20 April 2009

love is all you need (and some time in the subcontinent)

although i did not take the name bhakti until after i moved to california in late 1989, i became myself largely during my time as an undergraduate at UF in gainesville, florida. there, i majored in religion, went to dozens of grateful dead shows, and cultivated various states of consciousness. i used whatever technique struck my fancy, and did not exclude any method categorically, though i did lean in several distinct directions. and so, through various meditation traditions, as well as certain ever-lovin' chemical and botanical psychoactive agents, and much study and introspection, i began to chart the inner landscape like armstrong on the moon. and while it's easy to forget from moment to moment, i glimpsed, like a flash in the corner of my eye, something about creating your own reality (as the aquarian crowd liked to call it), or how to consciously collapse a state vector (in the language of quantum physics), or extracting the actual from the possible (as i like to say).
And so, in 2006 or -7, just when i was thinking what's next, just when i was realizing i really do want to find a life partner already, who should walk into my life but ms heather insley. we met at the running of the bulls, or online, i can't remember which, and although it seemed like our courtship was sweetly slow and gradual, before too long it was love sweet love, and we were inseparable, in our hearts if not geographically.
I love my job at OHDS, but i was ready for something else, and in particular i wanted to go back to India, and spend some serious time there. Heather loved what she was doing but was also ready for a change, and also wanted to live abroad for a while. I have been to India twice, both time traveling alone and preferring it that way, but this time i didn't want to go alone. and so, as if i wrote the script myself, heather and bhakti came into each other's lives, and proceeded to shake them up irrevocably, blissfully, blessfully, finally. the plans were made: we are going to India.

merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily...

...life is but a dream. and what a long strange trip it's been. i've been so lucky that so many dreams have come true. and what do you do when your dreams have come true? willy wonka says "live happily ever after". and how does one do that, in this ever-changing world in which we're living? by more dreaming. dream a little dream, then head in that general direction.
and so, a couple years ago i looked around, and said to myself "what's next"? i was happy, to be sure, but i was starting to get that nagging feeling, it was all so known, i was stuck in a rut. a beautiful, sparkly, fun rut with lots of stage time, but nonetheless.
back up. beep, beep.
my father and brother died in 2002, and after spending time back in florida, i needed to return to northern cali and to myself. i was at a real crossroads and was tightly and tenuously holding on to my life here, especially my wedding band, Funky Little Shack. I also wanted to find work that in some way would honor my father and brother. And i was very lucky; i slipped easily into all my performing groups, and found a great job at the Oakland Hebrew Day School, as their computer teacher and technician.
The next 6 years were wonderful. I sang with the Shack, did another tour of Europe (this one to central Finland) as a folk dancer/singer/musician with Jubilee, made it back to India for a month, sang tight-harmony jazz vocals with friends at the Jazzschool (i was in great vocal shape there for a while), and taught at a Hebrew Day school not unlike the one which I attended as a child, which gave me a real chance to serve, and to pass on the traditions my father gave to me.
So, wonderful though it was, after 5 years or so I began to get a little restless. For appreciative though i may have been, there gradually, inexorably, grew a sense of routine. The california lifestyle was getting to me. We're all so busy, so involved with our projects, moving from show to show, gig to gig. it's still a rat race, even if you're seeing great sights along the way. we're all so busy, running around so quickly, it's so hard to appreciate everything at the time because you're moving so fast. and it's always a struggle financially, as a musician and teacher. a long time ago i learned there are more things under heaven and earth than can be dreamt of in the west's philosophy, more ways to live than how we do it here, and i was ready for a new way of living. and so a new dream, twin dreams, actually, germinated, took root, and started to grow. and you know what they say, be careful what you wish for...

to be continued...