Namaste dear one! It is a joy for me to announce the official release of my fifth book, Finding Freedom Where You Are: Zen reflections of a globe-trotting nomad!
This project has been a major artistic and spiritual undertaking as I endeavored to capture the key spiritual lessons I’ve learned over the last seven years in the most Zen, beautiful, and accessible way possible.
The idea for this book came on 12 August 2022, in Redondo Beach, California, while I was sitting on the patio at my favorite vegetarian restaurant (The Green Temple). Seven years after deciding to leave my corporate career behind to seek ultimate freedom, the inspiration came for me to capture what I’ve learned.
From there, I channeled ten more pages of brief quotes that became the basis for the book.
It was important to me that this book not be the parroting of my beloved Zen, Taoist, and Advaita teachers. Instead, the intent of this book was to capture the essence of what I’ve learned from these great masters in my own words to modernize the teachings.
A few days later, I began experimenting with mixing images from my travels to create innovative art. I was inspired by a particular artwork by Tacita Dean that I was fortunate to have seen in Luxembourg the previous month at MUDAM — The Contemporary Art Museum of Luxembourg — during her opening. Through a film printing process and colored pencil, she created this otherworldly magic that I thought was revolutionary. (I am thankful that I was able to tell her that at the opening!)
I used a digital process of superimposing images and adjusting transparency to mix my own magic. Always influenced by Japanese artistry and my favorite artist, Hokusai (most known for “The Great Wave”), natural elements were emphasized in all of the mixtures to highlight the beauty and blessing of my globe-trotting nomadic life over the last seven years.
Here are a few of the images from the book:
The original idea of the book was to combine images with quotes, but this felt very overwhelming. After putting together a few drafts, there was a recognition that the ideas on their own was not a full reflection of the lessons I’ve learned.
That realization shifted me to the heady third phase of the project, which entailed writing my succinct perspective for each of the ideas I’d channeled. This took months to complete, and even after that time, there were many adjustments made to further clarify the ideas.
There was a realization that these edits could have gone on forever, so I eventually had to tell myself that whatever was completed in 2022 was what was meant for the book. Any revelations that occurred later would have to be for another creation.
After that, the fourth phase–organizing the content of the book–was equally as challenging. Sorting, organizing, and editing the content to flow into categories that made sense took many, many tries.
While flipping through one of my favorite books with teachings of Zen master Bodhidharma, one of his quotes caught my eye: “Not thinking about anything is Zen. Seeing your true nature is Zen. Everything you do is Zen,” and there were fireworks in my heart as I realized these statements would be a beautiful way to organize the ideas and honor the founder of Zen.
After I selected all of the fonts–always a very important part of the process, and always with my sincere thanks to the amazing designers that are credited at the end of all of my books–I constructed a layout with space and the ability to open the book at any page to gain inspiration for contemplation.
When I completed the first draft, there was a strong feeling that I also needed to do the graphic design work for this project myself. I am thankful for the InDesign crash course from the wonderful graphic designer I’ve partnered with on my previous projects to make this happen. (Thank you, Dillon!)
After that, it took me an additional month, filled with 14-hour+ work days to complete the InDesign work. Each page, of the 172-page ebook, was designed separately with great care and attention to detail. In many ways, I think of the book as 172 pieces of artwork.
With thanks and love to my incredible USA support system of family and friends, this six-month undertaking was still very exhausting! Though I would have liked to have remained in the USA to have the physical books printed, the energy was not there to do that. Resting and recharging was necessary. It also felt important to put the book down for a few weeks and look at it with fresh eyes before the final review. All of these objectives were best accomplished by me returning to Cabo Verde.
With the benefit of a slower pace, beautiful nature, and the ability to turn off my phone for a few days, I was able to complete the ebook and file the official copyright for the book on 31 December 2022!
Creating Finding Freedom Where You Are has been an absolute labor of love. I am thankful for the prayers and blessings of support from all of you, and the ancestors and sages who have absolutely fortified me through this process! My fingerprints and DNA are in every part of this book, and I hope that you feel the love in each pixel.
EBOOK AT ZENTAO BOOKS
As an independent artist, author, and publisher, I have learned that while platforms are the easiest way to distribute art, it is actually the platforms that make the profit…not the artist. As such, I am doing everything possible to distribute this book independent from those platforms.
After completing the book, additional weeks have been spent doing a complete update to my publishing company website, zentaobooks.com. (This was another completed challenge that I’m still processing and celebrating!) You are able to view sample pages of each of my books from the home page. Also, the checkout process has been greatly simplified — requiring only your name and email before being re-directed to PayPal for secure payment.
Following your purchase, an order confirmation screen will display with download link(s) for your purchase. Additionally, an email will follow with the same links. Your downloads will never expire.
To better protect my intellectual property, Finding Freedom Where You Are is being shared as an EPUB (electronic publication) file. This is a standard file type that can be read on any device. For assistance opening EPUB files on your device, please click here.
I recognize that this process requires a step or two more than established platforms, but your support of this independent artist is very much appreciated and recognized.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I sincerely hope that you enjoy the book, the Zen, and the artistic journey. Namaste.