Tobu (gratia Justyn)

It was the happiest accident you could imagine: Tobu, by the grace of Justyn.

To explain, I must start with one of my best friends, Justyn (yes, that’s spelled right). He’s a fellow entrepreneur who I really respect and admire for his intellect, his knowledge, his determination, his compassion, his willingness to drive us around Austin in the middle of any day or night – because he takes the richest pleasure in the act of driving itself (his business is one of logistics and transportation, no surprise)…but, perhaps most, for his taste in music. It’s not mine, but it’s so close to mine that it’s almost indistinguishable from mine…almost 80% of what he shares on those drives around is absolutely perfect. Years ago, after our Self-Expression and Leadership Program Monday evening classes, I would jump into the shotgun seat of his Lexus SUV and he would drive and play music and we would laugh hysterically and talk and connect…we’d lose track of the hours and I’d let go of everything I was concerned for or worried about and all the significance of it all (significance from the Landmark usage, meaning a heavy or weighty meaningfulness, a meaningfulness that makes you feel bad)…would dissolve like a fog lifting in the light of the sun.

Justyn therapy, you might call it.

Fast forward…It is a Sunday morning (maybe a month or two ago). I’ve just started to settle in at the new job and the fact of not having to work 12 hour shifts five and six days a week still rings like music across the minutes and hours of my weekends…I actually have weekends for the first time after three of the most difficult months in my life!

As he is wont to do, in the week before, Justyn sent me a text with a YouTube link to some music he found and thought I would love. I had heard the song on repeat several times in the few days previous, and switched it on again.

Then YouTube has this Autoplay thing. With YouTube Red, it’s glorious because there’s no commercials and the YTR algorithm chooses pretty well, most of the time.

So by pure accident, I let it play after the one song he’d sent. More music came on that I’d never heard, but this time, it was as if Justyn was choosing every song. I moved my table and started to let the music move my body until I was sweaty and dazed with action…

I danced in my living room for an hour. The one song I loved most (“Hope,” which I literally have to fast from so I don’t just listen to it all day every day) was by this Latvian music producer named Toms Burkovskis, who goes by Tobu.

He suddenly became omnipresent for me, musically. I had to pace myself not to play every single song of his each day. Putting some mixes on of him in the background as I do my work throughout the day at CAS has been such a blessed gift and redemption of certain challenging or empty moments through the beautiful interface of this music with my brain.

And this morning, when I got misty-eyed with gratitude at how much beauty, joy, uplifting energy, and pleasure can come from one source, I knew I had to write.

Tobu is one of those bands that makes life worth living, who my encounter with is a natural consequence of who I am, who I’ll never get over. To quote Rama from The Matrix Revolutions, “Karma’s a word. Like ‘love,’ A way of saying ‘what I am here to do.’ I do not resent my karma – I’m grateful for it. Grateful for my wonderful wife, for my beautiful daughter. They are gifts. And so I do what I must do to honor them.” Tobu is my karma. Embracing and pressing that lever of listening until I can’t…is the choice and creation of myself in the world.

Tobu is a gift. And I’m hear to honor him.

Recipe for bliss #7: Listen here Thrill and/or dance as appropriate. 

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