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Today in Rock and Roll (the Wednesday post) May 24, 2023

Posted by ajoyfulpractice in "Impossible" People, Art, Books, Buddhism, Changing Perspectives, Faith, Gratitude, Healing Stories, Hope, Life, Love, Music, One Hoop, Pain, Philosophy, Poetry, Suffering, Tragedy, Wisdom, Writing, Yoga.
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Many blessings to everyone, and especially to anyone Counting the Omer!

“‘Anything I can sing,’ he observes, ‘I call a song. Anything I can’t sing, I call a poem. Anything I can’t sing or anything that’s too long to be a poem, I call a novel. But my novels don’t have the usual story lines. They’re about my feelings at a certain place at a certain time.’”

– quoted from the liner notes by Nat Hentoff (from Bob Dylan’s album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan)

This is a footnote with links. If it were longer (and written by him), Robert Allen Zimmerman (born today in 1941) might call this a novel; because, it’s about how today feels weird to me.

First, it’s kind of a weird day in rock and roll. Tina Turner, the legendary Queen of Rock and Roll, just passed away today at the age of 83. Meanwhile, Bob Dylan, the rock and roll poet, turned 82 today. Yes, there are other things that make today weird – even sad and tragic, when you consider that it is the first anniversary of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. However, in the middle of all the sadness, tragedy, and even confusion (over why certain things aren’t changing in a way that makes us all safer), there are some joyful memories and some persistent reminders.

The memories include ones of my mom taking me to see Tina Turner’s Private Dancer tour (in 1985). It was my very first rock and roll concert. Another such memory is finding the mantras and chants that Tina Turner recorded after she started practicing Buddhism. Listening to those mantras and chants, I remember that the human spirit is divine, beautiful, and able to persevere. I find different, but equally persistent, reminders in the poetry – and music – of Bob Dylan, who is quoted in the liner notes for The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan as saying, “The most important thing I know I learned from Woody Guthrie…. I’m my own person. I’ve got basic common rights-whether I’m here in this country or any other place. I’ll never finish saying everything I feel, but I’ll be doing my part to make some sense out of the way we’re living, and not living, now. All I’m doing is saying what’s on my mind the best way I know how. And whatever else you say about me, everything I do and sing and write comes out of me.”

I think the same philosophy applies to Tina Turner.

Sometimes, I compare Bob Dylan and his career to winning the lottery with that elusive Powerball® of talent, drive, and other people’s perceptions. My comparison is not meant to take anything away from his talent and hard work. Quite the opposite. It’s just meant to highlight that sometimes people have things working in their favor. On the flip side, Tina Turner had the talent and the drive, but that last piece – other people’s perceptions (not to mention her own at certain times in her life) – worked against her. If you look at her life, where she started and the abuse that she endured early on, you’ll find there were a lot of things working against her. Yet, she survived. She thrived. She succeeded.

Tina Turner became one the best-selling recording artists of all time; won 12 Grammy Awards (including three Grammy Hall of Fame awards and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award); was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two times (in 1991 and 2021) and became the first woman and the first Black artist to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone. She appeared in movies and had a movie and a musical based on her life. Her accolades also include being a recipient of the 2005 Kennedy Center Honors.

She survived. She thrived. She succeeded. More importantly, she continued making beauty in the world.

“Nothing last forever.
No one lives forever.
The flower that fades and dies.
Winter passes and spring comes.
Embrace the cycle of life that is the greatest love.
Go beyond fear.

Go beyond fear.

Beyond fear takes you into the place where love grows.

When you refuse to follow the impulses of fear, anger, and revenge.
Beyond means to feel yourself.
Start every day singing like the birds.
Singing takes you beyond.


– excerpted from “Beyond: Spiritual Message By Tina Turner” on the album Beyond: Buddhist and Christian Prayers by Tina Turner, Dechen Shak-Dagsay & Regula Curti

Please join me today (Wednesday, May 24th) at 4:30 PM or 7:15 PM for a yoga practice on Zoom. Use the link from the “Class Schedules” calendar if you run into any problems checking into the class. You will need to register for the 7:15 PM class if you have not already done so. You can request an audio recording of this practice via a comment below or by emailing myra (at) ajoyfulpractice.com.

Wednesday’s playlist is available on YouTube and Spotify. [Look for “05242022 Bob’s Poems”]

NOTE: I did not have a chance to create a new playlist inspired by both Bob and Tina; however, here is the message quoted above.

In the spirit of generosity (“dana”), the Zoom classes, recordings, and blog posts are freely given and freely received. If you are able to support these teachings, please do so as your heart moves you. (NOTE: You can donate even if you are “attending” a practice that is not designated as a “Common Ground Meditation Center” practice, or you can purchase class(es). Donations are tax deductible; class purchases are not necessarily deductible.)