Live by Design Newsletter

Good morning!

My intent was to release this issue of the newsletter last week. I had my thoughts outlined, and in big bold letters I had written enjoy your end-of-year bonus weeks.

The best laid plans of mice and men.

COVID took me on another journey, unfortunately, and life is a little better now because of it. More on that below.

A HUGE congratulations to Tracy for winning the first referral contest! Winning is just as sweet a week late, I'm sure. Enjoy that tee shirt.

I'll have a new referral program launching in the new year, so stay tuned.

A big welcome to Aaron S., Blair L., Raub W., Mark N., Rick S., Ece, Margaret, Sharon and Debbie W.! This is (usually) a weekly newsletter—enjoy.

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I can't say for certain this is my first bout with COVID, all I know for sure is that it's the first time the nose sticks told me I should probably take it easy.

I'm on the tail-end of recovery, and it feels a bit like I'm hanging onto the last thread of a dream while my alarm clock tugs at me from the waking world. Weird as it sounds, I'm torn on which side of the veil I want to fall.

My Stages of COVID
Death can have me
I'm definitely the only one this is happening to
Nihilism (I hate everything & everyone)
Death of ego
Reevaluation of life & goals
Inspiration to learn & grow

That last stage in my experience is so surreal to me in this moment. I breathe in and I can smell it. It smells a bit like a new toy. Unlimited possibilities await our future together.

It's so difficult for me describe. To be clear, despite my hyperbole, I had no near death experience. But the sensation is as if I've been rebooted; a fresh start. All I want now is to unlock new potential in my life.

I look around and everything feels new and interesting. Music is hitting different. I really don't want to lose this feeling. This documentation is as much for me as anyone else who might use it as an opportunity for growth.

Ego death in the context of contemporary conversation is not something I've experienced. Psychedelic journeys, while they hold my interest, have not yet presented themselves as an opportunity in my life.

That being the case, maintaining a healthy relationship with my ego has been one of my most noble pursuits over the years. Reading Ego is the Enemy taught me to always question my motivations.

Is this motivated by ego? became a refrain in my life. So often that answer was yes (to this day it still is), and it's helped me shape the language I use and the actions I take.

A week ago I felt immense pressure to scrounge together this issue of the newsletter, convinced you were relying on it to appear in your inbox.

Taking a step back from that belief, checking my ego, allowed me to grant myself some much needed grace. It was the acceptance that what I'm doing isn't so important that I needed to sacrifice my well-being to put out an incoherent product fogged by fever. This was a profound experience.

It's for good reason ego is mentioned in my 2023 Personal Manifesto.

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I cried last night. I don't cry often, and I don't have strong opinions about crying. The act itself is neither good nor bad in my eyes. To me, it's utilitarian.

It was a combination of leaving my house for the first time in more than a week, enjoying a sunny drive on a warm 40-degree afternoon and rediscovering the immense love I have for one song in particular.

When Kaleo reaches the bridge in Backbone, by the second, "Where's your backbone, brother?" the raw emotion has me destroyed.

Again, a feeling I fear will dissipate as my body bounces back and my mind reattaches itself to reality.

Critical Thought

"Do you then ponder how the supreme of human evils, the surest mark of the base and cowardly, is not death, but the fear of death? I urge you to discipline yourself against such fear, direct all your thinking, exercises, and reading this way—and you will know the only path to human freedom." —Epictetus

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Columbus, OH 43216

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