Book Review | “…And I Breathed” by Jason Garner, Former CEO of Global Music at Live Nation

| November 13, 2014

Book Review

This is the second of two feature segments from Lacey McLemore related to this book, an interview with author Jason Garner – Ed.

Lacey McLemore, Valdosta Today Literary Contributor:

LM:  What are your daughter and son doing now? With such a creative and distinct upbringing, I can’t help but wonder how they have used this to their advantage.

AuthorJG:  They are two wonderful human beings who are each on their own journey of life. It’s a joy and a blessing to be a companion to them in their lives. I’ll leave it to them to share if and when they feel called to do so. For me, I think my role is just to be there for them, to tell them that I love them, and, when they ask, to share my experiences and help open the doors that they are ready to have opened in their lives.

LM:  When was the last time you spoke with your father? After discussing your psychological understanding of mother, and her hand in your own personality, I want to inquire if you have been able to see your father’s role. Have you come to understand him, and his role in your life, as you have come to understand your mother and her role?

JG:  My father died shortly after my mother. I wrote a blog entry about this called “Loving Kindness for our Inner Child,” which you might enjoy reading at JasonGarner.com. I was actually thinking of contacting my dad when I found out that he had passed. In some ways, his death just as I was contemplating contacting him, brought up many of the same feelings I felt as a child when he left our family. Having a dad who chose not to be with me was, and sometimes still is, a trigger for feelings of abandonment and unworthiness. It’s easy to feel unlovable when your father chose not to care for you. I’m sure a lot of your readers, a lot of people around the world, can relate to this. When I am feeling this way I know that my inner child needs love. So I do just that, and I give myself love. Maybe I’ll hug my wife, or my children or do something I like to do, like take a walk by the beach. Other times I sit in meditation and send myself messages of love and kindness (as I talk about in the blog post I mentioned above). I sit quietly and gently; tenderly saying something like, “May I feel loved. May I feel peace. May I know that I’m not alone.”Me belief is that life is perfect, it’s our constant teacher always sharing with us what we are ready and meant to experience. My dad, through his absence, opened a door for me to learn with so many great men as mentors, friends and teachers – my teacher Guru Singh, my former boss and mentor Michael Rapino, and so many special teachers and friends. This was his gift to me. And I am truly blessed by that.

LM:  Do you feel like you were meant to work so hard, to become the CEO of Live Nation, in order to be able to find yourself? After all, these positions, this drive for money and the desire to better yourself, were ultimately what allowed you to be able to go where you have gone and do the things that you have done to find yourself.

JG:  I believe that we are always where we are supposed to be, learning what we are meant to learn. So yes, in my case, that was my path. From that it would be easy to say that my path is THE path. That’s the danger in sharing one person’s story is that we have a tendency, both as the writer and reader, to say, “Ok so this is how it’s done,” which I don’t believe.I chose to share my story because, as I learned more, I began to see that many people I knew were having many of the same thoughts and feelings that I was. People I knew from all walks of life were feeling the same fear, insecurities and pain. My hope is that in reading my book readers find whatever is authentic to them. In that way my book is just a trusted friend who is there for them on their own personal journey, which might look just like mine or might be entirely different. I have been so blessed, in many ways including financially, and I want to share the experiences and lessons with others through this book.

LM:  How do you suggest to others, who are maybe not so monetarily equipped to do the things that you have done, find themselves and better their bodies? Where should they begin?

Book CoverJG:  Thank you, this is such an important question. Sometimes we get really caught up in approaching health and wellness from a space of having to buy or do all the right things. For me, though, what my journey taught me is that this is really about learning to love yourself. Loving your inner child by allowing yourself to feel the feelings you are experiencing without judgment. Loving your body by stretching on a regular basis. Loving your cells by nurturing them with green juice, herbs and other nutrient-dense foods. And loving your soul through meditation.

I’ve accomplished this, in my life, by developing a daily practice of caring for myself. It’s part of my daily routine just like working, sleeping or watching a program I like on TV.

I begin each day by stretching into the day with yoga. This doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s really just a chance to stretch my body and open myself up to the experience of the day. My teacher is Guru Singh, you can find him online at GuruSingh.com. But there are many wonderful yoga teachers who videos and books you can find. And when all else fails just sit and stretch the way you were taught in sports or PE. Touch your toes, let the blood flow to your head. Reach for the heavens and create space for your internal organs. Move side to side and loosen up the hips and shoulders. It doesn’t have to be complicated – remember this is a time to love yourself.

After stretching I sit quietly in meditation. This is another activity that society tends to make very rigid rules about. But for me that’s not what it’s about. Meditation, for me, is the practice of learning to love myself. That means it’s okay to have thoughts in your head, it’s okay to feel jumpy, and it’s okay to be human and be yourself. Sitting in meditation is simply a time that I dedicate to being present with myself … it’s an “I love you” to my inner being. Again there are many great teachers in this space – Guru Singh who I mentioned above. Another of my favorite teachers is Sharon Salzberg (SharonSalzberg.com) who has many, many free videos online and a lot of wonderful books. Those resources are great, and if you don’t have time for that right now just take a walk, breathe and be present to yourself … that is as great a meditation as any special posture or technique.

The third part of my daily practice is loving my cells by eating nutrient-dense foods. This means getting a lot of leafy green vegetables into my body, along with Chinese herbs and other supplements. The easiest way I have found to do this is by drinking green juice made from fresh vegetables and fruit. You can make it at home or buy a juice from the many juice bars that are opening around the country. As far as Chinese herbs go, I get all of mine from DragonHerbs.com which is owned by my teacher, Ron Teeguarden who took me to China to the Shaolin Temple. Again though, nutrition is about loving your cells. So make it joyful. Find fresh, organic, foods and supplements you like and each time you consume them send a message of love and care to your body.

LM:  What were the most surprising things you learned while writing this book, either about yourself or about writing?

JG:  As I wrote each chapter I would lie in bed with my wife and read them to her. We laughed, cried and really connected around the story of my life. It was such a beautiful and moving experience to share my life’s story with the woman I love. That was a really beautiful result of writing … And I Breathed – in fact by itself that experience was worth writing the whole book!

LM:  Now, that you’ve written one book, do you think you’ll want to write another? What do you think it would be over?

JG:  I’m enjoying sharing this book for now and writing my blog. I’m really open to whatever blossoms from my writing, so stay tuned!

LM:  Did you write this book entirely from memory or do you keep a journal of all of your experiences? What is your journaling routine, if so? Do you write every day or only when something strikes you as important?

JG:  Ah, you sound like my therapist who always tried to get me to journal … which I never did! I wrote the book from memory. As I said in the intro to the book, it just kind of flowed from me. I think, in many ways, the book was just meant to be, and as I started writing it took on a life of its own.

I don’t journal. It’s just never been my thing. It’s always felt a little forced to me. But I know that it’s a wonderful way for many people I know to express themselves. I guess my journal really is my twitter (@thejasongarner), facebook (jasoncgarner) and my blog (JasonGarner.com). I write constantly and share honestly from my heart on social media and in my weekly blog. I guess it’s kind of a public diary of my experiences, thoughts and feelings.

LM:  I loved several different aspects of your book. It was an interesting story; I never knew what was coming next. I knew that it came from the heart and that it was authentic. And I loved that it was written in an essay, or epistolary format, as it felt like I was uncovering new information with each chapter. However, what is YOUR favorite part of the book? What do YOU like the most about it?

JG:  I felt that writing each chapter, as an essay versus a chronological story would allow the various stories from my life to play themselves out. And another important piece for me was that I wanted the reader to be able to refer back to the book, again and again, as they experienced similar events in their lives without having to reread the entire book. So when someone was looking for entrepreneurial inspiration they might read my story about the ice cream truck and selling dictionaries at the flea market, or when dealing with death they might refer back to the chapter on my mom, or when learning to meditate my chapter on meeting Guru Singh and learning to sit with myself might be a trusted friend, etc.I guess what I enjoy most about my book is that it is touching people. Hearing your experience with it bring joy to my heart. I wrote the book as a tribute to my mom, and to the journey she inspired in me with her passing. And there is nothing my mom would have wanted more than to know that our family is bringing a little joy, love and connection to others.

LM:  I loved that your book was so relatable. Any reader will easily be able to place themselves in your shoes no matter where there are in their lives. How did you achieve this?

JG:  I wanted to write the book from the mindset of each moment in my life. I didn’t want to be looking back from today, with today’s knowledge, experience and maturity talking about the past because that didn’t feel authentic to me. So as I wrote each chapter I tried to really be present in that moment of my life. I tried to feel the feelings I was experiencing – the fear, the hope, the joy and, as you read, so often the tears.

I think so many things we read are meant to teach us, so they often come from a very intellectual place and try to tell us how to get over things we are experiencing in our lives. I wanted to do something different. I wanted to share from the heart, to allow you to experience the feelings yourself and then for you to draw whatever conclusion was appropriate for you.

I’m joyful that you had that experience with my book. In that way, it really becomes our story … not just mine.

LM:  What is your next project?

JG:  I used to spend a lot of time pondering what comes next. In fact, pondering might not be a strong enough word. I think I was obsessed about the future. And I think planning is useful to a point. But it’s also away of never being present in the current moment. By always thinking, planning and dreaming of tomorrow, we are often saying that today isn’t good enough. I’m really loving today. I’m loving talking to you. I’m loving this breath. I’m loving this moment. So I don’t know what comes next. I think the present is pretty great on its own.


37501_1331569365389_7267954_nLacey McLemore earned her undergraduate degree in the arts from Kennesaw State University and has recently been accepted into a Master’s Program which will allow her to, eventually, teach writing, literature, and other fine arts at the university level as well as the high school level. She is in hopes of graduating with her Masters’ of the Arts in Teaching English in July of 2016. Her opinion is not written to imply it is the only one, and discussion is welcome.

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