Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August According to Zach


August According to Zach
Let me first start by saying how lovely the temperature has been in Ohio these past few weeks. I am not a lover of the super heat, so this mild air has been quite lovely. I hope this summer is otherwise going better for you than it is for me. I’m having a really rough spot all around, and it’s not been showing signs of improving. I can only have faith it’ll turn around sooner than later. I wrote some of my thoughts and feeling down here, if you want to delve further in:
Last month did have some nice moments. Particularly the debut of the Poplars! We rocked the house (in our happy sort of way), and are looking forward to many shows coming up this fall! The Bright Lights lit up Columbus with a stellar set at Hal and Als, featuring honorary Bright Light Chris Haas on guitar. There was the 300 Vegan March in the Do Dah Parade in Columbus, a Chicago and a Cleveland Yoga Rocks the Park, the Karuna Long Island Veggie Fest, Party in the Park, some good yoga and music sessions at Kendall Ledges, named Humanitarian of the Year by Akron Life and Leisure, a chance to see and meet Michael Franti live (I don’t get to see many live shows, so this was a plus, indeed), played a great new series at the Renaissance Hotel in Cleveland (swanky!), and I sold one of my guitars.
Real quick: Akron Peace Week is September 29 – Oct 6th, and we have a great blog up that will be featuring articles from Peace Partners, lots of info, and the most up-to-date schedule of events:
I.                    This Week
II.                  August Highlights
III.                CD News
IV.                Extra Extra

1.       This Week
Thursday the 8th – 5:30pm. Yoga Fundraiser for Stewart’s caring Place. Ron White will instruct, and I will provide the musical mystical tour for this really cool class at the Fairlawn Park.

Sat & Sun the 10th/11th – Chicago Veggie Fest!! I kick the fest off both days at 11:00am, and will be doing a few sets throughout the weekend as well. This is such a cool event, with dozens of food vendors and speakers, meditations, demonstrations, music, and so much more! Plus thousands of people come out to enjoy the joy of the vegetable! Gotta love that.

2.       August Highlights
August 15th – My friend David Ullman is returning to Akron for a show at Musica at 7:30pm. This is gonna be a nice time, with some special guests I hear.

August 17th – Lock 3 with the Bright Lights! 4:00pm – 8:00pm. This is always a fun show. We’re looking forward to lifting up and lighting up Akron! And then a Journey tribute band will be rockin after us.

August 20th – Provenance CD Listening Party. This record is a duets and co-writing record featuring some of the best talent in 5 states! I’m really proud of this effort, and the songs are great! Plus, all the proceeds are going to a fund to help Akron area non-profits create nonviolence programs! 6:30pm – 8:30pm. You can buy the CDs there, and have several of the folks on it sign it! Maybe there’ll be some impromptu singing too … you never know. And if that weren’t enough – vegan potluck (and BYOB). Yep, that just pushed it right over the incredible top! Here’s more info on the record, and a behind-the-scenes video you can watch created by Mr. Blue Green for us:

August 23rd – Playing Our Roots – Brian Lisik and I will be rockin our favorite Tom Petty tunes, as well as our own at Uncorked. 8:00pm. We don’t get to do stuff like this very often, so it’s gonna be a guaranteed fun night!

August 30th – Rockin on the River with the Bright Lights! 5:30pm – 8:30pm. Two big band shows this month for your enjoyment, and ours!

August 31st – Square Fest. 4:00pm. Anything in Highland Square is fun. This will feature a partial Poplars set as well. Plus, my friends Light of the Loon are on after me.   

For my full schedule, please visit  

CD News
Provenance is being released internationally on Aug 20th. There will be a huge release concert on Oct 12th at 6:30pm as part of the Art in the Square/ Porch Rockr fest! Details will be announced very soon!

The Poplars are working on our debut, and we hope to have it wrapped up by the early to mid fall. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about this project. Keep up with us here:

Yoga. This project might just expand to epic proportions, that’s all I can say at the moment. But we’re hoping to have something of this to be released early fall.

The Bright Lights. We are about 75 % finished with this one. Fall release as well. That’s the goal at least.

4.       Extra Extra
Here’s my latest article in the Healthy and Humane Observer:

Akron Life and Leisure named me Humanitarian of the Year! That’s pretty crazy and humbling.

Upcoming stuff: The Poplars at the Spot on Sept 13th. Kent State Folk Fest Oct 20th. Featured act at Chicago VeganMania on September 21st. Harvest of Peace Fest at the Akron Shambhala Center in Cuyahoga Falls on the 22nd. Show with my good friend Cory (you’ve heard her voice on nearly all of my recordings)! At Uncorked Sept 27th.  Peace Week Sept 29- Oct 6th. Art in the Square/ Porch Rokr Oct 12th. World Peace and Yoga Jubilee in Loveland, OH Oct 17 – 20th.

What else? I’ve been listening a lot to the new Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros record ( I dig the sound they went for on this one. Also the new Medicine for the People has this song Nyepi, which is spectacular (! The new Noah and the Whale is good (like all Noah and the Whale). I’ve been rereading Terry Gordon’s book “No Storm Lasts Forever.” Terry Gordon will be speaking during Peace Week – Oct 2nd. Good reminders for my life at the moment. Im always reading a few things, and I just finished Dr. King’s, “Stride Towards Freedom”, a book of Sufi poets, and a collection of nature writing.

Hope to see you soon. Be the change you wish to see. Let’s manifest some exquisiteness!


Friday, August 2, 2013


Life is a big combination of everything. Joy and depression, and everything in between. 

My world has swung to the latter of those recently. 

And there's nothing we can do about that. Circumstances change. Without our consent, control, understanding. 

And I'm supposed to sit here and say, but I'm doing ok. I'm supposed to be happy and alight. With a smile on my face.

But I think if yoga and meditation teach us anything, it's that we must acknowledge the present moment.

And true, in yoga, it can be said you haven't found the pose if you can't smile in it. 

And yoga is life.

But many of us just aren't that far along our spiritual path to smile at the chaos that comes.

Sometimes, we just want to curl up on the floor. Sometimes we just need to break. And be broken. 

And learn that it's ok to break.

We are taught how to celebrate and be joyful, but our society is oddly silent on how to grieve, on how to accept the darkness that comes and goes. 

How do we help a friend in need? Our first instinct is to try to fix it. But darkness can't be fixed, necessarily, especially by an outside person. 

So, what do we do? We step away. We give them space, to deal more painfully with that situation, bearing the full burden themselves.

At the same time, these voices ring through our own head, as we're not taught how to deal with depression and sadness and pain. "Just get over it." "Pull yourself together."  "Why can't you just feel better?" 

The harshest attacks always come from within.

Yet, what we need most, is to simply be with that pain. Not to hide from it. Not to stifle it. 


We cannot deal with an emotional trouble with our intellect. 

We need to say to ourselves, yes I am in pain. Yes, I am feeling great sadness. How does this feel? What am I learning about myself and my reactions?

We need to cry. To feel that pain fully.

Practicing nonjudgement on ourselves is an incredibly difficult task. Even the greatest sages have had doubts and difficulties with this step. But if we can work towards it, we can learn to let emotions due their job and move on. 

I'm a long way from that goal. The way feels like I lose more ground than I am gaining. 

Someday, though, I will look back, realizing I have gone many miles and have entered a new situation. Perhaps then, these tools will have proved helpful, and will be yet more helpful the next time the darkness drifts through. 

Perhaps by seeing the shadows, we can eventually look toward the sources that cast them, seeing the light even in those pained spaces. 

I'll let you know if I get there.