Opening Up
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When Eilon from Dust & Grooves contacted me last winter about editing his book, I was at an all-time low. I was in the midst of a process that has been written about extensively throughout history—when your external world crumbles and everything you grab onto just turns to dust, leaving you with nowhere to turn but inside. Life’s circumstances had broken me open, and I had to look closely at all that was coming out and face it. The process was grueling, the worst I had ever endured, but there was just an ever-so-slight hint of a blessing in disguise, that in turning myself inside out and peeling away the layers I’d somehow get to the core of me, a place I’ve always strived to reach. I read a quote about Dante’s Inferno that I think nails the process: “Dante’s journey took him as low as a human being could sink, through his worst fears and most bitter truths, down to the very center of the earth. And then by continuing straight downward through the center and beyond, he suddenly headed up.” By the eighth month of this journey, I started heading up, but not before reaching that place beyond rock bottom where you’re not sure how much longer you can hold on for and yet when you do, the breakthrough occurs. I largely disconnected myself from the world to free up the time and space this process required, so when Eilon got in touch with an offer to edit Dust & Grooves, I was torn between exuberance and hesitation, worried that I was in too bad a state to do justice to a project I so badly wanted to be more involved with. But I remember at one point jokingly saying out loud to the world, “Please! Someone throw me a bone!” and there it came, a bone called Dust & Grooves.

Oddly, the release of the book coincided with my breakthrough, so the launch party on Record Store Day in Brooklyn was an especially sweet affair. I had come out the other side, transformed, feeling a sense of contentment I had never known before. I’m pretty convinced that one of the main purposes of life is to keep pushing you open—mentally, spiritually, culturally, musically. We get so cozy with the status quo, boundaries, limitations, staying within the same scene, but life rarely lets you off that easy. It keeps poking you, forcing you to listen. And when you do listen, let go, surrender, open yourself up to whatever comes up (which, by the way, is completely counter to what our culture encourages), you begin to notice that good things start happening. Just a few weeks after the book release party in Brooklyn, Eilon asked if I’d like to join him on the Dust & Grooves European tour and produce the events in Amsterdam, Paris, and London (and also in LA). I felt like I had completed a marathon and now I was being rewarded with a trip that would involve hanging out with collectors, DJs, and music lovers every single day for a month. It’s hard to imagine a more rewarding gift. It was really something.

xo-Sheila

p.s. You’ll find lots of photos, videos, and DJ mixes from the European tour here: http://www.dustandgrooves.com/the-dust-grooves-european-book-launch-tour-recap/

6 Responses to Opening Up

  1. Eilon says:

    Sheila,
    This is so heart warming. Thank you for this letter. It means a lot to me and I’m looking forward to growing and opening up and to be inspired.
    Keep up the challenge
    Big hug from here and another one when I’ll see you around the corner.
    Eilon

  2. Brad says:

    Great post. I can totally relate to being in that dark place once before. It’s funny how records seemed to be a big part of what saved me too. Some people look at my record collecting as childish or nerdy, they will never understand how it effects me at an entire different level (and they don’t need to understand either).

    • admin says:

      Hey Brad: It’s strange how “being in that dark place” is an experience shared by so many, yet no one really talks about it. And perhaps that’s where records/ music comes in, providing a comfort + reassurance that all will be okay + that we’re not alone—a sort of compassion that can be difficult to get from actual humans surprisingly! It’s nice to hear how much your collection has helped you. Thanks for sharing!
      xo-Sheila

    • admin says:

      Waahhhhhh!!! I need that book! Thanks for the tip! It says that it’s supposed to be released in 2013…I wonder what’s happened. I have that Twiggy pic sleeve : )
      Thanks Carlos!
      xo-Sheila

  3. Mike says:

    Your site continues to be one of my favorites and I was touched by your recent blog post. I too was in that place, and music and records were an inspiration.

    Here is a link to a song that helped me.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-UjGwo2tF0

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