I flew from NYC to Tampa on February 1st for a couple of days of test shooting. I met Mehdy for the first time ever and got to see my old friend Anthony for the first time in far too many months. We got to see the T-shirt’s Owen is making for us for the first time and had Mehdy’s friend Echo model them for us. We shot, edited and scored episode 1 just in time to leave Tampa. On Wednesday we flew from Tampa to Panama and uploaded the video from the Orlando airport while on layover. We got to the hostel Mamallena some time after 3am. We spent two nights at Mamallena and then moved to the Luna’s Castle Hostel the next day for 5 nights.
Mamallena is low-key hostel with great staff, $1 beers and a hammock in the rec room. A great place to relax; perfect for how we arrived. Luna’s Castle is a different animal. Built on 4 levels of a mansion it has dorms and private rooms on the top level, a kitchen and common rooms on the 3rd level, a screening room, art gallery and other private rooms (massages!) on the 2nd level and a courtyard and a great little bar called Relic on the bottom level. Relic was packed every night we were there with both locals and travelers.
I’m sitting here now trying to compile some of the moments that have resonated the most in the pasts week and, huge surprise, they revolve around music more often than not.
- Standing overlooking the water between downtown Panama and Casco Viejo, shirt off, chanting Hebrew and the chorus to a song I wrote recently to clear my head.
- Running around through Casco Viejo with Ben and Joe of BenandJoe.com talking about the film they are shooting on chupacabras, drinking coconut water straight from the coconut with one hand while shooting video with the other.
- Sitting on the balcony at Hostel Luna’s Castle playing one of the hostels guitars with a fisherman from Alaska and a view of the Panama City skyline
- Sitting in the courtyard behind Luna Castle putting together episode 2 while drinking a Shandy (half beer, half ginger ale) with the the Spanish version of the Black Eyed Peas ‘I Got a Feelin’ blasting on repeat from behind the laundry hanging out in the ghetto next door.
- Riding around in the backseat of hostel bartender Fanny’s car singing ‘Steal My Kisses’ with Anthony to test out his karaoke veritas idea before we unleash it on unsuspecting strangers.
- A late night jam session with me on guitar and vocals and Dariusz on plastic trash bucket drum trying to get the room to sing ‘By The Rivers of Babylon’
- Sitting in the living rooms of the hostel with a guitar singing songs almost not distracted by the fear of people hearing my voice
After a bit of struggle and confusion as to what the vision for each video we were producing was we ended up putting out three from Panama City. One really focuses on Luna’s Castle, the next is a video diary of the cast/crew and the third lays out the decision that we are asking the audience to make to determine where we go to next.
I hacked together two existing tracks and layed down a bassline and high hat on a new track en homage to The Roots song ‘The Roots is Coming’ then added some Don LaFontaine style voice over to score this trailer of Mehdy deciding to up and leave the day job. Main track features Candi on violin.
We’re flying into Panama on Feb 3rd to start shooting the pilot season of The Hostel Life. Get on the website and sign up for email updates to get ready to vote on the details of what we will be doing. If your mom’s not already a fan on Facebook steal her password and become one for her. She’ll thank you later, I promise.
Chad who runs Bait and Tackle decided to enter the 48 hour film festival. This is a film making competition where the entrants have 48 hours to make a film within certain parameters that they are given right at the start of the 48 hour period including a line of dialogue. In our case, “If you come up with something good let me know”. Tony invited me up to Gloucester to play.
Chad’s vision was ridiculously ambitious. We ended up having footage of the band Guster live on stage saying lines, an underwater camera shot, shots from two planes in flight, one over the Panama canal. We shot in two states in the US as well as in Panama, had stop-motion animation, fireballs, a green screen shot, dolly shots, sunset camera boom work, too many locations to remember as well as original music written and recorded during the 48 hour period.
I ended up being credited as Sound Engineer, Music Supervisor and co-producer on two of the original songs. I provided a couple of sound effects as well.
Way too much fun. I need to do this again…..though maybe a little less ambitiously.
I’ve just joined the cast/crew of The Hostel Life. As I mentioned before, I was scoring some promotional videos to help pitch the show to some networks. I had mentioned to Mehdy, the host of the show, over a few months of working together by phone that in order to write music I need inspiration, so at some point he would have to take me on one of his trips.
I was sitting in my apartment catching up with Benjamin and buying a plane ticket to India. The plan was to fly to Bangalore on Christmas to attend The Art of Living‘s Yes+ Winter Break meditation and service courses and then backpack around for a few weeks by myself hopefully meeting up with some family who would also be traveling in India at the time. I would fly out of Delhi returning to NYC on January 22nd. Literally as I was pushing the purchase button my phone rang. It was Mehdy. He told me that he was planning his next trip, the first real attempt at the show with networks watching. And he was putting together a new cast/crew. It’s going to be a three person team. Mehdy is the host. Luke is the Director of Photography. They needed one more person; a sound guy, second camera, co-writer, editor, photographer, jack-of-all type…and I was his first choice. The travel details will be up to you (the audience), but it is looking like it will be to South America for 5 weeks.
“When do you leave” I asked
“January 22nd” he replied
Interesting right? This was on Monday December 14. I decided that I couldn’t leave for over two months without some more prep-time and out of respect for my day job. So, I postponed my trip to India and will be heading where ever people send us with The Hostel Life. We meet up in Tampa on Feb 1st for a couple of days of test shooting and then we will be leaving the country. We’re going to be moving fast and covering a lot of ground. We will each have a lot of responsibilities potentially both on and off camera.
The success of this thing is going to lie heavily on audience participation. This is truly intended as an interactive guide to traveling on a budget. There will be polls on the website and what the audience votes we do within the budget while showing you how. The idea is to show how you can have an amazing adventure while on vacation for $300-400/week. We’re not talking about sitting in a little hut on the beach. We’re talking about getting off the beaten path a bit and seeing the exotic as well as festivals, fairs, natural wonders, music, doing service in the community and meeting as many unique and interesting people as possible. I think I’m going to document the food that we find in each region as well.
We will be off the grid a fair amount, but are committed to finding the internet every few days and uploading video and other content to the site.
So PLEASE find The Hostel Life on Facebook and become a fan. The page just went up, but we already have over 2,000 fans. A lot of them are from India, which excites me. Maybe they’ll vote the show there next. You can also sign up for email updates on the web site. You’ll probably hear me petitioning for certain outcomes for the polls, so I may need your help steering the ship to interesting places. I never promised to be impartial.
Check out the photos page on the site. I’ve just put up some photos of my trip to Brazil.
Owen Beckmann recently put me in touch with an old friend of his named Mehdy Ghannad. Mehdy is a world traveler who has mastered seeing the sites on the cheap and now wants to inspire and educate others to do the same. To that end he is pitching a TV show called The Hostel Life to a number of networks. It’s basically a reality show that will follow him on his travels. He will be operating on a limited budget ($300 a week I believe) and the fun part is that there will be a website where the audience can interact with him and even choose where he will be going.
Mehdy has asked me to provide music for the clips, and hopefully for the show if it gets picked up. So check out the two vids I’ve got here and then head over to The Hostel Life on Facebook and become a fan. The more people show an interest the better the chances of this thing getting picked up. And who knows, I just might get to do some traveling around myself.
My most recent Facebook update read: Devin ‘s week of airports looks like LGA->SYR->BUF->LGA->RDU->ILM->ATL->LGA for Security and Reiki.
I’ve been traveling a bit lately for work. I’ve been in Dallas and Austin, Syracuse and Buffalo; threats of Georgia and Boston that will probably manifest in the near future. I’m in transition from being the Operations Manager for the Northeast Region to becoming something like National Accounts Manager for Tutela. I’ve decided that managing others in this industry is just not something I enjoy very much. I think that because my nature is to work very independently I have a hard time relating to others need to be micromanaged. So I’m not gonna put myself through it anymore. So far I’m enjoying the new role quite a bit.
I flew in to Syracuse on Tuesday, took the guy in charge of the facility there out for lunch, then walked his site with him designing a CCTV system that will cover every inch of his data center with cameras. Then I rented a car and drove to Buffalo to walk a few sites there and then fly back to NYC.
I took Friday and Mon-Tue off to go to North Carolina to visit Antoinette and get Reiki attunements. Antoinette is a Reiki master (along with masseuse and midwife in training). I flew in to Raleigh Friday evening. Owen, who will be doing the artwork for The Emergence album, picked me up at the airport and we got to grab some food and hang out for a few hours. Great to see him again. Then Alan swung by to pick me up. I finally got to meet his beautiful fiance Shelby and hear all about their whirlwind meeting, falling in love and then engagement. Looks like Mr. Genser will be in Cali by March. Mazel Tov
Then I got dropped off at Antoinette’s friend Jenny’s house where we spent the weekend learning Reiki; level 1 on Saturday followed by Level 2 on Sunday. I never would have guessed 6 years ago when I met Antoinette going to her house for meditations that I would end up learning Reiki. She’s done a great job of cracking my head open and creating space for wonder and awe over the unknown to creep in alongside the science bit by bit over the years. Love you to death Antoinette. I miss you. We can’t go this long without seeing each other again.
I really need to get more of my loved ones together, living in one place at some point.
After reiki Antoinette and I drove out to her place in Wilmington. It was cold, but we got to see a sunset and a sunrise at the beach and spend some long overdue quality time together.
We walked around a lake looking for (and finding) some blue herons and taking pics with Brendon and his father. I also got an AMAZING 2 hour massage from Antoinette right before heading to the airport. She spent the entire time on my back and my neck. That was much needed. I was sore for a couple of days, but used the pain to get in touch with my body in places that I obviously had been neglecting. Getting back into my daily practice over the past 4-5 weeks has really been a blessing for this and many other reasons.
So it seems that this is part of how I find balance these days. I work in corporate environments installing massive, networked security systems and I then I go and learn the healing art of reiki with my more spiritually aligned friends. Surely my path is taking more interesting turns every day. I’ll put something up soon about Nutrition classes and where this seems to be taking me.
For now all is well in Williamsburg, chillin at home with Agape.
I just returned from Whidbey Island, WA where I was attending the Integral Education Conference put on by Next Step Integral. About 60 people gathered from various spots on the globe to discuss education from an integral perspective. First I had to get there.
I got in to Seattle around 11:20am. David was supposed to meet me at the airport about an hour later flying in from Boston, but air travel sucks and he was delayed about 12 hours. Looks like I was on my own in the city.I went to Pikes Market where I may have seen some guys singing four part harmony in front of the first Starbucks, a bunch of hippy’s, tourists, beggers and locals. I got a vegan chili dog at Cyber Dog Cafe. I went to see a matinee of Hancock, not bad, I like the twist, it’s kinda sweet and Therone looks hot as hell. I didn’t even realize she was in it. I bought the softest pair of jeans I have ever felt at Road apparel. They’re made out of wood. Real nice salesman there has a daughter in Brooklyn. I asked him where I should hang out and he recommended a neighborhood called Belltown.
Since it was looking like David was not going to make it in time for our planned night out on the town I debated going to a Whole Foods to buy a bunch of enzymes I had been reading about on the plane and then heading back to the hotel, but decided to hit a bar on my lonesome for at least one beer to see what kind of trouble I could get into.
I sat down next to a construction worker named Rich. Great guy, and the perfect solution to my situation. Rich is the type of guy who will randomly buy a round of jello shots for the people in his vicinity and strikes up conversations with everyone. He lives in Belltown, and also seems to be a bit of a drinker. We started at Buddha Bar, moved to Rendezvous, then Alibi Room , then Sonya’s . Many drunken hours full of conversation with a wide variety of locals later I took a cab back to the hotel where David was already asleep in bed.
The next morning we were on the ferry on heading over to Whidbey Island. It is a beautiful place and at this particular time it was full of amazing people.
We snuck away from the conference for a few hours to go to one of the state parks on the island and hike a few miles in a beautiful lush forest with an ancient cedar that is over 500 years old.
The conference was great. It was full of a rich mix of truly inspired individuals all eager to share their appreciation for the world with children and determined to get better at doing so every day. There were presentations and experiential exercises. We sang, danced, played frisbee and walked around a labyrinth. I met a great variety of educators young and old, each of whom taught me something about life.
David and I rented a guitar from a local music shop and got to play our new music for the first time in front of a couple of intimate groups of people in the beautiful sanctuary on site. A beautiful room with amazing sound. I’d love to record there some time.
No idea how this experience fits into my career goals, but I’m glad I went and would love the chance to return some time.
Internet Protocol (IP) addresses
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Structured Query Language (SQL) Database Administrator (DBA)
Distributed File System Replication
Security Access Request Forms (SARF)
NetBios Name Resolution
Microsoft Terminal Services Client (MSTSC)
Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)
Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN)
WINS Resolution (Windows Internet Naming Service)
Dynamic Host Resolution Protocol (DHCP) Reservation
Quality of Service (QOS) Management
Communications Interface Module (CIM)
Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID)
Why do I have any familiarity with these things?
Amazing what we fill our heads with. I thought I opted out of the desk life for a blue collar job. Seems my career has morphed on me. Shit, I thought I had a day job, took me a while to even consider it a career. I used to spend my days filthy at construction sites, crawling under houses pulling cable, drilling concrete while standing on the very top of a ten foot ladder, hanging cameras, wiring card readers and control panels, contacting windows and doors, adjusting motion detector sensitivity, hanging intercoms and terminating cables on DVR’s. Now I write a lot of emails, spend hours on the phone, go on sales calls, act as a consultant, oversee others and take people out to dinner. Some times I miss the simplicity of completing a task with my hands, my thinking mind shut off or absorbed with something finite, entering that flow state that being good at manual labor allows; drawing blood and feeling my muscles ache, knowing that the dirt is so ground into the lines in my hands that there is no way they will be clean today……and leaving it all behind when the work day is over.
I spent the week in Charlotte, NC coordinating the installation of a disaster recovery solution for a nationwide access control system for a Fortune 100 company. Funny how these things work out.
I was in a dream at an Integral Salon and we were discussing the difference between rational understanding and ‘knowing’ when these cries of “Budhha” came crashing through and woke me up. Turns out it was Talia, at all of 21 months old, screaming from the other room. I asked Candi if I was hearing her right and she said, ‘yeah, sometimes she says that’.
I’m in Boston this weekend. I drove up with my sister and brother-in-law yesterday. I dropped them off and went to David and Candi’s house to work on our music and hang out with their daughter Talia. Tonight I am going to see my parents in Ashland and then we are taking my mother out to the Top of the Hub for dinner to celebrate her retirement after over 25 years of teaching. I don’t think she’s done yet. She has much left to give in ESL (English as a Second Language)
David and I have been writing songs and preparing to record them this summer. We are going into the studio next weekend to do a preliminary acoustic recording to help us hear what the full production versions of the songs may sound like and also to hand out to other musicians we are going to invite to play on it. Our working title for the project has been Witness (no more DaVerse), but it looks like we are going to end up calling ourselves The Emergence. Here is a list of songs that we are working on/considering for the album. Some of them are working titles.
Stuck in the Middle
It is I
Torn by the Highs
Wake the Dawn
I Before Abraham
One Great Sea
Lost in Place
To die by these Kisses
dum dum beat
Todays news changed everything.
If you make it all the way through this you may understand a little better.
I’m reeling in disbelief at the moment.
I imagine I will cry about it later.
This post was written in the preceding week
Ceremony #3 – 130ml
Intention – Purpose
When I was living in Raleigh, North Carolina I became very close friends with Antoinette. Antoinette led a meditation group that I was a part of. She is a healer. She currently makes her living through massage and reiki, but is in the process of becoming a midwife. I spoke to her on the phone before leaving for Brazil and she offered to be available during the ceremonies if I wanted to reach out to her in some way. I said something stupid about how I’d tell her what she was wearing when I saw her. She said that if I wanted to meet up on an astral plane than that could be fun, but that she was hoping to meet up somewhere higher. I wasn’t exactly sure what she meant by higher, but I agreed and left it at that. I then forgot about it and never told her exactly when the ceremonies would be.
This ceremony is the hardest to relate by far. It was an exceptionally personal manifestation of the transpersonal and is also just fucking weird. The back story is just personal, though not just my person. I will do my best to set up the experience without saying too much.
I fell in love when I was about 13. We were neighbors and used to sneak out of the house at night and look at the stars. She always had a boyfriend and I never told her how I felt. Many years of intermittent friendship and silence followed before our paths crossed in NYC. We spent beautiful, drunken nights kissing in the rain and declaring our love. We moved in together shortly there after. Less than a year later I asked her to move out to take care of herself. We maintained something long distance for a few months leading up to a party at a friends house.
Many young couples were there; many of them with their children. I knew that this was what I wanted, a family of my own, but the events of the evening showed me that she was not yet ready. I told her that I did not want to see her until she had three months of health (I’m being vague cause it’s only partially my story).
Some months later it was new years, I was in Boston writing music with David and I needed to go pick up my cat, Agape, from her apartment. She calls me the night before and tells me that she is 4 months pregnant. It is not mine. We had not been together in about six. She looks pregnant when I see her.
We still talk a little and are friends. I will always love her in many ways, but our lives do not seem to be aligned. She is in a tough situation with the unplanned, but wonderful gift of pregnancy and I want to be supportive of her as a friend. That was about how far I had considered the situation and it was not my (conscious) intention to dig much deeper. I had my own selfish work to do. This ceremony was to be about my purpose.
I decided to attempt to keep my eyes closed this time. In the previous two ceremonies I tried to keep my awareness in the room. I kept my eyes open and called for all hallucinations to work with that which was already present. This time I invited any and all visions to come as they choose. I started this process by closing my eyes and attempting to envision a door directly in front of my third eye. This alone was very difficult to hold at first.
I did not work with any type of mantra or other words. If anything, this night I was attempting to access emptiness as a means of creation more than any other. Other than the door, I worked to free myself from any and all thoughts as they arose in my awareness. I began to cultivate a stillness as I sat in my meditative posture.
I laid down much quicker this night than the others; well before the one hour mark. This is where the discomfort began and it became extreme.
My ex-girlfriend came into my awareness. It became clear to me that I had not dealt with her impending baby. She was then about 7 ½ months pregnant. I was aware and at peace with this as a fact, but had not in any real way dealt with this new person as a person.
As I lay on my back it started to become clear that this is what I was doing. For some reason this unborn child was firmly planted in my awareness at this moment. To say I chose this wouldn’t quite make sense. I started to feel a pull to curl up into a fetal position. As in meditation, I simply noticed this and then did my best to remain still with it as we had been instructed by Sylvia. When meditating I have often been informed that when impulses to act arise it is best to notice them and let them pass. If I am sitting on the cushion and I think ‘Oh shit, I need to call the vet!’ it is best to recognize this, create a space for this to be necessary, but to recognize that it does not have to happen now. If the thought arises again, then the same noticing, labeling, letting go is used. If the thought arises 4, 5, 6 times, then quite possibly you should get up off the mat and go call the fucking vet. Meditation is not to be used as an escape from our responsibilities to the world. If something is important, than by all means give it your attention. Much in this way it became important for me to curl up on my right side facing Cida, Nara’s mother. What followed is quite difficult to explain and was amazingly hard to experience. I will do my best.
What I eventually began attempting to do was to bring her unborn child into the room with me. I can’t explain why, but it seemed like something I needed to go through, something I was afraid to confront, or just something that was happening that I needed to be present with. The explanation that I am offering from here on in should sound impossible. What I experienced felt true and may always be possible and/or happening, but only as the result of a vastly increased, or strongly altered, perception of reality.Time, space and the boundaries of self/other become incredibly transparent. I experienced many things at once that consensus reality claims must exist separately. I’m not claiming some sort of power nor am I claiming to have lost touch with reality. I will simply explain my subjective experience as I experienced it. This is one form of truth, let’s call it truthfulness.
I began by simply attempting to visualize or visually hold this unborn child in the room. She did not come easily. Luckily when she did come it was with the womb, as this might have otherwise been fairly messy. What I experienced in my attempts to hold her there was, ultimately, the process of becoming her. I must be clear that I was not interested in picturing her in my mind. I was attempting to share something much more profound with her. It felt as if she was reaching out to me in this moment and it was less of a choice and more of a realization that what I needed to do was share this moment with her. I needed to hold her here with me….as me.
In my attempts to do so, in my attempts to be with her, despite the necessary ‘breaking of the rules’ of time and space that this implies, I was not able to only break the rules in the ways which might make this easy for me, they were simply disappearing all together.
What the hell am I talking about?
With each glimpse, with each moment of her entering my awareness came a flood of other information. In my attempts to be with her here and now the enormity of the ever present eternity that is now came rushing in. It was intensely painful, joyful, uncomfortable and overwhelming. I honestly felt that it was destroying me and that there was no way that I could do it myself, if it was possible at all. It felt like way too much information for me to handle. I was writhing on my mat, letting out gasps and sighing as I swallowed the enormity of so much truth. I felt shattered and alive, awake and overwhelmed. I was instantly experiencing her throughout many different, perhaps all moments in her life. I met new people, went different places at different times in her life. And in each and every moment I was feeling things, places and people through her….as her. I/she fell in love, went to college, experienced joy and loss and adventure. This remained incredibly uncomfortable for quite some time. I can not accurately describe the sensations. There were far too many of them all at once.
At some point though it seemed to begin to be possible to be with her here and now. She came into the ceremony space with me. I wasn’t sure how, but something had changed. Later, when things had calmed and I was able to be more aware of some of my other senses I would realize that there was someone behind me, a warm mothering presence that was helping me to hold Addison here and now. Antoinette had come to help bring this child into my world. I didn’t have to look, but I knew that she was there.
Part of an unborn child’s experience, the most stable part at this moment, is being in the womb. This obviously involves an almost constant in and out of liquids; a feeding and dumping cycle that is incredibly fluid in the most literal of ways. With increasing doses of ayahuasca one thing that seems to be present for people is purging…..puke. I have theories about why this is, but haven’t had much direct experience to confirm/deny these theories with. I have a relatively solid stomach and other than the fleeting awareness of the possibility and the momentary sensations that accompany this I have not seriously considered doing so…until now. Something about sharing this experience, how ever real this was or seemed, made the possibility of purging incredibly real and present. I maintained, kept that part of my insides internal. But it was a very real sensation of being in such a vulnerable and formative state. And something else did come up.
What became apparent, through a wall of tears and sighs, of pain and smiling, deep breaths and long moments without any, was exactly what was happening here in this mess of time and space, as self and other were falling away. I was falling in love with my ex-girlfriends unborn child. It is a strange realization that I don’t expect to completely make sense to you. In many ways it does not matter if this child is a part of my day to day life or if I never actually meet her. I already love her. Always will. Perhaps always have…not really sure how that one works. I don’t mean this in any superficial or easy going sense. The implications of this were huge and difficult to digest; such a sense of what can be lost and what gained. I felt overwhelmed, grateful, scared and absolutely full of love. The impact of this realization is enormously powerful to me still.
In relation to my initial intent in this ceremony, to explore purpose, I now felt the weight of my creative potential in a whole new way. The enormity of creating a child carries a whole new weight. The question of what I am doing, right now, to make life easier for this and every other child in the world is present in a new way. The many ways that we are each connected (ultimately have never been apart to be connected) holds a bit more weight in my mind than it ever has before.
Many have long recognized that dreams contain symbols, metaphors, archetypes. Dreams allow us to not only see, but experience situations that can be symbolic of greater truths. What I experienced with this child was a connection to the unborn, to the life that is to come and also to the process of life as it is now coming, being, suffering and rejoicing. It was an intensely personal experience, but the implications of it were so far beyond me and her, my life and hers. The whole experience was simultaneously an individual realization of potency and smallness, of responsibility and of insignificance. It compels me to witness and to embrace, to provide for and to appreciate. I’m rambling on because words suck at relating such an experience. I think I’l
It would be mistaken to view my transpersonal interpretation of this personal experience as being a distancing from the personal aspect. It is intensely personal, all the more so because of the universal truths that it symbolizes.
When I wrote this I realized that before I published it I should call my ex-girlfriend to have her read it and tell me if she was ok with it being online.
I just got off the phone with her. She asked, “Devin, when did this happen?” – I told her the date.
“Devin, what time of day was this?”
The ceremony described above happened on the night of April 6th leading into the morning of April 7th. “Devin, I was in the hospital at that time.”
At 3:27am on the morning of April 7th, while I was in the ceremony space, her child was born.
She was 10 weeks premature.
She died 4 days later.
I will never meet her.
…..now I’m crying