Bridges Not Walls

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I leave for Mexico on Thursday afternoon.  I am heading south to play Festival de Musicoterapia, or Festival of Music Therapy.

I was in Peru this past October when the organizers reached out to invite me to participate again this year, as I did last year.  I agreed, and began preparing a concert presentation called “Medicina de la Selva,” Medicine of the Jungle, inspired by the sounds, rhythms, and energies of the Amazon rainforest from which I was in the process of receiving a deep and profound healing.

I flew home from Peru on November 8th just in time to watch Donald Trump be elected president.

It felt like a piece of my heart broke in watching that, although I have been told that our hearts never break, but instead it is the encrustations around our hearts that crack allow space for new growth and expansion.

In the grieving, fear, and rage that followed, a new mission arose clearly inside of me.  I reached out to the festival and informed them that I would be changing my presentation.  In light of my country having just elected a man to power that had spoken with such hatred and fear towards so many peoples around the planet, and towards the planet herself, and who began it all with a venomous attack towards the beautiful people of Mexico, it was no longer appropriate for me to arrive as a guest in their land and make the offering I had been preparing. A new responsibility had arisen.

And so was born “Puentes y No Muros,” or “Bridges Not Walls.”

I am embarking on this trip as an ambassador of my people.  As a White, American man, I am going forth as an ambassador of peace and kinship, with a prayer of apology.  I go to say that I am so sorry for the unwellness of my people, and for the ways that our unwellness has hurt them and continues to seek to do harm.  I go to ask for forgiveness, and to recommit myself to being a bridge in this world between peoples and cultures and ideas, a passageway through man-made divisions and boundaries and separations, into a space of unification and oneness.

When I told my father of my intentions, he told me, “Make sure they know that there are many, many of us whose values and hearts and minds are not represented by our government.”

As I prepare for this trip, I am tending the garden of my own mind, heart, and body.  I am pulling away from the constant bombardment of more fear and tension provided through all forms of media.  There is a difference between being informed and aware, and being toxified and incapacitated by a perpetual feeding of the us vs. them war mindset, be it between our country and others or between the different ideologies at play in our own political arena.  What we engage in and consume in terms of information and media is voluntary, and I cannot do what I came here to Earth to do, and I cannot fulfill my mission with this trip, if I allow myself to be put and kept in a state of tension and unrest.  An angry person, an angry people, an angry generation, can never create an era of peace.  We must find a calmness in the center of the storm, not to hide or pretend or ignore, but to be fully in the apex of our own power.  And from that calm space, we can allow our actions of revolution and resistance to flow more efficiently and potently than they can when we are in the constriction of grief and rage.

So southward I will fly, a songbird of the Northeastern Woodlands of North America.  I will carry my drum and guitar, and sounds and vibrations of forgiveness and accountability.  I will carry water and allow myself to be a vessel for her healing and renewal.  I will carry sacred tobacco with which to offer a prayer for my people, for the people of Mexico, and all beings with whom we share this Earth.  And I will carry love and humility, the only tools capable of dismantling the weapons of Empire and sowing new seeds for the future.

Send your prayers with me so that they may carry me safely and swiftly through the skies, and I will offer my voice for all who wish to create a new world of fierce compassion and awareness of the radical interconnectedness of all Life.

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At last year’s festival in Tepotzlan

SW Utah: Family, Liberation, 3D Printing, Desert Gardens, Music, Goddess Isis & More!

I left Southwestern Utah yesterday after 3 days and nights full of love, beauty, and re-connection, and I am feeling grateful and inspired.

Bonnie & Carlyle, followers and warriors of LOVE

Bonnie & Carlyle, heart followers & warriors of LOVE

I got to St. George, UT on Saturday evening where I was hosted by two stellar tribesfolk, Bonnie and Carlyle.  I met these two beautiful humans through two of their 5 children, Katy and Nickolas, who I worked with when I lived in New York.  They are a big family with a deeply moving story.  I will one day have them tell their story themselves in detail, but the cliff notes version is that Bonnie and Carlyle were both raised in the Mormon church and did their best to be very devoted to their faith and community.  When their eldest son came out of the closet, everything changed for them.  After very brief initial response of wanting to fix him, reflecting their long-held church programming, it was quickly revealed to them that this was not only be fruitless, but also very wrong.  Their love of their child, their empathy with his struggle, their trust in him and in their hearts, quickly turned them from trying to change him to learning to cherish him in an even deeper way than they had before, going against a lifetime of conditioning telling them to do the opposite and going with LOVE.  Being a Mormon is not just something you practice once a week but rather is a complete way of life and complete community, and so the family tried to stay in the church AND reconcile their love and acceptance of their gay son.  This could only last so long… 3 years to be precise.  For those 3 years, they struggled to stay within the community in which they had been so completely a part of, and they struggled to maintain strong relationships with those they had considered close friends and family while doing so.  When California was going through the Prop 8 political battle on whether or not gay marriage was constitutional, the Mormon church inserted itself into the battle, picking up against gay marriage and instructing its members to do the same.  This was the tipping point for Bonnie and Carlyle.  As a father with fierce love for his son, he went to the elders and appealed them to reconsider what they were doing and embrace that it was time for change.  They told him, “You must choose between the prophet and your son.”

“Thank you.  You just made this very easy.”

Bonnie, Carlyle, and their 5 children ended their relationship with the Mormon church.

That was about 7 years ago, and when you hear them tell this story, it moves you to tears, expands your heart, and inspires you to be more courageous in living your purpose.  They talk of love being the ultimate truth and message from the Divine.  They talk of family being the strongest expression of love.  They talk of their liberation from the conditioning they had imposed upon them from childhood, and of what it has been like to explore the world for themselves, and develop their own perspectives and opinions, and to do so allowing their hearts to guide them.  It was not a road without pain or challenge, as in many ways it was a walking away from mostly everything and everyone they knew, but they are shining examples of what happens when we step outside of our comfort zone, outside of the life that has been prepared for us: we find truth, we find deeper love than we could have imagined, we find God, we find ourselves.

So I spent two days with them, talking about vibrational healing, consciousness, spiritually, civilization, wellness, music, art, plant medicine, and family.  Their friend Daniel, who I have come to know as a friend of mine as well, came over for dinner one night and the depths of these conversations went further.  Daniel was raised Mormon too, but at a very young age found himself in total non-resonance with their teachings, and as he discovered his own ‘condemned’ sexuality, he forged a new life for himself in which he could know peace in his heart and with who he is.  This led him to build the World Peace Gardens, whose mission statement reads:

“World Peace Gardens is about creating new levels of community and peace throughout the world.  This is accomplished through the creation of artistically designed gathering places that represent a new vision for humanity. These sites bring people together through gatherings and events which celebrate the uniqueness of the individual and the oneness of all things.”

They gather every Sunday in St. George, UT with different performers and speakers on a very diverse range of subjects and ideas, all somehow woven together with the intention of peace and unity on earth.  This community became a very important space for Bonnie & Carlyle as they transitioned out of the Mormon church, and they connected me with Daniel and the WPG on my first year on the road.

Click here to learn more: World Peace Gardens

Garden goddess Charlotte giving Source/Water to the land

Garden goddess Charlotte giving Source/Water to the land

I left St. George on Monday and headed to see Charlotte and John in La Verkin, UT, two tribesfolk that have made previous cameos on the Tribe blogs, often sharing with us their ever-expanding garden teeming with life out here in the desert.  (see Charlotte give a tour of her garden last June: A Garden Grows in the Desert  )  This year was no different.  The garden has not surprisingly expanded and is starting to border on mini-farm status with the addition of a fish pond and chicken coop, home to 14 chickens!  There is also a 10 foot sunflower that chose to take over the bean teepee and now stands guard over the whole place.  John and Charlotte have helped create such a magical little spot in the middle of their town that provides not only me and their other friends with an abundant place to stop, rest, and be nourished, but also an oasis that intrigues, inspires and uplifts their neighbors and passerbys every day.

Garden goddess Charlotte giving Source/Water to the land

The chicken tribe!

Fish pond!

Fish pond!

Sign in the chicken coop

Sign in the chicken coop

Sunflower Guardian

Sunflower Guardian

John's 3D printer, printing peace

John’s 3D printer, printing peace

Their friend Amber joined us that evening with her two daugthers, Sierra and Isis, as did their friend Kevin that has lived by choice off-the-grid in a tent up a canyon for the past 8 years.  Earth rich, not dirt poor.  Charlotte cooked dinner while John was running the 3D printer he built himself, creating peace sign pendants for each of the guests with completely recycled material.  This technology is getting more and more efficient, more and more accessible, and is not-so-slowly changing our whole economy, putting production in the hands of the people, contributing to our transformation away from such consumers and back into creators.  This is John’s passion, as he is a board member on a group in St. George working to create a Makerspace, which is exactly what it sounds like: a communal space that is accessible and equipped for people to come in and make their own goods, products, and crafts.  (Maker Space)

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Music is medicine

After dinner, we gathered in the living room and 5-year old Isis asked me if I would sing her a song.  Well, it doesn’t take much, and our evening soon turned into a serenade/jam session, John busting out his percussion skills on the empty water-jug cajon.  Charlotte sang along while Isis went from listening quietly to dancing and channeling her inner Egyptian goddess with poses and even shadow-art of the winged goddess herself.  Before Amber and her girls left for the evening, Isis even got on the guitar herself, strumming and plucking the strings and humming gently over them about a princess in the desert.

The Goddess Isis

The Goddess Isis

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All of these moments, these experiences, are pearls and priceless gems on this necklace of the Tribe of Dreams.  These moments show me more and  more about hospitality and generosity and how we each can be enlivened and excited by coming together in community in whatever ways we can.  These moments inspire me to make new music with higher and higher resonance and vibration, and continue to teach me how to use music in deeper and more diverse ways.  And these moments refresh my dreams and open my heart, reflecting back to me just how much beauty and love there is right here, right now, and we only have to say yes and thank you to experience them, and to perpetuate them.

***To learn more about my journey across the country, and to help me complete it in exchange for digital and/or CD copies of my debut studio album, “First Day,” as well as personally dedicated youtube videos with covers of songs of your choosing, please click here:

Blessings to all beings everywhere!  Be good to yourselves and each other.

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