Hiphop Lesson #2: Master the Basics (Part 1)

abc123blocksIn a time period where the word “basic” is used to describe people as shallow or dull, I have recently experienced numerous situations that reminded me of how valuable being a slave to the basics can be. I consider the first level of mastery in any art form, and maybe even in any profession, to be where the foundations of your craft are so deeply engrained within your mind that they intertwine into the fabric of your being.

As I’ve been discovering the significance of mastering the basics of Hiphop dance styles, I’ve been tangentially thinking about the BASICS in life that I have to pursue mastery over in order to obtain success daily: my Belief systems, my Attitude, my time of Solitude, my Interpersonal relationships, my Cognition, and my Self Esteem. This blog post will focus on the BASics.


Recently, I’ve been dealing with how much I believe in myself as a giver and how much I believe in God’s provision through other people. As many of you who are reading may know, I have just reached my goal on a “Gofundme” campaign to help send me to Bates Dance Festival later in the summer! It’s super exciting and humbling, but I have to admit that I was insecure about reaching my goal when creating the campaign. I believe my uncertainty came from questioning what I have done to deserve the help of others.

My inquisition got me thinking about how giving I am, especially in regards to finances. What I realized is that having a heart to give financially is not something that comes naturally to me. I have always blamed it on the fact that I have very little money, but I hold the statement true that if you are not a giver with a little, you won’t be a giver with a lot. And so, I was weary about asking for money knowing this fact about myself. As I witnessed the generosity of so many through my “Gofundme” campaign, however, I was, and am, constantly convicted to change that characteristic about myself.

But I’m human, and I’m selfish sometimes. For me, belief comes into play when I battle to overcome my selfishness in order to trust the saying, “You cannot out-give God.” I haven’t seen this in my life yet– you kind of have to first give in order to try and out-give God– but I have seen this in the lives of others. So, I’m working daily on believing that God will provide for me, even more than before, as I go about my life with a giving heart in all ways, but especially in my finances.

What are the things that you believe in that help you become the best possible you? Are you actively chasing those beliefs? Are you ignoring them because they push you out of your comfort zone? Constantly sharpening what you believe in and how you are living out those beliefs, to me, is a key basic principle that will allow you to grow in your daily life.


My Dad and I like to use the word phenomenological whenever we discuss the unique perception each person has during any given situation. Controlling how you perceive your phenomenological experience is a tiring, yet crucial, fundamental discipline. I’m stating the obvious: life is beautiful, but it also throws a shit-ton of crap at us every day. Just as obvious… or maybe not… is that it’s the way in which we respond to the events in our daily lives that determines the state of our greater livelihood.

I believe there are numerous ways to handle your attitude during the everyday instances of life, but firstly, I think a desire to stay positive, and a constant awareness of your emotions, is needed. For me, after I obtained that desire, I found that the simple-yet-not-so-simple acts of breathing and smiling helped a lot.

I’ve been taking yoga for the past couple of weeks and it’s one of the hardest things I’ve put my spirit through. My ego is constantly beaten down by tasks that easily remind me of how tight and inflexible my muscles are. It’s very easy for me to get frustrated during any moment of the hour session. My yoga instructor is notorious for combating my negativity with a reminder to breath through the pain (Shout out to Kim Wilczak who has been helping me with yoga for the past few weeks! Much love and thanks man!). There’s something about full body breathing that serves as a reminder of the deeper connection that one has with the intangible things of this world as one inhales from it and exhales into it.

There are sometimes when breathing isn’t coming easy, however. In yoga, I literally find myself panting because of the bind my lungs are in. One day I was in this lung-suppressing torque of a position with muscles shaking and pores sweating bullets when my instructor told me to just smile. As soon as my lips took the instruction into motion, a lightness came over me as I reflected on how lucky I was to be in that physically uncomfortable situation.

This whole thing may sound corny. But, whether it be yoga or something else, practicing practical steps to establish akopmo positive norm within your daily mindset is one powerful and worthwhile journey.


Now, I know everybody is different, so this is a thing that may not be universal…but maybe none of this is…which would be really awkward…

For me, I am a person that has never struggled to know when I need to get away from everything. I love people and I could not live without being invested in certain communities. However, the introvert in me just needs to get away from everybody and everything… like a lot. I believe taking designated time for yourself every day is a basic necessity. Sleep is the most typical and crucial time of solitude (which a lot of us also don’t get enough of), but I think there’s something valuable to becoming comfortable with consciously living with yourself.

I’ve mentioned in my previous blog post that this past semester included an early morning ritual: reading my bible, listening to podcasts, walking around my block, eating a full breakfast, etc. I look at each day in life as a battle to overcome. My morning solitude made available a consciousness to welcome life’s beautiful opportunities and to combat life’s challenging tribulations. Maybe I think of it all too deeply, but all I know is that I have never been able to go full-out without getting burnt-out during the marathon of a semester. This semester, however, I was able to give my full self to my responsibilities, and more, with gas still in the tank. I have to tribute that to my dedication to take time out to be with God and myself consistently.

As I wrote this, I came to the conclusion that a mastery over the basics lies in a dedication to the process. As soon as your perception of the basics goes from mastering to mastered, I believe you’ve lost. So, lets continue to find empowerment and encouragement in the knowledge that every day is an opportunity to showcase our abilities as unique individuals in our community and in this world. Blessings.

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