Sunday, November 14, 2010

Yoga, Peace Songs, Rock Concert

Today has been busy, protective, and very fulfilling. I started the day off with Mia Haber at The Raven Spa in the always interesting, hipster L.A. neighborhood of Silverlake. Mia taught a fabulous Kundalini Yoga class on creativity and overcoming creative blocks. At the end I led the class in singing "Long Time Sun" and then sang an original peace prayer. 
That's Darling Mia in the Beautiful Yoga Studio

After that, I was off to Santa Ana, to visit a new Vietnamese Temple I had never been too. The kids at this temple were so full of life, and got comfortable enough to request a Jason Mraz tune (that luckily I knew!) and ask me questions about how I became a singer and how long I have played the guitar. It was a lot of fun conversing with these little buddhas. 
Taking a Break From Singing to Chat
For the final chapter of the day, I am heading off to Hollywood to see Jose Gonzalez. Yay! I love a full day of music. I don't want to keep it all to myself. So here is a video of my favorite Jose Gonzalez song, "Killing For Love."

Peace and Music, Everyone!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Heart Meditation (Original Music)

I have been learning about Sound Healing for a few years and have been dreaming about making my own. Here is my first attempt at meditation music. I suggest you listen with headphones, get into a comfortable position, close your eyes, and breathe deep while you focus on the music.

This meditation is intended to calm the heart beat and create a feeling of peace. Enjoy!

Busy With Peace and Music

"OM" Represents Our Common Human Vibration.
Buddha Was a Great Peace Teacher.
It's been a very exciting time for me lately. On Sunday, I sang in a Kundalini Yoga class, which is something I have dreamed of doing for a few years. The first time I experienced a live musician in a yoga class was about 5 years ago, and the experience was unbelievably powerful. I knew I had to do that one day, and I am so excited about joining Mia Haber in her Kundalini Yoga class on Sunday mornings at The Raven Spa in Silverlake.

I was definitely nervous. I started practicing Kundalini off and on about 2 years ago, and I just love it. Kundalini focuses heavily on sound current and uses Mantra, or singing, as a form of meditation. I was nervous, but mostly from excitement. I played two songs at the end and the connection between the class and myself was just wonderful! I felt peaceful and exhilarated from the exchange. Some of the students asked me to come back, and I am very much looking forward to next Sunday. Singing in the spiritual environment is just as much a benefit to my own practice as it is to theirs. It was really nice.

My Friend Kusala Teaching the Kids in English
After that, I drove to Long Beach and played a couple songs for the kids at the Phat To Temple. The kids had so much energy and seemed very excited to see us. I played "I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free" originally by Nina Simone. Even though the song is originally about the Civil Rights Movement, as I explained, I feel it applies to the meditators constant search for Peace. Freedom and Peace. The same feeling that just means no fear, liberation, calm. The kids were adorable as they clapped along with some endearingly off beat rhythm. Mental note: come up with a subtle rhythm lesson for these kids next month....

Today, my goal is to get some recording done. This is an area where I struggle. It's hard to get in front of the microphone because the perfectionist in me just constantly cringes, but I feel I need to have something for audiences to take away if the performance schedule is going to continue picking up the way it has been. Hopefully I will be able to post something here soon. Just gotta breath and be okay with the mistakes as they come....

Thanks for all of your support and feedback, dear readers! Your interest in this blog has given me the ammunition to keep going. Because of your comments, I continue to examine my personal code and work to become the best teacher in all areas of my life. My goal is to continue to spread the concept of peace through music. Thank you for helping along the way.

Peace and Music to all of you!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Peace Song List

A reader of the blog just sent me an awesome list of peace songs. Check it out here:

My Savior

Do you remember any moments when you were so distraught over something, and the perfect song came on, giving you the wisdom and support you really needed at that very moment? That is what John Lennon has done for me. I had one of the most challenging weekends of my life recently, and the only thing that helped me to feel peaceful through all of it was the wisdom and music of John Lennon. I haven't heard anyone else sing so many songs that get right to my core, encouraging me to stay centered and peaceful, no matter what the circumstances. I wasn't always perfect, but neither was John. 

I was recently in a conversation about John Lennon's first son, Julien. Anyone interested in Beatles history knows that if you need a moment to negatively judge John, his treatment of Julien is a perfect opportunity. According to my friend's understanding, John's treatment of Julien was unfair and questionable. But here is why I don't let that ruin all the peace lessons that I can find in John's music and activism: 

According to my former Religious Studies professor, Dr. John Young, Martin Luther King, Jr was a "womanizer." Gandhi was an absentee father. Two of my greatest heroes were NOT perfect, and neither was John. Humans make mistakes, and it's unfortunate that often the greatest minds will show their ugly side to their families. Luckily, John was not a relative of mine, so I can listen to his music objectively. Just like I can read the great wisdom of Gandhi and MLK and learn from that wisdom alone, with no personal betrayal clouding my vision.  No one is perfect. 

For the past two weeks I have been faced with more challenging social interactions than I have had to deal with over the past two years.  The amazing thing about these last two weeks, is that 95% of the time I was proud of myself for dealing with the challenges calmly and peacefully. A lot of that wisdom and peace was taught to me through the music of John Lennon. 

Now that the challenging two weeks are over, I can listen to John with gratitude, as opposed to having a need for guidance. Music is so powerful. The songs that speak to us do so because we need their wisdom right at the moment. I am so grateful to John Lennon for the music he gave us, and for daring to share his wisdom and insights through his lyrics. Lyrics from the 70's that are SO relevant to us now, and always will be. That is what people mean when they say that certain songs are timeless. That is what John brought us. Timeless wisdom and universal truth.