JESSE ISRAEL | Founder of The Big Quiet | No. 16
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HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.
Our conversation begins a couple years back during an intimate dinner of friends (his, not mine) where we found ourselves sitting together, discussing his future and what it would look like.
Nearing his 30's, for a person watching from afar, it seemed to me that Jesse, like his group of friends, had it all. In his early 20's he started a record label. On the side, a tech venture studio named Cantora. Then a group called The Cyclones - nothing to do with music - it was a cool kids bike club. Then a burger club. Yes, a club for men to gather round great burgers and to engage in conversation. I suppose, from afar, one should have been easily able to label Jesse as a gatherer. A social animal. A leader of sort, who found pleasure and purpose in bringing people together for meaningful experiences. During that dinner - i'll blame the glass of wine - I was unable to envision his future and next steps. Jesse, however, didn't need to know. He trusted the Process. I wasn't yet ready to understand the meaning behind that powerful statement.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do next. All I knew is what I didn’t want to do anymore. I really just had two forms to my compass. One was, I know what I don’t want to do. And the other was, what feels right in my gut and my heart. I had a period in my life where my friends were really building dynamic careers for themselves. Buying second homes. Starting families. And in many ways I felt just like I was naked and jumping into the abyss.”
So he jumped. First creating Medi Club - a meditation workshop for all types and levels of meditators - which then evolved into The Big Quiet, a MAJOR production and event, consisting of a MASS meditation held in incredible spaces around NYC. Jesse, of course, credits this new chapter in his life to, you guessed it, his meditation practice.
“My meditation practice really allowed me to listen to and act on that thing that said: it’s time for the next. It wasn’t a person. It didn’t come from someone else. It was this thing right inside of me that I was able to hear and listen to and honor.”
There has been much written about Medi Club and The Big Quiet, so I focused instead on Jesse the Human. We spoke about the significance his Grandfather "Pa" had on his life, in particular, the words he said to him before he passed, "here I am in my final years and my regret is that I wish I had pursued my dreams more."
Jesse took it to heart:
"When I was thinking of leaving my company, Pa’s words really resonated deeply. I was able to tell him the last time we talked, just the day before he died, that because of his words I had made change in my life and in my career.”
We speak about masculinity and his evolving definition and his incredible attention to detail as it pertains to the definition, which has allowed him to step into leadership roles, guiding Men in the very same conversation he was seeking.
“When you have the space to talk, when you have a circle to talk about what you’re challenged by or what’s coming up for you, or how you don’t feel like you’re enough in certain ways and you realize that other men go through it as well, it starts to melt. That (anxious) feeling starts to dissipate when you realize others go through it with you."
Of course, Jesse is human. Like all of us, he still carries self-doubt, and questions his path at times. But that's where the magic happens. For in those spaces, we are given the opportunity to practice kindness, to cultivate awareness, and to step back into ourselves.
"Being gentle with myself because I think that it’s really easy for me to go to a place of feeling like I need to be crystal clear about my purpose. More times than not, I’m challenged by the process and wanting to know what’s around the next bend, and how I’m going to get around the next bend. I’m wanting to control elements of where I’m going and how I’m getting there. When that happens it’s unenjoyable. Life starts to become less colorful when I’m in a place where I’m so focused on arriving, that I’m not able to appreciate the process of moving and growing and evolving, like we always are, at every moment.”
Now that's Vulnerability.
I'll stop yapping and suggest you simply Listen. There's a lot here. Too many quotable moments to mention. And as I mentioned in the intro of this episode, listening back to this conversation happened at the very moment I needed it most. Trust the Process, Alyonka. Okay, I will. This will help you do the same.
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IF YOU LIKE WHAT YOU HEAR, PLEASE SHARE THIS CONVERSATION WITH THOSE WHO WOULD APPRECIATE AND BENEFIT FROM IT.
“I’m never the only person in the room who feels like I’m not enough. Most people - despite what it seems in regard to their careers, their relationships, or their new baby, or their new home, whatever - are experiencing some sense of lack. Not everybody but most people.
Part of what I really feel called to addressing in my work right now is that because we are not speaking about these things and because there isn’t permission to communicate about these challenges, specifically around feeling like we’re not enough in comparison to others. We don’t realize that other people are going through things like we are and that’s incredibly isolating.”
The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida
THE BIG QUIET | MASS MEDITATION
THE CATERFLIES VIDEO (must watch)