So. We’re taking stock.
Pretty much exactly a year ago, I went on a trip. It was quite the different trip than any I had ever taken before. It didn’t lead me far away from the place I called home for the three and a half years before I took the trip. It didn’t take very long. And yet, this trip keeps changing my life. (And no, I’m not talking about drugs. Duh.)
Let’s leave it at that. For now. When I returned to Vancouver, I decided I wanted to start writing again. I wanted to be more involved with my community, I wanted to learn about people’s lives, what makes them tick, why they’re so good at what they’re doing. I wanted to find out what being passionate about something does to a person. Since the one thing that has accompanied me all my life (Thanks, Mom and Dad. Truly!) is music, music is the first thing that came to mind. So I took a little column from a blog that I was a part of post-university, and emancipated into this little thing here. I got really excited, and even spent a few bucks on a logo that I most likely could have made myself, but hey. I interviewed a bunch of friends, because I’m fortunate enough to know what I think are some of the greatest musicians in Vancouver and other places in the world. I might be biased – I really don’t care. They are. I enjoyed listening to their stories when we sat down, had a drink of some kind, and talked. I listened, ideally. I felt blessed writing down these stories – blessed to know this person, and that they trusted me enough to share parts of their life with me. Blessed to then be able to listen to their music, and understand it a little bit better. And to be able to share all of this with, well, you.
Then I went on another trip. This one was longer. I wasn’t able to write, as I had wanted to, while I was on that trip. But I never forgot about those stories that were still on my hard-drive. Once the trip was over, I went back to them, and it was funny how time and the trip had changed some things, but not others, for me. Like how I’m not swearing as much any more. (It’s true. Sorry.) And how that life that I was living when I did the interviews seemed so far away sometimes, even though it was only a few months later. Not that it was better, or worse. Just different.
There was something else that changed. I moved. I moved to a beautiful place in eastern BC, in the middle of mountains, right by a lake and surrounded by forest. It’s a small place, quite remote. Sometimes our power goes off for no apparent reason. Sometimes I have no connection on my phone (what??). Sometimes I want to go into town, but I can’t, because it’s Sunday and there’s no bus. I have to take a ferry to get to the bus. It’s free! (what???). It’s the same place I took that trip to last year, and earlier this year.
Last year, we had a ton of wildfires. Not just here, in all of BC and other places in Canada, in the world, too. That changed something for me: Being here, seeing the effects all the time, right in front of me. Smoke in the air, it became painful to breathe at times. We never saw the flames here, but I saw them on the drive back to Vancouver. This year, when I told a friend about how it had been raining a lot, he said: Yeah, I hope it clears up soon and gets sunny. I realized: I didn’t. I was glad for the rain, because it meant less fires.
But then, our garden ran into some issues. The cherries were splitting.
Okay, I’m gonna pause here for a moment. If you know me, you might start to think I finally went off the rails, joined a cult and turned full-blown hippie. I didn’t. I sometimes wish I did, because it might take the edge off a bit. What happened is that I moved to an ashram (you can look it up, it’s basically a spiritual community, based on yogic principles), and started working on my shit (see! I still swear sometimes!), and to gain some awareness of things that I was simply not aware of until very recently. Or chose not to be, anyway. That’s the short version. So all of this might either sound kookoo too you or like old news. Either way, that’s cool.
What my intention with this is to say: I had my eyes opened brutally over the past year, not just about my self, but about the state of the world, our environment, the earth, and humanity. Still on it, actually – every. damn. day. How everything is connected, even I certainly have my ways of pretending it’s not, and that every human is their own island, or whatever. That’s bullshit. Everything we do has a consequence. Everything our parents did, our grandparents did, is affecting our daily lives, and will continue to affect our children’s lives. I’m not trying to dish out blame. We’re all human, as pathetic as it sounds. We don’t always know what our actions will bring about. But frankly, we’re still doing a lot of dumb stuff that we KNOW is gonna do a lot of damage. And that’s not okay. Sometimes, we don’t know an alternative way of doing things. That’s fine – but it’s not an excuse not to look for an alternative, and to try and do things differently. I truly believe this to be our – my – responsibility.
I’m not gonna lie. Realising this scares the shit out of me. It’s a good thing, even though I could live without the anxiety attacks I get almost every time I read about things like climate change refugees, over 50° Celsius in India and another species going extinct. I’m working on that. But this fear also motivates me to do something myself, to the best of my abilities. And this, too, is a work in progress. Starting here:
Moving forward, I’m gonna widen the horizon of this blog up a bit. Music and the amazing people who make it is and will continue to be very much part of it, as I truly believe art is one of the most potent ways to connect us with ourselves and bring people together. And then I will also be speaking with people that – in my humble opinion – are making a change in the world in other ways, and really in whatever way they can. Because I’ve noticed something else: There’s a whole lot of awesome humans in the world that are working their butts off to save this planet, and us, in all kinds of different ways. Again, may sound pathetic. I really don’t care. What I do care about is that I’ve learned I have a choice: I can do nothing, pretend like nothing’s happening, or I can look for the good and try to help those doing it get some attention and support. So. This is me going with the second choice. Let’s see how that plays out, shall we?
To you, dear friend and nice person who made it to the end of this sermon, I would like to say: Thank you. Really. I think you’re awesome, and hope you have a wonderful day, wherever you are. I’m excited for what’s to come, and honestly can’t wait to share these people’s stories with you. Much love ❤