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It’s been a challenging year.

I’ve done more than I ever have and also have been lazier than ever. The ebb and flow of my attention and focus has been like the dog from Up.

Can you relate?

Do you wonder which social media platform you should focus on? Where are your people? How can you connect with them? 

I was recently impressed with the level of detail in Spotify Wrapped. Man o man, how cool is that? 

It’s a custom-tailored content frenzy about my listening habits, even with a musical personality type akin to the Myers Briggs assessment.

Spotify Wrapped Content 

Is there any content that is more personal and shareable at the same time? Every screen is noteworthy, stroking your ego while giving you multiple options of content to share.

This is an interesting concept of companies generating content for their users to share with their audience. It’s self-promotion and advertising at the same time.

But it’s a win-win and feels OOO so good.

They feel honorable in the experience they provide. They make it about delivering the best possible music experience, and they take it further by adding personality and emotion.

Spotify is a brand that has it right. They make oodles of money, but they put their users first, and all of the AI and custom-curated playlists make me come back every hour of the day. 

Music Colors the Past and Present 

I listened to over 2.7K artists and streamed 29K minutes of music.

I’m a musician, so I get a lot emotionally from playing and listening to music. It’s cathartic to do both. Even with my songs, though, they can be a bittersweet time capsule taking you right back to where you were emotionally when hearing a piece of music. 

There are some artists like Tycho and Tone Ranger that I listen to over and over again, and the emotional center of the music changes as I do.

Understanding and connecting with your emotions is critical to making good music. But it can also be hard to dip into previous wounds or experiences. 

It is both a strength and weakness that can lead to overthinking, living in the past, and not being grateful for the experience of the living, breathing present moment.

Meditating with a Buddhist Monk

I always go back to the ancients who have mastered their emotions. They do it not by denying or submerging their emotions in the wells of their minds but by embracing them as they happen. 

Emotions, especially triggered by music and past experiences, are visceral, bringing up those moments in time with the same feelings and biases. 

Not long ago, I meditated at the local Buddhist temple. They asked if I wanted to talk with the monk.

Naturally, I said yes.

When I walked up the stairs and sat in front of this rather younger-looking monk, I noticed that he was smiling and didn’t seem to be removed from the emotional experience of mere mortals like myself. 

From how I remember it, he told me to bring my mind back when other thoughts come up. It’s not hard but very simple. Bring yourself back to the present moment when your thoughts and emotions lead you astray. It’s a constant practice and does get easier, but no one is free of it.

Returning to the Present Moment

Everyone must come back to the present moment. There’s no other magic about it than that. A level of effort will always be required, no matter how skilled you become. 

Spotify has been great at helping me connect to the past, but next year, I plan to use the ever-flowing music stream not to dip back into past pains but return to the present experience.

Here is some piano music that I recorded a while back. I don’t promote my music, but if you find yourself in a quite space, I hope this helps you relax and connect. Enjoy!