I’m not done making mistakes and taking chances.

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“NOTHING GREAT IS CREATED SUDDENLY.” It was just a kitschy plaque I saw at the grocery store, but it stopped me in the aisle. If you read my blog here regularly, you know I am passionate about constantly improving and about following your dreams.

spinsbythesea

When I was introduced to secular music for the first time, I was very influenced by Jason Mraz’s early albums like Waiting for my Rocket, Selections for Friends, and Mr. A-Z. His lyrical prowess was unlike anything I’d encountered in my sheltered musical experience. His flow, storytelling and impressive range in vocal skills made Mraz one of my favourites and remains so to this day.

I’ve been in my new home for two months (a 3,555 km move from the West Coast to an arctic island). Just before I got here I downloaded a bunch of Ed Sheeran’s stuff. Immediately, I experienced the same love of his mastery of words and sounds to tell stories. I might be late to the Sheeran party, but if you look at my iTunes you will see many of his songs show 27-35 plays (and that’s not counting any of the plays on my phone, only my computer). I listen to his stuff one at a time on repeat. There are several songs that have hit me with chills or brought me to tears on the very first listen. There have been songs that have spun me backwards and made me deal with things in my past. There are songs that give me total hope for my creative future.

Why do I love these guys?

They have lived.

I heard Take it Back for the first time today while I was out running errands. I set it up for repeat. I went and bought a coffee and walked down the rocks of the beach over faded yellow ropes and discarded seal skins to the very edge where I could feel the wind hit my face and I was as close as I could be to the water. Me and my black coffee, I closed my eyes and I could feel it all. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. It just hits me. I was not discouraged by how inadequate I feel in comparison to his song writing. I feel inspired and I know the more I listen to people who are great, the closer I will get to creating something worthy of further inspiring others.

But it’s not just practice. It’s living. My favourite artists have taken chances, had rough times, had great times, they’ve gone to the university of life and that appeals to me so much. I’m 5th child after a doctor, nurse, teacher and business man. Both my parents have worked at a university. I just want to go places and meet people and keep saying yes. I’m done three years of uni, but it’s hard to think of going back when I have so much I want to do outside of expensive books and minds that are learning so much but reach the world and have no idea what they are passionate about or value. They wrap themselves in their degree and face the world, find someone who likes what they’re wearing and take a safe job to pay for their new condo and pay for the normal life they have always been expected to live.

I don’t know if I can take this route. 

I want to make more mistakes. Learn more through the people I meet. I want to get lost. I want to stay up all night talking to strangers.  I want to buy a ticket and leave with no luggage. I want to write and sing and draw everything I see. I want to extend my heart to those in need. I want to drive until I run out of gas. I want to busk. I want to photograph things that no one but me sees. I want to notice the small details of the world and bring attention to them through art and music. 

For me, there would be nothing worse than turning 30 and feeling like I settled. I am 8 years away from 30. Jason Mraz is 37, Ed Sheeran is 23. I don’t necessarily aspire to fame, but I aspire to create big things. Important or at least meaningful things. Music, writing, art, maybe movies. I want to make stuff that touches people and changes them. That makes them think, like my favourite songs, books and films have made me reconsider my assumptions.

Back to the quote I found in the grocery store at the beginning.

I found extreme joy and hope in this quote. “Nothing great is created suddenly.” There’s no pressure. It’s up to me to remain driven and focused, but I can rest in the fact that I’m on a journey that can lead to greatness with each choice I make. I can achieve what I desire with time and hustle.

What choices do you wish you made? Is it really too late to make them now? What’s holding you back from taking the risks that could change your life?

Here’s the full quote: 

“Nothing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig. I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.” -Epictetus

What is the proverbial fig in your life? Are you rushing too much in hopes of ripening it faster? How are you developing your passions and skills to harvest a sweet fig at the end of your hard work?

Before Sunrise (1995)

Film, Thoughts

I re-watched what I might venture to name my favourite movie last night. Before Sunrise follows the meeting of two young strangers on a train. They spend a night walking and talking through Vienna. Their conversations are honest and equally hopeful and skeptical. They ask the questions we have all felt inside, but perhaps not voiced. It’s a philosophical look at life and love through the eyes of two young adults who make a chance connection. 

beforesunrise

Here are some of my favourite quotes from the movie: 

On parental influences…

“I could never get very excited about other people’s ambitions for my life.” -Jesse 

On the death of the young…

“Now I’m ten years older, and she’s still 13, I guess.”-Celine

On the magic inside of us… 

“Everything we know is stardust. So don’t forget, you are stardust!” -Palm Reader

On God…

“If there was any kind of God, he wouldn’t be in anyone. Not in you, or me… but just in the little space in between.” -Celine

On dancing… 

“I like the idea of dancing being a common function in life: something everyone participates in.” -Celine

On life as a process and journey… 

“It’s nearly impossible to succeed… but who cares, really? The answer must be in the attempt.” -Celine

On time… 

“Everything is so finite. That’s what makes our time and specific moments so important.” -Jesse 

Apart from the piercing conversation, I love the simple cinematography. It in no way detracts from the dialogue (which is what I believe to be the best part of this film, without question). Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy take this beautiful screenplay and really own it. I could watch it over and over again. 

This movie was followed up with two sequels, Before Sunset (2004) and Before Midnight (2012), (using Hawke and Delpy again) both equally as open about the real issues that come up when you’ve chosen someone to love. 

If you decide to watch this movie, go into it with an open mind, a notebook and a quiet environment. Every time I watch it, I find myself with more thoughts and questions. I find more quotes that penetrate my heart and cause me to examine the way I view the world. 

“Bye.”

“Goodbye.”

“Au Revoir.”

“Later.”

-Celine/Jesse

To See

Love, Thoughts

I remember the words of my art teacher in my first year of university. 

tosee

The landscape here in Iqaluit is amazing. The tundra rolls as far as you can see, lichen-covered rocks jutting out everywhere, explosions of purple arctic fireweed (which, I am going to try to make tea with!). 

I’m grateful for those words, and those lessons. Even more so since having aged and experienced a few more years in my life, progressed in my mental clarity… I feel like I see more. The light is a little brighter to me, the flowers more fluid and the changing terrain more enticing for exploration. Even the litter which can be found in crevices and nooks along the tundra is interesting for my eyes to cross. 

loveshadow

Outside my house, there is a lot of construction going on, as new houses are being built around ours. As it was Sunday today, there was nobody on the lot, and as I walked back from a little adventure on the tundra, I noticed this shadow on some of the heavy equipment. A heart shadow. 

Maybe most would walk right past it.

But my eyes are ready and my brain is receptive to everything. 

So what are you missing in your hurry, in your worry? We’re all in such a rush, that nothing is in focus. What opportunities have you missed because of an inability to recognize them as such?

What a gift it is to see, let’s make the most of it. 

To hear more about my move up to Baffin Island, check out my vlog about Moving to Northern Canada. 

peace, 

J.

Moving Past Insecurities With Truth

Thoughts

Dear Beautiful-Strong-Intelligent-People-Who-Don’t-Know-They-Are-Such,

This will be the third and final installment in the line of introduction posts. I believe it’s the most important concept in pursuing what you love. Fears and insecurities can be fed to the point where they can no longer be controlled and they affect every area of your life. That doesn’t need to be the case. However, without the awareness of your weaknesses, they can undermine your strengths and cause you to act in ways that are inconsistent with the true you.

Maybe you know what you want. Maybe you can picture the type of person you’d like to be. But there are negative internal and external factors that hold you back from being that person, from doing what you love. This is an important starting point– for me, and anyone seeking change in their life, and seeking to pursue a life of purpose, love, and joy.

Internal factors:

1. Insecurites caused by past experiences (X happened in the past, so it will happen again or words that were said to you or about you)

2. Fear (What if X happens? What if I fail?)

3. Lies (I am not good enough, I don’t deserve to succeed, I am not smart enough)

External Factors:

1. Fallible humans (Everyone makes mistakes, not everyone has your best interest at heart)

2. Circumstancial (pressures to do things that aren’t in line with your values, situations with temptations)

What are the factors that hold you back? Or make you act out of character?

I allowed these negative factors to decide my fate for me at one point. I have learned that it is up to me to tap into the positive factors(which I will describe later as truths), and take responsibility for my actions and for my life.

Examining whether you have an internal or external locus of control(whether you look inward to explain why something happened, or whether you seek to blame some factor out of your control) can help. There will always be things out of our control, but I believe that with the right self-reflection and awareness, that you can be and act in a way that is consistent with your beliefs and calling as a person.

My boyfriend, reminded me of the Serenity prayer:

“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”

Reinhold Niebuhr

He also sent me this quote:

Beautiful People

I believe this wholeheartedly. With struggle, with mistakes, with pain comes change, conviction, wake-up calls. I believe that strength can emerge from defeat.

Pursuing your passions, building loving relationships, being who you are called to be… they all require confidence. They all require a boldness of heart and certainty of truth. If you believe the lies that I discussed earlier(You aren’t good enough), it’s like going into battle with a broken sword. You’ve lost before you’ve begun. However, just as there are negative internal and external factors, there are posisitive ones too. Those are what you need to draw upon. Depending on your insecurities, fears, beliefs, and experiences, your list of positive truths will vary. These are some of the truths that I have learned and that I remind myself of when things get tough:

Internal:

1. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

2. I am beautiful, loved, loving, loyal, cherished, not alone, smart, funny, responsible, capable and kind.

3. No matter what I have done in the past, or what has been done to me in the past, the above remains true.

External:

1. I have a supportive boyfriend and a loving family who will always be there for me.

2. There is no need to pursue things that don’t interest me, in order to impress other people.

3. People are too worried about themselves to really care about what I wear, how I look, what I choose to pursue as a career, etc.

What truths can you tell yourself today?

The pieces of your past have created the you of today. That can be a good or bad thing. How will you let those experiences shape you? How will you use your past pain to fuel the success of your future?

Let’s take responsibility for the people we are in this moment, and that we will become. Let’s love fully, be true to ourselves and stomp out insecurities. They don’t deserve to live.

-jessi hannah jay.

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