I'm thinking...

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I'm thinking...

Hey friends.

I realize it’s been a minute, like a couple months, and I don’t really have any specific reason or excuse why I haven’t posted anything other than this…I honestly just didn’t know what I wanted to say. I had no idea what I was trying to convey with this collection of writings, or manifesto if you will, and I truthfully wasn’t sure if they even mattered. Over the past few months I’ve intentionally reflected on what it is I want to be able to convey in the songs I write, the way I live and interact with people, and even these posts. What I constantly came back to was giving myself permission to feel and to let that out in some form or expression. This isn’t a post to say I’m depressed or unhappy in anyway. I love my life and everyone/everything in it, but I realized I wasn’t being honest with how I was feeling, or what I was experiencing within my day to day.

I can already hear some of you, who know me, laughing about that previous paragraph (shout out to all my other Enneagram Type 4’s) but I realized that I had never given myself permission to feel. What I mean by that is, I never allowed myself to just accept what was going on inside of my heart, head, and even my soul. For so long I just dismissed these thoughts and feelings when I should’ve been embracing them for what they were. They were and are what make me human.

Why does this matter?

I’m not sure if I even have an answer to this question. But what I do know for a fact is that I’m not the only one who feels and experiences what I’ve described above. Certainly not the only one. And if that’s the case, then maybe within the songs I write, the way I live my life and interact with people, and within things like these posts I can let people have permission to feel. I can’t give answers to circumstances…none of us can other than that specific person. I can, however, help show people that it’s okay to feel and embrace what’s going on inside their head, heart, and soul. Not from a place of shame, guilt, of weakness but recognition that we are made to feel and that that is what makes us human.

Going forward, I have no idea how frequent these will be, what content they will contain, or if they’ll even be worth reading. But I hope that I can begin to help others have permission to feel, and grow in their self awareness of who they are and how they’re made.

Talk soon,

Tyler

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Three wishes?

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Three wishes?

Today is going to be tailored specifically to all my musicians out there (sorry, everyone) however I do think that these guidelines can be applicable to other things aside from music! However in the context I’m going to be referring them in, it’s in regards to reasons for taking a gig, as a musician/artist.

When I first started out in music, I took any and every gig that became available to me. Any place that would let me play or sing, I was there going for it. Every musician has started out in this place, and eventually you get to a point where it’s not even possible to take every gig you get offered. Whether financially, not enough time, prior engagements or whatever it may be if you continue to be a musician you will have to say no to gigs. For the longest time, I didn’t really know what gigs to say no to until I watched a YouTube video that truly changed my look on gigs as a whole.

I follow a YouTuber/guitar player named Rhett Shull and he talks about three reasons for taking a gig. Those three stipulations/categories being…

- The money

- The hang

- The music

His idea is, these are three main points of judging whether you should take a gig. If two of these three things are present, then it’s a good gig to take. For example, if the money is good and the hang is good, but the music is just okay…it’s worth taking the gig. In the same manner, is the music is good and the hang is good, but the money isn’t great, he will still take the gig.

Thinking about gigs/jobs like this has changed my whole mentality specifically around gigging but also in regards to co-writing, worship leading, etc. When I was younger, I was eager to take ANY and EVERY opportunity just because I wanted to play/lead so badly. I was so hungry to just do it, I was willing to take any opportunity that was presented to me. I think that’s valuable to an extent and helps you hone your craft, but eventually to do this professionally you have to know when to make the calls of taking a gig or not taking a gig.

I truthfully believe that this method applies to so many other professions as well. In the same way that essentially you’re judging a job based off if it pays well/enough, the people you’ll be working with, and what job you’ll be doing.

Now I want to know…Everyone who chooses their gigs/jobs, does this resonate with you? What are some stipulations/check downs that you go through when choosing jobs/gigs?

- Tyler

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Life is a gift...and the giver is good

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Life is a gift...and the giver is good

Over the past two weeks I’ve played music in three different states in multiple different venues/scenarios. Within those two weeks I played a show with my band in Columbia, SC at the New Brookland Tavern, I led worship for a student retreat called “AYL weekend” at Roswell UMC in Roswell, GA, led worship at my home church, Grace Marietta in Marietta, GA, and then flew to Cincinnati, Ohio to lead worship for a student event . All throughout these past two weeks, I’ve felt like I haven’t stopped running somewhere. Whether during the 3 and 1/2 hour drive to Columbia or being up early/late Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning, having jet lag from flying to Ohio, or whatever it is… here I am Monday morning feeling ready to tackle the week. Here’s what I learned/recognized from these past two weeks.

There’s been plenty of times in my life where I’ve been just as busy as this past weekend, but the end result on Monday morning is much different than today…where I’ve been on the couch all day binge watching Netflix shows trying to recoup from the events prior. What I feel I’ve recognized the difference between those times and now is the amount of life that came from what I was doing. In these past two weeks I was doing exactly what I loved and what I want to do for the rest of my life.

It has me thinking about just life in general. I know for me personally, I spent a year of my life working a job I didn’t want to be working and trying to figure out what it was in my life that made me come alive. During that time, as tough as it was, I learned so much about myself and what it is that brings joy and life to my day to day. Now hear me when I say I still think I’m figuring that out but I’m recognizing how important it is to be doing things that bring you life. And I get that sometimes thats not possible…the circumstance we are in may not allow it and we all have bills to pay, but here’s my challenge.

Find that thing that makes you come alive, no matter what it is. Once you’ve got it, find a small way that you can either create something, have goals/a dream, pair up with a team to get something off the ground, literally anything! It could be a podcast, a blog, creating music, building an art studio, making a game room in your house, or a home studio. It could be setting up a home brewing station to brew your own beer, or starting a garden. Whatever you know deep down you’ve been saying to yourself, “I’ve always wanted to do that,” and then go find a way to start doing it in a small way and let it grow. You’d be surprised at how much life can come from just doing one small thing that you love.

Comment below what you’re that is for you, and how you’re going to start doing it!

- Tyler

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The Connotation of Excellence

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The Connotation of Excellence

I heard someone in an interview recently talk about how the world needs people do what they do, and to do it great. That thought got me thinking about my own life and the things that I do….

Now let me preface by saying this, I don’t believe we are defined by the things we do. That’s an entirely different post, but for today just go with me and that understanding of my perspective. There’s a handful of things that I do regularly that I believe the world needs me to do excellently. Leading worship, writing songs, creating great art, entertaining, and leading are just an example of those things. Along with that, the world also needs everyone else to do what they do excellently. If you’re a plumber, we (the world) need you to be excellent plumbers. If you’re a teacher, we need you to be excellent educators. If you’re a politician we need you to be excellent leaders.

Here’s the kicker…I think sometimes we fear this idea of demanding excellence. I know I have in my life been afraid of demanding excellence because I didn’t want anyone to think of me as bossy or rude. By default I found myself being overly passive, and not growing in the different ways that I wanted to. Demanding excellence isn’t rude, wrong, it doesn’t make you a jerk, but I believe its necessary (especially if you have lofty goals) and the world needs you to demand excellence from yourself and the things you do.

Here’s my call to you…be excellent in everything you do! Don’t see excellence as this means of “I can’t screw up” or “I can’t suck.” That’s not true! DARE TO SUCK! DARE TO FAIL! When the possibility of failing comes into play that means that you are pushing boundaries and growing. Be encouraged of these three things…

  1. Demanding excellence is not rude but recommended

  2. Don’t be afraid to fail because through failure comes success

  3. You have the freedom to do whatever you want…use that freedom to your advantage

Go be excellent today,

- Tyler

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Songwriting...inspiration or perspiration?

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Songwriting...inspiration or perspiration?

In my week to week, day to day life one thing that is a normality for me as a singer/songwriter is…you guessed it, songwriting. Just a little background about me as a songwriter, I’ve been writing songs for just about two years so I will absolutely preface this whole conversation with the fact that I am by no means an expert. This is a craft that I believe you have to work at to get better but the question I’ve recently been asking myself what’s the best way to write songs…from complete inspiration or perspiration? Let me explain what I mean by that…

From what I’ve come across there’s essentially two major approaches to songwriting that I see in songwriters. The first being songs or writers that rely strictly on inspiration. The song comes from a moment in their life, a memory they have from their childhood, something their friend experienced, a movie they saw, and so on. The list could go on forever with all the ways we are inspired in the world. Then there’s this other approach that I’ve come to realize is more common that I haven’t seen till recently. I refer to this as a “perspiration” approach which is simply to say that the way to become better at songwriting is to put in the hard work (I.e. writing as many songs as you can). I’ve been wrestling with this idea for a few weeks now just to say, “which one is right?”

This past weekend I spent a day in Clarksville, TN (just outside of Nashville) writing with a close friend of mine and we dove into this idea. As writers we both recognized that we find ourselves at times looking too much for perfection from a first draft (if only it were that easy). Yet sometimes the best songs are written on the first try, so where’s the balance in this? Where is the black and white correct answer? Funny enough we couldn’t answer the question and I think that’s actually is the answer….I don’t know if there is one. What I’m starting to realize is this…writing from inspiration, meaning and purpose has more value that we can even begin to describe because of how deep you can go into the story for the simple fact of IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. Then on the flip side, writing because you want to get better at the craft can actually help you go deeper into the inspiration.

Here’s what I’m getting at…I think with this whole songwriting thing there’s value in truly looking at inspiration and running with it but at the same time you have to have the skill and competency to do that effectively. I have a friend named Chris who has been wanting to get songwriting to a point where he no longer has to wait for inspiration. He wants to get to a point where he can almost create it himself. That’s a big thing to say but as I do more and more of this creative thing I realize he may not be too far off. At the end of the day I think you always have to find that balance of inspiration with perspiration (or craft).

I think this goes for anything though. Anything in this world that would be considered a craft or a skill has to have a balance of inspiration and perspiration. A carpenter can’t just make the things that he feels inspired to make. He has customers that he has to satisfy and if he waits around for customers that want him to make what he’s inspired to make he won’t have a job doing that very long. I believe the same thing goes with songwriting, every so often there’s going to come a little glimmer in the sky and if a songwriter can grab it quick enough then maybe he can turn it into a song. Yet to do that he has to have the craft and ability to make that something unique and interesting.

Everyone else, what do you think? Whether songwriting, carpentry, photography, graphic design, cooking…does this resonate?

Let me know if you’re a believer in inspiration, perspiration, or both.

- Tyler

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What is "normal?"

What is "normal?"

In your best words…describe what is “normal.” Would you name the kind of car you drive? Where you live? Who you hang out with? What time you go to bed every night? What your go to meal is? I just named five different questions with almost an infinite number of possible answers from any given person. So once again I pose the question…what actually is “normal?”

As you may already be able to tell I think this is a little bit of a trick question and I’m beginning to realize it might not be quite as black and white as I had perceived. Recognizing this really got me thinking about this idea of what is “normal?” I talked about this recently with a good friend of mine, Colton Jackson, on his podcast (check out the Worship Collective podcast) and this is essentially what we came to the conclusion of…

When I say that my life, or something about my life, is normal, what I’m inherently stating is that the way everyone else lives is not normal. I get it, initially that sounds overly dramatic, but when you look big picture…there’s some truth to this. My idea of normal looks completely different from what any of the people I interact with daily would consider normal. Then my perspective is naturally shaped around my perception of things, which from what I’ve began to realize is skewed based off what I have either grown up with, experienced, or even been told was “normal.”

I asked a handful of people that I interact with daily to give me a brief synopsis of things that they thought were normal growing up and here are just a few examples that were mentioned…

- hot Texas summers

- cold northeast winters

- going to lunch at grandma’s every Sunday

- working on the lake every summer

- spending weekdays with mom and weekends with dad

These are just a few examples of things that five different people said were completely normal in their lives. With this in mind, I believe it suggests a few things about this idea of normality. The first thing is what I have stated previously above; we cannot classify our own lives as normal because of what it suggests about everyone else’s lives. According to Webster’s the definition of normal is, “the usual, average, or typical state or condition.” All of these people would say the things above were completely normal in their context…

Second, in my mind this only reinforces that idea of listening to other’s stories. If we want to begin to understand what others call normal, we have to hear where they’ve come from and everything that comes with who they are. We are shaped by the things we experience and that is what defines our own personal story…and we need to listen to the perspectives that other people carry regardless of whether we agree or disagree. Listening, and truly listening, is what should be happening.

Lastly, I believe it suggests that we have a greater call as human beings, as I have stated in a previous post, that through these stories and perspectives we should be constantly shaping our own. Not to say everything we listen to has to be something we agree upon or get on board with, but they should be listened to and allowed to be heard from every outside perspective. Ultimately I think what this comes down to is, compassion and a hope to understand should be all of our first steps as humans toward one another.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be sharing some of the ways that I personally am able to give my perspective and tell my own stories.

Talk soon,

- Tyler

Formal Introductions

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Formal Introductions

Before we start building this manifesto (see previous episode) I want to do some formal introductions so you guys know exactly who I am, for those of you who are new around here, what I do, and where my perspective comes from and essentially what my story looks like thus far…

So friends, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tyler Jarvis and I live in Atlanta, GA, by-way-of, Cincinnati, OH. I’m a Singer/Songwriter, Worship Leader, musician, dreamer, son, friend, and brother. I love baseball, traveling, meeting new people, craft beer, cigars, hoodie and jeans weather, exploring new places, and telling stories.

I grew up in the suburbs of Cincinnati, OH in the small city of Hamilton with my parents, Jay and Kim, and my younger brother, Ian. I lived in the same house for eighteen years (in which my parents still live to this day over 24 years later) and grew up playing baseball at my local little league, getting into shenanigans with my brother, and performing in my schools choir.

From a very young age I noticed myself as a creative…I noticed that I was intricately thinking through things in ways that my friends or peers were not thinking. At the time I didn’t really understand how to express that creativity and naturally fell back to what I knew best, which was playing baseball and chasing that athletic dream. Throughout the years I found myself slowly becoming less of an athlete and more of a musician/creative. It genuinely felt like part of who I was, and something organic that I couldn’t ignore. In high school I began leading worship and playing in the youth band at the local church my family attended. As I began to grow in my competency and passion in music I found myself headed to Lee University in Cleveland, TN to continue chasing that passion (in whatever form or fashion it would come).

Throughout four years I found myself immersed among like minded, faith filled friends who pushed me to be greater…but I didn’t truly chase music that I always thought I might. It wasn’t until after I left college in 2016 that I took the leap and started off on this music journey that I’m now currently on. Since college I have released seven songs (two singles and a five song EP), I have played shows all throughout the southeast and midwest, and have moved to Georgia to continue chasing a dream I’ve had since I was a little kid.

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Now here’s what amazing…just from that small story of my life you can already get a depiction of what my reality looks like and what I would define as “normal.” Just by hearing a very short and abbreviated version of my story, you can see where I come from, why and how I view the world, and how that changes the way I interact within it. With that in mind, I would like to propose an idea…none of us can say that the way we view the world is “normal” because what that would then indicate is that the way EVERYONE else views the world is essentially not normal…and that is incredibly false my friends. Next week, I want to talk about this idea of “normal” and how it can play into our day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, and year-to-year views of life.

Let’s talk “normal” next week,

- Tyler

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Figuring it out

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Figuring it out

So here’s the deal…

I’m new here…like really new…but I’m excited to be new and to be here. I’m sure you’re asking, even two sentences into this, “alright, what’s so important about this guys blog?” To be truthful…I don’t know. I’m not sure if there’s anything ground breaking that will come from what is posted here. It may never be read by anyone other than my friends and family. To be brutally honest, it may just end up being for me to help reflect on things. However, what I do know is that there is much more to this world than what I’ve seen in my 24 years of life and every time I meet someone new, I realize how beautiful and unique every persons story is.

After reflecting on 2018 (one of the busiest yet growth filled years of my life) I’ve recognized three very specific things. I’ve realized that every person…

  1. is a Storyteller

  2. is a “creative,” whether they realize it or not

  3. has a unique perspective of the world, and that perspective is critical to see

Indulge with me for a moment and agree with me that all three of these things are true (even though I’m sure some of you disagree already HA!). By agreeing that all these things are true about every individual, on the plant, then I’m going to propose that we have an even greater calling as human beings. I believe that it’s our job to call these truths out of one another. The people we love, the people we don’t quite like, friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and anyone else you meet daily! We should be listening to stories, and telling our own! We should be recognizing where creativity lives within the people around us, but also where it lives with us. And, with that information we should be expressing it in regards to how we see the world.

At the end of this past year (2018) I told myself that I wanted to begin/create something that allowed us all to recognize that we are more similar than we are different. Not necessarily in an earth shattering way or an “end world hunger” kind of way. Simply just a loving human nature kind of way.

Here’s my hope…I want to create something that isn’t just my thoughts but also a combination of thoughts from the people around me and also the people around you. Being a musician, songwriter, and worship leader (among other things) I want this to become a conversation of thoughts, stories, ideas, and dreams for everyone, but specially for people who find themselves in a similar place as I am. A “Creative Manifesto” for those who have dreams and aspirations that are bold and specifically those in the creative industry. I want to help those who are ambitious and have BIG dreams to chase them, but also to help everyone else around them see that they can chase the BIG dreams of their lives too.

Can’t wait to talk more soon,

-Tyler

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