Today my guest is Dylan Ozmore. I’m thrilled to have him on my show because I love talking to Dylan and he has so many fantastic insights and perspectives. He’s the first poet I’ve had on this School for Good Living Podcast and he’s written a book called Words to Dance to: A Book of Poetic Meditations. He’s already written his followup called And the Lights Came On: A Book of Zen Parables and Poetic Meditations. He reads one of these zen parables in this podcast. We talk about how to know when something’s really a hell yes, when something really is a part of your calling, the willingness to give up, and everything to pursue your truth. We also explore this idea that everything is sacred and the space from which his books have been written and spaces in general, metaphysical, perhaps spiritual, emotional spaces as places from which we create.
00:02:42 – What’s life about?
00:11:05 – How do we really know something?
00:21:56 – Advice to others hearing the whisperings.
00:34:32 – Initial writing experience.
00:45:10 – Lightning round.
01:04:28 – Focused discussion on writing.
Bryan: 00:00:53 Hello my friends today, my guest is Dylan Ozmore. Dylan is a good friend of mine that I met in Bermuda. I’m thrilled to have him on my show because I love talking to Dylan. He’s got so many fantastic insights and perspectives. He’s the first poet I’ve had on this School for Good Living Podcast. He’s written a book called Words to Dance to, A Book of Poetic Meditations. You can find it on Amazon. I’ve read it. I love it. He’s already written his followup called And the Lights Came On, A Book of Zen Parables and Poetic Meditations. He reads one of these zen parables in this podcast. We talk about how to know when something’s really a hell yes. When something really is a part of your calling, the willingness to give up, everything to pursue your truth. We also explore this idea that everything is sacred and the space from which his books have been written and spaces in general, metaphysical, perhaps spiritual, emotional spaces as places from which we create. Dylan as he shares how this book came to be. Both of these really, it’s the kind of sensitivity you would expect only from someone perhaps whose writing poetry or maybe doing other sensitive creative work. If you find that work you’re called to do or even something you have an interest in, I think you’ll particularly enjoy that part of this conversation. I’d love to hear whether or not you do. So, please enjoy this conversation with my friend, the poet Dylan Ozmore.
Bryan: 00:02:28 Dylan, welcome to The School For Good Living.
Dylan: 00:02:30 Thanks for having me, Bryan. I’m excited.
Bryan: 00:02:32 Yeah, I’m, I’m excited too. I, I loved, I have loved our conversations since the first one we had and uh.
Dylan: 00:02:41 In Bermuda of all places.
Bryan: 00:02:42 In Bermuda. That’s right. I never thought I would go to Bermuda and I certainly never thought I would make a lifelong friend in Bermuda. The kind of friend that I can have long philosophical conversations with, but also highly practical conversations about how to live life well. Which is no surprise because you give answers to questions like the one I’m about to give you. The way I like to start all my podcast, which is Dylan, what’s life about?
Dylan: 00:03:13 I feel like there’s the, there’s the Zen answer and there’s the descriptive answer and the Zen answer is so much more fun, which is life is just life. Life is about life. The descriptive answer I think for me life is about happiness, connection, service, community, like the deep values that are kind of like the pillars of ’em, the day to day activities.
Bryan: 00:03:45 That resonates with me and at the same time it can sound a, I mean that looks different for pretty much everyone how they go about that. Right. Um, let’s explore a little bit how you, how you endeavor to put some of that into practice by perhaps starting with some of your identity. And I know this question, the answer to the question might change based on who’s asking or where, where it’s asked. But when people ask you who you are and what you do, how do you like to answer that question?
Dylan: 00:04:17 That is such an evolving answer for me. And it’s, it’s interesting how that, like who I am. I used to really pride myself on having like a very specific answer and I was a business, business major in college and then I went to work on Wall Street and I was very, very like focused on that industry and some like, I’m, uh, you know, I’m a finance here. I’m a, you know, I work on the Wall Street trading floor and that is my identity. And over the last kind of, since we met Bryan was been about five years now or so. Um, I’ve been on a, on a journey that has really like nurtured other dimensions of myself. Like instead of just like really priding myself on being single dimensional, uh, I’m much more interested in, in my own multidimensionality. So if that looks like, you know, a corporate job, like, oh, I work this job, but I also have these creative projects going on, like the book that we’ll talk about at some point. Um, I published my first book last year. I got my second one in the works. I’ve, I’ve sold framed prints of my photography. I’ve traveled, like there’s, you know, and then, and not to mention like my relationships with my family, my romantic partner, my friends. So yeah, it, that that answer continues to evolve. It’s kind of, it’s interesting how, um, as as time has gone on, I, I’m almost in a place now where I don’t know where to, how to answer it. It seems like such a big question and it’s, it’s almost contextual. It’s like my answer is contextual to who I’m talking to. Sure. Yeah. And, and kind of like where what I think would be fertile ground for conversation. So if I’m, if I’m talking to an artist or you know, a more like creative types, I’m, I would emphasize that side cause I would just be, I think an interesting conversation with them. If I’m talking to someone in the corporate world, I’ll emphasize my background there and I don’t, it’s all true, you know, it’s all true.
Bryan: 00:06:39 And perhaps in a way, none of it is true as well. Yeah, no, I get that when it’s not true. When did you discover you were a poet?
Dylan: 00:06:50 I, a couple of years ago, I, you know, it’s interesting. I, I wasn’t a writer, like I mentioned, my, my first job was on Wall Street and I was a business major and I, I participated in the landmark forum in New York, which was a, which was a turning point for me in that it introduced me to eastern philosophy. It introduced me to life kind of beyond that single dimensional way of living. And a couple months after that I just started writing. I was actually in New Zealand. I was using my first solo trip. March of 2014 I was in between jobs and I was just inspired to write. I didn’t, you know, and it was, it was new for me because I didn’t sit down to write. I didn’t sit down and say, you know, I’m going to write poetry. That’d be really cool. Or that was, you know, that would sound good or something like that. I just, it was just there to do is really unique experience and it was kind of this like flowing that I hadn’t like I hadn’t really experienced before in my very like logical, linear, you know, brain. Um, and I looked at it afterwards, I was like, oh, this is poetry. Like or it’s at least poetic, poetry. Poetry can like push some people’s buttons if it’s like, well it’s not, it doesn’t rhyme or something like that. So I it’s poetic. Yeah. And at some point I just, at some point, not long after that I, I discovered for myself that like life is poetry. A poet is just someone who wrote it down.
Bryan: 00:08:37 I love that. Life is poetry. A poet is just someone who wrote it down. Yeah. That, that’s such an awesome way of, of describing that. And as I hear you say that it was when you were traveling that this kind of opened up or this awareness arrived. How important is travel to a writer or to any creative?
Dylan: 00:08:59 I, I, on one hand I think it’s really important and like anything, it’s really important when it’s time for you to do it. And it was time for me to do it. If it’s forced, if it’s like, if the energy is more avoiding something or running from something, it’s not going to give you the creative flow. It’s just not like anything. If it’s there to travel, which it was for me. Um, I think it can be such a source of inspiration and expansion and new levels of awareness and new perspectives. Um, but I, but I hesitate to make it prescriptive because it really is, and I would say this about almost anything, quote unquote big like that. Um, if it’s there to do, it will transform you.
Bryan: 00:09:51 I’m not totally sure what that means yet. I believe it’s true.
Dylan: 00:09:56 Sounds kinda, it sounds right. I’ll say it this way. If, if you’re called to do it, if it’s, if you’re called to go travel, it will transform you. And if it’s a, you know, I’ve been to distinguishing recently Bryan, between like good ideas and hell yeses or like what I’m really called to do. Like what, what is like calling deep in my soul and that can seem like a fine line of times, like a good idea. Something that’s a good idea. Traveling, that’s a good idea. That’s not, I don’t, it’s not gonna be as potent when it’s at that level. Right. When it’s deep, deep, deep, deep like it is just there to do. I mean I am called to travel. It is time to go and I’m not saying there won’t be any fear or won’t take some courage or what have you, but um, I think anything, whether it’s travel, moving a new job, a new romantic partner, a new creative project, um, when you are called to do it, pick up the damn phone and answer the call and it will rock you.
Bryan: 00:11:05 I love that. And yet at the same time I wonder like how do we know like how do we know really? Okay, this is it. This is it. You know, I’ve said for a long time that I think the two hardest things in life, first is living life in such a way that we’re able to hear that still small voice inside us that’s guiding us, are prompting us or encouraging us or calling us. And number two is if we master that hard skill of being able to live in a way that we are able to hear it is too. Number two is having the courage then to follow it. And you know, that’s what I’m thinking when you talk about that, you know, anything that is there for you to do in that moment when it’s really calling to you and it’s not just a good idea, it’s not just one of many opportunities available to you, but it really is that hell yes. Like how do we know? How do we know that? That’s the thing and, that’s the question. So how do we really know?
Dylan: 00:12:00 I, I don’t think it’s an intellectual knowing. There, there is a, um, like it’s not going to be a pros and cons sort of thing. It’s, it’s kind of like, how do you know when you’re really in love, how do you know that? And it’s like, it’s puts it in the paradigm of the intellect and it is, you know what I hear from my friends, like I don’t know, or like I like this person that I’m dating and they have this, that we have, we have this in common and they have these strengths and, but these kind of or whatever, it’s like, oh, this isn’t it. This isn’t the person. Like if it’s even in the paradigm of the intellect, it’s not it. And, and so I think that, so on one hand, I think it’s beyond that. On the other, there is, I like what you said about there is a practice there. There’s, uh, there is a mastery of listening to that voice or to that calling. And after some, after a couple, you know, um, after some time with it, there is a, an attunement. There’s a, um, so yeah, just some more fine tune listening for when that’s a deeper calling versus, you know, something else.
Bryan: 00:13:28 Yeah, just a good idea. So then that leads me to this question. Well, how can we cultivate that deeper listening?
Dylan: 00:13:35 That’s the million dollar question Bryan!
Bryan: 00:13:39 I figured it must involve living in San Diego and doing more.
Dylan: 00:13:42 Absolutely. If I could show you my view right now, um, again, I hesitate to be prescriptive. It’d be really easy for me to say, well, meditation, uh, programs, whether it’s like the Landmark Forum or, you know, Tony Robbins, I mean, there’s so many great resources out there now. Um, yoga, there’s so many incredible yoga teachers, uh, reading, reading, great spiritual teachers. But I, you know, I don’t like any of that. It’s, I, I bring it back to what is there for you to do? What is the, the stepping stone in front of you right now? Some people talk about the path of least resistance. Um, it’s kind of like looking for that next step and maybe it’s yoga, maybe it’s meditation, maybe it’s not. So it’s on one hand, but there are these tried and true paths that I’ve worked for a lot of people. And then go around saying, you need to do meditation. You need to do this, you need to exercise, you need to eat well, or you need to do these programs or listen to these teachers. And, but I wouldn’t want to have anyone stuck with those specific ways. There are the ways that I’ve worked for me, the ways that have worked for you. There may be overlap there. Um, but I really encourage everybody to try to stand where they are and look out and see where the path is, or at least what the next step is.
Bryan: 00:15:15 Yeah, as you describe it that way, one of the things I’m, that comes to mind for me is this is the idea of Dharma. You know, that there is something that is uniquely ours that only we can do. There is a path for us to follow and neither were on it or we’re not. Right. And either we’re moving or we’re not. And ultimately it’s, it’s up to us to find it and to move. And whether any of that’s true, who knows? But that, that feels true. You know, and I’ve, I’ve been so impressed and I’ve loved, you know, following your life from a distance as you’ve, as you’ve courageously, you know, ventured into the unknown. Um, if I understand you either sold or stored at least all your stuff and traveled for about a year.
Dylan: 00:15:57 Yes.
Bryan: 00:15:57 Tell me what that was like.
Dylan: 00:16:00 Travel itself or the, or because the hardest part was the initial step.
Bryan: 00:16:03 Right. And that was what I was just about to say. I think a lot of people dream of that. Like, oh man, I just want to, I want to be someone else. I want to do something. I want to change the scenery. I want to travel and learn and grow and have experiences and things. And yet, you know, they do the thing that we’re warned against, you know, leading lives of quiet desperation. And so I’m always fascinated by people who’ve actually taken that first hard step. Um, tell me, just kind of frame that for, for me and anybody who’s listening, you know, what did you do? Why did you do it? What was it like, what advice would you give anyone, anything that feels appropriate, you know, what you learned from it? Anything like that?
Dylan: 00:16:42 Yeah, I really liked the story of kind of how it happened because again, it was so unlike how life occurred for me in the past. So I was kind of plotting along in a very linear way seemingly.
Bryan: 00:16:56 Some people call that a plateau.
Dylan: 00:16:59 Well it’s like, it was, it just made sense, like kind of made sense. And then I was, I, I’m a planner, I’ve certainly been in the past and you know, charting out my path and having things, you know, my i’s dotted, my t’s crossed like, um, so I was, I was working for a management consulting firm called the Vanto group and I loved the team there. I have, you know, I really loved my time there and I was on a flight for work and wasn’t any different than any other week. My, my partner and I had just signed a lease on an apartment building. We moved in, furnished the whole two bedroom place here in San Diego two months prior. And I’m on a flight from San Diego to Toronto. I’m reading The Way of the Superior Man by David Data. I don’t think, you know, I enjoyed the book. I don’t want to like give it the. I enjoyed the book. I uh, I don’t think the book was special, but just a number forces came together. I’m reading the book and halfway through there’s a chapter on something like, you need to be willing to give up everything to pursue your truth. And I was like, and I was hit by this lightening bolt of an insight. I don’t know, it just was like, and kind of the way I’ve interpreted it was like, it’s time to do something totally different. And I was like, okay, uh, what does that look like? Is this real? Is this just like, am I kind of in a daze as I’m flying across the country? So I gave it, I gave it like a week and it was still there. It was bright. I mean even brighter that it was time to do something totally different with my life. And so I, I put in my resignation that Monday and the one kind of vision, if you call it that, the one kind of thing that I, I could see myself doing was traveling. I never been to Asia and that region call to me and, so my, I, I figured I just. We had this whole lease, so we signed for the place and moved in, got all this new furniture and I went back to my partner Jessica, and I said, uh, I think I’m going to go travel, not, I’m not working. And she’s like, you’re not go without me. I was like, okay, how’s this going to work? And, uh, we ended up, uh, planning to, we ended up like traveling when our lease was up, which was like another six months, which was perfect because it gave me this whole space of time to, I went to my first Burning Man, I wrote my first book. Um, but, there was, it was just something really unique about that transition. I remember at the end of 2017 when that happened, uh, someone said, what was your greatest accomplishment of the year? And I said, uh, leaving my job. They were like yeah, that was a big one. I was like, no, that’s not it. That’s not, that wasn’t it really, the biggest accomplishment was just listening to that calling. Quick, I mean, just quick too. Unlike, unlike anything I’d experienced before and taking that first step, putting in my resignation and then kind of what felt like kind of stepping into the nothingness. I know that makes it sound kind of negative, but just like the void, just an openness.
Bryan: 00:20:47 The blank canvas is where, um, when I distinguished between nothingness and emptiness. Hmm. Right. And what I’m hearing you say is this was a space of emptiness.
Dylan: 00:20:58 Yes. It was a blank canvas I think is a, is like a quote unquote positive way of talking about it now.
Bryan: 00:21:03 Possibility.
Dylan: 00:21:04 That was challenging. Again, I had been a planner, I had things kind of charted out for myself and Jessica and I, um, and this was, this was totally new. So that, that was challenging. And then after some time in the blank canvas and, or the emptiness, like stuff starts to emerge, stuff starts to unfold. And that is a more comfortable place, at least for me. What was most uncomfortable was those first month or so where it’s like, I don’t know what the future holds. I have no idea because the, the message I got was it’s time to do something totally new. But it wasn’t like, oh, it’s time for me to finally go and be a writer. Like I always dreamed, or it’s time I’ve always wanted to be a veterinarian or something and now it’s time to go pursue that. It was just, it’s time to do something totally different.
Bryan: 00:21:56 What advice would you give to others who are hearing the whisperings, you know, that you were hearing. Who might be finding themselves in a similar place where the, the, your words are really resonating with them right now, but they haven’t mustered the courage. Or maybe previously they didn’t even have the awareness, you know, that that was what was happening. And now it’s like you are their way of the superior man, which you discount it. Right. But it sounds like that was a significant catalyst or at least component of.
Dylan: 00:22:24 It was part of the moment. Yeah, I’ll just say that.
Bryan: 00:22:26 And maybe this, this interview right now for someone listening, it could be. They’re like, oh my gosh, I can no longer deny it. That’s what I’ve been hearing. Right. What would you say to that person? Who’s you on that.
Dylan: 00:22:38 The first thing I would say is just be gentle with yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Because I’ve been there. I think we all have where it’s like where we beat ourselves up about not pursuing it. That’s the first thing to give up. That is the first thing. Stop beating yourself up about not quote unquote pursuing your dreams and then see what unfolds after that.
Bryan: 00:23:09 That’s, that’s uh, that’s very, very kind. That’s great. Okay. So say someone’s managed to do that, they’re able to look at their own reluctance or you know, whatever they might call it with judgment and might call it paralysis or fear weakness or whatever, but say they’ve kind of soften their, their own self criticism. Then what advice do you give them?
Dylan: 00:23:35 I imagine kind of like walking down a path, which isn’t a perfect analogy because at any point there’s so many, I mean you can say infinite amount of paths that could branch off from, from any moment, but the, the advice would be when you’re in a new space, especially when there’s kind of discreet. In some sense we’re always in a new space, but in the sense of like these bigger discrete movements, and I think giving up that self criticism could be a big step. Could be, could put someone into a new space. Stop, breathe, and look around. What’s there, what’s calling to you will.
Bryan: 00:24:18 And by the way, just to jump in here, literally like to actually use your eyes, right? I mean, that’s part of it. I think you may be speaking both literally or metaphorically or maybe just metaphorically. But we’re like literally in whatever physical space you find yourself to pause, you have that gentleness, you take the breath and then you, you literally look around.
Dylan: 00:24:40 Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Literally look around. Yeah. I mean, our senses, yeah. This isn’t, it’s not always some kind of like a non material spiritual message or something. I think I, when I look at a bookshelf, there’s not always, but there’s a book that jumps out to me like, oh, it’s time to read this. Yeah. This look around. Yeah. When I got to San Diego, I looked around and went, oh, this is home. This is my spot. Right here.
Bryan: 00:25:11 And the move was from, were you in New York at the time?
Dylan: 00:25:14 Yes. So I grew up in New Jersey. Um, went to college in Pittsburgh. I worked in New York when I was in the finance area and then moved to California. And um, when I got to San Diego I was like, this is how. More than it was, it was more like California then. Was that California is home. Um, and then now it’s definitely San Diego.
Bryan: 00:25:38 I have a fondness for California. It, I think it is really a special place.
Dylan: 00:25:43 I think so too. I think southern California especially.
Bryan: 00:25:46 Yeah. So let me turn the conversation to Words to Dance to. So here’s your book. A book of poems.
Dylan: 00:25:54 I love the title. I know I’m biased. I came up with a title before I even was a writer, I mean I just. That, I just had that in my back pocket Bryan for like a year or two.
Bryan: 00:26:09 Sometimes the titles right themselves, you know, so.
Dylan: 00:26:12 You don’t even need to read the book. The title, the title and the subtitle. The subtitle came out after I started writing the, a book, A Book of Poetic Meditations. But I was like, that’s it. You can just read the cover. I think most people get it like that. You don’t even need to read the book. Just the cover.
Bryan: 00:26:31 Yeah. Who did you write this book for and what did you want it to do for them?
Dylan: 00:26:36 Um, the book, the book kind of wrote itself. It was this, this kind of flow state. Uh, I mentioned when I became a poet, that was actually a couple of years prior. Um, but the prior to when I wrote this and there was that kind of flow of the initial kind of stream of, of poetic writings and I started working and for that company I mentioned Vanto Group. When I started working again, the, the poetry dried up. And when I left it came back and it was there. I, I went to a coffee shop. So I went to a coffee shop and I started writing some stuff. This was second half of 2017. So after I left the job and I just started, I was inspired to write. It felt good. It was, it was easy. It flowed. I wrote, um, like 20 or 30 of these poetic meditations and after a couple days I, I shared them with my partner Jessica, and she’s like, these are, these are fantastic. This is a book. I’m like, really? She’s like, yeah, you just, if you, if you keep writing, you could just pick a hundred of these or something and you would have a book. I’m like, I guess so. And I was inspired to keep writing. And when I say inspired, I mean I got up in the morning and I was inspired to write, this wasn’t like a, I’m gonna write from these times every day and. I wrote for two months and I got up one morning and I didn’t write anymore. Wow. And then I started working on the book. And so, uh, I’m not sure how to answer who I wrote it for because it wasn’t that kind of intentional, this is my audience, this is who I want to and this is my message and this is why I want to share to. It wasn’t that experience at all. It was kind of like, it just kind of moved through me. I don’t know, that sounds a little more woo woo than, um, I tend to think, but, uh, it was just, it was just kind of there to do. And so in a way, it was for myself as a creative expression to put myself out in the world in a totally new way. Having come from the corporate world, putting myself out there creatively, a project that was just out there on Amazon for people to see, to criticize or to love. I mean it was just, it was definitely a whole new level of vulnerability for myself.
Bryan: 00:29:14 What’s that been like? What’s the response to the book been liking and what, what’s your experience of the response been like?
Dylan: 00:29:21 The, the response has been fantastic. You know, I was there, my fears were kind of like, well, I could see how people could criticize this. I do talk about God in the book. I do talk about, um, I do use the word fuck. I don’t know. Uh, and I’m like, gosh, my grandmother is going to treat this. I don’t know. I, I was like this, the in the intention was by no means to offend anybody, but I was like, I’m bound to offend someone. Especially if it gets out there to a broader audience. No one has been offended. At least no one who was, who was, who is left an Amazon review or talk to me. And the response has just been fantastic. Absolutely. Like amazing.
Bryan: 00:30:04 Give me an example of a response that’s really kind of lit you up where you’ve been grateful for.
Dylan: 00:30:10 I had a friend of mine who I met. I don’t want to sidetrack us but Camp Grounded, I know you interviewed Smiley on here, uh, on your podcasts and Camp Grounded, it was just this fantastic experience. That’d be a whole other conversation. I met a guy there. Um, and I hadn’t talked to him in a year or so and he out of the seemingly out of the blue to me had bought the book and, and shared a review on, on, on Facebook that he’s like, I never get goosebumps reading a book. I get, it was really great music, like music that touches me really deeply, but never reading a book. This is the first time that a book gave me goosebumps was reading this.
Bryan: 00:30:52 That’s awesome. And that’s great. That was awesome. Yeah. How do you hope the world is different? Because this book now exists.
Dylan: 00:31:04 The, the intention of the book at this, this came, this is like something I backed into. This wasn’t like intention and then kind of creation, at least not on a conscious level, but as I was finalizing the book and editing it and um, I try to like, you know, the message of this book kind of space I was writing it from which I kind of knew, um, the space that I was in when I was writing it was everything is sacred. Everything is sacred or can be, it can be uncovered, the sacredness of any relationship of any person or or object or nature, you know. And I, for, for someone to discover even a piece of that, for someone to discover the sacredness of their relationship with their mother or their child or their neighbor, you know. Or even the person down the street who serves, you know, coffee at the local shop, like the. To just discover the sacredness in one relationship if that happens in someone reading the book that is like, that’s it. The reminded me of something I I’d love to share, which was that I had another unique experience writing this book, which was that I, there was a space I kind of tapped into. Because I don’t just live from that 24 seven. And I would only work on the book in that space. So there was an integrity to the book, I think. I think some there’s an idea about writing, like I write from whatever hours work, work for you. 8:00 AM to noon, those are the hours I write. I think it’s less about the hours, less about the structure and much more about what is the space you want to write your book from. Or anything actually, you know, create your music from work on your, you know, a creative project from what is the space you want to be in and to find to just create from that space. And I think there’s going to be an integrity, a uniqueness to whatever you create because it will just have been from that space. So I, Bryan, I wouldn’t even edit the book if I wasn’t in that space. And there were times where I would go two weeks without touching it. But if I was fortunate to not be on some deadline or what have you. But like the, I’m really happy with the finished product and I think a large part is due to that discipline. I’m not sure exactly how to talk about it, but the, the, the integrity to that space, the book was only touched from that space at any time.
Bryan: 00:34:06 I think that’s really a remarkable, and when I hear you say that, um, what I wonder is, was that something that you waited until you recognized it and then you know, it arrived and you stepped into it and worked on the book from that place or what did you do to consciously bring about that space or get yourself to that space? Tell me about how that, how that played out.
Dylan: 00:34:32 So when, when the, the initial writing, started emerging, I was in that space and I was in it consistently as the book was being written and then I wasn’t in it anymore for writing. It just, the energy just wasn’t there. That space wasn’t there for writing. And then I started working on editing. I could kind of get back into that space. I was like, oh, it’s time to edit the book. And I could find myself back in that space for editing, but I couldn’t get back there for writing. They felt kind of like the well had dried up, but there was a new well for editing. Interesting. Um, so because the book kind of emerged from that space, there was a way of, that was kind of my north star that was kind of like, I knew the feeling of that space and when I was back there I would work on the book. What did I do to get in this space? You know, it’s interesting. This wasn’t like a conscious effort at first. It eventually kind of be, I became aware of it after a few weeks, but coffee, a great coffee shop and there’s so many in San Diego, but a great coffee shop, some sunshine, which there’s no shortage of in San Diego. Open air, coffee shop with some good activity. Not that, uh, like it couldn’t be just me there and some music. I don’t know. I had just attended my first Burning Man. I had never listened, like EDM, the EDM music or tech house music. Never really. And I got into it at my first Burning Man and then I started writing was when I got back from that. And that also being in the mix. So that was like the vortex, those ingredients was how the book especially that’s so much got edited. But like that, that was the mix of things that got me into that space for like three hours a day or so. And then I’d be out of it.
Bryan: 00:36:34 In this moment and I’m feeling a little bit like this is a conversation we could only have if one or both of us was in California. A little bit metaphysical. But at the same time, I recognize something for myself in it. And what I recognize is what, when I hear you say space, I think of what Tony Robbins talks about state, right? And prior to learning what he teaches about, you know, really taking mastery over creating states for ourselves through our physiology, our focus and our language. Um, I just, you know, endured or enjoyed whatever emotion showed up for me. And occasionally or often I would attempt to shift that for myself through whatever caffeine, tobacco, video games, sleep, you know, something. And so I’m really fascinated by this idea that we can actually, we can bring these about and there are things and it can be as simple as sunshine, you know, or proximity to other people and stuff like that. But how again, in words to make the unconscious conscious, how to be aware of what we want or maybe what feels like it’s missing and take steps in that direction and then how life seems to be a co-creator with us when we do that. And now, you know, in a way, and again this can sound maybe a little woo woo, but life channeling, you know itself through you, into your, your form of expression it with this project was words and poetry.
Dylan: 00:38:00 Yes. And, and I think this ties back to what we talked about, your own path. It’s like what works for you. I have a buddy who swears by matcha. Yeah. Matcha is his medicine.
Bryan: 00:38:12 Yeah, I was gonna I was gonna say, well how much Kombucha was required to get you, you know, back in this space or whatever. But yeah. What was your friends say about matcha? Because I see it and it’s kind of become the salted caramel or the pumpkin spice, I think a little bit. Yeah. Yeah.
Dylan: 00:38:25 It’s the new coffee. Yeah. I mix up, I just love coffee so much. But uh, I do mix up and get matcha every now and then. I am not a matcha expert. I just know that it has supposedly the antioxidant benefits and it definitely doesn’t give you nearly the buzz of coffee, but it also doesn’t have to come down. So it’s much more gentle to, to, to me and experienced coffee drinker. It’s like it might as well be decaf. Yeah. There’s like, no, there’s like nothing he, it might be, some of my buddy loves it. Uh, and some people, some, you know, everyone has their kind of medicine. I know some people like after a great yoga class or a meditation or you know, what sunshine or being near the ocean, I don’t think it needs to be a drink per se. You know, we talked about music, but I think there is, you’re talking about making the unconscious conscious, just being aware of like what puts me in this space that I want to create from yeah. Or live or live from. But it’s like what, what puts me in that space? What physical locations? Maybe it’s a cafe, maybe it’s a bar. And I think it also just depends. Like what’s the tone of what you’re creating? What’s the tone of what you’re creating? Is it kind of dark and grungy? Like if you’re writing a crime novel or something. And if so, maybe a dark, windowless bar, smoke filled bar. I don’t even know what there’s a, those exists anymore. But, uh, like that may be best to tap into that space. And for me, writing Words to Dance to something, something that it has a lightness to it. A, um, I mean literally being in San Diego where there’s just a ton of sunshine, a ton of light was, was perfect. Yeah.
Bryan: 00:40:18 No, that comes through because there are entire pages that are blank and there are pages with three words, four words, right? So there’s, there is a lightness to it. And you know what I love about that? I had the privilege of, of hearing Wayne Dyer speak. Uh, it must’ve been one of his last public appearances, uh, before he passed. But one of the things he said that’s really stayed with me is about how light is not just the opposite of dark, but light is also the opposite of heavy. And how interesting to me that that one word can notes, you know, both kind of light and playfulness, like the ability to see, but also the ability to enjoy or be free. And I can see how, you know, that came through. And in this book, let me, let me ask, um, what was, what was your biggest takeaway from, you know, I would, I want to say this whole journey from pivoting your life, you know, making, taking these steps, writing this book. Now you’ve written a second book. That’s by the time people hear this will also be available on Amazon probably. Um, if you were to kind of, and I realize if I asked you this tomorrow or in a month from now, you might give a different answer, but what stands out to you as the most interesting, useful or surprising thing you learned during that whole process?
Dylan: 00:41:37 I, I have triple distilling it down to a nugget of wisdom. I would just say a new level of confidence, a new level of connection. As time has gone on, people for me, sounds kind of bad to say, but I mean, people used to be like two dimensional to me. I didn’t even, I didn’t know this. When you’re living in a two dimensional world, it’s like this is just how it is. And over the last couple of years, and especially the last couple of months, there’s a whole new depth to humanity, but just to being in general and that has felt so nourishing, at times scary. And I think that’s just what I’m really present to these days. It’s like just wow, every person is, I mean. It rained the other day and which is rare in San Diego rained and there were a ton of snails out on the sidewalks and I was like, these are beings, these are beings kind of crawling around and there are a couple of them had been smashed because people were walking on them. And so I found myself just like not even trying to be a good person. I just like, I just so connected to the beingness of these snails that I started picking them up and moving them over to safe ground to the grass. Just so present to that. The, the, the depth of, of being of beingness and that that has come out of these last couple of months and I, yeah. It’s been pretty eye opening for me.
Bryan: 00:43:25 That’s Ah, that’s beautiful. I think a little bit when you first started talking about two dimensionality, I couldn’t help but think of Wreck It Ralph. I don’t know.
Dylan: 00:43:34 Yeah, I just watched the second one. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. He moved into the 3D world. Yeah.
Bryan: 00:43:42 Uh, yeah. And sometimes I think to get there to create something new, we’ve either gotta be willing to let go or even destroy what was there, you know, in the past.
Dylan: 00:43:51 I think another way of talking about is like how, how I’ve changed is there, there is a, there is a way in which it is very hard to describe I think because when we go through these transformative periods, we come out like yes, there’s insights. Yes, there’s way of kind of distilling it, talking about it, writing it down. But more than anything we’re just in a new place. We have a new vantage and you can look around and describe wow. And compare it to previous vantage points and you’re kind of on a new peak or what have you and you’re looking out and wow, I haven’t seen the world from this angle before and I feel more love here and I feel more connection here and I feel more confidence here and more vulnerable here. But I think that that vantage is a, is beyond words, but we can use words to describe the vantage point obviously, but what people really get, what I’ve really gotten from these turning points, these transformative times, has been just a new vantage in life and in a way, especially the big shifts, everything changes, relationship with yourself, your relationship with your family or romantic partner, your job, your creative endeavors. I mean, where it just, it all shifts.
Bryan: 00:45:10 Yeah, everything is in flow for sure. Well, let me, let me shift gears now and turn our conversation if you’re ready to the lightning round. Okay. Okay. All right. Question number one, please complete the following sentence with something other than a box of chocolates. Life is like a?
Dylan: 00:45:40 Journey.
Bryan: 00:45:44 Yeah, that’s valid. Number two, on a scale of zero to 10, where zero is not at all and 10 is extremely, how weird are you?
Dylan: 00:45:56 Oh Gosh. I think I let people see about six weirdness, but I’m probably like an eight.
Bryan: 00:46:03 Why do you say that?
Dylan: 00:46:05 I’m getting better at embracing my weirdness. I had been a pretty bad normal person, like trying to try to be normal. I’m not so great at it, but like as I’ve, as I’ve embraced my own weirdness and gone from like, uh, I don’t know, letting people see like a two to a six.
Bryan: 00:46:24 So from New York, New York, maybe was it two? San Diego was a six?
Dylan: 00:46:26 Oh yeah. Yeah.
Bryan: 00:46:28 You’re embracing the eighth yeah. Yeah. Okay. Number three what’s something of which you wish you were better?
Dylan: 00:46:38 Connecting with my family, connecting with my family.
Bryan: 00:46:43 Got some good news for you. Part of that might be a choice, I’m just saying, but we can keep going. We won’t, we won’t take the conversation down that path. That’s fine. Um, but what’s your sense of the truth of that statement?
Dylan: 00:47:00 Here’s the challenge I’ve had. I, when I have my friends and I like our relationship and others, there’s a, the, the kind of conversation just feels very deep to me and there’s this openness to talk about just anything and, and have a resonance. And the real, those conversations look different and I’m just present to it. When my mom and stepdad are here visiting in San Diego and the conversations look so ordinary, they look so ordinary. And there’s, there’s a part of me that really wants my mom to like, or my stepdad to get like read the same books that, you know, my community is reading or you know, become yogis or what have you. And it’s not really there for them. And so I’ve been coming around to like embracing that and there’s still this like ordinariness and, and I like my, I mentioned my intention in writing the book is like to continue that nurturing the nurturing of the, like the sacredness and the ordinary. And I don’t, and, and letting go of like wanting to, or needing to change my mom or Stepdad and just being like, okay, if we’re talking about food, dinner, you know, for 30 minutes or something, that’s how it looks like. That’s what my relationship with my mom looks right now. And letting that be sacred, letting that be sacred.
Bryan: 00:48:37 This is so good. What’s in this, right? I mean, you know, it’s funny what comes up for me. I mean, we joke about it and I have my own versions of those conversations. Um, something that’s been useful for me, again, it’s still intellectual, but the usefulness comes in the attempted applying it as, um, I had a conversation last year with someone who’s been a guest on this show. He’s a really talented healer and, uh, I think it’s probably fair to call him a shaman. Guy named [inaudible]. And he pointed out to me that with any conversation, there’s the, there’s the intellectual component, the content of the conversation, and then there’s the emotional component, you know. And, and how much of our conversation in the Western world, especially not to glorify or idealize, you know, either indigenous cultures or the eastern cultures. Um, is that we in the west tend to be so utilitarian. Like this conversation is to transfer knowledge, you know, it’s maybe to establish status or something like that. And I just wonder, um, how much more fulfilled or connected we could all feel if we recognized and communicated more fully from that emotional and heart oriented place. You know, what do you think?
Dylan: 00:49:50 Yeah. I think letting go of, and this has been my practice recently, letting go of how it needs to look and just what is here. My mom is my mom’s visiting. What is here to connect with her on what is here to share what and maybe we don’t need to talk, you know, or maybe the conversation is about the show we watched and planning for dinner. Um, and allowing that to be enough, you know, kind of more than enough, allowing it to be an expression of the sacred relationship that I have with her. Yeah. I’m blown away sometimes when I think about when I look at this woman, I’m like, I came out of her, like she carried me around for nine months. Like she birthed me into the world and God, that is just incredible. Like that is more than enough for my entire life for her. And you know, our entire relationship like that is way more than enough. Screw whatever the content we’re talking about is like, I could just be bowing down to this woman who, you know, created me and yeah. I, I, I think I had gotten caught up. I think a lot of us do get caught up in like, well, the conversation doesn’t look like this, or the sparks aren’t continuously flying or we’re not connecting on the, you know, latest insight or, you know, philosophical book or what have you. Um, and that’s fine. That’s fine. With my mother, I have friends where we jam on that stuff all the time. And my mom isn’t one of those. And like allowing that to be like way more than enough still.
Bryan: 00:51:33 Yeah, that’s, that’s beautiful. Very. Um, I think I tend to think of that as an enlightened perspective. I usually don’t go that deep in the lightning round, but thanks for exploring that with me. Okay. Yeah. So getting us back on track. Uh, question number four. If you were required every day for the rest of your life to wear a tee shirt with a slogan on it or a phrase or a saying or a quote or equip, what would the shirt say?
Dylan: 00:52:00 I think it would say don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out of it alive.
Bryan: 00:52:08 Okay. Number five, what book other than your own have you gifted or recommended most often?
Dylan: 00:52:15 That one changes? Um, I know I’m going to alienate some listeners when I say this, but, uh, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.
Bryan: 00:52:25 Why that book?
Dylan: 00:52:27 That novel just rocked me, it just rocked me at a time. It was pre my introduction, pre like being introduced to eastern philosophy and the main character in it. Howard Roark. He just like, he just, was a new kind of man from the way that I had been living at the time, which was like not long after college and I was so caught up in how other, how much other people, like what other people thought of me proving myself. And there’s a character that I contrast Howard work with, which is Peter Keeting. And Peter Keeting is so concerned about getting ahead and prestige and social status and man, I think she just, she just does an incredible job just showing the bankruptcy of that way of living. Just the absolute bankruptcy. And even though at times Peter seems to be ahead and he has a fancier job and more money and all this and Howard’s barely, barely scraping by at times. Um, I was left with like, I always wanted to be Howard like throughout the book, even when he was like poor and wasn’t even able to do what he loved, but he just had this independence and this integrity to his way of living that I really admired. And that I just hesitate to say it, but it’s like I didn’t have a role model for that way of living, at least from the perspective. Certainly from the perspective I was living from at the time. And so that novel kind of, it opened me up to a way of living beyond that, like social status, ladder climbing. Um, and not to say like I immediately then mastered that new way of living, but it, it just was pivotal to me and I’ve recommended that novel and gifted it to people and it still has a special place in my heart. Even though Ayns philosophy of objectivism, we could, I have my disagreements with that and we can talk about that for the next two hours. But, uh, that, that novel is special to me.
Bryan: 00:54:35 I have not, I’ve not made it through that novel. Yeah.
Dylan: 00:54:38 I prefer to Atlas Shrugged. Yeah. Yeah.
Bryan: 00:54:41 Okay. Uh, number six, you travel a ton. What’s one travel hack, meaning something you do or something you take with you to make your travel less painful or more enjoyable?
Dylan: 00:54:51 Oh, I took, uh, my, so Jessica and I went down to Mexico City for a month at the end of our year of travel and we brought, I can’t even say her name, where she’s going to turn on, but I brought my Amazon Echo. Alexa, now she’s on, it’s not always listening. Yeah, I know. Uh, we like, she was the last thing that we grabbed and like we packed all of our bags and we’re like, oh, we’ll bring her. And uh, I was so glad that we did cause she like for music and cook. She was just the background music player of our time in Mexico City. And uh, we also use her for like cooking and timers and things like that and alarms and uh, but just having her there for music, she’s connected to my Spotify account. Wow. I don’t know if that counts as a hack, but that’s just like what I think about what I was, so I was so grateful that we brought her when we went to Mexico City.
Bryan: 00:55:45 Yeah. In nearly 40 interviews. Surprisingly, no one has said Alexa and I’ll bet no one will in the next 40. But that’s pretty cool. Um, anything else? Anything you do as a matter of routine? Any specific way of packing or any other, you know, any particular luggage or you know, things you do checklists or?
Dylan: 00:56:06 Yeah, this isn’t nearly as technical, but one of the things that Jessica and I made, like we’re intentional about from the get go was just the pace of our travel. And there’s kind of like the literal, like there’s the, there’s the actual pace, meaning how much we’re kind of traveling around like from city to city and that we want it to be slower. So when we traveled the least amount of time we spent anywhere, it was a week and the average is probably two and a half in any given location. Uh, but also just like the energy of it. Like the pace was just slower. We didn’t want it to be frantic. And so I think like for people to have a sense of like, what do you want the pace to be? I don’t think there’s a right answer. Some people really love it being kind of fast paced and bouncing around two days in Bangkok, two days and Chiang Mai two days in Singapore, what have you. Um, but having an intention of the pace and staying true to it. And if it is a slower pace, it might mean not seeing everything it certainly did for us. Um, but there’s just, um, there’s something really nice about having an intention for that and sticking to it. Our travel was so easy and I could, I had, we did specific things that were an expression of that trap, of that pace, but really it was like, all right. What, what would be consistent with like, not rushing would be consistent with a slow, you know, uh, attentive way of traveling.
Bryan: 00:57:39 What were some of the things you did that were expressions of that pace?
Dylan: 00:57:43 Well, definitely one was not staying anywhere for too long. Oh yeah. Um, that was the major one. Just rather than, we only had a travel day once every two weeks., Another was just allowing ourselves like it was okay not to see all the, all the tourist sites. Even if we were there for two weeks, I sorted, there were people who were in, um, Osaka, we were in Osaka for a week in Japan. There were people who were there for a day and saw more tourist sites then we did, we didn’t see the big famous castle in Osaka and it was so damn hot. It was like over a hundred degrees. And we’re like, no, we don’t have to go. Like, it just wasn’t consistent with slow, good feeling travel. It would have been trudging through like the nearest subway. It was like half an hour. Um, people were dying all over Japan during this heatwave. Like dozens of people are like, we’re just going to stay in indoors. Um, but there, there was consistent that was like, that was one example. Like the big tourist thing in Osaka, we didn’t do. And like there’s a part of us like, maybe we should, I mean we’re here, we’re here for a whole week. Um, but just letting go of needing to see everything needed that that helped a lot.
Bryan: 00:59:01 Yeah. And now that you’re home and you have some perspective, some distance from that, how much do you regret not having seen [inaudible] now, that castle?
Dylan: 00:59:11 None. Yeah. I don’t care. I don’t care.
Bryan: 00:59:16 You can always go back. So, yeah. Awesome. Okay. Number seven. What’s one thing you’ve started or stopped doing in order to live or age well?
Dylan: 00:59:24 I started tracking my nutrition for the first time just a couple of months ago and I really had no idea how much carbs or protein I was eating.
Bryan: 00:59:38 What are you using to track it?
Dylan: 00:59:41 My fitness pal, Under Armours’ APP. It’s free. It’s free. Yeah, it’s good. It’s good. Um, and it took me like a week or so to get into the habit of it. And now it’s really easy just after a meal I just plug it in what I ate. And, um.
Bryan: 00:59:56 What have you discovered?
Dylan: 00:59:57 Well, I discovered I was eating about half the amount of protein that I should be, but like, uh, I was eating, especially when we were traveling, it was even less. But like I was struggling to get maybe 60 70 grams of protein and my, I started lifting pretty heavily couple months back and my coach was like, yeah, he should have at least a hundred. And so now I’m doing consistently 120 and that just wouldn’t happen naturally for me, at least with my diet, I’m way more of a carb eater. And so starting to track with My Fitness Pal and I don’t think people need to track forever. I don’t intend on tracking forever, but just long enough until I’m in the habits of like the macronutrients that I want to be eating. Yeah. Also it’s like I’m amazed that just like little snacking, like I still allow myself to do it. I’m not on a super strict diet or anything, but just it has helped me bring a new level of awareness. Cause I’ve been an unconscious snacker. Where like I’d just be like, I don’t know, watching TV and snacking and not totally unaware of how much I’m eating or, um. So it’s just, it’s brought a new level of awareness, which I’m really appreciative of to what I’m eating, how much I’m eating, the nutrients in what I’m eating. Um, no, it’s pretty cool.
Bryan: 01:01:16 Right on number eight, what one thing do you wish every American knew?
Dylan: 01:01:24 That sounds so cheesy, but it’s like that there are enough.
Bryan: 01:01:32 If Americans knew that I’m not sure they’d be Americans. Right? Like we’re really driven. We’re out to prove something.
Dylan: 01:01:39 I know. It’s like, you’re enough. You’re enough. I’m still learning. I’m still getting to know that one too. You know, it’s funny, these like bumper sticker quotes. I’ve, I’ve had this experience over the last couple of years where like if people said that to me, I would just disregard it. But like, man, some of these, like when you really meditate on these or you have some experience, whether it’s like in a, in a program or yoga or psychedelics or what have you. Like some of these things like love is everything or you are enough. Like they can have so much depth. There can be so much depth in these like platitudes or whatever you want to call them. Um, something like you are enough. That like you can listen to that is just a bumper sticker. You can listen to that as like really, really profound.
Bryan: 01:02:30 So I mean you mentioned a few things and you didn’t explicitly mention them as ways to do what I’m about to ask you, but how, how can we, whatever you would call it, deepen our listening to be able to hear that as the profundity that it contains and not the platitude.
Dylan: 01:02:47 So I think quieting your mind is a way that like finding ways to quiet your mind. The way that I like talking about it is, is cleaning your space. So if you think about the space of your life and there tends to be all this stuff in it judgments, criticisms, I mean some good stuff, some bad stuff, but like there’s just a lot of stuff when we’re going through life. What I should be doing, what I ought to be doing, what I, what I regret doing, what I feel guilty about, what I really want to do, what I should be doing to prove myself. Like where I want to be. Like there’s just so much noise. There’s so much stuff in our space and the practices, whatever works for you. But like the, the practices that you find that quiet your mind or clean out your space I think are so important and the depth can only penetrate when it’s clean.
Bryan: 01:03:42 Well said. Yeah. That’s well said. And what you’re saying too, it reminds me of the interviews I heard, um, with Michael Pollan after he released. Um, was it, what’s the one about How to Change Your Mind? Yeah. And he talked about how, you know, people would come back from the psychedelic experiences and it would be easy for them to quit smoking. And then when researchers would ask, well, why did you quit? What, what changed? And they’re like, oh, well after this, like during the psychedelic experience, I got the breath was really important, you know, and it’s like, uh, you didn’t know that before. Yeah.
Dylan: 01:04:18 So, yeah, maybe intellectually, but it’s words. Words are just insufficient. Let’s put it that way.
Bryan: 01:04:25 Yeah, for sure.
Dylan: 01:04:27 Words are insufficient.
Bryan: 01:04:28 Okay. So two things I want to do here before we shift the conversation. One last time to an exploration of, of writing. The creative act itself. Um, first I want to express my gratitude to you for making time to come on this podcast, to have this conversation, share things you’ve learned, experiences you’ve had with me and with anyone who’s listening, everyone who’s listening. Um, and one way I’ve endeavored to express that gratitude as I’ve gone on kiva.org and as part of the foundation for good living team, Kiva lending team. I’ve made a $100 micro loan to an entrepreneur in Ecuador named Rocio who will use this to help buy groceries, to restock a her store. And so she’s an entrepreneur. She’ll improve the quality of life for her family and people in her community. You and I will probably never meet her, but I hope in some small but meaningful way, you know, that’s the way we’ve improved the world while also having a really great conversation.
Dylan: 01:05:27 It’s amazing. Amazing. Thanks for sharing that.
Bryan: 01:05:30 Yeah. And um, the other thing I want to do here is also ask for anybody who is listening, who wants to learn more from you or they want to connect with you. Um, what should they do?
Dylan: 01:05:42 Instagram is easy, although I’m now, I’m now only on social media. I have my social media Mondays. I’m on social media once a week, which has been fantastic. Uh, at Dylan Osborne, D Y L A N O Z M O R E. That’s a, that’s a great way just to stay up to date with, um, the next book and you can message me on there and I, I’ll get back to you on Monday.
Bryan: 01:06:10 Awesome. Okay. So the writing portion, the creative, the magic, and the misery of the creative process. Let’s turn now to that. Um, as we started, I do want to ask you about your next book. Um, tell us a little bit about, about that project.
Dylan: 01:06:27 MMM. I just got the draft in yesterday.
Bryan: 01:06:30 And the Lights Came On. That’s the title.
Dylan: 01:06:34 Zen Parables and Poetic Meditation’s, Yeah. And the Lights Came On.
Bryan: 01:06:38 So is it a sequel? How is it the same? How is it different? How is what you’ve learned from writing? The first one informed the creation of a second one.
Dylan: 01:06:46 It’s a sequel in the sense that it’s, the intention is exactly the same as Words to Dance to. I mean, exactly the same. And uh, similar to the first book, uh, Jessica and I, when we were traveling in Asia, we were in Penang, Malaysia. And by the way, Malaysia is amazing country that wasn’t even on our radar when we started traveling. So I would recommend that it was way cooler than Thailand actually. Uh, which is was, well, was on everyone, at least in America’s radar. Uh, Malaysia is a really cool country. So we were in Penang at, uh, happen to be at a tea shop of this a, Buddhist teacher runs a nonprofit and they have tea shops are sprinkled around Asia and they had a book of, of parables. And I was reading it and I shared it with Jessica and I was like, man, I would have written this totally differently, this parable. And she’s like, how, how would you have written it? And I shared a bit and she’s like, that’s awesome, but if it’s not clear already, Jessica’s like my, my number one cheerleader like is she’s such an amazing partner and has been so supportive, my creative endeavors. So she’s like, you should write that up. So I wrote up my parable and I shared it on social media and I got great feedback on it. I guess it’s a great response. And the next day I wrote a different one and two weeks later I wrote a third one and then they just kind of popped up every now and then. Just spontaneously.
Bryan: 01:08:22 These tellings are they rewritings of kind of classic parables? Are you creating new things? What are they?
Dylan: 01:08:28 They’re new. They’re new. Original parables. Yeah, they’re new. They’re, uh, and they’re inspired by, I mean I’ve, I’ve read a number of parables that are like from the Zen lineage and um, I did write them in a way that they’re, they’re, I want them to feel a bit timeless, like ancient, but applicable to modern times. And so I have had people be like, oh, I love this parable. I’ve read this before. I’m like, no, where have you read it? They’re like, oh, never mind. I did write them in a way that I wanted it to feel like, I don’t know how else to describe it other than timeless. Uh, I could read you one.
Bryan: 01:09:11 Please. Will you?
Dylan: 01:09:12 Do you want to hear one?
Bryan: 01:09:13 Let’s do it.
Dylan: 01:09:17 This one is called The Sacred Text. The Zen master used to tell the story of an of an ancient master. Many years ago, a famous zen master was on his deathbed and needed to choose a successor from his hundreds of disciples. He requested that the ancient sacred texts of the monasteries teachings be brought before him and he requested the presence of his three most senior disciples. I will die very soon. He told them, one of you will be my successor to help me choose. I will ask you one question. If named my aire, what will you do with the ancient sacred text? The first disciple bowed before the master and the sacred text. I will defend this holy book with all my might. I would give my life in defending it. The master, nodded. The second disciple bowed, I have spent my life studying every word in this book. I will continue to pass on the spiritual knowledge it contains to future generations. The master nodded. When it was her turn to speak. The third disciple walked out of the room. The other disciples watched and utter amazement. Surely the master, only in a few more minutes of life left in him. When the third disciple return, she asked the master for the book, she pulled out the match from her pocket and let the book on fire. The first disciple filled with rage. The second disciple began to cry. The master laughed and laughed, then closed his eyes and died.
Bryan: 01:10:45 That is great. I love it man. If the book is full of those, um.
Dylan: 01:10:50 Oh, it’s full of them. Yeah. I love this book. I love this book. I read it for my own enjoyment. Oh my gosh.
Bryan: 01:10:59 So how soon is it available? When is it available?
Dylan: 01:11:01 So, um, let’s say June, June on Amazon.
Bryan: 01:11:09 So just for context, anyone who’s listening to this is, it’s launched out through the universe on this, some version of the voyager or just here on earth in the future. This, we’re talking June, 2019 but now that’s great.
Dylan: 01:11:22 Yes, June 2019.
Bryan: 01:11:23 Well, awesome. Tell me. Okay, so a couple of questions related to your creative process. Um, hopefully some things that we’ll both be inspirational and useful for people who are looking to get their own project done. You know, whether it’s poetry or it’s nonfiction or some other, you know, a novel or whatever, whatever they’re working on. Um, tell me how, as a writer, tell me how important, I mean, we talked a little bit earlier about space, about spaces, so that might be a part of this answer or maybe not. Either way is fine, but how important do you think routine is to a writer and what routines have you found success with?
Dylan: 01:12:03 Yeah, I, you know, again, I think it varies from person to person. I liked the routine of when I was writing Words To Dance To. There was, but again, it was very natural. It wasn’t a forced routine. So I had a routine of spending, it was kind of like, hmm, 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM in a coffee shop with a coffee and some music. And that worked for me really well for like two months and then it didn’t work anymore. Um, and so I would say like, I would, I would suggest people to be open to routine, to try structure. Sometimes with the, with the Zen parables with, and this my second book And the Lights Came On. There was no routine for that. There was no structure, which I think works very well for, for appropriate. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. And I think the, it’s not so much structure or not, it’s more what works for you. Uh, there have been times in the past I was just entirely structured, entirely structured, routine. Routine and structure work really well for my exercise. If I’m trying to do, um, any, just like whenever I’m in the mood for it, it ends up not happening. But when I’m, when it’s structured Monday, Wednesday, Friday like it is right now, it just feels really good and it fits in my life. For something like the parables book, structure wasn’t appropriate. So I think it, it can be, and again, it’s like what works for the space that you’re creating from. And you may have a project like I did with Words To Dance To where a structure works really well. And you may have a project like I can imagine a painter or um, you know, with the Zen parables book where structure isn’t appropriate, doesn’t, doesn’t work.
Bryan: 01:13:53 What’s the best money you’ve ever spent as a writer?
Dylan: 01:13:56 The money I spent on, on, on publishing the first book was pretty awesome. You know, actually the best money I ever spent, Bryan, it wasn’t as, it wasn’t as a writer, but like I’ll just say from the more general point is artistic endeavor. I was taking some photography. Just dabbling in it, truly dabbling. I mean these pictures with my iPhone and um, but I loved it. This was right around the time I was writing Words To Dance To uh, end of 2017. And I took some photos of my buddy from high school and he’s wearing a unicorn mask and we’re in the parking garage in my apartment building. The lighting was just incredible. And I, I had these on my phone. I was like, you know what I’m going to spend. It was like, I think all in was probably 100 bucks. It was like 20 bucks for the print I ordered on Amazon. To print a print of the photography of the photograph and it was like $80 or something for a frame at, at Michael’s. And I had it in my, my home, which was cool enough. But then I shared it on social media and a local gallery owner is coolest gallery space in San Diego. Um, she said she was following me on social media and she said, bring those by. And I was like, okay. And she messaged me, she’s like, I’d love to sell your, your photographs. I’m like thinking to myself, my iPhone photographs. And I brought them by, she was like, yes, this is perfect. Bring me three more.
Bryan: 01:15:23 No way.
Dylan: 01:15:25 And so that, like, that hundred dollars that I spent on getting the framed print of my, of the photograph of my buddy Brian wearing a unicorn mask in our parking garage.
Bryan: 01:15:38 Not this Bryan by the way.
Dylan: 01:15:40 Not, not, no, no, no.
Bryan: 01:15:43 Although maybe I can see that shoot in our future too.
Dylan: 01:15:47 Hey, I have eat the Unicorn mass still. Come on over.
Bryan: 01:15:50 What was an early experience where you learned language had power.
Dylan: 01:15:59 Early experience. Gosh, I don’t know that one. That one didn’t come until like after college or so. Just realizing like, oh there’s, so it was an, it was a real realization. It was a realization that there were multiple ways to talk about things that sounds so obvious at that sounds so obvious, but it wasn’t obvious to me at the time. Which was like, you just talk about things, you know, you just, you know, even something like this sofa, uh, there’s a way to talk about it. It’s, you know, and like it’s, it seems set in stone. And then some point, not long after my introduction, the eastern philosophy was this kind of realization of like, oh, there’s so many ways we can talk about things. So, something as simple as an object, like a sofa, but certainly the way that I would talk about you or talk about myself or my mom or you know, my romantic partner. Like, God, there are so many ways we could talk about it. Um, that has so opened up to me that sometimes I have trouble describing. Like, if someone was just like, who are you like, I’m now way more present to the infinite amount of ways I can talk about it than I am present to like, oh, it’s this, I am this, I am from New Jersey. And I was a finance and it’s like, no, there’s so many things you can highlight in yourself or another people are ways to talk about them.
Bryan: 01:17:32 That is, that is a remarkable thing. And, and right along with that, this idea that, um, you know, I think, I don’t remember what comedian said it, they set it as a joke, but of course it’s true that every word is a made up word. You know? And so not only is there so many ways to talk about things, but the ways that we would talk about those things are using made up words and how many more words we haven’t made up, they might be useful in that discussion. I mean, that gets pretty philosophical. But to me ultimately just points to, you know, the inadequacy of language to truly convey the full expression or experience of life.
Dylan: 01:18:06 And I think the, the challenge with that opening is like how do you want to talk about how do you want to talk about it? And in a way that feels true and authentic. Yeah. But man, that even with the condition of it feeling true and authentic, that still leaves so much room for creation. I mean it’s a creative act. I don’t, I’d never related to language that way until a couple of years back. That is a creative act.
Bryan: 01:18:33 Yeah. And I’ve always loved language, but I don’t think I really did either. Um, and this has been a little bit abstract, this part or maybe a lot abstract, this question and an exploration. So let me make it a little more concrete perhaps. What are the qualities of a great sentence and how can we write more of them?
Dylan: 01:18:52 For me, it’s a sense of poetry. It’s a sense of reverence. It’s a sense of sacredness.
Bryan: 01:18:58 And how do we achieve that?
Dylan: 01:19:01 Just went get into that space and right from there and whatever you say will be perfect. Whatever you say in that, from that space, just creating, creating from that space. So that’s that state as you said, you find yourself there and whatever you write, whatever you say, I think it would just be perfect. Just be true to that.
Bryan: 01:19:23 What do you say to people who are struggling with writer’s block or resistance?
Dylan: 01:19:30 It’s like what’s the, what’s the path out or what’s the path beyond that? And, and I can say from my own experience, like I’ve tried to, I think trying to bypass it in one bound, you know, in one shot is a little, can be a little much. Maybe at times appropriate, but it’s like, what’s the step out? What’s the step that frees you up a little bit, a little bit, 5% you’re not going to start writing immediately after, you know, the next great American novel isn’t going to flow out of you in the next, you know, immediate after that. But like what frees you up 1%, 5%, maybe it’s a 15 minute meditation. Maybe it’s watching a film that inspires you. Um, what frees you up a bit? And then from there what frees you up a bit more. Then being okay with that journey. I think it’s again, Bryan, to relate it to a, what we spoke about earlier. It’s like the first thing is just giving up, beating yourself up for being in, uh. Even, you know, it’s talking about language. I don’t even like that. I don’t even like the phrase writer’s block cause it, cause to me at least it implies that you should be writing and you’re not. You’re blocked. You should be writing and you’re not. Distinct from just like you’re not writing right now. Yeah. That’s just what’s happening. It’s just what’s happening is that you’re not writing or now, well it’s writer’s block and I used to write and you know, this whole big significant narrative and story about it, um, clean that up first. You know, drop that first.
Bryan: 01:21:10 But that would imply taking responsibility. I just don’t know if I’m ready to do that. That resonates with me. I like that view. Tell me, tell me about how you’ve used technology successfully as an aid in your writing.
Dylan: 01:21:31 Connecting with people. I mean, getting to connect with my friends and family has just been such an incredible opportunity that’s come out. Especially the last like five years or so. That video calling is, is like ubiquitous now. And you know, in the past like emails, texting. But now like getting to face time with, you know, my best friend in New York or my, my friends in the bay area and I’ve been actually texting a lot less too and doing more like audio messages. So like between, between video calling and audio messages, it’s just really incredible to get to connect with them or even, you know, um, be with them in that way is really, really nurturing for me.
Bryan: 01:22:20 Yeah, I agree. I’m so blown away by what video conferencing, I mean even from a year ago even Foom makes possible over Skype or facetime or you know, anything that’s incredible.
Dylan: 01:22:33 We did a video call, I think both Whatsapp and Facetime now can, you can do multiple participants. I think both of them just launched that last couple of months. And so we had my brother who’s in La and my dad who’s in Florida and my grandmother who’s in South Carolina, like all on one call.
Bryan: 01:22:51 Wow, that’s awesome.
Dylan: 01:22:53 And for free for free.
Bryan: 01:22:54 And it’s easy, right?
Dylan: 01:22:56 It’s easy. It’s free. I mean my grandmother’s 80 and she got it working. So that’s great. Um, so to have all of us in one place, like at least you get to see each other’s faces live was really cool.
Bryan: 01:23:09 So I want to shift a little bit and talk about, I want to talk about marketing and platform and promotion as a writer. You know, you and I haven’t discussed this much and we didn’t talk about your, you know, any commercial or real professional aspirations for the book per se. And I don’t know that you have them, but, um, I know that when we write, most of us want it to be read. We want to share it with others, we want to see it make a difference for them. And I think in this world where there’s so much competing for our attention and you know, our time and our money and all of that. Um, tell me how you look at, tell me how you think about marketing promotion platform, anything like that that would help this book, you know, actually find its way to people where people find their way to it and then have them get interested enough in it to pick it up, you know, to pay for it or buy it or whatever.
Dylan: 01:24:02 Yeah. I’m very fortunate to have worked in lucrative industry so I, I didn’t need this book to produce income. And so marketing and that kind of stuff was very low on the priority list. If somebody else who really wanted it to produce income was, you know, if someone who’s listening really want to produce income from it, my, I am not the expert in that field. I’m sure there’s so many good resources online, but I would say keep it true to you. Keep it authentic, don’t do something. Even if it’s the number one most recommended thing for getting your brand out there. Like keep it true to you, do what is that is what is going to have your work of art or your writing be I think truly unique or just your whole brand is like the integrity of that, that everything that you’ve created from the book to the cover to how you market it is true to who you are. So however you want to do it and there’s so many ways to market and build a brand, um, keep it authentic, keep it as authentic and as deep a true to your soul as possible.
Bryan: 01:25:15 What advice or encouragement do you have for somebody who’s either engaged in their own creative process but they haven’t crossed the finish line or there may be in the starting blocks, it’s something they’ve thought about but they don’t yet think of themselves as a writer or they don’t feel they have the resources or whatever they need, you know, maybe the confidence or whatever. What do you say to somebody who’s either stuck in the middle or stuck even before they begun?
Dylan: 01:25:42 Yeah, stuck. I would distinguish those two. I think stuck in the beginning at the starting blocks. I think my advice would just be take the first step, take the first step, even if it’s the 1% of your final. You had this big, you want to write this big long novel. Just write the first page, just get started. Take that first step and see what shows up after that and maybe a second page shows up, maybe a third, but I think a lot of what stops us and what has stopped me in the past has been making it into this huge thing, which can be exciting to think about. It’s a big huge book or a big huge project, but, but when that gets detached from like taking a step, then it’s like it just seems insurmountable or this huge thing that you need to set aside months for or a whole day for. It’s like no, set aside an hour and write the first page or set aside an hour and write out an outline of what the project could be and then get started. Take another hour long step or 30 minute step. I think for someone who’s in the middle, it kind of goes back to someone who’s stuck in the middle. Kind of goes back to what we said about finding the path beyond that and again it looks like a step that frees you up in another step that frees you up or a step that that stokes the creative fire and another step. I think I, I love getting excited about big ideas and big projects and the practice for me, and I think the practice for a lot of us, especially in the West is like bringing it back down to bite sized pieces, bringing it back down to just what the next step now is. It doesn’t need to be the big thing. The big thing will unfold and keep thinking about the big thing. If you’re excited about it and take action from what the next step here is.
Bryan: 01:27:40 I, I think that’s great advice. Tell me who has been influential in your development as a writer and what have you learned from them?
Dylan: 01:27:49 I as a writer, I don’t know, I’m just kind of like, I can’t separate between who is inspired me as a writer and who’s inspired my life.
Bryan: 01:27:58 Sure. That’s valid.
Dylan: 01:27:59 It’s just I don’t have there, it’s just all one big thing to me. And um, gosh, people.
Bryan: 01:28:10 Who inspires you?
Dylan: 01:28:12 Right now. Cause I, there’s like a, I have a historical list kind of like about.
Bryan: 01:28:17 Yeah lets get through it man.
Dylan: 01:28:19 Um, so I, I mentioned the Landmark Forum as as a turning point for me. A Warner Ehrhardt is definitely a thinker that I admire and I have gotten inspiration from and just like the work that has, um, unfolded out of his thinking. Uh, even prior to that Ayn Rand I mentioned The FountainHead was a, was a novel that just made a difference for me at a time that I, I needed it. Um, Osho, Osho is on, uh, there’s popular Netflix series out there, wild wild country, um, which really doesn’t at all touch on his teachings, but very interesting, provocative teacher. Those are some of the big three. Alan Watts is a lot of fun. Um, I’m kind of looking at my bookshelf right now. Joseph Campbell, Krishna Murti. Uh, I kinda, I kinda just take a little bit from like, each of them are like, they’ve kind of each been a different part of my life and I’ve, it’s almost this experience of like building on it, building on it. Um, a couple of those I know are kind of like, um, infamous or provocative teachers or writers. Um, that’s one of the things that I’ve enjoyed about my own interest is like I don’t, I’m not turned off by that. I mean just looking and seeing what’s there. Is there anything interesting here? Is there anything that this, this teacher, this person has to offer that I think could really make a difference for myself and then like the people around me.
Bryan: 01:30:01 What’s the final word that you want to leave listeners with? And again, I’m thinking particularly, although it can be anything, but is there something writing related or creative related that you want to leave listeners with?
Dylan: 01:30:16 Here’s the word, easy. Keep it easy, keep it natural key that like step at a time. Don’t need to be beating yourself up. It doesn’t need to be some big significant thing. Just keep it easy and natural. Keep it, keep the pace good and let it unfold from there.
Bryan: 01:30:38 I really liked that. And at the same time I’m struck by the, um, I don’t think I really used the right word, but, um, someone I interviewed for this podcast just a week ago who was also in San Diego. Who also used the word easy, used it in a very different sense when I asked him what would be on his shirt, his shirt. And it was Mark Divine, you know, with Unbeatable Mind Academy and SEALfit and he trains, you know, he is a Navy SEAL Commander, former. And his, his, uh, shirt was the only easy day was yesterday
Dylan: 01:31:12 I think. I think there’s way too much struggle, like isn’t needed at times short. But man, there’s so much struggle, insignificance and hard and grind it out and it’s, you gotta really grit your teeth. All of us, I’ve included be you the listeners, we do that. So naturally, having grown up in the west that like that, does it need to be reiterated? Keep it easy. And you’ll find a nice balance in the middle. Yeah. You know, you’ll find what works for you.
Bryan: 01:31:39 Yeah, it is. It’s remarkable at different times in our lives, you know, things resonate with us in different ways. And, you know, something that worked for us at one point might not be what’s, what’s right for us in a different point. So, yeah. No, but I love that. Well, Dylan, thank you so much for making time to come on this show and have this conversation. Um, I’ve loved it. I always love, I love, I always love our conversations and it’s been a pleasure to have one that was maybe a little more structured and in some ways a little more focused than.
Dylan: 01:32:10 Just a little a little bit.
Bryan: 01:32:12 And I hope for everybody listening. Thank you for listening. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this. You’ve taken away something that will assist you in your creative endeavors to use your time, talents, energy in service to others. So until next time, man.
Dylan: 01:32:28 Awesome. Thanks Bryan.