I have a nose for roses. I can also smell marijuana a mile away and tell you who lit it. This was always convenient at DMB concerts when I wasn’t holding but wanted a drag or two during my favorite song. My technique is a humble one. First, I dance my jig alongside whichever group is tokin’ up. Then I offer a smile and/or a polite bow without ever saying too much and I simply step into the rotation. I then express my gratitude with eye contact and usually mouth the words thank you while I exhale a plume of smoke, so as to delight and not bother the group with my cheap antics anymore than I already did during the music. I always liked that about pot. It brings people together in a special unspoken way. Rarely does a stranger come up to you and ask, may I have a sip of your beer. A doobie doesn’t have backwash.
As I drive around LA on my Vespa, I get to experience each neighborhood thru the nostrils. I’m not joking when I say I smell pot every 15 minutes. And I pull up next to at least one car every morning that has that sweet, tangy smoke fuming from its windows. I can smell it all the way down the lane, using my olfactory radar to lead me to whichever car is blazing. At a stoplight I’ll give the driver a nod. Again, it’s an unspoken acknowledgement from one stoner to another. Although, the paranoid look of being busted is the most common expression I see on drivers’ faces.
A remarkable thing happened on the bike trail near my house in San Diego. I could smell a pungent skunk but I knew better. At first I thought someone was being sneaky in the woods, but low and beholding were two cyclists ahead of me passing a joint back and forth between their spandex frames. I couldn’t believe my luck. OF COURSE I pedaled up next to them and got myself in the rotation. You don’t pass up a rare opportunity like that. I never slowed down nor removed my headphones. We shared the moment rolling along, nodding smiles and throwing peace signs, the international gestures for It’s all good.
In CA, pot laws are lenient as medicinal marijuana is available for people seeking natural remedies for pain, insomnia, or short term memory loss. I recently had skin tissue removed from the roof of my mouth and transplanted slash grafted over my gums to keep my teeth from falling out later in life. It’s not a painful procedure but it does take awhile to recover from – adjusting to a mouthful of stitches covered up in silly putty. Instead of Steroids, Antibiotics, and the prescribed pain reliever, Naproxen, I used high doses of leafy green produce, garlic, ginger, turmeric, oregano, and ye olde cannabis extract for a completely homeopathic approach to healing. It’s been a week now and I’ve not once endured swelling, pain or infection. In this I prove one doesn’t need expensive pharmaceuticals nor the nasty side effects. There are all-natural solutions all around us. Always.
I’ve also been on a pretty strict plant-based diet for 4 months now – feeling stronger, fitter, healthier and more productive. I ride longer distances on my bike, can do more pull-ups than ever, and my brain seems to have a larger capacity for new projects, problem solving, songwriting, and fielding random questions. My health and strength make me a better performer and all that combined gives me more confidence to go out in the world and shine my light. It also makes me a lot better in bed. Just sayin…
I’m grateful to the boy I was that believed in the man I’ve become.
For those curious or concerned about a plant-based diet, check out the film Forks Over Knives. It’s a life changer. You can get all the protein you need from greens, quinoa, and hemp seed. I also supplement my diet with multiple servings of Warrior Food by HealthForce.com. But that’s just how I roll.
Always listen to your body before doing anything drastic.
This post is dedicated to my friend Sacha, who everyday in the studio would start by googling the latest news in shark discoveries. Most often I think he was looking for a story about another attack, something to make us all wince. Whatever the case, from the center of London, his passion for great whites kept our hearts and minds close to the coast.
Also, my roommate (whose name I’ll refrain from using to protect the reputation of he and his roomates) we’ll call, Willy Walegood, won’t swim in a pool at night due to his fear of these teethy creatures patrolling his mind. True Story.
Last week a new app launched that he and you will love. It was created by a neighbor and friend of mine, a local guava farmer who raises bees and makes the most delicious honey, who also happens to be a marine biologist. Throughout his career in the ocean, he’s tagged hundreds if not thousands of great white sharks in the wild. The sharks remain free and are able to be tracked by satellite all around the world helping scientists and researchers learn about food supplies, changing weather conditions, and a whole lot more about the ocean, in depth – above our heads; puns attempted.
The new app lets you keep up in real time with a fleet of sharks. It’s a great educational app, perfect for kids, divers, ocean enthusiasts, and those who think sharks may be hiding in their swimming pool. Not so good for fisherman who like shark fin soup.
For the past week, I’ve enjoyed seeing I Won’t Give Up sit at the top of the iTunes most downloaded songs, and in such good company. I’ve also been floored by some of the covers already gracing the pages of the internet. Like the beautiful freakies at the bottom of this post.
That song, along with the World As I See It, are the first of a dozen you’ll soon hear on a new studio album – an album about love; what one does in love to make it work, and what one does in love when it’s time to let go.
Since it’s inception I’ve referred to this collection of songs as the makings for “the Love album.” I’ve held onto a love inspired image for the album cover for the past two years. The image hangs on my wall. It’s etched onto my water bottle. It’s inlaid into a stone path that connects my home to my studio. It’s even painted on the side of my house. And over the past two years the concept and compositions have managed to collage them selves around the image. Thankfully, my vision board, to the best of my ability, is complete.
Music is the medium I use to recover from life’s often deafening blow. I constantly reawaken thru music. The act of making music is how I tune in and/or tune out to solve life’s puzzles, trying to make the most sense of that which I can’t seem to stop questioning. In life there are problems. In music, if not a direct answer, comes a divine perspective.
On this album my intention was to sing about what love is. The giving. The receiving. The Ups and Downs… And at first that seemed a fairly simple task. Almost every song I’ve ever written is about love or because of love. In some ways I thought this album would be easier than others to manifest.
But as I dove deeper, defining love grew a daunting task. What did I really know about love? Who am I to be so bold as to take this on? Ah, there’s the rub. Do you love yourself enough to be okay in every situation? So much so that no matter what you say you can have no attachment to how It and you are received?
After much exploration, listening, learning, letting go – A voice inside offered “Get out of your head and into your heart. Go be of service. In service you will find love. In service you will BE LOVE.” These are the thoughts that led me to tour again in 2011. By combining live shows with outreach and adventure, one gets his own greatness from others’ smiling faces.
In my travels I asked many what Love meant to them. For some it meant being love no matter what – expanding one’s capacity to love, regardless of circumstances – never giving up – loving what is difficult to understand – serving – accepting.
I began also to view love as the language everything speaks in the natural world. The essence of all there is. The sun for instance is perhaps our greatest source of love. It gives and gives and gives and never burns out. When a tree grows tall and its leaves reach for the sun, they too are sending their love and gratitude right back out into the world, paying love forward to others. Trees give us and many creatures food, shelter, and warmth. Animals, like humans, continue to serve and protect and share with one another. And so on goes that circle.
“There is only love. Everything else is our resistance to it.” – Terces Engelhart
Birds fill the skies with their complex music while dolphins and whales keep the seas flowing with their songs, which some consider to be the songs that contain the recorded history of the earth. All have a message to all. And at the root of every thought, is love.
To me, any creative act is love. Ever since the big bang, the universe, this earth, this civilization, has been some version of Love expressing itself. The word I use so commonly – Love – is so much smaller than what It actually is. It’s one of the greatest forces in the universe – yet it can’t be measured, let alone defined – yet that which propels us forward in thought, in action, can only be this One thing. (and still “One thing” sounds so small, when in fact “One thing” is everything, the sum of all parts.)
Child Educator & TV legend Mr Roger’s tried to warn us at a young age when he said, “understanding love is one of the hardest things in the world.” Thanks for heads up Fred.
I am happy and in love with who I am today. I found what I needed in myself to sustain an experience of love no matter where i am, no matter who I surround myself with. Whether I’m alone or among hundreds in a crowd, I am present to the power of love and the impact it has through all of life.
Love is life.
And now after two years seeking, celebrating and sorrowing, I finally have a record to share with the world. And what I figured out in the end is that Love isn’t always a pink heart on a valentine’s card. It’s also what breaks you apart when someone passes away as you lose the opportunity to share your eyes and adoration with that person.
Love is and will always be multi-faceted. It’s comedy in the face of tragedy. It’s romance on the deck of a sinking ship. It’s where the sacred meets the silly. It’s having compassion for your enemies and being nice to the dining room table after you’ve stubbed your toe. It’s what turns you inside out and makes you go nuts, like having a song stuck in your head for months, but you know it’s not a song at all. It’s your life.
Therefore, in summary, if you ask me what love is. I would simply say, in jest, and in truth,
I live near a military base. I don’t know much about it. It’s a place where Marines develop their skills and learn how to properly play with their toys I guess. Our friendly neighborhood airspace includes as many low flying helicopters and subsonic explosions as it does crows and their foretelling caws.
The base begins just beyond a storybook contoured landscape of farmland that cat-cows across a horizon on the opposite side of a valley below my house. At night the farm is lit with hundreds of well organized rows of bulbs. I tell people it’s a light bulb farm but the guy is really growing flowers. He produces many for the Rose Bowl parade and has for years. The night lights he uses hurries along mother nature.
Last night the base was firing something into the sky, adding even more light to the fields. The sparks moved like melancholy fireworks, each one a runaway from the pack. One soft light at a time trailing low over a canvas of stars held me a kept man and reversed my years. I wasn’t even a man anymore. I was just a pair of eyes, like how a child must feel before it’s first download. Each flare arced and faded languidly like shooting stars in slow motion. Mimicking it’s movement made my head turn.
The waxing full moon had my back which meant I was free to be lost in gazing. In gratitude for this new chance to see the earth in such great light, from such great heights, from a little house on a hill, at night, I smiled a warm smile, tucked my hands in my pockets, and levitated.
To some, the electrically charged flower farm and the military base could be viewed as wastes of energy; each operating out of some degree of fear or greed. But to others, the spectacle alone is beautiful and worth acknowledging.
How you choose to project your light onto others is “soul”ly up to you.
Looking for last minute gift ideas? Before buying a “thing,” that which will most likely be made in China and/or be obsolete and/or broken or discarded in the near future, consider the United States, a service-based country, and buy your loved ones a service. (Spa treatment, gardening service, flower service, grocery/produce service, organic pest control service, car service, photo service, educational service, flashmob, sky-dive, etc…) This will employ friends and neighbors while keeping your dollar circulating on the mainland.
For other items made locally, try:
SpokenGlass.com – Isn’t it time you stop buying water and use a reusable bottle instead. Everytime I see someone drinking from a plastic bottle I think of the wasted money AND wasted plastic. Spoken Glass are gorgeous glass bottles, customizable and inspiring.
Cafe Gratitude.com is Great for foodies and fans of peace, love, and happiness.
Live In Wonder, a book by Eric Saperston. With inspiring quotes, thought provoking questions, and plenty of room to sketch your own ideas and answers, Eric’s book is a spin off of the philosophy that you’re only one inspiring conversation away from your dreams. Whether you need directions on how to get there or instructions on how to put it all together, this book is filled with Q & A from his journey asking some of the most influential people how they got where they got and what others might consider on the journey.
Or support your favorite charity on behalf of someone you love. Write them a card that says, “I was gonna get you a new chia-pet, but by the looks of the moldy food in the back of your fridge, I see you already have a few. So instead, I put that 20 bucks into the Jason Mraz Foundation, an endowment that supports Education, Recovery, Humanity, and the Environment.” You’ll be everyone’s hero.
I’ve been thinking. It appears we humans might be a bacteria on the surface of the planet growing exponentially. We, a few billion fleshy bugs establishing and erecting crusty cities of concrete and mortar, causing almost irreversible transformation to the environmental landscape. “Almost irreversible” implying most of what we’re up to can’t/won’t be reversed within our lifetime but will certainly be taken care of in some way within the next billion years. But I’m not thinking about the planet. It’s much older than us and because it has already, it will no doubt live far beyond our years. I’m wondering what also we might be up to as humans. What’s the deal with our genes; those that got passed down to us and those we will pass down to our children? Are we not mere vehicles for our genes to ride around in while they evolve through lifetimes, ultimately riding off into eternity towards a sun that never sets?
It is worth wondering why and how our genes get to live on through eternity while we do not. Or do we? Our features and characteristics were passed down to us through eons of evolution. Our genotype is the instructions for who/what we’re born as, and we can’t help that other than to live the best life we can with whatever tools and gifts we’ve been given. From the start our genes grant us access to certain parties in life, or they introduce us to great challenges.
Though through our brave and adventurous lives, we do evolve. We overcome and transform ideas to better ourselves and/or the population. Some generations seem to take steps backwards. Others like it just as it is and don’t want to change anything. Ultimately by the time we pass on our genes to our kids, we will have affected our genotype and written a new set of instructions on our genes. Those that fought for freedom in the previous generations gave that freedom to us. They literally passed it onto us in our genetic make-up. Those who fought for women’s rights and those who once declared independence passed along those gifts of strong will and determination. Through this kind of science we can see that our actions DO make a difference. Our ancestors who discovered fire, basic tools, language, hunting, all the necessary to-do’s for survival through the ages, etc – gave US this opportunity to sit on our asses and read the internet.
And.. Also, if such awful ideas like slavery have been around since the beginning of civilization, isn’t it possible we could overcome and eradicate them too? I know our current generation is up to big things. Random acts of kindness, the starting of non-profits, and general support of charities is IN. Materialism is Out. This strangely aligns with what the Mayans predicted 2012 would be about. The world won’t end. But the world as we know it will. So, a new world is being re-invented everyday and it is through our consciousness and our conscious and careful actions that we are reshaping our reality.
Even if we’re not having children, we can affect future generations by making the environment one that encourages and inspires, thus affecting a person’s phenotype, that which is the accumulated characteristics of a person based on what they absorb through their life experiences. This is the basics of the science of natural selection. It is why we live much longer today. We now know how to avoid disease. We recently welcomed our 7 billionth family member. We are civilized beings with running water, electricity, digital music and stored food. This did not happen overnight. It appears to be the calculated accident of our genes telling our bodies what to do, how to live, how to thrive.
Though you’d think after the 1990’s we would’ve outgrown pants hanging down below our ass. Those “genes” are still worn by today’s young pop stars it seems. And if we keep this up, and those dudes continue to pro-create as they do, humans will be walking funny for the next 1000 years.
So what’s my point? I don’t know. I was just thinking out loud. Perhaps my point is to make a new years resolution to believe strongly in what you love and go for it. Even if all you do is sit and meditate on it, I believe it will affect your genes and make a difference. Future generations are already thanking your decomposing body for it.