Saturday, June 9, 2012

I know I am not alone cause Michael Franti says so

I have found God and his name is Michael Franti.  I have found heaven and it is called Red Rocks.  I speak the truth, my people.  Let it be known.  Shout it from the mountaintops.   The lost have been found.  In the form of a 6’6” dreadlocked artist, Franti reminds us simultaneously of the darkness in the world, the depth of human emotions, and the glory of true joy.  He seems to hold all spaces equally without judgment. There is room for the love-struck teenybopper, the 89-year-old fan, the first date, the wheelchair bound, the pot smoking hippies culture par duex and more.  We are all welcome.  The bad day, good day, high on life or in the trenches, we stood shoulder to shoulder through the 3-hour show and danced our butts off, following his decree to raise our hands, jump, and make some noise.  Smiles glued to faces, knowing looks as we passed each other in the crowded aisles, joy was found at Red Rocks last night.  Franti sang simple odes of understanding the human condition:
And when the rain falls down
You know the flowers are gonna bloom
And when the hard times come
You know the teacher’s in the room
And when the sun comes up
You know that I’ll be there for you
Don’t let it go, oh no
He spoke directly to those going through struggles and pleaded with us to not give up.  I think we all agreed last night.  Red Rocks is a magical place.  My first experience there was in the mid 80’s as a college student.  It’s a blur for sure as drinking and drugging were my companions at any concert but the magical venue left it’s mark.  If you have never been to a concert there, you must at least do it once in your lifetime.  Musicians love it.  The natural rock formations create a perfect amplification of sound.  Many claim it as their favorite venue.  For most Coloradans, and those lucky enough to visit our fine state, it is definitely our favorite. 

David and I needed the alchemy of a concert at Red Rocks.  And, not just any concert.  Franti filled the bill.  Not only are his lyrics a peek into the real deal of our human condition, his presence and love for his audience was palpable.  He was amongst the crowd multiple times, hugging people, singing in our faces, shaking hands.  He popped up in various locals throughout the venue and stayed in each place long enough to make the entire stadium feel they had front row seats.  He invited people come up on stage and share the mic for a few lines.  He thanked us with genuine gratitude after each song – and he played and played and played.  We were with dear friends so the night was even more special.  After a day of relatively high angst, it was the panacea.  Thank you Michael. 

I met a friend's judgment yesterday.  It came swiftly from an old place in a well-rutted relationship.  We both have our roles we play and we both predictably, in times of stress or strain, trigger the shit out of each other.  It seems like we “should” be able to get along.  We are both great people, yet we often come from very different places which occur as opposite opinions.  And, they aren’t really that opposite, it just ends up that way.  Two wills, not hearing each other in the least, attempting to say what we need to say, but no real messages are received.  We end up frustrated having gathered more “evidence” for our opinion about who and how the other is.  Oh that dance is so fun.  Not.  The dance we unconsciously choose is the same dance we always do – and after stomping all over each others toes - we complain to our respective parties.  We may do this dance forever. 

This is one of those relationships where I often find myself “wishing” it were different.  It seems like we should be the best of friends.  For many years, I was heartbroken about that (which is an oh so attractive way to be with another…).  I have had seriously wonderful times with this person, sharing deep familiar laughter that only a long-time relationship can produce.  And, I get over the top hooked beyond belief when we have our ‘little’ altercations.  I let these interactions take me south into obsessive-land, replaying the conversation over and over again.  And did I mention over and over and over again all the while hoping for resolution to occur solo in my noggin, which as you know, isn't the best place to seek resolution.

Proud to be relatively peaceful last night after consciously letting it go multiple times, I then wondered what Michael would say about it all.  I am sure he would understand.  He would say that love is all that matters.  He would get the darkness, the angst and would probably give a big sweaty bear hug and a peck on the cheek.  Then he would write some lyrics.  As I write my ‘lyrics’ this morning, I wonder, can I let go enough to let love be the thing that shows up?  Can I let go of my hurt feelings and my ongoing dilemma of feeling misunderstood in this relationship?  Will I? 

I need to remember that this person is not a place I should go to for deep understanding.  This has inherent irony and therein lies my trap.  But really, we are too similar and then, alas, too different.  I am learning to celebrate my “all of it” ness in life.  If this recent life occurrence doesn’t continue to open me to that then there is really no point.  It’s what I am supposed to be doing on my trip round the sun.  I know that in my bones.  And, the messy humanity thing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.  Some people like it neat and tidy.  Others like it empowered and transformed all the time.  Talking to one of my clients yesterday, we agreed on our attraction to teachers who are real.  Both sick of the distant guru who shines light down from the mountaintop and claims to have left their troubles way way way back in the past.  They spread the message of what’s possible yet leave no room for the “down” days – or moments. 

Yes, I do believe that there is no ‘good’ day or ‘bad’ day only our thinking makes it so.  And, I believe in not having to be perfect all the time too.  Thank the good lord above, most recently manifested in the visage of Michael Franti, that I have lots of peeps around me who preach the same gospel.  We want the real deal.  We want to be heard and listened to in our angst and darkness and messy humanity.  And, we want to be known as who we really are but certainly not told to snap out of it. 

I met a man yesterday who openly shared his pain with me.  A stranger across a counter, he causally said something about life being difficult.  As those who go through life traumas can attest, this is how it seems in some moments.  Again refer to paragraph 8, line 1 above and remember I get it.  And… Do you think that I should have said to this man, “you should look for the silver lining in life” as a way to turn him around and force feed appreciation and gratitude instead of for a moment pausing and being with his pain?  Certainly not, in this not so humble human’s opinion.  Instead, I stopped and spent time with him.  I listened and asked questions.  And, I chose not to tell him any of my woes.  He knew I got it.  His spirit wasn’t destroyed either.  He and his wife lost everything after an almost fatal accident two years ago.  He spent months in the hospital, lost his 6-figure business, the bank took his house and then the repo men showed up and carted away all his stuff.  He is living with his kids and struggles emotionally with the massive changes in his life.  He is making his way back to stability but is far from going out on his own again.  At his age, he may not make it all the way back.  He misses the freedoms of his previous life – and is still able to see the gifts of his new life. 

I will not shut him down or feed him an empowering line.  I will not expect him to be somewhere other than he is.  I will have patience with his process and I will recognize that sometimes emotional scars take longer to heal than the physical scars.  I will nod knowingly but not try to one-up his pain.  I re-promise to have unwavering compassion for people’s stuck places.  I will forgive my friend for not knowing how to be with my stuff and his not so well hidden expectation that I be somewhere else - like an attitude of gratitude perhaps???  How about we don’t enforce that on someone else.  We could be the example – and kindly choose not to have to spell it out for someone else.  The spiritual principle of ‘shut up’ is sometimes the best we can hope for. 

I will search Franti’s lyrics for THE answer.  I am sure it is in there somewhere.  I will let you know when I find it.  


  1. Oh gosh, Kristen... I've read your on-going story over the past several months and have appreciated your openness about your current life-situation.

    But today's post struck me in a tender place of my own. I changed the focus of the second to last paragraph so that I was talking about myself and read it out loud - this sentence particularly meaningful: "I will forgive myself for not knowing how to be with my stuff and my not so well hidden expectation that I be somewhere else..."

    Thank you for the speck of peace that now resides in my heart.

    Blessings, Lois

    1. Thank you! I am so glad to hear. Thanks for sharing - and I am happy to hear you experienced some peace. My post from today talks about the ebb and flow of peace...

      with love!

  2. I too was at the concert and my first concert there was in the 1970's. And hadn't been for 15years or more. But I was stuck in a marriage that sounds like yours - and I got out. Am I happier - yes! Although I have not yet met anyone else and it has been 5 years. I love Franti God! He stands for all the right things. Social justice and treating everyone humanly. I am studying to eb a social worker - maybe you should to.

    1. Red Rocks is glorious! I hope I didn't confuse you - my marriage is extraordinary. I was referring to a challenging friendship. I talk about the blessing of my marriage in an earlier post at

      Franti is an amazing soul. Talk about transformation in a life! He has been through many spaces and places - and always risen like the Phoenix.

      Was a therapist for many years - I will leave that to you! Thank you for being willing to help out on the front lines. That is challenging work. I admire you!

      With love!