What Hiking Taught Me About Singing [Mvt IV: The Spiritual Experience]

I thought of the concept for this post (and the whole blog, actually) on a recent hike. A short one due to time constraints, so I wasn’t aiming to break any records. I initially intended to take a well-worn favorite path to a secluded rock formation where I like to journal and meditate. However, at the last minute I decided to take an unknown spur and let novelty lead the way. I found a huge outcropping overlooking the park entrance, the highway out of the canyon, and gentle undulating mounds of pine. I scrambled off-trail a bit onto the outcropping and found a huge slab with two smaller slabs on top shaped very much like a throne.

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What Hiking Taught Me About Singing [Mvt III: What Do We Say to the God of Death?]

“Not Today.” All you Game of Thrones fan, remember Arya’s “dancing” instructor, Syrio? There’s only one god, he says. The god of death. His Nietzschean flavor of Buddhism is born of the rough circumstances of his world, where life is cheap and hard. In the vocal world, life is cheap and hard; if you ever sat in the hallway of Nola studios during December YAP auditions, the visuals spoke for themselves.

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What Hiking Taught Me About Singing [Mvt II: The Path Doesn't Care About You]

Like that impersonal trail, the entertainment industry doesn’t care about you. You aren’t special and it won’t rearrange itself or its priorities to serve you; the way is littered with roots and boulders and sometimes disappears briefly without so much as a blaze or cairn to show you where you’re supposed to be headed. As a musician and artist, you must travel these paths; how do you navigate auditions, rejections, bad reviews, unanswered pitches while maintaining your (mental) health?

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What Hiking Taught Me About Singing [Movement I: Introduction]

For those of you who know me, I’m an avid hiker. I’ve never done anything bigger than a 13er, but I prefer my treks to be strenuous: steep, unrelenting, and full of scrambles. I enjoy a good vista as much as the next person, but it’s not worth my time if I’m not sweating and puffing and somewhere four hours in wonder why I started. The exhaustion is delicious. The aches and pains are addicting. Coming to a plateau in a deep thicket after a sandy grade upward is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world.

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Welcome to the Litter Box

Toxoplasma gondii is a parasitic eukaryote that causes the infectious disease toxoplasmosis. Domestic cats are the only known definitive hosts in which it can reproduce. A Czech scientist believes that the Toxoplasma released by his cat (in the litter box) effectively controls his mind; it has been shown that mice infected with the parasite lose their flight response around their predator (cats). It’s just another reason that felines have earned their place in our lives as mysterious and diabolical creatures that quite possibly control more than we realize.

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