The Umaverse: Photographic Art and Tarot Readings

For your rooms and walls: Photographic Art

For your inner spaces and growth: Tarot Readings

After years of daydreaming and night dreaming, talking and musing, dipping in and retreating, it’s official. Today I hang out the “open for business” sign. Come on in and look around at my new store, The Umaverse.

Welcome!

Notwithstanding that I am not a lover of long-term plans (because I tend to not stick to them), the basic idea is that UmaBode.com (where you are now) will come back to life as a blog of all things Uma, while the new site, TheUmaverse.com, is for commerce of all things Uma. That’s right, you can now buy Uma goods and services!

As for this blog – I really need to get back on that horse. I have so much to say and it’s not really fair to my lunch dates that they have to listen to me go on and on about every damn topic I care about. That’s what you-all are supposed to be for!

So, have a look at the new site and get yourself something for your walls and something for your soul. Either or both—I’m happy to help.

Meeting Bruce Springsteen

The impossible happened. I met Bruce.

The entire circumstance of how it happened seems incredibly random and completely perfect. Here’s the story.

I live in Asheville, NC, which is about 9 hours from St. Louis. I had been thinking about adding the Sunday, March 6 show to my itinerary, but I fluctuated a lot. Finally, I woke up Saturday morning and thought, what the hell?! Of course I’m going! So, in a whirlwind, I found a GA ticket on the BTX ticket exchange site, arranged for friends to come stay with my cat, and hit the road.

I lucked out and got in the pit through the wristband lottery. I was not one of the first ones in, but because I was on my own, I managed to get up pretty close. In the line before we got in, I met some great fans, including Scott Williams, the guy who danced with Bruce in Cleveland.

As usual, it was a great show. You might have heard some about it, like the guy, Tom England, who got to go up and play and sing Working on the Highway with Bruce and the E Street Band. Which was REALLY AWESOME! I met some cool folks around me and had a fine time. I’ll have a post with just pics pretty soon, but let’s get on with the important part now.

After the show, I took my time leaving. I had been thinking about maybe trying to hang out where Bruce would be leaving from and catch a glimpse of him as he left. I bought some (yet more) merch (they have these cool fabric patches now) and was literally one of the last people to wander out of the building.

There was a driveway right next to the venue, which I had seen before the show and which seemed likely to be the way in and out for artists. I wandered over and one lone guy was standing there. Who? None other than the infamous and aforementioned Scott Williams. I joined him and he told me he had been down below and that Bruce’s security guy told him to wait at the top of the driveway and that Bruce would be coming out soon. GREAT, I thought. Maybe I will see him!

As we waited and chatted, a family joined us also. Mom, Dad and two daughters. One black SUV came up and as they waited to turn out of the driveway, we saw it was Max in the front passenger seat and Garry in the back. It was confirmed because there was a piece of paper taped to the side of the vehicle that said “MAX and GARRY.” I stepped forward and grabbed it.

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A few minutes went by, and we saw another SUV leave and in that one we caught a glimpse of Bruce’s guitar tech, Kevin.

Another minute or two. And then…the magic started. The security guy directing traffic in front of the driveway into the main street called over to us, “HE’S COMING!” Which alone was pretty cool, right?!

We looked down and saw two more black SUV’s coming up the driveway. The first one passed us by and made a quick turn into the street. We couldn’t see who it was, and they were turned away from the window. But who cared, because the second SUV was pulling up next to us, the passenger window rolled down and Bruce just sitting there with his arm resting on the door, waving to us. The backseat passenger window was also down, and Bruce’s security guy was there.

And now, things get pretty fuzzy for me. What happened next was SOMETHING like this…

He says, “Hi guys. How you doing?”

AAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!

OMG!!!!!!!!!

We surge forward, but I hang back behind Scott because he’d been there first, and besides I have always felt (as I’ve written before on this blog) that I’m invisible to Bruce and that even when I’ve been at the front of the stage, I’m not one of the ones he ever notices. So even as this amazing thing is happening and Bruce Springsteen is RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, I’m thinking I’m not going to get to talk to him, he’s going to talk to the other people and then drive off and I’ll be invisible as usual.

So the family talks to him and Bruce sees Scott, and says, “Hey, it’s the dancing man!”

The family does the selfies. Then Scott gives Bruce some gifts he had brought for him (nice job, Scott!) and they do the selfies.

And then I’m holding my breath, is this my moment? I’m restraining myself from lunging at him, wondering what to do, sort of realizing  that I’ve got no idea what the hell to say anyways, and

and

and

Bruce Springsteen looks right at me, reaches out his hand toward me and motions me forward. Are you kidding me? HE SEES ME!

So any kind of self-restraint is over. I ungracefully spring forward, grab his hand and his arm and lean part way into the window and the babbling commences:

Ohmygod Bruce Ihavelovedyou FOREVER

(Bruce: Well thank you)

Ican’tbelieveI’mmeetingyou

(Bruce: You are)

Thank you thank you thank you

(Bruce: You’re welcome)

Can I take a selfie?

(Bruce: Yep)

Fumble fumble with phone, drop my poster tube, Scott picks it up, I’m still babbling:

Bruce, you sound horse, I’m worried about you

(Bruce: Well I really appreciate that)

Bruce, take care of yourself

(Bruce: OK, thank you, I will)

I’m slightly aware that people are smiling at my complete goofiness, possibly even laughing, but it’s absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to regain any composure or presence whatsoever and I’m laughing at myself also.

I get the phone in place and we look at the camera, I’m pretty much out of my body by this time, but I’ve got some awareness that his arm is against my arm, I’m freaking TOUCHING BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN. I snap the picture.

And then I say, “Can I kiss you on the cheek?”

Bruce leans the side of his head slightly towards me, motions at his cheek and says, “Yep, there it is, go ahead.”

Seriously. I’m not making this shit up. That is what happened. He said that. I started cracking up, it was SO FUNNY! And SO AWESOME!

So I kissed him on the cheek.

And then he waved to us all, said goodbye, and off they drove.

I started twirling around the grass on the side of the driveway and screaming and shouting OH MY GOD I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT JUST HAPPENED! and the sweet family and Scott and I just were laughing and talking to each other and it was so amazing.

Turns out the family are the O’Connors from Chicago: Ben, Julie and daughters Brennan and Delany. Here’s all of us (Scott, too).

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And here’s the super cool amazing pic that Ben snapped of me and Bruce.

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Holy Shit. It happened. I’ve got the photo evidence.

How do I feel? Still amazed and blessed and super grateful. Also, I feel only more determined to manage to meet him again and this time I’m going to be more prepared. Let me tell you, if you want to meet someone who seems unreachable, whether it’s Bruce or someone else, get ready. Think about what you want to say or ask, what you’d like to have with you to give to them, what you want to be sure to not miss. Because I was so absolutely positive I could never meet him that I never put any time into preparing and although I have no regrets, I do sort of have that one regret. That I wasn’t more ready.

For one thing, I’d love to tell him about this blog. I’d love to give him a bit of my writing about what he’s meant to me. I’d love to be better practiced with the camera phone. All that shit. I don’t even know what-all. But, my friend, I’ll tell you this for sure—I’m gonna be putting some serious energy into preparing for the next time the impossible happens, and I get to meet Bruce Springsteen.

 

the Mystery

Religion. Spirituality. God.

We are religious, or we are not religious. We are spiritual, but not religious. We are atheists. We are agnostics. We pray to Jesus, our savior. We pray to God. We pray but not to anything. We go to church. We meditate. We do yoga. We travel to an ashram in India. We join a church. We move to a new church. We tell our children some version of what we were told. We try to say it like we mean it.

But…what IS it that drives us to these things, whatever they may be, that come under the category “religion.”

What IS religion? What IS God? What IS spirituality?

Having spent a lifetime concerned with this, focused on this, in one form or another: studying it at university, esoteric schools, hindu gurus, yoga, finding teachers and leaving teachers, meditation, now…I find it more and more to be, um, well, mysterious, frankly. Vague. Unclear.

I notice that we humans seem to have a tendency to corral ourselves into belief systems, (whether traditional or new age), into concepts of what God is or is not, what to believe or not to believe, what our life “means,”  and other such burning situations that come under the category of Spirituality and Religion.

Because aren’t they just a way to separate ourselves from each other? And what do we know, really?

It seems to me that mistrust grows bigger and bigger in me all the time. Mistrust of anything outside of my own heart and mistrust of any idea, institution or teacher.

And at the same time, paradoxically, TRUST grows bigger in me all the time. Trust of my own heart’s knowing and my own path unfolding and what my gut tells me is true. For me.

As Vanessa Stone says, “Your Life, exactly as it is, is the perfect prescription for the evolution of your soul.”

I’m on it. What about you?

 

Thinking About God

 

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about God.

The Beloved.

All that is, and all that animates all that is.

The One and The Way.

The fragmented fullness of your path unfolding.

The Living Map.

Trust it.

Catching My Breath

I’m back! I know the whole idea was to blog about my Bruce adventure while I was in it, but you probably noticed—that didn’t happen.

It turns out that seeing eight (yes, 8) Bruce shows means a hell of a lot of driving and not a lot of writing. Um, make that NO WRITING.

After my final show in Houston on May 6, I drove all the way to California. (So far, I’ve driven almost 7,000 miles since I left my house in Austin on April 14th.) Upon arrival in California, I started a mad schedule of work and socializing. I’m finally beginning to catch my breath – and am ready to blog again.

I still want to make posts about each of the shows in the order I saw them, including the adventures, the people, the energy…and what it has meant to me. But for now, I’m going to post some photos of my journey and of the band and leave the storytelling to the next post. I hope you enjoy and I am glad you stopped by to check things out here at my home on the world wide web.

Headed Straight Into the Storm

There’s a dark cloud rising from the desert floor
I packed my bags and I’m headed straight into the storm
Gonna be a twister to blow everything down
That ain’t got the faith to stand its ground
~ The Promised Land

As I prepare to leave Austin this morning and embark upon this Odyssey, the sky is pouring rain. Thunder and lightening flash and crash around my little home. Strong winds bend tree branches and drive hard drops against the windows. It’s loud. So loud, I turned off the music.

I’m finishing my last tasks with only the sounds of the storm around me.

There’s a rightness in this. I can hear the silence within the storm, like the heartbeat of all existence. It was that which brought me to this moment. Something called me, and has been calling me all my life. I can listen for it, and respond. Or I can give a million excuses why not.

After 50 turns round the sun, and however many nights and days that I’ve been alive, I am done turning away. Finished with it. I’m claiming my freedom, which also means surrendering to the Way that life will move me.

Following Bruce is much more than a rock-n-roll adventure. It’s beyond being a fan. It is easy to get caught up in the “form” of this journey. But my deepest wish is that I will focus ever more deeply on what this adventure really is: a voyage home, to deeper and deeper interiors of my heart. And that through this blog I will find some way to bring you along on that journey.

This past weekend I had the great good fortune to retreat for 2 days and nights with a group of people similarly dedicated to a journey such as mine. Led by Vanessa Stone, a beautiful sister and teacher on my path, we spent our time in circle and alone on the land, in silence and in talk and laughter, making new friendships and strengthening old ones. Vanessa reminded me, as time with her always does, that this life is a precious opportunity and perfectly perfect as it is.

As I wrote that, thunder crashed, punctuating the power of this truth. As a great poet once wrote, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

And I realize, this Odyssey is perfectly prescribed for me.

Five Days To Go

The countdown in the lower right of my site says “5 Day to Go.” Til I leave to follow Bruce Springsteen around the South for 3 weeks.

Doesn’t seem possible.

Isn’t it always like that? Whatever we plan, however far away it seems—suddenly it’s here. Oh, how time rushes at us, continuously. Non-stop, like a freight train or the rapids of a rushing river.

And then it’s over. In the blink of a proverbial eye.

So, as I scramble these last days to get the house in order for the cat-sitter, wrap up work  to the maximum degree possible, pack for the journey, purchase shit I absolutely must have (like a Canon 70D and car magnets that say “followingbruce.com”), make Airbnb reservations, find tickets to the shows (!!), and do God knows what else (eyebrows waxed, last-minute mammograms cuz for some reason it just can’t wait another second)…I realize that I don’t want to miss this fleeting experience of the scramble.

This is PART OF THE EXPERIENCE. This is the process. This is the gift of any given moment, of every breath, of every messy second I get to be alive as a human being. No matter how tough or weird or awkward things are, or how good or bad I feel, no matter what—I don’t want to miss it.

I want AWARENESS. I pray for it and I’m calling it in. Circling up, lighting the candles, crying to the heavens. “Let me be present to all that happens, don’t let me sleep through another second of being alive!”

And so, another day begins. Precious human life, and I don’t want to waste it.

 

 

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