Sipping coffee with Kellen Roland

My Name is Kellen Roland and I have a deep passion for coffee. It has given me the reputation amongst a small, yet influential, group of people that I’m the “coffee guy.” Along with being the coffee guy I’ve also become even keel and patient. This is a reputation that I value, but it took a lot of patience before I could get there. When I was younger, I was irritable, fast to react, overly sensitive, and sometimes just mean. This all changed as I grew up. A big part of that maturation process was learning to be mindful, which was driven through learning and meditating everyday.

I am not a doctor, nor would I ever tell anyone to take advice without thoroughly sussing it out first. I am also by no means a shining beam of perfection. What I will say is that the following routines and life hacks work for me. It’s up to you to test them out and see if they fit. Every day I work on myself and invest in my well-being. The wonderful thing about life is that you get to start over every morning. And the easiest way to start your day is by developing a ritual: daily routines or habits that you do in order to cater to your well-being.  

Do you ever wake up and your brain already feels scattered? Do you start to feel overwhelmed before your feet hit the bedroom floor? Well, you are not alone. Most of us live in a constant state of anxiety, panic, stress, or fear. There is a bevy of remedies, quick fixes, silver bullets, and whatever else is current in the self-help market to address these common issues. But which ones really work?

I wake up at 6:15 AM every day. I reach over to grab my cell phone and turn on my Sonos so that my whole house fills up with music: Miles Davis or John Coltrane. I never look at my emails in the bed. There is no reason to allow someone else to set the intention or tone of your day for you. I found in my younger years that by going directly to my email in bed, I was allowing outside forces to set my mood. Instead, I set my intentions for the day. I drink a big bottle of water. Being hydrated is the key to health. I do a five minute stretching routine to wake my body up. I drink more water, visit the bathroom, and then I make my way to the kitchen. This is where the fun begins.

I go to the stove, grab my kettle, fill it up with filtered water, and place it on the stove until it comes to just under a boil. I then pick out the coffee for the day. I love African and South American coffees. Single origin. I nerd out on the tasting notes, usually gravitating toward fruity and floral flavors. If you are new to artisanal coffee, go with an Ethiopian or a Kenyan and you can’t go wrong. Fight the urge to pour copious amounts of cream and sugar in your coffee. Frankly, I think it ruins the coffee but to each their own. I, personally, order coffees from small batch roasters from all over the United States. They then work directly with the farmers in Africa or South America to source the beans. The way the beans smell before grinding makes the hair on my arms stand up. These are the little gems that give me joy and why this routine nourishes my soul.

Sit back, sip, and enjoy.  

After I drink my coffee, I usually take a poop. Being regular is important. It’s a sign of good health. Nothing to be embarrassed about here. After that, I do the most important activity in my life: meditation. I could talk for hours about why I meditate and what it’s done for me, but I will just leave it at this: there is a super power inside of all of us, waiting to be unleashed. Mediation is not the only way to unleash it, but it’s the most effective for me. My life has gotten exponentially better since I started meditating three and a half years ago.  

For me, the process of making coffee represents so much more than a tasty drink that gives an energy boost. It’s a small joy that I experience everyday in life. It’s a landmark that brings me back to center. It’s a way to take the feeling of “home” with me anywhere in the world. It’s a common language shared when traveling abroad. It’s hard to find any corner of the world where it’s not customary to start your day with coffee.    

Your daily joy can be coffee or something completely different.

The point is, we all need small pleasures in our daily lives. A micro pleasure can be more important than winning the lottery. In my eyes, I win a small, cute lottery every time I make and enjoy a nice cup of coffee.

If you ask yourself “what can I do everyday that helps me set my intentions?” you might find that these habits and rituals will help manifest your daily joys and successes. That routine of making my first cup of coffee lets me know that everything is going to be okay. Actually, it lets me know that things are better than okay; I am alive. I am grateful to experience this small pleasure that could otherwise be considered innocuous. For you, it could be a morning mediation, a short stretch in the morning. It could be a cup of tea. It could be a few page flips in your favorite book. The key is simply choosing what you want to do everyday to set yourself up for success. It’s all up to you. No one else will do the work for you. Then, just stay consistent.

Find the joy in small pleasures that happen regularly. You are the CEO of how you interpret every moment of your life. You can only control the controllables in life. How you react to these experiences is the single most important thing you can control. You’ve heard the quote about how filled the glass is. While it’s easy to dismiss it, it’s 100% a fact. You are either optimistic or pessimistic. The power of belief is real. A part of believing and being positive are small pleasures. The more small pleasures that you create, the more happiness and joy you’ll have. That, in and of itself, will attract joy and thus create more joyful moments. And when something doesn’t go as planned (which will happen) you will be primed to see the positivity in life.  

So let’s all enjoy a nice cup of coffee because we are alive and life only gets better from here. With that, I’ll leave you with something my father once told me: “a closed mouth doesn’t get fed.” That taught me to ask for what I want. His words have been so important throughout my life. I always tell my friends that no one wakes up in the morning thinking about how to pay you more; you have to ask for that promotion or raise. My initial interpretation of my dad’s advice was surface level, but now it means that I must create the world I want to live in. I used to let others know my intentions. Now, I let the universe know my intentions and we manifest them together. Our intentions are conveyed through our actions. Let your actions reflect your intentions and your intentions reflect your actions.

Oh yea, that thing my dad told me. He said son “a closed mouth doesn’t get feed”. Originally that taught me the lesson that I must ask for what I want. That has been so important throughout my life. I would always tell friends no one wakes up in the morning thinking about how to pay you more, you gotta ask for that promotion or raise. A human flaw is the thought we are mind readers. I’m not, are you? My initial interpretation of my dad’s advice was on the surface level. Now I see it on a deeper level. It now means that I must create the world I want to live in. I used to let others know my intentions, now I let the universe know my intentions and we manifest them together. Our intentions are conveyed through our actions.

Let your actions reflect your intentions and your intentions reflect your actions.

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Piece submitted by Kellen Roland for the seventh issue of UNDO Magazine. Photography by Nai Vasha. Kellen Roland puts action into words with his regular podcast covering coffee, basketball and things that don’t get said but often considered. Check out his recent episode on the fear of missing out below and subscribe to his regular content for more.

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