So deeply aware that I’ve been given a rare opportunity to feel life at its deepest, to feel the soul encroached upon the body, to sometimes be awash with emotion so intense that it threatens to wash me away, while bursting with such radiance that, in those moments, that my only option are tears that threaten to shake me as if the Earth itself was crying through me, I wake up every day feeling like the luckiest person alive. The tears are neither sadness nor joy, but simply because I know that such beauty and passion can exist, because I know that witnessing such depths where we are nothing less than completely alive, is truly possible.
I have already soaked in so much life and know what it is to have my dreams come true, while tasting that which many are unaware, living several lifetimes in just this one. Vividly aware that we have such a brief moment in these wondrous frames, I see that so many forget to step out of the moment, to revel in the lushness of life as it unfolds before us, even myself.
I often wish I could remember those moments exactly as they are, tucking each one of them into my pocket for passionless or stressful days, whether it’s from a warm breeze, a tender moment, or the things that remind me that these places do really exist. To see that life is not an unfolding career or the generation of more and more and more money is an unparalleled treasure; to realize that those moments when we are completely naked before that which we desire most is a gift beyond compare. I revel absolutely and completely in each one of these moments as often as I am able, wrapping myself in their soft glow, knowing, without question, what being alive truly means. And it is these very moments that are the root of any stress I have in my life.
When the music industry started to fold two years ago, I realized that records with hundred thousand dollar budgets were going to disappear, and I also realized that I would have to find a different way to support the life which I had become so accustomed to living. There was never a day when I didn’t wake up feeling like one of the most blessed people on the planet; I have never known what it’s like to work for anyone else, and have more time to envelop myself with whatever experiences I can imagine in each moment than most humans get in an entire lifetime. And that is what I was most fearful of losing.
To know these moments so intimately, but then to suddenly not know if another one will ever come because of personal circumstance, was an inexplicably terrifying place to be. In that place of knowing, I also became very accustomed to suddenly having more money than I knew what do with, as well as interviews, trips in corporate jets, hundreds of thousands of records being sold with my name on them, with many in the alternative rock community wanting to know me or have me work with them…my ego-self started to shine so brightly, that my true self became buried under shimmering lights, and the joy of others knowing my name.
But for me, the monetary rewards didn’t buy me an addiction to money itself, it brought me time and it bought me freedom to do the things I wished to so most in my life. It bought me time to pursue my spiritual and creative passions freely and with reckless abandon. It bought me the kind of organic foods that I feel are the least I can do for a body that is able to keep up with my endless and boundless desire and energy to ingest as much as I possibly can while I am here. It bought me far away places I always longed to see, and so much more.
Then, an epiphany found its way to me and both the energies that revealed themselves to me, as well as the energy that revealed itself to me, changed my life forever. With it brought an opportunity that had been predicted by others I deeply respect, but didn’t believe because I could never have imagined it coming: “Rock producer turned ethnobotanist, learning to fly so he can meet with indigenous cultures deep in the rainforests, bringing entheogens and sacred plants back with him, to spread to as many as he was able, trying to share the very things that made him realize that connection with one’s own personal Divine is not only possible, but available to any who look into themselves deeply enough.”
I then saw it turn into a new business that began to grow into something that would bring me more things in different ways than the music industry ever could. That was only 23 months ago; in April of 2005, it’ll only have been two years ago.
From just an idea, I created something that is far more than I ever imagined, bringing me “security” unlike I had ever known. I now had “business models”, “suppliers”, “employees”, and something I had never known; a “customer base”. And as it blossomed last year, I realized that no longer did I have to worry about whether I was going to be “famous” tomorrow, no longer did I have to worry about being the “Hot young producer of the 90’s”, and I didn’t have to worry about whether some bean counter in a suit would want me to produce the next band that his job was depending on. It was a freedom unlike anything I had ever known, and I have not stopped reveling in it and being grateful for it.
As a result, I immediately decided to do something I always dreamed of doing; learning how to fly. I didn’t care that it usually takes 1-2 years to become a private pilot; in the spring of 2004, I started my training and got my pilot’s license in September of 2004, in just six months. I took 4-5 days out of my life every week to do this and the shop fell behind, but I didn’t care. I knew I could devote months to the shop after I accomplished my goal of becoming a pilot.
And that brings me to this present moment, where this world of internet marketing and retail is still very new to me. Owning a business, dealing with competition, having employees, finding suppliers, becoming an importer, trying to do all the things I need to do to not be a target for the DEA, the FDA, the Federal Government and their illustrious Customs officers, getting business insurance, programming shopping carts, websites, creating product lines and the packaging for them, buying a kava kava farm, finding a business partner”¦these are all things I have never known until very recently, and even though I try to view it as a fun challenge, there is stress that comes with it that no one can know unless they were in it themselves.
At times, I feel that there is no escape from the stress, that it comes with the territory, and that the only defense is realizing that it’s only a difference in a state of mind when facing it and dealing with it. And I can know these things, but knowledge does not equal an instantaneous change in action. It takes time.
So, as things have calmed down into a quiet roar, I can feel the lushness of life enveloping me once again. My passion for the sheer joy of being alive has never left, but has been hanging gently inside my soul, crouching in the corner, dreaming, waiting, dripping courage just outside my reach, wearing only my wishes and desires for the time I could see them again. The surface behind my passion has always been seamless, as if it didn’t come through me, but grew out of me, or seeped through the floor, caught between the thickness, sticking like honey, crisscrossing lines of the vast expanses melting into the mix.
And today, I am once again delirious from sleeplessness, as my thoughts swirl amidst a multitude of visions and images, all perched daintily throughout my consciousness, as they peek eagerly at each other. They swoop down and gather in sweet abundance in front of me, like tendrils on an octopus spinning through the air as they grab hold of the sun and melt inside it, only to find life hiding out in my forgotten world. It brims with molten flecks of gold that spatter all around me in a shower of light, glistening with promise of things I always knew, and know that I will know again, but I wait patiently, because all it takes is time.
As it often has in the past, life abounds, and dances with reckless abandon, and becomes more vivid with each new day. But it is a slow journey from the whirring machinery that I have constructed around me, and to know that I still seek escape while learning to feed the machinery from a distance, to me, is an accomplishment in itself.
No. it hasn’t been easy, and I have probably aged several years in just a single year, but I have enough life in me for many lifetimes, and have now created a pathway that enables not only myself, but those around me to enjoy things that they may never have had the chance to enjoy if I hadn’t worked with such sheer determination and tireless effort as I have over the past two years.
I live a life many don’t know because they have not completely made their own way in their lives as I have; many instead rely on others’ pathways rather than creating their own. Creating and maintaining one’s own pathway at the level I have done takes an enormous amount of work and time that is impossible to describe.
I didn’t write this to explain or justify myself, but more to remind myself how different my life has become in such a small amount of time. Where almost everyone else I know from the music industry has given up on their dream, I have forged a new one in what is really a few short months, and I’ve been able to drench myself in life in the ways I love most once again. I am also creating a future that is as “secure” as it can be, while taking the time to taste the delectable treats the sprawl before me in such abundance as they present themselves to me, realizing that each one of these moments could surely be my last.
Now, my greatest fear is not being able to drench myself in all I want to drench myself with before time runs out. If I died in this moment, I would die completely happy and content, feeling as though I didn’t waste any of my moments, and lived them to the best of my ability as they raced past me in such dizzying and dazzling array. I think to myself that surely there must be a way to soak in more; I don’t want to waste the vast gifts I have been given, and want to find a way to help others find their dreams as well, to help them realize that life is for living, for reveling, for gorging ourselves in the sensuous treats that make me feel so utterly alive.
But I can only shine as brightly as I can in this moment, and I feel that I shine quite brightly indeed.