I do what I am moved to do.
Many enlightened beings use the term Maya to explain the greater theater of the life we lead. They say we are all just cosmic actors playing out our karmic role in a bigger picture of our souls development. These types of words are foreign to some people and so because they exist and I use them I may be throwing you off. I hope I am not and that somehow they resonate with your soul and that we can move along in the conversation. It may not be possible. You might stop reading now and put this aside as some hippy dippy writing by some love child product of the 80’s. For me, it’s just truth that I have inside the fiber of my being and it is not something I want to defend or to explain. There are so many writings written by beings far more advanced than I that can scientifically and metaphysically explain their definitions. I simply wrote the statement above to try and help you explain where my ground zero is. Fact — we are all alive to live out the lessons our soul is here to learn this lifetime…
I figure if I am going be here in this body in this lifetime I might as well use my time to inspire. My biggest goal is to be a vehicle for inspiration. Inspiration through creation, inspiration through service, inspiration through connection, and inspiration through honesty — I aim for this because it is also my goal to remain inspired. A great teacher of mine, Vanessa Stone uses this mantra that has become engraved into me. “Give what you want the most.” If I want to be inspired then that’s what I have to give to someone else. The thing is you can’t just leave a conversation saying, “Did I inspire you?” It doesn’t work like that. I know that I am most inspired when I am around someone who is truly living their life to the fullest, someone who goes for what they believe to be their life path without compromise and who is never afraid to speak their truth. So I figure that if I do those things then maybe it can be an inspiration for someone else to do the same thing, and then maybe we can all inspire one another to live lives as the best versions of ourselves.
I was raised by yogis. While our household was in no way the image of an ashram, my parents fought over money, my room was a mess and I yelled at my mom about it. I went to McDonalds and loved chicken nuggets until one day I realized how completely disgusting and fake they were, etc. However, my parents did instill me with beliefs and a spiritual foundation that taught me some deep truths that are spoken by realized beings. I live a life just like everyone else — I have to feed myself, pay my bills, etc. But there is a foundation underneath it all that comes from some of the teachings my parents bestowed upon me at an early age.
DIN — my dad uses this acronym and then always follows it by saying what it stands for: “Do It Now”. I used to procrastinate — and sometimes I still fall prone to that, but mostly I actually live in a very moment-to-moment way. If I have an idea, I do my best to write it down immediately. I know that ideas are basically the greatest form of connection to a God source that exists. Each one is a gift. And so when I have some idea about how to do some thing, I write it down. Sometimes it takes over me and I end up spending hours into the night getting it down on paper. I see the different avenues that would be needed in order for it to come to life. I do my best to manifest the idea — writing it down starts the whole process.
The second part is to edit and present it in a way that another human being may be able to digest it. Most of the time my ideas involve serving some need I have found or seen based on some experience I have had. For example, I need to raise funds to put out my album. This can be a daunting task. So I wrote out an idea of how I could work together with my fans in order to accomplish this goal. Though I am still not sure it will work, at least the idea didn’t get tossed aside as some foolish goal, and it is still alive and is possible.
Another example is that I went to the Global Youth Peace Summit about five years ago and was so moved by the voices of the youth at the program that I felt the world needed to hear what they had to say. I wrote down the idea of creating what has become the One Village Music Project. Another example is that while I was having lunch with my friend Dustin Welch who told me he was working with War Veterans in songwriting circles, and I had the idea of developing a program that would help the veterans he was working with to have a week long retreat, where they could develop their songwriting skills — and so we created the Reveille Songwriting Retreat. I wrote it down — then it came into being.
Same goes for Songs For Standing Rock. I woke up one morning and was feeling so much empathy for the people who have become known as Water Protectors, who are literally risking their lives and giving every ounce of what they have so that they can defend our right to clean water for future generations. My friend had planted the seed of the idea in my mind that we could unite as artists and create an avenue for financial support for these incredible humans. At first I didn’t want to step in and create it — knowing how much it takes out of me to sit and write an idea like this out. But that morning I knew I had to. So I just wrote a Facebook post with my feelings in it asking if anyone would want to help. There was such an overwhelming wave of support from my peers that I knew we had to take action. A group of artist women in Austin, Texas and I met that night and created a plan for how this could work. We decided to make a website as a platform, to sell albums of songs donated by artists and to release the songs as volumes. The songs are available on a pay what you Want (over $20) basis from the website and we have now released 4 albums, with 2 more albums ready to be released. Started as an idea. Someone just had to sit and write it out.
In general, I write down an idea one time — and then keep re-writing it over and over in emails to people who I think may be interested in helping. I speak it out loud over the phone to those who want to get involved and it snowballs its way into existence.
Over time, I saw that there was a theme to these ideas — that somehow by using music as the tool for inward development, we could create programs that help people to heal themselves by writing things down — their ideas — their songs — their poems — and that is what has become our Non Profit, Fuel Our Fire. I realized that in this grand illusion, or Maya that we all live in, there are a set of agreements that we all work under together.
We create agreements with each other each and every day. All of us do it. Whether we are aware of it or not , each interaction with another being consists of agreements. From the most simple agreement of, I agree to enter a conversation with you to a more complex agreement of I agree to work in tandem with you on actualizing an idea or a vision. Pretty much any interaction we have with another being is a set of agreements. I came to this realization a few years ago. Once I came to that realization, I started becoming aware of each interaction in a new way. I realized that our relationships with each other — our human interactions — are more effective and more productive when we set agreements with each other at the onset of them. So often people get bogged down into the drama of being with another person — Do they like me? Did I offend them? Should I say what I am actually thinking or hide it in some way shape or form because if I actually say what I mean they won’t like me any more and I might not get what I want from them. I feel like in general those are just the wrong set of questions to be asking ourselves at any given moment. I think the questions to be asking during an interaction with another human are: Am I being clear? Do I understand them? If not, have I asked for clarity? What is the purpose of our divine interaction today?
I believe there is always a purpose for an interaction. Whether we know it or not — for some reason I called this conversation into my life. I may think that I am supposed to accomplish x, y and z from this conversation — but there is actually something my soul is supposed to learn from this interaction. I believe we are living magnets of our own projections, thoughts and experiences. So, for some reason I was meant to bump into that guy on the corner who knocked over my coffee and has now offered to help me clean it up. It is my job to take the time to notice what the purpose of it is. For some reason I was offered the job as a violin teacher to this student and it may not be just because they need to learn to play the fiddle. I may be the right being to sit and listen to an inner depression that they are experiencing. This is not to say that I am a therapist, but in some way we all are. We are all capable of sitting and listening to someone who is in distress to unveil what is really going on and I think the world is a better place when those conversations are happening. So I have them. All the time. I think when someone makes themselves available to having those conversations, takes responsibility for the interactions that come into their force-field and notices the purpose or the power of the moment — that person begins to feel the Qi or energy stream of their own greatness. That’s what I have been noticing. When I make myself available and actually have that tough conversation rather than pushing it aside for someone else to have at some later time, then I begin actually living in the flow of my own highest power. I stop wondering what I should do next in the day and just watch what comes my way and fully experience it.