Coming Attractions


The Spirit of Nature

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San Diego Oasis, 5500 Grossmont Center Drive Suite 269 , La Mesa, CA 91942

Ever since the dawn of time humanity has had a deeply spiritual relationship with the natural world. Our interrelationships with the land, the water, the plants, and animals has informed our arts, inspired our religions, and given us literally everything we have and everything we are. And in the American experience this deep inter-being has given birth to wave after wave of expression in philosophy, poetry, painting, photography, and even legislation – the creation of the National Park System. Join us we explore the voices and visions of the spirit of nature.


The Great Philosophers: Nietzsche

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San Diego Oasis at Rancho Bernardo, 17170 Bernardo Center Dr., Rancho Bernardo, CA 92128

One of the most compelling figures in all of philosophy, Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) ushers in the modern world by shattering the paradigms of the old. A brilliant scholar and misanthropic outsider, Nietzsche left behind a sprawling, literate body of work that ignited and set aflame the twentieth century. In his merciless critiques of both traditional philosophy and contemporary morality Nietzsche’s infamous utterance “God is dead” and his notoriously misused notion of the Ubermensch (superior human) changed philosophy forever.

Other Media

Professor and Musician Uses Philosophy To Connect With Others -- From the time Peter Bolland was 9 years old, he remembers asking existential questions: What is reality? What is true? What is good? Why does any of this matter?When he got to college, he found philosophy and a professor who made the subject come alive.“I felt like I’d finally found something worth studying. Those ancient voices were asking the same questions I’d been asking,” he says. “It seemed like an impossibly exciting and dangerous project, and I wanted in.”Today, he’s a professor of philosophy and humanities and the department chair at Southwestern College in Chula Vista. He’s also a musician who comes from a creative family, with a mother who was a sculptor, a father who was a poet and filmmaker, and older brothers who were also performing musicians. Bolland has won San Diego Music Awards for his Americana music as both a solo artist and as part of a band, and continues to work as a session musician. And when he isn’t teaching and playing music, he’s writing columns, and leading workshops and lectures on spirituality and philosophy. On Saturday, he’ll lead an all-day retreat at The Chopra Center in Carlsbad on “The Heart of Being.”Bolland, 60, has been married to his wife, Lori, for more than 30 years, and they have two dogs. He took some time to talk about his goal to make philosophy more accessible, his upcoming retreat, and his affinity for a well-placed curse word.Q: How would you define philosophy?A: The subject of philosophy, broadly put, is the study of wisdom: what is it, and why do we need it? Wisdom is different from information and it’s different even from knowledge. You can look up information, and you can gain knowledge from sources outside yourself, but wisdom arises from within, as we struggle and suffer through these difficult, beautiful, and baffling lives. Teachings and teachers help, of course, but until we apply their insights in the workshop of our own lives, they’re just a bunch of pretty ideas. Wisdom, finally, is this: the art of living well.Q: Your website says that “…all of my work is about one thing: shaping the insights of the world’s wisdom traditions into tools we can use to enrich our lives.” What does this mean? What are some of these wisdom traditions? Religions? Something else?A: I’ve come to use the phrase “wisdom traditions” as a kind of shorthand for philosophy, religion and mythology. In this sense, Christianity is a wisdom tradition. So is Buddhism, Daoism, stoicism, existentialism, Jewish mysticism, Norse mythology, Islam and Native American spirituality. Religions, philosophies, and mythologies each have their own parameters and methods, but what connects them together is their ultimate purpose: to draw us out of superficiality and root us more deeply in the real.Q: How do you go about turning those into tools people can use in their lives? Are they not already usable for people?A: Philosophy can come off as somewhat abstract and highly intellectual. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I think of myself as an interpreter. I want to convey the transformational wisdom of the world’s wisdom traditions in down-to-earth, everyday language that everyone can understand. What Carl Sagan did for astronomy and astrophysics, what Joseph Campbell did for mythology and comparative religion, that’s what I want to do for philosophy and world spirituality. Philosophy is for everyone, or it’s for no one. One of the ways I do this, whether in a college classroom or at an off-campus community lecture or workshop, is I always start where students are. Educators call it “scaffolding.” We begin with the lived experience of our students, their challenges, their context, their pain — what they already know — and help frame questions and solutions that lead them to higher order thinking and autonomy. There’s nothing more gratifying than showing someone that they’re much more free than they think they are.What I love about Carlsbad ...It reminds me of old California, at least the old California I grew up with in Ventura with quiet coastal towns, salt air, eucalyptus trees, train tracks, yogis, surfing, and tacos. That perfect combination of spirituality and earthiness. It’s sublime.Q: You’re also a musician. Does your spiritual and philosophical work find its way into your music? Or vice versa?A: I used to think that my expressions as a performing singer-songwriter, and my philosophical and spiritual teachings were two distinct spheres, but these days, I see them as different expressions of the same source. In the end, it’s all about disarming audiences, drawing them into their own vulnerability by sharing mine, and joining with them in a communal healing process. The Renaissance philosophers were right: Truth is beauty and beauty is truth. Sometimes you don’t need to explain everything, you just need to hold up a beautiful flower, as Buddha famously did in his “Flower Sermon,” and not say a word. It’s enough if we have the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the heart to feel.Q: And you spend a lot of time leading workshops, guided meditations and giving lectures, including your all-day retreat, “The Heart of Being,” at the Chopra Center on Saturday. Tell us about the upcoming retreat.A: This year, I entered into partnership with The Chopra Center. I’ve led a number of different sessions there this year, including philosophical lectures, spiritual dialogues (or “satsangs”), guided meditation sessions, and musical performances. What I’m most excited about is my upcoming retreat, a transformative synthesis of all four of these activities. Participants will join me for a variety of spiritual and philosophical practices, including journaling, dialogue, lecture presentations and guided meditation. Then we’ll close out the day with a concert of spiritually centered songs. The retreat is called “The Heart of Being” because the single purpose of all of these activities is to peel back the layers of our false sense of self, our busyness, our alienation, our loneliness, our suffering, and our dis-integration, and rediscover our rootedness in the sacred source. At the core of Vedanta philosophy is our unbreakable oneness with being. Only we’ve forgotten it. This retreat will help us remember. And when we reorient ourselves with our authentic nature, the rest takes care of itself.Q: What has your work taught you about yourself?A: That there’s an inexhaustible storehouse in me, as there is in everyone. I used to think I’d run out of ideas at some point, that I’d have nothing to write or sing or teach about, but now I know the truth: Writing, singing and teaching is not information-delivery, it’s response. And I can always respond to the needs of my audience, hopefully, and if I’m lucky, lovingly, wisely, and with a little humor.Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to find out about you?A: That I cuss a lot. I come from three subcultures that love profanity: surfers, stoners and musicians. The die was cast early. I never pass up the chance to drop a well-placed f-bomb, in the right company, of course. I’m not a jerk about it. You can only pull that off in certain circles.Q: Describe your ideal San Diego weekend.A: Up early, good coffee, yoga on the deck, meditation, breakfast with Lori, taking our dog Cooper for a walk, hitting the farmer’s market and spending the afternoon cooking, watching TCM (Turner Classic Movies), and napping. I’m a real homebody. I love travel, adventure and hiking, but on most weekends, my backyard is all I need to see of the world. A little wind through the trees, a late afternoon sky, a rising moon and a circling hawk — what more could you possibly need?” - Lisa Deaderick

San Diego Union-Tribune

Review of Peter Bolland’s album “Two Pines”: Driving around San Francisco yesterday I put in Peter Bolland's new CD Two Pines. It felt like it was coming right out of the ground with the California sound I love so much. I don't like to compare artists, or say they sound like others, but I do know we are influenced by what we love. Two Pines seems to have all of my favorite influences mixed in it -- harmonies that sound like the Byrd's, pedal steel that blends in like The Flying Burrito Brothers, chunky wood guitars with a hint of Neil Young's rhythm, and a warm rich full sound that feels so good on the ears. As I left the city heading to the redwood trees I was stunned by Peter's lyrics and song writing. Peter paints the terrain with words, and tones, his bridges are just at the right time that either lifts and moves the song around the corner, or tears your heart open with a minor key. I believe a songwriter has to have lived before they can truly write believable songs. Peter Bolland has nailed this one, headed to Half Moon Bay, his song about going to the beach brought back my younger days, but inspired me to turn the music up, roll the windows down, and breathe in the wonderful tones of Two Pines. ” - Tim Flannery

CD Baby

Peter Bolland and Jay Allen Sanford of the San Diego Reader discuss his new album "Two Pines" and the CD Release Concert -- Bare Bones Bolland -- “I haven’t made an album in seven years,” says Peter Bolland, whose last two full-lengths with the Coyote Problem earned Best Americana Album trophies at the San Diego Music Awards. For his upcoming solo full-length Two Pines, “A lot of songs had piled up since 2007 so, when it came time to record a new album, it was pure torture whittling down the list. Did I want a quiet, finger-picking Sunday morning album? Or a driving-hard-through-the-desert vibe? I sat down with my producer Sven-Erik Seaholm and we talked about the approach we wanted to take.”Taking their inspiration from Neil Young and Tom Petty, “I wanted to build a foundation of three basic elements: bass, drums, and acoustic guitar. That was the frame upon which we going to build these songs. Keep it simple…I played all the guitars myself, acoustic six string, twelve string, and nylon string guitar, electric guitar, lap steel, and Dobro. Sven played a little piano riff on one song. That’s about it. We added on a bunch of other stuff, but in the final mix we stripped it all off and cleaved close to the essence of each song. Anything that got in the way got cut. What’s left is honest to God Americana rock, cut and dried, and bare to the bone. Nothing left but the truth.”When they’d finished recording, “It felt like something was missing. I needed one more song to tie everything together around a unifying theme. I sat down and wrote a new song called ‘Two Pines,’ about relationships and how people draw strength from each other in tough times. As soon as I wrote it, I knew I had a title song.”The album debuts June 27 at Mira Mesa’s Unity Center, where Bolland’s band will include Marc Twang (guitar), Jim Reeves (bass), and Bob Sale (drums). Aside from the new songs and Coyote Problem tunes, Bolland promises “a few choice covers, because this band is a bullet train and I can’t wait to turn them loose on my favorite songs by other people, like ‘White Line Fever’ by Merle Haggard. When you stumble on a song that great, you just get out of way and let it rip.”“It’ll look like I’m fronting the band, but actually I’m just another fan of the way Marc, Jim, and Bob play, and I’ve got the best seat in the house.”” - Jay Allen Sanford

The San Diego Reader

Interview with George Varga of the San Diego Union-Tribune Link to the original article with video performances of "Drivin' Around" and "On the Bridge." Peter Bolland's music of higher learning -- The veteran singer-songwriter has just released an arresting new album. By day, he heads Southwestern College's Humanities DepartmentBy night, Peter Bolland is a veteran singer-songwriter and San Diego Music Award winner. By day, he is, well, a chair.“I’m a professor of philosophy and humanities at Southwestern College,” Bolland said. “I’m also the department chair, because nobody else wanted it and it’s something that kind of circles around. It sounds important, but it’s not that important. It’s a great opportunity for me to teach and work with a lot of young people and also have a hand in how the schedule’s put together and I get to call myself a 'chair'.Under any name, Bolland is an accomplished troubadour whose music is not remotely pedantic.Witness the absorbing “Two Pines”, his first new album in seven years.Produced by San Diego music mainstay Sven-Erik Seaholm, its 14 songs combine Bolland’s thoughtful lyrics and warm, conversational vocals with songs that salute Neil Young, Gram Parsons, Jackson Browne and other singer-songwriters who established country-flavored rock in the late 1960s and early ’70s. By turns melancholic and upbeat, it’s a well-crafted work that doesn’t make a single overt reference to the world of academia. Although …“You know, for me, they’re so interconnected, I really don’t know how to separate them anymore,” said Bolland, who performs a CD release show Friday at the Unity Center. “Whether I’m in front of a classroom working with students, on a stage singing, preparing a presentation, writing a song, planning a show … all this work kind of comes from the same place.”Bolland laughed when asked if he has ever been inspired by one of his students to write a poignant ballad called, say, “You’re Flunking Out”?No, I don’t recall that one," he replied, with an almost straight face.What he does recall very well is the extended incubation period for "Two Pines," whose rustic music is reflected in its title.Under any name, the KickStarter-funded "Two Pines" sounds very much like a logical successor to Bolland's previous outings and his work with the award-winning San Diego band The Coyote Problem. He handles all of the vocals, as well as playing acoustic and electric guitar, lap pedal steel, harmonica and more.I hadn’t made a record in seven years, since the Coyote Problem’s last album, 'California'; I was kind of on a hiatus for about seven years and a bunch of songs piled up," Bolland said. "So I went to (producer) Sven-Erik Seaholm, who I've worked with before, and planned this new album. The working title was 'Life and Death,' but that was pretentious; we were never going to use that. But when we got done recording all the songs, I needed a title song. so I just sat down and wrote a song called 'Two Pines.'There’s a couple of things behind that title. One, in the room where I normally write at home, there’s two pines in my neighbor’s yard, right outside the window. It’s really that simple. I love the mountains, I love the back-country and I love pine trees. I had a great picture that I’d taken up in the Cuyamacas of these two pine trees that I really like and thought we could use it on the album cover. So all these things came together. The (title) song is about two people in a relationship that kind of weather a lot of storms and fires and stay together.One of the most touching songs on the album is "On the Bridge." It was inspired by the declining health of Bolland's father, who died about a year and a half ago. Its title and its heartfelt chorus -- You can't go on, but you can't stay here -- sensitively address the challenges of dealing with a loved one whose life is unmistakably on the wan.My father had Alzheimer’s," Bolland said. "Those last couple of years were really really difficult on my mom and us three boys. It’s like any other family going through this. To lose your patriarch and see their personality vanish before your eyes... The last time I saw him, he seemed particularly absent and yet present. There was this strange way of being here and not being here, and I was really caught by that.And you just grab your guitar and that’s where that song, 'On the Bridge,' comes from, being in that place and really giving permission to someone to die. That’s what the hospice nurses worked with us on, especially my mom. You need to tell (your loved one): 'It’s OK to let go.' Because they tend to want to stay here, for you. And it was just past that point. So, what a merciful thing for my mother to lay down with my father and tell him it was okay for him to die. It was really powerful. ” - George Varga

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Review of Peter Bolland’s album “Two Pines” : Local roots rocker Peter Bolland plays California music, the hybrid style of country-rock ushered in by Neil Young, Gram Parsons, and the early Eagles, among others. Bolland is a master of evoking the unhurried stumble-step of Young’s ballads, the catchiness of the Eagles’ rock hooks, and close harmonies and country-wise feel that made Parsons an icon. He also manages to transcend his influences, giving songs his own flavor.            Bolland’s last two CDs featured his trio the Coyote Problem, most recently California (yup) in 2007, produced by local studio maestro Sven Erik-Seaholm. He is back with a new solo album, Two Pines, again with Seaholm at the board – a good move, as is recording all of the instruments and vocals himself except for Jim Reeves (bass) and Bob Sale (drums), with Seaholm’s help on piano and banjuke. The disc is a nicely blended palette of 14 Bolland originals, varying from spare to lush.              The title tune opens with the ambling drum gait from several slow Young tunes, bringing in acoustic guitar, lap steel, and harp, then Bolland’s deep vocals and richly blended harmonies telling the story about the timelessness of nature, told through two tall, ancient trees. Bolland has a day job as a philosophy and religion professor, but he was once a surfer who enjoyed the party life; “Take Me to the Beach” is a slice of autobiography: “What if I told I was still that kid? Would you carry me over all the things I did?” Some of us who raised hell in youth, then settled, will identify. “My Favorite Song” is a slow ballad with a distinct singer/songwriter vibe, as Bolland is taking stock of his life while on the road.             Following a couple of slow tunes, “In the Rain” is an ear-grabbing rocker, burning with the kind of energy that made the Jackson Browne’s “Take it Easy” a hit. Brisk acoustic strumming and sharp harmonies soar high, and Sale’s insistent beat drives the tune as nicely carved electric guitar solos fit the catchy highlight perfectly. The level doesn’t drop as “The Longing” goes for an E Street feel and succeeds: a homesick GI’s lament, “It’s just about a couple of clicks from Fallujah to a soldier’s bed/ I’ll be dreamin’ of home before the pillow ever hits my head.” It nails the angst of the soldier in the distant desert, managing some of the scale of Springsteen’s wall-of-sound anthems, another standout. “Hands” makes three winners in a row, as Bolland sings a memento about key moments of personal spiritual awakening, to one of the catchiest hooks on the disc.            With “Sand County Time” Bolland saves one of the best to close the disc, a powerful, catchy rocker with beautifully layered guitars, vocals and harmonies; it leaves the listener wanting more. Other memorable songs include “Driving Around” and “Iron Road,” and there’s no real dross – a feat on a 59-minute disc. Front to back, Two Pines is a generous collection of first-class roots rock by Peter Bolland, with much to enjoy for California music lovers.” - Frank Kocher

San Diego Troubadour

 Review of The Coyote Problem’s album “California”: The simple presentation and honest sentiment of California is The Coyote Problem at its best – just three men delivering songs that do what great songs do – make you feel the joys and pains of being alive. Singer-songwriter Peter Bolland is, quite simply, in the class of artists like Jackson Browne, Steve Earle and John Hiatt who built Americana before it had a name.” - Ed Burns

— San Diego Troubadour