Daily Diary: AOMusic in Nepal: Day One. Following the Dream.

First Day in Chitwan, Nepal  August 19, 2012:  AOMUSIC Arrives

When I wake up I look at the clock these days and do my math.  Ok.  It is 8am here in Washington and it is just after suppertime in Nepal. “Hope they don’t drink the water”, I ponder. What is the team doing on their first day of having gotten to Chitwan?  Then, I get a note from my daughter Jessie who is feeling the time change and cannot sleep.  My luck.  I get to hear a bit about their travels.  Her email opens with:

Good morning to you from the middle of the Chitwan National Park where elephants roam in the grasses across the water that we see from our balcony. Beautiful!  We start with the kids at 11am tomorrow morning and are very excited.”

After meeting for the first time in Kathmandu Airport, having dinner together and getting to know one another before they get on a bus the next morning, everyone is wired.  The bus is a long journey on tiny cliff sized roads but they got there safe and sound and are now settled into their hotel overlooking the only National Park in Nepal.  A feast for the eyes.

So, tomorrow the crew meets the children and start both recording and filming, gets to know the village after taking a jeep ride from the Hotel and begins interviews with families.

I also got an email that was very thought provoking from the team.  I sent contracts to each of the people going.  You know.  Those legal papers to cover everyone’s asses just in case a rogue elephant eats the camera.  They were modest agreements but they lacked something in keeping with the spirit of this journey.  This is what I heard from the Team which was written by my daughter:

“We need to discuss the contracts.  We feel the wording is stern and of a square tone, not promoting the creative and inspirational intentions we are creating. The contract doesn’t reflect the project! it feels harsh and slightly aggressive.  It just doesn’t hold up to the energetic integrity of the project.  My intuition is that it doesn’t feel right.  The magic will be subdued with a lingering unenthusiastic written contract. Kinda like not wanting to put something out into the universe that is not consistent with the intention.  Law of attraction type deal”.

And this is my daughter.   Waking me up to making sure I am calling in the energy I want for this project.  I am so proud of her. Maybe I just graduated from parenting school.

So, I am letting you get to know the four major people on our AO team and what better way to start but by introducing my daughter, Jessie Felix.  I will write more tomorrow and introduce Karan Sharma from India.

And!  No one has said a thing about rain!  Yeah.

So, for our first world traveler and adventurer:  Jessie Felix.  Jessie is our still photographer, one of our videographers as well as the one who will do most of the interviewing and carry the purse strings.  She is amazing if I may say so myself….especially to travel with three men she does not really know.  Here is what Jess says about herself.

 

“At 26 I have driven to the four corners of the U.S., been to forty-eight states and traveled to five countries outside of the United States.  I have lived at 39 addresses and counting. I am an artist, a muse, and a nomad. I do not dare sit still as life grows all around waiting to be seen. I have attended six colleges in six different states and walked away learning to trust my intuition and to follow my heart that leads my feet forward.

I have experienced loss, tragedy, and devastation, come close to death, pulled myself out from the depths of hell. I have experienced broken hearts, disappointment, rejections, criticism, and failure. I have witnessed how love can transform and break someone, how death can be immobilizing, that life is a blessing and a curse. And what I now know is that nothing is truly predictable and everything can change in less than a heartbeat.

Happy tears do exist. The best ones fall from your face with complete perfection, and if you can face yourself in a mirror you can face anything. I have witnessed miracles and mysteries and been completely amazed by the most insignificant things. I try to capture what others may not see. I let my emotions come through the lens and immortalize.”

Please visit her at www.jessiefelix.wordpress.com

From Tulsa to Kathmandu

 

I left for my “Year as a Gypsy” on September 2, 2011.  As that year comes to a close my life has opened.  By shedding my beliefs about what I “thought” might make me happy in life and asking a new question about “what would bring me joy”, I made some bold new moves.  After selling most of my belongings, letting go of my house, my man, my dog and my attachment to any outcome, I packed my car and drove off.  First stop, Asheville, North Carolina.

My blog, www.the-gypsy-life.com has chronicled what can only be described as a “surprising” year.  I had thoughts of writing full time, landed a screenplay writing job, re-invented myself with a new website www.mayalunachristobel.com and felt the stars aligning in what I believed was my destiny.  And then I learned a very important saying first hand and right between the eyes:  “How do you make the Gods laugh?  By telling them your plans”.  It was simply a few weeks into my adventure that I threw the blueprints out and adopted the only thing I knew to do:  Navigate by intuition …one day at a time.

So, here I am, many stories later, still no driver’s license, but well traveled, well cared for, well fed, well loved and inspired beyond anything I could imagine.  And after just one short year I have found that my heart is happiest singing, participating in a music company that has children at the center of everything, and creating opportunity for myself and as many others as possible to live their dreams.  How could I have known any of this before taking the leap?

Today, August 18th, one of those dreams is being realized for a group of young people who just landed in Kathmandu, Nepal.  I took a leap of faith and decided to produce a short film of recording children in Chitwan, Nepal, singing songs composed by my partner, Richard Gannaway and AOMUSIC. By reaching for my dream as a filmmaker, four amazing young people are reaching for theirs.  Paying it forward is not just about money, or gifting someone, but is also about what happens when I say yes to a vision from the heart…it expands to include so many other people who get a chance to do the same.  Physics of the Heart.

It is the height of the monsoon season in Nepal.  This “Dream Team” is made up of my daughter Jessie, who with her Canon 5D will be interviewing the village, the children and the team as, come rain and more rain, the children learn to sing.  Her photography will be part of a campaign for a documentary series.  Then there is Rob who is from Asheville and a yoga/slack line teacher as well as musician par-excellence who will be recording the children.  Josh is the “Yoda” of this entourage.  Josh has been living in India and has a story to share that will both curl your hair and make you stand up an applaud the tenacity of spirit in this young man.  Josh is a musician and teacher of music to children all over the globe.  And lastly is Karan, from Mumbai, India who is going to film the entire journey of AO in Nepal.  He has filmed numerous documentaries and brings so much to this unfolding story of AOMUSIC as we trek to where children are in need and hear the songs of their undaunted hearts.

So in these next ten days I will post a short story every day from Nepal to give you a window into the courage, the creativity and the spirit of those on this trip, the people of Nepal, my own unfolding in this process that has not been without obstacles, all in the hope that just one person might find their own heart on fire for change, for reaching for your dream and for helping those who need you most when you do.

As for me and coming to the close of a year on the road?  The Gypsy Life has become the life I choose from this moment forward. There is no other way to live for me.