It's my birthday today, marking the beginning of my 38th trip around the sun. In stark contrast to the one where I ended up in Siberia five years ago, this year has had me largely in one place—my current home on occupied Nipmuc/Pocomtuc land also known as Holyoke, Massachusetts. Despite this past year being one of of my most geographically stationary, it has been a year full of transitions. Where I'll end up in the year ahead is still a mystery, but a few things are starting to take shape.
First of all, I've made a commitment to scaling back my "Professional Buddhist" work, which means I'll be stepping down as General Coordinator for Bhumisparsha at the end of the calendar year. What fills in the space of my "workday" remains to be seen, but there are a couple of projects in the pipeline that I'm looking forward to digging into more deeply.
The first will be working with a rad trio of local therapists to start Catalyst Cooperative Healing, a mental health workers' cooperative. I'll be providing administrative support and workshops on music, improvisation, and Deep Listening. We just approved our bylaws and are looking to be up and running by the end of the year.
The second is a project that was curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic and just coming back into view: collaborating with musician friends in Chile on an album inspired by the music of Ornette Coleman. Tentatively titled Somewhere Else!!!!, it's finally looking like a real possibility now that the Chilean government has reopened their borders for international travel. I've been on hiatus from regular trombone practice for over a year now, so I recently reconnected with one of my teachers, Conrad Herwig, to help me develop a routine to get back into playing shape with the goal of getting this out into the world before the end of 2022. I'll be posting regular updates and exclusive material documenting this journey at Ampled, a very cool platform cooperative designed for musicians to share exclusive material with their supporters. The artist page should be up within a week, so stay tuned for more on that front very soon.
This year I've managed to almost completely avoid Facebook and Twitter—and I intend to keep up that practice—so I'll also be sharing more updates via this website / newsletter to stay in touch as this transition unfolds. To subscribe to updates, click here or on the "Subscribe" button wherever it appears on your screen. Thanks to everyone who has reached out to share birthday wishes!