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ORIGIN. The Art + Culture Magazine











LA. Austin. NYC.


Spencer Tunick



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Hear intimate live performances with your favorite bands.








A Film by Alex Winter




Meet the Artist

PETER MAX Saturday, March 24th 6 –9pm Sunday, March 25th 12– 3pm RSVP please: 512.478.4440

Russell Collection

Exhibition previews by appointment begin March 17. Recent works will be available for acquisition.

All Art © Peter Max 2012

1137 West 6th Street Austin, Texas

Zachariah Rieke January 26 - February 25, 2012 Opening Reception: Jan 26, 6-8pm Painting 5, 2010, acrylic on canvas, 94 x 69.5�

4411 Montrose Blvd, Suite 200 Houston, Texas 77006 ph: 713-521-2977 fax: 713- 521-2975 w w w.w a d e w i l s o n a r t . c o m

MY TIME COVER I’m happy with this Time cover mostly because I’m proud to help acknowledge and amplify the influence of protest movements this year, especially Occupy Wall Street. Exposure leads to dialogue, and I’m glad that the issues Occupy is concerned with are finally being discussed. With the cover image I wanted to capture the dedication and spirit of defiance that any protester must possess in the face of arrest or worse. Time provided me with images to sift through and I illustrated from a photograph that I thought would be a good reference for an iconic and compelling protester. In my art I try to emphasize the most powerful essence of an image and eliminate anything superfluous. In this case I felt there was a powerful contrast between the intensity of her eyes and her unthreatening yellow knit beanie. I wanted the protester to come across as serious, but not scary. Most of the protesters I’ve met are normal, idealistic, young adults, so I thought the “person next door” feel was important. Ironically, I found out that the subject of the photo I illustrated from is an LA resident and employee of the Robert Berman gallery who I have worked with. I hope to meet or speak to her at some point. This Time issue is a documentation of an irrefutable phenomenon, not an incitement to protest (I wish I had that degree of influence over Time’s agenda) even though i do encourage people to stand up for their beliefs and protest if necessary. Regardless, if this time cover encourages others to stand up for their ideals, I think it is a victory.



While the Occupy movement targets the 1 Percent, we want to introduce you to the elite among the gang of superrich: the war profiteers. War industry CEOs make tens of millions of dollars a year, putting them in the top 0.01 percent of income earners in the U.S., and they use their corporations’ massive lobbying dollars to keep their job-killing gravy train rolling. We’ve got to stop them. Help give your local Occupy group the tools they need to fight corporate power. Post our new video on their Facebook pages and ask them to show it at their events. For more info:


©2 0 12 Tr i b eca e n Te r p r i s e s LLc


Most Anticipated Albums

of Early 2012 BY: ERIC J LAWRENCE



Prinzhorn Dance School

One of KCRW’s most beloved bands returns with an album

In the absence of any new LCD Sound system material (they

inspired by George’s Melies’ legendary 1902 silent fantasy

called it quits in 2011), this British duo may be the secret

film about a trip to the moon. The couple of tracks that have

weapon of cutting-edge record label DFA. Their spartan,

leaked so far point to the classic atmospheric Air sound that

rhythmic style sounds like an Orwellian version of the xx,

made them such station-wide favorites.

with a dark wit hidden behind the icy façade - off the beaten

Le Voyage Dans La Lune (out 2/7)

Clay Class (out 1/31)

path, but worth investigating. | 8

Field Music

Plumb (out 2/14)

Lana Del Rey

Born to Die (out 1/31)

Two years ago, this British indie-rock group released their 3rd

She’s one of the most talked-about artists of 2011, due to a

& most acclaimed album on my birthday. This year I get to

stunning double A - side single (“Video Games”/“Blue Jeans”), a

celebrate a day early with another Field Music album of

couple of viral videos, and a mysterious past. One wonders if her

outstanding progressive-rock-tinged pop gems - the perfect

full album will keep the momentum going - if so, she’s bound to

gift! And even if your birthday isn’t until the middle of

be one of the most talked-about artists of 2012 as well.

summer, consider it a Valentine’s Day treat.

Heartless Bastards Arrow (out 2/14)

The Shins

Port of Morrow (out March)

Twangy songstress Erika Wennerstrom and her bandmates

It’s been a tumultuous few years for James Mercer. After leaving

offer up another batch of tunes that hover in the perfect

Sub Pop for Columbia Records and spending the past few years

intersection between the blues, country and indie-rock worlds.

working with producer Danger Mouse on the Broken Bells

Produced by Spoon drummer Jim Eno, this one should appeal

project, he has returned with a new backing band and a new

to fans of Cat Power and Sharon Van Etten, both of whom also

Shins album, their first in nearly five years. At a private

have new, highly-anticipated albums on the horizon.

showcase at the end of 2011, they previewed some of their new material, and if that was any indication, the Shins will be on the tip of everyone’s tongue this spring. | 9


Leonard Cohen

The collaboration between indie-pop masters Richard Davies & Eric Matthews as Cardinal was crushingly short-lived, leaving only a single self-titled album in 1994 - until now. Some nice solo records ensued, but the Cardinal album was truly greater than the sum of its parts, and I consider it a masterpiece. Word of a reconvening after 18 years is very, very intriguing.

Like a musical comet, a new album from this acclaimed singer/songwriter only comes around once in a great while. In this case, it’s been nearly eight years since his last one, and when you’re dealing with a Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, and an inductee to the Songwriters Hall of Fame, one can’t help but get excited.

Hymns (out 1/24)

Old Ideas (out 1/31)

School of Seven Bells

Cate Le Bon

This dream-pop group was reduced from a trio to a duo in late 2010 (losing one of the identical twin sisters), and while some conjectured that this might mean the end of the band, reports of their demise are greatly exaggerated. Fans of their new-millennial brand of shoegaze jams will surely rejoice with their late-February return.

This one is a bit of a cheat, as we’ve already been playing tracks from it since October. But we couldn’t wait because it is terrific, as this Welsh singer/songwriter’s slyly-underplayed hooks insinuate themselves like Super Glue.

Ghostory (out 2/28) | 10

Cyrk (out 1/17)


Charlie XCX NME’s dark brit-pop darling is bringing her act to the states for the first time this SXSW, and on the strength of her one really excellent single, “Nuclear Seasons,” she has our expectations high.

Zola Jesus If you’ve yet to check out the powerful maelstrom of pop that is Zola Jesus, you’re in for a seriously stunning treat. Her dark operas fill the very heavens.

Grimes Grimes is poised to be the hot come-up ticket this year at SXSW (and there’s always one), especially after her forthcoming record got snatched up by the seminal label 4AD.

Girl Walk All Day The full-length film accompaniment to Girl Talk’s sample mash album of the same name, this film (recently accepted officially into SXSW Film) is a joyous labor of love that’s as life-affirming as it is fun. | 11


DJ Spooky: The film you’re working on, Downloaded, looks at the rise of social networks from the viewpoint of several key players: Sean Parker of Facebook and Shawn Fanning of Napster. What’s your take on how the idea of personal social space evolved into formal networks that are digital maps of people’s identity, tastes, and, above all, affiliations?

Alex Winter: Downloaded is a story of the digital revolution. And that really ignited back in 1998, when the Napster file-sharing service was created by Shawn Fanning. The company itself was subsequently founded and launched by Fanning and his close friend Sean Parker, both of whom were only teenagers, but already respected hackers and programmers.

Napster was the very origin of peer-to-peer and decentralized file-sharing services. Nothing remotely like it had ever existed before; the ability to connect, chat and share freely with millions of users—everywhere in the world—quickly and efficiently. The social, cultural and economic changes invoked by Napster were immediate, seismic and hugely disruptive. The futurist-fantasies of Philip K Dick and William Gibson were suddenly a reality. A new frontier was birthed out of the ether. We’re still reeling from the arrival of this new landscape.

off: something like the community of Facebook and the musical scope of Spotify—but more deeply user-interactive and expansive than either of those services, and all under one umbrella.

“Any workable legislation needs to strike a balance between accommodating new technologies and addressing piracy in a realistic and informed manner.” DJS: Social networks are eerily precise maps of individual identity. Did you mirror anything from that kind of algorithmic approach to defining identity in your film? AW: There is an inherently fractal nature to this story. The blossoming of relationships that mutate, form new relationships, and create new challenges and new potentialities for growth. It’s how the human story unfolded behind Napster and the digital revolution, and it’s how the Napster community itself evolved, scaled and then collapsed.

The funny thing is that while there has certainly been evolution in the world of social media and networks, there is nothing that currently exists that embodies the full functionality that Napster had 12 years ago. This has something to do with the youthful naïveté of launching a new technology without either concern or full understanding of its disruptive nature. Napster was built to do everything, and it fulfilled that promise—to the delight and horror of the world.

I originally wrote this film to make as a dramatized narrative, and it’s been great to see how ‘narrative’ it still feels as a doc, due to the highly charged nature of the events. But the doc approach has really supported the fractal nature of the story, as each player and theme can be fully expressed, and—unlike a straight narrative—there’s no need to strictly adhere to a single perspective, which can become false, frankly, because it’s so unlike how real life works organically. And that’s one of the main reasons I shifted from narrative to doc.

But it’s gone, and nothing like it has really taken its place. I look forward to new technologies that expand from where Napster left

DJS: How did you originally come to tell this story? What was your personal connection to the people and the technology? (Sean Parker & Shawn Fanning) | 12

(Henry Rollins)

AW: I met Shawn Fanning back in 2002, when Napster was crumbling. He was open to telling the Napster story, and we met to discuss what shape that story could take. Two of my primary interests are music and technology, and I had been very aware of Napster while it was online, so I came to the table already knowing a great deal about the crazy ride that Fanning and Parker had been through. But I didn’t realize how brilliant and compelling these guys were. When the external facts mingled with the personal facts, I felt it was truly important to get this story out there. And so I signed on for what would be my own crazy ride on the Napster train. And ten years later, here we are. DJS: What’s your view of [the unpopular anti-piracy bills] SOPA and PIPA? AW: It’s a very tough issue. People are highly concerned and frightened about their future. And of course, stealing and outright piracy are wrong and horribly corrosive. That being said, there is no doubt that the world has been radically changed by new technologies, and we must make more of an effort to address these changes and write new laws that accommodate them, rather than criminalize a generation for utilizing these technologies. Any workable legislation needs to strike a balance between accommodating new technologies and addressing piracy in a

realistic and informed manner. A tall order, I know, but that’s the tree we’re sitting in.

“The funny thing is that while there has certainly been evolution in the world of social media and networks, there is nothing that currently exists that embodies the full functionality that Napster had 12 years ago.” DJS: What’s your take on the near future of digital media and film? AW: I think it’s an amazingly exciting time to be working in the arts. I speak at various film schools, and the students constantly complain about how hard it is to make movies, just like we all complained at film school back in the day. But things have become so much easier, the means of production are right there at everyone’s disposal. This puts the onus that much more on the quality of storytelling, the clarity of theme and the strength of mise en scène—which is exactly how things should be. I believe we’re entering an artistic era that will rely less on flash and gimmickry, and more on the essence of aesthetic communication. (Noel Gallagher) | 13

(Seymour Stein)

The challenge for artists who want to be heard is that the ease of production has created a cacophonous noise floor, or what I jokingly call “the great firewall of mediocrity.” But overall I’m a Pollyanna about the future. DJS: Any favorite filmmakers or theoreticians who influenced this film? Any favorite documentary projects that reflect on Downloaded? AW: The participants themselves have had the greatest influence. Fanning and Parker, J.P. Barlow and Larry Lessig, and the great legends of the music industry like Don Ienner, Chris Blackwell, Henry Rollins and Seymour Stein. These are some brilliant, one-off minds, and I am really lucky to have engaged with them. I’ve lived with this story a long time, but I learned a huge amount from these people while making the doc. It’s impossible to ignore the huge impact that Cronenberg has had on movies around these themes. There are several literary giants that have adroitly tackled futurist ideas, but not so many filmmakers. I’ve been channeling Cronenberg all along the way.

(Alex Winter & Jacob Craycroft) | 14

“The challenge for artists who want to be heard is that the ease of production has created a cacophonous noise floor, or what I jokingly call “the great firewall of mediocrity.” Stylistically, we’re currently in a golden age of documentaries, and there are a lot of great directors whose docs I love. I’ve always been a huge fan of Pennebaker and the Maysles brothers. Their dedication to truth and humanism is an enormous inspiration for me. It’s the personal side of the Napster story that’s kept me attracted to it for over a decade, and it’s very important that despite the film being prominently technological, it remain fundamentally humanistic. Catch Alex Winter, Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker at a SXSW panel on March 14th at the Austin Convention Center. Downloaded, a VH1 Rock Doc production, will be released theatrically and on VH1 later in 2012.

(DJ Spooky)


ORIGIN COLUMNIST: JASON MRAZ hether or not Al Gore invented the internet, he did write one of the finest blog entries ever, decades before the word “blog” was even in our lexicon. In a 1988 issue of The New Republic, the Former Vice President penned a postcard from Antarctica called “Unbearable Whiteness,” a compelling record of his trip to Earth’s icy blue bottom, in which he revealed his love for the environment through his gentle tone and concern, and unveiled the science of our times—which clearly indicated humanity’s impact on the climate. This letter home from Mr. Gore was one of many early attempts to inspire and enroll us in a way of being kind, conscious, and considerate to the very place from which we sprang. I’m writing this today on board the National Geographic Explorer, a Lindblad Expedition Ship anchored among icebergs in the Antarctic Peninsula. For the first time since 1988, Al Gore has come back to this region, this time not as a Senator, but as a recovering politician. And this time he’s writing more than just a postcard.  Enter: The Climate Reality Project, whose mission is to uncover the complete truth about the climate crisis in a | 16

way that ignites the moral courage in each of us. Founded by Gore and longtime environmentalist Maggie Fox, The Climate Reality Project is a rethinking, re-branding, and retelling of the reality of global warming—an issue once thought to be a problem of the future. But now, with more than enough data from scientists, and experiential evidence from global citizens, it is obvious that climate change has arrived. The Climate Reality Project teaches us how to manage and adapt to these stark realities. What are the stark realities? All the proof we need is in our own backyard. Since last year’s SXSW festival, Austin has continued to experience the worst drought ever recorded in Texas. Add that to devastating flooding in Tennessee; tornados in cities that didn’t have tornados before; Hurricane Irene; the 100th closure of the Thames barrier in London; the worst flood in Bangkok’s history, and so on. And all of this in the wake of Katrina, from which the Gulf is still trying to recover. Storms that are supposed to happen once in a hundred years have happened multiple times in the last decade. And unfortunately, uncomfortable climate activity is just the beginning.

So why am I here in Antarctica with Al Gore? I mean, really, what’s a bike-riding, avocado-picking, pot-eating, surfboarding songwriter with a high school education doing at the bottom of the globe with a former vice president, top scientists, National Geographic researchers and photographers, heads of major movements, TED-Prize winners, and founders of some of the largest foundations on the planet? For starters, I’m a YES when it comes to fieldtrips of this caliber. Who doesn’t love penguins?

“The power of the masses can elect an official, start a revolution, and drive history. Nelson Mandela did it alone from his prison cell. Ghandi did it lying down. Egypt did it singing songs. Al Gore is doing it with unwavering passion and a twitter handle.” And since I was invited by Mr. Gore to entertain and participate, there really was no question about attending. I already support his work on global warming and was more than delighted by his invitation. On the surface, I’m just a musician, though as a musician I often have the opportunity to amplify my voice and reach many people. But also as a musician, I often travel more than half of the year, increasing my carbon footprint, making my personal impact on the planet much greater than the average stoner. So on that count, it is in the best interest of the whole planet for me to be concerned and, in turn, learn how to adapt and how to radically transform my behavior. We all know that the climate is influenced most dramatically by greenhouse gas emission, which summarily, is measured in terms of carbon dioxide emissions and other heat-trapping atmospheric gases. Greenhouse gases are emitted through transport, land clearance, the production and consumption of foods, fuels, manufactured goods, materials, wood, roads, buildings, and services.

Global warming is real, and I’m sure every reader of this magazine already understands that. I didn’t come here to preach to the choir, but let’s make sure we have our facts straight. We release 90 million tons of Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere every day. That destroys the health of the planet, the health of the people, and the health of the plants and wildlife. It melts ice. It raises sea levels. It sinks islands and floods cities. It wreaks havoc on the soil, which diminishes our food and water supply, and contributes heavily to acid rain, droughts, and major climate catastrophes. It may be a hundred-year battle to turn around our industries and finally get everyone living on sustainable energy with technology that can keep our lives comfortable. If that’s the case, the first 20 years of the shift have actually done a lot to support that. But there’s still a long way to go, and judging by the state of the environment, we don’t have that kind of time. The power of the masses can influence any government in the world. The power of the masses can elect an official, start a revolution, and drive history. Nelson Mandela did it alone from his prison cell. Ghandi did it lying down. Egypt did it singing songs. Al Gore is doing it with unwavering passion and a twitter handle. I believe we can manage this situation easily through the powerful use of our language, and the actions of our increasing consciousness on the issue. But how does Al Gore do it? Where does he get his renewable energy—his personal strength to keep solving this issue? After 30 years of resistance on the topic, what keeps his fire burning? I asked him this question as The Explorer pushed its way through the surface ice in possibly the most breathtaking canyon I may ever see in my lifetime: Lemaire Channel. “I do Yoga,” he said. “And I meditate. Not as much as I’d like to…” which seems the norm for many people I know, especially people as busy as Al, which only reminds me that he’s human. He went on to tell me of the serendipitous people and events that shaped his life. Being the son of a senator, Al always believed in the power of the democratic system. And it was his college professor, Roger Revelle, the first man to measure carbon levels in the atmosphere, who opened his eyes to the threat we posed on the environment. | 17

When Al, only 29 years old, entered politics, the first thing he addressed was the climate crisis based on the testimonial of his professor’s ground breaking work. An excited Al thought it was going to be easy. But Washington was asleep. And then on April 3rd, 1989, Al took his son to see the Baltimore Orioles. It was opening day. Leaving the game his son let go of Al’s hand, darted across the street to chase a friend, and was hit by a car. Al paused in his retelling of this experience and took a deep breath, panning toward the bow of the boat with water collecting in his eyes. Looking at him, I knew that the image of his eyes reflecting the passing blue icebergs in contrast to his rosy cheeks is an image that will stay with me long after this trip. After the accident, Al spent the next 30 days in the hospital reviewing his priorities and trying to understand his life purpose. All the big, concrete speeches and meetings that he’d so proudly piled onto his schedule that month disappeared as if none of it mattered. He couldn’t shake the horrible feeling of his son’s hand leaving his. And he blamed himself for letting go. After his son’s miraculous recovery, Al returned to the list of priorities he’d created for himself. Nothing seemed to matter anymore, except the climate issue. Letting go of his son’s hand had given him a taste of what it might feel like to lose something you love. So Al became determined to not let go again. And now, we are the hand he’s holding. | 18

“It’s a bitch, Jason. I wish I could’ve chosen something else, because it’s a bitch. But we will solve it. We have to! We have to.” We took another moment to enjoy the otherworldly view our ship was steering through. It was Al who broke the ice again as if he’d been reading my mind. “The resistance! My god, the resistance! For all the negative things people can say, all the things I’ve heard, I wear them as a badge of honor.” The science might be challenged, but the lie that global warming doesn’t exist can’t survive forever. If not Al Gore, or me, the Earth itself is going to keep speaking up on everyone’s behalf until we get it. How many more catastrophic natural disasters will it take to move skeptics away from coal and oil and into cleaner green technologies like wind power, solar power; and local and organic farming? When we all truly understand how dramatically humans do impact the changing climate, then we will see through the bullshit of Big Oil—their political ads, their green washing, their lobbying—and we will also cut through the smog of our paralyzed government, which has been sitting idly by with a handbrake on the issue while our beautiful Rome burns. Action will be easy, once we truly understand what is at stake.

“For all the negative things people can say, all the things I’ve heard, I wear them as a badge of honor.” Al Gore continues to fight this fight, taking opposition and criticism with grace—never faltering from his view that something can be done. When asked how we solve the climate crisis, he said—almost comically, but damn seriously, with a raised voice and a upswing fist in the air—“By continuing to solve the climate crisis!” If you found a corked bottle on the beach that had a message in it that read, “This is a matter of life or death. Please deliver x message to y person,” it would be up to you and your morals whether or not to deliver that message. Would you do it? Al Gore got the message in college when he learned of the crisis. And he understands the weight of losing something so dear. “We’ve got to solve it. We have to,” Al affirmed, delivering his message once again, to me. And now I know why I came all the way down here to this isolated, frozen continent: to get the message.

I sing. I type. I take pictures. I tell my friends and family what’s up. I share my stoke—and ask you to do the same. Just as we once collectively educated people on the dangers of smoking, until Big Tobacco no longer had an argument, we will educate others on the danger of carbon emissions until we radically redesign our industrial and transportation systems, allowing humanity to thrive, instead of passively melting away into extinction.

“We act now. We break our carbon habit and manage our resources wisely. We act together.” How do we do this? We act now. We break our carbon habit and manage our resources wisely. We act together. We demand and develop new technologies, and continue to vote with our dollars. We act differently. We change our policies, SHARE a vision, and prepare. We ARE headed there, but much more action is still needed. We’ve got to solve this. And we will. | 19


Creative Destruction:the evolution of Moby “Fresh” off a grueling world tour for his new album, Destroyed, Moby spoke frankly with us about the pain and perspective of growing up poor, and the insanity of aiming to please. From the demise of the record industry to the rise of the Tea Party, things can seem pretty bleak, but Moby keeps a cosmic perspective, with a healthy dose of old-school veganism, sci-fi escapism, and his one true love—music.

Part One:

Maranda Pleasant: What is it that makes you most excited, in life, when you wake up?

MP: What is the most emotional part of that process of creating?

Moby: Well, you know, it’s a really good question, and in some

Moby: Well, the most emotional part is when I go into my studio every day and pretty much never have an idea of what’s gonna happen. I go into the studio and start writing, and I don’t put a lot of pressure on myself when I’m writing. You know, it feels like if I come up with something good, or I come up with something bad, I’m not too worried. But I guess the most emotional part is when I have that moment when I end up writing something that I really, really love. So not only is there the emotional connection with the music that’s being created, but there’s also the magic of the fact that you’re essentially creating something from nothing.

ways it’s a hard question to answer because there are so many things that excite me and make me want to jump out of bed. But still—after all this time—the main thing that excites me and makes me want to get out of bed is the thought of being able to go into my studio to work on music. Which is kind of amazing, because I’ve been making music for thirty-six years and, you know, I’m still just as in love with working on music now as I was thirty-six years ago. | 20

MP: I’m a painter so I relate. What makes you feel the most vulnerable? Moby: Honestly, the most vulnerable part of my life is probably just honest expression, as cliché as that might sound. And I think that, for a lot of us, the closer we get to showing people who we really are, that’s where we feel the most uncomfortable, the most vulnerable. But it’s also where the healthiest growth comes from. Like when I can really open myself up to someone and show someone who I really am, it’s amazing when it happens. MP: What do you do with your pain? How do you transform your pain? Moby: Let me do I transform pain? I guess the number one way in which I do that is by working on music, but also it can be anything from just talking about it with other people or doing kick boxing or meditating or running around with dogs. Or just simply trying to sit with it and be mindful and be aware of it. MP: What is the best way that you have found to let go and release something? How do you let go? Moby: As far as letting go, my question would be, “Letting go of what?” MP: Anything, whether it’s a person or an experience, when it’s evident that you have to let go of something.

on making music that I love and trying to put it out into the world. I’m not too concerned about whether people pay for it or whether they don’t pay for it. I just want to try—on a daily basis keep trying—to make music that I really love. I guess the last project that I had was the book and the album that came out last May, but right now the only project that I have is to wake up every day and try to work on music that I really care about.

“Not only is there the emotional connection with the music that’s being created, but there’s also the magic of the fact that you’re essentially creating something from nothing.” MP: One of our editors (DJ Spooky) told me to check out your book (Destroyed). It’s beautiful. Are you touring with it? Moby: Last May I put out an album and a book, both of which are called Destroyed, so over the summer I did a concert tour, but we also had a lot of gallery and photo gallery events in London and Paris and Berlin and Milan and Bologna and Copenhagen and Amsterdam and New York and Brussels and Madrid, but the tour just ended about a week ago in Australia, so now I’m back in Los Angeles. PHOTO: DOUG BRUCE

Moby: Well, I think I do two things. One: I look back and think of all the times I’ve had to let things go in the past, and how traumatic it seemed while it was happening, but how my understanding of it changed as time passed—and oftentimes things that seem really difficult and traumatic in the short term seem a lot less difficult and traumatic in the long term. So I remind myself of that. And I also remind myself that the universe is 15 billion years old, and I’m only 46 years old, so my perspective is sort of limited and fear-based and skewed. So I sort of turn things over to whatever you want to call it—whether it’s God, or the universe or the spirit of the universe—and I just sort of turn things over to God and hope that this spirit that has been around for 15 billion years will have a better understanding of how things should be than I do.

“The closer we get to showing people who we really are, that’s where we feel the most uncomfortable, the most vulnerable. But it’s also where the healthiest growth comes from.” MP: In your work that you have coming up, what projects are closest to your heart? Moby: Well it’s interesting because, as you know, the record business has kind of fallen apart. In some ways it is really emancipating, and pretty much all I want to do with my life is try and make music that I really love, and so every day I try and work on music. And I don’t think too much about how it might exist in the world in a commercial sense. I just try and focus | 21


MP: One thing that I read about your book, you said something about the vast polarity—about the isolation of traveling and then performing. I’m thinking about what that must be like for you. How do you balance keeping your open heart so you can really channel, so you can really create with this open clear space? How do you balance that with a thick skin of not letting outside circumstances or what you may hear about yourself affect you. How do you keep your energy shielded?

Moby: Well I was at SXSW last year and the year before and two years before that. So I say there’s a chance I would come back, but I also stopped drinking a few years ago and I found that my experience of being in Austin for SXSW, sober, was quite a lot different than being in SXSW as a drunk.

Moby: That’s a good question. I think part of it is experience. I mean, it’s having been a quasi-public figure for a while. Because there was a time when I was way too reliant upon other people’s opinions and perspective of me, and I guess over time I came to see how unhealthy that was. I mean, it’s almost like a sign of mental illness to base your self-worth on the opinions of complete strangers, you know? So I just have to remind myself that my daily quotidie in life has almost nothing to do with any aspect of my professional life as a public figure. And I think a lot of people get to that point—specifically, sort of getting comfortable looking out for yourself and taking care of yourself and defining yourself based on healthier criteria, and not criteria that’s established by complete strangers that you’ve never met.

Moby: I feel like last year I still had a good time, but I have to say, walking around Austin on a Friday night at 11pm when you’re sober, you do feel a little bit disconnected from what’s going on.

“I’m just fascinated with the world that I can see, but I’m even more fascinated with the world that I can’t see.” MP: Well that just blew my head open. Thank you. I heard that you had a vegan BBQ last year at SXSW. Are you planning on coming back? | 22

MP: {laughter} Two non-drinking vegans together! We’re gonna tear it up!

MP: You’ve been vegan for quite a while? Moby: I’ve been vegan now for 26 years. MP: Oh my…{laughter} that’s before yogis shaved. Moby: Yeah. I have to say that being a vegan in 1986 or whenever was a lot different than being a vegan in 2012. You’d go to health foods stores and basically your choice was between Mung beans and nutritional yeast, and that’s about it.

“I think that growing up very poor in a very wealthy town gave me a sense of being an outsider, and I hated it when I was growing up.”

MP: That’s making me hungry actually. So what’s the alien thing, what’s that? Moby: Oh, I guess...on one hand, I spent way too much time watching science fiction and reading science fiction when I was growing up. But a part of it is I also never felt much of a connection to the world in which I lived while I was growing up, and so, oddly enough, I think I felt a lot more connected to the worlds that I read about in science fiction. And so I think ever since I was really little, I’ve just always had an obsession with, not just science fiction, but science and space. And also because as time passes and the more advanced science becomes, the more interesting it becomes. I don’t know, I’m just fascinated with the world that I can see, but I’m even more fascinated with the world that I can’t see. MP: Do you think that growing up with a level of shame, or isolation, or not fitting in, do you think that that’s really helped you channel all of this energy, and you went inward? Do you think that’s a huge connection to what you do now? Moby: I think that growing up very poor in a very wealthy town gave me a sense of being an outsider, and I hated it when I was growing up. You know, when I was growing up, all I wanted to do was fit in, but if you’re perpetually an outsider, it gives you a perspective that might have a little more objectivity than people who really feel connected to their social environment in which they grow up. So, you know, yeah, I mean, I’m grateful for the perspective that I have. There’s

a whole host of other issues that comes along with it that might not be as healthy, but I do appreciate the objectivity and perspective that I have as a result of it. MP: Your humanitarian work—it’s astounding. Everything from sound-healing to Wasteland to sustainability to domestic violence. What are the things right now that are closest to your heart? Are there organizations or things that you just are really passionate about right now? Moby: Well, right now, because it’s an election year, my biggest concern is trying to keep crazy Republicans out of office. I feel like a lot of the other issues that I care about would be really well-served by keeping lunatic Tea Party Republicans out of office. So my hope for the next nine, ten months is to really focus on 2012 electoral politics. A lot of issues that had been taken care of on a state level are no longer being taken care of on state level because of budget problems. You know a big example is domestic violence programs. The state of California had a great domestic violence program, but the budget has been cut so much that it’s almost become completely ineffective at this point. So with the lessening of funds that are available for state programs, a lot of really great programs need to reach out for private funding. So I guess I’m just trying to help where I can. {continued next issue} | 23


The Voice of Reason, a conversation with Public Enemy’s Chuck D. Part One:

In a time when “keeping it real” often means slinging commercialized gangster rhymes, revolutionary Hip-Hop legend Chuck D. is a rare light of truth, using his powerful voice to speak up for the voiceless and to stand for real change. Chuck—both a humanitarian and vegetarian—spoke with us about greed and pain, slaves and robots, and why the heart matters the most. Maranda Pleasant: What are you most excited about in

your life right now?

Chuck D: Well I’m most passionate about, you know, making everybody understand that we should all have equal access on this earth. And when somebody greedily comes along and thinks that they gonna snatch everything, and you have so many people that have not, the passion that drives me is trying to make them understand that they have to share. So, my art reflects that; the whole reason I do what I do reflects that. You can’t take anything with you. So I don’t understand this whole psychotic area of greed, I don’t get it... MP: What is the thing in your life that you feel the most vulnerability around? | 24

CD: Well, everybody knows your name and all your adversaries still strike at you. I think that’s some coward shit, but you know. I tell people all the time, I say, “Look, to counter a point of view that I have, which is basically—share and enjoy the fruits of this planet— then anybody who really feels opposed to that should identify themselves and put their name next to that ridiculous greedy statement, right?” MP: Yeah, I can only imagine on the level that you’re on, there must be a lot of trust issues and hearing things about yourself. I’m sure that you can’t even walk around without people knowing who you are, so how do you keep an open heart and still keep a thick skin so it doesn’t get to you and drain you emotionally? CD: I don’t have any exteriors that would actually put me into some kind of different air that would actually intimidate somebody to stay away from me. Anybody can always come up to me and tell me I’m full of shit, and I’m good with that ‘cause I don’t believe everybody. I don’t believe that everybody is out of some kind of cookie cutter, so the thing that protects me is always being level with myself, even to myself. The minute I get swelled up about something, something has always brought me back down to earth... Ever since I was a teenager, I was always kind of, like, checking myself. You know, like, “Come on man, don’t get your head all swollen. Life and time itself will give you perspective on what you’re doing.” So, that’s actually what’s always been a reminder in my own head. MP: How do you transform your pain? How do you deal? How do you work with it?



CD: Oh pain! Pain for a songwriter is already, you know, been talked about by songwriters over the years. You know, you can actually take your pain and process it into some kind of form of art. So I mean, I’ve easily always been able to do that, but also I’ve always been able to give myself perspective—or, you know, older people always give you perspective. The best medicine for pain sometimes is some kind of logic and common sense from older folks. They tell you, “Okay, you’re not the only one who actually went through this.” MP: How do you let go? What is your process for really just having to let things go? CD: I let go usually by talking to many people in different areas, in different realms of life that make me look at what I’m dealing with as being small fries stuff, you know? MP: Right. CD: I mean look, no matter what’s in your head, you go up into any hospital, up to a terminal ward and it’ll smack you right back into reality. It’s like, “Hey man, whatever you’re dealing with, if it’s heavy on your heart and head, you’re gonna have to let that go, because there, some people are dealing with unavoidable situations that they can’t let go.” And then they eventually let those go, so, I mean, that’s helpful. One thing that’s always been able to free me up: I’ve always been fortunate to be in different parts of the country. Getting on the road and driving along a road at night, or even in the daytime and seeing the oceans or whatever, is always liberating. I like to drive and I like to travel. When I drive on the open road, it’s like sometimes the car turns into a pen and the road is a piece of paper. You know,

I’ve written many of my songs while driving—which is against the law in many cases. MP: I’ve been following you on Twitter for a while, and I noticed some of the comments when it talks about hip hop getting a bad rap. I’m thinking we need more voices like yours associated with the art form. It seems like the media is driven by drama. Do you feel like the industry is driven by this commercialism that’s dumbed down?

“When I drive on the open road, it’s like sometimes the car turns into a pen and the road is a piece of paper.” CD: Yeah, of course! Certain things you can’t have them sit in your mind as being something that’s real. I mean, corporations have steered the industry into what it wants, and a lot of times they will make artists record what it wants or to make songs talk to who they want to talk to. But sometimes the heart and the head have to be able to talk and deal with a situation that’s evident. And for a long period of time, the media covered rap music and hip hop the same way they cover a lot of black people, people of color, you know: the bad news happens to be news. They used to have these little stupid colloquialisms that pop up like, “You know what? No news is bad news!” They trick the masses into thinking that any news is great for you. And I just think that’s a piece of crap. And now you have an | 25



industry that says, “By any means necessary, as long as somebody is talking about you, it’s good.” But they never mention that there’s an area of diminishing returns on people respecting you. So, respect is thrown out the window and they’ve replaced it to the point where it’s, “You know what? We’ll respect you if you have a lot of money!” And money is created by a machine... but you can’t really create respect with a machine. Every time something tries to create respect with a machine it crumbles! Now, they can fabricate respect, like, “Okay, this artist came through and they sold 600 trillion hubcaps,” or whatever the f*ck {laughing} and that’s why you should respect him. “With that song they moved 20 million cans of dog food,” and, “Oh, wow!” But that’s the electricity for a robot, isn’t it? MP: wow. {laughing} CD: You know, they just throwing batteries at robots and robots are just putting it in their backs and suddenly they’re just like “Wow, this is great!” I’m just saying, to operate from your head and your heart is a whole different mechanism than that part that says, “Oh, ‘Street Cred’ is a real thing.” The streets are created, so how can you put too much credence behind the credibility of something that’s already made—created—by man? The real thing is the heart, you know? The heart shouldn’t be covered with concrete. MP: Beautiful...

“A visit to the hood through a record, or through a video, or through a film, is a lot safer than actually visiting the people in real life. It became a business model. It became a revenue engine that, you know, you can get to the hood without ever going there.” CD: I’m not forcing it between peoples’ ears, you know? I tell people this. This is my motto: “Truth is truth no matter what the f*ck I think.” So, it’s not really about what I think, you know, the truth has no form, you know. It’s not like walking around trying to actually ask for favors and to be acknowledged. It is what it is. | 26

MP: Has the value system in the industry changed? Do you remember when it shifted? CD: Yeah I totally felt it. I felt it like an oncoming Katrina. You know? With no weather forecast in sight. MP: When was that? CD: It was when rap music and rap records used to always be like this: we get one or two shots to a piece ‘cause it was a singles marketplace. And when the major record companies saw that it could also handle the sales of the albums, then they started to force everybody to expand their topics from 1 to about 10. And you gotta deliver 12 songs, so a lot of times if you took a person who wasn’t really developed, and the diversity of trying say 12 different things, you know… The companies were like, “Cool! Say the same thing 12 different ways.” Once they found that formula, and then furthered the formula into like, “Well, it seems like negativity in the black community seems to be exciting and shocking to so many people that it happens to move 2 million units, as opposed to something that sounds like it’s our Bob Dylan, which moves 30,000 units. That’s just not our realm of business, and we don’t need to have all these black rappers mad at us for taking their money, so the hell we need a conscious movement for?” But you know they can all relate to the situations that’s in their own hoods and the situations within their own hood. We can actually say, “Hey look, this is a story from the hood, it’s authentic, it’s real.” And you know, a visit to the hood through a record, or through a video, or through a film, is a lot safer than actually visiting the people in real life. It became a business model. It became a revenue engine that, you know, you can get to the hood without ever going there. And once again truth is truth no matter what I think. You know, let the voice be the voice of the voiceless and let it come from the world of rap music to keep the stereotype and the peace at the same time.

{continued next issue}

Love Is a Four Letter Word


a Talk with Grammy-winner, humanitarian, eco-activist, avocado farmer—Jason Mraz is a free spirit with a generous heart. When we connected to talk about what he’s up to—including his new album—the conversation went so well that we invited him to become our newest columnist. In this interview, Jason talks about stardom and service, gratitude and giving back, health, balance, and the wisdom of letting go... Maranda Pleasant: What is it about what you’re doing right now that you’re most excited about? That you’re most passionate about? Jason Mraz: I’m most grateful for my health. It’s taken me a long time to get where I am, to feel as strong as I do in my mind and in my body. It’s through that I’m able to be present in all my relationships and not get overwhelmed by what could seem like a big task, going all around the world constantly. So quite simply I’ve distilled my mission down to the essence. The only thing I’m really here to do is shine light on people’s lives through music, through laughter and to simply enjoy being with people. And it’s through my health that I’m able to maintain that every single day and keep light in people until I’m actually of service to others. MP: Did you ever have a problem with your health? JM: I never really had a problem with it. It’s just that I never put much attention on it. For the first thirty years of my life, I exercised very little; and I smoked cigarettes for ten or twelve

years; and I ate junk food; and I began to see some elders in my community’s health decline, and I didn’t want that to happen to me. I never really had a problem with my health, but there would be some tours where I’d get exhausted or overwhelmed...and now I just feel like I have more energy. I ride a bicycle everywhere I go—the physical strength is obvious—but my mental strength and my capacity to love myself and to love others has definitely expanded. And that’s the one thing I need the most in taking on a life of touring and a life of basically being with hundreds of people every day and not exhaust one’s energy. So one thing I’m most passionate about is that I’m geared up and ready for another cycle of touring, to go out in the world and be whoever I need to be for someone. For a lot of people they just want to see you or want to take a photograph of that moment. Some people they simply just want to hear you. And others actually have things they want to share and talk with you about. So it’s important for me to be as strong as I can when I leave home so I can hold space for all of it. | 27

MP: I can imagine holding that much space and really connecting with people on a heart level, there’s all this energy always going and that could be hard. What is it that makes you the most vulnerable? JM: I could experience vulnerability if I just constantly gave myself away without ever taking time out once a day or a couple times a day or whatever it is I need to restore, whether it’s more sleep, or whether it’s going to see a movie or writing something new. I’ll experience vulnerability when I just don’t have any more to give. Other times, I think more obvious to others, is that I’m most vulnerable on stage. Even though I know which songs I’m going to play, I try and keep it loose and base my stage time more on what the audience is requesting of me. I enjoy going on stage knowing that there’s going to be that vulnerability and that transparency and hopefully things will be realized or accomplished or that confidence will be revealed. I think that’s another element that people like about shows. In addition to hearing the songs that they love, I think there are some people who really get off on connecting with what’s happening right now. Anything that we’re connecting with that’s happening right now, there’s an obvious vulnerability because we’re just fragile human beings in the middle of a just-now expression. | 28

“The whole reason I did it is simply because I look around my life and it’s hard to believe that music has given me all that I have. Music is such a powerful fundraising tool and it’s so easy for me to share that and it’s such a light.”

MP: A lot of artists use their name just for self-promotion, but you’ve chosen to bring awareness and activate people through you art and shift the world. What really inspired you to do that with your foundation? JM: The foundation at the moment is an endowment, and through the money we raised last year and through the contributions that keep coming in, we just want the endowment to grow and grow and grow. We’d like to get it to at least a million bucks. In the meantime, I’m continuing to serve those ten beneficiaries—I say ten because some years it’s nine some years its eleven—and I continue to serve those whether I give them a donation or I give them a concert or in my time I volunteer or I use my voice. Whatever the case may be, the foundation will eventually do that work for us as well, but what I’m waiting for is this “aha” moment where that endowment goes to break ground on a school or a community center or a healing center. I’m not sure exactly what it is. I have a feeling it’s going to be around education and/or healthy food or maybe all of it. But I definitely wanted to get the foundation started because there are so many benefits to doing so, in allowing that money to grow and grow and grow and be there for me when it is time to do that. The whole reason I did it is simply because I look around my life and it’s hard to believe that music has given me all that I have. Music is such a powerful fundraising tool and it’s so easy for me to share that and it’s such a light. In a song you can shine a light on a topic and with your voice at a concert you can shine a light on an actual issue or a person, you can acknowledge whatever you like with music and people will listen. I felt that foundation was going to be an extension of that. I thought, “Here is a life I’m living where music is giving me tons of attention and plenty of money. I don’t need all of it, that’s for damn sure. I’ve got more than enough. I’ve got my family taken care of, and my life, and my health right where I want it to be, so why would I hoard anything else?” I would rather continue to spotlight those who inspire me. Those organizations that I support have contributed hugely to my life in some way, whether they’ve shaped my life as a man or actually contributed to songs that I’ve written. It’s just normal for me, simple for me, to take that funding and that attention and give it back to them. A long time ago when I was first starting out I used to always leave my change on a retaining wall or a planter or a bench. You know, you come out of a store and they give you seventyfive cents change or something, rather than drop it I would always place it in the community. Sometimes I’d flip it into

the hat of a busker or give it to a homeless person. But what I most enjoyed was putting it on a windowsill or on a bench seat or somewhere where I knew that the community would get it. I said in doing this, “I know it’s going to come back to me tenfold,” and I didn’t think twice about it. And I did it for years. And I watched my income go up and up and up and I always credit it to this kind of service, this little sneaky service, this one way that I was giving back to the community. So the foundation is essentially doing the exact same thing as that. It’s taking this abundance of income that I get through music and redirecting it back into the community. MP: I just wanted to say, on every level, thank you for shining, and thank you for bringing awareness and inspiring others. What projects do you have coming up in the next six to eight months; do you have a new album? JM: Yeah the album is kind of taking up the attention this season. I believe it’s coming out in May. It’s called Love is a Four Letter Word {laughter} but it’s a beautiful album, I mean that in jest, because love is everything. If it’s everything, it’s the good and the bad, you’ve got to take it all. So that’s coming and with that will be lots of traveling. MP: When it’s time to let go, how do you do that? JM: I think I’d say it’s different each time because it’s not like you learned to do the act of letting go: “OK now I’ve figured it out, that’s how you let go.” It’s not as easy as just opening your hand and watching the items fall out, because with everything you’re letting go, I’m sure it’s going to have a different value to you. And every time you let go, you’re going to be a different age, or there’s going to be different circumstances. So I think the best way to do it is to simply wish the best for that thing. You just send your love and gratitude to everything that came through the experience, and you wish it the best. If you don’t wish it the best, then you’re only holding on to its failure—you’re only holding on to something that needs something from you. Whereas if you wish it the best, it’s not about you anymore. It’s about that: that you’re letting go of having the best possible experience you can have, regardless of who you are and where you are. I think that can be applied to all things, but it’s easier said than done. | 29


the creative process of Brett Dennen

In an over-commercialized, image-obsessed industry, he sings dense, thoughtful lyrics, rich with subtle reflections on social issues and human connection. Given the great big heart that shines in his music, it’s no surprise that Dennen’s an active humanitarian and environmentalist. Brett spoke with us about song writing, healthy eating, speaking your truth, and why kale is the new crack. | 30

Maranda Pleasant: Why do you bother getting out of bed in the morning? What makes you want to wake up?

Brett Dennen: I love being creative, and for me it doesn’t matter what it is—whether it’s art or music or just daydreaming. I think there’s a certain magic that comes from being creative. I think anyone who is an artist or writer or owns their own business, or whatever, can agree that when you come up with something on your own, it’s an addictive feeling.

MP: With that creativity there’s a lot of vulnerability. What makes you most vulnerable, personally? BD: Well, being a songwriter or a painter you’re definitely facing your fears. You’re facing your fears because you’re speaking your truth; you’re speaking from your heart. That’s something that’s not easy to do, you set yourself up for all sorts of criticism or vulnerability but that’s why we do it. MP: How do you transform your pain? BD: Well I don’t I guess, I don’t transform it. I just know that it’s important. That it’s a part of life. It’s certainly part of my creative process. It’s part of how I get inspiration and part of how I gain wisdom on life. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I don’t transform it, I just let it be. I kind of let it move through me, let it consume me, and I let it take me over and hurt me; and I let it go away when it’s ready to go away, and I understand that it’s just part of the process. MP: When I listen to your music, you’re turned inside out. It’s real, and sometimes it’s gritty and it’s super personal. I know that it’s rare. BD: There’s no method or anything like that to it. I can write songs, but I’m not gonna really feel good about the song unless it feels like me, and I’m not gonna release a song or put it on an album or play it in concert unless it really feels like me. So songs don’t really feel like me unless I somehow shed a little secret or open myself somehow or be vulnerable. When I’m singing these songs, it feels like me, and that comes with the vulnerabilities

and the strengths and the moments of triumph or whatever. I don’t know really how to put this, other than it has to feel like me or I’m not really interested in doing it. And it doesn’t really feel like me unless it has those qualities you described. MP: Are you writing right now? BD:Yep, I’m writing and sort of sifting through things that I want to do with music, and am kind of in the beginning stages of making an album. MP: Has the process changed for you at all or is it pretty much the same?

“I kind of let it move through me, let it consume me and I let it take me over and hurt me, and I let it go away when it’s ready to go away and I understand that it’s just part of the process.” BD: It’s constantly changing. Every song is completely different. Sometimes they come like a lump of clay and it’s your job to chip away and find out what’s in the center. Sometimes it comes like swimming fish, and you have to follow it and see where it leads. Sometimes it comes totally fragmented. Sometimes it comes in the form of words. and you have to figure out a melody. It’s always different, and every song comes out differently. I guess it’s just my job to somehow balance knowing that every song is going to come differently and be different, but also know that, on the other hand, I am a songwriter and I am a craftsman, and I do have a craft and a technique and a method. So I need to balance the technique and the method.

MP: What are some of the biggest causes happening on the planet that you’re most passionate about? BD: I think they’re all somehow related to food. I think food is the great equalizer. Other than the ocean and the air, food is the thing that we all share in common. I think along with that comes the question of why are some people starving, and why do some people produce more food than they need, and why is food going to waste. Why is so much food going to feed cattle, why is so much food processed, why is the government supporting farmers who are making processed genetically-modified foods? I just think it all sort of falls around food. I think the two biggest issues are world hunger and health, and all the things that stem from bad food. MP: I love what you’re doing and I know that every day there are things that take life and energy out, and I just wanted to say that so many people are affected; lives are shifted by what you’re doing in the world. Last thing, I did see that you’re a Vitamix lover? BD: {laughter} Yeah, I saw on your tweet that you put Vitamix in your tweet and I was like, “Are we gonna talk about Vitamix?” {laughter} MP: I don’t have any association with them but I have this whole romance with my Vitamix. BD: Oh yeah, isn’t it great? | 31


MP: I’ve tried your brand, Essential Living Foods. I think they’ve got some new raw products. BD: They’ve got so many new products. They have these cashews that are cracked open by hand— and it’s all fair wages—but most raw cashews use steam to crack them open. These cashews, you put them in a glass of water and two hours later they sprout. It’s crazy, they shoot out a little sprout—it’s ridiculous. MP: My daughter does that with almonds, not that we can get raw almonds in this country thanks to our FDA, but I won’t get into that… BD: Exactly, see it’s all about food. MP: Are you on a special diet now, are you doing mainly raw or mainly superfood? BD: I hate describing it because I don’t wanna limit myself to anything, but I eat like a vegetarian and I eat mostly raw. I think everybody, no matter what they eat, they should eat at least fifty percent raw food. But I eat some seafood. I like fish and a lot of | 32

seaweed, but I don’t eat bread or dairy or anything like that. It’s kind of like in the macrobiotic world. I’m just a healthy eater who loves to juice. I’m an avid juicer and a healthy eater. MP: What’s your favorite juice? I’m on a Kale kick. BD: I juice kale every morning. Kale and apple and lemon. MP: I heard it’s like the new crack. BD: Kale is definitely hot right now. There’s a TV show called Modern Family where there’s an episode where they go to the farmer’s market and they get kale and they’re saying, “Kale is the new spinach,” so there’s like this kale craze going on right now, which is great. MP: I was wondering why all of the sudden they’re sold out—we’re fighting over it in the grocery store! BD: But isn’t that cool? It’s cool to be healthy now! It’s cool to, like, drink fresh juices and drink Kombucha and all that stuff.

MP: That sounds amazing. Are you working with any other organizations? Doing any benefits this year other than with the Mosaic Project?

BD: I am, I’m on the board of directors. My role is about fundraising and marketing, but really I’m sort of like an ambassador. MP: What exactly is it in your own words? BD: Well it’s a non-profit organization; it’s a school that’s based in the San Francisco Bay Area. We bring kids of all different backgrounds from all over the Bay Area together and build a community across difference. It’s usually kids that normally don’t have a chance to get to meet each other because they’re separated by millions of different things. They go through a week-long curriculum of educating themselves and each other about who they are and what makes them special and unique, and how to come together across differences.


MP: I’ve been looking at your Mosaic Project, are you still active with that?

BD: I’m a big believer in that old cliché of thinking globally and acting locally. I’ve always supported big organizations like Invisible Children and Amnesty International and things like that, but I feel like, to me personally, it’s a little more rewarding when I’m working with something that directly affects a community where I can see it happening. Mosaic is just one of those. One of my best friends started a non-profit organization where he takes kids from the city and gives them a chance to learn science out in nature—his program is called Kids & Creeks—so I’m going to be doing some fundraising and a benefit concert for them. They’re based in Chico, California. Then my Mom is on the board of directors for an organization called the Jack and Buena Foundation, and they’re raising money to send kids to a High Sierra wilderness experience summer camp. It was a camp I got to go to as kid, and it really changed my life. | 33


The soft-spoken 22-year-old—a multi-Grammy winner and ARIA Female Artist of the year—Skypes us from New Zealand to chat about pain, creativity, good deeds, and her upcoming American tour. Maranda P: I’m impressed by the amount of color, vision and love that you bring to your music. There just seems to be a lot of passion and beauty that you emit with your performances. So what excites you most in your life right now—what gives you that light?

Kimbra: I think the idea of being on stage and playing for people, and being able to inject a little bit of joy into their lives is a really exciting concept for me. That’s definitely why I make music. It’s never been for any kind of materialistic reasons, so that thought of being able | 34

to be up on stage, and being able to give something to someone in a moment of need for them—that gets me up in the morning; that really excites me. And just, you know, the traveling that’s involved with this job is a really exciting part of what I do as well. MP: What is the most vulnerable part of that? K: There’s a real lack of routine with that kind of life, and I think that can be very difficult. I left high school, which is of course full of so much routine

and regimented classes, and then to go into a life that’s just about writing an album... That freedom to do that is an incredible blessing, but it’s also very challenging to be self-motivated through that. And now, in return, every day is different, which is wonderful, but it also means that you lose out on that kind of social stability—of having your friends around all the time and being able to keep in touch with those people. That part of it is hard, but everyone has the cons to their job, and I think the pros in mine definitely outweigh the cons. {laughter}

MP: How do you transform your pain? What is your process? K: Music is my catharsis for that. It’s an incredible blessing that I have this way of expressing myself through music and lyric, and I’m so grateful for that in moments of pain or of suffering—that I have this means of channeling it; it’s really amazing. My band as well—having them around and being able to jump on stage and bond together and share that energy is really uplifting as well.

aside from emotionally—I find that quite challenging. Knowing the right time for letting go of my album, for instance, was a really big challenge. Knowing when to put the red flags up and say, “It’s done...” And also, emotionally, with relationships... But for me I think it’s just about taking that time of reflection and contemplation. That’s probably my process in every decision that I make: to make sure that I spend time just with myself, and really times of silence and mediation to go through that process; and music is a big part of that as well.

MP: How do you let go? When you know it’s time to let go of something, or an experience, or someone, do you have a process?

MP: Do you have a practice of meditation? How do you center? I imagine you’re pulled in so many directions, and energetically you have so much going out all the time.

K:Yeah, letting go—even just musically,

K: Yeah that’s true. | 35

MP: How do you stay centered? K: Just try to keep the heart turned outward, as well as having moments inward. I think the threat of an industry like this is that you can become sort of self-obsessed. There’s so much praise being given to you—there’s a real threat of exalting the ego. The key to all of that is keeping hold of humility and keeping hold of the people around you, and making sure you stay grounded with your family and friends. And, you know, contemplation: I read a lot of books on philosophy and religion, and try to keep always growing in that part of my life, because without having a spiritual grounding, I think you can get really swayed by the winds of all the praise or the criticism; it’s all very, kind of, up and down. Try to stay up and focused. MP: Are there any causes that you support and you’re passionate about? K: Yeah I’ve done quite a bit of work here with the Salvation Army in Melbourne. They’re an incredible bunch of people who are really focused on homelessness in Melbourne, in the city. Mainly they focus around teenagers on the streets, and I’ve done a little bit of volunteer work with them, just on their meal buses, and just trying to

help out where I can with that. I was around a little bit of a music night to help and get some of those kids into learning instruments, because a lot of them don’t attend school. I just feel passionate about trying to get kids inspired about something at that age, because without that you can get really carried off into some dark places. So yeah, the Salvation Army, especially this one in the city, they’re practicing a true kind of compassion that you don’t see all that much these days in the church, so it’s really refreshing to see people embracing the true cause of what that faith is about. MP: What are you creating now that you’re excited about? K: America is definitely something I’m pretty excited about. I’m working on getting out and getting really tight with the community for SXSW. But there’s these songs that I’ve been working on in America that are definitely a new direction for me musically and lyrically, and it feels really good for me to be producing new material that will be exclusive in America. I’m throwing myself back into writing music again, because I worked very long on the album Vows, and by the end of it, it felt pretty stagnant for me, and I was very

ready to let go of those songs, and I didn’t feel quite the same connection to them anymore. It’s really great to be inspired again. MP: It’ll be great interviewing you in person at SXSW. When you write, what is that process like? Do you feel like you channel it, or do you clear yourself out and it comes to you? K: It’s, in fact, really different every time. When people ask that question, it’s very hard to nail down a formula or a circumstance that I always write in, but I definitely do believe that there have been moments, musically, when I have channeled something, you know? And I think the more that I can find myself getting out of the way—like you said yourself—trying to get out of thinking too much, and sometimes something truly special can happen. That’s the beautiful mystery of song writing—that you really don’t know where these songs come from exactly, and you don’t know how you came up with them—and god bless it that you should have the gift of channeling that. But I’m very glad that I don’t know how it happens, because that’s what keeps drawing me back to doing it: the mystery behind it. It’s definitely really a beautiful thing.

New Zealander Kimbra has been performing her jazz-inflected pop since she was 14. Her platinum debut album, Vows, spawned three hit singles, earning her a “one to watch” rave from Rolling Stone Australia and the Australian Grammy for Best Female Artist. Several of the songs on Vows are included on Settle Down, her US EP, released last October. The title track is already getting airplay on KCRW, and the video—which has almost 5.5 million views—was recently named iTunes Video of the Week. | 36

Maranda Pleasant: I want to talk about several aspects of and this movement you’ve started. What are your thoughts on the KeystoneXL Pipeline? What’s the most important thing about it that we should know right now?

tapped, that would mean it was “essentially game over for the climate.” That caught our attention, and made us think we needed to take serious action. It turned into the largest civil disobedience action in about 30 years, with 1,253 arrests.

Bill McKibben: Well, all we won was a small and temporary

MP: Were you with our columnists Darryl Hannah and Randy Hayes of Rainforest Action Network?

victory (which is about the best environmentalists ever do). And big oil is fighting back bigtime—they’ve promised “huge political consequences” unless Obama gives in and approves it. So it’s time for us to try and make people understand just how dirty the congress is—how bought off and compromised. We need to be dangerously naive for a while, and stop accepting that this is ‘the way it is.’ MP: Tell us about the arrest and what inspired you to the call of action. Why was that important? BM: Our most important climatologist, Jim Hansen at NASA, said last spring that the tarsands of Alberta were the second largest pool of carbon on earth, and that if they were heavily

BM: I saw them both—great, great activists! MP: What is the Moving Planet Project? BM: That’s what we called the big 350 day of action last fall—our third. (We’ve staged about 15,000 demonstrations in every country but North Korea, what CNN called “the most widespread political activity in the planet’s history.”) Moving Planet was focused on transportation, and especially on bicycles—bikes are a big part of the solution, and one of the few tools used by both rich and poor. So it was a gorgeous day around the world. | 37

MP: I just realized that 350 also trains young leaders. Tell us the where, who and how of this program. BM: It’s not training. 350 is run by young leaders. 8 of us started it in 2008—me (a middle-aged writer) and 7 seniors at Middlebury college in Vermont. They’re still running the show.

It was mostly older people (that’s what we asked for). We didn’t ask how old, but we did ask who was president when they were born, and the biggest cohorts were from the FDR and Truman administration. MP: How are you building local awareness and community support?

“If you’re signed up at, you’ll get regular requests. Not for money—for action.”

BM: By getting people to do things. We think that when people become active, it makes it much easier for them to cope with the real trauma of thinking about global warming. We can’t really ‘organize’ the whole world—it’s too big. So it’s more like we throw potluck suppers and everyone else comes.

MP: Tell us about Durban and the 350 Radiowaves. What was it like to be there? How did it feel, emotionally, to witness it?

MP: Tell us about your big 2012 growth that’s happening. What projects are you focusing on?

BM: Sadly, I wasn’t there—I was back here fighting the Keystone fight. But it was great fun to listen to it, and to be able to think about Africa as the incredibly diverse continent that it is. And of course, Durban was one of the strongholds of resistance to Apartheid, so they had a lot to teach the rest of the world’s activists.

BM: We’ll be taking on the fossil fuel industry directly, trying to cut its subsidies. And we’ll be trying to get across the idea that we’re already seeing horrific consequences of climate change.

MP: How have you been so effective at moving past the “choir” of hardcore activists?

BM: Very easy—if you’re signed up at, you’ll get regular requests. Not for money—for action. I fear there may be a lot of them this year; we’re nearing the do-or-die point on climate change.

BM: I don’t know. The arrests last August were interesting. | 38

MP: What can we do immediately to get involved?

MP: What does 350 most urgently need? BM: Always the same answer—more people involved. Look, the dirty energy industry has all the money. If we compete in that currency, we lose. We need different currencies—spirit, passion, creativity, sometimes our bodies. MP: As an artist, I feel in love with the 350 eARTh project. Can you tell us about using art to spark a global climate movement? BM: The environmental movement has done a better job of appealing to the side of the human brain that likes bar graphs and pie charts. That’s okay, but we need to connect with the whole of the human spirit. That’s why we love working with religious groups, and with artists and musicians. MP: What inspired the idea of creative activism? What are you most excited about? BM: Oh, well, I’m kind of an artist myself—a writer. It’s just very natural, no? MP: It’s you following you heart. You’re so passionate about what you’re creating globally. What makes you feel vulnerable personally? BM: I’ve lived in the woods most of my life and know them intimately, so I can see change happening all around me. It scares me, especially since I have a daughter. MP: What do you think are the 5 biggest climate threats right now?

BM:The fact that corporate power has just about overwhelmed our democracy. I feel like we’re fighting a pretty desperate nonviolent battle to preserve the possibility of action. MP: How do you transform your own personal pain? BM:Work. Climate change is a bit less scary if you’re doing something about it. MP: Why do you want to wake up and get out of bed in the morning? BM: Some days, I just want to cause problems for the bad guys. MP: What makes you feel vulnerable, personally? BM: See above.

“Corporate power has just about overwhelmed our democracy. I feel like we’re fighting a pretty desperate nonviolent battle to preserve the possibility of action.” MP: How do you let go? BM: Get outside—especially in the winter, when I love, above all things, to cross country ski deep in the woods. Very nice to feel graceful for a season, when friction disappears for a while.

BM: Changes to hydrological cycles (more droughts and floods because warm air holds more water vapor than cold); resulting shortages of food, and high prices that cause increases in hunger; more violent storms; rapid acidification of oceans; and the melt of almost everything frozen on the planet.

MP: How do you handle the intense emotional aspect of this work, the disappointment and victories? How do you balance?

MP: Social threats?

BM: Not very well. I find myself waking up in the middle of the night. Wish I didn’t! | 39

The gallery is founded on being an innovative showcase for ongoing presentation and promotion of strong historical and visionary contemporary artists world-wide, whose diverse practices include painting, works on paper, sculpture, video, photography, performance, and conceptual future media installations. With its first commercial exhibition space being in Houston, the gallery aspires to provide a forum through connecting Texas, national, and international artists to make positive change.

2445 North Boulevard Houston, Texas 77098 phone: 713.869.5151 | fax: 713.869.9592

Come for the View

Experience the majesty of the American landscape, only at the Blanton Museum of Art.

Art on Tap: Craft Beer and Local Fare Saturday, March 24 | 1PM Join Sam Hovland from East End Wines for a tasting of beers from regions represented in our spring exhibitions. Food pairings provided by Mat Clouser, executive chef at Swift’s Attic. Cost: $30 members / $40 general public To sign up, email American Scenery: Different Views in Hudson River School Painting is organized and toured by the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, PA. Support for the exhibition at The Blanton is provided by Mr. and Mrs. Jack S. Blanton, Sr., George and Nicole Jeffords, and Dana and Gene Powell. ABOVE: Jasper Francis Cropsey, Lake George (detail), 1877, oil on canvas, 121/4 x 10 in., Private Collection.

The University of Texas at Austin | MLK at Congress Austin, TX 78701 | | (512) 471-7324

Saul Williams

Shines his Volcanic Sunlight

With Saul Williams—the legendary philosopher poet, who helped pioneer the spoken word movement and has collaborated with some of the biggest names in music—there’s no such thing as an ordinary conversation. Currently on a U.S. tour for his new album (after filming a dream-like new movie), Saul joined us for a free-flowing chat to rap about breakdancing with heartache, the dumbing-down of popular music, 2012, and Bikram yoga panties. Maranda Pleasant: Well, my inbox is full of questions from

I live here in Paris with my fifteen-year-old daughter, and this year was the year that she allowed her alarm clock to wake herself for school, so that I don’t have to wake her up for school anymore...and I’m really happy about that. {laughter}

Saul Williams: Well they all just sound completely deluded. {laughter} I don’t know, but I hear the weed is really strong in California...

So. When I finally decide that I’m ready to get out of bed, it could be the sunlight, it could be the fact that I’m awake, and, OK, first of all, I wake up in the morning because I have to go to the bathroom. {laughter} So what is that, “your bladder?” Yes so, it would be my bladder.

readers and we’ve got tons of mutual friends on the West Coast telling me, “He’s one of the most evolved human beings on the planet.”

MP: {laughter} SW: Must be something like that because I have no idea what these people are talking about. MP: So tell me, what is it that really makes you want to wake up in the morning? Why do you want to get out of bed? SW: What makes you think I want to get out of bed? MP: {laughter} SW: {laughter} ...I can’t say that I always want to get out of bed, you know. | 42

MP: {laughter} This is profound, profound stuff. SW: Well actually it is... MP: {laughter} SW: {laughter} You know... at least it’s beneath the skin. So on top of that, let’s see. That depends on the day. Honestly, I don’t always want to get up in the mornings, but I do anyway. It could be the realization, the...oh no that sounds too bull-shitty already...

MP: {laughter}


SW: {laughter} I’m trying to dodge all words like “realization.”

SW: Well...I might have to reverse that just to say that I feel pretty vulnerable all the time. So I’m usually questioning what is the thing that makes me feel, you know?

Let’s see, what makes me want to get up in the morning? Really you know, I live in an apartment that’s mostly windows, like 360, so when I wake up in the morning, the first things that I see are the clouds. They’re right there. I look out my window now and there’s always, always a black bird of some sort on the ledge there. Usually I wake up and look at the birds. Look at one of the birds that’s perched there. Like yesterday for instance, I woke up trying to figure out what kind of bird it was because it wasn’t a crow, it wasn’t a pigeon. So by the time I actually get up I think it’s the sunlight that... I’m eager to open the window. It’s usually the thought of the feeling of fresh air. Literally, I’m being completely literal, after the bathroom I get back in bed, I try to fall back asleep {laughter} and if I can, it is the thought of the fresh air that I will feel when I open the window. Now that, coupled with, whatever I choose to listen to musically—the stereo is right here by the window in my bedroom. The music with the fresh air, that’s awesome, that’s awesome. So it starts with that. {laughter} MP: I should not be so literal. {laughter} So what is it that makes you

Because, for instance, I’m a very sensitive person at times. Not just to words that anybody says, but in relationships for example, the people that you open up to, you listen to, you hear—you know? So a lot of times, the key to some of my vulnerability is just through things, simple things—or critiques or whatever—or could be very simple things that are said. But above and beyond that, I’m somewhat of an empath, I would say. I relate easily to ideas and stories, books, films, music. I’m moved by all of these things. Art in general. But not just art, you know? Yesterday, for example, there was this woman, an old woman on a cane and she stopped me in the street. First I was like, “Is she trying to rob me?” and then “Wait, she’s too old, why would she be trying to rob me?” And so then, the first question: “Why would I think that?” Then, she asked me if I had passed a travel agency where I was coming from, because she was tired of walking. She sat down on the bench and asked me if I could look for her. And I started imagining

what it felt like to be that age. She had a bad leg or foot, and I could see how tired she was, so I walked three blocks down, looking for a travel agency for her—didn’t find it, came back up, she’s sitting on the bench, I asked if there was anything else I could do for her. She says, “No, thank you,” and I move on, but from that moment forward, I was suddenly aware that the next thing I saw was a man who worked something like Fed Ex. He was in the back of a truck getting a package, and about to go into a building and it was like, “Oh god! You know? Fuck, people! People work! {laughter} People work for a living!” ‘cause I was sitting here writing poems! You know, it’s a little upsetting at times to think, “Oh I being somehow rewarded for a way with words? What is this?” So I spend my time sitting in train stations, parks, parking lots, cafes, just looking at people—eavesdropping, basically. I’m vulnerable to all of it. You know, I’m watching the body language between couples as they walk. And sometimes I see expressions on faces and I’m like, “Oh god...I know that feeling...fuck...{laughter} Good luck, guy.” All of it makes me feel vulnerable—yeah, all of it, every single thing. | 43

MP: How do you transform your pain? What do you do with it? SW: Well, you know, remember when I wrote the song “Black Stacey”—I felt like that was the first time that I had done exactly what you said. That I had made music of pain, that I had found humor in pain, you know? And I was excited, I was super excited, because I could see my own personal growth and I could see how it applied to my creative expression, to my creative output. Thus, you know, here was proof for me that what I was doing was cathartic and maybe it could serve someone else as well. So how do you do that? Probably kind of the same way they make Cognac or something. What do they do? They take white wine and bottle it for a hundred years? {laughter} So, you know, sometimes it’s bottling emotions and letting them distill with time—or not. Sometimes... I think that’s what I did as a kid, is that I held things in. Now it’s more of a ventilation process. But you can’t help the fact that some things...You start to realize connections between experiences and things that push your buttons, and things that have touched you in those vulnerable areas and whathave-you. And they form a little collection over time—at least I do—and as time progresses and new things are learned, you kind of sift through those things until they’re air or danceable, you know? But they start as this thing that’s either too hard or too soft to dance to. So it’s a matter of finding that rhythm, that synchronicity, between that and the rest of life. Sometimes that takes time. Sometimes that takes epiphany, you know, which is maybe not as connected to time and distillation. Oftentimes it comes to walking, that could lead to the epiphany of like, “Oh my god! That was actually necessary.” But I don’t know. You know, I remember going through this crazy break-up years ago, where I found out that someone had, you know, the person that I was involved with had slept with somebody else. I was crushed. I was like, “Oh my god...” {laughter} It was intense, but you know what? I remember the moment, yes, when I couldn’t eat. I remember the moment when I cried, and I remember when I could no longer cry, and I was trying to cry and the tears wouldn’t—you know—there was no more water to come out of me or what-have-you. | 44

I also remember the epiphany of, well, one: the slow realization that I had played a role in this somehow. ‘Cause at that point, it was actually my biggest fear, and the fact that I had held onto a biggest fear, I started questioning how I had conjured the situation. What role did I see in that? In actualizing my biggest fear by having one perhaps? And then, I had this epiphany about love, and about it not being something that, perhaps at that point—I was much younger then—but at that point my epiphany had to do with how possession and jealously perhaps had no place within the actualization of love itself.

And at that point I started, you know, I kind of invited it, at that time I welcomed it. Of course that would be completely different if someone had stuck a knife in me! {laughter} That would be like, {scary voice} “Welcome to my bladder...” Uh...{laughter} I don’t know. Yeah I prefer the abstract meaning than the actual. {laughter} MP: What is it that breaks your heart? SW: {laughter} MP: Light conversation!

And at that point, that’s when my ex and her new lover started thinking I was crazy. Because that’s when I started thanking them, sincerely {laughter} like, “Oh, thank you so much for what you guys did. Because, oh I get it now! And you’re right, you know we were a hundred miles apart and we should be able to live in the moment. We’re young, you shouldn’t be holding yourself for me and some idea, this fantastical grownup thing that we had planned on doing. No, live in the moment! This is what you felt, this is what you do.”

SW: {joking voice} “What is it that makes you vulnerable...what is it that breaks your heart...?”

Not to say that if you feel something, you should do it. You know, like Thom Yorke says, “Just because you feel it, doesn’t mean it’s there.” But in that pain, the transformation began to the realization that the pain itself was actually there to help me grow.

SW: {laughter}

MP: Last sad one! SW: Gettin’ all lovey dovey over there... Ok, {laughter} you need a beer buddy, you know. {laughter} MP: {laughter} I’m gonna need something stronger than beer!

MP: The women want to know, Saul! {laughter} SW: {laughter} You guys are on absinthe over there...{laughter} OK.

City,” you know that song? {laughter} MP: {laughter} SW: But you know, if you look it up you’ll laugh. It’s R A C K, by a guy name Tyga. But you gotta find the video with the grandma dancing to Rack City ‘cause that’s... MP: {laughter} Done. SW: But sometimes I listen to... yeah, music is just entertainment right? For the lighthearted and whatever. But within that sometimes, when I get serious, I’m like “Oh fuck...what are we dancing to? What are they saying? What’s being discussed, what’s not being discussed? Where are these things being discussed?” It’s not in school, it’s not on this website or that website and it’s not in the music. This song is number one. This show is number one. When I look at certain aspects of popular culture—not everything because I like a lot of things— sometimes my heart breaks a little bit, just a little bit. {laughter} I begin to ponder what happened to this generation, I don’t know.

MP: Actually that’s not on our list, I have no idea why I just asked you that. SW: But you said, “What is it that breaks my heart?’ MP: Yeah. SW: {laughter} MP: You can pass. SW: No ...You know what breaks my heart? And don’t get me wrong, because mostly I think that heartbreak is a good thing. You know, I think that the heart is a lot like—I’ve said this before—it’s a lot like those wonderful fruit, like coconut and mangoes, you know, you have to break the skin, you have to break it open to get to the good part. I’ve often felt it’s almost like the heart breaks, and kind of like, carves out a space. Like you might do if you were planning on building a pool in your backyard, to the ground, to the soil, you carve out a space. It might carve out a space there within your heart, but then, you know, it actually creates something for you to fill.

So me, I’m like the heartbreak king at this point. You know, like, wow! I feel like I have tripped, you know? I’m dancing on heartbreak by now! I mean head spinning, wind mills, I am total 1981 Rock Steady Crew on the knowing, the allure, of heartbreak. You know what I’m saying? I’m all over it now. And the poses, the crazy people in poses, I’m... that’s all... yeah. I’ve been...{sighs} but that’s not your question. What is it that breaks my heart? What breaks my heart... if you really want to know. The thing I’ve been talking about with daughter is the idea of—and I’m talking about essentially in America—the possibility of, a lost generation. I’ve been listening to a lot of music—as a fan, as a critic, as somebody who likes to dance—but I hear, you know, within these songs and half the people I hear, these philosophies encoded and embedded in these songs. And I remember, way back to whatever year, the first time I heard the Notorious B.I.G. song where it was like, “Get money...” and I was like, “Oh fuck. Oh fuck. I hope you’ve got something like everything is over or everything is better just when you get money.” And sometimes, sometimes, not every day not all the time, you know, like today me and daughter danced to “Rack

Your library teacher would say, “What happens to a generation that doesn’t read the Classics?” Me, I’m not your library teacher. But I have some of the same questions and concerns, you know? {laughter} But I think it’s that, the idea of a lost generation. And what I mean by that is, you know, like, there’s that Jay-Z interview where he says, “I dumbed down my lyrics and doubled my sales.” MP: Oh... SW: Right? And I remember listening to that. I’m a fan of Jay-Z, now, I like him. But I remember listening to that years ago and, one: I was a little bit insulted, ‘cause I was like, “Are you saying that’s why I bought your album?” {laughter} You know, cause you dumbed it down, is that why I liked it? {laughter} So I was a little offended as a listener, but on the other hand, I was like “Fuck, are those the rules? Are those the rules?” ‘Cause it’s not the rules everywhere, you know? That’s not the rules everywhere—that things have to be dumbed down in order to become massively popular. And that hasn’t always been the rule, even in America. You know, like, two nights ago I was watching John Cassavetes’ “A Woman Under the Influence” and holy...have you seen that? | 45

MP: No, no. I sleep at the office. I don’t really get out much. SW: Oh watch that. I watched it on my computer. MP: I will. I have between 2am and 3am generally open. That’s my window. SW: Oh it’s perfect for that. {laughter} You know, with whatever you have that’s stronger than beer. You’ll love it! MP: Oh my goodness...last ones. I know that I promised no more heavy ones... SW: Oh no, keep going!

MP: {laughter}

MP: We got our title.

SW: Just like that, “Meditation.” {laughter} Now, I say, “Punk rock meditation.” {laughter} I think it’s better than Bikram yoga, personally. {laughter} MP: {laughter} As long as you don’t wear those little panties...I don’t know...maybe you in those panties but..{laughter}

SW: {laughter}

SW: Wait, what’d you say? {laughter} MP: You know how Bikram wears those little speedos, you know? We don’t need to get into that...

MP: How do you let go? Like, how do you let go?” SW: {laughter} MP: {laughter} There’s a little something for you!

One is the film that I shot in Senegal. I was in Senegal over the summer shooting a film called Aujourd’hui, and it just got officially selected in the competition for the Berlin film festival.

No, I feel it, it’s just still funny to think of you guys sitting there thinking up these questions... {laughter} MP: {laughter} Oh, if you only knew.

MP: Punk rock meditation. You know, I’m gonna put that on our cover. SW: {laughter} MP: You think I won’t, but I will! SW: I dare you. MP: You know what, it’s a done deal, “Punk Rock Meditation” on our cover. SW: There you go! MP: {laughter} SW: Punk rock meditation, that’s what keeps it going. That’s how I let go, you know. It’s exactly what I do, I blast it and run around crazy banging my head on the wall. {yells} If you asked me that five years ago I would say, “Meditation.” | 46

SW: Yeah, yeah. Well first thing I’ll say is, I feel that shift super super super well. I feel like I was cleaning up 2009, ’10, ’11, and this year it’s just pure dance, punk rock meditation, break dancing, new heartbreak, you know like all that shit. It’s only the good stuff. I have great stuff happening this year.

SW: {laughter} You guys are funny...(sarcasm) “What breaks your heart, how do you let go? What makes you vulnerable?”

SW: Yes ok, punk rock meditation. So, punk rock meditation.

MP: So I know that Sony is not going to be very happy with me if I don’t ask. Is there anything coming up for this year? I know we already feel this shift, this 2012 shift, and for me it shifted. Maybe it’s just the collective consciousness just pushed that way, but for me I felt it. I felt like this was a new beginning, and I started cleaning out. Do you have projects coming up this year, exciting things you’re pouring yourself into?

SW: {laughter} When I did it—I did Bikram for a while, just because I was living in LA and you have to do something like that if you want to stay. {laughter} Yeah, you know. Everybody knows that. So I didn’t wear those. I didn’t wear those little panties. MP: “I did not wear those panties.” Oh my god, you’re probably the only man in class we’d want to see in those panties. SW: Oh my god no. MP: I’m sorry I think I just sexually harassed you...oh no...that’s why I only work with women. SW: {laughter} That’s great. MP: Great: “Punk rock meditation” and “I sexually harassed Saul Williams.” SW: {laughter} There you go.

I play a man who lives in a fictitious village in Africa where the dead come to choose one person to go back to the land of the dead with them, and you find out in the morning that you’re going to die that night. Only one person per generation is chosen. To be chosen is the biggest honor that one could ever receive. The family and the community win all these modern-day amenities, like new hospitals, and the personal family gets a salary and a house and all this stuff. And I play the guy that’s been chosen, and so the film starts from the moment he opens his eyes and finds out, to the moment he closes his eyes. So it’s the last twenty four hours of a man who knows that he will die peacefully that night, kind of like a modern-day sacrifice. I spent two months in Senegal shooting that. It was the most beautiful experience. Anyway we just got accepted, officially selected, for a competition in Berlin which is in February. So that, after that, this is the SXSW issue coming out in March? So when that comes out I’ll be on tour. I’m touring the states from February until the end of March.

MP: What kind of tour is it? Is it a spoken word tour, a music tour? SW: It’s a music tour. I’m touring for my album that was released in the states on 11/11/11 which is called Volcanic Sunlight. Volcanic Sunlight, that’s the thing that rises, that source of light that comes from deep within as opposed to above. You know the rise of the underground, the rise of that internal source and that burst of light and energy that so lights the world.... but yeah I’m touring for that. I come back and shoot another movie, but I don’t think I can say the name of that one yet.

and that’s coming out in September, through MTV books. And I’m sure there’ll be tons of fun surprises in between.

MP: Are you coming to SXSW? SW: I’m not coming to SXSW, but I am coming on tour through Austin.

MP: Wow, we covered about everything! {laughter}

MP: Are you serious?

SW: We didn’t cover the Mayan calendar. No, I’m kidding.{laughter} And we won’t.

SW: The Mohawk? Is there a place called the Mohawk?

MP: {laughter} So is there anything else you want to say about this shift, or is there any other organizations or anything close to your heart that you’d want to include in this? Is there anything else?

MP: Well that will be awesome. SW: Hey, do me a favor? Don’t print anything I’ve said. MP: Geez!

And then I edited an anthology of poetry, of one hundred poets. One hundred new, fresh voices in poetry. The name of the book is Chorus, and what I did is, we had like 8,000 submissions, and we chose one hundred poems, and then I tried to make, basically, a novel out of the poems, by finding the through-line between the poems. For example, finding the last three phrases of a poem and the first three phrases of another poem and finding the through-line, so I connected them. So you don’t see the titles of the poems at the front of the book, all of the poems just flow. It reads like a novel, but it’s one-hundred voices. So that’s my first anthology of poetry that I’ve ever edited,

SW: {laughter} I would say, “The organization of self, and all self-aligning principles would be those that I promote.” {laughter} MP: And then you laugh. {laughter} SW: {more laughter}

SW: Just make it up. {laughter} MP: {falls out of chair} SW: Especially the stuff about what breaks my heart. I don’t know why I was talking about that. Just go ahead and feel free, I’ll co-sign.

MP: You have been such a bright spot in this day. Thank you so much for your time. SW: Are you gonna send me a magazine here in Paris? You’re gonna send it to me? Well, actually I’ll be in Austin in March, though. | 47


WOODY: STRAIGHT UP Going Deep with Mr. Harrelson Between takes on his new film (after an all-night bender in New Orleans), the Rampart and Hunger Games actor and outspoken eco-activist talks to us about War, Yoga, Raw Food, Family...and why the straight edge is a hard road. | 48 12 |

Maranda Pleasant:

What’s that reason that you really want to wake up in the morning and live and bring beauty to this planet?

Woody Harrelson: Well,

talking to my kids, more than anything. That gets me happy and excited, and just everything in my life is better because of them. I don’t know if that explains getting up in the morning... MP: What is the thing that drives you?

share... And now I’m boring myself to death with these answers I’m sorry. MP: {laughter} I’m sorry I’m not more exciting. WH: {laughter} Nah, I just wanna slap myself. But anyway, give me another question. I’m gonna come up with a good answer. MP: It gets worse, two more heavy ones. I’m just warning you now, it gets worse before it gets better.

WH: Well, it depends. If I’m working, you know, I just want it to be as good as it can be, so I guess that’s what drives me there.

WH: Ok...

You know, outside of that, I guess I’m just driven by my own... I love life. I feel like I have the most incredible life. So you know, this life, for some reason, it’s almost its own form of inspiration. However I came to be living this life, believe me, I feel a very natural but high level of gratitude for this life, and something about the way it’s set up gets me jazzed to participate in it every day.

WH: Um…

MP: What is it that makes you the most vulnerable? When are you at your most vulnerable?

MP: How do you transform your pain? What do you do with it?

MP: {laughter} WH: What a trip. Well wow, are you serious? Um, I generally just do my best to suppress it ‘cause I don’t really feel like dealing with that kind of stuff, so I suppress it. MP: {laughter} That sounds really honest, and really unhealthy.

MP: Yeah.

WH: I don’t know. You’re talking about emotional pain, I’m assuming. I guess, if I’m feeling that way, I tend to sit with it—I’m not agreeing with that, because a lot of times, that kind of connects to the vulnerability thing... I’ve got some friends who don’t hesitate to let you know what’s going on, and they talk it through. But I tend to not.

WH: I think I probably could be more vulnerable. A lot of times, I feel a little bit guarded in the sense of...I guess another person’s vulnerability makes me a little more prone to sharing things I wouldn’t

Somehow I’ve been raised some way, probably a common way in America, where you just kind of deal with it, and keep it to yourself, and express it that way.

WH: I feel just at my most vulnerable if…I don’t know, that’s a good question. I was about to give the same answer, but I feel like it’s, you know...I’m most vulnerable with my own children, and with my wife particularly. But what makes me vulnerable? | 49

“Yoga helps, more than anything. If you store something heavy emotionally in the mind, it stores as well in the body. So the reverse is true, if you’re able to release whatever it is from the body, you can release it from the mind.” WH: Well I’m certainly a raw foodist in my belief system, and I am mostly raw, but I do allow cooked food sometimes. I used to be pretty, you know, hardcore about that, but now I let myself eat cooked food sometimes. I don’t get too uptight. But yeah, mostly raw, probably 95% raw.

some of the positive things that I’ve been trying to do.

MP: It’s a southern thing for sure, or maybe it’s just a male thing. Ok, it gets even better. What is it that breaks your heart? {laughter}

MP: Holy.

WH: We’re in New Orleans.

WH: Yeah… Philosophically, I’m straight edge, but, yeah, It’s a hard road…

MP: That’s what you do in New Orleans.

WH: Well, I think primarily, our government’s foreign policy breaks my heart. All the giant subsidies to the giant industries that I call “The Beast,” all the industries that control our economy and control the body politic. That breaks my heart.

MP: {laughter} What are some of the causes that you’re most involved in right now—whether it’s eco or humanitarian causes, bio-diesel, scaling the Golden Gate bridge for charity—what are the things you’re most involved in or passionate about right now?

MP: I noticed that in one interview you did, they cut out all those details— whether it was about how we’re growing food, Monsanto, or politics—and they just referenced it. So we will not be cutting any of that out.

WH: Well, you know, I try. I support an orphanage in Peru, which I’ve been doing now for almost twenty years.

But now, if something’s really heavy, I just talk to the wifey. She helps me. MP: {laughter} You’re sounding like a Texan now. WH: {laughter} Oh yeah, maybe it’s a Texas thing.

WH: Thank you. MP: Last downer question. How do you let go? If there’s something that comes in that you have to let go of, do you have a process for that? WH: Yoga helps, more than anything. If you store something heavy emotionally in the mind, it stores as well as the body. So the reverse is true, if you’re able to release whatever it is from the body, you can release it from the mind. MP: How long have you been practicing? WH: I don’t know, a good twenty years probably. MP: Do you have a particular style? WH: Well you know fairly eclectic, but I guess probably Ashtanga-based. MP: Probably 50% of our reader questions came in asking if you’re a raw foodist. Are you a vegetarian? | 50

I used to kind of run around doing a lot of stuff that I felt was the equivalent of just putting out fires as opposed to some kind of lasting solution. And those are like, you know, protesting that this company is cutting down these trees, or trying to be active towards stopping them from drilling here or there. I always feel like they’re going to end up cutting trees in another place and drilling in another place, so to me it’s like, things I’m doing now are more proactive. To give you an example: I’m trying to get the first non-wood pulp and paper mill in North America, to try and make that happen. Over half of trees cut are for paper products. Another thing that I’ve been working on for a long time, and it’s kind of coming into fruition now, is a way to treat sewage. The way they treat sewage now is they chuck a bunch of really toxic chemicals into it, and then they dump it into a river or the ocean or whatever. So we have a process that is really eco-conscious and clean, and the water and the sewage come out really clean, and then that gets released, but it’s not-toxic. Those are

Sorry, I feel like I don’t have a brain cell left after last night. I just went on a f*cking terror with all my buddies here. MP: {laughter}

WH: {laughter} MP: Right now, besides the trees, what are the biggest eco concerns that you have on the planet? WH: Probably the biggest concern for me right now is mountaintop removal. They’ve leveled over 700 mountains in West Virginia and Kentucky—you know, the Appalachian Mountains. And I think it’s really one of the most horrendous things you can imagine. If you’d seen the pictures—it’s just devastating these oncebeautiful, pristine, natural environments and… words…words… MP: {laughter} WH: Biodiversity that’s the word I was looking for. MP: You have at least two huge films coming out this month. What was the most emotional part of playing that role in Rampart? WH: Well, you know, the root of my connection to the part, to “David Brown,” had to do with family. I love my family, so the scenes where I’m having difficulty with my children, specifically Brie Larson, those were highly emotional, highly charged. I found myself doing a bit of crying at the shooting of that. MP: How do you protect your energy? I just imagine at your job it’s like you can’t really have a bad day because you have so much energy going out at all times. How do you put some of that back in?

WH: Well, I protect my energy by eating really well, and also I exercise and do yoga. I think that those are the primary things that keep my energy going. On the other hand, every once in a while, I have a night like last night which just cuts me to the core. MP: {laughter} And then I get my big interview with you. WH: Sorry, I should have done this yesterday when I had a brain cell left. MP: I’m sorry to ask you this, but my fourteen-year-old would not forgive me without asking you. WH: It’s gotta be about Hunger Games. MP: When I told her I was going to interview you, she was like “Oh my goddness, that’s the guy in the Hunger Games!” So all of a sudden, you’ve got teenagers and tweens who might not have seen your other work, and they all know who you are now. What’s that like, being a part of something that obviously has this huge wave behind it? WH: Well, you know, it’s pretty cool. It was one of those things I kind of happened into, owing to the fact that Gary Ross wanted me to do it, and I know what’s its like to work with Gary Ross, and I didn’t really know about

the level of excitement about the books. That was all an awesome bonus. MP: What was one of the best experiences you had filming that? WH: I really loved hanging out with those guys, so I think we really made a lot of fun down there in Charlotte, NC. All those guys are really cool, man! All the actors that were involved in it, and the director, and all the heads of various departments are just, like, freaking geniuses. So it really was a fun time down there. I think it’s gonna be a great movie. MP: Last thing I want to ask you. I know we talked about the biggest eco-concerns, but right now is there anything happening from a humanitarian stand-point that you’re involved in—something that needs a lot of attention? WH: Well, I’m of the mind that the most important thing we need to do is get out of these wars we’re involved in. Get the troops home and stop all that nonsense which—I mean, it’s pretty clear what those wars are about, like all wars are about resources or strategic positioning, and, in this case, both. So I think it would be amazing to get out of those places and of that range of both our human resources

with the troops and also our economic resources and, you know, apply that money elsewhere, which, of course, isn’t going to happen. It’s not like the defense ministry is ever gonna give up much money. They talk about cutting down the defense budget to 450 billion {laughter} which is ridiculous. I don’t know how they’re getting by on such a shoe-string budget. MP: {laughter} WH: Anyway I’d like to see those. MP: Last thing, WH: This if the fourth last thing, I don’t think I believe you anymore. MP: {laughter} I promise! Do you think your outspokenness has hurt you in Hollywood with your career? Do you think it’s affected your career at all? WH: Well, I mean, there’s no way of telling. Can’t tell you that it’s hurting too bad, ‘cause everything seems to be going just great.



The future isn’t what it used to be. When one looks at some of the defining science fiction writers of the last century, names like Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, Samuel Delaney, and Octavia Butler come to mind. In the last 20 years, there’s been a re-thinking of what “the future” means, and—as usual—writers, artists, designers, and architects have been the people who have helped us look at how our imaginations shape and mold the way we live now. Origin Magazine decided to sit down with Bruce Sterling, one of the 21st century’s more dynamic thinkers, to do a catch up session.

BS: There’s no room for any text on that tiny chip. But RFID is an actuating trigger for most any data stream that its masters want.

Paul D. Miller: What do you think is the future of cloud

BS: Pynchonian paranoia. Geoff Manaugh architecture-fiction.

PM: Geolocational aesthetics? BS: Ultra-regional literature. The psychedelically immediate. The Georges Perec urban life as user’s manual. Species of spaces. PM: Hidden dimensions of the urban landscape?

computing and architecture?

Bruce Sterling: Cloud computing seems to be following this evolutionary path: A—Internet backbone. B—Information Superhighway. C—The Net. D—The Web. E—The Cloud. F—”Ubiquity” G—???... As for the future of Architecture, it’s urban informatics, the parametric, the generative, the biomorphic, the digitally repurposed “stuffed animal,” Gothic High-Tech, and Favela Chic.

BS: “Story-tellers” should listen seriously to design and architecture without getting all literary and imperial about that. Hackers are arrogant geek romantics. They lack the attentive spirit of inquiry. PM: Two words, just respond as you want to: public space? BS: “We Augment Reality” = WAR


PM: Where does literature fit into RFID?

PM: Who would be the new story tellers for this kind of literature in design and architecture, and how do you think people should hack it? | 52

PM: With the rise of “makers” and ad-hoc design hacker culture, we’ve seen a democratization of software unprecedented in the 21st century, that takes us back to the era of novel experiments of people like Benjamin Franklin or Newton, but with a massive twist: the level of science required to “play” is higher than ever, and access to resources gets more abstract—things like massive parallel computing level the playing field, and even more, kind of social/ crowd sourced solutions can have impact in radically unexpected ways. What do you think of things like this after disasters like Fukushima? BS: Good thing that reactor didn’t have an Application Programming Interface. The “level of science required to play” is not climbing, it is radically declining. It’s all about “Big Math for Trivia,” the BERG of London “demon-haunted world.” Complexity too cheap to meter.

bother to read it? I already read the “Great Italian Novel.” It was written in 1821 and it’s set in 1628. It’s the most famous and widely read novel of the Italian language, and it’s a colossally horrifying disaster novel. Manzoni’s The Betrothed makes Fukushima look like the Tokyo Disneyland.

“Here in Europe they had a Dark Age so extensive, radical and obliterative that everyone forgot how to speak Latin. It’s counterproductive to blither on about “the” future. It’s always somebody’s future, and we’re not who we used to be.” PM: Can the future be an open source idea?

Architects thrive after massive urban disasters. The abject collapse of East Berlin gave us the only city in Europe with a mighty host of Postmodern skyscrapers. PM: What’s the design and architecture response to something on that level of destruction?

BS: The future is a process, not a destination. Richard Stallman is a guy my age. I sympathize with Richard rather more than I sympathize with Richard’s open-source ideas, but the guy’s a mortal human being and so is his social movement. Open-source is a means of production. This question is like asking if Detroit’s future can be an assembly-line idea. Yeah, of course it can. For a while.

BS: Find a client and get a job.

BS: It’s because every passing year brings us more past futures. Here in Europe they had a Dark Age so extensive, radical and obliterative that everyone forgot how to speak Latin. It’s counterproductive to blither on about “the” future. It’s always somebody’s future, and we’re not who we used to be. If some genius wrote the “Great American Novel” today, would we


PM: You’ve written extensively about a kind of post-American future, and now extensively chronicle the past. The future isn’t what it used to be. Why? | 53

Celebrating 15 years of providing students across the country with hands-on experiences in music, film and multimedia. BY: ASHLEY BRYAN


Because having a safe space to imagine and dream and (re)invent yourself is the first step to being happy and successful, whatever road you choose to pursue. Our schools should be doing that, but we know that—more often than not—they don’t.

In 1997, with the support of Yoko Ono and the great music manager David Sonenberg, I began work on the first version of the

So we have a crazy tricked-out super hi-tech bus. Each day, it pulls

John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. The idea was simple—provide

up to a school, community center, concert venue, or festival. Once

free, hands-on opportunities for young people across the U.S. to

on site, the day’s students arrive, and the audio/video engineers who

come on board a professional recording studio and create original

live on the Lennon Bus begin to assess who is on board and what

music and video projects—all in one day.

their interests are. Music, film and video styles, history and politics, social and cultural trends all figure in. Sometimes they disagree.

We weren’t looking for the most accomplished or those deemed by

Sometimes they have to fight for their ideas. Sometimes they are so

their elders as being most worthy. We created a mobile studio that

surprised by the offer to freely create that they freeze up and worry

offers kids from all backgrounds and levels of experience the chance

that they’re not doing the right thing. No matter—by the end of the

to collaborate utilizing the same tools that professionals use. Why?

day, they’ll have completed their project. There is no time to fail. | 54

People often ask me, “Where did this idea for the Bus come from?” My mom was a classical pianist who grew up in New York in the ‘40s. Her mother, a Russian immigrant, thought it would be a good experience for her daughter to take piano lessons, so she enrolled her 5-year-old in a music school with some very high-profile teachers. She had no illusions of fame, but expected a musical hobby would provide a lifetime of enjoyment—and maybe help snag the right husband. As fate would have it, my mother turned out to be


extremely gifted, and quickly rose through the ranks to make her

When John Lennon left the Beatles and started making music

debut at Town Hall in 1944.

with Yoko Ono, many people scoffed at the idea. How could this talented man with so many hit songs give it all up? Well, we all

Her great talent provided many perks along the way, including

know it was love, but beyond that, it was a leap of faith to try

access to practice rooms with heat, and pianos with strings. That’s

something new. It’s that same leap of faith that drives the Lennon

right…for gifted students the school was great, but for students

Bus. It’s been a labor of love for all involved, because giving kids

with other abilities (my Mom’s cousins included) the school was a

the chance to explore the unknown is what its all about. Think

nightmare. Cold rooms, string-less pianos so there was no ‘noise,’

about how many great works of art or game-changing ideas were

and harsh raps on the knuckles for getting it ‘wrong’ were de rigeur.

ahead of their time—their creator’s talent underappreciated until

As a child, these stories made a great impression on me. I loved

many years later. That’s how we need to treat our young people—

music. I played the piano. However I knew there was no way I

because who knows where the next great idea will come from?

could have successfully competed in that environment. I liked making noise. So maybe that’s the genesis of the Bus.

Last year we made a stop in Alabama set up by our sponsor, Avid, after the horrific tornados terrorized the community around Birmingham. The music and video the kids shot there chronicled their feelings of determination and desire to rise above the tragedy. They called themselves “The Inspirators.”

HOW DID THEY FIND THE STRENGTH? THAT’S WHAT WE CALL TALENT. Imagine Peace. Visit the Lennon Bus at SXSW. Check for the location. | 55 | 56

Northern view from Centre for Digital Media

PREPARING NEW LEADERS FOR THE DIGITAL MEDIA INDUSTRY MASTERS OF DIGITAL MEDIA PROGRAM The Masters of Digital Media program (MDM) is Canada’s premier professional graduate degree program in digital media and technology. Offered at Vancouver’s Centre for Digital Media, the program includes internships and engages students in real world projects where they gain valuable leadership experience, hands-on training, and top industry connections.

Find out more information: Toll free: 1.855.737.2666 Web: | 57


After scoring two Oscar nominations with his 2009 war drama The


journalist-turned-director Oren Moverman shed a grim light on the shadowy underbelly of American society in his follow-up, the police drama Rampart. Much like his film, Oren is direct and brutally honest. Here, he talks with us about power, sexuality, Sigourney Weaver, Woody Harrelson, and Ice Cube. interview:

Maranda Pleasant | 58


Merrick Morton, Courtesy of Millennium Entertainment


: It seems like the film is dealing with some big themes and subjects—issues of power, control, brutality. Were you making a particular statement? Or was it just a story? What did this mean to you?


: Oh it’s all of the above, hopefully. I mean, you always hope to have a part on every level, on every layer. For us it was very much a conversation about power and sexuality and brutality. And really all the issues that are in that world, in that space, come down to one word, which is “masculinity.” That’s really the big inspiration of this movie. It’s really looking at a man who’s really showing all the traits and all the characteristics of the classic patriarchal country, where he’s of military power, he’s the king of the hill at home, as well as in the streets. He has the liberty to live where he wants. He’s living out a fantasy over this harem that he’s created for himself,


: It seems like the film is dealing with some big themes and subjects—issues of power, control, brutality. Were you making a particular statement? Or was it just a story? What did this mean to you?


: Oh it’s all of the above, hopefully. I mean, you always hope to have a part on every level, on every layer. For us it was very much a conversation about power and sexuality and brutality. And really all the issues that are in that world, in that space, come down to one word, which is “masculinity.” That’s really the big inspiration of this movie. It’s really looking at a man who’s really showing all the traits and all the characteristics of the classic patriarchal country, where he’s of military power, he’s the king of the hill at home, as well as in the streets. He has the liberty to live where he wants. He’s living out a fantasy over this harem that he’s created for himself, he goes on the prowl for women, and so it’s kind of like what people hopefully would perceive as a dinosaur, but he still needs domination, and so the movie is populated with a lot of women around him who take him on this spiral where, at the end of the day—not giving away too much of the ending—but at the end of the day, he’s kind of stripped of everything and stripped of all that old-school power trip, and he’s basically just pieces of himself and his demons, and he’s left to deal with it—and hopefully the women and that sort of feminine power take over and realize that hope for the future.

movie is about, because it basically gives you three options for looking at the police, as symbolized by Dave Brown. The first view is “bad apple.” Bad apple is excusable. It’s sort of like, something went bad with this man. But the second option is police corruption, so it’s a problem with the department. So the only problem that you have is actually switch things in the department, changing things, controlling things, putting it maybe under federal supervision, and if you fix the department, you’ll fix the problems—with police corruption, with brutality, with evidence

And with the Occupy Movement, it’s really ironic how the police come as representatives and enforcers of the powers that be, even though the people in the Occupy Movement are really on their side—not in terms of their behavior, but in terms of their economic status, in terms of who the police are in society and how much they’re paid, and if you boil it down to the economics of it, the police should be out there marching with the Occupy Movement. But the reality is that the police serve a certain function, to maintain a certain status quo, and that’s one of the things that the

OM: And I think that’s an incredibly overwhelming reality that is really at the basis of how we’re going to deal with this. Looking at the film, people will say, “Oh yeah, you’re criticizing the police.” I say, “No.” I think a lot of the thing I’ve learned, living in Los Angeles and in the making of the movie, is that the approach of the police in the neighborhoods like Rampart is, you know...“the American occupation of Los Angeles,” they call it. “The biggest gang in America,” they call the police, because basically the police have been thrown into this guerilla war on the street level, and that’s not gonna change.

What is reflected in the way this behavior is happening—in the way that minorities are treated, and the way that the incarceration system works, and the way that even the police are treated, and the way they’re paid, and the way they’re trained, and the whole educational system. It’s not a big secret that what’s lacking and what’s wrong in our society starts with education. It starts with the way people are brought up, and what is put into their heads and put into their minds as engaged citizens.

OM: Yeah I mean I think it’s a really interesting time for the word “occupy.” OM: You know, first of all, we occupied Afghanistan and Iraq and I’m not even talking about the past occupation of them, I’m just talking about currently. And we all know that occupations, in military terms, comes down basically to policing, so you have an army basically functioning as a police force in these foreign territories as part of foreign policy. I’m not knocking that down, I’m just observing.

MP: Wow.

There’s no solutions to prevent corruption because it’s the same thing as putting soldiers in an occupation in a foreign territory—there’s too much that’s gonna go wrong. There’s too much human behavior that’s going to get in the way. So you’re gonna have to start thinking about it in a different direction, and the different direction is: what is wrong with society?

MP: What do you think about the position of these policemen who are, in some cases, perceived almost like a military occupation?

MP: {laughter}

not their problem.

“THERE’S NOT ONE THING IN THE MOVIE THAT’S REHEARSED.” tampering, all those things. And the third option, which I think is the thing that makes more sense, is this fact that the police are a reflection of the occupation of certain neighborhoods and certain parts of cities that are designed, basically, to keep the bottom down and basically maintain the status quo, but out of sight, so that the other side—the people in power, the people with money, the people with comfort, the people that are living in the “safer” areas—are sure that they can sleep safely in their bed while bad thing are happening to people and it’s

So I think you can blame certain police officers for certain behavior, you can blame certain departments for certain behavior, and power and so forth, but, ultimately, I’d say it’s about us, and it’s about society, and I say—even if its sounds a little controversial—put the police aside for a second. It’s really not about them. It’s about the game that’s been created to keep the status quo going and to let the people who own it all gain from the game. If you look at it that way, then you start thinking about the basic things, which are jobs not jails, and education not incarceration. MP: I think I’d vote for you {laughter}. OM: I think you and I will be the only ones. MP: {laughter} I looked at the cast—not only do I respect them for their craft, but also they’re a group of activists and human rights supporters: Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, Ice Cube and Anna Heche. The material was so emotional, what was it like directing that? OM: Well, I think the most emotional part in making the movie and discovering the | 59

Director Oren Moverman with actor Woody Harrelson movie—because it was a process of discovering—is all the scenes with the family. All the scenes that have to do with the fact that, at the end of the day, we’re all engaged—hopefully some of us—in certain causes and ideals and certain ways of living, but we’re human, and we’re making all these mistakes, and we’re caught in particular systems—whatever it is—but ultimately, there’s a price paid by the people that are closest to you. The damage that we do in the service of whatever motivates us in life has a direct effect, mostly on our kids. Dave Brown, who has done so many bad things as a cop and has been allowed to get away with so many bad things because he actually was part of the game—and the rules of the game were within the boundaries of how he behaved—he couldn’t separate his private world from his job, and he brought his job home. So ultimately he will be judged not by a tribunal or a court of law, but by his two daughters—and that’s the most interesting thing. So it created a really emotional, eventful world that we really felt as we were shooting it. MP: I don’t know what that process would be like, I just know that it’s got to be really intricate and multi-layered. With those dynamics, was there any moment with one or two of them where it became really intense? OM: I think, to be honest with you, it was almost all of them. The way we work is a little bit unusual for the way movies are made. First and foremost, you know I worked with Lawrence Inglee and with Woody and Ben Foster on The Messenger, so we had our bond and our love for each other coming into this movie. That goes a long way. And Ben Foster is my business partner—we have a company together, and he was a producer on this film—so it was really for us to set the tone. And I think everybody came into it with the understanding that they would go through an experience that is literally not by the book, that is not executing the script and then going home, but living and breathing these characters and being in the moment with each other, and improvising and creating a lot of present-tense intensity between characters. I think that almost every scene was an exploration—it was never going to be just what’s on the page. So I know I was very lucky—we all were—to work with a cast of this caliber. These are extremely experienced and intelligent actors, who | 60

are also deeply emotional and—as you say—are also engaged in the world. Being in the moment with these guys was just a profound experience every day, and when we shoot a movie it’s actually a very short process, especially an independent movie like this. It was only thirty five days of shooting. MP: Wow.

“It’s not a big secret that what’s lacking and what’s wrong in our society starts with education. It starts with the way people are brought up, and what is put into their heads and put into their minds as engaged citizens.” OM: But you live so intensely that time really has a different kind of feel to it, and when you get out of it, you realize you’ve been in this bubble, just boiling in this pot—brewing it and examining it—and we process the flavor and taste the nuances. So at the end of it, you’re completely drained, but you’ve had an incredible experience with people you really like. MP: I’ve been a fan of Sigourney Weavers for many reasons, on many levels. Was it powerful watching her work? OM: Oh absolutely. She’s incredible, and she’s never worked this way—she’s a classically trained actor. She comes from the theater, she’s done all these movies, so she’s very much used to the process of rehearsing and then executing and creating. I told her from the get-go that we will not be doing any rehearsal, and we will just start shooting scenes without even planning them, and that it will be a total surprise for everyone what will happen, and not to worry about the camera or the lighting—we’ll find it; we’ll make it work.

take the characters as far as they want to in a scene, which makes sense. MP: That is really an amazing process, and also a really scary process, I imagine—so hats off to you. You go in there and everything better be there, and it better be fully present in it. OM: Yeah. MP: What was that like working with Woody? OM: Well, I worked with him on The Messenger, and we’ve become good friends, so I kind of knew what to expect, but he kept on surprising me. He was very serious about doing it right. He was really putting a lot of time into sculpting his body and his psyche. He was really comparing himself and taking it very seriously, and getting as deep as he could into the role, because he really didn’t see himself as someone who could play a cop, so he really wanted to see it for himself before he could really show it to other people. So he just put a lot of intensity and a lot of seriousness into it. But with Woody, nothing ever goes without humor, so his ability to go into really serious scenes, and intense and violent moments, and then step out of it and just be Woody—that’s really impressive. It’s kind of scary actually.

I think she was excited and then nervous—like all of us—about what’s going to happen next. And what was so impressive was her ability to understand the set, understand the scene, to understand her place in it, and to be so natural and in the moment, but also beautiful and powerful and righteous and contradictory. It was just a lot of these things that she brought, seemingly so effortlessly, but I’m sure it’s part of her talent to make it look so effortless. Really, from the moment we met, she came to this meeting and said, “I read the script three times and I think it’s really important to get this movie out there.” She was just so into it, and talking about what she thought were some of the messages that the movie was sending. It was a happy experience from the very beginning. MP: You really didn’t have rehearsals? You said, “We’re just going to go in there and do this?” OM: There’s not one thing in the movie that’s rehearsed. MP: Wow, is that a normal way of shooting? Was this like some guerillastyle, real-grit tactic? Whas that your idea? OM: Well, it’s the way I worked on The Messenger as well. I really feel that actors should really know who they are as characters; they should really study their lines; they should be prepared; but once they come to set, for me the most exciting way to shoot a scene is to really find it, really kind of grind your way through it, until you feel like you have something that you can put together. So every time we shot a scene, we put in the entire scene, and we don’t shoot pieces of it and then put it together, like some movies do. We shot the whole scene and then chop it up. I told everyone when they got here that there won’t be any rehearsal. And more than that, I don’t call cuts—I don’t cut the scene. I let the actors get tired of it. I never know what they’re going to say, and they never know if they’re going to come up with something really interesting, and so it’s kind of a process like that, where you do what you need to do in terms of the script, but you also keep going, because the actors have researched their characters, they’ve read about them, they’ve watched movies, they’ve talked about them, they have a backstory, so they can really

“Being in the moment with these guys was just a profound experience every day, and when we shoot a movie it’s actually a very short process, especially an independent movie like this.” MP: {laughter} OM: So I was definitely impressed with that, always impressed with that. And just a lot of emotional stuff. He’s not afraid to cry or express his emotions. He said he didn’t used to do that on sets, but since we started working together, it seems to be the way he does things {laughter}. And every single one of these actors brought a different background, a different world. I was directing no more than thirty actors on this movie, even some who had one line here or there, but really everything revolved around what was going on with this main character. And even then, I kept telling people, “I’m looking into a different actor’s eyes every couple days, and I’m learning so much just to see the different processes people go through, and how their acting works for them.” For me it was a real learning experience. MP: What your experience with Ice cube? OM: He came in with a lot of seriousness and a lot of desire to do it right. He really felt like the world of the movie—he’s experienced it from all sides. He’s the guy who wrote “F*ck the Police,” so it’s an interesting contrast to put him in a role where he’s actually kind of the good guy—not the guy who’s what you would expect, but actually the guy that nails Dave Brown and is stronger than him. Dave can throw whatever racist shit he wants at him, and it just doesn’t affect him. In my mind it’s a really good performance that shows a side of Ice Cube people haven’t seen in a while. | 61

NINE tmitgiebhmsothedniaehiutflu ulftuiheaindehtosmhbeigtimt ufltiuhaeibnethomshebitgitm mtigtibehsmohtenbieahuitlfu mitgitbhesomhetnibegautiluf fulituagebintehmosehbtigtim fluiutaegbnithemsoebhtgitmi imtigthbeosmehtinbgeatuiflu itmightbesomethingbeautiful

Lawrence Inglee | 62


Poetry makes some people genuinely happy. Filmmaker Lawrence Inglee—producer of the Oscar-nominated 2009 film The Messenger and the just-released Rampart, and author of the short, light-bending mirage of a poem called “Nine”—is one of them. Inlgee has written poetry—good poetry—for fifteen years that I know of, maybe more. We first met in the mid-1990s, when he was a precocious undergrad who had convinced a Syracuse University professor to admit him to a graduate-level course in creative writing. He wasn’t a writing or a lit major, but a film student with a serious poetry habit. Over the course of the semester, I watched as he read, listened to, questioned, and analyzed poetry with an intensity that impressed (and sometimes intimidated) the masters-degree candidates. Even then I was struck by one thing: his unconditional love for poets and their work. It’s a rare trait, and one that hasn’t faded with time. For Inglee, writing poetry is a selfless and joyful act: a profound and perfect gift, miraculously created by and exchanged between flawed beings. His own poems have always been personal and private in that same spirit—a passion shared with a small circle.

Now, as I think about the body of this private work—of which “Nine” seems a particularly fine example—what appeals to me most is the way his poems marry immediacy, exuberance, and truth, with utter fearlessness. He challenges, plays, risks, and winks. Never conventional, he has a knack for exposing the profound in ways that aren’t immediately obvious, and without being ponderous or weighty. His ideas are large and lighter than air. I don’t want to tell you how to read “Nine.” But I will say that it bears reading more than once. Because only on multiple readings are its mysteries revealed: how it defies speech (try reading it out loud); what it says about the conventions of language (letters, words, spaces, and breaks); how it resolves out of apparent chaos; and so much more. In “Nine,” Lawrence Inglee has created an exquisite little verbal mandala. Meditate on it. Ask questions of it. (Why write? Or make films? Or cross a mountain? Why love, or be loved?) “Nine” answers back with pleasure and well-deep wisdom. What more can we ask of a poet? | 63



In 1971, like a lot of other people in America, I was shopping in what a certain wise man called the “spiritual supermarket.” I had been a seeker all my life, but now everybody else was “questioning authority,” especially the authority of the family religion. | 64

CHOGYAM TRUNGPA In the spiritual supermarket, I listened to Krishnamurti (an Indian intellectual), Muktananda (who was into chanting and zapping people with blessings), Pir Vilayat Khan (a Sufi, whirling gloriously), Satchidananda (practitioner of meditative yoga), and even our own Ram Dass (acid-guru-turned-Hindu). Chanting felt good, but then what? I couldn’t get into the Sufi whirling thing, and meditation was hard. And acid? Not a healthy lifetime practice as far as I could tell. Enter: Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Chogyam Trungpa continually blew my mind: from attending his first seminar in Los Angeles (titled “The Battle of Ego”) to filming his cremation on a cloudless but rainbow-filled day in Vermont. Being in his presence was like being suddenly aware of an oncoming truck—it put every cell in your brain—SMACK!— into the present moment. And in that moment you could be outraged, or moved to tears, or inspired—usually all at once. I had never met a Tibetan Buddhist high lama before—who had?— and I didn’t believe the Shangri La stuff about Tibet, but it did have a mysterious, even magical reputation. Now, here was the real thing.



Notice the date? 800AD. That tells you something about these Buddhists. They take the long view. Chogyam Trungpa was no exception. Raised in the rigorous monastic tradition of Tibet, Trungpa escaped the Chinese Communist invasion of his beloved country in 1959. He knew, as the highest level lama in his area, he would be killed on sight. He also knew, at the ripe age of 19, that Tibet—the great incubator for Buddhist thought and practice, which had produced so many brilliant teachers and such a profound canon of knowledge—was finished. After ten-months of dodging Chinese bullets through the brutal Himalayan mountain range, with only a pair of binoculars to guide him and his 300 followers, Trungpa made it to India. He wrote a book—Born In Tibet—about the harrowing escape. As soon as he could speak English, he headed for England, then from there to the United States. And he took with him an unwavering commitment to plant the seeds of Buddhism deeply enough in the west so that—just as there were variants of Buddhism in Japan, Korea, India, and Vietnam, all built on the same non-theistic practices of meditation and compassion—Tibetan Buddhism would enter the mainstream culture and eventually develop into American Buddhism. Right from the start, he defied categorization. He spoke English elegantly but with some Tibetan shortcuts like skipping over prepositions now and then. It took a few years before many of us realized there was a lot of drinking going on: the Colt 45s didn’t seem to affect the precise delivery or content of his talks.

- Padmasambhava, 800ADA | 65

TRUNGPA & ALLEN GINSBERG Soon, I also learned he openly had relations with women (in spite of being married). That felt strange to me, but having met his wife and being impressed with her energy and self confidence, I chalked it up to the “different strokes” category. I was married with little kidlets, and although I didn’t practice it, open marriage wasn’t such a shockingly big deal back in the 70s. To quote his most well-known student, author Pema Chodron: “Sexuality didn’t bother people in those days, drinking didn’t bother people, but put on a suit and tie? Forget about it.” We were after some kind of truth that was more basic than what our mores were at the time. We were starting from scratch. And yes, part of the experience was working with Trungpa’s challenging lifestyle. It was all completely in the open and it wasn’t easy. Was he crazy? Were we fools? Was this just an attraction to a genius who was toying with us? In the end, crazy or not didn’t really matter, there was so much to learn, and the teachings were authentic and profound. Back at that first seminar, “The Battle of Ego,” Trungpa and I hit it off well; he loved film and I was a filmmaker. He wasn’t wearing religious robes when I met him; he was wearing an elegant business suit and tie, drinking from a long can of Colt 45 beer and occasionally smoking a cigarette. As far as I was concerned, this was heaven-sent: someone who looked you straight in the eye and talked about ego, the groundlessness in life, the sweetest of the sweet, the saddest of the sad. He was called a “genius,” a “social visionary,” “one of the greatest spiritual teachers of the 20th century,” and “the bad boy of Buddhism.” But for me, it was his profound knowledge and his tough but limitless intellect, ironic humor and true kindness that somehow lifted my own game on the spot (and we all know how much we like to be around people who lift our game). | 66


Being a painter-turned-filmmaker, another aspect of Trungpa that appealed to me was that he was an artist and a poet. His work, in calligraphy, art installations, ikebana, and (especially) poetry, was an expression of Buddhist principles. That may sound dry and tediously well-intentioned as an art concept, but it was the opposite. Working on a film about flower arrangement was incredibly intense and dramatic. A basic principle, as he taught it, was that everything in our world has a sacred quality. This presented immediate problems. For example, how would you write a poem about murder, war, greed, and still see what is sacred in it? How can smog be sacred? Needless to say, it took a lot of meditation to wrap our minds and hearts around that one. Watching him create a complex flower arrangement was spellbinding. Sometimes cutting back a branch would feel cruel; a poem could be painful to read. But the humor was always present. As soon as one of us started to get too serious—attached to the work—that attachment would be cut on the spot, often with a painfully hilarious observation.


PEMA CHODRON When you first encounter Buddhism as an adult, it’s an intellectual high. It doesn’t feel like a religion: there’s no God to come and save you; it’s just you, the meditation cushion, and 2,500 years of hard-earned wisdom. Then comes the big challenge: meditation. Meditation is wondrous. And science is finally beginning to discover measurable differences in the brain’s energetic mass in people who meditate. Just google “hot new frontier of neuroscience meditation” And find out about the important role the Dalai Lama is playing in these “new” discoveries. Trungpa was always looking ahead five hundred years or so. First he put suits and ties on hippies, then he invited them to create the first Buddhist college (now university) in the western hemisphere: Naropa. Naropa University is known for its Contemplative Psychology program, as well as the Jack Kerouac School for Disembodied Poetics (where Allen Ginsberg taught along with Anne Waldman, William Burroughs, and Reed Bye, to name a few). Not surprisingly, Naropa also offers degrees in Art, Dance, Theatre, Writing, and Buddhist Studies.


But it goes even further, Shambhala is based on the idea that every human being has “basic goodness,” and that this innate human wisdom and basic goodness does not belong to any one religion or doctrine. My film Crazy Wisdom begins with some words that Trungpa wrote. I use them over images of today’s devastated environment, war, and economic crisis: “Although I stumble in the slime and muck of the dark age / Although I stumble in the thick, black fog of materialism…” He seemed to be predicting exactly the dangerous direction America was heading towards, but as foreboding as that sounds, he was not a doomsayer. He had unwavering confidence in humankind, and so worked tirelessly to present his antidote to the dark age: the teachings of Shambhala and the potential for an enlightened society. I still wonder, can it ever be?

But it’s Trungpa’s daring commitment to present a whole new school of thought to the west—the ancient Shambhala Teachings—that may be his greatest contribution. Based on the same principles of meditation and compassion, instead of focusing on individual liberation (which is the whole goal of Buddhism), Shambhala focuses on societal liberation. When he first introduced Shambhala to his Buddhists students around 1976, many of us weren’t interested, partly because Buddhism demands a serious commitment, and taking on another discipline seemed unmanageable and confusing. There was even a little competition between the two disciplines (this is America after all). It took a long time for us to get it. Basically it goes like this: Shambhala is about creating an enlightened society. An entire society, a town or a state or a country, where people want to lead sane, dignified lives. Really? Come on. Individuals can aspire to such lofty aspirations, but not societies!



Featuring photography by Aaron Phillips and music by Moby, The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom is an Academy Award® Nominee and won the Sundance Jury Award for Non-Fiction. I started photographing blossom when I started studying photography, the spring that I turned 15. The blossoms were so brief and so sumptuous that I wanted to drop everything to enjoy every second of them. It was only later, when I visited Japan, that I realized that here was a whole country full of people as obsessed with the blossom as I was—that everybody drops everything to go to hanami parties, sitting on blankets underneath the trees, drinking sake and gazing up at the flowers and reflecting on the fleetingness and preciousness of the blossoms and of our lives. The sakura zensen (the blossom progression front) is as closely followed in Japan as the World Series. A few years ago I was taking care of my mother when she was ill with cancer, and it was March when we realized that her disease was incurable. We looked out of the window, and it was a startling spring day in England, and the trees were in full bloom like psychedelic fluffy popcorn against an abyss of blue sky. In England the payoff for such long, dreary, wet winters are these intensely fertile springs. My mother said that she wouldn’t see the blossom again, and told me a story that she’d told me many times before, but never so poignantly. When she had been taking care of her mother (my grandmother), who had then been dying of cancer, my | 68

grandmother had similarly looked out of the window and told my mother that she wouldn’t see the blossom again, to which my 20-year-old mother had found herself replying, “Don’t worry, you’ll get better soon.” But my grandmother was right, she died shortly afterwards, and my mother always regretted not being able to talk directly about life and death—to look their mortality directly in the eye, so to speak, and share an honest moment about the sadness to be felt.

“I wanted to make a film about cherry blossom, to ask how human beings can find hope after loss, and carry on, given the suffering and shortness of life.” My mother died soon afterwards, and soon after that my father suddenly died also, and we buried him under an olive tree, and that gives us comfort. As I was grieving, I visited Washington, D.C., and the brilliant blossoms there brightened my heart. Ever since then, I wanted to make a film about cherry blossom, to ask how human beings can find hope after loss, and carry on, given the suffering and shortness of life. I’ve wanted to go to hanami and read haiku and drink sake and get high on life and talk openly about death. I was so happy that a whole culture in Japan saw what I did in the brief flings of the sakura, and by 2011, I had decided that this was the year I would see the cherry blossom in Japan, as I was going to be there anyway promoting the theatrical release of my film


Countdown to Zero. I hatched a plan to make a short film, a sort of “visual haiku.” Then, on March 11th, 2011, Japan was struck by the worst earthquake in its history, and over the next few days, the news of the tsunami and nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant unfolded. The release of Countdown to Zero was postponed, so I didn’t need to do this trip to Japan at all. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I couldn’t help thinking that maybe this was the most important time of all to go to Japan, to express our solidarity with the survivors, and to witness this cherry blossom season—with its spirit of renewal, and its symbolism of the fragility of life. When we landed in Tokyo, the immigration officers at the airport were very surprised to see us, since the foreigners were all departing. Even in Tokyo, there were rolling blackouts, radiation contamination alerts, and the shelves were empty of bottled water and drinks. It wasn’t easy to reach the north-eastern Tohoku region devastated by the tsunami—you couldn’t rent a car, the trains weren’t running—but eventually we made it.

“When we landed in Tokyo, the immigration officers at the airport were very surprised to see us, since the foreigners were all departing.” Nothing prepared us for being in the post-tsunami landscape. Photos aren’t three-dimensional. The damage was unimaginably bad and widespread, stretching for miles in every direction, and there were only, very occasionally, other lone human beings climbing around over the debris in this post-apocalyptic dystopia. But to my surprise, people would approach us, wanting to talk and share their story. And they would spontaneously start talking about cherry blossoms, which were starting to bud. I didn’t have to impose the subject—it was a natural part of everyone’s discussion about how they felt. Everyone had their own view, but many people saw that if the blossom could keep going, then they could too.


“Nothing prepared us for being in the post-tsunami landscape. Photos aren’t three-dimensional. The damage was unimaginably bad and widespread, stretching for miles in every direction, and there were only, very occasionally, other lone human beings climbing around over the debris in this post-apocalyptic dystopia.” That was the best part. There were too many worst parts: seeing blasted vehicles with keys in the ignition, or seeing that someone had been inside, the signs painted on cars and houses to say that bodies had been found inside, the terrible smells that emanated here and there. The radiation was a big concern, but every time we ate, or every time it rained, or every time we washed, we were thinking about how not to be contaminated. At night, our accommodations got rougher, and we saw more injured and bandaged and displaced people as we drove north. For the last few days, we were staying at an extremely rustic mountain inn, which was packed with rescue workers. Since I was the only female in the whole place, I had my own room, but if I wanted to bathe at night (and I’ve never in my life wanted to bathe more, given what we had been walking through during the day) then I had to wait for all the men to come out of the female side of the baths. And most of all, I was moved and impressed by the people we met and heard about, such as the heroic young woman Miki Endo. An employee of the municipality of Minami-Sanriku in Miyagi Prefecture, in order to warn people of the impending tsunami, she did not abandon her post, and saved thousands of lives. The stories are legion of wallets and possessions having been returned to their owners. It was the opposite of looting and chaos. This was community cooperation and selflessness to an extent I’m not sure I would have believed possible. It was hugely impressive and inspiring. | 69

There is a Japanese concept of wabi-sabi I love, which is at the core of my aesthetic practice and, especially, in making this film. I thought it was imperative that this film should be wabi-sabi: a bit simple; personal, direct, humble, not too slick or fancy or over-the-top; an aesthetic based on transience and modesty; a beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete, with characteristics that include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and appreciation of the ingenious integrity of natural objects and processes.

“Cherry trees bloom throughout Japan in a single burst of color, flowering in a fleeting beauty, and are shed as quickly as they emerged.” Another Japanese concept I’ve thought a lot about is mono no aware—which means something like “the pathos of things,” “an empathy toward things,” or “a sensitivity to ephemera”—a term used to describe awareness of impermanence and the transience of things, and a gentle sadness (or wistfulness) at their passing. Awareness of the transience of all things heightens appreciation of their beauty and evokes a gentle sadness at their passing. This awareness is associated with many Japanese cultural traditions, including sakura.

“The Japanese sense impermanence in the blossom, and in its limited life they perceive the unlimited beauty of nature. This very sensitivity is part of the culture.”

Mr. Sano explains, Buddhism and Shinto meet in Japanese culture, and that meeting is expressed perfectly by the cherry blossom. As followers of Shinto—which holds that gods dwell in every feature of the natural world, from tall old trees to sacred mountain rocks—the Japanese have revered nature since ancient times. Then, from the continent came Buddhism, and the notion that all things are in flux and nothing is permanent. Eventually the two belief systems fused and spread through the population, giving rise to a spiritual acceptance and appreciation of the constantly changing and regenerating natural world as it is, in all its glory and evanescence. This philosophy still applies today whenever we encounter cherry blossom. Cherry trees bloom throughout Japan in a single burst of color, flowering in a fleeting beauty, and are shed as quickly as they emerged. The Japanese sense impermanence in the blossom, and in its limited life they perceive the unlimited beauty of nature. This very sensitivity is part of the culture.

“The radiation was a big concern, every time we ate, every time it rained, or every time we washed, we were thinking about how not to be contaminated.” Our goal is that the film will be shared in positive ways to promote understanding, healing, and positive action. Although I had non-Japanese audiences in mind when I was making the film, nothing makes us happier than hearing from Japanese audiences that they have found the film meaningful. My wish is that the tradition of hanami cherry blossom vieiwing parties catches on around the world.

For details and screenings, visit:

We were extremely fortunate to be granted an unprecedented interview with Sano Toemon XVI, the sixteenth-generation “keeper of the cherries” or “cherry master,” whose personal nursery outside Kyoto was perhaps the most beautiful place we had ever visited. As | 70



hen I was a teenager, I saw a film called Cry Freedom which, on its larger canvas, told the story of the struggle for freedom and dignity in South Africa. Without a doubt, this singular experience changed my life. Later, as a documentary filmmaker, I watched in awe as An inconvenient Truth inspired millions of small actions that collectively meant real change. Sometimes it is the emotional experience of film and television that bring a cause to our hearts and stir us to action—they inform and inspire. For too long, bullying has lived in a cloud, shrouded in silence. With our film, we are able to bring these experiences to life in a way that calls us to action. The jury at the Silverdocs film festival perhaps said it best: “Set in the Heartland of America, this film takes a sensitive and volatile issue and brings it to light in a no-holds-barred style that is visually stunning and deeply compelling. The tortuous experience of youth is shared by many, but it is bravely revealed in this film through characters who confront their experience and work to reclaim their dignity. The Filmmaker’s admirable degree of access shows the enormous trust established with his subjects. The result is a film that doesn’t reduce people to their worst experience, but rather elevates them to a level of marginalized heroes and heroines we should all aspire to emulate.”

“For too long, bullying has lived in a cloud, shrouded in silence. With our film, we are able to bring these experiences to life in a way that calls us to action.” With the film set for national release by The Weinstein Company on March 9th, we are busy building a movement. In the coming months leading up to the release, check for powerful tools fueled by exciting partnerships. On our site, parents will be able to enter their zip code and receive location-specific resources and help; this means knowing what policy their school district may or not have, and step-by-step assistance to having powerful, informed communication with administrators. All too often, parents and kids struggle to find an empathetic ear when confronting bullying situation; these escalate and too often result in marginalization, on top of what may well be a daily gauntlet of harassment and abuse that is fundamentally torture. These stories are echoed across our nation: they crisscross wealthy and poor communities, rural and urban and see no race. At especially high-risk are kids with learning disabilities, and those on the Autism Spectrum, as well as LGBT youth. Movements, like films, depend on word of mouth, so please take a moment to watch our trailer and email your friends, sign up on our website, like us on Facebook and follow us on twitter. Each of us, through making a choice not to look the other way, by becoming ‘upstanders’ instead of being bystanders across all aspects of our lives, can be a part of this movement and together we can turn the tide on bullying. | 71

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arrests. In May 2000,

Since the ruling, Tunick

pass dozens, hundreds or

senting art in permanent

the Second US district

applied for his first New

thousands of volunteers.

or temporary public spaces

court sided with Tunick,

York City permit, but was

These human installa-

is another aspect of Tu-

recognizing that his work

turned down by the city.

tions uniquely combine

nick’s work. Interestingly,

was protected by the First

In order to make his art

performance art with

Tunick’s work has helped

Amendment of the US

without the threat of

photography, sculpture,

define - or at least clarify

Constitution. On June

arrest, the artist has

and land art. Individuals,

- the social, political and

3rd of the same year, in

worked abroad and has not

grouped strikingly en masse

legal issues surrounding

response to the city’s final

made a group work on the

without their clothing,

art in the public sphere,

appeal to Justice Ruth

streets of NY in ten years.

metamorphose into new

especially in the U.S.

Bader Ginsburg and the | 72

‘Dead Sea 1’, 2010 c-print mounted between plexi h: 48 x w: 60 in | 73

‘Salford 2’ (Peel Park) 2010 c-print mounted between plexi h: 48 x w: 60 in | 74

‘NewcastleGateshead 4’ (BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art) 2005 c-print mounted between plexi h: 89.25 x w: 71 in | 75

‘France 1’ (Biennale de Lyon) 2005 c-print mounted between plexi h: 48 x w: 60 in

‘Sydney 6’, 2010 c-print mounted between plexi h: 48 x w: 60 in | 76


“Whosoever will be an enquirer into Nature, let him resort to a conservatory of Snow or Ice.” —Francis Bacon ress REWIND to a couple of years ago: Here I am in the Antarctic Peninsula, creating a series of drafts for compositions that I’ll eventually turn into several string quartet pieces, a gallery show, and a symphony. I’m looking at how to collect impressions of the landscape, distill the material into something that I can use in the compositions (visually, sonically, and for writing as well), and arrive at a point where sound and art can create portraits of what’s going on up here. But how does this all come together? DJ culture is all about collage—sampling, splicing, dicing—everything is part of the mix, and there are no boundaries between sound sources. When you apply the same logic to the environment, there’s a lot of room for mapping sampling techniques to the environment itself. The world is a very, very, very big record. We just have to learn how to play it. The main issue is how would you make a book about it? Borges once wrote (in his essay The Fearful Sphere of Pascal), “it may be that universal history is the history of the different intonations given a handful of metaphors.” I tend to think that this Book of Ice excursion has been a journey into the realm of the hypothetical, a world where fictions and the realities of the everyday world clash, with really mixed results—that’s what makes this expedition so focused on graphic design. To me, the imagination is the ultimate renewable resource.

“Tongue and pen fail in attempting to describe the magic of such a scene. As far as the eye could see... wall-sided bergs stretched east, west, and south, making a striking contrast with the lanes of blue-black water between them. A stillness, weird and uncanny, seemed to have fallen upon everything when we entered the silent water streets of this vast unpeopled white city.”

water, and the passage of time. Think of them as clouds, as a kind of wave-form that’s been flattened, made prismatic blue and white, with streaks of earth materials run through. Looking at the glacier’s retreat, you can see how the movement of the ice is occurring in two directions—forwards and backwards; it’s kind of like looking at a time-lapse photograph in reverse: the glacier goes straight back to its source. The glaciers we’ve seen aren’t just melting and retreating, they’re falling apart from the bottom up. Rivers form underneath the glacier, and the currents weaken the foundation of the ice that has formed above, until the point that moulins (naturally-formed funnels that let water from the top drain down into the ice sheet below) drill through layer and layer of the glacier on their way down, carrying water at different temperatures to the bottom of the glacier where they cause more and more melting at the glacier’s sole. The “boom-crack” I heard was from what scientists call “basal sliding”—the ice repositions itself and creates massive sonic booms that reverberate throughout the glacier at every level. The ice grinds against the soil beneath itself, causing more friction, causing more melting, and sea saltwater invades the ice tongues underneath the “roots” of the glacier, causing the ice to break off. Thus you get a kind of sonic “echo-system” that mirrors the way the rest of the planet’s systems move in and out of “homeostasis.” Think of it all as a kind of meshwork—the planet isn’t improvising, it’s creating dynamic tensions between complex living systems in a planetary choreography, a balancing act between physical, chemical, biological, environmental, and human components. I try to contextualize everything in the material I look at—Arctic ice is a kind of global text. All the material that makes up the vanishing place I saw is part of the problem, just as much as it’s part of the solution. That’s where music can open so many doors and help reframe the climate change debate.

“The cessation of the sound and motion usual at sea, was a proof that we had run within a line of ice - an occurrence from which the feeling of great danger is inseparable.” —Charles Wilkes, Narrative of the U.S. Exploring Expedition, Vol II, 1844

—Ernest Shackleton, The Heart of the Antarctic, Vol I, 1909 Glaciers are the planet’s measurement of change. Ice measures the tempo of the change. Glaciers in retreat are like rivers in reverse, running straight back into the landscape; they’re a beautiful criss-crossing of layers, diaphanous veils of material that seem like clouds, frozen into new forms of cumulus. What I love when I look at stuff like the Ross Ice Sea Shelf is the layers of time, the grooves carved into the ice and land on a massive scale. The ice’s micro-terracing is a kind of granulated, fractal infinity of sharply-cut surfaces—molded forms shaped by wind, | 77



When I was a kid, my sequential order of Beatle worship started with Ringo (he was goofy), Paul (I liked that he played his Gibson Les Paul guitar lefty), John (for his uncompromising commitment to justice and the end of war) and then George. But the more I got to know about Harrison’s spiritual pursuits and dedication to whittling down his ego, the more I fell in love with him. Late last year, several great bios about George came to light. First was Martin Scorsese’s Living in the Material World, a fantastic 3-hour trek through Harrison’s life. It was given a brief showing on HBO last year before its release on DVD and Blu-ray. Scorsese paints a portrait of a very complex man, far beyond “the quiet Beatle” label, giving equal time to Harrison’s post-Beatle run as solo artist, film producer, and philanthropist. As a seeker, Harrison clearly had a fire within and was awake to the fruits and demands of a deeply spiritual life, even while torn by the demands, highs, and lows of the material world. He was admittedly his own Piscean wicked twin, often lashing out in disgust at the world and its frequent injustices. I was most taken by the diversity and deep love of his friends: Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Billy Preston, Ravi Shankar, and F-1 Racing Champ Jackie Stewart. Ten years on, they are all still quite emotional about George’s passing. Harrison’s philanthropic work hit its stride with arguably his greatest legacy, The Concert for Bangladesh, which drew 40,000 people to two shows at Madison Square Garden, and raised over $15 million. What started as a request for help from his longtime friend Ravi Shankar became the first humanitarian fundraising concert, something that is now such a regularity for various causes that we almost take it for granted. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of that concert, The George Harrison Fund for UNICEF established a “Month Of Giving” to support emergency care, health care, nutrition, and education for children. With the help of its supporters in the music industry, | 78

the Fund raised more than $1.225 million for life-saving relief to children in the Horn of Africa (one of the the most severe humanitarian emergencies in the world). The George Harrison Fund for UNICEF continues to support UNICEF programs in Bangladesh, while expanding its influence to include other countries where children are in need. Harrison’s second wife Olivia carries the philanthropic torch for the Fund. She also played a huge role in the last chapter of George’s life. Their relationship wasn’t easy, but they clearly were amazing life partners who shared the bond of the spiritual path and a determination to give back. Along with the release of Living in the Material World, Olivia has published an accompanying book with the same title. This four-hundred-page beauty is a memorial to George, filled with reproductions of notes, letters, scribbled lyrics, and some never-before-seen photographs. The Grammy Musuem in Los Angeles has launched an in-depth exhibit on Harrison’s creative life, bringing together a collection of diverse artifacts and rare photographs and footage, including dozens of items from the private collection of the Harrison Estate. The exhibit is so popular that it’s been extended until March 25. George Harrison was one of the most innovative guitarists and imaginative, eloquent songwriters of our time. But he was also a stellar human being, living a passionate, open-hearted life. He was an idealist who retained his humanity throughout his topsy-turvy journey, and who set an example for all of us by sharing his blessings with others. While getting to know him more through this film, book, and exhibit, I felt a renewed commitment to living by these generous ideals. Isn’t that what great art is supposed to do? For more info on the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF, please visit To attend George Harrison: Living In The Material World, please visit

“As a seeker, Harrison clearly had a fire within and was awake to the fruits and demands of a deeply spiritual life, even while torn by the demands, highs, and lows of the material world.�




ver the last several years, Rosemary Eloise Reed Miller has done a tremendous amount of research and investigations into the role of African American women designers and has developed an extensive roster of profiles and archival photography to compliment her wonderful collection of essays and portraits of African American life through the lens of women. That’s what her book Threads of Time is about. Rosemary Eloise Reed Miller is my Mom. It’s not every day that you get to write a review of your mother’s first book, but hey... this is Origin Magazine, and we do things a bit differently. As a student in the 1970s, Rosemary traveled to various spots in the Caribbean as the Art Critic for the The Kingston Daily Gleaner, the Caribbean equivalent of The New York Times. It was during that time that she came to the realization that images of Black beauty simply were not reflected in mainstream American culture. Along with the likes of Melvin Van Peebles, Shirley Chisholm, and Angela Davis, Rosemary felt an implacable need to address this imbalance. In the course of her research, she discovered a wide range of primary source documents: from vintage “distinguished” ladies’ journals to clippings from historically black newspapers, to personal statements and other archival documents. This was the start of what would become her opus: Threads of Time. So many images of negativity surround African American culture—the image of an enslaved person, the eviscerated remains of a lynched victim, etc.—that these emblems of degradation seem to dominate the visual history of the AfricanAmerican experience. When there has been so much pain and hardship, it makes one wonder how to portray anything lyrical about the nature of Black beauty in design and contemporary fashion. That’s where Threads of Time is an antidote. It uses history to show that another world is possible. The full title is The Threads of Time, The Fabric of History: Profiles of African American Dressmakers and Designers from 1860 to the Present. It’s a book that has been needed for some time. It fills the gap that exists in the general public’s mind about what African American designers and dressmakers did before l960. Most people think that African American designers such as Patrick Kelly, Stephen Burrows and Willi Smith sprang up totally out of thin air in the l960’s and the 1970’s. Rosemary disagrees. She researched and highlighted the forgotten work of Elizabeth Keckley, who designed for Mary Todd Lincoln, and Ann Lowe, who designed the wedding dress for Jacqueline Kennedy. Rosemary also discovered the story of Zelda Wynn, who designed for Marian Anderson, Josephine Baker, Gladys Knight, Dorothy Dandridge, and the singer Joyce Bryant. | 80

Rosemary even discovered that Wynn designed the first Playboy costume! Now that’s research! Threads of Time covers a world many never knew existed. If you look in the rearview mirror at twentieth-century African American culture, historical subjects such as Frederic Douglas, Billie Holiday, and Josephine Baker embody the possibilities of the past; Angela Davis and Muhammad Ali reflect a world of possibility that takes us from the Civil Rights era to our current struggles between Tea Party fanatics and President Obama; other figures like Will Smith, Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, and Michelle Obama bridge the gap between eras, celebrating the beginnings of a new era of African American culture. You won’t find any of these figures in Threads of Time. Featuring the works of more than 38 major African designers in over two hundred pages, Threads of Time—like Deborah Willis’s Reflections in Black, and Posing Beauty, or Michael Cunningham’s Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats— celebrates the lives of under-appreciated female designers and captures the ebb and flow of our post-everything twenty-first-century culture. It’s a manifesto exploring some of our most fundamental assumptions about what it means to be “beautiful.” Throughout the late 1960’s, Rosemary’s store at Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. was an important hub for the burgeoning local fashion scene and the international community that thrived in what George Clinton lovingly called “Chocolate City.” That essence of a local yet global community gets distilled into Rosemary’s work at every level. You can almost imagine that the book is a portrait of some of the dinner parties she used to throw. Threads of Time leads readers through a careful yet broad survey of beauty over the last couple of centuries. With every profile, on every page, Miller tracks changing social, political and aesthetic contexts, but she never allows them to overwhelm the subject at hand, which is simply a celebration of some of the forgotten women who made American fashion and design what it is today. I just wanted to say, I’m very happy to be around to review it.

Your Omelet is Ready P RECIOUS M ETAL A RT At the Hill Country Galleria

At the Oasis


512•582•0183 © 2011 Patent #6594901 | 82

Meredith Monk Composer/singer/director Meredith Monk was

THE PARLOTONES EDITOR’S PICK From their origins in Johannesburg, South Africa, this rock 4-piece have achieved multi-platinum-selling status in their home country, selling more records than Coldplay, The Killers and Oasis together. Their new album, Journey Through the Shadows, will be released in late April 2012.

recently named Musical America’s 2012 Composer of the Year. She was also named one of NPR’s 50 Great Voices, and received a Courage Award for the Arts from Yoko Ono Lennon in 2011. Her most recent CD, Songs of Ascension, was released on the ECM label in May of last year, and named #1 music release of 2011 by John Schaefer of WNYC’s New Sounds. A highly anticipated double CD, MONK MIX: Remixes & Interpretations of Music by Meredith Monk (with Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky, Executive

Singer Kahn Morbee is the official ambassador for United Against

Producer) is set for release in February. Monk is

Malaria, and the band sells United Against Malaria arm bands at their

currently working on a new commission for Michael

concerts, which directly benefit women in Africa who create the

Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony,

bands as well as help provide life-saving mosquito nets that protect

to premier in March 2012. For more information,

people from the disease. When they are off tour, the band visits

please visit:

elementary schools on behalf of UAM to perform for the children and speak to them on importance of education and avoiding the disease. The Parlotones are engaged in efforts to combat global warming, to provide drinking water to people who do not have access, and to reforest South Africa. They have lent their name to initiatives such as Earth Hour, Positive Rock’s AIDS awareness, the Nelson Mandela 46664 campaign, and Live Earth’s Run for Water. The band members are also official spokespeople for the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s Carbon Free campaign, an effort to encourage ordinary citizens to play a role in solving the problem of carbon emission. People are able to purchase a CarbonFree card, which earn points toward planting an indigenous tree in a protected sanctuary. Participants receive GPS coordinates to watch the trees grow and earn carbon credits. The Parlotones have also lent their video for “Stars Fall Down” to the campaign, which shows them in a spaceship in the near future escaping from a burnt-out earth, while growing a new plant to regenerate life. During their US tour, The Parlotones will be working to raise awareness for these efforts in the US, and encourage US participation in helping South Africa contribute to protecting the worldwide ecosystem. The Parlotones also participate in Meat Free Mondays, to do their part to help reduce the impact that meat consumption has on the environment. | 83

DERRICK Interior Design

832 741 8322

Derrick De Cristofaro

soulful aesthetic commercial natural elements residential global eccentricities unearthed treasures luxury marine aircraft subtle palettes supple textures sacred spaces architectural antiquities found objects art sculpture dax custom furnishings




hen Origin asked me to be a Los Angeles lifestyle editor and ambassador for ‘artists who give back’ I couldn’t say yes fast enough! We share many of the same ideals and beliefs about our collective power to positively impact the world. The more we engage our creativity, the more we manifest this power, so I am grateful to Origin for the opportunity to feature the incredible artists I’ve met through the non-profit I founded—Gift Horse Project, a platform for established artists to ‘give back’ by using their celebrity to mentor and guide emerging artists. Gift Horse Project is Artists Helping Artists. Rain Phoenix is an activist, actor, musician and founder of Gift Horse Project. She is the lyricist and front woman of Papercranes, as well as a writer/performer collaborator in The Citizens’ Band, Chubby Lovers and Textual. For more info, visit

GIFT HORSE PROJECT encourages collaboration over competition in the artistic community, while raising funds and awareness for charities. The more that artists collaborate and give back, the more we resonate at higher frequencies, becoming magnets of purpose, enhancing the gravitational pull of love. I’m happy to introduce two bands I believe are doing just that: Warpaint and The Citizens’ Band.



Activists and Collaborators. Friends and Neighbors. A wide variety of soulful entertainers! I’m honored to say that I’ve been a part of this troupe for 8 years now and have learned many things, among them…

The Citizen’s Band is a collaborative cabaret troupe, entertaining the senses while challenging the political sensibilities of our era through the lens of our distant past. Connecting theatre, dance, music and humor, The Citizens’ Band aim to illuminate injustices by discussing politics and economics (often drab and burdensome topics) via Weimar glamour and Circus spectacle. At any given show you will find actors, musicians, trapeze artists, dancers, make-up artists, stylists, set decorators, school teachers, writers and directors who’ve all come together to share the spotlight with the issues facing our nation.

· 10 heads are better than 1! · I love dressing as if I’ve time traveled from the 1930’s! · False eyelashes can too help change the world! Look for us at SXSW this year!


Members of both Warpaint and The Citizens’ Band have participated in Gift Horse Project. Between us, in a matter of only 5 shows, we’ve contributed to several charities: Art of Elysium (Elysium Sessions) , The Lunchbox Fund, BRANDAID Haiti, The Blue Key Campaign, and Make a Wish Foundation. Willingness is the cornerstone of charity. Volunteerism is the mark of a healthy heart. The more we artists use our creativity to positively and charitably impact those in need, the more likely we will manifest our dreams and a better world for us all. There is no sacrifice when we use our gifts for energetic evolution. We all win.

They are close friends and talented musicians. Authentic and goodhearted. These women love playing music together! Late last year, Emily Kokal invited me to Santa Ana, where Warpaint was to play a benefit show for Haley Butcher. Haley was a 17 year old girl who had suffered from pediatric myelodysplasia. Her favorite band was WARPAINT. Only days before she passed away, the band performed at Haley’s bedside for Haley and a small group of her friends and family.



One month later, the concert was organized by her loved ones to raise funds for the hospital bills and the Make a Wish Foundation. Warpaint agreed to headline. The show sold out instantly. Backstage, you could feel the excitement and pure intention of the night unfolding. Once onstage, the exchange of energy between the band and the crowd was a true testament to the grace that comes from human kindness. Warpaint had honored Haley’s memory and impacted a community by the simple act of sharing their creativity. | 85


Dave Madden, Mission: Incredible In Austin, where great musicians are everywhere, there’s a problem—when greatness is the norm, musicians often forget to strive beyond that for true excellence. About a year ago, Dave Madden noticed that and decided to take himself to task. “I saw so many amazing musicians struggling to build something good. They would play and play… and play some more, but it seemed like there was something missing. I wanted to go someplace higher myself, and go there with the people who come to hear me play. So I began to envision events with their own gravity, that would pull a community of people together for a meaningful experience.” He formed a ten-piece group featuring some of the best players in Austin. He disciplined himself to practice not just technically, but expansively, pushing the boundaries of his capabilities in arrangement, composition, and even band leadership. “The next show was a whole new animal. The energy was palpable. Radio jumped onboard. People packed in the club. Friends gushed. Strangers gushed. The band celebrated the birth of something better than we had done before.”

(Dave Madden) 12 | | 86

Since then, he has continued to make each event better than the last (including four sold-out, themed, special event shows in 2011), and they are moving into 2012 with even bigger plans. “I can’t wait to look back in a year, and say, ‘Man! Remember when we thought that was great?!’” To find out where Dave is now, visit him at or directly support his work as a patron at

The Bright Light Social Hour: The Party You Don’t Want To Miss This 4-piece Austin rock band fuses elements of classic rock with soul, funk and blues, resulting in a big sound that is both immediate and timeless. Their self-titled debut album garnered rave reviews, and along with a near-sweep at the 2011 Austin Music Awards, provided the springboard for national touring. In November 2011, after a sold-out showcase at CMJ in New York, the band was signed by The Agency Group, a major international booking agency. The Bright Light Social Hour spent 2011 and early 2012 touring relentlessly throughout the U.S. and Canada.

(The Bright Light Social Hour)


Ginger Leigh, a Texan who tours globally, is soon to record her ninth CD. A review in AustinMusicCity.Com said “She literally pulls This is a band that needs to be seen live to be truly appreciated. With three vocalists, explosive beats, and dazzling instrumental virtuosity, they continue to win over ever-growing audiences with their exhilarating live shows. You won’t remember the last time you saw this much raw energy pour off a stage. Or if you do, you will remember why you fell in love with rock ‘n roll in the first place.

the nails out of the stage floor…with a silky sexiness in all the right places.” A cross between a Bonnie Raitt voice and a Better Midler stage-presence, Leigh is an artist whose music is sensual and whose upbeat show is a must-see!

Look them up at

Monte Montgomery: Musician’s Musician for the Everyman Oftentimes, the better you play an instrument, the smaller your crowd—there’s a joke that Jazz musicians play thousands of notes for three people, and blues musicians play three notes for thousands. Monte Montgomery is one of the few musicians who is simultaneously an unrivaled technician and consummate entertainer. Having won nearly every award a guitarist can win, and having been invited to headline some of the biggest guitar festivals in the world, his real forte is how he moves a crowd—not just with his music, but his overall performance. From a musician’s perspective, one can watch him play time and time again and never run out of new things to learn. From the normal audience perspective, he has an easygoing demeanor that doesn’t leave anyone out. You can find his recordings all over the place online, and he is currently writing music for a new TV show, but if you ever have the opportunity to see him in concert, do not miss it.


Fresh off the success of “The Best of Times” CD compilation which benefit Theatre Action Project, Sara Hickman is right back to work. Known as the State Musician of Texas, this beloved Austinite is currently writing

Look him up at

(Monte Montgomery)

her next CD. With an early summer release, and a broader tour planned, we know the world will love Sara as



much as we do. | 87

HEATHER’S LIVING ART Body Painting | Prenatal Art Face Painting | Theatrical Arts & Photography



Photo: Heather’s Living Art

Photo: Zach Thomas Photography

Photo: Addfitz

Florida-based artist Heather Aguilera is an internationallyrecognized and published body artist whose work bursts with powerfully vibrant color, texture and movement. With a lifelong spiritual love and gift for drawing and painting, Heather now dedicates her artistic energy towards professionally painting the curves of the human body as a canvas: An ever-changing, three-dimensional canvas that moves, breathes and feels the Photo: Heather’s Living Art


color beneath her brush...creating LIVING ART.





SUBSCRIBE TO THE SOCIAL MEDIA MONTHLY 12 Issues – $34.99 (You save 58% off the newsstand rate) (receive a free digital download of The Big Book of Social Media Case Studies, Stories, Perspectives with your paid subscription)


DJ Spooky with the telos ensemble

Mari Kimura






Nada Kolundzija A portrait of john cage


Plutopia Productions, Inc. presents


May 11-13 at Round Top Festival Institute SYMPOSIA

The Future of Entertainment 2020 • DIY Electronica The Art of Sound Design • Revolutionizing Musical Expression Cyborg Musicality • The Sound of Interaction AI, Conversation, and Music • The Mixology of Life AV Narrative as Spectacle


DIYFuture Makers: Where Art, Innovation, and Technology Meet

Make the future! Design, build, and market your own technological creation. Themes include art, music, robotics, food, fashion, electronics, and more.

In collaboration with

Summer day camp series (3) 2-week sessions June & July, 2012 710 East 41st St., Austin, TX 78751 512.484.4976

Recommended for those entering Grade 6 through Grade 12

DIYFuture Home / DIYFuture Food DIYFuture Human / DIYFuture Fashion DIYFuture Art / DIYFuture Music

Vieux Farka Touré (Mali) and Idan Raichel (Israel), virtuosic superstars from very different backgrounds, join together to create a masterpiece of collaboration and improvisation. An inspired musical moment that brings to mind the classic albums Talking Timbuktu by Ali Farka Touré with Ry Cooder and Keith Jarrett’s The Köln Concert. AVAILABLE NOW AT WWW.TOURERAICHEL.COM

3ofHearts_Origin quarter page_Layout 1 1/30/12 1:38 PM Page 1 | 94

JENNIFER BALKAN Balkan’s 4th solo exhibition entitled Peep Holes opens March 3, 2012 at the Wally Workman Gallery in Austin, Texas.

KAREN MANESS from the series As You Will, May You Be Austin, Texas Rust Red Studio

Twinning Acrylic on Panel 48”x48” 2012 | 95


Deleigh Hermes graduated from Texas State University with a BFA in Digital and Photographic Imaging. She explored all aspects of photography, but primarily focused on analog photography.  After graduating she traveled overseas to build her portfolio.  She now resides in Austin, Texas, doing freelance photography, mostly portraits and photo essays.  She is also co-director of the Soda Tooth Contemporary Art Gallery in San Marcos, Texas.


RUST IN PEACE No. 4 Mixed Media on wood 36” x 58.25”

David’s paintings reflect classic American themes. The latest series Rust In Peace uses classic auto images to hammer home the Made In USA message. Painted with a variety of materials, some paintings contain actual rust that oxidizes as it ages.

David Mills Studio – Austin/DC/Scottsdale | 96

ASH ALMONTE I am inspired by beautiful color, incredible music, outrageous fashion, raw works of art, loud works of art, and taking risks. I am moved by the process of change, individuals doing good things in the world or for our planet, or miraculous stories of past and present. Life moves me. I am inspired by every minute of it. To Set Free, Release, and Deliver REBECCA BENNETT

Using the sensual qualities of oil, I create layered abstractions which explore the dynamics of color, line, and texture. The viewer is encouraged by their abstraction to interpret their experience of the work rather than the work itself. My process is one in which the artist and the paint are equal partners negotiating the surface of the canvas as if the paint had animate qualities. 



Houston - Part 1 of 3 Acrylic and Charcoal on Canvas, 12” x 12”

Anita strongly believes that art is the projection of one’s soul that is uninhibited. A little bit of essence, pinch of fantasy and a generous amount of flight is all it takes. Nothing is right or wrong; just light, dark and all colors in between. Her work is a resonance of how she sees the world, sometimes straight and sometimes sideways. | 97



Branches, Acrylic on birch panel, 40” x 40”

Tina Schweiger is an Austin based artist with a studio at ArtPost Austin. She has the perfect, fine-tuned blend of business brain and creative brain. A Cum Laude graduate from the University of Texas with a BFA, Tina has spent her career honing her skills as an entrepreneur, brand strategist and creative director. She balances her fine art with brand consulting through Yellow Fin Creative. She works in mixed media and acrylic on wood panel.


Commenting on the cost of convenience and fear, Jess Wade’s work is rich with color and texture. Dark skies and dark themes are infused with fragile and tender moments; trying to mirror the infinite tapestry of his individual and our collective contemporary lives. | 98

3-dimensional collage from repurposed paper hand-stitched portraits and landscapes


The Stretch

Silver Bowl Ocean Blue


My prints are based on my photos of real places and mysterious objects, embraced by a post-apocalyptic anxiety, inducing a state of psychological unease in the viewer. The images raise questions, but knowing the back story doesn’t provide comfort.  The sources of the original photos cover a wide range of ephemeral moments fixed into pixels, then traditionally hand-printed on BFK archival paper with an intaglio press, at Slugfest Print Studio.


Misha Maynerick Blaise creates fresh, colorful, mood-elevating artwork for contemporary living spaces. Inspired by the elegant detail and complex patterns characteristic of medieval, Islamic, and Eastern textile design, she integrates a global perspective into her modern work. | 99

AMY BANKER Amy Banker has been exhibiting in New York City and worldwide since 1992. A Cornell University Graduate she studied environmental design, education, business and fine art. Her paintings, installations, videos, multimedia, photography for museums, public, private collections including Hermitage Museum, Barcelona Modern Art, Jewish Museum London, Chelsea Art Museum, MOMA, Whitney. All sizes,all mediums.



painting from the end of december 2010 acrylic on canvas, 24” x 36”  

Thomas Kemper is an active and prolific visual artist living in Austin, Texas. He is dedicated to producing lasting works of historically and critically informed art in the traditions of the Modern and Postmodern. Original oil and acrylic paintings, plus prints and giclee prints, are available.

Cheryl Finfrock creates monotypes and paintings on paper, canvas, and wood. Narrative expressionism, humor, and symbolism are central throughout her work. Recent exhibits span the U.S. and Europe including New York City, San Francisco, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Berlin, Copenhagen, Montreal, Olomouc, Paris, and Sofia. Her work is currently showing at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. | 100


Paul’s work is a fusion of Art and Mathematics. His algorithmic process of constrained disorder recreates complexity that evokes natural forms: the path of lightning through the air; the contour of a coastline, or of a mountain ridge; the billowing of clouds in a storm; the flow of water as it erodes and shapes a hillside; or the plume of smoke from a fire’s embers. These patterns offer repeated discoveries to the viewer, as new interpretations and features unfold from the intricate and colorful details.


Iconoclasm, oil on panel, 12” x 12”, 2010

Nicholas Baxter’s paintings are a sharp-focus on still life, a classical trompe l’œil aesthetic is merged with modern allegorical themes and often surreal subject matter. His images are the product of an ongoing investigation into the nature of suffering, hope, and personal transformation, inspired by a sincere concern for the human condition and a deep appreciation of the natural world. KATE BARRERE CODY SHORTER

Influencing Machines, Mixed Media, 12”x16”x2”

Sunset Strip, Digital Collage on Acrylic, 36”x 42”, 2012 Modern digital collage and mixed media paintings. I visually expand the energy I see in each of my images and place it in budding circular shapes for a fresh new look. | 101


Scatter Your Thoughts Into the Wild Air 52” x 52”, Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas Would You Even Know Me If Your Eyes Were Closed? 36” x 48”, Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas

Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Gina Marie Dunn currently lives in Dallas. Her contemporary paintings consist of rich colors and subconscious scribbles fused with an organic energy. A mother to three and art teacher to many, the children in her life inspire her artwork to be internally guided: letting go, taking big risks and creating from a place of freedom. 

Utopia Pkwy Art Studio



Stacy Kirk’s life bloomed almost violently into brilliant natural perfection, and faded just as swiftly as it arrived when she passed away in 2005. This work is a reminder of the temporary nature of all things. We revel in the romantic notion of how nature and life can take your breath away, it is the nature of life to eventually rob you of both your beauty, and your last breath.  

Greta Olivas describes her current abstract contemporary work as  introspective, experimental and intuitive; an exploration into dimensions of paint, paper, canvas and color. The beauty of the organic forms emerging from the union of color, depth and texture have inspired this new body of work. Greta presently resides in Austin, Texas. | 102



When You Were Trying To Row Away From It I Found You

SCOTT ROLFE Dimensions of sculpture: 2 ft x 2 ft x 15 ft, 2 ft x 2 ft x 10 ft, 2 ft x 2 ft x 8 ft

Zygo-stem cast concrete sculpture system Based in Austin, Texas MARIANO BAIONE

Apparatus Inutile, 13” x 8” x 4”, 2011

Mariano Baione, an award-winning photographer based in Argentina, captures social behaviors, evolution and involution, and the beauty and ugliness of everything we create. Mariano’s documentary approach to his art takes him around the world on his projects.  “I’ve always been interested in social communications and images as a support. In the relentless search for new stories and new projects to be told, I use photography as a means of expression.”

Scott Rolfe is a native of Maine who has lived in Austin for the past 18 years. He uses a variety of recycled materials, discarded objects, and paint to create his assemblages. These objects come to life with their own unique personalities, from eccentric animals to dilapidated machines. | 103


Abby Rose Mandel is a jewelry maker living in, and loving, Austin, Texas. She is an active member of Austin’s vibrant art community and her work has been seen on the EAST Austin Studio Tour and in various art galleries across Central Texas and nationwide.  Having recently opened her own studio, she looks forward to crafting new life experiences into her jewelry and mixed media projects. JAMIE LEA WADE


Zoe is a ceramic artist and jeweler from Northern California, currently living in Austin, Texas. She finds inspiration for her work from her Californian roots.  She incorporates these influences into a modern yet soft body of work.  Her ceramic objects allude to river rocks and in her jewelry you see references to feathers, petals and leaves.  She likes the subtle intimacy of work that is small, thus drawing the viewer closer in to appreciate the detail.


Jamie Wade has a reverence for life that comes through in her craft. Often using people and critters as a vehicle, she delivers messages about community and individual perspectives.  Her art is about consideration and care: where it shines and where it needs light. | 104

Beautiful Room glass, gold leaf, and oil paint on wood, 2012



Flash Point digital image on archival media 47”x 34” Limited edition 2012

Sally Weber is a light artist working with technology and threedimensional imaging. In 2011 she turned her sensibility towards digital images of the very small rendered large. In these works both the intricacy of natural structures and an inner tension are revealed. The large-scale images appear dimensional, expanding out from the surface. Weber was a graduate and Fellow at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies. She has produced numerous commissions, public art installations, and exhibits internationally.

Heat Wave

Excited and inspired by the natural world and the interior realms, Soña Holman’s lyrical paintings are landscapes of the spirit. Expressive, organic form inhabits transient environments, layered with rich color and movement.  Soña’s acrylic paintings, drawings and mixed media pieces have been widely exhibited in the U.S.   A native of San Francisco, Soña’s studio is now located in Austin, Texas. ALEX WILHITE


Inners Oil on Canvas, 40” x 30” I am Just a Dreamer, and you are Just a Dream Reflections Collection, Mixed media, 38 x 38

Leslie Kell’s New Age Quilts explore an art form steeped in heritage by transforming traditional patterns into a new and modern reality. The artwork uses original photography accented with paint, and places the images into an architectural, three-dimensional setting. Now on exhibit at the 2012 People’s Gallery Exhibition, Austin City Hall.

My years traveling throughout the world guide my inspiration about the value of color, which changes everyday. My perspective of color is the value of the primary colors, changing into varieties of colors as “Meditation Myth”. I am drawn to follow the value of nature’s colors as they change from sunrise to sunset. This requires the employment of homemade paint from dust, to create my vision of art. M.F.A. Pratt Institute, New York | 105


Kathleen Wilson + Augusto Brocca 1011 West Lynn St. Austin, Texas 78703


Shadows and light, distance and perspective all become malleable and subjective in the work of Ian McDowell. His eclectic body of work includes drawing, digital painting, and sculpture inspired by his love of all the arts and his artistic approach to life. There is beauty everywhere he looks, and Ian feels compelled to capture and express it in a manner that is both familiar and not. Life is art, and it shows in the work of this emerging talent based in Austin, Texas. | 106

Global Combustion Encaustic Monotype 8.5” x 6”

Jerard’s Collection is based in Austin, TX. Artworks are created as “Constructions” or Assemblages. Work shown above is an Encaustic, an ancient medium of molten wax with resin & dry pigments.


GONZO247, native to Houston, Texas, was exposed to graffiti and began his pursuit as an artist in 1985. His most recent line of work, titled Plexi-Graff, has gone beyond the standards of graffiti. GONZO uses urban and aerosol art background to create 3-dimensional artwork using layers of plexiglass and spray paint. His largest Plexi-Graff piece is a wall-size mural using coordinated can control and artful technique.



Rodney Bursiel is a professional photographer, actor, and adventurer who has a great love for music and musicians. Living and traveling along with his subjects, he counts shared experience as most valuable in capturing the essence of a scene. His photographs of cultural Mexico, Costa Rica, and El Salvador reflect his affinity for adventure. The World is his studio.

A plethora of free-form, steam-bent, fine-finished White Ash sculpture composed of numerous sweeping wood elements, hand-molded and fixed into a myriad of convoluted, integrated forms. This lightweight, contemporary art form is created as wall hangings or to full scale in any color or form imaginable.  You are invited to explore my world of boundless form. | 107


Brent Hollingsead is an American contemporary artist whose work reflects a unique approach to romantic impressionism. Texture, complex layering and an ongoing love for spontaneity provide the foundation for both his online and canvas-based work. At once energetic and introspective, many of Brent’s pieces emerge from the curious confluence of brushstroke and mouse-click.



I feel the intrinsic beauty of all existence, sublime through ordinary daily living. With our present life swirling about in communication and stimuli, I am able to focus on the innate beauty and perfection of what my clients need in their paintings. This process allows the essence behind the form expressed to truly present itself. Dumont Studio – 815 East 52nd Street, Austin, Texas 78751 | 108


CRISTINA ZORRILLA SPEER Cristina Zorrilla Speer is a Mexicanborn artist currently living in Laredo, Texas. Her strong focus on design and use of a variety of acrylic techniques allows her to achieve fine detail to bold textures, creating a subtle mix between reality and abstraction. Her passion is to paint portraits and the human figure.

A day at the beach Acrylic 24” x 48”

every which way, mixed media on canvas, 36” x 48” 2011



Rain, Oil on Canvas, 36” x 24”

Nicole Kallenberg is a Texas-born painter currently residing in Austin, TX and New Orleans, LA. Inspired by Carravagio and the Impressionists, she uses oil, wax and her brush to convey a dramatic application of the materials, further enhancing the energy of her subjects.

Caroline Oliver’s paintings blend femininity with eeriness and often give allusion to hanging canopies – lines and drips pulled taught with soft blurs of color. Her goal is to make work that occurs organically but has palpable intention and force. Caroline Oliver is an emerging abstract oil painter living in Dallas, Texas. She has had her work featured in art auctions and galleries and is available for commissions. | 109


Jan celebrates life with creations from her global travel. Jan works in acrylic, ink, collage and watercolor to create Nature in all its brilliant colors and textures. Her inspiration comes both from traveling and her training as a geologist. The emotions and memories of the natural world are her creations.


Helene V Gross creates in the ‘moment’ and through ‘Spirit’. Without the spontaneity and free flow of Spirit there is nothing and creation stops. Realizing that there is no way to control the Spirit she just lets It take over. Not until it’s complete and Spirit is finished does she see what was created on the canvas. It is a journey inward and she invites you to come along.


Verdance Acrylic and Crystals 24” by 48”

Crow is a Pantheist Priestess whose work centers on practical spirituality and sacred geometry. She ranges from large outdoor installations, such as walking labyrinths, to small inked works that meticulously recreate crop circles. These paintings are from her Resonance series – images collected during meditations and shamanic journeys. The textured geometric patterns synergize with crystal vibrations to produce significant, durable energy signatures that transmit spiritual information into the material world. Emergence Acrylic and Crystals 20” by 24” | 110 | 111

We Who See, Acrylic on Canvas, 48” x 48”



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COLUMNISTS Jason Mraz Henry Rollins Deepak Chopra Robert Thurman of Dead Prez Mariel Hemingway Polly Armstrong John Perkins Randy Hayes Helen DaSilva: Oxfam The Nature Conservancy Bill Ulfelder Trust for Public Land The Lennon Bus American Bird Conservancy Drop in the Bucket You Matter Don’t Quit James Fox: Prison Yoga Project Suzanne Sterling: Off the Mat Into the World Les Leventhal Sophie B. Hawkins Marianne Williamson Waylon Lewis: Elephant Journal Shiva Rea John Friend Bryan Kest Seane Corn Ana Forrest Tara Stiles Dan Merek Beth Shaw Chris Roy Elena Brower Janet Stone Kelly Morris Mastin Kipp KK Ledford Ocean Pleasant Laurie Gerber Polly Armstrong Amy Ippoliti Annie Carpenter Stacey Rosenberg Chinook Wusdhu Adri Kyser Gavin Shire Craig Williams Laura King Austin EcoNetwork Brandi Clark Burton Melissa Smith Elizabeth Decker Hannah Siegle Marla Guttman Paige Elenson: Africa Yoga Project Jane Peck Jeffery M. Smith Gina Lamotte: EcoRise Youth Innovations Dan Marek: Whole Foods Market

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COLUMNISTS: Eric J Lawrence: KCRW Radio Flavorpill Alex Winter Chuck D Johanna Demetrakas Lawrence Inglee Paul D. Miller Jason Mraz Gina Dunn Jason Damata Leslee Scallon Kay Chernush Maranda Pleasant Kay Chernush: Artoworks for Freedom Nicole Mackinlay Hahn: The Bamboo Bicycle Project The Boombox Project DJs for Climate Change The Sims Foundation Michael Cain Trammell Crow Tina Schweiger Lisa Russell Derrick DeCristofaro Cheryl Moody Rob Ganger Miri Wilkins Anya Porter Nelson Guda Winn Wittman Cindi Rose CONTRIBUTORS: Andy Cavatorta Peter Thum Lucy Walker

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They Say Necessity is the Mother of Invention. For Psoriasis Sufferer Adam Grossman, Creating Natural Products to Fight Dry, Flaking and Scaling Skin has Become a Passion. The Seaweed Bath Co. founder Adam Grossman struggled for years to find ways to improve the condition of his skin. Encouraged by the positive effects of bladderwrack seaweed on his own skin and his overall well-being, Adam started The Seaweed Bath Co., a full line of all-natural seaweed-based skin care and hair care products specifically designed to fight dry, flaking and scaling skin.





We’re celebrating our 5th issue! Ten months of building beautiful community, 20-hour days, and love from art + yoga communities around the nation.


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We did it. Thank you for creating this with us. We’re fully national now and expanding with every issue. This publication breathes with vision, intention, and love from communities across the country. It’s not just a magazine: It’s a movement. We’re a platform bringing worlds together, building bridges, giving consciousness and the arts an expanded voice in national media. Our model gives national figures, artists, and leaders a blank canvas, a space to express, write, and create. Their ideas. Their voices. Not filtered through our eyes or limited to a few quotes. You get them straight up. Direct access. You form your own opinion. Our interviews are not cut to bias. They’re raw, real, and personal. Fascinating people with powerful ideas featured in every issue. 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. Vulnerable is the new strong. Our dreams are bigger than the printed page. We’re building a national community. A network. Not wires or signals. People. Connecting cities through art and events, bringing amazing individuals together to create positive change. Let’s imagine our circles expanding exponentially. This year we’ve partnered with Music, Eco, Art and Yoga Festivals across the country. We’d love to connect to your organization. Email us:

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hugging 48 JASON MRAZ: Stardom, service, & avocado farming 27 CHUCK D: Rap, robots, & revolution 24 SAUL WILLIAMS: Poetry slams & punk rock meditation 42 DJ SPOOKY: Antarctic music 77 KCRW: 2012’s hottest albums 8 FLAVORPILL: SXSW’s hottest tickets 11 DOWNLOADED: From Napster to Facebook 12 SPENCER TUNICK: Full frontal landscapes 72 MOBY: Creative destruction 20 BRETT DENNEN: Big heart 30 AL GORE: Peaceful warrior 16 CRAZY WISDOM: Buddhist meets West 64

12 CONSCIOUS LIFESTYLE 56 22 85 8 28 6 43 12 33 50 41 27 46

AFRICA YOGA PROJECT OXFAM: Music for change NATURE CONSERVANCY TIBET HOUSE: Robert Thurman WAYLON LEWIS: Elephant Journal MASTIN KIPP: Daily Love DEEPAK CHOPRA: Reversing Aging SEANE CORN: Secrets, shame & relationships JOHN FRIEND: Cultivate love ANA FORREST: Grateful aging ELENA BROWER: Truth & consequences STIC.MAN: Runner’s high WARIS DIRIE: Saving young women


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Shepard Fairey: Occupy Mariel Hemingway: You Matter Don’t Quit Oren Moverman: Ramparts Director Academy Awards Nominee: Lucy Walker | 6


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In 1979, on the very first American visit of His Holiness the Great Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet, he asked a group of us to found an organization to save and preserve and promote the endangered Tibetan spiritual culture. We agreed to make a strong effort to do so. We decided we would model it on the Tibet House in New Delhi, founded in the sixties by the Tibetan exiles, and call it Tibet House US, to begin in New York City. For some years we worked away doing what we could, but it was hard to get support, as there is so much dire need on our planet, and the Tibetans themselves need economic and political, as well as cultural, support. It was only in 1986, when our dear Richard Gere decided to help us get “in gear,” as he joked at the time, and our dear Philip Glass decided to lend us his spiritual dedication and musical magic, that we began to gather a head of steam. We planned a major Tibetan sacred art exhibition to tour the country and the world, leading subsequently to the development of a destination site, sort of a museum-gallery-lecture-hall-libraryoffice, where people could come for a visit and encounter the beauty of Tibet and the beautiful things created by the Tibetan people, and, most importantly, fall in love with it all. Philip right away organized a couple of concerts, and the wonderful artist community he links to came and sang and played their hearts out at BAM and elsewhere, and small funds were assembled. It is hard to support Tibet, because corporations and Foundations tend to think of their relations with China, and worry about helping Tibetans, in case that disturbs China’s domination of the Tibetan nation and its land. But the wonderful artists, the worshipers of beauty and joy and truth, they don’t worry about such things, and, in the words of the great Russian poet, Anna Akhmatova, they fearlessly raise up the “shield of poetry” to protect the vulnerable from the oppressor’s boot. | 8

“It is hard to support Tibet, because corporations and Foundations tend to think of their relations with China, and worry about helping Tibetans, in case that disturbs China’s domination of the Tibetan nation and its land. But the wonderful artists, the worshipers of beauty and joy and truth, they don’t worry about such things...”

The Flaming Lips Working with the Tibetan government-in-exile, Tibet House US organized a Year of Tibet in 1991-2 to coincide with our blockbuster sacred art exhibition in San Francisco, New York, and London. The “Year” featured 700 events in 35 countries, and sparked a kind of “Decade of Tibet” with two major motion pictures, and another 8 exhibitions in Germany, Spain, Japan, and Taiwan. Philip and his band of talented and altruistic musicians continued the concert tradition, focusing it on a central event in Tibetan popular culture, the two week long Lunar New Year’s Celebration, “Losar,” during which time in free Tibet, the keys of the capital city were turned over to the monks and nuns, everyone took off from work, and spiritual practice became the national focus. There is a popular story from the life of the Shakyamuni Buddha, about 2500 years ago, that at the Lunar New Year’s time in early spring, he assembled a huge host of kings and citizens of a dozen countries in the fields of Shravasti, and performed fifteen days of liberating teachings, accompanied by daily miracles that blew everybody’s mind. Lotus lakes gushed forth from a bit of saliva, giant jewel-bearing trees sprang up from toothpicks planted in the ground, visions of buddhas appeared in every atom of everything present, celestial music resounded in the sky, people touched by supernal rays of light suddenly became much more mindful of their own thoughts and those of their near and dear ones, and strangers suddenly seemed familiar as old friends, and so on and so on. The Buddha demonstrated to all the people that the world was so much richer, more abundant, more beautiful and blissful, than is normally experienced by people caught up in the whirl of self-centered preoccupations.

“The Buddha demonstrated to all the people that the world was so much richer, more abundant, more beautiful and blissful, than is normally experienced by people caught up in the whirl of self-centered preoccupations.” long-term, glorious, inexorable, just, and truthful restoration of the original Buddhist culture in Tibet—of course in a modern incarnation, post invasion, post-Chinese-colonial occupation, post-environmental exploitation, and post-diaspora resurrection! So once again, here we go, New York and America, to sing our love for Tibet and her people, our honor of Tibet’s brave freedom fighters of the past and nonviolent martyrs of the present, and our heart’s determination to see freedom ring for the spiritual, compassion-infused lifestyle of the Tibetan people and their future generations.

Angelique Kidjo

This miraculous time of the world assuming its highest potential for an inspirational period is what the Tibetan people remembered as they would come to Lhasa for a two week vacation, and their equivalent of Christmas or Chanukah, the Rose Bowl Parade or Macy’s parade, a temporary Disneyworld blow-out, and a mass pilgrimage and prayer session all rolled into one. This is what the Tibet House US community celebrates every Tibetan New Year time when Phil Glass brings together his musician colleagues at Carnegie Hall to present to New York and guests from all over the world this short little jewel bubble of the Tibetan Losar celebration, as a celebration of its continuing survival and a group prayer for the | 9

a g o Y c i s u o M der, C l u o B

Photo gratitude to Darrin Harris Frisby, Carl Kerrige, DJ Pierce, Jim Campbell


the+Vibration Yoga +Raise Music Boulder, Co June 8-10, 2012 Richard Freeman Kathryn Budig Noah Maze Beryl Bender Birch Tiffany Cruikshank Suzanne Sterling Faith Hunter

Amy Ippoliti Anand Mehrotra Stephanie Snyder Kia Miller Desert Dwellers DJ Drez And More! youtube: Hanumania twitter: @HanumanFestival | 12 | 13 | 14


4 - D AY







S T R A T T O N M O U N TA I N • J U N E 21 - 2 4

C O P P E R M O U N TA I N • J U LY 5 - 8



S Q U A W VA L L E Y U S A • J U LY 2 6 - 2 9














Alexandra Moon -Age Alexandra is an underground artist and mover and shaker, currently based in London. She is happiest when she can devote her time purely to immersing herself in creativity and inspiration. She was instrumental in the Colour Parade, in which hundreds take to the streets of Sydney, Australia to promote freedom, love and COLOUR. She sees actions like this as a way of opening people’s minds to accept difference, and become more aware of themselves in order to help others. She sees art as a vehicle for positive change in the world and making it all the more beautiful. “When we had a little bohemian wonderland, we threw massive parties where bands played in the lounge room and our four story house on King St would be busting at the steams with hundreds of kids. We experimented and painted and bounced off each other, we felt like we could do anything - the intensity and magic of this time had a huge impact on my creative style - it became a whole lot more psychedelic.” | 16

Charlie Todd Charlie Todd is the founder of the group Improv Everywhere and has been producing, directing, performing, and documenting their work for over ten years - most recently in his new book Causing a Scene. He is also a performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York City. Charlie started Improv Everywhere when he moved to New York with an interest in comedy acting. It’s all about making people smile and giving someone a story to tell. From hundreds of people simultaneously freezing position in Grand Central Station, to people breaking out in dance at a shopping mall, to the infamous ‘no pants train ride,’ Charlie’s work is always “about doing something positive and giving people a unique story to tell, causing a scene in a public place which is a positive experience to other

people. It’s a prank, but it’s a prank that gives someone an interesting story to tell.”

“As children we are taught to play. We aren’t given a reason why; it’s just accepted that play is a good thing.”

Charlie responds to the common criticism that “these people have too much time on their hands” by saying that his group has just as much leisure time as everyone else—they just occasionally choose to spend it in an usual way. “As children we are taught to play. We aren’t given a reason why; it’s just accepted that play is a good thing. I think that’s the point of Improv Everywhere: that there is no point and there doesn’t have to be one. We don’t need a reason, as long as it’s fun and it’s a funny idea and the people that experience it have fun and that adults learn that there is no right or wrong way to play.”

Leila Salazar-Lopez Leila is active in the battle to stop the Belo Monte Dam and works passionately to fight similar destructive developments while supporting indigenous rights in the Amazon. She describes herself as passionate, positive and motivated.

difficult time, full of transitions and opportunities for change. As Ghandi said, ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ So get involved with change in your local community, and at a national or international level.”

“Every drop of water is essential for creating the rivers and oceans that are essential for life, just like every individual action is essential for the collective action that will change the world we live in. I believe that change in the world stems from individual actions and choices, like buying local organic food instead of commercially-processed foods laced with chemicals; or riding a bike instead of driving a car; but it takes collective action to make the changes needed in this critical time we are living in. I think we are living in a

Leila is inspired by the Occupy Movement, as well as people like Sheyla Juruna, an indigenous woman leader from the Xingu River Basin in the Brazilian Amazon, who is working to stop the Belo Monte Dam, and Patricia Gualinga, an indigenous leader from the Sarayaku Kichwa community in the Ecuadorian Amazon, who is working to keep her people’s rainforest homeland free from oil drilling and destruction. | 17

Valentina Brave

Valentina Brave is a singer/ songwriter with a much-anticipated debut EP due this year. Valentina has written her first book and is working on her second: a collection of sexy, naughty, poetic stories about self- discovery and self-love. These are collaborations with her best friend: tattooist and illustrator Milly Loveknuckles. Valentina works and lives with her family in an indigenous community called Maningrida in remote northern Australia. “My heart breaks at the injustice that we, as a nation, have inflicted on these people, but their resilience, pride and strength fills me

with hope, and being up here bearing witness to the struggle as well as the triumphs has been one of the richest experiences of my life.” Valentina works with Indigenous women and children, teaching music as well as composing and performing. “At the heart of the program is the idea that if we empower young mothers to be strong, educated women, they will be the best role models and teachers for their children that they can possibly be.”

Sinem Saban

Marco Chiurato

Marco is a true artist. One of Italy’s most renowned and award-winning pastry chefs, he is also one of its most controversial and infamous artists.

With his video Inumano, Marco drew on the tragedy of the holocaust and tackled the difficult subject of racism and xenophobia.

Across mediums of sculpture, video, and installation, Marco’s focus is always on social consciousness: from the sculptures of 100 African children (raising funds for the famine in the horn of Africa), to the sculptures made out of live, growing yeast (raising awareness that nuclear radiation continues to grow), to his book and video project SIT! (made with Pakistani women who were disfigured with acid thrown by rejected suitors).

Marco’s artistic focus began with the senses, but he soon felt the need to explore, spontaneously and impulsively, the hidden parts of human soul, so in 2007 he organized Sexhibitionism, an exhibit of private parts in the shape of art works. Marco explains, “Sex and genitals are something important: they represent our hidden parts. They are like our feelings.” | 18

Sinem is the Director/ Producer (along with her partner Damien Curtis) of the groundbreaking independently-funded documentary Our Generation, which unveils Australia’s hidden secret - major human rights violations against Aboriginal Australians. It not only shook the foundations and belief systems of everyone who saw it, it also won ‘Best Campaign Film’ at London International Documentary Festival 2011. Our Generation is also entering classrooms as an important tool for education. “I have an innate knowing that Australia’s Aboriginal people have the key to our happiness, safety and harmony with the earth, and I have devoted my life to help end their struggle to keep their livelihood, their culture and their knowledge alive.” In 2004 Sinem journeyed to Iraq, Palestine, and Israel to help document the human cost of war for

Michael Franti’s film I Know I’m Not Alone. “Everyone has a gift to offer the world. First, go within and find out what you are passionate about. Is it environment, is it health, or is it social justice? It is better to be 100% dedicated to one cause that sings to your soul than trying to do everything. Activism has become a ‘cool’ thing to get involved in, which is fantastic. Being an activist is about selfless direct action.”

a unique chair yoga practice

Valerie Rogers is the creator of Chogaflow™, a unique chair yoga practice, done both seated and standing, integrating breath with movement. Chogaflow™ is ideal if you are new to practicing yoga, if physical limitations prevent you from getting up and down from the floor easily, or if you prefer a less strenuous class. Chogaflow™ emphasizes alignment, allowing you to explore poses in an anatomically correct way. You will enjoy the many benefits of a traditional yoga practice without ever having your knees touch the floor. Join Valerie as she guides you through a fun, easy-to-follow, safe journey of self exploration. Through her clear explanation of postures she brings awareness to harmonizing the energy within to reverse the effects of aging, restore vitality, rejuvenate the nervous system, strengthen the body and calm the mind.

Open your heart, open your mind, go with the flow, and set your spirit free.




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ORIGIN COLUMNIST: DEEPAK CHOPRA, M.D., CO-FOUNDER OF THE CHOPRA CENTER FOR WELLBEING How old are you? If your first reflex is to reply with your chronological age, the number on your birth certificate, you are only one-third correct. There are actually two additional, and more important, indicators of age. And the exciting news is that it is within your power to adjust both of these other “age indicators” and truly grow younger and live longer.

“Perception is a selective act of attention and interpretation.” Biological Age: You’re in Charge! Because scientists know that all human beings do not age at the same rate, biological age is measured by how well one’s physiological systems are functioning. To determine biological age, scientists assign values for almost every biochemical and physiological process in the human body. Known as biomarkers, these include blood pressure, muscle mass, bone density, amount of body fat, hormonal levels, immune function, antioxidant levels, cholesterol levels, and aerobic capacity. Your biological age is a critical component in the entire aging process, and again, can be very different from your chronological age. A 70-year-old who takes good care of herself can have the biology of a 40-year-old. Conversely, a hard-living 30-year-old who has been inattentive to his health and well-being may have the biology of a man many years older. Even though we all have genetic predispositions, our health and aging aren’t predetermined. By making conscious choices in our behavior and where we focus our attention, we can transform our experience of our body, decrease our biological age, and tap into our inner reservoirs of unbounded energy, creativity, and love. 1.) Change Your Perceptions of Your Body and Aging Perception is a selective act of attention and interpretation. What you experience as “reality,” including your physical body and aging, is shaped by your habits of perception. While most people are | 20

conditioned to see the body as a biological machine, you can begin to view it as a field of energy, transformation, and intelligence that is constantly renewing itself. Begin to notice both your internal dialogue and how you speak about your body and aging. If you find yourself saying things like, “I’m hitting the age where I’ll need reading glasses,” “I’m too old to try yoga (or some other activity),” or other such statements, make a conscious choice to shift your perspective and what you tell yourself about your body and age. 2.) Stress Reduction and Meditation Meditation is a simple yet powerful tool that takes us to a state of profound relaxation that dissolves fatigue and the accumulated stress that accelerates the aging process. During meditation, our breathing slows, our blood pressure and heart rate decrease, and stress hormone levels fall. Meditation calms the mind, and when the mind is in a state of restful awareness, the body relaxes too. Long-term meditators can have a biological age 5 to 12 years younger than their chronological age. The most powerful benefits of meditation come from having a regular, daily practice. There are many meditation techniques, and it’s important to find one that resonates with you. You may benefit from a mantra-based technique, such as the Primordial Sound Meditation practice taught at the Chopra Center. Another good place to begin your exploration is with guided meditations. We have created several series of downloadable guided meditations called “The 21-Day Meditation Challenge,” which you can find at 3.) Restful Sleep Getting regular restful sleep is an essential key to staying healthy and vital, yet it is so often neglected or underemphasized. A lack of restful sleep disrupts the body’s innate balance, weakens our immune system, and speeds up the aging process.

“Regular exercise is one of the most powerful ways to grow younger and live longer.”

does exercise keep the body young, but it also keeps the mind vital and promotes emotional well-being. The important thing is to start off slowly, find physical activities you enjoy, and do them regularly. If the most you can do right now is walk around the block, then do that, and you will be surprised how quickly you increase your endurance and enthusiasm for moving and breathing.

Human beings generally need between six and eight hours of restful sleep each night. Restful sleep means that you’re not using pharmaceuticals or alcohol to get to sleep, but that you’re drifting off easily once you turn off the light and are sleeping soundly through the night. You can get the highest quality sleep by keeping your sleep cycles in tune with the rhythms of the universe (known as circadian rhythms).

6.) Love and Connection Love and meaningful relationships are vital to physical and emotional wellbeing. As many studies have found, people who continue to nurture long-term and new friendships as they grow older are more likely to enjoy health and vitality. Isolation and loneliness, on the other hand, create the conditions for rapid aging.

To find more information on creating a restful sleep routine, visit the Chopra Center’s online library at

4.) Nurture Your Body with Healthy Food There are “dead” foods that accelerate aging and entropy, and others that renew and revitalize the body. Foods to eliminate or minimize include items that are canned, frozen, microwaved, or highly processed. Focus on eating a variety of fresh and freshly-prepared food. A simple way to make sure that you are getting a balanced diet is to include the six tastes (sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent) in each meal. Along with the six tastes, filling your plate with the colors of the rainbow promotes a long and healthy life. Foods that are deep blue, purple, red, green, or orange are leaders in antioxidants and contain many nutrients that boost immunity and enhance health. 5.) Exercise Regular exercise is one of the most powerful ways to grow younger and live longer. Drs. William Evans and Irwin Rosenberg at Tufts University have documented the profound effect of exercise on many of the biomarkers of aging, including muscle mass, strength, aerobic capacity, bone density, cholesterol. Not only

The key is to stay connected and open to new relationships throughout your life. Losing friends and spouses is an inevitable part of aging, and many people have a tendency to go quietly into semi-isolation. Instead, set your intention on expanding and deepening the love in your life.

“Love and meaningful relationships are vital to physical and emotional well-being.” 7.) Maintain a Youthful Mind An ancient Vedic aphorism says, “Infinite flexibility is the secret to immortality.” When we cultivate flexibility in or consciousness, we renew ourselves in every moment and reverse the aging process. Children offer the finest expressions of openness and flexibility. They play and laugh freely, and find wonder in the smallest things. To maintain a youthful mind, write down two or three things you can do that are totally childlike, such as eating an ice cream cone, coloring a picture, or jumping rope. Find something that brings back the sense of fun you had as a child and choose one of these activities to do today.

Deepak Chopra, M.D. is a best-selling author and 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, and workshops. To learn more, visit | 21







xfam America, an international relief and development organization, works to end hunger, poverty and social injustice in developing countries throughout the world.

With such an expansive mission, how do you reach supporters across state lines, income brackets and ethnic, religious and ideological backgrounds? Sometimes, through music. Oxfam has worked with a wide variety of music artists—from Mavis Staples to Coldplay—to spread the word about some of the most pressing problems faced by poor people, and to talk about solutions. Of course, this all becomes possible when you have a staff member like Bob Ferguson, music outreach manager at Oxfam America, who is dedicated to creating relationships between musicians and Oxfam’s work. This past summer was Oxfam’s fifth at the Bonnaroo music and arts festival. A crew of ten volunteers staffed the Oxfam tent over three days, signing up over 3,600 new supporters. “The Bonnaroo experience is unique for us because people come back year after year. So it’s a chance for us to introduce people to Oxfam for the first time, as well as talk to returning music lovers,” says Ferguson. “People who are visiting us at Bonnaroo for the second or third time have contagious enthusiasm—they come back and are excited to tell us what they’ve been working on via Oxfam and other local organizations they care about. Oxfam’s music outreach has become a way to create and nurture activists.”

“Music and its fans are as diverse as Oxfam’s programs throughout the world. That works. We talk to people and connect them to what makes them passionate about social justice.”

ABOVE: Planting tree seedlings in Adi Ha, Tigray, Ethiopia. In exchange for working on community projects like this, some poor farmers are able to purchase weather insurance for their teff crops. BELOW: Farmers separate the teff stalk and shell from the seed, with the help of oxen in southern Ethiopia. ABOVE LEFT PAGE: The System of Rice Intensification, or SRI, is an innovative agriculture technique dramatically improving the lives of more than 80,000 farmers in Cambodia. With less water and fewer seeds, they are producing 50-150 percent more rice and increasing their incomes. BELOW LEFT PAGE: Soha Yassine, Oxfam America Music Outreach Intern with Coldplay.

In 2011, thousands of music lovers at Bonnaroo pledged to support Oxfam’s GROW campaign to ensure that the planet is ready to feed 9 billion people by 2050. With the GROW campaign, Oxfam is advocating for positive solutions for the billion hungry people on our planet now, and an end to the mix of bad policies that make hunger worse. Oxfam is campaigning for world leaders to invest in small farmers (who are the ones best-positioned to fight hunger, but are already facing more-frequent droughts, floods, and storms due to the changing climate) and to hold corporations accountable when they bet on food prices (causing costs to spike and people to go hungry). PHOTO: EVA-LOTTA JANSSON/ OXFAM AMERICA | 23

On previous tours Stokes has taken the “Darfur stove,” as it is known, on the road with the band to share with fans how this simple device can provide a safe, reliable, efficient fuel source for women living in camps in Darfur. The stove came off the bus every night right along with the stage equipment. In an interview for Oxfam, Sybil Gallagher (tour manager and cofounder of Calling All Crows) told us that fans would go look at the new t-shirts, and then they’d see the stove on the merchandise table. She said Stokes would talk about the stoves from the stage, or they’d have flyers on hand to explain how it worked. Sometimes, there was a pile of $20 bills at the end of the night to support the stove program. Over the course of a year, Calling All Crows and State Radio raised over $100,000 to support the stove program—enough to provide stoves to 5,000 families. | 24

This summer, the 10-year collaboration between Oxfam and Coldplay will continue as the band crisscrosses the US on its next tour. Ferguson will be working with over 800 volunteers at 40 shows throughout the country to talk to fans about the GROW campaign. “We’ve done such successful work with Coldplay for so long, we can use this moment to engage fans at an even deeper level—getting into the real substance of the campaign,” explained Ferguson. “Everybody cares about food. It’s practical, emotional.”


“People who are visiting us at Bonnaroo for the second or third time have contagious enthusiasm.”

Oxfam America is working with its partners and community members to assemble and distribute fuel-efficient stoves – a program aimed at reducing stress on the environment, reducing the need for women and girls to take risky journeys into the countryside to gather wood, and – for those able to buy firewood in the market – reducing economic strain.


In a totally different music experience, imagine what you can do with one band, one show, and one audience at a time. State Radio’s Chad Stokes created Calling All Crows—a nonprofit that engage fans in activism and humanitarian issues—and teamed up with Oxfam America to talk about how a simple stove can help families in Darfur.

“Music and its fans are as diverse as Oxfam’s programs throughout the world. That works. We talk to people and connect them to what makes them passionate about social justice.” To learn how you can make a difference, visit BELOW: Oxfam is working with rice grower cooperatives in the Artibonite River valley to help them improve their production and processing, and earn more for their crop. In the village of Quatorzieme, Oxfam is helping a small group of women experiment with innovative practices of growing rice known as System of Rice Intensification or SRI.


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My song “Runner’s High” on my latest album The Workout, was created out of a true joy and respect for running. I never thought that I could find so much joy from running, but now, like millions of others worldwide, I’ve been bit by the bug and I’m loving it! About a year and a half ago, a slim and chiseled amateur boxer named Bones at my 10 year old son’s boxing gym recommended that I take up running when I mentioned I was concerned that my exercise regimen was not quite getting me the definition in my abs I wanted. I had been a martial arts student for many years, so I was familiar with pushing myself, but I must admit that the idea of running was still somewhat intimidating. One of the biggest obstacles to overcome is lack of motivation. Many of us, quite frankly, let the starting stop us. I have found that when you have a goal to aim for—and not just for your running, but in Life in general—they are powerful tools of motivation. Like a Dri-FIT sweat-wicking garment, I began soaking up the multi-faceted runner’s world. Through taking a positive interest and doing research, I learned there are many types of running to fit different levels of skill and interest. There are speed runs, trail runs, distant runs, casual runs, and more. I found a whole new world to explore!

I further stimulated my interest with great books like Born to Run by Christopher McDougal, and Zen and the Art of Running by Larry Shapiro. I began to increase my stamina by learning how to breathe with more control, and I increased my distances, my speed, and my confidence. I’ve successfully completed a 10k race, a 13.1 half marathon, and am currently training for a full marathon of 26.2 miles later this year. What I naively thought would be too boring—or too time consuming, or too much of an injury risk, or too challenging— turns out to be one of the simplest and easiest activities I have ever explored. All I need is my sneakers, my mp3 player, and some water, and I’m set to go. I find running to be a relaxing, positive form of stress-relief, with several other health benefits as well. The endorphins seem to induce in me a positive mood, and I look forward to my runs like I used to look forward to rolling up a joint. And by the way, I’m three years sober, no alcohol, no weed, but it’s safe to say that I’ve got the Runner’s High. And my abs are starting to look pretty decent, if I say so myself. {Big Grin} If you are considering incorporating running into your lifestyle, I say go for it. If you are already a runner, I salute you. May your runs continue to be tons of fun. Stic’s album The Workout is available at and iTunes. | 27


“But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.” — Kahlil Gibran I’m in love with a woman I’ve never met. But we do know each other. And one thing she said that I love is that “being in love is of secondary importance” …she said it in response to my concerns about our future hypothetical love, marriage and baby carriage. She said, “I don’t need to go on a lifelong romantic picnic—I have things to do” I loved her for saying that. I’ve always thought fun was fun…for an hour or so. Then, fun is boring. You know what’s always fun? Serving the greater good by doing something you’re good at. Whether that’s dance or teaching or politicking or working the counter at a corner store or being a nurse or whatever. The kind of love I’ve been brought up to look for isn’t a lifelong picnic. It’s a partnership, with loneliness built in. In the Buddhist tradition, there’s no “tying the knot.” There’s no two candles, two souls “becoming one.” Instead of facing one another—completing one another (à la Jerry Maguire) and living happily ever after (which only happens in fiction, and even then they never show, they just tell)—the Buddhist visualization of a successful marriage is this: Two friends (who want to make out constantly) facing the same direction together, symbolically east—the direction of the rising sun—as in our awakening, fundamentally a-ok human nature. Walking the path together. Helping one another to be of benefit. Society’s notion of matrimonial love is what’s selfish. I know a lot of folks who do good for the world…until they have a wife, husband, children…and suddenly they have an unarguable excuse to forget this whole holy, fucked up, wonderful world that is crying, dying, begging, pleading and needing our help. So I say this: I don’t just want to love a woman who loves me. That’s a good start: half the battle. But the whole battle—love is war—is if she looks at me and says, “Go free, do your thing, and in return I want to be able to go free, and do my thing, and your thing and my thing may be totally different: you might travel, I might travel; you might want to work instead of having dinner and I might want to work instead of having dinner…” | 28

When I find a girl who loves what the whole point of life is more than our marriage...well, I’m ready to get married. Until then, spare me your expectations. You don’t have rights to me. I have one short life to live and I’ve been given a ton—and I enjoy nothing more than working night and day to create something that can give back. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “The only joy in this hard life is serving others.” When I fall in love, truly, our love will help one another to face outward, not merely inward.

“And while I’m here I’ll do the work. And what’s the work? To ease the pain of living — everything else, drunken dumbshow.” — Allen Ginsberg For more:

Waylon Lewis is a “Dharma Brat.” Born in Boulder, his generation was among the first to inherit the wisdom of the East and the power and speed of the West from the get-go. Waylon lives in Boulder, Colorado, where he devotes himself to elephantjournal. com, writes for Huffington Post, and hosts a “Top 10 Video Series” called “Walk the Talk Show.” Named Treehugger’s Eco Ambassador & Changemaker, Discovery Network’s “Green Hero,” “Prominent Buddhist” by Shambhala Sun & 5280’s Top Single.  @elephantjournal has been voted top #green on twitter nationally two years running. A mediocre climber, lazy yogi & 365-day bicycle commuter, Waylon’s hope is to help bring the good news beyond the choir & to the masses through media and politics.

(Bathing in the river Ganga)

SPOTLIGHT ON EXPLORE.ORG, A PHILANTHROPIC MEDIA ORGANIZATION ORIGIN COLUMNIST: JASON DAMATA is home to more than 300 films covering everything from spiritual enclaves in remote parts of the world to the heroic acts of selfless individuals rescuing girls from the Indian sex trade. Films have examined raising orphans in Ethiopia, building schools in Costa Rica, and founding peace programs in the Middle East—to name just a few. A place for cherishing nature and escaping the rat race, films moments in nature to create “Zen Dens.” In its latest offering—a section with a series of live cameras dubbed “Pearls of the Planet”—the site is bringing people closer to incredible parts of the world in real-time, with the express mission of helping people fall in love with the world again. The Pearls of the Planet cameras were first aimed at the mighty Polar Bears of Churchill, Manitoba, during their annual migration along the Hudson Bay. During a few short weeks in November, people from around the world watched as the bears waited for the ice to freeze so they could break their fast and beat starvation—a process that underlined the real implications of global warming. In partnership with Polar Bears International and Frontier’s North Adventures, served nearly a million viewing hours of footage over the course of three weeks. Shortly after, launched a beluga whale live camera at the Vancouver Aquarium, a tropical fish cam at the Long Beach Aquarium, and a Santa Monica sunset cam that brings the beauty of the Pacific to viewers looking for a moment of relaxation each night. With Pearls of the Planet, has been able to gain unprecedented access to the pandas in the world’s largest panda reserve and re-introduction center. Thanks to a partnership with the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, | 30

the world can watch 4 young toddlers and 5 panda cubs grow up in real-time. Another channel at—one that has been spun off into one of the most active non-profit communities on Facebook—is “Dog Bless You.” Dog Bless You, one of the largest dog

“During a few short weeks in November, people from around the world watched as the bears waited for the ice to freeze so they could break their fast and beat starvation—a process that underlined the real implications of global warming.” (Jake Elkins carries Lucky during an expedition in Sun Valley)


hampioning the selfless acts of others, inspiring lifelong learning, helping people fall in love with the world again, replacing fear with trust—these are all values espoused by filmmaker and philanthropist Charles Annenberg Weingarten. They’re also themes in everything he does at, a philanthropic media organization he founded eight years ago.

(Charlie at Anwu Elementary School in China)

communities in the world, started when Charlie asked himself, “What is pure love?” The answer was pretty clear. While traveling the world and crisscrossing America over the last eight years, Charlie was always awed by people’s loving response to his ever-present golden retriever, Lucky. From the coal mining towns of Mississippi to the cold streets of Detroit, from the towers of New York to death row at San Quentin— wherever they ventured, Lucky always opened peoples’ hearts and minds. Charlie understood the powerful connection these “guardians angels of the human spirit” could generate, and he grasped the profound love that exists between a dog and its custodian. He wondered how he could facilitate a conversation about this connection, and help people to share their love of dogs with one another. Since the community’s inception in November 2010, Dog Bless You has managed to do just that—and then some. Mixing his life’s work of philanthropy and his love of dogs, Charlie has given the community an opportunity to do more than just share cute pictures and converse—(which they do in abundance) he has created an opportunity for people to participate in spreading the selfless acts of dogs to people who need them. At SXSW last year, 150,000 people helped send search and rescue dogs to Japan just

days after the earthquake ravaged that country. During the summer of 2011, thousands more participated in a Dog Bless USA campaign that paired service dogs with 36 war vets who were returning home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While spreading awareness about the realities and repercussions of war, the campaign also brought out the best in people—some would come forward with their pains, while others would gather to show support.

“Charlie understood the powerful connection these “guardians angels of the human spirit” could generate, and he grasped the profound love that exists between a dog and its custodian.” Even with incredible live streams of nature, a global dog community, and a vast library of photos and films, Charlie would contend that has no agenda, but those who get a chance to speak with him may disagree: he is clearly focused on providing experiences that change people’s lives for the better. www.

(Charlie and Lucky next to a fallen redwood) | 31 | 32


What does everybody want deep in their hearts? Love. We seek fulfillment in our lives through heart connection with others. This is our soul’s essence of joy, which spontaneously pulses through us, longing to share itself with another. Everybody naturally wants to abide in that highest frequency of the heart, and it is often through intimate relationships that we are able to fully know this divine love within ourselves. These close relationships provide us not only with the experience of the highest joy and love in life, but also offer the opportunity for profound self-awareness, because each relationship mirrors both our bright attributes and our shadow sides. It is through our deepest intimate relationships that we can gain some of our soul’s most powerful spiritual advancements. So, skillfully engaging in intimate relationships can be one of the most potent spiritual practices.

more knowledge one person has of the other, the greater the intimacy within the relationship. Without good communication both verbally and non-verbally, then the love relationship is not sustainable and cannot grow. The third area of compatibility that is fundamental for a thriving intimate love relationship is sexual chemistry. This is usually the first area of initial attraction between potential lovers. Over time the energy generated in romance and lovemaking provides the vitality that inspires each partner for enthusiastic creative expression in life. The spark of eros provides color and flavor to delight in our sensuality. Without generating this creative juice, many people feel uninspired and dry in their lives. Although good sexual chemistry is fundamental to a vibrant intimate relationship, each relationship also needs the other 2 key aspects of compatibility that contribute to spiritual fulfillment and long-term sustainability.

In addition to these 3 categories, there are 5 key qualities for each partner to cultivate in order to foster and develop the relationship: 1. Be spacious. Open to listen and feel the other without

The greater the trust within the couple, the greater the opening to share in love. Releasing masks and veils allows the other to see you in your authenticity. Guards are dropped, and we can be seen for who we really are: the uniqueness of our personality, the beauty of our soul, our pure spirit. One beloved friend reflects the other in an open, trusting relationship. There are 4 types of relationships. We generally know people who guide and help us like a parent or teacher; those who need our wisdom or help like a child or student; people with similar knowledge and experience on our life path who want to offer unconditional support; and those who do not wish to support us. Beloved life partners fall within the third category, which can be classified as Friends. Friends range from acquaintances all the way to our best friends and beloveds. A tremendously powerful energetic love can be created from close friends who are highly aligned. There are 3 levels of compatibility in intimate relationships that connect the most subtle realm of spirit to the most outer, dense form of body. There must be alignment in heart, through life view and spiritual intention; mind, through clear, open communication; and body, through physical chemistry. Compatibility on all 3 levels of heart, mind, and body is the ultimate love relationship, which everyone is seeking! The quality and sustainability of a long-term love relationship can be analyzed by the same criteria. Deficiencies in any of these 3 areas will weaken the long-term viability of the relationship. If all 3 areas are in sync, then the couple has a strong probability of sustaining a long-term love relationship like marriage. Having a similar outlook on life is the central key for long-term sustainability in any love relationship. The two partners in a relationship also need to have some similar interests in addition to a similar life view. There might be a lot of physical chemistry within a couple, but without the compatibility of life philosophy and interests then the relationship will likely not be long-lasting. Communication within the couple includes the open, clear, and honest sharing of feelings, desires, thoughts, interests, and creative ideas. It is in this sharing of the deepest parts of ourselves with another that true intimacy in the relationship is cultivated. The

prejudice. Be fresh and new when perceiving the other. Always look for the highest first, look for the intrinsic beauty and goodness, for the essence of spirit in your partner. Give the benefit of the doubt; assume that your beloved’s intentions are life-enhancing and positive.

2. Be trustworthy. Steadiness and integrity lead to

energetic opening in the other as the blocks in relating dissolve away with deepening trust over time.

3. Flow. Be adaptable. Be sensitive like water, feel the other so you can attune and harmonize with your partner.

4. Be passionate. Generate the magnetic power of eros through sensual, mental, and spiritual delight. 5. Creatively express your love through your life.

Love is expressed through our hearts, minds, and bodies. To have a sustainable, long-term intimate love relationship, these key aspects must align and we must also work to develop qualities that will support our relationship. May all of our relationships be gateways to sharing in the highest love and sweetest joys, and to awakening to our full potential. John Friend is the founder of Anusara yoga, one of the leading hatha yoga schools in the world. Anusara® yoga blends a life-affirming Tantrik philosophy with Universal Principles of Alignment™. John was introduced to yoga in 1967, and began to practice and study at 13. A yoga teacher for over 30 years, he has taught 700 workshops in more than 20 countries. | 33



In the story of the Buddha’s awakening, we discover a call to the earth that echoes through time and speaks to all of us living on the great mother earth today. The Buddhist tradition describes Siddhartha Gautama Buddha just before his enlightenment, sitting steadily beneath the Bodhi tree while being attacked by demons. With whirling demons all around him, he is challenged by the horrific demon Mara, who wants to claim the Buddha’s seat for himself and demands to know who bears witness to the enlightenment of the Buddha? It is in this moment, that the Buddha, still in mediation, lightly touches the earth with his right hand, while keeping the left hand receptive and open on his lap. This symbolic gesture is an iconic image of the Buddha known as bhumi sparsha mudra: touching the earth mudra. It is a call to remembrance that the earth bears witness to each of us every day, and now is the time of sacred shifting where humanity is being asked to step up and bear witness to the earth and all her children. The demons of corporate and political greed cannot | 34

continue to claim the seat for all of humanity. This is a time of immense awakening and the summoning of each person to take the unshakeable seat of the warrior, where inner truth shines and personal transformation emanates forth into collective transformation. Indigenous traditions of all times have spoken of these truths, with the Mayan tradition being a central focus in this year of 2012. Renowned healer, spiritual activist, and yoga teacher Saul David Raye, speaking about his own studies with the Mayan Shamans, offers these insights: “There are many sacred teachings and prophecies that speak to this time as a time of the ‘the great shift,’ but perhaps none more directly than the Mayan teachings. The Mayan sacred calendar does not predict the end of the world; it speaks to the beginning of the next cycle of our evolution and deep transformation of consciousness. The shift of the ages is real; it is happening now and the Maya are in the center of the action. They are keepers of cosmic time, the divine plan unfolding in real time. The knowledge they hold in their calendar speaks directly to the heart.”

“What my teachers have shared with me, both the shamans and the yogis, is that we have to return to the Mother.” “What my teachers have shared with me, both the shamans and the yogis, is that we have to return to the Mother. It is time to come back into sacred connection with the divine feminine, with our mother earth, with each other, and with our hearts—this is the only way. We cannot continue with our arrogance and greed; they are destroying us. Things are urgent now. Human beings are part of the web of life; nothing lives in isolation. We must come back into balance with ourselves first, and then it happens with life.” May each of us take an unwavering seat of dignity, with a receptive heart and open mind, while we gently touch the earth and rise to the call of standing side-by-side as one family of the earth.

Sianna Sherman is an internationally recognized Anusara yoga teacher who delights in the many paths of love as a divine feast for the soul. Learn more about Sianna at: Learn more about Saul David Raye at: | 35


It’s worse than smoking. It’s worse than carbs and sugar. It’s lying. Lying is making us sick—and sad. I don’t just mean outright lies. I also mean hiding, avoiding, exaggerating, omitting, covering up and manipulating information and people. We all do it. When you lie, you can never relax. When you lie, you can never feel deeply loved. If people don’t know who you really are, you’ll never feel loved for who you truly are. You lie to avoid “getting in trouble,” but lying to the people in your life makes them into pawns. Everyone becomes like a puppet in your show and you become numb. If you want to know why you can’t feel deeply loved and loving, consider that lies are in the way. When you tell the truth, you learn what you like and don’t like about yourself, and you begin to correct your character. You learn what you regret, and you make amends. You take the true consequences of your choices and begin real healing for yourself and others. Then you can allow others to do the same, and intimacy is unleashed. In the Handel Method® (which my organization teaches at MIT, Stanford, Fortune 500 companies and with individual clients) telling the truth is considered the key to happiness. We challenge you to look at all areas of life.

HOW NOT TO ABOUT YOUR BODY: • Acknowledge that everything you eat and drink has an impact on your body, health, weight and mood. • Acknowledge exactly what you consume versus what you’d be proud to consume. Tell everyone. • Take responsibility for YOUR hand! ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO YOURSELF: • Tell people what you really think. Ask permission, frame things gracefully, then do it! • Acknowledge the things you want to change about yourself and tell your friends to hold you accountable. • Learn to confess the things you regret and make real amends. ABOUT LOVE: • Check for and delete anything on your dating profile that misrepresents the real you. • Stop hiding your bad habits from your partner. ABOUT YOUR FAMILY: • Tell your family about what you’ve been hiding: your abuse, drug use, fears, things that haunt you. Get their real perspective (versus the one you’ve made up in your mind). • Tell your friends and partner about your family issues. Everyone has them, so anyone with whom you want to be truly intimate needs to know your lineage crap and vice versa. IN YOUR CAREER: • Tell your boss what you really can and can’t get done—before it’s due! • Tell your boss the areas you know you need to improve. • Tell your co-workers to hold you to your promises about your body, work, and relationships. • If you are a leader, ask your employees what they’d like to see changed in themselves and in you.

Laurie Gerber is President of Handel Group® Life Coaching, an international coaching company that specializes in teaching individuals to take focused and powerful action in every area of their lives. Passionate about personal development, Laurie has dedicated the last 15 years to coaching hundreds of individuals and leading large groups at Kripalu Center, Esalen Institute, Equinox Fitness, Soho House, the JCC of Manhattan, Natural Health Magazine’s Women’s Wellness Weekends and Menla Mountain Retreat. She regularly blogs for The Daily Love, Huffington Post, Crazy Sexy Wellness, Dr. Frank Lipman, HGLC’s own weekly newsletter and more. She has also completed filming a TV show to be released this year. | 36

Notice your mind arguing against many of these suggestions; it is fighting to save the fictional you. There is a PR agent that lives inside your mind who is robbing you of ever feeling peaceful and loved. Fire your PR agent and sign up for a program of truth-telling ASAP. It’s good for your health and the health of the planet.

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If I told you I were able to connect to myself, to others, and to the highest as clearly through hip hop as I do through yoga, would you look at me in disbelief? When you hear the word “breakdance,” does the image evoked seem the antithesis of a mindful and contemplative yoga practice? If you agreed with either of these statements, I invite you to join me in a Breakti movement class. The first moment I consciously opened myself to the power of hip hop music, I touched into an experience of Self that I had only brushed up against before. When I danced and nodded to the music, the chasm between self and other began to dissipate. Years later, a dancing injury took me to the yoga mat, where I opened myself consciously to the power of asana to heal my body. The repetition of movement and breath on the mat, though new, felt strikingly familiar—I found a similar experience of the narrowing gap between self and other, a return to my-self through myself. The convergence of these experiences is what gave birth to the Breakti movement. Breakti unites postures and transitions | 38

from both yoga and street-dance styles. It is a class that is at once challenging and freeing for both mind and body. My mission in the evolution of this work has always been to open the space for my students to have an experience of both personal and cultural rhythm—a spiritual experience of themselves in relation to ground, music, and movement. Breakti is also a powerful cross-pollinator of cultures. Hip hop invites youth to experience the benefits of yoga. Challenging poses invite the archetype of strong men to learn where to soften. Beat-driven, exhilarating music invites those to class who might dismiss traditional yoga practices. Breakti seeks to transcend our familiar stereotypes of what yoga or hip hop is—revealing instead a new path back to who we are. Along the way, it might teach you a thing or two about what it means to get down in your dog.

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There’s a First Time for Everything Once upon a time, a superb New York City mama (let’s call her Sylvia) took her 5 year old daughter (let’s call her Lili) and her daughter’s friend ice-skating in Central Park. It was a beautiful day for ice skating; the sun was shining, the air just the right kind of winter warm. And as a result of the sunshine, the line to get into Wollman Rink was about two hours long.

provides no need for challenge, so no enemies exist. Since there is no regret and no laziness, you begin to appreciate the sacredness of the world.”

“Our children are absorbing our behaviors—let’s show them how to respect the space they’re in by handling ours with elegance, creativity and vision.” In this story, when Sylvia came across this intensely long line, she saw it as a challenge to overcome, rather than a context to respect. She could’ve just taught her kid how to creatively have fun while waiting, which is a useful skill in this world. If this “wink wink / cut the line” were to happen a few more times, Sylvia would wonder why, ten years down the road, Lili hides her boyfriends, her drug use and bad grades. In a fit of frustration, Sylvia might even call her child a “liar”—when it was she who taught her daughter exactly how to deceive. From a place of decency, trust, and respect that we, as parents, can cultivate in any circumstance, there is no need for “dominance over” anything—whether it’s a long line, your partner’s bad mood, or some misdeed that’s been done. Our children are absorbing our behaviors—let’s show them how to respect the space they’re in by handling ours with elegance, creativity and vision.

Sylvia remembered last year, when she had the brilliant idea to jump to the front of the line, claiming that her daughter needed to use the bathroom. In the door and into a pair of rental skates they went. “Hi there, Sir, my daughter really has to go to the bathroom, is that possible?”

Elena Brower, founder of Virayoga and Art of Attention, loves being Jonah’s Mama, and loves teaching yoga, writing, and coaching The Handel Method. She is creating a book called Art of Attention, producing a series of videos called On Meditation, and has developed an irresistible essential oil blend called GIVE, which benefits Women for Women International.

“Why yes of course, please, go right ahead.” And off went Sylvia, Lili, and friend, “victorious,” to “use the bathroom.” Then Sylvia exclaimed, “Well, since we’re HERE already, let’s just get some skates on!” Wink, wink. That, dear friends, was Lili’s first lesson in how to lie.

Victory? Typically, victory means dominance over someone or something, using pressure, effort, wit, artistry or talent. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche redefines the concept for us as a means of awakening: “…victory is a natural sense of existence that | 41


5 ELEMENTS TEACHER TRAINING photo by Kadri Kurgun | 42


The key to success is to not take rejection personally, to know that having faith counts the most when we feel scared the most, that a delay is not a denial, and that persistence above all else will prove to be a powerful ally. Oh—and most importantly—do what you LOVE. A lot of people write in to me and say that they feel like The Uni-verse has abandoned them. Now, that is a very interesting story. There are some times where we are meant to be lost or confused. I had a long period in my life that felt like a holding pattern—it felt like stasis. But what was happening during that time was I was getting stronger on the inside. And that is change you can’t SEE right away. Many times, though, when people feel as if The Uni-verse has abandoned them, the truth is that they have abandoned their dreams, and as a result they have abandoned The Uni-verse. What we think is being done TO US, we are actually doing TO ourselves. It’s a totally crazy reversal that is true most of the time. When we start to believe stories about how life works that come from anywhere else but within, we have set ourselves up for a crash course in getting a spiritual wakeup call! Whatever you think The Uni-verse is withholding from you, YOU are withholding from The Uni-verse. If you think that The Uni-verse isn’t answering your prayers, chances are you aren’t listening to your intuition and following it. You are so scared that you ask for new intuition, but that’s not how life works. The Uni-verse is constantly whispering to you, nudging you to trust It

and take a leap. But if you don’t take the leap of faith, then The Uni-verse can’t open any more doors for you. If you believe that the economy has more power over you than GRACE does, then you will buy into that story and start to live that life. The truth is that the people who live the life of their dreams take risks. And on top of that, they persist. And on top of that, they trust themselves. And on top of that, they don’t let circumstances hold them back, because they know that they are more powerful than their circumstances. And on top of that they know that it’s not about how much money they have, but how much passion, willingness and dedication they have to make their dreams come true. And on top of that they know that no one defines what’s true for them except them. And on top of that they know that Plan B is not an option, because it’s a distraction from Plan A. And on top of that they just don’t give up because that is who the hell they are! What is missing from your life? Know that whatever you are missing, you are—most likely—not giving. Bring to your life what you want from it. If you don’t think The Uni-verse is helping you, try trusting yourself and taking a risk. Listen to your intuition. Do what scares you … and the see the miracle that awaits.

Love and leaping, Mastin


WHEN TRUTH FINDS YOU “In the midst of difficulty lies opportunity.” - Einstein

Chris Roy is the founder of Namaste Interactive and NamasteLight. His companies serve an all-star cast of conscious leaders, businesses and organizations including Shiva Rea, Ram Dass, Baron Baptiste, MC Yogi, Acro Yoga, Manduka, Off the Mat Into the World, Core Power Yoga, YogaWorks and Yoga Tree. As an entrepreneur, yoga teacher, husband and father, Chris is committed to bridging the principles of yoga and spiritual practice with all his life endeavors. ORIGIN COLUMNIST: CHRIS ROY

I often tell people that my life changed during a yoga class, though not how they might imagine. Awakening comes in many shapes and sizes. In one moment I was participating in a seated yoga exercise. In the next, I was being rushed to the California Medical Center. Turns out, my appendix was on the doorstep of a very serious rupture. In my experience, these are the moments when life beckons our acute presence and the alarm sounds on the illusion that “all is okay.” For me, this was a life-altering experience, in which, perhaps for the first time, I was willing to be completely honest about everything that had led me to that moment. The universe will whisper your truth, provide a gentle nudge, and finally it will kick you in the backside. If this was the universal ass-kicking, I didn’t want to miss the message and not discover what might be awaiting me. I’d had a high-speed secondchakra blowout, and no matter how strong the impulse was to drive on, it was time for me to pay attention to the road signs. Following emergency surgery, I decided to listen. From my hospital bed, I quit my position in entertainment marketing. I said goodbye to the Beverly Hills office and launched a new company. I didn’t have a | 44

clue how it was going to happen, but I was very clear on the “why.” I had been through the corporate grinder—10 years of my life invested in pretending to be someone who didn’t really exist. I was desperate for something real.

“The universe will whisper your truth, provide a gentle nudge, and finally it will kick you in the backside.” I was determined to launch a business built on yogic principles, compassion and purpose. It took time to shed the old programming, but miracles occurred and opportunities began to emerge. Right about that time, I was invited to interview entrepreneurs for an online show in its infancy. My first interviewee was a young aspiring business-owner named Blake Mycoskie, founder of Tom’s Shoes. Blake radiated passion. He spoke about a “one for one” model that was at the core of his business—for every pair of shoes purchased, he would give a pair to a child in need. I was completely captivated. This business model, I thought, could change the world. Imagine a world where, for every transaction, an action is taken for good.

In a time when business has become such a dominant force on our planet, it is clear that we must adopt a conscious new definition for business. Profitability and purpose have to merge. Blake had tapped some profound dharmic juice that ignited his human spirit. As he shares in his recently published book, Start Something that Matters, “Increasingly, the tried-and-true tenets of success are just tried, not true.” Inspired by this model, my business partner and I applied the “one for one” model to our web marketing business, Namaste Interactive. We decided that for every campaign our clients sent through our email service, we would plant a tree. Today, we are planting thousands of trees. This approach has given new dimension and substance to everything we do. Einstein once said “In the midst of difficulty lies opportunity.” I have certainly found this to be true. I have also recognized that opportunity is always there, gently knocking. Our job is to listen—deeply— and trust in that source, no matter the form in which it arises.

YOU MATTER DON’T QUIT Actress, icon, author and entrepreneur—Mariel Hemingway may best be known for her on-camera achievements (Academy Award Nominations, Bob-Fosse-Styled Sex Scenes, and enduring athletic performances), but it is her passion for mental health and holistic living that is lighting up her life these days. The granddaughter of literary legend Ernest Hemingway, and the younger sister of famed (and fallen) model, Margaux, Mariel has endured 7 suicides in her family. From a young age, Ms. Hemingway recognized the pattern of mental illness present in her genetic make-up, and as a result she has taken a holistic approach to her own relationship with depression. “Living a simpler life has turned out to be one of the keys to being more awake and healthy,” remarks Hemingway. In a personal quest for her most balanced life, she has ventured into a clean simple-eating plan (from her organic garden and local farms), a fitness routine (consisting of outdoor activities like hiking and rock-climbing) and a direct mind-body connection (through yoga, meditation and the practice of silence). Mariel and her partner Bobby Williams have made this their life’s mission with their new venture The WillingWay, an entertainment and lifestyle company committed to natural health and healing.

Their charity, You Matter Don’t Quit, works to give others a voice. Hemingway explains: “The prevalence of mental illness compels me to give it—and the people suffering from it—a voice. Since I come from a family of mental instability, and I have suffered depression myself, I knew that living in shame is senseless and painful, and that by talking about it, I have come to peace with it. The stigma behind people’s suffering needs to end. We as a community need to embrace these disorders, try to understand them (if only just to talk about them) so that we can cease being defined by them. We live in a society that is afraid of ways of being it doesn’t understand. So lets try to come to a place of compassion about mental illness, in all its forms, and help each other find healing.”

“The prevalence of mental illness compels me to give it—and the people suffering from it—a voice.” Join the movement at | 45

Waris Dirie When I was 15 years old, I read Desert Flower, the best-selling autobiography of model/activist

Waris Dirie. It cut me to the core, with its portrayal of the repression of women—particularly through genital mutilation—in Dirie’s Somali homeland. Five years later, I moved to Somalia to investigate and shed light on the traditional practice of female genital mutilation. Waris Dirie continues to lead the fight against female genital mutilation, and it was my life-long dream to talk to her about how her heroic campaign is progressing. Polly Armstrong: What drives you in this fight against female genital mutilation (FGM)?

Waris Dirie: Well, of course there’s my own experience of being mutilated as a little child. Having gone through this cruel practice and all the long-term consequences that come with it, I just cannot sit back and watch it being done to thousands of little girls every year. I believe that it is my responsibility to use the attention I get to fight against the continuing practice of FGM. PA: How do you maintain your strength and resilience through all the criticism you must have faced? WA: I know what I am fighting for. I am fighting for the most basic rights of innocent children. And that is why I never take the criticism too deep under my skin. PA: What´s happening on the ground in Somalia in relation to the fight against FGM?

“I really hope that my country will one day rise out of this mess and reach the potential it has. This includes the fight against FGM, but even before, there must be an end of the violence in Somalia.” PA: At what point in your life and what circumstance led you to stand up for what you believe and be the voice for woman who suffer this? WA: I always knew, from the very day of my own mutilation, that I would one day fight against this practice. I did not know how and when, but I knew that I would fight it. When I became successful as a model in the United States, I knew that my chance to be heard had come and so I took it. PA: What motivates you to continue your amazing work?

WA: Somalia is facing many problems. I don’t even know where to start. In the current situation, it is very difficult for foreign NGOs to work in Somalia because it is so unstable and dangerous. I really hope that my country will one day rise out of this mess and reach the potential it has. This includes the fight against FGM, but even before, there must be an end of the violence in Somalia.

WA: Firstly, it is the countless number of children that still have to suffer because of ignorance, lack of education and information. Then, even though 150million women are affected by this torture, the international community, including the UN and international NGOs, do not do enough to effectively eradicate this crime. For these reasons, I can never give up.

PA: Children and women are brought up to believe that this practice is good—that they can’t get married if they don’t have it done, and they’re considered ‘dirty’ if they aren’t ‘circumcised.’ What are your thoughts and any ideas on solutions for this mindset?

PA: Do you ever feel alone, desperate or that the road is too long, the mountain too high, the problem too big? How do you move through this?

WA: These ideas are not given facts. They are being taught to the girls. Therefore, education will always be the most important tool in eradicating this practice. Secondly, we need to empower women: provide them with work for their own income, and teach them to become independent of men so they will never have to have their children suffering the same torture. | 46

WA: I have often felt like I was the only one fighting against FGM. There is still a huge taboo surrounding the topic, because it involves the most private parts of the female´s body. But whenever I feel like this is too much for me to do, I read e-mails and messages I receive every day from people thanking me for speaking up for them, for giving them a voice. These messages let me know that I am not alone, and that what I do is worthwhile.

PA: In all the years that you have fought this issue, how much has changed? WA: A lot has changed. Many countries have adopted stricter laws against FGM, especially in Africa. While laws alone are not enough, they are an important message, showing parents that what they are planning to do is not ok, that it is in fact illegal. Also, because of our campaign, the Islamic scholars who issue Fatwa (formal legal opinion) have started teaching that FGM is, in fact, not required by Quran. Many countries have also adopted special campaigns against FGM. But there are many things that still need to be done, because FGM will only be eradicated for good if the mindset of many societies towards women changes drastically. That’s what I am trying to foster through several projects in Africa that help empower women.

“Give love and share happiness with the people around you, and never give up fighting for what you believe in.” PA: Desert Flower, a film about your life and triumphs, was recently released. How do you feel about the film, and what impact do you think it has had in bringing the issue of FGM to the forefront? WA: It was of course very emotional and very challenging to see my “own” life on screen. I agreed to this film because I hoped that it would reach even more people than my books alone, and the success of the movie, especially among younger people, confirmed that hope. Every person that learns about FGM is important, so I am very happy that the movie was made and that it was seen by so many people. PA: What is your biggest influence in Life, Work and Art?

WA: My mother, my children and Mother Nature. My family is and will always stay the most important to me. PA: How would you describe yourself in five words? WA: Strong, determined, impulsive, happy, and emotional. PA: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? WA: Surrounded by my family, somewhere in the middle of nature in Africa. PA: What can people do for the planet today to make it a better place? WA: Give love and share happiness with the people around you, and never give up fighting for what you believe in. PA: What is your biggest hope for the planet and the world? WA: Less hatred, more love, less war, more peace, more respect for the Mother Nature and for other people. And of course a world without FGM. PA: How can people become actively involved? What can people do now to affect change? WA: We always encourage our supporters to never stop talking about FGM, and to raise awareness about this torture. We have so many amazing people who organize screenings of the movie Desert Flower all over the world or make fundraising events to support us. Now, with our new project, people can buy products of the Desert Flower Foundation, produced by Fair Trade Companies in Kenya and Ethiopia, which employ many women and this way provides them with the income and the independence they need.

The Desert Flower Foundation, founded by Waris Dirie, fights against the root causes of female genital mutilation, such as poverty, lack of education and the low social status of women in many societies. Worldwide, 150 million women and girls are affected by FGM. | 47


Although I am a force in the wellness community, I was unable to save the person closest to me from the tragedy that is mental illness. I am the founder and president of YogaFit, the largest Yoga School in North America. For the past 15 years, I have committed my life to the growth and evolution of souls. My every decision has been around my organization—its mission is my dharma, my life’s path. But earlier this year I lost my partner to mental illness, and was devastated that I personally could not save her. D and I met in early 2008 at an animal-rights fundraiser. I found myself staring into the blue eyes of one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen. After a year of casual acquaintance, we began working together, and then became romantically involved. We were inseparable, isolated in our own little world. I found myself backing away from friends and relatives, wanting nothing more than to be with her. Like me, D was really into health and wellness; we practiced our yoga together, went to the gym, and ate well. Our time together was joyous, spiritual and complete—I felt like I had found my other half. D had endured a rough childhood and needed to release what she still carried from her past. Her brother had died of a heroin overdose and her sister was an alcoholic. Her father was a killer who, at age 15, shot someone in the face three times, becoming the youngest man ever sentenced to San Quentin. Her mother had recently died with Alzheimer’s. Despite the weight of those experiences, D was innocent like a child, with an inner core that was exquisite, gracious and gentle. Her stunning outer beauty was just as graceful, and I often likened her to a fragile bird. But beyond her luminosity was a deep and dark shadow. D was very intelligent, psychic and intuitive. I have come to learn that people with schizophrenia are often shamans in other cultures. When she told me dead people were speaking to her from the trees, I believed her. My business has been built upon the faith that there is much more than what we can see with our human eyes. | 48

“I have come to learn that people with schizophrenia are often shamans in other cultures. When she told me dead people were speaking to her from the trees, I believed her.” Over time, I saw her start to splinter: violent mood outbreaks, fits of rage, depression, delusions of grandeur and paranoia. As I struggled to keep things on an even keel, we tried couples counseling. I constantly walked on eggshells. A year into our relationship, I insisted she go to the doctor and get medication. And she did—along with a prescription for green herbal medication. The medication worked fairly well in the first month and then it seemed to work against her. Her fits of rage worsened. She was slipping, and a part of her must have known it. D insisted that we get married, and I agreed, hopeful that maybe she would feel more secure and stable. On Valentines Day, 17 months into our relationship, we went to our nation’s capitol to get married on the steps of Congress. During the next 48 hours together, sequestered in a hotel room, I witnessed her run out of her green herbal medicine and slip from one personality into another, a spiraling from which she has never recovered. When I googled her symptoms, I read about schizophrenia, bipolar mood and borderline personality disorder.

Back home days later in Beverly Hills, it became impossible to go on, and I moved out of our home, leaving most of my possessions behind. I had to align with my yogic principles of letting go of attachments, both to possessions and people. I re-immersed myself in my practice and called on healers and guides to keep grounded. Although in shock, I managed to stay functional by running my business, going to the gym, doing advanced neurofeedback, and listening to one Snatam Kaur mantra for a month straight. [I did not know it at the time, but this mantra—Ra (Sun), Ma (Moon), Da (Earth), Sa (Infinity), Sa (Infinity), Say (Totality of Infinity), So Hung (I am Thou) —is known as one of the most powerful, uniting Earth and Ether to heal.] In the aftermath of my move, D destroyed my home, was institutionalized twice as a danger to herself or others, was incarcerated for threatening to kill her 90-year old father who was dying of bone cancer, and had several run-ins with the police. D once shopped at the finest of stores in Beverly Hills, drove a Land Rover, and wore the largest ring that I could buy her at Cartier. When I sat down to draft this article, I had just discovered that D was living on the streets and pushing a shopping cart from TJ Maxx. Days later, the news reached me that she is now in jail. The grieving process is one of intersection. All of the charts, graphs and stages are not linear—they flow like ocean waves on tides of anger, bargaining and depression. Months later, my healing heart is starting to reopen and the most painful of the emotions have left. It took a long time to allow myself to fully feel the pain of losing my life partner and an even longer time to begin to learn the patience that my practice teaches. Yoga truly gives us the tools to deal with crisis.

“Yoga truly gives us the tools to deal with crisis.” Grief passes more quickly with good self-care habits and a close circle of family or friends. It helps to eat a balanced diet, drink enough non-alcoholic fluids, get exercise and rest. Most people are unprepared for grief since, so often, tragedy strikes without warning. If good self-care habits are always practiced, that helps absorb the pain and shock of loss until acceptance is reached. Part of my acceptance has been caring for one of D’s dogs, a very sick boxer. Caring for Bugsy makes me feel like in some small way I am also caring for her. I have befriended her ex-husband and his partner, and we often have dinner together, supporting each other. I learned that D was hospitalized in 2002 with a double diagnosis of bipolar and multiple personality disorder. Although she was OK for a few years with the proper medication, she eventually choose to go off her meds due to the weight gain, as she was very appearance conscious. I could not save D, I could not heal her. But I am healing myself and hope that my experience will help me to heal and support others struggling with mental illness. These past 11 months have connected me with people who have suffered losses of family, friends and loved ones. This chapter in my life has brought me closer to the limitations of what I teach, as well as the infinite potential of yoga and its power to heal. My experience has inspired me to link yoga therapy and mental illness and open a clinical retreat center so we can repair beautiful but fractured souls like D.

The day I wrote this, having recently moved back into the house I shared with D after an extensive remodel, I was sitting on the floor of my empty dining room and as the words poured from me, so did a rush of emotion. Bugsy, who was very sick with congestive heart disease, came up to me and licked my face many times. I grabbed him by his snout, as I often did, and looked deep into his eyes: “I love you, Mr. Bugman, and I always will. Don’t forget it.” For months, I’ve been sitting with this story, not sure of the venue in which to share it. Being able to write and share it was a very cathartic and releasing experience for me. That night, one year to the date that D and I moved into the home overlooking Benedict Canyon with music playing loudly in the house, Bugsy’s heart stopped and mine was broken open once again.

Beth Shaw is the Founder and President of YogaFit®, Inc., the largest Yoga School in the world (, and is recognized as one of the leading experts in the fields of mind-body fitness. A life long student of fitness, psychology, philosophy, spirituality and health, Beth is committed to helping people find their own perfect health: physically and mentally. An EYRT, she has spent time in India and Asia studying yoga. She holds numerous certificates in fitness disciplines, as well as degrees in Business Administration and Nutrition. Author of several books on Yoga, health and conscious business, Beth speaks frequently at universities and corporations and has been featured in numerous publications. | 49


here’s a profoundly negative, degrading

take me—and thousands of other people—out of

attitude in our culture towards aging. Rather than

suffering into healing, pleasure, and sometimes

offer you tools to preserve a wrinkle-free face, I

ecstasy. I am delighted by my autodidactic

would like to offer you a new paradigm, whereby

ability. I feel gratitude for my own unusual, quirky

as we age we can embody and model the beauty

way of taking an experience and composting it

of a rich spirit.

until something of value comes from it. I took hardship, distilled it, and re-paradigmed it, until I

Yoga has given me the ability to age—simply

had treasures to heal myself and our people. I am

because without yoga I wouldn’t have had the

thrilled that I can create such beauty from such

privilege of being around this long!


Aging has brought me so much. I have gotten

“Aging has brought me so much. I have gotten wiser and now have the ability to sequence my yoga more brilliantly. My yoga is fitting together more organically and synergistically, and that delights me.”

yoga more brilliantly. My yoga is fitting together more organically and synergistically, and that delights me. Each time I practice, I have the opportunity to make it a masterpiece, because now there is an energetic component that lights me up. It has taken these many years to create the neural pathways that make this ecstasy possible. I totally get off on experimenting and playing with these new pathways; I am accessing parts of my brain that we as modern people are just starting to re-explore, treading the path our Wise Ancient Ones also walked. This is incredibly exciting!

“I am accessing parts of my brain that we as modern people are just starting to re-explore, treading the path our Wise Ancient Ones also walked.”

These abilities have helped me in myriad ways, giving me inspiration, creativity, and a rich, full life right now. Feeling grateful for myself is a powerful sign of my evolution and maturation—and it took 50-plus years to get to that point. I don’t need to keep trying to survive those old, hard things anymore. My life is not generating those hardships now, and I am really proud of having broken that cycle. I now have a lot of tools I can use to go through a difficult experience, learn from it, and heal whatever the hell the problem is, or find people who can help me heal it.

The other day my back was hurting, so I began doing some poses I created to ease the pain.

It is important as we grow older to

While doing these poses, I had cascading layers

continue to regularly do things we are

of epiphanies, like a sparkling diamond waterfall.

proud of—things which are exciting and

I marveled that I had learned how to alleviate

quicken the blood. You can move your

my own suffering and ease my own back pain in

blood through exercise, sex, excitement,

a matter of minutes. I realized that I am grateful

and pranayama. Quickening my blood is

to my own ingenuity for having created poses to

one of my daily practices. | 50


wiser and now have the ability to sequence my

Because of Forrest Yoga, I have wonderful feelings coursing

Medicine chants. Recording was a vulnerable process; it took a

through my body every day. Yoga gets my endorphins up, juices

lot of courage to do, but I turned it into a teaching tool, a very

my joints, and nourishes my brain. My brain functions clearly and

advanced asana! That was my Heroine’s Quest: to answer the need

creatively after my yoga, dispelling the myth of the mentally-foggy

of my people, I journeyed through my own doubt and failure, to

menopausal woman!

successfully create in Beauty.

The older I get, the more I fall in love with pranayama. I’m

“Yoga gets my endorphins up, juices my joints, and nourishes my brain. My brain functions clearly and creatively after my yoga.”

intrigued and enchanted with its effects. In the last five years I became fascinated with studying my blood. When my energy is down, my blood feels flat and torpid. Pranayama and the deep penetrating breathing cultivated during yoga practice sparkles up my blood. Within 20 minutes, it feels rich and swiftly flowing. Without my yoga practice, it feels a little bit thick, flat, and low in oxygen, which makes me feel old and grouchy and achy—so I just keep sparkling up my blood every day!

Another treasure of the sweetness of aging is to have written my new book, Fierce Medicine. It took me so long to start it because I had to mature to a certain level. When I re-read my book, I get really moved, and that means a lot to me. Recently, I was doing a book reading of Fierce at The Forrest Yoga Studio in Seoul, Korea. One of my Forrest Yoga Guardian teachers, Sinhee Ye-McCabe, a

“I love to do things that I never thought I would do—brave things.”

dear friend, was translating to the listeners. As she translated a section about becoming free of pain and suffering, she began to cry. Other people in the audience started crying. My eyes were watering up. It was intense Beauty—so cool! And I now get the pleasure of hearing from people who have been helped and deeply touched by Fierce Medicine. One woman told

I love to do things that I never thought I would do—brave things. That is part of what keeps my

me she carries it with her to read in scary situations—like before a root canal, or even while waiting on line at the DMV. It’s just amazing that she is using these dulling and frightening moments to educate herself and work in a profound way. I love it.

life feeling rich. Brave things don’t have to be

Learning how to play with change in a way that delights me has


made my life way more compelling and fun. Surfing change has

dangerous. In

brought me to a wonderful new place. I have grown into my

Houston a few

wisdom. I have had time to develop my vision of “mending the

months ago, I

hoop of the people,” and am seeing it come into reality with the

recorded my

help of my Forrest Yoga Guardians and our Mentorship Program. Now there are Forrest Yoga teachers all over the world. I have students I adore, and I get to travel to new countries every year. I am simply euphoric, in love; it is amazing and hot on all levels...and I turned 55 in December! How great is that? 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. With thousands of licensed practitioners around the world, Forrest Yoga is renowned as an intensely physical, internally focused practice that emphasizes how to carry a transformative experience off the mat and into daily life. | 51


producer says off-handedly in a disarming Southern drawl.

“To date, Drop in the Bucket (DITB) has drilled 160 wells in cooperation with local schools and village elders. Each provides fresh, drinkable water for thousands of villagers.”

But underestimating Travis is a definite mistake. As the boots on

In 2006 a group of entertainment professionals, well-versed in the

the ground for DITB in Uganda and Southern Sudan, she is a force

hedonistic excesses of Hollywood, decided to put their spare time

to be reckoned with. “All these hard-core guys who have been

and talents to use for people a world away, and Drop in the Bucket

everywhere, ex-military, missionaries, all look over and go “What

was born.

When Stacey Travis of the non-profit Drop in the Bucket gets out of her Toyota Land Cruiser at yet another dusty African village, no one seems to notice her plum-colored hair or bright red lipstick. “I think all westerners look a bit strange here,” the former TV

the…?” To date, Drop in the Bucket (DITB) has drilled 160 wells in But for this punk-rock charity, it’s not about appearances at all. It’s

cooperation with local schools and village elders. Each provides

about results.

fresh, drinkable water for thousands of villagers. Instead of walking miles each day for water, girls can attend school and bring it home from there. With many charitable groups trying to address the world’s water crisis, DITB strives to set itself apart, in both image and policy. “A lot of groups go to Africa a few times a year and give money to groups that drill wells, but we actually drill the wells, teach the locals how to maintain them, and check back to see how it’s going,” says John Travis, DITB co-founder and top-tier music producer, who has worked with acts including Social Distortion and Buckcherry. | 52

“We just thought it was time charities stopped being so polite and

Take that Sally Struthers.

started getting things done.” Maybe it’s the clarity of purpose and no-nonsense efficiency at the With its rock-and-roll roots, this is not a group you’ll find on some

core of the charity; maybe they’ve struck a chord with boomers

late night infomercial. They’re a little under the radar, just slightly

who’ve still got their Black Flag T-shirts and want to make a

counter-culture, and they like it that way.

difference; but things are looking good for DITB.

“This is what the test of this century is going to be!“ says Henry

“All these hard-core guys who have been everywhere, ex-military, missionaries, all look over and go “What the…?”

Rollins from the stage at their yearly fund-raiser in Los Angeles. “People giving outside of their own area of concern and responsibility, or at least acknowledging their area of concern to be larger than their dinner plate or their own country’s borders.” The crowd is a mix of music fans, metal heads, tattooed Goth chicks and guys you’d avoid in a dark alley. On stage, Rollins is joined by Dave Navaro from Jane’s Addiction, Scott Ian of Anthrax, and Corey Taylor from Slipknot, who tear through a set of classic rock covers, clearly having as much fun as the audience. In the lobby, you can buy concert T-shirts, posters designed by Shepard Fairey, snag a beer and bid on signed rock-and-roll memorabilia.

Next, they plan to expand in South Sudan, arguably the world’s poorest country, and to drill more wells in the Darfur border region. “It’s rough, going out there,” says Stacey Travis, comparing life in Hollywood to the rigors of life in Africa. “But when you see how bad it is, doing nothing is just not an option.” For more information go to: | 53



Janet’s personal yoga journey began in 1996 when she traveled to India, the birthplace of her grandfather, where she met an inspired yogi and became dedicated to a conscious evolution through yoga. She currently teaches in San Francisco, and at teacher trainings, workshops and retreats around the world. | 54



n this awesome practice of yoga, we’ve all become accustomed to moving, stretching, breathing, mudra-ing, chanting, and reading texts (please let me call this texting) in a headlong rush toward self-awareness and inner peace. Problem? No, not unless we do this in a way that tries to relieve ourselves of the full experience of feeling. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve begun to feel an upwelling of grief or [insert inconvenient feeling here] and then somehow “spiritualized” my way out of it. Some aphorism will pop up, or a nugget of dharma will scroll across my cortex, and the next thing you know, I’ve talked myself out of this pesky Feeling. I check out, shrug it off with the most recent spiritual tidbit bouncing around Twitterlandia. Voilà! No need to move all the way through this nuisance of a feeling when I can suffocate it with a poem by Rumi and go back to a fattened cow smile. Spiritual woobie has become the norm. But wait—if you spend a moment reading the legends of the great deities, they all embrace the totality of both human and Godly experiences. These folks all have some serious issues—and they seem to be okay with that.

“What would it be like to let in the fullness of life to allow the rich texture of our likes, dislikes, joys, and pains live equally as forms of energy and vitality?” Oh, that’s just Kali: she simply needs to rip his head off. It’s her thing. Oh, that’s just Ram over there undone by grief, rendered useless because his wife, Sita, has been abducted by a nine-headed demon. But hey, if they can do it, why can’t we? What would it be like to let in the fullness of life—to allow the rich texture of our likes, dislikes, joys, and pains to live equally as forms of energy and vitality? Face it: tears are nectar. Ponder it for a moment. Often we feel this strange sensation of “I don’t know what’s wrong with me! Why can’t I just be super chipper happy like last week/hour/minute?” But then something sparks, and tears come, and you’re in the eye of the storm. Compressed emotions swirl crazily around, and then— SHAZAM— the storm has rolled on. Sure, you have puffy eyes and you may even regret that thing you wrote to

that old boyfriend on Facebook (as you breathlessly search for the Delete button), but you’re okay. As a matter of fact, the sky seems a bit clearer, as does your deepest understanding of yourself. Where do we find the courage to allow big emotions to come—and go? Anyone who’s been through any ride of emotions and found Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart roughed up in the bed next to them, pages folded and refolded, marked and highlighted, will find the answer right there. No, it’s not necessarily pretty. But it’s real. No matter how much we squirm, contract, run, hide, overanalyze, and flail around doing special breathing, all we really need to do is stay and sit there “nailed to the moment.” Things fall apart, and they come back together again. Feel that.

For 2012 teacher trainings 200 | 500, retreats, DVD’s, festivals and more: &


ding a e

In 2006, I was on a safari in Kenya with my family when I saw a group of young Kenyan men doing handstands in the middle of the bush. As a yoga teacher, my first reaction was to jump out of the vehicle and do handstands with these young acrobats. Little did I know, this brief connection would forever change my life. After returning to New York, I was contacted by the Kenyan Acrobats and asked to come back to teach them yoga. My heart said yes. What I did not realize was that I would be staying in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, where most people live on less than $1 a day. While teaching, | 56


h a ng



Afr ica Pro Yoga jec t: C

I met five teenage girls; Catherine, Anita, Irene, Leah and Hadijah. They called themselves the “Ghetto Girls.”

change in this community by offering yoga. With that, the idea of Africa Yoga Project (AYP) was born.

The “Ghetto Girls” ranged in age from 13 to 19 years old, and were living in a small room made out of iron sheets with one mattress. At night they would use a plastic bag as their toilet, since they feared getting raped if they used the community toilet. Each and every day they traveled over two hours to come to yoga class. They said it made them feel clean, strong and happy.

In 2007, Africa Yoga Project was established as a non-profit with a mission to use the transformative power of yoga to empower communities and change lives.

What I experienced there immediately made me think about how I could support

Today, over 4,000 people participate in more than 200 weekly community-yoga classes in 80 locations, including community centers, prisons and schools throughout Nairobi and in the Masai village of Amboseli. Fifty-eight Kenyans from the slums, including the “Ghetto

“Youth from the slums are now earning a living wage, which allows them to feed and support themselves and their families, where previously they had little hope of ever finding a job.”

Girls,” have been trained to teach power yoga by my teacher, Baron Baptiste, founder of the Baron Baptiste Power Vinyasa Institute. Youth from the slums are now earning a living wage, which allows them to feed and support themselves and their families, where previously they had little hope of ever finding a job. One of the “Ghetto Girls,” Catherine, now teaches yoga at the United Nations in the mornings and to victims of trauma and violence in her community in the afternoon. She has her own house where she lives with her beautiful, healthy daughter Tully. She has taught her two sisters to teach yoga, and together they have inspired their mother, a life-long alcoholic, to break the cycle and get sober. The “Ghetto Girls” and all the AYP teachers are leading the change in their communities. In addition to introducing yoga to East Africa, AYP provides educational scholarships, job training, food stipends, housing, health services, and opportunities for the global yoga

To learn more about Africa Yoga Project and its programs, such as the Mentorship Program, Seva Safari and the Ambassador Program, please visit


community to make connections that will change their lives. | 57


“Are you afraid to not be sick?” A question posed to me by my mother several years ago.

Did I think that I wouldn’t be important if I was healthy? Absurd. Of course I wanted to be well! Who wants to be stuck in the throes of an eating disorder for eternity? I never understood the perceptiveness of her question until now. I was afraid. I was afraid of being healthy, of growing up, of really doing something well, of success. I subconsciously thought that if I succeeded at anything besides my eating disorder, I would have to give it up—and with it, my carefully constructed identity. I would have to move outside myself and live in a world full of uncertainty, a world composed of both successes and failures. If I tried to succeed, the threat of failure was terrifying; the certainty of failure was safer. At least failure was under my control. I wasn’t ready to give up the starving and the extreme working out. It was easier to retreat back into myself. The unknown drove me crazy, and I felt comfort in my routine: go to work or school, work out, sleep. Repeat. | 58

I didn’t need external challenges to be important. I knew how to be important in illness. After all, isn’t weight loss one of the greatest successes in our culture? I was good at that. It was enough. It is a sad statement that our society puts so much emphasis on such a vacant pursuit. Stepping into a world composed of both failures and successes brings a new level of excitement paired with anxiety—anxiety of the unknown. These days, I find myself dealing with this anxiety: accepting that I don’t know the outcome of that day, of that moment; accepting that I must live to breathe in the moment, to feel the whisper of my inhales and exhales as my truth. This is the ground I hold, the space I fill: sensations overflowing the boundaries of my body and the confines of my soul. To reject these innately human things is to choose darkness instead of light. I’ve seen the light; I know it exists, and I plow forward. Don’t get stuck in the past. Remember it, but don’t harp on it; don’t simmer in the stew of regret.

ORIGIN COLUMNIST: SOPHIE B. HAWKINS What I remember most about the explosion of British Petroleum’s Macondo oil well on April 20, 2010 (which killed eleven workers and caused 5 million barrels of crude oil to spill into the Gulf) were the paintings on the walls of withering houses as we drove out to Grande Isle, La, in the hushing rain: the thoughtful face of Hope and Change with giant question marks and the words “what now?” There were also the life-sized sculptures in parking lots of charred soldiers with gas masks holding poisoned fish, and signs saying, “You’ve taken our way of life, now you’ve cut off our legs.” They were all done by locals, the indigenous coastal people, Houma Nation (, who had caught shrimp and other sea food as a livelihood for generations, and who are now at high risk of cultural extermination as a result of the immediate and long-term effects of the Deep Water Horizon disaster. The reason I went to the Gulf (under threat of hurricanes) was that our friend, Richard Grenell, spokesman for four U.S Ambassadors to the U.N. (, had been following this textiles guy, Dan Sinykin of Monterey Mills, WI, on the internet. Dan demonstrated in a video how his specially-treated sheep’s wool could pick up the oil from the sea. Richard wanted to get to Grande Isle immediately to help Dan test this new technology, and he easily convinced Gigi and me to go, too, because we were so frustrated that not enough was being done to help the marine and land life. The most stunning thing about arriving in Grande Isle was how lonely the peninsula felt, and how alone we were in seeking the truth about why the Federal Government wouldn’t let entrepreneurs and citizens clean up the devastation (for more, see http://

“I believe that the health of communities and ecosystems, which are the life blood of our history and independence, starts with the individual’s call to action, in their own neighborhood.” people most affected must dictate regulation according to their needs for a healthy, prosperous community. Locals know best—which leads to my next point: I believe that the health of communities and ecosystems, which are the life blood of our history and independence, starts with the individual’s call to action, in their own neighborhood. This is why I support the Waterkeeper Alliance. They were the first responders at the scene of the BP oil spill, and they are there today. The Waterkeeper Alliance has nearly 200 local Waterkeepers patrolling rivers, lakes and coastal waterways on six continents, all the time. They are not funded by the government, so they are testing water quality, and monitoring polluters and pollutants while fighting constantly on behalf of the water and the communities that depend on it. They were so busy cleaning the water, doing fly-overs to track the path of the oil, and reporting on the toxic dispersants BP was using that they couldn’t give us footage; they were in combat. Visit the blog at and scroll down to April, May and June of 2010. You’ll be amazed what you learn!

The whole community—usually bustling with tourists and brimming with work for shrimpers and oil-drilling employees—was left for dead. A young man took us out in his motor boat to test the sheepskin material, and we did pick up some sizeable chunks that you can see in our video, “Sinnerman,” which documents our trip accompanied by a song I recorded for the event ( watch?v=M5BMXWHQWBw). You’ll also see that we were chased by police Helicopters and boats, because the EPA had declared it illegal to pick up the oil. How can a country be strong if, in the event of an environmental catastrophe, the hands of the mom and pop businesses and local citizens are tied by regulatory constraints which multi-national corporations, who caused the accident, use to their advantage? BP just picked up ten oil rigs and left for other, less-regulated shores, taking jobs with them. I’m not sure what the role of the Federal Government should be, but the relationship between the state and the multi-national corporations that operate there should start with the local communities. Especially in an emergency, the

I wrote a song called “The Land, The Sea and The Sky,” of which every penny from downloads goes to the Waterkeep- eralliance. Check it out: http://sophiebhawkins. com/shop | 59


he US has 4% of the world’s population, yet 25% of the world’s imprisoned. Over 7 million adults are under correctional supervision. That’s 1 in 31 adults in prison, on parole, or probation. The majority are African American and Latino. Even as violent crime has recently declined, the prison population has dramatically increased. With an annual cost of almost $60 billion, we spend more on our prisons than we invest in education. The prison system is not only dysfunctional but also a dismal failure considering that the national recidivism rate is 60% (3 in 5 return to prison within 3 years of release).* Ten years ago I embarked on a path to bring the transformative benefits of yoga to incarcerated youth and adults, not realizing the impact my efforts would have in empowering people to break free in this broken system.   I became a student of yoga in 1986, starting with Iyengar Yoga and then exploring Ashtanga Yoga. I experienced  effects much deeper than the physical benefits, and I realized that it was quite compatible with my Vipassana meditation practice. By 1999, I wanted to teach and give back, sharing all the physical, emotional, and psychological benefits that I had experienced from my own practice. I had heard a lot about Erich Schiffman and enrolled in one of his teacher trainings. I was heavily impacted by something he said: “Don’t teach necessarily what others teachers are teaching. Find what it is that you have to offer and teach that.”   I contemplated teaching outside of a yoga studio. Near where I lived, there was a residential treatment program for 24 boys, called Full Circle. Most of the boys came from neglected or at-risk circumstances, or had been court-ordered into the program. I volunteered to teach these boys and discovered that yoga gave them the ability to self-soothe in a way that Ritalin and other meds failed. I taught there for about 5 years until the program lost its state funding and closed. PHOTO: ROBERT STURMAN | 60


When I was able to set up a program in the Marin County Juvenile Hall, I grew clearer about the path that was opening up for my work with at-risk youth using mindfulness techniques. I kept taking various yoga and conflict resolution trainings that would give me practical skills to address negative behavioral patterns. I headed to Canada for one of the most influential trainings. Father Joe Pereira, a senior Iyengar Yoga trainer and Catholic priest from India, had established centers all over India to work with people with addictions and HIV, using yoga and Centering Prayer (a kind of Christian mindful meditation). I learned Father Joe’s successful protocol for working with addictions.   I was collecting self-transformative tools as part of my path into San Quentin, one of the most notorious and iconic prisons in our nation. “Yoga and its emphasis on the power of a single breath has promoted for me a respect for life and a profound realization of the destructive force of violence.” -Life-Sentenced Prisoner/Student, San Quentin  

In 2002, the Insight Prison Project asked me to establish a yoga program at San Quentin. Almost a decade later, I now have a long waiting list for my classes. I used to walk into the prison with my mat rolled under my arm and get whistled at. Many guards look upon prisoners with disdain and don’t support offering them programs. They have a term for outsiders like me who offer classes: hug-a-thuggers. But in private conversations, some guards admit that yoga appears to be really good for the prisoners, and that it would probably benefit them as well. They know something positive is going on when prisoners who go to yoga class are less prone to infractions and more serious about their recovery and rehabilitation. Some of the most committed practitioners are my life-sentenced guys. It comes as no surprise to me that research has shown that a prison yoga program profoundly impacts anxiety, stress, depression, violence and substance use.

“I was collecting self-transformative tools as part of my path into San Quentin, one of the most notorious and iconic prisons in our nation.” The perception of practicing yoga has also changed among San Quentin inmates. While nine years ago it was whistles and catcalls, it’s now common for me to walk by somebody I don’t know and, even when I don’t have my mat, they’ll say, “Hey man, you’re the yogaman! I’ve heard about you.”   When I teach a new group of students, I introduce some yoga philosophy, but I don’t overload them with information. Just enough so they understand the real tradition behind this ancient practice and that it’s not a stretching class. Guys come in and they’re a little nervous. I tell them that when they cross the  threshold of the door, they’re crossing to a different dimension. They’re moving from an externally-oriented reality to an internally-oriented one. We’re here on our own (no guards are in the room), and we’re not going to entertain any of the kind of nonsense that routinely happens with the general prison population. I’ve stepped out of my normal life and am moving into this dimension with them. Together we’re creating the opportunity to leave prison for the next 90 minutes.   Each class begins with a centering meditation. I teach that the foundation for our practice is being able to go inward and  disconnect from the busyness of our thoughts, that focusing the mind on bodily sensations and breath will ground us in the present moment. Yoga is about realizing who you really are, aside from your persona. The guys get that. They are aware that they wear a mask to try to protect themselves—it’s part of the “convict code.”  Over time, they realize that if you are deeply connected with yourself, with your energy, staying awake to yourself in the moment, other prisoners tend to leave you alone. | 61

We do a warm-up, beginning to coordinate moving with our breath. What I do next depends on whether I’m working with beginners or experienced students. I lead my regular guys through a rigorous practice for the purification benefits. Many of these guys carry considerable emotional baggage and/or are working with addictions. The reality is you can get any drug you want in prison. So I need to be cautious, particularly with beginners. Intense asana practice—too much, too soon—can have detrimental effects. It can also promote a dissociation from the personal sensitivity and self awareness that I am trying to encourage. I don’t want to contribute to furthering physical or psychological trauma.   Before living inside prison walls, these guys typically were leading lives full of pain and suffering. They want to learn how to alleviate the pain. Yoga can help them to reverse their negative behavioral patterns. When they experience pain, instead of using drugs or becoming violent, they can learn to ‘sit in the fire’—to be with the physical or emotional discomfort, interrupt the habitual knee-jerk reactions, and consciously breathe through it or, as some of the guys are fond of saying, “hit the pause button.”   I end each class with “Namaste” and let them know that the literal meaning is “I bow to you.” Symbolically, we bow to one another, recognizing the soul in each, acknowledging our interconnectedness. I’ve never had anybody refuse to say it. In fact, if I forget, someone will speak up and say, “Hey, wait a minute!” because class is not complete until we say, “Namaste.”    Being in that space, practicing together is powerful and transformative in many respects. The code that most prisoners live by is an extension of the masculine roles they were taught growing up, how they were conditioned about what it means to be a man: you’ve got to be strong, you’ve got to be tough, you’ve got to be in charge. Sensitivity is equated with weakness. Feelings are for women. It’s OK to express happiness or anger, but it’s not OK to feel fear or sadness. This gets exaggerated in prison. Races are kept separate. There is a hyper-vigilance due to the constant potential for chaos, violence and unpredictability. When you’re on the yard, prisoner politics dictate that you only socialize with your own race. If you fraternize with other races, you can get taught a painful lesson. And there are inmates with a level of consciousness who feel it’s their duty to enforce this segregation. Yoga class is intimate even just from the standpoint of taking off your socks. Exposing your bare feet can be a big deal. You may be an African American next to a Caucasian or a Latino. But once practice begins and we drop in, separation dissolves. We become a community, a sangha, with a totally different value system based on inner-connectedness that results in intra-connectedness.  

“Being in that space, practicing together is powerful and transformative in many respects.” Many outsiders have asked me whether I fear for my safety when inside San Quentin. There have only been a couple of times over the years where I have felt threatened. I’m not fearful by nature, but I am vigilant. When you walk into a prison, it’s important that a sixth sense kicks in. When I walk on the yard and I’m surrounded by a sea of inmates I don’t know, I stay awake and energetically aware. This is a very practical yogic practice. It’s not like you routinely see a lot of violence, but you remain aware in certain circumstances that at any given moment the shit could hit | 62

the fan. It’s best to expect the unexpected. There have been a couple of times when I’ve had to deal with a guy threatening me. In both cases all eyes were on me. Fortunately, I was able to remain centered, relying primarily on my intuition rather than reacting to my thoughts. That gave me the upper hand on my fear and ended up serving as an important teaching moment. But when I reflected on it afterward, I could feel the fear and debriefed with one of my buddies who also teaches in the prison.  

“I am very thankful for people like you who play an active role in prisoners’ rehabilitation and recovery, which improves our chances of getting out and staying out upon release. The truth is the system is broken and we are not getting the rehabilitation we need to make it in the free world. Some of us see that we need to take our rehabilitation into our own hands if we’re going to make it.” - Prisoner, Mule Creek State Prison, California

The primary reason why the re-incarceration rate is so high in this country (60%) is that prisoners are not taught the social/ behavioral skills or offered the kinds of programs needed for them to successfully re-enter society. Since the late 1970’s, the main focus of prisons has been punishment, not rehabilitation. It’s hard to believe, but you would be hard-pressed to find a meaningful violence-prevention class in a federal or state penitentiary. And ‘we the people’ are footing the bill to keep these folks imprisoned. It costs on average $46,000 a year to keep an adult incarcerated in California and about the same for New York State. After teaching at San Quentin for several years and being involved in providing other restorative justice practices for prisoners, I formally established the Prison Yoga Project (PYP) in 2009. The mission of PYP is to spread the practice of yoga and mindfulness meditation to prisons worldwide. As the first step toward that goal, I wrote and self-published (with initial financial support from the Give Back Yoga Foundation) Yoga: A Path for Healing and Recovery, an instruction manual that was expressly written to be used by prisoners as a self-guide. It is a practical tool to assist incarcerated men and women with their own healing. Instruction starts at the very beginning: how to breathe to calm the fight-or-flight response, meditation for reflecting on difficulties, dozens of illustrated poses, and artwork by my San Quentin students. One of PYP’s biggest expenses is to print and distribute the book for free to receptive prisoners. The response has been overwhelming when I promote the book. If I were to put a regular notice in a quarterly newsletter that reaches 40,000 prisoners, I could easily be sending out 10,000 copies a year. From one announcement in late 2009, I sent out 4,500 books. It’s a wonderful problem, but I haven’t been able to develop the organization or the resources to handle the volume I can easily create.  Prisoners who receive my book share what they learn with others. I get amazing feedback from men and women at different prisons, who say, “We’ve formed a yoga group using your book as a guide.” There is an obvious demand and hunger for this information that assists prisoners in their self-rehabilitation. Here is a practical solution to impact the recidivism problem, and the prisoners are spreading it themselves!


I had a student at San Quentin who got transferred to another California State prison and started to do his practice on the yard. Quite a bold move for a new arrival. He drew attention from other prisoners who said, “What’s that that you are doing?” He began to teach a few of them, and then he got sponsored by a recreation supervisor at the prison to lead classes in a unit. The impact of the book is magnified greatly by trained yoga teachers who can go into prisons to facilitate classes, so I now travel frequently to train teachers and promote yoga programs to various prisons. As a result, there are some possibilities developing in the New York metro area, and I’d like to establish PYP chapters in both Chicago and Los Angeles in 2012. I frequently receive requests from yoga teachers, therapists and social activists in various states, as well as Canada and foreign locales (I was recently contacted by a doctor who works in a prison in Haiti) seeking help to start yoga programs in prisons.

“I get amazing feedback from men and women at different prisons, who say, we’ve formed a yoga group using your book as a guide.” In addition to continuing to send my book to prisoners, training yoga teachers and advocating for yoga and meditation programs in prisons, I have several other

objectives for PYP. I would like to be able to provide scholarships for prisoners I consider good teacher prospects and are interested in becoming certified yoga instructors after release. I am also interested in collaborating with other experienced prisoner-rehabilitation specialists to deliver mindfulness-based tools for self-transformation. This includes completing a self-guided manual/workbook for prisoners that teaches emotional literacy and violence prevention skills. Sometimes I joke with my students that spending as much time as I do with them was not in my 10-year plan. And occasionally people ask me, “How can you spend that much time in such an oppressive place?” Well, I answered a calling, and this has become my life’s work. I pray for the kind of financial support that will allow me to devote all my energy to it. I see both the need and the benefits every day. These tools are practical, costeffective and wanted by many prisoners who are ready to take responsibility for transforming their own lives. Whether or not release from prison is an option for them, they are learning to free themselves from a cycle of despair and suffering— learning to leave prison before they get out.

James Fox, MA, the Founder and Director of the Prison Yoga Project (www.prisonyoga. com), is a certified Hatha Yoga instructor with more than 25 years of yoga experience. He has studied Iyengar, Ashtanga and Taoist (Yin) Yoga. In addition to offering weekly yoga classes to San Quentin inmates since 2002, he has also been involved in offender accountability, violence prevention and emotional literacy work with prisoners. James has also taught yoga and mindfulness practices to at-risk youth in juvenile detention, at a residential treatment facility for boys, and for inner-city community programs. He created a yoga curriculum for the Peacebuilders Initiative, a weeklong, summer intensive for youth held annually in Chicago, that he taught from 2003-2007. In 2011, James presented at the International Conference on Yoga for Health and Social Transformation in India, and conducted PYP Teacher Trainings in several U.S. cities and in Norway. The next PYP Teacher Training will be in Los Angeles, March 17-18, 2012. training. James will co-present a workshop on teaching mindfulness-based practices to incarcerated youth and adults with Mary Lynn Fitton (The Art of Yoga Project), at the first annual Yoga Service Conference at the Omega Institute, May 18-20, 2012.  Support this work! You can donate a book to a prisoner who has requested a copy, buy a book for yourself, or do both:

*Source of statistics: Pew Charitable Trust. | 63


How do people pull back from places of darkness when their world has been fractured by violence and death? At the end of 2009, I wanted to understand this question, so I set out on a project to photograph enemies—people from opposing sides of violent conflicts around the world. I wanted to photograph them together, in the same room. I had no idea if this would be possible.

Could I bring together people who had once been enemies? Was I putting myself in serious danger? Would tempers flare? What kind of stories would I hear? There really weren’t any answers for these questions. It was a crazy idea—huge, barely manageable.

Fred and Joseph: former rival gang members in the slums of Nairobi who are now friends. Fred now runs Alternative to Violence workshops in the slums.


I decided on East Africa as the first location for Enemies because I was invited by a US Institute of Peace group that was helping to negotiate a settlement on the border of South Sudan and Sudan. After five months of planning and hundreds of phone calls and emails, I packed my life into a 5’ x 10’ storage unit and left the US in August 2011. My first stop was Kenya—the site of three months of explosive ethnic violence after a contested presidential election in 2007. After that came South Sudan—the newest country in the world, recently emerged from forty years of civil war.


My third stop was Rwanda—a country still struggling to remake itself after one of the worst genocides in modern history. | 64


James, Louise and children: James and Louise are from opposing ethnic groups which clashed in the 2008 post-election violence in Kenya. They both live in the slums, and they both lost almost everything they owned. They now live close to each other again and have been active in trying to rebuild their community.

The people I photographed—and continue to photograph—are not diplomats or politicians. They are everyday people whose lives were swept up in storms of violence that flared up from generations of local tension and inequity, or thundered down upon them from fierce politics over which they had no control. In East Africa I worked with peace groups to photograph people who have already been through a reconciliation process. From here I will move on—to the Middle East, Europe, South Asia, and Asia—to photograph people marked by conflicts past and present.

There are many goals for this project. Ultimately, I plan to exhibit the photographs from this project in the United Nations Building in New York, and then in capitols around the world. But for me, the photographs are secondary to the act of bringing people together, a living art piece exploring the dualities of human existence—anger, hatred and violence balanced by forgiveness, peace and understanding. These are part of the human condition that affect everything from economics to conservation.

This is not a project about war, it is a project about Peace. More about this project at More about Nelson at

Rwandan women from opposite sides of the genocide. Now close friends, they both lost most of their families.

Mixed race couple from Wanjyok, South Sudan. The man is from South Sudan and the woman from Sudan near Khartoum. They met in Khartoum during the war, married and moved back to South Sudan when it became its own country.

Community leaders from opposite sides of the border near the border trading town of Warawar. These two men have been trying to negotiate a settlement to end grazing- and trade-conflicts across the border. | 65


Jason is a loving father of two brilliant boys. He began the practice of Hatha Yoga in 1999. With over a decade of travels, practices, and studies in various systems and modalities - he is deeply committed to the work of asana and to the practical applications of Tantrik Yoga philosophy in everyday life. Jason is an Anusara-Inspired™ Yoga teacher who lives in Dallas,Texas. | 66

Tiffany is the Acupuncturist & Yoga Teacher at the Nike World Headquarters in Oregon. She travels the globe inspiring people all over the world to live their lives to the fullest. Her book, Optimal Health For A Vibrant Life, is a 30 day detox for yogis. More info at Take a class with her at


New Year’s has passed, and a lot of the resolutions have waned—but it’s never too late to start fresh. I find that New Year’s is a great start, and with everyone making resolutions, it gives you a good firm push in the right direction, but the real change comes when we establish what I call our staying power. In some ways it’s easier to create simple changes that can be sustained over time. From studies on our health and metabolism, it seems that the best changes we can make are those that we can stick to for long periods. Our bodies physiologically crave patterns and habits—sometimes this works for us and sometimes it works against us. In yoga we talk about this as samskara, in which our consciousness is etched by everything that has happened to us over the years, making us creatures of habit unless we make a conscious change. For me, a big part of the yoga practice is about breaking that cycle and starting

to create new habits that can actually help us cultivate the lives we want. In medicine, we talk about these patterns in many different ways: the natural cortisol rhythms that regulate our mood; blood sugar cycles; sleep cycles; and, of course, the cyclical rhythm of the reproductive hormones. These cycles create an important foundation for our internal health, so that we aren’t thrown off balance by the smallest obstacles. So how do we create new patterns? Repetition, repetition, repetition! I recommend sitting down at least once a month and looking at your goals. I have it as a recurring event on my iPhone, so that every month I look at my goals and make sure I’m heading in the right direction, not getting side-tracked. At the beginning of each year, I pick 4 main goals for the year: one personal, one health-related, one work-related and one family-oriented. Then I write out any other goals or big things I have planned. I also write out my 10-year goals here. It’s important to keep a backlog as well, so you can look back and see what you’ve accomplished over the years.


2012 • Personal goal • Health goal • Work goals • Family goal

Other Goals for 2012 • 10 year goals • Goals accomplished in 2012 • Goals accomplished in 2011 • Etc…

When you are living with purpose, it’s easier to stick to your plans, and once you’ve taken the time to make sure you’re on course for your goals, then you can settle into your rhythm. The effects of this have far-reaching consequences that impact our physical, mental, and spiritual health, and help us live the lives that we were designed to be living. | 67


Musicians preparing for Austin’s South By Southwest music festival have more than their performances to worry about. Many up-and-coming musicians live paycheck-to-paycheck, and life on the road can be hard on their diet, and ultimately, on their health. We recognize this at Whole Foods Market, and we’ve teamed up with the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (H.A.A.M.) to help get musicians thinking about better health through food. On their website, H.A.A.M. states the musician’s dilemma, “Austin is the ‘Live Music Capital of the World,’ yet many professional working musicians are self-employed and rarely have access to health insurance. Without insurance, they can’t afford preventive health care.” With the H.A.A.M. “Health Starts Here” tours, we offer preventative care by showing musicians a diet and lifestyle that will keep them healthy, happy and singing for years to come. Based on the four pillar of Health Starts Here—Whole Foods, Healthy Fats, Plant-Strong™, and Nutrient Dense—we spotlight items that are road-worthy and wholesome. The musician’s lifestyle usually consists of late nights and lots of travel—leaving pizza or fast food as the quickest means to an end. We focus on quick, easy, and affordable options that musicians can bring on the road or prepare while they are playing. Planning ahead is the best option for anyone on the go. Before heading out for the night, we suggest packing a simple meal in an air-tight container, that can be eaten later in the evening. Musicians usually have the benefit of having a bar refrigerator close at hand in which to store food during sound check or for after the gig. One of my favorite meal tips calls for sprouted quinoa and dried vegetables soaked in hot water (see recipe) during a show, making a hot meal for after. Traveling with food can be messy, so utilizing bulk dry goods that are quick to prepare and easy to pack is another great way to keep healthy. Stopping at local markets while on tour, or stopping at one of the many passing farm stands along the road are great ways to stay on a healthy path. By packing a simple electric skillet or crock-pot, you can prepare meals on the go without having to rely on greasy spoons or over-processed snacks. Batch cooking before leaving for a tour is another great way to pack wholesome snacks for the trip. Making a batch of granola, oat bars or baked chips before leaving and storing them in re-sealable containers can lesson the temptations of deep-fried food and chips when refueling at truck stops. No matter what profession drives you, health should never take second stage. By making a few simple changes to your diet, you, too, can be a rock star! Follow a few of these tips and you will stay healthy, happy and singing for many years to come. Dan Marek is a healthy eating specialist and chef. For more: | 68

“We focus on quick, easy, and affordable options that musicians can bring on the road or prepare while they are playing. Planning ahead is the best option for anyone on the go.” COOKING ON THE GO: SPROUTED QUINOA WITH DRIED VEGETABLES Sometimes eating healthy in a hurry can be tough. This simple on-the-go recipe is designed to cook itself while you are at work or school with little preparation time. We suggest serving it over a bed of leafy greens to get maximum nutrients and flavor. (Makes one serving.)

Ingredients: 1 cup of sprouted quinoa 1 tbls dried or frozen carrots 1 tbls dried or frozen edamame 1 tbls dried or frozen mushrooms 1/2 tsp cumin 1/2 tsp garlic granules 1/2 tsp pepper 1/4 tsp low sodium tamari 1 1/2 cup of boiling water Preparation:

Pick out a nice thermal water bottle with a wide mouth that will keep heat for a couple hours and will hold at least four cups of liquid. Pour the dry ingredients into the bottle, close the lid and shake. Open the bottle and pour in the liquids (make sure there is at least 1/3 cup room after adding all the ingredients) and shake again. Take the bottle with you to work and open in at your lunch break (at least three hours later), then serve over greens.

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APRIL 20 - 22 2012




We love and support the Tadasana festival and the beautiful souls behind it; they have become like family for us. I truly believe that we need to use our voices to support causes and individuals doing amazing things on this planet. Over the past year, I’ve witnessed the sweat, tears and passion it takes to birth something of this magnitude. Tadasana, thank you for bringing people together, building community and intertwining art and yoga. I’m honored to know you all. - M.P, Origin Editor


When my friend Fabian Alsultany was in the hospital undergoing chemotherapy, he kept a blog. His online journal, it turned out, was the best way of sharing with his friends and loved ones the details of his struggle without having to constantly recount the tale. Fabian is a lover of people and of music and of life. He has spent most of his waking hours listening to, performing or thinking about music. The main theme through all of his vocational endeavors is gathering people together so they can uplift one another, ideally with inspiring beats playing in the background. I met him in New York City at a Michael Franti gig he had produced. The atmosphere was so stimulating and spirited that I had to find out who was behind it. We became fast friends. Over the years, Fabian kept telling me about a festival that he had conceived called “I OM NY.” The I OM Festival was poised to unite music, art, global cultures, healthy lifestyle choices, and a giant roster of gifted individuals from the New York City collective. Then cancer struck. | 70


A LOT ABOUT A PERSON FROM THE WAY THAT HE HANDLES ADVERSITY. TRUTHFULLY, I OCCASIONALLY THINK ABOUT DYING FROM CANCER AND I DON’T EVEN HAVE IT.” I once asked him if he ever thought that he was going to die. His blog post from August 30th, 2009, answered my question: “Here I am at 38-years old with this thing called Colon Cancer 2B, feeling like the bionic man with a metal ‘port’ freshly installed in my chest from where the platinum chemobrew will be administered... I’ve always wanted a platinum album, wanted it so bad I now get to pump a platinum-stew through my heart. 12-sessions of chemo over a 24week period, I should be off the juice by Valentines Day 2010. What ever cancerous cells may exist in my body…I will kick the little fucker out of my system between now and then and return reborn.” You can tell a lot about a person from the way that he handles adversity. Truthfully, I occasionally think about dying from cancer and I don’t even have it. Fabian gets cancer and licks it without ever entertaining the possibility. Now that’s deep!

Toward the end of Fabian’s Chemo, I wrote him an email: Fabian, You are in my thoughts and prayers. Your perseverance is huge! You are a bigger, stronger beast than this cancer. The West Coast has your post-chemo recovery in the palm of its hand. Come get some! Love to you. Tommy Rosen In 2010, Fabian boarded a plane and moved to LA’s West Side—his first time ever residing outside of New York City. One day he shows up unannounced in my yoga class. I couldn’t believe it. He just sat there with a big shit-eating grin on his face, knowing full well that his presence totally rocked me. We reconnected, bonded. We talked about the I OM Festival. I tell him that if there’s anything we’re connected to in this town, it’s yoga. And boom! An intense chord gets struck. Everything aligned in that moment. The next thing we know, Fabian and I have formed a company, have 50 yoga teachers and musicians signed up and are far along in talks with the city of Santa Monica to produce a major Earth Day event. We dropped I OM as a name and ended up with Tadasana, which is the first posture in yoga and means ‘Mountain Pose’ in Sanskrit. Twelve months later, we now find ourselves 60 days out from the first annual event. It has been a wild odyssey fraught with challenges. We have encountered demons who tried to stop our forward momentum. There have been long dark nights of the soul that only insane entrepreneurs can appreciate. We have on more than one occasion discussed the idea of starting a new 12-step program for event producers. Yet Fabian has never once wavered from his faith that we were creating a reality that needed to manifest.



I have learned by his example what it means to “Stand Strong” in the face of opposition, both from without and within. The renowned yoga teacher BKS Iyengar teaches that yoga actually begins when you want to leave the pose. As such, our journey to produce Tadasana has been nothing short of Yogic. When the dust finally settles on April 23rd, one thing will be certain: people will have gathered and, despite the challenges and the hardships of our world today, we will have held the pose together and collectively practiced our dreams into reality.




To me, Tadasana means the ultimate mountain pose. The ultimate...I have arrived, I’m here on my mat, which represents my life. -Hemalayaa Tadasana gives us the ability to stand in the midst of a storm like a mountain and not be moved! -Krishna Kaur That mountain is inside us. It is the power of the Earth inside all of us, and that’s why we’re gathering at Tadasana Festival on Earth Day. -Shiva rea Tadasana really means “unification,” being able to stand with what is and also being open to the flow of what could be. -Seane Corn It’s a chance for all different schools of folks to merge as one to learn how to stand consciously for the Earth, for the Ocean, and for Humanity at large. -Brock Cahill Tadasana helps us to reflect on how I am interacting with the Earth, with my community and with my creative source. -Kia miller. It’s a place in our practice that we keep coming back to, to get grounded and centered and also to pause before the next thing. -Joan Hyman. Tadasana is like trying to find your true North. It’s your compass. -Sarah Ivanhoe. Tadasana is your foundation. -Kiyomi Takahashi To join together, to have a community, to have a way to find the common thread between us all. That’s Tadasana Festival. -Kathryn Budig. | 72


TADASANA TEACHERS SPEAKING ON MUSIC Music connects us literally to the pulse of life. It entrains us collectively to the essence that we all share, which is the pulse of the breath and the pulse of the heartbeat. -Shiva Rea The undercurrent of music is that it brings us all together. It’s like love. You can’t really express how it moves you. It just does! -Mia Togo Santa Monica has been an experimental ground for music in public classes to communicate and cultivate our unified flow. -Shiva Rea I like to use modern, fun, uplifting music to help propel the vibe of the class. We get in there, we throw our feet in the air, get a little hang time, and see what we can come up with. -Brock Cahill Music helps me to step outside of my insecurities into something that is bigger than me. It’s a reminder that we are insanely talented beyond our beliefs. -Kathryn Budig It puts me in a meditative state and connects me to something deeper. It makes my spirit happy. -Joan Hyman

Chanting takes me to the highest place. When I chant, I am really connecting to source. There is no race, no borders. Music helps us to connect with each other. -Kiyomi Takahashi I’ve been in front of live music most of my life. I’ve always sort of been the sweaty white guy up front. I’ve always been that guy. -Tommy Rosen I really love to play DJ. I’m responding to what’s going on in the room seeing how I can keep nudging the vibe in the direction that it might be ready to go to create a full experience for people. -Julian Walker I grew up as a classical violinist. Music was my first meditation. As I moved along in life, the not-so-subtle revolution of rock-and-roll started to teach me how to aim power and focus in a positive, upward momentum.” -Brock Cahill I am inspired by world music and love to offer live music in my classes. I usually have live drummers who help us tie in to that rhythm, that primal drive that keeps us moving even when things get difficult. -Gigi Yogini

My musical choices are suspect because I’m a big fan of 1970’s soft rock. -Seane Corn Music is inspiring because it’s this emotional language that speaks to everyone. It can communicate the same emotional state to many people at the same time and create a unified experience. -Julian Walker I do feel that music has a place in the yoga classroom, as it does in life. -Tommy Rosen Music is probably the thing that inspires me most. It pulls me out of my linear, sometimes neurotic mind, and helps me go to a place that is underneath the workings of the busy mind. -Hala Khouri Rhythm and Music is essentially happening in our bodies all the time. -Sarah Ivanhoe




any people were skeptical of the idea of a 14-year-old girl traveling to India to shoot a documentary on the lives of impoverished children living in slums. But neither I, nor anyone in the Pleasant household, has ever accomplished anything great by looking at things ‘rationally.’ Granted, I had no idea that what I was getting myself into was going to completely alter my life for the better. Just a few minutes outside of New Delhi, Santosh and Archana Singh are overcoming enormous obstacles, acting on their vision to provide education to the children in the Bhatti Mines slum community. But their dream to educate the children living in slums was cut short due to lack of funding. The Amala Foundation, dedicated to helping youth through acts of service, stepped in and helped the school start up, and has been supporting the school since 2008. The biggest obstacle was getting the parents to send their children. Why wouldn’t a parent want their child to have access to tools that could possibly help break the cycles of poverty which have been dominating the slums for generations? One of the many shocking facts I discovered about life in the slums is the treatment of women. There are many contributing factors that go into the social dynamic between women and men, but one very prominent one is the dowry system within the slums. Indian law requires that people be at least 18 to get married, but in the slums, where law enforcement is somewhat lax, this rule is often broken. When two people have come of age, their families will get together and—for a lack of a better word—barter. “What will you give me for my daughter?” and vice versa. There is no such thing as divorce in the slums, and most times women have no say in whom they marry. There are reported incidents of “gas leaks” exploding in the faces of women, killing them, and sometimes leaving them alive to bear horrendous scars, pain, and being ostracized by their communities.When a woman’s husband dies, she cannot remarry— widows are regarded as untouchables in the slums. But when a man’s wife dies, he can remarry as often as he likes, claiming more dowry | 74

each time. This system has undeniably been built to raise the status of men while silencing women, keeping them from speaking up about their dire need for fair treatment.

“The fear of being silenced has been holding women down for generations all over the world. It is time to ignite the voices of those who have been kept quiet.” So why wouldn’t parents want their children to have an alternate fate? Since their children will be married off in a few years, parents see no point in sending them to school when they could be working and earning money. Why should they invest anything in their children, when the likelihood that they will see them after marriage is so slim? There are many obstacles that contribute to slum children missing out on an education. Another major factor is that the government doesn’t provide financial support for anyone who would like to start a school for slum children. With the support and donations from the Amala Foundation, the school in Bhatti Mines now is educating over 200 students each day—children who would otherwise be coerced into child labor. When I volunteered with the Amala Foundation, my goal was to create a tool to help bring awareness to what the Foundation was doing with this school. I also wanted to help bring light to the children—especially the young girls—and help them see how beautiful, important, and intelligent each one of them was. To help them see that their voices mattered, and that they shouldn’t be afraid to speak. The fear of being silenced has been holding women down for generations all over the world. It is time to ignite the voices of those who have been kept quiet.

The girls spoke of how it felt to know they weren’t given the same opportunities as everyone else. Some girls wanted to be doctors and spoke of the difficulties that would stand in their way as they got older. I helped provide a place in which they felt safe to speak their truth—something that I feel so honored to have been able to do. I documented everything with my camera, and got amazing footage of these girls really embodying their voices and value. I’ll be releasing the edited version of my short film, The Asha Project: Silent Voices of India.

Four students from the youngest class in the Bhatti

With this in mind, I created the Asha Project. (‘Asha’ means hope in Hindi, and is also the name the slum village has adopted.) I gave cameras to eight girls, ages of 8-19, and they took them into their homes in the slums and photographed things that made them happy, angry, sad...things they wanted to change, and things that needed immediate change. They were also provided notebooks to write about each photo, and many entries revealed that even though emotional and physical abuse is accepted in the slums, when women are given an opportunity to speak—when they are told that their voices are valued—they will speak the Truth. I wanted to get to the root of why these beautiful, intelligent young women were afraid to shine. I thought that providing them with an opportunity to share their stories might help them realize that no one should have to endure what they live through each day.



There were obvious barriers that could not be crossed: some cameras were taken away by older boys, and I did my best to make sure that the cameras never put the girls in compromising situations.

The women of Hope Village in the Bhatti Mines Slum Com-

“I thought that providing them with an opportunity to share their stories might help them realize that no one should have to endure what they live through each day.” I spoke with Santosh about what he needed for the school in order to become self-sustaining, so that slum children can continue to be educated. They are hoping to find schools to partner with, increasing the number of children educated. For under $200 you can sponsor a student for the entire school year, and give a child an alternative to being forced into physical labor. The Amala Foundation has been truly remarkable during this process, supporting the school and the village. Their next goal is to implement a meal plan that will allow each child to receive a free lunch at school, and they hope to build a computer lab so the students can learn skills to gain job experience. They also have classroom-to-classroom projects where students are actively forming relationships with the kids in Bhatti Mines. The beauty that this culture has to offer is intangible. The sense of roots, even in these cycles of extreme poverty, go so deep, that sometimes we overlook the details and go straight to romanticizing what we hear about life in India. These grim realities I’ve described do not occur everywhere in India, but they certainly do happen in the slums I visited. When you see these children fall in love with the idea that someone out there cares, you will then find a place inside of yourself to dig from, uncovering possibilities for change that you never would have seen otherwise. I hope that we can come together, overcome these obstacles and create a consciousness that surrounds women and children in every country.

Ocean Pleasant, 14, travels the globe, interviewing, blogging, and encouraging youth to organize and become involved in their communities. She is building a movement using art, awareness and fundraising to instigate local and global change. The Asha Project: Silent Voices of India, the first in her film series, is due this year. Her next stop is Haiti, where she will continue filming with women and children living in tent cities. She continues to Africa later this fall to shoot her third documentary. For updates on how teens can inspire acts of change worldwide, check out her blog, Global Youth Leadership, at

To support Asha’s school, visit | 75


Just tonight someone in my yoga class called out, “I feel like I’m at a

richest experience comes from living a life of maximum service to

football game.” Although I laughed at first, I couldn’t help but feel

others, with the occasional seepage of selfishness and indulgence.

attacked and I began struggling to hold sacred space. Then,

Sometimes that bowl of quinoa with kale, avocado, stir fried veggies

returning to my own spirit, I was reminded of what I teach: this was

and garlic (that nourishes my gracefully ageing body) is replaced by a

an all levels vinyasa class. For that matter, this is an all levels life.

hot fudge sundae (to nourish my spirit).

That means anything and everything we need for a rich experience to unfold is allowed—in class and in life. Modify, back off, up-level,

Everything is a balancing act, inspired by the ebb and flow of each

sing, dance, cry and laugh...even voice your displeasure. I won’t

moment. Sometimes that means traveling around the world to teach

spend a moment telling people they should do this, or can’t do that. It’s all sacred. I spent years living inside self-induced prison walls (not to mention real prison walls: if you name a substance, there’s a good chance I put it my body). I had the amazing unusual gift of picking just the right people to tell me that my choices and feelings were all wrong. When I discovered yoga and meditation, I began to realize that life is too short to hold back. Gradually, I set myself free to explore what it means to live a raw, real life. So, I practice and teach a vigorous style of vinyasa yoga that borrows inspiration from many different systems, while simultaneously questioning any inherent boundaries.

“What I’ve discovered from living with fewer boundaries is that the richest experience comes from living a life of maximum service to others, with the occasional seepage of selfishness and indulgence.” Don’t misunderstand—I’m a card-carrying member of the Yama and Niyama tribe. For those of you that don’t know, the Yamas/Niyamas are guidelines and suggestions for how we treat ourselves and each other. I have been gifted these 10 practices because I need direction and guidance in my quest to open the prison doors. They’ve taught me how to be in relationships—with myself, with folks I love, and with folks whose love I don’t feel or understand. But I’m human—I haven’t perfected the Yamas and Niyamas; I merely practice them. What I’ve discovered from living with fewer boundaries is that the | 76

“When I discovered yoga and meditation, I began to realize that life is too short to hold back. Gradually, I set myself free to explore what it means to live a raw, real life.”

a retreat in Bali and to work at Bumi Sehat, a free natural birthing clinic. Other times, it means sharing joy with friends and my dogs in the park on a warm day in San Francisco. Whatever they’re up to, I ask people to gather evidence and find out what works for them: be a veggie, be raw, be a carnivore, whatever—just get connected through ceremony to what is

“I practice and teach a vigorous style of vinyasa yoga that borrows inspiration from many different systems, while simultaneously questioning any inherent boundaries.”

feeding you and how that nourishes your spirit to allow you to go out and do your life’s work.

So find teachers that you love and practice with them. They have lots to offer. But also find teachers that you don’t love,

Each day that we wake up provides another opportunity to ask,

because they have lots to offer too. Invite everyone to eat from

“What should I be doing?” Commit to hearing to the response

the same table, to share the same meal. We are all one family—

and then take action. In these moments of quiet time, I have had

not separate—whether you call it vinyasa, Anusara, Jivamukti,

the most amazing a-ha moments. Some folks might call those

Iyengar, ashtanga, or restorative. This practice, this exploration

moments “enlightenment,” but I don’t think I will ever arrive

of yoga, changed my life and continues to change my life. Come

at an enlightened state. Rather, each of these enlightening mo-

out and play; it could change your everything...and I wouldn’t

ments can be strung closer and closer together, to become like

want you to miss that.

the 2x108 beads of the mala wrapped around my arm right now.

Les Leventhal is one of San Francisco’s most beloved yoga teachers, and leads workshops, trainings, and retreats around the world. Coming from a place where fear ruled his life and his choices put him in constant collision with others, Les’ path towards healing is a daily practice and not always the quiet road of pristine perfectionism. He looks through the lens of life with a constantly shifting perspective. You can catch up with Les wherever he is in the world by visiting his website: ( | 77



YOU WILL LEARN: WHY many who start a home practice give up, and HOW your practice can thrive the real BENEFITS of meditation beyond simple stress reduction the TRUTH behind many meditation myths common MISTAKES people make and how to avoid them how to bring your PRACTICE of meditation ʻOFF THE CUSHIONʼ and into your life.

Brian Burrell is a former Zen monk, now embracing life outside the monastery, offering a calming, powerful presence as a meditation coach and private session Forest Yoga™ teacher.




For 2012 we have hopped out of the Year of the metal Rabbit and glided into the Year of the water Dragon. Dragons are powerful, magical, dramatic and daring, mystical and lucky. It promises to be a year of transformation and metamorphosis. We have experienced deconstruction, tumultuous awakenings, and will continue to use this momentous time to be inspired and to evolve.

This is a time of revolution and revelation. This is not the time to live out the disease of self-loathing, of unworthiness, the lie that you’re too small, too helpless, or too hopeless. Don’t disconnect from the truth of your nature. Don’t give in to the seemingly all-pervasive mindset of smallness. The smallness doesn’t serve anymore; that paradigm is not only outdated, it’s useless and dead.

It’s a time for radical remembering and a dramatic increase in sensitivity.

This sensitivity allows for alignment, which affords us the ability to experience our own freedom. This is an amazingly interesting time to be an embodied earthling. It may not be easy, but it’s exciting, and is a catalyst for enormous change. The artists, yogis, dreamers, music-makers, deep thinkers, and creatives should be the most profound humans on the planet at this time, setting the tone for creating the new reality, and we must step into our own power to hold that space. We see what is happening in the world, and without giving up or shutting down, we offer more beauty into existence as an act of art. The alternative is not an option. There may be many who shut down or disconnect or collapse under the weight. But for those that can retain a deep sensitivity and have an activated sense of life as a blessing, there is no time for falling into the trap of self-pity or chronic pessimism, which are utterly unoriginal notions and certainly do not serve anyone. We can allow the painful and challenging experiences in life to become transformative infernos of luminosity, and rise up as firebirds from the fiery ashes of that suffering with greater insight and understanding. In this time of dismantling antiquated thinking and structures, we must be in tune with the bigger energies in the Universe, allowing our hearts and minds to dream of an astounding and unreasonablyexpansive new reality. Be big, bright, outrageously beautiful, playfully mighty, orgasmic and optimistic, unconventional and unruly, cosmic, clear, confident, and ferociously sublime. Dwell in freedom. Create and delight in more flexibility, in your heart, mind, body. Embrace the simultaneity of the absurdity and profundity of life. Shift your perspective to see that your nature is unconquerable and irrepressible when you stand up tall in your own heart. PHOTOS: GIBBOUS (TOP, BOTTOM LEFT), FAERNWORKS (BOTTOM RIGHT)

2012 will be a radical year of activation.

Eccentric Uranus will continue to stir revolution in fiery Aries, and Neptune (Lord of the Sea and Unconscious) will move happily into watery Pisces (until 2025). Pluto (death, rebirth) stays put in responsible Capricorn and will continue the transformation.

A proud native Texan, KK is a Certified Anusara yoga® teacher, astrologer, and ritualist with a quirky sense of humor. Her Wildmoonwisdom is a lightning bolt of radical awareness and deep teachings; she kicks ass and sprinkles glitter. Follow her teaching schedule and astrological updates at wildmoonwisdom. com and on Facebook. For Anusara Immersion and workshop details, email wildmoonwisdom@gmail. com | 79


Love. We all want it. We’re all afraid to lose it. We all have moments we don’t feel we deserve it. At times, it seems to vanish. We wonder if love has left us - but it never does.

I grew up in a home where I received few words of affirmation and even fewer comforting touches. Only when I received material gifts— jewelry, clothes, fancy dinners—did I allow myself to feel truly cherished. It took me quite a long time to kick that stubborn belief. Why? As a child, I determined that Attention = LOVE. We decide our view of love at a very young age. Equations like these imprint deeply within us, and carry into adulthood. They manifest as a voice in your head, telling you where to go for love, what to do to avoid pain, or how to make someone love you; but that voice isn’t leading you the right way anymore. It’s real, but there’s nothing wrong with you. Awareness is the first step.

For me, Love was a currency. In my early twenties I found love in beauty—fashion, to be exact. I covered up my pain with lipstick and high heels. I landed a PR job at Prada and thought the prestige and clothes would make me easier to love. Crazy cakes right? I know, but it’s true. It was winter of 1996, and my body wasn’t feeling right. There was a tingle in my left shoulder, my legs were numb, and so were my feet. As I realized something was seriously wrong with my body, love disappeared again. I worried fear had | 80

kicked it out forever. But a diagnosis opened love’s door. I remember sitting in cold doctor’s office and hearing, “You have Multiple Sclerosis.” Insert: hate, blame, shame, certainty my boyfriend was going to leave me... ...but I was wrong. He loved me more, and led me through those first dark days with courage, love and complete support. I began to experience a love I had never known. Not pity, but a “I’m here by your side. We’ll do whatever we can” kind of love. And that’s what happened. Though my thoughts of shame, blame or unworthiness didn’t disappear overnight, I began to let go. Gently. Today, that boyfriend is in my past. I’m married to an amazing man who loves me, and has helped me to accept, love, and be loved—with all parts of me. He’s showed me I can use my shortcomings or limitations as fuel to radically accept myself. The path to loving yourself has no end point—it’s a deep and lifelong process. What’s not to love? What is it that makes you feel unlovable? What needs to change before you can start receiving? If you’re not sure what steps to take, here are a few exercises that helped me on my journey.

1. Take 10 minutes each day to be quiet, and listen to the sound of your heartbeat. Focus. Hear your soul in your breath. 2. Write a love letter to yourself. Mail it. 3. Look into your eyes in the mirror and say out loud, “I love you.” 4. List out your challenges, fears and tribulations. Then read each one aloud, ending every item with, “I love you (your name).” 5. Give at least 3 hugs a day. Real hugs. Whenever you’re not feeling loved, close your eyes, feel your breath and know that the universe is loving you into life. On your exhale, say, “Thank you, I love you too!” Leave a note at my website, and tell me what you’re loving about YOU! May you love yourself as much as the universe.

Hillary Rubin is the creator of the DVD Yoga Foundations, the podcast Hillary’s Yoga Practice, and has been featured in Yoga Journal, Fit Yoga, LA Times, LA Yoga, The Independent, Yoga International, The Los Angeles Times, & on Fit TV. Through 1-on-1 coaching programs, she offers spiritual Life Design with a street-smart edge for women who are ready to stop licking their wounds and start living their lives. Check her out:

Sundara始s Therapeutic Training Center 10401 Anderson Mill Rd. Ste.105, Austin, TX 78750 (512) 415-4966

Photo: Courtney Loving Sames Photography

Yoga Alliance Registered School Teaching Steeped in Tradition Evidence Based Therapeutics All-inclusive Tuition Ayurveda Training Small Class Size Expert Faculty | 82




Each time I visit Appa’s house, I cry non-stop the entire time I am there. Gopala Aiyer Sundaramoorthy, or Appa (the Tamil word for father) is the teacher of my teacher, Dr. Douglas Brooks. To be clear, this is not an “I’m sad” sort of crying—it is very outwardly un-dramatic. Visually, it is just a slow but unstoppable release of water from my eyes. There is absolutely nothing I can do about it. I try every trick: holding my breath, digging my fingernails into my palms; thinking about the chafed place on my right waist from the previous day’s too-tightly tied sari skirt; fidgeting with the jasmine pinned to my braid, with the clinking glass bangles tumbling up and down my wrists; pondering what I might eat later back at the hotel—anything light, anything trite—but it doesn’t work. I know that it is coming this time and say so to one of the people traveling with us, who asks if he can take pictures, to which I respond, emphatically, “No.” I look at my teacher’s face when he enters the house, and I see him as a college student, longhaired and dhoti-clad—Appa still very much alive, and their pre-dawn practices an everyday occurrence. I look at the perfectly-kept and lovingly-tended pujas, with Appa’s picture and the shri chakra at center. I look at the little Ganapati that Appa woke up to every morning and loved to hold, the metal softly blurred from the touch of his fingertips. I feel the familiar coolness of the simple pinkbeige speckled floor tiles under my feet and hear the shouts of the neighborhood children running down the street to talk to us, echoing the sounds of the children back then who are now grown.

The peaceful stacks and boxes of books upstairs in Douglas’ old room are now its only furniture. Memories from 25 years ago—that aren’t at all mine—rush in as if they had been poised and waiting for me at the threshold of the house, barely contained behind the windows and walls. This is what it feels like: an enveloping swell lifts me up and then plunges me down into a deep, engulfing oceanic place. The sensation is something like love, something like loss and presence combined, and something like meditation. It is simultaneously coming from

outside to embrace me, and expanding from something small and dense inside of me, to push at boundaries of my physical body. There is nothing to be done when it arrives but to let it breathe me and soften me just like Appa’s little Ganesh, and I realize this and so I let it.

“Visually, it is just a slow but unstoppable release of water from my eyes. There is absolutely nothing I can do about it.” This time I am wearing a green salwar—the green I associate with Madurai’s labyrinthine Meenakshi temple and the color favored by the devotees of Shiva’s son, Murugan, so beloved in Tamil Nadu. Green like the thick, shadowed green of the urban foliage persistently rising up through the traffic and tangle of electrical wiring; green of the graceful palms we drive past in the countryside; green of the lush rice fields that we carefully walk through. There is a relentless fecundity about it all, and I feel like an element of the greater landscape, my damp process like a personal abhishekam, which I connect to the monsoon rains that drench me in the Chidambaram courtyard several months later when I return to India. I say later that evening to my friend, Zhenja, “I just couldn’t stop crying at Appa’s house… AGAIN. What is going on with that?” And it’s not that I don’t know, but it’s that what is going on is a subterranean sort of thing that is beyond words, which is always tricky for me. It is bubbling up from the deepest possible place and meeting its other half at my skin. The conversation is happening where my inner stuff is meeting my outer stuff, and the exchange is ecstatic, involving every rasa, every taste and texture of experience.

As a visual artist, writer, and Certified Anusara® Yoga teacher, Susanna infuses her classes with creativity—interweaving myth, poetry and philosophy to offer students an experience of both intensity and grace. She has spent the past decade studying with John Friend and Dr. Douglas Brooks, with whom she has traveled several times to South India to delve into the traditions of Rajanaka Tantra that infuse her teaching. She is based at NYC’s Virayoga. Susanna has exhibited internationally and is represented in many collections, including the UCLA Hammer Museum and the Addison Gallery of American Art. For years, she lectured and wrote for MoMA, including co-authoring “Looking at Matisse and Picasso.” She writes for Elephant Journal and has written extensively for SocialWorkout, she has been profiled by FIT YOGA magazine, YogaSleuth, and SocialWorkout.

So my friend responds, in her inimitably direct way, “It’s gratitude. I was crying too. It’s GRATITUDE.” And that was enough, because she was absolutely right in her clarity in the same way that I was absolutely right in my voluptuous, all-encompassing personal flood. Yes to both. Because when you love something this much, the best you can do is hold to your particular experience of it and get quiet, letting it speak in all of its resonant magnificence. | 83



There is no more original art than a tree. From shaggy cypress trees looming over a Texas swamp, to soaring redwoods whispering along the California coast, trees—whole gorgeous forests of them—mark our horizons with grace and beauty. Importantly, these forests also provide a home for birds and wildlife, clean our air and water and, when sustainably managed, provide good and responsible jobs. That’s why a small team of passionate conservationists has spent the past 25 years preserving nearly 2 million acres of forests nationwide. This nonprofit group is called The Conservation Fund. With no membership and little fanfare, The Conservation Fund helps landowners, communities, companies, and others preserve favorite places before they become just a memory. This top-ranked charity works to keep nature as it was intended for future generations. If you haven’t heard of The Conservation Fund, maybe you’ve heard of places they’ve protected. In Texas, the team has saved over 160,000 acres—much of it east of Houston, where suburbs slowly surrender to a wild and raw landscape. Here, in Big Thicket National Preserve, or along the Neches River, you can hear yourself think. You can canoe swamps where herons and hawks silently swoop into view on the languid water. You can take shelter beneath craggy canopies draped in Spanish moss. You can even lace your boots and climb right up into the big sky, feeling vulnerable and alive. Nature’s canvas takes a different feel out west. If you ride the curves of Highway 1, hugging the coast outside San Francisco, you’re close | 84

“The Conservation Fund helps landowners, communities, companies, and others preserve favorite places before they become just a memory.” to land protected by The Conservation Fund. Head north and you’ll approach the majestic expanses of redwood and Douglas fir trees that the team has purchased to restore and sustain. These misty North Coast canopies are like cathedrals, with giant trees feathering out overhead in silent song. Here, The Conservation Fund sustainably manages over 130,000 acres of forest to show that this land can be carefully harvested to protect wildlife, improve our environment and still provide the jobs that communities need. Whether you’re deep in the heart of Texas or teetering on the edge of California, our forests are essential to our humanity. And they are also threatened. Over half of American forests are owned by companies or individuals, many of whom hope or need to sell the land for profit. When that happens, the trees are often felled to make way for shopping malls, subdivisions or vineyards. And then we’ve lost the beauty and environmental importance of that land...forever. To find out more about The Conservation Fund’s work to save these special places, check out They need your support.


Growing up in Washington, DC, I had a city kid’s relationship with nature. For me, even the small, half-acre triangular park with a labyrinth of azalea bushes a few blocks from home was “wild.” This and other similar urban parks were where I spent my time outdoors.


“How do we find ways to protect our lands and waters and provide people with the opportunity to thrive economically?”

My fascination with nature grew again in college. The summer before my senior year, thanks to a scholarship, I had the opportunity to travel anywhere in the world. My grandad—who was a geographer stationed in Rio de Janiero during World War II and who helped map the Amazon for the U.S. Army—used to regale me with stories of big rivers and lush forests full of caiman, piranhas and capybaras. He told me, “If I could go anywhere in the world, it would be back to the Amazon...before it’s gone.” So I spent that summer paddling along the rivers of the Peruvian Amazon, conducting research on the ways its settlers (ribereños) developed livelihood strategies from indigenous practices that exploiting the dramatic seasonal changes in the region’s river levels in order to farm, hunt and fish. When waters were high, settlers would hunt and collect forest products. When the waters receded, they would fish and farm.

After college and graduate school, I hurried back to the Amazon. I worked for The Nature Conservancy in South America for nearly a decade before moving to the American West. Though it was a far cry ecologically from the Amazon, my work with ranchers there sought to answer the same question the ribereños asked: “How do we find ways to protect our lands and waters and provide people with the opportunity to thrive economically?” My wife, daughter and I moved to New York City in 2009 when I became the Director of The Nature Conservancy in New York—the place where the Conservancy got its start 60 years ago. Of the 3.5 million acres of conserved lands across New York State, the Conservancy has played a direct role in nearly a million of them. Now, we are developing ways to work within the five boroughs to bring nature to 8.5 million New Yorkers. I call it “filling the hole in the donut.” Though I didn’t realize it as a kid in DC or a young man in the Amazon, I had been preparing for this role my entire life. You never know where safaris in the concrete jungle will take you.

What I remember best about that summer is listening. Listening to the sounds of the forest as I paddled my dugout canoe.  Listening to the villagers talk about life in the forest and the bounty it provided to allow them to survive.  Listening to the earth breathe...and to my life permanently changing course. | 85


Urban Roots is a youth development program that uses sustainable agriculture to transform the lives of young people and increase access to healthy food. Paid internships on an organic farm allow disadvantaged teens to learn about farming, nutrition, business and service. Forty percent of the produce is donated to local soup kitchens and food pantries, and the rest is sold at farmers markets and farm stands.

The New Farm Institute offers the opportunity for would-be farmers to try out the ag life without all the up-front investment. NFI aims to educate, assist and inspire a new generation of sustainable farmers. Their incubator farm program outside Austin provides aspiring farmers access to land, tools, tractors, storage, and mentorship in growing and marketing.Â

Urban Patchwork Neighborhood Farms is a community-run urban agriculture network that helps people turn unused yard space into farmland that provides fresh, organically-grown produce, nuts and eggs to the neighbors of each farm. They offer farm start-up programs, workshops, classes, subscription food delivery, job creation and more.

Brandi Clark Burton is Founder and Chief Inspiration Officer of EcoNetworking and the Austin EcoNetwork. and As a self-avowed foodie and green geek, she is excited about sharing more exciting green things happening around Texas. | 86


New Year’s Resolutions—our annual self-improvement tradition. The chance for us to make a change for the better. So why only in January? Why not now? I would argue that when we limit thoughtful reflection to once a year, we miss opportunities to prevent and/or improve our current situations.

To produce each week’s Sunday newspapers, 500,000 trees must be cut down.

When I look around today, I can’t think of anything more imminent and relevant to our livelihood than improving our environment. Think about it. Global warming. Energy crisis. Economic impact. The list goes on and on. Take a second to reflect on the current state of our environment and evaluate your role. Really think about how you affect (either positively or negatively) each of the following:

Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour, which is enough plastic to circle the earth 13 times in one year.

Energy conservation.

What can you do? Ditch the styro. Take your own coffee mug to work.

Water supply. Waste disposal. Air pollution. How’d you stack up? Regardless of how positive or negative your daily habits might be, as Americans, our carbon footprint is still double the per-capita average of most of the world—we all have room for improvement. The good news is that thousands of organizations nationwide are committed to making our planet a safe home for years to come. And by doing our part and making small life changes, we can achieve just that. Forty years ago, Earth Day was established to bring awareness to the importance of environmental protection. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Act, and much more. Today, Earth Day is recognized and celebrated by millions world-wide. Green groups like Earth Day Dallas ( work relentlessly to provide engaging programming and educational resources for all ages year-round. So get involved. Get smart. Make a commitment right now—make a resolution to change one thing (just one) about your living patterns that will positively improve our Earth. Because, like any other resolution, changes we make today will have a lasting impact tomorrow. For more information about Earth Day events in your area visit For more information about Earth Day Dallas visit or follow us on Twitter @EarthDayDallas.

What can you do? Buy an inexpensive reusable water bottle, and stop buying disposable plastic bottles. The U.S. produces enough Styrofoam cups annually to circle the earth 436 times.

The U.S. trashes enough office paper to build a 12-foot wall from Los Angeles to New York City. What can you do? Buy recycled paper products. Print on recyclable paper. And use both sides. Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours, or the equivalent of a half-gallon of gasoline. What can you do? Get a recycling bin from the city—and use it. Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1 million sea creatures every year. What can you do? Reuse your plastic and paper bags. They make great trashcans and lunch carriers.

*These recycling facts have been compiled from various sources including the National Recycling Coalition, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Earth911. org. While I make every effort to provide accurate information, I make no warranty or guarantee that the facts presented here are exact. *Also from


Climate change.

What can you do? Repurpose your paper. Save it for arts and crafts, use it to clean your windows… | 87

On a sunny afternoon in early October, three girls hesitate in front of the Sherman Avenue Community Garden in the Bronx. The fourth and fifth graders, on their way home from school, peer through the fence into the gap between brick apartment buildings. They see a little paradise, filled with shade, fruit trees, and raised beds overflowing with an enormous pumpkin vine and the last of the summer’s tomatoes. Maria Rodriguez, one of the garden’s leaders, comes out to say hello.   “Is this your garden?” asks one of girls. “This is your garden,” Rodriguez answers. “It’s for everybody: to enjoy, relax, plant, look at the flowers, hear the birds sing.” Many of New York City’s estimated 450 community gardens were created in the 1970s, on abandoned city-owned properties. In 1978, The Trust for Public Land launched a program to help a dozen groups formally acquire their gardens, mostly from the City. As the economy improved in the 1990s, then-mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced that hundreds of city-owned lots— including many gardens—would be auctioned to raise funds and to build housing. Protests erupted around the city, and the state sued to stop the sale. In 1999, TPL stepped in at the eleventh hour to | 88

purchase 62 of the gardens. TPL’s ultimate goal was to find a way for gardeners to own them. “The Trust for Public Land didn’t just buy the gardens, we embarked on a process with neighborhoods to help ensure the gardens’ permanence, long-term stewardship, and importance in a network of New York City public open-space,” said Andy Stone, director of The Trust for Public Land’s Parks for People–New York City program.With support from its donors, TPL organized garden land-trusts in Manhattan, Brooklyn-Queens, and the Bronx; invested $4 million in physical improvements to make the gardens more inviting; and trained gardeners in the skills needed to manage the three land trusts. In 2011, TPL transferred gardens to the land trusts. Collectively, the three land trusts will protect more community gardens than any private non-profit in the nation. According to New Yorkers For Parks, forty of the gardens are situated in districts where most residents live farther than 10 minutes from a public green space. Stone emphasizes the crucial role these gardens play, “For many neighborhoods, these compact spaces splash color and breathe fresh air into crowded neighborhoods throughout the city, and give hundreds of families places to play, dig in the dirt, and grow fresh food.”

From the day 20 years ago that Carolyn Ramsay first moved to Los Angeles, she has felt a keen longing for public spaces. More than other American cities, Los Angeles developed around the ideal of the single-family home with private yard—“a little patch of paradise,” as she describes it. The result of this dream, of course, was urban sprawl and a massive metropolitan area without a central green space like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park or Chicago’s Millennium Park. In fact, Los Angeles didn’t have many parks at all. Today, Ramsay is helping to change that. Working as Los Angeles program director for The Trust for Public Land (TPL), she is connecting the city’s people to nature and providing parks for health and exercise. In tiny Maywood, in the heart of metro LA, the Trust recently dedicated the new Pine Avenue Pocket Park to serve the most densely-settled city west of the Mississippi River. The park—only the latest in dozens of parks TPL has been instrumental in creating in L.A. over the years— features a picnic area, water-play feature, young children’s playground, and native plant garden. In another effort, the Trust will install 12 new Fitness Zones™ to complement the outdoor gyms that the organization has already installed in existing parks across metro LA. Recent reports from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Surgeon General’s office, and the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity have highlighted the need for Americans to eat smarter and get more exercise. But in many L.A. neighborhoods— especially minority or low-income neighborhoods, where obesity rates are high—opportunities for exercise are few. Fitness Zones sport all-weather rowing machines, stationary walking and elliptical stepping machines, chest and leg presses, and other exercise gear, and are often busy sunrise to sunset. According to Dr. Deborah Cohen of the RAND Corporation, the zones also attract new users to parks and increase overall park usage. Cohen studied Fitness Zones in 12 parks serving nearly 500,000 people and found that the zones offer a cost-effective approach to increasing physical activity. In South L.A. the Trust is working to create mini openspaces at residents’ backdoors by greening some of the city’s 900 miles of alleys. In a pilot project, TPL is partnering with the City of Los Angeles agencies, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, and other organizations to redesigning two alleys into the Avalon Green Alley Network.

“The goals are to increase park space, encourage walking and playing, cool the neighborhood, save water, avoid expensive water treatment, reduce crime, and build communities by providing safe community spaces.” For more information about The Trust for Public Land’s work in Los Angeles, visit

Portions of this story were drawn from “Getting Fit in L.A.”; Land&People magazine, Fall/Winter 2010; and “Green is Right Up Our Alley”; Land&People magazine, Spring/ Summer 2011. For a free subscription to Land&People go to THE TRUST FOR PUBLIC LAND The nation’s leader in creating city parks and raising money for local conservation, The Trust for Public Land conserves land for everyone to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places. Learn more or support The Trust for Public Land online: | 89

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“We should learn to see silence as the womb of all our future possibility, and silence holds many keys which allow ourselves to remain independent and free thinking in a world which constantly seeks to condition and manipulate.”

According to Tantra, we live in a world filled with unseen intelligences in constant symbiotic communication. The mundane human world functions in this manner as well, however, we rarely acknowledge or are aware of how much we remain connected to one another—for better or for worse.

literally feeding off our prana and create effective strategies to avoid such pranic traps. A crucial idea to deeply ponder is that it is NOT enough to just avoid fear and “love everyone.” While this idea can have deep significance in some areas, in areas of pranic exchange it is often the areas where we love the most which are draining us!

We are constantly receiving stimuli or transmitting our own signals: glances, words, gestures, smiles and frowns. Our bodies and minds are literally conductors of signals conveyed by our currents of energy: prana. This prana enlivens our senses, breath, bodies, emotions, and minds. We receive cosmic prana directly from the sun, and it stimulates our cells to manufacture Vitamin D3, which allows us to lead long vibrant lives. We can absorb prana from mountains, oceans, trees, and even the stars, filling us with a sense of awe and wonder, above and beyond aesthetic natural beauty. A kind word or touch can convey prana and serve as a catalyst for deep emotional and physical healing—often having a stronger effect than the prescribed “medicine.” Allopathic medicine calls this a “placebo effect.”

We must establish clear pranic boundaries and self-independence, and envision our bodies as a sacred space. This sacred temple must be respected and kept clean, and we should learn to see our daily routines as sacred rituals which will either empower or drain, depending upon our intentions and attentions.

However, an important aspect of pranic communication and interaction which is all-too-often neglected is the idea of the loss and “theft” of prana. This is a very important concept for physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Our bodies and minds are powered by prana. If we are leaking prana or allow it to be taken from us, then we can suffer from many common “undiagnosable” conditions such as anxiety, depression, insomnia and chronic fatigue. One of the most fascinating words for health in Sanskrit is svastha, which means “established in one’s self ” or “being in one’s self.” This definition of health is dramatically different than the western allopathic idea of health as absence of disease. From an Ayurvedic and Yogic standpoint, we cannot be established and grounded in our self unless we contain and conserve our prana. We must establish who we are on a core level, based upon deep personal introspection and spiritual study, rather than defining ourselves via our “personality,” which is nothing more than a conditioned state of mind—based upon emotions and memory—which changes day by day. To empower this personal growth and sense of self, we must have substantial pranic reserves. Without prana, we literally become an empty shell powered by transient emotional states, subject to the whims of societal conditioning and manipulation on every level. We can use the metaphor of “pranic vampires” without sounding trite, as we live in a society which seeks to drain us in innumerable ways. It’s very important to realize that our prana follows where we direct our attention. If we direct our attention to sources which seek to feed off our prana, we will feel drained, ungrounded, and anxious. Sources such as advertising and media are obvious “vampires,” which feed off our attention and give nothing in return. Other less obvious sources include our personal obsessions and social environments. We must examine our daily routines and discover the areas which drain us, and the areas which empower our sense of independence. Having pranic reserves is not just about being “happy,” but about feeling a deep sense of balance which is reflected in our ability to feel grounded in a chaotic world and an ability to remain flexible in a world in constant flux. We must examine areas in our lives which are

One important way to clear, circulate and empower prana is through spending time in natural environments. Nature is filled with reservoirs of infinite cosmic prana, which can be utilized for healing and establishing a clear sense of self. In many ways, this is a powerful symbiotic relationship of two sacred spaces: our bodies and the body of the Earth. Learning to experience the daily rituals of the seasons and cosmos can be a powerful tool to clear our minds and can allow us the chance to conserve our prana so we can look at ourselves in an honest way and evaluate what we are eating and what is “eating” us. Another important method for pranic healing is to spend time daily in silence. We should learn to see silence as the womb of all our future possibility, and silence holds many keys which allow ourselves to remain independent and free thinking in a world which constantly seeks to condition and manipulate. Yoga uses these two methods—time in nature and silence—as powerful forms of pratyahara which allow us to find a medicine that is always within our reach: prana. Make time to utilize these powerful yogic methods to find the source of ultimate health and independence: your Self.

Craig is a clinical herbalist / acupuncturist in private practice, specializing in Ayurveda, acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Yoga. He is the recipient of the prestigious “Veda Kovid” title award by David Frawley and the American Institute of Vedic Studies, recoginizing initiatic study of Ayurveda, Yoga, Vedanta, Jyotish and Tantra. He is a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild and the National Ayurvedic Medical Association, and is an ordained priest within the Ecclesia Gnostica Aeterna and La Societe Voudon Gnostique.




arted yoga & pilates

920 Studemont, Suite 400 Houston, TX 77007 Mon – Thurs: 6 AM – 9 PM Fri: 6 AM – 6 PM Sat: 8 AM – 6 PM Sun: 9 AM – 5PM

713-862-7972 | 92


I stood over the crib of peaceful, sleeping infant. At nine months old, she looked so sweet, so innocent. She was everything my husband and I could have hoped for. Slowly, I lifted my hands up and began banging kitchen pans together as loudly as I could. My beautiful daughter continued to sleep, blissfully unaware of the noise around her, and I began to cry. As the specialists confirmed, our daughter was born with profound binaural sensorineural hearing loss. She was completely deaf. I went through the stages of grief. I cried. I raged. And then, I fought. I focused all of my energy on fighting for what we wanted for our daughter. I wanted her to hear my voice, to talk to her daddy and sing silly songs to me. I hoped that was possible. After hundreds of hours of testing, meetings and so many appointments that we lost count, our little girl received cochlear implants when she was 18 months old. In yoga, we talk a lot about warriors. We ask our students to connect with their inner strength or to find the courage of a warrior.


What I learned is that there is no greater warrior than a parent fighting for their child. During the months leading up to her surgery, I poured myself completely into that fight. I forgot about me and focused completely on my little girl. By the time she received her implants, I had ballooned up to nearly 200 pounds and my yoga mat was collecting dust in the closet. Although she had received her implants, this was just the beginning. As I reviewed the schedule of multiple therapy sessions each week, my full-time job, and the work we would do at home with her as well, I knew I was done. I had exhausted my store of energy. I grabbed my mat and headed to my first yoga class in months.

Laura King is a wife, mother and yoga teacher. When she’s not chasing after her five-year old daughter, she shares her abundant energy with students in Texas and abroad.

A dear teacher shared a thought with me that I know is true. “We cannot give fully to others until we first give to ourselves.” I began to give back to myself on the mat. Looking back, I know that without my yoga practice during those following months, I would never have had the strength and energy to support my family. Our practice isn’t just physical. Although I lost 60

Some people do yoga so they can look good naked. Others just want to feel comfortable in their own skin. For most, the yoga practice begins as a physical practice that progresses into a process of shedding the layers of stress and baggage that they have worn under their not-so-Lycra-ready bodies. Whatever the reason you come to explore this practice, be prepared to bare all. Each time you come to the mat, there’s an opportunity to observe your naked truth, to remove the labels that society has deemed necessary, and to see the root of your beautiful self.


pounds that year, I gained a renewed spirit. Taking time for myself made me a better wife and mother. And eventually, it made me a teacher.

Who are you? You are not your job, your family role, your failures or successes. If you remove every external definition, who are you? It’s seemingly easier to live within the definitions— to meet expectations—but at what cost? How can we be engaged in the experiences of this life without limiting our possibilities by attaching our identity to the roles we play in those experiences?

Through their practice some people break through and find this freedom from conformity... only to exchange one uniform for another, one identity for a seemingly more unique one. I admit that I traded mom jeans and diaper bags for designer stretchy pants and a yoga mat. I became a yoga teacher. I wore my proverbial stretchy pants daily. They became my uniform. But I do not want it to be my identity. Life exists beyond stretchy pants! Through the practice of svadyaya (self-study) you begin to recognize who you are not. Strip away the labels and find appreciation for the you inside of your meat suit. Free yourself from the ill-fitting identities and take another look in the mirror. Authenticity looks good on everyone! Recognizing the beauty in yourself reveals the real beauty in others, for we are light reflecting light. Look beyond the external, into the eternal. Namaste | 93

Together We Can Save Our Birds. Please donate today at

Least Tern chick: Denise Ippolito








1206 WEST 38TH, STE 1105, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78705 (512) 453-2604 | 94

In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself within a dark woods where the straight way was lost. –D. Alighieri

In her book Broken Open, Elizabeth Lesser recounts her experience of emerging from the woods with nothing left to lose. In that dark place, she discovered qualities she forgot she had, retrieved her soul, and reinvented herself. It was as if she was born a second time.


After the end of a 16 year marriage, I find myself on this path, too. Uncharted waters engulf me, and most days I have no idea what I’m doing, other than putting one foot in front of the other, determined that fear will no longer be the invisible hand at my back, pushing me forward. The discomfort of change enables an undercurrent of peace and acceptance of my life’s radical new direction. Humility— death to self—is my constant tutor.

Melissa Smith—writer, traveler, momma, Acro-Thai-Therapeutics-YogaLifeStudent-OccasionalTeacher & 500 RYT—leads advanced teacher trainings for, specializing in Yaapana Therapeutic Partner Practice.

In the chapter “Meditation for Practicing Dying,” Lesser declares that every day is a lesson in the death of our selves: our own ego, resistance to Truth, our selfish desires:

“Death heightens our appreciation of every moment we are alive and calls out to us, ‘Soon you will die; what will you do with your life? What have you not done yet that you want to do?’ Death is the best kick in the ass I know. It is profoundly confrontational and profitable to contemplate.” This meditation has been a surprising comfort. When I find myself hit head-on by another self-effacing situation, I return to it and begin to regain my strength and feel more fully alive by facing the death of my marriage and of myself.

“Soon you will die; what will you do with your life? What have you not done yet that you want to do? Death is the best kick in the ass I know. It is profoundly confrontational and profitable to contemplate.”


E.E. Cummings said it best: “To be nobody but yourself in a world that’s doing its best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting.” To live by this motto is to be brave, to risk being disliked for who you truly are, but the reward for this bravery is that you are loved for all that you are, imperfections and all. Most everyone is on some sort of path to self-improvement, ultimately craving self-acceptance and acceptance of others. Knowing this, why, then, do we not allow ourselves and others to “be real” at any given time without labeling one reality better than another? We are ultimately served by embracing our authenticity—learning tools to express ourselves as compassionately as possible. What gets in the way of authenticity is fear of rejection. To protect ourselves from rejection, we build a wall around our heart, and

we create different masks to wear, believing these will help us become more acceptable, more loveable, and closer to our idea of “perfect.” In order to do this, we must look at where we maintain false realities based on fear and rejection. Honest evaluation of these false realities is where healing begins. My own path of self-discovery and healing has been ugly and painful … but no more so than anyone else’s. And I still have a lot of work to do. Sometimes I want to hide behind a mask or start building up another wall around my heart, but then I remember who I am, that I am doing my best, and that even my best won’t ever be good enough for some. I’ve tattooed Aham Prema (Sanskrit for “I Am Divine Love”) on my wrist, and when I doubt myself, I close my eyes and chant, “Aham Prema.” You get me as I am, flaws and all. I accept you, flaws and all.

DeAnna Shires Nielsen, M.Ed. E-RYT 500, is a strong believer in the value of yoga for emotional healing, and incorporates Ayurveda, Psychology of the Energy Body, Pranayama, Meditation, and Mantra into her teachings for a holistic yoga experience. Her playful spirit encourages laughter, exploration, and the freedom to Bliss Out and Be. “Heal yourself, Heal the World!”

I believe, at our core, Divine Love is our connection, and we are the same. | 95 | 96

Houston Yoga & Ayur vedic Wellness Center

Yoga & Bhutan

CELEBRATING ONENESS IN THE YOGA & AYURVEDIC COMMUNITY Everything to be and stay healthy.  Yoga: Hatha, Kundalini, Vinyasa Flow, Ashtanga, Prenatal, Restorative, Yoga for Children & more  Belly dance  Ayurveda consultations  Massage  Seminars, Workshops & Lectures check website for new listings.

Houston Yoga & Ayurvedic Wellness Center LLC 13602 Kluge Rd, Cypress TX 77429 281-256-8461 / 832-349-0370

Join us for a cultural and spiritual tour to BHUTAN May 11 to 23, 2012 October 17 to 29, 2012 The scenery will move you the people will lighten your heart and the energy of travelling with like-minded people will change you forever... 1-613-883-5850 (Canada)

Make a difference in the lives of cancer survivors! The Yoga for Survivors® Teacher Intensive with Laura Kupperman teaches you how to safely work with patients and survivors of any type of cancer, at any stage of recovery.

Maine Island Retreat

Yoga Alliance Registered 200 hour Yoga Teacher Certification

July 9-31, 2012 online application:

(207) 625-4756

other Intensives/modules at affiliate School in Cornish Village,ME

Comprehensive 200 hour course includes: • 50 hour intensive at host studio • A full year of follow-up support as you complete an “internship” and begin teaching survivors in your community

June 15-17 & 21-24 Cedarburg, WI YogaOne July 12-17 Boulder, CO Yoga Workshop SePTemBer 6-9 & 14-16 Wilmette, Il yogaview

InformATIon & regISTrATIon: | 97

ORIGIN Magazine  

Art + Conscious Lifestyle Magazine

ORIGIN Magazine  

Art + Conscious Lifestyle Magazine