Love is…

mindbody

I, as many folks do, tend to waiver between extreme self-care and love and total neglect of my self-actualization needs. After ending a really long and arduous “relationship” with a man for whom I cared deeply, I was left in this bizarre state of confusion about who and what I was. I had wrapped up so much of my identity in his perception of me, that when he removed me from his life, I had to completely reevaluate. Who the jazz is this JLR character? Who is Jessica Lauren? Jessica Lauren Hendricks?Are they the same person? Are they variations? What the heck was going on? Do I like coffee or do I believe it is destroying my teeth? Do I sometimes enjoy a craft beer and a delicious, fatty meal? Or do I only like to eat healthy food and snacks and go to the gym, run, and weight train 5 or 6 days a week? Is the banishment of this belly fat really my one and only goal? Do I give one single rat’s rear about learning to play guitar? Am I “built for this” insanely extreme lifestyle that I’ve allowed myself convinced is the one and only way to achieve my dream of supporting myself financially with my art? Is any of this me or have I, once again, allowed myself to be manipulated and purchased whole-heartedly someone else’s ideal JLR? Oh, and, there’s a whole lot of waaaaaay more intense stuff I could ask myself and answer here, but I’m simply not ready to go there with y’all. I mean, super whack stuff, y’all. Think, JLR, “you walk like a dude. You should fix that. It’s not attractive or lady-like.” Whoa. I don’t even walk right, bro?

So after some months of soul searching, relatively heartless “dating” attempts, healing my heart and letting go of a great deal of anger and bitterness, I finally figured it out. I loooooove coffee (and am incredibly thankful that I chose to venture into the new local coffee shop, because it just so happened that the very likely love of my whole life was there and now we’re in mad love and bringing more joy to one another than either of us imagined possible…even from 7,776 miles away at the moment. eeeeek!) I am no drunk, but I like a really good, carefully crafted beer from time to time. I love delicious food. I love exercise and feel fantastic when I’m fit and strong, but I like to balance my intake of very healthy nutritious food with some not-so-healthy pleasure foods too. Sometimes, I even say “SCREW IT!” and eat a whole bunch of fatty-delicious southern tasties for days. So, the snaps, what?! I’m stuck in this human body with taste buds for a reason, bro! I have absolutely no interest in playing guitar. It bores me.

I am “built for this” hustlin’ lifestyle. I work hard and I like working hard, but there’s more than one way to skin a damned cat, folks. The minute someone tells you that they have figured out the Way to achieve something, close your ears…especially if said advisor has been following that path for a long time and has yet to achieve said thing. Duh. I will sing and sing and sing. I will perform my tail off. I will practice and I will work hard. But I will not sacrifice my general happiness to achieve any “dream.” I will not sacrifice my mental health to please another human, ever. Guess what? I’m finding there is a way to chase dreams and work hard without destroying interpersonal relationships, neglecting your desires and joys, and feeling like a failure every single day.

JLR, where are you going with all this?

Well, I am saying all this because, yesterday, in meditation, it came to me that I needed to write this blog entry. It needs to be said. I want all the everyones who’ve ever allowed themselves to fall into the trap I did to work on forgiveness. Forgive yourself. Forgive the human who brainwashed you (whether intentionally or unintentionally–that’s what happened). It’s all part of the journey. I’m pretty dang close to completely forgiving myself and I think yesterday, in that meditation, I did some of my final work to forgive him.

Forgiveness is powerful stuff, but it is an active process. It may happen passively without effort, but It will take much, much longer and…no, scratch that. It’s an ACTIVE process. I just don’t think it ever happens passively and without effort. You gotta do the work. Period. Get busy. And don’t do it for that one who needs to be forgiven. Do it so you can have a more fulfilling life. Do it for love. Do it for romance and magic. Do it for that perfect person out there in the world looking to bring you joy. And don’t you ever let ANYONE kill your joy. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t have it all. Or do…whatever. Do what you want, but know this: I’m gonna have it all, because I know that I can.

Aside: I just started my yoga practice again after about 8 years of neglecting it. Here’s the thing, though: I have the coolest hippie dippy parents in the whole world. They were teaching me how to connect my movement and my healing with my breath as soon as I could comprehend that I was, in fact, breathing and moving. I was designed and cultivated for yoga practice. Tuesday night, just as I settled into shavasana/savasana (corpse pose where you release all work and find complete relaxation) my right ear started ringing. I noticed it and then said to myself “I don’t need that. I let go of you, ring.” And do you know it stopped immediately? That’s how it works, y’all. Sometimes I forget that the mind controls the body–not vice versa. We always have a choice. Always. Do with that what you will. peace, lovies. xoxo

If I Never Make It

If I never “make it,” I won’t mind. I’ll just keep doing what I am here to do. I’m an entertainer and a world changer. I’m here to rock your world, yo. lol

freeIn the last couple of months, I have squashed demons that I, at one time, thought would claim my soul–or at least haunt the rest of my days. I want to testify, though: Let Go of Fear. Let Go of Expectation. Let Go of the Past and Embrace THIS Moment. Since I let go, I have been overwhelmed with opportunity. I can hardly keep up with the magic that is happening in my life. Don’t get me wrong, this version of life has presented it’s own set of challenges, but overall, I’ll take it! I want to acknowledge that I have had plenty of help along the way. In the form of companions, friends, family, and mere acquaintances, I have been elevated to a new level of self-awareness and actualization. I feel so free and strong now, but it has not come without cost. I have experienced great grief, heartache, and pure anger along the way. Here are some things I have learned:

1) I am easily manipulated. I have to be very careful with my intention. If I am not grounded, I can be controlled. However…call my character, integrity, or heart into question, and you will lose your power over me. I know exactly who I am.

2) Now that I know who I am, and have accepted my worth, I do not tolerate disrespect very well. I have recently been amazed at the total lack of communication abilities among many adult humans. Adults should be able to communicate effectively. Use your damn words, people. Do NOT leave people hanging–even if what you say may hurt them. Speak your truth. (This is something I’m getting pretty good at, but still fail often. I know it’s hard to speak truth sometimes, but it’s the only way.)

3) My connection to Spirit, the Universe, God, or whatever you call the Loveglue that holds it all together, is of utmost importance to my growth and progress in every aspect of my life. When I remain centered, set a pure intention, and remember what I am, serendipitous things happen at every turn. Don’t lose faith. Life is full of wonder when we’re looking.

4) My momma tells me that intention is important…I believe her. When it’s time to go out into the world, set a pure intention. Not just, “What am I gonna do today?” but “Why am I gonna do what I’m about to do?” Here’s the deal: the Universe, God, Spirit, Loveglue, works for the good of all. It’s like a river. It is always flowing toward the greater good. You can be complacent and just sit on the bank and go nowhere.  You can even fight what you are and what the Loveglue is trying to do and paddle upstream if you want.  But, I’m finding that if you set your course for the greater good and just float easily with the current, life provides everything you need to make your way in the world.  If your intention manifests from a place of love, you can’t fail.

5) I love coffee and good food and I don’t care who knows it. Myeah.

Becoming Became

Becoming cover

Purchase the album at http://www.jlrmusic.com to engage in the listen along below 

I did this several blogs ago with somebody else’s album and now I’m gonna do it with mine. Before we go any further, you should go here. I like to call this a “listen along.” It’s basically just what the old school would call “liner notes;” and I think those are essential to have on a project like this. This is a story–a deeply personal story. I want to be sure that everyone who listens has access to my process, if they want it.

Otherwise, stop here. I think it’s important that art remain subjective to those who want to experience it without bias, but I also know that, as an artist, I am deeply fascinated by the creative process. I love to know what folks were thinking when they wrote or what sculptors were feeling when they made. I love it, so I know others must too.

Here we go: These first two songs are introductory. If this were a book, they would be the preface.

1) Never Know – I wrote this when I was in a really vulnerable place. It sounds so powerful and self-assured, but really it was like a battle cry. It felt like it just had to be said. I was so tired of feeling like I had to fit into somebody else’s idea of who I was supposed to be or reach what they had decided my “potential” was. I was claiming my independence. Otherwise, I think the song speaks for itself.

2) Becoming – This is my favorite song on the album. The first two verses and the “chorus” came out all at once…all stream-of-consciousness like…just as they sound like they did. I don’t remember doing any editing at all on that part of the song. Unfortunately, that’s all that existed of the song until one of the last days in the studio. I knew I wanted my friend, Osyrus, to rap on this song once I had gotten that first section recorded. So I went to him one evening and played all the songs I had rough cuts for, including this one. At that point, it was called “Float Off” and the album had no name. I was thrilled when he liked the track and agreed to write/record a feature on it. And now, I am elated because the song would not be much without his addition. I just love it. I love all the figurative language and the way he experimented with a new tone of voice. It’s exactly what I didn’t even know I wanted. The bridge part was as organic as the rest of it as it came to me in the studio while I was waiting for Osyrus to arrive at the studio. I knew the song was not quite finished and that it needed something to bring it full circle. So I just had KEV play the section over and over and I started writing. I had been hearing this faster, near-twisting pattern, for weeks, but I just didn’t have words for it. Once I gave my attention to it, it came very quickly and with the extra ears and brains of my pop and KEV, I got the bridge to come out. Oddly, aside from Osy’s verse, that turned out to be my favorite part of the song. And thus, the title track was born.

END OF INTRO. NOW THE STORY BEGINS.

I should warn you that this is a…dunDunDUN….CONCEPT ALBUM. It does tell a story. While each song has it’s own two legs and stands perfectly alone, I feel they are strongest when experienced as a unified whole.

3) Cipher – This song was 607’s idea. He brought me the chorus and a few lines of the first verse and I ran with it. As the story began to materialize, I realized this was the most logical first chapter. Girl finds freedom and independence after divorce in a fun, laid-back night cruising the city with her girlfriends. That’s it. It’s really a very simple song, but I think it perfectly sets the tone for the story’s beginning. 

4) Any Old Toy – This is the only song on the album that I have doubts about. Everyone I’ve played or performed it for really likes it…especially the boys; but I struggle with it’s completely adult theme. I wrote it and wholeheartedly stand behind the message, but sometimes I worry that I’ll catch flack for putting it out in the world. Oh well, risk is part of the creative process. AND: It’s an integral part of the story. In “Cipher,” the girl goes out on the town with friends. In this song, she’s found someone special during her night out. Based on the way he treats her, she decides he’s not just “any old” boy toy, but that he could actually be someone worthy of investment. 

5) My Person – I like this one. It feels happy. It reminds me of a time in a relationship when I felt really, really good with my partner. I was in love. When I wrote this, I truly would have done anything in the world to make this one happy–or at least I tried my damndest. Every part of me said “THIS IS THE ONE!!! MAKE IT WORK!!” And so, My Person is about the elusive “one” that every stupid romantic comedy or novel tries to make us believe exists. 

6) Fill U Up – This is another one co-written with 607. He had the beat and the chorus. I liked it a lot and so I wrote some verses. I wasn’t sure if I was going to put this one on the album, but as the story evolved, it fit right in. This is about that feeling I mentioned above: wanting, simply, to give your partner peace–to fill him/her up with your love and to restore them in the way only sweet love can.

7) Paper Boat – Paper Boat came from the end of my marriage. I had this crazy period of about 2 months where I wrote and recorded prolifically. I would scour soundclick for beats and then write and write and edit and record and edit some more in garageband on my laptop. It was slow, but I had so much to get out. It just had to be done. Anyhow, Paper Boat was the first song I wrote in that whole series. I always felt close to it, but when I played it for people, it got a varied response so I wasn’t ever sure what to do–if anything–with it. Like several other songs on this project, though, this one just fit once the story began to develop. This was the perfect song to illustrate that moment when a relationship falls apart. It’s about the person who is right there all the time while everything is smooth and easy, but as soon as the going gets choppy, that joker gets going. And that’s that.

8) Agree 2 Disagree – 607 and I worked out this beat together, but most of the credit should go to him as I only have ears and ideas. I have no idea how to work those machines that make beats…yet. He wrote the first verse and the chorus and I wrote the second. Everything that needs to be uttered aloud about this song is already in it. It’s a very sad song. I don’t like to listen to it.

9) Been There Done That – I can only take credit for the tag at the end of this song and the life that is breathed into any musical creation when it’s performed. 607 wrote this song. I don’t feel very close to it because I didn’t make it, but I do thoroughly enjoy performing it and audiences really seem to feel it. It’s obviously about the time when a person says “Enough is enough.” 

10) New Best Friend (Reprise) – This is a finish and remaster from the EP “The Mad Teacher.” I loved this song when 607 and I wrote it for that project. Time and money ran out, though, and we only recorded half a song. As soon as I started making this album, I knew this song deserved some attention–at least finishing. It’s an important song. The first tattoo I ever got was a lotus on my forearm. The lotus is a symbol of wisdom because it has to push up through mud and water to bloom into this beautiful lily. Like the lotus, we gain wisdom (and, thus, beauty) through pain and struggle. That’s the message of this song. Out of the tribulations of a failed relationship, one finds peace when she (he) accepts herself (himself) by herself (himself). “Just smile and go turn up this song.”

11) Sweet 4 Weak – This is my second favorite song on the album. I wrote this song in pieces. I had written the verses for something 607 was making. They didn’t work for that so I just held onto them. Then I found the music and it made me wanna dance. It just made me feel good, so I held onto it. A month or so after all of that, I was listening again and the chorus came to me. Then I worked those old verses in and wrote a bridge et Voila! I know it sounds like it time-warped from ’87 or something, but I frickin’ love it. It’s the real anthem of the album. It’s so empowering to me. It’s the song, that when I hear it, I imagine all my dreams coming true. I can see a crowd of thousands singing along, fists in the air, feeling so powerful and strong that our collective consciousness illuminates the whole world. Some people don’t get me. They question my intentions. They wonder if it’s all a show or if I genuinely give a damn. Well, only time will tell, but I’ll say this: I’m here to make the world better. I’ve known that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, since I was 16. I’m here to connect people who would otherwise find cause to hate one another. I’m here to bring joy and foster enlightenment and self-actualization in every human with whom I come in contact. That’s why I’m here. I know that now, and I don’t ever want to deny it again. It’s here in black and white so if ever I reach these lofty goals of performing for thousands and I begin to lose sight of my purpose, somebody can refer me back here. And I’ll be reminded. 

Thanks for listening.

 

xoxo

JLR

JLR’s Back

Heart v. Brain

Always, I am here in the middle.

I had written a really long piece about how shitty some folks have been treating me lately. Then I somehow, computer-magically, lost it all. I think it was divine intervention.

The gist of it is this: I lost myself in other people, again. I do it all the time. I let the way that others treat me or think or speak about me affect my sense of self-worth. This only happens when I’m vulnerable, though. And I’m only vulnerable when I quit doing what I’m on this Earth to do. I’m here to create art, entertain, and connect people. That is why I was born. When I quit honoring my purpose, I become insecure and therefore vulnerable to the nastiness of the world at large.

So, yesterday, I came back from all that. I was on my way back to a really sad place. I took that little sabbatical a few weeks ago, and nearly fell into a deep, dark, depression because of it. I know my limits and still, I allowed myself to get sidetracked by frivolous, meaningless, interactions with good looking boys, late nights and mornings, delicious but nutritionless “food,” and a choking love affair with netflix and self-pity. But I’m back now.

Yesterday, I remembered why I’m here. I remembered that I have a project to finish. And this ain’t just any project. This is a project that is so special to me because it’s truly mine. I’m so happy about making it. The process has been so FUN and invigorating! I can’t wait to share it with all of you.

Sure enough, as soon as I remembered, Serendipity returned to me. I created my new website yesterday (all by myself, I might add–and I am no web designer. Also, it looks badass, #ifIdosaysomyself). I met a really cool dude who I look forward to teaming up with to make cool art in the near future (Shouts way out to Pur3ly Root3d clothing company and music makers). I also posted this teaser track from the new album to get you folks excited about what I’m just about ready to show you. It was a fantastic day that put me back in my body. I don’t know where I was floating off to, but once again the music saved me. Stay tuned. So, so much more to come.

Folks is Folks

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I sneaked away to an undisclosed location for a sabbatical of sorts. In my time here, I’ve had a chance to visit with some friends–old and new–to rest and recharge, do a lot of observing and thinking, and to watch a ton of World Cup football. All in all, it’s been a really good little break from the grind. I feel like I pressed pause on life and warped into this parallel universe where there are no projects or deadlines or people who stress me out. I recommend this if you’re a constant doer like me.

Two days ago, I had absolutely no agenda. No friends to visit, no where to be, and absolutely nothing that had to get done. So I parked my car at a central location and set out to entertain myself by myself. My first find was this perfect bookshop. I spent about an hour there reading Christopher Hitchens essays and a lil chunk of Goethe’s Faust Pt. II (completely random for me, I know, but there were books, literally, everywhere–floor to ceiling, wall to wall–so I just grabbed what piqued my curiosity). After leaving the bookshop, I wandered up the street and came across a very old friend who I hadn’t seen in ages. He and his girl were sitting on the street side patio of a neat little bar and invited me to sit and visit with them a moment, so I did. That was a cool surprise. I know what you’re thinking: “JLR, this is all so hipster-y of you.” Yes, it is. I was purposefully aimless. Purposeful aimlessness is a very hipster-y quality. Whoops (as another old friend of mine was so quick to say when he did something I didn’t love but he sorta didn’t care and was gonna do it anyway cuz it’s what he wanted to do–lol).

I didn’t want to intrude too much on my old friend’s date night, so I only sat with them a little while then continued wandering up the street. I next found myself in a pub where there was said to be a reggae band playing later that evening. I hung out there a while and just watched folks. I like this. I made a point of putting away my phone so I could just watch and wonder. I like thinking about what people are thinking and what their various facial expressions mean. I like considering what brought couples and groups of people together–trying to decipher by their interactions whether they actually like or appreciate one another or they’re just together superficially. So I stayed a while.

I decided at that point I wanted my book, because if I was just going to be people watching all night, I needed somewhere to write down the ideas that were coming to me and I really hate typing notes into my phone. I like actually writing. So I went to get my book. On the way back to the bar, I found a food truck selling crawfish pie, so I had a pie and, afterward, a delicious ice cream cone (vacation, yo. don’t judge me.). When I was ordering my pie, this young gentleman who only raps about “drugs, killin’ folks, and bread,” (his words, not mine) struck up a conversation with me about my book. I told him I sing and rap a little and that’s where I write my music and keep up with my life. As soon as I said “rap,” he told his friend to give him a beat and then proceeded to freestyle about smoking and selling weed, murder, and money. He finished and insisted I rap for him next. I told him I didn’t know if he’d like what I had to say as I don’t rap or sing about drugs, killin’ folks, or bread much; but that I’d give him what I had. He laughed and said “go.” So I did a chunk of one of my new songs called Becoming and he really liked it. This was really cool, because it’s the most abstract, metaphorical, and bizarre poetry song on the album. When I finished, he repeated two lines back to me that he connected with and explained to me why he liked them. This is important because usually if people are just buttering your bread, they won’t do this. They’ll just say it was “cool”, or “good”, or whatever. This one was a valuable and authentic connection.

So I told him “peace” and ate my pie and watched the people some more…ice cream cone…more watching. The reggae show had started by that time. I went on back to the bar. The band was pretty good so I settled into a corner and wrote this song/poem:Image

 

I’m not sure it will turn into anything, but with the right music, might be neat. We’ll see. That’s about how all of my writing goes. It comes in bursts and then I judge and manipulate it later. While I was writing, one of the bar servers walked by a few times, then caught my eye so he could say, in a really awkward attempt at connection, “Dear Diary, so I’m at this bar…” I guess folks are not supposed to do anything at bars except get wasted and figure out which stranger they’ll be taking home at last call. Oh well, it’s cool. I understand I probably looked weird. Then this old man with looooong, silky white hair and a matching beard came over to close-talk me further into my corner. He showed me his smart phone that was “just like [mine]” and I humored his, also awkward, attempt at connection as long as I could stand being cornered. At that, I packed up and called the evening “done.” It was a good day. Lessons: 1) Sabbatical is important. Now I can go home rejuvenated and finish my project; and 2) To echo one of the best one-hit-wonders there ever was, Harper Lee, “Folks is folks”…wherever one may roam. 

 

I Am Becoming

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The number 11 is a Master Number numerologically speaking. Apparently:

The 11 symbolizes the potential to push the limitations of the human experience into the stratosphere of the highest spiritual perception; the link between the mortal and the immortal; between man and spirit; between darkness and light; ignorance and enlightenment. This is the ultimate symbolic power of the 11.

So I’m finding it perfectly accurate to title my first full-length solo album Becoming and to fill it with exactly 11 carefully written, chosen, and placed songs. I am currently experiencing the most tumultuous time I have ever experienced in my life. Everything feels as if it is in a constant limbo–teetering between greatness and mediocrity. I feel the weight of every decision I make these days. I feel the importance of every single moment. The gravity of life is palpable right now.

I am sitting here at Mylo Coffee Co., my favorite working spot away from home, on a Thursday at noonish because I have been on paid administrative suspension for the last week. My teaching career hangs in the balance because of a choice I made over a year and a half ago. Although I was very proud of the choice at the time, I now understand that it might not have been the most careful. Once this is all hashed out, I’ll speak more on the details of this situation, but for now, just know that I’m cool. I’ve made peace with it all and feel very spiritually supported. Though this situation has generated a lot of frustration, disappointment, and disillusionment for me, it has also become, yet, another bolster for my inner strength and my sense of self-sufficiency. I’ll survive and thrive no matter what life hands me.

I am an activist. I was put on this planet to stretch people–to push them (sometimes gently, sometimes with great force) from their comfort zones. When I was 17 years old, I wrote a speech, auditioned, and was chosen to speak at my high school graduation. When it came time to rehearse, one of my drama teachers told me that if I wished to give my speech, I would be required to remove my tongue jewelry, because “we don’t need that thing flashing all over the jumbotron.” I was livid. How dare someone limit my freedom of expression so blatantly! lol. That was me at 17. The primary reason I got that tongue piercing was to prove to people that honor graduates who are active in their churches and generally good kids could also wear weird outfits and get pierced. This type of creative expression via my appearance would continue and become even more intense as I ventured off to college at Hendrix. Even as a youngin’ I was a revolutionary. I’ve always felt it was my duty to expand folks’ horizons, push the envelope of societal norms, and fight vehemently for personal freedom and justice for all. With this sort of purpose, one cannot expect life to be simple. People hate change. They will defend their rights to remain blissfully ignorant and to live life on the surface. If I am truly here to decimate stereotypes and be a force for global enlightenment, I should expect more than a few challenges along the way.

So back to 11. This powerful number is highly symbolic for me as is the name of my album. I have taken some risks with this one. I have jumped far out of my comfort zone, relinquished my mentor, and produced something unlike anything I’ve ever made before. Finally, I am doing my art on my terms. It is terrifying and perfectly magical. Serendipity abounds. I am becoming myself and I can’t wait to share me with you

 

Practice and Vulnerability

I’ve been working hard lately. Down time is fleeting and cherished. I have a lot on my mind. Welcome to Earth, JLR. So has/does everyone else.

Anyway, my life is really good. I have nothing about which to complain. I am a single American woman with no children. The world is my oyster, right? I struggle with personal finance and loneliness at times, but who doesn’t? Sometimes I think even people with children and husbands feel lonely; and everyone complains about money. I know I felt lonely sometimes when I was married. Now I’m divorced, so there’s that.

The last few months I have been very focused on my music. I have been writing a lot and learning to play guitar. I have spent a lot of time with some of the greats, attempting to copy–or at least create my own well-executed version of–their work. Most recently, it’s been Anita Baker. She is quite the vocal artist. There are things she does with her voice that are so rich. I like that you can hear her vocal brushstrokes. She sings with a very raw abandon, and I like that. This is very scary, for me, btw. I’m stepping into very new territory with this cheap, no-budget, filmed-it-myself video-posting I’m doing. I know I have to be adventurous right now, though. No holds barred. I’m throwing myself at you. And don’t worry, I’m gonna get better and better. I just want you to see what I can do.

Here’s my stab at Giving You the Best that I’ve Got, which is appropriate cuz I’m always working to give you my best. I like the end.

EverythingIsStillMoving

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I just sat on my little terrace (what a bougie word, huh? but that’s what it is, y’all) and watched the earth turn. It was such a sweet sight. I happened to be looking up, focused on one branch of the giant old tree in our “yard” at my spot. I suppose it was God or something, but I got stuck on that branch and I realized that I was watching the earth move. What a completely meaningless moment, yet in it was everything I needed to see. I often forget that time is an illusion. We’re just on the earth turning around in space. Time is man’s construct to make sense of it all, but in reality, we’re just moving. Really, our only responsibility is to not get stuck.

Also, Eminem keeps popping up in my head as an analogy. He = money won’t buy happiness. Dude is ALWAYS yelling. Even when he raps “calmly,” he sounds like he is very upset. I kinda feel for him. I think he may never be peaceful with his cuckoo past. Let’s all put our hands together and send Eminem some peace. 

Finally, John Legend, Disney, and One Life to Live are responsible for all of the BS in relationships. Parents, do not expose your children to these entities. Let them find them when they’re about 30–when they can separate reality from fiction. Seriously, I told one class of kids today about my John Legend beef. “I give you all of me. You give me all of you.” NOOOOOO. Never give anyone ALL of you. Blech. Ugh. Stop it. Now. You guys are ruining all hope for the future. People will never ever stop fucking…NEVER. BUT, they will definitely stop having meaningful relationships with one another. They will stop being individuals with mutual respect for one another’s skills. They’ll criticize the hell out of each other–mentally beating one another into submission–thinking they’re fixing each other up for wifey/husbandhood. Girls will continue to be obsessed with finding and pleasing the perfect prince of a man who does not exist, and whom, if he did, they would immediately ditch ’cause he would come off as an insufferable wuss. People are so complex. Songs, movies, TV shows, and fictional characters will never, no matter how hard we artists try, be able to encompass the vastness that is a relationship between two ever-evolving human adults. It’s a legit labyrinth, y’all. teehee.

And what of the oxford comma, anyhow? 

love y’all. night.

OkFineIGetIt

 

FREE

So free

Sometimes it’s so hard to let go of what we think is “supposed to be.” I am learning that every time I do, though–every time I truly turn my shit over to God or the Universe or whatever you wanna call the magical wonder that holds it all together–bigger and more wonderful magic comes my way. I was just inspired with the best idea I’ve had in a long time. I’m not gonna talk about it until I’ve made it tangible, but just know that it’s a GREAT idea. And I’m nearly certain that it wouldn’t have come to me had I not released my attachment to my previous mindset.

3 Practical nuggets:

1) Affirm to yourself “I am free and unlimited. I have all the tools I need to flourish within me. I am open and aware and alive.” Do this, or something similar that jives with your mojo, all day as many times as you can think of doing it.

2) Get out of “survival mode.” I was talking with one of my students the other day and he brought up the concept that there has to be a spiritual aspect to humanity as humans are the only creatures with the known capacity to ponder their purpose and existence. We have the capacity to meta-think. I took it a step further. Think about this: Animals are wired to survive. When we are in “survival mode,” it is nearly impossible to think about stuff like why we’re here or to freely pursue our passions and creative endeavors. We miss out on love and the splendor of our surroundings if we are constantly just treading water to stay afloat. Animals don’t have that kind of luxurious cognitive ability, so when we revert to “survival mode,” we become very animalistic and our interactions with one another become defensive and primitive–and communication ceases to be productive. Just something to consider.

3) Sit quietly in gratitude at least once a day for a reasonable amount of time (10-20 minutes?). It is so cliche’ to say, but it’s vital. Focus on the tiny excellent things that happen instead of the seemingly gargantuan struggles of the day to day. Serendipity is so effing wonderful, but you will never see it if you’re not actively watching for it. If you don’t believe me, ask Science. There is tons of research to support this.

My bad if this blog is preachy. Just know that whenever I preach at you (all 10 of you who read this. lol), I’m actually just reminding myself of what it is I need to be up to. Peace, y’all.

Hey Woman!

I see a void that needs to be filled. Here’s what’s on my mind:

Women are so powerful. With our scientifically proven accelerated maturity rate, our natural propensity for compassion and sensitivity, and our sex appeal (which is often seen as our greatest power when, in truth, it is merely an appetizer), we are immensely powerful. Unfortunately, when I look around my “circle,” I see more competition among women than I see support. It is vastly important that we 25 to 40-something women begin to recognize the power we have in collaboration. Rather than competing, even subconsciously, for the attention of men, or politics, or money, let’s find ways to work together to better ourselves and our communities.

This thought process came from a conversation with a dude wherein he stated that women seemed to spend all their time together talking about their feelings or their relationships. When I thought about it, I really couldn’t argue. When was the last time I had sat with a close female friend and brainstormed about issues in our community or traded ideas about a potential business venture? I couldn’t think of a time. This really bothered me. I consider myself a business woman. I have great ambitions and goals. Why am I not working to find other women with whom to collaborate? Why do I find myself feeling competitive with the women around me so often? I love my close woman friends. I keep them close because either we have been friends for a long time and we are like family, or I met them recently and we connected over mutual interests. These women I can count on one hand, though. I am at a point in my life where my career vision is taking precedence over romance or emotionally-based activity. While my family and close friends will always hold my heart, my brain is elsewhere.

This line of thinking lead me to a very important realization:

The main reason so many women struggle so much in business is because we are ruled, primarily, by emotion. Emotion has almost no place in business.

I recognize this is a bold statement, but I am guilty. I have let my emotions get the best of me much of my life. I have nearly ruined great partnerships because of my willingness to allow my feelings to govern my behavior. Now, let me be clear. Everyone experiences emotions. Sometimes it is the aforementioned “propensity for compassion and sensitivity” in women that saves productive relationships and fosters diplomacy in business. What I am really concerned about is the negative emotion that we allow to govern us–the jealousy, insecurity, and fear. I want to find ways to remove these emotions from my business relationships–or at the very least, refuse to allow them to affect my behavior and the choices I make.

I have a potential solution and if you have made it this far, I hope that you will indulge me in my next request: Email your answers to the following questions to jlrmusicar@gmail.com. Thanks in advance, ladies. Let’s make something great together.

1) What is your name? What is the best way for me to contact you?

2) What is your profession/trade?

3) What are your professional goals for the next 5 years?
4) Do you have a plan for meeting those goals?
5) What do you think are/what have been the biggest challenges for you as a woman in business situations?
6) What role do you think emotion plays in business?
7) Have you found it more difficult to work with other women or men in business situations? Why do you think this is?
8) List some of the most important issues facing your community that you believe need to be addressed. (Please describe and use your own personal definition of “community.”)
9) Would you be interested in meeting bi-weekly or monthly with other women to create a network of like-minded business women who work to empower one another?
10) If you answered “no” to question #9, please explain briefly why you answered this way.