Independence

This month I am so happy to return to my hometown of Del Mar for my family’s annual reunion, which takes place every 4th of July. Even before we celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to the concept of “independence.” Although it is obvious we are all interconnected in direct or subtle ways, underneath it all, it seems people tend to interpret “independence” as a solitary gateway to their own happiness, freedom, rights, liberty, and peace, often in ways that simply preserve self interests while encroaching on others.

The truth is, all facets of the natural order — the physical natural world and the human world — are completely connected and interrelated, and cannot be separated even the slightest bit. Disorder and aberration in one sector will affect other sectors. If we want to live in happiness and peace, we must learn how to live in balance and harmony with all spheres of our natural environment: the internal and the external, the individual and the social, the physical and the spiritual.

To create true happiness, we must reflect on the interrelationship of all things, see ourselves clearly as one part of the causal relationships within the natural order. To do this we become aware first of the internal mental/spiritual factors we create, then we see how those factors attract to us and manifest various effects in our life experiences, in society, and ultimately in the world around us. Once this system of causal relationship, of interdependence, is understood on the spiritual level, we grow to see the connections between our inner factors and their causal relationships in our lives and every aspect of our environment. What is unseen inside us, we will attract, and it will be seen outside us. This simple ray of understanding can lead us to true independence, an independence that honors our connection to all others and all that exists in the universe while cherishing ourselves and looking to no one but ourselves to solve our own problems from the inside out. This is also known as the law of attraction.

Punta Mita

Arcos Malecon

Speaking of attraction, I just can’t seem to stay away from my favorite spot in Punta Mita, Mexico this year. It pulls me back all the time. Above is a view down the coast toward the residents beach club near my home. And the one below that is a view of the famous Malecon boardwalk down the coast in downtown Puerto Vallarta. My family and I have decided to open up our homes in Mexico to guests for vacation rentals, and my web designers are now creating a separate, beautiful site just for the vacation properties, so stay tuned for that. I hope you can visit my little piece of paradise sometime soon! For now, you can see more about the beach properties via the links on my Yoga and Contact pages here on this site.

In other news, I have teamed up with my buddy Oded, who is a genius Israeli jewelry designer living in Tokyo, to create the first pieces of the Taro Gold jewelry line. Oded owns and operates one of the coolest jewelry stores in Tokyo, on Harajuku Street, called Oz Abstract. The first piece we’ve created is a pendant of the Taro Gold logo, a diamond inside a lotus flower. My logo signifies the diamond of wisdom and joy we all possess in our hearts, and the flower of strength and beauty that blossoms from our lives as we overcome each challenge, down, and hardship (the lotus flower blooms most beautifully from the deepest and thickest mud). Here’s a preview of the lotus pendant for you:

Pendant

I wish you all the very best of health and happiness. Thank you to everyone who sent well-wishes for my grandmother earlier this year. To all the doctors’ amazement (and ours), grandma is still hanging in there, making us smile each step of the way. This independence day as my family and I salute her strong character, one example of a truly independent spirit, I vow to live with as much vigor, courage and laughter. May you always know such joy as well!

Hello Goodbye

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to changes, particularly beginnings and endings.  Recently my grandmother fell ill, and I was reminded yet again of the eternal cycle of hello goodbye. When grandma was first admitted to the hospital, her doctors said she would live only a few days. Family members rushed to say goodbye. That was almost two months ago now. Although goodbye will come, no one knows exactly when. Today, grandma is still smiling, still laughing, telling us she doesn’t know either. One thing we do know, we have to make the most of our time between each hello and goodbye. Isn’t that the most rewarding knowledge of all?

Beginnings and endings – punctuation marks, dotting the paragraphs that make up the story of our lives. Let the punctuation marks do their job, but focus on creating the best life in between. A script filled with happiness, sadness, ups, downs, lots of questions, not so many answers… all leading to growth, openness, hope. Everything worth remembering from yesterday, doing today, and dreaming for tomorrow.

The eternal cycle of hello goodbye reminds me to create my own lines, weaving colorful words through whatever punctuation points comes along in life. Joy is not found in the stops and starts of hello goodbye. Joy is in the middle, the flow, the now. That is the sweet and simple secret every hello goodbye hides inside.

Moonlight State Beach Sunset Sky

Sunset at Moonlight State Beach

Sitting by the wide blue ocean near my grandma’s home at Moonlight Beach, the sun said goodbye again today. Then the moon said hello. How can I be sad that the radiant sun has said goodbye when the shining moon says hello? So goes the flow of hello goodbye, forever perfect in glorious detail.

I’ll soon be watching the sun and moon over Brazil, where the Portuguese-language edition of my book Open Your Mind, Open Your Life (Abra Sua Mente, Abra Sua Vida) is now available at bookstore chains in the grand cities of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Brasilia. If you enjoy the good fortune to have a Brazilian friend, then you know how Brazilian people savor each moment of life, celebrating every hello and goodbye as if it was their first and their last, cherishing every moment in between. Viva Brasil!

Abra Sua Mente

Cover image, Brazilian edition of Open Your Mind, Open Your Life

Many friends around the world have encouraged me to spend more time in Brazil for that very reason, and I am looking forward to doing so. After Brazil, it’s on to Mexico, then back to beloved Tokyo and collaborating with great minds for the upcoming special-editions of my books in Japanese. Until my next post here, my next online hello goodbye, may you live always in the sublime light and power of your unique now. Ciao!

Joyful Life

Since my last post I’ve enjoyed a magical three weeks in Mexico rejuvenating with 18 members of my extended family, then to Tokyo, then the Sundance film festival, Tokyo again, and probably by the time you read this Israel as well, then back to Tokyo as usual! I must have brought the snow with me from Sundance to Tokyo because it rarely snows here but has snowed 4 times already this year. Speaking of snow, this photo I took at Sundance gives the feeling – it was the coldest weather I’ve ever experienced (low one night was -25C) but also spectacularly beautiful, as always. I was delighted to attend this year, and had the honor to do so as a Patron Circle member.

I’ve noticed that the more I travel and the more my work progresses around the globe, the more I feel that a joyful life is a true state of being beyond thinking and feeling, beyond possessions and wants. Joy is the undercurrent of life, the universal identity we all share beneath superficial differences. I believe this is why some of the folks I have met in materially impoverished neighborhoods around the world are some of the most spiritually wealthy people I’ve ever met. Not to say that possessions and worldy success necessarily hinder spiritual growth. As Deepak Chopra says, he’s not only a prophet, he’s also a profit. Funny!

Open Your Mind, Open Your Life (Hebrew Edition)

As I celebrate the latest expansion of my work with my friends in Israel (this is the cover of my book “Open Your Mind, Open Your Life” in its new Hebrew edition) I also feel a sense of urgency to help increase the common awareness of humanity that you and I and everyone are noble students of joy in this cosmic boarding school called Life. Some of us like to study harder than others, true! Still I feel we are all in this together for some greater purpose, and I hope we all make the most of our lives each day with a smile. Give, breath, calm the mind, awake… open up and let the still space between thoughts whisper hints of our true mission, essential purpose. Compassion, joy.

Beautiful Baby Sea Turtle

I received a great gift, a reminder of the glorious wonder of Being, while playing on the beach in Mexico with my dog. Last month was the season of baby sea turtles hatching, struggling to find their way out to the wide ocean to begin their long lives. As I ran past a little dark patch in the sand, at first glimpse a rock, I saw it moving! There on its little back mightily fighting to right itself was a beautiful baby sea turtle. I called my friends to see, carefully scooping this tiny treasure of nature into my hands to help find the way down to the waiting blue waves. If you look closely, seems my friend was smiling at me, what do you think? I am told sea turtles live to be 100 years old, so perhaps long after I’m gone from this existence my little sea turtle friend will return to that beach one day and recall the joy of our meeting that fine sunny morning.

Appreciation

I’ve been in Tokyo enjoying meetings with top creative leaders at media companies regarding my music. Everything progressed well until I received news that some of the worst fires in US history swept near my hometown. My mother, who was also babysitting my beloved dog at the time, had to flee from her home. I was on the phone with her from Tokyo as she literally drove through flames on her way to safety in Nevada. I returned immediately from Tokyo to help out.

It was surreal enough to watch from afar on the news, let alone to be there or to lose something to the fires. Fortunately, all of my friends and family members escaped harm, and our properties were safe from damage. A friend of ours, however, awoke to the sound of sirens one night and within minutes had to escape her home with her husband and animals in tow. Their entire property. Nevertheless, she was most appreciative to be safe… as for everything else: “Everything else, just stuff,” she said with a sincere smile. I will remember the strength and wisdom of that moment forever.

When I visited San Diego the following week, I took this photo. I felt the beautiful mix of color from the sunset and swirling clouds of the night sky were healing the ground below.

Sky

Returning to Tokyo and happily resuming my talks with music companies, my team is already opening a “backstage area” that will progressively grow along with the project. You can find previews of my music at www.myspace.com/tarogoldmusic where you can hear several of my new songs. We will also have www.tarogold.jp up and running soon.

On a different but mysteriously related note, when I was at my dentist’s office for a check up, my hygienist asked if I knew Angela Aki, a part-Japanese part-American singer-songwriter who is popular in Japan. I know of her, but had never met her. “I went to high school with Angela in Hawaii” my dental pro commented, “and I have a feeling you are going to meet her soon.” One week later, I was at Sony Music Studios in Tokyo to finish recording details on a few of my songs, and the screen below is what greeted me in the studio that day.

Studio Session

The bottom of the screen shows my session as Taro G, and the one above shows who is in the room next to me, in Japanese writing it reads “Angela Aki.” So there we were. How fun is that?  I love life!

Speaking of fun, I wish for each of our lives to be filled with blessings and appreciation. If something not-so-fun happens to come along, may we all have the grace to focus on what is most truly important in our lives and remember that everything else… “everything else, just stuff.”

Focus on the now

Have you ever noticed that when you’re very busy you can get much more done than when you have free time? Just when I think I’m as busy as I can be, my schedule become fuller… and yet mysteriously I accomplish more. It’s awesome. I’ve realized that if I focus on the now, whatever’s right in front of me, I can glide through loads of tasks and my creativity and energy grow.

A key to reaping the greatest benefit from each moment has been to play with my sense of time, actually to pay little attention to time – create a feeling that I have all the time in the world, appreciate the time I’m spending on something right now, and still look to finish whatever I’m doing as soon as possible.

Photo shoot in Kauai
Taro on a clifftop photo shoot, Kauai

When time dictates your day, your life, it can mess with your sense of accomplishment and joy. I find when I practice “timelessness” and give myself all the time I could ever need (at least in my heart and mind), then somehow that translates into reality, and I can accomplish even more than I would expect to achieve in a minute, an hour, a day.

Especially since I travel so much, freeing myself from limitations of time awareness has been greatly helpful. Since my last post I enjoyed two busy trips through Japan (finished 14 songs for my album and am mastering them in NYC now), I visited Mexico, more photo shoots in Hawaii, and flew across the US from LA to Miami to NYC and back again. No wonder I started believing in “timelessness” – I can barely remember what time zone I’m in anymore!

Grand Central Station Terminal, New York City
Stayed next to Grand Central Station, NYC

Central Park, New York
Enjoyed a beautiful summer day in Central Park

More than ever, something I wrote in my first book Open Your Mind, Open Your Life rings true to me: “Enjoy the here and now, for there is only here and now.” May you always enjoy your here and now, savor a sense of timelessness, and appreciate yourself and the path that life unfolds before you.

Spanish Harlem Tunnel, New York
Taro at a Spanish Harlem tunnel, by Central Park

Paris In Spring

There’s something special about Paris in the Spring. It’s not really cold but it’s not really warm. The green lawns and trees are back from their slumber, and flowers are starting to bloom again. The sky is a certain kind of deep, clear black with a little purple at night and in day it’s a pale, bright blue with a little grey. Magical!

After working hard to finish my album project, I jaunted off to Paris, Geneva and Montreux for a break. I like how the Eiffel Tower lights up at night every hour on the hour with a thousand bright sparkling white lights. I took a shot when it was all lit up as you can see here, looking across the River Seine near the Alexander III Bridge. Enjoyed a great French meal at an organic restaurant next to the Seine that night with some dear Parisian friends. Merci Marie et Jonathan!

Eiffel Tower

My favorite hotel in Paris is near the Arc de Triumph, and everyone knows what the arc looks like from a distance, but who ever shows you the view when you’re standing right under it and look up? So here you go.

Arch De Triumph

And finally, a shot from inside my hotel room. Just kidding. This is part of Napoleon’s apartment in Paris.

Napolean’s apartment in Paris

After Paris I went to my favorite place in the world for vegan cuisine, Montreux, Switzerland. The folks at the La Prairie sure know how to do it up right! Whenever I’m there I never want to leave. Their master chefs prepare 2 gourmet meals plus 2 snacks per day, all made specially to fit each guest’s exact dietary wishes and needs, in my case pure vegan. Every single dish they create is so good, I always find myself eating more than I’ve ever eaten before and I gain about 4 pounds by the end of the week, which for anyone who knows me is a very good thing for me. I can’t wait to go back again. But next I’m off to Mexico, then to Japan for more fun with my music. We’ll get some music samples online here or on my Japanese website soon for you to enjoy. Ciao!

Appreciation

Jumping In
Jumping in (the dark spots are stingrays)

Fortunately I was able to take 2 whole weeks out of my full schedule to share a family vacation with 16 members of my extended family in the Bahamas and Cayman Islands. Sitting on the peaceful, sun-drenched beaches listening to the ocean waves, some profound feelings of appreciation welled up within me. The people with whom we share our lives, I thought, greatly influence the direction, quality and value of our journey.

My journey has been adorned with the greatest treasures of all – treasures of the heart. I’m deeply grateful to everyone who has helped me grow, learn and become joyful. Throughout the world, past and present, thank you from the core of my being. The list of those whom I’d especially like to shower praise upon is simply too difficult to compile. # 1 on the list, however, is easy. “The Best” is my mom. She’s always been there for me as unshakable and steadfast as a mountain, under any circumstance. She’s been my best teacher, my best fan, my best influence, my best confidante. She continues to shine as a great example, a great inspiration, and a great lighthouse for my life.

Grand Cayman
View from my room in Grand Cayman

During our vacation, my cousin Alex captured a candid photo of me in which my mom appears in the background. I particularly enjoy this image because I did not realize she was standing so close behind me when he took the photo. It reflects the reality that throughout my life my mother has always been there, proudly sustaining and watching out for me even when I don’t realize it. Thanks mom! Two other favorite photos are from my room in the Caymans, and from a magical experience I had swimming with wild stingrays in the Caribbean Sea – a life-changing experience. After playing with the stingrays, I kissed one good-bye, and my sense of appreciation and wonder for this life became heightened evermore.

Bahamian Club
Taro and Mom at the Bahamian Club