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
Usually the sun rises through my bedroom window, but today it is overcast. Today it is cold. Usually the cats, two of them, come and wake me up early reminding me that it’s time for them to eat. Today they do not. They too must still be sleeping.
I prefer waking up early to have a moment to myself before I make the long drive to a yoga class. I could do yoga at home, but I still enjoy practicing in a hot classroom, sweating on someone else’s floor. Besides, there are too many distractions at home: a warm bed, a long list of chores, a garden to tend, dishes to wash, a warm bed…
This morning I stayed in bed until 9 dreaming I was a snooze farmer. In the dream it made sense. I grew the ingredients necessary for snooze alarming. As if the chimey music that plays every nine minutes from my phone, transitioning me from one reality to another, requires some kind of organic material, similar to percussion instruments like goat’s toes, wooden blocks or a rain stick. My crop looked like poppies, lavender, chamomile, and echinacea. And though I didn’t see it done, it was implied that I dried and collected the harvest in soft little satchels where they would hang from tree limbs in the wind, waiting to be assigned to someone who needed directions home, and once they did, they’d sway, dance and sing their annoying little xylophone song, much to the dismay of many happy nappers.
It is now 9:08 and I am still enjoying the overcast morning, my excuse to stay in bed and ruminate. The rooster crows late as well. Maybe it isn’t 9. Maybe all the alarms rang early today and it is only 7. It feels more like a 7 anyway. Or maybe I’m still dreaming. Or perhaps this is your dream. If that’s so, thank you for my life. I like it here.
From a cozy little hotel on the shore of Lake Michigan, I wind down a love filled holiday which consisted of family visits, plane rides, and walks along Chicago’s snow dusted streets. There was little bustle anywhere but for the homes where young ones wrestled with paper and packaging. I enjoy the otherwise calm of the holidays. In the quiet hours I drink tea and sip warm soup in gratitude for the accomplishment of another year’s adventure, for my kin and my friends. The warmth matches the feeling of the heart; a feeling that all is right in the world as long as I have love to share and people to share it with.
Thank you for being in my life and giving me the blessing of another beautiful Christmas.
With you always,