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ORIGIN. PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Maranda Pleasant EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Paul D. Miller / DJ Spooky DESIGN DIRECTORS
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ORIGIN is one source for Conscious Culture, The Arts, Yoga, Sustainability and Humanitarianism.
t’s not just a magazine; it’s a movement. We’re a platform bringing worlds together, building bridges, giving consciousness an expanded voice in national media. We are growing an organic publication of substance, where we can find depth and wisdom to really transform our lives. We like it real around here. It’s time to shine, not shrink. Our model gives national figures, artists, yogis and leaders a blank canvas, a space to express, write, and create. Their ideas. Their voices. You get them straight up. Direct access. They’re raw, real, and personal. Fascinating people with powerful ideas featured in every issue. ORIGIN is a new model bringing together notable voices speaking on subjects that few others address. We have real people speaking out about real issues in our lives. We feature articles from top leaders on science and the environment, world issues and personal issues, important humanitarian causes and powerful, impactful solutions. It’s time we connect and shift this planet for good. Let’s get personal and share our experiences. Real conversations connect us, get us out of self-isolation, and inspire us to live richer and bolder lives. What happens when we face our demons, failures, and unresolved darkness? We grow. Vulnerable is still the new strong. Let us be a voice for the voiceless. Let us rise up and stand together as a powerful force to shift the planet and create a new, conscious culture. Let us engage in conversations that matter. More substance. More connection. I’ve had enough vanilla to last my entire life. I’ve sat on the bench, watered myself down, and closed the door on my self-expression. Let us now live in color, out loud, embracing and squeezing every drop of joy out of life and dancing through pain with the same passion. Our dreams are bigger than the printed page. We’re building a national community. A network. Not wires or signals. People. Connecting communities through art and events, bringing amazing individuals together to create positive change. Our ambassador program is the grassroots foundation for a strong and supportive Origin family. Origin ambassadors in cities across the country are igniting our mission of cooperation, collaboration, and creativity through gatherings, launches, and more. We’re creating a new, conscious business model based on transparency. We’re not interested in just selling ads; we’re creating family and a mutual cycle of support. We give awesome, local businesses a national voice. We care about products: where and how they’re made and their impacts on people and the planet. Contributors across the country have joined hearts to birth a new, conscious creation. Origin is a collective, independent publication. We’re expanding. Quickly. We welcome support. This magazine breathes with vision, intention, and love from communities across the nation coming together. The potential and possibilities are endless. Let’s build some bridges. Let’s go deep. Let’s be honest. Let’s find our voice and create big things together. Join us.
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The Beauty of Failure
he best yoga postures are the ones that take more than a thousand tries to really master. These wonderfully challenging movements bring up physical limitations and strong emotions. They are the heart of the yoga journey. Rather than run from adversity and difficulty, yoga practice teaches you to welcome them and make friends with those dark places within yourself. When you find a posture that brings up your darkness, it is your chance to tame your inner demons. Yoga balances strength and flexibility in the body and the mind. The hardest postures give the perfect equilibrium between a sense of accomplishment and pride for putting in the work and the humility that knows just how long and arduous the road you have traveled really is. If new students are afraid to let themselves fail, fall, and look silly along the way, then they will never experience the beauty of failure. The lesson that falling out of a posture teaches is perhaps more important than the experience of perfect effortless balance. When the path to success is littered with obstacles, you gain inner strength and fortitude from staying the course, from the first trial all the way into achievement. With yoga practice there is no need to hurry or judge the posture. Instead, the depth of the posture is measured by inner awareness and the ability to take the lessons learned on the mat into â€œrealâ€? life. When I started learning the Fourth Series of Ashtanga Yoga, I knew that the journey would not be easy. I fell, rolled, and toppled over in varying degrees of humiliation. The only thing possible was to smile and keep going with the full faith that one day it would all sort itself out.
PHOTOS: John Miller
www.kinoyoga.com 14 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
U & T H E R E L AT I O N S H I P ~ T H E P O S S I B I L I T I E S I n t r o d u c i n g a b r a n d n e w Yo g a & A r t e x p e r i e n c e Yo u & T h e M a t
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have enough. However, the truth of the matter is that we simply cannot afford to not give back! When we give of ourselves, our time, and our money, we’re also giving up control. As a control freak myself, I know that sounds scary, but I’ve learned that the momentary lack of control forces me to look at what I do have and truly count my blessings. I have clean drinking water. I have food on my table. I have a roof over my head and clothes on my back. Suddenly, my panic-stricken mindset is replaced with gratitude. Gratitude not only encourages our hearts, it produces peace. And we can all use a little more peace these days. The benefits of giving don’t stop there! Giving opens up avenues for abundance. Let’s take a moment and consider the Dead Sea. Fresh water flows into it, but nothing flows out of it, rendering everything in and around it lifeless. When anxiety drives our decisions, we cannot grow spiritually, emotionally, or mentally. When we open up our hearts and give to others, we give ourselves room to grow and thrive! I beseech you to open your hearts and give back! Your own neighborhood desperately needs your help. Somewhere near you, there’s a single mom who needs a helping hand or a coworker whose home was damaged by one of the many natural disasters the United States encountered this year. Give your time, services, money, support, encouragement, or love! Give whatever you can! If ever there was a proverbial truth, it’s that, “The more you give, the more you get.” Give, and start experiencing a life of fulfillment!
Count Your Blessings and Watch them Multiply Jen Lilley
ere in the United States, we’re consumed by our love of money and status. We think bigger is better, and if we can just get that promotion, all will be well with our souls. There’s one fatal flaw to this mindset: it’s all smoke and mirrors. Once we reach our goal, we immediately feel compelled to set a higher goal. We’re left in a vacuum of unfulfillment. Maybe, getting more isn’t the answer to life. Maybe, it’s giving. There’s something profoundly liberating about giving, yet we don’t do it often enough. It begs the question: why not? For some of us, our demanding schedules overtake our time to volunteer. For others, our fear of economic instability manifests a mindset dominated by pernicious lies like, You can’t afford to give and If you give, you won’t
PHOTOS: above: christopher patey right: steven bergman 16 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
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Tripping Over the Truth Elena Brower I’m currently getting schooled in how and why to make the truth my priority. First, the why. Truth is sexy. People you deem to be truly sexy in this world, truly at their core, are sexy because they’re comfortable with themselves. Comfortable because they tell the truth and have nothing to hide. When two people aim for the truth together, when they tell it, hold space for it, and LIVE it, there’s nothing sexier. Truth is brave. To learn to own everything takes courage. This practice of making the truth okay to say and to hear, in any relationship, requires a willingness to look at what we ourselves are hiding, in order to have compassion for what others might be hiding. That courageousness creates space for others to tell their truth. Like that, we move mountains. We move mountains when we’re able to evolve patterns in our closest relationships, together.
your parent, your kid. Our opportunity: We get to become two proud people telling the truth about our judgments of one another. The little ones. We get to resolve situations when we feel hurt, quietly, super respectfully, so the ill will doesn’t have a chance to build up. Resolve things on a regular basis. There are specific steps to creating elegant space for this revelation, steps I’ve learned from the coaches at Handel Group. We get to carve out time to contextualize what’s seemingly holding us down, anything daunting that needs to be said. We get to say and then, hear. There are rules. No Interrupting Whatsoever is one of them. This practice of “Getting Resolved” teaches us one thing: how to be present with anyone, anywhere, anytime, and listen deeply and objectively to what is being communicated.
Elena Brower, founder of Virayoga and Art of Attention, loves to be a mama, teach yoga, write, and coach. Her yoga workbook, Art of Attention, is almost complete. She’s producing a series of videos called On Meditation, and has created an irresistible essential oil blend called GIVE which benefits Women for Women International.
Together, we actually have the privilege of learning how to hold our beliefs, doubts, and questions up to the light, and arrive at the truth expeditiously. Whatever is present: haste, doubt, speculation, disrespect, judgment, lies, the accomplishment of sorting ourselves out and learning how to treat one another well, while elegantly telling the truth, is no small thing. The call: have not one lie or story left in your brain that you have to manage or uphold or remember. Even the stuff that’s hardest to say and hear evolves over time, to a much softer place.
Truth is spacious. When we’re telling the truth, everything opens. In relationships of all kinds, with love, kids, parents, in the workplace, when we’re holding space for ourselves or another human to arrive at the truth, it’s profoundly healing. When we admit to and fully own our part, within the context of ownership of our part, there is true space. Everyone gets to be who they are, seen, heard, felt, apologized to as needed, truly respected, adored, helped, and loved. Truth is free of judgment. Yes. If I examine myself in almost any moment, my heart, my mind, my gestures, my gaze, my choices, are based on some miniscule judgment of some sort. May we release those little judgments that stop us from living truthfully. Please. It makes us so tired to live like that. Here’s the how. Read this with your mate, your friend,
www.virayoga.com 18 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
PHOTos: top: DOMINIC NEITZ bottom: chloe CRESPI
Simplify Your Life Deepak Chopra, M.D. Founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing
“Everyone knows how to choose; few know how to let go. But it’s only by letting go of each experience that you make room for the next. The skill of letting go can be learned, and once learned you will enjoy living much more spontaneously.” ~Deepak Chopra
There exists within each of us a natural state of simple and open awareness in which we feel happy, light, and at peace. In contrast, the state of suffering, or unhappiness, is complicated. Complications take many forms, including an imbalanced lifestyle, toxic relationships, hidden emotional debts, resistance, indecision, addictions, and negative conditioned beliefs. When our life is overly complicated, we’re weighed down by superfluous things at every level. We can begin to let go of the complications that cause us to suffer by cultivating a simple state of awareness. In this process, tiny steps yield big results, in part because simplicity is nature’s default position. Suffering and the complications that fuel it are unnatural; it wastes energy to maintain complexity. As you focus on simplifying your life, make sure that your approach to the process is a loving and accepting one. Know that you are doing all that you can do right now, and that is all anyone can do. When you stay in the moment, you have all the time in the world, and whatever needs to be done will be completed in the exact right time.
Exercise: Letting Go of Complexity Here is a practice that will help you let go of whatever is no longer serving you and return to your inherent state of wholeness, happiness, and wellbeing. Ask yourself, “Is there anything in my life that is causing me to feel a sense of unease, discomfort, or pain?” You can choose a persistent issue that has bothered you for years, or it may be something that has recently come up for you. While it’s fine to focus on a chronic, physical disorder, don’t approach this exercise as a cure – we’re focusing on patterns of perception that encourage us to hold onto suffering. PHOTOs: top: nina matthews center: falk lademann bottom: o. emar 20 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
Some of the Most Common Complications Disorder: Consider your physical environment. Is your house a mess? Is your desk buried under stacks of work? Are you letting other people leave clutter and messes in the space you share? Stress: While the pressures of life are inevitable, if at the end of the day you are unable to completely let go of the day and return to a calm, centered inner state, you are overstressed. Make a list of the major stressors in your life, and brainstorm ideas to either eliminate the stressor or to change the impact it is having on your emotional state. Toxic Relationships: Are you in relationships with people who don’t have your well-being at heart? Make a list of these, and consider what you can do to protect yourself from their toxic influence. Sometimes, setting better boundaries and practicing the tools of conscious communication can be transformative. In some cases, ending a relationship may be necessary. At the same time, focus on nurturing your healthy relationships so that they are even more loving and fulfilling. Negativity: Health and well-being are the natural state of the body and mind. By dwelling on negativity, we prevent ourselves from living in the simple state of well-being. Do you often gossip about others or relish their setbacks? Do you tend to choose friends who like to criticize and complain? Do you feel compelled to watch every disaster or catastrophe unfolding on the evening news? Remember, whatever we put our attention on expands in our experience, so consider where you are focusing your time and energy. Non-nurturing Lifestyle: Do your daily routine, diet, and overall lifestyle support your health and well-being? When we don’t nourish ourselves with fresh, healthy food, restful sleep, regular exercise, a daily spiritual practice such as meditation or journaling, and other mind-body healing habits, we will inevitably feel tired, out of balance, irritable, and sometimes even depressed. What aspects of your lifestyle would you like to transform to bring you greater health and happiness?
PHOTO: top: Anu Jd
“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” ~Lin Yutang For the next week, sit by yourself for at least five minutes each day with the intention to clear away complications. In the time you set aside for this clearing, determine what area you need to focus on the most, and work on that. It may be one of the complications mentioned above or a different area that is preventing you from experiencing a state of peaceful simplicity. Start by thinking of the smallest possible action you could take; then, take it. Then, choose the next smallest action, and do that. The action can truly be as small as opening your closet drawer to see if your gym shoes are inside. Then the next day, you can commit to putting on your shoes, and the day after that, you can decide to walk to your mailbox. Although such small acts can seem trivial, over time, they help you build momentum and bring greater lightness, joy, and clarity into your life. As you let go of the complications, emotional toxins, and everything else that isn’t serving you, you will be free to experience the happiness that exists in simplicity.
Deepak Chopra, M.D. is the co-founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California. Known as the global source for learning meditation, yoga, Ayurveda, and mind-body medicine, the Chopra Center offers a variety of signature programs, retreats, teacher training certifications, and workshops. To learn more, visit www. chopra.com or call 888.736.6895.
www.chopra.com ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 21
Being Bendi Kristin McGee (the Bendigirl) I study with an amazing teacher, Nevine Michaan. She has a magical way with words, and she has helped me grow as a yoga teacher, student, and person in so many ways. The one thing she tries to instill in all of her students is how to find our own center, then build a circumference around it so we become buoyant and flexible. Everyone is going to fall in life, and the goal is to learn how to bounce back instead of break. If we can get comfortable with that knowledge, the world is ours to explore and thrive in! We can’t prevent the fall, nor do we want to; the magic in life is going out on a limb and bouncing back if that limb breaks. Yoga is a way for us to become “bendi” not just in our bodies, but also in our minds. If we’re rigid in our thoughts, we are rigid in our bodies and vice versa. Yoga lets us explore our edge and find a way to test the boundaries on our sticky mat. Once we push ourselves further in our practice, we find ways to journey into the unknown in our lives. This mindset, which we can cultivate over and over again through yoga asana, pranayama, and meditation, can help us in ways beyond the imaginable. If we can continue to come back to our center, come back to our home and our midline, we can find ways to eliminate the underlying fear inside. It is that fear inside of us all that can lead to problems such as anxiety, depression, eating issues, drug abuse, and relationship troubles. I’ve always been an overly sensitive girl, and I found ways to protect myself through my perfectionism and holding myself up to such crazy standards. I would get so anxious about failing that so many times I’d limit myself from truly letting go and enjoying the moment. It’s so easy for us to hide behind these mechanisms and think we are protecting ourselves in some way. When I go to Nevine’s or do her practice at home, I find my fear start to melt away. I find that I don’t have to hide or try to protect myself from failure and that perfectionism is truly limiting and rigid. The beauty lies in imperfection and finding a deep connection within, an inner smile. I was nicknamed the Bendigirl years ago by my producer on set when I was shooting my first MTV Yoga DVD. He meant it as a joke since I could bend in so many ways that were incomprehensible to him. The name stuck with me, and it’s grown to mean so much more over the years. My goal is to continue to find my inner “Bendigirl.” I want to be flexible on the inside and outside, so I can continue to bounce back in life. I want to broaden my circumference and open myself up to amazing circumstances in life. I want to be comfortable falling and find the thrill in bouncing back. I want to share these principles as much as I can when I teach and continue to cultivate them in myself.
photos: appcession 22 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
photos: TOP and bottom left: Jasper johal bottom right: yayo ahumada
My motto in life is ‘aim true’. It came from my love of Artemis, the goddess of the hunt. She inspired me to sport a gold arrow around my neck because it reminded me of her strength and that I can always hit my mark when I set intention, follow what makes my heart beat, and aim true. The arrow was a reminder that I can cut through any obstacles, that I have power, beauty, and the ability to choose love over fear every moment of my life. I take my fearless approach into my teaching by helping my students to realize their potential through yoga. I have a gift for making difficult poses accessible and reminding people that postures, and anything in life, are only as hard as you make them out to be. There’s always two sides to the coin if you have the patience to see. I took my fear to literal heights and went skydiving over a year ago. It was in that moment, gazing over the precipice of the plane, when I realized what scared me the most, the unknown. Life seems so much easier when it’s planned out and guaranteed. I went from the worst fear of my life into the best feeling I’ve ever experienced, in a matter of seconds. It made me think of all the opportunities to love that we’ve missed out on because we’re too afraid to take that leap. It inspired me so much that I’ve become a certified skydiver and plan on teaching it alongside yoga to remind myself and others that aiming true and following your heart is always richer than sitting in a place of fear. I hope to encourage people to take flight on their mats, in their lives, and in their hearts.
Sea of Uncertainty Faith Hunter Photo: Drew Xeron Makeup and Styling – Lee Will
The expression of LOVE is a powerful and joyous emotion that flows deep into our soul. It creates rhythmic, sweet vibrations that can be felt millions of miles away, and in history, it has been known to cause the collapse of an empire. When you fall in love for the first time, the butterflies and tickling sensations in your belly create a fiery stir. All you care about is the sound, touch, and scent of your lover. The gates of heaven open, and you float across the clouds like the divine angel. But then one day, hell freezes over, and the sound of your lover’s voice pierces your heart with pain. All you desire is a dark cave and a little something to numb the heartache. After my first plug in the sea of love and drowning in heartbreak, I made a schoolgirl commitment that I would never fall in love again. Well, that didn’t last long, and I soon fell in love and got married. Like most young relationships, it was an exciting and beautiful time, but soon we grew apart. As I flowed through life
and other interesting relationships, my connection to love was redefined. Over the years, I have been able to truly love myself and trust that love directed in my path is a pure reflection of my own heart. As I come to the end of another long-term relationship with a creative and beautiful being, it is only natural that fear and doubt creep into my heart. Like most of us, I fear being alone, failing in another relationship, and that dating has changed since I was last on the scene. However, it is my “true nature” to step out on the ledge, have faith, and dive heart first into a sea of uncertainty. With my eyes closed and heart open, I trust that the universe will cradle me in her arms and guide me safely to shore. It doesn’t matter how many tears pour from my face or nights I sit alone at home, I surrender to God and rejoice in the divine right to love again.
Born to share the practice, Faith Hunter is an inspiring and divine instructor that incorporates her Louisiana upbringing, yoga philosophy, modern mystical sounds, and the purity of breath to awaken and ignite the spirit of flow in the body and soul. She is a social advocate, writer, yoga podcaster, and leads yoga teacher training programs throughout the year. She is the owner and founder of Embrace, a yoga loft located in Adams Morgan, a multi-cultural nest of Washington, DC.
www.faithhunter.com 24 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
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great being once shared with my teacher the inspiring adage, “You become the company you keep.” Therefore, it goes to say that they become you, too. Each being is an influencer of someone, or several someones. Therefore, by primary definition, we are leaders, reluctant though we may have been historically. We are leading, influencing, and leveraging our clout daily. The way one chooses to shop, eat, drink, vote, meditate, practice yoga, or not, influences a direct circle of friends and family. In turn, that each person’s circle is not identical suggests that each unique influencer cannot help but shift the pattern of distant social circles. The art of living well shifts from pure pleasure to living as a comprehensive art and science with a deep and rich consequence. One can sit and discern his or her values and choices of consumption, application of personal resources, and political leanings. The moment he or she acts on that level of discernment or shares it verbally, one is invited into a conversation with his or her own authority of shifting someone else. That we are definably leaders does not make us good or just leaders until we choose to be so. Every decision we make has a ripple effect, a carbon imprint, and a unique karmic consequence. Once we receive the inner authority that our actions or inaction matters, we step into sovereignty in our own lives and conscious influence over others’ lives. We are called to act at a higher level of being and becoming than ever before. The ice caps are not “kind of melting,” so the decision to recycle a pop can or throw it from a moving car is no longer “kind of wrong.” When we can see so clearly what is wrong, how can we act on what is right and encourage those we love to make choices beyond the big box stores, know their farmer, and reuse and reduce rather than just simply recycle? Where does the line of our familiar leadership and friendly influence cross over into preaching new age touchy-feely concepts that are of little inspiration to those closest to us?
Walking Straight Leadership in Our Own Lives Shannon Paige
www.omtime.com PHOTO: NATE AGNINI 26 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
Perhaps we go back to the “kind of” concept. We are bound by science and the relentless truth that resources are dwindling and energy needs are escalating. Therefore, the reluctant leaders must step up and walk straight. The earth, humanity, and the company you choose to keep have never needed you to the degree they do right now, even if the concept to some may seem new, loud, and inconvenient. A call is being sounded; it is time to answer that call. It is time to sit uniquely and gauge our true needs, priorities, beliefs, and truths in order to live, whole-heartedly, from them. We become the company we keep; we should aim to keep great company and influence each other into the highest vibrations we can attain. We should learn, together, to thrive, not merely survive.
Between 2005 and 2009, Robert Sturman created over 1000 hand-carved Polaroids celebrating the cultural flowering of the West Coast yoga tribe. Here are just a few. robertsturmanstudio.com 28 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
“Because yoga is too beautiful not to put in the midst of beauty and make more beauty.” — Robert Sturman
10 Easy Steps To..! Janet Stone
Please give me my enlightenment in an easy to check off 10 steps. You’ve seen ‘em, right? 10 quick ways to enlightenment 7 easy steps to bliss 8 keys to ultimate contentment And so on. We’re talking about the step-by-step plan, bulletpointed instructions for living. It’s as easy as ___. Is it? What’s wrong with me? How come it feels more complex than that on my practice path?
“Uncertainty is the great magic of this life, yet we run from it.”
Look around in your yoga magazine, facebook stream, and the topselling books in the spirituality section: “10/7/5 step” programs abound. Steps and stages are all the rage for those seeking inner bliss and enlightenment, all while remaining sexy and hip.
Does this mean we all want the path pre-packaged and sorted out for us? Sure, who wouldn’t want that? Don’t make me grope around in the dark and find wobbly step after wobbly step that leads to who knows where, because that might be too much like living. Uncertainty is the great magic of this life, yet we run from it. We find, even in our spiritual practices, ways to hand it over to someone else to do the work, figure it out, and then give us the CliffsNotes version of how it’s supposed to go. Place it in an easy to read graphic. Give me a system to ease my suffering.
PHOTO: mario covic 32 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
Along this journey, I have found practice to be anything but an easy 10-step program. It’s a non-linear evolution that encompasses my life circumstances, the bumps, the warts, the pure streams of light, the moments of sheer forgetfulness. All of it. The swerves, swoops, lifts, and tumbles have kept this practice alive, dynamic, and constantly in motion. Oh, but wait, I practice and teach within the 8 limbs. Voila, there it is again; follow these ancient yogic steps and you will be enlightened. So, you got me. Look, we’ve been doing it throughout time and within this great practice, systems, steps, and stages appeal to our mind’s desire to systematize, order, and progress. They’re especially handy for those of us in the weird position of trying to teach spirituality. In the great messiness of living, everyone likes a list to return to, to remember how to do it. If any of these lists can lead us back to the acknowledgement of the pure potency of one breath, well then, I’m all in. But most of them seem instead to incite a feeling that waking up is a 1, 2, 3, easy to DO journey. In my experience, we’re working on undoing, and it can be messy, grimy, and really unsexy to show up day after day for the wholeness of this life. And it can be beautiful and wonderful and periodically amazing, too. It can be—and it is—all of these things. What if we put the list down for a moment and get really quiet? Can we hear the innate wisdom that we can tune into and follow on this dharma path? So here’s a step I recommend without reservation: put the list down, sit still for a moment, and listen to the space between the breaths.
Step 1. Inhale. Step 2. Exhale. Repeat.
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Stalking Your Fear Part Three ANA FORREST
“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
n the previous articles in this series, I gave you steps to stalk your fear and some Forrest Yoga tools to use immediately in frightening situations. Let’s look at some common scenarios that are very scary. We all need to learn to handle everyday fearful situations, like walking alone in a dark parking lot or having a near-miss car accident. Living your life in constant vigilance is incredibly tiring; ongoing fear drives you into exhaustion. Dealing with the fear frees up that energy and ends adrenal overload. Part of the exhaustion is also due to lousy coping habits – people try to zone out with TV or out-eat anxiety, which just makes it worse. Learn some new skills (like Forrest Yoga!) to down-regulate your nervous and endocrine systems. Then, the body can move out of fear and truly, deeply rest. For example, imagine you are on the road, and a car swerves in front of you! You almost get in an accident and can feel the surge of adrenaline wash through you, speeding up your heart rate and flooding your body with a chemical rush. As you continue down the road, you are on high alert. You watch everything that moves with complete attention. Even once you get where you are going, you are on constant overdrive, startling easily and slightly shaky. The event may replay in your head over and over, adding to your distress. So, you sit or lie down for a while to calm yourself, maybe adding a sweet snack or a stiff drink for good measure. The rest of the day, you feel edgy and off-balance, unconsciously dreading and expecting the next threat. I want to educate you about a stress condition that I call “adrenaline poisoning.” If I don’t move and dissipate the adrenaline after a fright, it feels like food poisoning. The overload of adrenaline is hurting my muscles and joints. It’s like having a bad headache in my whole body! Part of our age-old response that goes with freezing, fleeing, and fighting is that adrenaline courses through us as a safety mechanism to give us the energy to save our own lives. This is hardwired into us. When we live in constant fear without being able to take physical action, the adrenal glands become terribly stressed. We end up nervy, shaky, sick, and anxious. It is a selfperpetuating cycle. Our constant vigilance results in an excess of adrenaline moving through us all the time, and we struggle on in a startled, frightened state. Stalking
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“When we live in constant fear without being able to take physical action, the adrenal glands become terribly stressed. We end up nervy, shaky, sick, and anxious.” your fear, instead of being stalked by it, helps end this cycle and changes your chemistry. Returning to the car scenario, let me teach you some new and improved coping skills. As the car in front of you swerves, start breathing deeply. Make a warrior’s choice; intentionally use deep breathing to immediately begin to regulate your heartbeat, clear the panic, oxygenate your blood, and change your brain’s response and chemistry. When you get home, or wherever you are going that is a safe place, walk off your startle. Even if that means walking the halls or circling, walk somewhere safe, move your arms vigorously, and breathe deeply. If you have read my book, Fierce Medicine, or do Forrest Yoga, do ten rounds of Elbow to Knee and ten Sun Salutation exercises. Move and breathe to process the adrenaline through your system. Then, take a bath or a shower to complete the down-regulating process, making you refreshed rather than exhausted. Take action to avoid that nasty, “adrenaline poisoning,” hung-over feeling. You can move the fear out of your body with 20-30 minutes of deep breathing and movement.
Take action fairly soon after the event. What people today usually do is engage in nervous eating, turn on the TV, or drink alcohol – none of which is an effective response. Move and breathe, and understand that what you are feeling is just the body’s survival response. Feeling fear doesn’t make you weak or a victim. Fear is just the body’s response to a life-threatening situation. Moving and deep breathing disperse the chemical reaction of fear. If you keep revisiting the frightening event in your head, you will re-panic yourself. Choose to deliberately move the adrenaline and the fear out. Be clear on making the choice not to keep yourself in a scared state, even if you are addicted to the fear.
In my next article, I will address another common fear – having to walk alone into a dark parking lot to get to your car. I will tell you about one of my own experiences of being attacked. Plus, I will offer you some very useful tools to survive and emerge victorious from scary situations. Learn to shift from being a victim into a warrior! Ana Forrest has been changing people’s lives for nearly 40 years. An internationally recognized pioneer in yoga and emotional healing, Ana created Forrest Yoga while working through her own healing from her life’s trauma and experience. WIND HORSE, the first ever Forrest Yoga Conference, will be held in Colorado, Aug. 17-20, 2012.
www.forrestyoga.com ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 35
wo key elements in our lives are vitality and habitual patterns that block our vitality. As limiting perceptions and old patterns are given up and released out, we receive new vitality in our lives. In a state of vitality, things begin to open up and make more sense. We gain creative perspective, and previously unseen pathways come into our view for the taking. As a newer yoga teacher in my early twenties, I was filled with worry. I had anxiety about my future, what I was going to do with my life, and how it would all work out. I was also in a rocky relationship with my girlfriend, and we had gotten pregnant unexpectedly. I felt excited, terrified and, yes, worried. Nine months later my first son was born, and I was married.
Purpose and Vitality “In any circumstance, we have a choice to act and live from the true north in our hearts and in alignment with who we know ourselves to truly be, rather than automatically reacting and feeling powerless.”
I worried about being a yoga teacher who had anxiety and about being a good dad. I worried I might fail. I thought any yoga teacher worth his salt doesn’t worry, but I did. Something was wrong, and something was wrong with me. The more I tried to hide this, the more a world of worry stayed with me. Worry is the reverse of faith; worry was serving as my god and was killing off vitality. I thought my anxiety was part of who I was. I practiced hours of asana and meditation every day, and I would get some temporary relief from my worry-heavy mind. A daily practice of yoga, meditation, prayer, and eating life-affirming foods was essential to create the framework for the vitality and purpose I wanted. Those practices alone, no matter how valuable, were not enough to set me free. Something was still missing. Nothing shifted until I came face to face with what blocked me, what I had not been seeing about myself. It wasn’t until I hit a hard wall and landed in an emotional fetal position that I awoke from
my yogic stupor and experienced things about myself I had been resisting for a long time. I will never forget the lessons from this low point. In my greatest weakness, I found new spiritual strength and experienced a fundamental shift in my being. My first major insight was that I had been acting like I knew what I was doing in my life and in my teaching. Nothing was further from the truth. I got real with myself and asked God for forgiveness for living from righteousness and false pride. I requested forgiveness from several people in my life. I felt a new kind of humility and possibility enter my body. I sat in meditation daily with the intention to see life with fresh eyes. I practiced rigorous asana to dissolve energetic blocks in my body. I looked to a higher power, and I asked Grace to guide me and help me see and hear whatever was needed. The light came back in my eyes, and I felt a new energetic pulse in my heart. I became a yes for life. I gave up righteousness, and I was an open vessel ready for a new way. I got inspired about my life and allowed my purpose to find me, and it did. When our vitality emerges, we begin to participate in life head-on, heart-open. We realize life does have purpose. When you remove the rocks from your energetic garden, you experience a shift in vitality. Inner barriers dissolve in the purifying fire of awareness, and heaviness lifts from body, mind, and being. You are left with new space where the prana of vitality and possibility emerges. There is no value in searching outside yourself for purpose or trying to control what it should be. Purpose is always right here. Mahatma Gandhi said, “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as in being able to remake ourselves.” I can now see I’ve always had
the ability but lacked the awareness and methodology to live from my center. I now know most of the troubling situations and ego-survival reactions could have been sorted out without struggle or worry.
me? What is my life really about?” I believe these questions hold the power to literally alter the course of humanity.
In Baptiste Yoga, we use a set of practice principles and Growing up, my methodologies to “When our vitality emerges, dad would talk rinse and dissolve to me about the old energetic blocks we begin to participate in courage it takes to in body and mind life head-on, heart-open.” live a transformed and to be in personal life. At the time, inquiry that leads to I didn’t get it, but authenticity. People now I do. In any circumstance, we have a experience new vitality and awaken to a choice to act and live from the true north deep, spiritual sense of purpose. in our hearts and in alignment with who we know ourselves to truly be, rather than I’ve learned vitality and freedom come automatically reacting and feeling powerless. from serving others and making an impact. Living a life connected to vitality and Who you are is someone who can make a purpose requires us to be true to ourselves. difference. Clear out old life patterns that block you, and replace them with practices Habitual patterns block our vitality. When aligned with your true nature and purpose. we give up and release limiting perceptions The Buddha said, “If you contribute to the and old patterns, we receive new vitality. enlightenment of even one human being, Through personal transformational consider yourself blessed.” Your power practices to restore vitality, we find comes from making others powerful. Live the ground rules for our lives. A new on purpose. We have a choice of who we are opportunity of context, a new paradigm and and how we impact the world. way of being to make a difference for others and the planet unfolds. From here, each of us can answer, “What really is important to
Baron Baptiste is the founder of the Baptiste Power Yoga Institute and creator of Baptiste Yoga. Baptiste was born into a lineage and heritage of health, yoga, and spiritual educators. For over twenty years, he has impacted people as a teacher and catalyst in the realm of personal growth.
www.baronbaptiste.com ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 37
A woman’s belly can be multi-layered as: a sacred space of her instinctual, creative power an expression of the strength, beauty, and fertility of a woman’s body a place of cultural conditioning, emasculation and control of women, emotional ambiguity, tensions, guilt, and shame
have been working with women at all phases of their lives: gloriously pregnant or having difficulty getting pregnant, from yoginis of incredible agility to women who had stopped having their periods due to too much heating or “masculine” yoga practice. I started to see how much was “held” in the belly and that letting the belly soften was often a radical act for some yoginis or female practitioners. I personally experienced the transformation and shadow work of one’s sacred belly when I became pregnant, an initiation that brings so much joy and also healing of conditioning for most women. My belly radically changed from the coiled, lifting power of a third series Ashtanga practitioner to a pregnant goddess belly that expanded so much that I eclipsed the sun when I turned sideways. In contrast to my constant, lifted lower belly of uddiyana bandha (which I love), I realized how happy and authentically in my creative power I could also feel with a relaxed belly. There is a beauty that mirrors the ancient images of the Mother Goddess, whose round shape expresses the fullness of life that is often forgotten within the quest of the flat belly emphasized today. As a woman begins to excavate all of the layers and dimensions of her sacred belly, “herstory” begins to unfold.
Free Your Sacred Belly Shiva Rea
What we often forget is that the “flat belly ideal” has been perpetuated through women’s restrictive clothing for millennia. The corset, that organdamaging, breath-restricting, rigid undergarment, literally restricts a woman’s ability to move. This “holding in” creates a real suppression for the monthly swell of a woman’s belly, which expands and contracts literally in rhythm with the ocean tides and every changing moon. A woman’s belly needs space to be full-spectrum.
“At the turn of the 20th century, women had to actually fight for their rights to wear clothing that they could move in, a necessary change initiated by the cycling revolution in the early 1900’s.”
You can get a taste of this torment by squeezing your ribcage in like a corset. Try to inhale and exhale. Imagine that you had to wear a corset like a cultural uniform to create this flat-belly, narrow-waist ideal. At the turn of the 20th century, women had to actually fight for their rights to wear clothing that they could move in, a necessary change initiated by the cycling revolution in the early 1900’s. Tightness around the belly and rib cage affects our diaphragm, creating the experience of an oppressive grip around our breath. Relaxing the belly is the
natural state. A tiger’s soft belly is completely relaxed while resting on the earth before it coils and leaps in full power. This is the call of integration for women today, as well as men.
the creative power of the earth, like a mother and daughter that have always been together. Today, we know the landscape of our bodies is a place of larger, cultural change, a reverberation of freedom and truth that emerges from within. As we relax, we can feel the natural essence of our womb
Today, we have the freedom to choose what to wear and how to move, but have we taken the “mental corset” off? Are we still creating unnecessary hardening that affects the quality of our breath and, more “We have the freedom to choose what importantly, our intrinsic happiness to wear and how to move, but have we within our own bodies? What cultural tensions are we perpetuating taken the “mental corset” off?” within our bellies? Where have we disconnected, and how is this related consciousness, our fluid power and healing joy to shifts of consciousness all around us? Do we have the power to let go? Can we reclaim the of being, free from cultural conditioning. The fullness of our creative Shakti also brings an landscape of our naturalness and original belly innate love of expression. The tigress prowess essence, release, and heal? of an empowered yogini, dancer, athlete, surfer, and warrior goddess is an awakened Having lived in Africa for over two and a half belly, toned by expression rather than to fit an years, my eyes adjusted to a full spectrum oppressive ideal. of sacred bellies. As a member of women’s dance troupes in Ghana and in Zambia, I got the first hand transmissions of how to move your whole pelvic region with an integrated feminine power that was deeply connected to
We can love all bellies of all sizes and all experiences. It has become part of my offering as a yoga teacher for my “students,”
particularly women, to feel the healing power of an open gaze of compassion that embraces the raw power of expression in every phase of the moon, in every phase of a woman’s life. Love is the great healing power that expands where there is contraction, transforms negative inner talk, and heals where there have been wounds. Women, love your sacred belly. Men, love your lady’s sacred belly and your own creative power. Liberate the mental corset, and free your sacred belly.
Shiva Rea has been engaged in empowering women since the first Shakti Sadhana courses for women in 1995 and the founding of the Yogini Conferences through Omega and Kripalu. You can connect at www.shivarea. com for offerings for women, men, and yogadventurers as part of the Samudra Global School for Living Yoga.
www.shivarea.com ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 39
A Date With the Dark Side Our goal as spiritual practitioners is to know our highest Self, and we’ve been given many invaluable tools within our Hatha Yoga practices to help us in that exploration. Asana, meditation, pranayama, and the practice of ahimsa aid us in our quest to attain wholeness. However, we often circumvent our dark side (i.e., our anger, jealousy, fear, insecurity, and judgments of self or others) in favor of our light side by enthusiastically exploring our strengths, the qualities we like about ourselves or perceive as our “holy side”. We start looking the part by wearing certain clothes, reading spiritual books, and changing what we say, think, and do; we are teeming with love and compassion. Don’t get me wrong, these are important as both an entry point and in the continuation of a spiritual practice, but the fact is, we all have unresolved issues. We can only go so far in our spiritual practice without exploring (even befriending) these unresolved issues. The waters get murky when we use yoga practices and teachings to mask or hide our pain: those spooky recesses of our being, the disowned parts of ourselves. If we don’t include both our light and dark sides in our personal development and growth, are we really authentic? Are we fronting a spiritual mask and pretending we are integrated when inside we are fragmented? We don’t have to go far to see examples of dis-integration. We only need to look in the mirror. Haven’t you ever presented yourself as shiny and bright and then behind closed doors, been negative and gossipy? Or been judgmental of others who seem so together, awe-inspiring, and touched with amazing fortune or who have met with a scandal and fallen from grace? The truth is that what we see and experience are simply projections of our own inner landscape. There is no ‘out there’ out there. When we are triggered, it speaks to something deep within us that yearns to be known, heard, understood, accepted, and then healed with love and compassion, or it will rebel. Carl Jung advised, “What you resist persists.” When we can shed light in all the dark rooms of our being with the flashlight of consciousness, true integration can begin –Yoga is now in the house!
Listen, this isn’t a new or revolutionary teaching, but it is important to revisit as part of our spiritual journey. It’s perhaps the most challenging part of our practice because it takes tremendous courage and a willingness to walk down the dark hallway of our being. When you can be honest with yourself and what makes up your dark side, and resolve it through the practice of compassion, you will gain the key to your happiness and liberation. This compassion will then extend to others, and you will begin to see yourself in them, dissolving separation and creating interconnectedness to all beings. Now, go take your dark side on a date, and embrace him or her fearlessly. Remember, it’s not about being a perfect yogi, it’s about being an authentic yogi – a holy (whole) being.
KK Ledford Yoga is a metaphor for life. Asana, the study of and predilections for specific philosophies, delving into our own consciousness, and the entirety of sadhana, or spiritual practice, permit an authentic exploration of our deepest selves. Our reactions, habits, unconscious behaviors, and preferences all come out on the mat. Some people overwork and some people give up in a challenging pose or when they are confronted with a difficult situation in life. We bring all that we are to the yoga mat; we make the choice moment by moment to stay connected and present or to shut down, harden, and close off. We watch our depths rise to the surface, and if we are sensitive enough, allow that which does not serve us to be released without judgment or disdain. We can create a spaciousness of heart that continues to open even in the face of adversity or heartache. We remember that we can never be separate from the Great Supreme Consciousness. The practice provides an opportunity to create body prayers, articulating our heart’s true longing and expression through the beautiful form of the body. Choose to not let disappointment or pain petrify inside of you. Let your yoga lead you into a more profound unfolding of your authentic self.
A proud native Texan currently based in San Francisco, KK is an astrologer, ritualist, and Certified Anusara Yoga® teacher with a quirky sense of humor. She kicks ass and sprinkles glitter.
www.funkyjiva.com PHOTO: Marla Aufmuth
Yoga for Life
Submit your questions for Sharon about yoga or veganism to firstname.lastname@example.org
To live and breathe with an exclusive focus on one’s small self, disconnected from the whole, is the definition of egotism. The enemy of enlightenment is the selfish ego, which thinks that happiness can be gained through causing unhappiness to others. In many ancient languages, the word for enemy means “one who falls out of rhythm; one who is not working in harmony with the larger group.” Freedom from this disharmony can begin by letting go of the breath as “my” breath and respecting all other living beings as spiritual and thus worthy of life.
If the law of karma is true, then shouldn’t we accept the fact that animals are suffering because of their karmas? Doesn’t this justify eating animals? It is true that every being is enjoying life or suffering as a direct result of his or her own past actions. The animals in the factory farms may have been meat-eating human beings in a previous birth; we don’t know, and it is not our place to judge. Nonetheless, their suffering provides us with an opportunity to step in and alleviate suffering where we see it. By choosing to be vegan we can break the karmic chain of reacting to violence with more violence, contributing to a more peaceful future for everyone. Knowing the truth about the hell-realms that animals have to endure, it would be wise of us to do our best now not to plant the karmic seeds that would cause us to be reborn as an animal in one of those hell-realms. Sometimes this is referred to as “enlightened self-interest.” The law of karma guarantees that what we do to others will come back to us. But however you see it, choosing to be kind rather than to be cruel benefits everyone.
How can you put so much energy into caring about animals when there is so much human suffering going on in the world?
Yoga+Veganism: Ask Sharon
Sharon Gannon answers questions from readers about yoga and veganism. What does it mean to be a spiritual person? If you want to know if someone is a “spiritual being” ask yourself, “Is he or she breathing?” If the answer is yes, then you know that you are in the presence of a spiritual being. All living beings are spiritual; this includes everyone, whether they are animals or humans, carnivores. or vegetarians.Breath is an indication that spirit is present. In English, as well as many languages, breath is defined as “the vital spirit, which animates living beings.” Our breath is connected to the air that every being breathes. There are atoms of air in your lungs that were once in the lungs of everyone who has ever lived. In essence, we are breathing (inspiring) one another. By breathing consciously, we acknowledge our communion with all of life. PHOTOs: GUZMAN
Yogis intend to come to the realization of the interconnectedness of life. We must free ourselves from the conditioning that has caused us to think it is all right to exclude all the other animals from our own goals of peace, freedom, and happiness. By working to alleviate the suffering of animals you are working at the cause level of human suffering.
Sharon Gannon is the co-founder of the Jivamukti Yoga method and the author of Yoga & Vegetarianism, the Diet of Enlightenment.
www.jivamuktiyoga.com ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 41
veryday I get on my mat, and I know that the practice will meet me there. It didn’t always play out this way. I used to think I needed the right amount of rest or the perfect amount of caffeine; it had to happen before dawn on an empty stomach (except for the caffeine of course). I thought that if I didn’t have enough time or desire to do a “full and complete” sequence that it wouldn’t count - whatever that means. So I would psych myself out of the practice, and then, I would suffer. I would suffer my very own karmic baseline of neurosis and selfcentered fear. It took some time for me to figure out that my practice didn’t have to look like any one thing in particular, and in fact, the best practices to come would be those that unfold spontaneously and mercifully at my feet in complete and total union with whatever I need in that moment. I have learned that the only requirement is that I take the seat (of asana / meditation / pranayama / chanting), and the practice will rush to me there, no matter how unprepared, broken, or unfocused I feel. The practice will meet me where I am as I am and will consistently and obediently bestow freedom by loosening the knots of my karmic baseline, especially the ones that like to curl around the heart and hang on for dear life.
: PRACTICE meeting you, as you are stephanie snyder www.stephaniesnyder.com 42 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
Over the years, I have let the practice fortify me as I underwent treatment in a medical facility. It has held me through break-ups and given me the insight for make-ups. It was joyfully there on my wedding day and solidly anchored me the day I discovered I was pregnant with my now four year old son. It rushed to me as I crumbled from the devastation of a miscarriage and healed my broken heart from the miscarriage after that. Then it breathed deeply through me as I labored through the birth of my second son. It has met me in my travels on hotel room floors, in long lines at the airport, in countries far and wide. It has met me over and over with courage, heart, and honesty. It has helped me to meet myself and know these things in my own nature. It is a privilege to practice yoga, to have a body that moves, and to live in a place where I am free to engage in whatever kind of spiritual practice I choose. It allows me to uncover my deepest desires, fears, and truths on a daily basis. No matter who you are, where you’ve been, what you’ve done or not done, whether you be flawed or free - the practice will meet you there, as you are. Don’t waste your time waiting for the right schedule or diet or special yoga outfit. Go now, go to your mat or your meditation cushion, your practice can’t wait to meet you - as you are, in this moment.
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ecaF ot ecaFFace to Face SIANNA SHERMAN
“Tantrism is one long face -from the teachings of Devi in to face.” Tantric Quest by Daniel Odier This one quote has become a central remembrance in my awareness. I’ve been applying it to everything that happens in my world no matter how big or small the event. When I felt myself shut down the other night because someone I had a rough history with walked into a party unexpectedly, I reminded myself it was my own face-to-face encounter. The restrictions in me wanted to cozy up with blame, righteousness, and justification. Yet, I knew inside myself that I had a chance to say yes to the fierce mirror of consciousness and find out what was happening in my own psyche. I quietly returned to my room and began my practices of self-inquiry, honesty, contemplation, and meditation. I let myself feel every bit of the pain, noticing where it was taking up residence in my body and how old patterns were revealing themselves with great alacrity. I breathed into the knotted areas of my being and allowed the tears of past hurt to cleanse and renew me. It was a night of stalking my own shadows, and by the morning, I felt a tremendous release from the pressure cooker in my mind. I realized how this outer encounter was inviting me into the inner encounter with my own humility and realness. The next day, I saw the same person again, and this time, my heart was lighter. I could breathe and let myself be in the sphere of presence with a wider scope of understanding. Life offers us a continual mirror of reflection and selfawareness. It’s our choice to see ourselves in each other and in everyday situations. The practices of yoga give us a chance to uproot false foundations built on insecurity and self-doubt that contract our heart energy. One of the dust coverings of the heart is called anava mala, or the small sense of self that we fight for as proof of our limitations. Our self-limiting view becomes our safety net. Unfortunately, safety nets can become insular and binding forces that trap us in a narrow perspective and disconnect us from each other. The conversation stops, and division deepens. We find ourselves “right” once again, and the other person is cast out of our heart and into the category of the perpetual “other”. Yoga is intense. Yoga is a paradox. Yoga is the real deal.
Sianna Sherman is an internationally celebrated yoga teacher who shares her passionate voice with devotion, deep practice, and soulful teaching. You can experience her teachings in person, around the world, online at Yoga Glo and on her new instructional DVD, Pranam.
PHOTO: BILL PATRICK 44 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
Sometimes, the practices of yoga are filled with exaltation, and other times, we feel the struggle. It’s enticing to displace the struggle and blame it on another, but ultimately, the struggle is within. It’s our chance to go the distance with self-recognition. We are being asked to cultivate our shadowstalking muscles like the powerful legs of a tigress that carry her through the dense forest of thoughts and feelings. When we willingly encounter ourselves face to face, we come home to the living, breathing essence of our heart’s knowing. We can rest in the inner embrace of love. Truly, Love is our Origin.
A rare selection of “divinely inspired” vegetarian and vegan recipes from across the globe, intermixed with the story of a spiritual seeker’s journey to the heart of devotional (bhakti) yoga. —KitchenofLove.com Get free recipes every month!
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Since a calorie is a measure of food energy, you may understandably assume that the more calories you consume, the more energy you’ll have. I certainly believed that. Conventional sports nutrition books had me convinced of it. Yet, in practice, we see that clearly isn’t the case. If it were, people who ate large fast-food meals would be bursting with energy, and they simply aren’t. In fact, it’s the opposite; immediately following a 3000-calorie fast-food meal, significant fatigue sets in (ever wonder why cultures who have their largest meal for lunch are the ones partial to siestas?). So what’s going on? Energy is like money; once spent, it’s gone. However, it is possible to make an investment, as opposed to an expenditure, that yields a return. That’s the way I began looking at food, as an opportunity of potential gain. Since I was racing Ironman triathlon professionally at the time, refinements such as these could prove to be the difference between joining the upper echelon or remaining average. As I began to learn, if we’re going to spend energy on digestion and assimilation, it’s in our best interest to demand a return. But what do we actually seek from food? It’s not calories, nor is it volume or mass. It is, in fact, nutrition: micronutrients, which include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. These are components by which food can be assessed a value, and therefore, a decision can be objectively made as to whether it’s worth eating. Will the nutritional return justify the digestive energy expenditure? Without an adequate supply of micronutrients, not only are we less likely to sleep deeply, recover briskly from exercise, ward off sickness, and fully exploit our brainpower, we get hungry. And we stay hungry.
PHOTOS : ABOVE: gliving.com lEFT: zonfitness.com
Brendan Brazier is a former professional Ironman triathlete, two-time Canadian 50km UltraMarathon Champion, formulator of an award-winning line of whole food nutritional products called VEGA, and the bestselling author of Thrive. He developed the acclaimed ZoN Thrive Fitness program and created Thrive Foods Direct, a national plant-based meal delivery service. Thrive Foods: 200 Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Health is his latest book.
Our hunger signal will remain active until we take in an adequate supply of nourishment. In fact, the number one reason for obesity in North America is simple: over consumption. And we over consume because we’re hungry. But it’s not volume, nor is it calories that we biologically hunger for. It’s micronutrients. And until we receive enough, the hunger signal will continually urge us to eat. Thankfully, there’s a simple fix: nutrient-dense food. It became clear to me that a sensible approach was to base my nutrition plan on foods that are easiest to digest and contain the greatest amount of each micronutrient per calorie. That’s what I call high net-gain nutrition, which became one of the key concepts in my book, Thrive. Observing this principal, I began swapping out starchily refined foods, such as pasta, white rice, and bread, which are low in nutrition yet digestively intensive, for easily assimilated, less processed, nutrient-dense options, such as fruit and pseudo grains. Pseudo grains, technically seeds, are therefore gluten-free and are also comprised of about 20% protein. Amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat (not actually wheat, from the rhubarb family), and wild rice became the base. The result was greater energy plus a natural desire to eat less.
www.Brendanbrazier.com 46 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
Feeding America, One Step at a Time Samantha Harris “Going live in 10 seconds,” with more than 150 live shows as co-host of “Dancing With the Stars,” this is a familiar phrase to me. Energy is always paramount when hosting a live show, because you need every synapse firing, so you can think fast on your feet. I would snack on a healthy balance of protein and carbohydrates before each show. Flash forward to 2012, and I needed tremendous energy to power through 16hour days on the set of NBC’s “Stars Earn Stripes.” Thankfully, I work in a world where craft service is plentiful, and 3-course, catered meals abound. Unfortunately, that is not the case for the nearly 49 million Americans who are food insecure, meaning they do not always know where they will find their next meal. As a mom of two little girls, knowing that 16 million of those people are children (that’s 1 in 5), is something that disturbs me to the core. Research has shown that food insecurity and hunger are serious threats to children’s health, growth, and development. The idea of not being able to put plentiful, nutritious food on the table for my girls is a horrifying thought. As a kid myself, growing up in what I like to call Cow-Country, U.S.A., (aka Minnesota), I had beyond my fill of every meat and dairy product you can name. It was as if I was aiming for a heart attack by age 12, with the amount of butter, cream, and red meat I consumed on a weekly basis. Slightly nauseating, now, as I look back on it. After moving from the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, to the “Land of Endless Sunny Days” (Los Angeles), I quickly became a healthy eater, who exercises almost as often as TMZ gets a celeb-sighting tip! These healthy habits are naturally being passed along to my girls, Josselyn (almost 5) and Hillary (who turns 2 in January). How grateful my husband and I feel, that our fridge is full and our girls have lots of fresh fruits and veggies to gobble up. As an anti-hunger advocate and longtime member of the Entertainment Council for Feeding America, I have become more and more aware of the issues surrounding hunger in our country, a country where 68% of adults above the age of 20 are overweight or obese. What a staggering thought, when 1 in 6 adults don’t have enough food to eat on a regular basis. Good, healthy meal choices play a huge part of controlling weight and other health related issues. Thankfully, Feeding America’s food banks secure and distribute nutritious and wholesome foods from the 3 billion pounds, annually, of donated food and grocery products through a network of approximately 61,000 food assistance agencies, such as food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, and after-school programs. I have found that volunteering at these food pantries can be very rewarding. So much so, that I have even enlisted the help of my daughter Josselyn. I love that from an early age, she is learning the importance of helping others and PHOTOs: top: bradley rogne center and bottom: courtesy of Nestlé & Feeding America
giving back to our community. She makes my heart happy when she asks when she can go back and help again! Samantha Harris is a TV personality, wife, and mother of two. Samantha is an active member of the Entertainment Council of Feeding America. September is Hunger Action Month, so please take five minutes to visit www. HungerActionMonth.org and find out how easy it is to help.
www.samantha-harris.com www.feedingamerica.org ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 47
DIVINE PLAY: ACROYOGA TAKES FLIGHT! AcroYoga co-founder: Jenny Sauer-Klein
t is my dharma in this life to bring people together. It is one of my greatest joys to connect good people to each other, and over the past 9 years, I have had the honor of co-creating a global network of fun-loving monkeys through the practice of AcroYoga. The epitome of this movement, for me, is the Divine Play AcroYoga Festival, where students from around the world gather to study the science of play. I was only 25 years old when AcroYoga was born, and looking back, I feel like it was handed to me on a cosmic silver platter the night I met co-founder Jason Nemer in San Francisco in 2003. The vision was so instantaneously clear to us both that we had no choice but to offer it to the world with everything we had. A blend of yoga, acrobatics, and healing arts, AcroYoga is a practice that emphasizes trust, playfulness, and community. The physical practice is a metaphor for how we take our individual practice off the mat and into relationship and how that interpersonal reflection supports our own spiritual growth.
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It has been amazing to watch this festival grow each year and to see the sheer power of the community gathering to completely catapult the practice as a whole to the next level. I am inspired by the tangible feeling of love, cooperation, and infinite potential that permeates a space filled with AcroYogis. In a technological age where virtual connectivity is the prevalent mode of contact, the Divine Play Festival is a sacred oasis for authentic connection between people who believe in creating the kind of world we wish to live in. The Divine Play Festival format is inspired by the Dutch Acrobatics Festival, which has been going for over 25 years. With 10 classes happening simultaneously in the same large room, with no visual or auditory barriers, it allows you to feel connected to everyone and to be inspired by what you see happening all around you. I love the do-it-yourself, informal environment, where you have the freedom to choose your classes in the moment and change classes at anytime.
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photo: Merrick Chase PHOTO: Yohann Guichard
The Divine Play Festival uses the profound power of play to break down perceived barriers and remind us that we are far more alike than we are different. We all laugh in the same language, and there is nothing more effective at turning adults into children than flying in an old fashioned game of “airplane,” being suspended in the air, weightless upon someone else’s feet! This year, we are excited to integrate children into the community experience, by offering our first kid’s program hosted by CircusYoga. In addition, our partnership with Off the Mat, Into the World helps us to take the wisdom cultivated at the event and share it with others. It is my greatest hope that the Divine Play Festival can be a living, breathing example of a multi-generational, international village, that comes together to celebrate the magnificence of human potential.
About the Festival At the Divine Play Festival, hundreds of yogis, acrobats, massage therapists, athletes, and wellness enthusiasts from around the world come to study with our esteemed faculty, including 35 certified AcroYoga teachers and 15 internationally renowned master teachers in their respective fields of yoga, acrobatics, and healing arts. The Festival includes three full days of intensives and workshops, with celebratory evening events featuring music, performances, dancing, bodywork, kirtan, and open space to play and jam. Classes will be offered for all levels from absolute beginner to advanced. Our playground is the waterfront venue of Fort Mason in San Francisco, which boasts 30,000 square feet in which to learn, share, heal, transform, and connect.
3rd Annual Divine Play AcroYoga Festival October 12-14, 2012 Fort Mason, San Francisco All-Access, Weekend, Day-long, and Kids Passes available
What Does “Manifest” Mean? Jennifer Pastiloff I get asked a lot about what “manifest” means since my company is called Manifestation Yoga. Manifesting means “Making Sh*t Happen.” Deeper: If you want to have something show up in your life you must first be able to imagine it. For a long time, this wasn’t an option for me. I simply could not un-see myself as unworthy. After thirteen years of working in the same Los Angeles restaurant, I decided to take a yoga teacher training course. Was teaching yoga my gift? Not necessarily. What I always knew was my gift, even as a child: I could connect with people. I provided a space for people to heal. I allowed myself to imagine what was possible. I started to believe in myself. I started to take risks. I smiled more. I got into a healthy relationship (with my now husband). I healed from an eating disorder. I accepted my hearing loss. I admitted I actually had no desire to be an actress. I finally was able to say I love what I do, and I do what I love.
photos: top: Robert Sturman MIddle: by James Knowles bottom: by Joe Longo
Manifesting is not about sitting in a corner and wishing for something and then having it appear like some kind of fairy tale. It takes work. But before the work, there must be imagination. Einstein says that imagination is more important than knowledge. So, I started to use my imagination. I changed my tape. It used to be: I am nothing. Now: I am powerful. I am on purpose. In my Manifestation workshops I have people do an exercise called “I Am-ness” with a partner. I ask them to finish the sentence: I am ____. Go ahead, you do it, too. It can’t be, “I am broke” or “fat” or “I am tired.” (I know from experience that these “I Am’s” didn’t get you very far.) I ask: Who would you be if nobody told you who you are? Participants must fill in the blank after I am, sharing it with their partner. After each has spoken, they stare into each other’s eyes for three minutes in silence. They sit and witness the “I am” within themselves, and in turn, in the other person. It takes not only imagination to declare your new “I am.” It takes courage. And a willingness. Some laugh, some cry. Most have a profound revelation about what is possible when they decide to imagine who they are and declare it as their own truth. They then watch someone witness them in that very truth. This is what manifesting is. Looking into someone’s eyes, especially your own, and declaring who you are. It is being with that truth. It is acting from that truth, and no matter what, and no matter who tells you different, absolutely living from that assumption of who you are. Imagination, action, and gratitude. What are you manifesting? Jennifer Pastiloff was featured on Good Morning America. She travels the world teaching workshops and leading retreats. When Jen’s nephew, Blaise, was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Prader Wille Syndrome (PWS), it prompted her to start GAME Yoga—“Gifts And Miracles Everyday: Free Yoga for Kids w/ Special Needs.” She is partially deaf and wears hearing aids. Her first book will be out in 2013.
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4 “Back to School” Lessons Jeremiah McElwee
s a parent and a professional, the back to school time of the year is always an interesting one. The natural products industry experiences a resurgence, and our children are excited to rise to the next grade or phase of their education. Temperatures cool, days grow shorter, and this often leads to times of greater selfawareness and introspection. This time of year always causes me to reflect on powerful life teachings that have helped shape my career and my existence as a conscious person in the world. I have been blessed to have many wise mentors in my life, all of whom have imbued me with powerful lessons. Here are a few that have stayed with me as the years have passed.
Change is the only constant. My first professional mentor once told me: “Business and life are fluid, and if you are not changing and growing, someone is passing you by.” Inherently, people are wired to have fear around change of any kind. If you approach the world as though what you are working on or feeling right now will change, it allows you to think ahead and plan for the unexpected. It also empowers you to act not from a place of anxiety but one of calm leadership. Think upwards. One of the most powerful business women I know and have been blessed to work with in several roles once said to me: “You are thinking the way you did when you worked in one store, and you need to think beyond that - bigger picture.” Often, we get stuck where we were and do not grow into new roles when the time is upon us. These words always remind me that there is more, and the only way to help others find their more is to think upwards and help “turn on lights” for those around you. Go with the flow to change the flow. Often, we find that the culture or tactics of an organization are frustrating, and it is easy to see all of the ways things could change for the better immediately. So, the logical mindset is, I am going to rebel and show everyone that this is not right and needs to change immediately! A wise mentor that I am fortunate to still work with every day once told me: “Use the culture against itself to create the positive results you are looking for within the parameters provided.” Simply put, you need not swim against the current to help the people around you see a better path. You can share information and knowledge in a way that helps others see a new light but does not forsake all that you mutually respect about the organization you are a part of. Dare to be different. “Be yourself, and never be afraid to be different.” My first mentor, my wonderful mother, passed these words along to me for as long as I can remember. She instilled me with a mindset that continuously pushes me to think outside the proverbial box, both personally and professionally. Not being afraid to stray from the pack and allowing unique thoughts to percolate often leads to the brightest outcomes, especially when faced with a challenging business opportunity or a tough emotional dilemma. Thanks, Mom!
photo: angela may 52 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
It is so important for each of us to pass our knowledge along and share it, so that we can continue the upwards spiral of human development. Whether the relationship is personal or professional, you can apply these basic tenets to encourage compassion, love, and understanding. Ultimately, that is what going back to school is all about, isn’t it? Jeremiah is currently the Executive Coordinator responsible for the Health & Beauty department at Whole Foods Market. When he is not peddling “lotions and potions,” he enjoys spending time with his three wonderful daughters and loving partner in the hill country outside of Austin, TX. He also enjoys surfing, trail running, all things organic, and has a not-sosecret passion for Philly sports.
YOGA IS: A Transformational Journey
oga changed my life. In a time when my world was crumbling apart, it was the saving grace to which I turned. Each time I practiced lay moments of peace in my rapidly changing world. It allowed me to accept my new reality even when I feared it because I wanted to go back to yesterday, when everything was comfortable. Without my consent, I was placed on a path that I had not asked for nor did I want to happen. I didn’t even know where this path would lead. The only choice that resonated with me was to face my challenge, and without my yoga practice, I am not sure I could have done so.
of Jivamukti Yoga, begin their classes with this chant: Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhanantu. May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.
This was my personal inspiration to produce my film Yoga Is: A Transformational Journey, to liberate us from suffering and guide us on a path that will help us heal universally.
What lay before me was the terminal breast cancer diagnosis of my mother when she was 57. At the time, I was living in New York City and enjoyed what seemed to be my dream life, but this experience made me question everything. Yoga was my doorway to enter a new territory and listen quietly to an internal voice that encouraged me to go deeper. I moved back to San Francisco to spend the time I had left with her. During these months, life revealed moments of clarity amidst the pain. One thing became clear: love is what we are here to experience and share. In the loss of my mother was a humbling gift: to be present in every moment and live a life that is authentic, not the life that is conditioned by society or the life that others may expect, but instead, the life that represents me living my truth. Feeling immense gratitude for the path that supported me in the darkest time, I wanted to make a film that would inspire others who were facing difficulties. We all have challenges, whether it’s in our relationships, finances, career, or health. So we all need a supportive anchor in life. For me, yoga and meditation were powerful practices for healing that provided that anchor. Filled with passion, I traveled across the U.S., and even to India, to interview teachers about the big questions: love, truth, happiness, purpose, karma, enlightenment, and more. The film created from this journey became Yoga Is. My film is filled with timeless wisdom from teachers in the yoga tradition that can help any of us with the regular obstacles we face. Just like a yoga class, the film invites us to engage in our journey and to allow for the revelation of our own answers. My teachers, Sharon Gannon and David Life Photos clockwise from top: SUZANNE BRYANT AND the son of NEEM KAROLI BABA, BARON BAPTISTE, ANA FORREST, KRISHNA DAS, SHIVA REA, SRI DHARMA MITTRA, Christy Turlington Burns, Founder Every Mother Counts, Author Living Yoga: Creating a Life Practice.
Jenay Martin PHOTOGRAPHER.
S O N O M A C O U N T Y. C A
The heart of my work comes from my complete reverence, devotion, and gratitude for Light. Light is at the center of my source, and Yoga and photography both connect me to my center. Photo shoots and my yoga classes are divinely symbiotic. Yoga teaches me to look inward to experience beauty, and photography guides my eyes outward to experience beauty; both originate at the heart. Yoga and photography are a practice of presence, patience, and stillness that creates grounding, paired with the most expansive opportunity for movement, expression, and freedom. My passion for photography is found in the truest meaning of namaste. I feel deeply blessed to share my recognition of beauty and light in all of its forms, and in that recognition, there is an experience of wholeness.
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hat would happen if I handed you a stack of post-it notes and requested that you write down, one on each note, all of your negative critiques of your body? How many would you have to write down to truthfully acknowledge, despite attempting to find acceptance, that you criticize your physical appearance? Would you have to start with your hair, then pick apart your facial features before making it to your too much or too little of each body part, all the way
Post-It Melody Moore, Ph.D., RYT down to your toes? Would you feel ashamed in exposing the thoughts that no one else was ever meant to hear about your disdain for what you know is simply your outer layer, your physical body?
Melody Moore, Ph.D., RYT, is a Clinical Psychologist and co-founder of Embody Love Movement, whose mission is to inspire girls and women to cultivate compassionate awareness through yoga, holistic nutrition, and psychotherapy so that they can embody truth, purpose, and love without condition. We stand for all girls and women being fully accepting of their bodies, themselves, and each other.
How do yogis, as a culture of those committed to compassion, change the way we talk to ourselves about our bodies? We begin by understanding that being willing to em-
“Our insecurity about our
To bring awareness to how much bodies, spoken or unspoken, is it negatively affects those around contagious.” us when we speak so harshly to ourselves, I ask participants in “The Beauty Shop” at Embody Love brace what we look like is a first step Movement to do exactly as described in embodying love for who we really above. After the post-it notes are are. Easier said than done? If this placed onto one volunteer to symbolseems like an impossibility for you, ize our collective body and consciousbegin with looking in your mirror, and ness, each negative belief is then read instead of evaluating your reflection, aloud. The result is stunned silence. look deeply into your own eyes. See To hear these cruel remarks verbalinto who you are. Then, try speaking ized is excruciating. It is heart breakaloud, directly into your soul. Tell ing that we are so unkind to ourselves, yourself the truth: that you are exactly speaking in ways that we would never who you need to be in this moment consider thinking about or expressing and that you are exactly where you toward another human being. need to be right now. See if you can, even if for a moment, believe in the Whether we vocalize these negative beauty within you. thoughts or play the soundtrack of critical commentary in our minds
PHOTos: HEADSHOT: Alayna Macpherson OTHERS: Holly Lynch 56 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
as a way of imprisoning ourselves to impossible standards, we are impacting those around us. When we hold ourselves in contempt for not meeting an internalized standard of thinness or of beauty, we necessarily cause others to feel devalued. Our insecurity about our bodies, spoken or unspoken, is contagious. And although we are called to practice ahimsa, we are indeed causing harm to ourselves and to others by holding on to shame or to judgment about the way that we appear. We then make it impossible to recognize and to realize our internal value. And by measuring our worth in this way, we necessarily cause others to feel that their worthiness is based on their appearance as well. We lose sight of what matters.
aromatherapy, art, clothing, and jewelry inspired by yoga and nature
Tree of India
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Zirit: ‘Zany Spirit’ zi•rit (zîr’ît) n. [zany spirit.] 1. It’s a lifestyle, it’s a mindfulness movement with a zany twist, and it’s about letting go in the present moment Right Now! 2. Creating outer peace via inner peace one Zirit-moment at a time... do you want a ‘peace’ of the action?
Call now to book your classes, workshops or special events and receive a free Zirit-Life Zugnut (a tennis ball in a tube-sock that creates a little more peace in the muscles). TM
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If the cancer doesn’t kill her, I will…
Emelia Symington Fedy
y mother drives me crazy. Ever since I was a small child, we have not had a good relationship. She always wanted to be… my mother. I wanted to be independent. I remember when I was a kid and I would hurt myself, she would hold me and say, “Em, it’s okay, you can cry.” I would hold onto my tears until I was alone because I didn’t want my mother’s comfort.
“The irony is that it took a cancer diagnosis for my mother to get what she always deserved, her children’s utter devotion.”
Our relationship was very tumultuous in my teenage years. I had to move out when I was 16 because it was so destructive. I never understood when friends in college looked forward to going home at Christmas to be with their family.
It was the small things that drove me crazy. It was in my 20’s when she finally learned what an avocado was. To this day, when I am home using the bathroom, she will pop her head in the door unannounced and squeak, “Everything normal in here?” Two years ago, my family and I were going for a walk on the beach, and my mother told us she had some important news. She sunk to the ground in tears. As I looked at my mother crumpled on her knees, I remembered the story of my conception. My father killed a bear; he drove home in the pick-up truck in the middle of the night and woke my mother up and had sex with her. My mother then got up and spent the rest of the night skinning the bear, butchering and canning it. Seeing my mother weak and crying was a shock to me. My brother and I sat down in the sand. She clutched onto his knees, and she told us that she had just been diagnosed with lung cancer. She looked at me through her tears and said, “I only pray that I live to meet my grandchildren.” “Gawd, Mom, I’m trying the best I can!” I was 32 and single, and that was a worry for both of us.
I went home to take care of my mother. The moment I walked through the door, she greeted me with post-it notes and a pen. She asked me to put my name on everything in the house that I wanted, so that she could put it in her will. “Mom that is so morbid!” She tried to give me a book about the particular type of cancer she had, and I replied, “No thanks. I am reading a fantasy novel right now.” One night, she said to me, “I want you to be more careful. Your lifestyle scares me. I know you are secret smoking at night.” I looked at her, and I wanted to say, “Yes, but you don’t know that I am high on pot cookies right now. I use them to self-medicate when I am around you.” The visit came to a head when one night, I made her some soup. I was watching her eat from that bird’s eye view that you get sometimes. She had lost 25 pounds very quickly; she had aged 10 years in three months. She was shaking as she brought the spoon to her mouth, and I thought, This is a woman who kills chickens with one swoop of an axe. This is a woman who has raised two children on her own in a trailer in the bush. She should not be shaking right now. She brought the spoon to her mouth, and said “Mmmm. Oh, Em, what is that delightful spice?” I lost it. I screamed, “IT’S CUMIN! THE SPICE IS F*CKING CUMIN!” I thought in that moment, If the cancer doesn’t kill her… I will.
The next day, my mother asked me to go to a healing meditation with her:
Yogic Tips for Survival in Modern Times
They give us homemade slippers to wear, and we sit in a circle together. When it is my time to share, I spout something like, “Oh, it’s amazing what happens when all the bullshit drops away, and you can see someone for who they truly are.”
Handling Our Emotions in these Shifting Times Tej Kaur Khalsa
People smile at me, but I just feel cold inside. We all lie down on mats in the dark. My mother is lying beside me. She reaches out to grab my hand, and I want to pull away from her. I think, needy, old. Someone comes by and lays an afghan blanket across my body. The minute I feel its weight on me, I crack. There is no sound coming out. Only water, pouring out of my eyes, into my ears, and pooling on the mat. I feel, for the first time, so ashamed of how I have been treating my mother. I think, She just wants to hold my hand. Why can’t I let her hold my hand? And I realize it is because I am scared. I am so scared my mom is going to die. It hits me under that blanket, in the dark, at age 32: I need my mom. I want her to take care of me. I don’t want to have to take care of her. I let my mom hold my hand. And in that moment my entire relationship with my mother changed. It’s amazing what happens when all the bullshit drops away, and you can see someone for who they truly are. Now, two years later, every single night, I phone my mother, and I ask her for her opinions, and she gives me the worst possible advice ever! I told her the other day, “I’m really worried about work. I’m having a hard time making ends meet.” She said, “Why don’t you go to folk festivals dressed up like a clown and help people find a seat on the grass and then ask them for a dollar?” The irony is that it took a cancer diagnosis for my mother to get what she always deserved, her children’s utter devotion. And even though some days, I imagine attacking her with a twoby-four, I am so thankful to have a mother that drives me crazy. Every moment I am thankful for my mother. Emelia Symington Fedy makes theatre, writes essays, produces radio, and teaches yoga. You can find more of her offbeat stories at the popular site www.tryingtobegood.com.
hen it gets right down to it, everyone wants to be Happy. Sometimes, we just don’t know how. In the Yogic Scriptures it states, “It is our Birth Right to be Happy.” We are not born in guilt, nor sin; we are actually blessed to be human. This University called Earth is where we come to learn, and the challenges we are given to grow sometimes appear rough. Once we commit to remain happy, the entire psyche of this planet benefits from our decision; so, we are making an offering towards World Peace!
My Teacher, Yogi Bhajan, used to tell us to count our blessings, not our curses. Meditate on the gravity of this. When you accept you are blessed, blessings start appearing everywhere. I love his statement, “If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.” Discovering the subtle mystery in all places, people, and situations makes life much more exciting. But we’re human. And things bug us, make us mad; so, we don’t always see the Divine at play.
Here are a few tips:
or 40 days, No Negative Words. Say nothing negative. Hear nothing negative, not even against your worst enemy. Every breath is a new breath of life. Negative reactions merely eat up our energy, so let’s forgive the past and move on. Speak not in anger. Our moods make us burst
out with words that shake the trust of even very loyal friends. Try this: press your tongue against the upper palate very firmly, and begin long, deep breathing through the nose. Slowing the breath to 5-7 times a minute for 3 minutes will alter the mind’s frequency, calm the emotions, and your tongue will be occupied so you can’t speak.
Hydrate. We get upset when we are dehydrated. Take some water, say a prayer over it, and drink it. We can’t stay mad if our water level is okay. Chew on a carrot or celery stick. It’ll occupy and channel a lot of the inside disruption. One man used to fight with his wife all the time. He started chewing on celery instead, and their relationship totally improved. It’s also good for the nerves and blood sugar. Lastly, connect with your soul’s journey here. We didn’t come to bicker. Sit quietly;
feel your own Infinite purpose. Don’t get angry over the small things. Forgive Yourself, Forgive the Universe, Forgive Others. This is a very Divine trip to Planet Earth where we want to see everyone blossoming like beautiful flowers, spreading their fragrance everywhere. Sat Nam.
Tej has taught Kundalini Yoga & Meditation since 1973. As the Custodian of the Archives of the Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, she is a recognized authority on the teachings. Her classes are occasions to enjoy deep meditative experiences and to learn vast amounts of yogic knowledge.
“This University called Earth is where we come to learn, and the challenges we are given to grow sometimes appear rough.”
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randy hayes CO-FOUNDER: RaINFOREST ACTION NETWORK
Root Causes of Social & Ecological Crisis What to do? The house is on fire, and I believe the next few decades will be tumultuous. We hear a lot about ecological destruction and social unrest and suffering throughout the world. In order to avoid false or superficial solutions and tackle the real deal, we must take a serious look into the root causes of our problems. The following list is adapted from a document by the Foundation for Deep Ecology. I’ve added four more points; the list evolves as I learn. What do you see as the root causes of the social and ecological crisis? My suggestion is to consider the points made here but to think beyond them and draft your own list. What in our society is preventing us from achieving a sustainable economic, social, and ecological climate?
Irresponsible Economic Growth:
The assumption of human superiority over nature (other life forms), as if we were dominant over the web of life and immune to ecological principles. The Earth’s natural carrying capacity is not harmonized with equitable & dignified lifestyles, sensible technologies, our overall population numbers, and the needs of other creatures. Patriarchy, in which males are the dominant figures, is a manifestation of this sense of superiority.
The prevailing ethic of western society—that unlimited economic growth and the market economy (with billions committed to commodity accumulation, consumption, and waste) are desirable and possible on a finite planet. This “Cheater Economics” system externalizes pollution costs and ignores carrying-capacity issues. The “True Cost Economy” is the alternative. For more info go to www.fdnearth.org.
The prevailing paradigm that technological evolution (especially industrial technology) is invariably good and that problems caused by technology can be solved with more technological innovation. 60 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
The invention of unnatural substances for which the planet does not have the organic counterparts capable of biologically degrading or productively integrating in natural cycles.
Given our reliance on fossil fuels, individuals have little choice to opt out. People have the feeling that they are unable to change their lifestyle (i.e. they have to drive to work as there is no public transport). To solve our environmental problems, we are asking people to change almost all their behaviors (housing, transport, food, shopping, vacations, etc) when, as we know from dieting and smoking, even a single behavioral change can be very difficult.
Country singer Merle Haggard, Woody Harrelson and Randy Hayes. Just after this talk, they marched into the California Governor’s office to protest the destruction of the California Giant Redwoods.
The domination and advancement of viewpoints that serve the interests of the industrial world and the suppression of alternate views, keeping them from the public consciousness.
the concentration of power:
The loss of public governance (due to the concentration of power within a small number of corporate executives and business owners) is detrimental to nature and society’s future.
THE LACK OF HOLISTIC THINKING:
Insufficient systems thinking—a failure to see everything as interconnected—when it comes to governance of country and planet. This leads to ecological illiteracy, a lack of appreciation for nature, and a lack of ecological design at every level of human existence. Indigenous communities, more exposed to nature’s ways, have much to offer us about better understanding a holistic worldview or perspective.
REMEMBER that there is no economic development on a dead planet. There is no social equity to be found there either. Perhaps the rising number of extreme weather events and economic downturns will create the context for global change. When the social and ecological system as we know it begins to collapse and commands the world’s attention, use those windows of opportunity to your advantage and push for deeper solutions. Your work can lead us to a better world.
THE LACK OF A GEOLOGIC OR LONG-TERM PERSPECTIVE:
Actions based on the desire for short-term gratification (such as quarterly profit reports) can compromise ecological health and biodiversity, thus reducing the options for subsequent generations. The industrial economy seems unable to deal with complex, longterm problems. Humans are capable of good and evil, yet when the chips are down, industrial society tends to be more motivated by fear and greed than by altruism.
INSUFFICIENT LEADERSHIP & INSTITUTIONAL MANDATE:
At local, national, and global levels, there has been a failure of leadership. Despite the best efforts of many, there is no institution powerful enough to challenge business as usual and make the sweeping changes essential for avoiding ecological crisis. Current techniques have failed to raise planetary concerns to the top of the list. Issues such as the economy, terrorism, health, education, crime and religion dominate the political agenda over ecological concerns in almost every country. ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 61
Curator + Eco Editor: Andrew Currie I decided to commit my life to the protection of African wildlife when, as an 11 year old child, I saw an elephant that had been killed by poachers. From then, my school education became an unfortunate obstacle to the life of choice which took me to the forests and savannas of Congo. Over twenty years of working for Congo’s national parks, I witnessed the pains, struggles, and triumphs of their wildlife rangers, who through their self-sacrifice, achieved the greatest of results in modern conservation history, the survival of the Mountain Gorillas through the Congo’s Civil War.
Emmanuel De Merode. Democratic Republic of Congo Chief Warden. Virunga National Park www.virungacrisis.org
Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka. Uganda Founder + CEO. Conservation Through Public Health www.ctph.org
My wildlife veterinary career started with setting up the Uganda Wildlife Authority veterinary department, where I led a team that investigated a fatal scabies skin disease outbreak in the critically endangered mountain gorillas. The disease was traced to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park communities who only have limited access to basic health services. This made me realize that you cannot protect gorillas without improving the health and livelihoods of the people whom they share their fragile habitat with. This led to the establishment of Conservation Through Public Health, a grassroots nonprofit that works with people and wildlife in and around Africa’s protected areas.
Lindsey Sterling Krank. Colorado Director. Prairie Dog Coalition The Humane Society of the U.S. www.prairiedogcoalition.org Ever since I was driving in the family station wagon through national parks and wildlife areas, I have been drawn to the outdoors. I would stare out the window and think, “I want to get out there, right in the middle of all that beauty.” I’m drawn to working to protect these places and animals that call them home. Working with the Prairie Dog Coalition has given me the opportunity to protect a keystone species. Not only do we conserve this animal but the many species who depend on them, including black-footed ferrets, swift foxes, burrowing owls, and golden eagles. 62 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
Photo: Pat Erickson
Dr. Amy Dickman. Tanzania Kaplan Senior Research Fellow. Ruaha Carnivore Project WildCRU. Oxford University.
www.ruahacarnivoreproject.com I have been passionate about, and enthralled by, big cats for as long as I can remember. Their power, beauty, and sheer wildness is completely aweinspiring. I find it terrifying that species as iconic as lions and tigers are in such danger and that it falls upon us, right now, to decide whether or not they survive. Tanzania’s Ruaha landscape holds some of the most important big cat populations left in the world, and our team at the Ruaha Carnivore Project is working in partnership with local communities to encourage simultaneous wildlife conservation and human development in this critically important area.
Peter Lalampaa. Kenya Senior Manager. Grevy’s Zebra Trust. www.grevyszebratrust.org My passion is conservation of biodiversity because there is a link between pastoral livelihood and ecosystem health. I address habitat loss for wildlife and secure grass for livestock. We need to view things from a wide, bird’s-eye view. “It is not just me, but it is us.” Natural resources scarcity leads to intertribal clashes for grass and water for their livelihood, their cattle. I work on community education and awareness to address range land degradation and secure wildlife resources, as well as give a smile to the pastoral community through securing pasture for their livestock. The Grevy’s Zebra Trust was established in January 2007 to address the urgent need to conserve Grevy’s zebra (Equus grevyi) in the community range lands of Kenya. It is an independent wildlife conservation Trust registered in Kenya.
Madelaine Westwood. United Kingdom Founder. Great Apes Film Initiative. (GAFI) www.gafi4apes.org
As a longtime wildlife filmmaker, I took on the massive decline in endangered species. It seemed impossible to change, but I used my skills to create the Pedal Powered Cinema to screen conservation films where people live with the issues. They come, often a thousand at a time, to see the screenings. GAFI works in 15 countries across Africa and SE Asia and has screened films to 300 million people. As a result, children plant trees and communities protect forests. I learned one individual can create change, and if everyone used their skills to help, we will keep our extraordinary world.
Carmina Gutiérrez + Miguel Gómez. Sonora. Mexico
Jaguar Guardians. Northern Jaguar Project + Naturalia www.northernjaguarproject.org Revered for its strength, beauty, and grace, the jaguar is an emblem of species conservation in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. Much of the work to protect and provide refuge for this northernmost jaguar population lies with its guardians, Carmina Gutiérrez and Miguel Gómez. They mirror the strength and grace of the jaguars they protect. This engaging duo has taken the northern jaguar under their wing, working tirelessly to protect these endangered cats and ensure their safe haven. Both know where the jaguars roam and diligently follow their tracks throughout the remote, rugged landscape of the 50,000 acre Northern Jaguar Reserve. A deep passion for wilderness and wildlife carries Carmina and Miguel always forward.
D. Simon Jackson. Canada Rebecca Klein. Botswana Founder + Managing Director. Cheetah Conservation Botswana www.cheetahbotswana.com I wanted to work in wildlife conservation ever since I can remember. After graduation, I volunteered for a year at Mokolodi Nature Reserve, where I met two cheetah brothers whose mother had been killed by a farmer. I cared for them, and we developed a strong bond. I was surprised to learn cheetah were considered a pest amongst rural communities. One of Africa’s most elegant cats was being trapped, shot, run down, and killed. Here was my chance to make a difference! I founded Cheetah Conservation Botswana to use community outreach, education, and research to ensure the cheetah’s survival. Rebecca and her team work to ensure survival of free ranging cheetah, ensuring the spirit of the Kalahari, its wildlife and culture, remains for future generations. 64 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
Founder + Chairman. Spirit Bear Youth Coalition www.spiritbearyouth.org Since the age of 13, I’ve dedicated my life to saving Canada’s highly endangered white Kermode, or spirit bear, a genetically unique subspecies of the black bear that numbers fewer than 400. In the process of creating the now six-millionstrong Spirit Bear Youth Coalition, we helped shape what was North America’s largest land protection measure, helping protect two-thirds of this bear’s last intact habitat. Our positive, solutions-based campaign strives to complete our vision of sanctuary for the spirit bear by producing a Hollywood animated movie to raise funds to help the region’s economy and finalize the bear’s conservation.
With all the talk about Fracking, GMOs, Climate Change and Endangered Wildlife... How much of our giving do you think goes to Nature? learn the surprising answer in the two minute video at
Cost-Effective, Clean Energy Solutions Are Available NOW Jim Marston: Vice President of Energy Defense Fund’s Energy Program
Certainly, Apple has a unique history of introducing new products that displace current ones. Steve Jobs said that if anyone was going to make Apple’s products obsolete, he wanted it to be Apple. But that approach is absent among the “energy elites.” Tomorrow’s smart energy technology is being developed by small, innovative and entrepreneurial businesses around the world. These businesses are raising and risking capital to push our country into the next century. As in all industries, these businesses realize that many will fail for each one that succeeds. They have chosen to take that risk, not to build a better widget or launch a new website but to help us innovate our way to less dependence on fossil fuels.
The Buzz Surrounding Energy Innovation Can you name a company that has invented or completely changed a global industry in the last 10 years? Was it an energy company? Probably not. You don’t have to surf the web too long to find a lot of people talking about energy innovation. Business leaders. Politicians. Environmentalists. And you don’t have to watch TV too long to see oil, gas and coal companies selling the idea that they’re hard at work in search of tomorrow’s miracle fuel.
l The Nest Learning Thermostat programs itself in a week and turns itself down when you’re away. Nest learns based on how you set the thermostat. Temperatures can be altered online and usage can be tracked via the Nest website: www.nest.com
The fact that so many companies are talking about energy innovation is a good thing. It shows they understand the business case for clean energy and realize that carbon reduction is necessary. But too many of these conversations end without action or result in little change. Paradigm Shifts Needed We need energy innovation on par with the light bulb, assembly line, personal computer and iPhone. These breakthroughs didn’t slightly improve existing technologies; they revolutionized them.
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Shining a Light on Energy Innovation Bright Spots It’s time our country celebrated, rewarded— even demanded—innovation in the energy industry the way it has for nearly every other industry from telephones to computers. Those of us on the environmental side of things know there’s a benefit bigger than profit, but in a trillion-dollar (and growing) market, there’s room for more than a few Apples or Googles. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) created the Energy Innovation Series to promote the role innovation has played in the energy industry and highlight clean energy technologies and new business models that hold the promise of revolutionizing the way we create, transport, manage and use energy. EDF has selected more than 20 innovations to highlight across a broad range of energy categories, including smart grid and renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency financing, and progressive utilities, to name a few. The series will showcase original news stories on featured energy innovations as well as videos and animations, interviews with clean energy experts and webinars that discuss the future of clean energy, among others, throughout 2012. Jim Marston is the founding director of the Texas office of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), located in Austin, where he has served since its beginning in 1988. Jim is the Vice President of EDF’s national Energy Program and also serves as Regional Director of EDF’s Texas Office.
Your Future Has Arrived:
Fuel Director: Josh Tickell
An Electric Car is Waiting
Having directed a movie called Fuel, people often ask me, “What kind of car should I buy?” I’ll cut to the chase; if you can afford it, and you’ve got a place to charge it, and it works for your commute, get an electric car. Granted, you’ll have to deal with range anxiety, plug-in anxiety, and safety anxiety, but do the research, and you’ll learn they really are just that – anxieties. Today’s electric vehicles (EV’s) are capable road warriors that have more stringent safety standards than their gasoline counterparts, can often be plugged into any standard household plug, and offer great range. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s available.
The Nissan Leaf is a 100% electric, four-door sedan with a range of 115 miles per charge. At $35,200 for the base model, the car isn’t cheap, but a $7,500 federal tax rebate helps alleviate sticker shock. The inside of the car is roomy enough for five adults and some luggage. Settle into the driver’s seat, close the door, and you feel like you’re in a tank; a test drive in this machine should quiet most safety concerns. Luckily, the car has quick acceleration. The interior bristles with accessories that help the driver find charging stations and monitor the car’s power consumption. The Mitsubishi I is a testament to the idea that good things coming in small packages. The car retails for $29,125 with a top speed of 81mph and a 62-mile per-charge range. The $7,500 federal tax rebate also applies, making it priced to compete with entry-level gas guzzlers. Granted, the car isn’t a speed demon, its range is curt, and its accessories are spartan, but it drives surprisingly like a full sized sedan and comfortably seats four adults with luggage. The car comes with a 120 volt charger which takes 22 hours to fully charge, or for an additional cost, you can purchase the 240 volt charger which tops the car off in 7 hours.
CODA is the only EV company based in Los Angeles with a car largely assembled in the U.S. Its first model is aimed at urban jungle dwellers who need practicality and price. The four-door sedan retails for $37,250, has a 125 mile range, a top speed of 85mph, and can be fully charged in 6 hours. (Again, the $7,500 federal tax rebate applies.) The CODA is a direct competitor to the Leaf in almost every respect, beating the Nissan on range and perhaps inconspicuousness. The CODA is the only EV that looks like a “normal” car.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from inconspicuous, sits the Tesla S (the long awaited big brother to the two-door Tesla sports car). The S is aimed at the luxury market, with a 17-inch 3G connected touchscreen, 5 seats, 110mph top speed, 160-300 mile range, and a starting price of... are you ready? $57,400. (It costs an additional $20k to get the 300 mile range.) The car is indeed luxurious, and while Tesla is taking orders now, cars won’t ship until late this year.
Tiny Shorts and Trauma Bonds: A Conversation with Briohny Smyth INTERVIEW: Andrea Marcum
If you’ve not seen Briohny Kate Smyth’s Equinox video yet, it’s likely you’re also still using a rotary phone. At nearly four million views, it’s been the talk of Yogatown and beyond since its mid-January release. Yes, her scantily clad, gravity-defying handstands are impressive, but Briohny has defied even more impressive elements in her young life. Born in Australia, Bri moved to L.A. and found her way onto the pageant circuit at age six. An angry Miss Pre-Teen California was then relocated to her mother’s native Thailand when she was in the fifth grade. Modeling replaced pageants, and her Bioré commercial caught the eye of Thailand’s biggest record label. Eight months later, her first album was released, and she was on her way to pop stardom. By age fourteen, she was hospitalized for an ulcer brought on by excessive partying and a debilitating eating disorder. Things were spinning out of control for Bri, “The crazier it got, the more concert tickets I sold because the crazier I’d do a show, and that sold.” A second hospitalization had Bri’s mom instigating a trip to Nepal and India to get her away from it all. It was there that Bri found yoga. Overeaters Anonymous and yoga would see her through her ups and downs in the years to come. Then, at twenty-one, Bri got out of the Thai entertainment business and out of the clutches of her bulimia when she got pregnant with her daughter. She moved back to the States, where she began to teach yoga
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When the video went viral, did that kick up some of the Thai Pop Star dust and have you concerned, or did it confirm to you that you’d done the work and could handle it? A little bit of both. When I first did the video, I didn’t think much about it. Then, I made the mistake of reading You Tube comments. But I realized, I’ve been through this before. I need to be myself and try to have compassion for where other people are coming from, even when it’s hurtful. The opportunity to inspire other people when the spotlight is on you is there, so that’s where I put my focus.
Has the enormity of the video had an impact on the intimacy of your classroom? There’s even more camaraderie because we’ve been through something together. We have a “trauma bond” on a very mild level.
get a surgery to put extra plates in my knees to make me taller.
Certainly, getting comfortable in our skin is tough, but to me what’s empowering is what you’ve endured, not just as a young pop star, but later as a single mom, a music producer, and a fashion entrepreneur and that you’re so humble about it. When I spoke to Judith Lasater, she asked, “Why are we doing all these handstands and arm balances, unless our lives are shaped and changed?”
“If I can inspire people through arm balances and inversions, I am happy to. Those things, no matter how petty they might seem, changed my life.”
But no one expects you to show up in your underwear, right? What’s funny is that when companies send me clothes, which I’m very thankful for, they send me tiny shorts and bras. I never teach or practice in that.
There’s a lot of talk about the video being empowering. What aspect of it is most empowering for you? It’s basically that after years of body issues, I always struggled with how I looked. I even had someone suggest that I
I love arm balances and inversions because I feel so strong. It’s not your ego being, “Yes, I can do this so everyone else can suck it.” It’s, “Yes, I can do this. I’m filling my heart with confidence. I feel good about myself.” One teacher whom I admire, who’s been very successful at marrying her passion for inversions with how they represent struggles and obstacles in life, is Kathryn Budig. She inspires me. If I can inspire people through arm balances and inversions, I am happy to. Those things, no matter how petty they might seem, changed my life. They made me want to dedicate my life to yoga. They make me more and more present every day. Another way in which yoga has turned Bri’s life upside down is that it introduced her to her new husband, Dice Ida Klein (aka “the guy in the bed in her video”). After all she has been through, Bri has landed in a happy household, and evidently, in an abundance of tiny shorts and bras.
PHOTOS ABOVE: ROBERT STURMAN LEFT: DAVID YOUNG-WOLFF OPPOSITIE PAGE: DAVID YOUNG-WOLFF
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Me Jane, You Tarzan: The Politics of Sexual Polarity Lori Ann Lothian PHOTOS: MICHAEL JULIAN BERZ
he first time I was ravished, I was 23. It was in a university building stairwell. He grabbed my hair with one fist, pressed me against the cool cement wall and kissed me with such ardor it took my breath away and elicited an instant wet-panty response. I married him two years later. This passionate engagement became the yardstick by which I measured all future suitors. I admit to wanting a man to take charge sexually and to not ask permission to love me aggressively. I even remember telling one timid man, post-husband, “Don’t worry, I won’t break.”
slay your demons, care deeply, and dare to dream.
the wimpification of men in the era of the Sensitive New Age Guy (SNAG).
But when it came to the invitation to just take a woman, without apology, some women clobbered me with the dictionary definition of ravish, which includes the word rape. Some men asked if I wanted them to revert to brutish, macho stereotypes. Both men and women asked if what I wanted was to go backwards to a time when women were chattel, an asset in the possession of mostly abusive, power-drunk men.
Fifty Shades gives women the option to surrender, to opt for the fine-print clause of letting go of control. It’s a twisted story of a 21-year-old college virgin (yeah, right) who meets an emotionally damaged billionaire who at first wants to make her his 12th submissive but in the end, falls in mutual, kinky love. And yes, Christian (I prefer you call me Mr. Gray) spanks Anastasia, ties her up, and even flogs her—without the genital clamps or fisting (items the virgin girl wisely takes off the contract).
“Where are we as a gender-neutral society,
But these days, both genders seem to where women are asked to be strong and capable That a work of bondage-domination resist the idea that it’s okay for a man to fiercely love a woman. I learned lite-erotica hit the mainstream is and men are expected to be vulnerable and this through the more than 150 public a testament to the fact that the emotionally available?” comments and hundreds of private mainstream woman is tired of being emails sparked by my recent article, in charge. “A Call to the Sacred Masculine: Ten Daring Invitations from the Divine Feminine” (a Gosh, no. We women have become super-manly in our piece that soared to over 45,000 views and pursuit of independence, to the point that 13,000 Facebook likes). I was simply suggesting that men be, well, trashy, badly-written smut like Fifty Shades men. strikes a nerve and hits the best-seller charts. Obviously, the idea of a feminine call to the The invitation of this book is simple. It’s the masculine struck a collective chord. It sparked The unexpected popularity of Fifty Shades of woman saying, “Show me your troubled male overwhelmingly positive feedback from men Gray (which makes Harlequin romance look psyche so that I can feel connected to you, to these invitations: show us your heroic heart, like high literature) speaks—no shouts—to and dominate me so that I can let the f*ck go,
sexually and otherwise.” The lure of being not only not-in-control, but out of control, is a potent elixir for women who have been asked to step up and compete with men. We don’t want to battle for supremacy in politics, corporate power structures, or even sports teams. In fact, we women would prefer to collaborate. But the feminist agenda has gotten us women all tied up in the mental knot of “never depend on a man” and “anything a man can do, we can do, better.” Which brings me to this big question: where are we as a gender-neutral society, where women are asked to be strong and capable and men are expected to be vulnerable and emotionally available? We are probably missing out on the juicy current generated by the natural polarity between a man and a women (an unadulterated feminine and masculine energy). This is a current that writers like David Deida make into big-selling books such as The Superior Man. Books that ask men to look at their own chest-thumping, warriorhunter nature and say, “Yes!” Books that tell men to penetrate their women’s moods and remind women that it’s okay to admit that they want to be ravished. Because according to Deida, a truly feminine core (in a man or woman) wants to be taken. It’s just that simple. I loved a man once, for two years. Yet in the end, I left because he was not willing to man-up (he hated that word) and love me with the ferocious current of the warrior-king. Instead, he wanted to be my equal, to the point that he also wanted to be my buddy—not my take-charge lover, not the one who would just press me against that wall and bind me with his kisses. king.
In the admittedly cartoonish film, 300, Spartan King Leonidas’ Queen Gorgo not only has hot sex with her man, she advises him post-coitus on affairs of state. She is also in many ways, as the film progresses, demonstrably as powerful, clever, and brave as the and his equal. Lori Ann Lothian got her Ph.D. in real life love relationships from the university of a failed marriage and the lesson plan of serial monogamy. When she is not busy writing for and editing the Love and Relationship section of elephant journal online, she’s blogging at Love Stripped Down, where the naked truth about sex, romance, and relationships is explored in depth.
I remember seeing this film years ago and thinking, this is really what I want. I want to be a queen to my king. I want a man who loves me with passionate, hands-held-overmy-head strength and yet, who also recognizes me as his partner, his ally,
Because I am not the lesser half. Or the better half. I am simply the other half. And as that half, I am also whole. Because within me, I carry the current of masculine and feminine. As does the man. I just want to play in the juicy playground of Jane and Tarzan. Of Leonidas and Gorgo. Of heck, yes, even of Anastasia and Christian. I just want to feel like a woman. Even though I am as powerful as a man.
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The Importance of Ritual Susanna Harwood Rubin
he light pouring through the blinds falls in stripes across my floor. There are no sirens and no street noise yet. I pad across the wood floors of my apartment, fill the kettle, and turn on the burner. While the water heats, I wash my face and get dressed. I take my tea over to the puja, light the candle and some incense, and settle in. As I drink my tea I think about what I want from my day. I choose a word or a phrase – something that I will want to revisit again and again until I go to sleep at night. How do I want to feel inside my skin today? What do I want my words and my actions to convey? How do I want to move through the world, right here and now? I look at the pictures of my teachers. I look at my ornamented bronze Nataraja. I smell a package of Vibhuti, sacred ash from the fire ceremony in Chidambaram last summer, and I reconnect to the temple, which sits at the center of my spiritual life. The smell triggers its clanging sounds and lush visuals, and I soften my eyes to turn toward my breath, noticing how this connects my inner body to the space around me. I move through the rituals of mudra and mantra that hold and carry the substance of my meditation. Today I choose a simple one – Aum Gam Ganapataye Namaha. – salutations to Ganesh, Lord of the Threshold, who represents transformation, change, and entry into a new place in our lives. The mantra softly sinks back into my breath, my hands descend to my knees, and I sit in the morning light, wandering through the rooms and spaces of my inner world. It is beautiful here and thickly complicated - a layering of past, present, and future experiences. The possibilities are limitless. Every meditation is utterly different, which is why the structure, or dharma, of my ritual is so necessary. The structure holds the possibility. Just enough of my practice is the same and just enough is different in each meditation to make this a place I want to revisit endlessly. Each meditation reveals a corner of the inner temple that I have not yet explored. The ritual is essential. A deepening of the breath, palms back together before the heart, then release. I touch my left fingertips to my heart, my right to the ground. Pause. I open my eyes. I move forward into the day. As a visual artist and certified yoga teacher, Susanna’s classes offer an experience of creativity, intensity, and grace. She is based at NYC’s Virayoga, and is a founding member of Yoga Coalition. Susanna’s artwork is represented in collections such as the UCLA Hammer Museum and the Addison Gallery of American Art. For years, she lectured and wrote for MoMA and now writes for Elephant Journal and Origin.
PHOTO: ROBERT STURMAN
Hadji Jones Ever since my first year of practicing Yoga, I’ve had this burning passion to share the practice of Yoga with everyone. From day one, I’ve noticed there isn’t much diversity among yogis. I feel it’s my calling to help bridge that gap in the yoga community, bringing people you don’t typically see in a Yoga class to the practice. The healing practice of Yoga is something that benefits all people. So many of the issues plaguing minority communities can be cured with Yoga. Unfortunately, as Yoga has become westernized, it hasn’t become so inclusive. My dream is to turn this around - share it with everyone! Currently, I’m doing research on how to make Yoga diverse on a global level. I’m excited to see what will happen.
www.theblackyogi.com 72 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
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recently became an employee of one of the largest McYoga companies in the U.S., Corepower Yoga. Before that, I showed up, taught for an hour, and then disappeared. Now, it seems a lot more complicated with the IRS, but in fact, I still show up, teach for an hour, and disappear.
What makes a studio a McYoga studio? Well for one thing, there are lots of them. In some states, there are almost as many McYoga’s as there are Starbucks. For another, the average McYoga studio might offer 30 classes a day in three or more rooms, which, in 60-plus studios, is about 50,274 classes per month. Almost a billion served! McYoga’s are controversial, like McDonald’s, because they are said to be driving out independent studios and quality yoga. So why would a yogi teach and practice at a McYoga studio?
A neighborhood thing. My local studio was a neighborhood studio before it was sold to McYoga. But here’s the thing: “corporate” only exists in the marketing on the walls and the unread emails in my inbox. We are friends who share birthdays and girls’ nights out and shampoo in the locker room. Getting paid on time. I have a contract, I’m paid on time, and the check never bounces. Those are three more things than I can say about my experiences at some independent studios. The students. McYoga has introduced yoga to more people than the invention of Lycra or Luon. New students equal more mats, which equals more yoga for everyone.
Is it Killing Real Yoga? Michelle Berman Marchildon
The yoga is homogenized. You will not learn as much in the way of philosophy or physical alignment or advanced postures, but you will have a yogi workout. The yoga is often better at independent studios, but sometimes, the teacher talks for 30 minutes and then offers meditation. On the days when I have no time to screw around, I take McYoga because a workout is better than nothing. The low-pricing and market saturation is killing good yoga. Really? Is McDonald’s killing fine dining? In my opinion, what is killing quality yoga is an inconsistent offering from independent studios. I also teach at an independent studio where I can give more alignment, expertise, and attention to my students, and my attendance numbers are fine. However, if a new student shows up, just once, to an independent studio that is dirty or out of toilet paper, it will turn them off of independent yoga everywhere. There are good independent studios, and there are bad ones, but the McYogas are always the same. It’s easy to get hurt, especially if you don’t know what you are doing. When classes average 30 students, the instructor can only put out the “fires” of misalignment. However, there are also outstanding instructors at McYoga studios who teach for many of the same reasons that I do, such as getting paid. Students can find those instructors if the want to get better. Intermediate yoga students. While beginner and advanced yoga students know that they know nothing—intermediates know it all. McYogas are filled with intermediate students who write to the corporate headquarters with complaints when there’s not enough core work or yogijumping-jacks (and then they wonder why there’s no time to teach them how to do yoga). Om Namah Shivaya. I try to remember that not too long ago I was also one of those intermediate students. Now, I’m just a beginner, and I know it.
PHOTO: shannon marie casey 74 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
The One Million Faces Project Peggy Dyer Inviting people to participate in the One Million Faces Project feels like leading a yoga class. â€œTake a deep breath, think about your message to the world, draw your attention inward.â€? The photos do not always include smiles, and sometimes, subjects close their eyes. In those brief moments between the breath, they trust me with the most pure expressions, authentic visions, and dreams of their heart.
The One Million Faces Project was inspired by the Bon Jovi song, â€œWanted Dead or Alive,â€? on February 26, 2009. It was a simple, awe-inspiring idea: to photograph a million faces and Rock them all. Since then, the One Million Faces Project has blossomed into a community art experience, events that blend art with heart, in Colorado, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Alabama, North Carolina, Washington, and Tel Aviv, Israel.
At the time of press, Peggy Dyer has taken 7,869 portraits and expects to reach 10,000 later this year.
The One Million Faces Project www.onemillionfaces.org
Yogi Spotlights Christen Bakken. Denver. Co. I am passionate about our future. Affecting the lives of our children is of utmost importance. I live a life of gratitude and hope to spread joy to as many people as I can. Christen Bakken is the owner of Yoga for Young Warriors (YFYW), which is a business built with families in mind. We focus on offering positive, play-based movement to kids.
Christina Sell. Austin, TX. I am the co-founder and director of School of Yoga, which offers educational programs that connect people to the Heart’s light through traditional yogic practices, practical work on self, and transformational community. I am passionate about yoga being a doorway to our intrinsic dignity while being relevant to modern life.
Brian Castellani. San Francisco. CA.
Jill Wheeler. Naples. Fl. Adventure is when you don’t know what’s going to happen next. As psychotherapist and adventurer, my yoga classes and retreats are always unique adventures: sometimes messy, always revealing. In Naples, you will find me kite-boarding, teaching Paddleboard Yoga and eating raw at Food & Thought. I make time for the Naples International Film Festival and the House of Gaia.
Brian Castellani started his yoga journey while working at Yoga Journal magazine. Due to a previous accident, he realized how beneficial yoga was for him, and eventually completed a yoga teacher training at the Yoga Loft in San Francisco. He has dedicated himself to creating a self-sustaining community by providing exposure through articles and video biographies for yoga businesses and yoga teachers. His platforms are Yoganomics® and IndieYoga®. His growth is reflected through his dedication and love for yoga.
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Live passionately. Love fully. Give joyfully.
Wellfit Institute & Jessica Winkler present:
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APRIL 25-30, 2013
6 days/5 nights Experience kiteboarding from a yoga mindset in the culturally, ecologically and spiritually rich Mayan Yucatan. Enhance mind, body and spirit through adventure sport, nutrition, yoga and friendship.
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124 Leaders Shifting the Planet Building community and shifting the planet for good, these visionaries, humanitarians + yogis inspire us. We are grateful for the consciousness you create in the world. Photo: Allison V. Smith
Susan O’Brien. Dallas. TX. Founder. Hail Merry Snacks. Reality, for me, at the age of 14, was being told that I had to wear a back brace. Yep, I was “that” girl. I look back on the experience with such gratitude for what it taught me about how to look fear in the face rather than flee, to dig deep and discover my true talents, but most of all, how to learn to love myself. Living through an emotional rock-bottom like that gave me the courage to start and help lead my company, Hail Merry. Susan O’Brien started Hail Merry Snacks after traveling to Maui, where she fell in love with the raw food lifestyle, a natural complement to her decade-long yoga practice. As a trained designer, Ms. O’Brien enjoys the creative and tactical aspects of building a brand, while employing people in this struggling economy. She is also a wife and mother of three boys.
www.hailmerry.com 82 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
Kerri Kelly. San Francisco. CA. Yoga Teacher + Coach + Executive Director. Off the Mat, Into the World. POSSIBILITY. I believe in the potential within each and every one of us. I believe that we are all catalysts for change, that when we reunite with our truth and our full capacity (yoga), anything is possible. I believe in courageous action, the kind that allows us to confront pain and transform it into possibility. I believe in HOPE. Kerri is a powerful teacher who inspires possibility, growth, and manifestation through yoga and coaching. She came to yoga from the marketing world and has been instrumental in bridging yoga and activism, politics, and business. Kerri is the Executive Director of Off the Mat, Into the World and is committed to catalyzing the yoga community around positive social change.
Mikki Willis. Ojai. CA. Filmmaker + Founder. ELEVATE. I am infinitely awed by the power of movies and media to unite and inspire the masses. As a purist, I once dismissed technological progress as a move away from nature. I now see that nature is behind it all. Mikki Willis has pioneered over 300 socially and environmentally conscious productions, from live events, to network television, theatrical movies, music videos, and viral media. His latest initiative is PlayItFWD, a revolutionary online distribution and marketing platform for transformational movies.
www.mikkiwillis.com www.elevate.us www.playitFWD.com
Federico Marques. Houston. TX. Founder + Co-Owner. Ruggles Green Restaurants. We believe in building a better world. We believe that we can have healthier, tastier food that is organic, locally grown, always fresh, and made to order. Most importantly, we believe in the ability of human beings to solve problems and make our planet better for future generations. Federico is a scientist, inventor, and now founder and co-owner of the Greenest restaurants in Texas, as well as several emerging green-tech businesses.
Oren Harris. Los Angeles. Ca. Transformation Specialist + Founder. The Flow Academy. I’m most inspired by contributing toward the constant process of the “impossible” becoming the possible within our seemingly finite reality. Also, I absolutely love the moment when an individual fully realizes that everything is One and that we all are, in fact, unlimited beings. That’s when my work as a facilitator gets really exciting. I’m a highly inspired being, I live my life in “the flow”, and I’m on a mission to create “Heaven on Earth” by serving as a live demonstration of infinite possibility in everything I do.
www.orenharris.com www.TheFlowAcademy.com Photo: Jax Austin
James O’Dea. Crestone. Co. International Peacebuilder. I am inspired by so-called average people I have witnessed the world over who forgive unspeakable abuse. They see how good people can do terrible things. They remind us that love can prevail and that dialogue is a lifeline for human civilization. Like so many others who are true ambassadors of peace, they bless and heal our deeply wounded world. They reveal a planetary culture of peace rising out of every heart which responds to the call to heal rather than nurse the hurt. James O’Dea is the author of Cultivating Peace: Becoming a 21stCentury Peace Ambassador. He has trained hundreds of peace ambassadors and emerging leaders and is former President of IONS.
Bob Weisenberg. Milwaukee. Wi. Associate Publisher. elephant journal. We are an online magazine/community devoted to mindful living, including: Yoga, Green, Wellness, Spirituality, Culture, Love, Family, and Work. Our purpose is to help make the world a better place by bringing great writing to a rapidly growing audience. I am a veteran software entrepreneur turned yoga writer turned elephant builder and a flamenco guitarist, who likes to let his writing and music speak for itself.
Rich Johnson. Chicago. Il. CEO. Spark Ventures. We can do more together than we can alone. This motto has inspired me to connect with extraordinary people around the world to create sustainable solutions that lift children out of poverty. I am passionate about transformational leadership and collaboration. I am a social entrepreneur living my dream of making the world a better place.
Gina Michele Murdock. Aspen. CO. Founder + Director. Aspen Yoga Society. I am inspired by caterpillars: Transform. Evolve. Fly. Gandhi got it: “Be the change you wish to see…” Take action: “The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.” Go. Do. Be.
Alex Winkelman. Austin. TX. Executive Director. Citizen Generation. What inspires me to build community: The world will never be perfect, but so many people are trying and succeeding at doing wonderful things for the world. Those people and the recipients of their good deeds inspire me to do more and help others be inspired. After several years of working on short-term philanthropic projects, Alex Winkelman founded CharityBash at the age of 21 as a way to make charitable giving affordable, accessible, and fun for young professionals. Three years later, she launched Citizen Generation. Through her extensive philanthropic involvement, Alex was recently named a 2012 Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of Central Texas and was honored with the 2012 ADL Austin Humanitarian Award with her family.
Laurie Gerber. New York City. NY. Senior Coach + President. Handel Group® Life Coaching I’m inspired by people who dare to dream, bust through their excuses and fears, and make and keep promises. I’m passionate about changing human culture, so we’re all happy, free, proud, and equal. Hence, my dream is to make “dealing” and telling the truth sexy. Laurie appeared on MTV’s True Life, in Elle and Experience Life magazines. She coaches, blogs, manages HGLC, and speaks live, along with adoring her family.
photo: jordan matter
Betty LaMarr. Los Angeles. Ca. Executive Director. EmpowHer Institute. I am inspired by the opportunity to create greater possibilities for girls and women, to help those “who would do better if they knew better.” Betty LaMarr is an author, business woman, and Executive Director of EmpowHer Institute, a nonprofit organization which she founded in 2003.
KC Baker. Sausalito. Ca. Voice Illuminator
www.empowher.org Photo: Starla Fortunato
I believe that our highest leverage point for creating true, positive transformation in our world lies in supporting women in unleashing the brilliance of their voices. And so, I’m on a mission to support women in cranking up the volume.
Miss Scorpio (Larisa Fuchs). New York City. NY. Event Producer + Curator. Gemini and Scorpio.
I work internationally to support women in becoming powerful public speakers and in writing and delivering epic speeches.
I’m most inspired by experiences that elevate beyond surroundings and mental state: not only euphoric in themselves but able to impact your creative work, worldview, or self-understanding. This magic happens most readily through art, whether via fromthe-heart performance or an artist-transformed, immersive environment. I strive for both in my events and especially relish the opportunity to connect artist and audience and to overlap my creative communities.
Photo: Wendy Kyalom
Since 2002, Larisa has been the producer for Gemini and Scorpio large-scale parties, known for creative themes, astounding performances, eye-popping spectacle, and outrageous costumes. Her expertise in production, curation, and promotion gets called on by clients, ranging from media (BBC, National Geographic Traveler) to arts festivals (Maker Faire, FIGMENT) to musicians (Amanda Palmer, Sxip Shirey). She’s currently building out a community arts space in her 3,000 sq. ft. Brooklyn loft.
Reverend Howard Caesar. Houston. TX. Senior Minister. Unity of Houston.
I’m inspired by contributing to the healing of humanity on all levels; raising spiritual consciousness through practical, progressive teachings and practices; awakening people to the forces of Oneness required to sustain life on Earth. Reverend Howard Caesar, senior minister for 30 years at Unity of Houston, also serves as Board Chairman of Unity World Headquarters and is a Oneness Meditator.
Suzanne Sterling. San Francisco. CA. Singer + Ritualist + Co-Founder. Off The Mat, Into the World. I am inspired by mavericks and creative inventors, the continual search for deeper layers of truth, stellar colleagues and high quality playmates, spontaneous and/or skillfully crafted devotional moments, empowerment through conscious transformation, living fully and loving deeply, stepping out of the box and into the circle, life as art as life. Building ecstatic community in deep celebration and all the ways that we Sing Ourselves Awake! Suzanne’s unique singing + teaching style is a passionate and ecstatic journey into the heart of creativity, authentic connection with Source, and joyful service.
Bentley Meeker. Lighting Artist + Owner. Bentley Meeker Lighting + Staging, Inc. I’m particularly inspired by the way people are attracted to light. There is something in light that sings to our soul. A new day, a beautiful sunset, or a stunning environment. I am a firm believer that our souls are made only of light, and through our soul’s connection with extraordinary outside light, we are awakened in a singular way. It is through that practice of bringing light that I know I bring my audiences closer to that light. To thinking about it. To feeling it. It is through that awareness that we ultimately become aware of our own souls, our purpose, our mission, for being on this earth. Bentley Meeker is a lighting artist, designer, and owner of Bentley Meeker Lighting and Staging, Inc. He is the author of Light X Design and lives in Spanish Harlem with his girlfriend Elena Brower and their two children.
Carla Swanson. Ubud. Bali. + San Francisco. CA. Yoga Entrepeneur + Humanitarian Inspired by experiencing other cultures, I strive to live outside my element in unfamiliar territory. Connecting with like-minded people and their passions. Creativity means more than art or interesting ideas; it is about purpose. People who live in service, channeling the source energy onto the planet through acts of love and meaningful purpose are the ultimate creators. I am passionate about what I do because it matters to my heart. My projects include: The Freedom School, an alternative, free school where educators, artists, and musicians are invited to stay in exchange for teaching and inspiring the children of Bali. Soulshine, created with Michael Franti, a yoga retreat center that holds space for teachers and yogis to deepen their practice and share the wisdom and love of yoga. Stay Human, a yoga-inspired clothing line where 10% of sales are donated to Bumi Sehat, a free, natural birthing clinic. Bumsies, a baby clothing line whose proceeds are donated to support the heroic efforts of Ibu Robin Lim, founder of Bumi Sehat.
www.villageabovetheclouds.com + www.soulshinebali.com + www.stayhumannow.com + www.bumsies.org
Leadership Seane Corn
he success of my leadership is, and will always be, dependent upon the inner work I do. It would be easy (and familiar) to allow the small voice within me to talk myself out of stepping up and taking the risks necessary to create change. When I imagine allowing my doubt, shame, insecurity, or fear to block me from doing what I know is right and true, I think, How dare I? How dare I empower a limited belief to determine how I show up in the world? So, I confront my shadows, process my feelings, face my fears, take many deep breaths, hike up my big girl panties, and do what needs to be done, so I can engage in the world in a more mindful, compassionate, proactive, sustainable, and loving way. I want to lead from truth; therefore, I must commit to living it.
photo: kadri kurgen wardrobe: Donna M
photo: Jenni Young
Leaders Who Inspire california
1. Zat Baraka. Los Angeles. CA. Men’s Evolutionary Coach. I’m inspired by conscious men who are committed to their transformation, who are courageous enough to step into and redefine the masculine, and who are on-fire to be leaders of change. I work with men to achieve personal and financial success through activating a life of purpose, authenticity, and integrity. www.zatbaraka.com
2. Akahdahmah. Topanga. CA. Harmonic Healing Minister. AYKANNA. I am inspired by teachings about our oneness with Source, our ability to heal, and science validating it. I love to inspire inner growth through, breathing, movement, and meditation. Akahdahmah is a Spiritual Counselor, Educator, Kundalini Yoga Teacher, and co-founder of AYKANNA, a healing music experience. www.aykanna.com 3. Jocelyn Gordon. Big Sur. CA. Ecstatic Embodiment Expert. HoopYoginiTM + Bhakti Boogie® As a child, I begged the Universe to reveal my purpose. Spirit shared that my passion and direct channel to Source is to and through dance. As an adult, I facilitate life transformation through dance + conscious movement. Life is Bliss. Jocelyn is the creator of HoopYoginiTM + Bhakti Boogie®. She teaches internationally. www.jocelyngordon.com
4. Melissa Hall aka ALIA. San Francisco. CA. Feminine Luminary + Performing Artist. Femvolution. I am inspired by women who overcome adversity to courageously share the brilliance of who they are. I love revealing the greatness in women that is longing to be liberated. Melissa, CEO of Femvolution, is the Liberator of Feminine Luminaries in-the-making and creates enchanting musical experiences as Sonic Shamaness, ALIA. www.Femvolution.com + www.ALIARhythms.com
2. 5. Abby Wills. Los Angeles. CA. Co-Founder + Youth Educator. Shanti Generation. The possibility of peace inspires my work with youth and teachers to create opportunities for recognizing interconnectivity through yogic practices. Harmonious human development drives me. Mother. Wife. Activist. Democratic Educator. Kids Yoga Teacher. Purveyor of Youth Peacemakers. School Yoga Advocate. Yogini-in-chief at Shanti Generation. www.shantigeneration.com 6. Kasey Luber. Los Angeles. CA. Founder. BigHappyDay.com I am inspired by YouTube hits. Each one represents a yogi getting closer to the truth. The time for sound bite spiritual evolution is now. Just press play… Reporting on The Yoga Scene is the only job I’ve ever had. I live near the beach in YouTube, California. www.BigHappyDay.com
Photo: Erica Parise
7. Christina Sabatini. Los Angeles. CA. Founder. Global Wristband Project. I am inspired by the philosophy of Vedanta. I learn how to develop principles of living and commit to my spiritual growth so to be of greater service to others. I connect socially conscious individuals, organizations, and companies with Global Wristbands to fundraise for service projects and communicate inspiring messages. www.globalwristbandproject.com
photo: Natalia Bicvic
1. Mario Covic. Encinitas. CA. Photographer + Visual Artist I am inspired by people who follow their passion, practice presence, and embody their physical being. I build community by connecting the people I photograph in the different circles of my life. I am a photographer who strives to capture the essence of the people, events, and/or things that I photograph. www.mariocovic.com
2. Hillary Rubin. Los Angeles. CA. Breakthrough Coach + Creator. Your Soul’s University. I’m inspired by growth. I believe we have everything inside of us. I am passionate about being a positive contribution. Life is about releasing the layers of limiting beliefs so we can wake up to our deepest, most beautiful selves. I’m working on my first book and coach women to conquer their fears and design a life they’ve always dreamed of. www.hillaryrubin.com
3. Kelly Thornton Smith. Irvine. CA. Director of Fun + Founder. Center for Living Peace. Co-Founder. Love 365. My passion is to inspire a world of peace, love, compassion, and making Good Happen, globally, abundantly, and fearlessly, all while having fun and eating lots of cupcakes! www.goodhappens.org www.love-365.org
4. 4. Annabel Ruffell. Los Angeles. CA. Founder. Journey for Earth. Nature and animals inspire me and people committed to a great cause. I am passionate about being the best that I can be for my son, my community, and our world. Founder of Journey for Earth, a web series focusing on global issues, inspiring people to take action. Acclaimed artist. Proud mother. www.journeyforearth.com
Leaders Who Inspire
5. Candice Holdorf. San Francisco + Los Angeles. CA. Sexuality Coach + OM Trainer I’m inspired by courage in the face of fear; boundary-pushing artistic expression; women with appetite; men who are brave enough to cry; the power of prayer; and my fiancé. I work with people in the arenas of sexuality, orgasm, and desire. I’m also an actress, writer, and recovering anorexic. www.candiceholdorfcoaching.com www.candiceholdorf.com
6. Shaman Durek Verrett. Los Angeles. CA. Inspired by love for humanity and devotion to Source, it brings me joy to deliver messages from the spirit world and teach people how to have a relationship with spirit beyond selfimposed limitations. Shaman Durek, chosen as a shaman at the age of five, is dedicated to bringing ancient spiritual wisdom into the modern world. www.shamandurek.com
7. Beth Shaw. Torrance. CA. Founder + President. YogaFit Training Systems Worldwide, Inc. What inspires me as the founder of the largest yoga school in North America is YogaFit’s commitment to community service, supporting animals, and humanitarian causes. YogaFit’s philosophy is “yoga for everyone.” YogaFit brings yoga to the masses with a large concentration of trainings. YogaFit’s Community Service Commitment has brought yoga to millions who would have never otherwise experienced it. www.yogafit.com
8. Ira Israel. Santa Monica. CA. Licensed Psychotherapist. Optimum Integral Wellness. “How can I be happy with all the bad sh*t that has happened to me?” “Learn to replace resentment with gratitude.” “How do I create a meaningful life?” “Serve others.” Ira Israel helps fellow human beings on their healing journeys through his “Yoga and Mindfulness for Authentic Relationships” workshops. Photo: Mary Redente
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PHOTO : Margie Woods-Brown
1.Jule Aguirre. Dallas. TX. International Nia Trainer “move. Be Moved. BE.TM” inspires me! Living and moving fully in my body, opening up to LIFE moving me while embracing the wholeness of my Being delivers “life-enhancing, jaw-dropping transformation!” Nia Black Belt Somatic Educator with the International Nia Training Faculty, moving bodymind integrators, urban athletes, and adventurers in wellness. www.juleinthelotus.com 2. Tina Marie Jones. Houston. TX. Author. Talk Show Host. Esteem Coach. I am inspired when people share their dreams, those brilliant sparks that may have dimmed through the years, that in the recesses of their hearts, never let go. And I love when they then pursue that dream with wild abandon! Tina Marie Jones is the creator of the Hi Sexy! System, a program that helps people discover their divine confidence. www.tinamariejones.com
3. Alejandra Carrasco. Austin. TX. Integrative Family Physician. NOURISH. The body has an innate capacity to heal. It is my passion to tap into that awesome wisdom through integrative medicine and empower and nourish others towards true health. Alejandra Carrasco, M.D., FAAFP, FABIHM, is a Board Certified Physician in Family Medicine + Integrative and Holistic Medicine and Founder + Manifestor at NOURISH, an integrative medical practice. www.nourishmedicine.com 92 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
4. Patrice Pike. Austin. TX. Musician + Founder. The Grace Foundation of Texas. I’m inspired by witnessing people who are both self-sustaining and generous with the resources they have available to them. The combination of acting in personal responsibility and radical generosity is an awesome healer for ourselves and each other. I love building community around this concept and encouraging freedom of self expression and playing in life. The joy of my life has been to create playful work and collaborate with others who work and play hard for the purpose of improving others’ life experiences. Patrice Pike is a musician, producer, and Founder of the Grace Foundation of Texas. Her new release The Calling will be out in late 2012. The Grace Foundation of Texas is responding to the financial gap that exists for young adults who have survived childhood/teenage homelessness and have aged out of the existing support systems currently available to them. Grace hopes to act as a financial bridge for higher education, health and wellness, mentorship, and reentry into society by awarding individual financial scholarships. www.patricepike.com www.gracetexas.org
5. Lydia Joy Smith. Houston. TX. Co-Creator. Oneness Junkie, Inc. I am inspired to spread the message of Oneness, one cool t-shirt at a time, in hopes to ignite a conversation that leads to a global awakening, humanity’s expansion. Lydia is a self proclaimed Oneness Junkie and co-creative entrepreneur supporting sustainable organizations in marketing and communications. www.Onenessjunkie.com
Leaders Who Inspire
texas 6. 5.
7. 6. Amy Lewis Hofland. Dallas. TX. Executive Director. Crow Collection of Asian Art. I am inspired by the power of art. It connects people. It engenders empathy and self-reflection. It makes a community healthier and happier, and these connections happen every day in our museum. Speaker, author, and award-winning educator, Amy Lewis Hofland is noted for establishing the Crow Collection as the first “wellness museum” in the United States.
8. Nelson Guda. Austin. TX. Artist
7. Helen Terry. Houston. TX. Inspirer. NiaMoves Studio + Soma Ranch
I’m inspired by change, life as art, obsessions, passions, compassions, creation, community, communication, peace from conflict, fear through courage, gratitude, dark beautiful joy, understanding in loss, boundaries of experience, body moon, ridiculous but deadly serious, nothing and everything sacred.
I’m passionate about moving people with Nia Technique, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I bring people together and inspire them, at my NiaMoves Studio in Houston, Soma Ranch in Texas, and around the world. That turns me on. Entertaining, “to the point” speaker, International Nia Technique Trainer, Certified Body Ecologist, Dancer Therapy Specialist with Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology. www.somaranch.com
All I have seen is about balance. www.enemiesproject.com www.nelsonguda.com www.bartonscreams.org ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 93
1. Jimmy Barkan + Fort Lauderdale. FL. President + Owner. Barkan Method of Hot Yoga. Inspiration has always come from my students. Whether teaching at the school or training students to become yoga teachers themselves, I feel blessed every time I witness students grow, develop, and transform their lives. Jimmy Barkan, certified in 1981, is President + Owner of The Barkan Method Of Hot Yoga, which he created in 2002. Jimmy owns yoga studios in South Florida and offers teacher training programs locally and internationally.
2. Aarona Pichinson. New York City. NY. Yoga Teacher. Yoga Soundscape. Health Explorer. Artist
I’m deeply inspired by music, yoga + dance, a thriving community of artists + health advocates, + travel. Luckily this has become my work + my life! Inspiration is key to feeling alive. Through vigorously graceful classes, global retreats, + live Yoga Soundscape events, I guide people to tune in to the brilliance of their body + the spontaneous nature of wellbeing. www.yogasoundscape.com 3. Brook Cosby. New York City. NY. Meditation Teacher + Special Accounts Manager. Hyde Yoga. photo: Hannah Thiem
photo: Mark Loader
Kelly Morris, founder of Conquering Lion Yoga, inspires me to seek truth and always love, nothing less. I have never met anyone like her before and doubt I will again. Brook Cosby teaches, writes, and maintains a daily (most days...) practice of meditation and Mysore-style Ashtanga. www.yogahyde.com
4. Bernie Walters. Delmar. NY. President. Om Planet Music Management. Shortly after embarking on my Yogic journey, the path before me became clear and bright! My roots grounded in Music Publishing, I blend years of experience with great passion to bring beautiful Yoga and Meditation music into light. My search for talent brings me great joy ~ the songs and artists deeply inspire me. Photo: Joe Putrock
4. 5. Destin Layne. New York City. NY. Program Director. GRACE Communications Foundation. The way the food we eat connects us and dissolves boundaries between people. These are moments of real joy that inspire my service, my advocacy, and my passion in life. Destin directs GRACE’s Sustainable Table, Meatrix and Eat Well Guide, creates food and tech synergies, practices yoga, and loves music. www.gracelinks.org
6. Ganesh das (Carlos) Menjivar. New York City. NY. Managing Director. Jivamukti Yoga School. My inspirations are my beloved teachers, Sharon Gannon and David Life, who with their constant and consistent practice of focusing on Non-harming and God-Realization have planted in the Jivamukti community the faith that Enlightenment is possible. Ganeshdas’ one job is to remind himself and others that “all of your life, every moment, can be a spiritual practice, if you can remember God.” www.jivamuktiyoga.com
Leaders Who Inspire new york + florida 8.
5. Photo: Jake Nabutovsky
7. Derek Peck. New York City. NY Writer + Director + Photographer + Publisher I’m inspired by the power of media and storytelling to open minds, expand awareness, and enhance our appreciation of beauty, be that via art, film, journalism, photography, etc. What I love about stories and visual art is they teach without teaching, without dogma or the viewpoint of being right. The reader or viewer is able to make connections in the process of absorbing the work that opens him or her up to larger realities and possibilities. My life work has been to celebrate life while expanding our conception of things, whether by facilitating the voices of others through PLANET (the magazine I founded in 2001) or through my own creative work.
Derek Peck is a multi-disciplinary storyteller and publisher. He was born and raised in California, shaped in Paris, enlightened in the countryside of Mexico and Guatemala, and resides in New York City. www.derekpeckstudio.com www.planet-mag.com
8. Dawn Esposito-Oliver. Miami Beach. FL. Commander-in-Chief. YOGiiZA. My husband inspires me with his creative visions, humility, and aspiration to support thousands of people through our socially responsible yoga brand. He is a true leader, inspiring One Organic Yoga Community. I am the Commander-in-Chief of YOGiiZA, Organic Clothing for Organic People, a new conscious brand representing the values of yogis. www.YOGiiZA.com
9. Mark Thomas Oliver. Miami Beach. FL. “The General.” YOGiiZA. Mike Woodard with the Jubilee House Community inspires me. Mike created a camp in Nicaragua after the devastation of Hurricane Mitch for 130,000 displaced people. He teaches the people sustainable, organic farming. I teach yoga and work on our YOGiiZA Unified project helping unite yogis into a community for positive change. www.YOGiiZA.com
Leaders Who Inspire colorado, vermont, arizona + oregon
photo: Olivia Siegel
1. April Bennett. Scottsdale. AZ. Photographer. Souls Image. I am inspired by my children, my mother, my brother’s family, my adversities, Authentic Souls, sensuality, inner beauty, love, and my camera! April’s talent is dedicated to creating more than memories. Her photo shoots are an experience that you will remember because whenever you look at your pictures you will see your Soul’s Image! www.soulsimage.com
2. Chris R. Lane. Aspen. CO. Chief Executive Officer. Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.
4. Ali Kaukas. Mountains of Vermont + Oceans of Costa Rica. Living Light.
We’re inspired by the natural world and the innate curiosity of our students. Our work is to build a community of knowledgeable, capable, and motivated environmental stewards.
I like to move. I like to groove. Living to observe, capture, and feel life going on around me. Being in the unknown and exploring it without judgment, only observation.
After ten years in corporate sustainability, I’m thrilled to now change the world by shaping the minds of future leaders.
Avocados, shark tooth, chai, water of all sorts... floating on it, kid’s energy, SPICY, right here right now keeping’ it FRESH.
www.aspennature.org 3. Eden Vardy. Aspen. CO. Founder. Aspen T.R.E.E.
5. Scott Strode + Boulder. CO. Founder + Executive Director. Phoenix Multisport
I am passionate about regeneration, the notion that humankind can actually do better, be an important thread in the intricate network of nature. My life goal is to redefine humanity as a positive force!
I’m inspired to help those suffering from substance abuse to rise from the ashes of their addiction and through sports, achieve their greatest dreams through recovery.
Aspen TREE empowers and inspires youth through positive, solutionoriented sustainability education, especially around a healthy foodshed.
Scott Strode is the Founder & Executive Director of Phoenix Multisport, which has a unique approach to combat substance abuse.
6. Chip Comins. Aspen. CO. Founder + CEO. AREDAY.
8. Katy Poole. Ph.D. Portland. OR. Sanskrit Teacher +Vedic Astrologer. Shruti Institute.
I’m inspired to move from competition to collaboration to make real progress. It’s imperative that the 4% of the world’s population, who consume 30% of the natural resources and emit 25% of the CO2 with a $15 trillion GDP, take the lead to implement solutions.
I’m inspired to use technology to unite with yogis across the globe. Teaching online establishes instant intimacy with the worldwide yoga community, empowering the collective consciousness for positive planetary evolution.
7. Sue Van Raes. Boulder. CO. Founder + Nutritional Therapist. Boulder Nutrition. I am inspired by making life’s ordinary extraordinary, allowing my fullest expression to shine. My purpose is to lead by example and empower others to create true health and happiness. Founder of Boulder Nutrition in Boulder, Colorado, Sue specializes in women’s health and recently released her first book, Health Wise.
Shruti Institute for Vedic Arts provides online education in Sanskrit, Jyotisha (Vedic Astrology), and Vedic Meditation for expanding your yoga. www.SanskritforYoga.com
Lisa Fierer. Boulder. Co. www.lisafierer.com I am most inspired by those who ignite hope in the hopeless and those who’ve triumphed in the face of physical, spiritual, emotional difficulties… My teachers, who’ve taught me how to forgive the ‘unforgivable’ and embody the word in-spire: to spiral inwards to the center, where we are all one. In 1999, I discovered the tremendous healing power of yoga and began an ongoing love affair with Sanskrit. As a teacher, I strive to guide students to the divine wisdom that lies within each and every one of us.
R.R. Shakti. Boulder. CO.
Debra Perlson-Mishalove. Washington. D.C. I am passionate about living an intentional life. Serving my family, students, and community is my highest privilege. I believe the power of love + community will transform the world.
Shakti is the Founder of Inner Power Yoga® and Yoga Worldreach and combines ecological awareness, social service, and mind/body integration to offer a message of peace, hope, and personal empowerment.
Founder + Creative Director of Flow Yoga Center. Mama, wife, studio owner….I am playful, spirited + deeply connected to my sweet family life and community.
I’m inspired by SOUL ARTISTS who realize the exquisite value of Life: Those who utilize both the glorious joys and the most difficult challenges to create, of their lives, something beautiful.
Photo: Drew Xeron
The Inspire Series. Bryn Chrisman. New York City. NY. I am in awe of the human experience, triumph, and humility. I live for asana practice, kirtan, questions that words alone cannot answer, and my dog, Bill. I teach and practice yoga to hear the secret language that asana speaks through the body into the soul.
www.yogamayanewyork.com Photo: ananta cuffee 98 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
Matt Kapinus. Boulder. Co. I am inspired by people who are able to take the pain of past experiences and transmute it into fuel for an ever-expanding sense of love for the people and world around them. Matt has been teaching for four years and teaches regularly at The Yoga Pod. Matt sits on the board at the St. Benedicts Health and Healing Ministries. He also supports The Wellness Initiative.
Health & Freedom The Optibike brings biking to everyone, creating a lasting enjoyment of exercise and mobility. From beginners to professional athletes, the Optibike is an amazing experience.
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Derise Diatta. Boulder. Co. I’m inspired by risky haircuts and vulnerable conversations. By unseen potential and stories of beating the odds. When she’s not leading Teacher Training programs at CorePower Yoga, you’ll find Derise hiking in the foothills of Boulder, swimming with her daughter, or cooking up a mean pot of something tasty.
Bea Love. Austin. tx. My practice awakens me to my heart, guides me to serve others, and inspires me to believe any calling to yoga is authentic, timeless, and healing to all beings everywhere. Photo: dan holz
Bea Love is the Founder of Bea Love Yoga. She is a loving instructor on a yogic path, guiding her students to greater potentials for equanimity and repose in their natural state.
Yuki Tsuji-Hoening. Boulder. Co. I’m inspired by people who follow their instincts and chase their dreams through passion and hard work. I wonder at the infinite offering of beautiful Nature, especially magnificent rocks and mountains. Yuki is a certified AcroYoga® teacher and Thai massage therapist. Also a movement artist and a dancer for AscenDance Project.
The Inspire Series.
Devon Craig. Boulder. Co. I’m inspired by constantly seeking creation and connection in all things, whether it be movement, music, love, art, life, or glitter. It’s just that simple. Devon exudes a passion for people that’s undeniable. She pours her heart and soul into sharing her love for community.
Shannon Paige. Boulder. Co. I am inspired by those who step towards the one constant in our lives, change, and by those who are courageous enough to challenge selfperceived limitations. Through conscious flow and mystic poetry, I am a seeker of a deeper conversation, change, courage, body, breath, time, and truth.
Photo: rick cummings 100 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
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Ben Heath. Austin. TX.
The Inspire Series.
I’m inspired by the beauty and love that I see in all beings. It is this beauty and love that awakens my soul and moves me into service of others.
Photo: rick cummings
Ben co-founded Nadi Yogi and facilitates teacher trainings and intensives focused on helping people deepen their understanding of themselves.
Jennifer Isaacson Seattle. WA. Inspiration comes from dirty feet! I hear the voice of creativity through nature’s elements. Love and trust keep me in the sacred light of Ishvara pranidhana. JAI!
Amanda Jade. Denver. CO. I’m inspired by love’s infinite capacity to embrace both the light and the dark and its unending ability to guide, heal, and inspire evolutionary shifts. A yoga activist inspired by life’s fullness, Amanda leverages the darkest moments to inspire reconnection with the rising light within.
Jennifer’s feet are dirty in Mexico + Bali + Whidbey Island, where she creates affordable yoga retreats that support the local communities.
Laura King. McKinney. TX.
I’m constantly amazed at how individuals can come together and create amazing things. My community inspires me to look past myself and create opportunities for everyone to find freedom within.
Anne Phyfe Palmer. Seattle. WA.
Laura is a passionate community activist and yoga teacher, sharing her love of the practice in the U.S. and abroad.
I am inspired by anyone interested in self-awareness and growth. To be a witness to the power of yoga to enhance lives has given me great satisfaction and joy these last 16 years as a yoga teacher and studio owner. Anne Phyfe Palmer has been the owner of 8 Limbs Yoga Centers since 1996. 8 Limbs is an inclusive and welcoming home for yoga that welcomes all bodies, minds, and paths into the depth of yoga.
8limbsyoga.com Photo: Nan Brotherton
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S OUNDTRACKS FOR THE Y OGA OF L IFE White Swan's will Sizemusic four move you on the yoga mat, meditation cushion and dance oor – and anywhere else your active life takes you. Featured artists include Deva Premal, David Newman (aka Durga Das) and Suzanne Sterling.
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With uplift, positivity and community serving as our unifying theme, Black Swan's music ranges from ethno-dub and organic hip-hop to psy-chill soundscapes and global electronica. Artists include ele DJ Drez, MC Yogi and Desert Dwellers. Download our FREE sampler: BlackSwanSampler.WhiteSwanRecords.com
Deva Premal and Miten in Concert Special guests Manose & Maneesh DeMoor
Friday, Sept. 28th, 7:30 pm Dallas, TX Tickets: $20 - $50 Lakewood Theater Presented by Earth Rhythms
Ticket Info: www.earthrhythms.org ecstatic cŌMmunity ectstatic dance & music gatherings for the movement movement
“We have come to be danced.” -Jewel Mathieson
The Inspire Series. Gregory Jamiel. Portland. OR. Love and Beauty inspire me. Feeling the Beauty in nature, seeing the colors, listening to the sounds, and smelling the scents of nature ground me in a way nothing else can. Gregory Jamiel is a Forrest Yoga teacher and artist. He studies with Ana Forrest and Willow Ryan and teaches at Inner Elements Yoga in Portland, OR.
Thom Allen. Plano. TX.
Angela Wagner. Dallas. TX. We are inspired by an incredible community of powerful yogis.Â Everyday, we are surrounded by students and teachers who challenge us to be better versions of ourselves. Angela is the owner of YogaSport, where she teaches Baptiste Power Yoga to normal people who want to add fun, discipline, and athleticism to their lives.
Ally Hamilton. Santa Monica. Ca. Moving through the ups and downs of life with an open heart and a steady mind, powered by twenty years of yoga practice. Beyond grateful for the chance to share it.
Iâ€™m inspired by the moments of awareness we have of our boundless potential. When obstacles dissolve, an amazing shift happens in our lives that moves us from limited to limitless. Thom Allen is a Psychotherapist + Yoga Teacher. Located in West Plano, Pranaa is an eco-friendly Ayurveda day spa founded on the timeless principles of Ayurveda and Yoga.
Ally Hamilton co-founded Yogisanonymous.com, where you can practice with her in Santa Monica or take her live-streamed classes anytime, anywhere!
Nancy Alder. Storrs. CT. Yoga inspires me to embrace space and connection. Strength, encouragement, and laughter are the gifts I receive from my community of yogis. Nancy is a hatha/yin yoga teacher, writer, and mom to elves. Her musings on yoga are featured in well-known yoga blogs, including YogaDork and MindBodyGreen.
photo: fluid frame photography
Amanda Harding. Brooklyn. NY. Inspiration: Reminding myself daily that what we do or say matters and that we, as individuals or together, truly have the power to make a difference in the lives of others. I am a yogi, mom, and the proud co-owner of Prema Yoga Brooklyn, where I’m dedicated to promoting community based activism and growth.
Dearbhla Kelly. Los Angeles. CA. When we realize that yoga practice is not just what happens on the mat and that it’s also what happens when we step off the mat, we make the world a kinder place. Dearbhla Kelly is a Los Angeles based yoga teacher and writer. She teaches yoga, neuroscience, and philosophy workshops worldwide.
Rob Loud. Boulder. Co. Inspired by all great superheroes past and present, including my amazing teachers and students who courageously seek their personal connection with God. I teach an embodied vinyasa-style class at four studios in and around Boulder. My classes are challenging, intelligent, FUN, and offer spiritual depth. My wish is to inspire evolution in others and remind students of their innate perfection!
Sukhdev Jackson. Los Angeles. CA. There is light; there is dark. It is all part of the human experience. Together, we make sense of it; we strive towards the union of it ALL. That is what inspires me. Sukhdev is a yoga teacher and musician. Funky fresh mama from Belgium. My hubby and I make beautiful music and teach yoga.
Hagar Harpak. Los Angeles. Ca. I am inspired by how deep the waters of our existence are. I dig the gift of being in a constant process of unfolding. I love how love asks us to invest, to commit, to nurture. I live to guide people to dive into the depths of their being.
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Joseph Emmett. Los Angeles. Ca. Swami Parthasarathy is an 84 year old Self-Realized soul whose works on Vedanta are the most comprehensive manuals for life and living that I’ve ever seen. HE inspires me. I met Swamiji in 1996 and have been his student ever since, spending 8 years at his ashram in India. Joseph is the Director of Vedanta World Los Angeles.
Zoe Mantarakis. Austin. TX. I am a wings-on-fire flyer to the moon and back, bringing pearls for the tribe to feast on. We hold hands, pray together, love one another as ourselves. Year-long pilgrimage of the heart; true self seeking; learning to teach yoga to the tribe; 200 hours of bliss.
I’m inspired by: the human ability to transform, learning, nature, simplicity, courage, kindness, animals, music, dance, community, sustainable living, environmental protection, innovation, love, my family.
Photo: Rick Cummings
Goli Gabbay Kafka. Los Angeles. Ca.
Jo Schaalman. Boulder. Co. I’m inspired by people who face their deepest challenges head on with humor and grace and by those who remind me to be more present and forgiving in my own life.
Vinyasa Yoga Teacher & Yoga Therapist specializing in healing anxiety disorders. Mama. Writer. Environmental consultant/educator dedicated to protecting our planet.
I teach Forrest and Vinyasa yoga in Boulder and am the co-author of the forthcoming book, The Conscious Cleanse: Lose Weight, Heal Your Body and Transform your life in 14 Days.
Mary Clare Sweet. Omaha. NE. Rainbows, reggae, and raja kapotasana inspire me. Motivation comes from community and connecting with people. I take risks and smile big, life is waiting~ rock on! Mary Clare is owner + instructor at Lotus House of Yoga. I intend to play! My godfather is ashtanga, and my sister is rock and roll. Tiptoe along the fierce edge of your practice, expect sweat, love, and OM.
The Inspire Series. 106 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
photo: josh blumental
The Inspire Series.
Lesley Desaulniers. Brooklyn. NY.
J. Brown. Brooklyn. NY. My mother died of leukemia when I was sixteen years old. By helping to facilitate health and well being, I honor her memory. J. Brown is the Founder + Director of Abhyasa Yoga Center. He is a yoga teacher and writer. His writing has been featured in The International Journal of Yoga Therapy.
My inspiration comes from my teachers, who sparked the fire of discipline, compassion, and faith within me. I keep that fire burning through daily practice and devotion to their teachings. Lesley is Co-owner of Prema Yoga Brooklyn and teaches Vinyasa Yoga. Classes are imbued with scholarly study, spiritual awareness, and good humor.
www.premayogabrooklyn.com photo: david vogel
Photo: Josh Blumental
Anya Porter. New York City. NY. I am inspired to create safe and expansive structures for students to play in the intersection of movement, rhythm, and the stillness of staying open to fear or joy. I am the Founder + Principal Instructor of Breakti. I danced my whole life. Injury and fear led me to yoga and meditation. Breakti was born from my journey.
Sarah Tomson Beyer. Park City. UT. I’m inspired by… Coloring outside the lines. Facing a challenge. Simplicity. Getting out of my comfort zone. New ideas. Rhythmic movement. Blazing my own trail. Ocean and mountains.
Marsha Austin Rodwin. Boulder. Co. I’m inspired by courageous acts of divergence from the predictable and expected that light people up with the discovery of infinite possibility on the other side.
I teach my own signature style of flow yoga, Flowmotion®, and thrive on running my own company: the fresh apparel line, meSheeky®.
Marsha Austin Rodwin is a Certified Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga Teacher and founder of Radiance Power Yoga. She supports the Hanuman Festival as Public Relations Director and Yoga Rocks the Park Boulder as Event Director.
Rachel Zelaya. Boulder. Co. Kundalini Yoga saved my life. We offer this practice to all who need it, in a space which nurtures community, embodies reverence for the Earth, and empowers the Divine Feminine. Rachel is the owner of Adi Shakti Kundalini Yoga Center of Boulder. She has devoted her life to service through teaching yoga and empowering individuals and communities worldwide to heal and evolve.
Photo: Andy Richter
Sarah Goble. Portland. OR. I am inspired by compassion. At CorePower yoga, our love for yoga and commitment to making it accessible to all, in a framework of community, is what defines us.
Joe Yonek. Chicago. Il I ask my students to try things that are new and sometimes a little scary at first and to do it with an open heart and a sense of joy. Their courage to do that continues to inspire my practice and the pushing of my own limits both on and off the mat.
Sarah Goble is a 500hr ERYT living in Portland and about to open the first CorePower Yoga in Seattle, August 31, 2012.
Joe has been practicing yoga for over ten years and teaches hatha/vinyasa and Montreal Style AcroYoga at Moksha Yoga Center in Chicago.
Mónica Muñiz. Sierra Madre. Ca. I’m inspired by our capacity to learn and evolve, by authenticity, resiliency, kindness, humor, and joy. I love witnessing transformation in myself and in others. My wish is to make Yoga accessible to all. I teach at The Yoga Cove in Monrovia and at Bikram Yoga Claremont.
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Hilly Flora. Austin. TX. I am inspired by the deep responsibility I feel the gift of being human is enmeshed with. Unity, love, and the practice inspire me always. I teach, travel, and am co-creator of Nadi Yogi. We build trainings for teachers and those that feel called to deepen their practice.
The Inspire Series. Joseph Stingley. Dallas. TX. Joseph is the owner of Soul Motivation Yoga Studio, which brings both spiritual and physical health to yoga students daily at their new studio in North Dallas.
www.soulmotivation.com Photo: Sheryl Braun
Hala Khouri, M.A. Venice. CA.
Marisol Tamez. Miami. Fl.
I am inspired by people who put relationships first; by leaders who lead with their presence and then by their actions. I’m inspired by those who understand that community is the backbone of sustainable and joyful living and service. Hala Khouri is a somatic counselor, yoga teacher, mother, and co-founder of Off the Mat, Into the World®.
I’m inspired when I witness others discover the immense joy found in selfless service. When you share what you love, community outreach becomes effortless, and life becomes play. Marisol is the director of Yoga Gangsters. She loves teaching yoga to both adults and children, with a focus on youth with health conditions and special needs.
Jody Greene. San Francisco. Ca. My teachers, known and unknown, inspire me. Their teachings, spiritual and quotidian, inspire me. Above all, my companions on the path inspire me with their tender hearts. Anything that helps all beings wake up: that’s what inspires me. Jody Greene teaches yoga and meditation at Yoga Tree Castro and assists in trainings and workshops for her teacher, Janet Stone.
Photo: poppy de garmo
Sadie Nardini. New York City. NY. Health inspires me. I came to yoga after an illness that rendered me nearly paralyzed for 2 years. Using yoga, meditation, and mindful diet, I was able to totally transform my body, mind, and heart and literally save my own life. I see so many people suffering, whether from health, heart, or beliefrelated issues. So often, they see their challenges as coming from outside of them, when in fact, they have far more mastery over the situation, and the eventual outcome, than they ever dreamed. I feel a responsibility to pay it forward and offer students this information. Through the yoga practice and philosophy, put into real-world terms, we reveal the tools they already have within them to remove obstacles to their freedom on any level, whether they have excess weight to lose, courage to gain, a fearless career choice to make, or a powerful heart to open. Sadie is the Founder of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga. She is a life-shifting speaker, the dynamic television host of Rock Your Yoga on the Veria Living network, and an esteemed yoga instructor. She uses practical yoga, diet, anatomy, and selfempowerment solutions to invite students worldwide to powerfully self-transform their own challenges from the inside out.
Tim Dale. San Francisco. CA.
Corti Cooper. Stamford. CT.
Having received such incredible gifts from my own yoga practice, I am motivated to inspire others, as well as support teachers who are on the path and living their dream.
I am inspired by lifeâ€™s ebb and flow of colors, movements, and breath. My heart is on my sleeve so that I may connect with others, hoping that together, we may influence the world with love.
I am Co-Owner of Yoga Tree San Francisco. I am an entrepreneur who loves to connect my passion with my profession.
Corti runs a design studio and teaches vinyasa. With clients in hospitality, wellness, and finance, her design is clean and structured while allowing movement and freedom to navigate each experience.
Karma Neff. Houston. TX. + New York City. NY. My passion is stimulating transformation through body awareness. I strive to diminish the masculine, aggressive energy that todayâ€™s successful woman must adopt so that they can foster their true strength of being open and fluid. Sensual dance maven, yogini, mother; awakening freedom and passion in women via breath, sensual movement, yoga, and freeform dance.
Sarah Wolfgram. Denver. Co.
The Inspire Series.
I am a community activist, teacher, seeker, leader, and co-creator of inspired transformations through the practice of yoga, driven by the universal human connection that lives where breath meets movement. Sarah is the Director of Yoga for the People, which connects health/human service providers and yoga teachers to create sustainable yoga programs for communities in need.
www.carvingspaceyoga.com + www.yogaforthepeople.org Photo: Richard Cummings
Annie Freedom. Denver. CO. A Bhakti Yogini at heart, I am inspired by Love and by those who find the courage to wake up to a deeper life, to transform suffering, and to live life compassionately. 18+ years experience help me lead Denver’s award-winning Samadhi Center for Yoga, which has supported many worthy non-profits over the years and transformed many lives for the better. www.SamadhiYoga.net
Micheline Berry. Los Angeles. CA. I’m inspired by men who mother… women who father… humans who love the abandoned and forgotten amongst us… those who risk it all to carry the torch of peace and social change against the odds. Art that disturbs and heals… having arisen out of the ashes of a human heart and mind on fire. Creating community through music, movement, and art emerges from our need to belong to a human tribe that extends beyond blood, borders, and the many names of God. Known for empowering yogis and artists alike, Micheline Berry’s work as a Yoga Artist catalyzes change through a unique fusion of yoga, world beat music + dance, multi-media arts, and Buddhist meditation in urban shala and exotic nature alike.
Marshall Sanders. Washington, D.C. I am drawn to the divine practice of the Ashtanga system. The physical challenge transforms the mind to discover a life of personal awareness, endurance, and openness to possibilities. Teaching for 5 years, I blend the best from Vinyasa, Ashtanga, and Rocket to create a dynamic, freeing journey.
Kim Eitze “Hennakim.” Austin. TX.
Jessica Jordan. Dallas (Deep Ellum). TX. Visionaries inspire my soul. Gratitude for synergy in all aspects of my life (family, commerce, music, and wellness) keeps me committed to paying it forward. From the mat, to fleshing it out in life, daily Seva is my heartbeat. Jessica is an entrepreneur, developer, musician, yoga instructor, and owner of the Super Yoga Palace. Super Yoga Palace is the only Yoga studio in the Historic Music and Arts District, Deep Ellum, Texas.
I’m inspired by seeing my students become inspired, transformed. I love to see their faces as they realize they can do something unexpected...and do it well! Hoop + Poi Teacher. I specialize in flow and mind/body connection... all ages, individuals, or group lessons, corporate team building, parties, and events.
www.hennakim.com photo: Woody Welch
www.SuperYogaPalace.com + www. AdvoCareJordan.com
Nikki Vilella. New York City. NY. I am inspired by critical thinkers. Truth seekers. Those who are not afraid to ask questions in search of a better answer. As a teacher, my goal is to weave precise physical movement, intelligence, and intention into one sweaty, uplifting experience. I have been a Kula teacher for the past six years and co-direct Kula Williamsburg in my home borough of Brooklyn. The support and presence of the Kula community in my life are my backbone.
www.kulayoga.com Photo: Tara Eden
Cyndi Lee. New York City. NY. OM yoga Center has been my life for the last 15 years; a mandala of goodness for yogis to make friends with themselves and each other. OM yoga Center was fun, soulful, sweaty, smart, and real. After 5,475 days surrounded by lots of people, I am entering a slightly quieter phase, devoted to my Buddhist practice. But I’m continuing to teach worldwide, creating community with every workshop and training. It happens with the first adjusting of mat spacing, sharing of props, and special OM-like ways of helping people connect. My current passion? Go for joy and love, every time. Cyndi Lee, founder of OM yoga, began teaching yoga in 1978. She is the author of Yoga Body Buddha Mind and May I Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Yoga and Changing My Mind, to be published in January, 2013.
The Inspire Series. 112 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
Lindsay Kazi. Austin. TX.
Scott Lewicki. Los Angeles. CA.
I’m inspired by the compassion, openness, and strength of the individuals we serve. Yoga can be a transformative and healing process if you let it be. They let it be.
Live a life of wonder. I attempt, every time I teach yoga, to engender in my students the simple wonder of a universe inside of ourselves as beautiful, rich, and complex as the universe around us.
Lindsay Kazi is the Director of Community Yoga Austin, which is a non-profit organization that spreads the practice & benefits of yoga to at-risk youth and incarcerated populations.
Scott is a certified yoga instructor teaching with heart and passion for life for over 15 years.
www.allstill.com Photo: Christina Baker
The Inspire Series. Photo credit: Dagan Beach
photo: margeaux bestard
Mark Whitwell. Los Angeles. CA. We have one mission at The Heart of Yoga: to give real yoga to real people everywhere. EveryOne will know that life is eternal nurturing. That’s what inspires us! Mark Whitwell is the CEO of The Heart of Yoga Association (Non Profit) and author of The Promise of Love, Sex, and Intimacy and Yoga of Heart: The Healing Power of Intimate Connection
PHOTO: Guy Shalem
Julia McCabe. Whistler. B.C. I’m inspired by the 65 year old man and 67 year old woman who joined my teacher training in Mexico. The entire time, I was thinking, “Man, you two are the hottest ones here.”
Andrea Marcum. Los Angeles. CA. I am inspired by the unassuming, persevering warriors who cross over the threshold and into my heart at U Studio every day. They’re a reminder of what matters, to take nothing for granted, and to keep the floors clean.
I’ve been a full-time yoga vagabond for ten years and currently hold teacher trainings between Nicaragua, Mexico, Whistler, and Australia.
I opened U Studio Yoga in L.A. in 2006. Launching a business in an over-saturated marketplace and revealing your heart in a sometimescruel world requires a comm”U”nity. It’s more about U than me.
www.ustudioyoga.com ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 113
ORIGIN. The Conscious Culture Magazine.
Val Kilmerâ€™s Love Message
Michael Franti: Visionary. Humanitarian. Musician. Yogi.
Interviews: Margaret Atwood Amanda Palmer Reggie Watts Jimmy Cliff Matisyahu Ai Weiwei EL-P DEV + MORE
Ai Weiwei: NEVER SORRY Girl Talk: Pain + Process
YOGA + ART FILM. ECO. ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 115
Met MuseuM Presents THE MET REFRAMED:
PAUL D. MILLER aka DJ SPOOKY IN RESIDENCE Making ‘Madame Freedom’ Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 6pm Madame Freedom Friday, October 26, 2012 at 7pm The Nauru Elegies Friday, January 18, 2013 at 7pm DJ Spooky in the Oceanic Galleries Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 4pm Of Water and Ice Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 7pm
Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky © Giancarlo Minelli
Art and the Environment Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 2pm Civil War Friday, May 10, 2013 at 7pm iPad Mixing Piece Friday, June 21, 2013 at 9:30pm
The Met Reframed is made possible by Marianna Sackler.
metmuseum.org/tickets • 212.570.3949 116 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
SXSW Eco Conference
Keynote Series Update! Senator Byron Dorgan and Jigar Shah
Senator Byron Dorgan
Senator Byron Dorgan and Jigar Shah will discuss clean energy transport technologies and the deployment of a clean energy economy on Thursday, October 4, as part of the SXSW Eco Keynote Series. Senator Dorgan is a 30-year public-service veteran, Senior Fellow with the Bipartisan Policy Center and a recognized leader in the fields of energy policy and economic issues. Mr. Shah is the CEO of Jigar Shah Consulting, serves on the Carbon War Room board, and is the founder of SunEdison.
More info at sxsweco.com/speakers
SXSW Eco is a three-day conference acknowledging the need for a concerted, cross sector approach to solving the recognized challenges facing the economy, the environment and civil society. In its second year, SXSW Eco will be held October 3-5, 2012 at the AT&T Conference Center in Austin, Texas and will feature sessions from experts in the public, private and academic sectors committed to finding solutions for a sustainable world.
More Sessions and Speakers Announced
Go to sxsweco.com/attend
Check out the latest session additions, including: “Energy Challenges on the U.S.-Mexico Border”
“Why Should I? Approaches to Drive Behavior Change” “Forest Death & Climate Change: Yellowstone at Risk” “EcoCAR2,” a discussion of the automotive engineering competition presented by GM and the U.S. Dept. of Energy
See the full list at sxsweco.com/sessions
Register Now for the Best Rate Register to attend before September 7 and save up to $100 off the walk-up rate. Then let the SXSW Housing Desk book your room at the AT&T Conference Center.
sxsweco.com MEDIA PARTNER
In the face of uncertain futures. A conversation with Ai Weiwei.
Paul D. Miller: The recent discovery of the colors which decorated the Terracotta Warriors and surrounded the grave of China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huang tell us that the tradition of using the arts to buttress governance, power and the central government go back to the origins of the nation. I tend to think of your work as an elusive counterpoint to the premise that art can speak truth to power. What inspires you to look at the history of China and Revolution for material? Ai Weiwei: China’s culture and history are closely related to my living environment. This country is my birthplace. It is also where I grew up. Its culture and history shape my relations with family, friends, society, and daily life. It is also the main reason that leads me to my current condition. Through my work and ways of expression, I strive to engage in dialogue with the society that I am living in. I hope that my work expresses my worldview and encourages people to exchange ideas.
Interview: Paul D. Miller/ DJ Spooky
PDM: Special “zones” have been a feature of the modernization of China for hundreds of years—what do you think about the role of art in China’s geography and history? Does it affect your practice? Especially in light of the art projects where you have had a tremendous number of people travel from China to Germany for dOCUMENTA, Fairytale, or the earthquake rebar materials in your works about the Sichuan earthquake of 2008.
AWW: China has a rich history that has spanned millennia. It consists of the histories of many nations and regions. My understanding of Chinese history is limited. So far, I have only scratched its surface; I wish ABOVE: photo by Gao Yuan right: provisional landscapes, 2002-2008, c-prints, various dimensions, 120 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
We live in changing times, and many people experience the challenges that come with it. In the face of uncertain futures, no one will know what to expect.
PDM: You have a famous phrase that people often quote: “Without freedom of speech, there is no modern world, just a barbaric one.” How do you feel about that statement after your experiences in the secret prisons? The freedom of speech is an important yardstick for a society’s level of civilization. A society is healthy only when it allows its members to discuss their thoughts openly. This is also the only way that a society can gather consensus, let everyone express his or her wish, and foster creativity. However, China restricts the society’s freedom of speech. The Communist Party imposes these limits because it lacks confidence towards the future and has no ideals. Nowadays, China is experiencing the detrimental effects of such decisions. Its citizens have no creativity. There is no motivation in participating in politics, nor social responsibilities. There is no media freedom. As a result, the society is corrupt and lacks productivity. It is unable to adjust itself for progress. This will lead to the country’s eventual downfall.
PDM: Your aesthetics are grounded in disciplines as diverse as poetry, architecture, rock music, photography, sculpture, and installation art. Which one acts as a main catalyst for you?
PDM: With the rise of digital media barriers—“The Great Firewall of China”—artists, more than ever, have found that art is an elusive quantity, difficult to corral and control. How do you feel your work relates to current digital media projects, and how is it a critique of the urban landscape —for example, some of your works like “Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn” or your photographs of New York from your time living there? AWW: Many of my photography and video works relate to the current conditions of cities and their changes. I created works such as Beijing 2003, Second Ring, Third Ring, Chang’an Boulevard, and Provisional Landscapes with the intention to express and document these changes.
“T the he C it se omm tow lack limit uni an ard s co s be st P ide d ha s th nfid cau arty s als s e e .” no fut nce e impo ure ses
I could find out more. I gain insights about China’s history and society working on projects such as Fairytale (2007) and Citizens’ Investigation (2008). Along with many architecture projects, online initiatives, and exchanges with netizens, they are all learning experiences for me.
AWW: Behind all these categories, the most important theme is individual freedom. Our lives are bound by physical limits, familial ties, political conditions, and geographical restrictions. Individual freedom takes us beyond them all. The demand for individual freedom leads us to different realms, and it enables us to participate in social events. By participating in the society we live in, we understand our conditions and the way we relate to the world. The categories are therefore not important. What is important is that we actively express our thoughts and wishes, in every realm that we can access.
PDM: How do you feel that the rest of the world views the rise of China and the role that contemporary Chinese art will play in the interaction of economics, globalization, and the fact that China has become the world’s production lab? Your work at The Tate Modern, “Sunflower Seeds,” hints at this. I’d love to hear how your view of the concepts of “original” and “copy” reflect one another— especially since your studio is called FAKE.
AWW: The rest of the world understands little about China’s changes and the possibilities and crises that come with them. China seems unpredictable because it has a distinct
TOP: Beijing: The Second Ring, 2005, Video, January 14 – february 11, 2005, 1h 6min BOTTOM: Beijing: The Third Ring, 2005, Video, January 1 – 9, 2005, 1h 50min
www.aiweiwei.com ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 121
“[China’s] citizens have no creativity. There is no motivation in participating in politics, nor social responsibilities. There is no media freedom. As a result, the society is corrupt and lacks productivity. It is unable to adjust itself for progress. This will lead to the country’s eventual downfall.”
culture and social system. It is still a mystery to other parts of the world, even though the veil of China has been lifted many times as a result of globalization. The biggest obstacle in interacting with China is the difference in perspectives about basic values. These include issues such as human rights, the concept of law and constitution. The importance of elections, transparency, legal procedures, an independent army, and the judicial system is not regarded as highly in China. These core values are the most important evidence of the health of a society, quality of life, and security. A clear understanding of such differences will help the rest of the world understand China and all that is happening to the nation.
PDM: With places like Zhongguancun (the computer hardware shopping center in the heart of Beijing that is one of the largest of its kind in the world), one can see how special geographic areas have evolved out of neighborhoods like the hutongs of old Beijing. Specialized spaces like the Bird’s Nest or Ordos 100 are reverse cities—they are built first, then become the centers of reverseengineered cities that fill around them as needed. What do you think of the future of Chinese cities? What role does art play in the urbanization of China, from your point of view? AWW: So-called Chinese art and culture is under control of the Party. They exist to serve the official agenda.
I call it fake art and culture. For decades, the Party reaps political benefits at the expense of the people’s knowledge, happiness, and imagination. As a result, modern Chinese culture is weak and lackluster. My musician friends are banned from playing concerts in China because they share the same views as I do. My name cannot appear on the web, because my opinion is different from the Party. All movies in China are censored. Out of 600 movies produced in China, only 60 are allowed to show in theatres. For example, our documentaries can only be distributed online. This is the only way that they could be seen. Beijing is constructing a 100,000 m2 modern art museum, yet it will not feature any of my work. The so-
called culture nowadays is only a fake one with a superficial front. It is an empty lie. This country spends a lot of resources and effort on gaining soft power over culture. The hope is that it can be the last lifeline for the Party’s survival. Obviously, the idea will fail.
PDM: What are some contemporary Chinese bands you suggest people check out? AWW: I would recommend Zuoxiao Zuzhou (左 小祖咒) and also the group Ershou Meigui (二手玫 瑰, Second-hand Rose), who is playing in Brooklyn in the fall.
top: fairytale luggage, 2007, fabric, plastic, steel (h) 57 x 22x 38cm bottom: fairytale, 2007, 1001 chinese visitors 122 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
Never Sorry director, producer, + cinematographer:
Alison Klayman, director of the feature-length documentary, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, shares how her personal experiences led to her work with the world-renowned Chinese artist.
hen I first came to China in the fall of 2006, it was on a trip that was meant to last five months. I traveled to places like Tibet and Taiwan and began learning Mandarin Chinese with a tutor. After canceling my ticket home, I moved to Beijing and decided to hone my language skills in the workplace. After answering a slew of online job ads, I became an English coach on the set of aÂ JackieÂ Chan/Jet Li film, wrote about basketball for the official 2008 Olympic website, performed voice-overs for cartoons, and made silicone dummies for a special effects studio. In 2008, I became an accredited journalist and also first met Ai Weiwei. I began filming him for a small project that eventually turned into my feature documentary, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry. As I got to know Weiwei over the course of several years, I began to understand that the film would be about a creative and principled artist who is willing to make calculated risks to push society to grapple with its own shortcomings. Weiwei is a charismatic figure who, in his personal dynamism, embodies the multitude of experiences and realities in China and symbolizes how China has changed and how there is more photos: STILLS FROM AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY
change to come. But Never Sorry is not just about Weiwei... or China. I hope the film will move audiences to interrogate themselves. What is my vision for a better future? What would I risk to express myself? The most powerful impact of this film would be to inspire a new crop of outspoken artists, activists, and citizens with a strong vision for improving the future in their respective societies.
www.aiweiweineversorry.com ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 123
Holy Soul Jelly Roll:
Ginsberg Recordings Peter Hale and Nina Kossoff
insberg Recordings is a project aimed at releasing Allen Ginsberg’s recorded work, both released and unreleased, under one umbrella. Our goal is to create and maintain a full digital library of recordings of his poetry and music, and moving into the future, we’ll see further reissues in physical forms. It’s a culmination of a partnership between The Allen Ginsberg Estate and Esther Creative Group (ECG: the management company of artists Lou Reed, The Gaslight Anthem, and Bryan Ferry). We’ve teamed up to bring equal parts knowledge of Allen and his life, works from the Estate, and the creative means of releasing digital recordings for consumption from ECG. We will be collecting long-lost recordings, scattered around the world on small, defunct, and/or obscure labels, as well as major labels that have simply let Allen’s material fall out of print. Our endeavor will
navigate these convoluted and overlapping worlds of record labels and copyright laws to re-release the now nearly-extinct physical editions into the 21st century digital world. Allen’s near-compulsion for recording poems/music and annotating with notes, letters, times, dates, etc. has amassed in a huge archive at Stanford University. We’re looking to dig deeper into uncovering completely unreleased material and more personal recordings. As a record label, we’re looking to avoid the aforementioned legal difficulties for faster turnaround for the release and licensing/publishing
PHOTOs: opposite top: berkeley, 1955; c. Allen Ginsberg Estate OPPOSITE BOTTOM: ALBUM ART FOR HOLY SOUL JELLY ROLL CENTER SPREAD: COLLAGE FROM HOLY SOUL JELLY ROLL
of all of Ginsberg’s poetry and music recordings. Allen’s focus on order and collection of his work seems almost a precursor to these posthumous releases.
this looks to a front-end of better known material being re-issued, followed by lost and unreleased recordings in the coming years.
Our first output as Ginsberg Recordings will be a digital edition of Holy Soul Jelly Roll: Poems and Songs 1949-1993. It offers the best overview of Allen’s life with examples from all of his major life periods and recording projects. Produced by Hal Willner, it was originally released as a four-CD box set in 1994 (when box sets were all the rage…) just three years before Allen’s passing. This edition will retain the original liner notes, introductions, and images so cherished from the box set but in digital format. As our first release,
To quote Hal Willner from the Holy Soul Jelly Roll notes: “[L]imiting the wealth of material down to four CDs was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to do, for I know that this box set is only the beginning of what should be released on Allen. The sixteen volume set compiled by Barry Miles and a complete double disc of all the William Blake would still only scratch the surface of what else is available, and what else is available is worth finding and listening to.”
www.allenginsberg.org ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 125
Val Kilmer: Never Quiet the Love Message INTERVIEW: LAWRENCE INGLEE PHOTOS: ROBERT STURMAN + NEIL JACOBS
Hi, Val. Hi, Lawrence.
It’s good to see you. It’s good to see you, too. Thanks for coming out to Malibu.
It’s beautiful here. I’m glad you talked me into it. Sometimes, I wonder what I’m doing back in Los Angeles, but when you look out there… How can you complain when you see a whale cresting, matter-of-factly, as you make your breakfast?
That happens? Yes!
comfortable… elsewhere. After 10 years in New York, I moved to New Mexico, which is where I’ve lived for the past 25 years.
You said something to me once that has stuck in my head, I’m paraphrasing: “Live where you pray best.” Yes, I believe that. I learned a long time ago that place matters to me, on many levels, and maybe more than it should, but it is generally counter-productive for me to resist it. And it’s really that simple: where do you pray best? Which is another way of saying: where can you trust your own thoughts and your own intentions? Everywhere, hopefully, but it isn’t always that easy. Sometimes, you have to help yourself along.
And this is what led you to New Mexico…
So, what are you doing back in Los Angeles, and what do you mean by back? Where have you been?
I fell in love with the land and with the very old fashioned idea of leaving a physical legacy for my children: a stunning place, with a magnificent forest of trees, and a magnificent river.
Well, I was born here, in the Valley, and grew up here. But when I was supposed to be here full time as a working actor, I felt more
“Trees and swift moving water, the best things on earth.” (Czeslaw Milosz)
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It is hard to argue with that, isn’t it? My sense of love for that place made it my most important project; it really was that, a “project.” You might have noticed that my acting career, by comparison, has been a bit… erratic.
Let’s say… eclectic. Eclectic! I love acting, and doing it well matters to me. But I have never taken my career seriously. My only ambition was to grow as an actor. My only “business plan” was to get lucky. I thought I would try that strategy a second time, which as you can see was not irrational; it worked once. But once is more than generous for any lifetime. So, now I’m going about things a little differently.
Which is why you are back in LA… I’m starting to understand. So, let’s talk about your play. You recently completed a sold-out workshop of your one-man show about Mark Twain, called Citizen Twain. It was a big success. There were standing ovations every night, without exception. Were you there every night?
I came for the ovations. Why, thank you.
The first time I heard that you were playing Mark Twain, and on stage, I thought it might be a joke. Your joke, mind you, some elaborate gag you constructed that I had already fallen for in ways that I didn’t yet understand. [laughs] Wait until you hear the punch line.
But then, I read the text and found out what you were up to. From a “taking the career seriously” perspective, I really wanted to get back to basics: creating a character and performing in front of an audience. But I had other motivations for choosing Twain, specifically. He is a universe, and he is also a kind of American authority figure. He can say things to America that other people can’t say, in a way that can truly be heard.
The humor makes a difference. Your show is a laugh a minute, maybe even literally one laugh per minute. We should check that. Thanks. If you play Mark Twain, and he’s not funny, you are definitely not playing Mark Twain. That was the biggest challenge, in some ways. Writing and performing jokes that can come out of that brilliant delivery system he constructed: the friendly, avuncular truthteller.
When I first saw you perform the show, I had the immediate feeling that everything you had ever done and the best of what you strive to be as a person have gathered into this character. I was really knocked out by the performance. Thank you.
If someone were to imagine the rock star, Jim Morrison, and the gun-slinging drunk, Doc Holliday, fused into a stand-up showman with the wit, authority, and words of Mark Twain, well, that’s an approximation of what they can expect with your portrayal. It’s truly alive, an electric performance to go with many electric performances in your erratic career. I think you mean eclectic.
“place matters to me, on many levels, and maybe more than it should, but it is generally counterproductive for me to resist it. And it’s really that simple: where do you pray best? “
Thank you for the kind words.
It’s a punk rock Twain; he’s here to stir things up. But there is also a deeply spiritual component. A kind of pivotal element of the show is Mark Twain’s relationship with the founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, who he famously antagonized in the press and to whom he feels
Hal Holbrook has portrayed the character of Mark Twain for many years now. The great Mr. Holbrook has been playing Mark Twain on stage since Elvis released his first record.
Who’s Elvis? He was a Viking. No longer with us.
Wow, that is a long time. [laughs] Have you spoken to Mr. Holbrook? How does he feel about what you are doing? Yes. I admire and respect him immensely. He sent me a very sweet note giving me his blessing.
How is what you are doing different from his show? Our show is contemporary; it takes place right this very minute, and Twain addresses us directly about our world, as well as his own, and the many things that are still bugging him about how we treat each other. He has had 100 years post-death to think on it. Our Twain speaks to us from the beyond. Hal’s play is set 100 years ago as a lecture and is 100% Twain material. I have written a bit more into mine. ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 127
compelled to apologize. He wrote a book about Mrs. Eddy that is most probably the worst book of his career. He was obsessed and uncharacteristically inaccurate and unkind. Late in his life, he confessed to his daughter that he regretted these antagonisms. This fact is what sparked in me the thought that in the play, Twain, in his “new” consciousness, feels compelled to apologize for this wrong-doing. It is a rich, dramatic situation. Twain used his gift, his eloquence, his gift of words, and his authority as a truth-teller and public persona to attack someone who was, at least from Twain’s point of view, in service of the same cause to which he gave his life.
So, he is a voice of truth and a voice of equality and a voice of tolerance. Which means he is a voice of love; so was Mrs. Eddy.
And you never quiet the love message. You never quiet the love message. Never.
So, he must apologize. He must apologize, and reform, just as he insists that we as a nation must apologize for our treatment of the Native Americans, which to this day has still not happened! He enlightens us about race, hypocrisy in government, the sensationalism of journalism… the list goes on and on…
And what was that cause?
Why is it so hard for us to say we’re sorry?
In a word?
Let’s start with each other. I’m sorry, Lawrence.
Yeah. Love. He was an artist working at the highest level. He wrote a book, his masterpiece, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, that put America on the world stage for literature. It’s almost as if, if you start reading that book as a racist, you cannot finish it and still be a racist.
I wish I could tell you that you were the first person to say that.
[laughs] Is there a lot of blood on the tracks? That’s a great Bob Dylan record... talk about a genius. Anyway, in all seriousness, though, I do feel like I owe some people, certainly in the business, an apology. Particularly those who had the misfortune of knowing me when… well, when my approach was a little less gracious. I’m fairly sure I didn’t show enough gratitude to my employers, and I’m sorry for that.
It’s not too late.
I’m sorry, too, Val.
This intense work on developing this character also brings a lot of clarity. I’m not proud of this, but I’m a better person when I’m preparing for a role, when I’m studying a role.
Doesn’t that feel… right?
It does. And long over-due. I have been waiting for you to apologize to me since the day we
I have more discipline. I’m focused. It is also what I do best. Mrs. Eddy said something to the effect that... I’m paraphrasing, but the
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gist of it is, If you know where your spiritual center is, and you neglect it, peace will always allude you.
You have to do the thing that you do best as many hours of the day as possible. It’s your obligation; it’s respectful, if you will. Yes, exactly. It seems to me that every step forward in my life has been one that brings me to a better understanding of this: that you do your thing every day the best that you can, and you approach any success at it with humility. In my play, I have Twain say, “Do what you like to do so well that someone will pay you wages for it.”
Rockefeller, when asked about his secret to success, said something like, “That’s simple. You get up every day. You go to work. And you strike oil.” That’s the get lucky part.
And now, it’s back to work. So, being here, back in California, is it just for the work? Or, do you find that you now pray best right here in the City of Angels? The ocean helps.
I’m glad you’re back in town, and I’m glad you’re back to work. Not that you really stopped working. But for some reason, this feels like a come back. Why is that? I truly put my heart and soul into my ranch these past years and have been nurturing the Twain character in a kind of isolation. Literally, moving back to LA is a big, big change. But I’m happy here now, and performing in a live theater is absolutely unbeatable. It is something I have done my entire life and have a gift, it seems, for sharing thoughts live. The audience and I have an intimacy that is, I believe, rare, most times out. It sounds corny to say, but the theater is sacred; something transcendent can occur, and when it does, everyone grows. It’s a true communion. This is what Twain was after.
“[Twain] is a universe, and he is also a kind of American authority figure. He can say things to America that other people can’t say, in a way that can truly be heard.”
Your take on Twain is inspiring. It’s all him; he’s inspiring.
Who are you, and what have you done with the actor? Ha! Twain has this line about compliments, “I do love compliments, yet I’m often embarrassed to say what I think to the person when I get a compliment. I so often feel that they have not gone far enough.”
That’s more like it! (standing up) Hey, look!
What?! Look straight out there… do you see it?
Will you look at that?! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a whale so… clearly. You see, and we’re going to complain? I don’t think so.
You’re still lucky. I am. We are.
Thanks, Val. Thanks, Lawrence.
REGGIE WATTS real, honest experimentation THE ORIGIN SERIES: SAME QUESTIONS DIFFERENT ARTISTS POWERFUL ANSWERS
INTERVIEW: MARANDA PLEASANT
What is it that excites you most about your work right now? I’m really interested in 3D photography.
I was not expecting that answer. What is it about 3D photography that sets you on fire? Well, I like it because I like preserving moments with more information. So that when you look at a photo twenty years from now, if you look at a photo of a moment in your life, or some friends, or yourself, you just have a lot more information about what that
memory was. That’s exciting to me. It’s like a form of time preservation. I have a couple of 3D cameras, and I’ve been taking photographs quite a bit.
When you’re traveling? Yeah, mostly when I travel. I will at any time, really. But I’ve been taking pictures of wherever I go, or on planes, whatever.
What is it that makes you most vulnerable as a human being?
Dudes love this one. [laughs] Yeah. Being faced with too many options. I mean, it makes me feel as though I’m overwhelmed by too many possibilities; that can be a very vulnerable feeling because it’s hard to make a decision. It’s hard to move on when you can see too many good possibilities or any kind of possibility really. That’s something that always kind of slows me down and can be a bad place to be in.
“You’re communicating w it sincere and honest, but h the essence of what’s you’re presenting it in different ways.” What do you do with your pain? How do you process pain when it comes in? Pretty easy. [laughs] No...
[laughs] Light conversation with Reggie Watts. Yeah. Pain. Well, if it’s physical pain, you just deal with it the best way you can. But if it’s more emotional, I don’t know. I just try my best to feel it, take it in, and just allow myself to go through whatever may actually come from it. And then a certain amount of it, you can use to transform it through art, which is the healthy way of dealing with it, as well. But in the past, I was definitely more apt to storing it away and not worrying about it. But as I get older, it’s really about figuring out how to process it, how to feel it, and then also how to use it in my art.
What drives your work? Where do you pull from? You are one of the geniuses of our time. Do you start channeling on stage? Do you know what’s coming? What is your process? Usually I just go up on stage and just kind of
place that you pull from that really drives and motivates you?
start doing something.
[laughs] [laughs] Yeah, that’s usually how it starts. It depends on where the show is going and what pops into my head as I’m going along, how the audience is reacting, or if it feels like a moment where I want it to go very absurd and very psychedelic, or sometimes, things I’ve been thinking about pop into my head, and I’ll talk about that, either in a literal way, in a kind of a more sincere way, or maybe as a character. Basically, it’s like having a wardrobe around you, different costumes and lots of weird gadgets on the floor or whatever, and you just kind of go for it and just put on different things. You’re communicating with the essence of what’s sincere and honest, but you’re presenting it in different ways. Either abstractly, or sincerely, or insincerely, or sarcastically, but they’re all just different approaches to the same thing.
Your work is real and compellingly honest. A couple of words that I’ve heard to describe you are visionary and revolutionary. Is there a
Yeah, I’m interested in people and society and what we do collectively in the realm of decisions that shape our world, at least on a human level. Obviously, there’s all sorts of life happening all around us, but on a human level, I’m just interested in people making informed decisions, increasing their awareness. And also, trying to encourage people to be more fascinated with information and science and knowledge of all sorts, instead of, it’s a generalization, but the encouragement by society, the reflections that society gives us, which is media, television, art - anything, really. The things that are reflected back at us, often times, are appealing to a base instinct that’s about response as opposed to reflection. So for me, it’s important to turn on a piece of information that might interest people, that might interest them in pursuing or researching maybe, or even just thinking about it in that moment as I’m performing it. Whatever encourages people to become more interested in who they are and discovering who they are, as opposed to just accepting what people or things are saying what they are. That’s
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fascinating to me.
Your work has a high level of consciousness to it. I founded this magazine based on bringing all these worlds together: design, art, consciousness, yoga, science, humanitarianism, and sustainability. It’s a constant evolution.
“If you want to create really boring, frustrated human beings, then yeah, cut out art and science.”
[laughing] I feel you. I just think that life is a constant experiment. The biggest fear that I have is settling into too many set behavior patterns, where I feel like I’m no longer exploring possibilities anymore. I’ve had the good fortune of being a friend of Brian Eno throughout the years, and he’s an artist who has never stopped his curiosities, his childlike curiosity for the world, and being interested in things and experimentation. And that’s something I feel like I’ve always had and something that I always want to be in connection with. Whether that means completely ditching something and doing a drastic change or just making subtle changes or odd experiments throughout the day, that’s the thing that makes me feel like I’m connected and alive and on the right course. Being able to share that with other like-minded individuals or to be able to have a conversation with a non-like-minded individual and come to commonality is also equally as important. In the scenes of fringe science, or metaphysics, or yoga, or alternative culture lifestyle, people in those types of circles, even though they’re doing amazing things, sometimes don’t communicate their ideas to the person that wouldn’t even think about any of those things.
a space where I can work on some new performance technology stuff. Just interesting surround sound stuff. I’ll be working on doing some cool, filmic ideas, as well. So yeah, I’m just kind of interested in focusing on what I’m interested in and just kind of solidifying it, or at least experimenting, or actualizing some of the experiments that I’ve had in my head for years, either filmicly or with audio.
Are there any causes or organizations that you support right now? I think it’s important as a performer, no matter where I travel, if I run into someone at the airport or I’m having a conversation on an airplane, run into someone on the sidewalk, or you’re waiting in a long line and you start talking to somebody, who doesn’t really share a lot of your same views, but then you come to commonality. I think that’s very, very important as well.
Right. What projects do you have coming up right now? What are you doing? Well, I have a bunch of live shows that I’m doing, a lot of festival stuff. Project wise, I am doing a residency in San Francisco for the exploratorium, which is kind of an interactive science experience. I don’t know what I’m going to be doing, but I’m doing something there. [laughs] And I’m also going to be giving some kind of talk on experimental comedy in Banff, Canada, with Michael Portnoy who is a performance artist. And I have been renting
In general, I’m in support of promoting art and science in public schools. I think music and science are the most important factors for the human brain developing. Even more so than any other fields, because music covers mathematics, cognitive reasoning, motor skills, coordination, it’s kind of everything. And then science gives you an understanding of the physical world, and it increases the capacity for fascination. I think that for developing mentally and creatively and emotionally, those are the two most important things that are totally fading away. Music and art is regarded as extra and can be the first thing that you cut in a school program, and it’s completely not true. If you want to create really boring, frustrated human beings, then yeah, cut out art and science.
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“We Who See” 48x48
Austin. Houston. BOULDER. Venice. New York. bigmodernart.com 713.922.8584
THE ORIGIN SERIES: SAME QUESTIONS DIFFERENT ARTISTS POWERFUL ANSWERS
GIRL TALK INTERVIEW: MARANDA PLEASANT
Hey Gregg! [laughs] Where you at right now?
We got to Boulder in time to be evacuated with the fires. Oh, damn.
Yeah. I love your mash-ups by the way. This magazine is kind of like a mash up: yoga mixed with art, with sustainability and humanitarianism, with hip hop and punk rock. It’s like a punk rock yoga. [laughs] Right, right. [laughs]
I saw you at Wanderlust last year. All these kids were having the time of their life. And I felt really old. [laughs] I’m 32, and I’m thinking, Oh my god, I cannot keep up with this! Nah, I feel ya. I’m 30 now. I’ve been doing this since I was 18. When I was 18, I was playing to 18 to 21-year-olds, and then, when I was 25, still playing to 18 to 25-year-olds. As I’ve gone on, the crowd has gone in both directions, both younger and a little older now than it’s ever
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been. It is an interesting thing to hit 30.
[laughs] It was interesting to see the crowd itself. They were in their 40s at a yoga festival in this trance group meditative state, sitting next to 17-year-olds, screaming. [laughs] Ultra respect for the yoga crowd. The one thing I took away is they are extremely open minded. The music I do and even the show, as far as the uplifting, party vibe goes, we’re a little confrontational. I’d say the context of the lyrics that I sample, or even the way that we approach getting it out there, it’s a little aggressive, but in no way did it feel like the crowd at Wanderlust, either year I played, felt at all confronted by it.
No, everybody loved it. I was there to interview you, and I was thinking, I’m not gonna make it through the end of this. I was like, Where are the girls? I thought it was a girl band. [laughs] That was part of the intention, with the name. It’s always funny that it still exists
now, the project, 12 years later. I picked out a name that intentionally sounded like a Disney project, or girl group. But in no way was I expecting it to be something that turned into this long term project, something that turned into my defining thing. [laughs] But that’s basically what happened with it. Initially, the name was intended to be very Disney, very pop, very teenager sounding.
[laughs] Especially when you have avant-garde, noise roots. Yeah.
I’m gonna jump into our artist series of questions. What is it that excites you most right now with life? I travel a lot. For the past 3 or 4 years, I’ve
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done 150 shows a year. I love getting out there and traveling and doing shows. But when I can be home, it’s a special time. I do have some weeks coming up in the summer where I will actually be in my house, and I love working on new music. More than anything, I am always excited for gaps of time where I can actually hang out with my friends. But right now it’s really feeling like summer in Pittsburgh, and it’s a beautiful day, and I just made plans yesterday to go to a water park with my friends in a couple days. [laughs] So, I’m most excited about going swimming and riding water slides, shooting off fireworks, and playing basketball, and things like that. That’s what I really love doing. Summer is a great time.
What inspires your work? I don’t think a lot of people get it. I just read in the New York Times about your looping and timing and memory, and you gotta hit at this certain time. I was having a panic attack just thinking about you having to do that with people watching. It’s not just hitting play on stage. What is it on an emotional level that inspires you? Where do you draw from? Since my work is almost always based around samples, a very direct answer is I listen to
“I’ve always enjoyed taking pre-existing sound, songs I like, songs I want to share, and manipulating them and trying to do my own version.” music constantly, and I’m always hearing things I love that I’m excited to use. I find these parts to assemble something new. In that way, it’s kind of like gambling, where there’s always the chance for a win, but you don’t necessarily know when it’s gonna come ‘cause my process is very trial and error. I hear something I like, and sometimes, I think it’s gonna work, and I will cut it up, try it out, try to work with other material. Sometimes, it falls flat, and other times, it works out, so in that way, I’m constantly listening to music because I enjoy it. I think there’s always room to grow. I’ve always enjoyed taking pre-existing sound, songs I like, songs I want to share, and manipulating them and trying to do my own version. So just knowing there’s that potential for that thing out there that I haven’t discovered yet, really gets me
motivated every day. I can’t wait to wake up in the morning and listen to music in order to try to find something to work with.
I notice that a lot of your work is juxtaposed, from mixing Miley Cyrus with hip hop with old school seventies. You’re throwing all of these compilations together. Yeah. The goal for me is, I build the record that I put out as one individual song. Even though it’s broken up into tracks, to me it’s like one hour-long piece of music. In assembling the whole thing, I’m really thinking, okay, it’s gonna end here, it’s gonna start here, and I kind of have the idea of the journey. But the goal is for it to be a really complex collage, and I like to stay within the “top forty” world with the samples. I want it to jump around, especially where it sounds kind of randomized, where you can’t expect what’s gonna come next, or you don’t know the pacing of the samples. That is the goal, to really put together as complex a collage of pop as possible while it’s still accessible to some degree. I want it to be very dense, and I want places where it’s going to be unpredictable. I’m a big fan of pop music and pop culture, so I’d like it to just be loud and the whole thing
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“With the shows, even today, I still always feel like no matter the show, whether it’s two-hundred kids at some small college, or a festival, I feel like there’s always something to prove.”
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to be kind of in your face, in terms of jumping around and everything. I like it to just be brash and even bratty to a certain degree. It’s how aggressive it is in terms of the diversity of the source material.
Awesome. What is it that makes you feel vulnerable, as a human being? Feel wonderful?
Vulnerable, not wonderful. [laughs] That would be lame.
with these samples. I’m basically setting myself up for people to hate it. And just being open about it. You’re putting yourself out there, knowing that a lot of people are gonna be like, “This is stupid,” or “This guy is corny.” I know that, but I’m willing to take that step forward and say, “I’m cool with this stuff.” That way, I do feel slightly vulnerable. I am ultimately comfortable with what I’m sampling. That is what I’m doing, and this has become representational of Greg Gillis. People know this Girl Talk thing represents me. I’ll put out an album, and people review it, and some people love it, and some people tear it apart. By nature of the project, I’ve always wanted this to be something where people react strongly to it. So that way, you can feel a little vulnerable when you see people tearing you apart on the internet or saying, “It’s the end of music.” “This guy is a total hack.” I’ve read it all. But at the same time, even though I feel a little vulnerable with that, I do feel comfortable. I’m happy that people can hate it ‘cause I feel like all the artists that I really love, they’ve had a strong contingent of people who really hate their work as well.
[laughs] Yeah I was gonna say, “That’s a crazy question.” Vulnerable. I think, at least with my work, that’s an interesting question for what I do, especially. Since it’s all sample based, it is me expressing myself, and the goal of the work is always for it to come across as original material, as transformative material. I want the material I make to be mine; that’s always the goal of the record and of the show.
Isn’t that the case with anybody who does good work or has a strong voice?
I think when I do feel vulnerable is when I’m putting myself out there
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Great. How do you handle pain? How do you handle rejection?
about the project, and it definitely comes out of me in the performances.
I think it’s hard to define how I process pain. [laughs] It might be the most difficult question I’ve ever heard. I do think I’m fairly optimistic in life, so I’m willing to take it. When there’s something negative in my life, be it in the art or the music world, or in my personal life, I really just want to face it as immediately as possible. I don’t run from it. I just want to immerse myself in it, get through it as quickly as possible, understand it, and look into what is positive about it. What is the aspect of this that is gonna be positive to maybe get me through it, that’s going to make me stronger?
Are there any particular causes that you support?
On stage, you have so much passion and fire. You seem to go into this other consciousness, like it’s a meditation or trance. I’m feeling that in your personality when I’m talking to you. This guy moves a lot of energy in his body. With the shows, even today, I still always feel like no matter the show, whether it’s two-hundred kids at some small college, or a festival, I feel like there’s always something to prove. I think when you have a project like this where it’s been the past twelve years of my life, and I do spend pretty much every free minute that I have working on stuff and preparing, you take it very personally. At no point have I ever been on stage and been like, Ugh, I’m tired. [laughs] I’ve never allowed myself to mentally go there. When I’m performing, this is what everything builds up to, and everything has allowed me to be here. I think I’m passionate
On the surface, it’s always been the music and what I’m doing with samples. It’s always been the fair use movement and that whole world. That’s something I’ve always been down with: creative commons and people being able to license their music and allow other people to reuse it and recycle it. That discussion was something I had to sell more, be more convincing of, five or ten years ago. Sharing information, art, music, and everything on the internet now has become a part of everyone’s lives. In that way, it’s been really nice that what I’m doing is less conceptually radical as original art. I’m always down to support the creative commons and all those people. A lot of people from that world have definitely reached out and have given me a hand or advice, from Lawrence Lessig to all the rest of those types. Yeah, definitely shout out to that whole world.
And next time, before I hear you play, I’m not gonna do five hours of yoga and be exhausted. [laughs] [laughs] Yeah. You got to let the show be your yoga.
Let the show be your yoga! [laughs] Now you’re Yoda. Awesome. O.
“I really just want to face [the pain] as immediately as possible. I don’t run from it. I just want to immerse myself in it, get through it as quickly as possible, understand it, and look into what is positive about it.”
INTERVIEW: MARANDA PLEASANT PHOTOS: STEVE ROSENFELD
Do it for the Love: an interview with
What is it that inspires you the most? What is at the heart of your music and why you create? Well, I have a passion to make a difference in the world. And that difference can be just making the fans at my show leave with a smile on their face and feeling uplifted when they go away. And on a larger level, I want to promote positivity. I believe that through positive thoughts and through positive speech, action, words, and attitudes, we change things for the better.
What is the most vulnerable part of what you do? Well, the hardest part about what I do, the most vulnerable place is my relationship with my family and Sara, my amazing partner, because I’m leaving a lot. And as a touring artist, I’m constantly coming and going, but also when I’m at home, my studio’s at home. I’m leaving to go into a music world in my head. [laughs] That’s the most difficult part for me is feeling connected to the people that I love but always being on
the go to different places.
Do you feel pulled between being a father and a partner and an artist, between your career and your personal life? I know that struggle myself, so how do you balance that? Well, it’s tricky. There’s sometimes when I feel really balanced, and there’s other times when I feel like I’m trying to keep juggling too many balls in the air, and I feel like I’m on the edge of dropping all of them and having them all land on my head. Scheduling is a big part of it, and the other is just remaining flexible and keeping a sense of humor about things. Knowing that there are some days when I’ve got to take a break from the studio, grab my baseball glove, and go play catch with my son, or we’re all just going to take a night off tonight and go see a movie. At the end of the day, I feel like unless those personal relationships are being served, all the other things in life, business or art, they
THE ORIGIN SERIES: SAME QUESTIONS DIFFERENT ARTISTS POWERFUL ANSWERS
all suffer. So having personal things in balance is more important than the other.
very blessed and very fortunate to be in a career where I can say that.
Well said. How do you deal with your pain when it comes in? Any kind of pain.
I wrote a song that is called, “Do it for the Love,” and the first line of the song is: Do it for the love, not for the money. Not for the guns and not for the hunnies. Do it ‘cause you love it and it makes no sense. Not yens, or euros, or dollars and cents. And there’s a lot of things in my life that are that way. My yoga practice, I do it because when I get on my mat I know I’m gonna be transformed. Whatever stresses are in my life or whatever worries I have or whatever monkey mind is happening for me, I know that when I get off the mat, I’m gonna be transformed. I think that the transformative nature of love is why we are so drawn to it. And you think all the things that are happening in the world today that people are doing that are good and why they do it. We don’t have to be good, you know? No one’s telling us that we have to do good things, but we do because we know it makes other people feel good, and it makes ourselves feel good. And so it’s that transformative nature of love and transformative nature of music and yoga that really inspire me.
Well, I cry. Last night, I was just in bed with Sara, and we realized after looking through the calendar that we’re not gonna see each other for a couple weeks. That’s unusual for us, and I had kind of a rough week and had a busy week, and she had too, and I started to cry. And she’s like, “Why are you crying?” There really wasn’t one particular thing I was hurting about; I was just feeling overwhelmed. Kind of feeling low and, “God, I’m gonna miss you so much.”
Beautiful. And when there’s other, more long term things, I write about them, and I put them into my songs. I always know when a song is good or almost finished or close to finished. When I sing it, it makes me feel the emotion; I’ll start singing a song, and my tears will start flowing, listening to my own voice, or I’ll start laughing, or I’ll start feeling whatever intensity or emotion was the seed of that song.
That was beautiful. And your Do it for the Love! Tour. What a great name. Your concerts are so full of life and energy, everybody just feels love. And that’s why it’s such a unique experience to see you play. [laughs] This tour that we’re on is called the Do it for the Love! Tour because after 25 years of making music, I still do it because I want to do it. There’s never a day when I wake up and I go, “Oh, God. We gotta do a show tonight. It’s like work,” or “God, I’ve gotta go into the studio and record.” Every time I do it, I do it just for the sake of making music because I want to do it. I feel
Thank you. What is going on right now that you’re most involved in or most concerned with? Is there anything on the planet right now that you’re passionate about? Well, I’m passionate about so many things that are taking place in the world. In Bali, I just did work on a fair trade coffee project in Sumatra last week. In Indonesia, where it’s very close to Soulshine, I spend a lot of time there. There’s all kinds of things that I’m interested in, but I think the main thing is if there is one thing today, it’s not necessarily an issue, but it’s this idea that every one of us, all six and a half billion of us on this earth, is significant. I believe that in order to tackle the big issues of the world today, like environmental issues, that’s an example of just
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“Whatever stresses are in my life or whatever worries I have or whatever monkey mind is happening for me, I know that when I get off the mat, I’m gonna be transformed.”
one, we need everybody’s involvement. We need the resources of the corporate world. We need the cooperation of governments. We need the wisdom of indigenous people. We need the spending power of everyday citizens. And we need to connect it to our spirit, so that when we hit our first stumbling block, we don’t just give up. That, for me, is where my yoga practice comes in. Sharon Gannon and David Life, they have been very influential teachers in my life. Also Seane Corn, Eddie Modestini, and Nicki Doane, because of their constant connection of the practice to everyday things. It’s not enough to just get on your mat and do triangle pose. You have to get on your mat with an intention and an understanding of something that you’re trying to move in your personal life and something that you are hoping to move in the world. And then do your practice through that passion and through that love of wanting to serve something that’s bigger than yourself.
You’re so involved with shifting the planet in substantial ways. Is there anything environmentally that you’re concerned about, or involved with, or any organizations or causes?
Yeah. Everything that I do has some kind of ecological component to it, whether it’s us using biodiesel fuel for our tour bus, or we’ve also eliminated cost of bottles for backstage. We realized that using two cases of water, spread out over the two hundred and twenty something shows that we do over a year; we did the calculation; we were using something like nineteen thousand bottles of water a year. Just for our tour. It was a lot of bottles of water! [laughs] And we eliminated that just by buying fourteen reusable bottles for everybody on our tour. So, there’s always an ecological component to what we do. My girlfriend Sara and I have been working on this line of bamboo jewelry, bamboo dog tags actually, that are really what we call “love tags.” So, the opposite of war tags, of dog tags that you wear in the military, which say your name, rank, and serial number. Each tag says: what is it that you love? What are you passionate about in life? Last week, when we were in Bali, we were visiting with a friend of ours. He runs this bamboo foundation there, and he was saying there’s all these incredible ways of processing bamboo, which re-grows in five years as compared to trees which take hundreds of years to grow. They can
“It’s that transformative nature of love and transformative nature of music and yoga that really inspire me.”
“It’s not enough to just get on your mat and do triangle pose, you know? You have to get on your mat with an intention and an understanding of something that you’re trying to move in your personal life and something that you are hoping to move in the world.” compress it now and make it as hard as hardwood.
Yes. So, it’s just really amazing to see all the advances that are taking place technologically and how they have positive ecological impacts.
And you have this place in Bali that’s a yoga and art retreat? Yeah, that’s Soulshine. That’s our place. I’m looking forward to seeing you there later this year.
Unscripted: Margaret Atwood Interview: Paul D. Miller/Dj Spooky Margaret Atwood on life, literature, and a new film exploring her book Payback: Debt and The Shadow Side of Wealth, directed by Jennifer Baichwal.
The term “credit” comes from a simple root, the Latin word credere, which simply translates as “belief or trust.” It’s one of those terms that resonate in our modern life where we invest so much in systems - operating systems, credit systems, nation states - without much real thought into how much they reflect the transient and imperfect relationships that hold together modern life. Margaret Atwood is a towering figure of modern global literature precisely because she navigates the fault lines between poetry, film, and what Borges once simply called “the literature of the possible.” On the occasion of the release of the film adaptation by Jennifer Baichwal that traces some of the themes Atwood explored in her recent book Payback: Debt and The Shadow Side of Wealth, I caught up with the author.
Science fiction and tech-oriented narratives have long been a “boys with toys” club. You and other writers, as diverse as Ursula K. Leguin, Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, and Pat Cadigan, have dramatically changed the landscape. What sent you on this path? Science fiction went through a period that was mostly object-oriented (space tools, robots, and so forth) or inventions for distant galaxies (Star Wars, Star Trek, cyborgs, and more). But when we cracked the genetic DNA code, opened the big Pandora’s box, and it really did become possible to produce chimeras, my ears shot up. Having been brought up among the biologists and having followed various debates about ways to improve the human template and other debates about the true nature of our nature, I began seriously to wonder: What if? We hold in our hands a tool that is more powerful – for good or ill – than any we have wielded before.
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The book that sparked a tremendous amount of interest in your work was The Handmaid’s Tale. This is speculative fiction that was highly influential. Canada has long had a deeply ambiguous relationship to America, and your writings have helped theorize Canadian literary life. If there’s anything you think of as a core issue in Canada, “surviving” seems to keep popping up. What’s your take on Canada these days? Canada. Let’s just say that we’ve been concerned with it for a while. Canada, at the moment, is going through a Lord of the Rings moment. Having been a lowly Hobbit with furry feet and fun parties, with fireworks and beer, it has now been handed the Ring of Power: a large supply of fossil fuel, in the form of oil/tar sand and coal. Will it shrivel into an evil RingWraith? Will it become an addicted Golum? Will it refuse the Ring, like Galadriel, fearful of what So Much Power (in both senses of the word) will do to its inner being? Will it try to deal with the
“One good maxim to keep in mind, and I can’t remember who said it, ‘You meet the same people on the way down that you meet on the way up, but you’re going the other way.’” the corner, and I won’t get that far. But I doubt that Canada will be seen forever on the international stage as Mr/s Boring Niceperson, as has been the habit. Maybe it will change to Mr/s Boring Badperson, lose its considerable sense of humour, and stop exporting comic actors to the U.S.
Ring responsibly, like Gandalf? Will it side with the Ents? And let’s say for the record: if all fossil fuel were to go POOF! tomorrow, the result would be a cataclysmic social upheaval, with food riots, warlords, shutdowns, breakdown of social order, water shortages, and outbreaks of bloodshed and disease. So, the responsible treatment of this particular Ring of Power is not necessarily to toss it into the Cracks of Doom. But we have to come up with something rather quickly, or what we’ll get is the Land of Mordor. I won’t be around for the answer. It’s around
Your recent film collaboration with Jennifer Baichwal’s Payback, along with fellow Canadian Mark Akbar’s The Corporation, makes a really intriguing connection between the way corporations have shaped modern life and the role that finance scripts for itself in the “theater of the everyday.” Your fellow Canadian director Mark Akbar’s film, The Corporation, used psychoanalytic techniques to look at how modern international companies function. The ideas driving your film collaboration with Jennifer Baichwal led to everything from an analysis of Rousseau’s concept of “the social contract” that holds societies in a Western context together, to the ways that debt creates an almost mythic sense of participating in the production of culture. I’d love to hear how you got to this point.
It was exciting to work with director Jennifer Baichwal, who made Manufactured Landscapes and others, on the film of Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth. It’s called, simply, PAYBACK. Jennifer didn’t want to do a transliteration of the book, a kind of illustrated version, but to go into the core of the book: owing and being owed, paying and paying back, on all sorts of levels. So she found real-life, visceral stories that embodied the themes of the book. The film opens with an Albanian blood feud and goes on to delve into, for instance, prison systems, underpaid tomato pickers, the gulf oil spill. It’s all woven together in a sensuous, oblique way that’s not the same as the single-message kind of documentary we’re used to, with an “answer” at the end. It’s more like an exploration. Sort of like what you do with Birth of a Nation. I was delighted with the film; it almost made me want to be a film-maker!
You’ve often been extremely supportive and generous to younger writers. Was there a mentor that encouraged this generosity of spirit? My family was big on sharing. I guess it was just the way I was brought up. Or maybe, I read those fairy tales in which one good turn elicits another. But in writing, yes, some older writers were kind to me when I was young; although some others were not. One good maxim to keep in mind, and I can’t remember
“Having been a lowly Hobbit with furry feet and fun parties, with fireworks and beer, [Canada] has now been handed the Ring of Power: a large supply of fossil fuel, in the form of oil/tar sand and coal.” Photos: COURTESY NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA TOP: margaret atwood preparing for a reading bottom: industrial tomato fields, southern florida ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 143
who said it, “You meet the same people on the way down that you meet on the way up, but you’re going the other way.”
friends and enemies. I get sucked into these things. It probably comes from selling Girl Guide cookies in youth.
For an in-depth view of how gift exchange works among artists, I’d recommend Lewis Hyde’s The Gift.
What do you think is the future of the book?
What writers from the Commonwealth do you read? Any suggestions for other territories, such as China, Brazil? Just curious... Always good to take a look at the long list for the Mann Booker, for the Commonwealth. It gives you an overview. There is so much going on all over the world that it’s impossible for one person to keep up. And I can’t.
The future of narrative? Built in, part of the human template. Not going away. The future of the codex book, with pages and so forth? A platform for transmitting narratives. There are others. The scroll is coming back (Twitter is a scroll.) Short forms are returning online. Interactivity is coming back; it was always there in oral storytelling. Each form has its pluses and its minuses. Now ask about the future of reading – a different question!
What do you think about the dynamic between text and cinema?
With your most recent film project, you stepped into the realm of documentary advocacy. You’ve often been politically active, from helping save libraries to raising awareness about the crisis in the Arctic Circle. Where did this political activist side come from? And what movements are you checking out these days?
Is there a favorite place in the world you go to relax? Does that place affect your writing?
I’m not an activist by nature. I am suspicious of Utopian thinking and equally suspicious of its alternate. I would prefer to stay in the Writing Burrow and play with my imaginary
What is this “relax” you speak of, Earthling, and where can I get some? (I did try that on my hair once. It was a screaming disaster.) O.
One is made of words. The other is made of pictures. I’ve worked in film; it’s a very different thing. Fun, though, when you like the people.
“I’m not an activist by nature. I am suspicious of Utopian thinking and equally suspicious of its alternate. I would prefer to stay in the Writing Burrow and play with my imaginary friends and enemies.”
Photo: TOP: blood feud victim, gjin prenaga, northern albania, COURTESY NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA 144 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
director, Producer + writer: Dafna Yachin
“Digital Dharma is the epic story of one man’s mission to provide free access to the story of a people.”
. Gene Smith was an amazing human being. On that, all who knew him can agree, from the high lamas and scholars who were inspired by his encyclopedic knowledge to the most humble, exiled Tibetans who were moved by his passion for literary preservation. As a non-Buddhist, I was honored that Gene allowed me to tell his story in our feature documentary, Digital Dharma, so that even a secular audience could grasp a complicated but important history. In 2008, Gene gave me permission to follow him back to India as he set out to deliver, to the main lamas of the four leading Buddhist traditions and the Bon, 12,000 digitized volumes from the 20,000 paper texts that had been salvaged from the devastation of China’s cultural revolution. Digital Dharma is the epic story of one man’s mission to provide free access to the story of a people. During the next four years, we witnessed unexpected setbacks, from salvaged books ruined by flooding in refugee camps to Tibetan protests during the 2008 Olympics in China, that threatened to undo 20 years of
negotiations and progress with the preservationists. Gene faced every challenge with courage and resourcefulness. The sudden death of E. Gene Smith in December 2010 underscored my urgency to tell Gene’s remarkable story as soon as possible. The week Gene died, he became the lead obituary in world press, such as The New York Times, London’s Daily Telegraph, and The Economist, with leading headlines such as, “The American Lama who Saved Tibetan Literature.” With this feature film, I want viewers to quickly move from asking why to wanting to learn how: how the mission will be accomplished, how it will all turn out, and perhaps even how they, the viewers, might become agents for accomplishing such a purpose in their own lives. Digital Dharma will premiere at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York on July 25 and run through September 5, with a prescreening guided exhibition tour of an accompanying exhibition, Illuminated: The Art of Sacred Books. The film has also been selected for Docuweeks, running in LA and NY in August.
Origin Magazine readers can get a Docuweeks discount at the box office. Code: Origin12 For details on screenings at the Rubin Museum of Art:
Director/Producer/Writer: Dafna Yachin Writers: Timothy Gates, Arthur Fischman Executive Producer: Dafna Yachin Lunchbox Communications 82 min. India/USA/Nepal/China
LITTLE SUN an interview with
Ólafur Elíasson INTERVIEW: Paul D. Miller/DJ Spooky
olar energy is so plentiful that it has the potential to replace oil, coal, and other fossil fuels as the source of most of the world’s energy, if it can be harnessed more efficiently. According to The Union of Concerned Scientists, the sun emits more energy in one second than every human being has used since life on Earth began, and enough energy reaches the surface of the U.S. every 20 minutes to power every electrical device in the entire country for approximately one year. How do we capture and efficiently use this source of totally free energy? Ólafur Elíasson’s new project Little Sun is part of an initiative to make solar-powered flashlights available throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. In many rural areas of the world, local communities use kerosene for indoor lighting, which leads to asthma, poor quality of light, and the desperate cycle of oil-based products that continually degrade the environment. This project is both a real world use of solar energy for communities desperately in need of energy and an art project. His installation, Ólafur Elíasson: Little Sun, is on display at Tate Modern in London during the London 2012 Festival.
PHOTOs: Ólafur Elíasson and Frederik Ottesen, Little Sun, 2012 TOP: HELEN ZERU center: MICHAEL TSEGAYE BOTTOM: TOMAS GISLASON 146 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
Your work has focused on the intersection of art, design, science, and architecture. In the tradition of Buckminster Fuller, your work could be said to really explore how design can radically change perception, and with that, change life. How do you feel about the idea that electricity can change everyday life? I believe that access to electricity and light can radically improve people’s lives. There are 1.3 billion people today who have no access to electricity. Many of them rely on kerosene lanterns for light, but kerosene is both expensive and hazardous to the health. This is why, together with engineer Frederik Ottesen, I have created a new work of art that works to bring light to people who do not have access to electricity: the Little Sun solar-powered lamp. Little Sun is aimed at off-grid communities all over the world.
Is there a “sustainable design” component to your approach? Little Sun is sustainable because it is not just about creating the lamp itself; it is also about successfully integrating it into the off-grid communities where it can have a lasting effect on the quality of life. It will help create local growth and sustainable trade, so that distributors will be able to make a profit, and those who use the lamp for everyday life will be able to save money on what they would normally waste on kerosene.
You collaborated with the renowned architect David Adjaye on the installation about light at the 51st Venice Biennial entitled Your Black Horizon. In this capacity, light
and architecture came together in some fascinating ways. One could argue that, like Sir Isaac Newton, that light was “corpuscular,” made of particles. The design of your “Little Sun” is an elegant use of solar energy. How did you arrive at this model? Over the years, in making art, I have constantly explored issues dealing with space, time, light, and society. I am particularly interested in how the light of a space determines how we see that space and, similarly, in how light and color are actually phenomena within us, within our own eyes. So, the viewer brings something individual to the experience of any artwork. I always try to make work that activates the viewer to be a co-producer of our shared reality. Little Sun unites these different strands of my work into a small object with a huge impact, and in this sense, it is probably one of my most important artworks to date. Since light has an evident, functional and aesthetic impact on our lives, by changing the light we use to see the world, Little Sun can change the world.
PHOTOs: Ólafur Elíasson and Frederik Ottesen, Little Sun, 2012 TOP: MICHAEL TSEGAYE RIGHT: mihret kebede
www.littlesun.com ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 147
THE ORIGIN SERIES: SAME QUESTIONS DIFFERENT ARTISTS POWERFUL ANSWERS
“Today, today, live like ya wanna. Let yesterday burn and throw it in the fire, in the fire, in the fire. Live like a warrior.” - Matisyahu
Matisyahu: Spark Seeker interview: Michael Barata photos: Joe Longo 148 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
Currently, who or what is inspiring you? I’m reading books written by Michael Eigen, who is a psychologist and psychoanalyst. One of his books, which I have not read yet but look forward to reading is Kabbalah and Psychoanalysis. I’m currently reading a book written by Arthur Green entitled, Tormented Master: The Life and Spiritual Quest of Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav.
What makes you vulnerable? I’m vulnerable reading people’s comments on Facebook. Today, I wanted to spend some time reading and responding to comments of fans on my Facebook page. Yes, there are great comments, but there are also a lot of people who are very opinionated and judgmental. So, initially, when I read these judgmental comments, I don’t feel vulnerable, but rather I get defensive. But once I get past that anger, it sort of becomes hurt. It becomes pain.
How do you handle pain? It’s interesting because this book I’m reading, Tormented Master, has been helping me. In it, Rabbi Nahman, actually believed that controversy is important. He explains how conflict and controversy are good things. They are positive things. His whole religious ideology is based around the concept of conflict. There is an idea in Kabbalah that the creation of the world is created through space. God is an ever present Being, and in order for anything outside of Him to exist, like this world for example, there needs to be what’s called a TumTum, or a withdrawal of Godly-like. And that withdrawal happens not by connection but actually by separation. Conflict. And in the gap of that conflict is where the world is situated. That’s where the world is created and lived. It’s been comforting for me reading his story and his ideas about conflict. It’s interesting you ask that question because vulnerability is a wonderful thing. We’re all so afraid to be vulnerable in this world. When you meet somebody who is vulnerable, there is an attraction. There is something to that. There is beauty there.
Is the song, “I Believe in Love,” off your latest album, Spark Seeker, about discovery or affirmation? I’m not sure if I thought about it that way. You can look at it as, a lot of people believe a lot of things. People also believe in a lot of ideas or hold tight to a lot of ideologies and beliefs. The meaning behind the song can be, love is a good thing.
“vulnerability is a wonderful thing. We’re all so afraid to be vulnerable in this world. When you meet somebody who is vulnerable, there is an attraction. There is something to that. There is beauty there.”
What is something about your art you feel is misunderstood? There are a lot of people who get me. There are a lot of people who don’t. I wouldn’t say there is one thing that everyone is missing. But there are a good number of people who don’t necessarily understand the recent changes I have made. For example, a lot of people in the religious world believe that by secularizing, or viewing the changes as secular, such as dropping the beard and changing my appearance, they consider this to be a fall. The belief then is one day Matis will come back, and he’ll lift himself back up. See, there is an assumption if you are not religious, you have fallen, or you are further from God, or you are not doing the right thing. The judgment on me, with regard to my changes, is that he must be out all night partying or banging prostitutes and doing blow. This whole thing for me was absolutely the contrary. It was actually that God started to become very real to me, inside. And once my spirituality started to really blossom, which has only really happened in the last six months, real feelings started to come in. That’s also when I realized I didn’t need those external things as much anymore. Not to say there is anything wrong with any of it, as I’m still into it, nor will I put anyone else down for doing it. What blows me away most is how sure people are of themselves. I don’t understand that whole concept. For me, I guess at times, I’ve been like that. But for me now, what I’ve come to is, we don’t know anything. We know nothing. And just because you know something to be true at this moment in your life or you feel that it is true, you can never be sure of yourself. The beauty of life is not knowing. People get so caught up in needing to know and having to prove themselves to be right, and I’m blown away by this. It’s unbelievable to me how sure people can be of themselves.
matisyahuworld.com ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 149
JIMMY CLIFF INTERVIEW: MARANDA PLEASANT
Hey how are you? I’m good, Maranda. How are you?
I’m fantastic. I’m so thrilled to talk to you. Wonderful, thank you.
Hey, where are you right now? I am in Marseille, in the south of France.
[laughs] It’s a hard life, isn’t it? [laughs] Yes it is!
What is it now, that sets your soul on fire the most?
What are you doin’ there?
The fact that I have these goals to accomplish. The fact that I make these goals that I told you about. [laughing] I am able to not take myself too seriously, but I am serious about them.
Well, we did a show last night, and I’m getting ready now to leave to go to Switzerland.
So, you are in full tour mode right now with your new album, Rebirth? Yes. That’s right.
What was it in you that just had to be born on this album? What needed to be said? Your main inspiration? I made an EP just before this with Tim Armstrong as producer. And it was called Sacred Fire. Now, this Sacred Fire was all the secrets that I had kept sacred inside of me to put out. And so after that EP, everything felt so good that I felt it was time to put out all these secrets that I had inside of me, which are expressions regarding our social, political, spiritual life on this planet, ecological life on this planet. And particularly in my career, the goals that I’ve set of making a string of number one hits, winning an Oscar, and all of those things. [laughs] So these are inspirations.
[laughs] What is the thing that makes you feel the most vulnerable? Family Situations. I’m very attached to my family and protective of them and miss them, and that situation, my connection with that can make me become very vulnerable.
How do you channel your pain? If I don’t channel it into a song, I play my guitar or play the piano or play my drums, or go swimming. You know? Some of these kinds of things. Those are the outlets that I have to channel it into.
I know that you probably get this all the time, but Tim Armstrong is more of a punk rock producer, and you’re reggae. That must have been a beautiful and crazy experience. How is that working together? Him being from this strong punk rock background. Well, you see, reggae influenced punk. And we address the same issues of social-political things, and sometimes to the point of anti-establishment. That made it very easy to work with Tim, plus he’s a connoisseur of reggae. So that made everything flow so smoothly.
Are there any issues on the planet that you’re particularly passionate about right now? Yes, I am. Social justice has always been a part of my inspiration. For example, when the Vietnam War was going on, I wrote a song about that. Another reason for calling the album Rebirth is because the planet is going through a rebirth, and thus, we see the breakdown of man-made laws politically, socially, religiously. All of those laws are breaking down now; we’re coming into a rebirth of the planet. And some cultures have echoed it, such as the Mayans have echoed that, and it came from the ancient Egyptians. So I’m very inspired by all of this, knowing that just over two thousand years ago, this planet went through a change, and it’s a normal thing for every two thousand three hundred years a planet to go through a new change; new laws, new things are happening. So we’re not to be surprised at all what we see happening in every part of the world. It’s a change of the return of things.
THE ORIGIN SERIES: SAME QUESTIONS DIFFERENT ARTISTS POWERFUL ANSWERS
www.jimmycliff.com Photo: THOMAS SHEEHAN
PhotoS: RIGHT AND OPPOSITE PAGE: THOMAS SHEEHAN BELOW: GREG WATERMAN
Are you going through your own rebirth as an artist and as a man? Exactly! That is part of it, too. So, it’s a combination of my personal rebirth as an artist, as a being, and also the consciousness of the rebirth of the planet.
What’s one of the biggest things that you see right now happening on the planet as part of that transformation? Well, the breakdown. Look what’s happening in the banking system. They never thought that all these things would have been discovered. Look what’s happening with religions, and they’re all being exposed. Look at what’s happening with scientific things. They have discovered dark matter. They have discovered what is called the God Particle. All that is going to make religion obsolete. These are the things that are amazing, and it’s an amazing time to be living in. It’s a higher energy that we’re going to be coming into.
Yes. I’m so with you. So, what are your plans? You’re going to be touring the rest of this year?
“Everything felt so good that I felt it was time to put out all these secrets that I had inside of me, which are expressions regarding our social, political, spiritual life on this planet, ecological life on this planet.”
[laughs] Yeah. Right. Well, I’m on this tour now. We’re going to finish the European leg. We’re coming back to the U.S. and to Canada, and at the end of that, I intend to pursue my acting career. Like I said, I have yet to call in that Oscar. So I have three movies on the table right now.
You never stop [laughing]. You really do it all. Where do you live? I live between Jamaica and Paris.
Oh. I lived in Paris for a long time. Jimmy, you better watch out for those French women [laughs] They will break your heart! [laughing] Tell me about it!
[laughing] Oh, that’s a whole other interview right there, on the French! You’re just such a legend, and you’ve impacted so many people’s lives and influenced so much. Is there anything else you’d like to say? Well, what I want to say is since we’re coming into a rebirth, and there’s a consciousness of health, because the disease that is death, we are able to overcome that. So encouraging people to eat right, think right, all of those things. Good thinking brings good feeling and good feeling brings good thinking.
Hey, how are you? THE ORIGIN SERIES: SAME QUESTIONS DIFFERENT ARTISTS POWERFUL ANSWERS
Doin’ alright. How you doin’?
Good. I’m out in a field in the middle of Ojai, California, surrounded by mountains doing a shoot. Of course you are.
I’ve been watching your videos on YouTube. Pretty amazing. Is that right? Thank you.
Okay, so I’m gonna jump into it. At the heart of it, why do you do what you do? That’s a good f*cking question that’s probably impossible to answer... Because I got kicked out of high school. [laughs] Seems like a good idea to have an alternative to a career in academia. I mean, I just grew up around music. My father was a musician, and I’ve always loved writing. I grew up in New York City during a time when hip hop music was surrounding you with the hip hop culture, and it felt natural. I was a really huge fan of the music. At a young age, I really wanted to make music and make my own sort of thing. I’m sure if it wasn’t music, it would have been writing, or it would have been maybe painting. I just always had the drive to try and make something with my hands and to pull something out of myself and shape it and see it in front of me, if that makes any sense. I think it changes - my relationship to why I do it - changes all the time. Now, I’m just really excited about seeing how and where I can take it. To see how eloquent can be the translation from what’s in my head to some sort of physical or existing property. And the other reason: if I didn’t, I’d probably walk outside and throw myself in front of a bus.
[laughing] I knew you were gonna say that, ‘cause I’m a painter. Today, I’m trying to stay away from buses. [laughs] Yeah, I can tell, right? Probably not many buses out there.
cancer for cure: a conversation with the outsider looks inward
Oh, God, you can tell. That’s probably not a good sign. [laughs] So, do you feel like an outsider? Did you come into this as an outsider, or what felt like an outsider? I think that everyone who does music, and everyone who does art, or everyone who decides at a young age that they’re gonna do that, is someone who feels like an outsider. The world is not really set up for that. You’ve gotta be an outsider a little bit to shake yourself loose from the mill, the “machine.” In order to even cut the space in your life to photoS: TIMOTHY SACCENTI
better day than you and me.
And I’m sitting in a freaking field! [laughs] Yeah! And you’re in a field, so what the f*ck is going on? [laughs] But it’s the same way that I couldn’t really be a part of high school, because I have a terrible time doing things that I don’t want to do. I’m not good at it. It’s not even like, I’m a rebel. I’m just bad at it. So, I’ve always existed a little bit on the outside of those things, mostly out of exhaustion and fear. [laughs] I don’t think I can do it.
[laughing] Can you write an album for me just called Exhaustion and Fear? I have. [laughs]
What do you think has been your greatest struggle as a man and artist? First thing that comes to mind.
pursue what most people literally cannot afford a moment to pursue. So, yeah. I think that not only is that the role of the artist, but it might be a requirement.
That’s pretty brilliant. You know, Moby said the same thing. I look at all of the people who do brilliant things and have this vision and insight. That level of reflection generally comes when it’s not handed to you. Yeah. I think that artists do the one thing that’s required of an artist. The only thing an artist is useful for, and the only reason why we don’t just line ‘em up against the wall and shoot them, is because, at their best, they’re the reflection of our lives, that most regular people can’t even afford to think about. And I would feel pretty embarrassed if I was doing what I do and I wasn’t at least attempting the eloquent translation of the human experience in some way.
I don’t know your industry, but what is it like to shift from indie music to a more polished product? Is it driven by big, commercial, manufactured stuff? Well, at a very early stage in my career, I always knew that I didn’t really want to have to take those things into consideration. So, I sought out situations that would allow me to just do whatever it was that I wanted to do, and maybe not necessarily to my benefit completely. I mean, there are plenty of happy people in management right now who sold the f*ck out. [laughs] But they’re probably having a much
Maybe my great struggle, and it’s probably not anything different from too many other people, but it certainly is what drives the music, is a hugely internal one. I mean, that’s what the album is. The Cancer for Cure idea is the idea that ultimately, these battles that we’re fighting at a microscopic level really emanates from within us. Any issue and any problem, no matter what height you look at it from, no matter how much you extend past the first fractal, it’s still a fractal of something that emanates from within your consciousness - from within the human consciousness. And it’ll move on and manifest itself externally, and then those are what we pick up as societal ills. But all these battles we’re fighting are internal. For me, it’s reconciling hope with dread and trying to cut out some place in my mind where my heart can be protected a little bit. Trying to separate myself from my instincts of pessimism and cut out and define what it is that I really do love, what I’m here to be, why I’m here, and what I think is worth being alive for and fighting for. And those things change, but I think that that’s something I am always chasing.
Bam. What do you do with your pain? How do you handle your pain? Um.
“I’M A SUCKER
FOR MY RELATIONSHIPS WITH WOMEN. I WAS RAISED BY WOMEN AND SEEN THEM GO THROUGH ALOT OF
SH*T, SO I THINK
THAT I’M VULNERABLE IN THE SCENARIOS WHERE I FEEL
INCA P A B L E
OF PROTECTING PEOPLE AROUND ME.”
[laughs] Fun questions. [laughs] I think I do music, to be honest. I do these records. All of these ideas that I have, that I put out there, that inspire me to write, are a purging in a lot of ways. I have to expel them in order for myself to walk around and actually smile and be a regular, or a living, person. So I’ve been really lucky to have that in my life. So, either that, or I just breathe and re-self medicate.
[laughs] Oh, I love these answers.
“For me, it’s reconciling hope with dread
and trying to cut out some place in my mind where my heart can be
protected a little bit. Trying to separate myself from my
instincts of pessimism and cut out and define
what it is that I really do love, what I’m here to be, why I’m here,
and what I think is worth being alive for and fighting for.” What’s the significance in the title for you? The reversal, Cure for Cancer - Cancer for Cure, for me, it really was that idea that we’re fighting internal struggles, that I am the cancer for my own cure.
That’s like Rumi. I’m not too familiar with Rumi, but I know. [laughs] That was sort of the overall signifier for me. But yeah, the other idea was the idea that there’s a segment of this world, there’s a mind state that’s permeated the intellectual consciousness of this world that comes from a certain type of people that looks at me and you and your average individual as a problem - like a blight on an otherwise potential paradise, something that needs to be cured. Basically, the idea that we are looked at as something that needs to be fixed. And my idea is, F*ck you. I will be the cancer to that cure, if that’s how you’re gonna look at me. I will proudly be cancer to that cure.
What’s the most important thing you want people to know about your music? Is there anything you’d like to say about it before I lose you?
What makes you vulnerable? What makes me vulnerable?
Men love to talk about vulnerability. Men love to talk about vulnerability? Okay, what makes me vulnerable? I’m vulnerable in general. I mean, my heart is on my sleeve in a lot of ways. As someone growing up in New York, at an early age, you start to erect protection around you for that type of thing. I’m a sucker for my relationships with women. I was raised by women and seen them go through a lot of sh*t, so I think that I’m vulnerable in the scenarios where I feel incapable of protecting people around me. That’s not much different from many other people, I’m sure.
I think the difference is your awareness of it. The way you articulate it is powerful and concise. Aw, thank you.
maybe there’s positivity.
So, your album Cancer for Cure, what was the motivation behind this?
Beautiful. Thank you.
Yeah.To anyone listening to my music, who’s not really familiar, I would say, “Give it a few tries.” [laughs] Let yourself go there; sit with it. What I hope people take away from it is that it may seem a little pummeling and a little bit intense, but hopefully, you come out the other side, not with a sense of pessimism or dread, but with a sense of a little bit of hope. And that’s something that I don’t really take lightly or say much. I’m not really one of these people who’s been known for particularly hopeful sentiments. I hope that people take away hope, maybe not in an obvious sense, but in the form of hearing somebody who’s genuinely fighting to stay above water. And in that fight, there’s hope. In that fight,
photoS: top: album art for cancer for cure bottom: TIMOTHY SACCENTI 156 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
Hear intimate live performances with your favorite bands.
RECENT SHOWS GOTYE RYAN ADAMS MESHELL N’DEGEOCELLO HONEYHONEY SHELBY LYNNE ADELE Watch highlights from recent performances online at: www.KCRW.com/instudio ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 157
THE ORIGIN SERIES: SAME QUESTIONS DIFFERENT ARTISTS POWERFUL ANSWERS
WALKING TOWARDS THE LIGHT WITH
AMANDA PALMER INTERVIEW: MARANDA PLEASANT
n combat boots. In heels. With a fist, an open heart and a spirit of soft steel, Amanda Palmer is a musician harnessing the power of collective community and creativity. Changing the game, challenging commercial models, and making history with her $1.2 million Kickstarter campaign for her new album, she’s like a swift kick in the gut with an honesty that will break your heart and expand your mind. Rock on Ms. Palmer. Rock on. PHOTO: top: SHERVIN LAINEZ 158 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
You’ve made history. You’re changing the whole game about not needing corporate backing to make an album. What inspired you to put this together?
tools. And the really top-down pyramid scheme of major labels and typical superstars isn’t sustainable anymore because the system has collapsed.
I’ve been creating my whole career this way from the beginning. It’s not as if I woke up one day and said, “It seems like a good time to start taking care of my fans.” One thing begat the other, and it started with my band coming out of a real tight-knit art community where we took all those things for granted and just did them anyway. The thing you’re seeing now with the music industry is that the people who have tight-knit communities are now able to really hold each other up because of the internet
Yes. So, I’ve been like this forever. It’s just sort of showing up now. [laughs]
Right. What is the figure now? It closed at the end of May at almost 1.2 million dollars.
Congratulations! Thank you!
I love the idea of collaborating with artists and getting them behind your project. It’s how I believe we build our communities through mutual support. Not being fragmented but coming together, supporting each other. Who are some of the artists that donated to this campaign? The money wasn’t donated. All the money that came into the Kickstarter was pre-sale money, so everybody was buying something. And the art is actually the same way. None of the artists donated their work. I commissioned them all and paid them.
Wow. And I had to borrow all the money and had to bet against myself that enough people were gonna order the book, but it worked out.
Where did you get the idea?
“And the minute I spend any energy defending myself, explaining myself, or in the worst case scenario, trying to please those who are criticizing me, I will just fall off a cliff.” Bundling art together with your music is an old idea. [laughs] That’s not a new idea. Doing a big, fine art book, I don’t think is a truly original idea. I think a lot of musicians out there have looked at the situation and said, “Okay, if I really want to make it worth someone buying a piece of physical music, which is clearly an unnecessary thing since they can get the music itself for free, how do I create something physical and beautiful that they’ll want to have?” So, in that sense, I kind of rely on my artist friends to make my physical music worth buying by having them all come together and create beautiful artwork that everyone is gonna want to own to support my record.
What has been the most vulnerable part of creating this album for you? The songs themselves on this album are strangely like a step forward and a step backwards for me because a lot of them are really simple pop songs if you compare them to the stranger stuff I’ve done. And I feel like they take me right back to my roots and the music I grew up on, which was really simple pop music. I feel like I’ve gotten to the point in my career and in my life where I can allow myself to write whatever comes into my head and not judge it too harshly. And sometimes, I get really fantastic results when I just get out of my own way, and this album is a great example of that. I sat down. I turned out the songs over three or four years that wanted to come out. And then I handed them over to the band and said, “Okay, let’s arrange these.” I think because of that it sounds like the most fully realized record I’ve ever made.
Right. So all these things coming together at the same time as the Kickstarter being really successful is insanely lucky. ‘Cause if the Kickstarter was really lucky, but I had kind of a mediocre, sh*tty record, I’d be really screwed. [laughing] But I have a great record to back it up with, thank God.
That’s really great. Did you ever feel like an outsider in the industry? Sure. I think I’ve always felt as a band and as a musician and a music business person, I’ve always felt like an outsider, period. I’ve always felt like PHOTOs: top: album art from theatre is evil bottom: megan howland
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PHOTOs: top left: MICHAEL ZULLI top right: Cassandra long bottom: TONY ALBERT
“...being able to easily identify the people walking towards the light instead of walking towards the darkness, that’s a skill I’m very, very glad to see growing in myself. ” an outsider across the board, since day one. The challenge has been to simply not pay attention to my outsider or insider status and just do the work and play the shows and connect with the people. And not even bother to play this game of keeping score, which is what destroys you. Comparing yourself to the people like you, comparing yourself to the people who aren’t like you, looking at how many records you’ve sold, looking at the venue size you’re selling out. None of that can even remotely measure how happy you are. There’s a part of me that is really, really happy with all of my success lately because of what it can get me and what it can buy me in the fact that my music will hopefully reach more people. But it also makes me a little bit miserable because the minute the spotlight is on you, people start flinging sh*t at you for whatever reason.
[laughs] Yes. There are so many snarky, angry critics out there who are just sort of looking to tear down whoever is getting talked about.
And they don’t even know you! They’ve never met you. Yes, I know it well. (sighs) Yeah, or don’t even know the music. The challenge is to just focus on what’s actually happening, focus on the people who get it, and focus on the people who are listening. And the minute I spend any energy defending myself, explaining myself, or in the worst case scenario, trying to please those who are criticizing me, I will just fall off a cliff. [laughs] If I simply do what I’ve always done, it’s never failed me. I do what I want. I try to be nice to everybody. When I fail, I try to apologize. And I make the music that I want to make and make the show that I want to make. If you like it, you come. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to. That’s the philosophy that I’ve had since day one in the Dresden Dolls. I don’t try to make anybody outside happy.
That’s powerful. I’m just gonna take that in. I love it when you said, “focus on the people who get it.” All of my music, my stage show, my personality, my blog, my twitter feed,
“I think I can define my entire life, virtuosity and business philosophy down to the core fundamental that I absolutely hate being told what to do. But like any artist or any human being out there, I desperately want to be loved, and I spend my entire life trying to balance those two facts.”
anything that’s made me me, and a huge part of why people like and respect me, is that I just don’t spend much energy on that other stuff. It’s not worth it. It’s a losing battle too. You’re just screwed the minute you engage.
Yeah. I can just feel my life energy seeping out the second I let it affect me. Yeah. The cool thing too, as you get older, you get way better at identifying who’s an ally and who isn’t. And who has good, positive, “let’s make all this sh*t better and let’s try to have fun and fix sh*t” people as opposed to “let’s sit around and b*tch and berate” people.
BAM. And you know, I remember being a teenager and being really impressed by “let’s sit around and b*tch” people, and I have so little time for those people nowadays. When I find
myself having to share a meal with someone who simply wants to complain about the world, I almost feel myself wanting to crawl out of my skin and just sort of scurry away. But being able to pick up on that stuff and being able to easily identify the people walking towards the light instead of walking towards the darkness, that’s a skill I’m very, very glad to see growing in myself. You know, just identifying all the negative stuff and just one by one cutting it out and cutting it out and doing the same work on yourself. You know, the thing when you’re getting in your own way? All of that stuff. It gets easier and easier.
How does your art, your music help you process pain? It totally depends on the situation. I have a handful of really close relationships in my life and I depend on those people heavily to carry
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“I think I got dealt a set of cards, and I’m playing with them, sometimes in heels, sometimes in combat boots.”
me through and to help me stay steady. I nurture my close relationships like priceless lamps. That’s part of why the job itself is inherently difficult and kind of a paradox, because you’re out there touring and traveling and going a million miles a minute, but the things that are keeping you steady and stable can be really hard to nurture when you’re going fast, and your relationships, which are the number one thing that help me through.
This is turning into a counseling session for me. [laughs] Me too, actually.
You can bill me later. Not only do I see you as this pioneer and visionary and this strong voice for artists but also this female voice and redefining the rules and the industry. Is there anything about being a woman in the music industry that makes this harder? Do you feel like you have to be a little bit tougher or you have to have a thick skin? Yeah, I think being a woman in any business that’s dominated by men, you have your garden variety pros and cons, where you learn how to focus and harness your various powers and weaknesses for better or for good. One thing about being a performer is you’re not just doing an intellectual job behind a desk; you’re out there performing and PHOTOs: left: DAVID MACK RIGHT: WALTER SICKERT 162 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
being looked at, being assessed for really superficial stuff. How you sound. How you look. Are you fat? Those are things that could be really irritating. My way of coping with that has been to kind of play the game but bring a bunch of blindfolds and occasionally blindfold myself and blindfold those around me and go, “Ha ha ha! Isn’t this fun? We’re f*cking it all up!” That at least keeps it interesting. I feel like if I were to play the game completely and just get myself in a giant bottle of nail polish and put myself on display, I would feel like I had somehow cosmically lost. I feel like I’m taking a bunch of the ingredients and using some of them but not all of them and shuffling around and making people think I’m doing my job. I think I can define my entire life, virtuosity and business philosophy down to the core fundamental that I absolutely hate being told what to do. But like any artist or any human being out there, I desperately want to be loved, and I spend my entire life trying to balance those two facts. [laughs] And that’s it. My life and my art are the tightrope between those two truths. And being a woman just means I’ve got a different set of dishes to walk across that tightrope with. If I were a guy, it would be, you know, just a different set of problems I’d have to carry along. I don’t think of myself as particularly cursed or blessed. I got dealt a set of cards, and I’m playing with them, sometimes in heels, sometimes in combat boots. [laughs]
Mashing Up Mad Men the Pop Culture Pirate
became an appropriation artist out of a desire to be simultaneously included and ostracized by mainstream American culture. As critical thinkers, feminists, artists, and humans, we are so accustomed to negotiating the fine line between being a fan of popular culture and being a critic of it. And when we donâ€™t see ourselves and our communities represented, it begins to disintegrate our sense of self within that community. Appropriating mainstream TV shows and re-editing them into subversive, feminist narratives enables me to engage viewers who are turned away from the mainstream and convince them to turn a bit towards it and those turned toward the mainstream to turn a bit away. In 2008, the web witnessed feminist and queer online communities generating massive amounts of smart and snarky responses to popular culture. Unfortunately, the responses were, and continue to be, text-based discussions of disappointment. Why did every show revolve around straight, white women looking for a boyfriend? In order to participate in the discussion, I knew I had to turn our collective anger and resentment towards the lack of queer representation into something practical: a product that our critical theory addressed in text only. So, instead of writing and blogging about the types of stories I wanted to see in popular culture, I created them myself.
Photo: Top: Edie Bresler
After three years of experimenting on smaller video projects (I made the Real Housewives of NY, NJ, and Beverly Hills into feminists and lesbians respectively), I created a threeepisode long, remix narrative series, The QueerCarrie Project (2011), which removed every male character from the show and followed Carrie Bradshaw as she came out of the closet. A year and a half later, I created a two-part Mad Men series (2012), which garnered more views on YouTube than the original Mad Men Season 5 trailers. In the mash up QueerMen, Don Draper and Roger Sterling fall in love and run away together to subvert, rather than sell, patriarchy. In the second remix, Mad Men: Set Me Free, the male characters are edited out completely to form an entirely female-framed fantasy version of the show where Peggy, Joan, and Betty break the fairy tale of being perfect women and instead, become fierce and loyal feminists. Appropriating mainstream media texts and re-editing them into subversive stories that echo fluidity and inclusivity allows me to make new narratives that bridge the gap between fan and critic and gives us an opportunity to see ourselves and our communities included in popular culture in a way that no longer demands we compromise our politics to be entertained.
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THE ORIGIN SERIES: SAME QUESTIONS DIFFERENT ARTISTS POWERFUL ANSWERS
DEV MORE DEPTH MORE TEXTURE
Last time I talked to you, you were driving in the canyons, and I was telling you about how we met you at SXSW and could not tell that you just had a baby. [laughs] Oh, thank you.
As a woman, what is it that makes you vulnerable? In the industry, I work with a lot of males. It really just depends, whether I was talking about love or being scared of whether it’s success or failure, growing up. Little things like that. I think now, since I’ve had a child, really the only thing that makes me feel vulnerable is her.
And I heard that you had a high-risk pregnancy. Mm-hm.
How do you balance being a mother and a full-time artist? I saw your tour schedule, and you had three top hits on the Billboard One Hundred. You’re constantly touring and collaborating. Do you feel pulled or stretched? Yeah. When I was pregnant, I worked as much as I could until my doctor told me to stop because of the high risk. And then once I had her, she spent a few months in the hospital and then went back for a couple weeks. She’s pretty much been in and out since she’s been born. It’s hard, definitely. I’d do a show and go straight to the hospital and sleep at the hospital. My fiancé definitely helped me to balance my career and my daughter’s condition. But it made me so much stronger. Photo: TOP: ALIYA NAUMOFF 164 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
I think it made her so much stronger, me, and my fiance, and just my family overall.
Has your lifestyle changed? [laughs] Yeah, one hundred percent. It had to. I can’t even go to bed kind of tipsy; I’m gonna have to wake up like every three hours, you know? It is for the better. If I didn’t have her, who knows where I would be right now. I think that she definitely helped me get my sh*t together, that’s for sure. [laughs]
[laughs] I noticed how you are really redefining sexy, young and fresh. I find there’s more depth and more texture, and it’s more interesting. That’s actually awesome. Thank you.
Do you find that there is any career pushback with having a child? It’s funny. When I was pregnant, I was definitely worried that I wouldn’t be able to say some things in my songs or go certain places or be sexy, I guess, overall. It is my first child, and I still didn’t know what to expect in the aftermath. But I think, if anything now, she’s given me a lot of confidence. I feel like Superwoman. I feel like the sexiest I ever have. I am definitely a lot more comfortable in my own skin, and I don’t really second guess myself as much as I did when I first started doing music. It makes me excited for my upcoming albums and shows. Hopefully, people can tell.
“I feel like the sexiest I ever have. I am definitely a lot more comfortable in my own skin, and I don’t really second guess myself as much as I think I did when I first started doing music.” Well, I can tell. What projects do you have coming up right now that you’re excited about? Actually, I’m taking some time off this summer from doing shows. I’ll definitely end up in the studio making new music. I’m writing more than I ever have. I’m thinking in a whole new direction, just listening to myself a lot more. We’ll have a whole lot more live instrumentation performing with a whole band and traveling like that as opposed to just me and a DJ. It’ll be cool. It’s funny; when I recorded the first album, I thought I knew everything. [laughs] I really did, and now, I look back and go, Oh my God. Who was letting her record an album? You know? Nineteen. I have a lot more to say, and I’ve experienced a lot over these past few years.
Is there anybody in particular that you plan on collaborating with this next six to eight months? Yeah. I have a session lined up with Diplo. He’s a cool friend. And maybe Sia.
She’s a legend. I love Sia! Do you ever get tired of people referencing the G6 song? [laughing] They’re like, “Yeah! It’s the G6 girl.” It’s so whack. No. I feel very fortunate. I had just turned 21, and my dad called me and was like, “You have one of those annoying songs on the radio! This is f*cking awesome!” [laughing] I feel really fortunate that I got to experience that. Hearing my songs all over the place, doing T.V. It’s made me really set my name up as a performer and as an artist. At the same time, maybe when I’m 40 and people keep asking me about that song, I might get sick of it. Right now, I’m so lucky that I got to do that. It’s funny. Hopefully, as I continue to make more music, people will be able to figure me out. I hope it doesn’t get too bad. [laughs]
O. PhotoS: TOP: NATALIA MANTINI RIGHT: ALIYA NAUMOFF
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THE ORIGIN SERIES: SAME QUESTIONS DIFFERENT ARTISTS POWERFUL ANSWERS
Trevor Hall INTERVIEW + photos: Steve Rosenfield
Steve Rosenfield talks with Trevor Hall about lily pads, spiritual recognition, service and wearing your heart on your sleeve. Whether he’s in a good mood or bad, you’ll know it. Where did music start for you? It started with my father. He was a musician and played the drums.
Why do you do what you do? Sometimes, I don’t really have a choice, you know? [laughs] Music was such a love of mine. It was my way of exploring life, my internal world. To be honest, I don’t really know why or why not. It just seems life without it would be death.
What makes you vulnerable? Well, in the early years, it was those moments right before going on stage. They put me in a very ticklish space, but I think it’s shifted to writing because when you’re young, you’re not really worried too much about what people think. You’re just in this beautiful, natural place with creativity, and it’s just flowing through you, whereas after a few years and a few records, you have all these pressures starting to build on your back.
Definitely. From the beginning of your career to now, there must be a business side of music and a pleasure side of music. How do you separate that? It’s been a tough road. Here’s an analogy: you only see the top of a lily pad, but if you pull the lily pad out of the water, it has roots and tangled weeds and all the stuff that comes with it. To be honest, I’m really not good at it, and I haven’t mastered the business part of it. [laughs]
I love that lily pad analogy. How do you maintain a balance with a hectic touring lifestyle? I’m not gonna lie; it’s a really difficult thing. I think you have to find it through yourself. For me, that’s where my spiritual practice comes in. It’s come from a lot of people that I’ve met that have influenced me over the years, and it’s remembering those people, what they taught me. That’s how I do it.
When you write music, it seems to be very spiritual and poetic. Can you tell me
“And some may say, ‘Oh, that’s quite ridiculous,’ or ‘That’s quite a blind faith.’ As Bob Marley says, ‘who feels it, knows it.’”
more about that? Ever since I was a young kid, I was always hungry for something. It was this thing inside me that no matter what I did, I couldn’t satisfy it. In high school, my friend’s father was with a great saint in India, Neem Karoli Baba. My friend had a picture of him on the wall in his dorm room at the boarding school we went to. That lifelong hunger was almost quenched just by seeing a picture of this person I didn’t even know but I felt like I knew in my heart. My friend had a book about this saint. I remember we stayed up the whole night reading it. The familiarity was astonishing to me. We have an expression, “a moment with your beloved, and the river changes course.” That was definitely when my river changed course because I fell in love with this personality. Whatever this personality loved, I wanted to love. It all stemmed from him. And some may say, “Oh, that’s quite ridiculous,” or “That’s quite a blind faith.” As Bob Marley says, “who feels it, knows it.”
I noticed you work with a specific ashram in India, Yoga-Vedanta Kutir. Can you talk about that? On my first trip to India, my guru took me to an ashram in Allahabad. I felt like I was walking into a place I had been before. It felt like it was my spiritual home. The ashram houses young boys from ages five to sixteen.
Most of the boys are either orphans, from single parents, or from poor families. They’re taught basic life lessons, traditional education, and ancient yoga philosophy that is unfortunately being washed away by our western culture, even in India. At first, the kids were reckless, but by the second year I returned, the transformation that had taken place blew my mind. I just wanted to support that cause any way I could. I came back to the States and just put out a little donation basket with a picture and a brief description at our shows. We’ve raised thousands and thousands of dollars, which enabled us to build a girls’ ashram. It’s grown into something that I never thought would ever happen. So many fans, friends, and family have given money, and now, when I walk into the ashram, I see them there. I see their love within those walls and within those kids’ eyes. The whole experience has really taught me the wonders of humanity.
Totally. How do you transform your pain? Well, I’m the type of guy that I wear my heart on my sleeve. If I’m in a good or bad mood, then everybody knows it. [laughs] I’m not really good at hiding it or taking something and transforming it into something good. When those things come along, I really try to just sit with them and let it run its course
because it’s necessary to feel both sides of the coin.
What song are you most embarrassed about having on your iPod? [laughs] That’s a good one. I like that. That’s not really a fair question because if you say something, then it exposes you. Secondly, it makes the artist, whoever it is, not feel good about themselves.[laughs] The song I’m most embarrassed about having would be... I don’t know. This past record, the record label was getting on me about doing a radio song. So, my producer sent me a song demo and for a very short period, I considered doing it, but my discrimination kicked in. I still have it and listen to it from time to time because it’s catchy. [laughs]
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the True Story of a False Prophet a conversation with Vikram Gandhi Interview: Paul D. Miller/DJ Spooky
The soundtrack to your documentary film, Kumaré: the True Story of a False Prophet, was really compelling; you acted, directed, and created the overall sound design for the project. Growing up in Jersey and New York City, my walkman was filled with Stretch Armstrong mixtapes and other hip hop, grunge, indie rock, and psych rock. The soundtrack in my house was Asha, Lata, Mohammed Raffi, Anup Jalota, the pop/folk music of India from the 50’s to the 80’s. All of this music was heavily influenced by American music; you can hear jazz, rockabilly, broadway, surf, funk, disco, depending on the
era. I also listened to Ravi Shankar, Vedic hymns, and meditation tapes on long car rides with my dad. So, we are talking about a lot of east meets west fusion, a masala. The music for the film ended up being my own personal masala.
How did the mantras you “made up” affect the way the yoga sessions evolved? I guess if people believe enough in a sound, they invest it with meaning. Do you feel like that was a core issue in the way you looked at authentic vs inauthentic ideas around what is a guru? I spent my childhood memorizing hours of Sanskrit chants, with little knowledge of their meanings. I was told this was the ancient Indian way. The meditative part was the sound of the hymn, not its meaning. So, when I was creating the main mantras of Kumaré, I looked to the main mantra of Hinduism. There is the primordial sound, Om (Aum). I wanted to make a new and improved version of that, so I just made up U-A-E, pronounced oo-ah-eh. Kumaré is about transformation, so I called it the sound of transformation. It felt good and positive; some people even said they liked it better than Om. Who’s to say they are wrong? I also translated some corporate slogans like “Just Do It” and “Be all you can be” into Sanskrit. I remember what Swami Bua, a 115-year old yoga teacher, once told me: “English is the language of commerce; Sanskrit is the language of God.”
Who were some of the gurus, mega-church preachers, televangelists, and yogis that you looked at as models for the character, Kumaré?
I remember I made this document where I listed inspirations for Sri Kumaré. On it, were Joel Osteen, Yogi Bhajan, Osho, Maharishi, Sai Baba, and even Creflo Dollar. Fashion-wise, I was emulating the Siva Sadhus I met in India. Since I am nearly 6’4” and carried a trident, I ended up becoming less intimidating by imitating my grandmother, as well as Swami Bua, who I mentioned earlier. The joke of Kumaré was the exterior, but at the heart, I wanted to just teach what I, Vikram, believed.
How much did you feel like staying in or out of character would create narrative tension? The narrative tension is definitely the lead-up to the unveiling. The more we see Kumaré interact with people, the more we begin to like him and what he represents. There becomes an increasing contrast between Kumaré the sacred and Vikram the profane. The whole point of Kumaré was the idea of projection and how people both give their power up or feel empowered through their interaction with this foreign spiritual leader. Kumaré was ultimately teaching the same message that the film teaches. The real teacher is already in you.
What do you think of the material that you scripted in the context of people like Sacha Baron Cohen, who does a similar critique of “realism?” Any additional influences? Unless I lived in a cave like Kumaré, there would be no way that Sacha Baron Cohen would not have influenced this film. The idea of Kumaré actually predates HBO’s Da Ali G Show, but after seeing the Borat movie, I realized the vast possibilities of this kind of film-making. Borat was so brilliant in pointing out Americans’ provincial attitudes and embedded racism; he pushed it really far. I wanted to create a character that showed something about human nature that was more internal and universal and not reactionary. The real main difference however was that the story of Borat and Bruno was scripted before; of course, the scenes themselves were improvised and spontaneous. I, though, didn’t want to know what was going to happen when we made Kumaré; it would have undermined the whole experiment.
Some artists identify with non-western art and thought precisely to subvert and critique what they see as the spiritually-bankrupt, capitalist West. Do you see the exchange between eastern and western models of meditation, yoga, and art as beneficial or appropriation? You probably wouldn’t have been able to do this as a “white” or African American person! Thoughts?
American artists tend to respond to, appropriate, and transform the central tenets of eastern philosophies and religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism, but people of color aren’t really involved. What do you think of contemporary ‘The whole point of Kumaré was the idea of situations where this is happening, like many projection and how people both give their modern yoga movements? The character Kumaré is a reaction to exactly this, the gaze on the other. Kumaré is a reaction to the western dream of India and the East. He is a character borne more out of mythology and western fantasies than reality. I did want to satire the way selfhelp and yoga is marketed, as well.
power up or feel empowered through their interaction with this foreign spiritual leader. Kumaré was ultimately teaching the same message that the film teaches. The real teacher is already in you.”
As per the western gaze, I think that the distorted interpretation of eastern spirituality has itself become an experience all its own. What I’ve learned, though, from this process, is that when it comes to spiritual experience, no one can say what is authentic and what is not.
I think if I was anyone else at all I wouldn’t have done this at all. The specific circumstances of my ethnicity and upbringing gave me a unique perspective and drive to find out what was real about both cultures I was raised within.
What people fail to realize is that Indian yoga asanas as we know them were already this mixture of western and eastern ingredients. Contemporary yoga asanas, exported from India, were refined by people who knew about western physical disciplines, medical science, and who sought to innovate. We all really want to be able to lay claim to what’s authentic, but this whole thing has been fusion for centuries.
The Last Pictures Trevor Paglen
In 1963, NASA launched the communications satellite, Syncom 2, into a geosynchronous orbit over the Atlantic Ocean. Since then, humans have slowly and methodically added to this spacebased communications infrastructure. Currently, more than 800 spacecraft in geosynchronous orbit form a man-made ring of satellites around Earth at an altitude of 36,000 kilometers. Most of these spacecraft powered down long ago, yet continue to float aimlessly around the planet. Geostationary satellites are so far from earth that their orbits never decay. The dead spacecraft in orbit have become a permanent fixture around our planet, not unlike the rings of Saturn. They will be the longest-lasting artifacts of human civilization, quietly circling Earth until the Sun turns into a Red Giant, about five billion years from now. Perhaps someday in the distant future, dinosaurs may once again rule the Earth. If they ever learn to watch the stars, then maybe they will find our ruins in the sky. The Last Pictures is a project to acknowledge the fact that communications satellites are the monuments of our historical era. They are our Pyramids, our Stonehenge, and our Nazca lines. For nearly five years, I interviewed scientists, artists, anthropologists, and philosophers to consider what such a cultural mark should be. As an artist in residence at MIT, I worked with materials scientists to develop a way to encode pictures into an ultra-archival disc, capable of lasting in space for billions of years. In September 2012, a television satellite called EchoStar XVI will lift off from Kazakhstan, enter a geostationary orbit, and proceed to broadcast over ten trillion images over its fifteen-year lifetime. When it nears the end of its useful life, EchoStar XVI will use the last of its fuel to enter a slightly higher “graveyard orbit,” where it will power down and die. But attached to EchoStar XVI’s anti-earth deck is another collection of images. While EchoStar XVI’s broadcast images are destined to be as fleeting as the light-speed radio waves they travel on, the pictures etched into an artifact on EchoStar XVI’s anti-earth deck will continue to slowly circle Earth until the Earth itself is no more. Trevor Paglen is an artist and geographer based in New York City. In September 2012, his project will leave Earth. A book chronicling the project will be available in fall 2012.
www.paglen.com 170 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
photoS: TOP: COURTESY OF N.A.S.A. MIDDLE: TREVOR’S ULTRA-ARCHIVAL DISC BOTTOM: IMAGES ETCHED ON THE DISC
Bella Gaia: A Poetic Vision of Earth from Space “BELLA GAIA’s imagery is stunning. It’s difficult to make music that can match it, and Kenji Williams delivers.” - Ray Kurzweil, Author, The Age of Spiritual Machines.
BELLA GAIA is a globally-recognized, immersive experience combining high-fidelity imagery of the Earth from space, data visualizations, and stirring live performances of music and dance from around the world. The award winning BELLA GAIA tells a cosmic story, exploring both human and natural expressions of the Living Universe, illuminating the relationship between human civilization and nature as we enter the Anthropogenic Age. This astoundingly moving experience leaves audiences with a transformative sense of wonder and inspiration, seeing the Earth as a multifaceted yet cohesive, working organism that gives people pause to contemplate our place in it. Known to convert climate skeptics, BELLA GAIA’s unique method of storytelling is recognized as an effective way to cut through current forms of environmental communications. Its modular “open source” design means it is regularly updated with new content from NASA, other data visualizers, and film artists. Each show is slightly different, and the full 80 minute BELLA GAIA experience is performed by an ensemble of ranking New York artists and dancers. Inspired by astronauts who spoke of the life-changing power of seeing the Earth from space, award winning director and composer, Kenji Williams created BELLA GAIA to simulate this transformation called the
Overview Effect. Tapping our collective reference point from NASA’s Apollo “Earthrise” photos, BELLA GAIA reintroduces that singular Earthrise moment in a greater cosmic context, simulating space flight, and taking the audience on a spectacular journey around the planet. To create the experience, Kenji combined his three creative passions: filmmaking, composing music, and performing, mixing them with his life experience, his love of world cultures, art, science, and data visualization. He began building an international team, including NASA scientists, data visualizers, visual, music and dance artists, and bridge builders. It has already been performed in 8 countries, reaching over 150,000 people globally through live performance and 6 million high school students through their media partner Channel One. NASA funds their education program “Beautiful Earth,” but BELLA GAIA is actively fundraising for expansion and invites you to get involved. Williams’ transformational art spans 17 years, from four album releases, the film Moment Utopia, to the “Worldspirit” project with Alex Grey. “My goal with BELLA GAIA is to create an experience to ignite the emotional intelligence that resides in all of us as humans inhabiting planet Earth and inspire a culture of ecology—a deep love for the design of nature and the universe in a way beyond words. – Kenji Williams, Founder, Director, BELLA GAIA PHOTos: Nao Suzuki ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 171
The Sound of the Sun Robert Alexander
hile images from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory now render our sun in striking detail, there is a world of information that eludes our eyes, remaining entirely invisible. Through false color imaging we can expand our sensorium and perceive wavelengths far beyond visible light: radio waves mixed with x-rays in a swirling sea of color. Still, these images only tell us part of a much larger story. In search of a deeper understanding of complex phenomena, several scientists have turned a blind eye to traditional techniques and revisited their data without any intention of seeing something new. In short, they’ve stopped looking for answers and started listening. Enter the science of sonification. Enter the human ear. To a handful of researchers, the squiggly lines generated by satellites look less like scientific graphs and more like audio files. The massive archive of information gathered across countless NASA missions feels less like a data archive and more like an old record collection waiting to be explored. What happens when you pull PHOTOs: this page: courtesy of NASA/SDO 172 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
43 years of solar wind data out of the sleeve and drop it on the turntable? Solar flares and coronal mass ejections become clicks and pops. The rotation of the sun becomes an underlying hum, and the solar magnetic field rings with spherical harmonics. Slow the turntable down, and you’re listening to everything unfold at a fraction of the original speed. As data becomes sound, the analyst becomes DJ. With the ability to filter and loop in real-time, the interaction becomes fluid, the data malleable. One might ask: why listen? Consider the power of our auditory sense; we can easily follow a conversational
“What happens when you pull 43 years of solar wind data out of the sleeve and drop it on the turntable? Solar flares and coronal mass ejections become clicks and pops.”
thread in a crowded room or localize a car as it passes in the distance. Consider the reviews of a new album release; you can read about the sparklingly enigmatic voice of the lead singer, the poignantly understated percussion, and the bass groove that never left the pocket, but you won’t be able to fully appreciate the music and form your own opinion until you hear it for yourself. We can use language to paint synesthetic tapestries in which violinists are bright and melodic lines are colorful, but reference can only take us so far without direct experience. Ultimately the question becomes: why not listen? Initially met with some skepticism, “talkies” have gained wide popularity in contemporary cinema, to the extent that modern silent film is near unthinkable if not at the hands of a bold director. How might you react if you purchased a ticket, only to discover the theater had no sound? This situation seems absurd, and yet, we find the sciences inundated with a flood of satellite data that sits in utter silence. Simply listening to the roar of solar storms or the hum of distant pulsars opens a new understanding that isn’t possible with traditional methods of analysis, and we have the technology to make these sonic experiences broadly accessible. Still, there is a strong cultural aversion in the sciences towards that which cannot be seen, touched, tasted, nor smelled. The transient nature of sound relegates listening to the realm of subjective novelty in a landscape defined by objective truth. This being the case, a small group of sonification specialists are working to carve out a space for multisensory data analysis. Though few in number, these scientists seek to end the silent age of space exploration.
Robert Alexander is a NASA JPFP Fellow developing new interfaces for data sonification at Goddard Space Flight Center. He works as a data sonification specialist with the Solar and Heliospheric Research Group at the University of Michigan, where he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Design Science. Alexander is currently an artist in residence with Imagine PHOTOs: top: courtesy of NASA/Steel Hill bottom: courtesy of European Southern Observatory (ESO) ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 173
n 2008, I first heard a “Dwog Paco” (“Come Home”) song, sitting with a group of widows and rape survivors on the cool floor of an old store in Kitgum, Northern Uganda. This group, like many, had banded together to take care of each other and children orphaned by the fighting and disease in the camps. They were a true “community” in the most real sense of the word. I told them that I wanted to carry their story back with me because where I’m from, we had lost that sense of being responsible for each other. I told them, “Somehow, my friends and I are going to find a way to help.” They broke into a song; they were in tears; I was in tears. “That was so beautiful. Could you tell
The Voice Project
messages on the air, and the effect has been incredible. One of the primary tools that the LRA Hunter Heaney commanders use to Co-founder and exeCutive direCtor keep child soldiers and the abducted from defecting is telling them that they will me what the song said?” “Oh, that’s just one of be killed by peacekeepers or local forces, but the songs we sing to tell the soldiers they are approximately 80% of those coming out of the forgiven and to come home.” These women, bush, now, are citing the FM broadcasts and who had suffered so much at the hands of the safe surrender information as their reason for Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), were singing doing so. It is amazing that music and FM radio these songs for the very people who had hurt would have such an effect. them. It was the greatest act of forgiveness and the greatest use of music I’d ever heard. It turns out that these Dwog Paco songs, sung throughout villages in the north, passed by word of mouth, and played on FM radio, had been responsible for bringing home thousands over the course of the war.
When I came home, I was lucky enough to have friends, like Anna Gabriel and Chris Holmes, who said we had to do something, that this was a lesson for the world. We started the Voice Project, to both support and learn from these women and to amplify their voices. Though the LRA is a much smaller force now, the number and severity of the atrocities they commit and the concomitant terror and civilian displacement throughout the currently affected regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, and South Sudan belies their small numbers. Working with the UN’s MONUSCO peacekeeping effort, US forces, and international and local partners, we’ve been helping to build FM stations and get these types of songs and PHOTOs TOP: MONUsCO base iN DUNgU, DeMOCraTiC rePUbliC Of THe CONgO (DrC) MIDDLE: MONUsCO Heli PeaCekeePer TraNsPOrT, DrC BOTTOM: raDiO OPeD, DUNgU, DrC
However, it is also frustrating because with just a little more funding for infrastructure and content production, so many more could be hearing these messages and coming home. With LRA numbers down, it’s a chance, now, to help finally end one of Africa’s longest running and most brutal conflicts. Early on in this effort, plenty of people thought it was a nice story but not a key part of the solution. Our response has always been that if you just listen closely to the voices on the ground, you can know, as they do, how important this is. It brings hope to the conflict and to the world community and speaks not just to the power of music but the humanity in all of us, that here in the face of the worst that we as a species are capable of, is the very best.
PHOTOs TOP LEFT: aNNa aND HUNTer DisCUssiNg, UgaNDa TOP RIGHT: VOlUNTeer beNjaMiN lebraVe reCOrDiNg PeaCe aND COMe HOMe sONgs OUTsiDe Of DUNgU MIDDLE LEFT: MONUsCO Heli PeaCekeePer TraNsPOrT, DrC MIDDLE RIGHT: HUNTer iN gUlU, UgaNDa ABOVE: UN TraNsPOrT, DrC BOTTOM: WOMeN’s grOUP iN kiTgUM, NOrHTerN UgaNDa siNgiNg PeaCe sONgs
www.voiceproject.org ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 175
On Last Call at the Oasis
director: Jessica Yu
I grew up in Northern California. We never had a lawn; we let the hillside go brown in drought years. We had a bucket in the shower to catch the water that came out before it got warm. In starting Last Call at the Oasis, I was somewhat smug in feeling that I knew something about water issues. I realize now that all I really knew was drought. I didn’t factor in climate change, groundwater depletion, contamination, outdated water laws, the battle between industry and the environment, nor the complications of psychology, politics, and regulation. All of these factors made this production a continually eyeopening experience for me. What’s going on is big, and it is crucial that we understand it. This is water—essential for all life. Could the stakes be any higher? PHOTOs: bottom: AUSTRALIA; top: CALIFORNIA 176 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
In the U.S., we tend to think of “the water crisis” as a problem for other countries, but as we show in Last Call, we are not immune. By the interconnected nature of the resource—the hydrologic cycle is a closed system—the crisis is global, its impacts rippled. We shouldn’t feel insulated just because water flows freely from our taps. But we do feel insulated, don’t we? For a while, I contemplated calling the film “A River in Egypt,” but I realized that the problem isn’t denial—which implies willful dismissal of facts—but ignorance. Water problems barely register on our list of concerns. Which is not to say that this film is a lecture; it’s a series of journeys, through the eyes of those who are on the ground, wrestling with circumstances that may affect all of us. It’s my hope that the total effect of the film is more empowering than overwhelming, as the process of making the film was for me. At the Toronto Film Festival, Program Director Thom Powers deemed it “a feel-angry movie.” He later amended it to “a feel-smart movie.” I like both labels, as they emphasize the “feel” part. I can’t promise you what you’re going to feel after watching Last Call, but I can promise you moments of surprise, fascination, humor, and irony, stories with unforgettable characters, and indelible images of water, both beautiful and stark. And I promise that you won’t look at water the same way again.
Photo: Russell McDougal
Daniel “Dan” Bernard Friedlander 1945- 2012 Dan walked the sustainable living talk. He was a true 21st century renaissance man. He pursued his talent and passion for art, activism and business to help make our world a better place. He was an entrepreneur who was deeply committed to accelerating Colorado’s Cleantech growth. He was a founder of the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association and an advisor to Colorado startups in the solar, energy efficiency, carbon capture and battery areas. Dan raised awareness of environmental issues, especially climate change, and inspired action in hundreds of people in his community in Boulder, Colorado and beyond. He met with
elected officials at the state and federal level to educate them on environmental issues and encourage good policy. And when faced with a very difficult illness, Dan faced illness and death with courage, intelligence, frankness, grace and a sense of learning. Thank you Dan for all you did to help people and Nature. You will inspire us for the rest of our lives. We miss you deeply and are grateful to have had you in our lives. With love, Family and Friends of Dan Friedlander
In Loving Memory of Daniel “Dan” Bernard Friedlander Artist, Environmental Activist, Cleantech Business Executive To see Dan’s art, please visit www.DanFriedlander.com ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 177
Listen to This ORIGIN MUSIC
Derrick N. Ashong I remember the first track I ever produced. I was 15 years old, and my school had bought a drum machine. I got a friend of mine to lay down a wailing, rock guitar intro over some dramatic thunderclaps and then dropped a heavy hip hop beat and a bass line that liberally “borrowed” from Salt n’ Pepa’s “Push It.” I crowned it with a rhyme influenced by my two favorite MC’s at the time: Ice Cube and Rakim. Fast forward to the present, and people ask why I called my latest album AFropolitan. To that, I respond in virtual unison with my partner-inrhyme Jonathan “Catharsis” Gramling: “because that’s who we are.” Whereas the music industry has long needed to categorize artists for retail and promotional purposes, musicians have always played what they thought sounded good. In today’s world, where technology has bridged the gap between artist and fan, I think there’s an opportunity to not only fully express the hip hop, highlife, reggae, rock hybrid that defines the sound of my band Soulfège but to promote it to fans on a global scale with or without a label. That’s why we give away our music for free. Not because we don’t think music can make money, but because we know selling albums has never been where the money was for musicians. Instead, we’ve tapped into the magic of the most powerful promotional tool we have: our fans. And in their hands an “AFropolitan” sound has found a global audience. Derrick N. Ashong (aka DNA) is the founder of critically-acclaimed Afropolitan fusion band Derrick N. Ashong & Soulfège, whose latest album debuted in the Top50 of the JazzWeek World Chart. You can learn more about the band and download their latest album for free at:
www.derrickashong.com photo: jonathan yu
Matthias Heilbronn My DJing takes me from Bali to Bangkok and back home to Brooklyn. I play in the true spirit of house, taking dance floors on an eclectic, musical journey across all genres. My musical productions root from my heart + soul. I’m inspired by my son and the children I coach in a community youth soccer team, appropriately named Massive Attack.
Peter Harper I am an artist. I paint, draw, and primarily, sculpt. I recently expanded my repertoire to includet music and have been recording my first album. Without question, the experience has been spectacular. I’m not a musical genius, I’m not inventing a new sound that changes the face of music, and I won’t be called the king of folk. I will, however, release an album with songs that are beautifully sung, well written and heartfelt. I sincerely hope you enjoy them as much as I do. If you would like to hear a few covers while the album is still brewing, you can find them on YouTube.
Stükenberg David Stükenberg was born the son of nomadic missionaries and spent his childhood traveling according to the demands of his parents’ work. His music, the only consistent friend he’s had, has evolved from pianopop, through a root-folk adolescence, into Appalachian-Rock, reminiscent of a dark, electrified pentecostal service.
Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit What are the things that set your soul on fire? What do you love most in this life? Last year was one of the hardest years for me professionally, but personally, it’s been the best. I got married back in March to the sweetest and most patient woman I’ve ever met. We’ve spent almost every day together since, and every day it seems like I’m relearning what the word “love” means. What makes you deeply vulnerable? When I’m with safe people is when I am my most vulnerable. A few years back, I wore my heart on my sleeve a lot more than I do now. I’m much more selective these days. I’d prefer my hopes and fears to not be a topic of gossip.
What’s the most emotional part of your music/creating? The conception of music, in itself, is very emotional. Tom Petty said it’s like listening to a song in the other room and trying your best to copy it. It’s weird to feel songs like that come out of yourself. PHOTO: KRISTY AHUMADA: WWW.VOLATILEPHOTO.COM
How do you transform your pain? Well, the only way out of pain is through it. Sometimes, it can feel like the only real thing. I take solace in the fact that there’s nothing I’ve been through that someone hasn’t; if they could walk out of it, then so can I.
DJ Drez Peacefully determined. Lover. Sound Ambassador. Hip hopper. Mind astronaut. Grateful. Beat maker. Student always. Sometimes teacher. Disciplined. Turntablist. From LA, Earth. Haiku D’Etat. Abstract Tribe Unique. Red Musette. World Traveler. Dancer. Passionate. Compassionate. Yogi. Vishnu. Rasta. Friend. Father. Husband. Wildly calm. Love, respect and get off on what I do.
photo: ben liebenberg
Nicolas Gonzalez “Chzy Gnz”. Artist. Current DCCCD Brookhaven Community College art student aiming for a full scholarship. My work differs from a variety of mediums in that I’ve learned to integrate various ideas and techniques. Each piece deals with a tremendous use of precision and bold use of color, texture, and expression. Reflections of my past and daily values in life fuel the energy of my work.
Joseph McSween. Artist. Joseph McSween is an artist constantly seeking to translate the essence of beauty upon the canvas. He has exhibited internationally and is held in collections by Amazon and current celebrities like Linkin Park. Commissions? You can contact Circuit 12 Contemporary of Dallas or the artist with any inquiries.
Joe Longo. Photographer. Capturing the LIGHT within is how I creatively express myself, and yoga is how I free myself in this beautiful world. Both photography and yoga have awakened my soul to the art of the human body.
WE ARE ALL STARS
WHO ARE YOU?
Jerry Friedman. Brooklyn. NY. A lifetime in design education, art + architecture, an artist, a craftsman, an individual, an educator, a dreamer, a conceptualist, a philosopher +/ or combinations of these at times. Recent life changes have created an opportunity to develop a distinctive new body of work.
September 22nd - October 20th waasgallery.com
Karen Anderson. Dublin. Ireland. Co-Creative Director. PaperDolls Aerial Performance Group. The artist inspires me, who within their work risks everything in open vulnerability to express our necessary truths. Those I work, play, and deconstruct with on a daily basis, where comfort zones have long been abandoned. They inspire to intuitively create within this eternal flux, while gaining awareness of the complex satire that is universal benevolence. An aerial and acrobatic performance artist, co-founder of PaperDolls. From an illogical traveling yogi carpenter to a vegan circus activist and constant contradiction.
Published on Sep 2, 2012