well with little sleep and eating junk. Good luck with that.

I was paying the price of this disservice to myself. I started to notice that I was comfortable. Too comfortable where I was at the time. I started to feel that I needed a change. The question was, how was I supposed to change when I was too tired to begin with? It bothered me. 

Until my girlfriend suggested that I should try working my sleep first. That was hard to do at the beginning, even if I knew she had a point. The thought of not playing video games and making music for less time than usual caused me anxiety. I was going to “miss” the possibilities.

I started to get a clear picture when I started to listen to the book ‘Can’t Hurt Me’ by David Goggins. I needed a plan and motivation. That book delivered that and much more.

Hearing his story, mindset, and how he transformed himself was inspiring. It made me ‘cut through my bullshit’ and to ‘own the mornings’ among other lessons. It really made me realize that the human body was full of potential. I was letting that go away.

I started to focus more on my relationship with my girlfriend. Living through that self-induced depression was an act of selfishness on my end. It was hurting us both. Now I am working on being present for her and taking care of myself first.

I cut my hours of video games significantly and focused some of those hours into creating more music. I am working on releasing an EP that hopefully will be released before the fall. 

I started to fall asleep earlier and wake up early 6 days a week. I am starting to exercise again after a long hiatus. Mostly jogging, and bodyweight exercises. 

Thanks to my girlfriend, now I am fond of salads and making smoothies. I never consumed nor ate this amount of healthy stuff in a short period of time. It is intense how the body reacts to real food.

I’m working on developing a sustainable routine that brings me wellness and more time with my loved ones. There are days where I take a breaks, such as today. I’m writing this to reflect on how easy it is to get lost in our routines, and how I found myself through change. One thing at a time. 

I’m a work in progress, with no intention to end until further notice.

Lastly, I’d like to live you with this quote:

“Death smiles at us all, all a man can do is smile back.” – Marcus Aurelius

Mondai-nai!

Ernesto

Falling Gently

Falling Gently

This post is about self-awareness. I was on a funk for some time. Now, things are different because I think about them differently.

Its perspective.

As I’ve discussed on my last post update, I took a break from digital distractions. I realized in a few days how much time I had to do things that brought me joy. I’m working on song ideas after challenging the assumption that I’m too busy for music.

In reality, I wasn’t focused. 

Distraction took a toll on me.

The funk I experienced was a byproduct of how I was spending my time. I was feeling unproductive, without energy. I felt that I was heading towards a period of depression. I knew I wasn’t my usual self.

My mind and body were giving me the signals that I wasn’t living, but surviving. I wasn’t sleeping well. I was eating poorly. I was reactive instead of proactive.

I was falling gently into the vice grip of depression.

I had this feeling that I was sabotaging myself. I made the choice to be alone for some time to think. Taking stock on what I was doing, the story I was telling others and to myself. 

I parted ways with my now ex-partner. That turned out to be the catalyst for inner growth and self-improvement. It was a moment that gave me clarity. 

I learned that I can’t save others from themselves. I had to lose my self in the process to understand it. I had to take the fall. I just wished it wasn’t that gently, but I had to live the process, too.

It has been several weeks since then. What’s interesting is that my schedules got more demanding. I’m doing two positions at my job, plus my weekend internship, and my classes. I’m doing twice as more before the pre-onset of depression.

And you know what? I actually feel better. There’s power on time constrictions. Its making me get my act together, and start doing instead of focusing too much on my story. 

What I mean by the above is that I’m realizing how much our inner voice and what we say to others matters

If I keep thinking how miserable I am, and keep telling my story in that way, well, my perspective and belief system starts following that idea, too. I started to change my perspective and be mindful of how I tell my story. 

I started to be more aware with whom I was spending my time with. More importantly, to whom and to what I was giving my attention to. I started to break free from those self-imposed burdens.

I feel different since then. I feel that I’m reaching a different level of consciousness and awareness. I’m calmer, less reactive. My friends and colleagues tell me that I look different, happier, and at peace. 

I’m changing my story. I’m changing my environment and relationships. I’m not surviving for now, I’m living a different story. I’m confident that more challenges and set backs will come.

I won’t let them take me down gently when it happens.

Thank you for reading.

Mondai nai,

-Ernesto

Why I’m Not Good Enough

Why I’m Not Good Enough

You have what it takes. At least that’s what you’ve been told. Why is this so hard to believe it then? This lack of self-confidence is in my head today. Feeling that I’m not good enough. It is causing me anxiety. This is known as the impostor syndrome. 

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Concluding Thoughts After Finishing A Song

I am releasing a new single this Friday, September 21st on Spotify. This song has a lot of meaning for me because I recorded it at the tipping point of desperation. Hence, it seemed appropriate to title it “Completely Desperate.” This song was cathartic and necessary for me to do. I have been wanting to record music for several weeks, but I could not bring myself to do it the way I envisioned it in my mind.

On that note, I realized something about creating music that I was ignoring at the time.
What I envisioned lacked perspective.

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Morita Therapy

Morita Therapy

Recently, while having a moment of anxiety, I discovered that I was doing a version of Morita therapy as a way of dealing with my symptoms. This type of therapy comes from Japanese psychology. Today, I am sharing with you what I am learning about it, and how it is helping me.

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Being Productive While On Vacation

Being Productive While On Vacation

I took some time off in order to focus on preparing to apply for graduate school in the upcoming months. The first half of the semester will be intense. I must get the fundamentals done before school starts.

Between the days and nights, I have been working on music, and learning a bit more of mixing, a skill I am currently developing.

I would like to share what I have been doing lately to keep myself on track academically and musically.

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Pressing The Record Button

adult band black and white concert
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The time to explore, experiment, and create music has started again. After focusing on summer school, I finally have some time to record ideas.

On that note, hitting the record button was a scary thing to do.

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Writing Down The Anxiety

person holding black pen and book near pink ceramic mug
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Today, I noticed that I did not focus as much as I planned. I masked my process of busyness by doing something else that was important, but not urgent. I have a deadline to finish. However, I did not focus as much on the latter, and still, I felt productive somehow. Though the work and planning I got done at that time served me to clarify some ideas, the original plan for the day got off the rails. It is not necessarily bad at this stage in life. However, this lack of focus on the main task can hinder my future endeavors.

Prioritize and execute: something I read and it is applicable to me now. I am writing this as a reminder of keeping what is both essential and urgent. There are techniques and approaches to make the best decision when a situation like this happens: a sensation that everything is important, and that everything is urgent.

This can be overwhelming.

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On Distraction and Finding Focus After an Organized Mess

 

black wireless headphones on gray electronic keyboard
Photo by Kai Pilger on Pexels.com

Music has been my emotional release lately. I had tried meditation several times and it does help to reach mental clarity. There is something unique when I am making music, however. I probably have not much experience yet with meditation to fully reach its benefits. I believe it makes me think better when I do it. When I am making music, the uniqueness that happens is that I do not necessarily have to be still, as meditation, to achieve a similar benefit. I consider it an active form of meditation with an immediate feedback. For instance, if I feel anxious, sad, happy, or aggressive emotions just to name a few, I could play something portraying that emotion. Since it is hard sometimes to express what one feels with words, music can mimic to a degree how I feel. Meanwhile, if I decide that I do not want to feel sad, I could attempt to play an idea in a major key, in order to produce something meaningful and diametrically opposite of what I feel at that moment. Doing the latter helps me to do some type of “emotional alchemy” if that makes sense. Transforming one emotion to another one.

On the other hand, one thing to note is that there are periods where I stop doing everything that makes me feel good. For a couple of days, and weeks at worst, I stop being focused. Instead, I get distracted by things that really do not matter, but somehow I focus on them as if they do.

Usually, I become aware of my distraction when it is beyond the initial stage, and it is well established on my environment. First, my bedroom that also serves as my music studio has the strong foundation of a well-organized mess. Second, doing laundry seems a thing I forgot how to do. Then, my fridge is empty at the same ratio that the trashcan is filled of junk food packages. This cycle happens more often that I would like to admit. However, I had found my focus once again. The time of solitude, reflection, and a bad diet has given me some clarity on this matter: I am a creative individual that has not fostered discipline on the self.

It will take time and effort to achieve some type of stability that I could maintain without thinking about it. I recovered some of my focus, and somehow it feels as if I found something rare. I would like to keep it, and do an effort to not lose it again among my organized disorder. I hope, that writing about this will help me consolidate this idea, and also serve as a starting point.

In focus,
-E.

An Important Post by Cal Newport

I have been following Cal’s blog posts since I learned about him on a podcast a few years ago. I had acquired and read since then three of his books. These books provided insights that I wanted to apply to myself. At the time however,  I did not fully embraced those ideas because I honestly did not felt ready, until today. Surprisingly, the process was not difficult to do because I did had moments of great productivity by committing to Deep Work. 

And I missed those moments.
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