In Indian mythology, the relationship between Radha and Krishna represents the very foundation of love; love for the divine embodied, and then enacted with one’s beloved, partner, spouse. Where Krishna evokes the energy of the the mischievious, the lover, and the hero, Radha radiates a constant all encompassing love, which is Krishna’s inspiration. Together they are inseparable, unstoppable, complete. Harmony.
I had the opportunity in the month of February, to contemplate, embody, be challenged and birthed by the yoga of harmony, quite literally, in my preparations for singing with my beloved Brandon at a few of the many shows he played last month. I learned how to play guitar in college, because I wanted to learn how to play “Blackbird” by the Beatles for my dad for father’s day. When I was a kid, my dad would take his guitar out after he put us to sleep, and I would sneak out of bed, down the stairs, and hide behind the banister to listen to him play. The two songs that I remember most distinctly were Blackbird and Here Comes the Sun, which are quite literally the soundtrack to my childhood. I danced to Here Comes the Sun with my dad at my wedding.
When I met Brandon, he was already in a band. I already had heard him many times, since I worked at the Fine Line Music Cafe, and his band played there often. In the course of our years together, I have continued to love his music, his love of music, and him. Is it easy to be married to a guy who loves his guitar as much as he loves you? NO! It’s funny, for me, almost ironic really, that he writes such lovely songs about me, when the time it takes for him to write that song, and go out into the world to sing it actually takes him away from me. It’s bittersweet. But I’ve stood at the banister and listened, in adoration and awe for a good long time.
Along the way, I’ve stumbled and strummed and hummed through songs on “my” guitar, which tends to be the next oldest of Brandon’s as he upgrades. On occasions, we’ve strummed and sang a bit together. For the most part, it’s always felt a bit like staring into the sun. What could I possibly do to keep up with a voice like that? But I’ve longed to. When I listen to Brandon’s music, I don’t sing along, I sing harmony, because it’s where I belong. So a little over a year ago I told Brandon that next (this) year I wanted to sing with him on Valentines Day. I said that was all I wanted.
The thing about my husband is, if I ask for something, he’ll make it happen, no matter what it is. He’s that kind of guy. So lo and behold, here we were, the Dovetailers, on the schedule to play the State Theater in Wabasha the day before Valentines, and Valentines Day at the Rochester Civic Theater for the Americana Showcase. This all seemed really exciting about 6 months ago, and then 2012 came, and it was only weeks away. We started practicing. We practiced at night in the barn when the boys were asleep. It was not easy. I walked out of the barn more than once. We made up one night via text; him in the barn, me in the house, sulking. We had conversations we’ve never been able to have before in our marriage, the kind where it gets uncomfortable, it gets honest, and raw, and you know that if you keep going, something will have to change. We stayed, instead of walking away, or saying things to make the other shut down, or shut up. And then something beautiful happened; I gave in. I hung up my fear and trusted him and went deeper, and pushed through, and listened, and tried. And so did he.
The sound check the first night in Wabasha was freaky; on a stage with lights, microphones, monitors, cords, and other real musicians, who make money doing it. I felt small and hot and embarrassed and out of my league. I went backstage and paced. I felt like I was going to puke. I went into the bathroom and did some yoga breathing. I felt better. I put it into perspective. I knew that I didn’t need to be good. I decided that all I needed to do was have fun. And then it was showtime.
Finding your voice is one thing. Hearing it come back at you through an amplified monitor is on a different level. Then try to strum a guitar and hear that too, and the person you’re singing with, and make it sound pretty. The thing is, you can’t do it with effort, only with faith. You have to let go and trust, feel your roots and let whatever will rise, rise. Most birds don’t unfurl their wings and go gliding out of the nest, and the voice is no different, though the flight no less beautiful.
So we did it, together, him and I, me and him. And it was fun. On Valentines night, we played to a sold out crowd, and they cheered for me, and I had a mixed feeling of thrill and surprise, along with being so very humbled, and so grateful that Brandon let me in to the only thing in his world as sacred as us. It was more than I knew I wanted. It’s one thing to be the face in the song, but it’s really something different to be making the song. The music is changing us, and there is a respect and a balance in our life that is fresh and exciting. And I can’t wait to sing with him again!
We all have the moments where we make the choice to turn back. We walk down the roads, feet stepping right into the footprints of the last time we walked that road, and when he hit the spot where the trail leads off into the dark woods, or to the base of a steep sharp rock, we turn around, and follow our tracks back to the start. But someday for whatever reason, maybe we decide to keep going, into the woods, or we take off our shoes and let our bare feet hug against that rock and we put our fingers in the tiny cracks and pull ourselves up and up and up. This is where we find harmony; in the not giving up, in the not assuming the same thing will happen this time, in the bravery and the faith. In the softening, the easing; the truth.
May we all continue to grow beyond our (self-imposed) limitations and arise to flow in harmony in the ways we are meant to. May we never turn away from love, no matter how bright it is, but always towards it, into it, and beyond.
OM. AMEN. HALLELUJAH.