Disclaimer: This post contains nothing directly related to yoga, Ayurveda or health. But, if you’re willing to look under the surface, you’ll see that it’s about something that is part of my yoga. And maybe you’ll be prompted to look more deeply into what is your yoga. On & Off the Mat.
I’ve always had good taste in music (if I may be so bold as to make that proclamation.) The first three albums I ever bought (at the same time) were Some Girls by the Rolling Stones, 52nd Street by Billy Joel and Night Moves by Bob Seger. Ok, you might not think those are the the greatest albums ever, but for a 13-year-old in 1978, it was pretty damn progressive. Consider that most of my friends were listening to Sean Cassidy and the Partridge Family.
Music has always been a part of who I am. I’ve always had a bit of an obsession with it. I started subscribing to Rolling Stone in 8th grade. My album collection (yes, vinyl. I’m that old!) numbered in the hundreds by the time I got to high school. While my friends walls were plastered with posters of Andy Gibb and Donny Osmond, mine featured Mick & Keith and the boys, as well as Led Zeppelin, Neil Young and Jackson Browne. While my girlfriends were emulating Olivia Newton-John, I wanted to be a witch, like Stevie Nicks.
I was lucky enough to grow up less than an hour from New York City, so I had the opportunity to see some amazing concerts. My first was Rod Stewart, at Madison Square Garden. My uncle Jonny (my idol) and his third wife took me. I’ll never forget the person next to me passing me a joint and slyly taking a puff. My uncle never said a thing about it, so I assumed he didn’t see. (20+ years later, we talked about it. In his memory he had given me a lecture about drug use. I guess that what he wished he had done!) By the time I got to college, I had quite a list of shows under my belt – The Stones, the Kinks, Bruce Springsteen, the Police (3 times), the Cars, Devo, Pat Benetar (ok, it was the 80s people!), Joan Jett, John Cougar (not yet Mellencamp), Siouxie & the Banshees (in Scotland), Eric Clapton and more. I even got hit on by John Michael Stipe of REM, when they were the opening band for Siouxie at a dive bar in Bronxville. It was before cell phones and GPS, so it was easy to tell our parents that we were going to the movies and hop on a train to the City and catch a concert. (Sorry Mom!)
I spent my college years in Burlington, Vermont and got turned on to a few different types of music. Reggae was big there, as was the Grateful Dead. Oh, and did I mention that I went to college with and was in the same year as all the guys from Phish? They’d put their hand-drawn flyers on all our dorm doors inviting us to watch them play on weekends. And I remember seeing a little-known band called Widespread Panic open for Blues Traveler.
Music remained part of my life when I moved to Colorado. My first show at Red Rocks (the best concert venue on the planet, IMHO) was Reggae on the Rocks in 1993. I saw Merle Saunders at Turquoise Lake (literally, in the middle of the woods), at 12,000 feet, above Leadville.
But, then something happened. I got married, and my husband wasn’t into music or concerts. And I just kind of stopped going. It wasn’t that Brian didn’t want me to go or would have tried to stop me, but you know how it is when you’re married. You hang out with your spouse. And you make compromises. Sometimes without realizing it. So, for almost 20 years, music was back-burnered. I did drag him to see a few legends – The Stones a few times, The Who. Can you imagine having to be dragged to see the Rolling Stones?! He also had the TV on a lot, so I didn’t listen to much music at home either. I honestly didn’t even realize this was happening. My friends did. They invited me to go to Panic or the Dead or Phish every year. I didn’t go.
Then, a funny thing happened after my divorce. I started to embrace my musical self again. I started going to concerts and playing music in my kitchen and boogying while cooking and doing dishes. It was like meeting a part of myself that I had lost for two decades. I’d drop my daughter off at her Dad’s and head off to Red Rocks for a weekend of shows, and he’d say, “Aren’t you a little old for this?” Too old? Too old to feel my spirit soar? To old to dance until my legs hurt? To old to commune with people who feel the same as I do about music? Never.
What brought on this musical reflection? Next week, I am getting to check a huge box on my bucket list. New Orleans Jazz Fest. So much great music in such an amazing city. My bucket might actually overflow! Such diverse music too. Jazz Fest is a bit of a misnomer, because there’s everything from jazz to blues, to rock, country, creole, reggae, disco (yes, Chaka Kahn will be there this year!) From huge stages to tiny bars, there will be music everywhere! And I’m going with a bestie from high school, who shared some of those great concerts with me back in the 80s, and another of my favorite peeps, who knows more about jazz than anyone I know and can croon the old standards like he’s freaking Frank Sinatra! (He needs to be plied with a lot of adult beverages to do that, but in NOLA, I don’t think that’ll be a problem!)
Well, if there is a yogic lesson in this post (I know, you expect one), it’s this – Do what makes your heart sing. If there is a part of you that is full of passion and brings you joy that has been buried in the busyness of adulthood, if you’ve suppressed some part of you because you think it’s not useful, or mature or doesn’t fit into your life as a grown up, unearth it. Live it. Live your bliss and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.