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Jeremy Meyers dot com http://www.jeremymeyers.com The ongoing adventures of a NYC boy reinventing himself in Atlanta Sun, 02 Aug 2015 17:02:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The official Rant site of Jeremy Meyers Jeremy Meyers dot com no Jeremy Meyers dot com softlord@pobox.com softlord@pobox.com (Jeremy Meyers dot com) 2006-2007 The ongoing adventures of a NYC boy reinventing himself in Atlanta Jeremy Meyers dot com http://www.jeremymeyers.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://www.jeremymeyers.com The troubling history of the crack epidemic in Lower Manhattan: A video http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/popular-culture/crack-in-noho-video.html http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/popular-culture/crack-in-noho-video.html#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 02:20:13 +0000 http://www.jeremymeyers.com/?p=5900 In digging through my storage unit over the holidays, I came across a VHS tape featuring a set of news stories from 1987 about a protest march in the NoHo area of NYC.

Residents were protesting the ‘invasion’ of crackheads and crack dealers into their once safe neighborhood. They ‘didnt feel safe’ and ‘these people should be locked up’ They demanded a larger police presence and the arrest of addicts and dealers alike.

Knowing what we know about the racial …

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In digging through my storage unit over the holidays, I came across a VHS tape featuring a set of news stories from 1987 about a protest march in the NoHo area of NYC.

Residents were protesting the ‘invasion’ of crackheads and crack dealers into their once safe neighborhood. They ‘didnt feel safe’ and ‘these people should be locked up’ They demanded a larger police presence and the arrest of addicts and dealers alike.

Knowing what we know about the racial sources of the crack epidemic, I find this to be a severely depressing glimpse into the many ways that the powers that be manage to pit us against each other and ignore systemic oppression, as well as the state of race relations in NYC in the 1980s.

NoHo is now one of the most chic, sought after and expensive blocks in the whole city. I should know, I grew up there (and you can see me in some of the news footage as a kid on a bike). I remember very distinctly feeling quite ambivalent about the protest, as even back then I felt that addiction should be treated as a medical issue.

I hope this video is enlightening.

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My top albums of 2014 http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/music-im-digging/top-albums-2014.html http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/music-im-digging/top-albums-2014.html#comments Sun, 04 Jan 2015 18:29:51 +0000 http://www.jeremymeyers.com/?p=5847 OK so there are 26 albums on my top of the year playlist, but just for you guys, i will narrow it down.  Realizing a lot of my top music this year is sad white dudes. Guess that says nothing great about me (and also how behind i am on ‘albums to listen to 2014′ playlist)

As always, you can view/listen to/stalk my Top 10s from every year since 1999 right here on my blog.

Here’s my full spotify …

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OK so there are 26 albums on my top of the year playlist, but just for you guys, i will narrow it down.  Realizing a lot of my top music this year is sad white dudes. Guess that says nothing great about me (and also how behind i am on ‘albums to listen to 2014′ playlist)

As always, you can view/listen to/stalk my Top 10s from every year since 1999 right here on my blog.

Here’s my full spotify playlist including the ones that i enjoyed but didn’t make the cut for this list Jeremy’s Top Albums of 2014

In no particular order (and i no make no claim to super high quality descriptors):

Low Roar – 0 (Tonequake) – Just crazy gorgeous beautiful. Formerly Oakland-based Ryan Karazija of Audrye Sessions moves to Iceland and writes lovely haunting music about his new unfamiliar surroundings
Luluc – Passerby (Sub Pop) – Girl with a sultry voice, guy with a guitar. Sublime on vinyl.
Locust – After The Rain (Editions Mego)
Loscil – Sea Island (Kranky)
Phantogram – Voices (Universal/Republic) – Dark electro synthpoppy goodness in the Ladytron/Royksopp/School of Seven Bells (RIP) realm.
Alcest – Shelter (Prophecy Productions) – French black metal turned poppy shoegaze/post-rock band featuring Neil Halstead and Amiina from Sigur Ros
Asteroids Galaxy Tour – Bring us Together (Hot Bus Records) – Big Beat is back? RIYL the last Daft Punk album, I guess.
Ben Howard – I Forget Where We Were (Island) – Melancholy british white dude music.
Elizabeth and the Catapult – Like it Never Happened (Scratchback Records / Self-released)
Emerson Hart – Beauty in Disrepair (BMG) – Hooky mainstream pop/rock which kind of reminds me of the late great Will Owsley.  Yes, the lead dude from Tonic.
White Sea – In Cold Blood (Vocalist from M83’s album is better than his latest)
Otto Totland – Pino (Sonic Pieces) – Anyone who enjoys Nils Frahm and the Erased Tapes crew will find this piano solo stuff divine.  Also probably fans of ECM will like it, too.
S. Carey – Range of Light (Jagjaguwar) – Cinematic and gorgeous indietronica/jazz/americana inspired by the southwest

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On paths http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/paths.html http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/paths.html#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 17:53:16 +0000 http://www.jeremymeyers.com/?p=4696

“Life is a garden, not a road. We enter and exit through the same gate. Wandering, where we go matters less than what we notice.” -Kurt Vonnegut

The trick with paths is not to think of them as places that you aren’t on.  Or at least, not to think of yourself as ‘not on any path’, and have that be a ‘bad thing’.

No matter what, you are on a path.

Remember, you give yourself more freedom when you are …

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“Life is a garden, not a road. We enter and exit through the same gate. Wandering, where we go matters less than what we notice.” -Kurt Vonnegut

The trick with paths is not to think of them as places that you aren’t on.  Or at least, not to think of yourself as ‘not on any path’, and have that be a ‘bad thing’.

No matter what, you are on a path.

Remember, you give yourself more freedom when you are okay with where you are than when you feel like you need to be anywhere in particular.

 

Photo: garden paths by Joel Kramer

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Top Albums of 2013 http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/music-im-digging/top-albums-2013.html http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/music-im-digging/top-albums-2013.html#comments Mon, 30 Dec 2013 02:57:33 +0000 http://www.jeremymeyers.com/?p=4668 In no particular order.  So many this year!

As A Spotify Playlist »

If I had to pick 10, they’d be Midlake, Rachel Zeffira, Savages, Emika, Jon Hopkins, Janelle Monae, Disclosure, Rhian Sheehan, Locust and Minilogue

Rock and Metal

  • Midlake – Antiphon [Bella Union] By far my favorite rock/psych record of the year

Runners-up:

  • Palms – Palms [Ipecac] – My annual guilty “Sounds like Filter/Deftones/Alt-Metal” choice, with the added bonus of it being made up of members of ISIS with



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In no particular order.  So many this year!

As A Spotify Playlist »

If I had to pick 10, they’d be Midlake, Rachel Zeffira, Savages, Emika, Jon Hopkins, Janelle Monae, Disclosure, Rhian Sheehan, Locust and Minilogue

Rock and Metal

  • Midlake – Antiphon [Bella Union] By far my favorite rock/psych record of the year

Runners-up:

  • Palms – Palms [Ipecac] – My annual guilty “Sounds like Filter/Deftones/Alt-Metal” choice, with the added bonus of it being made up of members of ISIS with Chino Moreno on vocals
  • Device – Device [Warner] (Dave Draiman from Disturbed and Geno from Filter do nu-metal)
  • Bring Me The Horizon – Sempternal [Sony/Epitaph] – Yes i know their last record made them kind of a joke, but I’m really digging this one.
  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Specter at the Feast [Abstract Dragon/Vagrant] – Their best in awhile
  • Mogwai – Les Revenants [Sub Pop] – I’ve never been a huge fan of these guys, but this album may have turned me around

Pop and Folk

  • Rachel Zeffira – The Deserters [Paper Bag Records] – Lovely Tori-ish Dream/Chamber Pop. Just so so good.
  • Savages – Silence Yourself [Matador] – Plenty has been written about this record. For me it brings up good Siouxsie/Catherine Wheel-ish memories
  • Rudimental – Home [Warner UK] / Disclosure – Settle [Island] / Empire of the Sun – Ice on the Dune [EMI Australia] – These three seemed to scratch the same itch for me. Dancey-housey-80sy but not dumb.

Runners-up:

  • The Mavericks – In Time [Sanctuary] – I will never not love Raul Malo’s voice, and I’m happy they’re back.
  • Caitlin Canty – Golden Hour [self-released] – Classic intimate girl-with-guitar coffeeshop stuff.  She has a project with Peter Bradley Adams called Down Like Silver which I love, too.
  • Joseph Tawadros (with Bela Fleck, Richard Bona, James Tawadros) – Chameleons of the White Shadow [self-released] – Bluegrass and so much more
  • Soft Location – Fools [self-released] – Kinda Kate Bush-y

Electronic and Shoegaze

  • Emika – DVA [Ninja Tune] – LOVE this  / Maya Jane Coles – Comfort [I/AM/ME] – Another pair of albums that feel similar to me. They’re both dark electronica, though Emika is more explicitly gothy and MJC has more of a trip-hop edge (and a track with Tricky on guest vocals).
  • Locust – You’ll be Safe Forever [Mego] Dark and IDMy but with a distinctly warm, organic crunch
  • Jon Hopkins – Immunity [Domino] – Every album he’s released has been on my top 10. This beautiful, broken cinematic half-loud half-quiet masterpiece is his best yet
  • Minilogue – Blomma [Cocoon] – One disc of FSOL-y/Underworldy proggy dance music (with LONG tracks), One disc of epic slow chillout stuff.  Each apparently improvised and recorded in a single take. Delicious

Runners-up

  • Sigur Ros – Kveikur [XL] – A welcome return to form, after the meanderings of the last two. Also closer to Jonsi’s solo stuff than most of their other works.
  • Joseph Trapanese – TRON: Uprising [Disney] – Obviously not as stellar as the Daft Punk Tron:Legacy score, but a fulfilling followup.
  • C2C – Tetra [Mercury] The first album from the turntablist and DMC winners reminds me a lot of people like Soulwax, The Avalanches and Basement Jaxx
  • Minilogue – Endlessness EP – More long tracks with lovely samples that are never tiring

Ambient

  • Olafur Arnalds – For Now I Am Winter [Mercury Classics/Decca]
  • Rhian Sheehan – Stories from Elsewhere [Darla] – This one wins my ‘epic cinematic ambient/post-rock with strings’ award that i usually give to Hammock (their release this year was disappointing to me)

Runners-up:

  • Message to Bears – Maps
  • Ben Lukas Boysen – Gravity [Ad Noiseam] – Also known as industrial noisemaker Hecq. Gurgly dark underwater stuff.
  • Main – Ablation [Editions Mego] – Creepiest ambient I’ve heard in awhile and a welcome return for Mr. Hampson

Hip-Hop and R&B and Jazz

  • Janelle Monae – The Electric Lady [Bad Boy/Atlantic]Leaves her first record (which I was not impressed by) in the dust

Runners-up

  • Oddisee – The Beauty In All [Mello Music]
  • Talib Kweli – Prisoner of Conscious
  • Eldar Djangirov Trio – Breakthrough [Motema]

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What I Should Have Said At My Father’s Memorial Service http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/personal-reflections/said.html http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/personal-reflections/said.html#comments Tue, 05 Nov 2013 03:54:40 +0000 http://www.jeremymeyers.com/?p=4625 My dad’s memorial service was this weekend.

There were a lot of old Artists there.

They come from an insular world in which Art is the only worthwhile endeavor, where “selling out” is the worst imaginable sin.

More than a few people got up to extoll his virtue as an Artist, his lifelong commitment to Art and being an Artist, and his keeping his promise to himself to always make Art.

They spoke of his legacy: His art.

(I guess …

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My dad’s memorial service was this weekend.

There were a lot of old Artists there.

They come from an insular world in which Art is the only worthwhile endeavor, where “selling out” is the worst imaginable sin.

More than a few people got up to extoll his virtue as an Artist, his lifelong commitment to Art and being an Artist, and his keeping his promise to himself to always make Art.

They spoke of his legacy: His art.

(I guess I don’t really count. To them.)

I was in the room when they said this.  They said it to me.

I saw the heads nodding along.

Invalidating my actual existence. Relative to almighty Art.

Old wounds scraped up.  A roomful.

 

I’m told I went up and said some words.

I’m told I was generous.

 

Here’s what I should have said.

Art isn’t a legacy.

Art is poison pigments in glass cases.

Art currently taking up space in an empty house, needing to be housed until what… some magical surge of interest?

My father died alone. He died alone because he put Art first.

It’s not fucking noble.  It’s childish, delusional and deeply selfish.

As was he.

My father was not there for me.  He was there for Art.

He loved me when it was convenient.

Your precious Art cost him his family.

It’s ink marks on paper.

It’s not noble.

You are delusional.

I’m his fucking legacy.

Art can go to hell.

You want legacy?

Kiss your kids.

If they still talk to you.

If not? I guess you have your fucking precious Art.

What I should have said.

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On fucking normal and fucking expectations. http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/personal-reflections/fucking-normal-fucking-expectations.html http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/personal-reflections/fucking-normal-fucking-expectations.html#comments Fri, 18 Oct 2013 21:34:47 +0000 http://www.jeremymeyers.com/?p=4612 Lately I’ve been spending some time thinking about all the ways in which I am not what society expects me to be.

I am smart, wise and curious, but I do not have a college education.

I am industrious and skilled in many areas, but I have not had a full-time job since 2011, and I am not interested in finding one.

I am male, straight and a feminist in a committed long-term relationship, but some of my views and …

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Lately I’ve been spending some time thinking about all the ways in which I am not what society expects me to be.

I am smart, wise and curious, but I do not have a college education.

I am industrious and skilled in many areas, but I have not had a full-time job since 2011, and I am not interested in finding one.

I am male, straight and a feminist in a committed long-term relationship, but some of my views and activities do not fit squarely into any of those labels (for instance, we are not married and I don’t think of a marriage certificate as an essential part of what makes for a happy life.)

In many ways I am not living according to the expected plan, the treadmill. The ‘be born-go to school-go to college-get a job-meet a girl-move in-get married-buy a house-have kids-retire-wait to die’ treadmill.

In the past, there have been aspects of it that have bothered me.

I’ve had an underlying critical voice that pokes at me that I should be doing something more important with my time, that I’m just putzing around and wasting my life away.  It tells me that not spending time either looking for a job or ‘being entrepreneurial’ and Getting Things Done is somehow wasteful and will lead to regrets later in life.

And then recently… holy fuck! I don’t have to live up to others expectations of what my life should be.  I don’t have to give away my power to whatever I’m “supposed” to be doing.  I can be a feminist and also enjoy checking out girls in yoga pants (respectfully, of course).   I can build my own life, make my own rules.

Sometimes I will be uncomfortable, when my values and the values of the world at large come into conflict, be it individually or as part of a couple or as part of a social group or a political party or anything else.

But, you know what?

There are worse things than being uncomfortable.

This is my declaration of independence from feeling bad about not being who the world expects me to be, or living up to some imagined standard of ‘normal’.

Fuck normal. What an imaginary nonsense concept solely dedicated to making us feel like we’re doing something wrong pretty much no matter what.

Fuck “but you’re so smart, why don’t you just commit to something”.

Fuck “So, any wedding bells in your future?”

Fuck “You’re so interested in human behavior, why don’t you go to school for psychology or something?”

Fuck pushing myself toward making other people more comfortable with my life.

It’s better for me to embrace the freedom and awesomeness that is me right now than worry about not living up to some standard for how things are supposed to work in the name of being more normal.

This rocks.

Come with me.

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Presenting “Conversations for Deeper Context” http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/project-announcements/presenting.html http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/project-announcements/presenting.html#comments Wed, 04 Sep 2013 05:39:56 +0000 http://www.jeremymeyers.com/?p=4468 So, as most of you probably know, one of the ways that I’ve been spending my time the last few years is through Deeper Context, a freelance thing I started back in 2011. The tagline for DC is “Let’s get together and talk about what drives you. For you, for the web and for your people.”, which I think describes what I’m trying to accomplish.

I’m very much avoiding as much of the Marketing and Social Media aspects of …

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So, as most of you probably know, one of the ways that I’ve been spending my time the last few years is through Deeper Context, a freelance thing I started back in 2011. The tagline for DC is “Let’s get together and talk about what drives you. For you, for the web and for your people.”, which I think describes what I’m trying to accomplish.

I’m very much avoiding as much of the Marketing and Social Media aspects of what is going on in culture today as possible.  I’ve written plenty about what I think of “content creation for marketing” elsewhere on this site, so I will not bore you with another rant.  Suffice it to say that this is not that.

I’ve been in a bit of a lull with DC as of late.  Other things have taken over my time (dealing with my father’s death, etc).  Recently, I had the opportunity to start some things back up, and get unstuck on some aspects of the organization that I wasn’t in love with. I feel comfortable moving forward in some small ways.

To that end, I’m happy to announce the debut of Conversations For Deeper Context, a semi-regular podcast interview series which serves two purposes:

  1. It allows me to have conversations with people that I find super interesting
  2. I get to demonstrate how a Deeper Context project might go, to people like you who might be interested in collaborating with me.

So, for the sake of avoiding paragraph-long descriptors…

Here’s what Conversations For Deeper Context is:

  • Conversations with people about their curiosity and how they’re applying it in their lives and their work (however that may manifest in their lives)
  • Personal, heart-prioritized conversations
  • About an hour per-episode
  • Irregularly updated
  • Hosted by me (Jeremy Meyers)

Here’s what Conversations For Deeper Context isn’t:

  • A place to hear about marketing, social media, sales or business. Seriously. That’s not what this is about, and if it comes up, it’s accidental.
  • A place for people to spend an hour plugging their latest projects
  • A place for self-help folks to hawk their books
  • A sales pitch for Deeper Context. These conversations are meant to stand on their own, and I hope they are valuable to you.

Episode One is live now and features Megan Elizabeth Morris from Ideaschema.

You can also, of course, subscribe via iTunes.

Please enjoy, and I’d love your feedback. Also, if you’d like to have a CFDC conversation, please feel free to get in touch.

 

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RIP Charles Meyers 1934-2013 http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/personal-reflections/rip-charles-meyers-1934-2013.html http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/personal-reflections/rip-charles-meyers-1934-2013.html#comments Fri, 09 Aug 2013 00:58:04 +0000 http://www.jeremymeyers.com/?p=4419 My dad Charles Meyers passed away this past Sunday, August 4th at around 8 in the morning.

Those of you who knew him knew that he was quite a character, with a dark-as-night sense of humor and a predilection for awful puns and flirting with service industry folk (in case anyone was wondering where that came from).

For those that didn’t know him, he was an amazing artist, and you can see some of his work at http://www.charlesmeyers.com/

My father …

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My dad Charles Meyers passed away this past Sunday, August 4th at around 8 in the morning.

Those of you who knew him knew that he was quite a character, with a dark-as-night sense of humor and a predilection for awful puns and flirting with service industry folk (in case anyone was wondering where that came from).

For those that didn’t know him, he was an amazing artist, and you can see some of his work at http://www.charlesmeyers.com/

My father devoted his entire life to pursuing his dream of making art.  He taught art history, oil painting and watercolor part time at City College of New York for longer than I’ve been alive.

Few of us will be able to say at the end of our time on the planet that we lived our passion every day.

He lived for the last 40 years at the same loft in the East Village of NYC.  His entire life was in that loft.

A lifetime of things,  small comforts and poisons, college papers and keepsakes and art and art and art.

The stuff that makes up the least important and most comforting/suffocating part of a life lived.

I wrote a little bit ago about leaving a legacy.  This is his.  All the art, and the lives he touched, and the people who can call themselves artists now because his teaching inspired.  And me, I suppose.

He was not perfect, and we struggled to maintain a relationship as I grew, but in the end we came to an understanding and now he can rest.

You did okay, dad.

Safe travels.

Be kind to yourself.

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On Taking Back My Power, Which Was Freely Given. http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/personal-reflections/on-taking-back-my-power-which-was-freely-given.html http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/personal-reflections/on-taking-back-my-power-which-was-freely-given.html#comments Wed, 17 Jul 2013 18:08:46 +0000 http://www.jeremymeyers.com/?p=3948

One of the great­est (and least dis­cussed) bar­ri­ers to com­pas­sion prac­tice is the fear of set­ting bound­aries and hold­ing peo­ple account­able. I know it sounds strange, but I believe that under­stand­ing the con­nec­tion between bound­aries, account­abil­ity, accep­tance, and com­pas­sion has made me a kinder person…

Dur­ing the inter­views [I did as part of my research], it blew my mind when I real­ized that many of the truly com­mit­ted com­pas­sion prac­ti­tion­ers were also the most boundary-conscious peo­ple in the study. Com­pas­sion­ate



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One of the great­est (and least dis­cussed) bar­ri­ers to com­pas­sion prac­tice is the fear of set­ting bound­aries and hold­ing peo­ple account­able. I know it sounds strange, but I believe that under­stand­ing the con­nec­tion between bound­aries, account­abil­ity, accep­tance, and com­pas­sion has made me a kinder person…

Dur­ing the inter­views [I did as part of my research], it blew my mind when I real­ized that many of the truly com­mit­ted com­pas­sion prac­ti­tion­ers were also the most boundary-conscious peo­ple in the study. Com­pas­sion­ate peo­ple are bound­aried peo­ple. I was stunned.

-Brene Brown, The Gift of Imperfection

In my last post, I wrote about being compassionately selfish, and how it is a totally necessary component of having full and nourishing life.

I spent some time thinking about what I’d written, and realized that what I was actually talking about in some ways was taking my power back.

Power is another loaded word. we “fight the power”.

We “speak truth to power”.

“Power corrupts”.

People in power are the enemy because they hold the rest of us back. There’s a definite ‘power’ stigma happening.

Noticing how much of my power I give away in everyday life is quite astonishing.

I want to be compassionate, I want to help people who ask me for help, or to talk, or are even just around.  I genuinely enjoy having the “well, why do you think you do that” types of conversations that many of my friends have come to rely on me for (leading, somewhat unfortunately, to have a few remark “why should I go to a therapist when I can just talk  to you!”)

Even my path forward has been hindered by ‘what if it’s not the right choice’, I give my power away to uncertainty.

No, let’s try that sentence again.

I have hindered my path forward by allowing ‘what if it’s not the right choice’ to rule. I give my power away to uncertainty.

It’s no wonder that sometimes I feel really stuck and like I have to wait for some external force to pull me forward!

It’s time to take the time to shore it up and put some appropriate boundary walls around.

Set better boundaries.

Kinder boundaries.

Boundaries that allow and encourage me to be more of my full self.

Here’s where fear and resistance shows up. The fear says “People rely on you to be available to them. This is what friendship is. If you say ‘no’, then you will be alone and you’ll just sit in your house and talk to yourself all day.”  The fear says “This is just shutting people out”. The fear says “You’ll never be able to stick to it, you need someone else to make you do stuff”.  The fear says “You’re being ridiculous, just stay as you are.”  The fear says “You’re talking about control, and everyone knows that nobody actually has any control over their lives.”

“The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what’s true.
Carl Sagan

What if “intuition” and “common sense” are other words for fear? What if the less automatic choice is the more loving one?

And what’s wrong with being selfish? We answered that already. It’s essential.

One day at a time.

  • Also essential reading on this topic: Megan Elizabeth Morris’ “Nothing Motivation

[Photo credit: Boundaries by Wonderferret]

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On being “Useful”, and selfishness http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/personal-reflections/on-being-useful-and-selfishness.html http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/personal-reflections/on-being-useful-and-selfishness.html#comments Fri, 12 Jul 2013 17:49:19 +0000 http://www.jeremymeyers.com/?p=3892

“If you try to be very clever, if you try to be very useful, you will be used. If you try to be very practical, somewhere or other you will be harnessed, because the world cannot leave the practical man alone. Drop all these ideas. If you want to be a poem, an ecstasy, then forget about utility. Remain true to yourself.” -Lao Tzu

Boy did this one sink deep.

For  a lot of my life, I put a lot …

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“If you try to be very clever, if you try to be very useful, you will be used. If you try to be very practical, somewhere or other you will be harnessed, because the world cannot leave the practical man alone. Drop all these ideas. If you want to be a poem, an ecstasy, then forget about utility. Remain true to yourself.” -Lao Tzu

Boy did this one sink deep.

For  a lot of my life, I put a lot of energy in being “useful” to people. I love listening and hearing people’s stories and their concerns and doing what I can to be compassionate and help them navigate (in fact, I built a business on it). I love it, it is a true calling of mine.

People find it really easy to open up to me, and share things that they haven’t ever told anyone.  Part of the reason for that, it seems, is that I’m great at reflecting what people say back at them without judgment, and without including very much of myself in the conversation.  Which makes me a good interviewer, and useful.

Wait here until you are useful
All of this comes with a cost, however.  Because of this focus on being useful, It’s easy for me to deflect and repress my stuff and just concentrate on helping the other person.  It turns out that you need to put your own oxygen mask on before helping others with theirs.  Being useful distracts from me. Sure it feels good, but it’s also a way to avoid stuff as well. Being useful always puts the focus on the other person

Today, and for the past few weeks, I’m trying to more consciously choose to be selfish.

Boy, selfish is a very charged word in the world.  Most people take it to mean “self-obsessed” or “uncaring about others”. It’s basically a nickname for narcissism. And it’s ‘bad’.

I’ve been aiming at selfless for a long time.  If there’s anything the world of ‘enlightened’ folk wants us to be, it’s selfless and giving and charitable and humble and down-to-earth and grounded and modest.  Of course there are great things about the concept of being “self-less” (meditation and dissolving a limited sense of who ‘I’ am are freeing practices, and yay for them). But without true compassion for myself first, it becomes a situation where others needs become way more important to me than my compassionate attention to me, and that is not good for anyone involved.

There is tremendous kindness in being able to focus on yourself first.  I think that we just cannot be truly compassionate to others when we are not compassionate to ourselves first, or at least not willing to focus on ourselves to a point where we come at a situation from a sense of wholeness. Not perfection, mind you, but wholeness in all of our flawed glory.

I’m finding in my practice that when I can find moments to be kind to myself when I wouldn’t otherwise, that it fills me with an overwhelming sense of relief. Just pure ‘hey, maybe I don’t have to beat myself up for not acting in a way that I would expect of myself’.

And with that flood of relief comes a more open-heartedness to my own delicate and gloriously flawed humanity, and by extension a greater compassion for others and potential for real two-sided connection.  Beyond that, if I let it happen, there is a tremendous sense of gratitude for the freedom I’ve given myself.  And gratitude is life-changing.

So maybe there is a way to really get into listening to people and opening them up that doesn’t involve ignoring the “me” that needs kind attention.  A way that can feel nurturing to me as well, rather than me on autopilot. Something that can fill us both up.

One moment at a time.

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On The Ridiculousness of Conflict, and The Stories We Live http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/personal-reflections/on-the-ridiculousness-of-conflict-and-the-stories-we-live.html http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/personal-reflections/on-the-ridiculousness-of-conflict-and-the-stories-we-live.html#comments Sat, 15 Jun 2013 21:34:13 +0000 http://www.jeremymeyers.com/?p=3906 One of the best things about living in Atlanta is that you can go just a few blocks and find yourself in a totally different area with a different feel, population, and points of interest.

About two miles away from my home in Edgewood, Atlanta, there is a neighborhood called Lake Claire.  Lake Claire is a hippie enclave, filled with Obama/Biden signs, sidewalk chalk drawings, many many plants, and houses with peace signs and ‘love each other’ painted on …

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One of the best things about living in Atlanta is that you can go just a few blocks and find yourself in a totally different area with a different feel, population, and points of interest.

About two miles away from my home in Edgewood, Atlanta, there is a neighborhood called Lake Claire.  Lake Claire is a hippie enclave, filled with Obama/Biden signs, sidewalk chalk drawings, many many plants, and houses with peace signs and ‘love each other’ painted on them.  The vibe is very natural and authentic, and my daily walks often bring me over to the area.

One of the best features of Lake Claire is a community-operated park area called the Lake Claire Community Land Trust.  The LCCLT is a peaceful easy space, featuring a community garden, a lake with ducks, and an Emu named “Big Lou” who wanders around and enjoys eating pieces of fruit from people’s hands (well, other than citrus).

It also has an amphitheater where they have concerts (folks music mostly, of course) and a weekly drum circle. Every Fall, they have a concert called the “Peace & Love Festival”

They are not messing around with this hippie stuff.

It is a serene, quiet place to go and read or walk around or have conversations, the people who live there are exceedingly friendly (they tend to call each other Brother and Sister, whether they are related or not), and of course you could always go and see Big Lou.

LCCLT amphitheater

On this particular day, I found myself sitting several rows up in the empty amphitheater, reading a book, when one of the residents, a fifty-something guy in shorts and a t-shirt, came in and set up a fire in the fire pit located dead center.  He worked meticulously, putting the wood in a triangle with newspaper in the middle and lighting it in several places, pleased with his work.  I glanced up every once in a while, and smiled to let him know I wasn’t just being creepy and staring at his fire.

Just moments after this scene played out, another fellow came down the path and noticing that there was a fire, came down to confront the first guy about it.

“Why did you set a fire??? You know we have the Fairy Light Festival tonight and I need to prepare the area.”  It sounds silly but this guy was really annoyed.

“Because I can.  There are house tours today. Dammit”

“We can’t have a fire in here now, and I wish you’d stop being such an asshole to me.”

“I’m not being an asshole, YOU’RE being an asshole!”

“No, YOU’RE being the asshole!”

This continued for awhile, in the center of this amphitheater surrounded by nature, in preparation for the Fairy Light Festival, and  mere feet from this stage:

LCCLT Stage

After this, they both stormed out.

I continued reading my book.  This was an act break, I suppose, in this improv theater-in-the-round.

At this point, The fellow who’d complained about the fire stormed back in, took a rake and toppled the fire into the ashes, grabbed a bucket of water, and doused the rest of the flames, shaking his head and walking back out again.

I finished another chapter.

More slowly this time.

Then the first guy came in, saw his destroyed fire and looked up at me.

“Did that guy put out my fire?”

I wasn’t sure I wanted to get involved.

“Er…Yes, yes he did.”

“UNBELIEVABLE”

I smiled and tried to sound neutral. “Everybody’s got their something, ya know?”

“You got that right!”

He stormed off again.

At this point, I gave up entirely on the book.  I owned the situation.  This was two people embroiled in conflict, literally in the center of a stage, so stuck in being right that they had no idea how ridiculous it all seemed, given their context.  I could see it only because I was several levels up, sitting on an audience bench, watching it all unfold. I was not involved, I was merely a spectator, amused at the absurdity.

The fire-douser returned with a rake, sweeping up the ash and dirt, cleaning the seats in preparation for the festivities of the evening, shaking his head in annoyance.  This was no one-time argument.  These two had a history.

Ten minutes later, yet another confrontation, center stage, this time with several other friends of the fire-douser present (and seemingly just as amused as I was)

I got up and walked out.

My instinct was to find the fire-maker and suggest to him that maybe if he treated the other guy super-duper-nicely, that might really annoy him.  But I didn’t.

I’m not sure what that says about me.

Anyway, I guess that’s what the universe thought I needed to learn today.

There is lots to learn, if we step back and look at it from the audience.

Best play I’ve seen in a while.

If you find yourself at the LCCLT, say hi to Big Lou for me.  He likes grapes. And doesn’t care a bit about fires.

LOUPIC2

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Letting Go Of Masculine Energy. Or: Unselling Myself http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/personal-reflections/letting-go-of-masculine-energy-or-unselling-myself.html http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/personal-reflections/letting-go-of-masculine-energy-or-unselling-myself.html#comments Wed, 15 May 2013 20:36:41 +0000 http://www.jeremymeyers.com/?p=3894 If you’ve met me, I would imagine that you wouldn’t describe me as particularly ‘macho’ or ‘manly’.  This is not a point of contention.  I surround myself socially with women, for the most part.  My interests are not particularly masculine (I like girly drinks, and WB shows and am not much into sports and so on), and I often feel out of  step when surrounded by mostly guys.

I’m beginning to realize that there is a ton of masculine energy …

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If you’ve met me, I would imagine that you wouldn’t describe me as particularly ‘macho’ or ‘manly’.  This is not a point of contention.  I surround myself socially with women, for the most part.  My interests are not particularly masculine (I like girly drinks, and WB shows and am not much into sports and so on), and I often feel out of  step when surrounded by mostly guys.

I’m beginning to realize that there is a ton of masculine energy shaping how society expects us to behave, especially when it comes to “work” and resources.

We are supposed to go out and get that client, or get on our grind or always be closing.  If you’re not hustling, you’re never gonna win. 

We have to rock our sales pages.  We need to get to #1 on Google.  We should network and build our connections.

Can you feel the “grrrr” energy connected to all of this? I certainly can.  When I set up Deeper Context the way I did, I felt a little unsettled by my sales language, but it seemed like the thing to do in order to grow my business and build a client base.   It hadn’t really occurred to me to think about it in terms of whether any of that language meshed with my own natural energy.

I’d been brainwashed by the popular assumption about how to build a business, how a freelancer is supposed to behave, where the energy should come from.

And I was wrong.

Because what I want to do isn’t to sell products, or generate revenue (not as a main goal, anyway), or even grow my business.

To me, those are clothes that don’t fit very well.  They are the same clothes that didn’t work for me as an employee of large, masculine companies.  Just ask my former bosses.

What I want isn’t any of that.

Those are not forces that nourish.

They are forces that break others down.

Those are not forces that leave room for everyone.

They are forces that must destroy the competition.

Those are not forces that are interested in what you have to say, and will sit quietly and listen.

They are forces desperate for your attention by any means necessary.

They are forces that mostly care about numbers. About SEO. About quarter-over-quarter growth. About bolding random sentences in the hopes that they stand out.

They are not forces that say “Yes, let’s try that and see what happens”

They are forces that say “Show me that this will be a success, using my values, before we try it. And still probably no.”

They are not conversational.

They are dictatorial.

These are not my values.

What I want isn’t any of that.

What I want is to connect. To grow and help others grow. To turn over a rock and see what might be hiding.

To help to awaken that giddy, childlike part of us that we cover over with “should” and “this is how it’s done” and “justify your time” and “but I need to”.

To find out what makes you tick.  Under all that stuff.

That’s what Deeper Context will be, when I learn to unsell myself. One part of a larger person, unconcerned with the masculine. At home.

We can get there, you and I. Together. One healing moment at a time. Just being.

 

 

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CourtneyJaye.com – WordPress Site Conversion http://www.jeremymeyers.com/portfolio-items/wordpress-production/courtney-jaye.html http://www.jeremymeyers.com/portfolio-items/wordpress-production/courtney-jaye.html#comments Tue, 23 Apr 2013 05:44:29 +0000 http://portfolio.jeremymeyers.com/?p=1122 Reimagining Ian Hunter's official site, including migration from manually updated HTML to a WordPress back-end.

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Client: Missing Piece Group

The Brief:

  • New artist Courtney Jaye had an album coming out in the Spring of 2013
  • Her site was generated by BandPage.com, which did not allow for much flexibility, design and content-wise.
  • Client wanted to take advantage of site organization and simplicity afforded by a WordPress back-end.
  • Client wanted Ian’s image to be front and center, in a style similar to the sites featured on this list of “25 of the Best Band Websites”

Project Notes: 

  • Selected the Motion theme, which I heavily customized to bring social tools to the front and allow Courtney’s image to shine through.
  • Added Social Functionality (Facebook widget, Twitter widget)
  • Installed and configured custom tools to post digests of Instagram photos, and BandsInTown tour dates.

Courtney Jaye » Get Love and Forgiveness on May 7th Courtney Jaye

courtney jaye old site courtneyjaye-newsite

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On Nourishment http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/personal-reflections/on-nourishment.html http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/personal-reflections/on-nourishment.html#comments Thu, 11 Apr 2013 06:01:12 +0000 http://www.jeremymeyers.com/?p=3835 3546425A concept that’s been coming up a lot for me lately is ‘nourishment’, and leading a nourishing life.

Does your life nourish you? Do your days?

A big part of how I’ve spent the last two years is in the mindset of “trying to figure out the next chapter” or “what do I want to do with my life”.  I’ve worked toward that with Deeper Context, to some extent.

But recently I’ve realized that “figuring out the next thing”

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3546425A concept that’s been coming up a lot for me lately is ‘nourishment’, and leading a nourishing life.

Does your life nourish you? Do your days?

A big part of how I’ve spent the last two years is in the mindset of “trying to figure out the next chapter” or “what do I want to do with my life”.  I’ve worked toward that with Deeper Context, to some extent.

But recently I’ve realized that “figuring out the next thing” is actually a mind state completely distinct from actually living your life and having the next thing happen. You can spend your entire life with the mental filter of ‘I gotta figure out what I want to do’.  The answer doesn’t come from thoughts, from contemplation.  There is no light bulb waiting to pop on and provide a singular a-ha moment.

So, it seems there is no answer.  But maybe the question itself is flawed. Maybe how can I find a job that maps to my skills and interests and passions is not really useful or answerable.  Maybe a more useful framing would be  how might I live a life that more often includes things that nourish me, and trust that the necessarily material concerns will follow?. 

What nourishes me?

For one, stepping away from the computer. I’ve spent too many days glued to one screen or another, communicating with loved ones, feeding my interests, killing time. I’m taking a break from my 12 hour laptop days, as much as i can.  The internet will be there if I need it.

I’m also taking a bit of a breather from the current iteration of Deeper Context.  Now, the project is still very near and dear to my heart.  It’s my own fault, really.  I’ve had the ‘figuring out the next thing’ glasses on, and I’ve accidentally taken something that I care about very dearly (talking to people about the things that they love and their history and what energizes them) and aimed it too much at “let me make videos for your website”.

What I care about is the conversation, and that just doesn’t show through.  So, it needs adjustment.   I know there’s a better way to integrate it into my life in a way that is nourishing, and it will happen.  That will come, in time.

So, here’s my reality now: I have no idea what’s next.

I could not possibly feel better about accepting this reality.

Stepping away from the expectation of ‘finding a path’ or ‘choosing a topic’ is providing me the freedom to look at things through this different, lighter lens.

I’ve been gardening a bit.  Taking my hands off of the keyboard and putting them into the dirt.  Something real.  Something I can help to grow. In some instances, something I can eat later.

Plants exist in the real world.  You feed them and care for them and they reward you with rich colors and flavors.  You can feel them. There’s no screen to look through.

I guess in some way I’m creating nourishment there too.

Feels good.


Note: Sometimes I struggle with making these posts more inclusive. Using ‘we’ instead of ‘I’. I’ve decided not to worry about that now, but I would really genuinely love to have a conversation about this with anyone who would like to share their feelings.

Thanks to Mynde Mayfield for encouragement and Jen Carney for resonance on this post.

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The elephant in the room: The war between art and commerce http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/marketing-and-web-20/the-elephant-in-the-room-the-war-between-art-and-commerce.html http://www.jeremymeyers.com/blog/marketing-and-web-20/the-elephant-in-the-room-the-war-between-art-and-commerce.html#comments Sun, 03 Mar 2013 21:50:04 +0000 http://www.jeremymeyers.com/?p=1651 We’re not talking about it directly, but  let’s not kid ourselves, theres a war going on.

On one side, there are those of us who see the potential for interacting as one community (from producer to consumer) as a core value to be cherished and nurtured and as a linchpin to worthwhile, world-changing (and yes, wildly profitable) work.

On the other side, there are those for whom connection that is not in service to a marketing goal is an expendable …

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We’re not talking about it directly, but  let’s not kid ourselves, theres a war going on.

On one side, there are those of us who see the potential for interacting as one community (from producer to consumer) as a core value to be cherished and nurtured and as a linchpin to worthwhile, world-changing (and yes, wildly profitable) work.

On the other side, there are those for whom connection that is not in service to a marketing goal is an expendable luxury, for whom sitting back with arms folded and a “prove it” stance is preferable to opening up and saying “what if”, for whom asking about ROI is not actually meant as anything other than a conversation stopper and a muzzler of progress in the name of inertia.

You can probably tell by my descriptions which side I put myself on.

Underneath every “What is the ROI of caring?” argument and “Can’t we get an intern to run our facebook page?” email is a silent “fuck you and what you stand for,” whether the sender is consciously aware of it or not.

The most valuable warriors in this battle are the ones in parts of the gray area between extremes, who have a better view of the common ground, and “speaking each others language” without compromising the core values of “their side” (i.e. without getting too close to the fence).  Do the creative people need to partner with the business people to figure out a way to get creativity done through the lens of business?  Yes.

art-and-business

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