[The Audiofiles] LIB ’14: Let The Beauty We Love Be What We Do

“Let the beauty you love be what you do;
There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the Earth”

DJ Tennis at the Woogie

Dirt Devil Sized Woogies

Between the epic amounts of live music and menagerie of performers – from stilt walkers to fire dancers and back to the artists live painting  as part of The Do Art Foundation’s ‘Lightning in a Paintcan‘, the Lightning in a Bottle music festival has consistently and gracefully walked a thin line between Burning Man, where the festival draws it’s transformative inspiration, and the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, where The Do Lab’s been curating their own bass heavy, freak friendly stage for the past decade.  Originally held in the sprawling Live Oak Campground in Santa Barbara where Lucidity Festival has been located for the last several years, Lightning in a Bottle’s been jumping around Southern California from Oak Canyon Ranch in Silverado in ’10 to Lake Skinner in Winchester for last year’s festival – all in search of a location they can continue to call home; and with the new location situated halfway plush in the hills of Monterey County between their devoted underground music communities of the Bay Area and Los Angeles  – it feels like they’ve finally found it on the North Shore of Lake San Antonio.

This guy was doing it right.

As with any year, this location wasn’t without it’s challenges – this wasn’t a festival that happened to have a camping option, this was a pretty rough and rugged camping trip that seemed to organically create a music festival inside of itself; and unlike previous years, the camping was intertwined with the festival grounds.  So, whether this was your first LIB or your third – everyone was met with new environmental challenges. Some people came prepared to let loose at a festival for five days, and just happened set up some tents while they did it – others came prepared to really rough it and set up camp for the weekend and happened to enjoy a festival while doing so.

As we waited in line for the mass exodus on Monday afternoon, dirt stained smiles and glistening eyes gave away the Thursday crowd that’d planned for Lightning in a Bottle for months – alternatively, complaints of heat exhaustion, distances to the stages paired with an overall lack of filth emanated from attendants that showed up with a last minute ticket Saturday morning unprepared for the mayhem and the magic. From Thursday when the majority of campers arrived through Monday afternoon when the majority left, we dealt with a high of 100°, a low of 49° (thats more than a 50° shift) and winds of up to 34 mph. If you were there, take a moment and brush that dirt off your shoulders – because there’s an actual chance with all those dust storms and dirt devils that there’s just a little bit still left over somewhere from the weekend, no matter how many times you shower or do laundry.  For those of you that have attended Burning Man, you’re well aware that the weather conditions at Lightning in a Bottle are nothing to joke at – and are at par, if not slightly more intense than last year’s Playa conditions.

Though held at Lake San Antonio, the lake was dry and the lake beds were converted into expansive camping space as well as two renegade stages – The Ditch, and The Drift; the former of which was hosted by Distrikt and now has it’s own Facebook page and the later was basically in my front yard and hosted surprise sunrise sets from the Desert Dwellers and Random Rab.  And for those that are still feeling the hills in their legs and thighs – there’s another reason to pat yourself on the backs, earlier this month on the South Side of Lake San Antonio, the Wildflower Triathlon was held for it’s 32nd year in a row.
Formerly a Chumash Reservation, Lake San Antonio is currently 30 miles from both a Recruiting station as well as an Army Base. Unbeknownst to festival attendants, residents of Bradley were given free entrance to the festival so they could experience the event firsthand and jump to their own conclusions about our intentions.  The second night of the festival, a rugged older gentlemen with an adorably welcoming olive green yoda beanie stumbled into my campsite and sat down with my friends and I.  After a small and socially awkward conversation, we realized that not only was he a resident of Bradley – but a US Army Vet with a conservative viewpoint and at that very moment time – a staunch representation of the reason transformational festivals are so important:

Well, I showed up in my camouflage hunting cap but that felt so out of place, so after looking around at the vendors I found something I was excited to wear – I lean to the right, but I have some real right wing friends and I can’t wait to show it off around them.

I didn’t know people could be so wonderful.  Originally, I didn’t want the festival here because I thought it would be a group of ignorant kids trashing the environment.  ” He admitted, “But now that I’m here, I see people throwing away their trash and looking after one another. This is a special group of individuals. There’s amazing live music, and the art! There’s so much art being created and being explored; I hope they have LIB here again next year, but if they don’t – I still want to go, and I’ll even pay for it.”

The Courtyard / Giggle Juice Cafe

The three main stages of the weekend – The Lightning Stage, The Bamboo Stage and The Woogie – each had such a unique feel and draw, which brought about three different types of musical crowds. Back at the road, back where the festival land starts is the Bamboo Stage – let’s think of this as your ‘One Night Stand’ or ‘Spring Fling’. You go there for a reason: you want to get your head warped and you feel an overwhelming urge to get hit with an epic bass drop; it hits hard, it’s sexy, it wobbles, shakes, can get sweet for a second but overall – the Bamboo stage is pure debauchery.

What So Not





From the time Filabusta opened the stage at noon on Friday until the final set on Sunday, when The Gaslamp Killer gave everyone a lesson in Low End Theory as he hit them with the sound of an Earthquake – what happened at the Bamboo Stage was unprecedented, revolutionary and magical. Sunday afternoon was the hottest day of the festival both temperature wise (99) and musically.  From start to finish, the stage was stacked and hosted the surprise set of the whole weekendstarting with  Late Night Radio opening to a rapidly growing crowd.  There might be a limited dancing, but believe me, each and every last inch of shade was taken up by an eager crowd that didn’t care about a dancefloor.  Plantrae followed the only way he knew how, a melodic dubstep set layered with a live electric violin – the skills!   Other notable sets of the weekend came from What So Not, Cashmere Cat, who turned up the sexy on Saturday night, and Baauer who payed proper tribute to the Rap and Hip-Hop influences so readily heard in EDM.


Beats Antique Closing the Lightning Stage

The Lightning Stage is the ‘Long term, Serious Relationship’ stage: It’s moving, emotional, light hearted, romantic – but serious, committed (And if it’s Amon Tobin, it can be straight aggressive).  And just as anything emotionally important, the stage was tucked deep into the heart of the festival and was chalk full of emotionally moving music all weekend long.  Between amazing live experiences from Norwegian trio Kraak & Smaak, The Do Lab’s own Lucent Dossier Experience, Chet Faker and Phantogram as well as headlining sets from Gramatik and Gold Panda; each and every artist told a story, strung together beautifully and deliberately.

On Friday night, Moby threw a party straight out of a rave 5 years ago – as we shimmied up to the stage,  Infinity 2008 (Klauss Remix): Guru Josh Project: was blaring from the speakers – a bouncy, fun moment – but not what I had in mind when I chose LIB.  On Saturday, Amon Tobin threw an exceptionally well DJed party for himself and didn’t seem to mind that literally no one in the crowd was moving a muscle to the heavy, aggressive and industrial Drum & Bass tracks.  In contrast, The Polish Ambassador’s Sunset set on Friday night had everybody movin’ and groovin’ to his fresh beats, including the jumpsuited passe he habitually brings on stage with him and Beats Antique closed the festival with a visually stunning performance, getting the entire crowd – including local police officers – to get weird with friends and neighbors alike as they danced their cares away for one last night.

The Polish Ambassador at Sunset

Last but definitely not least, just a hop, skip and a jump across “The Ditch” – there’s that Woogie – your little sultry, sexy, little thing on the side where you go when you want to dance your cares away. From noon til midnight, Friday through Sunday, the Woogie was movin’ and groovin’ to deliciously deep house thanks to a brand new sound system from Pure Groove Audio.

Simian Mobile Disco holding down the Woogie

As the torch was passed from Los Angeles resident Tara Brooks to Maxxi Soundsystem and the bassline for ‘Regrets We Have No Use More’ came on, the dance floor exploded in energy; only to be topped by DJ Tennis, Damian Lazarus and the Dirtybird legend himself, Sir Claude VonStroke.  The jams continued into Sunday night where Lee Burridge played an All Day I Dream Set during the final sunrise and Simian Mobile Disco whipped up a seductive, old school set and reminded the crowd why they’re one of the best DJ duos in the business; simply put – if we ‘Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat’, they ‘Wake Up, Make Dope Music, Go To Sleep’


One thing I found – even though my days and nights were packed with activity, I felt like I both saw it all and saw absolutely nothing of the camp grounds.  On the first night during Ryan Hemsworth’s set at the Bamboo Stage, we jumped on the shuttle to Camp 13 (The RV Camp), because….well….just because – and it let us see just how expansive the festival grounds really were; absolutely astounding.If you had time between sets, you could wander into the vendor area to ease your hunger pains or get your fix of adorable festival worthy gear including Spirit Hoods, Jammy Packs, Electro Fur and amazing jewelry from the team at Third Eye Pinecones. As far as food was concerned, it’s a camping trip – so it’s always recommended to bring your own.  That said, the event offered some amazing food options ranging from Vegan to Vegetarian, and even Pescetarian if you were lucky enough to find the mouth watering sushi.  Between the breakfast burritos, seaweed salad, pizza fresh from the Do Lab’s Dough Lab that I’d gladly purchase any day of the week and smoothies – you could have your cake and eat it, too.  I’m all for conscious eating, so this was a great time to actively engage in the practice – but at the end of the trip, all I could think about was bacon.  Next year, if my camp plans a little better – we’ll just bring our own bacon, cook it – and add it to the breakfast burrito; hunger problem, solved.

Though it wasn’t as heavily advertised as the main lineup, other stages boasted smaller, but equally talented musical acts. San Francisco’s Silent Frisco hosted an after hours silent disco for the event once the main stage music had ended. San Diego’s Vokab Company and The Herbert Bail Orchestra wowed The Grand Artique – another alternative source of music for the weekend.  One wandering through the area was enough to delight and amuse the festival at large – with a mock election for Mayor, and a hidden speakeasy with some deliciously free pickle bottoms if you happened to know the password, or Joaquin Murrietta.

During the day, The Temple hosted talks from Bashar and Lucent Dossier Experience creator and Lightning in a Bottle co-founder Dream Rockwell.  Author Daniel Pinchbeck spoke on his book ‘Breaking Open The Head’ – a personal favorite’, Moby gave his thoughts on art as therapy and Youtube creator Chad Hurley divulged his secret recipe for following your dreams. Each night after the speeches were over, the venue hosted music – Wildlight – the emotive sideproject from The Polish Ambassador and Ayla Nereo – wowed the crowd early Saturday morning.  Sunday evening the was curated by up and coming Los Angeles locals, The Luminaries who brought in The Human Experience to close with a moving set on Sunday morning.

Wildlight at The Temple


Beyond the large, ornate and often fire engulfed art sculptures – thanks to The Do Art Foundation, easels scattered throughout Lake San Antonio filled with color as the festival grounds filled with happy campers.  A menagerie of local artists, including Vyal, Andrew Knights, Anthony West and Max Neutra, used inspiration from the festival to create paintings displayed at a showcase Sunday night of the festival, fully equipped with a silent auction. All proceeds go directly to the artists and a small percentage will go to supporting the public arts through the foundation, run by The Do Lab.

“This was my second year live painting at LIB and once again I was blown away by the amount of love and dedication that goes into LIB. Painting at LIB allows me to paint in a wonderful setting, converse with strangers about a variety of subjects and consequently feel true connectedness, spirituality and healing. When I paint I try to put the feeling of the music or talk into my work! Last year my painting evolved with the music I heard from the two stages I was I between. This year I positioned myself by the temple of consciousness and my painting slowly evolved into a psychedelic mandala! My surroundings inspire the direction of my work! I love how LIB allows me to push my work into new frontiers. The energy at the festival is my souls food!” – Andrew Knights


Andrew Knghts with wife Amanda by his finished masterpiece

On Monday afternoon, as the temperature crawled past 100 – and everyone, for lack of a better term, was miserable.  As I looked around, I thought of everything  could do – I asked the Do Lab to turn the hoses back on, but they were busy – and rightfully so – trying to delicately tear down the Woogie. So I did the only thing that came to mind – grabbed a friend, unloaded squirt guns from our luggage, reloaded them with water and aimed them at the three hour line waiting for a shuttle that felt like it would never come.  Slowly, a collection of unspoken frustrated faces instantly lit up with excitement as they were drenched with some of the free water that was provided to the camps all weekend. A two person team became an eight person army, filling misters and hoses – bringing about smiles and laughs, camaraderie and community.

For five days – we camped under stars and a clear sky, told our darkest secrets to strangers and our deepest dreams to friends, laughed at the sight of bubbles and cried when we ran into an unexpected friend. We’ll always light up when ever we hear the words ‘Woogie’, ‘Drift Party’ or ‘Picklebacks’ and howling as the sun goes down might become second nature.  We weathered dust storms and heat waves with smiles on our faces and a bounce in our step.  Whether we met or not, if you were at Lightning in a Bottle – we’re forever bonded by this event.

As we left our beautiful, blissful weekend to returned to reality Monday evening, we were all confronted with current, tragic events in Santa Barbara.  For those of you that are new to the LIB Family, the festival community and the and Santa Barbara are incredibly close knit –  the Live Oak Campground where Lucidity Festival was held this past year played host to Lightning in a Bottle back from ’06 to ’08.  This past weekend was a beautiful, necessary and touching reminder that humanity at its core is wonderful, creative, giving and ever evolving. We build communities and families together, we help our weak and empower our strong. we dance with friends and laugh with strangers, we battle the elements and wish on stars.

We aren’t trying to say that it was the perfect conditions for the festival, but I’d like to argue that it was the perfect storm. The dry lake beds were more than we bargained for, but where some people lamented the exercise – others gleefully ran across, some holding hands, others  balancing ornate sculptures on their chins or giving their friends a piggy back ride – and some of us, including myself, had dance parties in the middle of the ditch and made new friends.  We’re a problem solving community that works together, in the moment, to find the best solution.  We’re strong, charismatic, energetic and whimsical with a lead by example attitude where no stranger is left behind.  Strangers instantly evolve into a camp, a tribe – a family.  People watch out for each other with flashlights, buy two drinks instead of one because they know if they’re thirsty – someone else has to be, too.

Every single person at Lightning in a Bottle – from your best friend to your camp neighbors, stilt walkers to the burlesque show at Amori’s Casino, the painters from ‘Lightning in a Pantcan’, costumed actors who stayed in character all weekend and the musicians themselves – each and every individual has a unique gift to share with the world. And we’ve proudly staked our claim as an empathetic band of weird and wacky humans just itching for our chance to give back.

As with any collective, as humans – we’re only as strong as our weaknesses; the time is now to explore your gifts and give back to the community that’s provided your personal inspiration.  It’s not the ‘Maybe Lab’ – it’s the Do Lab; do it with love, and do it now – there’s a whole family of people that can’t wait to see what happens next.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
― Margaret Mead


Sunrise Set: Desert Dwellers with some Ditch Dwellers


My Loves


Hosed Down during Plantrae

A huge thank you to The Do Lab, The Confluence, the Do Art Foundation and the extended Lightning in a Bottle family for such a  beautiful weekend. For every dollar donated to the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary, The Do Lab will match the donation.  Please visit The Chumash Sanctuary Website for more information.

Lightning in a Bottle: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

The Do Lab: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud | Youtube

Photography Credit: Daniel Leist

[The Audiofiles] Music Festival Packing Essentials


Sleep hasn’t come easy these past few nights. Slowly but surely, we’ve been starting to pack for Lightning in a Bottle and every night I’ve been lying in bed, rehashing plans and crossing my fingers I’m not forgetting anything. Thank goodness I’ve developed into a semi pack-rat about things; after some quick thinking, I unearthed my packing list from the festival last year and with a few fell swoops I’ve developed a new, improved and rather idiot-proof list of festival essentials that you won’t want to leave home without!

If you’re camping, this is almost a ‘No-duh!’ moment. Of COURSE you want a tent, but what kind of tent? First, take into account how many people you’re camping with (if you’re small, add one – trust)) and before you make that impulse purchase that sounds too good to be true (read: it probably is), Google that shit and see how it ranks on Amazon.  We got our 3-Person Coleman tent at Big 5 on an uber discount, but Amazon as always is also amazing.


Don’t forget your sleeping bags, some toss away pillows and second hand blankets that you’re okay getting a little trashed over the weekend.


Different Types of Footwear
As awesome as it is to gallivant around in sandals all day, sometimes – they’re just not practical.  I always have a pair of toss-away boots on me in case the weather gets wacky – and if you’re feeling fiesty, there’s no better feeling than getting a new pair of electric or neon inspired kicks.

Bubble Guns

Fact: you can’t say the word ‘Bubble’ and be unhappy. Try it. Now again. That very feeling is the reason I looooove running around with a bubble gun at festivals! Not only are you constantly making your day with your own floating, translucent Technicolor army – but you’ll be making the weekend a prettier place for everyone.


Try your local convenience store, CVS, Rite-Aid or Target for awesome options!

See all that stuff you’re planning on bringing? At some festivals, you get to camp with your car which is absolutely perfect.  Others, like Lightning in a Bottle, you have to buy a separate pass for car camping and some – like myself – choose not to.  So we don’t have to break our backs lugging stuff (and people!) too and fro, we’ve invested in this handy dandy garden cart.  Check your local Home Depot or gardening stores (or, per usual – Amazon)

Whether it’s a pallet of water bottles from Costco, or a refillable, personalized water jug – you should always know where your next drink of water is coming from.  Plus, if you’re the creative type – it’s always
fun customizing something you’ll be able to use at future festivals!

20140521-085934-32374804.jpgMini Supply and First Aid Kit
You never know what could go down at a music festival, and it doesn’t hurt to be prepared – snag a little first aid kit from your local convenience store and make sure you’re fully stocked with hydrogen peroxide, band aids, tums, wet wipes, ear plugs.

While you’re at it, throw in a hammer, pair of scissors and a roll of duct tape just in case; you never know what you could need!

Mini Grill
One thing I forget to think about at festivals is food, and even though there are always ample options in the food court – they can cost a pretty penny.  Which for one day, and one meal – it’s not so bad….but on day four of a festival, you might wish you’d brought some of your own snacks. Invest in one of these, pre-freeze some hamburger patties, get some ketchup, mustard and buns and have yourself a little festival tail-gate.  Plus, food is a phenomenal way to meet friends.

Fanny Pack20140521-133811-49091419.jpg

Having a small bag at all times to house your little gear – like travel sized SPF, chapstick, your cell, wallet  and a camera – is 110% necessary.  Some ladies love the over the shoulder satchels, but I opt for something a little more retro and hands free.

Waterproof Camera Case
EDC week in Las Vegas last year was the first time I’d played around with a waterproof camera case, and ever since I’ve been on the prowl for one of my own. So, when we were at Big 5 the other day grabbing a tent – I couldn’t resist the impulse purchase!  Now, instead of worrying about getting sprayed with water, jumping in the pool or ruining my camera – I can get that epic shot I’ve always wanted.  I’m also bringing an extra, fully charged battery, sturdy case and a charger just in case it runs out of juice.


Mini Flashlights
At night time, it can be hard to find your way – especially back to camp. I stocked up on little flashlights so everyone in my camp can have one – and it’ll definitely make going to the bathrooms at night a lot easier 😉

Festival Friendly Beauty Products
Model in a Bottle: You definitely don’t need much makeup during a festival, but that doesn’t mean you won’t want the option.  I absolutely SWEAR by this product – spritz it on after applying makeup for a set that’ll last through water, sweat, tears and lots of epic raving.  I’ve used this at every EDC since ’08 and my makeup’s been flawless post-ragefest.

Fenix SunscreenMost suncreens deposit a layer on your skin that the sun can still fight through, Fenix products reflect sunlight instead of absorbing – which is so much better for your skin!

Real Spray Aloe: If your sunscreen fails, it’s nice to have something as backup and spray aloe is the way to go.

Ouidad Climate Control: Frizzy, Curly, Straight – whatever you want your hair to do, it might not be so willing on Days 3 as it was on Day 1 to control itself – get a little glob of this on your hands and through your hair and you’ll be set for the entire day.


Last but certainly not least, don’t forget to bring a towel so you can dry off quickly after galavanting through spritzing water, a quick shower or for something to catch some rays (and Zzzz’s) over the weekend.

Oh, and some good vibes and great company – but you knew that already, I’m sure 🙂 Friends might say that I’m in rare form this year – on the regular, my social schedule can get pretty packed, especially in the Summer months. Blame it on age, or being happy in love and filling my life with a world beyond festival life – but over the past year, I’ve more or less removed myself from the festival circuit. Electric Daisy Carnival, Together As One, Love Festival, How Sweet it Is, Nocturnal Wonderland – you name it, if it’s been in Southern Cali in the past 7 years I probably raved it. Gradually, my taste in music evolved and I migrated from being an open minded observer, to a full on member of this beautiful, international community of music aficionados and perpetual dream chasers.  I started the year with Sea of Dreams, and besides Lightning in a Bottle – and maybe Sun City in Texas, there’s nothing on my agenda – so I have to ask: what are your favorite music festivals and what are your must have packing essentials?

[Oh, Snap!] Street Art v17

Last weekend, before my adventure to the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve – I found myself on the West side of Hollywood near my old apartment, and all of the amazing mural spaces for Street Art that I’ve spent so much time ogling. Since it’s been almost two months since the move, almost all of the pieces had been painted over with some amazing new street art that I’ve been itching to share.










From Downtown to Korea Town, Silver Lake to Echo Park and Miracle Mile to Venice Beach – Los Angeles is essentially a Mecca of graffiti and all around acrylic creativity – but I know that there are other places with amazing street art. What are some of your favorite cities for Street Art? Let me know in the comments below!

[The Audiofiles] Set Times for Lightning in a Bottle Are Here!

There might still be four days left in the “real world”, but it already feels like I can already taste the salt air, feel the unabashed sun on my skin and feel the deep vibrations from Lightning in a Bottle.  There’s simply something so magical about the community, collaboration, conversation and creativity oozing out of every pore, person and performance.  Whether it’s live areal art, stilt walking, live painting, juggling, hooping, or  spinning fire – over the course of the weekend, it becomes hard to discern between the festival go-ers and the festival workers.  There’s a beautiful blur that leaves us wrapped up in the emotions of the weekend together, and we leave with an unbreakable bond that feels more like a heartwarming inside joke that we get to hold onto for the rest of our lives – or, until next year when we do it all over again.

The weekend features music on the more underground, underplayed spectrum of EDM – which is a wonderful change from the typical, redundant, fist-pumping festivals that I’ve gone to in the past.  Everyone from Moby to Kraak & Smaak, Simian Mobile Disco to Baauer, Wildlight to Late Night Radio, Tourist to Gramatik, and Amon Tobin to Little Dragon will be gracing the stages for epic performances all weekend long.   As with any festival, the conflicts will definitely be making my decisions a little more difficult.  Thankfully, I put out a recent guide to the Must See acts of LIB 

Set times for all things LIB were released this week so be sure to do your homework before you head to Bradley – you don’t want to miss out on the amazing opportunities of the weekend! Between yoga skill classes, culinary workshops, talks on sustainability, unified field theory, our unconscious mind and self-empowerment – during the day, there’s a little bit of something for everyone who’s looking to evolve themselves on a personal, or community level.  As the day carries on, classes turn into DJ sets and live ensembles – a mindful, intent community rises to their feet only to get down again with their bad selves on the dance floor.


I’ve created a few playlists for the weekend – but thankfully, if you don’t want to go through those motions – The Do LaB has just revamped their “In The LaB” series on Soundcloud with a slew of high-profile performances from last year’s epic LIB experience.

The Woogie Stage (pictured at the top) – feeds  on groovy, Deep House tracks and funky tech house beats and just released their 2014 teaser playlist with music from Dirty Bird master Claude VonStroke, Blond:ish, Max Cooper and more – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Peep the tracklist below for a proper introduction to this year’s stage.


Lightning in a Bottle: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

The Do Lab: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud | Youtube

[Self Discovery] Give Your Vocabulary an Attitude Adjustment


In our current state, we’re all so immensely interconnected to the world around us – and with advancements in technology, physical connection to one another has manifested into almost entirely verbal or written contact as opposed to non-verbal communication.  Whether it’s through the outsourcing of jobs (last year alone, the US outsourced approximately 2.5 million positions abroad), the high number of students pursuing jobs and degrees overseas, or simply the number of combined online users at any given moment, we’re all establishing, forging, solidifying, quantifying and manifesting relationships with peers, mentors, friends, family, a love interest, pets, etc.

The one thing that we all have left to our devices at the end of the day is language: the natural, or – if you’re rather big on the interwebz – maybe not so natural, ebb and flow of conversation, conflict and camaraderie.  More than just the words you pick and the order they fall into – language refers to your intonation, and even further to the intention of every single single word you pick; it’s the pitch you use while excited, the rumble you use when agitated and the cadences you manifest when you’re swept off your feet by love.  Even though words can manifest into a fairy tale of emotion, at the end of the day – they’re all we’re left with, so it helps to pay attention to your everyday vocabulary.

Between friend incidents, car accidents and a nasty bout of stomach flu – over the past few weeks, I’ve seemingly had a lot thrown in my face – that said, I’ve also been more aware of my relationship to the world around me: physically, emotionally and mentally. I’ve noticed that a lot of that relationship is dictated by something as simple as diction – or word choice.  If you want to live a positive life, surround yourself with positive people, positive thoughts and positive mantras; if you’d like a negative one, well – you see where I’m headed.  It’s something so simple and so basic, but when you look at the studies that’ve been done on positive thinking, emotion and word choice – they’re so telling.

Everything in Life is Vibration
Albert Einstein

Through quantum physics, the vibrations of the natural world are revealed; they energetically complex as physical actions and as inherently simple as a single word.  But, as experiments have proven – even words have the power to transform you.  Whenever we marinate in our negativity – we run the risk of releasing destructive neurochemicals in our brain and just the  utterance of the world ‘no‘ can stimulate stress hormones to be released. Back in the early 90’s,  Dr Emoto performed a number of experiments on water – you know, that fundamental building block of life that we’re 60% comprised of – and the results are astounding.  He was desperate to understand the physical effect that language and the environment had on the crystalline structure of water molecules once froen.  What Dr. Emoto discovered is absolute astounding, yet positively predictable – the structure of molecules that were bathed in positive words were far more beautiful and symmetrical than molecules doused with darker thoughts.

“You make me sick, I will kill you”           vs   “Love and Appreciation”


(Images: High Existence)

I’ve been guilty of this myself in the past – which is partially why I’m writing this article, but the other reason I’m penning this is I also want to make a difference for my future; and if all it takes is removing a few words from my vocabulary, bring it on.  So next time you’re speaking and prepared to mutter any of the following, take a personal inventory and ask yourself what you really mean; and then find a way to spin it in a more positive light!


– No / Not: Any way you spin it, ‘No’ has an absolutely negative connotation.  If said with immediacy, ‘No’ can also indicate an unwillingness to consider a new way of thinking – or thinking at all. One thing I’ve done with people that have habitually said ‘No’ to me (e.g. my parents) is give them a while to think about my question / situation / idea before they even need to answer.  So, if you’re preparing yourself to say ‘No’ – take a moment and ask yourself what you really mean.  If you’re declining an invitation – try “Thank you, I have other plans”

– Should: Like Nike says – Just DO it!  Should implies that there’s something – mentally, physically, emotionally – restraining you from wanting to do it; so if you’re not feeling into it – take a personal inventory and figure out your ‘Why’ before it’s too late.  Also, for some reason ‘Should’ is usually followed by….

– But: More often than not, whatever follows the word ‘But’ never seems to go well; instead, just use ‘and’

– Can’t: You can do pretty much anything you put your mind to, so the second you tell either yourself or someone else that you ‘Can’t‘ you’re imposing limits on your own reality.  Instead of saying ‘Can’t’ – say what you’re really meaning: Right now isn’t a good time – or – I’m tired, I will once I get some rest – or – Tomorrow would be better for me.

-Maybe: It’s like ‘Try’ and ‘No’ had an illegitimate child, and everyone is babysitting it.  How many times have we heard someone say ‘Maybe’ and seriously wished they could stop being so indecisive and pick an option.  ‘Maybe’ is doubtful and incredibly passive, instead – become an active participant in your life and start saying ‘Yes’; you never know where it could take you.

– Hope: Hope is wishful, lustful…and often fleeting. It looks towards the future in a passive – almost lackadaisical fashion instead of taking the bull by the horns and actively going out and doing something about your future.

-Problem: Let’s face facts for a second, shall we – none of us really experience daily problems.  There are situations, challenges, inconveniences and unexpected issues along the roads of life but having a “problem” imposes a “problematic state of mind” that can can become a negative feedback cycle instead of actually helping you move forward.  So, next time you think you have a “problem”, instead realize there’s a solution out there that can’t wait for you to discover it.

If you’re in a new location and aren’t sure which direction to go, just act boldly like you’re supposed to be there and you’ll find your way in no time. If you go into a stressful situation with a ‘Fake it Til You Make It’ attitude, you’ll notice that sooner or later – you’re making it.   And if your mind is spiraling downwards, don’t tell yourself “No, I have a problem” or “Maybe I’ll try again tomorrow…” – get up, get out and get living. Just one step in a positive direction can completely alter your current trajectory.

So, tell me – are there any other words we should remove from our everyday lexicon?

 “We are what we pretend to be,
so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”
Kurt Vonnegut