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recapping SXSW 2019

In learning, stories, upside by Jay Clouse

Last week I flew to Austin, Texas, for my fourth SXSW Festival. If you’ve never been to South-By before, it’s described on their website as “The South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference & Festivals celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries.” All things considered, it’s one of my favorite events. For a few days, Austin becomes a center …

10 days of silence (part two)

In deep thoughts, inspiration, learning, motivation, stories by Jay Clouse

In case you missed it, I recently took part in a 10-day silent meditation retreat. On November 27, I took on the 11+ hour drive through the snow and ice to Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, to the first Vipassana Meditation Center in North America. I stayed there for a 10-day course, ending on December 9 (last Sunday) when I drove back. …

10 days of silence (part one)

In deep thoughts, inspiration, learning, stories by Jay Clouse

I’m about to do something very cool. On Tuesday, I’m driving to a Vipassana Meditation center for a 10-day silent retreat. I’ve been trying to go on one of these retreats for three years now, and I’m stoked that it’s finally actually happening. The reactions I’ve gotten from talking to people about it have been mixed, to put it mildly. …

vulnerability and conflict

In learning, relationships, stories by Jay Clouse

There’s a lot of talk these days about vulnerability and the need for people to embrace making themselves vulnerable. It’s something I’ve put a lot of thought and intent into over the last several months, with varying degrees of success. For one, it’s difficult for me to understand the line between transparency and vulnerability. This newsletter, my social media, the …

the stories we tell ourselves

In deep thoughts, inspiration, motivation, stories by Jay Clouse

For a while (until it wore off) I had an address label on my wallet that I had written on it, “why are you buying this?” When I was at a restaurant or store, I saw several people look at it and laugh. Sure, it did serve a small purpose to make me think about whether or not I should be …

opinions vs. experience

In learning, relationships, stories by Jay Clouse

I spent this weekend with 14 other individuals in a Florida Airbnb named, “Decadent Compound” as part of an amazing birthday celebration of my good friend, Jordan. She booked the trip with the intention of bringing together 14 people who have been important to her, that she thought would get along, and frankly most of us were strangers to one …

flipping a new lie

In creativity, deep thoughts, learning, stories by Jay Clouse

Right before I took my summer writing break (which I just cut short), I shared some information about why I started writing in the first place. In the words of my coach and mentor, Chris, I needed to “flip the lie” I was telling myself — and specifically, I was telling myself that I wasn’t an artist or able to …

rules — real or imaginary?

In creativity, learning, stories by Jay Clouse

A few months ago, I signed up for Level 1 improv classes because I thought I’d be good at them. Then, just a couple weeks ago, I signed up for Level 2 improv classes because I realized I was not. But I’m really enjoying the process of it, for a lot of reasons. For one, it’s fun to fail hard …

attitude, unnecessary risk, and 8th grade football

In deep thoughts, learning, motivation, stories by Jay Clouse

I’ve written before about my varsity football record being 5-25 over three years. BUT, we were actually pretty good and mostly undefeated from grades 7-9. What I’m trying to say is, we had some dominating 14-year-old athletes. One of those athletes was our backup quarterback. He was a backup, but at that age it’s more like “second” quarterback, because he …

put on a show

In inspiration, motivation, stories by Jay Clouse

When I was in high school, our football team wasn’t very good. My sophomore year we went 2-8, my junior year we went 2-8, and then my senior year….we went 1-9. Woof. Before all of our games my senior year, we had a team dinner. And during that dinner, we had a local church pastor give some remarks to help …