Here’s to one year of Higher Thoughts

First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you who has followed my powerful little publication, Higher Thoughts every day over this last year. One year ago today, I had no idea what would happen from sharing myself on the interwebs on the daily. It has changed my life (I wrote at length about it here), and if it wasn’t for your love and attention, I wouldn’t have made it this far. Guaranteed.

Higher Thoughts morphed right along with me this last year. It started as a very ethereal, metaphysical, spiritually-charged publication when I was trying to figure my life out. Since then, even though it remains a bit on the personal development side, it’s taken on a slightly more practical tone aimed at inspiring fellow conscious creatives. I hope you didn’t mind the evolution it’s taken.

I wanted to write this transmission to let you know what to expect from me moving forward into year number two. You’re busy, so I’ll jump right into it…

Going micro with Higher Thoughts

A part of me really wanted to stop this daily blogging madness and just make Higher Thoughts a weekly publication. But there’s something in my bones that’s calling me towards keeping HT going on the daily. Plus, I heard from far too many of you that you were sharing your morning coffee with my articles. This is the biggest honor I’ve ever received. I’d be a fool to not respect that. So, I’m announcing here that the daily posts will continue.

Throughout this last year, this project has given me an excuse to become more self-aware. What I learned about myself, among other things, is that I have a tendency to get up in my head if I’m not careful. Like, way up there. I found that I need to focus on more tactile, real-life stuff to keep me balanced with my introspective nature.

So, right now, I’m at a place where I want to get out of my head and more into my life.

To date, Higher Thoughts has been a collection of bigger, more universal, 30,000-foot-view concepts. In all honesty, as awesome and transformative as it’s been, writing a Higher Thought every day has worn me out:)

So, this year, I want to go more micro. To zoom in and share more of me at the day-to-day level. You know, like we’re literally chatting over coffee (I may even change the name of the publication to something honoring this — I dunno). I’d love to showcase my handiwork. To share more of my processes. And to get a bit more random and show the universality in the particulars of my life.

So, look for shorter, pithier, albeit powerful-as-ever Higher Thoughts. I’m really going to try to keep the entries here like espresso shots of creative soul juice to take into your day. It might be a photo. A poem. A short story. A remark. Or, occasionally, a long essay.

I want to show that higher thoughts are present in not only the big ideas, but in the small, minute details of daily life.

Sound good?

Okay… Before I go, there’s one more thing I want to share with you…

My new publication!

I’ve eluded to the game of golf a couple times throughout this last year, but it hasn’t been a big focus of mine for years. What you may not know is that golf was once the main focus of my life.

I discovered the game of golf when I was 12. At that time in my life, my mom was battling breast cancer. She was turning to alcohol to numb the pain. And my extended family of dysfunctional, hurtful, drug-addicted criminals were closing in on us. It was unraveling all around me.

Golf was my escape. By hopping on my bike — one hand on the handlebars, the other on the handle of my pull-cart — in 15 minutes, I could be transported to another world at our local par-3 course. The solitude of the game was an emotional salve — a Shangri-La where I could step away from the pain and focus my efforts entirely on chasing that little white ball around a beautifully manicured oasis.

When I was 16, my mom lost her fight. Golf saved me. It was my catharsis and it kept me out of trouble. I met solid people through the game — people who cared about me and saw my talent. It gave me hope.

Golf was my world. That par-3 course had an exceptional junior summer program. For a couple hundred bucks, we juniors got free range balls, group lessons, and greens fees after noon. My friends and I would meet there at sunrise and leave when it was dark. We shared countless Mountain Dews and hot dogs between marathon rounds of summer golf.

I went on to play on the high school team. I was no all-star — not quite good enough to go on tour — but I got into the business at a professional level after graduation. I called the golf course my office for 10 years as a club professional giving lessons, running tournaments, and managing the shop.

On the 18th at Olympic Club, SF looking extremely elitist

I walked some of the most beautiful real estate in the world during that stage of my life. I met celebrities, statesmen, and even my future wife through the game.

And then I got burned out.

When you’re a club pro, you work. A lot. And most of that work is done on days that most families have off — weekends, holidays, summers, etc. As I got to the stage of my life where I wanted to have a family of my own, I saw visions of myself in the future, at the golf course working while my family was hanging out at home. I knew I’d hardly see them if I followed this path.

In the end, it was a tyrant boss, the yearning for a family life, and a newfound love of writing that sealed the deal. I left the profession 5 years ago and have only played a few times since.

I don’t miss the business, but I miss the game every day. It’s a strong part of my history that’s etched into my soul. It’s a game that I want play with my daughter as she grows up. One that has taught me so, so much about life. From honor to etiquette to gamesmanship, healthy competition, self-improvement, dealing with failure (a lot of this), and much, much more.

Playing Through will be a collection of stories and life-lessons in and around the game of golf. As far as I can tell, no one out there is doing it the way I want to do it. The nature of online content around golf is limited to swing instruction, product reviews, and historical facts about the game.

Sorry, I’m putting myself to sleep just thinking about it…

I want to go deeper. I want to mine the game for all of its lore and legends and dig into the sub-culture. I want to show the game of golf as the ultimate life-transformational tool it is.

Golf is a microcosm of life. Even though you may be playing against your best buddies for pocket change, it’s really just you. Through an average round of golf, we’re provided with ample opportunities to meet face-to-face with our ego, our shame, our anger, our joy, our connection to other people and with nature. In golf, we can’t tackle our opponents, block their shots, or illegally record their practices (although it would be a hell of a lot more interesting if we could, I suppose).

I can’t think of any other game like it.

In Playing Through, I want to write my way through the game and express how it has shaped me as a human being and how it continues to do so. I want to tell tales of hilarity and shared humanity. I want to show golf as being accessible to all people — not just old, rich, lame white dudes. (I grew up on welfare and the game worked for me.)

You’ll read about the old-timer I used to play with who liked to pick up rattle snakes and play with them as we waited to hit our tee shots (you know, just to pass the time). You’ll read about my stops to the oldest bar in Nevada and tall tales with the local ranchers/golfers. You’ll read about how breaking a windshield with an errant shot taught me a lesson about integrity and decency. You’ll read about how I worked at the club in Chicago that the movie Caddyshack was based on.

And that’s just from the past. Who knows what stories will occur in the future.

So, whether you’re a golfer or not, I hope you’ll follow the publication, read my stories, and spread them around. I’m not sure how regularly I’ll be posting there, but I hope at least once every couple weeks.

And thanks again for following Higher Thoughts. I plan on an even better, more deep second year of this publication. Below are the 10 most recommended stories for your enjoyment. If there’s anything you need, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

As Ever,

Jonas

Higher Thoughts Year-1 Top 10 Most Recommended Posts:

What I learned after 30 straight days of blogging

Feeling tired? Do more.

I deleted my Facebook app (and it’s the best decision I’ve made in a long time)

Perfectionism is just fear in a fancy suit

Create like no one knows your name

The value of sitting under a tree

Don’t compete. Create.

Don’t write like you think ‘writers’ write

What you don’t bring forth will destroy you

I just want to write

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