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.
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.
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.
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.
Last night, I dreamed many dreams at once. Each dream look like a shred of paper after that paper had been through a shredder. Thousands of shreds were all tangled up in each other like two dimensional spaghetti. Like Bob Dylan’s hair in that classic Milton Glaser print. Strands upon strands like old stuffing in my mind. But fortunately I had the ability to see this entanglement, this too-many-thoughts-at-once challenge before me. And it was as if I had said, “one dream at a time please,” as all of a sudden all of the shreds formed a single line, and all that there was before me became one single strip of paper, one story to be told, one path to be walked, one dream to be lived.
When I awoke, I realized my dream was symbolic of what I often do in my waking life. Thinking too many thoughts at once. Dreaming too many dreams at the same time. Not having one focus, but many.
Mind control has been a central story for me for a long time. “Don’t let your mind stop you from having a good time.” Or “I won’t worry my life away.” Etc.
To remedy this, I focus my attention on one thing. My penis.
You might have heard the phrase, “to know God, serve others.” Well, in my experience, God is the one voice in our hearts and minds that gives life to all the other voices we create. And Spirituality is the work of taking all of those voices and fine-tuning them back into one voice. Serving others is a good way to let go of our mental chatter, surrendering to a good deed, thus feeling better and sleeping better.
You can also serve yourself; through prayer, meditation, yoga, exercise, writing, gardening or maybe just going for a long drive. Whatever it is for you, those tasks help train your mind to focus on just one thing. Doing so helps fine-tune and strengthen the inner God or Guide-voice that guides you, the voice you share your life with, not the add-on voices given to you by family, fears, and society. Your heart’s voice, the life energy given to each of us, the energy we have access to the moment we are born, before we even know what words are, that energy is the true voice, the true one voice that directs us to the dreams we are here to realize. And knowing what your dream is and living it, that is the key to success. That is the key to happiness.
Whatever your dreams look like, and they do look different for each of us, you are here to live specifically for that dream. If you think you don’t know what your dream is just stop and listen. Listen to the all the layers of your surrounding environment. The hush of distant traffic. The closeness of busy bees. The melodic mumble of birds chirping. The faint hovering whir of a helicopter. The conversation from the neighbor’s television. The sub stereo bass of a passing car. Or the sound of your own breathe. Your own deep inhales and long slow exhales… In that peaceful non-sound of your stillness, that’s where your dream lives.
You are not your many concerns and your dream is not the concern of others. Your dream is who you really are.
And it’s always there singing to you, you just have to give yourself a moment to hear it.
Now go, be that ballerina you always wanted to be.
Or, What’s the name of a male ballerina? A baller?
Yeah, go be a baller.
The crew at my local coffee shop established a 501c3 called Feeding the Soul Foundation where they bring friends together over food and music and raise money for other charities. On Jan 19th they’ll be hosting a show at the fabulous Star Theatre in Oceanside, California benefiting the Scleroderma Foundation. The concert will feature Michael Leroy Bram, Raining Jane, and friends.
If you’re in SoCal, come & enjoy the music. Let us feed your soul and in turn, help us help the Scleroderma Foundation.
If you can’t make it, promise me you’ll still create an amazing day for yourself.
Tickets available at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/feeding-the-soul-presents-michael-leroy-bram-raining-jane-friends-tickets-9777782611