Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Concert 21: Uniondale, New York

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Concert 21: Uniondale, New York
July 21, 2009

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. – Carl Jung

It was the first really rainy day of the concert tour. The vendor buses and trucks were there with one lonely Burger King Apple Fries cart. People were crowding into the ticket box area or they were huddled together looking for shelter.

Hannah and I did not have tickets and we were both sort of freaking out. This was the day I had agreed to help Jesse, my daughter Mary’s fiancĂ©, return stage lights and a ladder. It involved a variety of stops. First we drove from W. 140th Street and Broadway to the Richmond Shepard Theatre at 309 E. 26th Street (@ 2nd Ave.) where ACTion Ecuador, a Dramatic Adventure Theatre production, had performed for four days. (The performances were phenomenal, by the way.) We loaded the huge spotlights after shuffling suitcases and the ladder to fit everything into the car. The drop-off spot was Hell’s Kitchen around 9th and 40th. It was a really cool building. I could imagine the 1920’s and The Silent Film era when Broadway was booming.

All of this was in Manhattan… in the rain.

With all of that handled, we drove to Queens to the home of the lighting designer. We were returning the ladder. As I drove through the tunnel and paid the toll, we realized the computer directions were missing one key element. The only way to reach the exit before crossing the bridge was to be all the way to the right at the toll booth. There was a barrier and we couldn’t get over to the exit. It took us another 45 minutes to get back to Queens. All of this was in crazy rush hour traffic and did I say…in the rain.

When I am in NYC, I usually park the car and we take public transportation or an occasional cab everywhere. But, the estimated public transportation time to Long Island was 3 ½ hours. The original plan according to the computer was that the errands and the drive to the concert location would take 90 minutes. Driving to Queens was on the way to the concert in Uniondale on Long Island. It took 3 hours, it was raining, we didn’t have concert tickets and we were freaking out.

At 6pm, we stood in line and saw the people in front of us buying the newly released, precious front row seats. We were really stressing on each other. The weather, the lateness, and the disruption of our routine and shortage of money had us stressed and taking it out on each other. (These are not my proudest moments, but I want to be honest with you. We were not very nice to each other today.)

We had to pay more than we wanted to for my ticket. The only tickets available were the top price. Hannah got a front row corner seat. I was on the 200 level, but still the same price.
After we got our tickets, I decided to walk outside in the rain. An unexpected gift appeared. Jen, the woman who works at some of the venues with Burger King was here. We met in the Midwest and now she had been here for the three shows on Long Island. I was shocked, excited, and thrilled. The last time I saw her was in Chicago where she lives and works.

She had been at the tour at these really pivotal moments. After hugging her and hearing a few of her life details, I talked with her about the stress and the frustration and my desire to open to the next steps. As usual she gave me hugs and encouragement.

I don’t know what is going to happen. We are going to the Full Moon Crazy Show tomorrow night for Honor Society and then back to Baltimore. We are at the end of our money. Is this the end?

I have found that when I am frustrated and stressed, I attract more frustration and more things that require patience. Long lines at the women’s bathroom, people arguing around me, and rainy, damp days. When I can see my life as a spiritual practice and switch my focus to curiosity and wonderment, everything shifts.

I decided to enjoy myself. I was in the building now with a ticket. If this was the last show, I wanted to be awake and alive in this moment. I walked around the concourse and looked at the food. (Maybe I will publish this someday. A list of different food at the booths at the arenas around the country)

I looked for the sponsor booths to see if there was anything new. I saw Jen and she waved to me. She had called me on my cell phone but I hadn’t heard it ring with all the noise from the crowd. She called her husband Antonio, the guy who runs the Burger King events at all of the concerts this summer. He asked about my tickets and presented me with upgraded tickets.

Something shifted. Or had I already shifted my attitude and that opened me to this moment? Hannah had a front row seat so I only needed the one ticket. Antonio and Jen sat by me that night. It was the first time they had seen the show. They took pictures at the concert and watched with wide open amazement.

I watched the concert as if it were my last. Savoring the atmosphere. Dancing every song. Feeling the gratitude of this moment. Not knowing what is next.

Every day there has been something pulling me into the dream of this adventure. Is it time to turn back or move forward?

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