Erica Chase, the talented young singer-songwriter (“We Can Fly”) was an English major at Pitzer College in Claremont, California when she met multiplatinum producer, Dana Strum (Slaughter bassist) . Through connections her father’s business partner made in Las Vegas, Erica met Dana on February 1, 2006. That date will forever burn in her memory, not only because of the amazingness of the moment, but because of what happened the very next day. Riding on her bicycle on the way to meet a friend for lunch, she was slammed up against a truck windshield, flying through the air and onto the ground. She awoke in a helicopter with a mask over her face.

“I will never forget that day for as long as I live,” she told me in a recent phone interview. While she had dabbled in songwriting as a high school jock growing up sandwiched between two brothers, she hadn’t realized how much her dream to become a rock star outweighed her upper-middle class upbringing of doing the smart thing such as becoming an educator. “I was on my way to Seattle to become a teacher,” she revealed. But after her accident, from which she miraculously walked away with minor injuries, she realized how short life could be. It was time to take the bull by the horns and live out the secret dream she truly harbored.

What fascinated me most about our conversation was the feeling she had when she met Dana Strum. “I knew something big was about to happen,” Erica said. She didn’t know what that was, but she knew she was on the edge of something indescribable. It was a heavy energy that can be equated to the onset of depression, a significant weightiness that one simply cannot ignore. The very next day, as she was flown to the hospital, she knew she couldn’t live without music. “It was my wake-up call.”

The life of a rock star is an irregular one, not necessarily what one thinks of when one thinks of slow living. But late nights and loads of travel don’t phase this twenty-something artist. One of her big dreams now is to do a multiple city tour via bus.

When I asked whether she was worried she might burn out, she revealed an inner truth that I share. Like myself, who simply cannot live without writing, she cannot live without music. It is so deeply entrenched in her soul that to live any other way would mean certain death. In true power of slow style, she is living her life on purpose. It took a severe knock-down to put her on the right track, but luckily she chose to listen to the message right away. As a result, we get to profit from her stellar Sheryl Crowe-meets-Beatles sound. Now that’s a track we like to hear!

 

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How to Step out of Time

July 30, 2010

In our time-crunched existence, we often feel the weight of the world on our shoulders as we hurry to and fro, up and down and all around. It seems on those occasions when we ‘just can’t take it anymore’, we feel a particular sharp-edged crush of the rush. In large part, it has to do with our state of mind.

Zen masters would argue it has everything to do with our thinking.

Stepping out of time is a practical method of relieving the crush we place ourselves in. But how can we step out of the time construct into which we are all born?

By listening to music.

Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter, Rosanne Cash and I had a lovely

Photo Courtesy of Abby Ross

chat yesterday, which will be airing on August 14th at 5 pm ET on this NPR station. She rightly pointed out that sound can pull you outside of linear time at any given moment. It uplifts and rewards. Sound informs. And when we hear its call, we are set free.

What I came to know through my conversation with Rosanne is that art has a soul-nourishing timelessness. Whether painting, dancing, acting, writing or singing, living art in that most profound way creates a space outside of time. We can dwell there whenever we like, calling forth that spiritual energy that enriches our lives. As Deepak Chopra recently said to me, parts of ourselves live in eternity. There is grace in knowing we are connected to that Source at all times. But I wonder how often do we realize all that we are looking for is already here?

So today’s question to you is how will you step out of time today?

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