Combined Experiences

There’s a tendency for one to look wistfully back at the past, particularly when approaching milestone periods of birth.  At 48, I’m no exception to this particular and peculiar corollary.  In a way, I look at this as being a way to gauge just how far along the trail one has walked.  Or, as the summit of the mountain begins to come into view, to look down and see how far or how difficult a climb it has been to come this close to the final achievement.

Everyone who knows even the slightest bit about me, knows that music drives my everyday life.  My iPhone is typically crammed with various artists and songs, which I change out on a constant basis.  My iMac is connected to an external hard drive full of digital versions of songs by a wide variety of artists.  My iTunes is constantly playing – whether I am at the keyboard or not.  When not here, the iMac is muted, but the player never stops.  Currently, I am writing this with one of my favorite albums playing in the background – “Moving Pictures” by Rush.  In my Subaru Forester, I even have an mp3 player connected there, which comes to life when the ignition is turned.  Its a very safe commentary to say that music is a constant companion throughout my day.

When writing, I have a very difficult time to get my thoughts straight without music in the background. For the longest time, I couldn’t explain why this was the case.  Why I had to have some form of music “making noise” in the background before I could properly concentrate on what I was attempting.  There was nothing to really explain it…it just…was.  Then there were the concerts.

I’ll be completely honest, I’ve only been to a handful of concerts in my life.  The very first concert was Heart with John Cougar (then it was without the Mellencamp added).  Heart was on their Private Audition tour, and Cougar was touring his American Fool album.  And it was just sheer MAGICK.  I’m not the drug-using type nor have I ever been a smoker.  So, the concept of second-hand smoke was rather bothersome to me.  But regardless, I walked out of that concert in the stratosphere.  I seriously wanted MORE.  A few weeks later, ZZ Top came to town with Danny Johnson and the Bandits opening for them.  ZZ Top was starting their American tour for their album Eliminator.  Danny Johnson, at that time, was merely a local player in the Shreveport area that had been invited to be the opening act.  Regardless, I loved every moment of the concert – and again, stepped outside wanting to feel more of the excitement of that show.  That was followed by Dio on their Sacred Heart tour with Rough Cutt as their opening act.  However, secondhand smoke was starting to take its toll on me as well.  I eventually began to not attend concerts at all.  Waiting for live albums to be released by the artists instead.  I found that I could experience the same feeling with a good set of headphones (Bose) and not have to fight the secondhand smoke experience, as well as not have to deal with my strong reactions to crowded places (yes I do not do well in overly crowded areas).  But a few years later, I discovered the Dallas Musicals…

The Dallas Musicals scene is very different from a concert.  Its held in a small venue.  Your seat is assigned.  The lights are dropped to start the show – and the case weaves their spell and draws you into their story — told through music.  For my birthday (October 1st), Phantom of the Opera was playing.  Unfortunately, this was also the height of the State Fair of Texas as well – so the usual parking spots close to the building where the musicals were held was not available.  We arrived late to the start of the show…and missed the opening number.  Regardless…it was INCREDIBLE.  The individual playing the Phantom had an amazing voice…and I was literally transformed into an observer for the story.  I wasn’t there watching a musical play – I was there watching the story unfold right before me.  I was in space for days after that show!

Eventually, as I wandered through various Pagan concepts, I started to find terminology and definitive perspectives that helped me piece together what I had been experiencing.  When I stumbled upon Druidry a few years back – I began to explore a concept labeled “Awen” – literally defined as “inspiration” – or in some aspects as “the inspiration of truth.”  After a lot of thought, a lot more meditation, and a little more experimentation, I’ve come to realize what this fascination with music always surrounding me is about – or to borrow from what is playing on my speakers right now “the universal dream” (Limelight by Rush) — I’m experiencing the Awen emanating from the musicians.  Whether through recorded pieces or live music – its that emotive feeling of their inspiration that I feel.  The lyrics.  The musicianship.  The story told through the lyrics.  And once I realized this, it was like opening a door…

I feel this everywhere now.  I still require music in the background for most of my day.  However, there are times where I turn off the music and step outside and listen to the music of everyday Life.  The wind blowing through the trees plays the underlying bass and drum lines for the song.  The birds provide the higher burst of rhythmic strains that I tend to pull from guitar lines.  The chittering of the squirrels and the barking of the dogs punctuate the music with their spoken lyrics.  The song is there…I merely had to change my perspective to find it.  And now that I’ve found it…I’ve come to realize just how important and special music is in my life.  Its the soundtrack of my life…whether its the Clash with “The Guns of Brixton” or Rush with “Vital Signs” or a piece of a Musical play or just the sounds of everyday life outside the door that I’ve always taken for granted.  My life is surrounded by music – and that music inspires me to be who I am.  It inspires me to teach.  It inspires me to learn.  It inspires me to BE.  And those combined experiences make a part of who I am…


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