Oh, Joni, your soulful voice may transcend time, but it is your message that rings loudest of all.
As noted by countless artists, musicians, reformed hippies, and a few of our own parents, the experience of “Woodstock” may have been singular, but the call to live as fully and freely, as is voiced in Ms. Mitchell’s song, is as universal as ever.
So what does it really mean to Get ourselves back to the garden?
Is this a call to convert our apartment patios into tiny urban gardens? Become a wearer of freshly woven flower crowns? Or, perhaps run naked through the nearest meadow?
It could mean any or all of these things really. But what it means to me is this:
- Turning off the tech
- Digging my feet into the sand or onto the dirt or grass
- Breathing long & deeply
- Tuning OUT the noise of modern day life
- Tuning INTO my own self
- Reminding myself over & over again that I AM, quite literally, STARDUST
Because here’s the deal. Joni knew it, Oprah knows it, heck, I’m pretty sure even the four year old kids I teach yoga to know it:
We are not at all who we think we are.
We aren’t the voices in our heads.
We aren’t all of the labels and identities we’ve accumulated over the course of our lives.
We aren’t our jobs or our familial roles; we aren’t even the skin we live in.
So then who the heck are we? I can hear the crowd roar.
We are that single, immeasurable, spark that lives within; the light that brightens when we feel connected to ourselves or someone we love; we are that split second of bliss we feel when we are in our element. (And if you're having trouble tapping into said so-called "spark," may I suggest checking out artist Carrie Bloomston's "The Little Spark" to surely light your way!)
It is up to us, however, to put down the friggin’ iGadget, free ourselves from our obsession with other people’s lives (“comparison is the thief of joy”), silence the noise of life, and drop into what can best be described as Meditation.
And lest you attempt the classic excuse "but I don't know how," I will teach you: it’s as simple as this: First, Sit. Next, Breathe.
And once in that quiet space, rest assured, your mind will start to chatter and panic and really piss you off on your mission to find peace. Thats when you tell yourself this:
"Self, focus on the inhale. Self, focus on the exhale. There is no past. There is no future. There is ONLY NOW. This breath, this moment, now… and now… and now… (For more on this, I HIGHLY suggest Eckart Tolle's The Power of Now)
Funny what happens when we stop listening to the lies we tell ourselves about who we are and what life “should” be like. Suddenly, miraculously, we find ourselves IN THE NOW. Only then can we notice the beauty of our lives AS THEY ARE.
Look, I love this life as much as anyone. I love my shoes and my vintage denim and my design-y coffee table books and my kilim rugs and teak tables and platform sandals… you know I do. I love the excitement of being alive and all of the tangible beauty and art that comes with it. But you know what I love more? I love the TRUTH. And the truth is: we, ourselves, are NOT these things.
We are light and sound made of stardust sifted through light years and galaxies.
Even Carl Sagan said so.
Wrap your brain around that, chicas!
Also, this: just as I was about to publish this post, I was tagged on Facebook by my writing mentor, NY Times Bestselling author and journalist Todd Gold. The link was to a live performance he attended of India.Arie singing the gorgeous song “I am Light.”
Coincidence? I think not.
And once again, through the indefinable, unspeakable alchemy of sound, the message reverberates: I am Light.
My advice? Turn up the music, turn down the bullshit, and say a big ole FuhQ to anxiety because its all maya anyway, baby girl.
And then kick off those mental Chloe clogs you've been dreaming of and get yourself back to the garden.