Convo with Dave Rastovich


"It is time now to realise the nature of the universe to which you belong, and of the governor of that universe of whom you constitute an emanation; and to understand that your time has a limit set  to it. If you do not use it to clear your clouds, it will be gone, and you will be gone, and the opportunity will not return. And you will be freed, if you perform each action as if it were the last of your life: freed, that is, from all lack of aim, from all passion-led deviation from the ordinance of reason, from pretence, selfishness and from dissatisfaction with what fate has dealt you."

I once read this quote by Marcus Aurelius. I was never the same. It reinforced the fact that we all have a limited time in this life and we must seize the opportunities that are presented with authenticity and full attention. Otherwise they might just fade away. 

In this modern age, over-saturated with digital media content it becomes easy to look outside for meaning and inspiration. There is a vast array of wonderful personalities and organisations showcasing their opinion and lives through curated photos and words. However, as the quote says, looking inside and acting with authenticity can take you to many places.

If there is a person this quote could be related to, it would be Dave Rastovich. We wanted to ask Dave some questions about the questions he asked himself, that lead him to where he is. Question inception.

"when deep inside a tube ride, or when in the middle of making love, or making music... or in my garden... the 'I' that is in my head is consumed by the moment" - rasta

VOX POPULI: Based on an obvious denial to follow trends and take a different path, what were the questions that you asked yourself that changed your life?

Dave Rastovich: Is this the best I can do? Am I harming the ecology that sustains me? Am I harming other animals, human and otherwise?
They are fundamental questions I have asked, and continue to ask myself in my life. And of course I can't answer them clearly and with no compromises, but they help guide me with decisions that surface every day. It seems like asking hard questions can make life easier. Which sounds like an oxymoron, but I enjoy asking the hard questions because they seem to illuminate dark areas in life that once illuminated offer up a wider perspective on life, which in turn brings more vibrancy, life and love.
Like trees in a forest or waves in the sea, we are all unique, not separate and individual, just unique. If we get out of our own way and let life happen we find that we are naturally unique and diverse, the more we try hard to be unique or 'special' the more we end up being uniform and fake. The oldest cultures of wisdom all suggest for us to get out of our own way and let the inherent intelligence of life do its thing. Able Falzon told me he read on a sign at the entrance of a temple, "leave your mind, and your shoes at the door"!!! To me that makes a lot of sense, every peak moment in my life has occurred when the 'I' that I think I am is nowhere to be seen.... like when deep inside a tube ride, or when in the middle of making love , or making music... or in my garden... the 'I' that is in my head is consumed by the moment. 
The embodied, or the closest thing to that experience is compassion when we feel compassion in our hearts. That is what ecological and social care is all based on in my experience.

photos.  @nathanoldfield

VP: Based on what you know now, what is something you would have done differently in your life?

DR: There is a wave I paddled for and pulled back on when I was 14 years old, and I still remember the feeling of pulling back and never knowing if I could have made it, and what may have happened on that ride....  I love how that experience has driven me to never pull back from a welcoming moment, but I still wish I would have gone....  Other than that, there are no regrets.

VP: Epic. Sometimes it takes a simple moment like that to shift your mindset completely. As a man who seems to enjoy the 'natural' pleasures in life, do you think we should preserve cultural traditions or embrace the modern world?

DR: The childish nature of western culture seems like it needs a real shake up. Take Australia for instance, indigenous culture lived within the ecology of this country without upsetting the balance for 40,000 plus years!! Our industrialised western culture has wiped out entire species of flora and fauna in just two hundred years! Seems like we need to sit quietly and listen to traditional cultural wisdom in order to move forward in a healthy way.  

photo. @jimmy.nelson.official

photo. @jimmy.nelson.official

"I am not yet sold on all the propaganda about technology making life better...... give me a year and I will come back to you on it." - RASTA

VP: Technological advancement - saviour or doomsday for humanity?

DR: I didn't have a phone for many years, and now I have one, I am not yet sold on all the propaganda about technology making life better...... give me a year and I will come back to you on it. But it feels like a good question to ask: does this phone, computer, TV, or tablet make life more wonderful? Did the construction of those devices make life better for those who built it, for those who extracted the raw materials to build it? Is it making my life more wonderful?? I reckon they are good ways to measure the worth of the things we are told we 'need'.

VP: What is the most impactful book you have ever read in your life?

DR: Astonishing The Gods, by Ben Okra. The new book Patagonia has made is AMAZING, Tools For Grassroots Activists is a handbook on how to make trouble and disrupt the systems that are poisoning our waters, felling our trees and risking our future......

Thanks Dave.

Author: Erik Sumarkho