This is Moe Aloha. He's a DJ, event organiser, part-time facilitator at The Man Cave and full-time legend. STUFF tapped the multi-hyphenate to feature in our launch campaign and it only took a few seconds on set to recognise the legendary qualities of this dude. Here, the Melbourne-based London native spills the tea on his emotional hygiene, the qualities he looks for in a good mate, plus a bunch of other Moe-tivational material for you.
STUFF: What do you do and why do you love it?
Moe Aloha: “I love creating meaningful spaces for people. And I do that through the events that I run, the gigs I DJ at (whether that’s to ten or so people at a private function or at a festival in front of thousands), and I get to do that at The Man Cave as a facilitator. All these things are a life calling. Whenever I walk out of one of our The Man Cave workshops, I feel rejuvenated. Whenever I walk out of DJ booth (if the sets gone well!) I feel like I’m walking on clouds. With everything that I do for work it’s all about enhancing the life experiences of people and communities around me.”
What was the last or most memorable gig you've been to?
“Well, there have been a few. I DJ electronic music but I listen to everything. I think one of the best gigs that I’ve ever been to was the Pixies (my favourite band of all time) at Golden Plains last year. I went after a ten-day silent meditation retreat. The day the retreat finished I found out that they were headlining the final night at the festival. Having had this really powerful experience in nature with nothing but my own thoughts, and meditating for 14 hours a day, I thought it would be a good idea to cap that off by sneaking into the festival! I ran straight to the front as soon as I got there and they started playing Hey. I spent the next 90 minutes in a pure blissful, ecstatic state.”
Other than the retreat, what else do you do to look after yourself?
“The retreat was a great way to reset. Being in nature — whether that's camping, or being by the beach— can be a really cleansing experience in itself.
In the context of this conversation, I would say that I think emotional and spiritual hygiene is just as important and personal hygiene! It’s something we often forget. We shower and brush our teeth every day and that’s just routine, but emotional hygiene is really important to me too.
A key thing for me is making sure that I meditate every single day. I will do anything from 30 to 60 minutes per day. Then I'll also do some sort of body movement – yoga or tai chi — to get the energy flowing through my body and keep me in shape. I also journal every other day. It's important to schedule in some me-time every now and then too: listening to music, reading a book or doing something that isn’t just staring at a screen."
What's your meditation technique?
“I’m a purist. I don’t do visualisations or apps. I’m fully focused on breathing and following my breath. I’ll find somewhere nice and quiet, like my garden, sit down somewhere in the sun, and relax. Nice! I accept any thoughts that come along, let them pass like clouds in the sky, then bring it back to the breath. Every time I do that, it’s like muscle repetition for my brain. If I skip days I notice the difference: I’ll be more scattered and I find it hard to focus.”
Any tips for those wanting to give it a go and not knowing where to start?
“I am the most ADHD dude in the world and I found it impossible to do at first. With anything I try, I always go really hard: I’ll start something and dive right in. That’s not always the best approach when you want to build a sustainable habit!
When I first started, I would try to do 10 minutes and I wouldn’t even get past the first one or two. I would then get really frustrated with myself. The book, Atomic Habits by James Clear, really allowed me to wrap some structure around it. One of his key tips is to start small. Even if it’s just one minute, you start there and do that every day and build up the routine.
I started doing two minutes a day for the first week. By the end of that week, I was doing seven, by the end of week two it was up to 10 minutes. Over time, it’s grown and grown. There are some wicked apps like Headspace and Calm, and Sam Harris does amazing guided meditations. Give it all a go! It brings so much joy and positivity.”
Has there been a standout experience at one of The Man Cave workshops that you can tell us about?
“They are all so powerful. On the whole, coming back from the second lockdown in Melbourne into workshops was pretty memorable. Some of these lads hadn’t seen their mates for nine months. Imagine that? Many of them had gone through hectic experiences. Seeing the number of boys who were showing up for one another, the camaraderie and bravery was all very powerful.
We have boys telling us constantly that they've never been that quiet as a group, and telling us that the experience has changed their lives. Hearing that on a daily bases is amazing. It profoundly affects you. As facilitators we often remind one another that it’s not a job we have to do but instead, one that we get to do. For me it’s a privilege.”
What’s one change you’re seeing in our community that excites you?
“The evolution of mental health and how conversations are opening up is probably what excites me the most. We’re really starting to evolve now. When I was at school in London twenty years ago, I didn’t even know what anxiety or depression was. There would be that one strange kid in class that nobody spoke to that much, that no one would hear from or know how he felt. Now, there’s so much more sympathy and empathy around it these days. Now we’re all about discussing how we can manage and support each other."
Do you have a role model or someone in your life that really lead a path for you?
“This is always a really hard question for me. I’ve never grown up with healthy masculinity role models. My dad was in and out of my life. My oldest brother was in and out of jail. And I have another brother who I've never met before. I remember some teachers were okay but my school wasn't great. The people who really inspire me are my close friends. They say that you effectively morph into the closest five people to you and I’m so blessed to have the most amazing people I know in my close proximity! Two of them have just moved in with me.
They inspire me in terms of what a dude in 2021 should be like: they know how to have fun, they speak from the heart, they're authentic, they can dress well, and importantly, they can dance. I’m lucky that I get to observe that. I’ve never been one to watch a movie or follow a celebrity, I don’t have those role models. I guess that comes from having to raise myself up.”