Inside the Music Video 'With You Now'
In a small desert town in southern California called Mecca, I headed out with a tiny crew to a park called Painted Canyon to create a work of art.
When I wrote 'With You Now' on my harmonium back in 2014, my muse was the Tibetan goddess, Red Tara. In 2015, when the album was released, my friend Djamilla lovingly encouraged me to make a music video. It took more than a year for the opportunity to present itself, and when it came time, it was clear that I wanted Djamilla to embody Tara.
The original script that I wrote was based off of the symbolism and stories of Tara. It wasn't until the editing process that I realized the Universe had a second story in mind, adding a whole next layer to the story you end up seeing.
Let's start at the beginning. I am walking through the desert and come upon a broken vase. In the book, Red Tara Commentary, it is said that in Tara's right hand, in a gesture of supreme generosity, she carries the life-long vase to offer humanity whatever is necessary to sustain long life. I really loved that, and so I ordered this vase from Amazon, and it arrived broken.
The broken vase was not actually in the original script at all. They sent me a new one without asking for the broken one back, and so I felt it was a sign that we were supposed to somehow tie this in to the story. It dawned on me to use it to show that Tara was from a different realm and not actually in the same timeline as me.
Here's where things get interesting...
There were a few shots I knew we would not be able to get out in Mecca, such as the idea for a snake to appear. I searched online for stock footage of a snake, and this miraculous pink serpent showed up. My mouth dropped to the floor. A pink snake??!? The same color as Djamilla's dress!?!?! It became evident that Spirit was nudging me to acknowledge a personal story that I wish to share with you now.
Over the years of teaching Kundalini yoga, I have had many people find me online, asking for advice because they were experiencing symptoms of the Kundalini energy creating sensations in their body. I would then share with them what I was taught in my training, such as massaging your feet, or switching to a diet of root vegetables to ground yourself. I had, up until that point, experienced sensations of tingling and heat here and there, but it wasn't until June of 2016, when I went to my first 10-day silent Vipassana retreat, that I experienced the phenomenon of what people commonly refer to as a 'Kundalini Awakening'.
For those unfamiliar with the Kundalini, or 'Shakti', primal energy, it is often depicted as a serpent. It is located at the base of one's spine in a coil that is dormant until either a spontaneous awakening occurs, or the proper conditions for the uncoiling are present. Everyone has this energy within them.
My experience has been exhilarating, and at the same time, very humbling as the energy shows me the subtle ways in which I am not authentically aligned with nature. I wish to elaborate more on this in a separate blog soon.
Back to the video, the plot began to thicken. Djamilla became, from that day forward, an embodiment of my Kundalini energy. Amazingly, everything that we shot that day with the intention of telling a story of Tara, perfectly told the side-story of a Kundalini awakening.
For example, pulling fabric out of the life-long vase originally was meant to show that the vase was full of light and sustenance. Enter the double meaning... the vase also represents the base of the spine, from which the Kundalini rises.
Tara then proceeds to guide me, as depicted by the arrow. She is summonsing me to enter the cave to face my shadows. This is indeed one of the divine purposes of the Kundalini, which will often gather at a particular chakra in the body, sometimes painfully, in order to show where one needs resolve and healing.
Emerging from the shadows, we see a flock of birds circling, indicative of the rising of energy. This was actual footage we shot in Mecca!
When Djamilla finished the scene where she spins the prayer wheel, we all looked up, shocked to see she had summonsed these birds!
Additionally, director, editor, and colorist, Erik Borzi, made the conscious choice of panning all of the delicious landscape shots upwards, to depict the rising energy.
Cut to the scene where I am meditating amidst the piles of delicately balanced rocks. Djamilla enters and places a crystal sphere in my hands. Truth be told, I had no idea why I put this in the script, other than that I thought it was cool. Turns out, there's a story to this, and I learned it the day before we released the video, when I was watching a Yogi Bhajan video.
He shared that there is a legend of a cobra that comes to earth and opens its mouth to let out a ball. When humans come into contact with the ball, they become intoxicated in bliss. The serpent then comes back to retrieve the ball.
Here I am below, coming face to face with Djamilla, to return the ball to her. She then relays a message to me. I have my own knowing of what she says, and I want to keep it to myself, because here is where you can hear her say whatever you feel.
The way I see it, Djamilla goes back to her realm, leaves the vase on the desert floor to eventually break and create a timeline that is intentionally warped; as linear time is but an illusion.
Lastly, you see me walk onward. My journey is only beginning; many adventures await and there is more inner work to be done.