I do lots of interviews. And one interview I did yesterday has really got me thinking. Like most interviews, they open you up and invite you to share in the moment. For me, each moment is new, and whatever I’ve recently learned or awakened to will likely influence my answer anew. Some interviewers are drudgingly reading a fact sheet hoping I’ll expand upon it. Others want to know WHY I did something, which for me is always the most challenging question. It’s also common for one conversation to transform my opinion on a subject altogether giving me new insights. It is in part thanks to interviews that I journey inward to see how I really feel about an issue as certain questions generate answers I didn’t know were inside of me. In all conversations we get to speak and hear our own thoughts manifest as word, building our world around us through language, adapting and evolving literally as we speak, and seeing what it is we’re currently made of.
In yesterday’s interview with a gay magazine, I was asked my opinion on whether or not label’s are important. Labels as in lesbian, gay, bi, transgender, etc… I don’t think labels are important I said. And I believe they aren’t. Yet, the magazine I was speaking to uses the very same labels in question to draw attention to LGBT issues and culture, creating an invitation for people with those interests to visit and read; which in that case, the label is very helpful.
So what is it about labels that are in question? I had more time to think about it after I hung up the phone.
I reverted back to high school; the battlefield in word warfare, where I heard all kinds of nastiness about all kinds of people. You brush it off if you can because name-calling is commonplace; but you pray you never end up alone with any of the name callers, as I did in 12th grade, the year I finally got my ass kicked after 4 years of shit stained anticipation.
In those suspenseful years I heard racism, sexism, species-ism, slander, insults, and all kinds accusations against every kind of person in school regardless of brains or ability. These awful things were said by kids and adults alike and they aren’t exclusive to where I grew up. I’ve lived many places since then, and I heard bigoted labels dropped everywhere.
I realize now it isn’t so much the derogatory name itself that does the harm, but the isolation and separateness that one experiences in being classified as less than. The words “go away” can be just as painful as “you’re a fag” depending on the meaning we attach to it.
In our short lives, we strive to find meaning here, and we long to be loved and accepted while we’re at it. Therefore, anyone calling us anything other than brother, bro, friend or amigo, is literally cutting us down, sending us to a place of fear, sorrow, and displacement where some might feel they even need to fight back.
It is because of separateness that I think labels should only be used for food and health products and/or recording artists.
I can understand having a label that describes your job, or your practices, or even your astrological sign, but anything related to your natural-born divine Self – such as age, race, gender, sexual preference, lefty or righty, etc – should be excluded and considered irrelevant.
Remember those signs “you must be at least this tall to ride?” Imagine living a life where those signs were on everything. Men only. Whites only. Christians only. Muslims only. Marriage is Man & Woman only.
Yuck. All those signs once existed. And some still do.
You get the picture.
Labels separate us; and in that they keep us in fear – afraid that someday we could be called a name too, or disliked, or not accepted, and/or treated unfairly.
In some countries, having a certain label attached to you can get you killed.
Labels are a part of the force that is of human’s great waste of energy program. Rather than bravely letting go, accepting all as it is, and falling into love on the path of least resistance, our labels are a weird effort to try and control the planet and classify things again and again… Is this black or is this white? It’s neither. It’s moot. We’re all equal parts of that One massive cosmic organism to begin (and end) with.
Where do I begin and end? To be or not to be. That is the question.
I do lots of interviews, and I’m starting to wonder if I might someday explain myself away in all this talk rather than simply be. I show up and do the interviews because I’m invited and because I said I would! I enjoy being with people and I especially enjoy singing my songs and sharing my hobbies and general interests and so on. It’s that simple. And I can see that might show up to some as just a rolling ticker tape of opinions, loose talk, broken promises, or even idiocracy; especially when one changes one’s opinion or posture. People don’t like my hair. Some people don’t like my choices or my actions or my attitudes. Some people don’t agree with my philosophies or my mannerisms. And that’s fine. I know I’m not final. My opinion is a fluctuating sum of thoughts floating somewhere in the lower third of 7 billion. And that’s just the humans.
I heard an interesting thought today that suggested every organism thinks it’s human. Implying everything is having its own experience as if It is the center of the universe. and in essence, each IS the very center.
BTW, I would like to clear something up about my friend, the talented Ms Tristan Prettyman, with whom I stood beside in protest against the inequality of Proposition 8. She is still very much a stand for equality even though our engagement (and protest) was called off. That wasn’t made clear in a recent article published in Instinct Magazine. I have since apologized to her for how my words landed in that interview. And I apologize to you too in case you were misled or disrespected by any of my comments. My decision to leave that partnership was personal to me, and I never should have connected our break-up to the frustration we experienced in the protest. TP continues to inspire me to look deeply at my life in effort to improve it and enjoy it. I love and respect her dearly and am truly grateful for her unconditional love and forgiveness. Thank you friend. And thank YOU friend.
I’ve revealed as many mistakes as I have victories, spending much of the last 10 years sharing lyrics, blogs, and my answers to the ordinary questions in life. And it isn’t easy being judged, labeled, criticized, or even applauded at times, because life moves so fast. An awkward moment is over before you can fix it, just as a grand moment is over before you can retire in it.
This life, this infinite moment, this WTF and holy shit is a series of beautiful accidents, far out explosions and small victories that led us to this divine expression of what we call whatever we call this. and who knows where we’re going, or how many of us will be hurt or die along the way.
Oh wait, all of us will get hurt and all of us will die. Never mind.
Therefore, let’s take down the signs and let everyone enjoy the ride.
The few weeks leading up to an album release is a restless one. Not because I’m excited for it to finally come out, which I am, but because the constant flux between time zones messes with my molecules. My usual sleep routine is about 12 hours every other night, and about 3 hours in between. I sleep fine on airplanes but doing so gives me energy once I’m on the ground which isn’t always convenient. Last night I fell asleep soundly at a decent hour thanks to a delicious cocktail of Shantaram and a warm bath. But still I leapt awake at 330 in a panic that I’d overslept my 530 alarm which was set for an appearance on morning TV, SAT1 Fruehstuecks Fernsehen, here in Germany. I celebrated in the dark with a fist pump when I discovered it was only 330 and in that half awake state I made a conscious effort to fall back to sleep into a sex dream which unfortunately didn’t happen. Those last two hours of sleep went by in a blip. Not even a flying dream or a chance to breathe underwater, which is my most preferred recurring dream theme.
I arrived in Berlin yesterday via Cancun, where we touched down for less than 24 hours to play a sandy set on the radio there. After a long nap, some exercise and an interview I had 3 hours left over for “spring break” which is all one really needs. Anything after those 3 hours is a just a repeat performance of the first 3 hours. Prior to that sunny stint I’d been rehearsing with the new band for a few days in Los Angeles in preparation for the summer’s exciting new tour. And just before that I did some press in New York, Toronto, Montreal, Los Angeles again, London and Dubai. Then in the coming days I’ll get to rediscover Zurich, Paris, more London, Barcelona, and Amsterdam, topping off my trip an educational vacational on an organic farm in Tuscany. (thank yougamachan for the inspiration.) The climate there is similar to that on my own farm, therefore my goal is to pick up some ideas about food variety and growing methods for year round harvests! but I wouldn’t be surprised if I just sleep under a tree the whole time I’m there.
Today’s jet lag brought with it a tickle I couldn’t shake during a second sunrise performance of I Won’t Give Up, which is not a song that allows much room for laughter. But I couldn’t help it. And I tried to stop myself as we were on Live television after all. Pull it together man! one voice in my head told the other. But it was too late. A series of triggers led to what felt like a perfect storm for giggles.
1. Lotte, the show’s co-host, a snuggly bulldog with a serious under-bite barks at the top of the 1st chorus and startles me. 2. I ditch my guitar pick as I do before going into the bridge, and it bounces off Mona’s symbol with a comical ping. 3. I catch Adam, my guitar tech chuckle at the miraculous plectrum ricochet. 4. I start laughing. 5. I see Mona’s face in the monitor, which is running on a delay so it looks as though her mouth is not in sync with the song. I laugh some more. 6. I realize I’m laughing and that in itself becomes funny to me. 7. I remember I’m on a Live German television show at dawn. This too is funny for some reason. 8. Mona starts laughing. 9. My voice cracks and we laugh some more. 10. My career is over.
The flight I’m on is offering fresh baked cookies, or so they smell. I’m not sure if there’s someone up front with a mixing bowl licking away the cookie dough or if they’re just lighting some cookie dough incense. Down the aisles they come, a tray of cookies and a glass of milk. I have a hard time refusing but I somehow manage to say no thank you. It takes the same amount of will power to say no to a warm cookie as it does to say yes to 10 more pull-ups. But being as my body is my instrument, I try to be nice to it.
I love vegan pastries and dairy-free ice cream and thankfully they exist because I have a sweet tooth that never quits. And when that cookie-smell fills up the cabin and starts my spine tingling to the point I get an erection, I have to be prepared. I cover my taste buds with the few supplies I always travel with: a Wildbar which is raw chocolate infused with wild-blue green algae. It’s absolutely divine and tastes as rich as it costs. But it’s healthy. And I also snack on my nuts. Walnuts and almonds.
I’d rather pay now, practicing preventative health rather than pay later to a hospital for some kind of corrective surgery. Food is the best medicine after all.
That being said, food is also a drug.
People ask me what’s in the glass bottle I carry with me. I usually lie and say it’s just water I got out of the tap at the airport. Or it’s something I’ve been growing in my pool for a while. But really it starts with water, and then I add chlorophyll and mint. Chlorophyll is the critical molecule in photosynthesis, the natural process of getting energy from light and the edible form is typically extracted from alfalfa plants. There is a combo you can find at natural food stores called chlor-oxygen. But I personally love the “evergreen” version from sunrider foods. All you need is a spoonful. It turns the water green, but turns your blood mighty! And mighty blood makes a mighty man.
Green is the color of life and we should all be eating more of it. Therefore I consume it as often as I can. Green smoothies, green juice, green water, green chocolate, green ganja, etc. It’s the color of life; nature’s color for health and vitality; the preferred pigment in converting sunlight to energy – yet somehow, many stomachs renounce the green options, as those eyes that are bigger than one’s stomach are also color blind. In the airports I sense many spying my green drink as I guzzle it down before going thru security. The most common assumption is that it’s alcohol and I’m a lush.
but honestly, what’s so crazy about a green drink?
Shouldn’t we be more confronted by a diet Pepsi. Or a blue Gatorade. or even a “green tea” which is usually just another form of candy like all the other sodas out there. The ingredients in soda are those give you diabetes, a blood disease, possibly making your stay here a lot shorter. Whereas a little green juice has the opposite affect on your blood and may just extend your welcome.
I don’t mean to be a food snob. Or point fingers. I’m just typing to keep myself from accepting the cookies being passed around the airplane and this is what I’ve typed. If you love food, then love real food and raise your standards about the quality of food you’re eating. Don’t give in to franchised restaurants where food comes from a factory or requires only a re-heat in the microwave. Eat at the restaurants that are using all natural ingredients and those working with local farms and farmers markets. Don’t succumb to diet soda if you’re really on a diet. Hydrate with water and get more exercise. And when it comes to dessert, take it easy. and/or take a look at the café gratitude recipes. There’s NO COOKING involved – Just the mixing of some magical ingredients – ingredients that are good with your body recipe and won’t spoil the main course that is your life.
Love yourself. Spoil yourself. Have your cake. And eat it too.
And speaking of Cake. My good friends at the FeedingTheSoulFoundation.Org are turning two. Go celebrate with them this weekend in SD! Check out this vid of what they’re all about.
It’s not only important to talk about the good things in life, but to do good things. Comedian George Carlin speaks eloquently about human arrogance; believing we can save the planet when we can hardly save ourselves.
Below is a clip from a new feature documentary about the power of one by a Mother/Daughter film making team who circled the globe seeking out change makers who are making a positive difference in the world. This segment of their film, Opening Our Eyes, features Gina Low of APECA who is making a difference in communities along the Amazon River in Peru with education, reforestation, clean water implementation and medical aid; proof that our planet can be cared for as a result of our taking care of each other.
Since returning from Antarctica where I recently had my mind blown, I’ve been trying to stay out of the rabbit hole of thought, yet get my head around what we humans are meant to be doing on this earth – and why. What’s our purpose here?
In my candid observations from my business traveler’s window seat, I can safely and temporarily conclude that we do indeed consume – a lot – namely for the purposes of earning a living; circulating our money, buying/trading, etc; possibly for the purpose of keeping barbarism at bay and/or for plain entertainment. That’s not to say that is our primary purpose, but I understand we have to do something while we’re here and consuming is what we’re currently good at. It seems happiness is a common pursuit shared by many a cult and culture, which you could say is the driving factor behind our rate of consumption as well as the specific items we might collect. Yet our desire to be happy doesn’t stop there. We also wish to be fulfilled, sexy, rich, smart, powerful, whatever. And for the 6 billion of us who have any money at all, let alone water, those desires way overshadow our needs. Obviously. So let’s just think about the happiness part. It’s free after all.
This got me thinking about art, which is also free (to look at)…usually.
Are we the only species who make art? My cats bring me dead rodents which I’ve always understood to be tokens of affection. This could be a kind of art or art form.
I also know spiders build amazing webs while whales have songs that are passed on from generation to generation, and monkeys can apparently compose a poem if given a typewriter and enough time – but do these creatures measure their creations based on quality, taste, imagination, concept, attitude or design? Do they critique their work or the work of other animals they way we do?
Then I stumbled on the videos below and starting sleeping more soundly. Behold the Bowerbirds; amazing creatures whose works of art and fine art collections are created for the sole purpose of seducing a mate. This is a fine example of art for the sake of art which in my opinion is the result of Love hard at work. Yes Love, the word I often use for Creation, seen here expressing itself in bird form, reminding us that humans are not alone in the quest for happiness. And while it is charming to think other creatures can create in ways outside of themselves revealing they too are optimistic, it also suggests that every living thing has the potential to experience a broken heart.
It is wise to keep your pen moving as well as your feet. Your hand is often a truer version than your word in that you get to speak in private with your present & future self. Don’t dam the stream of consciousness. Trust where your river of thought is going and go with the flow. I promise you will reach the ocean.
Flipping thru old notebooks recently, I came upon this journal entry that made me smile; dated January 1999:
One day they will call on me and I’ll get to travel the world all over. I’ll sail the seven seas, ponder the great wonders, meet and greet so many new and exotic faces, taste 1000 varieties of foods and host a postcard collection like no other.
I’m so grateful to the kid who wrote that. It’s one thing to see your dreams come true, but it’s another experience entirely to hold the receipt.
Gift your future self. Write that special person a poem, a note, a story, a novel, a check even, or perhaps a song, like the one included at the bottom of this post. ‘Run Boy,’ written and recorded in 1999, is another little glimpse of my past. Like breadcrumbs leading me home, I look and listen to these melodies and musings as the mantras that shaped my life; the possibilities that I created along the way. Thanks to this soundtrack and nearly two decades worth of journals, I am present to the long, grateful journey it’s been; and still how far we’ve yet to go.