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Bjork: Biophilia

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“My bad sense of English thought it was feeling up nature or something—Bio-feeling-up.” Björk’s seventh full-length album Biophilia, a multimedia project pairing ten songs with corresponding iPad apps, is her most conceptually complex. Track titles read like captions in a textbook— “Moon,” “Thunderbolt,” “Virus,” the first single, “Crystalline” -but each piece is filtered through Björk’s personal connection to, and reading of, nature and Musicology. The album title, inspired by a reading of Oliver Sachs’ Musicophilia two years ago, suggests these personal strands. “I enjoyed the book,” Björk says. “Because I’m not really good in English, I said, ‘oh wow, [Biophilia] could be a title for the project,’ but ‘Bio’ thinking ‘Nature.’ Later somebody told me it means ‘love of life.’ I was more thinking ‘nature-like’ or ‘morphing into nature.’ My bad sense of English thought it was feeling up nature or something—Bio-feeling-up.” In the spirit of an unmediated natural experience, Biophilia suggests a mingling of science and emotion. “[The song] ‘DNA’ is about rhythm, but I also wanted it to be about the emotional,” Björk says. “That was just as important, to prove science nerds wrong, to unite the scientific and the emotional. So I did try to have each song as emotionally different as possible. ‘Moon’ is very melancholic and about rebirth and the lunar cycles but it’s also just about the math of a full moon.” She tried to make Biophilia “weave seamlessly into science and a natural element, and musicology.” She explains, “Our times seem to be so much about redefining where we are physical and where we’re not. For me, it is really exciting to take the cutting edge technology and take it as far as it can get virtually, use it to describe/control the musicology or the behavior of raw natural elements, and then plug it with a sound source which is the most acoustic one there is—like gamelan and pipe organ. So you get the extremes: very virtual and very physical. In that way you shift the physicality.” But Björk’s scientific/ musical exploration, playful both musically and lyrically, isn’t all analytical seriousness. “There’s a very particular sense of humor going on in [the song] ‘Virus.’ I purposely wrote this very sweetsounding pop song about a love affair with the virus—so it’s not like a femme fatale, it’s like a virus fatale. It’s sort of a love song. That song is mostly about generated music. The gamelan-celeste plays the role of the virus, and then it just kind of comes, and the virus wins.”

CONCERT PHOTOS BY: CARSTEN WINDHORST

From the opening harp-backed solo vocals and choir harmonizing of “Moon,” to the explosive dance climax “Mutual Core” and quiet “Solstice” that ends the album with an optimistic “it got dark / it’s getting light again,” Biophilia is a stripped-down, intimate collection with a smaller contributing cast than usual: Spanish loop collagist Pablo Díaz-Reixa (El Guincho) created beats for “Virus” and beats and bass programming for “Moon.” London production duo, 16bit, programmed beats for “Crystalline” and “Mutual Core” (with Björk and her regular collaborator Matthew Herbert, who also contributed to “Hollow”). Downtown New York jazz/rock/ experimental mainstay Zeena Parkins played harp on “Moon” and pendulum on “Solstice.” So, no, she’s not alone, but Björk scaled back from the production-oriented Volta, focusing on crisp, unprocessed voice accompanied by pristine, spare arrangements that also include organ, brass, and a variety of invented instruments including a custom-built digitally controlled pipe organ, a gamelan-celeste hybrid (the gamelesta), a Tesla coil bass, and what, at one point, had become a series of thirty-eight thirty-foot tall aluminum pendulums (used to harnesses the planet’s gravitational pull to create musical patterns). Björk revised that idea after it became cumbersome, the opposite of its original intention of effortlessness. “It was Spinal Tap reverse,” she says. “We [now have] originmagazine.com | 7


four pendulums that are each a few notes. You can hang them either in the ceiling or on a branch or something. They’re about two meters tall and made of wood. They look more like they could be your friends.” Fittingly, the music feels private, a quiet performance of electronic music around a campfire, even with the presence of a twenty-four-woman Icelandic choir on a few tracks. Central to connecting the conceptual and the practical—and keeping the results clean and spacious—was the computer/music software that programmer Damian Taylor started playing around with in 2008 after the 2007 Volta tour. “Because of the way we programmed with Damian, I could write patterns based on algorithms in nature and that would be the song. It didn’t really need much more.” The project, which Björk refers to as a return to “punk DIY ideals,” arose from her excitement using touch screens while on that Volta tour. “I didn’t want to just show off again on stage and make flashy noises,” she said. “I wanted to dig deep and write with it. I could immediately see the potential in the touch screen: I wanted to be the frustrated music teacher and do semi-educational things with these screens and write a song about ten different natural elements. You can have crystals growing and that’s a song; we can have the moon doing its full moon and small moon and that could be a song.” She continues, “People from the rock and roll world have felt for years that electronic music had no soul, but now electronic music can not only have soul but have all the shapes in the world. It was [considered to be] a bit like house music, like LEGOS, but now we can go further and program something like the migration of swallows and that can be the choir section. There are more patterns than you know.” After the ongoing financial crisis left a number of abandoned spaces in Reykjavik, Björk first envisioned the album as a “Music House” in Iceland. “I thought maybe I should do a Music House where I can make use of

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these empty buildings,” she explains. “Each song could be a room: Here’s the crystal room and here’s the lightning room and here’s the water-drop moon room, and the staircase could be like little notes, like scales. I was like, I just have to suggest an exchange, we could set up the museum in a house and they could get to keep what we made.” But then the need to maintain the project’s multimedia aspects, even on a smaller scale, led to the creation of a Biophilia app suite: the ten apps have a scientific and musicological aspect that meet via the technology of the app (in addition to songs themselves and the lyrics). The app for “Dark Matter,” for example, is a sort of ”Simon Says” to learn scales with; “Mutual Core” features two hemispheres with rock strata emerging. The user attempts to fit them together, creating different chords in the process. (This plays with tectonic plates in nature and chords in music.) For ”Crystalline,” the user travels down different tunnels, each representing a section of the song. The user makes their way through the song like a maze, building a different version of the track, trying to find the chorus while bursting out of the tunnels into a nebula. (This pairs crystal structures in nature with structure and spatial environments in music.) The complete app suite includes essays by Nikki Dibben, a guided tour and introduction by Icelandic author Sjón Sigurdsson, and narration by David Attenborough. The apps were created by an international team of computer programmers. Tying into the project’s utopian and DIY roots, these programmers, people who usually view each other as competitors, ended up working together for free, and will split the profits of the project 50/50. “I was like ‘yah, it’s like the punk days,” Björk enthuses. Björk plans to instruct children how to use (and create with) Biophilia, possibly shifting Musicology in the process. She’ll gather scientists and musicians to offer a series of intensive classes in various cities, countering the music classes she attended from the age of five to fifteen “After fif-


teen, I rebelled and became a punk, or whatever,” she laughs. “[As a kid] I felt it was really weird that music schools behaved like a conveyor belt to make performers for those symphony orchestras. If you were really good and practiced your violin for a few hours a day for ten years you might be invited to this VIP elite club. For me music was not about that. It is about freedom and expression and individuality and impulsiveness and spontaneity. It wasn’t so Apollonian; it was more Dionysian. Especially for kids: kids draw masterpieces—they’re the best painters ever. I think the same with music. They could totally write amazing music if they just had the right tools. It’s important at that age to set up something, and then maybe afterwards you can go study your violin for 500 hours a week. But at least in the beginning you know about the options.”

“People from the rock and roll world have felt for years that electronic music had no soul, but now electronic music can not only have soul but have all the shapes in the world.”

It begins with a week of classes during her June 2011 Manchester residency. “We’re teaching kids two songs a day. People from the BBC are working with us and David Attenborough and Natural Science Museums. The first half of the day they will get crystals— they can touch them and play with them and they can use the app and the music teacher will teach them about structure in music and then they can write their own little song and take it home on a USB. Then, after lunch, there will be another song—the one about lightning—and they will learn about electricity and static and energy. That particular song is about arpeggios, so then a music teacher will teach them about arpeggios. They will have the iPads. Each song is an app and they are plugged directly into a pipe organ or a gamelan-celeste or a pendulum or a harp sort of thing. So I was trying to mix together the most exciting of electronics where you can use cutting edge technology to do more impulsive sort of like right brain sort of stuff for kids but then you could plug it with a sort of most famous acoustic instruments that man has made.” She says Manchester is a prototype, a place to get things started. “We’ll have people coming from other cities that we’ll hopefully be traveling to. Hopefully we can expand this educational side.” Instead of a traditional tour, she’d like to set up two or three cities a year. “I’ll have a few months off in between,” she explains. “And then I’m going to tailor-make each city around the building we get. I want to get into buildings where I could stay for a month. So obviously, you can’t go to normal concert venues because that is not meant for that. We’re trying to go to science museums. We’re saying we will teach the kids for free on our days off if you provide the location and you can make something out of it. Bring the crystals and the viruses, the DNA and lightning; some collaborative sort of thing. I think it works best like that.” Björk jokes that Biophilia is “multitasking as far as [she’s] ever taken it” and remains “A.D.D.” at its core. In that spirit, she sees it as ongoing. “I have a feeling it’s not only going to be ten songs,” she says. “I might make it into a double album or just use this same setup and every three months—or whenever I feel like it—I’ll add another song. The apps, [paired] with the subject matter of nature meeting sound. I mean, you could do 5,000 songs!” Outside the apps, the classes, and concepts, Biophilia can be experienced as just a record. “I did think as well,” Björk says, “if somebody would hear this album in ten years, buy it in a secondhand store, it would be the same as my other albums. You wouldn’t need the app to appreciate it. This, for me, is a Björk album; it’s not a bunch of generated music, ambient wishy-washy stuff. I guess it is like a private joke or something. I enjoy taking on my own musical taboos. For example when I did, Medulla, it was taboo for me. A capella music: the worst music on earth, let’s tackle that! Then on Volta: oh, the worst music in the world is feminist political music, you know? Then I went there: “Declare Independence”! Now I’m taking on generative music that’s all in pastel colors; it’s kind of superficial. It’s me doing that. It’s like a joke between me and myself, you know? It just seems like a recipe for disaster to do an app song and I enjoy that challenge!”

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INTERVIEW WITH SCOTT SNIBBE INTERVIEW: MARANDA PLEASANT

Maranda Pleasant: What’s your background? Scott Snibbe: I have degrees in computer science, film, and art. I studied all of those three things at the Rhode Island School of Design, and basically I always wanted to do some kind of combination of all that stuff; somehow to be some kind of combination of an inventor and an artist or filmmaker. I was never actually that interested in being a fine artist, because I wanted to find a way to turn interactivity into a mass medium. Somehow you could just distribute music or movies. So when the iPad came out, all of a sudden this was the first time. One of my motivations was to create experiences that counter the neuroses that you typically have with computers and with mobile devices. You know, ‘cause ordinarily you’re going from your email to your calendar to Facebook, so these are ways of having a more meditative experience. Some place where you can focus on what you’re doing; focus on the present instead of what’s coming, or what just happened. It’s just to have a positive effect on your mind. MP: How did you meet Björk? Had she seen your iPad stuff? Had she seen your software? SS: Yeah. She saw these natural apps right at the beginning and it turned out she had been working on originmagazine.com | 10

an album for three years that was all about nature, music, and technology. So she approached me and a couple other people who were doing this particular genre of being interested in expressing nature through technology in some way. And she invited us to work on her new album that she wanted to release as an app rather than an album. There is a CD you can buy too. But the idea is that the main way that you experience this project is as an app. MP: Now, what was your role in this? SS: We were the producers and we managed the production of the whole app. We also wrote two of the individual apps and we managed the production of the other apps with a number of other really amazing developers. Björk wanted this project to be educational, so every app has the musical score and the lyrics. It actually plays the song and shows you the traditional musical score. You can sing along with it like it’s karaoke. But again, this isn’t just a video. This is actually totally interactive. You can go and find your favorite parts of the song and practice it over and over again, or you can put on a click track and you can put this on your music stand and play. You could probably play it on your keyboard. (laughs) This is exciting if you’re learning music, or studying music, or you want to perform music. Björk was actually very frustrated by traditional music education and notation, even though


she’s trained to the hilt in that area. So, we’ve also looked at other ways of visualizing music. MP: Wow. What was it like trying to get somebody’s vision? Obviously she had some kind of vision.

SCREENSHOTS FROM THE BIOPHILIA APP, TOP TO BOTTOM: COSMOGONY, THUNDERBOLT, VIRUS

SS: Well, she had a kind of narrative vision, like a movie director. I didn’t totally realize it, but once I started listening to Björk’s older albums, and once I started working with her, I realized how strong of a story there is in every album and in every song. When we first met I thought our first meeting would be an hour, but it ended up being eight hours. And she went through every single song and explained the story, the concept, the natural aspect, the musical aspect, and some ideas for interactivity. She was like a director. She was saying most of this in words and then allowing myself and the other developers to throw out ideas and interpretations of how to manifest that vision into particular colors and shapes and interactive concepts. MP: What was that like? Was it a big undertaking? SS: It was definitely huge. It’s an amazingly huge project. But I was really excited. There’s only a couple people I really ever met who had the same kind of idea that technology can be this thing that brings you closer to nature rather than further away. You know, most people believe those things are at odds. You have to chose or alternate between them. But Björk has this vision that you can use electronic music and technology to actually get closer to nature. So I was excited. It was obviously a lot of work. MP: How long did it take you to do it? SS: The whole project was June through October, so about eighteen months or so. But you know, not full time, and there were numerous different people involved...You might say with this visualization that “oh, it’s beautiful, but it’s not as useful as a musical score.” But Björk actually uses this on stage. If you look really closely during the performances there are teleprompters and they’re playing exactly this, rather than some other visualization. So she and the other musicians actually find this more useful than normal—you know, than looking at a normal musical score. MP: Wow. SS: The way Björk came up with this idea is—this is actually what spontaneously occurs in her mind as she’s listening to music, especially popular music—she says it’s as if she’s going through these tunnels and the shape of the tunnel changes based on the tempo or the beats, or the structure of the song. MP: What was the process like for you? SS: The process was very intense. Björk on the one hand gave us a lot of creative room, but she also has a really clear vision of what she wants. So it was trying to surf that boundary and to understand her vision of the project, and then express it. It took a little bit of time. I think a lot of us had times when the vision didn’t really make sense. But in general it was great. Björk was so tightly involved and very very kind and thoughtful in the way that she expressed herself and what she wanted. It was a very special experience. MP: What is the emotional side of this? You look at this and it took like a year and a half to birth it. SS: I feel really proud of it, because it’s a feature length. I’ve always wanted to work on a feature length interactive project, originmagazine.com | 11


“One of my motivations was to create experiences that counter the neuroses that you typically have with computers and with mobile devices. Some place where you can focus on what you’re doing; focus on the present instead of what’s coming, or what just happened.”

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT, SCREENSHOTS OF MOON, HOLLOW, CRYSTALLINE, & MUTUAL CORE.

taking albums or movies and turning them into a whole interactive experience. I’m just so happy to be a part of it and it’s only with Björk that you could create a huge vision like that. It’s a collaborative medium and you need a creditable vision director at the top. MP: This is the first of its kind, right? SS: Yeah. It’s the first app/album. Some people make apps that help market an album, or look at the history of a musical artist or something. But this is actually treating the app as the prime experience with an album. MP: What was it like creatively for you? You’re basically creating this with Björk, so what was that like? SS: Well, the nice thing about Björk is that she really likes to concentrate and focus, and hang out. I’m used to meetings being as short as

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possible. But she would create situations where you would deliberately hang out together for like a whole day, or two days, or three days. Even when we were working in Iceland she rented out a lighthouse for her studio. The lighthouse had this long walkway to it that was just piled-up rocks. Maybe 300 feet or something. And you had to get there before the tide came in and run across with all your equipment, because then the tide came in and we’d be locked in—just be 100% surrounded by water. Once the tide came in you couldn’t leave for eight hours. So I think that really physically expresses her way of working quite well. She likes to get in and focus, and just work 100% on this thing. Not that there wasn’t time to fool around and joke and have fun. What she said about music to us once was that, “The way I make a song is that when I’m collaborating, we hang out. We have a lot of good meals, see some movies, and then somehow at the end of a few days we have a song.” (laughs)


building gravity harps for

bjork

BY: ANDY CAVATORTA

“If the content of music is emotion, the Jungian unconscious, the deep mystery through which our raw atoms create meaning out of the chaos of the world, then robots possess nothing of what makes us care.”

PHOTOS: JAMES PATT

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At the MIT Media Lab we didn’t even ask why Björk and Michel Gondry were coming to check out our musical projects. Our excitement about meeting them crowded out all questions. I joined the long line of labbers cradling improbable sonic inventions outside the conference room. By the end of the day, I knew what I was doing after graduation. Björk and Michel were making a wild-sounding film about the intersection of music, nature, and technology. I was hired to help develop robotic musical instruments that harness forces of nature: lightning, gravity, the Earth’s magnetic field. Of course, all musical instruments use forces of nature in some way. At their heart, every musical instrument is an oscillator, transforming energy back and forth between two forms: the bouncy motion and compression of air in an organ pipe; the currents and tensions of an LC circuit. Björk brought the idea of a pendulum that makes music, to play the delicate harp line in Solstice. I loved it immediately. Pendulums are natural oscillators, and the Earth’s gravitational field would set the rhythms of the music. My plan was to choreograph an array of pendulums 20’ tall that would pluck harp-like instruments. The line of pendulums would be wrapped into a circle to create a hypnotic wave that echoes celestial cycles. I assembled a super-team to help with production: Dr. James Patten on control systems, inventors Karl Biewald and Douglas Ruuska on mechanical design and fabrication, and artist Marina Porter, who had helped me from the beginning, on visual design, harps, and detailed fab. Every time I spoke to Björk, her previous ideas had given birth to a generation of new ones, ever clarifying and strengthening. Keeping up was exhilarating. Then everything changed. The movie was out, replaced by iPad apps and a multi-year tour of ‘residencies.’ Our original Pendulum Ring, designed to work for maybe three weeks of filming, needed a complete redesign to function live on tour for years. Hard metal replaced soft wood and big, simple structures divided into complex puzzlepieces for shipping. International fire and safety codes dogged every decision. And the clock ticked. originmagazine.com | 14

Weight, expense, complexity. What started as challenging had gone beyond. But we were determined, working 90-hour weeks, sometimes sleeping on the warehouse floor. Complex parts we couldn’t afford, we reinvented. But our full-scale prototypes of the new metal pendulum/harps were feeling cold and industrial instead of warm and magical. Björk was sharing our doubts. I should mention that I’d already quit this business twice before I met Björk. While audiences loved the idea of music and robots together, it contains an aesthetic dead end. If the content of music is emotion, the Jungian unconscious, the deep mystery through which our raw atoms create meaning out of the chaos of the world, then robots possess nothing of what makes us care. I could see little place for them in music beyond fleeting novelty. I met with Björk while she was mixing the new album. We both confessed we’d been having bad dreams about the new direction. I sketched out a whole new type of pendulum instrument for touring. Smaller, simpler, warmer. She liked it and I biked straight back to the workshop to prototype the shapes with Marina. Five sleepless weeks later, we played the four new Gravity Harps for Björk after troubleshooting the control system all night. She smiled as she watched them weave the delicate notes of Solstice, and the dirty and exhausted crew finally exhaled after 10 tense weeks. Soon thereafter, the Gravity Harps and I were on our way to Manchester for the first of the amazing Biophilia shows. It felt like rapture and victory. Working with Björk got me excited again about the intersection of music, motion and sculpture. And also about the boundlessness of the world of possibilities and the power of ideas made real. So I’m not quitting this business after all. Marina Porter and I are making our long-standing collaboration official and bringing a big bag of new ideas for sculptures, films, interventions and exhibits.

www.andycavatorta.com


Touré: New Native Son INTERVIEW: PAUL D. MILLER/DJ SPOOKY

I’ve known Touré for ages. Over the last several years, it’s been a pleasure to see him spread his wings. In the same tradition as Ambrose Bierce’s infamous Devil’s Dictionary, Touré’s Who’s Afraid of Post Blackness is filled with doublespeak, paradoxes, and unapologetically complex wordplay while being resolutely clear. His new book takes us through the dizzying heights and absurd lows of post-everything African American culture. Touré’s previous works dovetail with the new literary aesthetics of Brooklyn’s literati ranging from Nelson George to Saul Williams, to academics like Michael Eric Dyson, and Henry Louis Gates. Full disclosure by the way: I’m in his book... So deal with it. Here we go.

Paul D. Miller: What was your inspiration for this book? Hidden histories, unexpected connections—these are things you thrive on. Walk us though the process.

PM: Black culture always has so many reflection sites in identity politics. You have explored some of the more dynamic aspects of what’s going on currently. What led to your initial thinking about the topic at hand? Touré: The post-Black art movement of the late 90s / early 00s named a group of Black people who wanted the freedom to be Black but didn’t want to be constrained by the strictures of Blackness. They wanted to be artists and not Black artists. I admired their desire to be rooted in Blackness but not constrained by it and I noticed that desire was spreading throughout society. We’re in a post-Black era which means many people are able to perform Blackness however they like rather than be constrained to the strictures of normative Blackness. It must be said this has nothing to do with post-racialism or a desire to transcend Blackness. We could never not be Black and should not desire that. Blackness is a beautiful part of who we are. But it’s also true that Blackness is many things and there are many ways to perform or embody Blackness. As Skip Gates says, if there are 40 million Black people there are 40 million ways to be Black. I hate the conception that some are and some aren’t. It’s anti-progressive.

PHOTO: MICHAEL YOUNG

Touré: The night that Obama was elected I started to think about the highest glass ceiling being broken and how months earlier almost no one had thought that white America was ready to vote for a Black president. We never got the memo saying they were open to that. It happened at some point. Was it before 2008? Probably. When was it? And that started me thinking about all the other things that we assumed about race in America. What else had changed without us noticing? What had remained the same despite the openness to elect Obama? So I started thinking and talking to people about what it means to be Black now.

PM: Was it something you felt was missing in the cultural landscape as presented in 21st century America? Touré: Yes. I think we still have a strain of the racial policeman in many of us—an idea that certain modes of behavior or thought or identity choices are Black and certain are not. That’s silly. The only thing that links all Black people is the experience of racism. We all go through that and are shaped by that. But is there a unified Black culture to where there’s sacraments we must take in order to be in good standing and if we don’t we’re not? No. 4) Who are some of your favorite writers, and why? Touré: So many. Ellison, Toni, Rushdie, Didion, Nabokov, David Foster Wallace, Sontag, Roth, Wright, Zora, Mailer, Greg Tate, Zadie. PM: What’s next? Touré: I’m working on a book about the relationship between Prince and Gen X. And I’m co-writing Nas’s autobiography.

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Questlove. The Roots. Legendary Musician. Voice of a Generation. Social Activist. Chef. Entrepreneur. Composer. He’s Conquered TV, Film and now faces himself. He gets real about losing black legends too early, his personal transformation and why this country has a long way to go.

An Interview With

questlove originmagazine.com | 16


e

“I think what we’re slowly realizing is that a lot of us got relaxed after November 2, 2008. There were things happening that we thought we were done with some seventy, eighty years ago, only to find out that we are closer to a 1920’s existence. So I’m learning this goaround that there’s still a long way to go.” Maranda Pleasant: Initially, I wanted to talk about The Black Power Mixtape and the voice of strong black leaders. I’ve also been following what’s happening with your new Hoodie Shop and your voice on Treyvon. I wanted to give you some space if you wanted to say anything around what’s happening with that.

QL: So yeah, it’s a long way to go. It’s a long way to go.

Questlove: Well, you know, what I’m slowly realizing is that I believe that most of us felt that we could relax a little bit after November 2, 2008, because of the progress and the spirit that it took to get Barack Obama in The White House. And what we didn’t realize, is that was really the beginning. That was really the beginning of the struggle and not the end of a struggle, to come from colonial times through slavery, through the Jim Crowe Laws, through the civil rights period to The White House as, like a point A/point B journey. Point B of course being the end. But I think what we’re slowly realizing is that a lot of us got relaxed after November 2, 2008. There were things happening that we thought we were done with some seventy, eighty years ago, only to find out that we are closer to a 1920’s existence. So I’m learning this go-around that there’s still a long way to go.

QL: Well, I’m kinda baffled that the night before our grand opening was the night before his murder. I’m just so amazed now that The Hoodie now almost has a political symbol to it. In no way were we ever tryin’ to capitalize.

MP: Yes.

MP: You wanna talk just for a second about The Hoodie Shop? I know that’s been in the works for a long time, but does it have any special significance right now?

MP: Right. QL: I’ve always been a lover of hoodies. I’m a guy that travels a lot. I’m a guy that spends a lot of time on a cold air-conditioned tour bus. I’m a guy that likes to watch movies in peace. I’m a guy that likes to travel in the airport in peace. You know, hoodies have been my friend for the last fifteen, twenty years of my career. It’s almost like when I’m not on stage my wardrobe says every day is laundry day; it’s pretty much just like the hoodie. I’ve been really creative with my outfits and so when the chance presented itself to partner up with Pete Shapiro, I welcomed it

INTERVIEW: MARANDA PLEASANT

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QL: Yeah, we won the Sweden equivalent of an Oscar.

“Just because the laws were changed doesn’t mean that the attitudes have changed. And that’s what has to change—the attitude of America. I hear a lot of cries of socialism and certainly real disguises of ‘Why should I share my money with these people?’ We have to get back to ‘we.’ It’s important to get back to ‘we’ not just ‘I.’”

MP: Right. Congratulations on that, by the way. QL: Oh, thank you. Thank you so much. The filmmakers at the time, when they presented us with this idea, basically showed me a lot of raw footage. They gave me over three hours of raw interview footage never seen before; it was just sitting in a basement of this news station over in Sweden. What was amazing to me was, even though this was forty years ago, it rings true as if this was done forty months ago. So it was real easy for me to just add the easy elements to it. MP: It’s not a small thing to be asked to be a part of it, considering all of the names. It’s a part of history, a legendary document now. QL: Well, this is the first movie score that I did in which I didn’t have a template in front of me. Mind you, I had all the raw footage. So I didn’t know how it was going to be edited. Normally when I score a film, I’m looking at the film and doing the score as I’m watching it on the screen. But here, I just had to watch the footage and just go with the mood. I mean, it was kind of raw but I still think we successfully got through it. MP: What was it like watching some of this footage? Was that an emotional process?

because I love hoodies. I really wasn’t aware of how much it was gonna be demonized, you know, post the Rivera rant. I think that we’re ignoring the bigger issue, which is a true understanding, a true healing. That’s something Obama said in his race speech of 2008, when he spoke about how America has yet to really come to grips with these feelings on race and on the cultural differences between everybody. I think that we swept under the rug enough, but you know the time has come. I mean, it happens all the time, but you know this will only continue to happen until there comes a resolution. MP: I really like what you’re doing; using celebrity to actually bring attention to issues. QL: Right. MP: I really appreciate when people use their fame and their voice for more than just self-promotion, starting a dialogue about a topic or an issue much bigger than themselves. Which leads me to The Black Power Mixtape and what it was like working on that. That was huge and I saw that it won all kinds of music awards.

QL: It was baffling to see the Angela footage from prison. MP: Yeah. QL: Even more baffling was to see a lot of the prison interview footage of a lot of the inmates there. Some of them are really coming from a hopeless space where they felt like they didn’t have a future. I was born at a very crucial time. I consider 1968 to be the Mason Dixon line between pre- and post-civil rights generation ideas, whereas a lot of people born before ‘68 they kind of went into that Moses mentality. Like, I’m not going to make it, you know, I don’t have any hope. That was my father’s attitude. My father was like, I tried to have a career—the singing—it didn’t work out right. One of the most beautiful things he told me was, “Son, you don’t know what a relief it is to know that I now know I can die now and seriously know that, I made my mark. You are the best thing I’ve ever created, because you got to achieve things that I could never imagine.” It’s saying that a lot of pre-‘68 black people are in the mindset that they might not make it. Whereas a lot of us after ‘68 took on a sort of hustler’s mentality. Legal or not legal, there’s always a hustler’s mentality of: I gotta win. MP: Right. QL: I feel as though that is one of the biggest misunderstandings about the civil rights period. Just because the laws were changed doesn’t mean that the attitudes have changed. And that’s what has to change—the attitude of America. I hear a lot of cries of socialism and certainly real disguises of “Why should I share my money with these people?” We have to get back to “we.” It’s important to get back to “we” not just “I.” MP: I think it’s a bit of a shadow on our own humanity, and I don’t think it’s a black and white issue as much as just a shadow on our humanity that any of us would tolerate injustice to anyone. QL: Right. MP: Yeah, I’m with you. I know it’s a hard segue, but one thing that I really wanted to talk about was your Questlove Eats. I wanted to tell you that we ran into Martha Stewart at the MoMa last month and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if Martha and Questlove did a food interview?”

ANGELA DAVIS IN THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE

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QL: Yeah, I love her to death. Anytime she comes on the show, man, like she’s one of the most fun guests we’ve ever had. You know, one of the best things about being on this show is like, “Wow, I’m one of the rare human beings that can say that he’s eaten the cooking of one of the most


top respected chefs of this past century. Everyone that comes on the show cooks for us and it is just amazing. We’re so lucky. What first started the idea was I saw all these specialty food trucks everywhere, and wanted to open one. But I never had the time or the resources to do so. So once I got a steady job here in New York, we spent time exploring the food truck option. Then we got an amazing response about the chicken—tonight, from Food and Wine, I’m getting like a “Best New Chef” award. I’m just baffled. David Chang wants to battle me. (laughs) So he and I are gonna go two-for-two with our chickens on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. You know, this is amazing. We’re going past the the level of just doing food trucks. I’m partnering with Graham Elliott. MP: Wow. QL: One of the most respected guys, I know. He and I are partnering on a catering venture, where I can do music, and include my drumsticks and stuff. He complements the powers of the menu. So this is definitely a world I know nothing about, but you know, it is very interesting and an amazing ride so far. So I’m very excited. MP: And there’s not much that you don’t do, is what I’m getting. QL: Yeah, I just got my hands all over (laughing). The Hoodie Shop; I’m selling my T-shirt stuff with Kid Player; got Questlove’s food—the drumstick venture. MP: What else? What else you got? (laughs) QL: (laughing) Well, before 2009, I devoted about 240 days of my life to music; The Roots from 1994 all the way to, like, 2009. That’s a long time to develop and devote your craft, making records, and touring. So now that I have time on my hands there’s other dreams that I wanna pursue. So it’ll slowly come true. I design these shoes for Nike, designing hoodies; there’s a lot that I do. MP: What are the things you’re most excited about this coming year? I mean, obviously Questlove Eats, and The Hoodie Shop... QL: That’s all just starting, but at the end of the day, I don’t want to lose track. I still am lovin’ my music and I’m gonna start work on our 16th record. MP: BAM. QL: Yeah, our 16th album. Well, I’ll probably start it in July. MP: You take a step back and you realize that you’ve become revered as a music legend. You’re not only a legend, but— QL: Do you wanna know my secret? MP: What? QL: I never ever ever ever ever ever EVER ever do that. I will never do that. That’s a jinx to me. I feel like the downfall of any person is the

second an artist starts celebrating their work themselves, that becomes problematic. And you know, I don’t sit there, I don’t bask in the awards I’ve won, you know, read my bank statements, I refuse. To me, that’s how you start losing the hunger. So for me personally, I just don’t celebrate it. I’m happy, right now. You know, in the present. If you asked, “Are you happy?” “Yes, I’m very happy.” But you know, I’ve seen a lot of situations where this could instantly end just like that. So—

“I feel like the downfall of any person is the second an artist starts celebrating their work themselves, that becomes problematic.” originmagazine.com | 19


MP: Is that what keeps you hungry? ‘Cause you’re always goin’ and— QL: Absolutely. Yeah, you saw what happened to Conan O’Brien. He had no clue that he’d be in the position that he was in the second he was going to move to Los Angeles. He just thought, “Wow, this is a start to a new venture,” you know? He didn’t know his whole empire was about to crumble. I thought, “Wow, even when you’re on top—Blamo!” It could be taken away from you any second. MP: Yeah. QL: Now, it doesn’t mean that I walk around like a debbie-downer, you know, preparing for the worst, but I’d never stop hustling or working. I can’t afford to. MP: I’m talking to Chuck D later on today with other hip hop leaders about changing the face of consciousness and really creating something positive with our lives and the importance of self care as well. QL: That’s important. I’m on day 47 right now (laughing).I look forward to the days when I can stop counting like a prisoner— MP: Day 47 of what?

MP: (laughing) And you’re counting the days? QL: Yeah well, the day that I started, I was starting to hear the word “stroke” just a little too much. Friends of mine have died of strokes at 40 and peers of mine have died of strokes in their 40s and it was disturbing me. It was absolutely killing me that I’ve spent the first 25 years of my life tryin’ to avoid bullets. That was always the main concern. Don’t go out late. Don’t go to any shady neighborhoods. Don’t hang in bars alone. Why? Because you wanna avoid bullets. So once I get to 35 then I was like “Woo, okay. Made it.” And now there’s a new warning. Now it’s like strokes; I gotta watch my health. So now, what I did was, 47 days ago— there’s basically a plan. Not a plan, it’s called a trainer. His name is Darryl Aiken. He trains in a way that’s sort of unorthodox, ‘cause he deals with people that have—in my case, I’ve always had a case of lymphedema, so I’ve always had lymphatic issues with my health.

QL: I hired a trainer, a yoga instructor, a lymphatic masseuse, a chef, an acupuncturist, and a therapist. So six people, which is probably a little extreme but you know, I think it’s very important, especially because I want to be as healthy as I can be so I can make it past 50; make it past 60 and make it past 70. You know, the hip hop lifestyle doesn’t really celebrate health and most people look at it and are like, “Ah, that’s kooky and a bit Granola Hippie!” (laughs) I’m slowly seeing a lot of people like Guru of Gang Starr, he succumbed to a heart attack. I’m seeing a lot of people fall by the wayside ‘cause you can’t live off of four bottles of Patron a week. You can’t live off of excessive smoking. You can’t live off of just greasy fatty foods and stayin’ up till six in the mornin’ just partyin’. You gotta take care of yourself.. So right now, I’m on my 47th day of this plan. I originmagazine.com | 20

MP: Awesome. QL: Yeah, it’s just a total turn around. Before I’d just have a pizza without thinkin’. A lot of fatty foods, but, you know, I’m turning my life around now. MP: So good. You know, Stic.man from Dead Prez does our health column. He’s been a pioneer for years. His passion is to get black men, especially high-risk, low-income black men, and getting them taking care of their bodies. And watching what they put in their mind, watch your thoughts and watch what goes into your mouth. QL: He has no clue. Like his “Be Healthy”—that haunted me probably more than any hip hop song. It’s really weird, ‘cause I know that Dead Prez was super militant. Probably one of the most revolutionary songs they’ve ever done was “Be Healthy.” MP: Yes.

QL: I’ve pretty much done a health overhaul of my life.

MP: I didn’t realize that.

mean, basically I’m caught somewhere between a vegan and a pescetarian lifestyle. My chef has totally taken out gluten, wheat, and most dairies out of my diet. Two days of the week I get to have fish, shrimp, or lobster. The other five days of the week it’s either seitan, soy, or tofu. I do a lot of greens. I do a lot of juice cleansing, ginger, and a lot of beet juice.

QL: The same way that N.W.A.’s “F*ck Da Police” affected me when I first heard it. “Oh my god! Can you say that?” When I first heard “Be Healthy” I was on tour with D’Angelo and I was like “Yo, listen to this.” We sat there with our mouths dropped, like we’d never heard black men talk about this ever. Like, really? So that’s always been in the back of my mind as I go through the struggle. And it is a struggle. You know one point I’ll sit back and I think of my heaviest day in ‘99. I was about 480 lbs.. MP: Are you serious? QL: Almost on the verge of 500, and when Big Pun died of a heart attack, that was my first scare. So I managed to drop 200 lbs. and go to like 300, but you know, it’s not even safe at 300. I’m trying to even drop another 100 lbs. just to live in the area of 200. You know, only because now I’m settled and I’m kinda steady in New York, and I want a future. I’m tryin’ to get a wife and kids, that type of stuff. I gotta take care of me. MP: Did you say yoga was a part of that?

“When I first heard ‘Be Healthy’ I was on tour with D’Angelo and I was like ‘Yo, listen to this.’ We sat there with our mouths dropped, like we’d never heard black men talk about this ever. Like, really? So that’s always been in the back of my mind as I go through the struggle. And it is a struggle. You know one point I’ll sit back and I think of my heaviest day in ‘99. I was about 480 lbs..”


“Wednesday I do acupuncture at nine in the morning until ten, and then Thursday I work out. Friday I do yoga again. Saturday I do lymphatic massage, gotta cool down. And Sunday I take the day off, then I do yoga at night. So this is like my sixth week doin’ this.”

“You know, the hip hop lifestyle doesn’t really celebrate health and most people look at it and are like, ‘Ah, that’s kooky and a bit Granola Hippie!’”

“When we have our two-week period off in August I wanna go to Six Flags and not have to worry about fitting in the ride and stuff, so that’s my goal.”

QL: Yeah. Again, I was one of those skeptics that thought that yoga was for kooks. Now I’m on a very strict regimen. You know, I work out. That’s another thing I’ve learned relaxin’, sleep, yoga. I didn’t know that that’s as crucial as going hard, as workin’ hard, as exercising hard. I never knew. I thought that, “Okay, I gotta be at the gym like five hours everyday going balls to the wall.” And what my yoga instructor, what my trainer, what they’re trying to teach me is that, “No, it’s sleep.” That’s important. That’s just as important as workin’ out. So I’ll say that Monday and Tuesday I work out in the gym from about eight to eleven. MP: Wow. QL: Wednesday I do acupuncture at nine in the morning until ten, and then Thursday I work out. Friday I do yoga again. Saturday I do lymphatic massage, gotta cool down. And Sunday I take the day off, then I do yoga at night. So this is like my sixth week doin’ this. MP: Not only am I so incredibly proud of you but I’m also very envious. (laughs) QL: Well, ya know, I got vanity reasons too. My vanity reasons are a little different than other people’s vanity reasons, but most people are like, “Oh, I got a photo shoot or I got an album cover I gotta shoot.” But my reason is a little different. When we have our two-week period off in August I wanna go to Six Flags and not have to worry about fitting in the ride and stuff, so that’s my goal. That’s my small goal really. You know, there’s gonna be a lifestyle choice, but you know, my reward is hopefully four months from now I’ll be fit enough so that I can enjoy myself at Six Flags. —to be continued.

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PHOTO: SEAN METLERKAMP

INTERVIEW: MARANDA PLEASANT INTRODUCTION: TRIA WOOD

Meet Die Antwoord. Renegades. Mavericks. Lunatics. Art Purists. Perhaps the strangest, most original new group you’ve never heard of. With surreal, adrenalized performances, these masters of grotesque pastiche fuse the futuristic with outlandish bits of low culture. Die Antwoord’s frenetic YouTube videos have sent them hurtling into American consciousness. Pleasant offers some insight into this group’s twisted sensibility, suggesting that Die Antwoord could be just the “powder” that manufactured, overcommercialized American music needs.

Maranda Pleasant: Hi, Yo-Landi and Ninja, how are you?

you…yeah. We got quackers and sh*t.

Yo-Landi: Yo.

Ninja: Have you been on that tour? They drive into the f*cking lake.

MP: You’re in South Africa right now?

Yo-Landi: Into the lake.

Yo-Landi: Yep, yep.

MP: {laughter} Yeah I’ve seen that. I really wish I knew you guys were here. What motivates you in your work? Your videos are amazing, and you’re really passionate; you’re the most original thing I’ve seen in years. Where do you pull from? What motivates you to create?

MP: I’m a huge fan of yours. We’re based in Austin. You ever been here? Ninja: Yeah. We went to Austin once. We played there on Halloween. Jack Black came to our show. He was dressed as, like, Popeye. Yo-Landi: And we went on the Daffy Tour, the quack quack tour where originmagazine.com | 22

Ninja: I think it’s South Africa. I know that sounds kind of corny, or whatever, but, like, it’s South Africa. Definitely. That’s, like, the number one thing. There’s so much f*cking funky sh*t here, but no one ever put


it together that good yet. I think we’re the first people to put it together kind of, like, properly. MP: What are you guys most excited about in your life and your music? What is the thing you’re most passionate about right now? Yo-Landi: I’m really excited for tomorrow because I spent the whole week collecting rats. I collected forty rats. I collected three ducks, five chickens, and three bunny rabbits for our next video that we’re working on. And we found some Madagascan cockroaches. Ninja: I found them. I found eight cockroaches. They’re f*cking huge, like, the big Madagascans—the ones that hiss? MP: You found eight cockroaches? Ninja: Yeah, but they’re f*cking huge. They’re like f*cking massive things. Yo-Landi: They make, like, a hissing sound, like: “Sssssss…” MP: {oh my} Ninja: F*cking cockroaches. Yo-Landi: Yeah. And we’re doing a photo shoot tomorrow with some of the animals, so that’s going to be really exciting. Ninja: We’re staying at our friend’s farm. We’ve been drawing all over his f*cking house…he’s a bit, like, mental, and he just let us do whatever we wanted to. We’ve been staying here for a while just, like, drawing sh*t and making a whole… Yo-Landi: Like on walls and stuff; and in his toilet…

Yo-Landi: “Just think about nothing, and relax and chill.” That’s like the worst thing to say to him. Ninja: I’d rather commit suicide. Yo-Landi: That’s what keeps us here in some weird way. Ninja: Holidays are, like, f*cking torture. MP: {laughter} Yo-Landi: We get to be with our family and our aunts and our cousins. Ninja: And they’re like {high pitched female voice} “So what have you guys been doing?” And we’re like, “Jesus, what have you been doing?” MP: You two work really well together. What’s that dynamic there? You have a really good balance. Ninja: I basically, like, know everything and then Yo-Landi doesn’t know f*cking anything, and then, she’s always giving me sh*t and talking to me like I don’t know anything, but I actually do know everything, and then she’s like… Yo-Landi: Well, but he’s a little bit straight down the line, you know what I mean? A little bit straight-acting kind of guy. Ninja: ‘Cause I’m, like, indestructible and stuff, so I have to maintain my f*cking sh*t, like…and then Yo-Landi’s like this punk, who likes to f*ck everything up the whole time.

Ninja: He just let us do whatever we want all over the place.

MP: {laughter} That sounds like a good pair. I’m going to try and stop laughing because some of these questions are actually serious, but I don’t see that happening.

MP: {ooooh}

Ninja: Be more serious, Jesus Christ…

Yo-Landi: Tomorrow he’s gonna take some photos of us, so we’re quite excited about how it’s gonna come out.

MP: {laughter}

Ninja: His name’s Roger. Then the video that we’re making—it’s called, “I Fink You Freaky.” It’s, like, this one song on our album; it’s kind of a pop song, but it’s, like, really kind of dark at the same time. Yo-Landi: Like a dark club song. Ninja: We’re gonna make, like, the darkest thing, like, the most, like, creepiest thing ever. But also, like, the most pop-est thing in the history of the known universe.

Ninja: Uh, Yo-Landi smokes weed. {laughter} Yo-Landi: No…I never do that. Ninja: I don’t know. It’s a cool question; I just don’t know. Yo-Landi: I think what keeps our mind clear, is for us to be clear, and as soon as we’re not clear is, like, when we have to go on a holiday. Ninja: Jesus. Yo-Landi: I mean, f*ck us, we hate holiday. Ninja: Holidays are f*cking the worst.

MP: Ok, I’m gonna focus. What do you guys do with your pain? Ninja: What? MP: What do you do with your pain Ninja? Ninja: What? F*ck pain! MP: How do you transform your pain? Ninja: Listen, girl. Have you got a pen? Pain is weakness leaving the body. {silence} Ninja: Yeah, write that down. MP: {laughter} I’m tattooing that on myself right now. Ninja: Yeah, good. Yo-Landi: I usually take a Grandpa or a Mirasane or a Mabrador, you know, pass the pain away. Ninja: {laughter} Yo-Landi: {laughter} MP: {laughter} I don’t even know what those originmagazine.com | 23

PHOTO: ROSS GARRET

MP: {laughter} In the history of the known universe. Oh my. What is it that you do to keep your mind clear?

Ninja: Focus, f*ck.


drugs are, but I can only imagine. Yo-Landi: Grandpa, you should really try some of that—it’s powder. Ninja: South Africans, yeah, they’ve got this line that goes “It works, because it’s powder”. You’re like, what the f*ck does that mean? That’s their f*cking line. It’s, like, this headache stuff, and it’s, like, this powdery stuff. It looks like f*cking cocaine or some sh*t. And it says, “It works because it’s powder.” {laughter} Yo-Landi: And it’s f*cking funny cause it’s like ten cents. Ninja: It’s like ten cents! And we’re like, “It works because it’s powder... What the f*ck does that mean?” And you take it if you have a headache, and then it’s gone in, like, three seconds. It really does work because it’s powder. But apparently it’s like f*cking bad for you and takes like seven years to leave your body and sh*t. But Yo-Landi doesn’t worry about that sort of sh*t. MP: Oh my god {laughter}. Do you guys meditate at all? Ninja: Yeah on the toilet, every day. MP: {laughter} You’re gonna change people’s lives with these answers. I get that our normal questions aren’t really gonna work here so... So how do you use your pain, do you channel it into your music? Ninja: Why are you going on about this pain? Are you going through something that you want to talk about? Yo-Landi: Are you going through a divorce or… Ninja: You can tell us, we’re good listeners. MP: {laughter} I’m gonna have to switch gears here. Do you guys do any Yoga? Yo-Landi: No we do Kung-Fu.

MP: {laughter}

Yo-Landi: It’s really hard. Ninja: When we went on a holiday—we were forced to go on a holiday— and then my sifu was like, “Welcome back” and that’s, like, the most scariest two words you can ever hear when he says that.

MP: {laughter} Do you use your music to bring awareness to social issues, or is it mainly for fun? Ninja: Check this out check this out, are you ready for this? MP: Yeah. Ninja: Ok, you know those machines in the hospital when someone’s like comatose? And they put those shocking machines on you? Our style is like that. But you know when someone’s a little too far gone? Then you’re like oh sh*t sorry this doesn’t work, sometimes that happens. Or sometimes it originmagazine.com | 24

Ninja: Um…yeah we have this like guy from Malawi that stays with us. He’s such a sweetheart, his name’s Hannok. He’s like an angel. He’s just so sweet and then he’s so nice. And then we were just like, “Do you wanna come stay here at our house?” And then we just let him live. Yo-Landi made this crib. She got a crib outside that she lives in and she just said you can stay here. She painted the whole thing black. And Hannok, this activist, he came to work with us but he can stay here forever. He’s like this weird, like, black angel. He’s like the best. We give him money the whole time. I think he’s like manipulative. We just give him money the whole time. If he came to me and asked me for like a thousand bucks I’d be like, “Yeah sure, just here take it.” I ran to the ATM now. He asked me for a hundred bucks, and I ran in the rain to the ATM and just gave him money. I actually just realized that now. I think he might be evil but…he makes me feel nice. MP: {laughter} Ninja: Yo-Landi she bought her one friend Kim a house. And then we put her kid through school for a whole lot. We have to think of more things. There’s probably more things you can try out so we can feel better about ourselves... MP: So Yo-Landi why did you paint your house black? Why did you paint all the walls black? Yo-Landi: I painted it black with the school board black paint, so you could draw over it like a chalkboard. So even the ceilings and the doors are black. And my kid and everyone likes to scribble in there all day long. So it’s like black and white, not just black.

MP: {Laughter } OK. Last serious questions: What’s the most emotional part about creating your art about your work?

Ninja: Seriously. Shaolin.

Ninja: “Welcome back.” We’re like, “Oh f*ck...”

MP: Are you guys involved in any causes in South Africa? Any organizations, causes, or charities or anything like that?

Ninja: And the biggest television in the history of, like, TVs. When you close the curtains, it’s like a TV in outer space. It’s so big, it’s like an interdimensional porthole. And now Hannok’s living large in the motherf*cker. Hannok’s the best...

Ninja: Ah, yeah, we’re more, like, Kung-Fu orientated.

Yo-Landi: When we haven’t seen him in a while he’s like, “Welcome back”.

works real good. F*ckin’...Yeah, that’s like our style. What do they call that? Decampelators or something. Decopulators. What are those things called? Just Google it...

Ninja: That’s the center of the known universe. Every time we do a song, even before we’ve started, even before we get to the lyrics... Someone else asked us, “How do you make songs?” It’s, like, kind of a weird question. That’s, like, the core of everything. We start off with an emotion we want to, like…you know like magic, like spells and stuff?

PHOTO: ROSS GARRET


PHOTO: ROSS GARRET

“We kind of document South Africa, it’s like watching a documentary but then it’s also part fiction. The fiction is like the art, in making stuff out of nothing, in creating a hyper-reality to have an experience. If it’s strong enough, and your spell is strong enough, then you become, like, ultra-magnetic and then everything comes to you.”

MP: Yeah. Ninja: Yeah we start off with an idea, like a mood, like an emotion—that’s how we start off every single song. We’re like, we wanna make a song that makes us feel like this. Sometimes it’s like a phrase that makes you feel something, but it always starts with the emotion, and then we, like, expand it and try to make it a reality—crystallized, lucid—so you can actually make, like, a hyper-experience. We’re, like, “What’s the most exaggerated emotion we can conjure?” We’re artists, you know, so you can make something out of nothing. Our music is kind of like…it’s part documentary. We kind of document South Africa, it’s like watching a documentary but then it’s also part fiction. The fiction is like the art, in making stuff out of nothing, in creating a hyper-reality to have an experience. If it’s strong enough, and your spell is strong enough, then you become, like, ultra-magnetic and then everything comes to you. MP: {Silence} Wow. Yo-Landi: I thought you hung up. Ninja: Yeah, I thought you hung up. I thought you were like, “Boring…”

Ninja: Yeah, just bite it, just bite it hard. Just do that and then be, like, “P.S. F*ck you.” MP: {Laughter} I’m totally gonna do that. Ninja: That’s F...U...C... MP: {Laughter} Yeah, I’m writing it down. Thank you. So you guys are still kind of like this fringe thing that’s growing across the United States. What are the things that you would want somebody who hasn’t heard about you yet to know about you? Ninja: I don’t know. What do you mean? MP: You have space to say whatever you want. Ninja: Oh! I’ve got a good one, I’ve got a good one. Ok so, like, if we’re talking about like pop music. Everyone’s into reality TV and sh*t right? Americans are like way into reality TV, yeah? And, like, sh*t pop music, like in the mainstream? We just keep on hearing that the mainstream of America is, like, reality TV and pop music.

MP: {laughter}That was amazing!

MP: It’s kind of scary, I don’t really even have a television, but I guess it’s a little…the quality is…

Ninja: I thought you were like, “These guys are f*cking boring, I can just hang up.”

Ninja: Yeah yeah, that’s cool. We don’t have one either. TV is, like, f*cking hectic.

MP: That was great, I was actually writing it down.

Yo-Landi: We have a TV but we only watch…

Ninja: Yeah you should.

Ninja: We just watch DVD’s, not like actual TV, cause it’s f*cking brain rot. So anyway, imagine, like, an alien comes to earth for the first time, and then you show this alien, like, a little kid playing basketball: you pick up the ball and you throw it through the hoop and then you bounce it around; and when you throw it through the hoop then you get a point. And it’s, like, really fun, and the alien’s like “Oh...f*ck!” He, like, loves that sh*t. Then he goes back to the home planet, and, like, all the aliens get way into this game.

MP: I’m actually going to use it as my editor’s letter. Ninja: Good one. Good one. MP: I’m just gonna take it and put my name on it. {laughter}

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“Ok, you know those machines in the hospital when someone’s like comatose? And they put those shocking machines on you? Our style is like that. But you know when someone’s a little too far gone? Then you’re like oh sh*t sorry this doesn’t work, sometimes that happens. Or sometimes it works real good. F*ckin’...Yeah, that’s like our style.”

That’s kind of like pop music today, it’s kind of like that. It’s, like, reality TV and pop music are kind of like—the aliens have just been introduced to this kiddie-style basketball sh*t. They’ve been used to this style, and then one day, a special tape gets smuggled around the alien planet. It’s, like, an NBA tape of like Michael Jordan, you know, flying through the air. And the aliens are like, “What the f*ck! That’s impossible.” That’s kind of like our style. We’re like that tape that’s being smuggled at the moment. MP: {laughter} Do you ever feel pulled to change your style for commercial success? Ninja: We got signed to Interscope Records and they wanted us to change our style for commercial success, and we were like, “You know what?” When we presented our second album, they wanted us to like reach out more, you know? Reach out more. And we were like, “Ok. Why don’t you just, like, reach out, and, like, suck my d*ck, and, like, never speak to me again.” We left the label and we’re independent now. We signed to a Japanese toy company and we’re, like, independent now, and we feel so much better about ourselves. MP: Wow. Mad, mad props to you for remaining independent like that. Musicians are having to kind of dumb themselves down and water themselves down so we don’t get much pure art anymore. Companies are telling the artists what they need to do. Ninja: We’re like “What the f*ck’s wrong with people. Ay?” MP: I didn’t know you weren’t with a major label anymore. Ninja: Yeah we dumped the motherf*ckers. We were like, “See ya!” MP: {laughter} Ninja: We dropped them. MP: Well millions of people around the world follow you after “Zef” went viral. And that’s the irony: people try to change the thing that made you famous, when it’s what makes you superstars. Is there anything big that you’re passionate about coming up this year that you want us to know about? Ninja: The Tension album is pretty good, and the new live show is, like, better than the old live show. Tomorrow is, like, the best thing ever. We’re shooting our new video. I’m not really thinking beyond that. We’ve got a whole bunch of stuff coming. Have you seen my “Evil Boy” tattoo? The “Evil Boy” tattoo on my arm, have you seen it? MP: Yes I think we saw it. Ninja: Yeah, I’ve got this tattoo called “Evil Boy” on my arm, and when we signed with this Japanese toy company, the first thing they’re doing is they’re making Evil Boy Toys. They’re on our website. Have you seen the originmagazine.com | 26

new website? Have you seen the one with the album cover on it? MP: No, I haven’t seen it! Ninja: What the hell’s wrong with you? MP: You know, there are so many things wrong with me. Yo-Landi: The Evil Boy toys are all over it. Ninja: The Evil Boy toy is all over that thing. They’re like the cutest things ever made. Blue ones and pink ones; they’re like the coolest things ever. MP: Hey Yo-Landi, are you holding a human heart with blood dripping off your mouth on your new website? Yo-Landi: Yep. MP: Oh my god! {laughter} That’s a long way from bunny suits. Wow. So, what inspired that? Yo-Landi: Well a friend of ours made a picture of us—it was like a fan art thing. Just made this drawing exactly like what you see, but it was a drawing. Then one day we saw it and we thought to ourselves, how are we gonna turn that drawing into a photo? We don’t know why it was so cool—it’s just so f*cking cool. He just drew it out of his head and wrote on the drawing, “How can an angel break my heart?” Ninja: I got a tattoo on my chest that says, “How can an angel break my heart?” Yo-Landi: Then he drew me with the angel wings eating a heart. We just decided, “That’s it.” It’s kind of mystical. Ninja: We got this thing coming out soon, like, any second now it’ll probably be out. We turned the album cover—just a thing we did for fun—we turned the album cover into a thirty-second film. Our f*cking internet—this is so f*cking South Africa—we keep trying to load it up, and it keeps f*cking up. When we get off the phone, we’ll try and load it up. We’ve made a little movie. We’ve been trying to make a bunch of f*cking YouTubes the whole time. It’s coming out any second— as soon as we can actually upload it, ‘cause South Africa, it’s like the little asshole of the whole world—it’s, like, the bottom. It’s, like, in the dark depths of the hallway. You won’t be waiting for long, just give us a little time. MP: Did you just say, “South Africa is the asshole of the world?” Ninja: Yeah yeah yeah. We’re in the middle of nowhere. MP: What a great note to wrap up on! Love your work. Yo-Landi: We really appreciate the interview, thank you so much. Ninja: Yeah you’ve got a good vibration.


SACRED SPACES “Art Whores and Design Sluts”

ORIGIN COLUMNISTS: CHERYL MOODY AND DERRICK DECRISTOFARO Art whore: someone who buys and collects artwork created by prominent artists under the assumption that the artist’s work will bring prestige or social recognition, regardless of the actual quality or value of the art. This term need not be gender specific. Design slut: someone who decorates their home or space with luxury brand items solely to emulate a neighbor and/or trendy retailers’ visual aesthetic. They hop and whore around retail chains under the belief that replicating the aesthetic and regurgitating the design elements will lead to social desirability and prestige. In the New Year, we invite you to embed your unique identity into your own sacred space. Select art and furnishings from newcomers, fresh talent and unknowns. Surprise the world. Stay out of the herd, and show the unexpected. Stand out as an innovator and creator of uniqueness. Find your authentic voice. Honor your passions and interests so that your collections reflect them.

PHOTO: MARILYN MINTER AND JAMES DANZIGER

We challenge you to blur the lines in your collection and your interior spaces by including emerging artists and lesser-known designers

with your pieces by well-established artisans. If you don’t have the time, then engage experts to assist you in co-creating your own perspective. Co-curate your personal sacred space with leading authorities, rather than relying on the luxury brands’ marketing teams. When we subscribe to what is dictated to us, we lose our own identity and the part of us that allows us to hone, fine tune, and develop our own aesthetic. It’s all about the individual now. In the new paradigm, we are a conscious collective, defying the establishment. We have been complacent for so long and permitted them to do our thinking for us under the false belief that they know better. Blogger Justin Small pins this exploitation-by-brands to an age-old pattern in human psychology: “Brands are the role models we never had; through brands we display our values and differences, our tribes and beliefs. Our inner subjective worlds are formed and packaged for us to experience as objects in order for us to feel ourselves effectively mirrored and held—like our mother used to do. Brands are our all-new surrogate parents—like God used to be. Amazon is the New Testament - with next day delivery.”

As curators, we are essentially teachers who provide guidance to our clients on their personal journey. Our favorite clients layer pieces by emerging artists with objects from global treks into their collections of modern masters and contemporary headliners. A beautiful collection or interior is created by selecting pieces that have their own identity. When brought together with the guidance of professionals, interior spaces are then transformed into remarkable and extraordinary sacred spaces. Shift your focus to shopping off the beaten path. Rather than succumbing to the barrage of media from retailers, look to the obscure boutique and atelier for the unusual and unfamiliar. Seek out galleries and artist studios in lieu of pre-framed, mass-produced digital imagery intended for generic consumption. Uniqueness makes design and art collections sacred. The expected is what we live for. The unexpected is what changes our lives.

“It’s all about the individual now. In the new paradigm, we are a conscious collective, defying the establishment.”

www.designderrick.com www.cmoodycontemporary.com originmagazine.com | 27


PHOTO: STEVE VACCARIELLO

East meets West, the founder of gansta rap, Ice-T, and the father of political rap, Chuck D, dialogue about rap back in the day and today. Both men are highly respected icons and still relevant 25 years into the game. Their music, ideas, and risk-taking are the foundation of today’s rap music. They recently collaborated on Ice-T’s groundbreaking and critically acclaimed documentary, The Art of Rap. In this Origin interview the two friends discuss the state of rap and how social media has affected it, as well as share revealing stories from their pasts.

THE ART OF RAP WITH originmagazine.com | 28


PHOTO: SARAH EDWARDS

“Absolutely, [the social relevance of rap is] diminished. I mean, it’s not considered as powerful. You don’t even see people out there picketing rap records. You know, there was a reason they went against us and people were worried about what we were sayin’.”

Jorge Hinojosa: It seems like every generation has had a galvanizing artist that has echoed the feelings and the problems of the people, but does this generation have those artists? Chuck D: Yeah, they do. I think the problem for the future generations is a lot of people ain’t takin’ the time to look for them and give them their voice, so therefore for their voice to be heard, they gotta bang more pots on the ceiling, so to speak; they gotta do crazy things just to get recognized. I just feel that whenever you don’t give a generation some kind of voice, then expect side effects. Ice T: Yeah. I think what’s happenin’ is that, with the overflow of music, it’s been diluted. There was a time when people would go search out underground records. Now, underground means free, and people don’t really care for it. So now artists tend to go more pop and look for the radio. You know, the radio never wanted you to speak about anything, so the music is kinda influenced by the hands of the radio which wants to homogenize it and dilute it and sanitize it. And for the most part, nobody’s takin’ the time to seek out the cats that are still tryin’ to talk, so they have a difficult time being heard, like Chuck said.

Chuck D: Alright. Would you also agree that back then— even for music—no matter what genre it was, you had to prove your music? So you had to come out and wear it on your chest like a badge, and prove that you was what you said. You know? Ice-T: Yeah. You were held accountable for it. I mean, there could never have been a Public Enemy if y’all wasn’t really about it. You can’t just sing the song and live another life, you know. It’s really difficult now because that’s not what it’s about. It’s pop and pop just says that we could be actors. We could sing about stuff and not believe in it. It could be absolutely fraudulent and it doesn’t really matter. Chuck D: One thing I think a group like that has gotta understand is that your closest and your most dedicated fans will be your ultimate test. They will test you. Ice-T: Another thing is that with the invention of the blog and all this Internet stuff, everybody has an opinion; everybody has a voice. In fact, there was a time when the average person didn’t have a voice so you had to pick an artist to speak for you.

Chuck D & Ice-T

INTERVIEW + INTRO: JORGE HINOJOSA originmagazine.com | 29


“And sometimes somebody will make you understand like, ‘Hey, what you doin’ is serious, don’t play it lightly ‘cause it’s changin’ my life.’” PHOTO: NANCY MAZZEI

Chuck D: Right.

lines, like a 140 characters or less.

Ice-T: So you know, you’d hide behind a Public Enemy or Ice Cube, or Bruce Springsteen, or U2, because they spoke for you. But now everybody’s bloggin’. I heard somebody say, “Blogging is just graffiti with punctuation.” Everyone’s an authority so there’s nobody in power, ‘cause everyone thinks they’re in power.

JH: When you guys started rapping, did you have a sense of how powerful you had become in the community? Not just from a fame standpoint, but from a cultural perspective.

Chuck D: Bloggin’ is just putting out your opinion without seeing anybody face to face or talking to them head to head. That’s what would either neutralize opinion or balance it out to where two heads would just say, “Aight, we agree to disagree.” Bloggin’ is just like, “This opinion will stand no matter what. I don’t care what anybody f*cking says.” I’ll never face up to having to vouch for it either, so like you said Ice, accountability. JH: So then with the advent of blogging, Facebook and the Internet, has the social relevance of rap diminished? Ice-T: Absolutely, it’s diminished. I mean, it’s not considered as powerful. You don’t even see people out there picketing rap records. You know, there was a reason they went against us and people were worried about what we were sayin’. Chuck D: Yeah, everybody’s got that voice. I’ve seen some of the best lyrics now in tweets. (laughs) Some of the best punch originmagazine.com | 30

Ice-T: I didn’t really realize how big I was ‘til I started to tour, because being in your own neighborhood, people don’t actually give you full props. When I started to tour—I think my first date was when I was in Austin, Texas, when I was on the Dope Jam Tour, which was really my first big rap tour. I hit the stage and the place went crazy, and I was like what?!?! Then it happened in Atlanta and then it just happened everywhere. I was just like, oh my god. My next album, I titled it “Power” ‘cause I realized people really were listenin’ to me. When I recorded my first album, my ego didn’t let me believe that what I was gonna say on the mic, anyone would really care about. But then when I found out that they did, I started to take it more seriously. Chuck D: I think for me it was one of the first times I was on the LL Cool J / Def Jam Tour. I think one of our earliest shows was in L.A., and Ice T and Africa Islam pulled up in the same car I saw on the Rhyme Pays album— Ice-T: In the Porsche. Chuck D: (Laughing) In the Porsche outside LA Sports Arena.


“this is a craft where it ties humanity together at the hip and a lot of people thought that rap and hip hop was incapable of doin’ so.” PHOTO: WALTER LEAPHART

Ice and Islam started telling me the rules of LA street gang politics and I was buggin’ out. We had a common line with us which was that photographer Glen Freedman had done both our covers, but I was kinda buggin’ out that this Ice knew me. You know, this was the first time we all meet and it was like wow. I knew of Ice T; I played his records, but he knows of me now? Ice-T: Yeah. I knew of you from Glen and your first song. He was just like, “You gotta hear this dude. You gotta hear this sh*t.” And I was like, “Yo this sh*t is crazy!” I think another thing is, Jorge, when you start to really travel and you get to these abstract like places in the world, you would see certain people’s names. It seemed like we could go anywhere. Like when we went to Afghanistan, you’d see in the dressing room Run DMC’s name. Certain rappers are like journeymen. It really really sunk into me when I went to Europe and they take rap so much more serious than we do here. That was the first time I ever heard rap considered folk music. And sometimes somebody will make you understand like, “Hey, what you doin’ is serious, don’t play it lightly ‘cause it’s changin’ my life.” Chuck D: I don’t know if you remember this, but we were in New Castle, Australia, and this white kid came on the bus. You were so much in this kid’s bloodstream, he basically said to you he ain’t got nothin’ else to live for, but he follows everything you say in your music and lyrics. This kid was in a

stone-cold trance. I mean, straight up he was catatonic, man. He was a zombie and Ice brought him back to earth with a real conversation. Ice-T: I always looked at Public Enemy as being more of a global entity. I always felt like my stuff was more regional. My government ended with the police. When I was young, we used to call it “Nixon.” We used to say, “Here come Nixon.” I kinda limited my politics to that smaller world and I knew Public Enemy took it bigger. JH: I’ve seen people come up to both of you with such respect and adoration and I wonder if that inspires a certain amount of responsibility knowing that when you say something, it’s going to have so much more weight than what anybody else says? Ice-T: I didn’t start off with the responsibility because I didn’t think anybody would care. But as you do meet these people like Chuck is talking about, then you start to understand you have a responsibility. I don’t think you initially know it until you feel the power of what you’re really doing. Chuck D: Yeah. I always tell people that I was fortunate I was able to come in with a group of men. We didn’t come into the game with a group of boys. We were young then. So your cats keep you in check. I know that it’s probably definitely the originmagazine.com | 31


I think Dre said it best, “If you work at it and look at it as an art, the money will come. But if you try to get the money, it’ll just always be shallow.” same for you Ice with the crew. Ice-T: That’s one of my favorite lyrics you say, you know, “Smooth not what I am; rough, ‘cause I’m a motherf*ckin’ man”. It’s like, what do you expect me to be at this point? I mean, real men hold themselves accountable for stuff. I remember one thing you said, even in The Art of Rap, “I have to be conscious of what I’m sayin’ because people are gonna come at me about this sh*t.” Chuck D: Yup. Ice-T: You know, I say in my lyrics, “Every word I write will be analyzed by somebody white.” It’s just that I know that this sh*t is just not gonna fall on deaf ears. Motherf*ckers are gonna try to attack, so I gotta have my sh*t straight. I remember Ice Cube asked me, “Ice, is there anything you wouldn’t write about?” I said, “Two things. I wouldn’t write about sh*t I don’t know. You won’t hear me write about politics in Africa and stuff, because I don’t know enough about it. And I would never rap about something I can’t back up.” Like you said Chuck, I don’t rhyme for the sake of riddlin’. If I say it, I gotta be able to back it up. And then I talked to Cube like twenty years later and he said, “Ice, that was the best advice I ever got.” Chuck D: It was the same thing when we worked on Ice Cube’s Amerikkka’s Most Wanted album. Before we talked studios, beats, or lyrics, I said, “Two rules: Only say what you’re able to vouch for. Number two, never repeat yourself twice, because we makin’ an album that people will play over and over. You said it. Let it stand. Vouch for it, back it up, and you good to go.” JH: What do you think the effect of The Art of Rap is gonna be on the artistic community? Specifically, aspiring rappers? Chuck D: Treat it as a craft instead of just a hustle. We understand there’s a hustle standpoint of gettin’ your movement on, but this is a craft where it ties humanity together at the hip and a lot of people thought that rap and hip hop was incapable of doin’ so. Ice-T: I think Dre said it best, “If you work at it and look at it as an art, the money will come. But if you try to get the money, it’ll just always be shallow.” I think our early rap was more about the content. It was more about tryin’ to really make some good music. Also, there was so much quality sh*t, it made you raise the bar. Chuck D: And you had to grab your own category, your own niche. And then you had to battle out a set of standards with whoever was in that particular lane. There were aspects that Ice would do that I’d be like, “Hmm, I can’t go into that zone, but I could try to put this on my uniform and I could fly with it and I know my man Ice would look at it and say, ‘You know, that’s cool.’” JH: Ice was talking about the first record that he heard of yours. Do you remember the first record you heard of Ice’s? Chuck D: Yeah. Well, I played Cold Wind Madness at college radio as a DJ. Ice-T: Wow. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis produced that record. Chuck D: Right. So we played both sides to that record. It was a long record, which we appreciated. We specialized in playin’ music, especially from outside of New York, because, I mean, we really got into it. Then originmagazine.com | 32

later on, I was told about Ice’s record with “6 In The Mornin’” and hearing that I was like, “Okay, this dude Ice T has got like nine lives.” JH: Do young rappers have the same passion about rappin’ as you guys did? Ice-T: It’s more of a hustle now. That’s the thing. When it’s all hustle, then it changes. It can’t be all hustle. You gotta remember when I did an album called Rhyme Pays. At the time, to rap and say that it was about money was taboo. You know, you couldn’t be about the money. You had to be about the skills. But that’s because all the rappers were younger and they was livin’ in they ma’s house, but they didn’t need money. Chuck D: It wasn’t taboo; it was just unheard of. Gettin’ money was an impossible thought. You released Rhyme Pays then Eric and Rakim came out with the album Paid In Full. Ice-T: Yeah, that was the beginning. Chuck D: Yeah, it brought an antenna up. Like when LL said, he gets 6 g’s every minute; it was alarmin’. It was like what? So it wasn’t taboo; it was unheard of. It’s like, “Oh my god. Wow.” Then grown people, they turn around and say, “Damn, I just got out of college. Man, they makin’ that money for doin’ that? I mean, yo yo wait a minute.” (laughs) JH: Back in the day, rap was pretty dangerous. You would go to a rap show and violence would jump off, promoters were shady, and a lot of the top talent still lived in the hood and had to dodge bullets on more than one occasion. Now, corporations promote rap shows and record release parties are at uptown eateries that people from the hood could never afford. Ice-T: It’s like a paradox. For one side, it got better and the other side of it got worse. It’s very pop and it’s very different now. When you make it as pop and as soft as it is, it lacks its integrity. It lacks its accountability. It lacks a lot of other things that came from that dangerous time in hip hop. Chuck D: And also, as I tell people all the time, I never enjoyed the dangerous times of hip hop, because a) we always collected the money at the gig and we were wonderin’ if everything was secure. Was everybody inside that we were responsible for? I remember we found out we were playin’ Skateland in Watts, which was heavy Blood territory—this was like ‘87, ‘88—and DJ Pooh kinda guided us in the area and then he said, “I’m gonna take you in the area, ‘cause I kinda got privileges, but I’m not gonna stay.” You know, so I’m kinda like, “But you cool with them right?” He says, “Yeah but I don’t push it.” (laughs) So I was like, “Wow, wow.” Those dynamics were actually kinda like, nobody really is seriously gonna go to the gig and say, “Oh, it was a lovely time.” Ice-T: Back in the day there was a degree of accountability. Like KRS said, you had to have political pull to touch the microphone. Chuck D: Yes, you did. Ice-T: You go to the DJ booth and you wanna rhyme, and they were like, “Who are you? Who do you know? Who are you? ‘Cause you can’t just get up on my mic. I don’t know what you might say; what you might do. I don’t care if you got a hit record. Whatever.” Chuck D: Right. The DJ’s gotta be there all the time and here you come in just because you got a bankroll and some A&R person from some record


company? I don’t care about that. JH: Ice, is the movie, The Art of Rap, kind of hitting a reset button on rap? Is that the way you see it? Ice-T: I mean, really it’s honestly an attempt to make people respect the music as an art form. Up to this point, I don’t really think it was. Like Salt said, “People just think you’re talkin’ on the mic.” In my twenty years I’ve been interviewed, nobody asked me how I did it. They’ll ask about the topic, but no “How do you do it?” When you see Chuck’s Blueprints, no one asked about that. It’s like magic. People will be like, “Oh, go knock out an album. Go sh*t it out.” It’s not done like that. I think the

one thing I’ve gotten back from people that watch the film is after the first ten minutes, they start listenin’ to the lyrics. I think that the fact everyone in the film is rappin’ a capella, that’s something. Also, that these cats are really intelligent. It’s not easy to do. It requires a certain degree of intelligence. You gotta read; you gotta know some things. You could almost tell from the raps what the person is into from the way they use their words. Some people watch a lot of movies; some people read a lot of stuff. When you listen to Immortal Technique and stuff—you can tell those guys are smart. That’s The Art of Rap. JH: And with that, we’re done.

ICE-T AND DR. DRE IN THE ART OF RAP

ICE-T AND Q-TIP IN THE ART OF RAP

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Percentages Helping 1+99= Percentages SEEN AND HEARD BY COLUMNIST RAIN PHOENIX AT: PHOTOS BY WYATT TROLL

100%

ALL IN FOR THE 99% MARCH 31, 2011 LOS ANGELES, CA.

In addition to the political, environmental and socioeconomic issues facing our nation, I’ve found myself preoccupied with the paradox that while technology advances so does our desire to go ‘“back to the land.” It’s echoed in our cities, with farm to table restaurants, organic markets, urban gardens—we yearn for true connectivity. Yet computers, the Internet and social networks are the tools helping to sound alarms, assemble, occupy, protect our environment and uphold our democracy. This contrast is what excites me most about the time we live in. With that in mind, I went to the ALL IN FOR THE 99% event in Los Angeles and asked these two questions of the following activists, artists and allies in the movement. 1. What do you think is the greatest issue facing our nation? 2. What excites you about the time we live in?

Van Jones President and Author of Rebuild the Dream 1. “The fact that it’s almost impossible for kids to go to college and get a good education without graduating with tons of debt and possibly no job. There’s no country in the world that is making it harder right now to get an education. There are only two ways to have a middle class in your country: either you have highly skilled manufacturing jobs, or you have a highly skilled, well trained, knowledge-based workforce. In other words, college. We’re giving away our manufacturing and we’re putting up barriers to college. That’s a fast track to having no middle class. That we could live in a country with no rules for the rich, no rights for the poor, and no middle class to speak of, is wrong; it’s a crime against the next generation and we’ve got to do something about it.” 2. “What I find exciting is groups like 350.org, Occupy Wall Street, Domestic Workers Alliance, New Bottom Line and my organization, Rebuild the Dream, are beginning to stand and say we can be a better country than this. America should be leading the world in green and clean solutions, and human rights. We shouldn’t be leading the world in wars and incarceration rates and pollution. We can be a better country. I think we’re going to be a better country. I’m excited about our rising generation.”

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Moby Musician/Activist 1. “For me the most important issue is climate change because it in some ways trumps every other issue. Everything else we care about falls by the wayside if the Greenland ice shelf falls into the sea. And if suddenly sea levels rise 21 feet, everything we hold near and dear ceases to exist.” 2. “ I think the most exciting thing is access to information. People’s ability to document things and expose things that may have not otherwise been documented and exposed. All the information you want is available instantly, which is overwhelming, but I think can have a positive change on the political process and accountability for leaders and corporations.”


Ai-Jen Poo Director of the National Workers Alliance 1. “I think we’re in a fight for the soul of the country. Everything that we believe in and count on is really in question right now. Our safety net, public education, housing, health care, so many things that are fundamental to a healthy democracy, are under attack. So I think, in general we’ve got a lot of work to do.” 2. “I think this is a moment of a lot of possibilities, and openings. Occupy and the 99% movement are really going to break through, and we are going to create a new economy, an economy that we need that works for everyone. Where everyone works, everyone counts and everyone contributes.”

1. “The most important issue facing our nation right now is income disparity wrapped in democracy.” 2. “I think the most exciting thing is what’s happening in California, where our organization, the Courage Campaign, and some others, just forced the Governor of this state to take our billionaires tax and fold it into a tax measure that will be on the ballot in November. It will be the highest income tax rate in the country, 13.3 percent on people who make over a million dollars. It really could refund the state, change the way the state works, and send a message to the rest of the country. That’s what I think is exciting.”

Shepard Fairey Artist/Activist 1. “Not just because this event focuses on it, but I think that the influence of people with power and money to distort democracy and have their interests served before the rest of the population is the biggest problem. That is caused by two things: campaign finance and the way that’s structured, and by the Citizen’s United supreme court decision. So those two things are keeping democracy from working right.” 2. “What excites me is that, when things are tough, people become resourceful, and now with the Internet, social networking and the ability for people who in the past had been relatively powerless, they have tools to be able to spread ideas and organize. The urgency is there and the tools are there and I think that the possibility for really, really powerful results is there. I think it’s all brewing, it’s all bubbling up right now.”

Rick Jacobs Chair and Founder of the Courage Campaign originmagazine.com | 35


Interview with Russell Brand, Daniel Pinchbeck, & Graham Hancock Russell Brand: Have you arranged these seats deliberately to diminish me? (laughs) Because I’m gonna diminish myself very quickly anyway. You don’t need to be the architect of my downfall. Firstly, I would like to thank all of you for making me feel so welcomed today. Thank you Graham for your phenomenal and educational talk. It’s been amazing. And thank you on an individual basis for the warmth and kindness that you’ve shown me. I’ve never felt more relaxed to be in a tent, on a camping chair, beneath an illuminated fish, in front of a pagan altar, and let me tell you this isn’t the first time. Daniel, what I enjoy about your films and your writing is the ability to assuage the natural cynicism applied to mysticism by people who have taken the intellectual high-ground through atheism and the political right. I’d like to congratulate you on that. And then, and I want to augment and mobilize some of these ideas. I know that this is something that you focus on in your films and writing, but it’d be good to hear you say it in a tent. Daniel Pinchbeck: Well, I feel like I’ve tried every freaking way I can to augment the ideas and get them out to people. But people obviously speak in different registers. You don’t know how that influence is gonna get conveyed. It happens in a lot of different ways. For me it’s creating an alternative media system, but then also getting into the mainstream media as much as humanly possible, and taking every opportunity to raise awareness or awaken people to the situation. Cynicism is something that is part of the media production of a certain type of subjectivity or consciousness that is passive and disempowered, cynical, fatalistic, pessimistic. RB: Yes, I suppose I’m qualified to some degree to speak about the nature of contemporary media, as that’s where I currently work. People, I think have been beyond trained—coded to not anticipate change; to think that change is implausible. Almost weaned off. It had to be a revolution bred out of us. I’ve spent time in the media, institutions, that sort of thing. MTV, E Channel, and the luminous phosphorescent vacuity that succeeds there, like glowing treasured orbs of emptiness to which our eyes are drawn. What I find difficult, Daniel, is that there is a certain immediacy to a line of coke or a blow job that isn’t available through the shamanic endeavours that you and Graham— DP: Try DMT. We’ll talk after that. (laughs) RB: (laughing) Just openly endorsing drugs to a recovering drug addict. Just openly. The thing for me is, what if one returns to these maxims, these rather simplistic maxims “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Because what canvas have we but the self for these kind of explorations, ultimately. So is that what you would urge? That people initially, on an individual basis, seek these kinds of changes? DP: Yeah. Catchphrases are a useful but also empty and trite sentiment. Exactly. “Be the change that you want to be” comes from Gandhi. I’m starting to reread a bunch of Gandhi and it was kind of traumatic, because he was so clearly, unbelievably amazing. And the stuff that he is originmagazine.com | 36

“You’re talking about change the paradigm. How do we go about that? How do we say, “Right, we’ve got these institutions of media, these financial institutions, we have the means of distribution, we have the means of production, we have all these markets and maxims in place. How do we alter the consciousness, the fundamental unifying field? How do we influence change on that level to all of the world?”


htiw weivretnI ,d na rB llessuR ,kcebhcniP lei naD kcocnaH maha rG & suggesting is so profoundly opposite from what is happening in our world today. RB: Really? DP: Sure. I mean, he says that the purpose of civilization in a way should be to make life simpler. He also thinks that voluntary renunciation is the key to happiness. RB: Oh my god. What? By renunciation of sex and drugs, and everything? DP: Well, for him, pretty much everything, but you know I think maybe we can keep it to wealth, and keep the other stuff. RB: That’s bloody convenient. Well, this is the thing. It doesn’t take an incredible manner of analysis to reveal that our primary desires are incessantly stimulated to keep us basic consumers. Our basic fundamental desires are overly stimulated. A friend of mine said, “you have a generation of people that have been accidentally marketed to.” Marketing is all pervasive. They’re getting marketed products they can’t afford—can’t ever hope to acquire. They believe the only way they’re ever going to achieve happiness is the acquisition of these products. Products they can’t afford. They see people living that lifestyle, and they have that lifestyle beamed incessantly into their minds through media, which you know I participate in. What’s fascinating for me, Daniel, about the recent rise in London, is that it was the nihilism. That this was about nothing. You know, this is not Paris. This is not Prague 1968. This is not people rising up against the tyranny that they should be rejecting, they’re just sort of like “pff! Oh fucking hell, just give me an XBox.” (laughter) Because there’s no hope. You’re talking about change the paradigm. How do we go about that? How do we say, “Right, we’ve got these institutions of media, these financial institutions, we have the means of distribution, we have the means of production, we have all these markets and maxims in place. How do we alter the consciousness, the fundamental unifying field? How do we influence change on that level to all of the world? DP: Yeah, that’s a good question.

RB: Thanks! DP: Well, I think you would have to make an alliance of people who are reaching this level of understanding, and actually utilize some of the techniques of propaganda and marketing, but turn them around. Maybe the same instruments and tools that have been used to keep people in slavery and ignorance could potentially be used to liberate and awaken them. Another part of it is—and this is what we’ve been experimenting on Revolver, but on a very very small scale—it needs to be a civil society rebuilding process. Because you need to have a really awesome model to what the alternative is. That’s part of the problem. We haven’t had a good model. Like communism leads nowhere. We don’t have an alternative vision of what would be an incredibly awesome situation. RB: Yes, because we are deliberately and relentlessly denied that opportunity. I’m a recovering drug addict, so it’s not a subject that I take lightly, but I do agree that the criminalization of narcotics is the deliberate inhibition of human consciousness. I think back and I do still hear the echo of the whisper of what was at its core this transitional beautiful access to different frequencies of consciousness. It’s something that happens when I read your work and when I’m listening to Graham. I feel like I’m remembering something that I forgot. I fucking go, “I always knew that.” DP: You know it’s a very complicated question. Because I know that when somebody’s gotten off the drugs and they were these horrible and destructive influences, you know the idea to think about it on another level, in a more sophisticated way, is dangerous. And so obviously I don’t really advocate for psychedelics. I don’t really think anybody needs to do them, or has to do them. For me, they were the only way I could have cracked open my own spirit in a way. However, I do think that if you were to be scrupulous and research into it you would find that certain types of natural psychedelics have, if anything, antiaddictive properties. And all the evidence really points towards that. But you have the people who are running these drug rehab situations, they demonized all the drugs. I think a lot of people who were addicts are actually people who had that strong innate need to experience non-ordinary states of consciousness. But because our society

“I think a lot of people who were addicts are actually people who had that strong innate need to experience non-ordinary states of consciousness. But because our society has turned into this destructive culture of these horrible drugs that nullify you, they have that experience in a negative way.” originmagazine.com | 37


“We don’t need to know what goes on beyond time. We need to know how to save this planet that we live on. To align our consciousness with the fundamental frequencies with which all have in common, and to generate love and energy between us.” has turned into this destructive culture of these horrible drugs that nullify you, they have that experience in a negative way. And then they lose that capacity forever, to have it in a positive way. Graham Hancock: Can I say something as well? The use of language around drugs is really important. So we find that it’s increasingly difficult in our society to find the word “drug” not connected to the word “abuse.” The notion of a responsible use of drugs is written out in the language of our culture. And secondly, the word drug itself carries a huge amount of emotional baggage. Again, it plays into a system that wants to persuade us that all of these things are the same, whereas all of these things are not the same. They are very very very different indeed. A DMT experience is not to be compared with a heroine experience and is not in any sense the same. And as Daniel rightly pointed out, the hallucinogenic agents are themselves highly effective agents for removing people from a dependence on drugs. So I think the language itself muddies and confuses our thinking in these matters. But ultimately, just plain logic says that the war on drugs does not work. It absolutely does not work. We have this highly addictive legal drug called tobacco which has never resulted in people being sent to prison, but there has been a massive reduction in its consumption simply because responsible adults looking at their own bodies have said they don’t want to do that to themselves. Whereas most of the so-called illegal drugs have vastly increased in use, despite billions of dollars spent suppressing them. I believe 750,000 Americans are arrested every year for possession of cannabis. I mean that’s 750, 000 lives damaged by that arrest process. It’s a crazy, crazy system. It’s playing into the system that the hallucinogens are grouped together with addictive drugs, which they are not. But addictive or not it’s our responsibility as adults to make decisions and it’s not the states’ right to do that, in my opinion. RB: Daniel, I’m dead interested in this stuff. You know, that Emoto dude who meditates love into these droplets of water and then instantaneously freezes them and they go into magical crystals. And then, he meditates hate, which is evil to do. An evil thing to do to a droplet of water. It comes out all refracted and nasty, sort of almost as evidence that you can transmit energy. Consciousness does affect matter. One of the things I really enjoyed in your book, mate, was about the behavior of electrons changing when they’re observed and not observed. That’s mind blowing. I don’t know if I’m the best person in the world to explain this, but I’m bloody well going to try. Okay? They fired electrons through a tiny slit. The electrons then left a shadow of it on the the panel behind it. They thought, “oh well, if firing electrons through one slit creates one line, if you fire it through two slits that will be two lines.” But it created five lines, didn’t it? They said, “well perhaps they’re bouncing off each other and creating waves when they’re passing through these two slits.” How is this done? They built some tiny electron camera. God knows how little that was. They observed it and under observation the electrons behaved differently. They went back from going through the slits just in parallel. There was suddenly just two slits. The electrons were affected by the process of observation, and I know this is just a scientific creed, that the very process of the observation affects the outcome of the experiment, but to see it so literally and quantumly demonstrated that’s almost the presence of god.

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DP: My personal, metaphysical belief is Vedanta, which is that ultimately there is a singular consciousness. It’s like a Hindu metaphysics, that basically we’re all like characters in a play that consciousness is putting on to discover its own creative capacities. RB: I’ve been wanting to tell people my theory about what goes on after time. It’s beyond our consciousness. We get glimpses of it between the infrared and the ultraviolet—the narrow narrow corridor of light that we are able to perceive. The tiny frequency that was brilliantly illuminated through Graham, through which we receive all our wisdom, we get a tiny fragment. We don’t need to know what goes on beyond time. We need to know how to save this planet that we live on. To align our consciousness with the fundamental frequencies with which all have in common, and to generate love and energy between us. DP: I recently did an interview with the Kogi, and I’m still integrating what they said. Things that humans are meant to do is to make payments to the earth through ritual. We have to give back to the earth through conscious application of these kind of ritual technologies. They were teaching us. One of them was very simple. It involved taking cotton balls and imagining they were all of the minerals and all of the food and all of the water of the earth. And then, you would give them to the Kogi and they would bury them. It involves rebuilding a cyclical and conscious relationship with the planet. And this goes to everything we’ve been discussing through Revolver, which is how do we reinvent community? How do we create communities that are relatively self-sufficient and resilient? Through the last centuries, the effort of capitalism has been to take all the things that were human relations and turn them into monetary exchanges. People used to make their own clothes, now they buy clothes. People used to take care of their own kids, now they pay other people do it. And that was because capitalism requires more and more things being turned into money—being turned into profit. But that has reached this absurd limit where there’s nothing left to turn into money, and the capitalist system is breaking down. I think what we’re going to ultimately recognize is that capitalism was a transitional and immature system. It got the planet to be globalized and now something else has to emerge. We have to be the ones. We can’t wait around. Nobody else is going to do it for us. We have to be the ones who create that new emerging system. I think there’s a lot to be learned from indigenous practices. We’re doing retreats to work with these elders from the Sequoia tribe, the Kogi, the Kaxinawa in Brazil, and I look forward to those becoming longer relationships, where we can actually have somebody from our world— what the Kogi call the younger brother world— actually regaining some of those traditions. And then we’ll figure out how to mediate them into our world. They won’t take exactly the same form, but yeah. I thinking maybe having some types of rituals are a good thing. It’s not very common to my nature, but I’m up for it as a challenge. The idea that I really like is December 21st, 2012. Try to get a global moment of collective reflection as a way to bring about an uptick in human consciousness. RealitySandwich.com


“We Who See� 48x48

Maranda Pleasant

Austin. Houston. Venice. New York. bigmodernart.com 713.922.8584 originmagazine.com | 39


PHOTO: FRANK MADDOCKS

An interview with

Gary Clark Jr. INTERVIEW: MARANDA PLEASANT

Austin Singer, songwriter, and virtuoso guitarist, Gary Clark Jr. has been tearing up the national and international music scene for over a year now and shows no signs of slowing the train down. Few have garnered so much attention before even releasing a full-length album. He has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman and performed with the likes of Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck, and Alicia Keys. Did I mention he hasn’t released an album yet? Until now. The Bright Lights is about to be a household name. Rarely do the critics, industry folks, purists and media all agree. Rarely. I couldn’t make my interview at La Zona Rosa in Austin, so I ducked into the women’s bathroom outside the press room during SXSW. Gary was nice enough to let me interview him between flushes. Seriously. I spent some time with him at Austin City Limits Festival last September. One thing I noticed was how low-key cool he is. He checks the energy of a crowd, and flows with it. Authentic, real, and unaffected in a music world of manufactured hype, I see why it’s all Gary Clark Jr. In the interest of full disclosure, I have a crush on his drummer.

MP: I interviewed you last year at Austin City Limits about vulnerability and transforming pain. What’s it like to come back for South-bySouthwest in Austin and now everybody knows your name? It’s gotta be surreal.

GCJ: (laughs) It hasn’t really hit me yet, but I’ve been hearing more and more talk about it. I’m just taking it day by day, and trying to realize that it could all go away at any moment, for any reason. But I’m enjoying it, and trying to keep doing what I’m doing really.

GCJ: I haven’t really wrapped my head around it. I’ve just been on the road. But I’m excited to be playing these shows—you know, to be back.

MP: It’s been said that you’re one of the few artists that actually feels a crowd. You feel the vibe and the flow of it, and you sink in with that when you play a show. It’s not that you just go out and perform; it’s that you actually mesh with it. What is that process like for you?

MP: A friend sent me a video of you playing in front of President Obama. Has it hit you that your whole life is about to shift very quickly?

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GCJ: I grew up being a huge fan of Bruce Lee, and this quote always stuck


“Water can flow, or it can crash. If you put it into a teapot, it becomes the teapot.”

PHOTO: JOE KOCH

out to me. He said, “Water can flow, or it can crash. If you put it into a teapot, it becomes the teapot.” It always made sense to me to adapt the flow and roll with whatever the situation is and to not think about it too much and get caught up in it. It works easier for me that way. I just take it easy and roll with it. MP: I notice that people are deeply moved by your art. Is music an emotional process for you? GCJ: It’s soaking up things that I see in other people or things that go on in my life, and I put it out there in the form of a song. MP: I know this is kind of a cliché, but is there anything that really has influenced you in the last couple of years? Something that was either from your personal life or that has directed where you pull from, or what you’re pulling from? GCJ: You could say that I opened up my mind as far as playing music. I was at a Cody Chesnutt concert a few years ago, and a friend introduced me to him. We just started talking about music, and he asked me what I did. I said, “I have these songs and I’m kind of nervous to put them out, because I’ve just kind of been playing blues stuff, and playing other people’s songs.” He said, “You should just put them out there, man. Why not? It’s just gonna bother you if you don’t. The easiest

thing to do is to just let it go.” So I just took that with me. MP: Does it feel vulnerable to release your art? Is there some vulnerability with that? GCJ: Oh yeah, definitely. I put it all out there. Things that I would say or would like to say, like in past conversations, are just easier to sing about and put out there in music. MP: How do you deal with the feedback? Inevitably people know who you are and you’ll be getting more and more feedback, whether it’s positive or negative. GCJ: Honestly, I try not to look into it so much. All I can do is do what I can do, and do what I know how to do. I do what I love to do, and that’s pretty much it. MP: Is there a place close to your heart that you pull from that flows when you write? GCJ: I like to people watch. I like to see how people interact with each other and I draw from that. I’m inspired by that. MP: You’ve obviously got a huge year ahead of you. Is there anything that you’re particularly excited about this year? GCJ: I’m excited about doing these festivals in the summer. I love playing music festivals, so I’m really excited to do that, to be on the road. MP: Is it surreal when you look out and there are two-hundred-thousand people? GCJ: It is surreal. I still haven’t really quite wrapped my head around all the things that have gone on in the last year. We’ve been so in it. I think back about certain shows or certain places that I’ve gone and it’s very surreal. It’s kind of like in a dream-like state for me right now. It’s quite good. MP: Is your family completely stoked? GCJ: Oh yeah, they can’t get enough. It’s pretty funny. My little sister is over it though. She says she never wants to come to a show ever again. (laughs)

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The Boombox Project is both a book and a touring art show, a deeply impressionistic interpretation of the history of the Boombox—an iconic device of the 80s that not only conveyed the anthems of a generation, but also now serves as a symbol of defiance and rebellion. Organizer Lyle Owerko started out as a boombox collector, but as his collection grew, the art spark went off inside of him; he wanted to see these things large and in a massively reinterpreted scale, and thus The Boombox Project was born! Owerko’s biggest inspiration was approaching the project from the perspective of a creative anthropologist, unearthing a forgotten historical gem and celebrating its significance for youth culture. Owerko says that he was inspired by music from the era (Run DMC, LL Cool J, The Clash, Big Audio Dynamite, hardcore, hip-hop, metal, new wave, etc.), but visually he wanted to represent these objects as they really looked in use, to amplify the beat-up nature of their personalities. Owerko drew inspiration from films such as Ridley Scott’s Alien (which Scott once described as “truckers in space”) and the first Star Wars films (whose Millennium Falcon was beautifully accented with damage). Owerko wanted to show off the battle scars and elemental nature of these sonic beasts, to celebrate their almost steampunk quality—as well as the fact that they lived a full, active life. The whole idea of the project is compressed into a celebration of youthful innovation and free speech: in The Boombox Project book, many artists from the era talk about how Boomboxes allowed them to escape repression, to get their voice heard, to be noticed and understood (and if not understood, at least not ignored). The one thing that might set this project apart from anything else out there is it has an immense gravity in urban history, this is not a hollow statement, this project is about youthful innovation and the symbol of a generation that still echoes in our society even today… Long live the Boombox!

www.owerko.com/the-boombox-project

Learn more about The Boombox Project at owerko.com. The Boombox Project book is available at Amazon.com, and the artwork is also represented by CLIC Gallery in New York City, Whisper Fine Arts in London and Jackson Fine Arts in Atlanta.

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PHOTOS: LOREN WOHL

“When you acknowledge something as your own problem—not just someone else’s—it fundamentally changes the way you see things.”

BY: DJ SAMMY BANANAS As a touring DJ, I spend a lot of my life floating above the ground at high speeds, flying between different cities, countries and continents. During one of these moments four years ago, I started thinking about the total amount of CO2 I spew out every year at 30,000 feet. Then I multiplied this number by every other DJ I know doing the same thing, and knew I had to take action. I started DJs Against Climate Change (DJACC), an initiative which helps fellow DJs offset their carbon emissions from airplane travel. We do this by mapping an artist’s flying itinerary based on their tour dates for the year, calculating their total emissions based on those flights, and offsetting those emissions through contributions to projects that remove or prevent greenhouse gas emissions. 2011’s end-of-the-year drive was our biggest yet, collectively offsetting 457,000 lbs. of CO2 from over one million miles of air travel. 17 DJs participated, including A-Trak (co-head of Fool’s Gold Records, the label that releases my own music).

as your own problem—not just someone else’s—it fundamentally changes the way you see things. My DJ colleagues and I can’t stop flying (it would end most of our careers), but by making these offset contributions part of our job, we can change our own carbon equations and maybe a whole lot more. Most people have at least one aspect of their lives that falls outside of acceptable emission levels. The more we recognize this issue, the easier it will be to force greater change. If you stop waiting for governments to pass environmental regulations, and start taking charge of how you as an individual impact climate change, the pressure will build from the bottom up. Even though it sometimes feels like an unstoppable tsunami, I have to believe that a sea of responsible individuals can turn the tide of climate change, and that is what DJACC is really about.

Compared to the 20 million tons of CO2 that a large power plant emits annually, our number is a drop in the bucket, but that doesn’t discourage me. The point of this project is to encourage my colleagues to take responsibility for their individual impact on the environment. When you acknowledge something

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The Highest Pass:

Anand Mehrotra and Contemplating Death

INTRODUCTION BY BY ADAM SCHOMER

Anand Mehrotra, a modern, young guru from India and founder of Sattva Yoga, leads a group of seven seekers over 18,000 ft. and 2,000 km on a motorcycle journey over the highest motorable pass in India in the upcoming documentary film, The Highest Pass. Anand, then 27, now 29, and a Master Vedic Astrologer, bears the prophecy that he will die in an accident in his late twenties. THREE RIDERS IN THE HIGHEST PASS. ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF CINEMA LIBRE STUDIO

“When you ask human beings are they afraid of death, most of the people say they are not because ego cannot understand death. So we are always in denial because even when we think about our death we kind of survive it. But when it knocks at your door that’s when fear grips you by the throat. And that knocking there is also the immense possibility of liberation. Of immense freedom.” - Anand in The Highest Pass

With regards to fear, I was excited, enthusiastic, in love. I really wasn’t trying to overcome any fear. Why live a life in fear? It’s not a life then. Fear is absurd, it’s an abstraction of the mind. Prophecy: I had been wanting to go on this bike trip for a while, but it just hadn’t come through due to my schedule. And then things opened and I said I am going to do it now and the people around me were very surprised. A lot of these things don’t make sense to the mind you see. They wonder, “Why not wait three years until the prophecy is over? Why not play it safe?” But I never play it safe. I play it free. That’s how the universe decided it. The pointers were clear and the Divine Mother asked me to do it then. And who am I to refuse? If the prophecy said I was to die, then that would be a magnificent way to die, in the high Himalayas. Better than in a bedroom, how boring. Why not in the high mountains, in the cold and in the snow where your body would stay preserved. (laughs) If it comes, I embrace it with open arms. Death is not separate from living, originmagazine.com | 44

it is a deep part of living. So, I realized that there was an opportunity for me to dive deeper. An immense synchronicity. Too much for me to ignore. Death is alchemy, it is transformation. So it became an alchemical journey. From there a desire arose to share it. I always have had a passion to share and create opportunities for radical shifts and awakenings in consciousness for others. I didn’t know how or in which way it would occur, but I knew there was alchemy in the offering. So why not share it? Through Adam and six other people, we shared this journey. Seven is an auspicious number. Seven chakras. Seven notes in music. Seven days of the week. Seven oceans. So very synchronistic again. A very harmonious journey from the beginning. You see, in alchemy you have to go through the fire to come out gold. As in the Tantra tradition and with Shiva who is this deeply fierce being, there was bound to be fire in the process, meaning challenges and triggers. So to be


aware of that, for me, allows me to not take it personally and instead, I can facilitate that alchemical process for the riders. And at the same time I deepen my own consciousness and understanding. Most of the time my attention was totally on the riders, but there was not a distinction of me and them; it was just other as a reflection of self. The journey for me on a personal level was deepening into the love affair, my own love of life, of this radical aliveness of being. An intoxicating life, a fiercely alive life. And it has always been this way, so the trip was another extension of this and it will continue to be so until my last day. To share such beauty and silence and the magnanimity of the peaks and the great mystery of the monasteries and to somehow make it accessible to the riders was such a great experience. To see the fears and shadows rise and then see them go beyond it in spite of such challenges was an incredible sight to watch. So it was in some way a reassurance of the human capacity; that yes, awakening is possible in spite of the mind. Irrespective of circumstance, there can be an awakening. To have it filmed and offered as a documentary became an expansion of the same intention to inspire others to live their lives. The journey is a metaphor for life. You cannot be skilled or unskilled at living. Life simply is. It’s not a matter of skill, it’s a matter of your courage and willingness to show up. It’s a matter of getting out of your mind and your condition. It’s a matter of

tapping into your potentiality. That’s what this journey reflects. A life journey, not just a bike journey. It brings up all so that it’s released forever. And that’s the global lesson. You see, we have created a world of waiting and of self victimization. So we must look at our own capacity for fear. I have found people who have given up sex, talking, food and all clothes; they walk around naked, covered in ash. But I have not found enough people who have given up fear. And all violence in our world, all conflict, all depression, self hatred and shame is a product of fear. So one of the strongest messages of the film is to really look at our fears deeply and not be in denial of them; To see how fears keep us from our capacity. When the fear comes, we must look and transcend instead of going toward blame and defense. Usually we create more conflict by trying to control. It’s a controlling society, it’s violent and a reflection of fear. We must look into the fear instead of moving through it because that fear becomes competition, manipulation, terrorism and abuse. The global message is for us to look inside ourselves and see what is fear doing to us. Are we suppressing it or denying it? Instead of seeking security, can we seek freedom? Freedom now. Freedom from self. The only ones keeping us in shackles are ourselves. If you are not taking responsibility for your fear then it will come through in your life through jealousy, control, all those things I just mentioned.

ADAM SCHOMER AND ANAND MEHROTRA IN THE HIGHEST PASS.

Ask yourself what it means to live. What are we here for? What are we trying to achieve and run after? And until when will we keep waiting to be free? So this journey was about freedom. And the practice goes on forever. Your life is a practice. You must be aware of your capacity for violence, which can come up, then look into it and transcend it. Look in and transcend. And that becomes a celebration of life; radical and alive, with no option of regression.

RIDERS CONTEMPLATE WATER SIDE

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“The journey is a metaphor for life. You cannot be skilled or unskilled at living. Life simply is. It’s not a matter of skill, it’s a matter of your courage and willingness to show up.” ANAND MEHROTRA.

Anand grew up in Rishikesh, India, the birthplace of yoga, where his family has lived for nearly 50 years. He was trained there by yogis in the deepest and most direct lines of yoga and wisdom. He is the founder of Sattva Yoga and the founder of a Rishikesh-based charity called The Khushi Foundation. Now 29, Anand has spent most of his life studying with the great sages and yogis in India. He was destined to be a teacher from an early age and began teaching when he was 16 years old. He studied under many masters in the Himalayas and was initiated into several different yogic paths including Kriya, Sivananda, Shakti Tantra and Raja Yoga. He also studied Vedic Astrology and has since traveled the world doing astrology readings and giving lectures.

THE RIDERS AND ANAND AT LACHUNG LA, A MOUNTAIN PASS AT 16,600 FEET, ON THE WAY TO THE HIGHEST PASS IN THE INDIAN HIMALAYAS.

The Highest Pass (documentary film) – Seven riders and their guru make life and death decisions while traversing icy cliffs and the chaos of India’s traffic while on a motorcycle journey through the Himalayas. Carrying a prophecy of death in his late twenties, their yogi leader, Anand, inspires the riders to question what it means to truly live as they cross over 2000 km of hard terrain and climb 18,000 feet on a journey that will change them forever. Written and produced by Adam Schomer and directed by Jon Fitzgerald. Released by Cinema Libre Studio. Coming to theatres starting April 27, 2012 and DVD/VOD August 7, 2012. Check www.thehighestpass.com for details. originmagazine.com | 46

People are moved by his youthful energy and his powerful message. His teachings work toward dissolving the ego and the false belief systems that hold us back, and expanding into an aware and liberated state of existence. The method is an inclusive approach to the lifestyles of today about inviting higher understandings into all facets of life. The vision of the teachings is to inspire a conscious awareness into the modern, everyday world.

www.mysattva.com www.khushi.org.in


PHOTOS COURTESY OF FUEL/CINEMA LIBRE STUDIO

“people are waking up and realizing that you can’t be against petroleum and against fuels that come from nature.”

The State of Biofuels ORIGIN COLUMNIST: JOSH TICKELL, DIRECTOR OF FUEL

The year was 1997. I was about to embark on the journey of a lifetime—a cross-country trip in a van powered by french fry grease. Nobody—not rock stars and certainly not advocacy groups— had heard about running vehicles on vegetable oil.

Josh Tickell’s stirring, radical and multiaward-winning FUEL may be known by some as the “little energy documentary,” but in truth, it’s a powerful portrait of America’s overwhelming addiction to, and reliance on, oil. Born and raised in one of the USA’s most oil producing regions, he saw firsthand how the industry controls, deceives and damages the country, its people and the environment. After one too many people he knew became sick, Tickell couldn’t idly stand by any longer. He decided to make a film, focusing both on the knowledge and insight he discovered, but also giving hope that solutions are within reach. Just a “regular guy,” he spent eleven years making his film, showing himself—and others—that an individual can indeed make a difference. Featuring: Barbara Boxer, Richard Branson, Sheryl Crow, Larry David, John Paul DeJoria, Larry Hagman, Woody Harrelson, Jim Hightower, Robert Kennedy, Jr., Willie Nelson, Julia Roberts, and Neil Young. Now available from Cinema Libre Studio on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD platforms.

www.thefuelfilm.com

I drove “The Veggie Van” 10,000 miles on fuel made from used cooking oil. The trip sparked my first book, From the Fryer to the Fuel Tank. The book sparked a global wave of experimentation with biodiesel, a fuel made from vegetable oil that works in diesel engines. The biodiesel industry blossomed. I met my wife, Rebecca Harrell Tickell. We blended our love and our commitment to the environment with filmmaking. Together, we completed a starstudded Hollywood documentary about the ins and outs of biodiesel and green energy. The film was called FUEL. FUEL won the Sundance Film Festival, it was lauded by the New York Times and was shortlisted for an Oscar. Soon after President Obama entered office, FUEL was screened in the White House. FUEL was instrumental in creating the Algae Caucus and raising over $1 billion for the algae industry. But FUEL also caught the attention of Big Oil. After the movie’s release in theaters, on the Internet, and on DVD, the petroleum industry launched an aggressive anti-spin campaign. Its target: biofuels. Their campaign used the concerns of environmental groups—and even funded a few major NGOs—to manufacture and manipulate science. Suddenly, acute global issues that had been concerns for decades (namely deforestation and starvation) had a new raison de être. Many of the green groups that had advocated for biofuels

soon turned against them and went back to fueling their cars, buses and boats with petroleum oil, while they protested—you guessed it—oil. Around that same time, the American hemp movement was gaining steam and the biofuels industry was pushing hard to move to the next generation of fuels. (Imagine people growing hemp and making everything from food to fuel without petroleum!) The co-opting of the environmental movement by the petroleum industry had a shattering effect. It crushed nascent biofuel businesses, killed research, cut off critical funding, stopped the building of new infrastructure, dissolved powerful alliances and seeded America with doubt over our ability to free ourselves from petroleum. Today much of anti-biofuel “science”—including the false claim that biofuels need more energy to make than they contain—has been shown to be complete hogwash, bought and paid for by big oil. We can make most, if not all, of America’s fuel from alcohol, from bits of plants leftover after they are harvested, from the hundreds of millions of tons of municipal waste we produce, and the over 1 trillion gallons of sewage we produce. I believe we will see a biofuels resurgence. While gas prices skyrocket and we continue to wage wars for oil, while spills, fracking, tar sands and the oil madness of our empire continue, people are waking up and realizing that you can’t be against petroleum and against fuels that come from nature. Bill McKibben and the thousands that surrounded the White House may have temporarily stopped the Keystone XL Pipeline. But to stop it for good, the movement has to stop using the one substance they are trying to transport in that pipe: oil. And the simplest way to do that is to switch to a different form of fuel. originmagazine.com | 47


MATT McHUGH INTERVIEW: POLLY ARMSTRONG

of the beautiful girls

PHOTO: CLAIRE GORMAN

Matt McHugh—surfer, lead singer of The Beautiful Girls, and now father—shares his thoughts on music, life, and something he believes in: SurfAid originmagazine.com | 48


Matt McHugh: I’m just a bum that grew up a street back from the ocean. I’ve spent my life surfing and working crappy jobs that gave me time to surf and play music. The last few years have been taken up by touring and making records, but any chance I get, I’m in the sea, growing barnacles. PA: What are your biggest influences in Life, Work and Art?

MM: I just want to try and leave the world a little better place than when I arrived in it. I’m influenced by all kinds of creative people from all walks of life. Chefs and bakers and shoe-makers. I try and represent my culture and how I grew up. I believe in karma and nature. I believe in love over money. PA: Tell me about SurfAid and your involvement with it? MM: As a surfer, I’ve spent a lot of time in remote areas of Indonesia. SurfAid is an organization that provides basic healthcare and support for communities in the areas of Indonesia that are frequented by surfers. PA: How has SurfAid’s work affected the communities and yourself? MM: It’s a fantastic operation that gives back to communities that have given traveling surfers so much, myself included. It’s easy to exploit a holiday destination and treat it as a kind of playground with little regard for its inhabitants, but SurfAid reverses that equation. There’s a lot of people, from doctors to construction workers, that have given a lot back to the Island communities through healthcare and practical solutions like providing clean water and improving structural

integrity of a lot of dwellings. SurfAid was also right in the thick of things after the Indonesian Tsunami and provided invaluable support to people in pretty remote areas. PA: What other causes are you involved in? MM: I support a lot of causes to do with the ocean, such as Sea Shepherd and The Surfrider Foundation, as well as various Australian Conservation societies. As a musician, I try not to politicize it too much and just quietly play my part. If my visible support can help a cause though, then I’m there. I’ve played rallies for Occupy Sydney and Greenpeace and believe in being careful about how we treat each other and the planet.

PA: You recently became a father... How has this changed your life and affected you? MM: It’s the craziest, most overwhelming, most amazing thing I’ve ever experienced. There’s nothing I can say about it that hasn’t been said a trillion times before. I’m just trying to do the best I can and be the kind of man my son can look up to. He is the most important thing in my life. PA: What direction is your music taking you now? MM: I’m interested in making things as simple as they can be. The truth is always pretty simple. I’m always trying to get to the heart of the matter. To identify the basic things that concerns us all. I’m not trying to be a huge star or have my ego stroked by fame. I just like the idea that music can remind us that we’re all in it together. PA: You are branching into a solo career... Tell me about it. MM: Well, The Beautiful Girls has always just been a name I have used

PHOTO: CLAIRE GORMAN

Polly Armstrong: Tell me a little bit about yourself, your life and what makes you tick.

“The only way to achieve anything on a giant scale is one individual at a time. We should all think for ourselves and make our decisions based on love and empathy. Then, things may change.”

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for my music. It’s the sound of the inside of my brain, a 24-hour-a-day concert. I surround myself with players and friends that I respect and love. It’s gotten to the stage where on the last Beautiful Girls record, I played all the instruments myself so I thought it would be fun to start using my own name. I would like it to be transparent. If you like it, blame me. If you don’t, blame me. Same music, just different letters on the cover. PA: 2012 is here and there is lots of talk around it....What’s your take on it? MM: I haven’t thought too much about it to be honest. I just try to take care of each day as it arrives. If it all ends, I’ve had a good time. PA: How would you describe yourself in five words? MM: A screw up who tries. PA: What inspires you? MM: Creativity in all its forms. Amazing, inspirational things are absolutely everywhere. Every second of every day I’m inspired by what I see, feel, hear, taste or touch. PA: What makes you happy? MM: Love and stillness. PA: What is your biggest hope for the planet and the world? PHOTO: CLAIRE GORMAN

MM: That respect becomes the default approach. Respect for each other and our differing points of view. Respect for our planet. Respect for the one energy that runs through every single thing and ties it all together. PA: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? MM: Probably at a parent-teacher meeting defending my son’s rights to have his own thoughts and opinions. PA: What can people do for the planet today to make it a better place? MM: People should worry about making their home a better place. Making their own heart a better place. The only way to achieve anything on a giant scale is one individual at a time. We should all think for ourselves and make our decisions based on love and empathy. Then, things may change. PA: What makes you most vulnerable personally? MM: I care more about the well-being of my family and friends than I do about myself. PA: How do you transform your pain? MM: I soak it in the ocean or let it fly away on a melody. PA: How do you let go? MM: One piece at a time.

SurfAid, in partnership with communities and government, works to prevent disease, suffering and death through educational programs and health promotion that aim to change poor health behaviors and reduce the risk from natural disasters. SurfAid’s goal is to empower communities to help themselves and build local capacity so their improved health resilience is sustainable. We advocate health and well-being for all and create collaborative relationships with other stakeholder groups wherever we can so as to further sustain change in behavior and development. Our community-based health programs involve education in nutrition, hygiene, healthy environments, and disease prevention—including mosquito net distribution. In response to an unfortunately frequent need, we have built an award-winning capacity in Emergency Preparedness and have delivered practical, locally-based Emergency Responses.

www.surfaidinternational.org

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ENDANGERED The Santa Monica Museum of Art is one of the true treasures of the LA art world, consistently selecting top-flight talent that often flies under the radar. I’m yet to be disappointed by any of their shows.

ORIGIN COLUMNIST: ROBERT GANGER

Their current exhibition is NY/LA, an innovative program that diversifies SMMoA’s curatorial voice through an all-new, annual exhibition series. Developed by New York-based independent curator Jeffrey Uslip and SMMoA Deputy Director and curator Lisa Melandri, NY/LA connects emerging contemporary artists on the East and West coasts. “Both Los Angeles and New York are known for their innovations— their ability to spark new movements and cultivate new thought and action through art,” says Melandri. “Our goal is to bring the best of both coasts together and elevate the conversation.” For the inaugural exhibition, Melandri and Uslip each chose one artist to feature and gave them the theme “scientific inquiry” to focus their exploration. Melandri selected Adam Berg’s Endangered Spaces, a new, multi-dimensional video, sculpture and photo installation that explores the relationship between man-made environments and displaced wildlife. In this work, Berg identifies a parallel between the threats to endangered animals and to storied architectural spaces. Taken all together, the sculpture and photography connect structural geometry, primitive habitats and perceptions of place. Uslip is curator of Georgi Tushev’s Strange Attractor, which presents a series of paintings and works on paper that investigate the effects of oil paint exposed to extreme magnetic fields. Tushev’s work subverts the traditional medium of painting, allowing viewers to consider the cellular cycle of life and the material possibilities of paint. If this first show is any indicator, the NY/LA program promises to foster a stimulating dialogue between these two cultural centers.

Adam Berg ‘Endangered Spaces’, 2011 HD video diptych projection Stainless steel sculptures and photographic prints on aluminum

www.smmoa.org

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CATHERINE ENNY INTERVIEW: POLLY ARMSTRONG

THE ORIGIN SERIES: SAME QUESTIONS DIFFERENT ARTISTS POWERFUL ANSWERS

PHOTO: JOHN O’MALLEY

“Everything comes from the street— music, fashion— and ends up in the mainstream.”

MANAGER, PRODUCER, FESTIVAL LEADER, VISIONARY, HUMANITARIAN, PUNK ROCKER, AND—AS MICHAEL FRANTI CALLS HER—“SUPERCAT.” CATHERINE AND HER COMPANY, GUERRILLA MANAGEMENT, PUT THE ART INTO HEART. SHE IS MOTIVATED, INSPIRING AND A LOVER OF MUSIC AND LIFE. ORIGIN SAT DOWN WITH CATHERINE FOR A LOOK AT HER VIEWS ON THE WORLD AND ON THE STREET. FROM BAGHDAD TO HAITI TO SAN FRANCISCO, THIS WOMAN IS THE VOICE AND RHYTHM OF THE STREET.

Polly Armstrong: Tell me a little bit about yourself, your life, and what makes you tick? Catherine Enny: I am a lover of life and devour it! Everybody has their dark days, but I look at every day as an opportunity and every person I meet as a door to new excitement, ventures, challenges…unless they are bored and boring, of course. I grew up with people telling me I can’t do this or that, and saying I was too much of a dreamer. Well, that negative no-can-do attitude fueled my anger, and I turned that anger into fueling a can-do energy; and here I am doing things most people only dream of…by hard, clean, and—sometimes—dirty work.   PA: What are your biggest influences in Life, Work and Art? CE: Street art, street fashion, street sports, eccentrics, inventors, crazy people and suffering people. I’ve always had my pulse on the street ever since I was a kid, since I grew up there—as a latchkey kid. Chris Blackwell once said in conversation, “Everything comes from the street—music, originmagazine.com | 52

fashion—and ends up in the mainstream.” So true. Crazy people and suffering people inspire me, because I hate seeing it, and it cuts deep. It inspires and makes me suffer enough to make me want to do something about it and help.   PA: What other causes are you involved in? CE: Not enough. I coproduce a large-scale festival and run the nonprofit Power To The Peaceful with Michael Franti. We inspire and do a lot of great social work with this project, but I mostly am the conduit to help artists and charities do their social and political groundwork. I also photograph and shoot documentaries in struggle areas like Haiti, Palestine, Israel, and Iraq, and I do a little field work. I’d like to do more trench work and be more effective at the ground level in these trenches.   PA: How can you affect positive change in the world through your work? CE: I work and manage great artists that do great things. I also practice


team possible around the artists and strategize to succeed in the business of making their music a career.   PA: What is the best thing about your job?

being a positive influence in people’s lives, rather than the bitch on the other side of the telephone line. PA: Whom do you admire? CE: Elders that have lived long lives doing what they wanted to do in life, with little or no regrets.

CE: The artists, traveling, creating, strategizing... meeting the fans and people that are joyous because of the music. More often than not, the manager’s job is a thankless one; I truly do it because of the power of music. 

PA: What role does the music industry play in helping or healing the world?

PA: Who are you working with at the moment?

CE: Music is one of the most powerful tools, and a universal language when it comes to emotion and messaging. Music business is the marketing and commerce side that allows the artists to make a living producing music. So both sides have a far and deep reach to affect one person or masses to make change. PA: What do you respect in a musician? CE: Creativity, discipline and just the damn talent to play or sing. I can’t play a strum or sing a stitch!   PA: 2012 is here and there is lots of talk around it... What’s your take on it? CE: I’ve lived through a few of these “end of the world” scenarios, and they fascinate me: Planet X, the Millennium, Nostradamus! 2012…I’ve studied it a bit and still have a hard time believing that us humans can break an ancient code completely and accurately. I think the Mayans were a brilliant culture, but we are probably reading the language all wrong and 2012 is just them saying, “Happy Saint Patty’s Day” or something… PA: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? CE: Richer in many ways. Wild-haired and working on a couple of interesting projects in music, fashion, art and/or tech world while planning a long vacation in Tahiti with my loved ones.   PA: How did you start out in the music industry? CE: I moved to Los Angeles, started off as a sound engineer, got a degree in it, interned, began producing, managed the first band I made a record with (Kyuss), shopped them a record deal, recorded and picked up other bands, swam in the circles, and made sure I met all the players in the industry. I worked my way up a label, started my own management firm, and kept signing great artists...and here I am. The number one thing to do? Be real and true to yourself.    PA: What is [your company] Guerilla Management’s philosophy? CE: Trick question. A lot, but basically we advise artists on how to get from point A of the success ladder to point B. A lot of times they have their own ideas and don’t listen, so it may take longer to get to point B, but we build the strongest

“Like a great coach, you have to understand the artists’ strengths and weaknesses— as well as your own—and know how to navigate through those waters with your eye on the ball to win!”

CE: Michael Franti & Spearhead from San Francisco, CA; Blue King Brown from Melbourne, AUS; Amanda Shaw & The Cute Guys, from New Orleans; Mister Loveless, from Walnut Creek, CA. We also produce the large-scale music festival Power To The Peaceful, and we also do strategic partnerships between brands and events, and have a few clients there. PA: Tell me about the Power to the Peaceful festival. CE: It’s the thirteenth year in 2012, and last year drew over 80,000 attendees! It’s an outdoor music, art and action festival in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, produced together with Michael Franti and a great group of professionals and creatives that want to gather the masses to make change and spread the actions and messaging of how to activate peace in the world—the communities, the neighborhoods, the home, and within yourself. So our festival pulls together all these elements through music, sport, visual art and social, environmental and political organizations, and produces this mad party for a day to educate and inspire people to do something about it!   PA: Tell me about Iraq and other film projects you are involved with? CE: I produced a trip and a documentary film titled I Know I’m Not Alone with—yet again—the great Michael Franti. He wanted to walk his talk and go visit war zones, so I reached out, organized and produced the trip, and pulled together the team and the plan to produce the film. I am very proud of the experience and film. We were a funny motley crew, and I learned a lot. One of the funniest things was that we wanted to “blend in” when we went into the Middle East, so guys in our crew decided to grow their flimsy beards; us ladies wore our scarves, long sleeves and loose pants; we took a couple Arabic classes. So we land in Baghdad in 110-degree weather and our posse looked like a bunch of San Francisco hippies that just rolled up, and all we were missing was a hacky sack. We didn’t blend in, but we met a lot of cool people on the ground, and won some film awards, so we did good.   PA: What is Guerrilla’s philosophy? originmagazine.com | 53


PHOTO: JOHN O’MALLEY

CE: Work hard, play hard, and be responsible for the energy you bring into the room.   PA: What makes a good manager?

PA: What is your biggest hope for the planet and the world?

CE: Patience, listening, creating, being a team player, and knowing when to stop. Like a great coach, you have to understand the artists’ strengths and weaknesses—as well as your own—and know how to navigate through those waters with your eye on the ball to win!

PA: What makes you happy?

CE: That it cleans up.

CE: My husband. A cute puppy. Being active.

PA: What’s the most important thing you have learned over the years? CE: Personally: Knowing that it is a blessing to wake up to a new day, so embrace it. Also, to stay positive—it’s OK to bitch and vent, but let it go after 15 minutes and allow your loving partner to do the same. For work: Team playing.  It’s great to play ball with a team and trust to delegate out and not try and do it all yourself, which can be disastrous internally and externally. PA: What advice to you have for people out there that want to do what you do? CE: Persevere and be a visionary. There is no such thing as an overnight success for any achievement. It’s hard damn work, but don’t forget to laugh and take a break at times!   PA: How do you transform your pain? CE: Well, this is a deep question! Alcohol. Writing and painting.   PA: How do you let go? CE: Outdoors, sports, snowboarding, surfing, biking, dancing, laughing, reading a great book. Oh yeah, and shopping…that’s fun only when I’m flush though.   PA: What inspires you? CE: Life.   originmagazine.com | 54

www.guerrillamgmt.com


THE HISTORY OF AN AUSTIN INSTITUTION:

THE SIMS FOUNDATION “Beauty can be born of tragedy when people come together for the common good.”

Beauty can be born of tragedy when people come together for the common good. It happened in Austin after the suicide of local musician Sims Ellison in 1995. The tightly-knit music community got together with Sims’ grieving father, Don Ellison, and created a unique organization to offer mental health services to local musicians: The SIMS Foundation. At the time, Don Harvey and Wayne Nagel were co-proprietors of the Austin Rehearsal Complex, a hub for the local music scene. With Mr. Ellison and local lawyer Walt Taylor, they founded SIMS. Then they recruited the likes of well-known artists like Alejandro Escovedo to serve on the first Board of Directors with them. Over the years, countless lives have been improved and even saved as a result.

SIMS has evolved from a grass-roots labor of love into a well-respected professional organization with an annual budget of $700,000. The staff therapists of SIMS provide an initial assessment to match clients with providers, as well as providing ongoing case management and short-term counseling. SIMS serves more than 700 clients each year. In addition, they strive to eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness and addiction through education and outreach. Austin’s music lovers have kept SIMS in business for 16 years. Hundreds of individual donors join Central Health, the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, the St. David’s Foundation, and 93.3 KGSR (which donates proceeds from their annual Broadcasts CDs) in giving generously so that a beloved Austin resource, local musicians, have somewhere to turn when they are suffering from mental illness and addiction. Musicians interested in accessing SIMS services should call the confidential client line at (512) 4941007.

www.simsfoundation.org

PHOTOS: TODD V. WOLFSON

The concept was simple and still stands as the model for SIMS’ services today: mental health professionals in the community agree to serve musicians and their family members at a significantly reduced rate. SIMS was and is badly needed. Hailed as “The Live Music Capitol of the World,” Austin has over 200 live music venues, internationally-recognized music festivals such as SXSW and ACL, and is home to thousands of professional musicians. The music industry injects an estimated billion dollars a year into the local economy, but the bands playing the clubs are often scraping by financially, usually without health insurance. Irregular hours, travel schedules, financial insecurity and proximity to alcohol and drugs take their toll on musicians and their families, and can result in or exacerbate depression, anxiety, relationship problems, and addiction.

The response by Austin’s mental health community has been phenomenal. SIMS boasts a network of more than 50 licensed providers with a variety of specialties who offer counseling, psychiatric medication management, and addiction treatment to SIMS clients—for half the market rate.

RUBY JANE SMITH, AUSTIN SYMPHONY'S PETER BEY

LAUREN LARSON

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PHOTO: ALEXANDRA VALENTI

THE MUSIC LIVES ON: A STORY ABOUT ROCK, FAME, DEATH AND HOPE AS TOLD TO ELIZABETH DECKER BY KYLE ELLISON I’m not a writer. I’m a musician. I play guitar. So when I was asked to write my story, I felt momentarily paralyzed with emotions of sadness, fear, loss and guilt. 17 years later, and I still find it incredibly difficult to talk about my brother’s death, but if I can share a little bit about my healing process, I might be able to help someone who is suffering from depression now. When I was about 8 years old, I knew I wanted to be a musician. I loved the guitar: how it felt in my hands and the sounds it released into space creating a mood, a story, and a picture of life that was to become my life. This is my story, the story of the band Pariah, and the story of Sims. In my early teens, I started a band with my brother, Sims Ellison, and Shandon Sahm (Doug Sahm’s son). Then, shortly after, Dave Derrick and Jaren Tuten jumped aboard. We called ourselves Pariah, and we were high-energy hard rock. We worked hard developing our sound. We were young, talented, and ambitious, and we were in it together—Pariah was a family. In the early 90’s—before the Internet or Facebook—we attracted a fan club of 25,000 members. In 1990 we played SXSW to a packed house, and music people from all over came to see what all the hype was about. Shortly after, the bidding war began. We eventually signed with Geffen Records. Sims was dating Renee Zellwegger, and life was looking pretty

KYLE ON PRAYER ROCK: THE CONNECTION

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sweet. In such a short time, it appeared that we had climbed right to the top. And that’s when the dream began to disappear and the nightmare began. Geffen Records, in my opinion, signed us to keep us from signing with their competition. They made it impossible for us to do anything. We couldn’t record or tour…nothing. We fought back and finally, 3 years later were allowed to make our record. Geffen pressed up 25,000 copies, gave us 3 weeks of tour support, and promptly dropped us. Turns out that was normal business practice back then, but we were crushed. Sims may have been the most crushed because not only did his dream of Pariah come to an end, but so did his relationship. He became seriously depressed. We were all very concerned, but nothing could prepare us for what happened next. I found out he bought a shotgun. The next two years was a desperate search to get him some help. On the morning of June 5, 1995, I woke up a little excited for the first time in a long time. I was going to Hawaii to work for a band called Storyville. I had never been there and it sounded like heaven to me. I got in my car to drive down S. Congress to get a cup of coffee, something I’ve routinely done 100 times before. I saw a woman on the sidewalk bent over, holding her stomach with blood running out of her mouth. No one was helping her. I swerved over to the side of the road and helped her into the car and immediately drove her to Brackenridge Hospital where I dropped her off and that was the last I ever saw of her. I remember thinking to myself,

PHOTO: ALEXANDRA VALENTI


That was June 6th, 1995, and Austin, Texas—the music capital—had lost one of its brightest lights: Sims Ellison. As the song says: So painful to remember, so hard to forget. The response was overwhelmingly purposeful. If “getting help” was a joke, then the Austin music community would get serious. A memorial fountain would be built in the shadow of Stevie Ray’s statue at Auditorium Shores. Yet more importantly, funds would be raised to start the SIMS Foundation (Services Invested in Musicians Support), whose mission would be to provide access to and financial support for mental health and additional recovery services for Austin-area musicians and their families.

Interestingly enough, the aftercare program I entered was in Hawaii. I go back every year to recommit, remember and stay grounded. One day, after an intense Byron Katy seminar I attended, I left and randomly ran into a Buddhist monk, who also attended the seminar. He told me that I needed to go up to Prayer Rock. I said, “Sounds like where I need to be.” What I experienced after I climbed to the top and looked out across the horizon was a feeling of connectedness: oneness with the universe, nature, self...and Sims. For the first time in a long time, I experienced a sense of peace. Coincidently it happened to be the 10th anniversary of my brother’s suicide that day. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

SIMS

It is 2012. Austin is rocking towards its 26th annual South by Southwest Music Festival, with a new generation of musicians coming from all over the world. The SIMS Foundation serves its artists’ needs admirably: over 700 last year alone. It literally saves lives. I should know… they helped save mine.

PHOTO: DAVE CASTILLO

No one knows if the musician’s mentality is more prone to implosion. All I know is my experience. After my brother died, I went on to tour with the Meat Puppets, Butthole Surfers, and Ministry. But I was living like a ghost. My heart was broken. I was so depressed that I could barely function. The spiral down, the guilt for not being able to save Sims, self-medicating, the all-consuming question: “Aren’t you the musician whose brother…?” I just couldn’t live in that much pain anymore. I hit bottom hard.

I asked for help (which is in itself incredibly hard to do), and my family and the S.I.M.S. Foundation stepped in. I checked into a reputable rehab dual diagnosis clinic for trauma and addiction where I would get scientific names for my grief and, best of all, hope. The long journey of recovery began. PHOTO: TODD WOLFSON

“Wow, that was so f**king weird!” Still in a bit of a shock, I got home and then the phone rang. It was about Sims, and they said I needed to go to his house. I had a horrible feeling and drove there as fast as I could. Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw next. Police cars, police tape, people everywhere and no Sims. A lady walked up to me with a terrible look on her face and the rest, I either blacked out or don’t want to talk about. Sims was dead. He killed himself. I felt like I died that day, too.

Fewer and fewer in Austin today know the story: the suffering that started the cure. Sometimes, forgetting is scary and sad. But hopefully, the segue is a definition of hope. And “getting help” isn’t a joke 17 years later. Kyle Ellison is currently producing a record for Popular Culture.

SIMS ROCKING

PHOTO: PATTY MORAN

“IN SUCH A SHORT TIME, IT APPEARED THAT WE HAD CLIMBED RIGHT TO THE TOP. AND THAT’S WHEN THE DREAM BEGAN TO DISAPPEAR AND THE NIGHTMARE BEGAN.” www.simsfoundation.org originmagazine.com | 57


THE ORIGIN SERIES: SAME QUESTIONS DIFFERENT ARTISTS POWERFUL ANSWERS

JOHN HAWKES This former Austinite, an Oscar nominee for his sinister role in Winter’s Bone, talks about Yoga, his music, his starring role in The Surrogate, and how he learned his craft while hitchhiking.

A CHARACTER ACTOR TAKES THE LEAD: AN INTERVIEW WITH JOHN HAWKES INTERVIEW: MARANDA PLEASANT originmagazine.com | 58


A Character Actor Takes the Lead John Hawkes: I think what gets me up in the morning is wanting to make things, wanting to create things. It’s really as simple as that. If I wasn’t a person who could make things on my own and collaborate with others to make things, to create—for lack of a better term—art... That’s really the main thing that drives me as a person. General, I know, but it’s true. MP: As any artist knows, to really be effective, you have to be vulnerable. Our mantra around here is, “To be vulnerable is the…” JH: “...is the new strong,” yeah! MP: {laughter} JH: I saw that one coming. {laughter} MP: How do you balance keeping an open heart with maintaining a thick skin to criticism? JH: That’s a fine line, a tightrope walk, of sorts. If you’re talking specifically about criticism, it may be best for creative people to avoid that. For most creative people, they want to connect with others. I think there’s also another form of creation that doesn’t really care what people think of it, and that’s really strong and amazing. But if you’re doing a performing art, or if you’re painting on canvas, and you really want people to connect with you or the piece, and they don’t, that does put you in vulnerable place. I also think that you have to take a great deal of joy in the doing of the work because that’s all you can have any control over, really, is your own perception and response to either your solo piece or the people you’re working with. You have to try and make those situations make you feel alive, regardless of how they’re perceived by others. MP: Wow. That was really beautiful. I’m taking it to heart. Sometimes we get so concerned with the output that we have no more joy. I wrote down “great joy in the doing of the work” and “failing better next time”. JH: There’s a lot of acceptance that comes with the territory, too, because things are a certain way. Part of being an artist is accepting when things don’t necessarily go your way, and realizing that that’s fine

too. You know, one thing I would say about the more popular art, the arts that make money, so to speak—music, film, television— I so often see, particularly in larger, more moneyed projects, a guess at what the audience will like. Like in a studio movie, they write the script kind of guessing what the audience will like or respond to. I feel like the only art that changes the world is when a group of people or a single person has an idea or a story or a vision that they want to create, regardless of whether the audience would like it. I think the best filmmakers make the movie they want to see, instead of guessing what the audience might want to see. It doesn’t always connect immediately, and sometimes it may be some things that we don’t get as a people until years down the line, but it’s the only art that changes the world, I think. MP: I’m so happy to hear you say that. I just wish the system was built differently. We should strive to make quality films and quality music, without thinking, “Is this going to sell to the masses? How can we market it?” I wish marketing and art could stay separate somehow. JH: It’s difficult, you know, and artists do have to eat. I’ve heard the creative life described—maybe rather cynically, but I think there’s truth in it—as part angel, part prostitute. You know there are times when you do need to eat and pay the rent, but you want to hopefully minimize that portion of your life and have most of it, as much as it can be, about being an angel and flying with your work. Feeling a personal connection to your work and feeling like your work has worth. For me, I try to have the angel outweigh the prostitute. I try to find a way. MP: {laughter} That’s quotable! JH: {laughter} MP: My friend Seane Corn says she can go as dark as she can light. You personally emit all this light, but the characters you play have a lot of darkness. Do you think that that’s the case with you, that you personally radiate all this goodness, but on the other side of that you can go as dark as you can light? JH: I think that’s an amazing statement by Ms. Corn. That’s something I hadn’t really thought of, but in a strange way it makes a lot of sense. You have either felt or seen or participated in a great deal of darkness, sometimes, in order to find light. I think there’s truth in that. MP: Where is it that you go to be able to play these really dark roles?

HAWKES AND CO-STAR ELIZABETH OLSEN IN MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE

PHOTO: FOX SEARCHLIGHT

Maranda Pleasant: As a human being, what is the absolute core that you work from? What is that thing in your life that makes you want to get up in the morning?

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Is there something personal that you do to be able to have that kind of depth with your role? JH: Well, yeah, I think every human being on the planet has experienced a great deal of pain and loss and sorrow, and it’s my job to be able to reproduce those things when needed—anger and rage and those kinds of things. It’s really liberating to pretend those things. It’s almost like an exorcism sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the kind of actor who’s psychotic and loses track of the fact that they’re participating in a collaborative piece of art or something. Certainly to be able to bring those kinds of emotions and, hopefully, pretend intensely and effectively enough to be believable in those kinds of emotions—that value for our stories, for telling stories.

and about to snow, and it’s getting dark, and you need to get to the next place to find a place to eat and to sleep. So rather than arguing with that person and getting kicked out of their car, I often had to play a character. It was interesting. You learn a lot about people when you’re in a car with them alone for many hours. That was valuable training for sure. I hitch-hiked thousands of miles in the early eighties—state to state and all around. Sometimes with a buddy from Austin, and sometimes all alone, but either way it was educational for sure.

“You have either felt or seen or participated in a great deal of darkness, sometimes, in order to find light.”

MP: How do you transform your own personal pain? JH: Wow, that’s heavy. I don’t know if I’m always effective at doing that. I don’t think I have a tried-and-true method of going through the things that you described. I think that, certainly, to have people in your life that you love and can talk to helps a great deal. I think I deal with things like many men do: in quiet solitude. It always comes back to creativity for me, on some level—to take what has hurt you and somehow make it of use. Even if it’s years down the line, I feel like all the experiences that we have, if we can remember our good and right experiences, as disappointing as they can be. I’m kind of dancing around a lot here, but I think the idea for me is to—even subconsciously—incorporate it into the work I do. I think that’s still a process that I’m figuring out. It’s a life’s work to be able to deal with disappointment and pain and sadness. MP: When that comes in, and you dance with it, do you think that you channel it into your work? JH: I think so. I think I was clumsily trying to say just that thing. Again it’s not always even a conscious thing, but when you’re a creative person, anything that happens to you is of use on some level. That’s the best way I can look at it. It’s also about accepting what comes your way as what’s meant to be—that kind of idea. I don’t know how I could live if I didn’t. It’s a trite idea, and it’s not original by any means, and it’s what people have been talking about through the ages. Figuring out a way to accept what happens as being what you need at the moment in order to grow—that’s a great, mature, adult idea that I’m still trying to completely embrace. MP: I really like your energy, and when I talk to you and look at your work, there seems to be a lot of layers, a lot of texture. You have grit. It’s not this super polished one-dimensional person. When I watch snippets of you I think, “Wow, this guy has some life behind him!” You know what I mean? Maybe I’m off but…

MP: Love that. I don’t think people realize how much they can teach by sharing authentically, by being really real, so I think this is brilliant. What do you have coming up that you’re most excited about in 2012?

JH: Yeah, well, until you see something, you never know if it’s amazing or not, but you know you can certainly have hope. There’s a film that’s in Sundance this year. I’m looking at the third year in a row of having a movie that’s in the dramatic competition category. Two years ago it was Winter’s Bone. Last year was Martha Marcy May Marlene, and this year is a movie called The Surrogate, which is a very different role than I’ve played in the last couple films at Sundance. It’s a true story about a guy named Mark O’Brien who got polio when he was six years old and spent all of his life in an iron lung. He went to UC Berkeley and got a degree in Journalism, and then was a poet and journalist. The story picks up with him doing an article about disabled sex and becoming interested. He meets with a sex therapist and she recommends a surrogate, a sex surrogate. Mark was a deeply Catholic guy and so he was very “Is this a prostitution thing, what’s going on exactly?” There’s a wonderful role of his priest, played by Bill Macy, a wonderful actor, and Helen Hunt plays the surrogate. It’s a bit of a love story. I’m playing a character who can move his head only ninety degrees, that’s all the movement that I have. MP: Was it an emotional process for you? JH: Physical and emotional. The character is in a lot of emotional pain due to his disability, and it’s a tricky thing as an actor playing a disabled person, because the first thing I said when I met the director—who also is disabled, stricken with polio when he was young—was, “What about a disabled actor to play this role?” And he said, “I’ve searched. I’ve searched for two years.” He’d seen people, and he’d tried to get people to audition, and he couldn’t even find that many people. I was nervous about, kind of, taking work away from someone who might be uniquely suited to it, but hopefully I’ve done a good job. Hopefully it’s a great piece.

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PHOTO: DREW INNIS

JH: No you’re not off at all. You know, I have no training as an actor. No formal training in any of the arts, and I’ve always loved untrained and do-it-yourself artists, and that kind of work. There’s a lot of wonderful artists out there in all the mediums who are trained, but I always felt like it wasn’t a detriment, but a strength that I was slipping in an original approach to work, rather than one that had been pounded into me at a school somewhere. I think I’ve lived a great deal, and I’m able to bring that to work. I feel like some of the best acting lessons I ever had were hitchhiking. Just because you have to kind of play a role. You know you might have a ride with someone whose world view offends you terribly, but it might also be raining really hard HAWKES IN MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE


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 and photography are exhibited in museums, public and private collections including The Hermitage Museum, The Barcelona Modern Art, The Jewish Museum London, Chelsea Art Museum, MOMA, and The Whitney.

Amycohenbanker.com


Dances Dances With With Films Films

“HERE YOU WILL FIND MORE GENUINELY ENCOURAGING VITAL SIGNS FROM THE AMERICAN INDEPENDENT FILM MOVEMENT THAN COULD BE DETECTED IN ALL OF PARK CITY THIS PAST JANUARY.” - LA Weekly, June ‘09

BY: LESLEE SCALLON

Dances With Films (DWF) is a ‘discovery’ film festival. A celebration of the exceptional unknown filmmaker—that passionate auteur who, without benefit of a star-powered cast and crew, rises to produce a compelling film driven by sheer talent. Such films are mostly ignored by the mainstream, simply because they lack a marketing budget and therefore have little opportunity for creating a significant buzz. This is where Dances With Films comes in. In a field of a thousand festivals across the planet that often highlight celebrity, DWF champions the filmmakers of tomorrow. In the early days of indie filmmaking, the film festival circuit was where an unknown individual could make a name for themselves with talent, hard work, determination and some good old-fashioned luck. Many did— filmmakers like Steven Soderbergh, Kevin Smith, Darren Aronofsky; actors like Ben Affleck, Renee Zellweger, Parker Posey. As those names climbed to the top, others, excited by their success, began to make more

films. After a while, it became the ‘thing’ to do, not only for those starting out, but also for those already established, or at the top of the industry. More and more ‘names,’ actors, directors, cinematographers, began to flock to the indie world after doing their studio films for ‘artistic freedom,’ or ‘indie cred.’ Indie cred is all well and good, but the unfortunate domino effect was to knock the truly-unknown out of the running. DWF cofounders, Michael Trent and I come from the world above: the truly-indie film world. The world of piecing together a labor of love, nickel by nickel, before piecing together a film, frame by frame. In 1996 we produced a film that had great potential, Indemnity. It should have been called Naiveté because, unfortunately, our naiveté got the best of us. We didn’t realize the political and financial aspects of marketing a film to distributors and film festivals in order to get that distribution. We learned quickly that it’s more than just the act of making the film. If anyone’s going to see your labor of love, there’s still a lot of work to be done. There are many festivals, but some of the biggies are Sundance, Toronto, Telluride, Cannes and Venice. We quickly found out how political/difficult/expensive it was to get a film into that festival circuit. Shame on us for not looking before we leapt, but what came out of that experience is Dances With Films, and now, nearly 15 years later, we wouldn’t trade that experience for the world.

DWF filmmakers excited for their first screening!

“DWF MANAGES TO KEEP ITS FOCUS ON HEART AND SOUL WHILE STILL PUTTING SMALL FILMS ON THE MAP.” - Mark Olsen & Will Scheffer, creators of HBO’s Big Love originmagazine.com | 62

Filmmaker Cindy Baer poses with Pig Man from her short film, ‘Stalked’


DWF Co-Founder, Leslee Scallon enjoys the opening night soiree with Brandon Yankowitz, NY Filmmaker of 'Trophy Kids'

The 15th Edition of Dances With Films is planned for this June in Hollywood. For more information regarding submissions, panels & screenings, please go to the website: www.danceswithfilms.com Leslee Scallon is the co-creator with Michael Trent of the Dances With Films Independent Film festival held in Los Angeles. They also produce, write and direct indie films for that ‘indie cred’ as well as commercials and live events.

Our name is a play on the Sundance Film Festival name (it’s not a film festival about dance movies). When DWF started, there were a bunch of upstart film festivals happening at the same time as Sundance, and all in Park City, Utah. We wanted to be different, very different. Crazily, we decided to put on our small ‘celebration of unknown film’ in the heart of Hollywood: the land of moviemaking and celebrity. The welcome wagon was not really wheeled out for us; in fact ‘they’ thought we must have been showing porno, because after all, ‘who made films without stars?’ After a rocky beginning in year one, including Orion sending us a cease and desist letter for infringement of the Dances With Wolves title (we actually designed the poster so we could spray paint out ‘Dances With Films’ in case a lawyer showed up to take our meager box office monies—really), we struck a chord we never knew was there. Many felt the same as we did. We wanted to show the industry what we were capable of—and make them take a moment to view the work and see the depth and breadth of talent they were missing by not attending Dances With Films. Why? Well, there are tens of hundreds of film festivals in the United States, let alone the thousands around the world, yet most serve a particular niche for their audiences with precious few actually focused on discovery. Typically, many of these festivals will showcase edgy, ‘indie’ films with star directors, actors and the like, with a nod to some local talent. Others bring amazing films to rural and small cities that otherwise only see big budget studio films. You know—the markets where multiplex cinemas show three screens of Mission Impossible 16 starring Tom Cruise, five screens of Pirates 25 starring Johnny Depp, and one screen of the latest film directed by Angelina Jolie, starring Angelina Jolie, produced by…you get the picture. (Angelina Jolie’s hairdresser is the correct answer, if you were wondering.) Films with talented unknowns don’t have a chance without the film festival circuit. Dances With Films’ specialty within that festival circuit is discovering the next Vince Vaughn, Robert Rodriguez or Connie Britton. These are the types of films that actors, directors, writers who are all ‘known’ now would not have had a chance without their gems being given screen time at a credible film festival. Over 14 years, our moniker of ‘the discovery fest’ has proven itself over and over again. In 2004 our audiences enjoyed meeting Mark Olsen and Will Scheffer, who then went on to create the hit HBO series Big Love. You would have discovered Jesse Eisenberg in 2008, a few years before he was Oscar nominated for his spot-on portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. Even our staff gets into the discovery act with our twotime theatre manager, Paul Bock, discovering he was Grammy nominated in 2011 for Cee Lo Green’s music video Forget You. We can even boast about one of our world premieres, which for all intents

and purposes, would never have been seen without us. DWF 2000 Grand Jury Award winner Attack of the Bat Monsters was—and is—a standout. Receiving one of the best reviews from Variety that any filmmaker, known or unknown, could hope for, Austin filmmaker Kelly Greene should have been immediately on his way after his world premiere at DWF. Made with an Austin cast and crew, Kelly has had a tumultuous path, fading from sight after his amazing accolades. It’s a typical story of the great indie film. Few people have the stamina to push a film through to distribution without a marketing team behind them. Many factors get in the way—a family, making a living, repaying the loans to make the film, the filmmaking industry itself—yet Kelly’s story doesn’t end there. Last year, DWF was contacted about this gem by Watchmaker Films of London as they heard it was a definite ‘must-see.’ Long story short, Attack of the Bat Monsters, the newly-polished diamond-in-the-rough, will be released nationally this year after its second world premier at Dances With Films in June. This is a happy ending that we are proud to have been a part of. Because all of that indie cred seems to be more for show these days, even amongst the highly regarded festival circuit, this is where DWF steps in—a place where, regardless of the politics or economics or the economics of ‘names,’ the newest crop of filmmakers who have a story to tell and a talent to be seen can be seen—without the veils and the smoke and mirrors of the marketing. A filmmaker’s festival where everyone is accessible. And where you can say “I saw them when…” originmagazine.com | 63


Evolver Editions ORIGIN COLUMNIST: DANIEL PINCHBECK PHOTO: FABRIZIO CHIESA

“We promote a culture of transformation that changes people from being passive, often cynical, consumers to passionate, proactive participants engaged in bringing about the changes our world requires if we want our descendants to flourish.”

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As an author, I wrote books exploring psychedelics, shamanism, and indigenous prophecies of this time. In my work, I combined my own personal journey and visionary experiences with philosophical reflections, studies of anthropology, cultural history, and other areas. I sampled ideas from Terence McKenna, Walter Benjamin, Carl Jung, Nietzsche, Barbara Marx Hubbard, and others. The books generated an incredible response from readers – a deluge of emails.   I realized that people reached out to me because there was no media outlet or cultural forum where they could express their ideas fully, and connect with a community that shared their interests. This led me to start the web magazine Reality Sandwich ( www.realitysandwich.com ) with Ken Jordan, Jonathan Phillips, and Michael Robinson in 2007. As this grew in popularity, we realized that our audience wanted to find each other and build communities. We launched Evolver.net to facilitate these community connections – there are now 45 groups that we call “Evolver Spores” meeting up across the US as well as globally, through our non-profit initiative, The Evolver Social Movement. We also offer live, interactive, educational webinars with luminaries such as Starhawk, Ram Dass, Graham Hancock, Alex Grey, and many others through Evolver Intensives ( www. evolverintensives.com ).   One goal of Evolver is to inspire people to connect with transformative ideas and practices that can take a variety of forms, such as permaculture projects, local currency initiatives, lucid dream workshops, women’s groups, men’s groups, bioremediation initiatives, and so on. We have seen our Evolver group in New Orleans spearhead a project to use mushrooms—mycelial mats—to

leech out sludge left by the Gulf Oil spill. And our groups in Baltimore and Long Beach have been actively involved in creating new complementary currencies that help build community.   We promote a culture of transformation that changes people from being passive, often cynical, consumers to passionate, proactive participants engaged in bringing about the changes our world requires if we want our descendants to flourish. One major inspiration is the work of the great design scientist Buckminster Fuller. Fuller believed we need a design revolution to reconstruct our social and technological systems following the symbiotic, ever-unfolding, principles that nature uses.   As part of of our ongoing adventure with Evolver, we recently launched a new publishing imprint, Evolver Editions ( www.evolvereditions.com ), in partnership with North Atlantic Books, a Berkeleybased publisher. We have already published books I consider groundbreaking, including Manifesto for the Noosphere, the last work of the Mayan Calendar visionary Jose Arguelles; Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein; and The Secret Tradition of the Soul by Patrick Harpur. We also published an anthology of essays on what form a regenerative economy could take, What Comes After Money?   On the next few pages, you will read essays from a few of our authors, introducing their work. I hope you will check out Reality Sandwich and Evolver, sign up to join our community, read these extraordinary books, and become part of our ongoing evolutionary experiment.

www.evolver.net


The Electric Jesus: The Healing Journey of a Contemporary Gnostic ORIGIN COLUMNIST: JONATHAN TALAT PHILLIPS If you told me a few years ago that I’d write a book about Jesus, aliens, and ayahuasca, I would have laughed my ass off.  As a secular materialist, I thought only direct political action made any real change in the world.  But all of this changed after George W. Bush won a second term as president.  I despaired at the planetary situation.  With an estimated three species going extinct every hour, it seemed impossible that either a Democrat or Republican could rescue us from the deep cauldron we were boiling in.  What we needed, I considered, was a “Galileo-type paradigm shift,” something that would completely alter the way we looked at the world, and ourselves.   That’s when the Chinese curse, “May you get what you wish for,” happened to me after taking MDMA on my 30th birthday and, I started seeing energy fields (auras) around my friends, trees, even office furniture.  Suddenly, I no longer viewed people as separate protoplasmic bodies, but rather giant balls of interconnected energy.  Previously, I had sneered at spiritual seekers.  Why did Buddhists waste their time sitting on pill-shaped cushions when they could be out chasing skirts?  But, seeing was believing, and I had to at least admit that there was more to heaven and earth than my Gen X philosophy permitted.   To my surprise, I became interested in Christianity, especially the stereotypical halo imagery, which looked much like the energy fields I was now seeing.  I felt that the old mystics and visionary artists passed on a message: “No, you’re not crazy.  We’re seeing this stuff too.  Just follow the breadcrumbs if you want to learn more.”  So I investigated Christianity’s origins, discovering it was much more diverse and mystical than what’s been handed down to us.    Textual evidence of these early “mystery schools” reveal that many of them utilized a radical initiation process for harnessing energy in order to achieve “gnosis,” direct knowledge or experience of the divine.  I soon noticed that Christian icons mimicked spiritual symbols found in many other cultures–including the Tree of Life, serpent, dove/eagle, and Star of David–drawing an energetic roadmap of our evolutionary potential.   But I didn’t want to just study these secrets and symbols academically; I wanted to experience them firsthand.  The book is first and foremost a mystical detective memoir depicting a harrowing personal journey marked by underground ayahuasca ceremonies, out-ofbody experiences, kundalini awakenings, prankster spirit guides, shape-shifting extraterrestrials at Burning Man, and miraculous energy healings. Along the way, I chronicle the rise of an incredible international movement awakening to “The Matrix around us.”  These po-mo evolutionaries have taken the red pill and are actively building transformational systems and communities to address the immense global crisis (and perhaps planetary initiation) facing us.    As cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead states, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  I pray she’s right.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

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Codex of the Soul ORIGIN COLUMNIST: VERDARLUZ I initially began my healing training in 2003 with courses in Zen Shiatsu, Thai massage, Reiki 1 and 2, and chi kung during my pilgrimage through Asia.  In my travels, I discovered patterns of energy which repeated all around me in the people I met. A series of synchronicities and serendipitous experiences guided me to study astrology and work with many different astrological systems.  I began by investigating the Mayan Calendar and working with Mayan elders in Guatemala.  My astrological training then expanded to include work in the schools of  archetypal, Shamanic Astrology, soul-centered Evolutionary Astrology, Relocation Astrology, and now Human Design. Over the years, these archetypal languages have informed and guided me, prying open pathways of deep self awareness, empathic relating, understanding, and personal empowerment. I was compelled to teach early on in my studies, mostly at festivals and yoga studios in various cities throughout the United States, synthesizing astrology with other embodied, experiential practices, such as dance, chakra meditations, yoga, and chi kung.  After teaching my first online course in astrology, I realized that the multimedia way of presenting my material appealed to people living in a complex and busy world.  This then translated into creating a book which could offer a reference for those seeking soul-guidance and a living language that could be expressed through many different means. The ideas presented, and the tools offered, simultaneously allow the reader to detach enough from our personalized dramas in order to objectify our experiences and gain perspective, while also giving us specific tools in which to engage more passionately with our sacred script.   The correspondences of signs and planets to areas of everyday experience, such as styles of dance, music, and film, also bring the language of astrology down to earth through a practical and embodied application. One essential understanding presented in Codex is the recurring experience of rites of passage: initiation cycles which affect all of us at the same ages in life.  This awareness has ramifications across all aspects of society: education, relationships, child-raising, and building inter-generational dialogues.  It also suggests the importance of regular life-review periods to integrate our spiritual lessons while embodied in this life.

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“The correspondences At this critical time of global consciousness shift, Codex of the Soul: Astrology, Archetypes, and Your Sacred Blueprint is a  contribution of signs and planets to the awakening of the individual human to its multidimensional nature. It is a navigation of the full spectrum of the psyche and to areas of everyday the various deities and forces battling, playing, and dancing within each one of us. experience, such as styles of dance, music, and film, also bring the language of astrology down to earth through a practical and embodied application.”

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Nothing and Everything: The Influence of Buddhism on the American Avant-Garde 1942 – 1962 ORIGIN COLUNIST: ELLEN PEARLMAN Nothing and Everything explores America’s relationship to Eastern thought during the 1940’s to the early 1960’s in the creative worlds of literature, poetry, music, performance, dance, theater, installation, video, mixed media, painting, and sculpture.  At that time life itself became a legitimate artist’s tool, echoing Zen Buddhism’s emphasis on enlightenment at any moment. Many learned about Buddhism from the books and groundbreaking public classes taught at Columbia University by Dr. D. T. Suzuki, the famed Japanese scholar and translator. Previously unpublished writings from those who were present include the first abstract sculptor in America, Ibram Lassaw, the poet Jackson Mac Low, as well as interviews with numerous individuals, revealing for the first time the unique ideas that forever changed American arts.   The book follows the musician and composer John Cage, Suzuki’s most famed student at the Cornish School in Seattle, where he first heard about Zen from Nancy Wilson Ross’s prescient 1938 lecture “Zen Dada.” Cornish is also where Cage befriended Mark Tobey and Morris Graves, Zen-influenced painters of the Northwest school, and met the dancer and choreographer who became his lifelong collaborator and partner, Merce Cunningham.  After his studies with Suzuki at Columbia University, Cage taught experimental composition at the New School for Social Research. His students included George Brecht, Dick Higgins, Allan Kaprow, Jackson Mac Low, Al Hansen, and Japanese composer Toshi Ichiyanagi. From Cage’s ideas on chance, indeterminacy, silence and spontaneity sprouted the art movement Fluxus, the birth of “event scores” and “happenings.” Participants from Fluxus and other groups mixed with the artistic ferment sprouting at the Judson Church in Washington Square, while parallel movements in post-war Japan were occurring with the Gutai, Hi Red Center, and Group Ongaku.   The Club, founded in 1948 on 8th Street in the West Village, was an informal meeting place for abstract expressionists to debate theories of painting and sculpture. It was at The Club, a  “who’s who” of the downtown art world, that the Japanese artist Saburo Hasegawa, friends with sculptor Isamu Noguchi and painter Franz Kline, lectured on Zen. Both Hasegawa and Kline also published works in the Japanese magazine of contemporary calligraphy Bokujin-Kai (Human Ink Society).   Nothing and Everything recreates the seminal 1957 meeting between Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky and D. T. Suzuki just hours before Kerouac’s book release party for “On the Road.” The visionary experience of Ginsberg and his relationship to the nineteenth-century poet and artist William Blake are explore in light of the Beat artists’ search for a “New Vision,” as is Kerouac’s forays in the San Francisco literary world, and his friendships with the Buddhist poets Gary Snyder and Philip Whalen. Also mentioned is the first Tibetan Buddhist lama who settled in the United States, Geshe Wangyal, brought over by the Tolstoy Foundation and his meeting with the young Beat poet and cofounder of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, Anne Waldman.

“Nothing and Everything explores America’s relationship to Eastern thought during the 1940’s to the early 1960’s in the creative worlds of literature, poetry, music, performance, dance, theater, installation, video, mixed media, painting, and sculpture.”

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SCOTT ROLFE

 LA LUNAPHANT, 2012

SILENT BUTLER, 2012

Scott Rolfe is a native Maine artist 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.

www.srolfe.com

RICARDO PANIAGUA TECHNOLOGICAL MARVEL Lacquer and Enamel on Canvas 72” x 44” 2010

At 30 years of age, self-taught Dallas artist Ricardo Paniagua has been included in two museumlevel exhibitions in Dallas and San Antonio; the Texas Biennial, a statewide survey of contemporary art; and The Hunting Prize, historically the most generous award for painting and drawing in North America. His two biggest motivators are making work which reflects a relevant aesthetic and establishing a foundation to ease global suffering.

FRESH GONG GO BONG BONG Lacquer and Enamel on Canvas 72” x 44”, 2010 Photo Courtesy of Fredrik Broden


CAROLYN COLLINS

Creating images bordering between sleep and wakefulness, Carolyn Collins captures the ethereal bridge between existing chaos... and what begs to be seen. Her photographs stir the imagination and speak to that part of the soul which questions, yet expects no answer but feeling. Completely self-taught, she is a light chaser, using ambient lighting & manual focus only. Music is her drug. Building bridges between people is her mission.

THE SOFA, COPYRIGHT 2011 giclee print on archival matte paper Limited Edition (model Manda Pointless)

www.CarolynCollinsPhotography.com

Underwater Fantasy 43” x 43” Oil on linen

The Call Of Thunder Threatens Mixed Media on Canvas 60” x 48”

www.mikesalcido.com

MIKE SALCIDO My work is inspired by the bold colors and movement of life. My hope is that it triggers a strong emotion in viewers and encourages them to slow down and see the world around them with new eyes. I am energized by the reactions to my work - positive or negative. This discourse with viewers is what makes me continue to create new work.


ALLISON FLOM

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT : “OUTLINE” “FACE OF A CHILD” “PRIMARY COLORS” CURATOR: KEN VAIL

Allison Flom is a 17-year-old photographer from New York City. Her goal is to capture and stop time, creating images that answer questions. Rather than focus on physically appealing or perfect settings, Allison aims to highlight reality, and natural beauty, creating art people can relate to. Her photography is managed by Healthy Rhythm Community Art Gallery in Fairfield, Texas.

www.healthyrhythm.net

AMY KUPFERBERG

Drawings by Amy M Kupferberg                  Mecox Gardens Houston amymkupferberg.com

AUGUSTO BROCCA

STUDIO 10 Austin, TX

www.studiotenarts.com


KATHLEEN WILSON

STUDIO 10 Austin, TX

www.studiotenarts.com

ASH ALMONTE

In my current series there is symbolism in the Chandelier. The symbolism is the soul. These works are deeper than the surface. Be the light. Be the Love. Be an inspiration. That’s the message. How can we provide light for others? How can we use our light to inspire others? I don’t have all the answers, but I will keep trying, and will continue soul searching”

www.ashalmonte.com

From left to Right ENDLESS BEGINNINGS, 2011 VERMILLION GENESIS, 2011 BLUE BANG. HEART AND OTHER, 2012

I want to portray the universe of a moment in and beyond time, as if I could freeze in one frame the invisible network of all qualities of one’s State of Being, inside and out.  I believe we are experiencing one Big Bang after another of Becomings; there are so many in a given day, our attention withers in their majesty. I want to portray that who we are is more like the torrent of a waterfall: nothing still except the field from which these new Becomings arise. Each painting seems to reveal to me a different state of being that has nothing to do with name, place or date of birth, but instead focuses on the relationship of body and mind, reality and illusion, representation and abstraction. Sometimes the figures in my paintings seem to be in a state of reverie or ecstasy, as if they are

LOWELL BOYERS

in full flow with their expanded state of existence; or they appear in some pain, overwhelmed that despite themselves things are happening; or they are pointing to themselves, looking at the painting of themselves, like a mirror, having some momentary recognition of the world they are part of. I think the paintings are mirror-like reflections of the opera of our minds, an unfolding drama of senses and thoughts, impressions and emotions, feelings and dreamings, all appearing simultaneously.  The perceptual imagination is not limited by time or space. Making paintings allows me to explore the world that is felt, perceived, yet remains elusive or invisible. I am interested in these in-between states of perception, in-between what is inside and outside, inside my mind and body, and outside my body.

www.lowellboyers.com


GINA MARIE DUNN

JAMIE LEA WADE

IF I FIND MY WAY, HOW MUCH WILL I FIND?, 24” X 30”, 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, ethereal 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. Dunn’s art is shown in throughout the Southwest and is internationally collected.

utopiapkwyarts.blogspot.com

vesselsforthesoul.com Enchanted by clay, Jamie Wade is a playful artist. Often captivated by life she rejoices in both the physical and the ethereal.

WINTER’S TWILIGHT, 2011

KARA DUVAL

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My work explores the light and dark spaces of the soul, stories woven out of daydreams and nighttime exploring, and above all, MAGIC! Based out of Santa Fe, NM

karaduval.tumblr.com


RHYTHM ACRYLIC ON STONEHENGE PAPER, 30” X 22”, 1990

ALEX WILHITE

My perception 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 as Universal.  This requires the employment of homemade paint from dust to create my vision of art. M.F.A., Pratt Institute, New York. 

www.alexwilhite.com

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The Art + Conscious Lifestyle Magazine.

ORIGIN.


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

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o

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 Yoga Slackers

Amy Ippoliti Anand Mehrotra Stephanie Snyder Kia Miller Desert Dwellers DJ Drez David Newman And More!

HanumanFestival.com facebook.com/HanumanFestival youtube: Hanumania twitter: @HanumanFestival

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Yo g a Festiva l

duncan wong beryl bender birch

5th annual festival July 12-15th, 2012

annie pace mark whitwell dr. m.a. jayashree professor narasimhan sean johnson & the wild lotus band sara ivanhoe alanna kaivalya nancy stechert and many more

full ticket price $325 groups of three or more pay $225 or save 15% off full passes use code: ORiGin

Discover how a magical valley full of beauty, energy and strength can enrich your yoga practice. Specific weekend itineraries have been created for every level of practice from beginner to advanced. All passes include morning meditations and evening kirtans.

deepen your practice, deep in the mountains originmagazine.com | 4

tellurideyogafestival.com 970.708.9631 telluride yoga festival tellurideyoga info@tellurideyogafestival.com


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ORIGIN. PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Maranda Pleasant EDITOR: DJ Spooky/Paul D. Miller

DESIGN DIRECTORS

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Kara Duval + Frank Rose

INTERNATIONAL EDITOR

Ocean Pleasant

Polly Armstrong

CONSCIOUS LIFESTYLE

ART

COPY EDITOR Timothy “Starcat” Lehmann

NEW YORK ART + CULTURAL EDITOR Paul D. Miller

TRANSCRIBER Laura Colwell ASSISTANT TO THE EDITOR Laura Colwell DALLAS COORDINATOR Laura King LOS ANGELES LIFESTYLE EDITOR Rain Phoenix HOUSTON DIRECTORS Melissa Smith Trish King DALLAS YOGA COORDINATORS Monica Blossom Adri Kaiser Brook Cheatum Lisa Ware LOS ANGELES YOGA COORDINATORS Rain Phoenix Tommy Rosen Ashley Turner SAN FRANCISCO YOGA COORDINATORS KK Ledford Sianna Sherman NEW YORK YOGA COORDINATOR Elena Brower Susanna Harwood Rubin Kelly Morris CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Amir Magal Brett Mazurek Mario Covic Ocean Pleasant CONSCIOUS ARTS LIAISON Stephanie Shorter, Ph. D.

COLUMNISTS Jason Mraz Henry Rollins Deepak Chopra Robert Thurman Stic.Man of Dead Prez Muriel Hemingway Randy Hays John Perkins The Nature Conservancy American Bird Conservancy Whole Planet Foundation Waylon Lewis Maryann Williamson Shiva Rea Seane Corn Yoshi Aono Polly Armstrong Teesha Bahana Jessie Baxter Deepak Chopra Tiffany Cruikshank Mary Lynn Fitton Ana Forrest Dallas Frasca Christoher Frishman Laurie Gerber Marla Guttman Nicole Hahn Lauen Janes Mastin Kipp Gina LaMotte Michele Lauren Destin Layne KK Ledford Les Levinthal Amir Magal Andrea Marcum Kia Miller Kelly Morris Leilani Münter Angelico Papo Jane Peck Maranda Pleasant Hillary Rubin Susanna Rubin Rob Schware Sianna Sherman Gavin Shire Jeffrey Smith Janet Stone Brenda Strong Kelly Stevens Bill Ulfelder Francis Vecchia Mark Whitwell Winn Wittman David Wolfe

COPY EDITOR Timothy “Starcat” Lehmann DALLAS ART DIRECTOR Gina Marie Dunn TEXAS MUSIC LIAISON John Pointer LOS ANGELES ART EDITORS Lawrence Inglee Jorge Hinohosa Petra Wright Rain Phoenix Rob Ganger NEW YORK ART EDITOR Mary Jordan SANTA FE ART EDITORS Kara Duval Frank Rose MUSIC ASSISTANT Jessica Garcia WEB + VIDEO PRODUCTION FOR Chris Blankenship AUSTIN ART + CULTURE Lisa Russell DARK LORD Perry Fink PATON SAINTS Kevin Flynn Ellen Yeomanm Craig Damuth

COLUMNISTS: Shepard Fairey Miri Wilkins Nelson Guda Jason Damata Jason Mraz Chuck D Ice-T Moby Flavorpill KCRW VH-1 Saul Williams Woody Harrelson Billy Idol Spencer Tunick Lee Hirsch Lucy Walker Oren Moverman Laughing Squid Brainpicker Boombox Project Bruce Sterling Bill McKibben Brett Dennen Sean Parker Teresa Stripling DJ’s For Climate Change Jesus of Nazareth Sims Foundation Polly Armstrong DJ Sammy Bannanas Andy Cavatorta Elizabeth Decker Derrick DeCristofaro Kyle Ellison Robert Ganger Jorge Hinojosa Anand Mehrotra Cheryl Moody Ellen Pearlman Daniel Pichbeck Jonathan Talat Phillips Rain Phoenix Maranda Pleasant Leslee Scallon Scott Snibbe Peter Thum Josh Tickell Verdarluz CONTRIBUTORS: Tria Wood

CONTRIBUTORS: Sarah Swati

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Arts + Culture Cover: Bjork Conscious Lifestyle Cover: By Amir Magal. Photos L-R, top to bottom: Questlove, Seane Corn by Kadri Kurgen, Sharon Gannon by Guzman, Ice-T by Steve Vaccariello, Bjork, David Life by Guzman, Brenda Strong, Shiva Rea by Amir Magal, Russell Brand.


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ORIGIN.

34

CONTENTS

ART+CULTURE :

6

28

58

16

22

BJORK’S BIOPHILIA

6

TOURÉ

15

QUESTLOVE DIE ANTWOORD ICE-T & CHUCK D PERCENTAGES HELPING PERCETANGES RUSSELL BRAND, DANIEL PINCHBECK & GRAHAM HANCOCK GARY CLARK JR

16 22 28 34

THE HIGHEST PASS THE STATE OF BIOFUELS MATT MCHUGH CATHERINE ENNY JOHN HAWKES DANCES WITH FILMS EVOLVER EDITIONS

44 47 48 52 58 62 64

67 CONSCIOUS LIFESTYLE DAVID LIFE & SHARON GANNON

18 20 28 34 36 40 44 54

DEEPAK CHOPRA UNITING THE TRIBE SUPERFOODS ANNA FORREST CAPTAIN PAUL WATSON GARY KRAFTSOW TIFFANY CRUIKSHANK ACTIVIST RACING: LEILANI MÜNTER

56 58 62 78 70 73 85

WHOLE PLANET FOUNDATION WHY GO TO YOGA FESTIVALS? ROBIN LIM FERRY PLAZA FARMER’S MARKET GHANAVISION: BAMBOO BICYCLES GULF SHOREBIRDS NEED OUR HELP LAUREN JANES

r

12

12

62

34 18

PLUS Mastin Kipp Andrea Marcum DJ Sammy Bananas Scott Snibbe

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36 40


THE ORIGIN SERIES: SAME QUESTIONS DIFFERENT PEOPLE POWERFUL ANSWERS

Chanting Compassion With David Life & Sharon Gannon INTERVIEW: MARANDA PLEASANT

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The most impressive qualities about Sharon Gannon and David Life go well beyond photographs of inspiring yoga poses, countless accomplishments as prominent yoga instructors to the famous, or the founding of their own style of yoga, called Jivamukti Yoga. Their true gift and offering to the yoga community is the integrity with which they artfully inspire and teach others. Sharon and David have done more for yoga in America and around the world than many realize, including serving as leaders in animal rights issues, humanitarian causes and the dissemination of Vedic knowledge. Perhaps the most inspiring quality about their teachings is that intention is not lost in their practice. They constantly remind their students to come to the yoga practice seeking enlightenment and expanded spiritual awareness, rather than increasing ego through physical feats alone. For how we do anything, is how we do everything. Maranda Pleasant: Why do you want to wake up in the morning? SHARON: So I don’t miss another opportunity to try to do my best to finish the things I have left undone. I could say: It’s my unresolved karma that wakes me up in the morning. DAVID: What choice do I have? Sometimes, when times are difficult, I feel like NOT waking up! The notion of facing another day of challenges can be off-putting (to say the least). From a yogic perspective, though, it is my karmas (actions) that launch me into each new day. For Self-realization to dawn,

INTRODUCTION BY SARAH SWATI

one must endeavor to resolve old karmas while keeping current actions perfect. People perform actions each day, like waking up in the morning, in accordance with their idea of reality, and most people see the world “out there” as coming at them, and it is all they can do to strive to protect themselves and evade the pitfalls. A yogi strives to become aware that each day, each moment, is born out of us. The day is a projection of your thoughts and desires, and when you practice to purify your thoughts and desires each day blooms with that same transparency. My only choice is to wake each day to witness and nurture and try to perfect the miracle of the near-perfect world that I have thus far created. LEFT PHOTO: JESSICA SJOO ALL OTHERS: GUZMAN

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MP: How do you deal/transform your pain?

MP: What excites you the most right now? SHARON: I am pretty full on engaged in several projects at the moment—writing projects—several books, as well as maintaining a 125-acre wild life sanctuary, a restaurant in NYC, and co-directing a Yoga School. But I wouldn’t describe myself as being excited, more like focused, passionate, committed and engaged in complex and varied projects and working with all the individuals involved. Oh I almost forgot, my Yoga & Vegetarianism book has just been published in Japanese—that is pretty exciting for me.

“A yogi dives deep into potentially pain-filled realms with enthusiasm, courage and impeccability. Bring me my bed of nails and put a smile to my face!”

DAVID: That is a hard question for two reasons. First, I’m just not a very excitable person, and secondly my youthful excitability has been tempered with the wisdom of the ages. I am excited about living in this time though, because it is ripe with change and turmoil. That change and turmoil is the externalization of my own ripening karmas. When you can see yourself in the world that surrounds you then you are empowered to work for peace and joy by creating an atmosphere of peacefulness and joyfulness within and projecting it into a world that you create. MP: What makes you feel vulnerable? SHARON: The weather.

DAVID: When I drop a stone on my foot or hit my finger with the hammer, stub my toe on the furniture, bump my head on the door, fall down the stairs, when my garden fails, when I’m tired, and when I get sick. But also when I witness the suffering of others, when know that I made a mistake, and when I feel love more than fear.

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SHARON: Chant mantra.

DAVID: There are many types of pain and they are dealt with in different ways. The pain of separation from the beloved, separation from the divine, can be nurtured in order to grow your love for the beloved. You know, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” When I hit my finger with the hammer and feel physical pain my first instinct is to blame the hammer and throw it against the floor! That is what we tend to do when we feel physical pain or discomfort—we blame someone or something else for our suffering. The key is to separate the idea of suffering, which is a phenomenon of the mind, from pain, which is a necessary component of worldly living. We can control some of these aspects. For example we can improve our skills with the hammer and stop hitting the finger; we can use the moment of the experience of pain to reduce our reactions of aversion, blame, and fear; and we can witness pain and reduce our suffering thoughts. I love my cat but sometimes when he jumps in my lap, my first experience is the pain of his claws digging in! Rather than react with anger and strike out at the cat (the result of which is to make the claws sink deeper increasing pain, and hurting the cat emotionally and perhaps physically), I allow my feelings of love to transcend anger by embracing the cat, and the pain is resolved. A yogi dives deep into potentially pain-filled realms with enthusiasm, courage and impeccability. Bring me my bed of nails and put a smile to my face! MP: When it’s time to let go of something, how do you release it? SHARON: Chant mantra and pray for God to help me. DAVID: First, by witnessing it in a larger, even cosmic, context where


change and variety are infinite (translation: meditate). Secondly, after it is reduced in proportion to everything, stop giving your energy to it by redirecting that energy toward other more rewarding tasks (translation: Chant the Name.) MP: What breaks your heart? SHARON: When I see people planting the seeds for their own future suffering: wearing a fur coat, pouring milk in their coffee, buying a new pair of leather shoes or ordering a chicken salad sandwich for lunch, seemingly oblivious to the cruel suffering that their actions are causing, not just to animals and to the environment of the planet, but to themselves. Each of us, through the actions we take, plant the seeds which will eventually but inevitably grow and create the reality we will find ourselves living in. So when I see a person wearing a fur coat, I see not only the coat but the animals who were cruelly abused, killed and skinned to make that coat, and also I see the person wearing that coat being reborn as a poor fox crazily circulating in a tiny cage waiting to be skinned. And I see the poor dairy cow who has been raped and exploited, and in the same picture, I see the new future dairy cow taking her place, in the form of that person putting milk in her coffee, today. My heart breaks to know that all this suffering could be avoided if people knew how incredibly powerful they really are, how their seemingly smallest action creates the world.

DAVID: Human greed and the resulting suffering of the Earth, the animals, war, starvation, suffering, and hatred. Just a few things that should break anyone’s heart. MP: You’re a passionate vegetarian? How did this happen, why? SHARON: In 1982 I saw a film entitled The Animals Film.” The two hours and twenty minutes that I spent in the movie theater altered my life like no other single incident. The Animals Film was a British documentary film made by Victor Schonfeld and Myriam Alaux, narrated by the Academy Award-winning actress Julie Christie. The film exposed in very graphic detail the cruel, exploitative and inhumane way that we human beings perceive and treat animals; from the all too common and casual euthanizing of unwanted pets, to animals used for entertainment, animals degraded and enslaved in farms raised to be milked and/or slaughtered for food, their bodies, wool, skin, hair, feathers and fur used to produce clothing, and as victims of outright perverse military and “scientific” research. The last scene was of the Animal Liberation Front rescuing animals from a laboratory. The movie caused me to radically rethink what I was doing with my life. I asked myself, if I wasn’t doing something to stop the cruelty to animals, what was the value in anything I was doing?

“I asked myself, if I wasn’t doing something to stop the cruelty to animals, what was the value in anything I was doing?”

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At the time, I was a poor artist living in a dark, dank basement apartment. I didn’t have a car, phone or bank account. Nonetheless, I decided after seeing the film that I would devote my life to doing whatever I could to stop the insanity I saw depicted in that film. I did not know exactly what I was going to do at that point, but I knew that whatever it was it had to help the animals and it had to shatter the ignorance inside of us human beings who would think that it is okay to treat animals as if they had no feelings and existed to be enslaved and exploited by us. I knew that what I had seen was a glimpse into reality that not many people had or cared to experience. I knew that I could no longer live in a cushioned state of denial. I realized that if I wanted the world to change I had to change myself first. Very soon after that film I became a vegan. Very soon after that I became a yoga teacher as a way to be more outspoken about animal rights. For me teaching yoga provided a better platform than music, dance, painting or any of the other artistic genres I had been working in. I passionately feel that as long as we view ourselves as superior and other animals as exploitable our consciousness will remain stuck in a level of ignorance that will disallow a full realization of the truth underlying reality. DAVID: I am a passionate vegan. That means that my “feelings” are my guide. We call it heartmind. My heart-mind knows what is right for me, for the animals, and for the Earth. Veganism is a result of my desire to decrease the pain and suffering that I cause to appear in the world as a direct result of my actions in regard to others. MP: You and David are legends in the yoga community, not just in NY, but globally. High profile actors and musicians follow you as well as thousands of dedicated yogis. What is the draw? Why do you think so many are drawn to you? SHARON: I don’t think they are drawn to us. They are drawn, just like we are, to the teachings of yoga, which provide practical techniques for reintegration leading to happiness and joy. DAVID: There is a teaching that you have only to take one step toward God and She will come all the way across the universe to you. We stepped-up and God keeps blessing us. MP: Tell me what your what’s on your heart that you’d like to share with yogis nationally. Anything and everything that you’d like to have a wide audience understand.

SHARON: Don’t try to do this by yourself: to become a good yogi you need a teacher. Find a teacher you can bow to, who can teach you how to be kind—how to serve others—because the key to enlightenment lies in that. Be humble, work hard, study and practice. Chant the Name of God, do japa and meditate, every day. Try your best not to get distracted from your goal. Let everything you do be your way of getting closer to your enlightenment; never take a vacation from spiritual practice. Be a joyful vegan. Create the kind of world you want to live in by how you treat others now. Don’t expect others to change. Instead, take on the project and see if you can become the change you want to see in the world. Try your best to let go of anger, blame and seeing yourself as a victim. To this end it is helpful to have an understanding of the yogic concept of shunyata (emptiness). Remember that everyone you see and every situation you find yourself in has come from inside of you; you have created your reality by how you have treated others in your past. So whatever you want to have happen to you make it happen for others now and eventually but inevitably you will reap the seeds you have sown. You cannot change the past but you can start now and lay the foundation for the future. DAVID: My advice to yogis “nationally” is to get out of their “nation” and fly into the universe.

“So whatever you want to have happen to you make it happen for others now and eventually but inevitably you will reap the seeds you have sown. You cannot change the past but you can start now and lay the foundation for the future.”

Sharon Gannon and David Life are the co-creators of the Jivamukti Yoga Method, a path to enlightenment through compassion for all beings. They are students of Brahmananda Sarasvati, Swami Nirmalananda, and K. Pattabhi Jois. Sharon and David are considered pioneers in teaching yoga as spiritual activism—incorporating veganism, animal rights and environmentalism in a way that makes yoga cool, hip, radical and crucial to life on planet Earth today.

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Life: Balancing in the Tree Pose

PHOTO: DIANA MRAZIKOVA

ORIGIN COLUMNIST: BRENDA STRONG

About six years ago, I was juggling being an actress on the hit TV series, Desperate Housewives, a yoga studio owner, a wife, and a mother. I was also building my own brand, Strong Yoga® 4Women, and was a national spokesperson and board member for both The American Fertility Association and Events of the Heart. The irony was that while I was creating stress-relieving yoga for women, I was juggling so many different aspects of my life that I was out of balance. I strove to maintain a spiritual practice, but since I was being pulled in so many directions, I couldn’t seem to stay steady and grounded. I used to get overwhelmed when I thought about everything there was to do, and I was exhausted much of the time. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest as a young girl, whenever I felt emotionally overwhelmed, I would take a walk in the woods. Being in the stillness and grandeur of trees had always calmed me. One day, I was particularly stressed and sat down to center myself in meditation when the image of a tree came into my mind. Slowly, the metaphor began to form and I began to see myself as that tree, needing deeper roots to grow even higher and still be able to weather storms. I saw that all aspects of my life had been pulling me out of balance because I hadn’t perceived them as part of a “whole,” or the totality that was “me.” I realized that a tree never says, “I have too many branches.” It simply digs deeper roots, expands itself to catch more light, and extends itself in multiple directions so as not to be unevenly weighted. I realized I wasn’t pulling myself in opposite directions, but rather that I needed to balance my inner and outer life, my personal and public work, and my need to make a difference on the planet. A very dear friend pointed out to me that “balance” as a verb doesn’t mean “stillness,” but the constant act of making minor corrections from one side to another to bring one towards a center of stability. In life, when you start to fall, you don’t have to go crazy, scolding yourself and further throwing yourself off balance. Instead, simply make adjustments. Nine times out of ten it’s a minor shift in your focus and your attitude that makes the difference. In yoga practice, over time you use fewer muscles more efficiently. Expansion does require energy, but it should not require a great deal of effort. There is a beautiful poem by David Whyte that changed my life a

couple of years ago, in which one of the lines reads, “Anyone or anything that does not bring you alive is too small for you.” This would include the thoughts we have about ourselves that keep us from expanding. Until my Yoga practice became the great facilitator of all things in my life, the integration of career, purpose and motherhood felt like an unattainable dream. Balance for me now means seeing myself as that tree, being strong enough in my roots and trunk to not be a pushover, but being flexible enough in every circumstance not to break. I am continuing to expand, but not any faster than my roots can support me. I make the necessary “corrections” if I find myself leaning too far in one direction. The many branches of my tree now fall under my new brand, “Strong Inspiration,” where my yoga, acting, producing, writing, and charity work all live holistically and harmoniously together with a common mission: to inspire, educate and empower other women to manifest their own deepest desires while achieving health and wellness. My “Tree” is standing Strong, pun intended.

www.yoga4fertility.com

Brenda Strong is a certified yoga instructor and fertility expert who has worked extensively on the application of yoga techniques to aid in women’s fertility. This has spawned a series of DVDs, the creation of the innovative and acclaimed “Fertility Ball,” and her involvement as an instructor for Strong Yoga® 4 Fertility. She has taught at UCLA’s Mind/Body Institute and has served as a spokesperson and board member for The American Fertility Association. Brenda is also an Emmy-nominated actress who is starring in the new television series, Dallas, which premieres on June 13th at 9pm EST on TNT. originmagazine.com | 17


The Deeper Meaning of Yoga ORIGIN COLUMNIST: DEEPAK CHOPRA, M.D.

In the past two decades, yoga has moved from relative anonymity in the West to a well-recognized practice offered in thousands of studios, community centers, hospitals, gyms, and health clubs. Although yoga is commonly portrayed as a popular fitness trend, it’s actually the core of the Vedic science that developed in the Indus Valley more than 5,000 years ago. Yoga began as a philosophy rather than as a physical discipline. The term yoga is first mentioned in the sacred Indian text the Rig Veda, which dates to roughly 500 B.C. The Rig Veda defines yoga as a union or “yoking” of the material and spiritual worlds, and it doesn’t describe any physical postures other than the traditional cross-legged meditation pose. Another 300 years passed before the legendary sage Patanjali composed the Yoga Sutras, where he systematically describes the eight “limbs” of yoga. The Yoga Sutras offers a clear roadmap for the evolution of consciousness from ordinary states of awareness such as waking, dreaming, and sleeping – to higher states of consciousness. Like anything else, knowledge must evolve, and although there are standard interpretations of the eight limbs of yoga, at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, we have developed more contemporary perspectives that are in alignment with our philosophy of spiritual evolution. Here is an overview of the eight limbs, the standard interpretation, and our perspective:

The Eight Limbs of Yoga

Standard Interpretation

Contemporary Interpretation

1. Yamas

Rules of conduct

Spontaneous evolutionary behavior of conscious beings

2. Niyama

Rules of personal behavior

The internal dialogue of conscious beings

3. Asana

Physical postures

Mind-body integration

4. Pranayama

Breath control

Neurorespiratory integration; awareness and integration of the rhythms, seasons, and cycles of our life

5. Pratyahara

Control of the senses

Tuning into our subtle sensory experiences

6. Dharana

Mind control

Evolutionary mastery and expression of attention and intention

7. Dhyana

Meditation

Resonating at the junction point between the personal and the universal

8. Samadhi

Absorption

Settled in pure awareness; the progressive expansion of the self

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Our essential nature is pure consciousness, the infinite source of everything that exists in the physical world. Since we are an inextricable part of the field of consciousness, we are also infinitely creative, unbounded, and eternal.

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga My colleague and friend Dr. David Simon and I developed the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga as a consciousness-based practice that is based in India’s ancient wisdom teachings and the eight limbs of the Yoga Sutras. It is focused on integrating and balancing all the layers of our life so that our body, mind, heart, intellect, and spirit flow in harmony. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga is based on the principles presented in my book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. Here is a brief summary of these principles:

चेतस्

The Law of Pure Potentiality Our essential nature is pure consciousness, the infinite source of everything that exists in the physical world. Since we are an inextricable part of the field of consciousness, we are also infinitely creative, unbounded, and eternal.

उपहार

When we teach the yoga postures in Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga classes, we include the movements with these seven principles. We have found that even as our students are learning “standard” yoga postures, the attention they give to these principles improves the quality of all aspects of their lives. The mindful application of these spiritual laws promotes success and material abundance, loving relationships, peaceful social interactions, health, wellbeing, and higher consciousness, including intuition, creativity, insight, imagination, and inspiration. Even if yoga only enhanced physical fitness, the time spent in practice would be fully worthwhile. However, while the health benefits are many, yoga offers much more than just a way to exercise the body. The deeper meaning and gift of yoga is the path it offers us into the timeless, spaceless world of spirit. Yoga teaches us both to let go and to have exquisite awareness in every moment. We remember our essential spiritual nature and life becomes more joyful, meaningful, and carefree.

The Law of Giving and Receiving Giving and receiving are different expressions of the same flow of energy in the universe. Since the universe is in constant and dynamic exchange, we need to both give and receive to keep abundance, love and anything else we want circulating in our lives.

कार्म अचेष्ट

The Law of Karma (Cause and Effect) Every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in kind. When we choose actions that bring happiness and success to others, the fruit of our karma is happiness and success. The Law of Least Effort We can most easily fulfill our desires when our actions are motivated by love. We expand the least effort, and we offer no resistance. We tap into the infinite organizing power of the universe to do less and accomplish everything.

चिकीर्षा कैवल्य

The Law of Intention and Desire Inherent in every intention and desire are the mechanics for its fulfillment. When we become quiet and introduce our intentions into the field of pure potentiality, we harness the universe’s infinite organizing power, which can manifest our desires with effortless ease. The Law of Detachment At the level of spirit, everything is always unfolding perfectly. We don’t have to struggle or force situations to go our way. Instead, we can intend for everything to work out as it should, take action, and then allow opportunities to spontaneously emerge.

धर्म

The Law of Dharma Everyone has a dharma or purpose in life. By expressing our unique talents and using them to serve others, we will experience unlimited love, abundance, and true fulfillment in our lives.

Deepak Chopra, M.D. is a bestselling author and the cofounder 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, workshops, and teacher trainings. To learn about special offers and upcoming events, please visit www.chopra.com. originmagazine.com | 19


A Social Movement and Photo Series By Artist Amir Magal in collaboration with Jon Nash

Tribal Marking is the Movement of Connection. Adornment. Unity.

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SHIVA REA

How do you feel when you have been marked in a tribal session? Marking the body is sacred art. Amir and I have travelled to parts of the world where ritual marking is alive and so vibrant. Getting marked in a tribal session is like bringing that wild sacred liberating force to the middle of wherever you are. What does being a member and a leader in a tribe mean to you? A leader is the one who keeps rhythms for the larger tribe, and tends that fire no matter what is going down. But the tribe is the power of the circle and every person who creates it. What tribes are you apart of? Breath Tribe, pranaflowyoga.com, globalmala.org, Exhale Yoga Shala and Elevate Studios.

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SHAMAN DUREK How do you feel when you have been marked in a tribal session? I love getting painted by Amir! I love even more watching Amir “mark”people and witnessing their transformations. Sometimes the body painting unleashes something playful, sensual or perhaps even primal that was hidden somewhere inside, and I get a kick out of watching it reveal itself. What does being a member and a leader in a tribe mean to you? Community is very important to me and I believe in the power of the collective as a positive force to motivate global change, so being apart of a tribe is a necessary and vital aspect of my life. What tribe do you feel apart of? Above anything else I feel apart of the Universal Tribe, but I have individual tribes within this collective that I resonate with and which help to sustain me. The Corn/Corley Tribe, which consists of my immediate family, is the tribe that keeps me most grounded, nourished and amused. The Off The Mat, Into The World Tribe keeps me committed, inspired and on purpose, and my Yoga Tribe keeps me digging deep inside for a greater understanding of the Source and helps me cultivate the spiritual tools necessary so that I can continue to evolve within my own consciousness.

SEANE CORN

How do you feel when you have been marked in a tribal session? I feel when marked an awareness of self while being vulnerable and naked. I sense a feeling of being served and prepared for some part of me I do not know or understand. However I become grounded and safe with a sense of purpose with each touch to my skin. What does being a member and a leader in a tribe mean to you? Being a member of a tribe means to me responsibility and being authentic to myself and others. To be a leader for me is to put others’ needs first and being available to offer my gifts if needed, and all the while maintaining a sense of balance and acceptance. What tribe do you feel apart of? I’m apart of the global tribe that strives to improve the way of life for all through developing awareness of issues that affect us all on a global scale.

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What comes up for you when hearing the idea of uniting the tribes? That’s what music also does, so I like it.

GREGORY MICHAEL CYPES

What tribes are you apart of? I am only apart of one tribe. We are all one.

JASON BENTLEY

JASON MRAZ How do you feel when being marked and playing on stage? Not unlike buttoning up your favorite shirt or slipping on your favorite jeans to add comfort and confidence to a performance, being marked up in tribal paint becomes part of the pre-show ritual that lets your body, mind, and spirit know you are ready to rock.

How do you feel when you have been marked in a tribal session? I feel like I have been activated, healed, blessed and branded by the divine touch and guidance from John Nash and Amir’s love. A deep feeling of being empowered to serve more people rises up in my soul once marked and I wanna dance in celebration knowing that we as a family are coming together to make a change in the world one tribal session at a time. What does being a member and a leader in a tribe mean to you?   A tribe leader is not only a leader; a tribe leader has to be a father, a mother, a lover, a beloved, a child, a brother, and a sister. A tribe leader has to be so many things together. Otherwise, a tribe leader is not really a tribe leader.

What tribes are you apart of? I am apart of all tribes that function from a place of fearless, unconditional love and acceptance. Mostly I am a leader in the tribes that consist of kids and animals like the KVBL Natural Leaders program of Venice Beach. originmagazine.com | 24

How do you feel when you have been marked in a tribal session? Kinda special! What does being a member and a leader in a tribe mean to you? A sense of purpose and community is a very important thing in life, and that’s what the idea of a tribe means to me. What tribes are you apart of?  International DJ society, Los Angeles, cultural luminary, and KCRW.


MIKKI WILLIS

  How do you feel when you have been marked in a tribal session? We’re always seeking new ways to elevate our life events. I’m grateful that Amir Magal was hired to brand our tribe for the launch of PlayItFWD.com and to capture the moment with such fresh and fun images. What does being a member and a leader in a tribe mean to you? Identifying your tribe is the first step to reuniting with your deepest roots. The next step is to unite all tribes. What tribes are you apart of? I’m deeply grateful to live with and learn from so many tribes of good people. Here’s a partial list of the communities I play with: Elevate Venice, Golden Eagle Circle, Transformational Leadership Council, Challenge Day, CafeGratitude/BeLove, Agape, Family Love Village, Tribal Convergence, Shiva Rea, LandMark, Burning Man, Project Butterfly, Daily Om, Jason Mraz, The Aware Show, The Daily Love, The Shift Network, Venice Basketball League, Grateful Fridays

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What does being a member and a leader in a tribe mean to you? Tribe and community are individuals with a common intention, stepping towards their Oneness. Why I am here on Earth is to re-member my connection to all, and courageously be a leader in the awakening of love. What tribes are you apart of? I am tribe, meaning my commitment is wherever I go. I am the essence of family and community and that is what I find. “Who you be is what you see.”

How do you feel when you have been marked in a tribal session? It feels like Home, a consistent reminder of the connection between Amir and I and all energies. Walking with the marks deeply inspires my truth and the unconditional love I have for myself. This truth gives an opportunity for others to feed off this frequency. What does being a member and a leader in a tribe mean to you? There’s a responsibility to hold presence and truth in my heart, igniting the memories of oneness. What tribes are you apart of?  I am apart of the one Tribe, where our hearts lie, in the belly of Momma Earth, seeding her needs to feel children Dreams.

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AMIR MAGAL

RYLAND ENGELHART JON NASH

How do you feel when you have been marked in a tribal session? I feel like I am connected to the ritual ceremony of celebration and that it is a preparation decoration for giving myself fully to life.


- the Rev

Artist Amir Magal, most well known for his yoga and travel photography, describes tribal marking as a way to connect with people one-on-one. “I love seeing people’s reaction to the sensation of being painted on and their transformation after it’s completed. All ages just seem to come alive! Thank you to my tribe that has inspired and supported me. Jon Nash, you are my mountain and a constant reminder to be in my truth. Ciara, you are my muse. Rachelle, my heart.”

AMIR MAGAL

REV. MICHAEL BECKWITH

“ALL TRIBES UNITE!”

The evolution of the markings has come a long way, from a Burning Man gifting art form to Google parties and festivals around the country. A session consists of creating a sacred space, grounding, and painting, and then followed by a photo-session that is shared with your social network. The marker is a nontoxic waterbased painting tool called the TRIBAL BODY MARKER® made by the artist. For information, photos or to book a tribal session visit: www.tribalmarkers.com Uniting the tribe one mark at a time! The tribe is all of us. Love- Amir Magal www.amirimage.com 

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SUPER IMMUNITY

ROWS OF GINSENG AND MUSHROOM ELIXERS FOUND IN SEOUL, KOREA MARKETPLACE. PHOTO: KEIRA BISHOP

SUPER IMMUNITY Superfoods, Superherbs and Super Products that Promote the Best Health and Immune System Ever ORIGIN COLUMNIST: DAVID WOLFE Your immune system is vast and complex. It is designed to detoxify your body as well as protect your body from illness and foreign invaders. Harmful bacteria, viruses, calcium-forming micro-organisms, and candida are part of our world. Unfortunately, so are toxic chemicals, including everything from pesticides to car pollution to nuclear radiation to most municipal tap waters. In our world, these harmful micro-organisms and an endless list of toxic chemicals consistently assault our immune system. Coupled with these assaults are the daily stresses of life and their deleterious effects upon us.

Fortunately, our immune system can be improved and empowered to such a point that not only can the harmful microbes be halted and the chemicals detoxified, but also a “stress defense shield” may be built up, which can even drive off the effects of daily stress.

All of these add up to a weakened immune system, which can lead to colds and influenza, coughs, fevers, chronic health problems, skin disorders, digestive distress, nervous conditions, chronic fatigue, and even cancer. When the body has too much to deal with, it stops being able to get rid of its waste efficiently and requires more support to help it fight off what is attacking it.

We all can learn more about how to empower our own immunity. I believe the best way to activate genius within the immune system is by ingesting certain superherbs and superfoods, taking probiotics and cultured foods, minimizing toxic food exposure by eating pure organic raw-living foods, and making appropriate healthy lifestyle improvements.

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From my perspective, it appears that a great thrust of research on health and longevity is pointing towards improving our immune system — that within an empowered immune system are the health solutions and longevity answers we’re looking for.


In 400 BC Hippocrates said, “Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food.” Both aspects of this phrase must be considered, not just food as medicine, but also medicine as food —the superfoods (the most nutrient-rich plant foods in the world) and tonic superherbs (herbs that can be taken regularly like food). Out of 40,000+ herbs used worldwide, perhaps only 50-60 of them are tonic superherbs. These superherbs should be taken for long periods, because, like all tonics, they are more like food and they build health treasures within and nourish our “stress defense shield.” Whenever possible, try to include the following superfoods, superherbs, and super products in your daily regimen:

REISHI MUSHROOM PHOTO: FRANK ENSTOEN

Reishi Mushroom: Reishi is the Queen of the Medicinal Mushrooms. Reishi is the most well-studied herb in the history of the world. She has been the most revered herbal mushroom in Asia for over 2,000 years. The Daoists consider Reishi an “elixir of immortality” that is celebrated for its ability to significantly improve the functioning of the immune system by protecting us from the onslaught of viruses, bacteria, unwanted guests, pollution, chemicals, molds, and the toxicity that we are often subjected to in our world. Reishi helps build up our “stress defense shield,” creating feelings of well-being within despite outer stresses.

GYNOSTEMMA PHOTO: MAJA DUMAT

modulating molecules that are fat soluble on one side of the molecule and water soluble on the other side) — all of which possess specific, dual-directional health-giving properties (e.g. if our immune system is down, these saponins can modulate it up; if our immune system is too far up, they can modulate the immune response down). Gynostemma is a true tonic; you can take it directly or make tea out of it nearly every day with benefits that accrue the more you consume it. Gypenoside 49 (49th of the 120 saponins) has been identified as a telomerase activator that “youthens” us genetically.

“Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food.” GINSENG PHOTO: CEA

Ginseng: Known throughout the world for its amazing energy restoring and strength-building properties, ginseng is an adaptogen that helps our bodies “adapt” to stressful environmental conditions. Ginseng root can boost energy, induce mental alertness, improve the ratio of healthy hormones (thereby acting as a subtle aphrodisiac), and increase endurance. Ginseng also helps fight pain and alleviate radiation damage to healthy tissues. PHOTO: MICHAEL ROUD

Chaga Mushroom: Chaga is the King of the Medicinal Mushrooms. It contains the highest amounts of anti-tumor compounds of any herb. These compounds are in the form of betulin, betulinic acid, and lupeol, which are powerful anti-mutagenic compounds naturally present in the white part of the birch tree’s bark (in which the chaga typically grows). Chaga is also extremely high in nourishing phytochemicals, nutrients, and free-radical scavenging antioxidants, especially melanin. Chaga is second only to cacao (the chocolate nut) in antioxidant content. Chaga is the most powerful cancerfighting herb known and fights all kinds of radiation damage to healthy tissue. Gynostemma: According to the scientific herbal research being conducted in the People’s Republic of China, gynostemma has been identified as the most medicinal of all the Chinese herbs. It contains 120 saponins (immune originmagazine.com | 29


GREEN ALGAE BY WILLIAM MARK PH.D. GLEN ALLEN, VA

Chlorella: Chlorella is a natural, green, micro-algae, superfood detoxifier. Chlorella is the highest chlorophyll containing plant in the world with 40 times the chlorophyll content of the best wheatgrass juice known. The chlorophyll binds with heavy metals and chemical toxins, helping to eliminate them from the brain and nervous system. Chlorella is also a complete protein source that contains youthening and rejuvenating growth factors. Zeolites: Zeolites are a form of unique, volcanic mineral compounds with crystalline structures that form a sort of “cage.” This “cage” works like a magnet to attract heavy metals, chemicals, and other pollutants (e.g. radioactive isotopes), capturing them and allowing their easy removal (without being re-absorbed) from the body. Zeolites have been shown to have anti-viral and cancer-fighting effects. Shilajit: Contains 80+ minerals and fulvic acid that assist in the removal of toxins, improve nutrition to cells, and help restore electricity to the blood. Shilajit promotes the movement of minerals into muscle, tissue, and bone. It is an Ayurvedic mineral-herb with over 5,000 years of known human usage in the Himalayas. The word “shilajit” translates as “born of stone and destroyer of weakness.” Astragalus Root: This chi-building root is one of the most potent immune tonics used to improve the lungs, strengthen muscles, increase metabolism, reduce stress, and strengthen the genetics. The first telomerase activator product to make it into the market is TA-65, an extract of astragalus. Camu Camu Berry: This plant-derived Vitamin C source will super boost your immune system and help repair connective tissue. Botanical Vitamin C sources (such as Camu) are coming into favor in preference over synthetic ascorbic acid products due to their complete array of Vitamin C enhancing bioflavonoids, copper, rutin, and other cofactors that make Vitamin C work better. Camu Camu is one of the most concentrated supplies of Vitamin C in the world, and a powerful antioxidant. It is ranked by Dr. James Duke as one of the most powerful, single health-giving botanical substances. Probiotics: Consuming a combination of good quality probiotics (these include friendly bacteria such as: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidus infantis, B. longum, L. bulgaricus, S. thermophilus, L. plantarum, L. salivarius, Enterococcus faecium, etc.) and cultured and fermented foods (that contain originmagazine.com | 30

ASTRAGALUS FLOWERS; PHOTO: JASON HOLLINGER

live probiotics) such as coconut and other kefirs, unpasteurized sauerkraut and kim chi, etc., will lead to enhanced immunity since these beneficial probiotic bacteria are symbiotic allies to your body that help fight viruses, candida and other infections; produce B vitamins; and assist in detoxification. Probiotics help build up that “stress defense shield.” We live in a time of unprecedented abundance. Through the Internet and the advancing health freedoms we are all enjoying, we have easy access to these superfoods, superherbs, and super health products. When you start investigating and utilizing these substances consistently and regularly as part of your overall health and exercise program, you will notice that your immunity will gradually be enhanced. Your thoughts will have more clarity. Your overall energy will increase. You will also likely sleep better and perform better in athletic activities. Your overall productivity will improve. Digestive distress decreases. Feelings of well-being begin to dominate your life. Superfoods and tonic superherbs can be added into anyone’s diet. Simply begin with the first one or few that you’re drawn to and go from there. Get out a blender and have fun. Make different teas with the superherbs or create new smoothies with the superfoods. Better yet, take your superherb tea and blend it with your superfoods to make the best elixirs ever. Getting healthier and healthier is fun!

www.davidwolfe.com www.TheLongevityNowConference.com www.LongevityWarehouse.com David “Avocado” Wolfe is the author of Eating For Beauty, Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future, The Sunfood Diet Success System, and several other bestselling books. David is the founder and leading contributor to the Internet’s only peak performance and nutrition online magazine: TheBestDayEver. com. He is considered by his peers as one of the leading authorities in nutrition. David is also the co-creator and host of the worldfamous LongevityNOW Conferences.


ORIGIN COLUMNIST: DESTIN LAYNE

From the over use of antibiotics to the decline of family farms, the devastating impacts of agribusiness are increasing, and yet many of the true costs remain hidden. But now, as emerging innovations re-energize conversation, and as media coverage of pink slime, GMO labeling and confined animal factories (CAFOs) spread, it’s a powerful time to reclaim the future of food. Feeding the planet sustainably is one of our most pressing challenges, but our “consumption” culture is out of balance, and changing our shopping habits is not enough. It’s time to wake up to the reality of our food system. Farmers and philosophers like Fred Kirschenmann and Vandana Shiva, and teachers like Deepak Chopra or Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee, remind us that everything is connected, and the way we produce and access our food matters. But there is so much information out there, it’s hard to find the truth. Thankfully, whether you’re new to these issues, or a longtime activist, some creative media advocates have been doing a great job of informing people in engaging and meaningful ways. Ten years ago, Fast Food Nation was released, then the groundbreaking viral campaign TheMeatrix.com. 2006 brought Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and the films Food Inc. and The Dark Side of Chocolate have followed. And now we have The Prince’s Speech: On the Future of Food, a small book just published by Rodale Press. And somewhat surprisingly, it was written by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales. Though it hardly gets more elite than royalty, what many of us didn’t know is that Prince Charles, drawing on his over 30 years of experience as an organic farmer, has been a powerful and vocal advocate for sustainable agriculture for a very long time. He feels so strongly about this that just days after his son’s wedding in 2011, he came to Washington D.C. to deliver a powerful keynote speech at the Future of Food conference, where he literally made our jaws drop. I was

PHOTO: FOOD + TECH CONNECT

Waking Up: On the Future of Food

there. The audience was mesmerized and then galvanized and inspired by his words of inter-connection. As Leslie Hatfield of EcocentricBlog.org pointed out, “Prince Charles does not oversimplify the problems (including but not limited to overuse of water and energy; pollution of water, soil and air; and unjust labor conditions) created by our current methods of food production, or the solutions he puts forth – instead, he acknowledges the complexity of feeding a rapidly growing global population.” I couldn’t agree more. Not only did the Prince’s eloquence shine a light on these issues, but he also ignited real hope for a more sustainable future. As they say, “you are what you eat,” and real change has to start with each of us taking a clear-sighted and informed look at how the choices we make as individuals impact the planet globally. It’s time we wake up and engage with the issues in deeper and more meaningful ways.

Destin is the Program Director at GRACE Communications Foundation and is involved with Sustainable Table, Eat Well Guide, and The Meatrix. To get inspired, visit Gracelinks.org/TakeAction. originmagazine.com | 31


TheWORLd IS A MIRROR, MIRRO but not that kind of mirror ORIGIN COLUMNIST: KELLY MORRIS

Whether you’re an artist, a writer, a musician, or a dharma teacher, the risk of narcissism is ever-present, waiting to capture your decent-enough intentions and twist them towards self-obsession. Narcissism, the disease of our time, is a hop, skip and a jump to flat-out nihilism. When we need applause and ascendancy to maintain our internal equilibrium, we are in trouble. The narcissist only experiences his body, his needs, his feelings, his property and anything and everything that directly pertains to HIM as fully “REAL.” He understands others and their experiences only intellectually, not affectively. An uncanny reader of other’s facial expressions, body language and desires, he mimics empathy, nodding and making the right sounds. He does the bare minimum to avoid being outed as jerk, to ensure you stay seated and rapt while he continues his private lap dance with himself. The narcissist does more than willfully deny the reality that we are all connected, that my future is bound up with yours, and that what we do to another, we do to ourselves. He literally cannot see it. The extreme narcissist often MUST become famous, or invite extraordinary distress. Popularity, admiration and a dozen genuflecting minions act as a kind of selfmedication against depression and internal collapse. Be compassionate; they are often fighting for their lives. The yogini attempts the opposite. She reaches deep inside herself to tear down the various walls she mistook for identity. No longer keen to differentiate, divide and measure, she is looking to join the world— not to live in spite of it. This is one of the reasons why, for the yoga practitioner, regular meditation, impregnable ethics, and the hands-on helping of others is the centerpiece of our practice and the heart of spiritual development. Signing a check is not enough. Tossing the homeless guy a five instead of a one is not enough. Sending cast-offs to the Goodwill is not enough. Squeezing in one night at the soup kitchen over the holidays is not enough. That is why being very mindful in originmagazine.com | 32

mediums like Facebook is so important. Ongoing and florid visual monologues of a photoshopped you cavorting everywhere directly contributes to our collective, incipient downfall into abject narcissism. The dharma instructs us that we are all One. This is excellent news (as long as everyone showers). But without daily, sober observance, this insight can devolve at warp-speed into the well-documented Spiritual Narcissist’s Circle Jerk. In my Conquering Lion Program, each student completes a certain number of hours serving their community in tactile, participatory ways—for free, without expectation of compensation, be it money or thanks. True giving is anonymous. If you need an admiring compliment, or a plaque with your name on it, or a mention in the opening address, you don’t get it. If you casually drop a line about all your volunteer work at the next cocktail party, you don’t get it. If you casually drop a line about all your volunteer work at the next cocktail party, you don’t get it. The dharma, the path, wasn’t built so that you could delay aging a decade; decorate your never-big-enough apartment in urban-beach chic; ameliorate your self-created depression with small, blue, menacing pharmaceuticals; or vacation in untamed, yet-to-be-discovered beaches, on the lookout for Mick. Yoga, the dharma, was designed to get you enlightened. You can do it; I can do it; we can all do it. It’s what a human incarnation is for.

Founder of Conquering Lion Yoga, Kelly is an authentic lineage holder in the Gelukpa tradition of His Holiness The Dalai Lama. Kelly’s teachings show that a complete yoga practice can transform us from desolate, frustrated individuals with no real freedom, to happy, connected members of the universe. One of the original five Senior Jivamukti instructors, Kelly has been named “Best of” by New York Magazine three years in a row and has been hailed in The New York Times and Yoga Journal as one of NYC’s most influential teachers. A close student of Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally, she teaches sold-out classes, festivals and retreats worldwide, is on faculty at the Omega Institute & Kripalu, and directs the highly acclaimed Conquering Lion Yoga Teacher Training Program in NYC. Kelly’s aim in life is simple: to see a world free from all suffering. Why settle for anything less?

www.conqueringlionyoga.com


OR,

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Stalking Your Fear, Part One ORIGIN COLUMNIST: ANA FORREST

PHOTO: MICHAEL SEXTON

Stalking your fear is chapter one in my book, Fierce Medicine, because we need to deal with our fear, first and foremost. We are all affected by fear. Whether we push it away or deny it, the reaction to fear is usually toxic and unhelpful, numbing us out and making us our least resourceful selves. We have this old technology for dealing with fear that helped us survive – freeze, fight, or flee. But stalking your fear is a quantum leap that helps change your relationship to fear. Choose instead the brave-hearted path of stalking, tracking, studying, and allying with your fear. How would that feel, how would it free you and change your life for the better? Stalking your fear teaches you how to respond quite differently. By re-patterning your behaviors, you re-pattern the way your brain and nervous system work. You change your neural connections and neurochemistry. It is really fun to be able to turn your response to fear around and come into a position of power with it, whether in the boardroom or the bedroom. I’d like to share with you an example of changing my own reaction to fear. I was walking in the mountains in California and came around a cliff edge and around a tree and then, BOOM—I came right up on a cougar. We were six feet apart. That is far too close to a cougar. That is one jump for a cougar. I was very surprised, then a wave of fear originmagazine.com | 34

started to wash through me that was quite insidious. I started thinking “I can’t outrun this, I can’t outrun a cougar, I don’t want to be prey!” I think the cougar reacted to my fear, to the smell of it. Both of us sat there and stared at each other. The cougar’s green-gold eyes widened and began to narrow. The cougar’s hair started to come up and its lips curled; it was showing signs of coming into attack mode. I thought, “alright, here we go….” So I made my biggest yowl and ran at that cougar with my hands extended into claws. And it ran off! This was a number of years ago, and I might have had a different response now. I was a new medicine girl at the time. Today I might be able to hang out with the cougar, reach into its mind soothingly and let it know I would pet its head and scratch under its chin. But at the time, that was my response: to surprise and to out-alpha the big cat. I didn’t try to hurt the cougar, just made it look like I was going after it for lunch. I knew if I turned my back and ran, that’s the action of a prey and I’d be lunch. Even if the cougar wasn’t hungry, the opportunity for the “game” would be irresistible; cats love to chase. So instead of choosing to be prey, I went directly in that moment from prey to predator.


Understand: there will always be fear at different points in your life, but you can choose to respond differently. You can respond in a way that makes it into a dharma joust, which is incredibly exciting. If you choose to make every time you encounter fear into a chance to dharma joust, that is a huge quantum leap. It’s changing your relationship to fear, which is changing your relationship to a big force in the world. That’s very empowering. You shift the experience so it becomes exciting as well as scary. This excitement gives you a window to respond differently. You become more resourceful and have a response that builds your courage and that you are proud of, rather than being swamped in fear. When we follow the dictates of fear we frequently get slimed again in shame. Stalking your fear is such a brave-hearted task. It is an act of courage, which transmutes the shame by giving you the chance to take actions that make you proud of yourself, building your self-esteem. You step onto the warrior path, the hunter path, instead of the victim path, of being prey. That is something to be proud of. Get this: Fear is a signal. Fear needs you to respond. The challenge is to respond differently.

PHOTO: MICHAEL SEXTON

Here are five steps that you can take to stalk your fear:

Identify the fear: Sometimes we don’t even quite recognize that we are in fear and instead get antsy or twitchy or want to run away. Get curious about what, exactly, you are afraid of and where the fear came from. Start down the path of discovery because fear always has an origin.

Turn around, hunt it, stalk it: Stalk your fear the way you’d stalk an animal,

looking for tracks. Keep going until you get close to what is generating the fear, even if it tries to scare the hell out of you the nearer you get. You’re not going in for the kill, though. You’re after insight. What’s creating the trail, what kind of critter is your fear? Where does it live within your life story, and within your body?

Stop making decisions based on fear: Stop doing what your fear says to do.

Disobey the dictates of fear. Once you’ve located your fear, take a look at how it’s made your life smaller. Fear brings with it tunnel vision that makes it seem like our options are very narrow when in fact it’s just our fear blinding us. How does acting out of fear hurt you? When you figure that out, you become more open to making different, better choices.

“Understand: there will always be fear at different points in your life, but you can choose to respond differently.”

Find the healing within the fear: Go inside, feel the habitual internal fear response. Then get steady and interact with the fear, seeking after a creative solution that makes you feel worthwhile rather than terrified and ashamed. When you feel the fear bubbling up, ask yourself instead, “What is the most healing response that will bring me to a resolution I can be proud of?” Snuggle up to your fear: You do this by connecting to the area where you feel

the fear. Breathe into it. Get friendly. Keep a fear journal. Write down each time you hit a fear, large or small. What triggered it? How did you respond? What healing step did you take? The more you write down your experiments with fear and keep tracking of them, the more you’ll zero-in on what works and what doesn’t.

In my next article, I will give you some very specific examples of my own experiences stalking fear and some actions for you to take right away. Let’s go hunting together!

www.forrestyoga.com originmagazine.com | 35


Sea Shepherd

A Conversation With Captain Paul Watson INTERVIEW: DALLAS FRASCA

PHOTO: BARBARA VEIGA / SEA SHEPHERD

Captain Paul Watson is a modern day pirate. He and his crew are at the forefront of stopping whaling and preserving our sea life. Musician Dallas Frasca, a fierce Sea Shephard advocate had a chat with Paul about his life and what it means to be on the front line. Dallas Frasca: What drew you to activism? Captain Paul Watson: I began by rescuing beavers from leg hold traps in my native Canadian province of New Brunswick. I would free the animals and destroy the traps. When I was 18 I became the youngest founding member of Greenpeace in 1969 and I left Greenpeace in 1977 to establish the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. DF: What does the Sea Shepherd stand for? CPW: I set up the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to intervene against illegal activities exploiting marine wildlife. We are not a protest organization. We are an anti-poaching organization. We physically intervene to shut down illegal activities by utilizing what I call aggressive non-violence meaning we do not harm people but we will destroy—if need be— property that is used to kill marine animals. Since we were established in 1977 we have not caused a single injury to any person. The name Sea Shepherd implies that we are protectors of life in the sea. DF: How did the Sea Shepherd begin? CPW: After leaving Greenpeace in 1977, I spent 6 months working with East African rangers to stop elephant poaching. I decided after that to focus on poaching and because of my nautical background I decided to focus on marine issues. Sea Shepherd began by securing our first ship in 1978 thanks to the financial support of the U.S.-based Fund for Animals originmagazine.com | 36

and the U.K.-based Royal Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). DF: When the first Sea Shepherd was purchased in 1978, was the vision still the same as it is today? Our mission today is the same as it was in 1978 and that is to intervene against illegal activities exploiting marine wildlife. DF: What are some of Sea Shepherd’s achievements? CPW: Since 1987 we have conducted hundreds of voyages to defend whales, dolphins, seals, sharks, turtles, fish, sea-birds, plankton even sea cucumbers. We have sunk whaling ships and shut down illegal whaling operations and illegal sealing and dolphin killing operations, we have obstructed illegal fishing operations, rescued animals from oil spills in Alaska, Brazil, France, Germany, and the Galapagos. We have forged a partnership with the Galapagos Park rangers and we have shut down a good percentage of the whaling operations by Japan in the Southern Ocean. DF: Can you tell us about the current campaign? Operation Divine Wind is our 8th campaign to the Southern Ocean to defend the endangered and protected whales of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary being targeted by the Japanese whalers in violation of a


global moratorium on commercial whaling. DF: What sort of research does the Japanese claim they hunt whales for? CPW: They have been very vague. They have not published any international peer-reviewed scientific papers in two decades. Personally I think they are doing marketing and product development research. DF: What do you think the real reason is that the Japanese hunt for? CPW: It was for profit but we have negated their profits for the last four years. Now it is heavily subsidized and it is almost like they continue to kill whales because they don’t want Australia or anyone else dictating to them what they should do. DF: The Gillard government has maintained its hardline public opposition to Japanese whaling, what is the Australian government doing about this issue? CPW: Essentially nothing. They made promises to stop whaling in the Southern Ocean but all they have done is to file a suit in the World Court which will take years. They did not seek an injunction and they have refused to monitor Japanese activities. They have also been quite hostile to Sea Shepherd’s activities. Senator Bob Brown however has been the most outspoken advocates for the whales. Unfortunately the Greens are not in power. DF: Diplomacy seems to have failed, what will be some of your tactics on intervention with the Japanese whalers in the Southern Oceans? CPW: The easiest thing to do to stop them is to block the stern slipway of the factory ship. If they can’t load dead whales they can’t kill whales. We also pursue them for thousands of miles, keeping them on the run. Last year they only took 17% of their kill quota. DF: Why do you think some countries don’t recognize their duty to protect the oceans? CPW: There is a lack of economic and political motivation to defend life in the oceans. The profit is made by companies exploiting the oceans and they have the money to buy the politicians who make the laws. DF: Are we running out of time? CPW: My position is this. If we can’t protect sanctuaries, if we can’t save the whales, the sharks, the fish, our oceans will die. And if our oceans die, we die. We cannot live on this planet with a dead ocean. It is as simple as that. DF: You have some incredible supporters around the world from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers to Rick Rubin. I recently played a show with Andrew

“We are not a protest organization. We are an antipoaching organization. We physically intervene to shut down illegal activities by utilizing what I call aggressive nonviolence meaning we do not harm people but we will destroy —if need be—property that is used to kill marine animals.” ABOVE: THE BOW OF THE YUSHIN MARU 3 MARKED WITH RED PAINT TO REPRESENT THE BLOOD OF WHALES. PHOTO: BILLY DANGER / SEA SHEPHERD BELOW: SEA SHEPHERD CREWS ATTEMPT TO SLOW DOWN THE YUSHIN MARU 3 FROM AGGRESSIVELY TAILING THE STEVE IRWIN. PHOTO: BILLY DANGER / SEA SHEPHERD

originmagazine.com | 37


DF: Stockdale (Wolfmother) in Byron Bay in Australia to raise money for the SS. What do you think the connection is between music and activism? CPW: Musicians have the power to influence people and along with movie makers, they can reach and influence more people than any group of people, more than scientists and certainly more than politicians. We live in a media culture and whoever controls and influences and uses media the best has the power for change. It’s funny but when young people say to me “what can I study to be a force for change, should I study law or biology or business?” My answer is music, drama, journalism, communications. Be a voice for the future and a voice for the planet. Musicians have made incredible contributions to the conservation and environmental movement and continue to do so, more than ever. DF: Will the Sea Shepherd legacy be here forever? CPW: I can’t say and it is unimportant. What is important is that we cultivate the idea that change comes through the passion, the imagination, the courage, the dedication and the compassion of individuals each applying their skills and talents, experience and ideas towards the goal of making this a better world for all the citizens of the Earth, human and non-human. DF: What is your ideal scenario for fishing to have a sustainable future? CPW: There is no sustainable future for fisheries as long as human populations continue to increase. Forty percent of all the fish caught is fed to domestic animals – pigs, chickens, mink, fox, and salmon. We are literally eating the oceans alive and there are simply not enough fish to continue to feed an ever expanding population of humanity. DF: Are there signs of marine comeback due to the Sea Shepherd’s efforts? CPW: I would like to say yes but the reality is no. It’s one step forward and two steps backward. But I have hope and we are buying time and space for as long as we can with the resources available to us to do what we can. I have hope that humanity will be cured of our collective ecological insanity and that we adapt to living within the boundaries of the laws of ecology. DF: How can we help as individuals? CPW: Captain Paul Watson: People can contact us at www.Seashepherd. org There are three ways to help. People can volunteer to crew the ships or they can be volunteer shore crew. And people can be supporting members. We are only as strong as the support we receive. DF: Future plans? CPW: We may have to return for a 9th year to the Southern Ocean. If so we will bring a fourth vessel with us. We need a 2nd scout vessel. I am confident that if we secure another scout vessel we will be able to shut them down 100% if they return next year. We also have plans for a campaign this summer in the Southern Ocean to defend sharks from poachers.

www.seashepherd.org

“My position is this. If we can’t protect sanctuaries, if we can’t save the whales, the sharks, the fish, our oceans will die. And if our oceans die, we die. We cannot live on this planet with a dead ocean. It is as simple as that.” originmagazine.com | 38

“change comes through the passion, the imagination, the courage, the dedication and the compassion of individuals each applying their skills and talents, experience and ideas towards the goal of making this a better world for all the citizens of the Earth, human and nonhuman.” THE STEVE IRWIN TURNS THE TABLES AND IS NOW PURSUING THE YUSHIN MARU 3 PHOTO: BILLY DANGER / SEA SHEPHERD


Urban Conservationist ORIGIN COLUMNIST: BILL ULFELDER, NEW YORK DIRECTOR: NATURE CONSERVANCY I am an unabashed city kid. I grew up in Washington, D.C., where urban parks—no matter how small—were my nature. That is why my column is called “Urban Conservationist.” It sounds like an oxymoron: Urban centers are beyond conservation, right? Wrong. Urban conservationists are exactly what the world needs. Lots of urban conservationists. Billions of urban conservationists. When I began working for The Nature Conservancy after graduate school, I had the opportunity to see some wondrous places through my work—the Amazon rainforest, the high peaks of the Andes, the grasslands of the Mongolian steppe, the reefs of the Caribbean and the majestic forests and prairies of the Rocky Mountain West. But now I am living in New York City and I am, once again, a city kid. And as a conservationist, I couldn’t be more thrilled. I believe cities are civilization’s greatest invention to address the conservation challenges of our time. Scientists project that global population will reach nine, perhaps ten billion people this century. Two thirds to three quarters of the world’s population will live in cities. That means that by 2100, there will be nearly as many people living in cities, as there are people on Earth today. Cities are where we are most innovative, most diverse, most egalitarian. In cities our children get better educations, and our communities live more sustainably. Cities have the most efficient energy and transportation systems, smaller carbon footprints, more expansive recycling programs, and the opportunity—nay the imperative—to provide clean air and clean water for billions of people. And our cities have nature. New York City has more kinds of plants and animals than Yellowstone National Park. While Yellowstone may have bison, wolves, elk and grizzlies, New York City has humpback whales, sharks, seals, world-class migratory bird sites, species found nowhere else, and the fastest animal on earth—the peregrine falcon. Urban conservation is about harnessing the potential of our greatest invention, the modern city, and using it to connect urban people to nature. That might mean wild nature, rural nature, or suburban nature, but it can and should also mean urban nature. There is nature right here in our backyards and our parks; even the green strips running down big avenues like Broadway contain natural value. By harnessing this potential we connect people to nature—and nature to people. In doing so, we will conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Nature Conservancy has been around for more than 60 years, working in places like the Amazon, the Coral Triangle and the Adirondacks. We’ve intentionally steered clear of cities. That won’t work for us anymore. It’s time we became urban conservationists. It’s time we all became urban conservationists.

PHOTO: ERIKA NORTEMANN/TNC

“Urban conservation is about harnessing the potential of our greatest invention, the modern city, and using it to connect urban people to nature.” originmagazine.com | 39


PHOTO: JULIE BALDWIN

I Am Not This Body : A Conversation With Gary Kraftsow, THE ORIGIN SERIES: SAME QUESTIONS DIFFERENT PEOPLE POWERFUL ANSWERS

Founder of the American Viniyoga Institute

INTERVIEW: MARANDA PLEASANT

Speaking in his room at Austin’s W Hotel, Gary Kraftsow opens up about his love life, his brain tumor, his dharma, and American pop-psychology masquerading as Yoga. This religious scholar and medical revolutionary shoots straight, and he doesn’t mind if he steps on your toes.

PART ONE OF A THREE-PART SERIES originmagazine.com | 40


Maranda Pleasant: Why do you wake up in the morning? Gary Kraftsow: Waking up in the morning isn’t a choice, you know. I’m in a body, and when my sleep ends, I’m awake. I don’t really understand the…that’s not really a choice. I mean unless I chose to stay in bed, but I’d still be awake. MP: But why do you want to wake up in the morning? GK: Why do I want to wake up? Well, that’s an interesting question. Of course, the question itself is framing a certain perspective—which is interesting. You know, for me, when I wake up in the morning, the first thing that happens is I become aware. Not just the awareness that I’m awake, but... But then I’m curious about what’s next. I mean, I have projects in life that I’m engaged in, I have things that stimulate me in my life, that make me happy. But more interesting for me is: I’m still trying to figure it out. I’m here, and I know that it’s finite; I know that I’m not going to always be here, so my life has been like that for a long time. I actually had some major health issues. I had three major brain surgeries. The first two were in ’04, and the last two were in ’09, so it’s fairly recent.

“Our job with our digestion is to absorb nutrients and eliminate waste, and to not dwell on the waste—which is my issue with some of the pop American psychology masquerading as Yoga, by the way.”

you know, it feels like new still—it’s great. MP: Wow. That should be a whole series. GK: Well, I was twenty-years married, so I know what it can be, but this one is very alive. I lived in Maui for thirty years, and I moved. My life hasn’t been static—I spent a lot of time in Europe, a lot of time in India. So I traveled around a lot, and I kept moving. But, actually, what I like the best is when I can be still and not move. I have the dharma with this work that I do, so I feel like it keeps me very busy, and I’m very happy when I have time to just be. So I like waking up in the morning when I don’t have to get up and think about the next thing, and I can just be present with the feeling of being alive, I guess. MP: I’m a horrible interviewer because I like to just listen, and I don’t ever think about the next thing I’m gonna say. I really like to just take it in. GK: So, can I interview you? MP: No… GK: Ok. MP: Yes, you can. {laughter}

I mean, I went to India when I was nineteen—I met Krishnamacharya when I was nineteen. I’m 56, so that was in 1974 when I was in Krishnamacharya’s house. Since I was a kid, long before I met Krishnamacharya, I knew about Yoga. I was still the same way. I was like, “What’s going on here? What is this all about?” So I think I’ve always had a pretty good time in life. I mean, I’ve had major trouble, and major brain surgeries, and challenges in relationships—like anyone else—but overall, when I wake up in the morning, and I’m aware, I’m like, “Ok. What’s happening today? What’s next?” For me, life has been interesting and entertaining, and I’m interested and curious about what’s going to happen each day. I have a son, and I was married for twenty years, and I got divorced, and there’s a new woman in my life, and my son is 18, and I’m interested to see how he’s growing... And I like this new woman; it’s been ten years, but,

GK: I’m just curious. You made these series of questions, and so are you coming from a particular viewpoint? MP: Well, what I really want is to get to the core of it. I think that people talk around… GK: The core of what? MP: The core of whatever it is. The heart of why people even want to live. At the very core of their truth, what their deepest truth is. Not their periphery, not the bullsh*t, not the self-promotion, not the fluff… GK: Right, right, right. MP: When you get right in it, when all the masks are off, when we’re all vulnerable...the stuff that comes out of people’s mouths at those times... Every originmagazine.com | 41


interview that I have read or that we have taped, when people can really let me access them, the stuff out of their mouth is like, “Holy sh*t!” You know, it’s really one of those: you’re not in control, something shifts. GK: When I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and I was on the outs with my ex-wife, and I was there with my nine-year-old son, and I had just found out, and...what was I supposed to do? I was on Maui, I had to fly to Honolulu, and my son comes to me and says, “Well, are you going to be home tonight?” and I was like, “No…” I couldn’t even tell him if I was going to be alive, because they didn’t know. The point that I left, they couldn’t tell me if I was going to wake up, because it was big—it was a big tumor. And, you know, it sounds like a platitude, and Ana [Forrest] said it—and she knows because she’s had suffering, and I know from what I’ve been through—is that it’s a great gift. It’s not platitude. I wouldn’t wish it—if I had an enemy—on my worst enemy. But for me it was a tremendous opportunity. My work changed completely after that. My understanding of what Yoga really is about changed completely after that. My whole life changed from that. It didn’t change my direction. It’s like a rocket ship: it just accelerated the journey so much faster. One of my friends used to say, “Either you eat the bear, or the bear eats you.” Your experience is nutrition. You digest your experience and you grow from it. Our job with our digestion is to absorb nutrients and eliminate waste, and to not dwell on the waste—which is my issue with some of the pop American psychology masquerading as Yoga, by the way. So there—I said it. MP: Say it again, pop American... GK: Well, I just think psychology masquerading as Yoga... I mean if you want to hear, if you want me to come out really…

master whom I had an ongoing relationship with for many years, and not only Krishnamacharya and his son Desikachar, but also a Tantric master named David Schenectady. The only American I’ve met that knows about him is Sally Kempton, which is interesting. Sally—she’d be good for you. MP: I’ll take all recommendations. GK: She just came out with a book called Meditation for the Love of It, and she’s quite a deep human being. She’s been a meditator for forty years. Anyway, so I studied Sanskrit for many years, and I’ve got all the coursework for my Ph.D. And a lot of what’s going on in American Yoga is just made-up stuff. Smart people, even good people, Western therapists, Yoga therapists and other things, Western healthcare practitioners who love Asana and say, “Let’s make up yoga therapy.” But this is a real, deep, and profound tradition, and I’ve been into it for a long time. Even before I knew Yoga in this life, I was into that kind of thing. I just think that the reality of life is impermanence. That’s the foundation of understanding what Yoga is, and we’re here for however long we’re here, and then it’s over. And I’ve known this since I was a kid. It’s going to be over fairly soon; it goes by quick. Even if I live till I’m one hundred, it’s quick. So, why I wake up in the morning is that I’m still alive, and I want to figure out whatever I can before it’s over. There must be something here for me to get or to share or to do. So I have the duty that I do, the dharma that I do—which I love—with my teaching, with my family, my son, my students, my girlfriend. But really—inside—it’s really this journey, like, there’s something to get; although I still haven’t quite gotten a lot. But brain surgery helped me get a lot of it a lot quicker—sort of.

MP: Who am I to say, “No” to you? GK: I’ve been involved in Yoga since I was quite young, and I was nineteen years old at Krishnamacharya’s house. So I pre-date— although I’m not that old—I pre-date a lot of the American Yoga scene. I was also an academic, in addition to having a living originmagazine.com | 42

The thing that I do in my day-to-day is teach Yoga, and train teachers, and train therapists, and now my life has gone to a whole other level because I became involved with people at the very top of American healthcare. I just got back from Cleveland Clinic and talked to

“Yoga teaching is that you’re not your dark side or your woo-woo, you’re pure awareness. Our job is to begin to gain that discrimination and insight so we can separate from our identification.”


“I was in the process of getting a divorce, but I was like, ‘What are my students going to say? What are people going to say?’ When I woke up from that brain surgery, none of it mattered.”

160 people in their Leadership Forum. You know: Fortune 500 executives, that kind of thing. So that’s a huge opportunity that’s opening up for us in the Yoga world—this interface between authentic Yoga, because there seems to be... You talked about, sort of the rock-star-Yogi-Wanderlust-party-drugthing... And then there’s the kind of people like me, who spent years in India, have learned Sanskrit, have done this work deeply—they probably say for lifetimes—now interfacing [with the mainstream]. I’ve done National Institute of Health studies on back pain, and generalized anxiety disorder. We did a lung cancer study with University of Michigan. We’re in the process of a study on chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder with UCSF, and did this stress study with Aetna that’s going to be published in Duke Integrative Medicine sometime before the end of the year. MP: Wow. I mean—this is what we’re doing. And I’m doing all this science work, and my degree was in Depth Psychology and Religion, so I can really speak directly about pop American psychology masquerading as Yoga. To me, it’s sort of cliché and trite, and one side of this, and I heard you say it before, “It’s not all this lovey-dovey stuff.” You didn’t use that phrase… MP: I think I said “woo-woo” and “hokey.” GK: Yeah, but it’s the flip side of the same coin— that we all have a dark side, and we have to confront our dark side. That’s pop American psychology. Yoga teaching is that you’re not your dark side or your woo-woo, you’re pure awareness. Our job is to begin to gain that discrimination and insight so we can separate from our identification.

thought, “Ok, ok. I’m not my bumper.” I studied Yoga—I know I’m not my bumper. But it was tough. So twenty-five years later, in 2004, I was feeling weird, and I went into the urgent care center, and, just to make the long story short, I’d had a CAT scan, and the doctor comes out and says, “I don’t know how to tell you this, so I’m just going to tell you. There’s this huge mass in your brain.” It felt like I got hit in the stomach, and I just sat down and asked for some water. As I sat down, I saw the bumper from twenty-five years earlier, and I said to myself, “Well, I’m not the Honda bumper, and I’m not this tumor.” This is the teaching. I know what the teaching is, but to realize the teaching in a life experience, the sh*t really is an opportunity to find out who we truly are. To really learn and to awaken to our potential. And maybe this magazine is part of your dharma here. You’re working yourself till late at night, and sleeping crazy with deadlines—you’re doing it for a reason. And that’s part of the reason you’re doing it. I wake up and think, “What is the reason that I’m doing this? What is it that I’m supposed to learn from this?” For me, the brain surgery—and all of that—zoomed me along, just quickly: “Hey this is real.” I was in the process of getting a divorce, but I was like, “What are my students going to say? What are people going to say?” When I woke up from that brain surgery, none of it mattered. To be continued... PHOTO: JULIE BALDWIN

I tell this story—you might enjoy this. When I was twenty, and my family were business people, and I had disappeared to India and they were like, “What are you doing?” I had a good relationship with them, and it wasn’t like a rejection or anything, but they couldn’t understand why I was going to India. So when I came back in my early twenties and opened my first Yoga therapy business, it was in Makawao in Maui, where I lived for thirty years, and I went down to the Honda dealership and bought my first new car. I was, like, trying to impress my Dad, I guess. And I drove to my office in Makawao and then parked the car. It was the next day, I came out, and there on the ground was the bumper of my car. A truck had hooked my brand-new car and ripped the bumper out. So here I am mid-twenties, with my new car, first day, my bumper’s on the ground, and I originmagazine.com | 43


Rejuvenate Yourself! ORIGIN COLUMNIST: TIFFANY CRUIKSHANK

Summer is almost here, bringing with it a perfect time for a little housecleaning. Most of us go through the winter months in storage mode: hide out, stay warm and eat. But now that the warm weather is here it’s time to shed that winter coat. A detox is a perfect way to welcome the new weather, and with fresh produce in full bounty, what better time to do it!

With Meals (optional): Gymnema Sylvestre 400-1000mg 3 times a day with meals/smoothies (to help balance the blood sugar and eliminate sugar cravings), B complex 100 by NOW with lunch (for an energy boost)

Below is my 7-day detox. I recommend reading it through and tweaking it a little to fit your lifestyle if you need to. Remember anything you do will be helpful but try to make a plan that you can stick to. The most important items I recommend doing are the smoothies, not eating after 7pm, and the Gymnema for sugar cravings and balancing the blood sugar so you feel better in the process.

The supplements, greens and protein powder above are available for purchase online; just Google them.

7-Day Detox Yes: Veggies, fruit, nuts, water and plenty of fresh, organic, local produce No: Sugar, alcohol, caffeine, gluten, artificial sweeteners (dairy, soy, and egg are optional) Water: At least half your body weight in ounces daily Day 1-7: ● 7-8am: smoothie ● 10-11am: snack ● 12-1pm: steamed veggies and nuts for lunch with olive oil, lemon and sea salt ● 3-4pm: snack ● 6-7pm: smoothie Snacks: a piece of fruit and nuts, celery and almond butter, snap peas and nuts, rice crackers and hummus, plain rice cake with almond butter, steamed veggies and nuts, avocado with sea salt. Even just a few nuts will do if you don’t have time to plan ahead Simple Smoothie: Fresh or frozen fruit (½ a banana or ¼ avocado make a good creamy base) Veggies (pick 2-4: spinach, cucumber, kale, chard, collard, fennel, celery, carrot, parsley, mint, avocado, etc. Careful with some of those if you don’t have a heavy duty blender like a Vitamix) Handful of hemp seeds, almonds or walnuts 2 scoops Mediclear Plus protein powder by Thorne or other simple whey or rice protein powder Water to desired consistency (maybe half coconut water) Optional: Greens powder supplement (Earth’s Promise, Vitamineral Greens, Greens First or Paleogreens) originmagazine.com | 44

Yoga: 3-6 times/week and meditate at least 10 minutes a day

I love this detox because it is really simple. If you’re busy and don’t have a lot of time to cook and prepare food, this detox is for you because the preparation is easy. If you drink a lot of coffee take a week to ween off prior to the detox, don’t just go cold turkey. The Gymnema will help a lot with the food cravings and will help regulate your appetite and blood sugar so you feel better during the detox. Since you won’t be spending as much time cooking or eating out, try to keep it simple and enjoy your down time even if it’s brief. Feel free to modify this detox as you need to (make it longer/shorter, easier/harder, etc.). Doing part of it is better than nothing at all. When you’re finished you can continue as long as you like if you’re feeling good. I find that I get hooked on it and like to continue on with some variation of this and maybe take a day off here and there to have a glass of wine from time to time. Happy Detoxing! ABOVE: TIFFANY CRUIKSHANK PHOTOGRAPHED BY JASPER JOHAL ©2012 (JASPERPHOTO.COM)

An internationally known yoga teacher, author and health and wellness expert, Tiffany Cruikshank is the Acupuncturist and Yoga Teacher at the Nike World Headquarters in Portland, Oregon. Her book, Optimal Health For A Vibrant Life, is a 30-day detox for yogis. For her workshop, teacher training and retreat schedule go to www.TiffanyYoga.com, or try her classes online at www.YogaGlo.com.


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I am

Your Life Will Change When You Do, Not Before! ORIGIN COLUMNIST: MASTIN KIPP

We pray for change, we ask for things to shift, we ask for a better life or for the universe to help us out. And yet, at the same time, we stop our blessings. We don’t stop our blessings because we aren’t blessed. We stop our blessings because we do not trust ourselves or the universe enough to let go and let the universe work a little magic on our behalf. Many times people who say they have “faith” are just asking for a blueprint of how their life will change. When we don’t get that perfect and certain blueprint, we feel like the universe is ignoring us. This just isn’t true. Perhaps the universe has shaken us to awaken us. Perhaps when we look around and see that our life is unstable and pray to the universe to stabilize it, we look around and finally see that it’s the universe who is doing the shaking. We pray for change. Yet we fear change. Many times the type of change we want is certain change with a known outcome. But that’s not how the game works. My friend and mentor Tony Robbins said it best: “The quality of your life is directly related to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably handle.” We have faith the moment we take a step out into the unknown, even if we are terrified to do it. That is what faith is all about. And consider, that the crazy and unforeseen things that happen in your life are preceding something amazing. Maybe this is exactly how it had to be, so that your prayer could be answered. Maybe this thing that seems like a disaster, or not fair or something totally scary is the answer to your prayer. And instead of asking for a lighter load, perhaps it’s time we have more emotional muscle. originmagazine.com | 46

It takes balls, guts and total belief to walk on the Path. Because the further along you go, the bigger the test is. Remember this: whenever you doubt—there is the edge and limit of your faith. Maybe you trust the universe to help you find a parking lot, yet you fret about the rent. Perhaps you trust the universe to provide a moment of synchronicity when a friend calls you right as you are thinking about them, but you don’t trust the universe to deliver to you the perfect romance at the perfect time. The goal is to surrender it all. To let it all go and detach from the outcome and step into the unknown, knowing that you are guided, that you are safe. Even in the middle of the crazy sh*t that goes down sometimes, it’s all a divine soup that is creating the perfect outcome for you right now, even if you can’t see that in this moment. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t try, aim, set goals or achieve. I’m just saying that it’s time to let go of the outcome and not focus on the how. I’m saying it’s time to see the world with faith goggles, so that when things go crazy or a change comes that you weren’t expecting, you’ll be able to apply the meaning of faith and grace to the situation, instead of giving it the meaning that you should give up and turn back. Keep the faith-based mindset and see the chaos as that which precedes a miracle. Where do you doubt in your life? Where can you turn it over to the universe? Where is the limit of your faith?

www.thedailylove.com


m foggier in the mornin

But it seem The Anatomy of Excuses ORIGIN COLUMNIST: LAURIE GERBER

The sad truth is we believe in our excuses more than we believe in our dreams. And we pay more attention to them too. But we don’t even see them for what they are. Good news is, if you understand the anatomy of excuses, you can dismantle them. Here’s what you need to know.

Excuses Have Layers. There is never just one excuse when you are busy avoiding dealing with something. For example, years ago when I complained of a lack of intimacy with my husband, what I told myself about “why” had layers:

“He’s a jock, not a deep kinda guy.” “I tried before, it didn’t work.” “It’s not that important.” “It’s not important to him.” And I could have found more. Handy for avoiding dealing with MY fear of intimacy.

Excuses Seem True and You’ve Got Evidence. Does this sound familiar?

“I am foggier in the morning, so I can’t exercise then!” “I tried talking about finances, but he didn’t want to.” “Nobody taught me how to XYZ.” The “brat” that lives in your brain is masterful at coming up with excuses that sound brilliant and true, almost like the voice of god. It’s going to take real intelligence and desire to see your excuses as just excuses.

Excuses Always Come with “Feeling Bad” or Stuck, to Confuse You.

Instead of being in the game of looking or being “good,” get into the game of developing your Personal Integrity®. In its simplest form, here are the steps:

1 = Dreaming

It’s actually formulaic: You said you’d do X, but you did Y instead + Excuse1 (+ Excuse2?) + “feeling bad” = you as a “good person.” Problem is, adding in “feeling bad” never balances this equation. “Feeling bad” is a diversion and obscures that you chose something other than what you said or intended. Forego your right to feel bad and your excuses will be harder to believe (oh, and you’ll be stuck having to deal with your real issues.)

Excuses Always Cover a Truth We Don’t Want to Admit. The sickest, saddest things in our lives stay in place because of excuses. When we are disrespecting or not listening to someone, we’ll excuse it with their shortcomings (yup, that was me.) Cheating/stealing is excused by how others treat you. Making harmful choices for your body is excused by upbringing or peer pressure. If you told the truth, with no excuses, you’d have to face what you are not proud of and need to change. This means you have to own up to the choices you made (and still make) regardless of anything or anyone else. This is the beginning of the way out of powerlessness.

Your Friends Believe Your Excuses.

Say what you really want, everywhere in your life.

2 = Promises

Take specific actions, daily, toward your dreams.

3 = Consequences

Pay an immediate consequence whenever you break a promise.

4 = Accountability

Use a coach (or a friend you trust) to report on where you did and didn’t keep your promises and when you paid your consequences. Stopping your excuses is the fastest way to your dreams. No amount of friends, fun, logic, food or righteousness will ever feel as good as mastering Personal Integrity®. Please begin today.

Laurie Gerber is President of Handel Group™ Life Coaching (HGLC) and an expert life coach herself. Passionate about personal development, Laurie has been coaching individuals and groups for 15 years. Before enthusiastically joining The Handel Group™, Laurie owned and operated Partners with Parents, a tutoring and educational consulting business in New York City. Laurie oversees 16 coaches in their work with clients on improving all areas of life. She considers herself “an angel recruiter” because she is busy looking for other people who share her mission to instill more joy and peace in the world. “When all people are living true to their ideals, then I can rest,” she says. She doesn’t anticipate being able to rest anytime soon.

What are your friends excusing in your (their?) life: smoking, overeating, overdrinking, complaining about your job, marriage, kids, another friend? We pick our friends because they help us feel “not so bad” and very understood, but usually not proud or powerful. So instead, you are now reading this article by a life coach.

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The Elevator is Broken, Try the S t e p s

ORIGIN COLUMNIST: LES LEVENTHAL What most people don’t know about folks with addictions is that most of them are smart and their best thinking is driven by a low-level desire to connect on a spiritual and communal level. Offering yoga to those working with addictions provides another way for them to unify body, mind, and spirit. For the addictive mind—the thinker, planner, fantasizer—the real work is to embody this practice of yoga; to yoke some of this mental focus down into the feeling body, the seat of desire. To build bridges across communities, we can assimilate the eight limbs of yoga as a guide that mirrors the twelve steps to recovery. Each limb, each step, is an opportunity to direct our attention toward the past pain or trauma that sent us into isolation. We all search for an elevator to lift us up and out of fear and into love. But the elevator is broken, and we have to take the steps. Each limb, each step, is this tremendous opportunity to illuminate the very thing that isolated us from our families and communities, and to provide us the lift and light we’ve yearned for.

When we hold poses, especially Warrior poses that connect to first chakra, muladhara, we can begin to breathe into each layer that tethers us to these patterns. Sometimes, we shake in a pose. This is another layer about to be freed by washing our deep breath into this area and creating a space that is accepting, willing and compassionate to explore our powerlessness and un-manageability. This is Step 1. Here a healing begins, a foundation is formed.

 “For the addictive mind—the thinker, planner, fantasizer— the real work is to embody this practice of yoga; to yoke some of this mental focus down into the feeling body, the seat of desire.”

During their practice, students should know it is always okay to go to child’s pose. But I invite students to avoid running there to take refuge from an emotion or experience that arises. This experience may appear from out of nowhere, but it’s been there, deep inside. It has to come up to get out. Addictions are simply masks for deepseated traumas which have formed patterns of behavior that thread through our entire lives, in all of our relationships.

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PHOTO: AFTER 8 PHOTOGRAPHY

As referred to in Sutra One, we seek nirodhah, “cessation,” of citta vritti, the “fluctuations of the mind.” We seek to permanently leave behind that which has not served us. This requires daily practice. Otherwise, we draw from yesterday’s practice to manage today’s experience, which usually puts us in constant collision with others’ instincts and thinking.

  Les Leventhal teaches Yoga and Recovery workshops all over the world. Les is one of San Francisco’s most beloved yoga teachers, leading 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, the path towards healing for Les 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 on things.  You can catch up with Les, by visiting his website www.yogawithles.com, www.yogatreesf.com when he is teaching at home in SF.


ORIGIN COLUMNIST: JANET STONE

Blame! Oh thank you, great reliever of self-responsibility. Blame! Thanks again, awesome avoider of clear self-seeing. Blame! Thank you, for wrapping me in a blanket of “it’s your fault,” therefore alleviating any need to look inward at my own choices. We all use it. We have had it used on us. In the face of discomfort, it seems the go-to response to extend one stiff finger (no, not that one, well, maybe sometimes) in the direction of someone else. So convenient to cower behind that erect finger and push the problem over there. Anywhere but here! The habit to blame starts early; you’ll know this if you have kids. “It���s not my fault, she did it”: how many times a day is that repeated? Or how about this one: “She made me do it.” It sounds so, well, childish, right? However, when we start listening to our internal dialogue don’t be too surprised as to what greets you. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that we turn that finger back around and point it at ourselves. That would be the same problem, different finger. I want to put the finger down altogether and see where I made a million billion choices in each day, month, year, that have brought me to this moment. To open my eyes to how I’ve chosen to ignore clear internal warnings, signs, red flags and just pulled out the big blame finger and started wildly wagging. This seemed deeply relevant in the recent wake of another “yoga scandal.” So many gigantic pointing fingers.

PHOTO: ERIKA VAN GEMEREN

“I want to put the finger down altogether and see where I made a million billion choices in each day, month, year, that have brought me to this moment.”

But how to break the habit? I mean, it’s served so well for a lifetime (or two). The practice of yoga, specifically meditation, offers the most potent way I’ve explored thus far to stop casting reproach in every direction. Meditation allows me to see myself more clearly and look at the ways I’m a participant in the circumstances of my life. As it turns out, not much time needs to be spent retracing ways in which we have overridden a gut instinct about a teacher, a relationship, a job, a move, etc. It doesn’t mean we have to get lost in the quagmire of regret or self-recrimination. Instead, a good long look at blind patterns of blaming can bring them into the light to be seen clearly. This makes them less automatic. By just noticing that little finger do its ridiculous dance, we slowly get wise to this simple and downright liberating truth: with each breath, we have a choice about how we show up for this life. The moment we recognize this, we start owning the choices we make. Blame robs us of our power. The moment we get the finger out we give away our life force, our juju. So, put the finger down. Return to the breath, the one that is happening right now, and stand steady in your own wisdom. Watch the desire to make them bad and you good at all costs. And if you feel a twitching in that hand of yours, do yourself a favor and find something more fun to do with your fingers.

www.janetstoneyoga.com www.training.janetstoneyoga.com

PHOTO: POPPY DE GARMO; POPPYDEGARMO.COM

Janet’s personal yoga journey began in 1996 when she traveled to India, the birthplace of her grandfather and greatgrandfather. There she met an inspired yogi and became dedicated to a conscious evolution through yoga. She currently teaches at Yoga Tree in San Francisco, and at teacher trainings, workshops, and retreats around the world. originmagazine.com | 49


Spring, Summer, Sex & Shifts ORIGIN COLUMNIST: KK LEDFORD

In March, the Sun moved into Aries, initiating Spring Equinox and an astrological new year. Spring and summer call us to feel a renewed energy and new spark to awaken our slumbering passions. This is a time when the earth and our souls emerge from winter’s sleep and the fire element is ignited, stirring dormant desires and longing inside us. May 1st is Beltane, a fire festival celebrating fertility and passion, delighting in sexuality and sensuality. It invokes sparks of creativity and abundance, celebration and creation, play and pleasure. With the Sun in Venus-ruled Taurus, there is an irresistible desire to make and appreciate beauty. Sexuality and sensuality are blissful blessings to be enjoyed and celebrated. This time of year ignites our hearts and bodies, and all of Nature. Sexual energy is life force energy. Our American culture seems to have an twisted and outdated relationship with sex, and a remarkable intolerance for anything that does not fit into preconceived parameters. But sexuality, intimacy, and sensuality are vital and profound components of embodiment. With Uranus in Aries, the eccentric and revolutionary planet in a fire sign ruled by Mars, there are inevitable shifts that will continue to unfold in all structures and systems, including things like marriage, religion, and relationships. Systems will collapse, dynamics will change, inner and outer restructuring will take place. Changes are showing up on the sthula (or gross) level, but there are profound alterations happening on more subtle, inner levels. What we see happening globally and socially and in our communities are the corollaries to the deep catharsis and reorganization of our consciousness on a personal level. Paradigms are shifting entirely and we require an elevated and visionary consciousness to activate a deep awakening and expansion. Relationships, intimacy, and sex can be momentous catalysts for our transformation and evolution.

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 www.wildmoonwisdom.com

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On May 20th the sun shifts into Gemini and we have a new moon in Gemini. And at 4:54pm PDT we will experience an amazing event—an annular Solar Eclipse. It will be visible in North America and will be extraordinary to see and feel. Eclipses are like lightning bolts of radical awareness that blast us open and rearrange us energetically. This will be a kind of energetic quickening, with an amplification of Kali energy. It can magnify and amplify what you are visioning and focusing on with intense power. Set a clear and powerful intention for this occurrence and allow its magic to magnetize your dreams. Can you release old pattens and paradigms, and be opened like never before? Without judgment, shame, or blame, can you dare to be yourself and let others be too? Freedom isn’t something to talk about in an abstract sense. It is a genuine way of living, daily, no matter what you are confronted with. Embodiment is a precious gift, and sexuality, laughter, touch, and feelings are expressions of your precious Consciousness. WildMOONwisdom AstroAlignment: Solar eclipse May 20. Partial lunar eclipse and full moon in Sagittarius June 4. Summer Solstice, sun in Cancer June 20. Stay tuned for more details in Origin magazine and at wildmoonwisdom.com.


TOP PHOTO: HEATHER GENE CENTER PHOTO: BILL PATRICK

The Kali Principle ORIGIN COLUMNIST: SIANNA SHERMAN

There are times in life when everything feels as if it’s being devoured. The old forms as we once knew them are catapulted into dissolution by events that may or may not be anticipated. Even if we know an ending is approaching, it can be a frightening path to navigate, and easily denied. We gravitate towards the journeys of creation and shy away from the ones of dissolution. Yet creation and dissolution are in an eternal embrace as two cosmic dancers in a galaxy of possibilities. Life’s challenges give us the opportunity to become more virtuoso in the inner dance. Cultures throughout the world have long revered the Dark Mother as a way of perceiving and deepening the human experience in times of dissolution. In the Hindu tradition, there is a beloved form of the Dark Mother known as Kali. Her ferocious form features gnashing fangs and disheveled hair, multiple arms holding the most powerful weapons, and a neck strewn with a garland of human skulls. She is an intensely fierce goddess who comes to devour what is no longer needed when change is upon us. She invites us to compost our toughest feelings and to dive into the center of the compost heap. The Kali principle is alive when the old forms are broken down and transformed into nutrient dense fertilizer, which ultimately becomes food for new life. When a catalyst initiates a crisis in our lives, this is a potent threshold of our awareness

where we can choose outer reactivity, or mindfulness from within. It is a fecund time for our inner yoga to come alive and to breathe new life into our most vulnerable places of pain, rawness, insecurity and uncertainty. We may want to clean up the problem outwardly rather than excavate our inner terrain. Thoughts of “if only this would go away I would feel better,” make a persistent appearance in our waking and dreaming states. The seduction of wanting to make everything better as soon as possible becomes more and more enticing while the innermost calling of our hearts becomes obscured along the way.

“Life’s challenges give us the opportunity to become more virtuoso in the inner dance.”

Kali emerges in these times, devouring the old forms so that we can have an honest confrontation with the totality of our being. If we rest into ourselves no matter how the outer circumstances erupt, the truth of our situation will arise from within and we will discover our most aligned path. We learn to navigate the outer circumstances with skillful action because we have paused, turned within, and met ourselves with a fierce graceful presence.

www.opentograce.com www.pranamdvd.com

Sianna Sherman is an internationally recognized Anusara yoga teacher, story-teller, writer, and poet who delights in the many paths of love as a divine feast for the soul. Her recent DVD, Pranam, features yoga and dance as embodied rituals of the four elements in partnership with Shakti Sunfire. originmagazine.com | 51


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Status Update from a Self-Proclaimed Self-Help Guru

ORIGIN COLUMNIST: ANDREA MARCUM

Doug went through a very expensive program to become a “spiritual counselor.” To afford it, his wife (already a model) took on five jobs including cleaning foreclosed houses that had been trashed by their former occupants. She’d apply her make-up for auditions in her car, scrape the dirt out from under her nails, and since she was still breastfeeding, make sure she wasn’t leaking. Then she’d try to seduce the camera and book a commercial. When he graduated, Doug was very impressed with his spiritual credentials. He wore them every day to Starbucks where he purchased overpriced coffee, using the unemployment checks he felt entitled to keep receiving instead of looking for work. He spent his days posting endless, borrowed “love is all there is” and “abundance” quotes on the social networks and gazing at the Spiritual Counselor website he was building himself.

PHOTO: GUY SHALEM

Like Narcissus, he became enraptured by his own image. When I suggested volunteering to counsel troubled teens, or work a hotline to console people so that he could gain some actual experience in his field, he scoffed. Clearly I didn’t believe in the abundance as he did. There are examples of contemplative epiphanies in most religious traditions. Christ in the desert, Buddha under the Bodhi Tree, Muhammad and Moses on their mountains. These epiphanies ultimately led to a deeper truth. None claim to have been accomplished in a few easy steps; all involved imperfect people taking honest action. They indicate change that is more earned and profound than the increasingly instant, superficial fare we seem to be developing a taste for. All of us hold the power to transform our lives, ourselves and our planet. But effervescent, feel-good catch phrases and waiting around for abundance to show up are not going to be enough to get us there. However, when we apply this positivity to something progressive and genuine, we move from self-proclaimed, Self-Help Gurus to people out in the world inspiring real change. How can any of us “be the change we want to see in the world” when all we’re really changing is our status update and our seat at Starbucks?

“All of us hold the power to transform our lives, ourselves and our planet. But effervescent, feelgood catch phrases and waiting around for abundance to show up are not going to be enough to get us there.”

Originally from Santa Cruz, California, Andrea Marcum proudly opened U Studio in Los Angeles in 2006. She has been featured in the Huffington Post, C Magazine, Self, LA Times, PopSugar and more. Her articles have appeared in JetWings Magazine, Lululemon’s Official Blog, Elephant Journal, MindBodyGreen, Gaiam Life and others. www. ustudioyoga.com originmagazine.com | 53


The Racing Misfit:

Why This Eco Activist Drives Racecars ORIGIN COLUMNIST: LEILANI MÜNTER

ESPN the Magazine once described me as “an Oxymoron: the tree hugging racecar driver.” So I know you are thinking: How can a racecar driver be an environmental activist? Before I was a driver, I was a biology graduate from the University of California in San Diego, and I am really just your typical composting, rainwater collecting, vegan hippie chick. I just happen to racecars. I am an uncommon messenger in the environmental world I know, but I recently came across a quote that helped make some sense of it, Earl Bakken said: “By all reckoning, the bumblebee is aerodynamically unsound and shouldn’t be able to fly. Yet, the little bee gets those wings going like a turbo-jet and flies to every plant its chubby little body can land on to collect all the nectar it can hold. Bumblebees are the most persistent creatures. They don’t know they can’t fly, so they just keep buzzing around.” Much like the chubby bumblebee, I am a racecar driver that doesn’t know I can’t be an environmental activist. So I just keep buzzing around. After graduating from the University of California in San Diego with a degree in biology, I moved to North Carolina to become a NASCAR driver (seems like a typical move for a biology graduate, no?) and I have been working my way up the racing ladder ever since.

Over the years I have become increasingly concerned about the damage being done to our environment. In 2006 I took my personal concerns public when I added a section on my website dedicated to environmental news and in 2007 I announced my commitment to adopt and protect an acre of rainforest for every race I run to offset my carbon footprint. Offsetting is not a solution, but I had to do something about my unavoidable emissions. The more I learned about our environmental challenges, the more my racing website became covered in eco facts. I became more of an activist than a driver. In 2008 I became politically active and started lobbying for clean energy on Capitol Hill. I’ve traveled twice to the Gulf oil spill and have made three trips over the past two years to Taiji, Japan—the little town with the really big secret that was exposed in the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove. In 2010 at Daytona I drove the first ever completely eco-sponsored racecar, with six environmental companies coming together to get my car on the track. One of those sponsors, NativeEnergy, was criticized for supporting a race driver. NativeEnergy’s Thomas H. Rawls responded on the company website by saying: “How does NativeEnergy reach people who are not already converts on the issue of climate change? Anyone who is engaged in any broad effort to speak to

PHOTO: SIMON HUTCHINS/OPS

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PHOTO: GREG HAUSWORTH

the public faces this question: Do I talk only to friendly audiences, or do I face the doubters and the hostiles? If we only address those who already agree with us, nothing changes. And if we work only with people who already believe in what we do, who is going to change the minds of those who don’t?” Auto racing is the number one spectator sport in America. It is number two on television, second only to the NFL. More people tune into watch racing than basketball, baseball and hockey combined. And 17 of the top 20 attended sporting events in the United States are NASCAR races. This is a huge sport and it is not going to go away, but it will evolve. This year NASCAR started using 15% biofuel in our cars and Pocono International Raceway is the largest solar powered sports facility in the world.

This is my mission. Some people think I am crazy, and I know this because they send me emails. But when I get discouraged, I remember these words from an old Apple Computer commercial: “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes…. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as crazy, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” I pledge to you to use my voice as a racecar driver to spread environmental awareness and encourage change as much as I can. I must warn you that the odds are stacked against me. As a woman, I am actually more likely to be sent into space than I am to ever race in the top level of NASCAR. But like the chubby bumblebee that doesn’t know it can’t fly, I just keep buzzing around.

PHOTO: CRAIG DAVIDSON

I am on a mission to green my sport and the fans. This past February at Daytona International Speedway, I launched my 200 mph eco awareness program when I debuted in my “The Cove” racecar—the first ever ocean awareness racecar. The goal of my program is to educate and engage 75 million race fans in the US and inspire them to rethink their day to day choices for our planet. Each race, my car will carry a different environmental message and call to action. I am in the process of gathering a coalition of eco conscious companies to support this effort. As an environmentalist, I know it is actually at the racetrack where I can make the most difference: it’s where I have my biggest audience and where I am not preaching to the choir.

“Much like the chubby bumblebee, I am a racecar driver that doesn’t know I can’t be an environmental activist. So I just keep buzzing around.”

My racecar gives me a voice to talk to millions of race fans. If I didn’t have a racecar, they would never hear my message. Keep in mind, if I stopped racing, I would not take a racecar off the grid. I would just be replaced by another driver and lose my ability to talk to 75 million race fans about these issues. So far, it’s working. A couple examples: I had a lifelong NASCAR fan ask me how I go about adopting rainforest because he didn’t know what to buy his wife for her birthday and thought protecting an acre of rainforest in her name would make a nice gift. In February when I raced my ocean awareness racecar at Daytona, Louie Psihoyos and Ric O’Barry helped me give away 1000 The Cove DVDs to race fans. I hope my awareness program will encourage the racing sanctioning bodies to increase their environmental initiatives. I will not stop until I see every racetrack powered by clean renewable energy, every sponsor taking responsibility for their effect on the environment, every racing tire recycled, and every racecar running on clean renewable biofuels. originmagazine.com | 55


PHOTO: PAM BAUER

The Gift of Play ORIGIN COLUMNIST: KELLY STEVENS

On my third day living in the orphanage, one of the teenage girls in my cottage took me by the hand and we began the walk to her school bus stop. We had done this before, laughing, joking and talking, gesturing when one didn’t understand the other, walking along the busy road. Motorcycles, cars, auto-rickshaws, and even the odd pickup truck with a cow in the back, zipped past us on our quarter-mile walk.

PHOTO: BARBARA JOUBERT

But this morning, without letting go of my hand, this teenage girl looked me in the eyes and said, “Sistah, I love you.” Something like this, all at once small and huge, happened daily around here. A moment with a child, or one of the house mothers or priests that raise these beautiful orphans, or one of the residents in the nearby village—just a moment that would cut through every barrier and touch me to my deepest core.

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Funny to think I am here because of my job. I am a designer and I work at Whole Foods Market as an Art Director. In 2005, Whole Foods Market started the Whole Planet Foundation to provide grants to fund microcredit lending programs in poor communities. In the community where I am living, the loans are often used to purchase weaving looms or goats, generating income for poor families and communities. The microcredit lending projects are focused on communities where Whole Foods Market sources product. Here in Southern India, it’s cashews. But still, how did a grocery store employee end up in rural India? More than 150 Team Members just like me have volunteered in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Kenya, Peru and this inaugural trip to India through our Team Member Volunteer Program. In India the Whole Planet Foundation partnered with the Miracle Foundation, an Austin-based nonprofit that builds, funds and equips orphanages with programs that offer children a better level of care. I am here with eight other Team Members, working at the orphanage to build a playground for the children. Some strange part of my heart has always wanted to be in India, so when the new volunteer location was


announced, I knew I had to go. I can’t think of a better way to connect to my food than to understand the land and the people who produce it. It took us eight grueling days to build the playground with the generous help of local villagers. It is an awesome assortment of swings, a slide, teeter totter, a bright wall mural and badminton court that was born from hard work; dirt and buckets of sweat from myself and my teammates, to whom I have grown very close. Each morning we rise when it’s coolest, eat an amazing meal together (coconut curry, idili, mangoes, custard apples and the best bananas I’ve ever had), and talk about the day. Then we repeat the same routine in the evening, sinking into an exhausted sleep; proud of the day’s accomplishments. Each morning as the children headed off to school, they would anxiously survey our progress from the edge of the playground, (mostly) resisting the temptation and obeying the Fathers to stay off the equipment until it was complete. When they were finally allowed to play, they giggled with joy, running with arms outstretched and giant smiles. The queue for the slide was always at least fifteen kids. Even a few of the house mothers took a turn, breaking their more stoic demeanor to squeal as they twisted towards the ground. Orphans or no, these are some of the happiest kids I’ve ever met.

“What I didn’t realize was what these beautiful kids wanted most from me was to just be.”

I didn’t know what to expect from my month in India, so I brought all the energy and love I had; and a duffel bag full of toys. What I didn’t realize was what these beautiful kids wanted most from me was to just be. Just be there to walk them to the bus, play games, watch them color, kick a soccer ball; to gather them up in my arms and hug them as hard as I could when they came home from school every day. When it came time to say goodbye the children kept telling us, “No crying, no crying!” while tears poured down their cheeks and they blotted ours with the corners of their scarves. One of the teenage girls from my house put her hand over my heart and said, “You will always be felt here, you are like a sister to all of us.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

wholeplanetfoundation.org www.miraclefoundation.org

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Why Go to Yoga Festivals? ORIGIN COLUMNIST: YOSHI AONO

What`s up with yoga festivals? Why gather teachers in one place over a long weekend? What`s the intention? Flying or road-tripping, paying for food and lodging, and then the buying tickets. Oh my god, this might get pricey! Is it worth it? Let`s take a look. The answers lie within the questions. There is a shift occurring within yoga culture. Well, there`s always a shift. Social media has opened up the larger community to practitioners at home and in local studios. At the click of a mouse, a mountain of knowledge is available for our practice. Communication has never been so fluid and immediate. Teachers outside of our immediate sphere are accessible unlike ever before.

“What I love about yoga festivals like Hanuman is the communal and celebratory vibe around the practice of yoga. There is always an amazing buffet of yoga styles, an opportunity to make new friends and massive joy reuniting with friends long overdue.� - Giselle Mari

PHOTO-GRATITUDE TO: BENJAMIN BUREN DARRIN HARRIS FRISBY DOUG ELLIS CARL KERRIDGE

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“Hanuman is the courage to show up and commit to something in your life, in your practice, and follow it through.” - Tiffany Cruikshank

The yoga festival physically exposes you to quality teachers that grace our yoga culture. They are dedicated to honing the craft of teaching with care and attention. They represent lineage in order to preserve the deeper nature of yogic practice. Sign me up, right? Well, you have one weekend and so many choices. The point is to look at the festival as a place to get your feet wet with certain teachers. Treat it as the dream buffet for the yogic student. Connection stands true within the practice of yoga. We are not islands unto ourselves. Connecting with like-minded people serves a human need that is within us all. When interaction steps out of cyberspace into physical form we truly are in a place of heartfelt satisfaction. Connection amongst many leads to community. Here is where things get super cool. The sense of community that is available at yoga festivals sends chills up the spine. Picture hundreds or thousands of people gathered for a weekend with a common goal of practicing and connecting. You end up immersed in the ultimate fun fest. People are experiencing a level of teaching unlike ever before. Music is in the air. Hearts are wide open. Connecting with old friends, making bonds with new ones. Loving life to the fullest, everyone attends with clarity in their mind, body and spirit. If you could experience a lengthened bliss state, it just might be at a yoga festival.

“It’s been an amazing weekend. We did yoga. We did slack line. We ate good food. We danced. We celebrated. We did the splits.” - MC Yogi

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Back to the question: Why go to yoga festivals? Yoga Festivals are here for us to experience the collective energy that is being put into our heartfelt practice. It provides a place to immerse yourself in body, mind and heart as you relax and rejuvenate, dance and devote, connect and expand, have fun and just be. Let`s come together as a national community and support the yoga festival. Tell your friends! Even if they don`t practice, bring them along. Who knows, maybe they’ll pop into a class and see the doorway of the physical leading to an enhancement of life. The more people practicing yoga, the better off this planet will be. As the tide rises, all boats lift up. With Gratitude, Yoshi Aono

“Hanuman’s message is love is the greatest medicine” - Craig Kohland of Desert Dwellers

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An Interview With Robin Lim Robin Lim is a medicine woman, mother, midwife, and the 2011 “CNN Hero of the Year” for her inspirational work in the field of childbirth. In Indonesia, where many families cannot afford medical care, “Mother Robin,” or “Ibu Robin” as she is called by the locals, runs Bumi Sehat health clinics, which offer free prenatal care, birthing services and medical aid.

Polly Armstrong: What is Bumi Sehat? Robin Lim: In Bahasa Indonesia, Yayasan means “Not-for-profit,” Bumi is “the Earth as a Mother,” Sehat means “healthy,” so Yayasan Bumi Sehat means “Healthy Mother Earth Foundation.” Bumi Sehat is built on three simple principals: Respect for Nature, Respect for Culture, and the wise implementation of the Science of Medicine. Our focus is equality in reproductive health, including prenatal care, birth services, postpartum and breastfeeding support.  We also run projects that support education, capacity-building, recycling, and environmental protection. We build clinics, and we staff them, we educate midwifery students, we pick up trash, we patch up wounds, treat illnesses, and we receive babies into the world. We advocate for marginalized, displaced, low-income people from all islands, faiths and cultures. After disasters, reproductive healthcare falls by the wayside. Yet babies continue to be born. When all infrastructure falls apart, when the hospitals and all their technological equipment are destroyed, midwives come in handy.  They can help women give birth with or without electricity, running water, equipment—even shelter is optional. When babies are ready, they come. In December 2004 a 9.3 earthquake and subsequent Tsunami devastated Aceh, Indonesia. Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Maldives were all affected.  Bumi Sehat was an early responder: we transported supplies, some tents, and we trucked in food and drinking water. When Aceh was utterly destroyed, we helped with our hearts and our hands.  We trained midwives and grandmothers in protocols to safely deliver babies, even in a disaster zone. With a lot of help from International and Indonesian donors, especially the Rotary and Direct Relief Int., we built a Bumi Sehat Community Health clinic in Samatiga, West Aceh. Long after other NGOs have left Aceh, the Bumi Sehat Tsunami Relief Clinic continues to be the only viable medical care resource the people of Samatiga have. Bumi Sehat has no exit strategy. We work hard, and we’re stubborn.

THE ORIGIN SERIES: SAME QUESTIONS DIFFERENT PEOPLE POWERFUL ANSWERS

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This is how from our humble beginning as a community health and childbirth clinic in Bali, we ended up going to Aceh following the Tsunami of 2004. And when earthquakes struck, we took Bumi Sehat’s heart and hands to Yogyakarta in 2006, Padang in 2008 and to Haiti in 2010.  PA: Tell me a little bit about yourself and what motivates you? RL: Huge question… In a nutshell, I am a mom, a grandma, and a midwife.  35 years ago I became a teenage mom. My daughter, Déjà, was born gently and safely at home. My first experience of having a baby was about as natural as birth can be, and though I didn’t know it at the time, it set my feet on a path that eventually led me to become a childbirth author and a midwife. I became a passionate seeker of childbirth knowledge.   And then, something else happened that fired my passion into action: 20 years ago my younger sister Christine Jehle Kim died due to a complication of her third pregnancy.  Medical interventions beginning in her youth led to hypertension-related difficulties with her heart and circulation.  Toward the end of her pregnancy, she suffered a stroke in her sleep, and never woke up. My sister and the baby she was carrying died in the United States of America.  They died in the country that spends more money on pregnancy and birth technology than any other country in this world.


Statistically, the United States rates number 39 in maternal mortality. This means that it is safer to be pregnant and to give birth in 38 other countries than the USA…and less expensive too.  According to Amnesty International’s report Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Health Care Crisis in the US, there is a largely-ignored healthcare calamity in the United States that sees between two and three women die every day during pregnancy and childbirth.

“Pregnant women who are at risk for suffering complications and even death are in the prime of their lives. The most affected populations are minorities, Native Americans, immigrants, and women living in poverty and who speak little or no English.”

Like my sister, 981 women die every day on Earth from pregnancy and birth-related complications. What is even more discouraging is that according to Amnesty International, the number of maternal deaths is significantly understated because of a lack of effective data collection both in the US and around the world. Pregnant women who are at risk for suffering complications and even death are in the prime of their lives. The most affected populations are minorities, Native Americans, immigrants, and women living in poverty and who speak little or no English. My sister had health insurance; she should have been warned by her doctors that she was at risk. But she was a minority. The doctors took little interest in her as an individual, and she fell through the cracks. And died.  My passion for maternal and child health led me to continue my studies and pursue the path of midwifery. And here I am now… still catching babies.  PA: Why do you do what you do? RL: I believe passionately in the Midwife to Mother model of care, if we are to preserve lives. Most us are aware of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and their target of fulfillment by 2015.  2015 is less than four years away. The goals our Team at Bumi Sehat foundation is most involved with attaining are Goal 4 (Reduce Child Mortality rate), Goal 5 (Improve Maternal Health), and Goal 6 (Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases). Unfortunately, the world is not nearly close enough to reaching these goals, which advocate for the basic human right to decent healthcare.  I am just one of many many thousands of midwives, who are devoted to saving lives gently. PA: How many babies have you seen come in to the world?

tents in disaster zones.   PA: How has Michael Franti’s involvement with your organization affected or helped your work?

RL: Michael is an amazing support.  His network of caring fans had a huge impact on me being chosen the CNN Hero of the Year.  He really cares, and he signs our messages, “for Building Peace, one Baby at a time.”  The day we signed the contracts on the land, where the new clinic will be built, I walked onto the land, and I called Michael and we cried together.   PA: How did you become involved in the work you do? RL: I had amazing midwives when I first became a teen-aged mom, and each of the five times I gave birth. My sister did not have midwives, and I feel she may have made it had a midwife been looking after her and alerted her to the risks she was facing.  We midwives at Bumi Sehat have a close relationship with the doctors, so that if there is a problem we can make sure the moms get the special care they need.  PA: What is the best thing about your chosen path? RL: Oxytocin is the hormone of love. We share it when we have a good conversation, we share it when we make love, and when we hug, and BIRTH is the biggest brightest time of rich oxytocin-sharing. Oxytocin rocks the world.  As a midwife, I am immersed in Oxytocin day and night. PA: How can people become involved? RL: We do have a very limited number of volunteers per year, but it is very regulated by the Department of Health here. However, if you cannot volunteer, you can always become a Bumi Sehat supporter.   PA: How has the CNN hero award affected your life? RL: Well, I am crazy busy, even more than before.  However, basically,

“I imagine a world in which all humans are born with an intact capacity to love, and I am willing to devote my life to making it happen.”

RL: Bumi Sehat has received about 4,000 babies since 2005. Prior to that I received about 1,000 more Babies in homes, shacks, even in

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I love to receive babies into this world, so crawling around on my knees in the birth room is my best place, and most often you can still find me there. Because a midwife was chosen—it could have been any midwife—my FAITH in the Goodness of the world has really increased, in fact, gone off the scale. I feel like we—all the millions of voters and the midwives and the doulas and the moms & grandmoms and dads, and children—we all occupied Birth on CNN in front of millions of viewers. In fact, we occupied LOVE!! PA: What are your biggest influences in Life, Work and Art? RL: I love my husband and my sons, Hanoman and Thor’s music.  They have a band called Soul Doctors.  My other son, Zion is an amazing artist.  They inspire and influence me.  I love Ina May Gaskin.  Michael Franti is more than a friend, his music makes me smile and sing, so I guess I am one of his millions of fans. My daughter, Deja is an incredible filmmaker and inspiration. My granddaughter is an inspired dancer. My daughter Zhouie is the most intelligent woman I have ever met. Our daughter Lakota is the mastermind behind Indonesia’s most amazing media network: Akarumput (a.k.a. “Grassroots”). PA: How would you describe yourself in five words? RL: Mom, Grandmother, Midwife, Lover, Poet.  PA: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

conclusion that bringing Humans to earth with an intact ability to LOVE is essential if we are to survive as a species. So, I became a fierce advocate for gentle birth as a solution for the most pressing problems of our times—a solution that begins at the source. Gentle Birth, protecting mother and baby, is a solution that I believe will result in positive change for our society. PA: What makes you most vulnerable personally? RL: I get crazy upset when I feel mothers or babies are not getting the loving care they need.  I cry when I work in the garden, because the Sun, the rain, the wind and the Earth all work together to make us food and flowers. It just blows me away. PA: How do you transform your pain? RL: I sing, I clean house, I write poetry. I cry. And I tell everyone I can, “I Believe in YOU.”  PA: How do you let go? RL: I cry.  PA: What inspires you? RL: My family. The amazing heroic women in labor, they are the truest inspiration, and when they push their babies into the light… I am astonished every time.  PA: What makes you happy?

RL: Right here, at Bumi Sehat, catching babies, and at home… being with my family. 

RL: Rain, my children, Sun, my grandchildren, clouds, my husband, my daughter-in-love, and the entire Bumi Sehat Team. The pregnant moms, the new babies. I get happy very easily and very often. 

PA: What can people do for the planet today to make it a better place?

PA: What is your biggest hope for the planet and the world?

RL: Research points to the fact that being born without trauma is the foundation for having an intact capacity to love and trust.  I learned that a healthy society is made up of loving, trusting individuals, and that these individuals in turn protect their environment, become stewards of our land, air and water, and they make peace, rather than war. I came to the

RL: Peace between people. Peace for our Mother Earth. I believe that Gentle Birth is a huge step toward Peace for the coming generations.   mOM Shanti! —Love, Ibu Robin

www.bumisehatbali.org

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“I came to the conclusion that bringing Humans to earth with an intact ability to LOVE is essential if we are to survive as a species.”


11 MINUTES ORIGIN COLUMNIST: JEFFREY M. SMITH

It took the audience just 11 minutes—11 minutes—to give up food brands they had grown up with and to commit to healthier non-GMO food. Of course, this group had already been against genetically modified organisms as a concept—this was Greenfest after all, and in San Francisco no less. But when I asked them to rate themselves from 1-100 on how vigilant they were at avoiding GMOs, most people placed themselves in the leastvigilant category: 1–20. That’s typical of most US audiences. And so is what happened next… I showed them photos of damaged organs from lab rats fed GMOs, skin rashes from farm workers picking GM cotton, and dead livestock that had grazed on cotton plants; rodent studies showing a fivefold increase in infant mortality, smaller babies, sterile babies, and severe immune responses; how genes from GM crops can transfer into DNA of bacteria inside our intestines and may continue to function; that insecticide engineered into Monsanto’s corn is found in the blood of pregnant women and unborn fetuses; how industry rigs their research to hide dangers and attacks independent scientists who find them; that FDA scientists repeatedly warned of serious harm from GMOs, but the political appointee in charge (Monsanto’s former attorney) allowed GM foods on the market without any required safety tests; that the same doctors’ organization which first identified food allergies, chemical sensitivities, and Gulf War syndrome now urges physicians to prescribe nonGMO diets to everyone. After that, I asked the audience to rate how vigilant they would be next week to avoid GMOs. “How many will be low vigilance: 1-20?” No hands.

The most popular category shifted from lowest vigilance in the first vote, to the highest (80-100) in the second vote—just 11 minutes later. I then reminded the audience of the strategy for eliminating GMOs that we had discussed at the beginning: if brand managers from major food companies see any drop in US market share attributable to anti-GMO sentiment, it would be the food industry equivalent of a “Sell Signal.” GMOs would be discarded as a market liability. Remember, these same companies removed GMOs from their European brands when resistance spread there. To hit that sell signal in the US, we think the tipping point requires just 5% of US consumers avoiding GMOs. At the start, I’d asked the audience, “How are we going to get 15 million Americans to change their diet?” After my 11 minute presentation, it was clear: “Now we know. We just tell them the truth.” The audience then rated how active they planned to be in educating people on GMOs. At the start of the presentation, most rated themselves in the lowest category. After 11 minutes, nearly everyone was in the highest. “So you see,” I said. “The same information that changes peoples’ diets also makes the campaign go viral.” Now it’s just a numbers game. Once we disseminate that information to enough people, it’s the endgame for genetically modified food. The Institute for Responsible Technology (www. responsibletechnology.org) has packaged this behavior-changing message into a full range of materials and organized local and national action groups, and even trained 750 people to give public presentations. In total, they reached 5-10 million people each month. Because Americans are awakening to this issue, it’s become easier to get the word out and change lives. Now is the time to throw your support to a non-GMO future. Although I wouldn’t say we’re in the home stretch yet, we’re banking the turn and hear the crowd cheering. It’s time to turn on the juice.

“20-40?” Still no hands “40-60?” A couple of hands.

www.responsibletechnology.org

PHOTO: NJ JAEGER

International bestselling author and filmmaker Jeffrey M. Smith is the Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Technology and author of Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette.

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I Am Because We Are Ten years ago, CTC International looked like your typical group of eager volunteers traveling to Kenya. Our first major project was constructing a trade school to address the pressing need for education in the community. But it soon became apparent that a physical structure and good intentions were only the beginning. The success of our students hinged on more than what was within the school’s four walls. It wasn’t just education that would allow our students to thrive; it was just one step of several for people to climb out of poverty. “After living in Kenya my first year in 2000, I started to recognize that we could not address one area of need adequately without addressing all areas equally. Why? Because they’re all connected. Deforestation leads to poor water supply. Poor water supply leads to economic deficiency. Economic deficiency leads to lack of healthcare and education...and the cycle of poverty continues,” explains Zane Wilemon, CTC’s Founder and Executive Director. Through deeper relationships with residents of Maai Mahiu, we became aware of the interconnectedness of the issues surrounding poverty and realized the need for interconnected solutions. We became CTC International, focusing on five initiatives: education, environment, economy, health and community. We work alongside Kenyan communities to create a cross cultural exchange of ideas, relationships and sustainable solutions to poverty. The initiatives are our frame, but our heart is the philosophy of Ubuntu: “I am because we are.” It’s the recognition that our identity is based in community, and life is transformed through relationships. The friendship originmagazine.com | 66

ORIGIN COLUMNIST: TEESA BAHANA

between our founder Zane Wilemon and CTC Kenya Director Jeremiah Kuria has modeled that for us. It is one characterized by mutual respect, understanding and the incorporation of life changing experiences into one’s community. We’ve seen this with the teams of volunteers that travel to Kenya with us every summer. Whole Planet Foundation brought a team with CTC last year, which launched our new product: a reusable coffee sleeve sold in Whole Foods Markets across the country. These cotton sleeves, called L.I.F.E. Jackets, are made by the mothers of special needs children in Kenya. These products provide an income for the mothers, special education for their children and a greener alternative to cardboard sleeves—positive interconnection at its best. Next up, we’re once again diving headfirst into improving education in our community, having learned numerous lessons along the way. We’re excited to break ground on the first library in Maai Mahiu: The Knowledge and Resource Center. This educational hub will promote literacy and information technology skills for all ages. It will also connect our youth to form their own life-changing cross-cultural relationships that can shape communities and transform the world. We are currently fundraising to construct this Knowledge and Resource Center and outfit it with books, desks, computers, etc. Visit our website for more information on how you can get involved in this groundbreaking educational step for the community of Maai Mahiu, Kenya.

www.ctcinternational.org


Conscious Music Picks Hemalayaa is a Yogini, dancer and fitness educator who shares her talents with grace, beauty and joy throughout the world.  Her unique fusion of Yoga and Indian dance is presented in a variety of DVD productions that have gained public merit in a broad spectrum of yoga and health publications. Currently, she is putting together the Enliven Festival, May 18th 2012, a compilation of her most trusted teachers, speakers and healers.

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www.hemalayaa.com

mcyogi.com

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For a good time, sit next to the beat-happy, Krishnacrazed love dog,  MC Yogi (Nick Giacomini) as he works his creative magic up in his Northern California studio, on his second record, Pilgrimage.   “This record is the soundtrack to my journey to India, circling the sacred mountain Arunachala in the heart of Tamil Nadu, and discovering the intricate root system of yoga,” Yogi says. -Mark Morford

As a musician, humanitarian and dedicated yogi, Franti has traveled the world shifting lives with powerful music, messages and films. We look forward to seeing him at the Wanderlust Festival this year and on tour. Glad to hear he’s back in the studio recording.

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MichaelFranti.com

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Simple Steps to Bring Ease into Your Relationships ORIGIN COLUMNIST: HILLARY RUBIN

Do you ever find yourself saying or thinking, “I want to be understood. I don’t want to be judged, I want to be seen for who I am”? You’ve grown, changed your mindset, and have embarked on a journey of the mind and body that’s all your own, right? But still your friends, family or co-workers just don’t get it—or you. You know their dismissiveness is leading them nowhere. You wish they could just read that book that changed your life, hit up a yoga class, or maybe just try out meditation for once. You tell yourself you want so much more for them. This brings us to the question of desire. Not in the sexual way, but in the sense of wanting in general. Many religions and spiritual scriptures claim desire is a negative, even sinful emotion. But I don’t see it that way. We live our days in a natural cycle of desire and gratification. Thirst is desire. Hunger is desire. We desire companionship, love and appreciation for our true selves. Desire is part of being human.

But where does it go wrong?

“Try this: show up to any situation knowing that you are the divine meeting the divine.”

Desire becomes an issue when we focus all of our attention on what we’re not getting. We begin comparing ourselves to others. Envy and resentment start to creep in. Inner peace begins to dissolve. We’ve all been there. Anytime someone says, “I’m trying to take the high road, but my friends or family are not on my level,” that’s a BIG red flag—a red flag of judgment. That person doesn’t want to be judged, yet they judge these people just the same. We’re all guilty of this, but we can turn it around.

What do you want from those you love? What do you expect from others? Check your tender spots, the things you feel you’re missing out on. It usually goes something like this: noncompetitiveness, understanding, presence, kindness, the ability to hear what’s being said even if you don’t agree... the list goes on. But you must see that you—and only you—can fill in that space and turn it around. It starts by following your own rules. If you’re not getting something, it may be because you’re not giving it.

Spiritual re-posturing Try this: show up to any situation knowing that you are the divine meeting the divine. From there, give what you want to get. Be loving, understanding, non-judgmental. See everyone for who they are beyond their challenges. It’s possible your supposed adversaries haven’t learned the lessons you have. In that case, you should aim to be even more compassionate. It’s as if you are meeting an old version of yourself. A Spiritual Life Design Coach, wellness pioneer and certified Anusara™yoga teacher, Hillary Rubin has been featured on Fit TV, in The Los Angeles Times, The Independent, Yoga Journal, and contributes to the Huffington Post. She is the creator of Yoga Foundations DVD, Podcast: Hillary’s Yoga Practice, and The Living Wellness Kickstart Program.

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PHOTO BY SHARON CAVANAGH WWW.SHARONCAVANAGH.COM

When you change how you show up, love and care for someone, then they will shift and change along with you. Though I can’t tell you when, it will inevitably happen.


The Time of

The Warrior Saint

As yogis, we are practicing an ancient science passed down by people who understood the complexities of the Universe. These sages mapped the subtle energy of the body and Cosmos long before science discovered it. We are living in a time in which the science of yoga is now being practiced all over the world. Many cultures, past and present, mark this time as an auspicious one. Centuries ago, the Mayans prophesized that there would be a great shift in which life, as we know it, would end. The Hopi spoke of this time as a Golden Age in which truth and love would finally prevail. Astrologically speaking, we have just shifted from the Piscean to the Aquarian Age, which marks a shift in the energy of the Cosmos. For years I have been reading about 2012 and the Aquarian Age. There are many popular theories that have sprung up to try and explain the rapid changes we are all now experiencing. What I am witnessing is the apparent lack of time in each day, the rampant dis-ease of stress and the collective disconnection from our Earth, from our selves and from each other. For me, the invitation at this time is to take our quest to our inner landscape, to bring the light of awareness to the parts of us that are still engaged in the old ways of thinking and behaving. As the paradigm shifts, so must we. Now is the time to cultivate the discipline, skills, and heart of a Warrior Saint. Why a Warrior Saint? This ancient archetype exemplifies qualities that can help us to emerge from this time triumphant. It represents a true leader, one who has done the inner work necessary to be a man/woman of their word. The Warrior Saint is one who has a high moral compass and lives according to a set of principles that consider the WHOLE.; one who is fearless and firmly rooted in their connection with the Divine. To be a warrior saint requires discipline, strength, skillful actions, and a wise and true heart. On a practical level, embodying the Warrior Saint requires daily practice—whatever practice rejuvenates your physical body, focuses your mind and energy, and sheds light on the ways you carry yourself in the world. This includes the thoughts you choose, the actions you take, and the words you speak. All have a powerful impact on your environment and your future. Changing the old ways is not an easy process, as many of these counterproductive behaviors are inherited from our families, our ancestors and our culture. This is where a warrior’s discipline is essential. Every second that we can be aware of and present in the moment is one in which we are not living or acting from an unconscious place.

On that note, here are five techniques you can integrate into your daily practice to embody the Warrior Saint:

1)

MASTER THE MIND - How often are you taking responsibility for your thoughts, judgments and prejudices? Negative thinking can pervade our consciousness if we are not diligent and committed to a more positive and loving outlook. In yogic philosophy there is the term Pratipaksha Bhavanam: the ability to shift your thoughts to the opposite perspective. This tool has been key for me in my development as I have a tendency toward negative mind and worry. Whenever I catch myself in this frame of mind I shift my thoughts to a positive place—this simple tool has had a huge impact in my life.

ORIGIN COLUMNIST: KIA MILLER

2) INTUITION - Another key warrior tool involves cultivating

intuitive mind. For example, you might consider how the choices you make impact the lives of those around you, including the earth and even generations to come. From what mental space are you making decisions? For years this has been a struggle for me personally; I get stuck somewhere between my heart and my head, between logic and intuition. Meditation in particular has helped me to develop my intuitive mind so that the decisionmaking process is much more efficient.

3) RIGHT SPEECH- How often are you speaking in a way that can

negatively impact another? Thoughts and words are among the most powerful energies we project. A key tool I share with my teacher trainees is to ask oneself a single question before speaking: Is this truthful, kind, and necessary?

4) COMPASSIONATE AND WISE HEART – Yoga sages taught

the path of the sacred energy of love and compassion. The kind of love that knows no bounds. So often we can mistake attachment for love. True love is unifying the whole creation with your warm spirit of kindness, appreciation and concern. The more we give love with no attachment, the more we receive from the Source.

5)

SKILLFUL ACTION – What is the intention behind our actions? As the saying goes, it is not what you do, but how and why you do it. A warrior is centered, skillful and courageous in action. I have noticed for myself that with the fast pace of the world, decisions need to be made quickly and fearlessly, with the clarity of our neutral, intuitive mind and the courage of a heart embedded in the Divine. Like Arjuna, one of the greatest warriors known in yogic tradition, we too can fulfill our dharma by calling on the wisdom of the Warrior Saint archetype. Arjuna, counseled by the embodiment of the Divine, Krishna, was given the gift of clear vision so that he could fearlessly embody his highest purpose as a warrior. Arjuna’s greatest battle was not outside of himself, but rather in navigating the demons of his own mind. Like Arjuna, each of us has a personal dharma and thus an important role to play in the present evolution of humankind. The greatest gift we can give to a world in crisis is to tend to our inner-landscape and develop our warrior saint within. I feel this time calls for us to be discerning, to see the consequences of our actions from the bigger picture. We are called to see the interconnectedness of all things, to develop the capacity and skill to navigate the battles of life with grace and ease. The battle of the warrior saint is not outside; it is within.

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“Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle.” – Helen Keller ORIGIN COLUMNIST: NICOLE MACKINLAY HAHN The Bicycle gave Einstein ideas, and, according to Susan B. Anthony, the bicycle emancipated the woman. The bicycle is the world’s primary transportation after walking, and is affordable by almost 90 percent of the world’s population. It is transportation, recreation, freedom, mobility. It is versatile and gets you where you need to go—it’s a lesson in practicality. It solves problems, uses local supplies, with cost benefits at factory-scale, and it’s a tool in the workplace. In Africa the bicycle is an ambulance, a van, a water truck, and a school bus.

bamboo bicycle factory. I followed the shipping container and this story across the Atlantic to Ghana, where a local entrepreneur based in Kumasi would invest in factory-scale bamboo bicycle production for the first time in African history. In January 2011, I met up with the shipping container in Kumasi and started filming the training and factory-scale set up. This factory will provide real and long-term economic inputs while delivering an affordable, socially beneficial product back to their own communities. Most importantly, the bikes are very affordable.

In October 2010, I filmed a packed shipping container full of bicycle jigs and custom tools leaving Red Hook, Brooklyn for Ghana. The Bamboo Bicycle Studio in Brooklyn, New York had partnered with Columbia Earth Institute’s MCI to establish a

The following excerpt from my interview with the Ghanaian partners in the project illustrates the project’s principal goal of selfpropelled local development.

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Nicole: Kwame, why did you commit to an MCI bamboo bike factory? Kwame (The Investor): The one that attracted me the most was the bamboo bike. They were looking for an investor who would take it up, if one could do something in Kumasi. Because part of the attraction of this business should be the science basis of it. Why bamboo bike and not a traditional bike? And through this project, very early in it, I got to know that the tensile strength of bamboo is higher than the tensile strength of steel in most cases so I said, hey, this is interesting and we have bamboo in Ghana. Nicole: William, how do you feel about the discovery of major offshore oil reserves in Ghana? William (The Engineer): The oil, it’s like having the same thing as gold. Because, I don’t see the importance in gold for me in

Ghana. Because we have been exporting gold and other things, but we do import toothpick! So I don’t see the importance of the natural resources here in Ghana here. We don’t make good use of it. So I don’t go talking about natural resources in Ghana. Now that I found out we can use the natural resource bamboo to make a bicycle, that’s what interests me and that’s what I want to work with. Because we have the gold, we have the diamonds, we have the nuggets, we have all the resource, but no impact. Still we are poor, we are still living in all this kind of mess. The Bamboo Bike Project is a project by Scientists and Engineers at The Earth Institute, Columbia University, and aims to examine the feasibility of implementing bicycles made of bamboo as a sustainable form of transportation in Africa.

www.bamboobike.org

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PHOTO: JAY HERMAN

The Road Provides

i

ORIGIN COLUMNIST: WINN WITTMAN

As an architect, I extoll the virtues of “home” and spend much of my life designing beautiful and livable houses. But like the cobbler who goes barefoot, I’ve lived these last 5 months “on the road,” or - more accurately - in a series of rented or borrowed places ranging from “5 star” to “dive bar.” My digs have included a Victorian carriage house, a ranch that was engulfed by wildfire while I was living there, and a girlfriend’s apartment (big mistake). So here’s how it unfolded: In May, family obligations in Boston coincided with the end of my apartment lease. Traveling light, and with all my major and minor appliances in storage (including my beloved 1893 Steinway), I began to realize how inessential most of these “things” were to my happiness and productivity. Early on in my experiment, a good friend - perhaps sensing my apprehension - told me that “the road provides.” Indeed it has. I’ve been dazzled by the abundance I’ve encountered. Whenever I’ve needed one, I’ve always been able to find a piano to play, whether at at a friend’s house or a rooftop bar. I’ve even learned that - wonder of wonders - the fourth floor of the Universtiy of Texas music building has Steinways in soundproof practice rooms available 24/7! Another thing my vagabond life has taught me is that I can do my creative work from pretty much anywhere that has electricity and an internet connection. In fact, I work so well remotely that I’ve rarely needed a brick-and-mortar office: I collaborate virtually with all my support staff (some of them dressed in their underwear, working from home in Austin or New York). I can design homes around the country, and keep abreast of progress via

video and web-cams on the construction site. Today’s successful and highly-functional itinerant is the antithesis of the outcast rebel portrayed by Kerouac in On the Road. He is not “dropping out” or running away from life; rather, he’s seeking greater productivity by stripping down, shaking it up, and going mobile. Steve Dailey, a life-coach from Austin who now spends half his time in Hawaii, puts it this way: “The combination of moving and purging of unnecessary baggage, along with being able to look forward to a change in environment, has lifted my productivity. The way I work on a computer is more efficient (cloud and remote access), my client relationships are structured more efficiently, and it forces me to put more time and focus on planning. You could argue that living in two places could be less productive but I’ve found it to be the other way around.” When I was in Cambodia many years ago, I saw monks whose only worldly possessions were a saffron robe, sandals and a wooden bowl. As an art collector and coveter of well-designed objects, I never knew how they could live so simply. When I unpack my piano next month and settle into more permanent digs, I will remember the monks, and the time I spent on the road. My lesson in mobile living has taught me non-attachment: I do not need a fixed home, circumstances or possessions to be happy. Rather, my happiness and abundance are directly related to the mindset I choose at any given time. As my time on the road comes to a close, I will remember that mantra; I hear it spoken in the deep southern drawl of the narrator (Sam Eliot) at the end of The Big Lebowski—only, instead of “the dude abides,” the mantra I hear is “the road provides...” The road really does provide.

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“my happiness and abundance are directly related to the mindset I choose at any given time.”


Least Tern on nest

Least Terns courting

GULF SHOREBIRDS NEED OUR HELP ORIGIN COLUMNIST: GAVIN SHIRE, AMERICAN BIRD CONSERVANCY | PHOTOS BY RALPH WRIGHT

The thick, black oil that spewed so malevolently from the broken pipe beneath the wreck of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform made a profound and highly-visible impact on the Gulf Coast, particularly on the habitat used by many of our most beloved birds, including the Brown Pelican, Black Skimmer, and Least Tern. While we continue to deal with the aftermath of that tragic event, equally serious threats persist for beach-nesting birds: chief among them is human disturbance. Every year, hundreds of chicks and eggs are crushed under the wheels of off-road vehicles, or are killed by unleashed dogs; potentially thousands more nests may be abandoned when people get too close to nesting colonies. Chicks left in their nests by frightened parents to fend for themselves for prolonged periods die of dehydration or heat exposure, or are killed by opportunistic predators such as gulls. This places

additional stress on bird populations that are already suffering from loss of coastal habitat due to development, and from the lingering effects of the oil spill. Educating the public is paramount in turning this situation around. In a new project, funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (using BP Oil Spill Recovery funds), American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is embarking on outreach that will teach beachgoers to “fish, swim, and play from 50 yards away.” Multiple partners are involved in this project with ABC, including the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, National Audubon Society, Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, Houston Audubon, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The partners are producing informational signs to be posted on key nesting beaches and will be distributing a pocket field guide to identify shorebirds commonly seen along the coast. The project has also acquired the support of country singer Gary P. Nunn— the Music Ambassador of America—for a special public service announcement to air on television stations in Texas. In particularly sensitive areas, fences will be erected to keep people away from nests and give the birds the space and seclusion they need. With the help of this project, our shorebirds will be given a new opportunity to thrive on the beaches of the Gulf Coast. Remember to do your part when you are on the shore or boating near nesting islands: fish, swim, and play from 50 yards away!

View the 30-second PSA with Gary Nunn, at www.abcbirds.org/abcprograms/domestic/shorebirds.html Keep up with ABC’s efforts to conserve birds throughout the Americas by joining us on Facebook www.facebook.com/pages/American-Bird-Conservancy/136126341809 or by subscribing to our eNewsletter Birdwire www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/subscribe.html

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PHOTO: DAVID PEREZ SACACH

We all—as individuals—hold the power of choice. BY:JESSIE BAXTER

...an idea that the power of business can be used to provide more than just profit.

I AM. is an idea that we no longer have to live in a world of blind consumerism. I AM. is part of the new era of socially responsible business, and is based on the principles of Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. It aims to use the structures and principles of traditional for-profit enterprise—with the goal changed from profit to impact. The very first I AM. project works with Maya women in the Highlands of Guatemala, who handweave the textiles that we manufacture into a range of innovative yoga straps and mat bags.

...an idea that by connecting like-minded people around the world, we can make a real difference.

The artisans we work with continue to weave from home, where they are able to look after their children and to decide when and for how long they want to work. The I AM. model is designed to impact more than just the lives of these women and their families—half of net profits are given back, invested into the communities we work with and the social needs we endeavor to address. Our dream is to eradicate the social problems on which we focus.

PHOTO: MCNAIR EVANS

All across rural Guatemala, thousands of Maya women depend on traditional backstrap weaving to support their families, but as cheaper machine-based textiles flood the market, this art—and their livelihood—are dying out. I AM. offers women in these otherwiseunemployable areas a better, more sustainable income stream while maintaining an important symbol of their cultural heritage.

...an idea that the value of a product can be measured by the benefit it brings many, not the image it brings to one.

At I AM. we feel this is the next step in the evolution of business, which has the potential to be the greatest change-agent in our generation.

www.theiamidea.com

SLUM

FASHION

saving lives

BY: MARLA GUTTMAN Silvinha Oliveira, speaking of the infamous Brazilian slums where she grew up, says, “For people from the favela, there’s a destiny of being poor, not being able to go to university, or get a good job.” As the founder of progressive fashion house Retalhos Cariocas, she explains, “We’re fighting to destroy the mentality that a person from the favela doesn’t have the right to be someone.”

MODEL: AMANDA TAVARES PHOTO: LUIZ LIMA

And they are succeeding. Retalhos Cariocas, which translates to “Rio Scraps,” uses recycled fabric to transform flip-flops into sandals, apparel, and accessories that radiate with exceptionally vibrant creativity and highquality craftsmanship. Equally important, the company is empowering local women to develop job skills, improve their lives, and help move the favelas out of poverty. I met the women of Retalhos Cariocas

while living and working in Rio. Their bootstrapping community dedication inspired me to open a destination website for sustainable fashion. Marlandiashop.com works exclusively with Retalhos Cariocas to amplify its mission by expanding visibility and distribution to the U.S.. Retalhos Cariocas was born in 2008 from a free sewing class, but has since become a beacon of hope for Brazil’s slum communities. It has been featured in Vogue Brasil, Cosmopolitan India, and Forbes, and growing demand for their products has allowed Silvinha to employ more and more women from the favela. “We’re proving that by sheer power of will and determination we’re able to advance our skills and access information and opportunities unavailable to young Brazilians living in Rio’s slums.”

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BY: ANGELICA PAPIO

M. A. Center’s Green Friends Farm The M. A. Center is the North American headquarters of Amma (“the hugging saint” who has physically hugged more than 25 million people around the world). The M.A. Center site is a regional hub, putting Amma’s teachings of humanitarianism into action. Green Friends Farm began as a challenge to plant a thousand fruit trees at the M. A. Center. The 180-acre grounds are now becoming a leading model for sustainability and purposeful living.

PHOTO: BROCK DOLMAN

www.bayarea.amma.org www.greenfriendsfarm.org

SF Green Schoolyard Alliance The San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance (SFGSA) was formed in 2001 to support the creation of outdoor livingclassrooms in San Francisco’s schools. They implement student learning in outdoor educational environments and provide professional development for implementing gardenbased education. They have successfully advocated for schoolyard greening in 45 elementary schools and 12 middle and high schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

www.sfgreenschools.org

Sustainable Living Roadshow The WATER Institute The WATER Institute (Watershed Advocacy, Training, Education, & Research) promotes the understanding of the importance of healthy watersheds to healthy communities. The WATER Institute aims to restore and protect all watersheds through advocacy, training, education and research. They have been a leading voice in the fight for water resource awareness and empowerment.

www.oaecwater.org

Sustainable Living Roadshow (SLR) is a caravan touring the country in a fleet of renewable fuel vehicles to empower communities to utilize sustainable living for a healthier planet. SLR is the largest biofuel-powered caravan in the country! They are a 100% volunteer organization, completing over 700,000 miles through the U.S., West Africa and Central America. They have worked with over 200 events and produced over 20 events of their own. SLR sets up eco-carnivals and learning villages featuring workshops and entertainment to empower solutions for sustainability.

www.sustainablelivingroadshow.org originmagazine.com | 77


SF

Ferry Plaza

FARMERS MARKET ORIGIN COLUMNIST: JANE PECK

At the heart of the San Francisco culinary scene is an abiding love for all things local. For nearly two decades, the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market has brought together farmers, artisans, and a vibrant community to celebrate the region’s incredible bounty. Three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday), the year-round farmers markets, located outside the historic Ferry Building, host a total of more than 120 sellers, including many small organic farms and innovative prepared-food vendors. The market doesn’t appeal only to consumers. There’s a huge community of San Francisco chefs who build their menus around the unparalleled diversity of high-quality produce that’s available throughout the year. If you arrive at the Saturday market early enough, you might see a culinary star or two stocking up on seasonal ingredients. Yet what sets the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market apart is its broader social mission. The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA), the nonprofit that operates the market, offers programs to educate consumers about sustainable agriculture and create links between urban dwellers and local farmers. The organization is dedicated to cultivating a local food system that is environmentally sound, socially just, economically viable, and humane. These values are embodied in CUESA’s Sustainability Framework, which spells out guiding principles and best practices for sustainable food production. CUESA encourages eaters to go deeper. Through signage in the market and robust resources on the website, the organization works to create the kind of transparency that

PHOTO:NATALIE MAYNOR

PHOTO: JEREMY KEITH

PHOTO: WILLIAM STADLER

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allows for truly-informed food choices. Interested shoppers can learn the specifics of each food producer’s practices: from a farm’s approach to weed control, to the sources of a pizza-maker’s toppings. Consumers can also see exactly how far their produce has traveled. The average distance from a farmer’s field to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is 109 miles, while nationally the average is roughly 1,400 miles from farm to table. Throughout the year, over 1500 varieties of produce can be found at the market, and seasonality charts on the website help shoppers find out what’s available when. Visitors to the website can also access informative articles, seasonal recipes, listings of current events, and in-depth profiles of the market sellers. Educational opportunities abound at the market. On Saturdays, visitors to CUESA’s free Market-toTable programs can learn recipes and cooking skills from top local chefs and nationally-renowned guest chefs. Themed monthly festivals celebrate the seasonal bounty through tastings, farmer talks, handson activities, and more. Learning also happens outside the market. CUESA organizes a number of farm and vendor tours each year, which are offered at low cost to the community. Evening classes provide opportunities

to learn traditional food skills such as canning, fermentation, and cheesemaking. The organization also hosts panels and lectures, providing a forum for well-known experts and authors such as Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle, and Vandana Shiva. And recently, CUESA launched a youth development and entrepreneurship program called Schoolyard to Market, in which local high school students grow food in the school garden, take field trips to local farms, and sell their garden produce at the farmers market. CUESA’s value-driven approach, clearly-defined vision of sustainability, and dedication to education keep the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on the forefront of Bay Area food trends, attracting both locals and visitors from around the globe to the market each week.

www.cuesa.org

The average distance from a farmer’s field to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is 109 miles... Over 1500 Varieties of produce can be found at the market...

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FORREST YOGA Foundation Teacher Training fresh

yoga

July 13 - August 8, 2012 New Haven, CT www.FreshYoga.com Taught by Heidi Sormaz & Catherine Allen

RYS

200

BALANCE & POWER The elements you apply in your life are the same tools we use to make your brand successful. SAMILEA.COM Creative director and yogini, Sami Lea Lipman, creates graceful and impactful designs helping small businesses thrive through unique and powerful brands. SamiLea Design focuses on yoga, wellness and lifestyle industries throughout the nation. SERVICES INCLUDE:

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• branding

• web & graphic design

• social media integration

• merchandise design

• copywriting

• email marketing


Yoga as a Road Trip ORIGIN COLUMNIST: MICHELE LAUREN

PHOTO: PAUL MUSILLI

I’ve always had an affinity for driving. Being behind the wheel is my time. I get an overwhelming sense of joy, free to be alone in my thoughts. Maybe it is because I’m the youngest in the family and driving allows me to be in charge. Whatever it is, I love it. However, in New York, driving isn’t really practical with traffic and parking, so I am notorious for weekend getaways and road trips. Driving on a road trip is not only about getting from point A to point B, it’s an adventure. It’s the journey of what happens while you’re getting to the final destination that matters. A few months ago, I drove from New York to Miami with my friend, Donny. It was great to experience and see a different part of the country, even if we were just driving through. Years from now, though, when you ask about the road trip, I won’t remember the exact amount of time it took to get there or how many times we took a pit-stop. Instead, I will remember the “inbetween moments”: impersonating Elvis Presley, guessing how many miles away a random crane on the side of the road is, playing a made-up license plate game, and my personal favorite – falling in love with my best friend.

Yoga, in the same sense as driving, should be an adventure. It is not just about going from one pose to another; it’s how you work on getting there that matters. Everyone has a nemesis pose, the one that for whatever reason challenges you every time you step on the mat. For some reason, you are drawn to the pose. Rather than attempting to go straight into the fullest expression of the pose, enjoy the little steps and mini-milestones that help you get there. Depending on the pose, maybe that means using props or a wall, bending the knees, or it might even mean losing your balance. Eventually, the unexpected will happen and you will fall in love with the pose.

“Yoga, in the same sense as driving, should be an adventure. It is not just about going from one pose to another; it’s how you work on getting there that matters.”

The beauty of it all is that there are always more road trips to go on and more yoga poses to challenge you. The possibilities are endless. Michele Lauren went from being an interior designer to a yoga instructor in New York City. She brings her background in design to bear on her yoga instruction by creating innovative transitions between each asana. Michele teaches Power Vinyasa and Ashtanga classes.

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YOGA THERAPIST HEAL THYSELF:

A REFLECTION ON AHIMSA AND SERVICE ORIGIN COLUMNIST: ROB SCHWARE, PHD I grew up a pacifist. Along with an entire generation of anti-Vietnam-War youth, I was devoted to and energized by the Gandhian principle of ahimsa and other ideas of nonviolence. Still true to these influences in later life, I cofounded the Give Back Yoga Foundation, which supports teachers who bring yoga and meditation to underserved populations. But the younger me might not have predicted that part of its core mission would be to bring yoga to veterans, active-duty soldiers, and their families. Or that my son’s oldest and best friend, someone very dear to me, would be serving in Afghanistan, while my youngest daughter joined the Israeli Defense Forces. Thus, now in mid-life, I find myself standing in what appears to be a contradiction: I profess to be guided by ahimsa, and yet people I love, as well as those served by Give Back, are trained not just to defend but also to attack. At times I allow myself to wallow in the apparent contradiction and can be quite convinced of the righteousness of my confusion. Other times I understand that even the appearance of this so-called contradiction is itself based on unfair and toxic judgments that are buried deep within me and that I even nurture and protect. Sometimes I confidently paddle around in my private sea of judgment; sometimes I can clearly see the whirlpool in which my judgments have caught me. Recently, I joined a teleconference class called “Teaching Yoga in Military Settings.” The class was offered by Warriors At Ease, an organization that trains and certifies yoga and meditation teachers to work effectively within military culture and safely with combat-

related injuries and conditions. Our first homework assignment was to examine our own thoughts and opinions about serving this military population. After three weeks, I still had not completed it. I found it so difficult to overcome the contradictions I had uncovered in myself. I was holding on to old feelings based on conflicting judgments about people’s choice to serve in wars. I needed to do some work on myself before I could do the homework. I turned for help to the wisdom of Patanjali and his Yoga Sutras, in which he defines ahimsa as “nonviolence.” I figured out that for me, actively practicing ahimsa means replacing the judgments I cling to with compassionate acceptance, kindness, and forbearance of thought. This task will take me this lifetime, at least. I’d hazard a guess that I’m not the only yogi who’s a prisoner of his or her judgments. Many people have an aversion to working with specific populations—whether it’s the homeless, incarcerated youth and adults, people with HIV, or people trying day by day to beat alcoholism or substance abuse. The challenge of working with underserved populations is the everyday practice of looking at that aversion and finding the common humanity in us all. The Give Back Yoga Foundation and many other nonprofit organizations are dedicated to helping yoga teachers reach such underserved populations. Two of the most important things we do may be to model how we work with our own judgments and to help others do the same. It is this inner work that can help all of us feel inspired and empowered to step up and get involved. PHOTO: VETERANS YOGA PROJECT

Rob Schware, PhD, is a retired World Bank official who served 23 years as a leader in his field of information and communications technology for development, all while sharing and teaching yoga to international development professionals in his travels across the globe. He co-founded and directs the Give Back Yoga Foundation (givebackyoga.org), which gives grants to support yoga teachers working with activeduty soldiers and veterans, prisoners, and people living with disabilities and recovering from substance addictions. Give Back Yoga is a proud member of the Yoga Service Council (yogaservicecouncil. org), which is hosting its first conference at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, May 1820, 2012. Dr. Schware is leading a free all-day pre-conference workshop for directors of yoga-teacher training programs throughout the country as part of an initiative to have a mandatory community service component required for yoga teacher certification—to support and inspire teachers to elevate from self-centered to community-centered and give back where they can reduce suffering. For more information, please contact him at info@givebackyoga.org.

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Occupy Your Life ORIGIN COLUMNIST: FRANCIS DELLA VECCHIA

The Spring Awakening will soon be upon us. PHOTO: DAVID SHANKBONE

In the past year, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, and Wall Street each became synonymous with protest, upheaval, and massive social action. We have entered the era of spontaneous collaborative collective consciousness. Like an awakened sleeping giant, an enormous number of people worldwide are stirring, stretching their muscles, and realizing that—yes—another world is possible. This new world is willing itself into existence, and it looks like a world that may work for everyone. The question is no longer when the revolution will take place. It is taking place all the time, in every place, in both cyberspace and the physical world. The question is how do we each recognize it, and how do we each play our part? In order to create the world in which you wish to live, what part are you willing to play?

To be most effective, you can find your joy and live it fully, loudly, and boldly. You can channel that joy to direct action in your personal life. You can attune your senses to be ready to act when called upon. Take the time to reconnect with your passion. Spend time in nature, and notice how each insect, plant and animal plays its part in harmony. Do the things that bring you deeply-felt joy, and offer them in service to the greater good. With your rekindled awareness, notice larger actions—from Occupy or otherwise—that attract your attention. Some may call out for your participation. Do not feel pressured to attend any single event or engage in any specific action. Trust that all the necessary players will be involved at the perfect moments. Rather, stay attuned to what is happening around you. As in a musical performance, there will be moments for you to step forward and solo, and other moments where you are ever so softly keeping the beat: the heartbeat. Occupy the spring awakening. Be ready at all times. And what’s the worst that can happen? You will be living a life fulfilled as never before: full of service, full of joy, touching lives around you, even if millions aren’t in the streets. Isn’t that the world we want anyway—where people are leading fulfilled lives no matter what happens in government or mainstream media? That’s a weapon we can control every time, as long as we remember that we have the power. See each act of joy and service as your own personal act of defiance, and find yourself ever more awake.

PHOTO: MATT HOLLINGSWORTH

2012 will undoubtedly see a myriad of actions. Political conventions will be occupied, as will marches, parades, and speeches. There will be dancing flash mobs on campuses, teach-ins, clown-ins, gatherings both intense and absurd. If you want to take part—to direct the focus in some small way—what can you do?

Francis DellaVecchia is the author of The Joyful Activist Playbook: Transforming Outrage into Outrageous Fun, due out in Spring/Summer 2012. His booklet, 10 Steps to Occupying Your Own Life, is available online at www.JoyfulActivist.com. Francis blogs at www. JoyConspiracy.com and his work has also been featured in L.A. Weekly, Elephant Journal, Lotus, and Deep Style. TOP PHOTO: SARAH MIRK

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WHAT WE FOCUS ON IS DIRECTLY RELATED TO WHO WE BECOME ORIGIN COLUMNIST: LAURAN JANES What we focus on is directly related to who we become. This is why I suggest that every woman who has been attacked or diminished— silently or overtly—exclusively for her shape and size should REBEL—simply, loudly and with total joy! REBEL against the very idea that we must be so many inches wide or tall. REBEL against the very idea that we should have a certain silhouettes or thickness of hair or sizes of breasts. REBEL against the notion that we or our mothers or our daughters need be different in order to be loved. REBEL against the notion that not until you ‘change’ can you be of value. For these thoughts are like chains to the soul. A mind that focuses on not being enough will lose the gift of luminosity—the very seat of power in a woman. REBEL! Release the unattainable images. Open to the beauty that is here and now— the beauty that is you! How? Start by seeing and sharing the beauty you see in others. The gift of the feminine is how she is animated from the inside out (not how she looks from the outside). Notice the gifts—the expressions of service and kindness, movement, dance, laughter—in your sisters and your female tribe. Observe and share the beauty you see! What you focus on is what you become. Liberate yourself from the influence of a male-dominated media system. That system is designed to sell, sell, sell in a country that places so-called “economics” above health, vitality, and the very planet that supports us. Unleash yourself from the unattainable images that peek out of every billboard, magazine and T.V. station. As the bumper sticker says, “Kill Your Television.” Revive your inner rebel & save your soul.

Let our rebellion be a celebration of WHAT IS! Our hips, our thighs, our vitality, our sheer strength of a woman raised in a free nation! Be free! Think freely! See yourself as the very force of Divine Intelligence. Promote discussions! Celebrate other women doing the same thing. It’s time to shift the conversation from “body image” to the sound of your soul singing! Change the focus from form to feel! We can throw our heads back and laugh and start a new conversation. This is coming from a former bulimic who healed herself through the practice of YOGA, MEDITATION and AUTHENTIC SELFEXPRESSION. 1) The yoga provided a consistent outlet to fully feel the gift of my body and my breath. 2) The meditation revealed the constant chatter of my hyper-active mind, and offered tools to guide it to its natural, loving cadence. 3) Authentic self-expression gave my mind (my beautiful, strong mind) a new focus and an opportunity to practice fearlessness and to listen and share my soul’s song. This is also coming from a woman who is nearly 3 months pregnant, watching her belly and breast swell like sweet rolling hills. Our bodies are designed to change, like seasons change. We are such intelligent creatures— let the focus be on the miracle of our being and nothing less. Who was it that said that it is the women of the western world who save the whole planet? Let’s place the focus of our minds consciously in life-affirming soil. REBEL in love.

“I suggest that every woman who has been attacked or diminished— silently or overtly— exclusively for her shape and size should REBEL—simply, loudly and with total joy!” www.lauranjanes.blogspot.com.au originmagazine.com | 85


Empowering Young Leaders To Design a Sustainable Future for All ORIGIN COLUMNIST: GINA LAMOTTE PHOTO: AMY SMITH

The idea for EcoRise Youth Innovations sprouted shortly after I moved to Austin, Texas in 2004. I was working in public schools where students frequently compared their campuses to prisons or mental hospitals. This was a familiar sentiment, echoed by the kids I’d worked with in more than a dozen other impoverished communities around the world. What troubled me most was their lack of hope. They were unable to see themselves as brilliant leaders who held solutions which could transform the world. That’s ultimately why I created EcoRise. I wanted to do more than just raise awareness of environmental problems in the world. I wanted to empower students so they could tap into their inner entrepreneur, reimagine what’s possible and design creative new solutions. So in 2008 I participated in the Dell Social Innovation Challenge, submitting a business plan for a youth education program focused on sustainability, leadership and design. While my idea didn’t ultimately win the competition, it made the semifinals and won enormous support from the community. Today, I’m proud to say EcoRise has been in six schools and has graduated over 500 green leaders. With the support of local design mentors and our engaging, hands-on curriculum, our students have designed dozens of inspiring solutions to everyday environmental

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“I wanted to empower students so they could tap into their inner entrepreneur, reimagine what’s possible and design creative new solutions.” challenges—from a bike-powered generator for energy production to a beautiful outdoor classroom with tire benches and xeric landscaping. In 2012, with help from the Dell Social Innovation Challenge, we have an exciting opportunity to take our curriculum to schools around the world. And while I know we face some daunting environmental challenges, I also believe that creativity is our most abundant and renewable resource. For every problem there are an infinite number of innovative solutions. At EcoRise, our students prove that every day.

www.ecoriseyouth.org


Heart-Mind R e t R e at

Outer, Inner and Secret Practices of Tantric Yoga

Participants will receive teachings, experience Practices, Share Sangha, and have time for contemplative Solitude in the Sanctuary of mercy center.

Gary Kraftsow & Mirka Scalco Kraftsow

info@viniyoga.com info@viniyoga.com

808.572.1414 November 7 - 11, 2012 808-572-1414 www.viniyoga.com m e r c y c e N t e r , b u r l i N g a m e , c www.viniyoga.com a

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Opening to Bliss Wah! The legendary yoga musician collects meditative pieces to create a serene, spacious background for contemplation and healing.

Kundalini Meditation Music Various Artists Music from the Kundalini tradition to inspire healing and harmony in your life.

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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.

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

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It’s kicking your ass, isn’t it? That’s because you haven’t learned the secret behind The Secret. How to Have, Be or Do Anything & Everything You Desire. originmagazine.com | 88

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Full Disclosure, Exposure – Don’t be a Poser.

I am imperfect, therefore I am human. I am a human, therefore I fail. I am a yogi, therefore I am engaged in my own existence. I am a seeker, therefore I lead. I am a Teacher, therefore I must be a student. I am privileged to create sacred space for transformation and change, therefore I am bound to hold that covenant as divine.

COLUMNIST: CHRISTOPHER FRISHMAN

I am not divine, yoga is. I am not the answer, yoga is. I am not looking for disciples, I’m looking for discipline. I am more comfortable on a zafu or the floor than a pedestal. I teach Asana Practice. If I am very lucky and the student presents, Yoga may happen. I am in love with what I do and I will speak out against those who through their own ignorance diminish or threaten the sanctity of the experience. I am just like you, perhaps even worse. I cuss like a sailor, I laugh at tasteless things, I use Real Housewives like a drug. Sometimes, I drive way too fast and aggressively, and you may not “approve” of my shopping cart at WFM. Those are your issues. I am not in that space to be liked. I am in that space to confront, to guide, support and ultimately, to let you be you with you. I am not in that space to be adored. I appreciate your love and support, but need to check that when it becomes “necessary.” I am not in that space to say “my students,” “my yoga.” I have a darshana, a perspective. I’m not sure it is Truth, but it is truth to me, and that is what I offer, freely. I am not there to convince anyone of anything. I offer the Teachings and let them represent themselves. I am not there to be impressive, but rather to impress information. I am not in that space to get laid. I’m a man who likes bringing masculine asexual energy into that space. I am not here to make you love the Teacher, for I will fail or die or move. So cling not to me! I am here to make you love the Teachings, for they do not die or fail or move. Cling to them. I can, so I must. “To those whom much is given, much is required in return.” Or, as my teacher told me, “no original sin, but clearly original debt. So don’t repent, repay!” I love people and want them to be the best expression of themselves. That is why I serve. I am blessed, humbled, ennobled and responsible for what occurs in that space of personal inspection and introspection. I am continually awed by the power of the Self emerging from the self that I can witness. I am you, stop making me other. You are me, let us be together. Give thanks and praise! But not to me, I don’t want or need them!

“no original sin, but clearly original debt. So don’t repent, repay!”

Christopher Frishman is a yoga educator based in Austin, TX. He is trained in Asthanga, Vinyasa, Hatha, and Kundalini yoga and has studied with world-renowned masters of the crafts in Tantra, Ayurveda, and Jyotish.

www.rockstaryoga.us originmagazine.com | 89


A licensed attorney in Texas, Mel Herrman chose the path of yoga when she discovered the depth of spiritual, mental and physical awareness the practice revealed. She has studied with Judith Lasater, Shiva Rea, Seane Corn and Sadi Nardini, and her most influential teacher and friend, Christopher Phillips Frishman. She began instructing yoga immediately upon graduation from Yoga Yoga, and her passion for the practice and her students blossoms each time she steps on the mat. Her style is a fluid mix of dynamic movement, breath work and meditation. She teaches hatha flow and infuses creativity, contemporary music, laughter and compassion in each of her classes. Nourishing the soul with breath, movement and heat allows for the revelation of Satya, the True Self. Where the ego sees struggle, the soul sees opportunity. Yoga reveals the beauty in the struggle, the opportunity and the journey.

MEL HERMAN

www.yogaislamujeres.com

Mel and her husband live and work in Isla Mujeres, Mexico.  In addition to her regular classes overlooking the ocean, she volunteers at the local schools teaching children’s yoga.  She is passionate about yoga, photography, travel and her two geriatric dogs.

GRACE DUCKWORTH

“Yoga has inspired me to become more physically active, nourish my mental health and grow in my spiritual practice with an unguarded heart. Now I work to encourage others to find their own beautiful transformation through a yogic lifestyle in my hatha classes, workshops and on my website: www.fitbodyclearmind.com. I will forever be grateful to yoga and all that it has done for me in this life.” - Grace Duckworth, Kansas City, Missouri originmagazine.com | 90


BRITTANY TRUBRIDGE

PHOTO: DAAN VERHOEVEN

Brittany Trubridge (B.A. Psychology), creator of B-Tru Yoga™, is a 500h RYT, Reiki Master and Ayurvedic Counselor. She is also a freediver and works extensively with World and National record holders in the sport. Brittany has a great depth of experience in Pranayama and its application to everyday life as well as to both sports and music. Brittany currently lives in the Bahamas and travels during the summers to teach.

www.BrittanyTrubridge.com

KELLY GREEN Kelly Green has been teaching hatha yoga in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, since 2004. Her first training was through Jimmy Barkan’s Levels 1, 2, and 3. She now assists with his teacher training courses in places like Costa Rica. Kelly is also trained in Reiki Healing and Thai Bodywork, which she likes to incorporate into her yoga classes. Although she is a 500-hr. E-RYT, it is her students who influence her the most. “We learn and grow from one another.”  Along with her yoga classes, Kelly teaches private courses, workshops, and retreats worldwide. Every November she does a retreat to magical Thailand. Being born with birth defects in her knees (hypoplastic patellae, which resulted in a life changing injury) has brought Kelly to this yogic path. Her classes are challenging, yet very compassionate because of this fate. “We choose our journey. We have a choice. You can do anything you put your mind to if you believe, and have a strong will and determination. I do things I was told I might never do again. The problem is that somewhere along the way we get blocked. It can be the falsehood in our media, drugs, or bad relationships; the list is endless. Yoga can remove theyou step off your mat.”  Kelly’s class is a FUSION or “MELTING POT” VINYASA style. She likes to take what she has learned from all styles and FUSE them into a full body/mind/spirit integration. originmagazine.com | 91


Origin Magazine Issue 6