A Pep Talk

July 22, 2013

From the good souls at Soul Pancake. I love this.

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The Solution Is In The Soil

July 18, 2013

Airports have become so familiar to me that I’m beginning to build friendships with airline staff and TSA employees. Even the customs officials welcome me home or see me off with congratulations on my gigs. Homeland Security officials grew to know me over the years, mispronouncing my name at first, to questioning the validity of my jobs overseas, to eventually asking for autographs and pictures. Their gradual awareness has become the meter on which I have measured my success. Thanks TSA. You’re my TMZ.

 

The Heathrow lounge teems with quiet excitement like a study hall. It’s here, on my way to Istanbul, that I get time to brush my teeth, lengthen my spine, and thanks to free wi-fi, share an awesome video with you.

 

As you may or may not know, I keep track of flights and offset the carbon emissions by planting trees and supporting organic farms and gardens. Below is the TED talk from Graeme Sait, who’s research linking soil health to human health will open your eyes and blow your mind as he connects the health of our food to the health of our whole system. As both an organic farmer and a man of the world, this TED talk speaks directly to me, proving that there IS hope for humankind. All we have to do is humbly bow to the Earth.

 

In the age of information, ignorance is a choice. Thanks for spreading the message and doing your part. xo

 

You Got Life. You Gotta Live It.

July 15, 2013

When I lose someone, the hardest part is that I am no longer able to tell them I love them.

 

The music community celebrates Felipe Canete, who sang, danced and played guitar as an integral member of Luc & The Lovingtons. His Chilean heritage brought an authentic latin flavor to the heart-centered band, fusing music of many rhythms and styles to help create their unique sound.

On May 17th, Filipe (pictured left,) passed away as a result of a heart condition he’d managed all throughout his young life. He is survived by his wife Katy and their two year old son, Rio. Donations to help alleviate immediate financial stress can be made at http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/felipe-s-family-fund/60864.

 

This weekend I had the pleasure of performing again with the new generation of The Lovingtons’ musical family, who are currently on the road fulfilling the tour that Filipe booked. (You may remember The Lovingtons from previous years’ tours, or by their hit THE FREEDOM SONG, which I recorded for my album last year.)

 

In a small private setting yesterday, musicians and friends who knew Filipe gathered to sing and share stories, shake his percussion instruments, and honor the mystical, magical spirit of a friend who will now live on inside all of our hearts. His passing reminds me to celebrate life.

 

In addition to being a father and a good friend, Felipe was also a teacher, blending language lessons with music to help his students connect more intimately and joyfully with the classroom curriculum. Joy was his modus operandi. Joy and Filipe were never not seen apart.

 

Despite having a diagnosed condition, Filipe only always lead with this heart; suggesting to me that having compassion for your weaknesses only makes you stronger. I will miss his smile, his accent, his dance moves, and immeasurable excitement to improve the attitude of the world, but he will live forever in the music and through the many hearts of those his touched.

 

The Los Angeles community will honor Filipe & The Lovingtons this Tuesday, July 16th at the Roxy’s intimate upstairs room in West Hollywood. Send your love!

 

 

 

Never Never Never Give Up

June 21, 2013

Last weekend I ran in the Hey Day 5k alongside pal, Jesse Billauer, to raise money for Life Rolls On, an organization he founded to fund spinal cord injury research and to help those with spinal cord injuries continue to live extraordinary lives. Jesse was injured & paralyzed in a surfing accident 17 years ago when he was just 17. After spending now half of his life in a wheelchair, Jesse mustered up the strength and courage to use what limited ability he has remaining in his arms to roll his first official 5k. We came in together just under 30 minutes.

On the run were many other athletes, some there to run, some there to roll, some to raise money, but all having fun. Thanks to those who donated and/or came out to strengthen our numbers and muscles.

At the starting line just before the race, I met Misty Diaz, runner on a mission, and walking canes! Born with Spina bifida, one of the most common birth defects with a worldwide incidence of about 1 in every 1000 births, Diaz has undergone 28 surgeries to stay on her feet. Most people with spina bifida never walk, but Misty is on zero medication and runs 5ks, 15ks, and half marathons to inspire others; showing us that one’s dreams can still be reached, no matter how long a road may seem, no matter the circumstances we are given, just so long as we never never never give up. Misty’s finish time was an impressive 45 minutes.

 

After learning about Misty’s mission to share Never Never Never Give Up with others living with spina bifida, I sent her a copy of I Won’t Give Up (9 Theory Remix) to add to her race-day playlist hoping it would support her mantra and keep her looking up. You can hear I Won’t Give Up (9 Theory Remix) by clicking on the icon below or visiting my soundcloud page.

 

For more info on LifeRollsOn, visit LifeRollsOn.Org and join us September 2nd at the Santa Barbara Bowl for our concert to raise money and awareness for LRO, Jesse Billauer, & The Jason Mraz Foundation.

 

Maraming Salamat Po.

May 15, 2013

It was election day when we arrived in The Philippines, so the streets were tame; a big departure from the usual parade of jeepneys, taxis and motorcycles that clot the highway arteries in one of the world’s most populated cities.

This mini-tour of Asia, and the upcoming tour dates for 2013 for that matter, are taking us to THE PLANET’S MOST populated cities. Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, Manila, Moscow, Istanbul, and the 2nd most populated city in the world that I’d never heard of until now, Guangzhou. At first I thought, what are the odds that we’d get to travel through this top 10 list of most populated cities? How cool. But then, as slowly as a winter sun rises in the arctic, it dawned on me. Duh. It’s where the people are. It’s like that time I flew home from college, NYC to RVA, and I couldn’t believe the guy I was sitting next to was from my hometown! What are the odds I’d get sat next to a guy from Richmond VA on a flight from New York to Richmond VA? We had so much in common. Like our des’DUH’nation. …Say no to drugs, kids.

Besides Filipinos being the most spirited and most in-tune of audiences, they are also the craftiest and most clever poster-makers, hands down, (or up rather.) Looking out at the crowd last night there were almost too many good signs to consider, like “I voted for you yesterday” and “The No Wang Wang Zone” (whatever that means) and my personal favorite, “Merritt Me?” Well done Manila. Thanks for giving us such a warm reception home.

While there I also had the pleasure of catching up with the immeasurable Cecelia Oebanda from the Visayan Forum, an organization that rescues girls from trafficking. In addition to the hard work Cecelia does to keep the organization up and running to house and rehabilitate the girls, she also has to deal with death threats from traffickers who wish she’d stop interfering with their business of kidnapping and selling young girls into servitude and sex slavery. WTF? How was your day at the office?

In addition to funding and awareness, Cecelia could use more volunteers, those in psychiatry, healing, and social work to help the girls recover from their experiences. If you know anyone who can help her mission, please spread the word, share the link below and send her some love.

She and The Visayan Forum will be featured in The Fighters, a documentary airing this weekend on CNN International, and later online. Thanks for checking it out.  http://www.visayanforum.org/

Correction centered.

May 5, 2013

I would like to make a correction to the previous journal entry. Where I wrote “cooperation” would be the #1 best thing we could be doing to better the environment and save humanity, I would like to change that to Compassion. With compassion, the understanding or empathy for the suffering of others, cooperation would naturally follow suit.

 

If there’s one thing music & surfing & yoga have in common to teach, it’s compassion; compassion for one’s self; the ability to “just, take it easy,” as sung in live high. Learning to ride waves of water, sound or breath, can be challenging. Such is life. And in order to accomplish anything of great spiritual value, we must understand that from time to time on the journey, there will be suffering.

 

When I first picked up a guitar at 17, my fingers hurt, and my head couldn’t fathom how the fret-board worked. Becoming a guitar player seemed insurmountable, but I wanted to sing and accompany myself, and the guitar was the sexiest fit for the nomadic lifestyle I was choosing. It was a rough start with slow forming, out-of-tune chords, but compassion for myself kept the guitar buzzing on my lap while I hummed thoughts higher than any reason to quit. The silent agreement I made with my soul was that I’d allow myself to suffer until I was 40. And by that, I would not let any scowls of disapproval from family or community distract me from my goal of becoming a guitar player. Compassion gave me the green light.

 

I applied the same method to surfing and within 5 years I was in over my head, swimming with sharks. Literally.

 

I’m still not 40 btw, and the guitar as well as a practice of compassion continues to inspire and enrich my life in myriad ways.

 

I would also like to mention a lyric change. Shortly after recording I’m Yours, I changed ‘God forsaken right to be loved,’ to ‘God intended right to be loved.’ I’m not religious and nature alone is my guru, but I felt that the Universal Life Force that propels us, which many understand as their God, would not abandon us to give us a right to be loved. Instead, I feel love is what nature intended. At the time the lyric was conceived, I didn’t fully understand it. The song was written in a quick stream of consciousness after all. I was simply turning a phrase. And shortly thereafter I turned it into something else. I mention this amendment because I’d love to hear audiences sing the new lyric, as well as any new covers that may appear in the years to come.

 

And lastly, in a tweet fired off a few hours ago about which animal was my favorite because they’re all hugs and kisses. It’s the ox. Not ox’s. Which is actually oxen when plural. Thanks for the correction mom.

 

It’s never too late to stop learning.

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