Going alone to a concert can be an unsettling decision. We prefer the company of a familiar friend, and shudder to imagine traveling by ourselves across town. Walking solo into a large and crowded venue isn't on our bucket list either.
Due to an unforeseen circumstance, my friend couldn't come with me to the Krishna Das performance. I had purchased my ticket, but went through a mental checklist of why I should or should not go by myself. It went something like this:
“I should go to the concert because I like this music.”
“I should go to the concert because I wanted it to remember as a part of my birthday celebration.”
“I shouldn’t go to the concert because it’s cold and raining. How will I find a good parking spot?”
“I shouldn’t go because I wanted to be there with my friend. The night won’t be the same without her.”
My mind wavered back and forth like a ping-pong ball. Finally I chose to attend the sold-out concert. Although the concert's destination was somewhat unfamiliar, I decided to savor the opportunity to stretch myself.
Despite lingering hesitations, by the time I arrived all doubt quickly disappeared. I made new friends in the waiting line. People arrived from far away places to see Krishna Das, even Italy. They were anxious to hear his glorious chants and listen to this well-known musician play the harmonium. He states he's not a performer, "just offering his voice as a prayer."
In the Moment
I took in the surroundings. The stage was exceedingly simple - an unfussy arrangement of a colorful patchwork background of cushions and instruments. There was a statue of Shiva, a Buddhist deity, along with a few photos of Krishna’s own guru.
Familiar faces soon started to show themselves among the overflowing crowd. Soon I was hugging and laughing with friends I recognized who share this special love of chanting which lifts our spirits high.
A New Friend
When I returned to my seat, a lovely older woman had taken it. She jumped up, said hello and smiled from ear to ear. Shaking my hand she said her name was Mary. She'd flown in from California especially to hear Krishna Das. She confided that his music opens her heart in a big way.
Mary quickly introduced the gentleman seated beside us. She gushed about his impressive accomplishments as a doctor and acclaimed author. Joe* also told me more about Mary and how she is carrying on the legacy of her deceased husband, once an internationally famous physician and author. The two longtime friends now share deep roots of love and respect, and are on a joint mission to better our world
Side by side the three of us immersed ourselves in the music and the soulful vibe of the evening. Groupies tuned into the rhythm of Krishna’s voice and chanted alongside him. An uplifting energy filled the room and hearts of all those gathered.
Soon people began to dance and sing. Mary quickly jumped out of her chair and grabbed my hand. In the tight quarters, I danced in small conservative steps. Not Mary. Mary was jumping and clapping and dancing as if she had won the lottery. The bedazzled crowd stepped back to admire such joy unfold.
At concert's end, Mary had to meet Krishna Das. Once again her hand tugged at mine, and we bulldozed our way to meet him. Within minutes we were face-to-face with Krishna Das. Mary opened her heart and spoke of how much his music means to her. Krishna Das was humbled, yet accepted her generous words.
On our way out, Mary approached a gentle soul whose face was glowing from the evening's performance. After peppering him with a few pointed questions, Mary flung her arms around the stranger and hugged him with unbounded love. Within seconds the man’s eyes filled with tears which streamed down his softened face. Soon I, too, found myself crying from the witnessing of the love that flowed between them.
Joe and Mary generously offered to drive me to my car parked 15 minutes out of their way. The car ride was equally incredible as Mary and Joe spoke of their world adventures and travels. They share poetry readings of Rainer Maria Rilke. Mary encourages Joe to travel despite limitations imposed upon by his employer, and then recites Rilke's poetic perspective on the matter:
Oh, the joys of travel!
To feel the excitement of sudden departure, not always knowing whither.
Surely you and I are in agreement about that.
How often did my life seem concentrated in that single moment of departure.
To travel far, far—and that first morning’s awakening under a new sky!
And to find oneself in it—no, to discover more of oneself there.
To experience there, too, where one has never been before,
one’s own continuity of being and, at the same time,
to feel that something in your heart, somehow indigenous to this new land,
is coming to life from the moment of your arrival.
You feel your blood infused with some new intelligence,
wondrously nourished by things you had no way of knowing.
The words floated in the air as Joe drove to the destination. Mary clearly possesses a gift for stirring others I said to myself. In her presence I fully connected to this poem. I stepped out of my comfort zone to awaken under a new sky. Mary led me to a new part of myself, go where I have never been before and come to life. Mary is a human sparkler.
If you’re inspired by Mary as I am, take these six steps and follow her lead to be a human sparkler:
- Leave a trail of friends. Mary’s infectious smile and kind words melt people. Her endless hugs and kisses feel tender and effortless. Mary’s charming demeanor quickly brings out the best in others.
- Be excited about life. Mary lives in the present moment. People came up to Mary and showered her with complements on her dance moves. She demonstrates to othershow to have a good time.
- Free yourself and find joy in everything you do. Mary’s radiant face speaks of a person who’s spirit is open and inviting. After exchanging just a few words, I felt we’d known each other for years.
- Share your stories. By the end of the night I learned of Mary’s trip to the top of the Pyrenees Mountains, her visit to India and walking the El Camino. Her stories fill my heart with light and my mind with possibilities.
- Make your mark. Mary’s passion for life and people is contagious. She is a Thriver and embraced her journey with humor, compassion and grace. I am forever touched by her dynamic energy.
- Light up the world. Mary had no walls and did not hide her light. She knows how to find this light in everyone she meets. Once Mary and me bonded with love and light, our time together was truly magical.
The three of us ended our night with promises to meet again. I’m so fortunate I pushed past my edges and traveled solo. I now have a beautiful memory, and carry a lasting reminder to shine and live with joy.