Where Does Your Wanderlust Take You? "The Launch"
~ By Jeff Liffman
Sometime in the fall of 2011, I approached Boston yoga teacher Ame Wren. At the time, Ame was little more than a stranger to me. I had begun taking her classes earlier that Fall and, as one body in a room of more than 50, I was undoubtedly little more than a stranger to her. In fact, the whole world of yoga was new to my life. I had taken a handful of classes over the years and only began practicing regularly that September. But I took a chance. Inspired by a live sitar player that Ame had recently brought into class, and unaware of Wanderlust and the whole music and yoga scene, I stuck around after class one evening and asked Ame if I could one day play for her class. I was studying music in Boston, had deeply connected with my yoga practice, and thought I could combine the two. Ame kindly asked me to send her a sample of my music and a few days later, she kindly complemented what I had sent her and asked me to join her for two classes after the winter holidays. Those two classes, my first experiences playing for yoga, were magical. People, strangers, felt the need to come talk to me afterwards and thank me for providing them with a new experience. I had played music my whole life, often for strangers, but rarely had I received the kind of positive and genuine feedback after a performance. Not even from friends, let alone strangers.
Ame and I continued to work together through the early months of 2012. Our yoga music classes continued to bring positivity to the community and the community continued to send positive feedback to us. Ame mentioned that she was teaching at this festival called Wanderlust, which again was completely foreign to my awareness, and wanted to bring me along. Just three months before Wanderlust Vermont was set to start, she sent an email to co-founders Jeff Krasno and Chris Cuevas asking if I could play for her classes. A few emails later, and I was booked to play every day of the festival. Jeff and Chris could have easily and kindly said, “no, sorry, it’s just too soon,” but they took a chance on me, a stranger, and invited me into their community. It didn’t hurt that Jeff and I shared a name, a hometown, and a passion for his brother’s band Soulive.
Wanderlust launched me to where I am today, a working musician, traveling around the country playing for yoga studios. I left the festival having made personal and spiritual connections and having assured myself that this was what I was put on this earth to do. I had always been afraid to fully pursue my own music career. At the time, my yoga music was just a side project, and I had a “real” job working at a desk for other people. Just a few months after Wanderlust, I left that job and launched my first career in me. Part of what I was afraid of before was exactly what I have since found to be true: strangers accept and value me. I had feared that by stepping out of my comfort zone and into the unknown, I was putting myself at risk for failure. I have often rushed to spill many details of my life to a stranger in order to quickly gain their acceptance. Yoga, Wanderlust, and my musical endeavors have taught me that I need to do little more than reach out, spread positivity, and be my true self and the kindness of strangers will come pouring in.
I’ve been on the road since March 1st and the stories of kindness from strangers have only grown. Over my next few posts this month, I will highlight these stories of kindness as well as dive into what it has meant to me to take a risk, to step out of my comfort zone, and to follow my heart.
~ Jeff Liffmann is a musician who focuses on creating a unique and improvised atmosphere for the yoga studio. Using various keyboards, drums, and guitar, Jeff creates a completely live musical soundscape weaves seamlessly with the energy and flow of the yoga studio. He is on the road indefinitely and committed bringing his practice to yogis far and wide. You can check him out at www.jeffliffmann.com and for those in the Seattle area this weekend, you can catch him at Shefayoga Roosevelt on May 4th and 5th at 4:30PM, not to mention at Wanderlust Vermont this June.