All posts by Jefe

70 Years of Love

Commitment: 3 Lessons learned from 70 years of Love

By | Food for thought, Love, relationship | One Comment

Recently, I had the good fortune of interviewing my Grandfather before we celebrated my grandparents’ 70th wedding anniversary.  70 years married is a huge accomplishment, and I wanted to get some insight on how I could apply his wisdom toward my own relationship.

That handsome old guy puckering up for a kiss is my grandfather, Robert Rulapaugh.  That colorful lady smiling?  That’s my grandmother Dorothy.

Grandpa Bob married his sweetheart Dot just 10 days before Germany surrendered WWII.  So you could say they’ve got some history between them.

I sat Grandpa down and asked him to share what helped them survive and thrive so many years together.

These are the major lessons I learned from him:

1) Be Helpful

“Be helpful to one another.  Make the bed together in the morning.  Always be doing something to make your partner’s life a little easier.  That’s the secret.”

Be helpful, plain and simple.  Of course it’s important to take good care of yourself in a relationship, too.  But I think we focus too much on autonomy, aloneness, and independence these days.  It seems like we seek it as a sign of strength.  One of the greatest gifts of marriage is having someone there to support you when you need it most.  You lift one another up.  And we offer a mirror of the best and worst in one another.  And when we see something we don’t like, that’s where we get tripped up…

2) Stay Together

“Try to be together as much as possible.  You have rough times in life.  Sometimes the road gets a little bit rocky, but don’t ever go to bed mad at each other.  Never do that.  But also learn to not carry on in useless arguments.  What’s gained in that?”

Half the battle is staying together.  Why do we huff and puff and blow our own houses down?  I do believe we need to keep healthy friendships that help us grow and connect outside the context of the relationship.  Being too close offers its own set of challenges.  As I look at my own relationship, I think we’ve got the “spend as much time together as you can” part down.  We’re headed on another Summer roadtrip together.  We work, play, and do everything together.  And that brings us a sense of deep understanding and shared experience.  It can also be a real test of patience sometimes, but it’s all about alignment…

3) Make Decisions as a Team

Grandpa, how do you make good decisions as a couple?  

“You know, that’s my downfall.  Many times I should have waited and talked things over with her before I did them.  A lot of times I made the decision, and WE should have made the decision.  You regret it afterwards.”

I really appreciated hearing those words.  Making good decisions together is such an important lesson.  It’s too easy to get prideful and think you know the way.  The reason why we pair up is to build a life together, and we should be respectful of our partner’s perspective.  They may see what’s been in your blind spot.  Especially when it comes to the big choices, always make them as a team.

I asked Grandpa one last follow-up question…

What career advice do you have?

“Liking a job and the people you work with is a big part of it.  If you’re not happy there, you’re not going to do as well.  I always enjoyed my work and I worked really hard.  And it didn’t hurt me.”

We’ve been programmed to believe that commitment is hard, oppressive, and limits our freedom.  While this is mostly true, I think we’re looking at it with the wrong lens.  Whether we’re talking about work, relationships, or creative endeavors, commitment is the key to longevity in doing what you love.

Commitment is defined as the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.  A second definition identifies commitment as an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action.

The way I see it though, commitment gives us laser focus on what’s most important.  It frees us from passing distractions.  It challenges us to truly devote ourselves.  And when we apply all of our energy toward the loving, nurturing, and tending to what needs or calls us the most, we build a happier home, a consistent career, and guess what?  In the long run we actually learn we’ve afforded ourselves more freedoms than we could have ever imagined.  When we see commitment show up in our relationship to community, it becomes a currency that supports us in all we do.


The other day I discovered an insanely awesome video of a dancer doing the robot.  I ran the video by a dancer friend asking, “is this even humanly possible!?”

Her response rang true: “Crazy right?! I know…I feel it’s very possible for me, if I commit.”

70 Years of Love

Bob and Dot share their advice for a lifetime of love.


Shut Down & Restart: Why we need to hit the reset button

By | Creative, film | 4 Comments

Last month we went to Eeyore’s Birthday Party, a festive Austin tradition.  I filmed with my new camera—the Sony FS7, which shoots beautiful 4k slow motion.  Kelly and friends dressed up and happened to win the costume contest!  This short experimental video was supposed to just be a simple camera test, but thematically, it turned into something more meaningful. 

It’s been almost 6 years since I wandered into the woods of Zilker Park and discovered the interactive circus.  It was there that I met my wife Kelly for the first time.  In that season of my life, I needed the healing power of play more than anything.  I was ready to hit the reset button.  There’s something about festival that invites these kinds of connections.  We thrive on peak experience. 

I believe that finding space for rejuvenation outside the online noise and urban hustle is essential.  When we hit the reset button, we have the potential to be more productive, to find our focus. 

In just a few days, we’ll be hitting the road to go on tour with the Wanderlust Festival again, an event that blends the best of mindful living and ecstatic experience.  Yoga classes, talks, and exquisite hikes during the day, and soul-shaking music at night.  It gives us a chance to take a breath and reevaluate our intentions.  And it’s lovely backdrop and participants become the canvas for our series of short form documentaries. 

What kinds of rituals bring you closer to that sense of “shut down & restart”?    Do you do them often enough?  What are small ways you can bring them into your life each month? 

We’ve made a practice of integrating these things into what we do for a living, and never looked back.  Although sometimes we face major challenges, creating a built-in infrastructure of wellness into our “company culture” has made all the difference.  Our objectives look different than most organizations, and we like it that way.  From hiking down to the Greenbelt in the middle of a work day, to leveraging video services in exchange for free yoga classes—we’ve designed our work/life balance intentionally.  I’ve seen too many people burn out in our industry, heck, I used to be one of them.  I discovered that it wasn’t the actual labor (though exhausting) that drained me, but the nature of the content. 

Each month, we strive for more clarity on the kind of media that is most needed and fulfilling to produce.  Along the way, we seek to express ourselves, help others, and create community along the journey.  Thanks so much to all of our subscribers who offer us such kind words of support and join us on our video ventures.  We’ll be traveling all over the US this Summer, so if you’d like to connect and create we may be seeing each other real soon! 

If you’re not already a subscriber, please join the fun! 

(Listen to more music by our dear friend GLU!  He created “Shut Down & Restart” as part of his album Glubotic, recorded in a single month.)

You were Born to Bloom

By | Adventure, Creative, Food for thought | 3 Comments

There’s something special about this video.  Beyond the feeling it captures or the majestic field of bluebonnets, it’s the fulfillment of a vision.  Over five years ago, I felt called to begin making short poetic videos.  And for some strange reason, I pressed pause on producing these cinematic shots of expression.  Why?

First of all, I was afraid.  Because the ideas came from a deeply spiritual place, I suppose I had my guard up on revealing what was living in my heart.  The last time I shared a personal, visionary message to a larger audience, I let myself get shot down by just one critic.  One person who felt like it would be funny to shout “wake up already!” in the middle of my short film screening at a festival.  The story was about fleeting memories, and there was a long (possibly indulgent) dream sequence.  Even though the film won awards and was an awesome achievement, this moment scarred me.  Caused me to cringe and halt whenever I felt compelled to create something original.

“Born to Bloom” is a nice way to say F* that.  It’s an invitation to feel free to awaken the artist within.  That vulnerable ventriloquist too afraid to stand strong with their own voice (nothing against puppeteers, I adore them).

Furthermore, it’s a war cry for creatives to come alive and express themselves.

Why do we forget the reason for our existence?

How can we more readily embrace our inner light?

Where is the proverbial hoverboard that will help us navigate the path ahead with more fun, swiftness, and grace?

I go to battle with these kinds of questions.  They lie just beneath the surface, and arrive into my awareness when I take the time to write what’s on my mind (journal more!).

The exercises in the book “The Artist’s Way” certainly help, I highly recommend it.  But I must warn you–we often hide behind our healing process for too long instead of leaping forward and taking action.  This is where the magic exists.  Where we have to confront our fears more tangibly.  There’s struggle and triumph, and every emotion in between.    And it’s the ultimate medicine for the soul.  It’s why we’re alive.  We were born to bloom…

For me, that takes the shape of just going out there and filming things for the fun of it.  And that’s what we did with this video.  We invited friends to go frolic in a field with us.  And decided to weave that visual tapestry with some deeper personal inquiry.

I realize I’m not so attached to how others may receive this video.  The reward was the process.  The art was in the action.  I can still smell the fragrance of thousands of Texas Bluebonnets.  The rush of chasing the sun as it set along the hill country horizon.  These are the moments I live for.

Want to see us make more videos like this?  Better yet, wanna be in our next video?  Let us know!  Share the love by submitting a comment below.

M.I.A.'s Drummer

M.I.A.’s Drummer is freaking brilliant! | Class of Creativity Podcast #5 with Kiran Gandhi

By | Creative, Music, Podcast | No Comments


By a beautiful synchronicity, I ran into M.I.A.’s drummer, Kiran Gandhi, at SXSW 2015.  She turned out to be a super fascinating soul, and agreed to meet up and have a creative conversation for the podcast with me. Listen to this one very carefully, as she represents a unique blend of wicked smart (she’s attending Harvard Business School MBA Program!) and wildly creative (watch a video of her drumming and get hypnotized).   Read More

EFT Emotional Freedom Technique Tapping

Tap into your Creative Power with EFT

By | Creative, Podcast | No Comments


Let me get vulnerable for a moment…Sonya Sophia MADE ME CRY. Listen to find out how she used EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), to help me TAP OUT excuses, and focus on deeper self-care to do my life’s work.

In the second half of this Class of Creativity Podcast, you’ll get the chance to actually experience the healing power of EFT/Tapping (starts at 25 min mark). Discover what it is, and how it can radically resolve your emotions and set you on the right path.

You’ll LEARN:

  • How EFT Tapping literally saved her life
  • Why Peace on Earth is an inside job
  • Giving yourself permission to quit…for a couple hours at least.
  • The struggle to live a higher standard of wellness as a healing artist
  • Navigating the field of negative thoughts,
    and “how to love your gargoyles”
  • The importance of learning new things, not letting technology limit your vision
  • The heart of all Self-sabotage
  • How fear of quitting creates lack of self-care
  • How taking a break helps you become more productive
  • How to identify what really motivates your thoughts and actions
  • Natural process of discharging stored stress through gas, laughing, and crying is essential (even farting).
  • The risk of working too hard: how we must make time for family and friends!
  • The value of vulnerability: I shed a few tears in this episode.
  • Give it all you got, you came to this world for a reason
  • The root behind not asking for help.  Hint: School programmed us
  • How down time influences our DO time
  • Building play into your business schedule
  • The reason for R-E-S-P-E-C-T
  • TAP into your POWER
  • How to confront an endless giant to-do list
  • The secret to staying focused and inspired
  • How finding the courage to live your purpose totally changes your life
  • How to release fear of your own success

I first discovered Sonya Sophia at Burning Man, where she led a whole tent filled with artists through this incredibly uplifting process.

Sonya Sophia is a Healer, Teacher and “Love Activist.” She is an expert EFT facilitator and visionary leader in the healing arts. As a workshop leader, a guest speaker and a festival presenter she has brought Tapping to the lives audiences and online viewers for more than a decade. Sonya Sophia has taught EFT (also known as Tapping) in the UK, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and all over the U.S. sharing the benefits of EFT with hundreds of thousands of people. She especially loves teaching at transformational festivals like Burning Man & The Rainbow Gathering where crowds of “Cultural Creatives” gather to Tap it out with her. Sonya Sophia is the founder of The Sophia School of Living Arts and hosts The World Tapping Circle – an ongoing global self healing broadcast providing Healing for Humanity. Her mission is to facilitate the flow of love on earth and to help us create a happier healthier world.

Class of Creativity Podcast #1: Joshua Jake Vaughan

By | Creative | One Comment

“We are isolated in the mental universe of our minds and bodies.  I’ve discovered that the way we get through that isolation is by loving each other.  Quite frankly, just by giving.  This is the message!  Everything I’m about is a movement of love and kindness.” –Joshua Jake Vaughan

We are so thrilled to launch our weekly podcast: the Class of Creativity!  Each week we talk with inspiring creatives as they share their stories of discovery & transformation.  Listen to this creative conversation with Joshua Jake Vaughan, a guy with a huge heart for service and a compelling personal message.

Joshua is the Executive Director of Generous Generation, a social giving club of young people coming together to change the face of philanthropy in Austin, TX.  After traveling Southeast Asia, he co-founded Goodwill Globetrotting, a global network of charitable organizations that work in the voluntourism sector, primarily connecting backpackers with opportunities to serve internationally.  This led him to create solutions in his own community, addressing the need many small groups have of gaining access to resources.  He jumped into uncharted territory, learning how to lead the development of a social enterprise mobile web app, Connect 2 Good.  It’s really impressive to learn how persistent he was to complete and release it after a few failed attempts to get it right. Read More

Get free inspiration in your inbox | our best videos, podcasts, and blogs Yes, Please!