In 2009, I moved with my wife to her birthplace of Mexico City and finalized the processing of five years worth of recording material into what became known as The Zenahora Music Project. The word ZENAHORA comes from my own bastardization of the Spanish word zanahoria (which means “carrot”). To remember the word, I associated it with two words that I heard/saw in it – “zen”, and the Spanish word “ahora” (meaning “now”)
So, zanahoria (pronounced san-ah-ORR-ee-ah) became ZENAHORA (zen-ah-ORR-ah) = zen now.
But it’s deeper than just the phonetics. The idea of zen (or maybe more correctly, the ideal of zen) is experiential realization – gaining true understanding not by thinking, but by doing – and the when of doing is always in the now. I can list any number of clichés about how there’s no time like the present, but it’s only in each of our own experiences that we fully comprehend an understanding of this that is beyond words. I can say though that I’ve felt this more and more as I’ve gotten older; I’d like to think it’s because I’ve gotten wiser, but I can’t deny that time is a persistent finger on the realization button of what’s really important in life.
On June 9th, 2003, I wrote the following in my journal, and it represented a voice inside of me that I didn’t know I had. It was one of the biggest inspirations for the beginning of this creative journey, as I recognized that my dream of creating my own musical and written works couldn’t just sit inside of me anymore.
“when you gonna start living, instead of just existing?
you have all the necessary ingredients, the right level of information,
excellent knowledge and skill
and yet, you hold your own self back…why? what are you waiting for?
you sit and watch as others live out their potentials
they aren’t perfect, they make many mistakes, many more than you…
but you sit, in fear of success.
this is your “fear and loathing”
instead of fear of the american dream, you fear
the fulfillment of your own dream. why?
this is what you need to figure out. now.
the others are patient and loving with you –
don’t be fooled, for i am not.
i am time, immemorial and instant.
i do not want, indeed!
i crush, mercilessly…
you will bow to me, faithfully, if you choose to ignore
or disregard your personal ideal.
it is up to you.
i know that you have seen my work at it’s finest –
i have healed you,
but i will break you,
little pieces of your soul at a time, you won’t even notice…
until there is nothing you can do.
i am not evil, there is no such thing.
i am the balancer, the measurer.
i classify and delineate and cast away
don’t make your true self unnecessary.
the true aspects of who you are cry out,
still with joy.
don’t wait for tears to change
what you know must be done.
that undercurrent of anxiety and tension
is my breath on your neck…
soft enough to cool you,
consistent enough to paralyze your motivation
i am the worst form of torture,
death by sedation
leading to sedition of the heart and soul…
ZENAHORA is the concept of connecting to the deepest aspects of who you are and living them out, here and now.
And really, what else is there in life?
The icon for ZENAHORA is the pine cone. Imagine the top of the head of the enlightened Buddha, the massive Pigna statue in the Vatican, the Egyptian staff of Osiris – these are all examples of pine cone shaped imagery that represent a connection to the deepest aspect of creation. When a pine cone falls to the ground its scales open up to release its seeds, and this essential act of rebirth from one of the most important and dominant flora species in the world has influenced societies for millennia in their understanding of the natural world and their place in it. Biologically speaking, human beings have their own embedded pine cone as well – the pineal gland, so called due to its similar shape to the pine cone (also known as the “Third Eye” or the Ajna chakra) – that when “opened” is believed to allow for complete enlightenment of the soul. Even in the modern western world, it is still common to find pine cone shaped objects on top of gates or at the entrance to a home, even on bed posts – a leftover from the good vibes that this imagery is associated with in society. When I discovered that the Spanish word “zanahoria” (carrot) sounded like a combination of “zen” and “ahora” (now) and decided to represent my work visually, I looked for a symbol that could translate that ideal into imagery. Riding my bike one day with my wife, I caught a glimpse of a pine cone statue on the top of a gate in front of someone’s home, and remembering the little bit of history that I had learned about its use throughout human history as a symbol of enlightenment, I decided to adapt it as the main image for ZENAHORA.
For more information on the history of pine cone imagery throughout history, a good place to start is here: Pine Cone Art