Jason Schmidt: A Lover Of Life
Love has so many different connotations. But how does unconditional love feel? As we explore our own relationship with the inner-outwardly projected universe, we can continually stretch our physical boundaries to discover the experience of a fuller love for everything and everyone around us. Love and resentment are opposite. Therefore, forgiveness is at the core of releasing a distorted perception of who we are, as when we forgive, we do not forgive the other but ourselves by looking in the direction of the love we are. When we love, our own love flows through us, directed towards anything and anyone we observe.
Artist Jason Schmidt, who can be seen starring as Buddy in Paramount+’s series Grease: Rise of The Pink Ladies, says, “When I look within, love is the most important to me. I grew up believing in God. I’m a very spiritual person. Love for all of the people and forgiveness is in the heart of all of it.”
There is a common belief that things must be hard for us to feel self-valuable. We are often offended by ease. If someone worked hard, struggled, and suffered to succeed, we celebrate and applaud it more than if someone predominantly enjoyed generating their success. But how much time does an achievement span compared to the process of becoming it? And then, in retrospect, can we recognize that everything we have ever accomplished was when we gave up the struggle and surrendered? Wouldn’t we choose joy predominantly instead of too much efforting if we knew we had a choice? Nothing is ever only easy or only un-easy, but we can always learn to relax into enjoying more than we don’t.
“During my freshman year of high school, I was part of a show. This production’s assistant director became my mentor and is now my friend. He took me under his wing and helped me understand that having fun with acting is super important. Even now, in my career, I’ve come back to remember that I must ensure that I am enjoying it. When you enjoy what you do, everybody else around you can enjoy themselves. He also opened my eyes to the fact that art can be life-changing in many ways; it can teach you, through somebody’s story, something new about yourself. I think that’s what art does: it is special, it teaches you lessons, and allows you to experience life differently. I often leave movies, TV shows, or books, wanting to learn to live my life, which I think is an important part of the arts,” shares Jason.
While creating art, or anything we are passionate about, we always infuse it with our intention. Intention, paired with the feeling we emanate while creating anything, affects our own experience, which reflects on the experience of those who will observe it. When someone experiences an art form originally created by someone else, they become a co-creator by translating their own intention and feelings as an interpretation. Since we all have unique perspectives, art is an individual freeform of expression of the creator and its observer.
Jason says about his artistic expression, “I was just working on the musical The Outsiders. It was such a special experience. The story is an American classic. We got to speak to the book’s writer, S.E. Hinton, when we were working on it early on. Her big message to us was that this story isn’t hers anymore. She said, ‘I wrote it when I was 16 years old and worked on Francis Ford Coppola’s movie. Now, this is your story and your musical. You are creating something completely different. I don’t want to see the directorial vision for Coppola. I want to see what each of you instills in your characters and how the story evolves with this new film.’ I write music as well. And what she said was so special because it taught me a lot about how to let go of how my art will be perceived. That can be hard, but people will get the message they need.”
E-motion is energy in motion. Movement is life, nothing ever stops, everything is always moving and evolving into becoming more. We are made of notes that vibrate, giving movement to the energies that create worlds.
“Combining dancing, singing, and acting is a great experience. The two musicals I am currently in, on TV, Grease: Rise of The Pink Ladies, and in theatre, The Outsiders, are the perfect example of that. Singing was the first skill I took on. My grandma was a piano teacher. So, I learned piano, which I wouldn’t say I liked practicing (smiling). I loved the singing. Then, I ended up playing guitar. In this way, I would play guitar, and with the chords for the song I was playing, I would sing in my parent’s room for hours and develop this love for it. For me, singing cracks me open. This storytelling tool brings so much life to this abundant storytelling. Then, dancing adds this whole new level where you’re in your body, and you get to express whatever you’re feeling and thinking through movement, which is such a primal thing for human beings. Almost like Shakespeare, you wouldn’t say this is real life, but you can sense its poetry. It’s this inner life that a normal human being wouldn’t be able to express, but because you get to sing it, you get to express whatever’s inside,” shares Jason.
We all have limiting beliefs that might hold us back from experiencing life to its fullest. We can’t eliminate all beliefs at once, but by being aware of which beliefs we want to shift, we will always be empowered by the limitless choices we can make about them. All choices are valid choices. There are no good or bad beliefs, but those that serve us or not in the direction of experiencing the life we desire. Without sometimes limiting ourselves, we wouldn’t be able to re-discover our limitless.
“I started writing around four years ago. I had a colleague at the time who inspired me to write, even if I didn’t think it would be good. That was my stopping point, I always wanted to write, but I worried it wouldn’t be good. One day, he came to me and told me, ‘Here’s the thing, the first time you will write, it’s going to be bad. You won’t wake up one day and be a great writer randomly; you must put the work in.’ And so, I began to write and found that I couldn’t force it for the process that worked well for me. I had to let it come to me. I would sit down every day, but some days, nothing would come out until it hit, and then there’s this sense of truth where there is nothing but the zone. I believe that art and writing are divine things. When I write, it’s my writing, but it’s also like a gift of inspiration. It’s a state of mind. I have to feel open and not apply any limits, which I think is the most important part. Once you start limiting what you think sounds like a cool sexy vibe, you’re a non-starter. So, you limit what you think and what words can be in that vibe. I try not to limit myself. And I would love to make a musical album that wins a Grammy. But I also don’t want to chalk up my achievements to awards and stuff alike,” affirms Jason.
Jason says about Buddy, the character he portrays on Grease: Rise of The Pink Ladies, “There is courage and humility in Buddy that I’ve tried to learn to take into my own life. He starts being on top of the world; nothing is going wrong. For him, life is beautiful. As the series progresses, with the pink ladies and other characters in his life, he begins to wake up and see that the world he lives in is not the one his girlfriend and some of his other friends will experience. And because he has this big heart, it affects him. So, he has to decide if he wants to continue to live the same life he was living, which is wonderful for him but not for everybody else. Alternatively, he might decide to start making some changes that will take him away from the life he was living but which help other people. The courage and the humility to look at yourself and ask, ‘Am I adding to the problem? How can I continue forward in a way that will benefit the community and not just myself?’ I’ve been trying to do that in my own life lately, analyzing myself. How I’m affecting others and the world I live in versus other people, and how I can add to the building of a community for everyone to feel safe and comfortable and free to live their individual lives and be the fullest version of themselves. I have a lot of respect for Buddy in that way,” Jason pauses and then continues, “For many people, the series takes them away from whatever is bogging them down in life for an hour. The music and dancing are fun. And then, on top of that, there are these beautiful stories relevant to issues nowadays but told through the 50s lens. In this way, you get to see how much hasn’t changed. I hope the audience gets Buddy’s humility and courage and that mistakes don’t make a person. People in Buddy’s world allow him the space he needs to grow and become a better person, and I hope we can all do that for each other.”
If there is a choice between hating and loving, we all choose to love. Recognizing our innate goodness naturally allows us to see it in others. “I think like Buddy—I have a big heart, I love people, and I have a hard time hating or disliking people because I think there’s so much good and beauty in everybody. Everyone makes mistakes, and some people make more than others. But if you look hard enough, you can find their beauty. And if I look at all my friends and family, the biggest relation I see is always a free spirit. People go out there and try things they are passionate about. They live and allow themselves to make mistakes and fail but learn from them and have new experiences. My favorite thing to watch is people who live their lives with freedom.”
Like Jason, are you allowing yourself to experience the bigness of your beautiful heart? Are you living life, embracing the freedom to choose what feels best to you?
When we love, we only can love. When we feel good, we only can give good.
Photography // JSquared