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Monday Musings ~ The Writer’s Corner: Poetry & Inspiration from Author Camilla Downs


Today we find ourselves at the last day of 2018 and the eve of a New Year. Many people find this a time to review the past year with reflection, gratitude, release, and openness to seeing where they might want to make changes that will be more supportive for the intentions calling to their hearts. It’s times like these that inspirational stories can really hit home and be way-showers and fuel to our passion flames, so this felt like the perfect day to share some poems and works from a woman who is truly an inspiration.

Today’s Monday Musings from The Writer’s Corner highlights Camilla Downs.

I haven’t met Camilla in person – yet – although we came close at the beginning of this year. With her living so close by in Reno, I know it’s just a matter of divine timing and alignment that we will, especially being that we share the same birthday – 2/26.

Yet, social media has been a connective bridge between us and this is how I’ve come to know her and her incredible children, Lillian and Thomas.

Camilla is a single parent who has encouraged, nurtured, and supported her beautiful children to be all they can possibly be and to live life fully despite Lillian’s rare chromosome deletion called 18p-, and Thomas’s challenges with sensory processing. In doing so, she has learned to do the same and so they walk this journey hand-in-hand.

The three of them are a powerhouse team, they’ve lovingly dubbed “Team TLC” to correspond with the first letters of each of their names, who have all self-published a book. Each of them have amazing gifts, have accomplished so much despite challenges, and are truly an example of vulnerable strength, compassion, and unconditional love.

I admire Camilla so much and find her to be a true inspiration, amazingly brave mother, woman, and soul, and a living embodiment of what it means to keep deepening into and expanding the heart as an example of unconditional love at work.

The connection the three of them have together is one of balancing teaching and leading, with learning and guidance. It has taken them to dark depths and soaring heights together. It is through their devotion and commitment to each other and themselves that they support the blossoming of one another and are spreading love to the world.

Camilla is a best-selling author of “D iz for Different – One Woman’s Journey to Acceptance,” blogger at http://camilladowns.com/ and inspirational speaker. Her passion is writing, sharing her life experiences, mindfulness, meditation, emotional connection, and nature photography.

I chose the following two of her newer poems to share with you today, as they feel to speak to themes and messages I feel prevalent in the collective and that I thought might be inspiring, shifting, and/or comforting as you embark on a New Year.

Following the poems you’ll find some words from Camilla, herself, and links to her published works, as well as her children’s. I share all of these links, which include some great book trailer videos for all three of their books that Camilla created, because it reflects how we truly can accomplish anything we set our hearts and minds too, no matter our circumstances nor how much life throws our way.

Camilla, you are a true inspiration and motivation for others to follow their dreams and see them through in 2019.

Thank you for sharing all of who you are with all of us and for being such a guiding light in your children’s lives, as much as I know they are for you too. I imagine we’ll continue to see a lot more of all of you in the years to follow.

I’m grateful to know you and call you my friend, sweet Pisces sister.

 

One Breath at a Time by Camilla Downs

One breath at a time, dear one

You find yourself in a vast ocean of your own creation.
An ocean full of the humanness of life.

Joy, love, peace,
laughter, happiness, abundance,
beauty, compassion, kindness.
Fear, sadness, greed,
competition, judgments, shame,
guilt, jealousy, loneliness.

At times you feel as if you
are on the verge of drowning.

One’s arms and legs have become
heavy with the struggle of this
ocean swirling with humanness.

What is one to do?
There is no place to return.

You jumped in knowing
there was only One Way to survive
in this vast ocean of humanness.
One breath at a time.

For as you breathe each breath
it is another opportunity
to feel the humanness of life.

Feel all of it,
the comforting and
the unlovely,
and then release it into
the vast ocean to be
cleansed by Mother Earth.

For one day you will feel
the heavy burden begin to
lift from your arms and legs.

You will know only the
unconditional love of this
ocean of humanness.
All the rest is still there.
Yes, it is.
Still swim in it, you do.

Yet, it just brushes by you
as you are drenched in the
unconditional love of all that is.

Rather than struggle
You move in harmony
with the humanness.

One breath at a time,
See, there it is ..
You just took another breath and another
and another … Keep breathing, Keep swimming
in this vast ocean and know
you are not alone.

You are surrounded and uplifted
by the One Love and breathe
it in with each breath.

You cannot escape the One Love.
It is always with you.

One breath at a time.

~

Nature’s Abundance by Camilla Downs

I feel the frosty cold
embrace as You brush
across this body.
I feel and Know
your Abundance.

I touch and hug
the beautiful,
scarred and knotted
trees that sprout
and grow from Your soil.
I feel and Know
your Abundance.

I delight in the sparkling
and unique snowflakes
as they drift from
the brooding clouds
above and lightly fall
upon this body.
I feel and Know
your Abundance.

Lo, even as I dodge
and walk through
the nuggets of
geese waste left
behind by these
majestic and
interesting creatures,
I feel and Know
your Abundance.

Yes, I feel Your abundance
I Know it now.

It’s been a long road
getting to this
glorious and bountiful place.
Yet, I have arrived.

I have arrived
to the freedom
of Knowing this …

I am made of bits
and pieces of You.
You are made of
bits and pieces of me.
This body and ether
mix with Your essence
as we collide.

I see it now.
All that is made
of You is Good.
ALL, I say, ALL!

Even as your form is
changed and no longer
resembles Your essence.
It is of You.
And, it is Good.

Humans take and borrow
from you to create,
grow, and make
the things we must
have to survive,
yet also the things
we think we need,
and the things we
simply want so
as to fill a void.
Grateful for your
abundance and gifts
I am.

We take your trees
and metals and we
make this mysterious
and sometimes elusive
thing called money.

We make it into
something it is not.
It is only of
You and we use it
for good, for bad,
for our benefit,
and for the benefit
of others.

One slight shift
in awareness of
what money truly is ..

That is True Freedom.
Freedom to respect
and love that money
stuff of which
contains Your essence.

Knowing, absorbing
and feeling
Your abundance
has brought on
this shift from
lack to abundance.

Thank You
Mother Earth.
Thank You
Nature.

I feel and Know
your Abundance.
You are Abundance.
I Am Abundance.
And so it is.
I Am.

****************

 

 

Contributor Note from Camilla Downs

I love walking. I am out for walks anywhere from three to six days a week. I have a deep connection with trees and love spending time with them. Nature is partly the inspiration for my writings and poetry.

And partly the inspiration to write is a desire to process my own life experiences; to give them an outlet through writing. Writing in this way allows me to feel and release experiences and to receive comfort and answers via these writings. Writing holds my heart and guides me to confront the unlovely and harsh thoughts that litter my mind at times. Yet, also to fully experience the joyful and peaceful moments of this life.

Most times when I sit to write a poem, I will first look through nature photographs I have taken. I will feel an internal nudge to use one as inspiration for whatever I am about to write. The writing flows so fast, I can barely keep up with “grabbing” it all before it’s gone!

My writings are not only poetry. I write of my own life experiences and how I’ve processed the experiences. It was around the year 2008 that I repeatedly received a determined internal nudge to openly share my life and experiences. I continually brushed this aside thinking I had nothing of importance to say or share with others. The nudge was so persistent that I finally gave in and began sharing.

In addition, I am a mentor through “The Alchemy of You” mentoring sessions to empower others from within. This 4 session mentoring brings peace of mind to one in the midst of confusion, stress or disempowerment. Followed by or accompanied with a deep sense of appreciation for one’s self.

Further, these sessions assist others with decision making, being one’s true self and speaking one’s truth, knowing the solutions to situations, diffusing internal triggers when they arise, and paving the way for more harmonious relationships with loved ones and strangers alike.

http://camilladowns.com/thealchemyofyou/

I’m also a single mom to two beautiful beings; 17 year old Lillian Darnell and 13 year old Thomas Darnell. I’ve been single parenting them for the past 12 years. Lillian has a chromosome deletion called 18p-; which manifests in various challenging ways.

These two ignited a spark within and have been an integral branch of the spiritual path I travel. Thomas and Lillian have taught me empathy, compassion, patience, nonjudgment, and what it means to unconditionally love others.

We each have a published book and I am working on my second book, “Walk With Me Journey to the Center of My Soul”. To learn more about our books, visit here … http://camilladowns.com/books/

 

Published books:

D iz for Different – One Woman’s Journey To Acceptance by Camilla Downs

Biggest Little Photographer by Thomas Darnell and Camilla Downs

Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories by Lillian Darnell and Camilla Downs

This one link will take readers to all 3 books in one spot … http://camilladowns.com/books/

And, just for fun here’s the book trailer for each book:

Where Would You Fly: https://youtu.be/4OwzBMq1S8o

Biggest Little Photographer: https://youtu.be/LYUOex6s5-s

D iz for Different: https://youtu.be/3GUo0ZNny_s

 

Online articles and poetry:

Camilla Downs’ Soul Writer Blog:

http://camilladowns.com/blog/

 

elephant journal article:

https://www.elephantjournal.com/2016/03/dear-meltdown-welcome-meet-my-friend-mindfulness/

 

The Urban Howl poetry:

http://theurbanhowl.com/2018/04/11/path-of-love-camilla-downs/

http://theurbanhowl.com/2018/04/17/may-we-all-release-expose-this-beautiful-space-within-camilla-downs/

http://theurbanhowl.com/2018/04/23/have-patience-when-dancing-with-the-shadows-of-your-being-camilla-downs/

http://theurbanhowl.com/2018/06/01/the-path-of-the-heart-will-emerge-camilla-downs/

 

Women’s Spiritual Poetry:

http://womenspiritualpoetry.blogspot.com/2017/02/free-to-be-you-by-camilla-downs.html

 

Australian Institute On Intellectual Disability Article:

http://camilladowns.com/2015/11/12/my-journey-with-intellectual-disability-and-relationships-a-short-memoir/

 

Get Busy Being


15170931_10210677051109616_7321877832545820838_n.jpg

A writer writes.

An artist creates.

A human loves.

A rabbit hops.

A flower blooms.

A star shines.

Get busy BEING.

And it doesn’t hurt to have a magickal Peter Rabbit to remind you of who you are.

Your Dreams Have Purpose ~ Inspiration From Sanaya Roman


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mini garden malibu sunset

 

“Your dreams are there for a reason; they are guiding you to your higher path here on earth. Enlarge your vision of what is possible for you to do. Dare to dream and think big.

 

20160111_165213_resized

sunset on pacific coast highway

 

Your higher self speaks to you through your feelings, imagination, desires, and dreams. It shows you your life’s work by guiding you to the things that are joyful and giving you pictures of what you love to do.

 

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pre-sunrise

 

Your life’s work will be something you think about, feel connected to, are familiar with, or are already working on. It may be something you do in your free time for fun or something you tell yourself you would do if you had more free time or money. Your life’s work will involve making a contribution to humanity, animals, plants, or the earth itself.

 

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sun getting ready to rise

 

You will recognize when you are doing your life’s work by the feelings of vitality and aliveness it gives you. You will feel that your life has greater meaning and that you are making a worthwhile contribution. You will have a compelling vision or goal. You will feel happier in every area of your life. Your work will allow you to express more fully who you are; it will help you grow and evolve.” ~Sanaya Roman

 

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sunrise!

 

The Wings of Your Dreams


dreams

 

Cut not the wings of your dreams, for they are the heartbeat and the freedom of your soul. ~ Flavia

 

Live Your Dreams Now


dream it do itLife is fleeting…a blink of an eye…yet many of us keep pushing off the things in life we know in our hearts we would love to experience AND came here to experience.

Tomorrow is no guarantee, but you do have this moment.

Express the things you’ve wanted to share with others, do something courageous toward your dreams, experience something new you haven’t, and savor what you do have.

It may make all the difference and begin to write a new chapter that begins the first day you really start living. dreams

 

 

Alaska, Adventure & Aquarian Full Moons – Follow the Dreams No One but You Can See


alaska

Beginning tomorrow afternoon, I will be away for about half the month of August from the 7th and not back to things until the 20th. It’s time for a little “Tania” time to nurture and fuel my own needs and dreams.

While it’s so important to balance personal needs on a daily basis, I find that fully removing myself at times is necessary. And being a free-spirited explorer by heart, it’s a necessity to my soul to be an Earth and Cosmic traveler.

I’m really excited for this explorative time away, deepening into nature immersion of the great wilderness of Alaska and tuning in more deeply with myself from where I left off in Bimini supporting the group energy.

I’m greatly looking forward to connecting with our beautiful, ever-giving Mother Earth, and listening to the messages she will whisper through this vast part of the country and the untamed splendor, wonder, solitude, and grandeur she offers for exploration there. I welcome and honor this opportunity to connect with the array of her animal children and to open to the adventure this rich part of the country has to share.

There are so many animal friends to be surprised by in Alaska from land, to air, to water…I’m like a child on Christmas morning awaiting what life will unwrap during my time there.

I couldn’t ask for a more perfect reflection to tune into the raw and natural part of myself – my true voice – and to explore my own dreams to see where they guide me.

And so far it seems that Spirit has been conspiring to make this a special trip, as some really incredible synchronicities and magickal alignments have taken place to support it.

“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” ~Oprah Winfrey

We’ve put together a land-based adventure of Alaska, full of experiences sure to take my breath away and remind me of how when I live my dreams, that every day is awe-inspiring. And as always, I will be connecting with the collective and tuning in to energetic work I can assist on the grid.

It’s also very cool that not only will the days be filled with long hours of sunshine – currently sunrise is 5:45 am and sunset is 10:24pm – but there will be the illumination of a Full Moon during this time as well. So a lot of “light” shining and bringing to “light” things as a supportive theme partner for my journey. Not only will I see the conscious, but also the deeper, darker, unconscious, which is perfect for integration, balance, and wholeness.

Full Moon energies begin about 5 – 7 days before the actual fullness occurs, and so we are already leading into this Aquarian-sparked experience now, since the Full Moon is on the 10th. So, this can be an intense time, with closure coming to a head in any or all areas of your life, but this is in order to create a new and fresh start. Full Moons also herald greater passion to stir from within you, which alerts you to your own inner desires and aligning you with more focus and clarity for bringing something fresh into your life.

This Aquarian Full Moon is also one of three summer Super Moons that have occurred in a row, which is when the Moon is closets to the Earth. Sun is in Leo which, combined, focuses on the now, personal identity, leadership qualities, consciousness, creative self-expression and inspiration, heart generosity, and fiery self-confidence to bring things into being. While Moon in Aquarius, combined, highlights the past, intuition, unconscious stirrings, nurturing bigger picture humanitarian and altruistic expressions of service, feelings of independence, freedom, uniqueness, unconventionality and innovative vision, and rebelling into individualistic truth with determination.

So while Full Moons can turn on the emotional intensity, this is also tempered with the emotional detachment of Aquarius that helps bring objectivity and diversity to what is felt. Some people may feel like outsiders because they see differently and with rationality that comes from a place of knowing what is good for the soul. We experience a balancing that takes us through our individuality into how this translates and can be embraced as a higher and enduring soul mission in the bigger picture.

Again, this feels aligned with where I’ve felt guided to make adjustments and new choices that will tweak things into current vibrational alignment. And this involves the cultivation of dreams, which in essence are the soul service stirrings seeded within each of us.

I wish everyone a beautiful couple of weeks and a magickal Full Moon. I may post here and there when something inspires me while I’m away, but I will not be available for work during this time.

In the meantime, to support you with your own dreams, this months’ inspired special is a “Dream” challenge. You can read more about it below.

August Inspired Special – The Dream Challenge 

It’s been a busy first half of the year and after early September I’ll be utilizing the Fall into Winter seasonal shifts, to shift gears a bit myself and implement my current heart’s callings, as these are ever-evolving. So a little personal project time will be in store, in rhythm with the time of year’s harvesting, in order to cultivate from the stillness within.

Sometimes life is about risking everything for a dream no one can see but you.

May you walk in the power of your free will, and bask in the light of love and magick always.

Live What You Love – An Interview with Musician & Photographer John William Bauld


Today kicks off the first interview in the new series of creative and healing arts visionaries I’ve newly started sharing through guest blog spots and interviews. These visionary leaders are amazing souls, each in their own way, manifesting a new and loving reality of co-creative Earth experience. I feel it important to support each other, share stories that can provide inspiration, and to honor the beautiful and empowering work so many are embracing, as we affect the collective through our embodiment of the light within each of us.

I was honored and excited when John William Bauld accepted this interview, as I believe he beautifully embodies the essence of following your heart’s passions and spreading that love to all you touch with your gifts. Not to mention, he is an inspirational example of how trusting and supporting your bliss, abundantly manifests in harmoniously satisfying ways for self and others.

John and I met via Facebook several months ago when one of my paintings caught his attention, which then began a dialogue between us. Being two creative artists with the focus of spreading love and empowerment, each in our own way, we shared an instant rapport. Synchronously, this was right as John was releasing his debut album he had just finished recording in California – the state I happen to live in. Not long after our initial connecting, did we both, the same day, honor our intuitive feeling to send the other a supportive gift of our work. I sent John a small print of the painting he had admired and John sent me a cd of his new release and since, we have followed one another’s journeys via Facebook. His cd arrived in supportive and synchronized timing of my starting the #2 painting, Temple of the Sacred Heart,  in my new series, Universal ARKitecture, as I shared in this previous post from May of this year: Activating Greater Authenticity. I am grateful for his energetic support with my creative channeling.

The web is an amazing bridge that enables us to interface and connect on many levels with those we may never otherwise have opportunity to meet. In a way, the world wide web is like the Distant Healing Symbol in Reiki that pierces the illusion of distance, separation, time, and creates a now moment of Oneness. I’m grateful for the ability to connect with so many beautiful souls across the globe via these channels of connection and energy. It provides us ability to communicate with our “family” and to be of service to many.

I hope you enjoy a glimpse into John’s story and find some seeds of inspiration that support your own beautiful journey of “living what you love.” He not only demonstrates the power of trusting your intuitive guidance and heart, but how magical synchronicities take place when you do so. For me, I find it always lovely to hear/feel how connected we all are. It’s very cool when someone speaks and taps into the same language you use and share, demonstrating the Source we are tapping into collectively. Much gratitude to you John for your thoughtful time, giving heart, and for “being” a beautiful example for others.

John William Bauld Bio:

John is a professional photographer of 18 years and a working musician of 20 years from Burlington, Ontario. He is the owner of a commercial photography business and partner in Phusion Images Photography. John performs live with various bands, kirtan for special events, workshops and retreats, and solo, light acoustic, mantra-based music at yoga studios all around Ontario and the United States. His modern acoustic, mantra-based – meaning traditional Sanskrit mantras – music is reflected in his self-titled debut album as a solo artist with Bobbyji and produced by acclaimed, Grammy-nominated Ben Leinbach (Jai Uttal/Deva Premal, Snatam Kaur, David Newman). This album also includes special guests Sabrina Marcantonio (Moksha Square One) and features the soulful sounds of violinist Genevieve Walker of Krishna Das. The intention of the John’s mantra music is simple: to create community, healing, empowerment, and well-being through the universal language/vibration of live music combined with yoga practice. 

His band “Ananda” formed in the fall of 2010 through his kirtan leading teacher, along with the Toronto Kirtan Community’s Pat and Maie, who were instrumental in introducing the lineup of Bhakti band mates. John continues to be inspired, influenced, and open to all forms of music. Recent exciting projects include being awarded the soundtrack to the Canadian independent film “The Farmer’s Sun,” creating the original soundtrack for WWE celebrity Trish Stratus’ yoga home practice DVD, and he is the co-founder/organizer of “Yogafest,” as well as “Anandafest,” Canada’s premier annual yoga retreat and festival.

Interview with John William Bauld:

Tania:  I see you started your musical journey at age 14 when your parents gifted you an acoustic guitar. Was this something you always knew in your heart you were meant to do and have your parents always been supportive of your passions?

John:  I always knew that I was connected to a space within myself where that was connected to source, and the way to express this would be through visual art, photography and music. Coming from that place these things have always been able to flow freely through me, and I had a knowing from the first music performance I witnessed at a very young age as a child that music would be something I am involved in, not as a desire, but as something that I needed to share in whatever capacity that may be. My parents from as far back as I remembered encouraged me to follow what ever call, and supported a vocation of music and arts.

Tania:  Over your 20 year career as a musician, how has the diversity of musical styles evolved into what you are intentionally creating with your music today?

John:  The fortunate thing of growing up performing so many varying genres of music in front of live audiences, has enabled me to strip down the music to be something that directly connects with the energy of the room, venue or event, and have a mutual exchange with the audience as a participating member. It is as though everything I have learned over this career, has taken me to a place where I can unlearn all of it, and I simply listen, and pay attention to that place within, which connects to that greater source in a performance.

Tania:  Who has been an inspiration to you in developing the beautiful, modern acoustic interpretations of traditional Sanskrit mantra music you are creating?

John: I have crossed paths with wonderful teachers, many who I have worked with one on one, others in groups, the list is vast, and some are to be kept unnamed – everyone is a teacher for me. Krishna Das was a big influence, the first time I met him after a performance in New York, and heard “Baba Hanuman” in Savasana at yoga class, it was the energy in music I was looking for. Tony Murdock (Vishnu Das), has been a great teacher from the very start in every capacity, and in particular with the Sanskrit mantra language/pronunciation. I was so fortunate to meet him.

Tania:  Would you consider the mantra music you are sharing to be your greatest passion? What are your hopes and intentions for it?

John:  The mantra music is what I am most passionate about in the space I am in today, and the message is simply for those who enjoy it to connect with that place of peace, bliss, or stillness within themselves where the music takes me. The practice is always coming back to the mantra every time the mind wonders, and that in it self is perfect.

Tania: I have had the pleasure of listening to your beautiful, self-titled debut album that was just released this year – congratulations again by the way! – and found it to be soulfully inspiring and your voice to carry a beautiful resonance that touches the heart. So much so that when it arrived at the divine timing of a painting I was doing titled, Temple of the Sacred Heart, I found it lovingly supportive to the energy of that piece and directly associate its manifestation with your music. Do you hear stories like this a lot and find that your music has the ability to work on unforeseen levels in healing and opening ways? Any favorite stories you’d like to share?

John:  Thank you for sharing your experience, what a beautiful story! The music comes from a place of love, and we all have that place inside of us, and that ability to create from that space in life. I do receive many emails, and talk to students, and participants after kirtan practice who express how supportive, healing, and helpful the sound vibration was to them. In essence, that place within one is always there, if the music can aid in taking listeners away to that still place inside, it’s beautiful, though it is always there and accessible.

I have many stories, but one that keeps coming up is that many people have expressed how they play the music in their car on a regular basis to help reduce stress during traffic, it is a common theme.

Tania:  How was it to work with the amazing Ben Leinbach, who produced your album?

John:  Working with Ben was absolutely amazing, we had a blast. Many of the artists who inspired me had worked with him, and traveling to San Anselmo, California to create music in the comfort of his home studio was so inspiring. From the fun jams, to the serious arranging, and latte breaks in the afternoon, it was one of the best moments in music for me working with a true genius at their craft. He is hilarious at times, and has such a laid-back demeanor, he brings out the best in people. We were guests at his performance with Prajna which, was an unexpected treat and break from the concentration of the studio. It was an honor to co-write music together, and more recently we reconnected at Bhaktifest, West (Josua Tree, CA) where he played drums for the set with my band… we all had some great moments on stage together.

Tania:  I found the songs and their sequence to almost tell a story energetically and each integral to that story – one of my favorites being “The Ocean.” What were your inspirations behind choosing these 5 particular songs for your debut album?

John:  I had narrowed down over 60 potential songs to 17, and sent them out to Ben. Interestingly enough he selected four that were on my personal must have list that made the record. “The Ocean” was a personal favorite, and an interpretation of a song written by my good friends Carl & Brian from Big Blue X. It is the only song without a Sanskrit mantra. Ben really liked it as it was, and felt it would be nice to show another side on the record. It flows nicely, and the vastness of the Ocean, and driving the California coast while listening to first edition mixes is an image I’ll always have in my mind. People often ask why “The Ocean is my woman”, and “what does it mean?” The answer is always that if I give my interpretation away, that it will take from theirs, and what they are experiencing.

Tania:  Not only do you have this beautiful debut album, but you also perform live (did I read correctly – 300+ performances a year? –that’s awesome!) This includes kirtan events, workshops and retreats, performing live with various bands, and offering your music at yoga studios. Can you share more about that last one, and how you have incorporated your music with the practice of yoga?

John: I perform for classes in yoga studios daily, sometimes twice a day, with 365 days in a year, the 300 performances is a very conservative estimate. What I am doing is reading the energy, and weaving/surfing the music like being on a wave with sound dynamics. I sync the sound with the breath, and the asana, even at times coinciding with the mantra appropriate for the posture. It is a long story as to how this transpired, but the short version is that after attending the Toronto International yoga conference over three years back, there had been a few ladies who were at my gig the night before with my former pop/rock band. They recognized me, and asked me why I was there, and I explained that I had been practicing yoga for many years, and love kirtan music/practice. I said one sentence that firmly put me on this path, which was “as much as I love pop/rock music, I would love to perform at a yoga studio one day”. Those words changed everything for me. As it turned out, the three of them were yoga studio owners/teachers, and asked me to perform a few days later. I had put that intention out there, so I followed up with a yes, and 6 students at the first class tuned into 12 the following week, more studios were contacting me, it grew very fast from there. I am grateful, because in the same time teachers were coming into my life coinciding at that time on this new path to teach me in perfect synchronicity with events that were happening. Life is always a work in progress, I am still learning so much every day, and am aware that there is much more to come…

Tania:  You’ve been involved with some amazing things, including being a co-founder of Anandafest, Canada’s premier annual yoga retreat and Bhakti festival. How did this idea develop and how has it impacted others?

John:  Anandafest was amazing. It was a vision to bring people together, and give folks who always wanted to share their gift with the world, but didn’t have an outlet, or just needed that extra support to make that thing happen for them. I had such great partners on the event, Angela & Carl are amazing, and we are looking at bringing the festival back in 2013. In the final sharing circle, people didn’t want to go home, and shared how great it was to connect, and develop new relationships with like-minded people – it was beautiful.

Post performance band photo – Bhakti Fest, Joshua Tree 2012

Tania:  Speaking of Bhakti festivals, congratulations on your recent invite and performance at Bhakti Fest, Joshua Tree, California. I know you’re still beaming from the awesome posts and photos I’ve seen on Facebook. Can you share a little bit about this experience and how it has affected you?

John:  Bhaktifest was a whole new mountain peak in itself for me. To perform among artists who are leading the international Bhakti scene, and spend time with so many inspiring people… that is an article in itself, there are just no words to express that feeling, and being a part of what happens in the California desert. That energy is just very, very special. Shri Dar has built something that just brings out the best in us all as human beings, and gives us a glimpse of what the world can be..

Tania:  Why do you think music so profoundly moves people and why do you feel mantras in particular have this powerful effect?

John:  Music is an international, universal language. It comes from source, it is everywhere in the world, it is powerful beyond words, it is feeling, it is memory, it is love. I have found that I can be anywhere, and with a guitar people will start dancing, singing, or laughing and connect with people you have never met before. What other thing can do that? Music combined with the mantras, which have been spoken, chanted, said aloud, and repeated internally for thousands of years, contain a very beautiful frequency, and resonated with me before I was on this path of discovery.

Tania:  What do you hope others will take away from the experience of your music?

John:  Only that it takes them to that place within themselves that is truth, and still, and love – in whatever that may mean or be to that person.

Tania:  A few things that struck me about you, which really inspired wanting to do this interview, is how you just emanate a love for life, what you do, those around you, and that you have a naturally innate, heart-based, committed passion that knows nothing else, but to “be” and share what you love to do. Have you always felt this way and how has this made a difference in your experience of life?

John:  Wow, thank you for the question. I am on a path of self discovery, as we all are in our own way. I am only ever doing the best I can from the awareness that I have in the present moment, and putting out to the world the best possible version that is accessible, which is all that we can do in any moment – it is choice, and it is a practice. Working for the media at a young age as a photographer I quickly discovered one similar trait in all of those I met, who I respected greatly – from international success stories to next door neighbors. It was that anyone that had done great things, or achieved something wonderful, all operate from the same place of source, which is a place grander than themselves, beyond ego and of passion, commitment and unconditional love  – you can feel it. My only hope is to come from that place, and be in it while here..

Tania:  What I also resonate and share an affinity with you on is your free-spirit and multi-faceted expressions of creative and healing arts. You seem to have found a way to incorporate all of your gifts and loves into the many things you share as your service to others and have had opportunity to travel all over while doing so. Alongside your 20 years as a musician, you also have 18 years of professional photography artistry. Can you share a little about your photography businesses, what they embody for you, and how this part of your artistic expression developed?

John:  In high school I fell in love with the camera, and was so excited that one could actually obtain credits for taking an art class, where your job was to go out into the world and take pictures. My teacher Ian was a huge influence on me, he understood the place I was coming from, and we still keep in touch, and are friends to this day. Working for the media was a great experience for me, but I quickly learned that it is a choice to put out to the world what one is seeing through the lens, and how it will be interpreted. I quickly decided that I wanted to show people at their best. The work that comes in is always right for me, and photographing close to 500 weddings to date, I have played a small part in people’s lives on what is often one of the landmarks of a person’s story. It is a large responsibility, and I am thankful to do this work for those who entrusted me..

Tania:  What inspires and moves you most in life and how has this manifested into what you express as your passions and gifts in offering to others?

John:  Passion is everything, and those who follow their bliss, their dream, their goals inspire me tremendously. I love to see anyone who is living the experience that they wanted to have in their life, especially when it benefits many… In all of the heroes I was drawn to as a kid growing up, I was always most inspired by those who brought out the best in people through what they do, and through their actions. In music, there were people like Bob Marley and John Lennon, in martial arts Bruce Lee, and his journey to make it to the top, writers like Joseph Campbell, and politically, many great leaders who shared a message of: all people, sharing one earth, and that there is enough to go around if we want/choose it to be that way. They were always able to come from a place within themselves that was authentic, and committed to the path that was presented before them in their lives. My parents were like that growing up, and these types of people inspire me tremendously. The list is very long beyond the obvious legends, as many are men and woman I have crossed paths with who’s names will never be known. They are often as much, if not more poignant, due to the fact that one learns from those folks first hand, and directly. Their creativity is often limitless, and coming from that place which is as vast and as wide as the ocean.. Rather than residing in a state of competition, competing for that which has already been created, those that have inspired so many often believe that creativity is infinite and ever-expanding, the same way that our universe is, and are able to reach that place within themselves. It’s thrilling to see anyone in that space..

Tania:  What are some of the most memorable experiences you’ve had and why?

John:  There have been so many experiences on this journey, memories from stages while performing, stories while working with the newspaper that are so vividly imprinted.. sunny days metaphorically, and those times when you have to hang on to the mast, and hope that the ship will sail you through to the next day. We all have them, and the list is very long on both pages. In this time, I do feel that if I can play a small part in making somebody’s day a little better for them through the music that is all I ask.

Tania:  This is an amazing and powerful time of shifts for everyone.What would you share with others that are struggling to make their dreams a reality, are challenged and on the fence about pursuing their passions and leaving behind jobs they don’t like, and are facing fear about taking that leap of faith?

John:  In my experience, I have found that fear is a blockage, and everything works out when we trust. We are here to be the best that we can be, and when we are still, aware, and pay attention the answers come.

Tania:  What are your dreams and visions for your work? And are there any exciting new projects you’re currently working on that you’d like to share?

John:  I am really excited about Anandafest 2013, and bringing that back again. There are more tours planned with the music, a video shoot scheduled for next year, and to keep pressing on with this path with those who enjoy this.

Tania:  Is there one vulnerable thing you can share about yourself that you feel others would relate to and find comfort in hearing, coming from someone who is “living” their dreams?

John:  There are always mountains to climb, and every time you reach the top of one, another one is revealed. Concentration, commitment and focus is everything, and quite often I have seen those who are concentrating on a past story that becomes a blockage in their life. Often you are not going back that way, so make a new story, and follow whatever that thing is that you are passionate about. It’s always a choice. It takes a lot of courage and flexibility to live your dream, the work is always just beginning. In regards to vulnerability, sometimes people who don’t know you (or who do), will make assumptions, and opinions that are unwarranted – maybe they don’t want you to succeed, or are just not supportive. In the beginning it can be difficult to understand this – why wouldn’t someone want you to succeed, and live your dream? Everyone is operating from the filter of their experience, and coming from the very best place that is possible at that time, as to the space they are in. This was difficult at first for me, and I am still learning, but I have personally learned to send love, press on in life, and stay true to the path that is ahead…

Tania:  If someone else wants to interview you, book you for photography services, or book you for performances at yoga studios, workshops and events, how can they reach you?

John:

Music: www.johnwilliambauld.com

Photography: www.johnbauld.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/JWBandBobbyji

Twitter: @jwbauld

iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/john-william-bauld-bobbyji/id5101006

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/JohnWilliamBauld/featured

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