reflections

Summertime musings

Happy July and Eclipse season,

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The first half of 2018 is over. I hope you're enjoying your summer. As I parse through old journal entries from earlier this year, I reflect on the following things:

  • What themes and learnings continue to arise since the start of the year?
  • What seeds am I ready to plant?
  • What old narratives must I let go?
  • How am I continuing to honor my voice and speak my truth?

Updates

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  • I turned 30 in June and celebrated this special milestone in Kauai with my best friends. Called The Garden Isle, Kauai is the perfect getaway, serene and lush. More pictures on my IG. I don’t take my youthfulness for granted, but I’m always happy to clear up confusion about how old I actually am and have no shame in sharing my age. I'm a mature, grown woman, thank you very much.
  • This year is already turning out to be a year where major shifts are occurring–more exploration of shadows, more growth illuminated, more meditation, prayer, pausing, breathing. Check out my mental health resources I've written about.
  • I’m hosting my first music showcase on August 9. I’ll be bringing out April + VISTA for their first headlining show in LA, along with Philly’s Ivy Sole and Brookyln band Bathe at Forecast Recordings in Arts District, DTLA. Tickets are available at https://hiddensoundsaprilvista.splashthat.com/. If you're in the LA area, please come through and support these amazing independent artists.

Great reads

  • My talented friend and writer Tasbeeh Herwees' The Fader cover story of rapper Rico Nasty. Rico is an incredible force from the DMV, and I can't stop listening to her music. "G-g-g-goodness gracious, I might give a fuck on a rare occasion..."

  • The Creative Independent is a "growing resource of emotional and practical guidance for creative people." Lots of learnings and nuggets of wisdom shared through excellent interviews with all kinds of creative people across the board. This resource is also available in Japanese, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish translations.

Jane Shin's favorites in rotation

Here are my favorite, recent tunes in rotation as of late. I'll be continuing to update this playlist on the regular:

International Women’s Day 2018: Women in Music & Film Panel recap

One of my goals in 2018 has been to create events in the community for people, especially women, to come together to connect, speak, and share space.

Successfully putting an event together in honor of International Women’s Day last Thursday was powerful and reminded me that courage can invite so many great things into my own life and into the lives of others. 

Photos taken by Génesis Ahtty

At the end of 2017, Jean Edelstein, an extraordinary writer and former colleague, tipped me to the “Women@Spotify” group, an employee-run group at Spotify for those who self-identify as a woman. The group’s mission is to celebrate, support and elevate members through initiatives and events. I thank Jean for planting the seed for me to explore resources to plan events in LA on behalf of and for women in music.

Months later, I’m proud that I launched the first official Women@Spotify LA event on International Women’s Day this year: Women in Music & Film: Panel and Networking Mixer.

In thinking about the themes of the event, I wanted to specifically invite Women of Color to speak. Intersectionality, a theory on race and gender, coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, is important to raise awareness of and talk about–black women and other Women of Color have different experiences and challenges compared to white women.

I was also inspired to invite women filmmakers in music and film because as I’ve entered into the field of video through writing video content for RapCaviar, I wanted to connect with more women in these spaces.

I invited Evita Castine and Jaimie Sanchez to join me as featured panelists. These two incredible women have interesting backgrounds that have led them on their paths where music and film collide:

Jaimie Sanchez is a Dominican-American documentary producer and director hailing from Brooklyn, NY. She has helped produce films for the ESPN 30 FOR 30 series and was most recently a senior producer at VICE. She currently directs video content for Spotify. She has worked with brands like NIKE, CASIO, Pyer Moss and GoPro to showcase documentary filmmaking as a valuable medium.

Evita M. Castine is a writer, director, editor, cinematographer and photographer. She is Warner Brothers Emerging Director Finalist, Emmy winner and took home the audience award at the Diversity in Cannes Showcase in Cannes, France for her film “Only Light.” She is heavily influenced by black anthropologists and writers like James Weldon Johnson and Zora Neale Hurston who inspired her to look at the soul’s expression through the simple acts of everyday life using sound and images. She has directed videos and photographed artists Cody ChesnuTT, SZA, Dej Loaf, Raphael Saadiq, A Tribe Called Quest, Lalah Hathaway, Common and more.

It was an affirming, healing and inspiring evening of conversation and connection. Listen to the full conversation and Q&A below about the strides and learnings in Evita and Jaimie's careers and the importance of recognizing and owning your power as a woman and more.

Key moments throughout the conversation and Q&A: 

  • 5 min: The moment Evita realized she was committing herself to filmmaking when she started making films with friends which is what filmmaking is at its core

  • 5:40 min: Jaimie on being the first out of her siblings to go to college, graduating with a biology degree but realizing that something creative was calling her and taking a chance on herself

  • 7:30 min: Catalyzing things for a man that Jaimie didn’t quite understand herself at first but realizing her power that she could things for herself: "This would not have happened if I weren’t in the equation...I could do this for myself instead of just empowering someone"

  • 8:34 min-~14:00 min how Evita’s identity as a black woman and Jaimie’s identity as a Dominican-American woman influence their work and the way they work with people behind the scenes

  • 14:38 min: Evita on the most important thing you can do for yourself is hold space for yourself. The only way you know it is because you know it.

  • 16 min: we all live on the internet, there are no boundaries or conventions of anything. It’s about the work at the end of the day.

  • 20 min: All you need to say is "I am a director, I am XYZ," avoid saying "I'm an aspiring XYZ"

  • 21 min: Building confidence through persistence

  • 22 min: Putting yourself in the position with the right people and being selective about your opportunities to build resources, even if you have to pay your dues sometimes

  • 23 min: Biggest lessons throughout Evita and Jaimie's careers that stick with them

  • 26 min: Trusting your gut and being resourceful on your own

  • 27 min: Investing in your personal life, don’t isolate into one narrow path

  • 29 min: Proudest moments and highlights in Evita and Jaimie's careers so far

  • 33 min: Importance of empowering women, putting other women on and spreading positivity because it will come back to you

  • 38 min: Q&A: How do you deal with men in the industry who only want to help you after you date them?

  • 40 min: Importance of boundaries

  • 42:16 min: Evita on "Your intellectual property is important, especially for Women of Color"

  • 43:26 min: Act and walk around with the confidence of a man

  • 45 min: Awareness of pay and challenges women face with negotiating pay

  • 48 min: Q&A: How do Evita and Jaimie collaborate with music composers as filmmakers?

  • 52 min: Q&A: Where do you find the line to pause and use better judgment from difficult situations where you feel immediate emotional responses like anger or crying?

  • 58 min: Q&A: How to deal with competition among fellow women?

  • 1:00 hr: Love yourself no matter what and everyone has their own "bucket of magic"

  • 1:02 hr: Your peace of mind is all you have

  • 1:03 hr: Insecurities and vulnerabilities

  • 1:04:38 hr: Q&A: How do you establish your identity when you're getting feedback from people on how to be?

  • 1:12:20 hr: Q&A: What advice do you have for me to expand beyond just being a producer-singer-songwriter to share my music in film?

Additional links and resources that came up from the talk:


Personal key takeaways:

  • My voice as Jane Shin matters. I am not defined by where I work. I’m Jane Shin in the end. My dreams have no bounds, my identity has no bounds.  

  • Evita mentioned, “I’d rather be scared and free-falling and be free instead of wondering what if?” I had moments where I questioned how things would go with the event, but in the end, it all worked out. Taking that step, no matter how things turn out, can open doors and spark more ideas and connections.

  • Challenges are inevitable on this journey. When things don’t go my way, stepping back to remember that my peace of mind is what’s crucial to protect and uphold will help me learn and grow.

  • I am grateful for all the amazing women in my life who came out to support me or shared their support for me from afar. Thank you everyone who took the time out of their evenings to make it all the way out to Century City. I felt so honored, loved, and heard. I also want to share a special thank you to Génesis Ahtty. The last large-scale event I planned was the SoundCloud Artist Forum back in 2015. Génesis was my first intern at the time and was a massive part of the planning and execution of the event. She came in clutch again, on her birthday no less, to be the official photographer and videographer for the International Women's Day event. Look to uplift and support those around you.

Notes from meditation class: guilt and resentment

Guilt and resentment stem from a lack of forgiveness of the self or other. Let go and accept. Music by D. Sanders - Recollect.

Last week, I attended a meditation class on anger and patience held at the Kadampa Meditation Center in Hollywood. This week's class was on letting go of guilt and resentment. Here are notes I took during class that I hope you'll find useful too:

Guilt and resentment

  • Guilt and resentment don’t act in isolation. There is commonality between the two–both arc back to the past: we feel guilty about something that we did, or resent what others of what they did.
  • Guilt and resentment is us holding on, grasping and rejecting–a lack of forgiveness of the self or other.
  • Self-judgement and criticism indicate a lack of acceptance of who we are and where we are at. Resentment follows similar suit but towards other people.

How do we heal from this tendency to feel guilty or resentful?

  • Ask yourself if you want to be trapped into being that person that did that thing
  • Guilt is like psychic mental currency–"if I feel bad enough, that’s going to fix the problem" is like a penance, like you’re negotiating with yourself.
  • Feeling bad is not a liberating path. 
  • Guilt is completely useless because all the energy of feeling bad doesn’t go into changing.
  • "Guilt is a weight. It’s like tying stones to the feet of a bird. We can’t soar to enlightenment with guilt shackling our mind."

Identification

  • Look at anger and process anger as "Angry thoughts are arising, but they don’t define me" vs. "I am angry"
  • Ask yourself: what am I identifying within me right now?
  • With guilt, you’re identifying yourself with an action you deemed harmful or bad or wrong but you’re still identifying with being that person. With resentment, you’re conflating people and defining them by their actions. We become stuck.
  • Learn to identify with your highest potential, your pure nature instead.

Remind yourself of your potential

  • Remind yourself of the potential you’re becoming and refer to the space of who you are becoming
  • Have distance and observe your mistakes, but do so from space from your highest potential, your pure nature
  • Ask yourself: "Who am I becoming now? Who am I arising as anew in this moment?"

Forgiveness of self and others: Let yourself and others be anew

  • "A seed has to go out of existence for a sprout to come out:" The person of yesterday had to cease for the person of today to come into being.
  • We can give ourselves permission to forgive ourselves and others.
  • Powerful way to stay present is to remind yourself of death–"I may die today. Is it worth staying unhappy? Do I want to be mired in self-hatred or hatred of others when I die?"
  • Guide yourself back to your heart, connect to your pure nature and potential, love, kindness, wellness — use that in relation to what situation you’re in
  • Create a new version of you and who you want to be in this moment. There is an intention to change when you meditate on who you wish to be: envision confidence, letting go, moving forward, happy, etc. Imagine it being existent now. Don’t delay it.

Notes from meditation class: anger and patience

Imagine your mind as an expansive sky. Captured in Downtown LA. Music by Jetson - + Archy

"Life is the nature of problems and difficulties. When we accept that, we can make spiritual progress by recognizing how we react."

Mental and emotional health is important to our well-being, our creativity and our community in music and beyond. I'm on a quest to cultivate as much knowledge and truth in my current spiritual journey as possible. I'll be using this space to share what I'm learning and gathering.

I went to a meditation class yesterday evening at the Kadampa Meditation Center in Hollywood. The topic of the class was "Patience: If the Mind Accepts, There is No Problem," focused on anger, patience and how to accept things as they are, bookended by guided meditations at the start and end of the class.

Here are notes I took from the class. I will be attending next week's class on "Impermanence: Letting Go of Guilt & Resentment," so I will share notes from that class as well. 

Anger

  • Anger is on the continuum of rejection.
  • Anger is not accepting what is.
  • Anger is poison in the mind.

Alertness - be in the moment

  • Courageously be in the moment and observe that “this doesn’t feel comfortable” feeling arising in your heart without rejecting, repressing, running away from or ignoring it.
  • Catch anger early with alertness. Alertness is your wisdom. It keeps a look out, watches what happens within and scans for danger.
  • Be motivated to watch out for what will rob you of your joy and peacefulness even in the face of something difficult or challenging.

Corrective measures

  • Take deep breaths and recognize there are different perspectives to come at a situation: practice meditation, compassion, and gratitude and keep a happy mind.

Meditation tips

  • Imagine your mind as an expansive sky. Imagine clouds as problems passing by and shrinking and going away.
  • Imagine your mind as solid wood or stone and be still mentally. Thoughts racing will gradually soften.

Practice compassion

  • Build into your worldview that people will be inconsiderate, say mean things, etc.
  • Recalibrate expectations of people and the world to reduce your anger.
  • If someone is frustrating you and angering you, practice thinking and asking yourself:
    • "I accept this person for who they are in this moment. I will not give away my inner peace to this person. They are acting out who they are in their mental development, just like I am."
    • "This person is so kind to allow me to practice patience."
    • What can I learn from this moment? What can this person teach me?"

Practice gratitude

  • View your problem as your teacher:  “This problem is evidence of my good fortune.”

Keep a happy mind

  • Most of our emotional problems is a failure to accept things as they are.
  • If something could be remedied, why be unhappy about it? If there’s no remedy, there’s no point in getting or being unhappy.
  • Instead of reacting blindly because of our emotional habits, we should ask ourselves if it’s helpful or useful to be angry. Trust and rely on your positive mind and attitude instead.
  • You can be in pain and enjoy it for its meaningfulness. View your problem as "It’s terrible, but it’s good because I'm growing and learning."