A week ago, I saw a friend who had become recently engaged. “I guess part of planning your wedding is that you start speculating what the future might look like for you and your partner. But I can’t do it; the only thing I can say for certain about what the future looks like for me is that it looks like change.”
A year ago today, I got on a flight and left the country for six months.
A lot can happen in a year.
Time continues to be the mystery. I left on my trip when I did because all of the attachments that had been tying to me to New York seemed to be coming to a natural end. Always wanted to travel alone and I knew that something had to change, so it seemed the time to fly.
I was accidentally present for three major revolutions: Egypt in February, Athens in June and Occupy Wall Street over the Fall here in New York. I had just planned to be there at those times.
In the midst of all this, I read something about things having to break down to break through.
I had planned to go to yoga school in India but I dropped out within two weeks. I had been using that as my excuse as to why I was going there, so it felt liberating to let go of it and have no plans and putz around for a while. See the ocean, climb mountains, talk to some nice people, take train, meditate.
I had not been able to write any new music since July 2010. I was heartbroken and stuck.
When I first heard the women singing Lhamo in the Himalayas, I just lied down on the grass and listened and felt life pulsing through me. I’d never heard the voice wail like this— echoey, cthonic, holy vibration. When their teacher agreed to take me on as a student, and I began to learn the technique, I felt something unlock in me.
A lot can happen in a year. Two of my favorite living artists died within a week of each other — Lucien Freud and Amy W. I got to meet or hear some of my greatest heroes speak — Dalai Lama, Karmapa, Bob Thurman, Joan Didion. One of my closest heroes is dying now. He happens to be the person who introduced me to music in this life —
I came home and the songs poured out of me.
I can only say the same thing about the last 365 days that the homegirl said about the future: it looks like change.