There are things that happen, good things, that can be traced back to very specific moments. You can follow the breadcrumb trail back to them and pinpoint that exact time when everything changed. 

It's not the big things, like finding a bunch of money, getting a dream job or winning a someone's love. It's always something so small that you don't even know it's there. But much later on, you can reflect on it and see that it was the drop that would become the ocean.

I had such a moment several months ago with Demacio Castellon. I'd known him for a couple of years, but it turns out I didn't really know him at all. 

His wife introduced us back then, and my only interactions with Demo were at the Academy Of Lions during workouts. He didn't say too much - just humbly threw himself into the work. I never really learned that much about his life outside of the Academy, but I sure had heard of the people he'd worked with.  

Madonna, Jay Z, Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, Wyclef Jean, Ludacris, Rihanna, Nelly Furtado... the list is long but only the tip of the iceberg of who this man really was. Despite working with some of the greats as an engineer & producer, Demo is most proud & passionate about people. Everyday people with the same challenges and dilemmas that he faced as a kid in mean Miami, dreaming of artists he hoped to work with one day. 

His wife had told me he was into some interesting projects as of late, and I was curious. It turned out we had a few mentors & teachers in common and I thought it was a good excuse to learn something. 

Demo has a lot going on, so I was expecting a quick chat & catch-up over coffee. It turned into a 4-hour marathon of insights, meditations and homework. He gave me things to read and some new habits to incorporate. Since that day in Yorkville, many things have changed for me.  Again, nothing on the scale of a lottery win, or an earth-shattering epiphany.  Demo didn't tell me anything really that new. But it was the way in which he told me, about the things that I already knew, that caused a monumental shift. 

He was very focused on my word choices during our conversation. Demo is highly tuned into the subtle linguistic choices we make in everyday speech.  Words can divulge deeper, lurking attitudes that dictate our lives - often times residue from harder times - that affect us in the present. It made a lot of sense; I took it to heart.

He suggested I focus on a few simple changes to my morning routine. To me, it was all very similar to working out: doing little things often with the knowledge & confidence that something powerful is happening under the surface. 

Take a listen to Demo on the podcast. Great stories along with a little homework. Music to your ears. 

- Dhani Oks

 

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THE CREDITS:

Demo Castellon  /  http://www.allmusic.com/artist/demacio-demo-castellon-mn0000919163  

Dhani Oks / Academy Of Lions Founder / @dhanioks

Music / Dirt Of Your Shoulder" by Jay Z / http://lifeandtimes.com/

 

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