Sometimes steps for music.
Sometimes steps for spirit.
I am grateful for yoga.
For the first time, both destinations,
music and spirt, have become one.
I am grateful to be. here. now.
I am grateful to be more connected,
to you, to me, to music, to life,
I have found a great sense of home,
providing live soundscape music
for yoga and meditation.
Thank you very much for trusting me
with your ears, the canals to the heart.
I do not take these things lightly.
I am grateful and excited to be a part
of this time and space together. 🙂 <3
(The Long Version)
In this lifetime it seems my attentions have swung like a pendulum between two different poles, the pole of music, and the pole of spirituality. One could title the season of my life by which pole I happened to be pursuing during that period of time.
When I was in High School the music bug bit me pretty hard. I had several bands throughout those four years, and wrote the music for each of them; pop, rock, heavy metal, and progressive music. I enjoyed it all.
In college I got involved with a church’s college group and became part of their worship team. From this evolved a new project, a christian band. I wrote the music for them as well.
I graduated from college with a Pre-Law degree in Political Science. (I’m as surprised as you are reading this 😉 ) As I was studying for the LSAT, the test one takes to see where one qualifies to attend law school, my parents told me… “you love music so much, why don’t you pursue that. If you fall, take this test and go to Law School.” That was the validation I needed. I closed the books and have never looked back. Thank you Mom and Dad! No really, thank you for seeing in me what I couldn’t yet see in myself. Thank you, thank you!!
In the years after college I found myself in any and every musical situation I could get involved with. I was playing bass for an original band that became my first bar-band and music venue experience. I was writing tracks and playing live guitar for a Hip-Hop group called G-men. I still look back on that band with fond affection and good memories. I had the christian band called Prelude, (2 of the 3 members, myself being one, drove a Honda Prelude:) ) And I had an original band called Someday Mission, who I was writing music for.
Though I enjoyed all four of these projects, I felt I needed to focus my energies and pour my efforts into one thing and see where it could go. I was pursuing the Musical Pole, and wanted to focus my efforts with the group I felt most connection with. After a time of deep discerning, I realized it was Someday Mission. So I let all the other projects go and put all my efforts in to SM.
We recorded a cd and were growing in popularity, playing bigger and bigger venues and events. It was exciting. However, I had this spiritual yearning in me that started to grow… as Nathaniel Hawthorne writes in the Scarlet Letter, “it gnaws me.”
I went to the only place I knew at the time to satisfy such spiritual yearnings… church. So, back to the college group and worship team I went. This time they asked me to lead the worship team. Then the pastor of the college group offered me an internship to be a part of the college ministry.
While I was interning, I was still playing in bars and venues with Someday Mission. The elders of the church were not yet at a place where they were comfortable with the idea of one of their paid staff members leading the congregation in worship on Sunday mornings while having stamps all over his hands from the clubs the night before. They sat me down in an elder meeting and said I need to make a decision whether I wanted to pursue music or pursue ministry.
At that time, the spiritual yearning was strong. I felt I needed to see this through. I quit the band. That was a tough decision. But, I needed to figure out what this internal “gnawing” was all about.
From the internship, I moved to Dallas to pursue an education in ministry. Two years later I moved back to Omaha, married, and with my first daughter… Simeon.
I was hired by the same church I interned, for my first role as a pastor. I was a worship and media pastor for a new contemporary service they had started. I went from that church to another, then a house church, then another brick and mortar. During this time, my second daughter was born… Lilly.
While I was in this church ministry period, two things happened. One, the music bug was biting again. And two, an alarming observation hit me… though I thought spirituality was an endless and limitless pursuit, I found myself bumping my head up against proverbial walls and ceiling. In light of these two things, after the last church, I decided to step down from pursuing full time church work. The pendulum was swinging back the other way, towards music.
So what happened next? Well, just like Jake and Elwood in Blues Brothers… “we got the band back together.”
This time the guys said, “dude, just call the band by your name.” So the “Chris Saub” brand was born. We recorded a lot of albums, with various members, styles and genres. It was completely riveting and exciting. During this season of life, my third daughter was born… Mikah Elle.
I still did some part time church work, helping a local church with music on Sunday mornings. And I was an adjunct professor of Worship and Music at a Christian University, teaching and developing young aspiring worship leaders and musicians.
Music wise, after a few albums were in rotation, we had the opportunity to play a small music festival. One of the other acts was looking over the line up and told their manager there weren’t any quality acts on the bill. His manager investigated and ended up happening upon our website. He listened to our music, and reached out to me. Long story short, I ended up being signed by a management company out of Los Angeles who managed some of the big stars I looked up to. I was elated! Cloud nine! I thought I was on my way to a career in mainstream music.
Having a complete change in polarity, from spirituality to music, is not easy on an intimate connection with another human being. As my connection lessened towards church, so did my connection with my then wife. We divorced. Not an easy decision, with three precious little girls, but I knew this was the way we would all be happy. And today we all are. 🙂
After the divorce the part time local church position, and the adjunct professor position faded away. At that time, those institutions weren’t yet comfortable with the idea of having a divorced man spiritually leading others. I understood. This was the end of any kind of church work.
So there I was, a full time songwriter and performer. I couldn’t have been happier. Every day I would wake up and write music. Then in the evening, I would go perform somewhere, out there. I was making a living fully involved in music. I was sending every song I wrote off to LA, knowing with each song I was getting closer and closer to the next level.
During this time I met a new girl, a contemporary dance choreographer. We ended up traveling our artist journeys together, and had a little girl, my fourth daughter… Ava Pear.
I was spending seemingly every ounce of my effort and energy songwriting, recording, and sending songs off to LA. We would be at breakfast somewhere and a melody would hit. She would look at me with a grin and ask, “do we have to go?” 🙂 It was quite a season.
After years of grueling and exhausting work, I made an awful realization, this LA management thing is frying my soul. I was pouring great effort into writing, but for all the wrong reasons. I was writing to please a management company with the hopes of moving up to the next level within mainstream music. It never happened.
Out of the countless number of songs submitted, I never got an inkling of a notion that things were moving in the desired direction, or any direction for that matter. Then there came a point I surrendered to the reality… this wasn’t going to happen.
As a result of all this… I died inside. And for all intents and purposes… I was lost.
But wouldn’t you know it, not soon after this happened, my old friend “it gnaws me” came back. 🙂
The pendulum started to swing back towards spirituality. A polarity shift. Again, a difficult thing for an intimate connection to maintain… connection. So me and Ava Pear’s mom peacefully parted ways. We are still friends to this day. I’m very proud of our story.
I checked out and took a break from songwriting and performing original music. I joined a cover band, started playing solo acoustic dinner music, and taught private music lessons to pay the bills. Every other minute of life was devoted to exploring spirituality.
I remember going to the local Christian bookstore where my mom worked. I told her, “mom, I’m looking for a Bible, but I don’t want it to read like a Bible, or sound like a Bible. I don’t want to be reminded of any sermon, I just want to hear God.” If I had to title this next phase of the journey, it would be that, “I just want to hear God.”
The “I just want to hear God” journey started with a magical encounter with a dancer, who was staying at our house when I was still with Ava Pear’s mom. He was from the show So You Think You Can Dance. I remember telling him as we sat in at our long mission style kitchen table, “I can tell when the camera is on you, there’s something special in your eyes. You have this glow. If you get a few free minutes in your time here, I would very much love to hear about what this is.”
He smiled and thanked me, and said, “I can answer that for you with one word… Kabbala.”
My new spiritual journey of “I just want to hear God” had begun. He gave me several books about Kabbala to read. From there, another magical encounter with a now dear friend, introduced me to Zen, and Don Miguel Ruiz’s Toltec Wisdom. From there another dear craft beer and music friend introduced me to Thich Naht Han and Buddhism. Then I found myself in a sea of books from various spiritualities: other books on Buddhism, Taoism, Zen, metaphysics, the Upanishads of Hinduism, spirituality of the Native American peoples, Aboriginal spirituality from Australia, Egyptian spirituality, I started reading the Quran…. on and on and on. I was soaking up anything and everything that came my way, and the Universe kept the flow of new things coming.
During these years I became friends with a psychic who helped me see many hidden things. Then I met a consciousness coach, Jackie Woodside, who taught me a whole world about my giant, son of a hootin’ nanny ego that needed to be dealt with. Whew! Later, I got into Tai Chi, Qigong, and Traditional Chinese Medicine. I met and became friends with a group of Tibetan Monks. For lack of a better expression, shit was getting real.
One day I lifted my eyes and realized, my whole world had changed.
I could sense for the first time this spiritual journey was endless, effortless, and limitless. And this created so much joy and a peace that changed me, and IS changing me, from the inside out. There has been a great lightening. A great letting go of so much shit, worry, and stress about things that don’t matter. And a great connecting with things that do matter. I have grown to appreciate everything!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Then, the songwriting bug bit again. Whoa, is the pendulum swinging back towards music? The music gods told me to assemble a new rig for creating music, new instruments and gear. And so I did, and wrote new music. It was a completely new sound and vibe I’d never tapped into before. This was effin awesome! It really came from a whole new place within me. So much more of my being was engaged in this music than ever before.
I played a piece of one of these new songs for a friend, who I refer to now as “my oracle,” via a voice memo from my phone.
Then it happened.
The Big Bang.
She listened to the little snippet I had on my phone. Then she said it. She uttered one simple sentence. A question. A question that would alter the course of my life. She said, “Chris have you ever thought about playing this music for yoga class?”
The Big Bang!
“My oracle” friend connected me with my now very dear, dear friend Libba Harmon at Pranam Yoga Shala in Omaha, NE. After our meeting at her beautiful studio, she said let’s try four Tuesday night classes and see how it goes. That was in February of 2016. Libba and I are still teaming up for class on Tuesday nights to this day.
And then, as life does after a Big Bang… things bloomed, things blossomed, things expanded, things got bigger and bigger and better and better.
I am very grateful to be. here. now.
What a ride. What a thrill.
I am very grateful for every character in this story. Every episode. Every event. Whether seemingly bad or good, today I realize all steps are truly moving in one mere direction… towards home.
Thank you, thank you, thank you all you Invisibles who have and are guiding me to be less of a dick (Jackie Woodside) and more of an aware, connected, appreciative, grateful being chasing fullness and harmony.
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journey. And thank you very, very much for being a part of mine.