Johanna on the hill

Moving Into the Unknown

The world shifted radically for me and for millions of others on March 15th. I had just begun my spring tour at the lively LA Festival of Colors. My brand-new Mantra Soul CD was done, and I was still on fire from recording with a wonderful collection of gospel singers. My touring schedule through the summer was just about full, and my RV was ready to roll in a joyous seasonal reunion with my Bhakti family. The Shakti Shop was full of new merch, and the winter check supporting the education of young women in Nepal was in the mail.

Suddenly everything was off. Having already performed and interacted with a crowd, I was a potential carrier of COVID. The world I knew was upside down. I joined millions and millions of people worldwide who no longer knew what unexpected challenges they would need to meet.  This was echoed by other displaced yoga and music friends as we looked to our spiritual practice, and our resilience to create a landing space, even if was virtual. Next we began to imagine an unfathomable future, doing our best to stay present with what each moment has presented us.

I was blessed by a friend who offered a small lake retreat house in the Sierra Nevada mountains where I could go into quarantine before returning to be near my peeps (and my aging parents) in Oregon. I offered a new chant to combat the virus in an online concert that never got heard because of bandwidth problems. If I’ve learned nothing else from the last four years of touring, I’ve learned to roll with whatever presents itself. But these skills have been tested like never before during the last few weeks.

During the two days it took to drive back to the Pacific Northwest, I used my best hand-cleaning and self-calming skills and tried not to get too paranoid about every surface I touched. I arrived back to my home studio about a week ago to find a brand-new box of beautiful CD’s now in quarantine, like me. I’ve been humbled by my circumstances. While settling in here, I notice how important it still is to remember that Love is Always Stronger than Fear. Meanwhile, I’m meeting the unexpected by getting the technology in place for virtual concerts, and I’m checking out other ways to stay in touch.

Now that I’m in one place, I’m remembering another thing I learned from the road. I’m reminding myself daily to stay within the beam of headlights as I move, along with each of you, at a safe social distance, into the Unknown.