Yoga, Music, and Travel– Together At Last. (Sort Of.)

My friends–

The cosmos has aligned and– for the first time in a long time– it is clear to me what I’m supposed to be doing with myself in the very Now:

Yoga and music.

(i.e. teaching, talking, writing, workshopping, creating, connecting, breathing, brainstorming, etc., etc.)

What is not so clear to me in the very Now is where I’m supposed to be doing all of this. (i.e. in the long term).

Hence, the travel.

And then there’s always the possibility (probability?) that I’m meant to be doing the yoga and music stuff while on the road… at least until I receive a clear sign from the Universe that it’s time to throw down the anchor and simply chill in place.

Look, I’ve tried the reverse of this the past two fall seasons (in Pennsylvania, and at other times, such as when I lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and in Park Slope, Brooklyn), with pretty much disastrous results.

That is to say, I spent a lot of money (on multiple occasions) building a mini home studio, and a lot of time recording all sorts of musical fragments and snippets, only to lose my mind for some reason or other and abandon the project and run off to some far away land.

This time, I’m thinking of trying something a little different.

I’ve been having a surprising amount of fun composing song fragments on this iPad my dad lent me, and I realize that having access to all of the technology in the world doesn’t really matter if you don’t have any good songs to record.

So I’m thinking about getting myself a little travel guitar (my last one, a Martin Mini, basically exploded last summer thanks to that NY humidity), and– ready for this?– just writing some good songs.

Man, I haven’t done that in forever.

What about the yoga?

Yeah, I can teach that now, can’t I? I mean, I haven’t officially gotten my Yoga Alliance certification, but I did finish my teacher training.

If I put a little effort into teaching some yoga while out on the road, then this could all happen.

If only I had a clever approach to distinguish myself from every other yoga teacher out there…

Oh, wait. I do.

I call it “Shaloha Yoga,” and I’ve spent the entire year developing and refining this down-to-earth, minimally-pretentious, non-mumbo-jumbo-y, totally practical method for circumventing anxiety, depression, and stress (at least in my own life), and building a stronger and fitter mind, body, and spirit.

Am I talking about some top-secret magic cure-all that no one’s ever considered?

No.

It’s just good old fashioned yoga and meditation, with an “Evan twist.”

Anyway, I should have mentioned that this was another one of those “write for an hour without stopping” exercises, and my time is just about up.

I’m gonna close this out with the vision that’s becoming clearer and clearer in my head:

My mission right now is to link my yoga practice (and teaching) with my creative self-expression projects– to write about that process– and then to offer classes and workshops to help other people attain that same fusion with their own variables in their own lives.

I’m talking about a truly holistic and interdisciplinary approach to self-awareness and personal and professional fulfillment.

If I can pull this off, it’s gonna be (in the words of one of my yogi-surfer-world traveler role models, Eoin Finn) pretty freakin’ awesome.

The (Re)Branding, Part Three

For Part One, click here.
For Part Two, click here.

* * *

A quick recap:

I’m trying this new thing of setting aside an hour for free-flow writing time, and publishing the result, whatever that may be. So far, it’s been a very useful (and somewhat successful) technique for honing in on what I actually want to say.

Yesterday I wrote two posts (click links above) in which I

a) reaffirmed my (somewhat suppressed) identity as a musician/songwriter

b) expressed my not-so-secret desire to find my true voice and finally learn how to sing with confidence

c) revealed two major components of a somewhat-ambitious creative project that I’ve been brainstorming for the past several months… those being a book-length “inner travelogue” (a.k.a. the poor man’s Eat Pray Love… on account of my lacking a $200,000 publisher’s advance), and a concurrent music project (which I will describe in greater detail soon).

So, today’s post will forgo any philosophical meanderings* and/or justifications for pursuing said project and/or second-guessing my ability to pull off said project and/or any other sort of distractions from the primary task at hand, namely: What exactly do I need to do in order to make this thing happen, from start to finish?

*[Editor's Note, after the fact: there might be a few philosophical meanderings.]

Because– yes– merely finishing this project will be a grand triumph in and of itself.

The trick is to move faster than my inner critic.

Therefore– moving on.

* * *

Half an hour to go.

What needs to happen RIGHT NOW?

I need to get organized.

I’ve already confirmed my commitment to the project– now I have to make sure that I’m spending more time actually working on the project than talking about it.

So the first thing I need, then, is to create project time for myself.

The good news is, I have lots (and lots) of free time right now, from which to carve out some serious project time.

The down-side of my Right Now is that I’m somewhat lacking in the money department.

Yes, a stereotypical “artist’s predicament,” if ever there was one.

Nevertheless, I’ve come to a crucial realization over the past year– a year, I should point out, that’s been filled to the brim with travel and yoga and personal growth and very, very little income– and that realization is: Not having a ton of money doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things because we are all going to die.

Now, this is definitely not meant to come across as some sort of anti-capitalist glorification of the starving artist life.

I can tell you with 100% confidence that (all other things being equal) having more money is better than having less money.

(At least in my life.)

Because (at least in my life), more money buys more time.

Ok, yes, it also buys other important stuff that I could definitely use, like food and shelter and bicycles and MacBook Pros and musical equipment and so on.

But as far as this project and my current lifestyle is concerned, having a little bit of money in the bank serves as a psychological buffer between “willful minimalism” and scary-as-hell homelessness.

Because– let’s name it–

I am technically an unemployed vagabond right now.

This is not to say that I don’t work, mind you.

I’m just not working under the employ of an individual or an organization that gives me money in exchange for my labor.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

It’s probably a bit of both.

In case you’re wondering, I’ve just spent the past month “couch surfing,” living partially off the meager resources I’ve saved from working literally non-stop for two months at summer camp, and partially (i.e. mostly) off the absolutely incredible generosity of my friends who have been hosting me in New York City, Denver, Berkeley, and San Francisco. Without their kindness (and shelter, and shared food, etc.), I could never have pulled off this amazing adventure.

And it has been amazing. To reconnect with old friends, to make new ones, to do my yoga practice on and off the mat in some of the country’s most beautiful places… the experience is priceless. The inspiration is priceless. Finding the faith to live (as much as I can) in the present moment– this has been perhaps the biggest challenge in my life, and the greatest victory of my current travels (as compared to many other travels of years past).

I think I’ve possibly gone off on a tangent and the clock is ticking. Two minutes…

Right.

Time and money.

Listen, my friends– I’m trying my best to make the most of what I’ve got, and I’m nearing the time when I’ll need to make a much greater effort to earn some more of the latter. My greatest concern (from past experience) is that I’ll end up exhausting myself chasing a paycheck in a job I don’t care enough about to stick with for very long… and then I’m back to the same old cycle.

Well, we now live in a world where digital entrepreneurs are finding creative ways to sustain themselves and pursue their art+lives without having to go crazy in the process. I suppose this, too, requires a tremendous leap of faith, and a mature and honest relationship between artist and consumer/patron.

OK, I’m out of time.

Sixty minutes of writing meditation… I hope it was as good for you as it was for me.

Let me just end with this one thought: I don’t need anything more right now in my life. I’m actually OK. I want certain things, but– if this is all there is– it’s OK. I created this reality. Sometimes I think it’s all turned out to be a “brilliant disaster”– other times I’m actually kind of proud of myself for taking a risk and charting my own path.

But here’s the one thing I know for sure– I can’t do it (i.e. life) alone, and I don’t want to. We’re all in this thing together. Compared to all humans who have ever graced this earth, we– The Breathing– are the current lottery winners. And as I alluded to before– we can’t take any of this material stuff with us when we go. (And unless science gets on top of this pronto, we are all going to go.)

So, what is this life all about? I guess everyone ultimately has to answer that for themselves. My way is maybe not your way, and vice versa. But we are in this thing together. By putting all of this “inner” stuff out there, I hope that I’m contributing something at least vaguely interesting to the Collective Human Experience.

Thanks for reading.

The (Re)Branding, Part Two

If you missed Part One, click here.

OK. Here’s how this is going down:

I’m giving myself sixty (additional) minutes to get out more stuff from my brain to the screen, without stopping (too much) to edit/ censor.

I have to tell you– I feel a pretty strong (and sad) sense of deja vu; I’ve definitely been here before.

This is not the first time that I’ve announced my intention to make a serious return to making music (and learning to sing); I’m definitely in one of those “Boy Who Cried Wolf” situations.

So I’m naming it right here and now.

OK?

OK.

First chances, second chances, tenth chances… if you’re still breathing, you’ve still got another chance to do your thing. Right?

Right.

So now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about what’s different this time.

Well… everything and nothing.

I mean, nothing is really different, on the surface– I’m still the same person I’ve always been– only older. (Which, in our youth-obsessed culture, conceivably counts as a “strike.”)

On the other hand– something is decidedly different in my life this year.

Thanks in large part to the establishment of a consistent and focused mindfulness/yoga practice, I’ve been able to reign in a great deal of the destabilizing thought patterns (and concurrent behaviors) that have– for better or worse– shaped my existence over the past two decades or so.

When I talk about “re-branding,” I’m not using that word lightly.

So much of my “old” ways of thinking, being, and doing no longer serve me; so much of my “old” persona no longer reflects my current way of being and worldview.

For whatever reason, though, I’m still carrying around all of this excess baggage; I’m still dragging around this duffel bag (so to speak) filled with unnecessary crap and it’s totally slowing me down.

The other day I started playing around with some web design stuff, and I was confronted with these seemingly-simple questions that I had no idea how to answer:

* What is your website all about?
* Who is your target audience?
* What do you want your viewers to get out of your site?
* What actions do you want them to take as a result of visiting your site?

These questions made me profoundly uncomfortable, and it took me a few minutes to figure out why.

For all of my ramblings on this site, I’ve never really asked myself those questions, or the precursor that would probably make answering them easier:

What am I actually, really, truly all about?

Or, in design-speak:

What is my brand?

Time out.

I realize this monologue could go on for God knows how long, and I only have a half hour left in this writing session.

So let me switch gears and get back to tangible, practical matters.

Let’s imagine for a moment that I don’t actually need to unpack all of the philosophical stuff right here, right now.

Let’s imagine that I actually know all of the answers to all of these questions, deep inside my heart and my soul.

Let’s imagine that– in this very moment– I could move from philosophy into action and start living my brand.

What would that look like?

Why, thank you for asking.

It would look like everything that I’m about to write about from this moment forward.

* * *

The project that I’ve been quietly working on launching over the past several weeks is called– for lack of a more apt title at present– “Life After Crazy.”

This project will consist of a few different parts, which I’ll briefly touch upon now and flesh out in later posts. (On account of 13 minutes left.)

First of all, there’s the book.

Let’s say for now the book is also called “Life After Crazy,” and it is essentially “The Poor Man’s Eat Pray Love” (a.k.a. How Evan Got His Groove Back.)

OK, so the tricky thing is that a lot of what I want to write about is still playing out in present time (or hasn’t happened yet), but I have a LOT of insight (and material– check out the “Memoir” section of this blog) regarding my triumphs and challenges in the general realm of “finding sanity in a crazy world.”

I don’t have enough time right now to flesh out the whole concept, but the book is basically the glue that holds the whole project together.

(There’s also going to be a companion website, but we’ll deal with that later.)

Second of all, there’s the music.

So… let’s see if I can explain this in five minutes…

The book is going to chronicle my effort to essentially (re)build the life that I (once upon a time) imagined for myself… after, like, twenty years of struggling with my own worst enemy (a.k.a. me).

And the music is the project-within-the-project– the thematically-linked concept album/ electro-rock opera or whatever that I’m going to write and produce in an effort to face and transform old demons, to celebrate my renewed creative spirit, and to reclaim my destiny.

(Two minutes over time… final thought…)

This is happening, people.

This is the “what next.”

(Stay tuned for Part Three, wherein I outline the logistics and potential parameters of the “what next.”)

The (Re)Branding, Part One

There is no time to stop and think. There is only time to write from the heart. I’ve given myself a time limit of 60 minutes to say what I have to say, after several weeks (and/or 20+ years) of self-supression. I am a musician. There you have it. Two minutes and thirty seconds. Well, that’s not all I have to say. For as long as I can remember– literally– my entire life– my (inner) world has revolved around the consumption and creation of (popular) music. [Let's be clear-- I don't care that much about classical music, or even jazz. There, I've said it. Sorry.] When I say “for as long as I can remember”– I’m talking about memories of being two, maybe three years old and carrying a stack of vinyl record albums (Barry Manilow, if you must know) around the first house I ever lived in (on the Overbrook Hills side of City Line Avenue, bordering West Philadelphia.) I remember being six or eight or ten (or whatever) years old, huddled under the covers in my bedroom in the next house that I lived in (deeper into Overbrook Hills, on the Penn Wynne border)– writing song lyics in my head, and fantasizing about performing on stage in front of thousands of people. I remember writing pop songs and (sort of) raps– I remember that indescribable feeling of creative freedom as the words somehow descended from the ether into my young, receptive brain. I remember the stucco ceiling in the moonlit darkness. I would stare at that ceiling and my head would swirl with rhythmic rhymes. Yeah, I can remember being that care-free, innocent, hopeful kid– but I can’t quite grasp that that kid would grow up to be me. It’s like waking up from a weird dream. I don’t know what the hell happened. (Pause. I’m getting ahead of myself.) I remember being around ten years old– wanting to play the drums. My parents got me a practice pad, but no drum kit. A practice pad isn’t fun. I would set out a bunch of hardcover books on my bed and bang along to my favorite records. I remember Genesis, Invisible Touch… Bon Jovi, Slippery When Wet… El Debarge’s “Who’s Johnny” from the Short Circuit soundtrack… Peter Cetera’s “Glory of Love” from the Karate Kid 2 soundtrack*… Miami Sound Machine… drawing a blank. (But, yes, Miami Sound Machine.) *I would also wear that iconic black and white Karate Kid bandana (that Daniel-san wears in the movie) while playing my “drum set.” I was IN THE ZONE back then. I remember (a few years earlier) learning “Axel F” (from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack) on piano, and otherwise wholly rejecting the concept of piano lessons. (My Suzuki teacher wanted me to play “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” five different ways– I wanted to play Bon Jovi’s epic “You Give Love a Bad Name.” I was ten. I’m painting a rough sketch in broad strokes. I could go on for hours and hours. Every memory I have is linked to the soundtrack of my life. I remember playing “Skate or Die” on my Apple 2GS (look it up), while listening to UB40’s “Red Red Wine” in 1988 (or 89). My aunt Sherrie gave me that CD along with Guns N’ Roses’ “Appetite for Destruction” for Chanukkah… and my life was forever changed. (On account of G’N’R, not UB40, in case that wasn’t clear.) I remember getting my first electric guitar (also in 1989) and just absolutely mangling Warrant’s “Heaven” and Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” Well, we all have to start somewhere. In any case, it wasn’t too long before I could play some passable “Sweet Child of Mine” and “Paradise City” licks… before I could pick out random bits of Jimi Hendrix and standard classic rock tunes and slog along with some local kids in a rockin’ garage band. (I’m guessing we were terrible.) I remember the pinnacle of my guitar-playing days– performing my (oddly capable) version of Steve Vai’s “For the Love of God” (along with the track, I must admit), at my sister’s Bat Mitzvah in (I think) 1991. Thirteen minutes left? What?? Time to cut to the chase. My high school/college/post-college musical memories/endeavors will have to wait. Here’s the important thing. For pretty much my entire life, I remember not being able to (or, as a kid, not wanting to) sing (or even perform) in public. (Maybe for fear that I would make a fool of myself, or people would hate me, or whatever. Not important why, at the moment. Just important that it’s always been the case.) This goes back at least to my 5th grade class play, when I was a “soldier” in some George Washington-themed tedious bit of nonsense. While I quickly took to “method acting” (by repeatedly rolling down a steep dirt hill to get filthy and look the part), I flat out refused to sing in the chorus. All though school– K – 12– I refused to sing. Especially in school chorus or music class. Of course, this proved problematic in my teen years and beyond, when I actually wanted to sing (i.e. like a rockstar), and absolutely had no idea how. It always strikes me as odd that I can play a number of instruments by ear (i.e. I have an obvious awareness of tone and rhythm), but for whatever reason I’ve never been able to easily harness the instrument I was born with– my voice. In the interest of sticking to my hour-long writing session, I’m going to cut right to the chase. (I thought I’d be able to cram a lot more into this hour… now it’s crunch time, and the rest can wait.) It’s time for a personal (and professional) re-brand, my friends. I am a musician. I am also a songwriter. (Albeit in recent years mostly a frustrated, blocked, unproductive one.) And now– I am going to sing. (Well, not right now. Soon. In conjunction with renewed music-making. Hmm. Maybe that doesn’t sound like such a big announcement to you. I can assure you, it a huge announcement to myself. I’ve been procrastinating for weeks (months/years) about this. For whatever reason, I have some deep psychological stuff that’s prevented me from just going for it over the years. That’s no longer an acceptable position, as far as I’m concerned. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the course of this past year– during all of those hours honing my mindfulness practice on (and off) the yoga mat– it’s that I am not capable of turning my back on my deepest Self for very long. Lord knows I’ve tried. Lord knows I’ve done everything to suppress that voice deep within me that’s yearning to come out (i.e. both my singing and my songwriting voices.) (Why have I done this? Doesn’t matter right now.) The point is– My sixty minutes are up. I’m giving myself another sentence to close this thing out: No more excuses– it’s time to find my voice and make my sound. (To Be Continued)

What’s Goin’ On (Take 2)

Yes, there’s a “Take 1″ of this post, and maybe one day I’ll publish that version. For now, we are compelled to interrupt regular programming and bring you this totally spontaneous update, instead.

Did you know that “smell” is considered our most powerful sense? (According to something I read on the internet, but whatever, I believe it.)

Yeah, because when you smell something, the scent goes straight from your olfactory nerve to your brain, and POW! Everything that you’ve ever associated with that smell suddenly floods your mind and you’re basically overwhelmed and incapacitated by emotion until you bust out all of your yoga and mindfulness tools and– OK, fine, I made up some of that last part but, I’m telling you, it’s TRUE.

I don’t know how else to explain what’s going on with me in the very Now, other than to say: I’m completely overcome by the smell of California. [Note: I started writing this post at least four days ago and then forgot about it-- but it still holds true. In fact, the feeling is even stronger now...]

Look, I guess you either know exactly what I’m talking about, or you don’t. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is, you have to understand that the East Coast (and, really, everywhere else in the country that I’ve been) lacks that California smell (or at least smells entirely different to me). I don’t know– maybe it’s the combination of dry air and coastal Mediterranean-style foliage– maybe it’s the aroma of countless cultural cuisines simmering in the literal and figurative melting pot in which I currently find myself. Or maybe it’s the smell of a million squelched memories (from seemingly another lifetime) suddenly come to surface in a recently refurbished brain.

OK.
Let me start over.
California is messing with my head.

This is not a bad thing.
I’ve been preparing my head well for such a likely scenario.
Yesterday, for example, I did an hour of yoga, followed by two and a half hours of “ecstatic dance” (maybe it’s an Oakland thing), followed by a two-hour walk, followed by another hour of yoga. I don’t know why, but when my physical body is well worked, my mind seems at least content to chill out some.

I take it back.
California is not messing with my head.
My head is messing with my head, on account of my being out here in California.

Everything about this place reminds me of what I once wanted to do and be “when I grow up,” and it’s just so obviously clear to me how far I’ve strayed from that vision over the past two decades.

Please don’t misunderstand– I’m not trying to say that I should have done everything (or anything) different… that I should have stayed in California back in the year 2000, for example, rather than volunteering in Israel and setting off the complex chain reaction that led me to exactly where I am today.

And that’s kind of definitely what I need to address in my next post (I won’t do it here; this is just the free-for-all writing before the “real” writing).

Anyway, there’s probably more to say before I say what I actually want to say, but I’m going to end it here and post so that the East Coasters at least have something to read before the main event.

Which reminds me– who is still reading this blog? Is anything I’m saying here still remotely interesting to you? I know I haven’t been writing quite as frequently lately– that stems from a partial conflict of interest in my brain, where I’m quietly planning a full-length book project, and it’s weird to give away too much of the “plot” while it’s still unfolding in real life. (Don’t worry, I’ll explain that last bit in my next post.)

Well… that was all a bit awkward but I’m hitting “Post,” nevertheless. Once you’ve ecstatically-danced for several hours before noon with a bunch of strangers in an Oakland ballroom, pretty much nothing in the awkward zone can phase you anymore.

Truth.

I’m Starting with the Man in the Mirror

So, I’m standing in Mountain Pose (appropriately enough) in this fancy Denver CorePower Yoga studio that my friend brought me to the other night, and I don’t know if it’s the mood lighting, or what, but I look in the mirror (my yoga studio in PA doesn’t have mirrors) and I’m totally caught off guard.

See, there’s this guy staring at me who looks a lot like me– cropped blonde hair, standard white tank top and navy board shorts– but he’s got this grounded poise and concentration that I clearly recall envying in the folks I witnessed at the mind-blowing yoga demo that my mom dragged me to just about a year ago. Furthermore– and it’s not like I was trying to stare, but– this guy was looking pretty jacked. Not in that (kinda gross) bodybuilder type of way, but in that “Whoa– apparently thousands of chaturanga dandasanas over the course of a year will get you some legit toned arms and shoulders” kind of way. Not that yoga is (only) about attaining a certain physique or level of physical fitness– but, still.

Anyway, as the class went on, I’d sneak a glance forward here and there and discover that Mirror Man seemed to have this yoga thing DOWN. When the instructor called out the Sun Salutation A sequence, Mirror Man moved with that same precision and grace that this observer could hardly imagine achieving a year ago. When Mirror Man jumped back into plank from his standing forward fold, he was able to hover and “float” in a gravity-defying maneuver for what seemed like an entirely unreasonable period of time– just as those yogis in the demo had done a year earlier.

Let me reiterate: yoga is absolutely not (only) about attaining a certain physique or level of physical fitness.

One might even argue that my bringing attention to these “superficial” elements somehow detracts from the actual goal of attaining mindfulness in the present moment.

I mean, can I really be present in my practice if I’m so concerned with the Man in the Mirror?

Well, actually, yes.

I’ve been working consistently on my practice for the better part of a year, and– now that I think of it– it would be pretty disconcerting if I hadn’t made any progress.

While I still prefer to practice without a mirror in the room, sometimes it’s nice to see the tangible effect of this Mind-Body-Spirit practice on my actual body.

That being said– not everyone who practices yoga asana (postures) will be drawn to the same physically demanding form that I practice. Not everyone who practices yoga is blessed with an able body, and if one should conflate yoga with just another workout routine, one would fail to recognize that the primary benefit of the practice is a calmer mind (with or without toned arms).

Ultimately, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have discovered an all-in-one practice that keeps my body strong, my mind calm(ish), and my spirit engaged.

I admit– sometimes it’s hard to remember my good fortune when I’m going through a particularly stressful day; when my mind is racing a mile a minute towards the past and the future at the same time, and I briefly lose my grounding in the present.

Sometimes it’s good to catch a glimpse of that person in the mirror and remember that a desire to change one’s physique “for the better” can lead to a desire to change one’s attitude and actions for the better.

Yes, we should be grateful for what we are and what we have, where we are.

But we can still look ahead and strive for improvement in all realms, without (too much) attachment to the possible results.

After all, bodies change.

There will probably come a time when I can no longer float back into plank; when I am no longer at my physical peak and my body cannot keep up with the demands that I currently place on it.

I can only hope that my current yoga practice is toning my mind and spirit in such a way that my (admittedly important) goal of a toned body diminishes in importance over the years– that I embody mindfulness in whatever physical state I should find myself in as I get older.

In the meantime, though– I’m grateful to have glimpsed that Mirror Man in action.

With so many other potential sources of inspiration, I’m grateful to be able to inspire myself every now and again.

On Chasing Two Rabbits

“He who chases two rabbits catches none.”  ~Confucius

Last week, as you may recall, I announced the launch of a new website for my “Shaloha Yoga” endeavor, and I quickly discovered that– surprise– attempting to manage two separate websites is (at least) double the work of managing one.  (Or at least that’s my experience when your management team consists of precisely one manager.)

So– for the time being– I’m consciously choosing to stick to the one website model (i.e. this one) and (cue Tim Gunn) make it work.

Of course, if these were the only two rabbits in the picture this week, my life would be a lot simpler and perhaps I would have written a few more blog posts.

But, no.

There’s a very large rabbit in the room that refuses to release its kung fu grip on my brain.

That rabbit is called “music”– and despite the fact that I attempted to quit the pursuit of making it last fall– I relapsed this summer, and went on a full-blown, two-day-long production binge last week.

You can check out the result in a little music video that I made by clicking here.

Lest you find the “addiction” metaphor a little uncouth, please understand: I am not making a joke.

All you have to do is go back and read my blog archive from the beginning (September – October 2013) and you will see what can potentially happen when I follow the Music Muse down the rabbit hole (so to speak).

So, yeah.

I wasn’t expecting this little outburst of creative energy right before my upcoming travels, and– predictably– the aftermath has unleashed a torrent of potentially-destabilizing energy into my current flow. Now that it’s happened, though, I’m trying to bring my increasingly-effective “mindful management” skills to the mix. After all, that potentially-destabilizing energy could potentially result in some brilliant artistic achievement, and– hey– what’s the point of doing yoga, anyway– if not to facilitate our own personal growth into our best possible selves?

Which reminds me why I started blogging about “my attempt to stay sane in a crazy world”:

It was never merely to attain some enlightened bliss-state and retreat into some monastic solitude, separate from the vicissitudes of everyday life; it was always about learning how to thrive in my own unique way… about identifying and following my bliss and encouraging others to do the same.

In that sense (to bring it full circle), evanjoblin.com and shalohayoga.com were never actually two different rabbits– nor are yoga and music, for that matter.

Both of these projects and these “disciplines” are simply different manifestations of the same One Thing– namely, my attempt to live an authentic, mindful, and creative life in a world that doesn’t always make it easy to achieve that goal.

Anyway, let’s keep it short, and end with a quote that Seane Corn quoted in her thousand-plus-person-yoga class at the Wanderlust Brooklyn Festival this past weekend:

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” ~ Mark Twain

With all due respect to Confucius, I’d argue in the vein of Twain that my purpose in life is to figure out how to catch the two-rabbits-(that-are-perhaps-ultimately-one) that I feel in my bones) I’m meant to be chasing.

Because I’ve spent way too many days of my life chasing nothing (out of fear of failure/fear of success/perfectionism/whatever), and I refuse to relentlessly pursue one single discipline at the expense of those other disciplines that I need to integrate into my life– for my own health and well-being.

And when I finally pull this thing off– on a day-to-day basis– THAT will be the most important day of my life.