Best day of my life … at a Balinese Cemetery with a magic tree

Please enjoy a soundtrack along with your blog post! Piano version of Holy Bones!

It was a long bumpy ride down a new mountain road, just paved in 2017. Prior to that, a person arrived only by boat to Trunyan Village, nestled alongside Mount Batur’s gorgeous emerald-green crater lake. Home to the Bali Aga or mountain people, some of Bali’s oldest people (Trunyan has been known to have been inhabited since 911 CE), this is a step into a Bali from ages past — but not entirely — these folks are still present and moving with the current, alive and well … well, except for the 11 rotating corpses slowly decaying peacefully in nature at the unique cemetery which lured me to this remote village.

Bali is a predominantly Hindu island nestled a little over midway down in the Indonesian archipelago of more than 17,000 islands. It is a different style of Hinduism than that of India, and dare I even scratch the surface should I even attempt to describe the differences. Each village has its own special traditions and customs. Each family compound has their own temple. And cremation rituals are intense, extensive, and expensive. Think of building a giant sarcophagus in the shape of a cow and putting the loved one inside of it to parade down the street with priests and a gang of musicians … Anyway, this particular village does it a bit differently has a very special way to lay their dead to rest. Trunyan’s Bali Aga people are said to practice rituals that predate even the arrival of Hinduism to the island …

The Bali Aga are regarded to be the original inhabitants of Bali, who settled on the island prior to the rise of the Majapahit Empire . Around the 14th century AD, the Majapahit Empire expanded into Bali and some of its people migrated onto the island via neighboring Java. The majority of Balinese today trace their origin to these Majapahit settlers.
Mount Batur ... taken from its stunning crater lake
Mount Batur … taken from its stunning crater lake

As we were driving up, coming upon a village further down the road, me and my friend & guide Ketut came upon a man on a motorbike waiting for us who happens to be his cousin. Unbeknownst to me, Ketut’s village is very close to here (I’m staying at Ketut & Sherry’s awesome B & B for a month in Ubud), and he called his cousin to organize this expedition for me. The cousin led us into town, zooming up the steep single-line passes to make sure it was clear for our vehicle to pass around the mountain curves.

Trunyan village temple,  Bali, Indonesia
Trunyan village temple, Bali, Indonesia

We arrived just up the hill from the temple, beautiful backdrop of the volcano behind it. Then we descended to the boat house / cafe situation where two boatmen awaited us. The internet spoke of exorbitant fees and pestering touts to check this sight out. I experienced none of this, no touts where swarming the boat launch, and had already agreed upon the price before arriving. I personally thought the price was fine for showing me this special place, truly one of a kind on the planet (IDR 630,000 for the boat ride to the grave site / $45.54 USD). I also tipped an extra IDR 100,000 (approx $7). Of course I paid Ketut for spending the whole day taking me out here, too, so it was a little chunk of change, but truly a drop in the bucket to support these cultural experiences & gracious people. I mean, come on. Some people pay like $30/hour to rent a freaking stand up paddleboard on Lake Nokomis. 😉

Gratuitous selfie on the boat to the cemetery
Gratuitous, nervous selfie on the boat to the cemetery

Climbed in knee deep to a heavy wooden boat with and was given a huge life preserver, made for a very tall man. I didn’t care, the water was so still and serene. Some thick clouds softened the sun on the water. Two boatmen slowly rowed us towards the cemetery.

Upon the entrance to the cemetery is a stone gate with a few skulls resting eerily on either side.

Then on the left after entering the date are two large puppets which Ketut called “Grandmother and Grandfather.”

The tradition with death here in Trunyan is to leave the dead (of natural causes) covered in a sheet with their head out in bamboo tent or teepee-like cages in the open air. There are 11 places for the 11 dead at this site. If someone else dies, they will move the oldest body to make room for the newest one. The skulls and bones are then added to a pile next to the Taru Menyan tree. This has been the way for 1,100 years … or maybe more.

This special cemetery is only for people who have died of natural causes, and from what I understand is only for married people. There are two other cemeteries alongside the lake, tucked in amongst the tropical foliage, one for people who have been in accidents or illness (or unmarried, I guess??), and one for children and babies. Also, when a new body is brought here, women can’t come for fear of angering the volcano. This is also why they do not cremate because there is already plenty of fire! The bodies are left to decompose with the the special helping roles of the wind, animals, birds, and time.

Trunyan cemetery bamboo cages where the dead are laid to rest
Trunyan cemetery bamboo cages where the dead are laid to rest

The mystical thing about this cemetery is the giant Taru Menyan tree, or “nice smelling tree” / fragrant / parfume tree. It is believed that due to this special tree, the corpses do not emit a foul smell as they decompose. I can attest that this is true, as there was someone newly laid to rest only two weeks prior and didn’t smell a thing. The tree was absolutely beautiful.

One of the myths about the Taru Menyan is that four brothers from Keraton Surakarta became intoxicated and hypnotized by its scent as it drifted across the sea that they had to sail to find it. Upon arriving, the eldest brother fell in love with the tree’s guardian spirit, married her, and established a kingdom. This king is still honored today as a god, Ratu Sakti Pancering Jagat. He believed that the beautiful scent of this tree may draw others to it, and thus decreed that the villagers must be buried above ground so that their rotting stench would keep away intruders … but the tree would neutralize the scent for those that live there …

I asked time and time again if okay to take pictures and they encouraged me to take some and the local guide from the village even said to pick up a skull!!!! And he then took a ton of photos of me. It’s possible they would like the tourism, as it bolsters the local economy. And I say keep the price as it is to preserve this special place.

Feeling crazy and awkward holding a skull at Trunyan cemetery,  Bali Indonesia
Feeling crazy and awkward holding a skull at Trunyan cemetery
(the local guide told me to do it!)

Overall, extremely peaceful experience. It felt like these deceased humans had nice, full life cycles and moved on peacefully from here.

Afterwards, we enjoyed Bali Kopi (strong black coffee which they prepare very finely ground and just pour hot water over the grounds), and I’ve been taking it with a bit of sugar. We watched the water and the chickens and the dogs and the village people.

As for me, I’m not sure where my interest in such “morbid” things came from. Spending a tiny bit of time wandering through the cremation ghats in India … hanging out in cemeteries in my youth, collecting bones when I find them while trail running through the forests, happening upon a small grave in the hills in Germany at a teen, obsessions with ghost stories, learning of alternative ways of burial (like the biodegradable burial seed pods that turn your body into a tree … or the Tower of Silence practice of Zoroastrians, leaving their dead to be consumed by birds of prey.

Me & my friend Ketut with many deceased Trunyan villagers  
Trunyan Cemetery, Bali, Indonesia
Me & my friend Ketut with many deceased Trunyan villagers
Trunyan Cemetery, Bali, Indonesia

Maybe pondering death and learning about how the dead are honored gives me more motivation to live, adventure, explore. Life is precious and we only have this one incarnation in the form in which we currently inhabit … may you enjoy your body, mind, and soul and honor it, and everyone else. And explore within and without! Big love from Bali, Mary

If you enjoy my songs, stories, and work, I’d be so grateful if you checked out my Patreon to keep it coming!! Sharing video poems for patrons, and so many more little gifts. Thanks so much for checking it out!

Big Travels / Big Love

Hey friends ❤️ I have some giant travels coming up and I think they are really going to alter the course of my life.

December 29th I am so grateful to return to India (where I was here in this photo after a blessing from a pandit along the Ganga in Banares) to study The Yoga of Sound in Rishikesh in Swargashram at Nada Yoga School. This is a rigorous 28 days from 6am to 8pm of study, music, mantra, asana, and purifying practices at an ashram with 7+ Indian faculty.

From there I’ll do some traveling with my partner Dylan for awhile (back to Varanasi!), and then head to Bali, Indonesia for 2 months. I’ll be working on writing my eventual book (my fave psychology professor Dr. Bud McClure as editor!), yoga of sound teaching curriculum for Yess’ advanced training, and e-courses in creativity, yoga + music, and then leading the first Creativity & Yoga Retreat on Bali’s west coast!!

As a performing songwriter for over 20 years, and yoga instructor for 10 years, been doing this creative entrepreneur life for awhile. Lots of hustles and no clear path to follow. I’ve kept my options open w/o having kids or stable jobs to “follow my bliss” as it were. I’m over the moon that my retreats sold out to allow for this time of deeper study and solitude to reflect, write, and plan.

I can’t say exactly how the life will look upon return, however I will have my 8th album “The World is Your Lover” to release officially into the world!

I don’t have much space to hang before I go as I have to finish my kickstarter fulfillments and work and see my family and beau. But if you wanna come to a show, I’d be SO GRATEFUL TO SEE YOU before shipping off to India!


Nov 20th Hook & Ladder Mission Room -7pm solo w/ special guests Tara Sherman for mantras & goddess stories & Julia Floberg on cello

Dec 1st Dusty’s Bar NE Minneapolis – 8:30pm solo w/ Bev

Dec 18th – Hook & Ladder MAIN stage w/ full band and special guests – exciting new details TBA!

Dec 27th – Minnesota History Center 1pm show – in support of the “First Ave, Stories of Minnesota’s Main Room Exhibit” solo on the baby grand piano!

MAY 22nd 2020 Hook & Ladder Theatre – The World is Your Lover Album Release Party with Superior Siren & guests

A day in the life of this creative entrepreneur [with a swirling, anxious mind this morning]

this is going to be a stream of consciousness list of all the things i have to complete before going to India and Bali for three months this winter. WOO HOO! i would like it to share what the hustle looks like for this particular creative entrepreneur. wish i was as relaxed looking as i was in the above photo shoot (thanks Darin Back!)

My hustles: i am a performing musician and recording artist about to release an album next spring, a yoga instructor with weekly classes, workshops, and series in the mix, and am leading three retreats in the next 9 months. (Grand Marais MN, Bali Indonesia, and Taos New Mexico)

i wouldn’t have it any other way and i LOVE working for myself however it takes great effort to not get overwhelmed and check out.

may the creative infinite source i so believe in assist all of us as we move towards manifesting our dreams. all is coming. and while i woke up this morning with a familiar sense of “i can’t get enough oxygen” and inhales that don’t seem to fill my lungs completely (i’d call this anxiety!), i feel like writing and sharing this list might help at least give voice to what needs to be done. consider it a public way to get organized.

to do for music & yoga before 2019 is up:

  • address 200+ labels for kickstarter backers for my campaign to record the world is your lover (thank you)
  • order the packages with which to ship t shirts & lyrics books
  • check in with screen printing shop to see if the order is in the works (chelsea printworks llc in st. paul is the bomb for screen printed t shirts)
  • FINISH the lyrics books (a mixture of collage, handwritten lyrics, photographs, paintings) and design them
  • order / print the lyrics books
  • finalize album art for the sleeves of my new cds
  • finalize song order for the album
  • get the new single on cd baby so that it can be distributed to spotify & itunes (it’s already on bandcamp & soundcloud – give a listen!)
  • work on the new one sheet for the album release in May for my publicist
  • for the one sheet: write new bio, craft a blurb about what the new album is about, design the layout on canva
  • ask the musicians i requested quotes about the new album from to deliver their quote so i can quote them on the one sheet
  • finalize the band for our final hook and ladder show dec 18th, check in with vegan food trucks
  • finalize the line up for album release party may 22 at hook and ladder
  • ask my accountant for an extension for 2019 taxes
  • request 1099s to send off to my producer and bandmates
  • fill out a direct deposit form to get paid from a gig last month
  • order new coffee mug merch to sell at the next few 2019 shows
  • paint two capybaras for a kickstarter backer and find suitable frames
  • mail patreon rewards (people at certain levels get the limited edition vinyl EP of the majesty of beasts)
  • submit a song to be considered for the video showcase for Duluth Homegrown Music Festival
  • write a grant application to fund a mantra album i’d like to record in 2020
  • take a bunch of shit to goodwill
  • clean the garage
  • rake the leaves
  • go for a run
  • cook food, eat food
  • write 100 thank you notes for kickstarter backers
  • buy my mom and dad birthday presents
  • buy xmas gifts for my family and boyfriend
  • email all retreat-goers for Naniboujou Creativity and Yoga Retreat Nov 22-24 about getting their liability waivers in and print / file liability waivers
  • finish creating the opening, closing, and fire ceremonies for the Naniboujou Retreat
  • email the finalized room list to Naniboujou and pay
  • email the chef at Naniboujou about the vegan meals
  • email the presenters / teachers / massage therapist for the retreat about any swag they’d like to give to guests
  • Continue to promote the Creativity and Yoga Retreat in Taos June 3-7
  • try and fill the last spot for the Bali Retreat March 6-13
  • email the new single to a few more Minnesota radio stations
  • winterize the house and prepare it for house sitter
  • book my return flight from Bali
  • book the flight from Rishikesh to Bali
  • book lodging for me & dylan to stay in Rishikesh and Varanasi
  • finalize lesson plan for thursday’s mantra & meditation series (Sanskrit 101 and Vedic chants)
  • promote Fridays “Developing your Personal Practice” workshop at Yess Yoga
  • finalize lesson plan for the above personal practice workshop
  • paint a bunch more cow portraits for the pop up at J. Selby’s on Dec 10th
  • make a spotify playlist for J.Selby’s pop up
  • make a yoga safety plan for a November retreat-goer with scoliosis to keep her back safe
  • prepare for a few coaching meetings with musician/yogi entrepreneurs
  • make sure to have sales tax accounted for and paid for merch sales before leaving
  • make sure to have insurance paid
  • switch all bills to e-bills
  • check in with secretary of state to make sure llc is in good standing
  • rearrange music lesson students for the holidays
  • start to layout the Live at the Mission Room album for Patreon members
  • buy coffee
  • start the packing list for Nov retreat
  • design welcome notes for Naniboujou and Bali retreats
  • finalize itinerary handbills for Naniboujou and Bali retreats
  • check in about creating a music video before i leave for the album release in May
  • get an external hard drive
  • buy travel insurance (AIG was awesome)
  • rehearse mantras with Tara for our Nov. 20th Mission Room show
  • rehearse Julia Floberg’s song for our Nov 20th Mission Room show
  • create setlist for the mission room show
  • order piano books for a few new students
  • eventually ship ALL the kickstarter orders
  • respond to many emails
  • write an hour a day and send some work to my editor
  • finish e-course
  • launch e-course
  • sleep

What does your day look like?


Do you have any tips for staying organized that you can enlighten us with?
Do you have any tips for working with overwhelm that you would graciously share with us?

Thank you so much for reading! And if you don’t see me much in the next few months, well, make that 6 months since I’m leaving the country!), big love to you and best best wishes on all of your endeavors! xoxoxo mary

SPECIAL OFFER through October:  “Live at the Mission Room” album  

Before the official album The World is Your Lover album comes out May 22nd 2020,   I’m super excited to release an exclusive digital album to my Patreon friends and members if you sign up before the Nov 19th!  It will be “Live at the Mission Room” – 10 songs recorded during our four month residency this fall,  graciously recorded by Henri Minette.  In this you will get some banter,  some special guest appearances,  and hear how some new and old songs sound in a live setting.  I’ve never had a live album and I’m so excited to share it with you!  This is only available to members of my Patreon community at the $5+ level — plus you’ll get lots of other goodies like vinyl,  zines,  exclusive feed,  poems,  artwork samples,  seasonal show broadcasts,  discounts on merch,  opportunities for free show tickets.  If that sounds interesting to you,  check it out here!  Patreon is such an awesome way to support the artists you love DIRECTLY.  Search for all your favorite creatives there! Click here to check out my Patreon.   It is like a Kickstarter but offering more sustainable,  on going support.  WOO HOO!

Pre-order The World is Your Lover & tune in for its radio debut

Dear friend in music,

Mary the squeaky wheel here!  Hope you are doing wonderfully and hope you enjoyed those little snow flurries if you’re in Minnesota.  TOO EARLY.  Ei Carumba! 

Quick little note to say that my new single – the title track for The World is Your Lover is going to debut on Minnesota radio stations this week (and streaming everywhere that the internet is alive!) Tuesday on KFAI Womenfolk Radio Show 2:30pm // Thursday KAXE 4:30pm // Sunday The Current “The Local Show”

The album doesn’t drop until May 22nd 2020 (Save the date,  Hook & Ladder Minneapolis!) — and your preorder helps me to know how many albums to print and helps fund the printing of the album in general!!!  

Preorder the new album and get a download of the new single immediately! 

Since it’s gonna hit the airwaves this week,  I wanted to make the album available for pre-order and you get a digital download of the new song when you preorder!  Hear it first before the rest of the world,  yeah?  Or at least Minnesota …  or at least hear it before whoever happens to be listening to those stations … 

Release date: May 22nd 2020

Preorder the CD here and receive a download of the title track The World is Your Lover upon purchase receipt (track download link will be listed in your receipt)

This CD will be mailed out to you mid-May 2020

The digital pre-order will be available in February 🙂 

© Mary Bue 2019 ASCAP

Produced by Steve Price & Mary Bue
Recorded & Mastered by Steve Price*

*All piano and drums recorded by Tom Herbers & Steve Price at Creation Audio

*”My Ego is Huge” recorded and mastered by Jake Larson at Sacred Heart Studio

“Insider” recorded and mastered by Tom Herbers at Creation Audio

  • Piano & Vocals: Mary Bue
  • Guitar: Jeremy Ylviskaker
  • Bass: Steve Price
  • Drums: Richard Medek
  • Violin: Shannon Frid-Rubin
  • Cello: Julia Floberg
  • Trumpet: Stephan Kung
  • Harmonies on “Shit Storm” by Crystal Meisinger
  • Harmonies & guitar on “Competition” & “I Don’t Need” by Adam Levy
  • Harmonies on “Insider” by Alan Sparhawk


Mary Bue’s 8th album is full of power pop,  piano dream waves,  and layers and layers of shimmery 90’s influenced guitars to defy and even proudly display the battle scars.  Rising out of the trauma of sexual assault as mentioned in her 2017 EP The Majesty of Beasts, divorce from her husband and bandmate,  the opening and closing of her yoga studio,  and venturing out into an unknown future this album is a testament that life provides us with myriad opportunities to grow,  learn,  deepen,  and love.  Joined by new bandmates Jeremy Ylvisaker (The Suburbs, Andrew Bird,  HALEY,  Jenny Lewis, Alpha Consumer), Steve Price (The Suburbs,  Rex Daisy),  Richard Medek (Kevin Costner (!),  Eric Koskinen,  Molly, Maher) and occasional string section Julia Floberg (Delphia Cello Quartet, Mestofonia) & Shannon Frid-Rubin (Cloud Cult, batterboy),  this is a band fit for a kingdom,  newly dubbed Mary Bue & the Monarchy.  Her new album will also feature cameos from Low’s Alan Sparhawk and Adam Levy (The Honeydogs).  I am so grateful to many of you for raising nearly $9,000 to cover the costs of the recording!  The recording ended up costing around $15,000.  That doesn’t include the printing of t shirts,  lyrics books,  or the albums themselves,  so your preorder is greatly greatly GREATLY appreciated!!  If you just want the digital track and not the CD,  you can purchase that here.  I know this is all very sale-sy but it is a business after all! 🙂 Thank you. 

Hope you are all amazing and thanks ALWAYS for reading!!

Hope to see you at Hook and Ladder on WEDNESDAY! And if you don’t live in MN,  maybe try streaming KFAI or KAXE (details below again) on Tues or Thursday for an interview and to hear the new track! 




October 15th // EVERYWHERE // 90.3FM // Live in-studio performance on Womenfolk Radio // 4:30pm CST // STREAM HERE

October 16th // Minneapolis, MN // Hook & Ladder Mission Room Fall Residency  // Minneapolis  7pm (with string section Shannon Frid-Rubin,  Julia Floberg & harmonies by Crystal Meisinger as well as bass by Steve Price & Drums by Richard Medek) // INFO

October 17th // EVERYWHERE // Live on KAXE 91.7 Grand Rapids, MN // 2:30pm CST // STREAM HERE

October 17th // Grand Rapids, MN // Reif Center for Performing Arts // 7pm // TIX

October 25th // Roseau, MN // Roseau City Hall, Roseau, MN // Mantras for Peace,  Healing, and Community + Gong Bath w/ Michele Anderson (part of a yoga workshop weekend) 7pm // For info go contact Desi Klimesh ~ Yoga Tree via FACEBOOK INVITE

SPECIAL OFFER through October:  “Live at the Mission Room” album  

Before the official album comes out,  I’m super excited to release an exclusive digital album to my Patreon friends and members if you sign up before the end of October!  It will be “Live at the Mission Room” – 10 songs recorded during our four month residency this fall,  graciously recorded by Henri Minette.  In this you will get some banter,  some special guest appearances,  and hear how some new and old songs sound in a live setting.  I’ve never had a live album and I’m so excited to share it with you!  This is only available to members of my Patreon community at the $5+ level — plus you’ll get lots of other goodies like vinyl,  zines,  exclusive feed,  poems,  artwork samples,  seasonal show broadcasts,  discounts on merch,  opportunities for free show tickets.  If that sounds interesting to you,  check it out here!  Patreon is such an awesome way to support the artists you love DIRECTLY.  Search for all your favorite creatives there! Click here to check out my Patreon. More rambling about Patreon at the bottom of this email.  So grateful to my small and mighty 20+ members there.  It is like a Kickstarter but offering more sustainable,  on going support.  WOO HOO!

NEW Creativity and Yoga Retreat in Taos, New Mexico June 3-7th 2020!

Thrilled to announce this creativity retreat in another of my favorite places on the planet – Taos, NM.  This is the southwest dreamscape that we always fantasize of and may forever long for. These are the landscapes of rich red dirt in Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings, the Long Quiet Highway of Natalie Goldberg’s books, and that which inspires hundreds of artists, creators, mystics, and nature lovers every year.

Taos is an artistic goldmine within a small and evolving population of 6,000. Home of Unesco World Heritage Site Taos Pueblo – a living Native American community that has been inhabited for over 1,000 years – this landscape is rich with tradition, sacred mystery, reverence, and (maybe quite literally) humming with creativity.

Explore how a sacred landscape can inspire lasting, incredibly unique, and awe-inspiring beauty. Explore how a landscape within can reveal the same. In this retreat, we will venture to internal depths and gaze into literal external depths (deep into the Rio Grande river gorge!). We’ll learn about how sustainable, creative, and adaptable humans can be. We’ll bask in our own deep pools of unending bliss while soaking in fabulous mineral hot springs under the full high desert moon.  

I can’t wait to share time with you there.  I fell deeply in love with it as an Artist in Residence at The Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico in 2017 and have visited numerous times.  I crave it.  All are welcome on this retreat.  Learn more here!

Yours in Creativity and BIG LOVE! 


How to make a marathon as blissful as possible

Aspiring to conquer the marathon?  26.2 miles / 49.195 KM  of pain and suffering,  many might say.  I don’t think it has to be … however the two marathons I ran before yesterday’s Twin Cities Marathon kinda sucked.  What changed?  I got a little older and wiser … here’s the story and I hope it inspires you to get there — or closer to there — be it couch to 5k,  or walking every day,  or strengthening your heart with mantra and conscious breathwork.  Not all of us have the desire or a structure to support / enjoy (??) many hours of pounding the pavement.  But if you do aspire to run one,  if I can do it,  you can do it.  Seriously.  Here are some things that worked for me,  and a lot of it was in my mind.  I am not a running coach or anything,  this is my personal journey with it!  Also,  I’m so happy to work 1:1 with you to talk about training,  private yoga lessons to support your aspirations,  and vegan coaching should you like to transition!  More info about that here.

The Marathon

I love that this race comes from a Greek legend, that of the messenger Philippides.  He ran to deliver a message that the Persians had been defeated in the battle of Marathon which he himself fought in,  490 BC.  He supposedly ran approximately 26.2 miles to Athens without stopping, possibly climbing Mount Pentelicus to get there.  He burst into assembly and cried “We have won!” and then he collapsed and died.  Please note that he just fought a battle,  ran non-stop,  and may have climbed a mountain in this journey.  So,  that could for sure kill you.  

While death actually IS a risk factor in marathon running,  death is a risk factor in everyday life.  Who knows when we’ll croak.  We can’t live not doing things for fear of death (within reason, lol) because then we might be housebound.  But even there we have dangers of choking,  or falling down the stairs,  or random violence,  dear goddess, I pray not …  Anyway that is morbid AF,  but just to demonstrate that we can die anytime. 

Back to the marathon,  you could just choose to run it on your own and stash water or have a camelbak pack with water, or bring money and get snacks and water as you go … or pay around $100-200 to register for an official one.  At the Twin Cities Marathon, this gets you support with water, gatorade, and snacks all through the race,  a nice finisher long sleeve athletic t,  a free 10 min massage at the end,  lots of snacks at finish,  spectators cheering you on,  and a free summit beer. They photograph along the way and you get a video of when you run through the finish line.  It was a good value. The only other thing you need to buy is a pair of running shoes and comfy clothes to run in.  Run in them a LOT to make sure they work on race day.  I also invested in Body Glide (a deodorant-like substance that prevents chafing) because I chafe like a mofo and it is very unpleasant.  I brought my phone along to listen to tunes and carried a packet of extra fuel,  clif bar and some gummies.  Not the fun kind,  just the sugary kind.  😉 

What the hell does this have to do with music? 

I am a musician,  always have been,  always will be, and I run.  When I run,  I get song inspirations.  I hear lyrics,  I hear melodies.  Many a song has come. Running gives the body a task so that the mind can be more free to roam, but not ruminate. The heart pounds a lively beat, the sweat cleanses what is bogging us down, the scenery moves and the fresh air fills our lungs. When I don’t run,  I get depressed.  True story. I’ve been on anti-depressants before. It’s no joke. Exercise is a natural mood booster. Our sedentary lives are new to us since these “modern conveniences” freed up our physical bodies from plowing the fields and harvesting the berries and of course running from predators. Now that flight response shows up in our anxious minds and sleepless nights.

I’m grateful to announce that I’m in the “running” to be an Artist Ambassador for Mizuno Running– they graciously noticed my music life and my running life and enthusiasm for both and they sent me a pair of badass shoes (Waveknit). I’m sooo hoping this ambassador program launches and I can be in cahoots with them to spread the good news of the linking of creativity and running.

“… running (like all physical activity) produces an increase in dopamine, the chemical that’s most often associated with creativity. That, combined with a relaxed mind, can create the ideal environment for new thoughts.”

KRISTEN GEILA sweat life

Please enjoy a stream and a free download of “The City Trees” that came to me on a run many years ago …


There are many ways to train out there.  I loosely followed Jeff Galloway’s Run-Walk program although I don’t walk nearly as much as he advises.  But let this bolster your spirit – you can run a few minutes and then walk 30 seconds,  and repeat this as long as it takes you.  Here’s his guide for run-walking: 

Run Walk Run ratio should correspond to the pace used (Runners).
8 min/mi—run 4 min/walk 30 seconds
9 min/mi— 2 min run/walk 30 seconds
10 min/mi—-1:30/30
11 min/mi—1:00/30
12 min/mi—-1:00/30 or 40/20
13 min/mi—-30/30
14 min/mi—30/30 or 30/20
15 min/mi—15/30
16 min/mi—10/30

I also like the Complete Book of Women’s Running by Runner’s World training guide for beginners.  This goes by time rather than pace and I followed this pretty religiously my first two marathons. 

The first two marathons (Seattle Rock and Roll,  2011,  Twin Cities Marathon 2017) I totally overtrained and fucked my knee up.  I was so scared that I wouldn’t be able to finish that during training I ran 24-26 miles just to make sure I didn’t get picked up by the bus.  

This year I only ran up to 18 miles for my longest run. 

My training looked like this.  It took about four months. 

I had a base running fitness where I had been running 3.5 miles 4-5 times per week. 


  1. Three 3.5 milers,  long run 7 miles
  2. Three 3.5 milers, long run 8 miles
  3. Three 3.5 milers, long run 9 miles
  4. Three 3.5 milers w/ some hills & speedwork, long run 10 miles
  5. Three 3.5 milers w/ some hills & speedwork, long run 11 miles
  6.  Rest,  a couple 2-4 milers
  7. Three 3.5 milers w/ some hills & speedwork, long run 12 miles 
  8. Two 3.5 milers w/ some hills & speedwork, long run 13 miles
  9. Two 3.5 milers w/ some hills & speedwork, long run 14 miles
  10. Two 3.5 milers w/ some hills & speedwork, long run 15 miles
  11. Rest with cycling & yoga & 2 short (2-3 mile) runs
  12. Two 3.5 milers w/ some hills & speedwork, long run 16 miles
  13. Two 3.5 milers w/ some hills & speedwork, long run 17 miles
  14. Two 3.5 milers w/ some hills & speedwork, long run 18 miles
  15. Taper (barely running,  some biking,  some gentle yoga)
  16. Race

Also,  I have switched to barely driving a car this year, weather permitting.  I bike commute almost everywhere and sometimes I’d bike 20+ miles in a day,  and typically 5-10 miles/day.  And I teach yoga,  so I get to enjoy memberships at the studios I teach at so I incorporate at least 1 yoga class a week,  plus my personal practice,  which I’ll explain a bit more below. 

Saying hi to Scott McKeil and Ann Helm at mile 17!


You probably know that I’m vegan,  following a plant-based diet.  I do eat gluten,  and carbs are a distance runner’s friends.  I get plenty of protein because there is protein in everything and I believe it is a myth that we need shit tons of protein to function.  I eat beans,  nuts,  seeds,  whole grains.  I try to eat as much fresh produce as possible,  lots of kale,  cruciferous veg like cabbage,  broccoli,  brussels sprouts.  Lots of peanut butter and oatmeal.  I have found that switching to a vegan diet,  my recovery time is pretty swift and my energy is very steady.  I also feel spiritually aligned with this diet because I am not harming animals,  and it has far less environmental impact. There are some incredible vegan athletes who have written books with lots of recipes — check out Eat & Run by Scott Jurek and No Meat Athlete by Matt Frazier.


Yesterday’s race was really beautiful.  The rain got out of the way,  torrentially,  the day before.  The October sunrise was red and pink,  standing overlooking the stadium from my boyfriend’s downtown condo (one of my motivations for racing again this year was that Dylan lives only a few blocks from the starting line!).  A breeze,  but the wind didn’t pick up til the race was over … 

My fave parts were basilica bells ringing as well zoomed through downtown Minneapolis,  the sweet high school (?) band in front of the Walker Art Museum,  curving around all the beautiful lakes, all the cool spectators saying “Go Vegan!” cuz that’s what it said on my bib, the T. rex costume with the “Run Bitches” sign, and Dylan biking all over town to see me, 7 times!  And my amazing parents meeting me at the end.  Oh and the free 10 min massage at the end by CenterPoint school of massage.  

It was VERY hard,  at mile 21 my legs turned to rocks.  I could easily walk them but to pick them up felt TERRIBLE!  I’m not quite sure how to remedy this.  Only that at this point it gets spiritual … 

Finding the bliss …

That picture above is what it takes to sit in easy seated pose today (even after a 20 minute asana practice!) – a zafu, and two blocks under my thighs. Quadriceps are SORE after running the Twin Cities Marathon yesterday! I am grateful to the many limbs of yoga practice for the support:

Ahimsa – nonharming – kind self talk when the going gets rough and deep respect for runners & organizers + plant based diet that replenishes my cells and reduces suffering for all beings //Svadhyaya – self-study – knowing when to rest // Isvara Pranidhana – Surrender – offering the intention of this race to higher good – running for the animals, for my dad, for the beauty of the earth

ASANA – Postures that supported these 26.2 miles: apanasana, dynamic salabasana (locust), dvipadipitham (dynamic bridges), eka pada rajakapotasana (pigeon), virhabadrasana (warrior), ardha ustrasana (half camel / low kneeling lunges), navasana (boat) supta baddhakonasana (reclined bound angle pose), savasana

PRANAYAMA – Conscious breathwork – breath is key in running. Settling into a smooth even rhythm and monitoring when it gets ragged. Via mantra, I’ve been developing deeper breath capacity. Also using exhale technique (drawing navel up to spine on exhale for slight core contraction, almost mula bandha-like) which helped keep my core strong I think …

PRATYAHARA – withdrawing of senses – The first half of the 26.2 miles were extremely stimulating – tons of spectators and excitement and I found myself running WAY faster than I trained. Around mile 18 had to draw that energy in and discontinue the external. It felt like putting a protective bubble on, going more internal

DHARANA – single pointed meditative focus (very simplified explanation) – goal was JUST FINISH. One foot in front of the other. Started walking more around mile 21. Focus on each moment, each careful step.

DHIYANA – meditation / absorption (simplified) – at mile 23 put the headphones on and let music be a balm. Got shivers of joy and unitive bliss. Truly!

SAMADHI – Union w/ Divine – Speeding up to cross the finish, a celebration of life and effort. Amazing race, the human race!

Thank you SO MUCH for reading about my race.  

Did you run?  Do you want to?  I’d love to hear from you!  Comment below or shoot me an email at the contact link!

If you enjoy these writings, songs, teachings of mine, I’d be SO grateful if you’d support my work on Patreon! I’m offering a special through October for all Patreon members $5+ — my first LIVE recording — Live at the Mission Room recorded by Henri Minette. It’s a compilation of songs from my band’s Fall Residency at the Hook and Ladder Mission Room in Minneapolis. Next show is Oct 16th, and Oct. 17 at Reif Center in Grand Rapids, MN.

Ten unusually fabulous reasons to see live music

In a time where the internet gives … and keeps giving … and gives so much that we pay monthly for its streaming tv, music, and even workout platforms, what in the HELL can motivate us to get off our behinds and go hear live music? While this is partially self-serving since I’m a performing musician myself, this is also to pump up so many friends in the industry and keep the arts alive and well!

Here go ten unusually fabulous reasons to see live music!

  • 1. There will never, EVER be another show like the one you go to. Think of it. Every moment that passes is unique, like a snowflake, like a breath. You’ll never be the same age, the same configuration of cells, the same complex of neuroses or feelings, the same season. Same for the musicians you witness on stage. Their songs, their breaths, their special guests they are making music with, the amount of time they’ve spent on their craft. Perhaps they are fresh out of the gate, and you can say you saw her when she was 18 and look, 20 years later, 7 albums later and she’s opening for Shawn Colvin (true story for me! LOL).
Supporting Shawn Colvin at Sheldon Theatre in 2018
  • 2. You will never be in the same configuration of audience members ever again. Riffing off point #1, the crowd you’re in will never be the same. You may sing together, cry together, laugh together. True super fans, or maybe brand new fans, what matters is the common theme – this show is happening and you are all there.
  • 3. You might meet a new friend or lover! What if the person standing next to you ends up being your partner for life! What if you’re in a new city or feeling lonely and you stand next to your new best friend or workout partner? Regardless, seeing shows in a live setting builds community.
  • 4. You are supporting multiple causes with your dollar. When you go hear live music, the musician hopefully takes home some money through the door charge, a guarantee with the venue, tip jar, or a cut from the bar, and/or merchandise sales. The venue gets a cut from the door and the bar / food sales and lots of people hopefully love the venue and spread the word. The bartender gets tips. The people who manufactured the merchandise stay in business. The bandleader pays his band, his manager, his gas, his agent, and hopefully has some to take home to feed the kids and take a half day from work so he can write more songs to get more people out to the next show.
  • 5. You could get exercise. Do you work a desk job? Do you drive a car? Maybe at the show you stand the whole night and walk around the venue. Put on that fitbit and see how many steps. Better yet, plan a date with friends and walk to the venue. If you drink soda with a lime and not thick IPAs you’ll have a healthy little night of it!
  • 6. You could get even MORE exercise if you dance! I live in Minnesota and it takes a little while to get people on the dance floor sometimes but not only is dancing good for your body, it’s good for your heart (part of your bod, I suppose), brain, and holy spirit. It is uplifting, it is fun, and if anyone judges you, fuck ’em! You don’t need people who judge your dance moves in your sphere. You are having WAY more fun than them!
  • 7. It builds community. Similar to an earlier point, going to hear live music strengthens and builds community. You might start to see familiar faces around town. You might see the same faces at shows and become friends. You might decide that this band supports certain causes, environmental, political. Their songs might inspire you and your new friends to get more active in the community. Maybe their show is a fundraiser or donation, maybe you get some money off if you bring food for the food shelf. Music can bring so much good to our communities.
  • 8. You might learn something. Sometimes the songwriter will tell a story between songs. It might be just what you needed to hear to spark your new lust for life. It might be just what you needed to hear to finish the project you’re working on that has you stumped. The lyrics or the melody might touch a place deep in your emotional center to learn more about yourself, to move forward in life with a changed perspective. Or, maybe the grungy character at the bar will hit on you with some sort of odd fact about the band that you never knew. There is always something to learn, every day, especially in social settings.
  • 9. Music lifts the spirit and can change our moods. Why DO we make music? Who started it? Why do the birds sing? It seems almost strange that we would evolve to be able to create music … I used to think that flowers were frivolous but have you ever stared into one and knelt inside of that beauty? And then, of course, learning about pollinators and how crucial they are to us for survival. Music, I believe, is also crucial to our survival. Have you ever closed your eyes and cried to the same song a hundred times? Have you put music on during your commute to work that pumped you up or listened to music during your workout? Music shifts energy. Music touches something deeper in our being, the indescribable, our essence. The auditory system is developed at 23 weeks in utero … and hearing is often the last thing to go when we leave this earthly plane. I plan to spend the larger part of my remaining life learning what is the point of music and how can it heal us and further our evolution …
Mary Bue singing w/ Crystal Meisinger – LOOK HOW WIDE OUR MOUTHS ARE SINGING! Wish you had been there!
  • 10. We need to support artists. Artists approach the world in different ways. Through the lens of emotion and symbol. This is a tumultuous time. In fact, all throughout history it’s been tumultuous. There are natural disasters, there is war, there is unspeakable random violence, there is illness. And, there is beauty, ecstasy, love, compassion, puppies and kitties. What can describe the indescribable? What can bring voice to the voiceless? Music can. Art can. We can go to it when we need answers and healing. We can go to it when we are confused and alone. We can go to it when we need community and support. We can raise our voices together in chorus. Our senses are here for us to enjoy music, painting, theatre, comedy, nourishing food. Let us relish in the good that this human experience has to offer. We need to support artists because we never know who needs that special song, poem, painting that might change the course of our lives for the good of humanity. Or just a provide us with a good memory from back in the day …

Thank you for reading and I truly hope you’ll go check out some live music soon. Much love, Mary

Do YOU have more reasons to go see live music? I’m sure you do! Please comment below or send me a note – I’d love to hear from you!

If you enjoy these writings, songs, teachings of mine, I’d be SO grateful if you’d support my work on Patreon! I’m offering a special through October for all Patreon members $5+ — my first LIVE recording — Live at the Mission Room recorded by Henri Minette. It’s a compilation of songs from my band’s Fall Residency at the Hook and Ladder Mission Room in Minneapolis. Next show is Oct 16th, and Oct. 17 at Reif Center in Grand Rapids, MN.

Click on this pic to check out my Patreon and unlock nearly 100 exclusive posts, and get your own copy of Live at the Mission Room this winter 🙂 Thank you so much!

Tell me, where does that mantra come from? Thoughts on gratitude

Please enjoy a listen and free download of yoga inspired songs here while you read!

I’m at a beloved studio where I teach yoga.  Two classes in a row this morning, 9:30 and 11am Beginners class.  During our breath centering practice at the beginning of each class, I chant a mantra for peace and protection.  It is in Sanskrit, and I offer the translation to students so they know what they are chanting. The translation loosely means, 

“May we be protected;  may we be nourished; may our intellects be stimilated;  may we practice together with enthusiasm; may we practice together without animosity.  Om (the primordial sound of the universe).  Shanti, Shanti, Shanti (peace peace peace).” 

sahana vavatu 

Saha nau bhunaktu 

Saha viiryam karavaavahai 

Tejasvi nau adhitamastu 

Ma vidvissavahai 

Om shanti shanti shanti

I usually chant the whole thing one time through and then offer it as a call and response.  I learned it in my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification program at Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, WA (2009). I always make sure to say that chanting is optional, that they can simply let the sound wash over them. I’m always surprised and humbled at how many students chant in response.  It is so beautiful, and the feeling in my heart and the traces left in the room feel calming and palpable, at least to me. 

When I returned from India this past March,  I was deeply struggling with appropriation. Is it appropriate for me to teach yoga,  as a “white, spiritual woman” as they say? How can I possibly know enough to offer these ancient, sacred teachings?  I talked to a few of my teachers who told me that it is good that I am questioning this and it shows that I have compassion and deeply care.  I also revisted a few books from reknowned yoga masters, like The Heart of Yoga by T.K.V. Desikachar and Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda.  In Autobiography,  Yogananda speaks of how he was instructed to bring the teachings to the west as,  well, we sure could use them! 

What I finally settled on in my heart was that the teachings of yoga benefit all of humanity.  They help us to find comfort and ease in our bodies. The yamas and niyamas provide guidelines to stand in alignment with our morals and ethics.  Breathing practices are cleansing, centering, and may lengthen lives.  The progress inward towards deeper states of meditation can translate to what yoga ultimately means – union,  yoking, uniting with that which is so much greater than us. Oneness, our true self, our higher self, the divine.  

Today after class a student approached me,  very sweet and complimentary. And then she asked if it would be possible to offer gratitude or some information about where that mantra came from as she thinks we should honor and respect its history.  My heart sank and I felt like I failed terribly. I thanked her so much for this feedback. I offered that Sanskrit is an energetic language and that this mantra is for peace and non-denominational. I knew I sounded flustered and was trying my best not to be defensive in my white fragility because she was absolutely right and I feel sad that I didn’t offer any teaching about where that mantra comes from.  

As she was putting on her shoes I approached her again and thanked her and told her about my experience in India and how I often feel conflicted about teaching yoga for reasons of appropriation,  not knowing enough, etc. She said that now she is doing social work at a college and reading so many articles about cultural appropriation and learning and speaking out when she feels called to.  I think this is great and we must do this, and major kudos to her for speaking up. And I just have to know that I have soooo much to learn. She also said that in this modern day, there is so much fusion of culture and we are all changed from the interconnectedness of the human planet.  She said, she’s not an Indian woman and she loves yoga, so she gets it … 

And I’m about to travel back to India in just four short months to study The Yoga of Sound / Nada Yoga. To get deeper into mantra and Sanksrit and the music and culture of India.  I need to be prepared to break wide open from this learning. I need this humbling, all offering deep lessons. I need to be offering gratitude for the root of what I love so much.  SO much.

In my meditation this morning I had asked my higher self / divine guidence to show me how to grow my container,  to show me how to study, to show me the way to learning in that I may be a deeper vessel of service to others. So that I may speak clearly and share my love in a way that grows that love in others.  I think this was one of those divine messages, and I’m grateful for this student speaking up after yoga class this morning, all the way over in Minneapolis, Minnesota where these ancient, humbling,  beautiful teachings have traveled. The spirit in me honors the spirit in you.

Would love to practice with you sometime! My current teaching schedule is here.

Do you enjoy these blogs / songs? I’d be so grateful for your support! Check out my Patreon to find out how!

Become a Patron!

Woodstock Music & Yoga! VegFest! Fall Residency! Private online concert for Kickstarter & Patreon. August 2019 News

Hello dear friends and gracious music lovers.  

I hope this note finds you doing wonderfully and enjoying the summer so much,  whether that be running around wildly fitting it in,  or slowing down and beaching,  or a little of both.  

It’s 4:30 on Thursday,  I’ve brewed a french press of coffee, and ready to see some art tonight with an old friend.  Been biking almost everywhere that I can,  and getting ready ready ready for a busy fall of shows … 

As you know,  the album is finished and we are searching for a good home for it.  My manager has been reaching out to contacts to see about timing of release and good fits on record labels.  This is very nervewracking for me.  All of my other 7 albums have been self released,  so relinquishing control in this way has been full of interesting inner turmoil.  But I trust his good taste and excellent connections!  And trust that it is all in good time,  and also know that I can self release if we don’t find a good fit.  So,  it’s all good!  LOL

And now, an invitation!!!

All Kickstarter supporters and Patreon subscribers are all INVITED to a private house concert from the comfort of your own computer!

Tomorrow,  Friday 8/9 at 6pm CST,  internet willing (mine is kinda funky!),  I’ll be performing a private house concert on Concert Window for all current Kickstarter and Patreon supporters.  I’ll sing a bunch of new songs off the album and some Woodstock covers that I’m prepping for a yoga class I’ll be serenading next weekend (see below)!  

Would so love for you to be consider checking out my Patreon if you haven’t already — and if you recently supported my last Kickstarter campaign,  I just sent the email to link to the concert and will send one again before showtime … 

Do you like subscribing to magazines? Or Spotify? Or XM radio? Or Netflix?  What if there was a way to subscribe to an artist DIRECTLY and cut out the middleman? Think back: Were you ever part of a fan club or maybe still are? Do you love being privy to the new stuff, the backstage, the bloopers? THIS IS THE WAY! 

Back in the day,  Kings and priests and the rich-y rich would become become patrons of artists.  They would hire them to create (think Michelangelo and Da Vinci).  This is KIND of like that,  except you’re giving the artist full creative control.  I think this sort of patron-artist relationship is kind of like dating.  😉  You give,  I give,  we get along,  I continue to amuse you,  make fun things,  serenade you … and at any point that you find you are sick of me,  you can bow out!  HA!  OR,  you could stay in the relationship and watch it change and grow.  We can learn from each other.  We can evolve together!  Kinda cheesy,  but true.  Kind of like Kickstarter/crowdfunding for support on one big project,  with Patreon can offer continuous support/patronage,  you choose the amount you are comfortable with giving per “month” and can cap that amount according to your budget, and you can change that amount or unsubscribe at ANY TIME,  no obligation,  I won’t even cry (well,  maybe I will …) 

If you like more interaction / emails,  poetry,  and fun mail and want to stay connected more – Patreon is so awesome.  I have a small posse of 17 right now that are in the club and I’d love for you to check it out.  Rock goddess Amanda Palmer says of Patreon: “if you still aren’t a patron, please join us. there is no other way, in today’s music business, that we could make non-commercial art this ambitious. we. are. the. media.”  Check out my Patreon account at


One of the things messing with my ego is the amount of “likes” and “subscribers” that record labels look for when looking to sign an artist.  If you could all kindly “like” and “subscribe” to my facebook and YouTube platforms,  that would fucking rule.

I wrote a song that was on the B sides for Kickstarter supporters: “my ego is huge / my ego is bruised / my ego is huge / my ego is bruised / can’t take it anywhere / it’s on its worst behavior … ” LOL!  My ego inflates like a little red balloon and makes a happy squeal each time a like or subscribe gets clicked.  Feed my head!  HA!  And go like and subscribe to all the artists that you enjoy while you’re at it!

That’s enough of this self promotion. LOTS OF LOVE!  Stay in touch!  Always humbled in gratitude.  XOXO MARY 


8/16 Woodstock Anniversary Celebration – Yoga w/ Meghan Foley + Music by me & Jeremy Ylvisaker (woodstock covers!) – Yess Yoga –

8/26 Zeitgeist Teatro Zuccone – Duluth w/ Venus DeMars & Di Jay “Coctails and Conversation” hosted by Christine Dean from KUMD,  sponsored by Feminist Action Collective (solo)

9/11 Lowertown Farmers Market 11:30am (Trio w/ Steve Price & Jeremy Ylvisaker)

9/15 Twin Cities Veg Fest – Harriet Island Park – 2:30pm-ish (solo) 

9/18 Hook & Ladder Mission Room Fall Residency – 7pm