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January 2018 Mixtape

“Don’t it feel so good to be us?”

Day 21 of Yoga with Adriene’s True 30 Days of Yoga series to start this year is titled Finesse. The session is about moving with grace rather than forcefully putting yourself into positions.

I’m not sure I ever found a flow on the mat over these 30 days. I have one more session tomorrow, so maybe it will come then. Perhaps it won’t. It’s okay either way. What I have found with this practice is a sense of control and awareness of my body that I hadn’t had since college when I was playing basketball four or five days a week.

My shoulders have strengthened a lot during this process. My trainer has noticed and is now regularly increasing how much I lift during our full body workouts. I’m holding much less tension in my neck. My balance is better. My left hip is working hard at loosening. It’s still the tightest area of my body, but it doesn’t want to be.

If you stayed on track for the full month, the journey was supposed to end today on the 31st. Mine continues as I took this most recent Sunday off to give that hard-working hip some recovery time. I’m looking forward to tomorrow morning’s time. And to the next day on the mat.

And the next.

“The first time your name was used, it was beauty, and I knew.”

Come September, Tiffany and I will have been together for a decade. It feels both not that long—she is still a beautiful mystery to me in many ways—and like we have always been this way, comfortable in our connection.

This month, I love her for meals made, and appointments kept. For grocery store runs and shared TV time. After the first of the year, we didn’t leave the house together much but we found time to delight at Grown-ish, guffaw at Desus + Mero and Alone Together, and binge One Day at a Time.

I dipped into her viewings of Disjointed and always enjoyed a weekend day where we both spent time in the home office, the sun beaming through our windows, the neighborhood alive.

My heart still swells at her smile and when her eyes light up with accomplishment. I ask about her day knowing she will get overly technical as I like hearing her talk passionately about the work of solving problems.

I loved her despite her destroying my time in the mini-crossword more days than not. I loved her even though every time I turned on a TV in the house it was tuned to MSNBC.

I loved her.

“I’m a power wrapped inside of my skin.”

 Just a couple weeks ago, I countered “shithole” with Afrobeats.

“We ain’t looking at the time, don’t nobody got a phone.”

That lyric sounds like heaven right now. I’ve been thinking a lot this month about what I’m not doing with my time when I’m spending too much of it with my devices. How lovely it would be to not always feel like I’m fighting for the attention of others with their much more compelling smartphones.

I stopped bringing my laptop and tablet to meetings, and I leave my phone in my pocket unless I need to reference something in service of that meeting.

Once I finish “Bored and Brilliant,” I may swear off reading via the Kindle app on my phone so that I can put it away during my commutes. I ordered a work phone in part for privacy concerns but also because it will allow me not to be available 24/7. To put my phone in my bag at the end of the day and not get any work messages until I check again in the morning?! I don’t even remember what that is like, but I’m looking forward to getting back to that.

“Feelin’ Inspired cuz the tables have turned.”

I do. I feel energized creatively. I wrote more this month. I spoke up more at work. Digital media is in this uncertain place that has many people feeling unsure about the path forward.  Not me.

If you’re smart, you take the opportunity to check in with the purpose of what you do. Give up on quick fixes and hacks and tricks and do what’s right.

Let’s just get back to basics and make good shit every day. Let’s do right by our audiences. Let’s build the audiences we want by giving them real value. Why does our content exist? What do we hope they do with it? What conversations do we want to start and participate? How do we show appreciation for people spending time with us in a cluttered space? Do we think of those clicking our stuff as data points or people?

My favorite quote from a Spike Lee Joint is from Shadow Henderson in Mo’ Better Blues:

“If you play the shit that they like, then the people will come.”

Still true, y’all. Make good shit. Put it in a pretty box. Be grateful. Be humble. Learn something.

Do it again. Better.

That’s the formula. Sorry. Not sorry.

The rest of my January 2018 playlist:

  • A Chamada (Ritmo Muleke) – Sango
  • Always – Fredfades
  • Bass Song – Eryn Allen Kane
  • Be the One – Dua Lipa
  • Black Girl Magic – Che Lingo
  • Red Clay – Charlotte Dos Santos
  • Coco Miyaki (feat. Sunny Moonshine) – Opal




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  1. Michelle Jones

    "My heart still swells at her smile and when her eyes light up with accomplishment. "

    Man, you are smooth.


    1. Jason Toney

      Sometimes you got to let the words do what they do.


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