April 3, 2015 I still see her face. Too shy to offer in person she slipped me this note during the concert. I had to drive on somewhere that night, and I regretted it... I wanted to know her, felt like I already did. But sometimes we only have a moment, and that is enough.
Today as I pack to leave Santa Cruz for the last time (for now) this note drifted out of the cupboard. What a lovely reminder! No matter where we are... Grace lives upstairs.
Thank you, Grace. Thank you, all people I will never know and yet somehow know because we're all One. Thank you, Santa Cruz family. I will miss you and yet I am with you.
Viewing: Take Me Home - View all posts
November 13, 2010
For all the strangers I've stayed with I've only used the couchsurfing website a handful of times. While it's connected me with sweet people (namely Danna & Javier) I feel more comfortable winging it and going on intuition. (Well, I never feel comfortable winging it, but it usually works out.) Plus between booking, promoting, driving, performing, and having to be in a different place every day some things need to be left up to chance. Like my physical safety and wellbeing, apparently.
Fortunately this night I landed with two kind strangers in Charlotte, NC. I had reservations about the bar where I'd be performing so I arranged to meet Paras and Shivani beforehand. It was already dark as I rolled up to their pretty house by the hospital and tapped on the door. Shivani greeted me, led me to a candlelit fireplace, and offered a silver cup of water. A few moments later her husband joined us, demonstrated his sarod, and then asked me if I'd like an acupuncture treatment. Next thing I knew I was lying on their table while he needled my belly and hairy legs. He left me in pitch darkness to rest.
The show turned out to be great - my cousin and her husband drove all the way from Roanoke to surprise me and Gwyneth & Monko played the second set. More than anything, though, it was that I felt connected, grateful, and secure knowing I had a home to return to. We finished close to one and as I had to leave a few hours later I never saw my hosts again (another reason I don't use the couchsurfing site - I always feel like a terrible guest). However Paras and Shivani had prepared steel cut oats for the morning, and I awoke to the fragrance of cinnamon, chopped apples, walnuts, and plump raisins baking in the slow cooker. A silver bowl, a spoon, and a cup of water welcomed me with a sticky note: "enjoy breakfast - help yourself! thank you for being our guest."
Sigh. People. People are so caring and generous. Don't let voices teach you to fear them. Don't let voices teach you to value money over people or freedom or creativity or your natural impulse to expand, know, explore, become, share, connect. That night like so many nights I didn't make any money for my work yet I was nourished, sheltered, and deeply restored. My accountant might think I'm a failure but I go to sleep feeling like the luckiest girl on the planet. Not that it's a competition. I hope you all fall asleep feeling like the luckiest girl on the planet.
Thank you, Paras & Shivani. Thank you, Gwyneth & Monko. Thank you Kate & Joe. Thank you to all acupuncturists, massage therapists, and healers who keep me keeping on.
May 18, 2014
I have no recollection of this night. However my computer tells me I was in Fairview Shores, FL so I assume I went home with someone from the venue. I vaguely remember waking up to a backyard filled with bunnies and hens, and feeding them lacinato kale. And that sweet, sweet Floridian sunlight my skin I can almost taste now... thank you, kind stranger. Happy Saturday, all.
August 6, 2014
"What is that?" a little boy asked as sunlight rippled through my soles. "That's the singer," his mother whispered. The singer? I wonder how his mind processed this strange, foot-headed creature sprouting up from a bed of deer tracks. I wonder what happened when he went to music class and the teacher asked him to sing.
From childhood we're fed answers. Some are helpful, some aren't, and most threaten our imagination. When looking replaces seeing, when what we're fed replaces how we feel, our experience is no longer ours. By the time we're teenagers it's no wonder we're confused, dissatisfied, suspicious, and angry at those who tried to teach us. We act like we know everything because deep down we sense we've forgotten. Answers, those stories we learned so well, fail to protect us from the discomfort of not knowing.
And then adults - what are adults? Technically I'm an adult, but I'm not fully grown. There will always be more to know, more to grow, and the amount of unknown/ungrown never diminishes. In some ways we're stronger but mostly we're just further from the ground, focused in our heads, frozen by the gnawing knowing that one day we will return to that, down there. We are so scared. Of what? We reach for the sky forgetting we touch it on all sides and instead cling to whatever storyline is available, even if it is barbed. Wouldn't you rather fly?
Don't be afraid of questions. Don't be afraid of not having answers. Every quest begins with a question and the point isn't to find answers but to find more questions so that we may continue these wonderful, strange, scary, frustrating, exhilarating, tragic, hilarious, joyful lives. We're all heroes on a journey, blossoms on a stem. We are creating a new world, every moment.
Embarking on a new quest in a couple weeks. See you in Santa Fe, Taos, and Las Vegas. Happy Spring.
Thank you, Redfish Lake Lodge. Thank you, Sawtooths. Thank you, Paul.
“We have a job to do, reclaiming our glory. It’s work, and it will not please everyone. We will be called grandiose. We will be accused of being in dangerous denial, of our faults, our neuroses, our weaknesses. But it’s an ancient trick this, telling a woman that her glory is her sickness. You bet we’re in denial. We deny the power of weakness in our own past. We are on to better things, such as owning our beauty and honoring the courage it has taken us to get here and claiming our natural power to heal and be healed. We’re not grandiose, but we’re tired - tired of pretending we’re guilty when we know we’re innocent, that we’re plain when we know we’re beautiful, and that we’re weak when we know we’re strong. For far too long, we have forgotten we are cosmic royals. Our mothers forgot, their mothers forgot, and their mothers before them. We regret their tears; we mourn their sadness. But now, at last, we break the chain.”
- Marianne Williamson in A Woman’s Worth, which after a year of traveling in my backseat I finally started to read this morning. Then I remembered - Happy International Women’s Day!
Photo by my friend Meridith on April 18, 2015 at her studio in Boulder. I was touring west to California while booking a tour east to NY and Europe while finalizing Passenger artwork so that it could come out a few weeks later... I was really tired. But Meridith and Izzy (pictured) kept me smiling.
Thank you, queens.
April 1, 2011
I arrived in Amsterdam courtesy of an 82-year-old lead-footed ex-sailor who’d forgotten his glasses in Belgium. He had me watch for signs (and bumpers) as he floored it north, cursing every Dutch and German driver with maniacal cackling that erupted into chest-heaving spasms I feared would take us both out. The grand finale was when my new friend maneuvered us onto the tracks of an oncoming train - facing our deaths for the hundredth time that day the old sailor swung our little ship over the median just in time, laughing in shock and narrowly missing a flock of cyclists.
As you might imagine I was trembling as I tumbled out of the car to meet Joris (pronounced “gorgeous”), who I’d met through a friend I’d met via the internet who he’d met through a friend through Burning Man… I can’t remember the details, but we’d never met before. And yet Joris invited me to stay in his houseboat for a few days. After a quick tour and instructions on how to operate the gas fireplace he handed me the keys to his palace and went to stay with a friend so that I could enjoy solitude.
People. People are so incredibly kind, so generous, so thoughtful, so freaking funny, if a little unhinged.
Naturally I spent three days in ecstasy. But that's another story for another day. Enjoy the Oscars! Or whatever you're doing this evening. :D
Thank you, Joris. Thank you, dear sailor. Thank you, Amsterdam.
October 21, 2015
Spring is in the air and it's taking so much self-restraint to not hop a plane to Europe! I can change, I can change, I can change....
Feels so weird to not have spring tour this year - I've been watching French and Belgian movies and experiencing crazy dreams/flashbacks/withdrawal - missing my Euro fam! <3
Fortunately California is finally getting rain so today I'm recreating this scene from my B&B in Arezzo (minus the heart-shaped soaps and chandelier). One of the many things I love about songwriting is that I can be anywhere and everywhere and right here while I create. So I'm having a cozy rainy day writing party in Arezzo and Santa Cruz. :)
Happy weekend! Hope you're spending it doing something you love, or at least loving what you're doing, or at least loving yourself while you do it, and hopefully all of the above.
P.S. I don't know why the photo is sideways, I think it's a sign to lie down and sleep...
July 2, 2012 I unzipped the tent and crawled towards the moon. Full again, she splashed me awake and I hesitated before slipping into the cold air. The marine layer glowed like silver springs of Avalon. I sat in the mist, a thirsty deer, wide-eyed and watchful. There she was. That familiar face. Always present to witness my rises and my falls.
I couldn’t sleep, and not because of John’s snoring. I was too full of excitement. Too full of life. Too full of love. I couldn’t possibly squeeze all my feelings into that little tent. I needed space to shine.
So I sat and I waited while planets shifted and the trajectory of my life changed forever. Love will do that. Some say love makes us crazy, but I say love reveals who we truly are. Is life not crazy? Are we not the big bang, still banging? Either we’re batshit insane or we’re sleeping.
I held up my doubts, fears, and endless questions. The moon poured into each crevasse. Gulping, gulping, gulping… I knew in that moment I’d quit my job, leave Los Angeles, and return to the road. I renewed my vows, pledging to always follow my heart through the twists and turns of its valves and veins, not knowing how, but nevertheless to keep on beating on.
I can’t tell you what those answers are, but I still feel them coming into being, pulsating, softly banging where the echos of the past meet the edges of the future...
Thank you, John. Thank you, Big Sur. Thank you, California. Thank you, Moon.
Today I reached a new level of guest-host intimacy when I went to Planned Parenthood for a routine pap and who was there to greet my knees but one of my former Airbnb hosts! I can now update my review to "went above and beyond... and below." Ha!
Before he prodded my cervix Dr. Airbnb prodded my boundaries. A year ago I stayed with him and his wife in a cute bungalow in my favorite part of town. Right from the beginning his presence felt invasive and combative, even to someone from the NYC area. I loved the house, but I couldn't stand to be there when he was home.
As with many times I've initially clashed with someone, the shell cracked and I opened up. He met me there. I learned that as a teenager he'd joined a cult that encouraged aggression. He learned that I'm (overly) sensitive. Over the kitchen island we discussed music, dance, spirituality, psychedelics, relationships, travel, life, love.... By the time I checked out conflict yielded to love.
While it's nice to immediately "click" with someone, relationships that challenge us offer more opportunities for growth. I never set out to live onstage, nor in other people's homes. Heck, I'm an INFP who never got sent to her room as punishment because "a room of one's own" is the greatest gift I could ever ask for. I'm still searching for that room. Sometimes walking around this earth without a shell feels unbearable. I'm not as graceful (or grateful) at I'd like it to be, that's for sure.
In the meantime I'm learning how to be at home in this body, following the road as it's paved, one rainbow block at a time, soul to sole. I don't know where I'm going but with each orbit around the sun I feel less disturbed by this unknowing. Or maybe more comfortable with the disturbance. Less deluded by the knowing. The spirals feel a little less like a ferris wheel and a little more like that gentle hum of the highway... mmm...
Thank you for sharing space with me, and for teaching me how to share it. Despite my resistance I recognize I signed up for this ride a long time ago. And I love it so much. Maybe the crossroads is the cross where we die and are reborn each time we commit and commit and commit.... endless grids covering the earth. Opportunities to move not just forward but toward. To connect. To love. It's right here, always.
June 20, 2013 I arrived in West Yellowstone anxious. After stopping at the venue I took my dry eyes and dusty joints for a walk around town, three or four square blocks. Buffalo This, Buffalo That. As with most nights I worried not about my performance but where the hell I was going to sleep, whether I’d make money, and getting to tomorrow’s gig in time. Romantic, isn’t it? But this is how touring dissolves performance anxiety. There simply isn’t enough energy left after all the other anxiety.
After weeks of crossing the Rockies to the West Coast and back, and with a ten hour drive to the Black Hills looming (assuming there wouldn’t be any bison traffic jams), I wasn’t looking forward to singing for three hours to people eating burgers and watching the basketball game above my head. I wanted to sleep. But this strange oasis of gimmicky motels, bars, and German tourists was going to be a tough place to find a host. Who wants a singer crashing their vacation? (Oy - I stayed with those people once - not good.)
Mostly I was irritable because I came all this way and I wasn’t going to be able to see Yellowstone National Park. It was my own doing - I could have scheduled days off. But didn’t think I could afford to. Summer in the Rockies is comparatively lucrative for touring musicians, but by that I mean we can likely cover gas and basmati for three-four hours of performing and then drive all day to repeat, and repeat, and repeat. It’s a crazy way to make a living, but love is crazy. And we love it. And love tends to work itself out.
So I sang while my audience ate burgers and watched the basketball game above my head. And, as with every night, all that deep breathing and toning massaged my heart open and I loved my job again. Wheels stopped spinning. Something shifted. Music. Life. Bliss.
I finished my last set and began to pack up, contemplating my next move, when a young woman from North Carolina approached and asked if I needed a place to stay. She and her boyfriend were working at the park for the summer, and if I wanted to I could stay with them - inside Yellowstone Park.
Do you see how this crazy love magic becomes addictive?!
So a little before midnight I drove us into the park. We convinced a skeptical ranger that I was driving Ellen’s car because she’d been drinking, and then we followed the almost-full moon into the forest. With windows cracked the cold air broke to the sound of heavy breathing - a glass-eyed bison clopped alongside us mechanically, alarmingly large from within an arm’s reach. Steam rose ghostlike from Grand Prismatic as my new friend and I discussed ancient matters of the heart and mine exploded: awe, gratitude, wonder, joy, excitement, love. Who was that cranky girl on the sidewalk a few hours ago?
We went to the boys’ room, where bottles of beer covered every surface - tables, floor, bathroom sink, behind the toilet. Cases stacked by the door. They offered me one of the bare mattresses and took to the floor between the two twins. Curled up in my sleeping bag I woke up two hours later, too excited to sleep. Plus I needed to leave by four to make soundcheck in South Dakota and bison traffic jams are a real thing. So I eased into the cool darkness as a blue glow rose over Yellowstone Lake, where trees scattered across the massive slopes like matchsticks and my spirit drank deeply.
If a picture is worth 1000 words Yellowstone National Park is worth at least 1000 pictures. Thank you, Ellen and Brian. Thank you, National Park Service. Thank you, Earth. Thank you.
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