Let Go of Fear. Live and Love More.

I AM relieved to have so much free time now that I’ve graduated! It’s an incredible feeling; knowing my great accomplishments, and how far I’ve come. I mean, I packed my dog and I in one suitcase, 4 bags, and a kennel. Somehow, I’ve ended up in what the people call, “The Palm of the Creator”.  Haha, what a trip!

Lillooet is a small, St’at’imc native community in Northeast British Columbia. After I graduated from McNally Smith College of Music this April, I was offered an Arts Contracting position for the Ucwalmicw non-profit. My good friend, Susannah Tedesco, is the coordinator for the Ucwalmicw Voice and Vision in Unity – 6 month Hip-Hop program.  It was like she picked me fresh out of the liberal, and artistic crop the Midwest has to offer. I knew in my heart this was an opportunity of a lifetime, and I seized it.

I’ve been here 10 days now, and I can FINALLY feel the ability to slow my mind down from the city life! I’ve been waiting for this place of quiet serenity, and I AM now so thankful. I have TIME! I don’t think you understand. I have time to do all the things I love; like gardening, reading, writing, singing, outdoor activities, did I mention tending to homegrown green? Lol

I already swam in the clearest glacier lake I’ve ever seen, and I haven’t even been horseback riding or hiking yet, (the bears are pretty hungry right now…One bear even stole someone’s Llama!) See and there I go again.

Then… I have to remind myself to slow down again

It’s not easy, but it’s one of the many things I’m learning to practice. The months ahead are going to be the grandest moments of my life!

This year’s resolution was simply: “Let go of fear. Live and love more.”

I truly believe since coming into 2013, something has changed in the collective conscious. We are becoming awakened. We are all going through major life transitions of challenge, growth, and love. I AM not alone.

I AM reading When Things Fall Apart, by Pema Chodron, for the second time through now. The part of what I read today, I thought was especially beautiful, is as follows:

      “The essence of life is that it’s challenging. Sometimes it is sweet, and sometimes it is bitter. Sometimes your body tenses, and sometimes it relaxes or opens. Sometimes you have a headache, and sometimes you feel 100 percent healthy. From an awakened perspective, trying to tie up all the loose ends and finally get it together is death, because it involves rejecting a lot of your basic experience. There is something aggressive about that approach to life, trying to flatten out all the rough spots and imperfections into a nice smooth ride.

     To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.  To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. From the awakened point of view, that’s life.  Death is wanting to hold on to what you have and to have every experience confirm you and congratulate you and make you feel completely together.  So even though we say the yama mara is fear of death, its actually fear of life.

     We want to be perfect, but we just keep seeing our imperfections, and there is no room to get away from that, no exit, nowhere to run.  That is when this sword turns into a flower.  We stick with what we see, we feel what we feel, and from that we begin to connect with our own wisdom mind.

 Without the maras, would the Buddha have awakened? Would he have attained enlightenment without them? Weren’t they his best friends, since they showed him who he was and what was true? All the maras point the way to being completely awake and alive by letting go, by letting ourselves die moment after moment, at the end of each out-breath. When we wake up, we can live fully without seeking pleasure and avoiding pain, without re-creating ourselves when we fall apart. We can let ourselves feel our emotions as hot or cold, vibrating or smooth, instead of using our emotions to keep ourselves ignorant and dumb. We can give up on being perfect and experience each moment to its fullest. Trying to run away is never the answer to being a fully human being. Running away from the immediacy of our experience is like preferring death to life.

     Looking at the arrows and swords, and how we react to them, we can always return to basic wisdom mind.  Rather than trying to get rid of something or buy into a dualistic sense of being attacked, we take the opportunity to see how we close down when we’re squeezed.  This is how we open our hearts.  It is how we awaken our intelligence and connect with fundamental Buddha nature. “   – Pg 92-94

I think the universe sends us signs along our paths as a form of guidance.  Living in a big city, and an entire life of institutionalized education has made me believe I had to know everything. I also confidently surrender my role as a perfectionist.

I AM consciously aware, and thus choose to participate in developing a strong foundation for a healthy community; all while continuing to challenge, grow, love, and learn.

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The New Rules to “Higher Education”

I’ve come to the point where I can’t sleep because my mind is racing with innovative ideas. For me, the best method of expression, is writing everything down and making structure of whats going on in my brain. No, I’m probably not your average full-time student, working two-jobs, all in between an internship and some kind of social life. But with a lot of practice at this college thing, Im able to process what I want for my future, imagine what it will take to get there, and create my own destiny.

You see, four years at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, studying Broadcast Journalism with a minor of Environment, Society, and Culture, was more than a defiant experience in my history. Not because my  Advisor told me, “If you think you will ever make a change in the television industry, you’re in for a rude awakening”. But it was like magic when I realized that I had the passion, educational tools, talent, and natural intelligence to go against assumptions made of my capability.  I decided I would make the change I wanted to see in the world, and I would do it on my own terms.

So I stopped trying to convince myself I needed some type of corporate career to be successful, and I used my life, with positive mentors and friends around me, as a new higher education. I pursued my hobby of writing music again, and I emerged myself in the local music scene. Almost instantaneously, I moved to the Twin Cities, transferred to McNally Smith College of Music, and started working with the non-profit, Environment Minnesota.

As If my heart always knew I would eventually, “come home”, I was welcomed with open arms by other amazing, talented, and aspired people, who enjoy the same pleasures the cities in the Midwest have to offer- Art, Culture, History, Food, and Music. I am learning from great people in the industry, and I can see clearly ahead to where this path will take me!

I’m currently  in the process of  combining my world experience with my education. I have tapped into the resource in my mind that holds imagination, creativity, love, and humanitarianism. All the work I’m putting into releasing a demo, establishing a band, and starting a non-profit, is for the greater good and comes from the most genuine place. My question is, “What happened to the Talented Tenth”?

As I move forward, I would like to focus my purpose with a deeper responsibility. I have been strongly influenced by a recent TED Talk I watched titled, “Ken Robinson Says School Kills Creativity”. I encourage people watch it, because he goes under the surface about our education system; for example he discusses the hierarchy of subjects taught  in concurrence with industrialism, the education system is focused on university acceptance, and that intelligence is diverse, dynamic, and distinct.

I think, people will resort to new experiences for education. Since we don’t know what’s going to happen in five years, its undeniable that degrees aren’t the most important criteria for having a successful career. Experience, skills, image, professionalism and networking is what employers are looking for, and gives a fresh perspective on how you should pursue a career.

Robinson says, “I believe the only hope for the future is to adopt a new conception of human ecology. One in which we start to reconstitute our conception of the richness of human capacity. Our education system has mind our minds in the way we have strip mined the earth for particular commodity.  And for the future, it won’t service.  We have to rethink the fundamental principles on which we’re educating our children.”

Ken Robinson says school kills creativity

Sine Circle “Aqueous” – Album Review

Releases July 27th!

I’m extremely happy for the opportunity to take a sneak-peak-preview of Sine Circle’s new album, “Aqueous”! Starting from the first song, it took me on a visual journey. “Aqueous”, is primarily instrumental with concepts that make a unique impression in the world of Contemporary Music. Each song was present with depth, irony, and a melted sense of culture. Of course, I’m going to tell you my favorites, but first, who is Sine Circle?!

Sine Circle is a member of Last Triumph. A collective of artists, musicians, dancers, designers, photographers, producers, chefs, skateboarders, graffiti artists, and engineers, Last Triumph is paving a revolutionary road in the heart of Minnesota’s Twin Cities. Sine Circle was founded by a dear friend, talented percussionist, and skilled producer, Sassan Zaker!

Founder of Sine Circle

Sassan is relentlessly attempting to discover an elevated future sound while blending organic musical elements. “Aqueous”, is a great example of the musical sophistication Sine Circle has to offer. “Aqueous” is releasing on July 27th 2012, on iTunes, BandCamp, Amazon, and in stores for only $5.99.  It will also be available to listen to for free on Spotify. You should also follow Sine Circle on Twitter, and Facebook!

As a singer/songwriter of lyrics, my composition process is quite different from that of a musical producer. I would like to give respectful credit for the concepts derived within this album. Creative energy flowed from song to song, and took me to a place that lyricism never has. Visions filled my  mind with each concept, and it was a smooth experience that captured my senses.

My top three favorite songs are Chase the Sunset, The Origin and The Evolution, and Roots and Wires because of the way they mesmerize. I imagined incredible things inspired by their individualism. Music truly is life, and I love those moments when music can make you feel emotions so real.  “Aqueous” spoke to me, in what seemed like another language, but one I needed to try to find the right words to describe. I also loved the instrumentation of the wooden flute throughout the album. It has a scent of husk, with an organically-ambient character; similar to the ambience of candle light. I can see myself listening to this album doing just about anything, and will on repeat! Thank you, Sine Circle, for sharing your heart through music!

If you’re just as excited now for this album, take a sneak peak on their recently released video below!