Living From the Heart


Last week my husband and I took our son Matt and his wife Robyn with us to a Kris Kristofferson concert. The venue, an old movie theater-turned-concert hall, was so intimate that as we were leaving Robyn said, “I feel like I’ve just been hanging out with him in the living room.”
I felt the same way. Much of the friendly atmosphere was due to this singer/songwriter’s no-frill style. He had no opening act, no accompanying musicians, no dancers, videos, bells, whistles, mirrors or smoke. He just walked out on the darkened stage with his guitar and harmonica and did what he does best: stood there at the microphone and sang his heart out for two hours.
If you’ve read my post from March 22, 2011 titled “Kris Kristofferson: Midlife Mentor,” you know I’ve been a huge fan since I discovered his music in the mid-seventies. Since then I’ve attended perhaps five of his concerts, two of which were held in similar settings. Although I would have loved nothing more than to walk up afterwards to shake his hand and tell him how much his music meant to me, I was far too self-conscious. After a lifetime of hiding how much I care about things others consider unimportant, I couldn’t bear the thought of being criticized for being too bold or looking like a gushing teen-aged groupie, so I just stood watching from the back of the hall while he greeted fans less inhibited than I.
Over the years I’ve castigated myself for wasting these and other precious opportunities to act on my heart’s desires. I know the value of “seizing the day” and “following your passion,” and I’ve experienced the rewards of doing this many times. Yet there were also times when I couldn’t take my own advice. Why have I let self-consciousness hold me back from doing so many simple, harmless things like jumping at the chance to hire a waiting camel to ride to the site overlooking the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found? Or accepting an invitation to sing a song I love on a stage with a group of musicians I admire?
Years of analyzing my dreams have brought some insights. Because I admire Kris Kristofferson so much for his courage and integrity in overcoming his fears and following his passions, he’s shown up in many dreams as an image of my positive animus. The issues in these dreams always relate to my deepest desire to boldly sing my soul’s song in my writing and speaking, and to do it with the kind of honesty, simplicity, and grace he embodies.
I’m delighted to report that as of last week’s concert I’m a bit closer to my goal. After the kids left to relieve their baby-sitter, Fred and I walked to the back of the building where the tour bus was parked and joined a group of waiting fans. In my purse was a copy of the March 22 post with Kris’s picture on the front and a handwritten note scrawled in the margin. I can’t deny that my resolve wavered when he came out the door and walked toward us, but after watching him sign autographs for several people, with Fred’s encouragement I moved into an empty space on the railing, handed him the post, and told him why I’d written it.
I didn’t get his autograph. I didn’t need one. His warmth and graciousness, so evident in the photograph above, are more than enough reward for overcoming so much of my debilitating self-consciousness. Thank you, dear friend of my soul, for showing me how to live from the heart.

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0 Responses

  1. Enjoyed reading this blog!! So often have I desired to follow my dreams, push back on the obstacles in my way. This obstacle is generally always the same… is me! Even though I did jump on that camel, I have road in a race car, jumped out of an airplane, pairasailed numerous times, I still need faith to not worry. Generally, it is in the intuition that is felt, but is oftentimes not moved on, or goes unheard by other. For me, it is in the connection with people, not things or events that I struggle to proceed with, when it is uncomfortable.
    I am so glad that you took this chance to connect with your mentor. You blessed him with sharing your previous (honoring) blog, and he blessed you in return. That is what happens most of the time when we truly connect with another. Thanks for the reminder. Blessings on you! Shannon Adams

    1. Thank you, Shannon
      What? You’ve jumped out of an airplane? Whoa! You’re way up on me in the courage department when it comes to physical risk-taking.
      I know what you mean about being faint-hearted when it comes to connecting with people. It’s the same for me. Emotional risk-taking is much more difficult. You are so right: WE are our obstacles! Was it Pogo who said, “I have seen the enemy and it is me?”
      Yes, the blessing is in connecting. That’s where the meaning is. Thank you for connecting with me.

  2. Through your use of story, jeanie, you so wonderfully demonstrate the benefits of “seizing the day” and “following your passion. So many of us have shared similar experiences and as I read your post, your story became my story. Thanks for bringing us into it.
    As an aside. A friend of mine was going out with one of the members of Kris’s band back in the seventies. She and I went to a concert together and I had the opportunity to meet Kris and his then wife, Rita Coolidge, after the gig. Fond memory.

    1. Thank you, Charlie. Your stories inspire me. I’m glad this one became yours too. The title of your blog says it all: “Stories connect. Love Heals.” No one in my family was a story-teller so I missed that rich tradition. It occurs to me now that maybe I’m starting a new tradition in my family with these stories. I wonder how they will impact my grandchildren …
      How cool that you got to meet them both. My second favorite KK album is “Breakaway” with Rita Coolidge. Coincidentally, I went to college with her and we used to go to a local club to hear her sing with a group called, “Rita, Rail, and Raker John.” In those days she played a bass fiddle!
      My best,

  3. Sing on, Kris! Write on, Jeanie! All the same, while showing up uniquely different… Bravo! Bravo!!

    1. Thank you for the loving encouragement, dear friend. I smiled at your wise comment, “All the same, while showing up uniquely different.” Another way of saying that in our diversity we are all connected by an underlying unity which, like the Hindu Goddess Durga, Mother of All Creation, has an infinite number of manifestations. I am one of them, you are one of them, Kris is one of them….
      Much love,

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