One of the trips I took this summer with my partner was up to Hart, Michigan for the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.
MichFest has always been my partner’s thing, from long before we got together. He liked to go every year, and so I’ve gone with him every year since I’ve been with him. (He? Isn’t that festival notoriously womyn-only? You may remember my partner’s a female-to-male transsexual, and he started going to this fest back in his angry lesbian days. Hey, we’ve all had them, right? Anyway, you may also know this fest has an official ANTI TRANS policy, so you can imagine what a can of worms it is for him/us to be there. He’s been productively processing that, with amazing wisdom and beauty, in his writing since we’ve been back. It’s been cool to see.)
Well, because I am working two part time gigs, neither extremely well paying, and I was making less as a part-time community college teacher in the summer, I was unsure about laying out this big chunk of dough to go to something I knew from experience would be simultaneously both a good time and major drag. Last time we went, right after his firing from Women’s Studies, between the trans hate, our own issues and the thunderstorms, we un-pitched our tent a night early and departed, growling that we would not be back for a long time, if at all. Two years later …
I know I tell way too much of the story and take too long getting to the point. Okay, since I was committed to going but feeling ambivalent, I decided I was going to make the whole journey (we were planning to travel around for another week afterwards visiting friends, culminating (for me anyway) with seeing my Sufi friends and teacher in MO) a sort of vision quest, less in the Native American sense than like Parsifal and the knightly quests of the Grail days. Since I was going into a big festival of music, getting the opportunity to see a lot of shows, hear a lot of musicians and artists talk about their process, go to workshops like the intensive drumming class I took, and basically be surrounded by creativity in action, I wanted to open myself to greater knowledge and clarity of my creative vision. I have known I have been pursuing something, but it has been more of an unnamed feeling than even a thought. I’ve been after something, trying to develop something in me, it has to do with playing and writing music, and maybe other writing too, and teaching (and doing) chant … but it was starting to get a little crazy-making so I decided to make the whole trip a spiritual quest and to seek in all things, from acoustic stage folk music concert to Twilight Zone panty party, whatever information or insight might be there to be found for me. I tell you, it made things very interesting for me. It really made me pay attention – I had my antennae up all the time. I found myself savoring the times I walked alone on the paths – in the company of truly magical trees, mulling over the bits and pieces that came to me. Though there was definitely upset going on around me, I was having a very close, intimate and sweet time with myself.
I am sure I will refer to more stuff from this time, because it brought a lot that I am still working with (yay! that was what I was hoping for after all), but I wanted to share one of the things that seemed both the most “duh” and also perhaps on some level the most important: and when this came to me I was, in fact, sitting on the grass at a concert at the acoustic stage. I don’t remember who was playing or what prompted this thought, just that it suddenly occurred to me, It seems I have a lot of anger in my life, and one of the main things that anger attaches itself to is this idea that I don’t have time to play music or write or learn how to play the guitar better, etc. etc. I would like to reduce the anger in my life because I don’t enjoy being in fights, either with myself or with others. So – maybe if I devote more time to music and writing, I will actually have less anger in my life. OMG! This was like a lightning bolt to me (and incidentally, lightning did actually strike a tree the second night we were on the land. I brought a piece of it home with me “for use in magic” as they said). It seems very simple, almost stupidly so – like, why does this seem so profound to me?
I guess it seems profound, even if obvious, because its implementation makes such a huge difference. I really did/do have a ton of anger – which is frustration at not following what my heart is pushing me to do, aka my inner guidance, which is strongly suggesting I work on developing my music and writing, counterproductively turned against my own self (if I am self-hating) or my external circumstances (if I am blaming). It is the blocked energy that has been wanting to go toward these things, becoming something else. Because I have not been able to honestly acknowledge the importance of those things to me, and the role I really want them to take in my life – as a big part of what I am doing on this planet. Putting myself out there and committing publicly to the fact that I am pursuing a creative dream of some kind – well of course it raises all sorts of terrifying anxieties of the “who do you think you are, lame-o?” variety. But when it came down to a choice between actual greater peace of mind and continuing to thwart my own energies, well, one just sounded a lot more enjoyable so there became no excuse not to go for it.
So hence the guitar class that I enrolled in immediately after I got back from this journey. Hence new commitments about writing, and a lot more experimentation, and, of course, the revival of this blog. Truthfully the main reason I didn’t want to give it up even though I haven’t written all this time is because I like the name. Hey, whatever works.
That’s all for today. Peace be with you!