...are words I'm repeating on my lazy-bones Sunday: "Don't beat myself up."

I didn't follow my ultra marathon training schedule this weekend. Instead, I volunteered for Evergreen Trail Runs on Saturday and supported other runners. Then I worked all day Sunday on a grant application. Still, that oppressive voice in my head keeps beating myself up for not doing everything. That voice isn't realistic, is it?

There's this demanding maniac inside my brain whenever I fall out of line with my commitments. I've always had it, and it can create some incredible results. On the other hand, when the voice gets out of control, like this morning when I woke at 1:30AM worrying about my to-do list, my mood sours.

So I have a choice: be super serious about life, or....make this important chart about two major food groups:

Grrrr! Del Taco already made the Burrtaco! And there's a chain of restaurants with the same name. Patent no longer pending :-(

Or is it, Music!: The Brain Sensation...?

PBS News Hour published a video about the power of music on the human brain. 'Why Music Has a Profound Effect on the Brain' is a quick 5-minute discussion about why and how music impacts our mood(s). According to the video, our brains seek patterns in order to maximize our chances of survival - if our brains can foresee the future, we can prepare for whatever might come next. Music, then, offers our brains solace with repetitive patterns, like Coldplay's Clocks. Or music can scramble our noggins with crescendos, rhythmic variety, and tonal changes (e.g. Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody).

I reminisced impactful musical moments in my life. From classical to opera, and Shoegaze to post-punk, my sample playlist are songs that shook my core. For instance, when I heard Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata in the video game Resident Evil, my kid ears never heard anything so mournful. And when I watched West Side Story for the first time around 14 years old, my brain thought: you can do that with music!? Enjoy this musical tour of my formative years. Hopefully your brain will ignite, just as mine did, when you listen.

Fun Fact: when I write, there must, must be music playing in the background.


Heard from the video game Resident Evil:


Heard from the film Life is Beautiful:

I don't remember where I first heard this but this is the anthem of my late-90s high school years:

Such a memorable musical:


I heard this while watching a modern dance recital at Arizona State University:

From the film Marie Antionette (watch the sunrise):


This won a Pulitzer!

From the film Gone Girl:

Fantastic re-imagining based on Vivaldi's Four Seasons (listen to the original at the 00:50 mark)!

Without lists, calendars, and other written reminders, my brain implodes. I crave organization. Constantly. Otherwise, drifting and dawdling are the consequences.

When I played rugby, the messiness of the game was referred to as "organized chaos", meaning although there was lots of crashing between players on the pitch, there was organized intent. The crashing had to happen in order to stay organized (kinda like any creative project, huh?)

However, writing down reminders is just the first step, according to this article about the psychology of lists, written by Louise Chun of The Guardian:

It’s not enough to scrawl “bank” or “Mum” on a Post-it note, says Allen – you need more detail. Is it an email, a visit or a phone call, and for what purpose? If your to-do list isn’t clear and to the point, your tasks probably won’t get done – and they certainly won’t be prioritised. - Louise Chun

Depending on the project, sometimes I need to go ultra micro with my list making and be incredibly clear about my sub steps. Other times, broad is best (sometimes).

But as the title of post says, here's a glimpse of my organized chaos (including my Post-It pile in the photo above):

Halfway through my 29-Day Challenge. Wahoo!

Monthly Planning (how are we halfway through the month already!?)

55k Training Schedule (oh my)

D.A. Navoti

About the Writer

D.A. NAVOTI (@da.navoti) is a creative nonfiction and poetic prose storyteller. He's a 2020 Seattle CityArtist recipient and a former fellow at Hugo House and Jackstraw Cultural Center. Read More... 

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