Boy & Bear at SXSW 2014

I’m just gonna put this here…

Boy & Bear is a band from Australia I found at the 2012 SXSW, before they had more than a single EP. After that show we talked to one of the band members and he gave us a promo CD that maybe had 2 songs on it. They’ve gone on to make more music and albums. Was thrilled to catch them twice in Austin earlier this year and STOKED I caught this whole song on my iPhone. If you knew how full I keep my iPhone library you’d know what a miracle this was. 

This was filmed at On-Airstreaming Studios. Go check out their other things…they have some killer videos.

Boy & Bear can be found all over the place. Here’s there’s website for starters: Boy & Bear’s Official Website

Sitting in perfect weather and The Flow

I’ve spent the better part of this year learning how to let go of life’s expectations. It seems like a simple thing to do…you know, don’t expect things to be handed to you. Don’t expect my kids to finish their homework on time. Don’t expect to be acknowledged for my _____. (*work, deeds, beauty, whatever). And it’s pretty cool to see what surprises I stumble upon as I live this way. I’ve internally and with a few of my friends have termed this notion, “The Flow.” 

The Flow includes other personal pro-tips like letting go of control. Whether that be relationships or vacations or my day-to-day tasks, part of the joy of The Flow is how things fall into place just as well with little to no effort as they did with moderate to great effort. For instance, as we left for the airport I had not yet booked a stay for San Diego on Wednesday night. I was too busy and distracted and my intuition never really kicked on to say, “Get this done right this minute.” By the time we arrived at the airport my best friend (with whom I am traveling) and her husband remembered that they had Marriott points. By the time we reached our layover in Denver we had a place to sleep that was way nicer than the hovel I would have booked and it was free. That’s not even the best part! The best was that I hadn’t spent hours and hours and hours wasted trying to find the perfect place. I do that. It’s ridiculous. 

The reason we flew into San Diego (2.5 hours away) instead of Palm Springs was because I have a Life List item that I chose to start last year. Put my feet in the ocean every year for 5 years. Last year was San Francisco and I figured Palm Springs was close enough to the ocean that this trip would the perfect opportunity. That right there is where the planning stopped. 

Yesterday morning we woke up and I searched Yelp for a place to eat. We discovered that our favorite breakfast spot in the country, the WHOLE REASON we planned a 6-hour layover in Denver on Monday, had a location in San Diego that was 12 minutes away from the hotel. The Flow. At breakfast I was zooming in on a map of La Jolla beaches and found the La Jolla branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego that was walking distance to the beach. We ended up spending equal or more time at the art museum than we did at the amazing, post-card-like beach that we’ll revisit on Sunday. This wasn’t planned. It was The Flow. And it was perfect. 

Two bennies. One heavenly breakfast.

Feet in the ocean, year 2. Check! #gomighty #mightylifelist

I saw an exhibition called Lost in the Memory Palace that shifted my perceptions of what art is. It was immersive and mesmerizing. Fascinating sounds, textures, images, light and whatever else that thing is that I can’t put my finger on. The art-ness, I suppose. I wanted to spent the whole day there. 

I’m in two art shows in the next two weeks. Have I mentioned that? If you have seen me in person I’m sure I have. It’s exciting and a direct result of living in The Flow. Something looks cool, my intuition says yes and I jump right in. It’s exciting and different. Working on the pieces is a meditation for me. I’ve been chasing meditation for YEARS with little success because, apparently, I was chasing it. Wanting to control it. I must sit down and light this candle and wipe my mind and meditate for 15 minutes every morning. LIKE THE BOOK SAYS I SHOULD. 

Or.

I pick up a paintbrush and move my hands. My mind melts empty as I focus on the ever-so-immediate now-ness. My tweezers pinch rhinestone #300 and place it in the glue. I’m only concerned with filling in the rhinestones and singing along to the music on the radio. The Flow is a gorgeous experience. 

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A grand adventure in a new city

Check!

At the beginning of this year my friend Tracey demanded I submit a list of 5 things I wanted from 2013. That conversation had to have been in January, before anything much had happened in my life. When I could feel that 2013 wouldn’t be normal but I had no real idea why. I told her I already had 5 things to work on. I had my Mighty Life List and the 5 things I chose to accomplish in 2013. 

She said that wasn’t good enough. She wanted a fresh list from me. I obliged. 

One of the 5 was, “Have a grand adventure in a new city.” 

I’ve had my eye out for this item to present itself all year. I’ve had grand adventures. And I have been in new cities. They have been mutually exclusive until a week ago. 

I told my friend Nathan, who I knew was playing Rocky Mountain Folks Fest, that I was jealous he was going to be there. And that I had played around with the idea of going. Like a good little hint-reader he said, “Well, if you decide to come up I’ll be sure to put you on the guest list.”

!!!

I let that whim roll around in my head and heart for a few hours. I worked a little, then I looked at flight prices. I worked a little more then texted friends for advice (fly? drive?). I worked more then thought of all the reasons I shouldn’t. Then of all the reasons I should. Rinse, repeat. That night after an hour of yoga, I thought I had gotten clarity. I texted Tracey and told her my decision and she agreed it was the right one. I was going to stay home, not be wrecked on Monday and get things done. Help a friend pack. Go help my dad with his printer. Clean my house. Be practical. Save money. 

The next morning I woke up, did my daily meditation (more on that later) and found a great passage I shared on Facebook. 

“To cultivate the light of awareness, pay attention to the clues and evidence that miracles are unfolding in your life. Notice the unexpected opportunities that come your way, the flash of insight, a sudden feeling of peace or joy, a chance meeting, or a spontaneous creative experience. You may want to keep a list of daily miracles in your journal. Whatever we pay attention to expands in our experience, so as you focus your attention on miracles you will begin to notice more grace, happiness, and love.” 

To which Tracey replied, “Maybe you better go away this weekend after all. Be wrecked Monday. You’ve been worse.” We took the convo offline and I told her all the reasons I could not go with a list of wonderful things I’d accomplish if I stayed home. She said, “We are all going to die. Eventually. When you look back this will be one of those things you did right. You won’t remember the tired. You will remember the good vibes of music in a mountain town.” To which I replied, “Fuck.”

She was right. So….I went. I got my inbox to zero, texted a lady in Colorado I’d found the day before on a festival forum about a place to stay, ran home for 10 minutes to pack and started driving north. After 4 hours I turned left, then drove 6 more. I stopped three times for less than 10 minutes each.

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I-70 from Salina to Denver should have been soul-crushing boredom, but I was giddy. I saw so many places and things I wanted to stop and photograph: Cool/weird billboards touting Jesus or chimney sweeps or odd museums; wind turbines placed right along the highway like dinosaur-sized daisies; a small clapboard church sitting in a green, planted field (of what?) whose steeple contained a brass bell; a gradually darkening smokey blue sky containing no other color or shape but a perfectly round sun that turned from brick red to crimson and slipped beneath the wide, flat horizon. But I did not stop, because the 10 hours I had planned to travel could easily turn into 14 hours of chasing rabbits down holes and I was headed towards music — nothing else. 

Upon arrival to Lyons, CO, I felt like the biggest fucking badass that ever existed.

Ever.

Despite crawling into bed around 12:30am, it was still an hour before I was able t wind down enough for sleep. I was awash with joy and gratitude! My home stay was lodge-like and walking distance to Planet Bluegrass, which are both the festival grounds and the home of the family of festivals I adore. Driving in during the night meant that when I walked to the festival that morning, I was treated to completely spectacular scenery. 

On Saturday I was on the guest list courtesy of Seryn, my friends from Denton, TX. Those guys who crashed on my floorI arrived at the ranch with just enough time to get my wristband and watch the annual running of the tarps, a tradition that happens at most or all Planet Bluegrass festivals in which folks line up to stake their claim on prime real estate every morning. Sometimes in costume. 

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The festival without the music is so cool. Lots of laid back hippies mixed with really awesome people. There was a guy handing out bear hugs. There was the St. Vrain river that runs by so close to the stage that lots of people opt to watch from a low-slung chair sitting right in the cool flowing water. I decided that what I had packed impulsively was going to murder me slowly under the blaring Colorado sun, so I stopped into a vendor tent and bought a tye-dyed sundress. Then wore it.

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 I watched a TON of music. If you go to Flickr you can look at all the photos I managed to catch with my iPhone. Amazing day. Uh-ma-zing. 

After I wrapped up a night of crying to Shane Koyczan and Patty Griffin followed by going aaaalllll the way down to boogey town with the John Butler Trio, I sat down in a chair backstage and took a moment. Had a breath. Looked around and experienced my gratitude. Gave it to the Universe. Namaste and all that. Out of the corner of my eye I saw this guy. 

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I had spoken to him earlier in the day to compliment him on his dancing. Josh, as his name turned out to be, had looked like the happiest damn guy in the whole wide world. Completely uninhibited. I don’t remember exactly why I went to talk to him, I just did. I am soooo glad I did. We got to chatting and I told him that I was having the best damn day ever. He must have asked about my excitement level for Sunday and I told him I didn’t have a plan or a ticket. He mentioned that he had just given away his +1 media pass because he hadn’t found the writer for which it was intended and didn’t want the ticket to go to waste. I mentioned I was a writer. He groaned. I groaned. So! Close!

Josh caught a festival organizer walking by and told him of the situation. He said he would try, but made no promises. I had zero expectations. He would text Josh in the morning. Josh and I talked a while longer and, maybe because I was drunk on Colorado air, festival love and a teensy bit of New Belgium products, I followed Josh into the evening.

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We went to song circles and in the morning I got a text. I would be attending the festival with press credentials.

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Later in the week, I published an article for Marquee Magazine. The editor said that anytime I wanted to write for them, I was welcome. Please take the time to let Josh’s photo galleries roll as his talent is almost as enormous as his heart. Many, many thanks to this new friend of mine. I hope to be writing alongside him again very soon.

Bonus: This is how Dancin’ Josh enjoys music festivals.

Then, this happened…

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Then I took a shower and went to work. For lunch that day I had a nap. I napped SO HARD, you guys. 

Best! Weekend! Ever!

As I was leaving Lyons, Tracey sent me my texts from Friday morning along with a note. “Just a reminder of how lame you almost were.”

 

 

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