Last night I grilled a juicy steak, roasted brussel sprouts, beets, and bacon together until browned and crispy, and listened to Warren Haynes’ “Ashes and Dust” while I enjoyed my delicious meal.
I heard Warren in concert at The Ryman Auditorium in 2015. The man is legendary. He played for David Allan Coe, The Dead, Allman Brothers, Dave Matthews, and Derek Trucks. Well respected by other musicians, multiple artists of the stature of Bela Fleck and Chris Stapleton popped into the Ryman to play a song or two with him. His gritty lyrics and wailing guitar struck a chord deep within me, so I bought “Ashes and Dust.”
I’ve hardly listened to it since. When I did, finally, my mind relaxed, my spirit soared. I wondered why I don’t spend more time listening to good music…less time reading angry tweets.
These days we’re surrounded by media: on our phones, computers, in our cars, on the big screen. We swallow most of it without noticing, because it’s there, because we’re tired, and because it fills time when we have nothing else to do. Consuming media without intention is like inhaling a bowl of M&Ms without registering how many were there.
I want to be more deliberate about my media intake. I want to curate what I read, hear, and watch.
curate—verb. To take charge of, sift through, and select for presentation
A museum curator picks exhibits for a museum. An editorial curator selects the art for a book. Are you the curator of your life, picking what you read, watch, and hear? Or do you flip a switch from habit, and gulp algorithms fed to you?
Last night I realized Warren Haynes is always there, waiting for me to listen. It falls to me to choose his music instead of succumbing to the quick fix of the Netflix binge or the social media scroll. When I choose positive and encouraging inputs, I nurture myself. I feel calm and peaceful and have more energy and patience for others.
A few months ago I made a big change in my life. After months of sleep deprivation due to a tenant in the apartment above me who lived loud between 2 am and 5 am every day (floor pounding sex, screams at his roommate, video games up full volume), I finally packed my chainsaw and bicycle and kayak and three sets of china and 36 wine glasses and Granny’s dining room set and moved! Moving was hard. I did not want to do it.
Now, when I wake up in the morning I feel refreshed and happy. I have more energy at work, and more encouragement to give my friends. I learned that when I take care of myself I have more life to give to others.
Nurturing one’s self can be as easy as turning off the TV and turning on Warren Haynes, or as hard as packing up and moving. The choices we make determine if we own our lives and “advance confidently in the direction of our dreams” (Thoreau), or get stuck as perpetual victims, overwhelmed by the challenges we face.
Do you have too much stress and drama in your life? I believe if you take better care of yourself, you are more likely to find the resiliency to change what can be changed, and the strength to respond differently to what can’t be changed. Think about ways you can nurture yourself. I’d love to hear your ideas below.
Then go forth, and curate!
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