Monday, October 27, 2014

Food, Music, Home and Acceptance

I have an obsession with two things - food and music. When I’m dead and gone my life’s work will have been dedicated to the incredibly visceral combination of the two. This is the kind of thing where level of intelligence is absolutely moot. It’s about that deep inward feeling that consumes us when we’re experiencing it. They are truly original forms of therapy. The heart is made up of four chambers and I’m apt to say that music and food are two of them.

Every Sunday, a tiny “Rustic American Eatery & Bakery” known as Salt of the Earth hosts incredibly talented guests for their music series. This restaurant is located in Fennville, MI which has an approximate population of only 1,400 people. You could miss driving through it if you sneezed and you certainly would regret it. This tiny town is the buckle to West Michigan’s agricultural belt. To quote their website, “Salt of the Earth celebrates the bounty of the Michigan farm, beverage, and roots music community.”. They actually partner with farmers, growers, brewers and distillers within a fifty-mile radius to provide a long forgotten quality of freshness in today’s food and it’s perfect partner-in-crime... music.

Last night we experienced, local to West Michigan indie-folk sensation, The Crane Wives for an unexpected feeling of euphoria (at seemingly the world’s best venue). They usually play to much larger crowds, but Salt of the Earth is a very special place. Their genre is outside of my go-to-music, however their enthusiastic passion still invoked something in me. They introduced The Diving Bell as their only “happy” song and then laughed because it starts off by referencing drowning. Their metaphors were raw and perfect as if they were lovingly ripened and picked from the garden of life.

I don’t mean to misquote one of their singers, but she said something to which I directly related. I wish I had it recorded, but I believe it was along these lines, “These songs are from our own personal experiences and anxieties. We interpret our emotions through our music. And that’s hard to do when you’re happy because when you’re’re distracted.”. I’m telling you a huge gong crashed in my brain after she said that and life made just a little bit more sense right then.

Here we were in this perfect sized room with probably less than seventy-five people. On the table sat a bottle of Bordeaux, handmade aged cheddar pierogies with buttered red cabbage, a sweet-smoky wood-fired pizza and the best damn s’more on the planet. The timelessly enchanting melodies of The Crane Wives brought the whole experience full circle, making our toes tingle. Our server said they were “just the cutest band in the whole world”. She may have been right, but they reminded me more of a wolf-pack howling at the moon in perfect three-part harmony. Maybe a cute wolf-pack, though.

The Crane Wives @ Salt of the Earth - 10/26/14 - (photo credit: ShantsBySchantz)
The truth is our food came from the surrounding fields and our music came from our neighbors. This was more than the essence of Americana. This was more than a campaign known as Pure Michigan. This was more than West Michigan, even. This was the pioneering spirit of our home and all of us there accepted that we were a part of it together. Which reminds me, those other two chambers of our heart are exactly that - home and acceptance. Damn, that was delicious.

Scotty J ~ "If we can focus on living and loving locally, we can lead by example globally."

Check ‘em out here on the web...
...and find your way to ‘em in person!!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mutual Weirdness

For those of you that don't know me personally, I'm madly in love with a woman named Jessica. Aside from how much we laughed, her hazel-green eyes hypnotized me the first time we met. They seemed to sparkle and change shades every time she smiled, it made my heart race. I'm not exactly sure if she caught me staring at her that night, but I tried like hell to keep it chill around her, uninterested even. I didn't want to be overcome by the nearly uncontrollable notions I was feeling for her. It wasn't infatuation. It wasn't love-at-first-sight. I knew it was much much bigger.

That night, I had a forty-five minute drive home and spent it chatting on the phone with a different girl I had gone on a few dates with at the time. She drunkenly talked about herself and eventually stopped making sense altogether. It didn't matter anyway, I wasn't paying attention. I still couldn't get over the feeling from meeting this beautiful green-eyed woman from earlier in the night. A feeling that's only grown since then too.

Jessica and I started seeing each other just a couple of weeks later and I'm not even sure how. My beard was the bushiest it had ever been, absorbing everything it had come close to like a sea sponge - it literally reeked of buffalo chicken dip and campfire. However I wasn't embarrassed by that and she certainly wasn't deterred. It wasn't long after that we realized our favorite view is the one we share together. Since then it hasn't mattered where our adventure has taken us, as long as we experience life together.

For the record, my beard actually did smell like that and I know that sounds weird, but I've learned that true love exposes every part of who we are. It conquers fears, energizes the spirit and feels like flying. Simply put, there is just no hiding from it. True love occurs when two people take off their "cool" with a willing vulnerability and let their naked hearts beat in unison. They never hide from themselves nor each other. I really believe Dr. Seuss said it best...

I knew nothing about love before meeting Jessica. I had only experienced lust, loneliness and lies. All of my prior relationships were just novelties lining my shelves like trophies for confusion and heartbreak. I'm not even mad about it though. All of those mistakes of the past were really quite the contrary (and Jessica's too.). They were exactly what lead us to one another and I wouldn't dare change that for the universe.

She fits perfectly into my big bear-hugging arms, as if we were a two-piece puzzle made to only fit with each other. In fact, she even calls me Bear. Every time we touch, it feels like we melt into one another. Honestly, it's the most selfless and giving feeling in the world. Like me, she loves children's books and the other little things life has to offer - like basking in the sunshine, the waves on Lake Michigan, aromatic candles and fresh cut flowers. From a friendly tennis match to a long walk through a vineyard with a kiss under a shade tree to a night of making dinner with old and new friends - every single day is an adventure worth every moment of our time.

We even share a journal to write each other uplifting notes and reminisce about our inside jokes from each little moment we've had together. I gave it to her for coming to spend my birthday with me, eating pizza and drinking wine on a sunset boat cruise. In my first entry I confessed my heart and told her I loved her. I knew it was fast, but at thirty-one years old I knew even better that life was too damn short. In one of my favorite entries from her she copied a poem by R.M. Drake that read...

We are magic.
We are moments.
We are dreams and we are memories.
We are everything.
And in the depths we swim deeper
to discover that we are not born whole
so we cannot be broken.
We are born in twos, and
we are searching, searching for
the other piece,
that other person to guide us home.
A year ago at this time I had nearly severed ties from everything I knew and took off for an unknown destination. I had thought that maybe true love wasn't for me this lifetime, but I never stopped believing in it. I don't know why, I just couldn't. What I didn't understand then became perfectly transparent the day I read that poem. See, she too had gone through some heavy-hearted changes at the same time. It really felt like braving the darkest storm on this sea of life. Apparently though it was just the wind catching our sails, steadily pushing us "home".

They say... home is where the heart is. Well I don't know who "they" are, but they couldn't have been more right. Though the future is unknown and life is full of surprises, being with her is the happiest I've ever been. Something tells me if you asked her, she'd tell you the exact same thing. True love isn't something we bellow from a mountain top, it's the strength and motivation behind our climb up the mountain. Love defines us, never stop believing in it.

Scotty J ~ "No matter how inexperienced nor how broken, the heart knows best."

I love you Jes!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Gales of November Came Early

Last month I traveled with my girlfriend to Chicago. While she worked at her office in Ravenswood I took the liberty of meandering my way downtown and checking into our hotel. I was tired and needed a nap, but the Windy City was stirring and I just had to immerse myself in it. After a lengthy walk and a salty snack, I needed a toke and casually strolled back toward the hotel.
During my pursuit for a discrete location to "partake" I came across this perfectly nestled courtyard. It was a beautiful hardscape with a massive trellis built out of timbers. The stone planters had hard angles and a checkerboard symmetry to their placement. Their flamboyant green and pink foliage had a majestic vibe among all of the concrete in the city. The shadows from the trellis seemed to be perfectly painted on the solid ground. I looked around and counted..1..2..3..4..5 bums sleeping in the late summer sun.
Not really sure of what my immediate future plans were, I opted to join these bottom-feeders. With my bag as my pillow, I slept for a bit and dreamed of nothing. When I awoke, I looked around and realized that my new acquaintances had not dreamed in years. They stalk the night diving in dumpsters and living off of the scraps of others. It's a lifestyle so grueling they shamelessly sleep it off surrounded by the loudness of traffic, construction and sirens.
Who were these guys? Had their whole lives been on the streets? I thought maybe one of them was a washed-up stock broker who (at one point) had everything he could have imagined. Then after some sort of tragedy he realized all of the things he had were truly nothing. That's when self-actualization set in and he slipped through the cracks. Regardless, all of these guys were fast asleep and I certainly wasn't going to interrupt their much needed rest before another night of urban foraging just to get their story. I slipped my arms through the straps on my backpack and carried on with my adventure.

I don't know why, but as I reflect on this today it came to me that these guys made a gallant abomination of the status-quo. Who am I to refer to these guys as "bottom-feeders"?? At that very moment in their lives that was their destiny. Just as mine was to lay among them then, realize that today and write about it now. Perhaps one of those guys in the courtyard had achieved an incredible level of enlightenment that I may never reach in a thousand lifetimes. They had not given up, these men weren't dead. They were genuine survivors and now I find myself admiring them.
The day we're born we start to die and that's the truth. We live in this society that is obsessed with prolonging our mortality (if we can afford it) and then wonder why we can't find happiness. Abraham Lincoln said, "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.". There is no fucking point in living longer just to be miserable longer. We actually have the audacity to find a way to be offended by anything and people band together in this sad prideful hatred of the human essence.

It's amazing what you can find under the tracks. - Lincoln Square - Chicago, IL
I love street art because it defies the bullshit to which we're regularly subjected. We are all too shamefully influenced by the diabolical "mad men" of the world with their toxic slogans and fictitious imagery. Everywhere we look there's a creative reference to someone being more productive than ourselves. We try to ignore it all (or at least pretend), but to our avail it catches up with us from time to time. Hence me writing all of this.
Brass-Knuckle Love Butter. RAWdio Podcast. Producers United. Interestingly Human. These are the four projects to which I creatively contribute and channel my soul. In fact, Producers United is the only website that's really all put together with regularly updated content. It also happens to be the only project for which I am NOT the administrator. I know that intention is meaningless without action. I'm not doubting my ability to achieve my heart's desires, I'm just calling myself out right now. Holding back is starting to make me feel sickly and gross. It's like the world's cruelest form of suicide and I think most of us are suffering from it in one form or another.
Thanks to my friends in the courtyard, I realized we all have an unfathomable durability as humans. Though death is always out there lurking in so many forms, we can still live through so many unimaginable circumstances. We are all destined for something and it doesn't matter what the rest of the world thinks of it. Maybe mine is leading a renaissance of new age creators with old souls. Better yet, maybe it's helping people listen to their hearts. Who knows?? It could be creating a jankie knock-off version of Mr. Potato Head called Dr. Pineapple Face or perhaps it will just be impoverished squalor. Hell it could be all of the above, but that's neither here nor there.
Luck, circumstance and timing come and go like the wind. Sometimes it's at our backs helping push us along; other times it's right in our face pushing against us; and occasionally it's just stagnant, nowhere to be found. We have to remind ourselves to put into life what makes us feel alive. See, each day we are living our destiny. It transcends through our experiences, our actions and even our intentions. Destiny isn't something we choose, chase or avoid. It's constantly molding throughout our lifetime. It's a part of us...always.

Scotty J ~


Monday, July 28, 2014

Days To Come

I have been noticing a lot of divorces and break-ups lately. These tend to be rough moments in our lives when we do silly things like make cryptic Facebook posts, have pity parties for ourselves and talk out of our asses way more than normal. Love is a tricky emotion because when it fails, it's counterpart is hate. It's hard to let go of something that had us emotionally invested, we carry-on with the hate when the love is gone. In most cases we feel like we lived for this person and without them, we are nobody. Our lack of identity leaves us feeling empty, hollow and lost. I know...I know... break-ups fucking suck, so here's a little unsolicited advice from a fellow survivor...

Don't hate them for this.

Live through it, to the best of your abilities. Be wounded and vulnerable. Try your very best to not project these emotions, but rather experience them. Learn and let your soul grow. It's not about recovering the person you once were, but living as the person you are today. I assure you it's not selfish to focus on yourself, especially at a time when you need it most. Explore the darkness.
Leave your pride in the burning wreckage of your relationship and be humbled. The world will always be yours even when you're not sharing it with someone else. Admire the little things, always. A perfect cup of coffee, a flourishing herb garden, the sound of rain on a tin roof, the aroma of fresh-baked banana bread, puppies, hugs, sunsets, good music and holding the door open for a stranger are among the countless "little things" that truly deserve your attention.
You must embrace your lows as much as you celebrate your highs. These positive and negative experiences are the foundation to how you relate to other human beings. Minimize your social life during the low moments because the energy you transfer to friends and loved ones will eventually become toxic. Forgive yourself for detaching and know that it's for the sake of preservation. Genuine friends will understand this much better (rather than dumb drunken tirades about your ex-lover...), trust me.
In fact, getting drunk while emotionally bottomed-out is extremely counterproductive. There is no sense in feeling depressed and attempting to drown it with a depressant. This can easily push good people out of your life, but for some reason the booze won't let you see that. You actually have the drunken nerve to resent them for keeping their distance. Find a way to appreciate the space they've given you to explore yourself. Remember, nobody else can make you feel better more than yourself!!
If you focus only on the fact that your pride is broken, your heart will never heal. Don't worry about what you did or didn't deserve in your last relationship, it's over. One of the greatest feelings in the world is falling in love. You haven't realized it yet, but you get this fucking amazing opportunity to feel those highs again. Maybe with someone who feels them the same way you do (even if they aren't the person you're going to grow with for the rest of your life.). Let the love you share teach you about yourself, fulfill your life and shine the light on your destiny.

Love unfiltered.

One thing is for certain, the love we share is the best part of who we all are.

Scotty J ~ Spread the Love Butter!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Saving Scotty Jacobs - Magically Delicious

It has been quite a while since writing one of these posts. Hot sunny days and a beautiful woman have been getting my full attention... and I'm not even close to sorry about it!! My goal for the immediate future is finding balance among the things that truly make me happy. Recently, I came across a book I used to keep on my nightstand in high school. I smiled when I held it in my hands and fanned through the pages. I stopped on this chapter here and thought I should share it with everyone:

I have no magic power; I make Personality my Magic Power.

The Samurai is acutely conscious of human dynamics. He knows that events turn on the personalities of those involved in any situation - and that each personality brings new chemistry to the mix.
All of us come to the table with individual agendas. It can take a long time of sifting through the social masks that people present to get a true picture of their intentions. We are all masters of hiding who we are in order to leverage a position in life. We are all actors, behaving as we imagine others expect to secure our place in the order of things. Personality as we know of it is a grab bag of facial expressions, stitched up with predictable words we think everyone wants to hear. Most of us are trained to build a personality that will somehow get us what we want, however great or humble our desires.
Part of this "training" is the honing of a personality that we present to the world, so that others might see us as unique or , at the very least, un-threatening. Relationships are often built upon the illusion of personalities that are mere shadows of who we really are. People rarely know one another at a level deeper than their shadow selves. This is why so many relationships dissolve over sudden, insignificant events. There can be no substance of truth between masks or shadows.
So what is this "magnetic power" of Personality? And how does the Samurai employ it to achieve his aim? Is it the same old game, played the way we are taught to play?
It is simple: The Samurai does not script his actions according to his own, or others', conventional expectations. He releases his natural eloquence in the plainest of terms. His eyes speak for his mouth, his mouth speaks for his heart. His mind is present, attentive, in tune with his ethical integrity. He does not manipulate with words. Whatever he needs to say flows from unaffected sincerity and simple self-knowledge. This is genuine Personality, unblemished by greed, fear, or opportunism.
A Samurai's Magic Power is the unforced charisma of a person without guile. This kind of person honors daily life by serving as an integral part of it. His presence alone exposes fakery and posturing, which are more likely sorcery than magic. He knows that magic flows naturally through anyone who does not build their own impediments to the truth.

(*This is an excerpt from One Flash of Lightning, A Samurai Path for Living in the Moment by Stephanie JT Russell.)

Personality is the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual's distinctive character. Some of our traits we inherit, others we develop from our life's experiences. Personality is the dish we bring to the potluck of life - some people will get down on it, while others may choose to pass on it altogether. We are all an acquired taste and our deliciousness is as unique as our individuality.
The most important statement from the above excerpt is the last sentence - "He knows that magic flows naturally through anyone who does not build their own impediments to the truth.". Saving Scotty Jacobs posts started over six months ago and they are my testimony to a happier healthier existence. I asked all of you to hold me accountable to help keep me honest with myself. Needless to say, it has been an incredible journey thus far.
Matt Powell's Hardstyle Kettlbell training over the winter awakened my potential. Aside from physically getting stronger, I found true inner-strength using his simple yet sinister techniques. His philosophies - "no wasted repetition" and "try anything once" - empowered my confidence. I have never felt more alive and been more in love with this adventure called - life. Lately my physical training has taken a backseat, but the physical demands of farming still have me growing stronger. The same fundamentals Powell taught me with the kettlebell apply perfectly to working the fields.

I measure success with a happy heart and I have to say... life is pretty fucking awesome. I've learned that I only seem to find boundaries when I'm suffering from a lack of passion. In the past I've spent too much time doing what I thought was right, instead of listening to my heart. When I finally ran out of excuses, I looked around and the only thing I had left was my personality. Well, guess what?? That's when the magic revealed itself and I finally set myself free from the rest of the world's expectations.

My sense of humor, sense of adventure and sense of self have become my foundation for a rewarding life. In fact, maybe they always were anyway and it took me a long while to finally realize it. Regardless, writing about my journey has brought a lot of incredible people into my life. I have friends around the world checking in and showing their support. Others have confessed they want to make a change for themselves and embrace the depths of their own capabilities. Occasionally there's even a naysayer or two projecting negativity, unaware of their own incredible potential. Nonetheless, they're all a part of my inspiration and that's a huge part of the magic in my personality. I always appreciate the energy it takes to truly share a part of yourself.

Honestly I'm no Samurai. I'm just a goofy lovable guy raised by amazingly patient parents, both with a "magic" of their own. Take all of those things that come with being their son, all of my experiences that I've learned from along the way and here I am. Most of my days are spent coaxing a smile from friends and strangers alike because I love to laugh with people. Living perfectly, to me, is knowing what you're living for... and for me it's love and the great adventure. Thank you everyone for the love, support, encouragement and general badass-ness you've shared with me since starting all of this. This goes without saying, but you're all a huge part of what defines me today.

If life were actually a potluck and we were all just food on the table, I wonder what we would all be? I think I could be a corned beef or maybe a platter of sliders. Ohhh I know... I could be Honey-Nut Cheerios and milk, so you'd get to eat me up and drink me down!! You know you love the Honey-Nut!! Really though, I'm probably the hot artichoke dip you shouldn't eat too much of, but you put on everything anyway. Mmmm. From canned tuna to caramel cashew ice-cream, it really doesn't matter, we're all magically delicious... we just have to show up to the party!!!

Scotty J ~ A special thanks to my friend Adam Marks for always posting inspirational memes to keep the world inspired. You've got the magic, my friend. ABRA-CADABRA!!!


Monday, June 16, 2014

Life on the Farm - Enchanted Summer Celebration

A long hard day of farming is perfectly accompanied with a vivid imagination. All of those hours scooting along on my butt, pulling weeds and harvesting crops surely wouldn't be as much fun without it!! Actually having an imagination is always encouraged at the farm and I'm sure that's only part of why. The opening statement on the Fat Blossom website defines the farm's wondrous character perfectly, "Welcome to another year of growth, creativity, building, inspiration and reverence for the beauty of nature with Fat Blossom Farm!".

Over the next two weekends everyone will have the opportunity to come embrace the Fat Blossom spirit at the SUMMER ENCHANTED CELEBRATION. We will be celebrating the summer solstice by letting Mother Nature spark our vivid imaginations. Come walk the trails at the farm to discover gnome homes, hobbit habitats and fairy houses all along the way!! Everyone will have the opportunity to build their own "fairy house" with materials all foraged from the farm itself. We also have a children's garden, activity area and all sorts of fun places for a picnic; so pack a lunch and bring everyone out to Fat Blossom Farm this weekend!!

I love these guys.

When I first started at the farm, I kept saying I didn't know very much about hobbits, gnomes and fairies in regards to our "Enchanted" farm foraged fairy house/hobbit habitat kits. This was because I didn't grow up with those types of stories as a child, but I realized I wasn't digging deep enough. We were definitely a house that watched The Smurfs and I always think about them whenever I see a patch of mushrooms out in the yard. BAM! Then it hit me, I was enchanted.

What will your imagination build???

This festival is a great way to bring people out into nature and open their minds to all of the fun things that nature has to offer. Make it a family day, an adventurous date with someone special or just come by yourself for a little solitude and inspiration. Everyone is encouraged to take their time and truly enjoy an imaginative day on the farm. Attend the celebration the weekends of June 21st and June 28th, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm.

Even hobbits enjoy scenic overlooks!!

We are also graciously accepting any willing volunteers to help us with directing cars, admissions and keeping our visitors on the right paths as they tour the farm on foot. The Quincy's and those of us working at the farm would love to have you join us in the fun. All of the festival information is posted in the links below and I hope to see some familiar faces. Please feel free to contact the farm directly through their website, facebook page or me for any additional information. Let's get magical!!

Scotty J ~ "La La La La La La sing a happy song!!"

-Fat Blossom Farm-
-Summer Enchanted Celebration-

Friday, June 13, 2014

Take It All Off

After a long hard day of farming, I came home covered in dirt and sweat. I did a few things around the yard and eventually made my way inside for a necessary shower. Fresh and relaxed, I threw on some comfy clothes to enjoy the rest of my evening. As I sat here creating a playlist of music, I kept catching a musty waft from somewhere. It only took me a few minutes, but I realized it was my sweatshirt that stank.

Nobody loves it when they take a refreshing shower only to follow it up by drying off with a musty towel. That's exactly what this sweatshirt reminded me of, too. It was so terrible I took it off in a panic. It's musty essence had permeated my nostrils and just hung out in my nose, seemingly forever. For some reason this prompted me to take off everything else I was wearing too. I'm guessing I was afraid the mustiness would latch onto my other clothes.
Well so, that brings us to right now. Here I'm sitting, listening to music, typing on my computer, with a beautiful view of the lake and I'm stark fucking naked. That's right, I'm not wearing one single article of clothing. The sun is still shining, neighbors are floating by on their boats, stray dogs are chasing frogs along the shoreline and I'm just observing it all... casually nude. In all honesty, it feels glorious.

When did we get so offended by nudity? We actually put people in jail and label them as "sex offenders", due to a complete lack of clothing. Doesn't that just seem ridiculous?? Everything we experience in life happens from inside of our bodies. It is the vessel that literally contains LIFE, come on people!! What the hell are we doing?!?
Alright, so we can't be a nude human in front of other humans. That causes all sorts of anxiety and unnecessary feelings of inappropriateness, in itself. This leaves us with having to cover our bodies on a regular basis. Thus creating the same stupid emotions on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. In addition to those feelings, we now spend the bulk of our lives hiding from our own bodies under clothes that we feel insecure about. We forget what makes us beautifully human and this greatly limits our chances of being comfortable in our own skin.

Instead of slipping into something more comfortable, when you get home, take off everything. Then go ahead and slip into a glass of wine, a good book or your favorite show. Take back the confidence you were born with and embrace the outfit you've always been destined to wear. Just be careful of cooking bacon, grilling out, fishing, building a fire, drinking hot coffee and sharting. There are definitely some severe consequences to doing any of those things in the nude. Regardless, just rock what you've got... and rock the fuck out of it... you deserve it!!

Scotty J. ~ I'm definitely not wearing any pants.  

Thursday, May 29, 2014

It Smells Like My Birth In Here

We were clipping down the road, going about sixty miles per hour. Suddenly, the Jeep Grand Cherokee made a hard (and very poorly calculated) right turn that took us over the curb. Due to the physics of the situation... we ended up on a forty-five degree angle traveling only on the driver's side wheels, heading straight for the woods. The driver then turned the wheel correcting the Jeep's balance, but it was already too late to safely guide us back to the road. CRAAAAAASSSSHHH!!! We smacked head-on into the one lonely maple that stood in the grass lot before the woods. I was riding shotgun, it happened in a matter of seconds and I was fifteen-and-a-half-years-old.
In that moment there was no time for being scared. The guys in the back seat had clobbered heads and one had their leg caught underneath my seat. The driver somehow came out of the accident unscathed. I didn't have time to think about how rough my body felt from the seat-belt saving my life. My friends were hurt and needed my help. I immediately took off my shirt, balled it around my hand and held it on my friend's cracked open skull. We all lived through that accident that day, but life was definitely different afterwards. There's no guarantees out there and we were lucky.

Sooo... It smells like my birth in here. That's right, I turned thirty-one today and I'm fucking loving it. It's certainly been a wild year, hasn't it? The last few months have been incredible and the last few weeks even more so. Life isn't just some random adventure - it is THE adventure. I may have never lived another day half a lifetime ago, but that wasn't in the cards that day. I'm here today with twice the experiences and slowly learning to be grateful for all of them.
Kurt Vonnegut wrote, "Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter could be said to remedy anything.", which is an eloquent way of saying - don't grow into an old crotchety fuck-face, you'll never get out alive. We always seem to laugh when we throw common courtesies out the window. There's something hilarious about childishly tormenting another human-being. We fart in public places, holler "grandma" at random old women, scare people out of their sleep, go split personality on a drive-thru worker (like they can't jizz in our food or anything...), greet canvassers in our undies, honk at people - then wave in the opposite direction, use a thumbs-up in place of a middle finger with a road-rager and make pregnancy uncomfortable for everyone. Good call, Kurt... good call.

Laughter and Love are roommates of the heart - or even better - Laughter is more like Love's wing-man. The two of them will always find their way when they're working together. Let this be your compass in life and never doubt the magic they create together. It's so perfectly.... human. Laugh with someone, let your hearts dance and embrace the adventure.

My night was spent with one important, beautiful and intelligent woman. Laughter has been a playground for our hearts and her company is my favorite present. It was perfectly capped off with a sunset pontoon ride while picnicking with pizza and wine. We both confessed we didn't want to be anywhere else. All of our days have been incredible like this.
Which reminds me, I need to get the fuck out of here. She's patiently waiting to share the night with me and I'm here chillin' with all of you. The only thing I've got is...  Laugh, Love and Live the life you deserve!! Thanks for the birthday love today from all of you. My heart is on fire... peace and love.

Scotty J. - "Just fucking laugh"

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Life on the Farm - Seek to Understand

   Back in March, I followed my heart to a place called - Fat Blossom Farm. It's just a few miles from my home, nestled in the rolling hills of Allegan County. They are a young family working hard to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Not only are they growing and providing organic produce; they also offer an incredible line of "Enchanted" craft kits foraged right from the farm. Fortunately for me, they welcomed me with open-arms and brought me aboard.

What does your office look like?
   We set up a workstation in the greenhouse; where I immediately buried my hands into some fresh dirt and began planting seeds. I LOVE DIRT!! I haven't fact-checked this, but I'm apt to say that every natural living thing in the world eventually decomposes and returns to the earth. In that same earth we plant a seed and new life begins. It then grows, providing food and shelter for all sorts of creatures as the cycle continues. This is sometimes referred to as "the circle of life" (please do not cue the Elton John song) and dirt is at the bottom of it. After planting thousands of seeds, I eventually worked my way into the upper level of the barn.

It feels more like a sanctuary, than just a regular ol' barn.   
   It's to my understanding the barn has been in that same spot for around 140 years. The beams are hand hewn and notched. They are believed to be made from trees taken straight from the property, all of those years ago. The outside has been resided, but most of the original wood can be admired from the inside still. The moment I walked in, I could feel the spirits of the men that poured their sweat and blood into this awesome structure. I wondered who they were and thought about how I would have loved to help them build that barn.
   It's easy to imagine other people from the area back then, using their time and skills to help build a community. As I began tidying up the barn I pictured a banker, a pastor, a sheriff and fellow farmers all working together from start to finish. Each of them humble while they did what was right for their neighbor and fellow man. With a broom in my hand, I was swept away in my own imagination. Suddenly, something caught my attention and painted a smile across my face.

   This framed poster was leaned up against a table in the barn. It didn't actually make a sound, but its silence spoke so damn loud! I took discovering it as a good omen and felt it was something that definitely needed to be shared. Here's what it says:



   This brilliant list of values is an incredible reminder for all of us. Basically forcing us to ask ourselves, what are we doing to make our home (not house) an authentic and genuine place to be? We all have a chance to lead by example every single day. When we're inspired, we tend to pay-it-forward. Which in turn creates a positive vibration that forges some of the most rewarding relationships in our lifetime. When I mentioned "home" earlier I was referring to the old saying, "Home is where the heart is.", and that's what it takes to build a community... HEART. Love where you live and wear your heart on your sleeve.

Mark Boyle is the author of the Moneyless Manifesto (link at bottom of page).
   I came to Fat Blossom Farm this season to get educated about a forgotten way of life. Only a couple of generations ago, most families grew their own gardens. Keep in mind that the garden back then wasn't a hobby, but was grown for survival. Not doing so wasn't even a choice. Humans did this for thousands of years up until the last century. Now some of us actually waste up to 33% of the food we purchase!! Our access to food doesn't seem so convenient anymore, now does it??
   There is no doubt in my mind that letting someone else be in charge of the way we survive as humans, is a formula for catastrophe. I'm sharpening my skills on how to grow my own food and forage from the land, so I can share it with anyone else willing to learn. I believe if we solve our problems locally, we can eventually make a huge impact globally. The aesthetics of Panera Bread and Starbucks hardly compare to community garden plots. We need to change our priorities (I'm just starting, so can you!), we're better than this!! Let's use our hearts and BUILD OUR COMMUNITIES!!!

   There are many extraordinary adventures to come in my future at Fat Blossom Farm. I started planting thousands of seeds when there was still snow on the ground. Now we have a ton of delicious varieties of produce growing from those seeds. Since the sun has been shining I've spent more time out on the forty-seven acres of rolling hills, woods, ponds, marshes and fields. It's an awesome piece of land with an awesome family tending to it. I'll have a lot to share, so please stay tuned and feel free to join me on this journey!!
Scotty J ~  "Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for life."

--Fat Blossom Farm--
--The Moneyless Manifesto-- (Really incredible video of Mark Boyle)

Friday, March 28, 2014


   I rose up out of my slumber this morning to an email from a very close friend. The subject line was blank and in it he simply wrote, "This changed me for the better. Check it out.", with a link to this awesome video (please watch before proceeding):

   That was, without a doubt, extremely fucking powerful. Asher Roth is a hip-hop artist out of Philly sharing this incredible message - WE ARE VERY LUCKY. We walk around this modern world and tend to forget this. We forget to feel the breath in our lungs and the hearts in our chests; we forget to feel alive; and we forget about everyone else who forgets about this too. Our everyday struggles are so small compared to the fact that we actually HAVE the life itself, to live each day. Like the song says though, "Someone's always caught up in the fast life.".
   My friend who sent me this faces that challenge regularly. He's a true family man. His gorgeous wife loves him unconditionally and the two of them have the absolute best behaved children on the planet. Everyone that comes into their home gets treated like family because they simply wouldn't have it any other way. However, something deep rooted in his past (well before starting his own family) haunts him every moment of everyday.
   Once his family gets to bed, he's left alone with his guilty conscience. He loses himself in the darkness, suppressing it with booze and cocaine. As the night turns to dawn; his guilt becomes regret and his self-value drops through the floor. It's followed up with a wicked hangover and severe anxiety for a couple of days. THIS is being caught up in the fast life. It has been going on for years now and he's finally reached a breaking point.

   We've been friends since we were kids and confidants in all sorts of matters over the years. Honestly, he has helped lift some of the heaviest stones off of my chest. I know all about his gloomy past and self-deprecating actions. At times, I've felt like a shitty helpless friend. About a month ago, he wrote me one of the most compelling and passionate confessions. He felt as is if he's been living a lie. It was about his guilt for the past, remorse for the present, his fear for the future and his love for everyone involved. He wants life to be better and admitted he did not know where to start. Though he didn't see it, this open self-awareness has become the foundation for setting his goal.
  Change like this does not happen over night. Fully adapting to a new perspective takes its time and old habits die HARD. We've had some extremely moving and positive conversations since then, but last week he found himself hanging out in the darkness again. The booze, cocaine, depression and anxiety rolled through like a freight train. He wrote me a letter second guessing his new direction, feeling guilty about even trying to change. His brutal honesty filled my heart.
  Like me, all of his emotions are fueled with passion. We both have an obsession with music, humor and people's drive to be creative. I made sure to relay that in my response and I reminded him that I would never love him any less for being himself. Then I joked about him calling me a "hippy", sent him a link to a song and asked him to listen. I told him to listen to it a million times, if that's what it took to get the lyrics to sink into his heart. I myself didn't have the words, but I refused to leave him hanging. This song describes such a willingness to seek the life you want. Have a listen..

   We all have a choice to hold onto what makes us strong and let go of what makes us weak. We need to learn from our experiences and let go of the past. This is my friend's daily battle and he has to be the warrior that overcomes it. And I will always fight my own battles right along side of him, as a reminder that he's not alone. Brothers-in-arms fighting the good fight; both on a search for our honest selves. The more truth we reveal, the better men we become.
   This morning the music revealed to him an absolute truth - WE ARE VERY LUCKY - to have lived through what could have easily killed us. WE ARE VERY LUCKY - for the love from our families. WE ARE VERY LUCKY - for knowing we want to change for the better. WE ARE VERY LUCKY - for caring about and sharing the things that mean the most. WE ARE VERY LUCKY - that it makes us smile to make someone else smile. WE ARE VERY LUCKY - to have a friendship like this, regardless of our demons.


Scotty J ~ "It doesn't take a whole day to recognize sunshine." - Common

Listen to "The Fast Life" by Asher Roth here!!


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Passionate Cave-man Seeks Dancing Cave-woman

   There is something really special about waking up with a smile, getting stoned while a fresh pot of coffee brews and cranking up the music loud enough for the birds to enjoy. This usually encourages me to sing at the top of my lungs (occasionally free-styling) and move wildly about the cottage (otherwise known as dancing). Honestly... I do this with every ounce of passion in my body. I consider things like this "strength-building" for my soul.

   I don't want to get into a debate about smoking weed, having too much caffeine or not being able to turn up the music, so others can sleep. I'm saying do whatever it is that lets you let it all hang out there. Humans have been beating on drums and dancing naked around fires probably ever since we started walking upright. When we hear a song we love, we feel it in our bones. Everything we know about the modern world just vanishes and the music plays right through us, literally. Yes, even "twerkin'" counts.
   It was nice to wake up this way because I've been fighting a strange emptiness this week. Life is definitely good, but this has been a different kind of primal feeling. I yearn for the company of a lover. A feminine touch, if you will. Where our physical connection would cast us off to our dreams every night and jump-start our human confidence every morning. I mean this in the most unselfish way possible; she has to want it for those very same reasons. We don't have to start a family or save a million dollars, we just have to make love. As our lives unfold, our love will be there to iron out the creases.
   My belief is that if two people share the primary goal to start and finish everyday making love to each other; they will not fail in life. The laws of attraction still apply, but their commitment to primitively expressing themselves has no allowance for modern-day complications. All other things become second to the passion they share together.

I gave her that bone (yeah, I said it.).

   I know there are a lot of you out there thinking, "What?!? It's not really that simple. Scotty has his head up way up his ass... again!", and that's okay!! You don't have to dance or have sex with me, we can still be friends. However, I do believe there are other people out there that share this visceral outlook on survival. Being human comes before a nationality, an occupation or an affiliation of any kind. We're prehistoric DAMNIT!! That means we knew how to live before we knew ANYTHING!!!
   The primitive passions rooted in music and sex are inside all of us. It's just naturally a part of the human existence. I appreciate those examples others have set out there for me to believe in this. Sometimes we settle on comfort and not passion to guide us through life (which I'm definitely guilty of in my past and I know some of you are too!), but we don't have to remain that way. Life will always have the most reward if we stay true to ourselves about how we see fit to live it.
   So, in the meantime... the birds and I are just going to keep on moving to the music, strengthening our souls. The woman of my future is out there just beyond the horizon, doing a dance of her own. When the two of us eventually meet, our passions will intertwine and we'll only do what comes natural. We'll settle for nothing less!! So all of you reading, please do me this favor... put on this fifteen minute long song, stop thinking too much and dance like nobody's watching...

Scotty J. ~ "Something about the music, it got into my pants."

My kind of woman.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Saving Scotty Jacobs - An Honest Update

   Last Friday, I wrote and completed an entire post titled Saving Scotty Jacobs - Humble Pie. After I proof-read it a couple of times through, I hated everything about it. My heart was in the right place while I was writing it, but the title Eat My Righteous Shit-Sandwich would have been more suitable. My intention was not to be an arrogant prick, yet I certainly nailed the tone. It really took the wind out of my sails and I chose not to post it.
   After spending a creative weekend in Kalamazoo (putting the disappointment of "Humble Pie" behind me), I came home late Sunday evening to a house with no heat and an outside temperature of twelve degrees. I immediately thought of all of my rants about how we needed to embrace this difficult winter and laughed. While reflecting, I put on two more pairs of socks and triple layered the rest of my body. When I finally got comfortable in my 7 blanket nest, I thought maybe I could relax and just accept this slice of humble-pie. Instead, I felt like a penguin eating a frozen shit-sandwich. IT.WAS.COLD.

This doesn't smell like humble pie....

   The cold might have been uncomfortable, but I think the worst form of torture is when we hide from ourselves. Hence, my confession. Most things in life are much easier said than done, so we usually just say something and settle for that being good enough. THAT is hiding; and I know this because I hid from myself (behind all sorts of things) for over a decade. These Saving Scotty Jacobs posts have effectively kept my actions honest and accountable. It's the "honesty" that I hope inspires others to take action for themselves. We all have our own starting points and tempos. It's not a race!!
   Yesterday marked my 77th day of living a better life. I've successfully kept pop and fast-food out of my body, I am still training in "hardstyle" kettlebells and I've lost 51 lbs. This makes me 9 lbs away from my original goal of losing 60 lbs! I feel strong, motivated and alive. I really kind of feel like I could smash through a wall.. in a good way. I've actually reached the point where it's time to upgrade to a heavier kettlebell and set some new short-term goals. This all happened so fast, I really am excited to see where it leads me next!! Progress feels amazing!!
   In all honesty, this whole setting and accomplishing goals thing is uncharted waters for me. I've done a lot of hard work (and even harder play) with little reward before now; and I know that's because I had a poor approach to life. I have learned that I must continually challenge myself in order to reach new goals and gain new perspectives. Just like training, LIFE is progressive. Even though it may not seem like it some days, the direction is always my choice.

   Today, I start a brand new adventure with the good people at Fat Blossom Farm. They are a local organic farm right here in West Michigan and I really couldn't be more excited!! This is a lifestyle change I have thought about embracing for years and can't wait to learn more about it. The opportunity to work with the earth, sow seeds and genuinely experience the fruits of my labor makes my soul smile. I can't wait to get my hands dirty and meet a few like-minded people along the way.
   I really don't feel like it was even a decision to work at a farm, but maybe more of a calling to the farm. My heart has not loved coming to work with me in the last few years and that's made life difficult. I hate consumerism and greed. I hate that I've given into both of them, even more. I was selling lawn-care earlier this year and had to walk away from it to follow my heart. There are a lot more important things in this world than green grass in August heat, trust me. I had settled on that job for all of the wrong reasons and probably would have stayed there (and in limbo) if I didn't have the support from all of you.

Observation can be inspiring, if we let it!!
   A new friend of mine had said to me the other day, "Conviction defines people.", and that simple statement blew my mind. Some of you know, I always keep a post-it note on my keyboard that reads, "Believe In Yourself!", and it's for that same reason. It's a reminder to never compromise who I am, to trust my instincts and to learn from my experiences (which learning can be quite a process at times...). We all have our own code or formula to living successfully and that makes us all very unique. For me... The past is my foundation, experience is my education, passion is my motivation, love is my reward and the world is my playground!!

...and the world is yours!

Scotty J ~ "This humble-pie tastes like a shit-sandwich."


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Donate Your Love For Life - A Message From Matt Ramah

   There is nothing more breath-taking, in the human culture, than selflessness. A random act of kindness has the power to change not just a person's day, but their entire world. The intent is to reward someone who is unsuspecting, however the power of the action goes well beyond that. In most cases, the unsuspecting person goes on to pay it forward. It's rare when we get to witness something this incredible, but every single one of us is capable of creating the moment. This takes me back a few weeks ago, when a very dear friend called me with an update on life.

Seriously take the time to do this!

   My friendship with Matt Ramah goes all the way back to 1994; and has only grown stronger since the days of our youth. We've been there for each other, with a shameless confidence, in some of the best and worst moments that we've ever experienced. Therefore, I was not the slightest bit shocked when he told me he was in the process of becoming a kidney donor. He simply explained to me, that a friend (who is like family to him) had a close family member with fading health. He didn't have to go on... my heart was beating with his. He spoke from an amazingly humble perspective and I realized, at that very moment, he had grown into the man that many of us hope to become one day.
   In his everyday life, Matt Ramah is a medical adjuster living in Columbus, OH with his family. His beautiful wife, Alicia, is one of the most compassionate people I have ever met; and his six month old son, Elijah, has been practicing his soccer skills since he was in the womb. Raylan, their pit-bull mix, keeps the whole family laughing with her loving antics (and, of course, secretly runs the household.). I'm trying to get them to adopt me, but no luck yet... Thanks Raylan! Basically though, the Ramah family is badass.

Look at the center of attention there....
   Ramah and I wrote this piece together. Our goal is to put any worried or discouraged loved ones' hearts and minds at ease; and inspire others to explore themselves and give what they can truly live without. I asked him what attracted him to helping people and how he determined selflessness; his response was this:
   "I have had many selfish moments in life. More than I would like to count, but it's the selfless moments I find easier to recollect. It's the look on someone's face - when you take the time out of your day to be there for them because they are clearly in a place more difficult than you. Whether that's jump-starting a car, responding to an accident scene or volunteering at an animal or homeless shelter. It's a feeling that stays with you and helps you see the greater purpose in life. I don't see a determining factor in someone's selflessness. I think it's something that only the person doing the act can fully understand. We can't stop at every flat tire (metaphorically speaking) along the way, it just doesn't work like that. You will know when you passed up the golden opportunity to positively affect someone else's day. The key is to use that moment to recognize you had the opportunity; and commit to not passing it up the next time an opportunity arises."
   It just goes to show you how honest you have to be with yourself about your own character, in order to take selfless action. Do you stop and pull a large fallen tree limb to the side of the road, so that traffic doesn't have to swerve around it? Do you call the phone number on a stray dog's collar?? Do you give up your spot in line at the grocery store to someone behind you with less groceries??? These little gestures save lives, make families whole again and help people move on with their day in a positive fashion.
   "I am donating my kidney to one of my best friend's sister-in-law. Alicia and I are pretty close with most of their family. To be honest, I do not know the sister-in-law much at all, but it was the closeness with the entire family, including her husband, that led me to make this decision. 
   When I originally determined looking into being tested for a match, it was a very rash decision. Alicia noticed me taking a screenshot of the Facebook post (by the family in need) requesting anyone willing to check into this more. She made a comment about "seeing what I just did" and this kicked off the whole process. We have had excellent communication with each other along the way; educating ourselves to the max to ensure this decision we were making was going to be the right one. The decision to move forward with donating an organ was something that had to be made knowing that my family would not be affected in a negative way (This in no way was something that only I would decide.)."
   When he found he was actually a match for donation, a whole new set of challenges was in front of him. His honesty about what he was feeling gave me a warm and fuzzy sensation. Like we had just scored a touchdown to tie the game and there was still a lot of hard work to accomplish for the victory.
   "Finding out I was officially "the match" was a really shocking thing to hear. I think most people go into this situation expecting to hear - Thank you so much for the selfless consideration, but... - and I'll be honest, I really expected to hear the same thing. That doesn't detract from anyone that puts themselves in a position to be a potential donor, but man, the weight of it all doesn't really start to settle into place. That's until you get more finite information that you actually have a decision to make, in regards to moving forward with the donation or not. Alicia and I took every step of the process as a way for us to sit back, review where we were as a family and where this would take us. There never was a phone call that came in where I just said "yes" or "no" to something. It always revolved around them giving us time to make a rational decision. So when we found it was as official as it is going to be, we took the time to weigh out positives and negatives. And EVERY single time, the positives outweighed the negatives in a HUGE way."
   His attitude has always been humble about the kidney donation. He has been calculated in conversing with others about what he's doing because he didn't want things to "get crazy" early in the process. We all want to be supportive, but some of us might project our own worry that could negatively influence him. He let some of us who are closest to him know what was going on, so we could wrap our heads around it. He also needed us to be a voice for him through the process. Ramah wants to maintain his positive outlook through this journey and knows he can't connect with every single loved one, individually, prior to surgery. He had this message to share with everyone:
   "It is going to come out to everyone what I am doing and I am okay with that. I want people to know what I am doing, so they can look differently at situations in the future. I am in no way advocating that everyone should be willing to donate an organ. What I AM saying is to find the situations that are presented to you where you can make a difference in other people's lives. Don't immediately find a reason not to help. Sit back and think of your options. If your positives for helping someone else outweigh the negatives, why not give it a go? You will feel better about yourself and, believe me, the person that you help will be more grateful than you realize prior to helping them. I am not better than anyone for what I am doing, but I am an advocate to the idea of the positive impact a selfless decision can have on the world. A world that's dominated by negative headlines and the selfish acts of the celebrities that are idolized by the public eye."
   The opportunity to change somebody's world for the better came knocking on the Ramah's door. They graciously answered with their hearts full of love, which honestly guided their way through this decision. It's that love forged in their young growing family that builds confidence and easily manages their fears. Though it seems effortless from an outside perspective, I know they work hard to live genuinely happy.
   Prior to surgery, Ramah plans on doing things that will be off-limits during his six week recovery period. Most importantly, holding his son Elijah. He also plans to go out with some friends to wish his kidney "bon voyage" and feed it a few drinks. As he so enthusiastically shared, "because that guy is going on a journey!", and I certainly don't blame him!


   "After surgery it's quite simple, as well. My goal is to get through the next six weeks as quickly and safely as possible. This, so that on the last day of restriction I can pick up my son, load him in the car and drive him to the driving range - where I am going to swing a golf club for the first time since surgery (that the public will know about because a certain someone will get pretty upset if I push it!). Eventually, getting back into my workout regimen to continue training for my second "Tough Mudder" in September. Which I plan on completing faster than the previous year. In the long term, I should not see any effects of having one kidney, but I don't see that as entirely accurate. I believe this procedure will help me become healthier as a person because I will want to treat my remaining kidney with great care.
   In a different long term mindset, I want to use this experience to help guide people in directions that will help them and others. I want to be able to tell the story to Elijah; helping him grow as a man. A man that thinks of others and takes the opportunities (when presented to him) to help others out when they are in a tough situation themselves."
   Ramah's words speak for themselves, but his actions echo in all of us. There is no doubt that he has been faced with some of the most challenging decisions of his life. However, when the positives outweigh the negatives, there is no more room for excuses. He is proud of his family, he's dedicated to loving them unconditionally and he willingly accepts life with all of its challenges. He believes in living to our fullest potential and does this by example on a daily basis. Though I know he appreciates all of the thoughts and prayers for him; he definitely believes that kind of energy is better spent selflessly helping someone in need. Please be inspired.
   He would be quick to tell you that the recipient of his kidney is the real hero in this situation. For she is faced with ultimate vulnerability and was left to ask for help in the most difficult way possible. Her will to live inspires him and he knew that he would fight just the same as her, if in her situation. He also believes someone would help his family just the same. These are the types of friendships he instills. After next week they will be forever connected in life; not only by a kidney, but by a grateful appreciation for a selfless action. Both of them rewarded in the most amazing way possible.
   We plan to update you in the future and hope you're all making a positive difference, no matter how big or small. Ramah left me to wrap this up anyway I saw fit, so with that I leave everyone with a video from Talib Kweli....

Scotty J ~ "Life is a beautiful struggle."