the ram sessions

  ©  eugene ruffolo

© eugene ruffolo

Hi, sweet blog reader… It's been a really long time since I've shared anything about my album and I apologize for being so out of touch. The truth is, I've been going through one of the most challenging experiences of my life with this creative project and up until now I haven't been ready to say anything about it. But now I am...

Three years ago when I embarked on this project, I had no clue that it would completely unravel my world. What started out as an innocent desire to record some new songs turned into a deep descent into the underbelly of my being. As one who is used to expressing herself with ease, this experience of stuckness has been beyond difficult. It's like I've been on a cosmic hamster wheel with no way off. On top of that, my "stuckness" has been on display for the world to see, and that has made things so much more intense. It's a terrible feeling to do a Kickstarter campaign and have people support your vision, and three years later have nothing to show for yourself. But there it is: It's been three years and I haven't delivered anything yet. 

Along the way tons of people have tried to analyze my situation, but, in truth, no one knows. What do any of us know about another's journey, never mind our own? Everything is shrouded in mystery. The only certainty is that this process has completely overhauled me as a human being, and it's been brutal and shattering and so incredibly lonely. It's been lonely because I've been going through something that has defied explanation, and it's felt like no one on the planet understands. I've mostly found comfort in a story my Dad told me about a year into the project. He said that almost 40 years ago he was at a tiny airport waiting to be picked up by my mom and there were only a few people around. One of them didn't have a ride and my dad offered to give him a lift—it was Paul Simon. He got in the car and as they made their way down the highway, my Dad noticed that Paul looked very down and dejected. Concerned, he asked him if everything was alright. 

"I just can't finish my album." Paul said. "No matter what I do, the tracks won't come together." 

God, those words have been like a beacon during my darkest moments. To know that an artist I admire so much could hit such an impasse—well, it's been encouraging in some strange way. Maybe this kind of stuckness is something that all artists experience at times, and perhaps it's even a necessary part of the path. One thing I've come to understand is that creative energy is a gift—a blessing—and it doesn't belong to the vessel that expresses it…. nor does it work according to the ego's timeline. How can it? The ego lives in the world of instant gratification, but the soul knows that things evolve through some other intelligent design. Who knows, maybe the soul works in dog years. Or light years. But it definitely doesn’t work in ego years. 

Sometimes I wish I could rush my evolution, but nature doesn't work that way. No one looks at an unripe fruit and says, "Why aren't you ripe yet?" It's an absurd question. But why should human beings be any different? We ripen when we ripen. Our projects finish when they finish. Our hearts heal when they heal. Of course effort is needed, but we don't always (or ever) have a say when or what the outcome will be. Other people may judge or criticize, but that just means they don't have the subtle awareness to see what's really going on beneath the surface.

Whether my album gets done in the next month or the next year, one thing is certain: After this experience, I will never again judge another person for their apparent "stuckness"—be it in a creative rut, a bad relationship, a crappy job, or any other pattern. Sometimes shit happens and we need to go through what we need to go through in order to learn important lessons. Those that truly love us will stand by and say, "Don't give up. I believe in you." And everyone else will just push us into deeper self-acceptance. 

At the end of the day, what matters is not the final product, but the journey. Ultimately, this whole shebang has just been a divine plot to help me learn more about patience, self-love, and surrender. This became clear a few weeks ago when I hit a wall of despair. After putting forth endless effort to no avail, I just couldn't do it anymore. Slumped at my harmonium with soaking wet eyes, I saw how attached I had become to the project... how terrified I was to give the whole thing up and walk away. But that's precisely what I needed to do. As the saying goes: If you set something free and it comes back, it's meant to be. Well, I needed to be willing to look my album in the eye and say, "Thank you for kicking my ass and helping me grow. I love you. And I'm willing to let you go." So that's what I did, and as I released my grip, I fell through some cosmic rabbit hole into a new world. The next day, everything flowed in the studio and it's been flowing ever since.  

Throughout this process, I have only had one thing to hold onto: the name of Ram. For some mysterious reason, the mantra of Ram became my touchstone during this wild pilgrimage and it took me down a path I never expected. As everything around me fell apart and I met shame, fear, failure, and so much more, Ram showed up in my life like the most compassionate lover. Try as I might to push him away, he remained steady and present in my heart until I finally let go. Amidst the pain and confusion, I tumbled into his arms… and every song I wrote thereafter contained his name. Despite my efforts to sing other mantras, nothing came out but Ram. Thus, THE RAM SESSIONS was born. 

Yes, I will soon be releasing a concept album called The Ram Sessions, and it is a collection of songs to Ram and Hanuman. This idea isn't something I planned—it just happened spontaneously as I tried to complete my original project, "Touch the Sky". Despite endless work on that CD, no matter how much effort I put forth, it simply wouldn't flow. Finally, after two years of pushing against the current, I realized that it wasn't meant to be. Something else wanted to come through, and it was the Ram album. 

Now—after many months of hard work—my vision is finally starting to come together and I am so happy about the tracks. Each one is unique, yet they all share the same thread of Ram. Some of the songs are my own compositions in English and Sanskrit, some are more world-oriented, and a few are in the ambient genre. In a way, the album chronicles my journey over the past few years and it tells a story of disillusionment, descent, healing, and rebirth. And what I'm most thankful for is the fact that the project has integrity because it is a sincere expression of my heart. 

In addition to the Ram album, I will also be releasing a second album of other material (different mantras) sometime later in 2015. At this point I don't know the exact release date for either CD, but in the very near future (a few more months) I will be sharing lots of new stuff that I've been incubating for the past three years. 

Do you know how much I look forward to sharing the songs of my heart with you? I don't think it's possible to explain. Please just know how grateful I am to every one of you who has supported and encouraged me during this time. It's been a really rough road, but as Rumi once said, "What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is your candle." Man, it's hard to believe that sometimes, but in my depths I know it's true. 

Please stay tuned, sweet blog reader! The fruit is almost ripe.