Allow me to reintroduce my….self.
Some of you know me well, some of you have known of me for a long time, some of you I have just met, and some of you have just met me. I have very little use for the past and rarely think about it. However, for the sake of understanding and connection, let’s address it.
I’ve been writing rhymes for a long time. I used to make tracks in the middle of the night on GarageBand with my Bluetooth mic and wake my parents up in the middle of the night to hear my shit when I was 14 years old, 14 years ago. I eventually upgraded and started working out of studios… I made a lot of songs I liked at the time, a lot of songs I hated 6 months later and some I still don’t mind.
In 2013 I wrote and recorded my first full length album called PHASES, with the help from some friends. I loved every piece of it…I was on a high. The first single off that album ‘Do it Again’ was picked up by commercial radio and broadcasted on regular rotation to 100s of stations Australia wide. I thought I made it…I did in a sense, I kicked a life long goal, and I convinced myself that nothing else needed to be done and the momentum from being played on radio would carry me all the way to super stardom and selling out stadiums as I had always naively imagined.
I was of course very wrong, and having nowhere to go and falling short of my unrealistic expectations led me to eventually crash…big time. I had sleepless nights, I let my dreams slip through my fingers, I was angry, upset, neurotic and unable to understand why I didn’t have the successes that I had seen all my favourite artists achieve. I was locked in a cycle of self blame, self judgement and comparison.
Then one night in June 2015, tossing and turning in my sleep, a repeating endless stream of thinking about ‘what if’s’ and ‘could haves’ became so much to bear to the point where resistance exited my control. Suddenly I was still. I became very quiet, internally, there appeared to be nothingness. Not of my own doing. I just wasn’t thinking, there were no thoughts. I was just….empty space, I was me, and it may have been the first time I had experienced true contentment since my childhood.
The sun rose the following morning and I was still in this state, it was bliss. Colours seemed brighter, objects seemed to carry a certain energy I could vaguely see emanating from their edges, I could smell fragrances of nature I had never in my intimate knowing of my bedroom experienced previously. I was present. I no longer identified with the accumulation of my experiences, thoughts about myself and what I assumed people thought about me. I was less my personality, and more just being.
Synchronicities began to bring forth knowledge and information into my scope. I read books by Eckhart Tolle, Ram Dass, Alan Watts, I read the Baghavad Gita and the Tao Te Ching. I learned what I experienced was not a coincidence and in fact had been experienced by many before me.
I unlearned everything I thought I knew about myself, personality traits, past tribulations, trauma, successes, anything I had collected as a part of my mind made identity of Joel Rafidi. I began to spend more and more clock time in presence, in loving awareness, in being the witness to my mind. The space from which all form emanates and is derived from. I met my wife Alyssa (that’s a story for another time), we brought our divine blessing into the world…our daughter Valley Grace. I lived in a state of inner peace, not minding what circumstance would next arrive, experiencing an unwavering feeling of peace and joy with what is, knowing everything is always the only way it needs to be because it’s the only way it can be.
This just about brings us to now, where I intend to stay. Up until ‘Freedom’ in July of this year (2019) I had not recorded new music since 2014, however I never stopped writing songs. My vow to myself as I embark on this journey of soul purpose and creative energy again is this. To simply be me and allow whatever messages arise to flow through me. I am creating music again because I feel inspired to, because me actively choosing the inner dream I have come to Earth carrying may make it a little bit easier for my daughter to pursue hers. Because I want to create, and because creating this way makes me happy. Everything you know when condensed to nothingness is energy and energy is love. How do I know this? Because in getting out of my own way and allowing my natural state to operate, it’s what I have felt. Thank you for being here with me, following, listening and sharing. My hope is that you find some enjoyment in what you hear and see, that it may trigger a spark already dormant in yourself and that you may perhaps discover something insightful too.