I was 7 years old, after school one night, two houses down from mine at my neighbors. They were hard working, blue collar and salt of the earth, like my family. Nothing stood out about the street where we lived. No keeping up with the Jones. Except the neighbor across the street converted a Greyhound bus into an RV and went camping, something my family never did.
I loved a couple of spots in the neighborhood where I grew up. The park across the street was where we'd spend an eternity of summer evenings swinging on the swings, watching fireflies, and running around playing Kick the Can. In the winter, the park district flooded the field two blocks farther down. After school we skated til we couldn't feel our fingers and toes, hoping not to be at the end of a fast line of Crack the Whip. We'd rush inside the warming house and sit in the dim light by the pot belly wood stove. When we felt sharp tingling and pins and needles in our feet, we'd lace up or skates and go back out.
There was a space between the 6 children in my neighbor's family that I fit into. Their mom recognized I got lonely sometimes and included me as one of hers. My only sibling was my brother, he was always 10 years older than me.
The dishes had been done and we were sitting on the living room floor glued to the color TV set (a big treat) watching The Beatles on Ed Sullivan. I imagined I was one of the girls there with The Beatles, swooning and shrieking. Those girls wore makeup and had big hair bee hive hair dos, and probably wore perfume. None of us did that.
Wow, it was so fun to rock out with my neighbors.
There's still a longing inside for sharing time with good folks and for sharing music.
Thank my lucky stars, my own journey led me to believe that yes, I can play music. The process of discovering that even though I never had didn't mean I never could.
When I say "make music," conjure images of strumming the ukulele with about 20 or more others, some virtuoso, others just cutting their teeth like me. The young kid in me loves this. We jam with our teacher once a month at the local English pub, up a flight of steep stairs just off the plaza in Ashland. We sing a-long and folks that might have had a drink or two serenade with us.
So I wanted to share two songs written by two women musicians. One to accompany her newly released book, Song of the Redwing, from my ukulele teacher, Tish McFadden. The other inspired by experiences of yoga we shared, composed and performed by harpist and singer Jan-Joy Sax.
Jan-Joy's Ode to Yoga
Tish's Song of the Redwing
Music integrates the brain. Playing music and singing in safe ways in community of even one or two, reshapes our nervous system to feel connected with other human beings. This state of creativity restores and resets a rhythm of responding more flexibly to life's stresses.
The take away is pause and explore whether maybe there are memories of loving to rock and roll or of pretending you're a virtuoso. Explore what's genuine for you. Maybe you are accomplished. Then feel the place that performing and sharing music holds in your life.
Find your way back to bring music more into your life now.
May your heart find voice in your own unique way. Speaking, silence, listening, singing, humming, celebrating, grieiving, venting, accepting, shrieking, rocking out.