Health Podcast Post

Connecting with Nature with Joshua Sam Miller

George Grombacher February 8, 2023

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Connecting with Nature with Joshua Sam Miller

LifeBlood: We talked about the importance of connecting with nature, replicating the experience virtually, incorporating sound, imagery and vibe, the health benefits we get from doing it, and how to take part, with Joshua Sam Miller, Founder of Embodied Sounds, a Director, Producer, and Composer. 

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Joshua Sam Miller

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:00
Hey what’s up? This is George G and A time is right. welcome today’s guest strong and powerful. Joshua Sam Miller, Joshua, are you ready to do this?

Joshua Sam Miller 0:23
Yes, let’s do it. All right, let’s

george grombacher 0:25
go. Joshua is the founder, director. He is the founder of embodied sounds. He’s a director, producer and a composer. He’s working to create immersive wellness content that builds connections for human beings back to nature, Joshua, excited to have you on tell us a little about your personal life, some more about your work, why you do what you do.

Joshua Sam Miller 0:49
Thank you so much for having me, it’s such an honor to be here. And for that excellent introduction. I do a lot of things like many entrepreneurs have to wear many hats, and check a lot of different boxes feels like that’s the norm these days. But I spend most of my time as much as I can, in the studio composing original music, to help people relax, and connect with natural world. And my company, which is based in the US and is now internationally, located in Germany as well focuses on immersive media as the way to do that. And I grew up in New York City, pretty disconnected from nature pretty starved, I’d say for outdoor experiences. But I didn’t really know it at the time, because that wasn’t my life. But as I got older, and I started traveling and seeing the world and kind of getting out of my shell and my comfort zone, I found some really amazing moments to happen when I was completely out in the middle of nowhere, on a long hiking trip, or a sale at sea, or maybe a scuba dive, which was a big passion of mine. And as I came back into the modern world, you could say I felt this real interest to bring more of that wildness and that natural element into our urban environments. And now that the technology has really caught up over the last 510 years, specifically, it’s pretty incredible what you can do with really good quality sound, really good quality imagery, and the right overall vibe, to help people relax, and really take them out of the day to day life. Pretty quickly. I’ve been very, very impressed with some of the spaces that we’ve been able to operate in and take people from their daily life, which, as we all know, can be quite stressful. And within a 20 minute, 40 minute, 60 minute, maybe two hour experience, really offer them something new, something fresh, and something that’s going to help holistically. And this is really my focus right now.

george grombacher 3:12
I love it. So I think that we all or rather anybody who’s ever had the two sides of the coin that you’re experiencing, living in a city and then getting to be outdoors, you have a a pretty profound feeling of feeling good when you’re being connected with nature. Is that, is there a physiologic physiological thing going on? Is it psychological, it’s a little bit of everything.

Joshua Sam Miller 3:42
Definitely a little bit of everything. There’s, there’s a lot of research that’s been done over the last century, about the impact of connection to nature on our overall health, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health. And I am definitely a direct living, you could say, case study of that experience, you know, suffered from a lot of mental health problems myself while I was living in New York, and those years that I got to spend really immersed in nature just helps me break free of so much of the you know, the, the chaos, you could say, and the the dialogue going on within my own mind of how am I going to do this? Or how am I going to do that. And one thing I love the most about natural environments is the space that becomes available for your mind suggest go wherever it needs to go and allow you to kind of quiet those conversations, you know a bit which is really hard to do in urban environments because you’re constantly stimulated by so many incoming messages and advertising and you People and traffic and sounds. So taking the time to really detox and get away from all of that has been super helpful for me. And I really hope that our experiences will help that for other people, as well even even as just an introduction, because, you know, for, for really having what what we’re talking about, you need to go into the woods yourself, I would say what we’re producing on the content side isn’t, it’s not enough to be the full story and the full experience that I got to have, and so many people get to have these days. So I highly encourage anyone who’s interested in the environment and in spending more time in nature to go do it, you know, take a bus, take a bike, you have a car, take a car, a walk through a park, you know, and just really get as connected as you can to the natural world. And if you want to come get a taste of what some of the extreme environments are, like, such as the depths of our oceans, for example, that’s one environment that I’m working with, particularly right now. Our experiences will hopefully be an introduction to what’s imaginable in some of these hard to get to places because not everyone likes to go to the extremes of the planet. So we can we can help to bring a little bit of that to to them.

george grombacher 6:32
I love it. And I am. I’m curious about what it’s like the depth of the ocean, but I’m not one who’s going to do it. So walk me through that. You mentioned sound imagery and overall vibe. How are you? How are you crafting or creating that that experience?

Joshua Sam Miller 6:52
Well, we are, I should start off by by first acknowledging that this is not a solo effort, I have a really amazing team of creatives and artistic people involved in creating these immersive experiences. And we as a collective, have created a project called sounds of the ocean, which takes recordings from the depths of the sea 3000 feet underwater 21 miles offshore of the coast of Northern California, in Monterey Bay Canyon. And it combines those sounds with visual imagery of whales dolphins, the ocean abyss, and mixes that with original visual art to invite a more reflective, contemplative, meditative experience, a mindful experience. And really showing off the ocean as the star of the show. This is really our intention going into the creative process around everything that we’re creating with sounds of the ocean. And my role as a musician and a composer is to support what the whales have to say with original music that is played live, as well as released as pre recorded material for people to just get present and get connected with what’s going on in their lives and have that space held for the mind to be able to listen to what what these whales with these dolphins what the ocean has to say. And so much of this experience was inspired from my own personal time in the ocean as a scuba diver. And it really has been created and composed and produced. As if you were going on the scuba dive your stuff. And I love that about this show. It starts off at the surface takes a deep dive down into the depths of the sea, where we listen to sounds from bottlenose dolphins, humpback whales and blue whales in the lowest point. And then got to gently back up to the surface for a very restful finish where you feel like you’re washed up on shore. Some people have said and the ya know, the effects are different for everyone. And it’s a very personal, mystical journey. But it’s one that will, I think, unlock new inspiration and understanding of what life is like in the ocean. how fragile it is how much we need to do to protect it and give people a dose of that connection, the dopamine, the oxytocin release that comes from that Having such a joyful experience?

george grombacher 10:03
Well, I think it sounds wonderful. I can’t wait to check it out. Now, where we’re having this conversation today, did you ever think that you were actually going to be doing this kind of work? And Where Where did when did the spark come for this idea? And how long did it take you to get to this point once once you’ve got the idea?

Joshua Sam Miller 10:28
That’s a great question. I would say, if you had told me 10 years ago, this is what I’d be doing. Now, I would have had a very good laugh, and never would have sought calming, this was a total organic, organic development, and something that happened very, very slowly over time. And I remember one particular moments where the spark, I guess was turned on that, that this could be a project to really lean into and develop was, after I finished teaching a yoga class in Santa Cruz, California, that included a lot of restorative music. And one of the participants came up to me and said, Wow, thank you for for this experience. That was really, really what I needed. And if you ever would like to work with recordings of whales, please come to my office, I think they might pair very nicely with your music. And this turned out to be a professor and Doctor of Marine Science named Dr. John Ryan, who worked for the Monterey Bay Aquatic Research Institute. And when I came over to his office and listens to the White House, for the first time, I was completely stunned. And right then in there, felt the call, literally, to to share these recordings with as many people as possible.

george grombacher 12:08
I think that that’s super cool. And what a what a fascinating journey. So how do I how do I as a as a consumer, how do I actually experience this.

Joshua Sam Miller 12:24
So right now, we are still offering our live show, and booking the tour for the year right now. So the best way to stay up to date with that is just to check the website. And we are working on a pre recorded version that will tour as an installation in portable and permanent domes, such as planetariums and smaller structures that allow for that immersion. And this is really the best way to experience the show, because you can lie down on the floor, look up at the ceiling have really good sound around you. And be right in the ocean with life size and sometimes giant sized whales. So if that, if that sounds interesting, a good a good experience to have with the family perhaps and take the kids out for some connection with the sea or just go on your own. If you want some space from life or with a loved one to have a romantic date. We would love to have you and all the information will be available at sounds of the And on our Instagram account, as well as is a good way to stay in touch.

george grombacher 13:44
I love it. Do you see? Do you have a vision for just inexperience? More personal in home at some point?

Joshua Sam Miller 13:59
We do. We’re talking with some directors and production companies in the virtual reality space for people to be able to go on this journey with us from their home. And I think that will come maybe next year, for this year where I think really focused on building these community experiences and bringing people together for Yeah, for the sake of having that shared experience. Some people call the full dome space shared VR, because it really is an immersion but you’re not alone. And yeah, we’re excited about that, but definitely working on the at home version as well. For the future.

george grombacher 14:47
Yeah, I think that that sounds really exciting. So this year you are taking Joshua the whales and dolphins on tour. Exactly, yes. Let Assad who would have thought,

Joshua Sam Miller 15:04
you know, it’s more than it’s more they’re taking me on tour, but we’re touring together, you know?

george grombacher 15:09
Yes. And you’re you are you are the conductor of the composer and the conductor of this math of this amazing symphony. And this experiential journey that that is going from different cities, how many different cities locations are are you planning?

Joshua Sam Miller 15:35
We are, we are planning a US tour in the springtime in April in May. And a Germany, Austria Netherlands tour in the fall, looking at around October, November time. And in between, we will see, we will see where we get into, we had an incredible festival run last year, and are still in our first year of the film festival circuit. So we’ve applied to some of the upcoming events such as Tribeca Film Festival, and the international ocean Film Festival in San Francisco. So it’s going to be a very, very exciting year, I have a, I have a good feeling about it. And above the parts we’ve already talked about, I would like to mention that our real deep focus with this project and this initiative is to help people feel like they can be part of the solution to climate change, ocean conservation, and mental wellness. And we we really want to empower people to leave feeling inspired, not just from their own experience, but that they can take an action step and actually do something to be part of the of the change. And we partner with incredible nonprofit organizations that distribute educational materials, and are working every day in the ocean to remove plastic to protect whales, protect dolphins, preserve more of the natural world so that we can all enjoy it for many generations to come. And on our website, we do have some of those tips if you’re interested to think about what small changes you can make in life to really have an impact. And I think people are usually quite surprised at how simple some of those are, and how how much they can really add up over time if if we all were willing to embrace it. So we’re really hoping to bring a new audience into the climate change conversation with this project and attract a lot more minds and hearts to this very important cause that has been a big driver for me and creating all of this. So I definitely want to leave you in this audience feeling motivated and hopeful that change is possible. It’s not too late. And we have to start thinking about and taking action on the solutions that have been discovered, and amplify them. That’s that’s very important. Well said.

george grombacher 18:22
Well, Joshua, thank you so much for coming on. Give us the websites again, and how people can can take part in this in this amazing experience.

Joshua Sam Miller 18:31
Absolutely, we’re the website is sounds of the Okay, that’s pretty simple. And it’s the same tag on Instagram sounds of the ocean, Facebook and Twitter. And we look forward to see you very soon.

george grombacher 18:49
Excellent. Have you enjoyed as much as I did? Sure, Josh for your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciate good ideas, go to sounds of the and figure out how you can take advantage of this incredible immersive experience. Thanks again, Joshua. Thank you, Josh. And until next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

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