Resolutions Kept, Intentions Honed

It’s January 2nd, 2020. I’m really proud to say that I’ve honed resolutions over the past few years into intentional action and positive outcomes. They say that behavior is hard to change and lifestyle is almost impossible. But I’m proud to say that I’ve done it in a few ways over a course of many years, evolving and renewing resolutions.

In 2013, in a moment of hapless inspiration and desperation, I moved to a standing desk. I got so much relief from my prior back issues by making that change, that I started running within a few weeks and just kept adding to the frequency and the distance and attempts at better pace.

In January of 2014 I made a resolution to work out at least once a week without fail. I didn’t even define “workout.” I just knew I’d know if I was cheating and I was inspired to keep running.

In the course of that year my running ratcheted up a lot. I dropped 50 pounds, from about 30 lbs overweight, back to my high school Soccer weight. I was enjoying the running enough that I kept at it. I started entering 5ks, and 10ks and by November 2014 I signed up for a half marathon. I was staying with the fitness and I was digging it. The running helped me stay healthy, helped with mental and physical stress, and dovetailed nicely with an increasingly regular meditation practice.

In 2015 I renewed the resolution but upped it to a goal of 365 miles, or a mile a day. I started going to a meditation group a few times a month. I started feeling like things were getting more intentional. I also started seeing a personal therapist to help me with my levels of stress.

In 2016 I upped my goal to 500 miles but I definitely slid back a bit in that year, and I noticed it. There was a lot going on at work and at home. By the end of August I wasn’t even close to half way toward my minimum goal of 365. I wanted to catch up so signed up for the half marathon again and knocked out a total of 440 miles before the end of the year.

In 2017 I turned 40. This was also the 40th anniversary of the Richmond Marathon. So this year I spoke my intention out loud. I want to run the Richmond. The full one. I’m going to finish it. It might not be pretty but I’m gonna do it.

One of my clients, who is also a friend, told me that I’m too fat, and that I was going to hurt myself. So much of the achievement is mental and he was messing with my head. It was upsetting but nowhere near derailing. Coming at me from a position of experience, having completed a couple marathons himself, it definitely pissed me off. But I used it. I told him right then, “If I finish this marathon in 4 hrs and 30 minutes I will be utterly thrilled. And you’re out of line. So forget you.” I smiled but I wasn’t happy with him. And I didn’t say “forget.”

I finished in less than 4:31. That was a major life goal that seemed impossible in any year prior to 2013. I cried somewhere around the 24 mile mark, because I thought I was going to die but I already knew I was going to finish and I’d be fine.

I’ve run the half marathon both years since and clocked over 3000 running miles since 2013. I’ve honed my intentions and seen them play out. I work out with greater frequency and I’ve made running and meditation an essential practice of my lifestyle. I feel like I have succeeded at the thing that is a cliche to try or even announce, especially in early January.

The year is 2020 and my intention is to reflect on what I have achieved, what I have endured, and what I have to be grateful for. I’m reclaiming my own highest instincts for what is correct and holding myself to account for creating a more vibrational joie de vivre and a deeper peace-in-the-face-of-adversity that will serve me well and that may benefit others.



Words by Brian Kayser — Book Jacket Design, Illustration

I’ve been working on these Words books [+] for awhile now. Each one is a collection of interviews with legendary artists. It started as one book but now it’s being compiled into volumes.

I spent many years discovering new music by actually digging through records, tapes and cds in stores, attics, basements and yardsales. I read my favorite artists’ point of view in print before twitter decimated a pretty robust culture of magazines. So this is a pretty special bit of work. Journalism in print! It’s high art, man.

This collaboration with Brian Kayser has segued into other book jacket design and illustration projects that I’m excited about. I’m working on a couple of children’s book ideas and currently designing a jacket for another different collection of interviews from an independent hiphop label out of London. I won’t say to much about those things yet but once they get printed, I’ll be posting details of them here.

Get a better look at the covers in my design portfolio [+] or on my instagram feed [+].

High Resolution

I’ve been journaling about my New Year’s resolutions for the past few years. I’ve managed to keep them and carry them forward. They’ve focused mostly around running, meditation and making art.

This year I’ve run over 800 miles and just finished my first marathon with a respectable time — for a 40 year old dude who just started running a few years ago.

A few years ago, finishing a marathon popped into my head as a goal and soon after that it started to feel like an inevitibility. And just like that, I did it. And now it’s over. Doesn’t seem as difficult in the rearview.

Looking forward to what 2018 has in store. Drinking more water, more often, is a pretty radical practice I’ll take on.

Portrait Sprints

My latest creative exercise is “portrait sprints.” A couple times a week, I’ll sit down with pen and paper and some image source (usually a photo from a google image search) and I’ll complete a portrait in less than an hour. Start to finish in one session. I really like this one. It’s of John Most, a Virginia poet, who has let me design book projects [+] for him in the past. Check out my instagram feed [+] to see other portrait sprints.

I and I Survive – HR of Bad Brains

hr documentary human rights bad brains

I did this illustration just to see if I could get the @HRdocumentary instagram [+] account to like it. They did and that made me pretty happy. My gift of regard was dispatched to the internet. My message landed and was received. That’s a simple joy.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing the new documentary [+] that tells the story of Bad Brain’s legendary front man, HR. I grew up loving the band, and specifically their human torch of a singer.

I believe that HR is the kind of spirit that originally inspired the notion and convincing belief in Shamanism. He’s gifted, powerful and mad. He is absolutely magical if that word can be defined in terms of energy and imagination. If this film is what I think it is – it will speak equally to his icon as a legendary talent and as a living example of the complexity of human mental health. It will be more of a story of survival and gratitude than a celebration.

The first time I ever heard his voice I was bewildered. I remember saying out loud, “What is this?!” Nothing has ever sounded like him.

Burning Light

Kimio Eto Interpretation for Guitar

I’m happy with this drawing.

I saw an image of the artwork from Kimio Eto’s “Koto Music” album and it really landed for me. Instant impact. I feel that art “on art’s terms” is largely overlooked due to the quiet value it offers amid competing bids for attention from an accelerating and unprecedented variety of commercial media. But sometimes a piece of art just connects and makes you stop and say “Oh.”

I saw this album and had to know what the music sounded like. I gave it a spin via YouTube [+] and began studying the cover with paper and ink.

My goal was not to copy the cover but see where I ended up by studying it’s character and line and energy. Receive it and express it and change it in the process.

I’m tempted to explain the associations that ran through my mind as I steered the image toward my own thoughts and interpretations but instead I’ll just leave it here.

Look for the Helpers

No shortage of a cause for pause lately. The news cycle is hungry and it’s diet is bleak.

This morning while running in the rain my wandering mind rearranged some commonly quoted wisdom into one cohesive rhyme:

Two men looking through prison bars, one sees mud and one sees stars. We don’t see the world as it is, but as we are. So focus on the healing not on the scar.

Remixing Anais Nin, Dale Carnegie and Fred Rogers

Listen Silent

Stillness will lead you to a new awareness. Though it never really happens. Even the roots of a tree are on the move, finding water and soil while being still. Sitting motionless is a nice aspiration, but don’t forget to breathe. Breathe totally but listen closely and invite silence to access stillness. Stillness exists only behind the things. It’s the space that is not subject to motion.

Listen Stillness is Silent [+]

Contributing to the Art of Rap


Last year I illustrated and designed a book cover for a collection of rap interviews called “Words” by Brian Kayser [+]. There are some proper photos of that in the design portfolio [+] of this site. Brian is working on a second volume now and in the meantime I’m illustrating artists for his other interviews to be published to a couple of rap news websites, and

I spent many years working on art to support music projects. I contributed illustration and design to rap magazines in the days before twitter and soundcloud. I love being involved with these projects. It’s true to that era of media, creative culture and connecting to collaborate with people out of a mutual love of the art.

Resolutions, Backslides and Breakthroughs

After 2 consecutive years of keeping and building on my new year’s resolutions, this year I hit some speed bumps.

Despite the wobbles of plateau’d training in 2016, I just registered for my third consecutive Richmond Half Marathon and in 2017 I’m going to complete a full marathon. That’s the one thing. I’ll keep practicing meditation. I’m going to unlock more of my creative intuition and bring it further into action in my life — through art, design, writing.

But the new “one big thing” is training for and completing a marathon in 2017, my 40th year. I’ve already proven most of the benchmarks and have already begun on the road to achievement as a practice and a way of life. Small goals make big goals happen.

So now, I’m simply stating the big goal intentionally to anyone that reads this.

Sometimes that’s the hard part.

Here I go.