“Get your motor runnin’
Head out on the highway
Lookin’ for adventure And
whatever comes our way”
(Written by Mars Bonfire, Phoebe Espirit, ©MCA and Manitou;Steppenwolf, 1969, from the sound track of “Easy Rider” written by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Terry Southern; Raybert Productions, Pando Co.; released by Columbia)
While doing some song browsing, I came upon this composition which makes me want to jump into a vehicle and head for the road. I have only a memory of this poem although it’s 1 of 7,893 tunes my son put together for my ipod. (He has great musical taste.) As in my teens, I played it over and over…couldn’t get enough of it. I have done this with some of Led Zeppelin’s musical works, for an hour on my way to a family party, alone in the car, playing the melody endlessly. You probably know the feeling of driving, and singing like no one can hear –and no one can! That’s the beauty. Steppenwolf, the classic rock group, was named after the Nobel Prize-winning book by the same name, about a protagonist – Wikipedia, 2014 — who’s conflicted between ‘goodness’ and aggression (1946, Hermann Hesse). John Kay, the lead singer of the band who was born in Germany, performs the song in a quiet, sweet way, both in 1969 and in the more recent clips – circa 2006. I got to thinking about freedom and what Janis Joplin intones in “Me & Bobby McGee,” written by Kris Kristofferson ‘…Nothing don’t mean nothing honey if it ain’t free…’ As well, “Born Free” came up from my musings, the film (1966, Shepperton Studio, Columbia Pictures) about Elsa the Lioness who is raised by a human family, and released into the jungle. She mates with a lion and returns, briefly, to visit her human caretaker, Joy. It is very beautiful and nostalgic. Well, let’s get to the point. Why have I described various musical compositions, and films about freedom, which is the essence of being, of love, of beauty, of creativity? Patrick Henry, a forefather of our country said: “Give me liberty or give me death!” So, I got to thinking: Am I free? Well, I am freer than I have ever felt. How do I feel a sense of liberation in a less-than-ideal world? How do I claim a sense of adventure? Let me share what I wrote in 2008, a press release for a workshop I authored:“The universe (inside and outside of us) is changing and reacting; moving and shifting. Remaining still or static provides a sense of safety but comes at a high price. I often say that the person on the conscious, spiritual path is the true mover and shaker, for as we heal ourselves, we heal others! Life becomes an adventure of abundance. With each day the potential to be creative presents itself. We can accept joy, celebrating it AND SPIN AWAY chaos: letting go of ‘drama,’ negativity, forgiving ourselves and others, redefining and creating, moment to moment, the man/woman we are becoming. The journey is truly the destination, for this is where we find happiness – along the way, in our relationships in and outside of us. When we honestly love ourselves, we can give love to others. We can give what we have” (Creative Life Center, Sedona, AZ). You can view the entire piece @ http://www.sedonacreativelife.com/pre1000.html The joy I’ve experienced on the road, parallels Steppenwolf’s metaphorical ‘highway’ by bringing me the ‘adventure’ described in the song. There is a RISK, however, in being open to daily interactions because my heart is open and I am vulnerable when I live life in the moment.In our daily interactions, we make a choice to be loving vs. fearful. (In spiritual terms love is all there is; other feelings are grouped into the category of fear.) It takes curiosity, ferocity, guts (and a lot of preparatory, psychological and spiritual reckoning), to respond with a heartfelt, careful, comment rather than a defensive barb. A lot of practice and knowledge of self goes into being compassionate toward self AND others. This is the journey. This is the road. And, when I get my motor runnin’, I ‘…Take the world in a love embrace. Fire all of your guns at once and explode into space…’ (Born to be Wild, second part of 1st verse; metaphor about riding a Harley Davidson) Last year, when I talked with Oscar (my assistant and co-producer) about ‘baby boomers,’ he commented that there was a lot of anger in this generation. (His generation is Y.) Yes, my generation was fuming over issues, which seemed grossly unsustainable and unfair. Young boomers pushed and shoved for equality and a voice within a structured community, that is, parents who were weaned on the Great Depression and World War II. We grew up hearing: “Do this because I say so. Save for the future.” What about life, right here, right now? Let’s view “Born To Be Wild” within this context. If we change the word ‘wild’ in Steppenwolf’s ditty, to curious, untamed, free, fierce, natural, we sort of morph into the world of child’s play. Here’s the last verse:“ …Like a true nature’s child. We were born, born to be…” (You fill it in!) I want to be where the water and the children run free…Check out this beautiful clip from “Easy Rider” where Fonda and Hopper ride through the West – it looks like Sedona to me, although I am not certain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlhncFCtWw8 Also, check out Adam Lampert covering “Born To Be Wild” on American Idol (2010) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFCgIkG1Ttc Adam is one of my all-time favorite performers! Speak to you on May 12th.