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On Saturday, May 27th, I sat in a Portland coffeeshop and read that Gregg Allman had passed away. Then I read that two men had been stabbed to death on a Portland train the night before. One of them was Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche. I didn't know him personally, but I saw that I had over a dozen mutual friends with his mother, Asha Deliverance. As I drove the three hour drive back to Bend over the mountain pass, I thought about Gregg, and of Taliesin and Rick, the two victims who had been stabbed by Jeremy Christian for standing up to the hate and bigotry he was directing towards two teenaged girls, one wearing a hijab.
In the next couple of days, I learned the last words of Talisien were: "Tell everyone on this train I love them." I could not get those words out of my head. I spent many hours meditating on them and they echoed over and over. The following Wednesday, I spent the whole day writing a song...and the result was "On This Train". I recorded it at a Bend studio in the next couple of weeks. I later found the lady who Taliesin spoke those words to on the train. Rachel Macy grew up with two close friends of mine. One from my spiritual community in Oregon, and another I knew from my spiritual community in Atlanta. That just affirms what I already believe—that we are connected in many ways that we aren't even necessarily aware of.
Every day in the media, I see more stories of hate. Someone goes off on a hate-filled, hostile rant, and it's soon plastered all over social media. Yet if you share a story promoting love, healing, or unity, it's overlooked for the most part. What does that say about our society?
If I made a wish today, it would be that people actually listen to, and take Talieisin's message to heart —"Tell everyone on this train I love them." He didn't say tell all the white people I love them, or tell all the black people I love them, or tell all the Christians I love them, or tell all the Muslims I love them, or tell all the atheists I love them, or tell all the rich people I love them, or tell all the poor people I love them...he said "tell EVERYONE on this train I love them." The fact is, he didn't even personally know any of the people on the train. But, nevertheless, he opened his heart to them.
I never had the opportunity to meet Taliesin here on this earth, but his words and his spirit really resonated with me, and we connected on a deeper level. I think his message is the most important message of our time—that this country and the world needs to hear. We are all in this together.
It matters what happens to other people. I've been writing songs for victims of violence now for over three years. I never met any of the people I've written songs for in person, but that isn't important. What is important, is that I felt empathy and compassion towards them. For no other reason than to simply love and practice kindness towards others. What other reason do we need?
We are all connected, period. We are not just living a physical existence, but we are spiritual beings. My wish is to spread Taliesin's message across the world. We are all on this train together. It matters what happens to other people. That is the essence of what I am about in a nutshell, but we all have this ability. We are unique but also part of one family. May we all know love, compassion, acceptance, and understanding, and teach others, especially children.