Today I have been sober for two years. I am grateful and humbled to have escaped the grips of addiction relatively unscathed. I really did make it out in the nick of time. I shudder to think where I would find myself today if I had not had another chance at a new life, another shot at sanity, another roll of the conscious dice. Two years ago the situation was dire and hardly anyone knew. I guess I kept it quiet as I had been in recovery for 11 years and I was not supposed to be drinking. My close friends and family were worried but they didn’t really know how bad things were getting.

It was a few months prior, when for the first time, I had reached for the bottle of Vodka  at 7am. This had never happened before. I was gripped with a fear that I had never known and was compelled to quell the soul rattling anxiety that woke me from my sleep. As my eyes burst open with adrenaline and I gasped for air. It dawned on me that I was in a kind of trouble that I had not been in before. Thirteen years prior, I had been in ICU as a result of a drug overdose but this seemed so much more intense. I felt so unbelievably powerless. I guess I also had much more to lose this time round. I had fought hard to gain a relatively normal life. After a series of traumatic events (being arrested for drunk driving being one of them) I started to realize that I was reaching the end of my allocated cosmic favor and that things were about to come undone. I had to do something.

A Shaman from Brazil, Yawa Bane, was coming out to Cape Town. I took the opportunity and booked for the weekend Ayahuasca retreat. I needed help. It was either rehab or Mama Aya, so I chose the medicine. I struggled to prepare for the ceremony. I ate really badly and of course I still drank every day right up to the ceremony. I just could not control it.

She (Mother Ayahuasca) welcomed me with open arms. She was so kind and gentle, showing me the exact nature of my dis-ease. She took me to the root of it, explained it and gave me the opportunity to let it go through tears of remorse and much purging. Over the course of the weekend, which involved two Ayahuasca ceremonies, and Kambo (frog medicine) between the two, I was cleaned out physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. With the broom of awareness she helped me to sweep my whole mind, my whole consciousness. We went back to forgotten times,  incidents that were buried in fear, shame and grief. We threw open the shutters and let the light in so that we could look and really see. It was time for the clearing. In a soft but strong and encouraging voice she said “You’re not built for crawling, my beloved, you are built for flight. Now get up” She pointed to the big blue sky of hope “Get up!”

In the early morning, after a harrowing night of facing all of the things that had held me prisoner. The cell gate stood open. The warden had abandoned his post. I was free to leave. I sat up and with my Eagle feather, brushed the remaining residue of fatigue and damage from my etheric body into the fire that had been burning at the centre of the room all night. I felt so incredibly vulnerable. So soft, so exposed. I felt like new soft pink feet that had touched the earth for the very first time. I stood on the fresh fragrant lawn of my life, with my new feet, ready to make the first imprints on a new path. I allowed the enveloping  gratitude with complete abandon. There I stood, humbled and ready to serve.

Then the songs came. Some of them came complete, like downloads. I had to keep up. I kept my phone with me at all times to make voice notes, because the songs would just arrive out of nowhere and I was worried that I’d miss them. I did miss one or two but thankfully, I managed to get most of them down. This is where most of my music comes from. With a clean mind, I found such profound connection to nature, to myself and others.

The work now continues. I am determined that we be victorious. I am resolved to stand free, to really embody victory and freedom as a human being. This is why I sing.

I give thanks to the One, the One life, the One love, the Great Spirit that guides and protect us.

Yours in Music

Crallan Ray Vega

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been making music my whole life, basically. I had a boy alto voice and sang my first solo in church when I was 6 (Ave Maria). How cute? I think I still have a tape with the recording that my mom made.

My generous parents sent me to the Drakensberg Boy’s Choir when I was 10 and there I received singing training. Music was simple then. You stood next to the other boys and sang in beautiful harmony together twice a day. There was also much to do at that school, like riding horses, and swimming in the mountain streams. I was a boy in heaven, the majestic mountains of the berg, creating an unforgettable backdrop to my daily life.

At age 15 I wrote my first song. i wrote about loneliness and my friend ‘Mary Jane’ hehe. Then it was time for school musicals like The Sound of Music and Grease, Oliver and such. I also started to sing in bands. I was in this metal band called “Virtue Metal”, how hilarious. We opened for Steve Hoffmeyer once and as we started our second song, the crowd started chanting “Steve! Steve! Steve!”. I had to throw beer off the stage to placate them. I think we were really bad.

In my early 20’s I decided to make a go at it to be a musician and started writing songs in earnest. I spent hours, days, months, years writing songs and in my mind, they were never good enough.  Internally, my dialogue was very strict and I criticized the song as it arrived in me, all the way onto the stage, where my performances were also never good enough in my own opinion. My voice was never good enough, my playing was never good enough and the music caused me much frustration and anguish. I became terribly unhappy as a musician.  My unhappiness was also fueled by my addiction to various things but that is a story for another day.

As a result of the constant criticism, the flower of creativity in me withered and I spent the next decade waiting for songs that never came. Here and there something would get through the cracks but if it was not sufficiently brilliant in my opinion, i would stop the process immediately. This caused my song writing to stagnate in the checkmate of my mind. The music was blocked by my inability to accept how I sound.

The music dried up completely and every attempt at performance or composition became increasingly painful, so I decided to stop.

Creativity and connection to the source, I have learned, is much like a sea urchin. When you stick your finger in a sea urchin, it contracts. Even if you just stroke it lightly, it will shut itself. I learned this valuable lesson through the medicine of cylosibin. The medicine showed me that my criticism is like a finger in my mind, going around touching my creative “sea urchins”. I started to become aware of what I was saying to myself as I was playing my instrument and singing. I was surprised at the harsh attitude and language that was present in me whilst playing. The need for perfection was really causing much damage to my ability to connect with the etherial music expression mechanism from where the songs come. I decided that, as hard as it might be, I have to let go of what I thought I should sound like and just sing. I practiced letting go of the need for perfection; I realised that “perfection” is not real. I would always shift the goal posts, no matter how good I become. I would always be lacking unless I find acceptance. Perfection is not the way you perform something, but rather you ability to accept everything about your performance.

When I stopped criticising the songs, they started to return. After about 10 years of no songs, the songs started to emerge again. They were simple, powerful and every time I play them, I feel the medicine of each song. Some songs had no lyrics, just an essence, a feeling, a vibration that creates a reaction in me. I started focusing more on the songs than on the way I perform them and the simple joy of playing music returned to my life.

Sometimes I relapse and find myself saying “you sound utterly shit”. At these times I try to be aware of the dialogue, stop the dialogue and redirect it, starting with an apology to myself. Music is joyful in and of itself. When we impose our expectations on it, whether at a song circle or on a stage or sitting alone at home, we miss the music.

Love your voice, speak positively to it and let it be what it is.

I give thanks and praise to the One, the One life, the One source of life.

I offer this song to Pachamama, the brilliant shining jewel of our solar system, our home, our great sustainer.

I offer this song with the prayer that we will see in our lifetime, a shift to clean, quiet, abundant energy and that we put our earth on the path to recovery. This cannot happen without a shift in consciousness in each individual. So, I also offer this song as a prayer that we all succeed in raising our individual consciousness and through our collective effort, the consciousness of humanity.

I give thanks to all the indigenous people of this planet, the guardians of the ancient teachings.

I offer deep gratitude to the Huni Kuin, keepers of the medicines and protectors of the forests.

Yours in service through music

Crallan