Apologies to our readers - this was written in March, but never posted!
You know that powerful feeling at the end of a concert where everyone is singing along to the final few songs the artist/band has chosen for their encore? That moment where you smile, knowingly and easily, at the people around you who are sharing this moment in time with you? If we stop and truly savor the moment, we can feel, and tap into, that energy long after the curtain has closed. I can still feel the energy of the 1996 crowd in attendance for Garth Brooks’ final song (Night Moves by Bob Seger). He came out on stage by himself, with a chair and a guitar. A deeply familiar and beloved song became reinvented before my eyes and ears, as my connection with the crowd grew palpable. I had gone to the show with a good friend who was a huge Country and Garth Brooks fan for fun, and I thought Friends in Low Places was kinda catchy. As I’ve mentioned, Willie Nelson had stolen my heart 18 years earlier when he walked onstage and lit it on fire with Whisky River at the Missouri State Fair. Or Mick Jagger belting “I’m going to tell you how it’s going to be…”, stirring the ghost of Buddy Holly in my heart. The love I felt was instant. That night, Garth Brooks, and the community of people who loved him, drew me into their vibe, and I suspect that’s what happened with Willie, as well. Mick was different- I already loved him before I knew who he was. Fact.
‘Concert moments’ are the most universal experiences I can think of to relate the sensations associated with ORM’s concept of ‘feeling connected’. Our bodies continue to hold our physical reactions to all of the things we’ve encountered, even when our minds have ‘effectively moved on’ from them. Depending on the perceived severity of the mind and/or body experience, we might have the energy of past trauma ‘trapped’ in our bodies, even though we want nothing more than to feel free from past ‘incidents’. Music Week seeks to expand those memories, from the most painful to the most exhilarating, within our minds so that we might connect them to where they are being ‘held’ within our bodies. Music Week helps us explore the roots of our spiritual connections, especially the ones that don’t seem apparent at first glance. As we work with them, we find deep meaning in the underlying notes that hit at exactly the right time, even though others remain discordant and out of tune. Like a symphony, what we hear depends very much on where we put our focus.
It’s Saturday, March 26, and I’m watching the sun come up from my Dad’s hospital window. He’s been here longer than we expected without significant improvement. A ventilator is breathing for him while his lungs gather strength so he can breathe on its own. It’s a beautiful sunrise, as it has been the last several mornings, from the same window. Of course, it’s the same physical view, but it looks different every day we spend here. If the mood is light, we are keenly aware that the sun is bright. When the mood is low, we remember that Duffy enjoys moving slow. The last song I heard before walking in was CCR’s Long as I Can See the Light. It felt reassuring in a way that only universal truth can, and right now I look for those kinds of symbols in an environment where there aren’t many clear answers.
Case in point: I drew a tarot card for him this morning. It was The Hanged Man, and it felt perfect for the moment. He hangs in the balance of not getting worse but not getting better. As his famly, we are holding the space for his full recovery and being prepared to honor his wishes at whatever point in his life that becomes necessary, now, or years from now. We are trusting our ‘family spirit’ to guide us, and playing music to his strengths in order to guide him. My family doesn’t really know the significance of the ORM weeks, but from my view, we are moving from Mentors into Music at the exact moment that we’re accepting healing and recovery energies from the incredible community he has built for himself, infusing so much positivity into the mix.
As caregivers, we’ve been focused on the music that is streaming from his phone in the background, choosing artists that he likes and ‘singing/dancing’ with him as best we can. We set him up for the night with a different channel so he has a big variety. I am reminded how cool it was for him when technology reached the point where he could simply ask for any song he wanted from his chair at the kitchen island and it would start playing now. We have come a long way from the process of having to seek out the right album and take care of it while we played the next one. (Anyone remember trying to put an 8-track or a cassette back to ‘position’? Glad that’s a distant memory!) We now have the luxury of ‘playing’ music at our fingertips, making it so much easier to listen to exactly what we want, exactly when we want. Now, if we enjoy listening to albums, we do it with a lot more intention because we have discovered the simple joys that come with that type of nurturing.What we hear has largely become our ‘personal choice’, and it has changed us at a fundamental level.
The ‘timing’ of our lives is often interrupted in small unnoticeable ways, like a record album barely skipping. You heard it, but you can easily move back into the rhythm or the beat. A bigger skip will pull you from your focus, pulling joy off the table, and a large skip can be felt within the body as the needle screetches across the album, prompting us to quick and purposeful motion. As much as we believe we are ultimately in control of our life choices, ‘beat skipping’ from the universe is generally a clear indication that we must slow down and take a look at life from a more connected focus. We don’t have to heed the message. We have free will to do exactly what we want to do, so long as it doesn’t break the law, and even then, we’ve manipulated that playlist so that it doesn’t flow the same for everyone. If we choose to listen for meaning around those universal shifts, we discover a world that is more connected that we can possible perceive, but the only way to experience its full effects are to realize that at our core, we are each connected. And many of us are not prepared to do that.
At a concert, we take in the crowd as the show winds down and the lights come up. We move toward the parking lot, and we are lucky if we remember the ‘kindredness’ we just felt. Our focus turns to bathroom, food, drink, home, afterparty, etc. and we angle for our best route out, trying to ‘beat’ the crowd we just bonded with moments earlier… This might be a dramatic expression of how quickly we can shift, but I hope it resonates with truth. The things I have encountered after leaving a show and arriving safely home run the gamut from medical emergencies to ‘new best friends’…so many stories rooted through the music we all ‘share’ in the universe we all ‘share’, each of us with a unique, distinct drum beat that resonates straight from our souls. Our egos keep us separate, in specifically individual bodies, but our souls move to a rhyhm that remembers each other, deep in our roots, in our beginnings.
I can’t know what happens next with my family’s health, but I know that I would do well to remember that in moments where it isn’t so present. I think it would bring me a preferable perspective to the world we are looking at at this moment in time, 2022. As Mentors Week shifts to Music Week, I am surrounded by the people I love, in person and in ‘spirit’. I can feel the love and support of my friends and extended family. I can feel them breathing for Duffy and putting energy toward his recovery. The ‘sounds’ of that steady support play all around us as we bravely face some music that we all knew was out there, but weren’t that interested in listening to… the thoughts we ‘skip’ because even though we recognize their value, we are unwilling to dig very deeply for meaning.
We don’t like all of the ‘music’ we hear, but sometimes we are surprised by the naturally occurring and unexpected bridges and choruses that will pull us into our own whole and perfect reflection, it we let them.