Harmonious Hustle Live

Harmonious Hustle Live

by Kenneth Rayman on May 14, 2019
I’ve heard it said many times, “Your brain is running on outdated software;" "negative self talk is the program you brain will run;" "your brain’s function is to keep you alive not encourage growth or innovation, by growing you open yourself to risk and your brain doesn’t like that because it’s not 'safe.'" But, another way to put it is how Nichole said this past weekend, “Your inner dialogue is your encouragement or enemy, you decide.” The previous statements explain the reasoning behind the struggle of personal growth very well but they don’t put any of the onus on the individual, specifically. Just those two words at the end of Nichole’s shift the responsibility to you. 

Early on, I found that I had to practice for it to become second nature. I could read all I wanted and have epiphany after epiphany but without action, it was for nothing. My biggest hurdle ever was getting out of my preceived worthlessness. Years before, I found myself in tears at the end of an episode of the medical drama “Private Practice.” It had ended with a patient dying in a doctor’s arms with his last words being, “no one will know I even existed,” after the character began to have remorse after initially having none about the secluded personal/professional existence he had chose. The doctor shut the patient's eyes as he said, “You existed.” The revelation of that final regret symbolized for me something at that point I didn’t know how to combat. I was directionless in my goals and socially was the third wheel in my circle and felt like I would be that man when my time came. But did that thinking serve me? ABSOLUTELY NOT! All it did was convince my brain that there was something wrong. Though Mo Gawdat might say that my brain is not me, while I cried out for change my brain sought out "safety," even in the face of an existential crisis.

Nichole's message of personal empowerment and ownership, when everything around you screams, "What do you have to feel empowered by?", like hers did, breeds hope, direction, and creativity in the execution if you want it bad enough. The community she built within the room in just two days was amazing, with safety in vulnerability, and safety within our own story. Though I often struggle with fully connecting to some personal growth exercises, the environment lendt itself to the personal element I'd missed before. I still didn't have the emotional connection during some, as people around me openly wept at the inroads they were making internally, but I attribute that to my anti-anxiety medication making the flood gates much harder to breach. Since going on anxiety medication, my emotions have been more subdued rather than easily triggered, making me at times question if I'm not properly invested in emotional settings. Prior attempts at manifesting failed because of not knowing what manifestation meant in the personal growth world and my grounded nature. Nichole's environment gave me my first manifestation win though, with a small group sound resonance exercise led by Reign the Artist, having us work together to create one harmonius sound as a group and then collectively with the other two groups. I also ended up breaking concentration part way through the breathwork exercise because when Avery Whitmore walked past with the didgeridoo I immediately thought of Chester Bennington of Linkin Park doing his didgeridoo vocal warmup that went viral online, but still remained relaxed throughout. Again, I questioned myself when I heard people openly sobbing, making their own connections, while I remained grounded in my own space with no "vision." Meditation has always been a space of clearance for me because of my history with over exaggerated emotion and hyper sensitivity; it has never been something that reveals long sought after epiphanies. 

Toward the end of the Harmony day, or Day 1, someone I randomly talked to at the end of lunch approached the stage. She showed the same bravado I saw in that short conversation by declaring she was "fucking done" with the word "hustle" and would focus purely on the "harmony" in Harmonious Hustle. Little did I know she was speaking, ironically, during Hustle day. Her story was not unlike Nichole's, though heavier on the personal exploitation side rather than the dominance and manipulation I felt Nichole's story had, though still as powerful. Somehow, Tiffany Carter had risen above the public and private shame to became a financial success story. The saying "money doesn't buy happiness," however, manifested through a lack self worth causing her to attach the worth to the money and seeking validation through giving the money to those she wanted it from, resulting in total loss in three months. This reminded me of my reverse issue; I felt guilty if I used any of mine, even if it meant bettering myself, because my cup never replenished itself. Validation of that mindset was given by an investment advisor telling me, "You'll be broke in a year," as I sought investment help to grow and safeguard it from frivolous spending. I had close acquiantances say, "this is the last help you'll ever receive, don't blow it," as if they expected me to head to Vegas and hit the slots. Money caused me more unhappiness because if I spent it, I increased the speed of my eventual downfall yet, doing nothing to improve my circumstance and denying my gifts by never exploring goals and desires because of "necessitated" frugality. Tiffany's bravado was created through a life of horrible circumstance, but creating her own light out of the darkness and in the process found her worth. My worth was found taking the leap to find myself with smart choices, accepting my minimalist lifestyle as something that served me, and engaging in what brought fulfillment INSTEAD of happiness and made my gift of writing flourish.

Nichole brought people on stage at the end to own the reasons that made them attend and the decisions they made through the vulnerability which, for a person whose shell took 30 years to crack, was amazing to see in others. In just two days the small group nature of the attendance fostered relationships, leading to several people reaching out to me to stay in contact afterwards. I happily obliged as I saw people with similar missions as myself in personal empowerment and mental health. While I didn't meet anyone in my main niche of travel, the personal growth niche of my blog was given yet another story to follow and another community to grow with.