On the evolution of the foundation

August 19, 2014

Follow Jason Mraz Foundation online via twitter @MrazFoundation to find out “what’s growing on” with the money raised from generous donors, ticket portions, and merch items. In the past 30 days alone we have committed to hundreds of thousands of dollars to projects big and small, and I couldn’t be happier!

 

This week I am spotlighting Life Rolls On, an organization of which I am a lifetime member, contributing to their amazing efforts to stoke-out and improve the quality of life for individuals affected by paralysis. On our new tour, which begins this week, we will carry a new t-shirt, designed by me in partnership with Vuori Clothing, to generate income and awareness for our amazing friends and recipients at LRO. So be sure to check out the new goods at the merch table and/or soon in our online store.

 

In the meantime, enjoy this video of LRO in action at one of my local beaches! And stay tuned for more updates from JasonMrazFoundation.org !

 

 

INSTAGRAM STREAM

The Symbolism of Second Place

August 12, 2014

Dozens of flights, tens of thousands of miles and 1.5 laps around the globe and finally the promotion and release of YES! is complete. Thank you for helping us #spreadYES! making it’s debut a victorious one. When the announcements were made about chart positions, Raining Jane & I paraded around our apartment chanting, “We’re Number 2! We’re Number 2!” sighting the display of two fingers as a symbol of Peace, or Victory, or the roman numeral 5, which is us! In many ways, we entered the charts exactly where we, as underdogs, were meant to.

 

There is much symbolism on the album cover as well, beginning with the 5 birds, representing RJ & I flying “like birds not of this earth;” a lyric from Beautiful Mess, a song we wrote together in 2007. The birds on the cover of YES! are flying in a (Roman Numeral) V-formation, representing this as a 5th album. Some birds are known to fly in a V-formation, and typically a male is out front, however, it is not he who is leading. His position is merely to make it easier for the women and children to fly. The women are in fact setting the pace. I loved this analogy for the band. My name may be on the cover, and I may be standing out front, but it is truly a collaborative effort and Raining Jane do set the pace with their unique sound.

 

Additionally, the birds are seen within a circle over a brilliant landscape. This represents the world within a world. The brilliant world that each of us have inside. A world that needs our attention very much, because in order to bring peace to the outer world, we must first experience & understand peace within. This is a common theme of the music of YES!

 

One of my favorite moments from the promotional tour was the honor of conversing with Jian Ghomeshi. His interviews and radio essays are some of my favorite. You can hear his shows on demand on the CBC network in Canada via the web or the CBC app. Below is a clip from our chat. Enjoy.

 

 

On Despondency & Optimism

August 11, 2014

Testes, Testes one two… Three?

Is this thing on? This is a test to see if the application to update my blog still works…

I’ve had such a disconnect from my computer over the past few months that I almost lost the intelligence to craft an insightful blog. Please pardon my absence.

The best I’ve been able to muster are a few tweets of gratitude, mentions, or shares to great projects, like Harmonic Humanity, who are currently fundraising to expand their work empowering the homeless. (It’s not too late to donate btw!)

Maybe it’s the crazy times we’re in, but I feel the main reason I’ve had trouble writing is due to despondency, which is dangerous I suppose. After all, despondency makes procrastination look sexy.

Of course I can and will write about my adventures and successes the Janes and I had on our recent travels. Stay tuned for that. And I could easily share stories of the few times in my life where I sharted, but in addition to laughs, I’d also love to share my topical interests on regenerative farming, the importance of legalization of hemp, and how it would be less expensive to supply the entire US with solar panels than it is to declare war on another country for its resources. But despondency, or helplessness, makes one feel his conversation doesn’t have a chance.

I fear the environment will not be issue number 1 until we are out of food and water. And war will be the force used to obtain those resources until they’re gone. Besides, It isn’t the climate who’s having a crisis. It’s us. Supporting your local organic farmers supports regenerative farming, which is a practice recently proven to sequester carbon from the atmosphere while dramatically improving soil health, making both food and the environment healthier!

I am also disheartened with the government system’s inability to care properly for its citizens, especially with the strong resistance to universal healthcare along with insurance companies and banks taking advantage of their customers. I am saddened by the limitless lobbying in Washington. It makes me trust almost no one. And I loathe how divided our system is. I have finally become annoyed by the number of emails the DNC sends me to donate money. I’d rather eat bacon again and elect Louis CK as the president and let stand up comedy replace state of the union addresses. After all, politics is just talk, so let it be light while at the same time shockingly reflective of our national stupidity.

As much as I thought I cared to act, I find I prefer taking the day off to sit on my ass in a yoga class where instead of being frustrated by issues and politics I practice being calm and compassionate, accepting the twisted nature of the world as it is. A world so twisted we celebrate tobacco and alcohol but we prohibit hemp, a cash crop our nation was founded on; a crop that requires no pesticides; a crop that could be grown in the US instead of imported, giving farmers access to a billion dollar industry; a crop that can be used as food, medicine, fabric, and even bio-fuel! Yet, we keep it illegal and lamely prosecute more than 600,000 people a year, mostly men of color, ruining their lives forever. Thanks America. Way to empower your citizens.

It’s in this very state of despair that art, entertainment, and cultivating a compassionate spiritual practice are more important than ever. Therefore blogs ARE needed. Conversations ARE needed! Strong communities are needed! New networks are needed! AND NOW!

It is often from despair that I am called to write music that is optimistic; for optimism is the very thing that determines successful outcomes. Without optimism there is no energy in a task. Optimism is hope. Optimism is light. And it should be celebrated.

And so, to cut through the fog, as if I were writing a song, I am attempting to maintain this blog, however frank or random it may read. And I’ll do my best to continue updating the page throughout the tour.

Thanks again for your listenership, love and support. We are in this together.

I hope this posts.
Stay tuned!

Back To The Earth

June 20, 2014

As I travel the world, I am meeting more and more people who are curious about their food supply and interested in growing their own. Many people ask, where do I start? Well, there are many exciting ways to kneel and kiss the ground. But it always starts with a seed. And that seed is you!

 

The Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA) is a grassroots nonprofit based in Berkeley, CA. Their mission is to connect and grow the next generation of food and farming leaders in a one-of-a-kind program that bridges ancestral knowledge with sustainable innovation. The impact is both local and global!

 

They have helped to start 142 new farms and food justice projects in 16 countries, and their efforts to spread sustainable farming continues.

 

Why does sustainable agriculture matter? Whether we live in the city or country, where food comes from and who grows it is connected to all of us. Food is one of our closest relationships to the planet and to other people. As I learned from one MESA steward, it’s about nurturing life and nurturing ourselves. Sustainable agriculture allows us to grow food in abundance without damaging our health or the health of the planet.

 

I’m very inspired by their vision for land, food and culture and think you will be too. Help me help MESA’s awesome work to grow a new generation of farmers! I recently donated to their work and look forward to learning more from MESA’s alum!

 

If you have 4 minutes, check out the video, “You Are the Seed” to learn more about MESA’s awesome farm stewards, and how they are helping to enrich and restore our precious environment through the cultivation and care of our food. Thank you.

#youaretheseed

Everyone needs Inspiration

June 13, 2014

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As excited as I am about my new album coming out, and grateful to be having yet another opportunity to share music all around the world, I am also nervous, and a little melancholy about the upcoming promotional tour, largely because I’m leaving home just as my grapes are beginning to red. It’s as though the fruits of my labor in the garden will be lost to a laborious life on the road. Goodbye yellowing squash. So long heirloom tomatoes. May you be multicolored, oddly shaped, and uniquely you. Farewell seeding sunflowers. I look up to you.

I’m being dramatic, but I do admit the promotional aspect of releasing an album is my least favorite part of the process. I assume songs speak for themselves, but people still want interviews. And after many interviews, one can start to feel like a product and less like a real person.

Ironically, it is this challenging part of the journey that I get to use the very medicine that I put in the music; the tools of transformation to turn a heady workday into a heart centered day full of possibility. After all, when you love someone it comes back to you. And I love that I get to travel and sing and I know all the love I share will come back to me.

Everyone needs inspiration.

A few years ago one of my sound engineers, Tricia Huffman, created a new job backstage. She began to focus on the quality of life for others, making sure each of us on the road, band and crew, were not succumbing to tired thoughts and were continually inspired, truly “owning” our awesomeness. I learned a lot from her in how to make each day the best and brightest it can be.

Tricia has recently launched a kickstarter campaign to produce new items intended to support us on our inspiring journeys through life. The first item being a 52 card deck of affirmations. Follow the link below and watch the video I recorded for the project. http://kck.st/1o5job4

If you’re like me, and love little reminders and nuggets of wisdom to keep you present, you will love what Tricia is up to. http://kck.st/1o5job4

I will be traveling this year without her, but I will take what I learned and own my awesome everyday.

Meanwhile, I hope and pray aphids don’t settle on my kale.

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Greatest wastes of time: part one

June 8, 2014

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surfing serves no purpose. it does however, float as a metaphor for life should you to give your mind the time to analyze. in order to surf, be it on a board or your belly, one must throw ones self over the falls. one must take the inevitable risk and go, to truly experience beingness in the flow. One must not be afraid of looking stupid. one’s breath and watchful eye must be calm and controlled, ready to welcome wave after wave, from mountain to molehill. one needs balance and one must constantly adapt to the conditions and the slightest changes in the weather, knowing well each set, each swell, each season, each tide will rise to each’s own occasion. one can’t stop the waves, but one CAN learn to surf.

in songwriting, as in life, one must throw ones self over the falls, taking the inevitable risk of being heard, possibly saying something stupid, or looking stupid. one’s breath must be calm and controlled as well as one’s watchful eye, ready to welcome wave after wave of thought, heart beat after heart beat, to speak and ultimately sing the truth that wells up inside and often times rises without warning. one needs balance and one must adapt to the conditions of the room and ideas of other writers or listeners. one must be brave, buoyant, and benevolent in the lofty space of singing in order to make it safely back to shore. to sing or surf is to impossibly walk on water, dance on glass, and intimately interact with God, to strengthen, enliven, and make wiser the soul.

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