Welcome to episode three of the Cocoon Work podcast!
Today we are talking about mornings. Specifically, we’re talking about morning rituals. I’m not here to tell you how much lemon water you should drink, how you should meditate, or what time you should wake up. Rather, I’m here to go on an exploration of sorts with you. We are going to hear about the morning routine of three legends:
Bozoma Saint John, CMO at Netflix and badass business woman
Frida Kahlo, Artist, Feminist, Superhero
Lil Nas X, Visual and Recording Artist, King of the Internet
I’m so excited to share what I’ve learned about these three legends with you and to talk about mornings!
A quick look into my morning routine:
These days I start my mornings with movement. I typically wake up around 6:00am and walk my dog or go to an exercise/yoga class. Movement is really important for me right now — it sets my day up for more joy and productivity. I used to start my days with meditation and writing, but now things have shifted and what works most for me right now is exercising first thing in the morning. I’m also very into setting intentions. I like to light a candle to set a few intentions for the day, to center myself, and to send love and positivity out to the world. Not all of my mornings are perfect. Sometimes I roll over and pick up my phone. Practicing sacred mornings is something I strive for, I don’t always get it right and that’s okay!
Let’s get to the juicy bits — our legends.
Our first legend is Bozoma Saint John. Bozoma is currently the Chief Marketing Officer at Netflix. Prior to working at Netflix she served in leadership positions at Uber, Apple Music, Beats Music and Pepsi. She was named on Fast Company’s list of 100 Most Creative People. She is known in the business streets as Badass Boz and she is super inspiring. She is very much herself. She lives authentically in her power.
Bozoma often refers to the Phoenix and identifies with rising from the ashes again and again in her life. She was born in Connecticut. Her family moved between Ghana (where her family is from), Kenya, and the US throughout her childhood. She attended Wesleyan University and graduated with a degree in English and African American Studies. After college, Bozoma worked in advertising — working for Spike Lee and then Pepsico.
Bozoma does not conform to the typical corporate America brand — she is often dressed in bright colors and sequins. She does not dim her light. Rather, she lets everyone bask in the wake of her shine.
Onto Bozoma’s morning routine.
Here is a quote from Bozoma in Marie Claire magazine:
“My daily routine changes because I travel so much, but there are some philosophical things that never change. Whether I am running to the airport or running to take my daughter to school, I always pray in the morning to center myself. It helps me get ready for the day. No matter where I am, I check in with my daughter to see how she is, what she’s doing. On top of that, I work out so I can get my body in the same place that my mind is. After an hour and half or so of time to myself, I’ll then check into emails and work-related things. I give myself a chance to really get into my own day, to set my purpose, before engaging myself in something that someone else wants from me.”
-Bozoma Saint John, Marie Claire 2019
Boundaries are a bit of a buzzword these days, and for a reason. We can all, I especially, can learn from this.
Bozoma talked more about this on the Thrive Global podcast with Ariana Huffington. She says, “Whatever emails or text messages have come in during the evening or in the early morning are usually not in service to me.”
Before addressing any calls or messages for the day, Bozoma focuses on what’s most important — her daughter and getting her mind centered. She is fiercely protective of her morning hours and of setting time aside for herself.
The main takeaway from Bozoma Saint John’s morning routine is to fiercely protect your time, your mindset — set your day up the way you want to. You are most important.
Legend number two is… Frida Kahlo. Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist known for her portraits and self portraits which were infused with magical realism, fantasy, autobiographical elements and symbols of Mexican identity. Here is a blurb from fridakahlo.org:
Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is remembered for her self-portraits, pain and passion, and bold, vibrant colors. She is celebrated in Mexico for her attention to Mexican and indigenous culture and by feminists for her depiction of the female experience and form. Kahlo, who suffered from polio as a child, nearly died in a bus accident as a teenager. She suffered multiple fractures of her spine, collarbone and ribs, a shattered pelvis, broken foot and a dislocated shoulder. She began to focus heavily on painting while recovering in a body cast. In her lifetime, she had 30 operations.
Frida taught herself how to paint while in the hospital. She built an easel that allowed her to work from her bed since sitting and standing for long periods of time weren’t a possibility for her.
Here is a bit more from fridakahlo.org:
Life experience is a common theme in Kahlo’s approximately 200 paintings, sketches and drawings. Her physical and emotional pain are depicted starkly on canvases, as is her turbulent relationship with her husband, fellow artist Diego Rivera, who she married twice. Of her 143 paintings, 55 are self-portraits.
Onto Frida’s daily routine. Much of what is included in this episode about Frida comes from Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals: Women at Work.
Early on in Frida and Diego’s relationship, Frida accompanied Diego on his travels throughout North America as he fulfills his commissioned mural paintings. After some time, Frida tires of this and convinces Diego to return home with her to Mexico City. The couple commissions the architect Juan O’Gorman to build a home for them in the upscale neighborhood of San Ángel. The home was made of two houses (one for Frida, one for Diego) that were connected by an outdoor bridge. When all was calm between the couple, Frida’s morning routine was leisurely. She’d have breakfast with Diego, socialize with friends or stop into town for shopping and would paint in the afternoon. When the couple experienced more turbulent times, Frida’s morning routine varied.
In 1943, Frida began teaching art to children in underserved communities. She enjoyed teaching but felt as though it were another distraction from her artistic process. Her words:
“I start at 8 A.M. and get off at 11 A.M. I spend half an hour covering the distance between the school and my house = 12 noon. I organize things as necessary to live more or less “decently,” so there’s food, clean towels, soap, a set-up table, etc. etc. = 2 P.M. How much work!! I proceed to eat, then to the ablutions of the hands and hinges (meaning teeth and mouth). I have my afternoon free to spend on the beautiful art of painting. I’m always painting pictures, since as soon as I’m done with one, I have to sell it so I have moola for all of the month’s expenses. (Each spouse pitches in for the maintenance of this mansion.) In the nocturnal evening, I get the hell out to some movie or damn play and I come back and sleep like a rock. (Sometimes the insomnia hits me and then I am fuc-bulous!!!)”
What we can learn from Frida’s routine (or lack thereof) is that one doesn’t need to have an iron clad system of discipline to create masterpieces. Mason Currey features an excerpt of a letter of one of Kahlo’s friends, the artist Lucienne Bloch. She writes, “Frieda [sic] has great difficulty doing things regularly. She wants schedules and to do things like in school. By the time she must get into action, something always happens and she feels her day broken up.”
Known for her seemingly incessant creation of portraits, tumultuous relationship and marriage and uphill battle with health issues, Frida is a testament to the capabilities of the human spirit. If Frida can make masterpieces in the middle of chaos, so can we.
Time for our final legend… Lil Nas X. Lil Nas X is an artiste in every sense of the word. He is a rapper, a singer, a songwriter, a visual artist, a comedic genius and is the king of the internet. He is creativity in motion. He is the epitome, the purest essence of Gen Z. If you were to extract the most potent compound of Gen Z, it would be high in concentration of Lil Nas X. I’m thinking about the little capsule bath toys we got as kids — you put the capsules in the bath, the outer capsule dissolves and out appears a growing dinosaur sponge. If you were to buy Gen Z capsules, Lil Nas X would surely appear.
Words that come to mind when I think of Lil Nas X are authentic, clever, witty, creative. He creates, creates, creates. He is young, openly gay, and is serving himself authentically to the world. Here is a letter he wrote to himself taken from his Instagram feed:
“Dear 14 year old Montero, I wrote a song with our name in it. It’s about a guy I met last summer. I know we promised to never come out publicly, I know we promised to never be “that” type of gay person, I know we promised to die with the secret, but this will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist. You see this is very scary for me, people will be angry, they will say I’m pushing an agenda. But the truth is, I am. The agenda to make people stay the fuck out of other people’s lives and stop dictating who they should be. Sending you love from the future.” – lnx
Lil Nas X is a master of taking things people throw at him and shifting them into gold. He is an alchemist, a shapeshifter of sorts. It feels like he’s always ten steps ahead of us. He kills critics and trolls with kindness and creativity.
Here are some of his tweets for good measure:
Very grateful for Lil Nas X’s masterful use of Twitter.
Onto his morning routine: Lil Nas X is a self-proclaimed early riser. He loves waking up early and more often than not wakes up with his creative juices flowing. He eats a healthy breakfast (an acai bowl and avocado toast when featured on Vogue’s youtube channel) and exercises first thing in the morning. After working out he’s onto the studio, trolling us on the internet, or channeling his creativity in one form or another.
The takeaway from Lil Nas X is to be yourself. Be yourself unapologetically. Be yourself like you mean it. And start your day with movement.
Let’s end with two quotes — this wouldn’t be something I had my name on if Rumi weren’t involved somehow. Here’s our first quote by dear Rumi:
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep.
We love Rumi in this corner of the internet. Our next quote is from the German theologian, Meister Eckhart:
Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.
If you liked today’s episode, let me know on instagram @cocoon.work, be sure to subscribe wherever you’re listening so you don’t miss any self transformation treasure, and head over to katyawarner.co for today’s show notes and some self love freebies. Until next time, sending you a third eye light beam and a big ol’ hug.
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