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  • Jay Jacobson

I don’t watch much reality TV, but this season I heard Patti LaBelle was going to be on “Dancing With the Stars”. I’ve been a big fan of Patti’s for decades, seen her in concert a few times, and just love her, so I decided to watch the show. For those who have never seen it, the concept is simple: a famous star (who is not a dancer) is paired with a professional dancer, and each week they perform different dances (tango, rumba, waltz, modern, and so on) for four judges. Each week the couple with the lowest combined score (judge’s scores and viewer’s voting scores) goes home. They start with 12 stars at the beginning of the season, losing couples each week, until there is a winner 12 weeks later (I guess). Well we are now in week 10, about to start the semi-finals next week, and Miss Patti has already been eliminated (in week 5 or 6 I think) – but I’m still glued to the show!


I find “Dancing with the Stars” incredibly moving. The thing that surprises me about it, is that while everyone is dancing against everyone else, they are actually dancing against themselves. The real challenge for each of the stars is to personally grow each with, with each dance. They are given pointers and creative feedback on how to improve by the judges, and each star works hard to become the best dancer they can. It is very much about leaving behind all the doubts and thoughts we all have that hold us back. It is about expressing yourself and stepping into life. And dance, I’ve always thought, is the ultimate vehicle for expressing yourself.


It is pretty amazing to watch. Patti is 70, and still was moving and shaking on the floor with such infectious energy! And I’ve watched non dancers, like “The Bachelor”, Chris Soules, go from being clunky and stepping off the beat, to moving like a real dancer. Singer/actress Rumer Willis (daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore) is one of the most graceful and stunning dancers I’ve seen. She is so gorgeous to watch dance. One of the most powerful couples on the show is Sergeant Noah Galloway (partnered with a dancer named Sharna). He lost his left arm above the elbow and left leg above the knee in his second tour of duty. It is nothing short of inspiring to watch him dance. Each week, he uses more and more of his body. I can’t believe how he lifts his partner and moves around the dance floor. It is nothing short of astonishing. A huge example of overcoming obstacles, and that we are capable of much much more than we think is possible. Here is one of his dances:



This show is so inspiring, and it makes me want to dance!


That brings me to a song from my “Peace At Last” CD, titled “I Am Dancing“. I didn’t write it for the show, but the theme of the song is very similar to the feelings I am getting from watching it. “I Am Dancing” is a song about finding one’s inner strength in the face of doubts and fears, and having that strength lead one though their life. I love this song. It too makes me want to dance! You can hear it by clicking the play button below.


Oh, and one little known fact: if there was one thing I would have loved to be that I’m not, it was a dancer!


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#RumorWillis #PattiLaBelle #NoahGalloway #JayJacobson #DWTS #IamDancing #ChrisSoules #DancingWiththeStars #PeaceAtLast

  • Jay Jacobson

The big news this week is that Bruce Jenner, the Olympic gold medal decathlon winner, has come out as transgender. The man considered the “greatest athlete in the world” in his time, and the picture of strength and masculinity, announced on national TV that “for all intents and purposes, I’m a woman”. That takes great courage for anyone to do, not to mention his public persona and the fact that he did it on national TV. Bravo. Bravo!


In case you missed the interview, you can see it HERE,


I don’t know exactly why, but it seems to be very difficult to be yourself. It could be a societal thing or a human trait, but fearing we won’t be accepted can be so strong, it often creates a lot of stress and pain. Being oneself should be the easiest thing in the world, but it’s not. Maybe because we are social creatures with such a strong need to be accepted. Whether on a job interview, a date, at a social gathering, among friends, being picked for the dodgeball team in gym class, or in that ultimate relationship with our parents, we all inevitably want to be accepted. Being excluded or rejected is something none of us (understandably) want to feel or experience.


One option to try to avoid rejection is to pretend we are something we’re not. I don’t think taking that path is sustainable. We often hear, “the honeymoon is over” after a couple has been together for some time and they start to see the “real” person they are with. Or how many of us have made a decision or two (or more) based on what we thought we should do instead of what we felt in our heart? It took Bruce Jenner 65 years to accept who he/she truly is. I know from my own life it would be much easier to be what I think people want me to be than to be who I am, but there is nothing satisfying in that. And I believe if you cannot be yourself, you cannot truly express yourself in the world. No one will be totally accepted by everyone, and I’ve learned that the most important person who needs to accept me is me. Once I can accept myself the way I am, other’s opinions matter less, and I am free to fully express myself. And then those who accept and support me suddenly find me and stick around. No more phony, empty relationships. No more games. Life is much simpler. I can breathe more easily, and I find myself much happier.

For some reason, it seems that life is a never ending challenge to be myself. As I grow and let go of “protective behavior”, so to speak, and relax into “myself”, I inevitably find another new level to uncover. It never seems to end. It is like an onion, peeling back layer after layer after layer. I suppose that is the journey of a human life.

A world based on acceptance would be a true Garden of Eden. People could spend their time expressing themselves and contributing to society and to others, instead of spending lives grappling to “be OK”, or to “fit in” or to “find myself”. I think Bruce Jenner’s “coming out” is helping the world take a baby step towards accepting others for who they are – exactly the way they are. Seeing this man we identified a certain way come out as being totally different than we thought he was – filled with overwhelming doubts and insecurities just like us all – is very powerful. It can open our eyes to realize that we are all the same – even with all our differences. Hopefully, it will help all of us accept the things about ourselves that we are afraid to admit, the things we have shame about, or the things that we are told are wrong about us. Once the world reaches a place of acceptance, life will be so extraordinary for everyone.

This struggle to fully be oneself is something I write about in different ways in my music. I touched on it in previous blogs, “Goodbye ‘Glee’, Set the ‘Boy’ Free”, and “A Stand for Oneself in ‘No’, Sparked by Sophia Loren”, highlighting my songs, “No” and “Boy”. A song I wrote that directly touches on the subject of becoming your “true” self, is “The Hidden Side of Me”, from my second CD, “Ready”. This song, with its drum and bass sound, speaks about the courage and pain it takes to shed the facades and walls we’ve built, to become that truthful, hidden part of ourselves. Enjoy!


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#Acceptance #Ready #BruceJenner #HiddenSideofMe #JayJacobson #Rejection #Becomingyourtrueself

  • Jay Jacobson

Happy Earth Day! Today, April 22, is the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement, and it is a day on which worldwide events are held to support environmental protection. It is celebrated in more than 190 countries. How wonderful to officially acknowledge and celebrate our home!

I’ve been very lucky (and am very thankful) that I’ve seen a lot of this planet. To date I’ve visited at least 27 countries on 5 continents. I’ve seen deserts, glaciers, rain forests, pine forests, fjords, lakes, rivers, islands, oceans, mangroves, beaches, valleys, sounds, rock formations, icebergs, and jungles. One of the many things that traveling does is open my mind to how varied life is on this planet. There are so many different places and ways to live – none of them better or worse than any other – just different.

In the past 7 years or so, an interesting  thing has been happening. In every place I’ve visited during that time, people have mentioned a change in their climate. Whether it was too much rain, not enough rain, snow at the wrong time of year, snow for the first time, unusually high temperatures, or unusually cold weather. And there have been unusual sighting such as seeing birds that haven’t been seen in that part of the world before, or seeing a type of whale in their waters that they don’t normally see.

The planet is changing, big time. I remember the first unsettling moment I experienced regarding climate change. It was in 2009. I was on a three hour tour on a small boat in Alaska looking at the stunning “Sawyer Glacier”. Someone asked our guide if we’d see it calve (calving is when a piece of ice at the edge of the glacier breaks off and falls into the water). The guide (who visited the glacier weekly) told us the chances were very, very slim since he rarely sees that happen, and already saw it calve the week before. And, he pointed out, we would only be there for 20 minutes. He went on to say that if we did see it calve, it would be a bad sign that it was melting too quickly. In the next breath, we heard a huge cracking sound in the distance, and watched the far right edge of the glacier break off and fall into the water. In our 20 minutes in front of the Sawyer Glacier, we saw it calve 4 times. It was pretty spectacular and at the same time very ominous. Even our guide was concerned.




Two of the four times I witness the calving of the Sawyer Glacier

Two of the four times I witness the calving of the Sawyer Glacier



SawyerGlacier2

Being Earth Day, I feel I need to address “global warming”. There are still many global warming “deniers” out there – many of whom I’ve run into throughout the years. So since it is Earth Day, I’m going to take a moment and give a brief explanation of global warming. I am not an expert or a scientist, but I am informed. I’ve read many, many articles from lots of different sources over the years, watched countless documentaries, and have spoken to many people from all over the globe during my travels. Funny enough, the only deniers I’ve met have all been in the USA. I’ve also noticed that the “deniers” have three things in common:

1. A disregard for science

2. They are uninformed

3. They lack common sense

Yes, I’ve been warned that global warming is a “conspiracy” to con us by the government and/or those “greedy green energy companies”. Yes, I’ve heard that it is just a “liberal hoax.” Yes, I’ve heard about the one “scientist” who says man has nothing to do with global warming. Yes I know the warming of the planet is a natural state of the earth. I’ve also been told many times that there are “record low temperatures” and record snow falls, “proving” that global warming is ridiculous and can’t be real. When I am told these comments, I quickly realize I am speaking with a person who is very uninformed about climate change. For those who don’t quite understand what global warming is, here is a brief, layman’s explanation:

GLOBAL WARMING 101:

Basically, the sun’s rays penetrate our atmosphere and warm the planet’s land and water. The planet warms from absorbing some of the sunlight, and then gives off heat – some of which radiates towards space leaving our atmosphere, and some of which remains in our atmosphere, trapped by a “blanket” of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses. This “blanket” of gasses is what keeps the Earth warm and livable for us all. However, it has been scientifically documented that since the Industrial Revolution, humans are using energy in greater quantities and creating more carbon dioxide gas than would have naturally occurred. The extra carbon dioxide and gasses drift up into the atmosphere making that “blanket” of gasses thicker, which traps even more of the Sun’s heat, thus, making the planet warm quicker than it would if that blanket wasn’t as thick. That is generally the concept.

If you do even a small about of research, you will find that just about every independent science organization from around the world agrees that man has directly contributed to speeding up the warming of the planet. Since the industrial revolution (around 1750), human activities (mostly burning fossil fuels, deforestation and agriculture) have substantially added much larger doses of CO2 and other heat-trapping gasses into the atmosphere. For instance, cars emit gasses. If you double the amount of cars being used, you double the amount of gasses emitted in the air. The more gas burning cars we use, the more gasses we emit into our air. It is common sense. Another example: Trees take in CO2 and convert it to oxygen. If man cuts down trees (which we’ve done by the billions), naturally, there are less trees removing CO2 from the air, leaving more of it in our atmosphere. Again, common sense.

All these gasses contribute to a thicker “blanket”, which makes the planet warmer. And that has many other consequences, among them the melting glaciers. One thing glaciers do is reflect the suns rays away from the Earth – like a mirror, as opposed to absorbing the sunlight like the oceans. As the glaciers shrink, we get a smaller “mirror” reflecting the sun’s rays away from the earth, and a larger surface (more ocean) absorbing the sun’s rays. I could go on and on (but I won’t). But one last point. As for the natural warming of the planet, research has proven that if you take away all of the gasses emitted by human activity since the Industrial Revolution, the planet would be fluctuating in the range it was before that time, instead of rising to the level it is now. Here is a great video which explains the science of it here if you are interested:



THE CIRCLE OF LIFE:


My first trip to Costa Rica opened my eyes to nature in a way I had never before witnessed. I stayed in an Eco-Lodge in the Osa Peninsula, which is described by National Geographic as being “the most biologically intense place on Earth”. There was life everywhere – mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects and so many different trees and plants. I saw monkeys, toucans, scarlet macaw’s, crocodiles, tapirs, sloths, poison dart frogs, eagles, snakes, spiders, iguanas, and so many other forms of life.


CostaRica2

A monkey eating a colorful grasshopper, in the Osa Peninsula.



CostaRica1

Two Scarlet Macaws in the trees, in the Osa Peninsula.


What I learned while being there was that everything in the rainforest has a place. It is a total balance of life. There were termite mounds on many trees. They eat the dead trees and keep the forest green. There were trees that grew like a parasite around another trees, killing the original tree. The new tree would become hollow inside where the dead tree was – becoming a perfect protective home to wildlife. Everywhere you looked, things worked together, like pieces of a puzzle fitting together. This got me thinking about the “circle of life”. And I realized how out of balance we are. There are just too many people, and we don’t give back to the Earth. We are no longer part of the circle. This inspired me to write a song, “The Circle” which can be found on my CD, “Revelations”. I even recorded some forest sounds in the Osa Peninsula, which I included in the song. Here are the lyrics, and you can hear the song by clicking at the bottom. Let’s each do something to help our home become more balanced. Why not plant a tree? It is a start!

THE CIRCLE

by Jay Jacobson


Nature does thrive in its pure state

All things alive do integrate

And then…

Quails eat the seeds and the fox eats the quail

The quail turns to dirt so that seeds can prevail

Living things all have a proper place

Nothing in the forest goes to waste

One thing dies yet another is gained

Give and take is the plan of how life sustains

We have stepped so far from the circle (We’re buried in a box)

As God we are miscast (Don’t even feed the worms)

We have stepped right out of the circle (We sit on porcelain)

Outside it we won’t last (Don’t fertilize the grass)

The circle is bigger than us

The circle is stronger than usThe circle is begging us to return

Mother earth is infested with man

Freeloaders who just take what we can

Take without a thought of giving back

Scales have tipped so far they’re out of whack

Think we sit at the top of the chain

To be on top you must be a part of the game

(We play with chemicals)

(Make waste that can’t be used)

(We tear down creature’s homes)

(We’ve overrun the earth)

That oil is mine

That rock is mine

That animal’s mine

That gold is mine

That tree is mine

That dirt is mine

That water is mine

That forest is mine

That ocean is mine

That air is mine

That land is mine

That country is mine

This world is mine

(We hunt just for the thrill)

(We killed our predators)

(We over fish and drill)

(We think we own the world)



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#TheCircle #CircleofLife #JayJacobson #OsaPeninsula #ClimateChange #ScarletMacaws #Revelations #GlobalWarming #SawyerGlacier #EarthDay