The All Access Pass.
I like to say that my life has been a mashup of the movie, Almost Famous and the book, Eat, Pray, Love. I spent many years with an All-Access Pass to the New Age Community (a big umbrella term for new thought, empowerment, spiritual but not religious, yoga, woo-woo and more community), as I tried to make the band I managed famous in that world. While simultaneously conducting business in this arena, I also became a Spiritual Seeker and searched high and low for Truth, Wisdom and Enlightenment.
You know that expression, "Whatever you are seeking is also seeking you?" Well, I wasn't seeking that life when it came to get me. At least, I didn't think I was. Nonetheless, my Almost Famous meets Eat, Pray, Love Life arrived one evening in early 2002 when I found myself uncomfortably seated on the blanket-covered plywood floor of a yurt in the dirt out in the middle of Topanga Canyon, aka hippie central. I was busy leading what appeared to be a perfectly dandy life...happily married, fashion junkie, fun friends, almost always had something cool to do with a cocktail in my hand on the LA scene most weekend evenings. On the evening in question, I thought I was going to support my close friend who'd just given up her pop star-rock star dreams to sing something called "kirtan" and another friend who fancied becoming something called a "guru." They were hosting an evening that would be a combo concert and spiritual lecture called a "satsang." I was game, but became so weirded out after arriving. First of all, they made me take off my shoes in order to enter. Huh? Second of all, I am not camper and this event was being held in what looked a hell of a lot like a big fat tent. I firmly believed that if I were to camp, that camping should happen inside a cabin. Preferably with a bathroom that has a spa tub and a fireplace. I support "glamorous camping"...I'm a "glamper." But I digress...I will embarrassingly admit here that I was a hipster who turned up my nose at those hippie dippy types. So when I climbed through the flaps of this small circus tent that smelled faintly of weed (I later learned that it wasn't weed I smelled, but sage which is burned to energetically cleanse a space) and discovered a group of about 25 people dressed in floaty Indian clothing, I was not amused. At that point, I felt obligated to stay to support my friends. Stuck, I plopped myself on the floor with the hippies.
My pop tart rock star friend was seated on the floor in what was the makeshift "front" of the tent, surrounded by a handful of other musicians on an extra pile of blankets. She and her ragtag band began to play and sing in what I can only say was something completely foreign to my ears. It was simultaneously kinda strange, mystical and beautiful. They were singing in Sanskrit, an ancient language often associated with Hinduism (like Latin is to Catholicism) and much to my dismay, the hippies around me began to sing along in a call-and-response fashion like it was their mother tongue. Many of them didn't even sound good while belting out this garbledy-gook, and even more startling, was that they didn't seem to care. I was alarmed. And fascinated. And by the time my other guru-wannabe friend gave her talk and then invited everyone up to get individual blessings by her, I was hooked. Between the Sankrit chanting that kinda made me go into an altered state and this magical blessing the guru-in-training gave me which made me have visions of a heavenly, other-worldly realm, something awakened in my heart and soul that night. God, Spirit, Source--whatever you want to call it, it's all good to me--came for me.
Ashamed at my judginess, I realized that I was just like all of those hippie spiritual seekers around me...we were seeking the same thing: connection, love and grace. I became one of them that night. I would take a Divinely inspired journey the likes of which would bring me so much joy, gratitude and fulfillment. It would also break my heart and cause me to question everything I believed about myself, people and even God. I did things that changed lives for the better, but I also did things that created such an inner struggle and manifested fear, shame and anger. At myself. At the people closest to me. And yes, even at God.
I learned so much from my Almost Famous, Eat, Pray, Love Life when all was said and done. What it looked like shortly after I left the yurt in the dirt that night was that I'd agreed to manage my friend and her new-agey yoga music career for better or worse. After thousands of miles on the road managing a spiritual band on the rise with a mission to create peace through their music, countless times at the feet of various gurus, shamans and charlatans--both literally and metaphorically, life at the blink of an eye backstage overstuffed with behind the scenes antics, ever-growing egos and delusions to match them, it all threatened my sanity and finally brought me to my knees. The light and dark sides of the ego and soul would unravel me bare.
In the bargain, I found myself.
I lost myself.
Only to find myself again in the end.
Behind the mystical, magical and even magnificent world of alternative spirituality and its assorted cast of characters including shamans, yoga teachers, life coaches, new thought leaders, preachers, gurus, healers and a pile of devotional music artists, lies a world of seductive shadows. The real, the unreal and the surreal...and everywhere in between. I went there. I've remained quiet about it all until now. As it would turn out, I needed a few years to heal my heart, lick my wounds, get the spring back in my step...yeah, what I really mean is I needed time to get my head screwed back on straight. And now that it is (most days anyway), I'm sharing my All-Access Pass to my Almost Famous, Eat, Pray, Love Life with you too.
Join me as I reveal my adventures and misadventures, insights, inquiries and a helluva lot of things I'm still left wondering about and daring to question after leaving that All-Access Pass life behind. Because what I know now, for sure, is that this life is a gift and living it with passion and a commitment to saying "Yes!" will always bring you deep rewards--even if it initially causes deep wounds. Living a bliss-filled life not only takes practice, it often takes courage. Whether you grab a cocktail, a glass of bubbles or some organic, vegan, gluten-free super elixir of your choice, I'm so grateful you're here! If you haven't already done so, please sign up for more juicy blogs just like this one here.
Wanna hear some of that bliss-creating kirtan music I mentioned? Check out some of my favorite artists like Girish, David Newman aka Durga Das, Donna DeLory, Shantala and so many more by tuning in to Bliss Bubble Radio! blissbubbleradio.playtheradio.com