I still remember when it was really strange to see people talking out loud to themselves in public. Nowadays with cell phones and Bluetooths (or is the proper term Blueteeth?) and various communication devices it is a common occurrence. We have so many avenues for immediate correspondence with others across the globe that it can be overwhelming. We have quickly become accustomed to the convenience and continuous accessibility of technological connection.
And so on my fifth annual visit to Lopez Island in the beautiful San Juan archipelago I was a bit reluctant to surrender to the lack of cell phone service there. No bars, not one, on my phone. No calls, no texts, for three days. Surrender.
What I found in the island solitude was a call to listen more deeply. Not only to listen with my ears but to listen with my heart, with my body, with my Spirit. On a long two-hour walk to Shark Reef, I too could be found talking out loud by myself. But in that instance I had no technological excuse. Instead my reasons were more spiritual in nature, as I sang and prayed my way to the ocean.
When I reached the rocky cliffs looking out over the swirling currents, I sang to the ancestors as eagles danced above me in the wind. Amazing. I wanted to call someone to share the moment but again, no reception.
So I shared it with you all on a deeper level. You see, we have always had this ability to be truly connected, and in fact we always are intimately connected at every moment to the people, plants, animals, air, and water all around us, even to those who are far away. Sometimes technology can help remind us of this but sometimes it can distract us from a deeper sense of relationship. Isn’t it ironic that all of our fancy communication devices can actually be obstacles for true connection?
And so I took refuge in my mini tech-fast on Lopez Island, and breathed with a much more ancient way of knowing that we are all related. I hope that you too are experiencing a deep sense of connection today, with mind, body, and spirit in oneness with all the wonders of life within and around you.
Now that I am back on the mainland, I too will work to cultivate this natural connection each day. Breathing in, I know I am online. Breathing out, I know that I will use my time online to promote peace, wellness, joy, and community.
It is my hope that my recently redesigned website (visit www.joereilly.org) can enhance your online experience with joy and mindfulness. If you haven’t yet had a chance to pay it a visit, stop by for a few breaths. You can color or draw a picture, sign the community guest book, download free lyrics, listen to music, and watch videos. Or just breathe and smile.
I am happy to report the continuation of this wonderful musical spiritual path as I complete my west coast tour in the San Francisco Bay Area. I will return to Michigan for many earth-friendly events and celebrations and will host a benefit concert on April 28th at the Zen Buddhist Temple in Ann Arbor to raise money for my travel to a June mindfulness retreat in Plum Village with Thich Nhat Hanh.
All levels of donations will be accepted and will facilitate the sharing of mindfulness through music back home in Michigan. Stay tuned for more details about creative levels of sponsorship.
For now, I wish you a truly connected experience, both on and offline.
Yours in the music,