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September 23, 2021

As I write this on a Saturday morning, I’m sitting with a cup of coffee in our new home in Altadena. One of my favorite parts about this house are its old windows and doors; the kind you find in homes built in or prior to the 50s around Los Angeles (“They don’t make them like they used to!”). Here in the kitchen I have most of them open, letting the cool morning air and birdsong filter in as the sun quietly moves the world from pale blue and grey to gold.
It’s a remarkable thing, getting to experience the world. 
We find ourselves in an age where the combination of technology and its byproduct, hyper-connectivity, have brought both an unprecedented rate of change and the means to be aware of it every step of the way. The volume and magnitude of information can be overwhelming. The increased connectivity can absorb our attention and somehow leave us feeling less connected to others and the Earth.
And still, the change continues. So it goes. 
On the cusp of becoming a father, I find myself reflecting more on the world we’re bringing our little boy into, and the ways one can move through it. What’s the antidote to the overstimulation the world can bring? Denial or withdrawal is not the answer. With change comes opportunity, and now is a time to be engaged—to create the world we want to see. How do we go about being as active participants without succumbing to overwhelm and burning out?
I keep coming back to the idea of quality. Quality time—alone, with loved ones, with nature, with friends. Quality produce and ingredients to nourish our bodies. Quality coffee (naturally). Quality of intentions we set for ourselves, and dreams. 
We’re constantly pitched on life hacks, bio-hacks, ways to optimize and streamline and become more efficient, super-products that promise to change our lives. Not to say there’s no value there (to each their own), but it seems to me the secret to a life well-lived does not come from the outside, but within. 
We don’t measure happiness in numbers and stats. It’s the feeling that emerges when we lose ourselves in moments. 
That’s why the practice I find most worthwhile is the one of ritual and stillness. These moments act as buffers, pauses in the day to reconnect with ourselves and the space around us. Whether it’s journaling, making a cup of coffee, or sitting and looking outside. It can be doing something or doing nothing, but it’s done with intention. 
Soon enough, I’ll be adding playing or reading with my son to that list. And my one main wish is to have time to be fully present with him. To share this remarkable opportunity we have together, to be alive.
Casey Wojtalewicz
Altadena, CA
I almost always have music on at home. It's amazing how much it can elevate the mood, enhance the morning ritual, and encourage creativity. Here's a new collection I've been playing a lot at home lately. Hope you enjoy!
Tip: I always encourage friends to change the crossfade settings in Spotify to the max — 12 seconds — for a nice, seamless and evolving listening experience. Go to Settings > Playback to adjust this.

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