A Recap of the Journey
Updated: May 12, 2019
I want to start my blog with this post written in September 2018 to my family and friends. Though it was written eight months ago, it still feels relevant and provides some context for this website and the place I'm sharing from.
I had a shattering wake up call on my return from the World Peace Youth Summit in Pakistan; a health crisis that rocked me to the core and stopped me completely in my tracks. It was a pivotal turning point as I found myself being stripped of every plan, purpose, and aspiration I had for myself and my life. My body wouldn’t take another step. I had been driving myself hard and pushing my body to its absolute limits for many years before this happened. I had plenty of physical warnings that something was off and I needed to slow down. But I was stubborn and bullheaded about what I was doing, convinced I was following my highest calling and refused to stop. I’d been traveling solid for three years and every single trip had been an ordeal I’d physically struggled through. Pakistan was the last straw and it absolutely leveled me. In the weeks and months after, my whole life direction came to a grinding halt and began to fall apart...I sat in the rubble of all my plans and realized I could not follow through on any of them.
I had a beautiful boyfriend calling me to be with him in San Francisco to build a life together. I had finally gotten my green card after ten long years and a huge amount of effort and expense for my family. I had many creative projects and collaborations underway and amazing opportunities waiting for me. I was perfectly poised to migrate to the U.S. and start a life there — it was an agonizing crossroads. My mind was in turmoil telling me that moving to San Francisco was clearly the right move, while my body and spirit were telling me something very, very different.
Many months of neurological pain, insane levels of sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression and panic attacks ensued while trying to seek out professional help for what was going on with my body. No one seemed to know what was wrong with me and my mother and I trudged from one health care professional to another with absolutely no constructive answers from anyone.
Somewhere in the midst of all this a very still, quiet voice was reassuring me that something of profound importance was occurring — and to trust it, allow it to unfold, and surrender to it totally.
I realized I had to let everything go. My three year relationship had to end, as heartbreaking and devastating as that was for both of us. The dreams I had nurtured of contributing something glorious to the world had to be surrendered. It was abundantly clear that trying to serve from a place of burnout was helping absolutely no one. And every motivation that had propelled me to that point needed to be examined.
I realized that as genuine as my impulse was to serve, there were other things motivating that desire as well:
• The desire to uphold my father’s expectations and gain his approval ( even though he died 7 years ago!!!! And is not even here to give it!! Figure that one out) was driving a lot my worldly efforts and travels.
• The desire to match the pace of society and somehow “make it” in the eyes of the world (whatever that even means anymore) was a huge and constant source of pressure. I felt a phenomenal sense of urgency to get somewhere, make something of myself and do something great. There was no permission anywhere to rest, stop, unplug, and ultimately heal.
I realized that to heal I would need to unplug from all these drivers and embrace the sense I had failed; failed at the game society presented to me, failed at upholding my family’s high standard and ultimately deeply disappoint the people around me.
In my clearest moments I knew that what I most needed was not medication… but deep meditation.
I needed to retreat. Rest. And go inward.
The aching call coming from my body and spirit was resounding the incessant demand that I completely let the world go. Abandoning the multitude of opinions pressing at me from doctors, family members, friends, and my former partner (bless you all!)… I realized what I most craved and needed was silence, stillness and solitude. I wanted to quit the whole game and give myself over to the soul.
For whatever reason, it took a lot of my courage to respond to this. It would have been easier in some ways to get on another plane to another foreign land… but I heeded the call.
I moved to the country and for a 8 months was bedridden and very weak. Unplugged from technology and with absolutely nothing to distract myself with… I lay there and explored all the forces at play inside me.
I entered a period of many months where absolutely all I did was meditate. It was a deep internal winter where the inner landscapes were as silent, white and barren as the Canadian winter I was living — absolutely no motivation arose to write music or create anything. The only thing that felt true was to meditate and keep my gaze trained inside while I sorted out every external voice I heard until I was left with only my own. And I meditated for hours and hours and hours. For days and months. And as I rested and kept my gaze inward something began to strengthen itself and an incredible clarity has begun to emerge.
Spending a year in solitude, silence and introspection has deepened my soul and character in ways I am only just beginning to try and articulate. I know I won’t be able to do it justice. The only thing I can point to now are the incredible miracles that are just beginning to bare fruit:
• I am healing. Deeply, truly and to the core. My body strengthening itself as everyday I get a little bit stronger. And after being hyperactive and anxiety prone for years, probably my whole life, I feel a deep sense of calm, balance and equanimity emanating from within.
• I am creating again, and the music that is birthing from this place is deeper, truer and more beautiful than anything I’ve ever written before. I can’t wait to begin sharing it with the world soon.
• The work that is emerging from here is humble yet fulfilling and has a rightness to it. I’ve opened a music school and it’s beginning to grow and thrive. I’m discovering I love filling kids with the courage and confidence to begin creatively expressing themselves.
• I have a home and for the first time in 10 years feel deeply settled. After being an adventuring gypsy for so long, it’s strange, but this sense of grounded stability is everything I want. I feel as though the epic grandiosity and sweeping visions that characterized the last 5 years have been replaced by a grounded sobriety, which ultimately has more grit and reality than the lofty ideals I have held and chased.
I’m discovering how deeply I love the country and life out here. I love the cycles of the days and seasons. I love the stillness of the lake and the silence of the forest. I love being able to walk for hours and hours without seeing a single soul. I love the simplicity and sense of goodness emanating from the lifestyle. I love the sense of space, silence and solitude that is here the moment I open my door and step outside.
I have also fallen in love with the community of this tiny little town. A community of hardcore pioneering spirits who move in rhythm with nature and have a deep wisdom all their own. It’s a place that has been home to my family for 4 generations and is overrun with Speeds and Speed relations. There’s something magical about driving down the road and seeing aunties, uncles, cousins and other extended family going about their days. In more ways than one, moving here has felt like coming home.
I’ve realized through all of this that my soul was daring me to live a true and congruent life; a life completely on my own terms and in my own way; a life diverging from the values of this culture and my family.
Right now I have no desire to return to the city and resume the hussle,
I want to live in the woods and wilds. I want to commune with nature and God everyday. I want to allow the inner worlds of my own vast imagination to come to life and speak to me.
I want to remain out here and grow as an artist. The artist in me is fed and nourished by the solitude, silence and beauty of the natural world. The great poets knew this and I find reassurance and validation in the many artists through time who disappeared into mountains and forests to create. They are wonderful company.
I want to carry on excavating these vast inner worlds and find a way to begin sharing them with the world.
When I moved out here I forfeited my search to “make it”, at least in the way I thought I was “supposed to” or should. The incredible thing is that having surrendered the need for approval, the feeling I have now is one of total freedom.
Simply the freedom to be myself.
The power of my own certainty stands behind it. The power of my own vision stands behind it. The power of my own voice rings out louder now than any other. I no longer feel tossed about by the winds of the world and its prevailing opinions — the winds that blow me now are sourced from my own spirit.
And I know I have the inner strength to follow them, only.
To my glorious friends out there working so hard to make the world a better place - this post is my way of saying:
“Hey, I’m still here. My path has shifted, but ultimately the world is still in my sight. Not for one second do I lose sight of the suffering and struggle people are going through, nor the degree of healing this earth requires to balance itself. My heart still hungers to serve. My soul still longs to create something of lasting contribution and value. The yearning in me to create something beautiful for the world can move me to tears. And it will come, from somewhere infinitely deeper and more real. I still feel deeply connected to all of you and am working hard in my little corner as I know you are in yours. I look forward to a time when all paths converge again. Because they WILL and the love in my heart that is here for you is IMMENSE!!!”
I also want to acknowledge the small circle of human angels and friends who have weathered this with me from beginning to end and who are still by my side. You know who you are, Thank you. <3
I also want to reach out and say I love you to my beautiful family. Having journeyed this distance to a place of fuller self-acceptance I am finally, really for the first time, able to grok that my family loves me. For myself. Its strange. Its a love I always thought I had to work to deserve, or strive to maintain. Yet, it is a causeless love. A love without conditions. A love empty of demands, existing for the sake of itself. It is there stitched into the fabric of our togetherness. It is there flowing through the bloodlines beating our hearts. Its there at the altar of all we have shared, lost, loved and known together. I love you guys <3
I also want to acknowledge the spirit of my dad. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and wish I could talk to him. But I’ve realized something - He knew me better than I thought. I have finally started to read the book he got me many many years ago “Letters to a Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke. Every single artist needs to read it. And in this book I get all the validation I could ever need for my decision. Its restores my dignity to realize how many artists didn’t fit the norms and conventions of society and withdrew to instead create something all their own. I feel my dad’s voice speaking to me through the pages of this book, which he loved so much, and his approval washes over me.
But more than anyone or anything in this entire universe, I need to thank my mother who has poured more love, support and care into me than I can ever hope to repay… It goes beyond human capacity in its sheer strength, magnitude and depth. The force of her love rocks my soul to its core and moves me to tears. The fact that God created mothers is a clear sign of the benevolent beauty and mercy of this universe. That God created mothers - these beings of such deep unconditional, sacrificial, heart-wrenching love - says a lot about the nature of this world.
Thank to all Mothers who have weathered unbelievable storms to give their children a better chance. I bow in awe of all of you.
Thank you to anyone who is still, by some miracle, reading this ridiculously long and intense post. It means a lot to share this and reach out and touch the world again.
It’s just one story amidst many and who knows what the ultimate point of any of this is… yet I can’t deny the heartfelt urge to reach out and connect… with you… whoever you may be still reading this. Thank you.
In profound Love,