Second Rite of Passage: face the music!

Ginny rite of passage 053

Of course, we needed to share our musical wisdom with my daughter at this second rite of passage event! So much to glean from The Cure, The Bangles, or Sting! I introduced this portion of the evening, bellies still interiorly stuck with pot pie, mashed potatoes and love:

“We’ve all picked songs that meant something to us when we were in the transition time between high school and college. When it’s your turn to share your song, describe why you chose it, the circumstances behind it, or what it meant to you without revealing the title or the artist.”

The women played their music and shared truly, madly, deeply:

” . . . was an early morning yesterday, I was up before the dawn . . .”

“I played this song over and over when I made the trip from Florida to South Carolina and back again. It represents freedom. It was a time in my life when I could feel the wind in my hair and was ready for a new adventure. I still love it. I just played it again on a trip just a few weeks ago.”

Bah, 2-3-4 bah, 2-3-4 bah, bump-bump-a! Bah . . . .

Elton John. “I’m Still Standing.” My song. “When I graduated high school, my boyfriend and I broke up. This song helped me bridge through the sorrow. It strengthened me through it.”

“I know this song sounds so trite. . .I was a cheerleader at my high school and it was a time in my life, in our lives, when we were trying to figure it all out:”

“I close my eyes, only for a moment and the moment’s gone . . . dust in the wind. All we are is dust in the wind.”

“We had this whole album memorized.” John Denver’s Poems, Prayers, and Promises begins to play. “This song especially speaks to the things to me that life is all about. It reminded me of home.” The quiet folk guitar picking peters out.

“Now, going from one extreme to the next . . . as class president four years in a row, I had to invoke school spirit, so we had a routine to this song.”

Love Shack.

“Show us!”

“Do you see a little shack on the side of the road . . .?”

Yes, the whole shack shimmied. The whole shack shimmied.

And then, a rough-hewn voice and a twangy guitar:

“I never wanted to be better than my friends I just wanted to prove wrong the people in my head.” Ginny’s turn. “I chose this song because, for one thing, I can’t choose another that I wish I could have heard at 18, because I am 18, so this is the song I’m choosing now, at this time in my life.” “So I rode my bike like lightning and I made cappuccinos that would make the angels sing, took two showers a day and I dressed up like a princess, shook my fist in my own face and said I’ll show you who’s the best!”

Again, an opportunity to share, and to be shared with. Ginny glistened with awe and wonder (and a barely noticeable wry smile) as she watched us confess our teenage hearts . . . “lookin’ like a true survivor, feelin’ like a little kid . . .”

Ginny rite of passage 044

White Owl: a poetic song of thresholds

DSC_0090

I sit here in northern New Mexico, while standing on the lip of the end of the month of April, experiencing with you this month’s poetry of the human story, both tragic and triumphant. I reflect on these things while in this great land of red clay and shadow because I, myself have just crossed a threshold. The two year journey of my formal spiritual director’s training has come to an end, and I find myself joined into the larger journey of providing rich opportunities for the safe and the sacred- lovingly held spaces for people to mine the gems of their own souls. The threshold of new vocation or pathway is also a sacred “rite of passage”.  I’d like to share with you a portion of the lyrics from a Josh Garrells song, entitled “White Owl.” It is a song (and a poem) that has became dear to me as I have gingerly tiptoed across the many changes occurring presently in my own life.  Enjoy and dip into the imagination of the colors of this song and your own current threshold; “take the flame tonight.” For an even richer experience, check out the video as well:

White Owl
When the night comes,
and you don’t know which way to go
Through the shadowlands,
and forgotten paths,
you will find a road

Like an owl you must fly by moonlight with an open eye,
And use your instinct as a guide, to navigate the ways that lay before you,
You were born to, take the greatest flight

Like a serpent and a dove, you will have wisdom born of love
To carry visions from above into the places no man dares to follow
Every hollow in the dark of night
Waiting for the light
Take the flame tonight

Child the time has come for you to go
You will never be alone
Every dream that you have been shown
Will be like living stone
Building you into a home
A shelter from the storm

Like a messenger of peace, the beauty waits be released
Upon the sacred path you keep, leading deeper into the unveiling
As your sailing, across the great divide . . .

Be wrapped in the warmth of love and peace . . . .

First rite of passage: music! music! music!

DSC_0005

Maril reading the lyrics to an important song from her teen years.

I first came up with the idea when I thought back to those days in junior high school, and asked myself, “what was I listening to back then?” And then the follow up question, “what do I wish I would have heard back then?”

After pondering those two questions and reliving the experiences related to the answers, I realized that collecting important music in people’s lives helps share the hopes and struggles of a moment in time. I wanted the exploring of music as personal time capsule to be a learning place for Ginny on others’ timelines. This desire eventually became a solid piece in the puzzle of creating a memorable rite of passage for my daughter.

Most of us, I believe, have connected with music at particular times in our lives, and some of  us, at almost every moment of our lives. Maybe it was the lyrics: “day after day it reappears, night after night, my heartbeat shows the fear, ghosts appear and fade away . . . (Overkill by Men At Work)” or it could have been the overall message: “love is like oxygen, you get too much, you get too high, not enough and you’re going to die . . . . (Love is Like Oxygen by Sweet).” Regardless, music often had an impact and became a touchstone for a certain transition in our lives, good or bad.

So I invited the women of this first rite of passage to dig into their memories, and pull out songs that had an impact on their lives during their 14th year, or thereabouts. When the songs of both tragedy and triumph were busted out at the event (yes, even “I Have Confidence” from The Sound of Music), there was much laughter, and a few tears, as well as some robust singing along as one of the women d.j.ed the compilation c.d (later given out to guests), as it played out parts of our earlier selves.

We still play that collection six years later, sometimes dancing without reserve and singing with complete abandon into our plastic soup ladles.

DSC_0031

Ginny, listening to the women with glee and wonder.