The War of Art

Abundant Love Flows From Within

Abundant Love Flows From Within

The years 2012/2013 can be described as magnified milestones in my life that have allowed me to gain higher ground and higher consciousness. This is one chapter, of an even longer journey, that signifies my capability to be accountable. It is only I who can make the necessary changes in my life in order for my happiness, love, and compassion to flow freely, and abundantly!

My New Year’s Resolution for 2013 was to live and love more, and let go of fear. After some serious brainstorming and list creating, I reflected on all that I’ve accomplished this year. I left a serious relationship; I graduated after 5 ½ years of University, packed my dog and I then up and moved to Canada! I am learning major life lessons of unconditional love and compassion; I reserved a spot for this spiritual quest, regained independence and discipline towards my self-practices, and have committed to the consistency of a happy and healthy livelihood. I’ve seen my light and love make this world a better place, and I don’t want to live it any other way.

The War of Art represents my worst enemy, that whom is thyself. If I am to be accountable, then no longer will I stand in my own way. In the past year, I have lost 50 lbs by changing my eating habits, eating organic and homemade meals, and regular exercise. I know me. I know me around the holidays. I know that I cannot resist all the amazing sweets and overindulging. In fact, I’ve already fallen off track, and there’s nothing more disappointing when you disappoint yourself. I have committed to Michelle Greenman’s Loose Weight, Gain Health challenge, will blog each week with my new assignment, and push past my plateau this winter!

This week’s goal was to drink at least 10 glasses of water a day! I feel good becoming more focused, and taking control over the aspects of my life I want to improve. I am back and ready. I also recognize that the changes I want to make are life-long goals and not going to change over night! I am looking forward to honing this new chapter, and sharing it with all of you!

So in honor of the new changes, and letting go of the past and any fear I’ve been conditioned to… Here is the final song off my newest demo, Accelerated Healing!  Enjoy 🙂

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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.

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

Ital Fury

Roots Rock Entertainment is getting ready to release the album of their first artist, Ital Fury, by September 2012.  I am honored to be getting the album early, so look for my album review!

I heard about Ital Fury through Heshima Selassie at McNally Smith College of Music.  Dread heads seem to have a special language with one another, and we met over the common exchange, “I see you dready!”  Both sharing a passion for Reggae, this Roots Reggae artist is on the forefront in the evolution of reggae music, which may even become a new genre of this powerful music called Progressive Reggae. Its thick in the tradition of reggae music, but has a distinct musical arrangement and it’s own new refreshing sound. This Roots Rock Entertainment artist is on the rise on the reggae music scene, bringing positive vibes and lyrics to the world. GET FAMILIAR!!!

Ital Fury is a group has a very old school reggae sound with a new school twist. The songs are passionate and lyrically crisp, the foundation members of the group are Heshima Selassie, and the Nicholson Brothers (Wonder Twins) Richard and Chris.

Yesterday, Heshima shared with me the newest song/video they more recently released.  It was inspired by the death of Trayvon Martin.  Check it out and let them know what you think of it on Twitter!

S/O to #TeamDanami

ImageI want to take a hot minute to give a shout out to Danami and his crew! Danami has been a great mentor, friend, and example of how to get do the music business thing right. Originally from Detroit, MI, Danami is a songwriter, hip-hop recording artist who inspires and motivates through speeches, music, panels, and lifestyle. Non-profit organizations, schools, and correctional facilities also routinely recruit him for his services. (http://www.danamionline.com/outreach/)

Danami really caught my eye when he launched his Kickstarter Campaign in August 2011 for his album, Delayed Gratification.His campaign goal was to raise $3,000 in 60 days to cover recording and promotion costs for the album and received contributions from 76 people.  This is a perfect example of how new age technology can jump start an entrepreneurs’ career.

Being a hip-hop artist that values quality over quantity, Danami found that he was faced with the challenge of keeping his existing fans engaged while taking the necessary time to create a new product. Danami is aided by his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Business when coming up with marketing strategies, and how to utilize media outlets to increase a following.  By using social media, and other online outlets on a regular basis, Danami is able to engage his existing fans, attract new fans, as well as improve the quality of content he releases.  For example, Danami uses his personal website as a “hub” for his media content; such as his YouTube videos, Flickr pictures being directly uploaded to his website immediately when posted.  Danami looks at social media sites as tools to keep the interactions betweens fans ongoing, and is selective on the content that shared with Facebook, and Twitter through “Selective Tweets”; an application that allows you to selectively choose tweets are shared on Facebook.  This is a strategy he uses because both social mediums are very different and sometimes content isn’t appropriate for both.  On his website, Danami effectively uses Fan Mail for disclosures more personal than what is appropriate on social media, and has branded his fans as #TeamDanami.  It’s a great way to invite people to events, hangouts, and is a platform to do special give ways that really make a fan feel up-to-date, and connected with an artist.

Danami really put his online media strategies to test when he went on the South By Southwest tour through McNally Smith College of Music.  Danami did performances at schools, and venues in different states all the way to Austin and back.  After his performances, he would acquire 3-5 new fans/followers if not more.  He built relationships with new fans, and kept nurturing that relationship throughout the tour with his media content.  For example, at the end of every day, Danami would write a journal entry reflecting on the events in that day.  This was a great way to keep fans from home informed on the success of his tour, and new fans were able to see how he engaged in other cities.  It also kept the content of his media current, consistent, and of quality.  His strategies have proven to be successful by his use of thought leadership, and quality content through his media content. Danami’s future releases, and endeavors are sure to have a positive reaction online because of the strong web presence he has already created and works towards maintaining. If your looking for new creative examples on spicing up your media presence, I hope you have been taking notes. 😉