This is exciting! I’ve never done a Blog before. I hope to get some interesting discussions going. So here goes my leap into Blogdom…
I’ve been kind of quiet about my EP release of Leap Time this past summer. I’ve been wanting to set the context for these songs so that listeners would feel fully engaged in what they are listening to.
I recently attended a week-long workshop at the Rowe Center called “World as Lover, World as Self: The Theory and Practice of the Work that Reconnects”. It was led one of my biggest heroes, Joanna Macy. Since she wrote “Despair and Personal Empowerment in the Nuclear Age” back in 1983, I have drawn much strength and inspiration from Joanna’s writing and empowering Work that Reconnects (WTR) exercises.
While I have benefited greatly from day-long workshops of the WTR in the past, being able to go through the four stages of the spiral at a slower pace with such a wonderful, committed group of people brought me into a deeper place of gratitude with a strong conviction to become more involved in what Joanna calls the "Great Turning". This movement where we make the shift from the industrial growth society to a life-sustaining civilization is gathering momentum. Time is of the essence in this epic story of active hope where we focus on the world we so deeply long for, and then take action to make it happen, utilizing our unique gifts as best we can.
There is much more I could say about this experience, but for now I can say that this workshop couldn’t have come at a better time in my life. Having had some time to let my experience at the Rowe Center sink in, I feel that I am ready to give a loud shout out to the world that my leap has truly begun!
The Leap Time Project
As I worked on the songs for “The Leap”, a story line running through them began to develop. I could see connections with screenplays I had written in the past. Having been a screenwriter in LA, writing grand, futuristic, musical screenplays for over a decade, I have experience with screenwriting and storytelling that can be utilized here. There are storylines and settings that will be useful. One of my favorite settings for what I’ll call a “play” for now, is Practopia. You may have heard of this term coined by Alvin Toffler as a mix of practical and utopian ideas. In my play, Practopia is an organization with centers around the world that has gained global recognition for its lucid dream research which uses music to help guide ones dreams and its empowerment workshops, made available to millions around the world, regardless of their income.
I can see now how a compelling story, set ten years in the future, could be told with these songs as the backbone for a one-man show, musical, or movie. I have three other songs near completion that will be added at some point.
I am also working on what would be an audience-interactive musical that would take people through the 4-part spiral that is at the core of the Work that Reconnects. Perhaps a combination of these two kinds of shows could be done. I welcome your ideas on this project. You can join my mailing list for the latest developments on The Leap Time Project.
Album liner notes
With that as a background, here is what I think of as "liner notes" for the songs on “The Leap”:
Right Here Right Now
Since my late teens, I remember how something on the news would grab my attention. I’d get this surge of anger at what’s happening and feel compelled to take action. But then the day-to-day commitments and diversions would tug at me and those feelings would pass and I’d lose that surge.
But now, as I’ve seen how rapidly our world is unraveling on so many fronts, I, much like Peter, the main character in my play-in-progress, have decided that I can’t push it away any more. I can’t ignore it. Peter's working for a company that he sees as doing "more harm than good" gnaws at him. He yearns to break free and play a significant role in turning the tide – Right Here, Right Now!
From the Void
Peter feels like he is stuck between two worlds, the old and the new. As lonely and empty as this place can be at times, it is from here that he can begin to untangle himself from the old habits and old stories that entrap him. “From the Void”, with fresh eyes, Peter looks out upon a new world with all its glorious possibilities, as he seeks a bold, new path to follow. As Charles Eisenstein says in his brilliant “The More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible”, “possibilities that didn’t even exist in the old story lie before you, even if you have no idea how to get there.” I sure can relate to that.
In my final year of college, I read William Glasser’s book, Positive Addiction (PA). Glasser tells of entering a free-flowing state of mind state with PA. This should be a solitary activity in which you are not judging yourself for how well you are doing. Where running and meditation were his favorite activities, he said that others appeared to be positively addicted to gardening, juggling, swinging a bat, creative but non-critical writing, and knitting. If practiced regularly, he says that PA can assist you in living with more confidence, more creativity, and more happiness, and usually in much better health. He claims that PA can often help people with negative addictions they may have.
I’d like to think that meditation is PA for me. In my “Positive Addiction” I sing of three other PA-like activities of mine that I would like to think fit his definition. In my play, Practopia is a big proponent of this practice which has gained popularity around the world. Perhaps in another blog I’ll go into PA deeper. But feel free to share any thoughts you may have on this topic.
Going Deeper, Rising Higher
This instrumental was recorded last. I have so many instrumental EWI/flute songs recorded in various states of completion that I couldn’t resist finishing up on this one. It all began when one of my best friends, Rick Charnes, came over to my apartment in May of 2012. I started playing this cool echoed sound on the EWI as he pounded away on his djembe. The stars were aligned that night as we came up with some truly inspired moments! With this recording session as a starting point, I pieced the parts together, adding a few more new ones. Now, with numerous tracks of EWI and flute laid over the incredible drumming of Seth Botos, Going Deeper, Rising Higher is my go-to-song for free-form expressive dancing these days!
This started out as a song I wrote for a worldwide celebration called Birth 2012 that was sponsored by the Shift Network. One particularly compelling message was the idea that we need to make an evolutionary leap in consciousness and take action to get us out of the mess we've gotten ourselves into here on Planet Earth. The song has undergone many changes since then. The writing of Joanna Macy was a big influence.
Near the end of the writing process, I decided to add a dance section that ties in with the Practopian play I’m writing. Soon, hopefully very soon, this transformational shift will take place on stage and someday -- (drum roll please…) be celebrated around the world!
So there you have it - my first blog. I hope this gives you a better understanding of the songs. You can subscribe to receive email notifications when I have news for you below. Stay tuned for my next blog entry in which I’ll be telling you more about The Leap Time Project.