It's no secret to any of you that I love Oaxaca, Mexico. Is it?
I've spent a lot of time in the last decade traveling back and forth between Oaxaca, and places I've lived in the US. In fact, Oaxaca, Mexico has been a more consistent home for me over the past 12 years than any other place throughout the country.
And so, it's with a LOT of joy, that I'm taking on leading groups in Mexico with Simply Smiles for the foreseeable future. I love it. And just had a great time working with a group of volunteers last week. (Right, Silver Lakers?)
This may seem like I'm getting distracted from music. Yes…this has happened to me in the past.
When working with starving people in the jungle, it can make writing a song in Connecticut seem - well, frivolous, self-important, un-necessary. You write the list.
Believe me, the questioning goes on in my head on a regular basis, but it's wrong.
I used to think that my two passions (service and singing/songwriting) couldn't co-exist peacefully. I'd have to leave one in a box while attending to the other.
I was wrong.
These passions aren't in competition with each other - they feed each other.
Because of my recent trip to Oaxaca, I wrote a song about starting a revolution.
Because of this (peaceful, I promise!) revolution song, during shows I'll be able to tell people more about Simply Smiles and the work we're doing to bring about change in different parts of the world.
Because of these conversations, more people will pitch in to do what they can do to make this world a better place. (Which then means that they've essentially joined the Just Be Nice political party.)
Because this world will be getting better and better because of all the awesome people in it making change…I'll be so inspired, I'll just have to write more songs.
You see how this works, right?
It took me a long time to come to terms with my role in this process. To be at peace with the fact that sometimes, the best way that I can contribute is through writing down what I'm hearing in my head. It seems egotistical at best, and rude (or other worse words) at worst.
But to put it another way - I just got to spend time with my friend, Nacho, at Casa Hogar. He asked me many questions about being a musician in the United States. Hopefully, one day he'll get to come here and we can tour together.
Until then - don't you think it would look a little ridiculous to him to give up on my dream (which is also his dream) just because I thought people might judge me for dreaming it?
It would be an insult to him, an insult to all of the people who have supported me and helped me realize this dream so far, and an insult to myself.
Remember to stay kind, and remember to always strive to make the world better.
And with that...dream away, friends. Dream away.