(Unfortunately maybe) No drugs were used to experience this beautiful epiphany.
I experienced a George Clinton P-Funk concert last night for the first time.
This was a bucket list concert for me!
Before the concert, I had a great day with work and spent part of the day with YouTube videos of George Clinton performances playing in the background to help get me in the right frame of mind.
I have learned that going to a concert ‘cold’ is not as enjoyable as making space to get in concert mode early.
Towards the end, YouTube randomly served up a PBS documentary about George Clinton that is about an hour-long. This was less of a ‘music’ documentary and more of a ‘story’ of George Clinton’s life and art and the people that he has influenced throughout his long amazing career.
As I write this, I believe Geoge Clinton is about 75 years young, and he definitely makes 75 look young!
The documentary gave me a couple of key insights, or planted the seeds at least for later. I also read through some Facebook posts of other people going to the concert. One guy mentioned,
I always bring a flashlight to George Clinton concerts for the Flashlight song.
Watching the documentary, one of the artists mentioned, “I realized that George Clinton was using flash light as a verb, not as a noun.” It was not a flashlight as in a device, but people flashing their light on others. It was a guide to flash (a) light, specifically, our light on others.
This was very emblematic of George Clinton’s career. He has worked with a lot of artists, and his stage show is jam-packed full of artists, who appeared like a mix of long time friends and partners and some new up and coming artists as well.
As a person, musician and producer among other things, he lives his words, he doesn’t just preach the gospel.
So I am at the concert, and I don’t recognize the version of every song. As concerts go, the first couple songs are warming me and the audience up and I’m not totally into them. Some, I have never heard before, however, I can see from the extremely diverse audience, that different pockets of people recognize one version or song and other pockets recognize others.
It’s a jazz kind of thing. It’s not a specific rendition of a specific recording, it’s a fusion of whatever comes up that night maybe. This is my impression.
I people watch others grooving on versions I do not recognize. I start grooving on them grooving. Then, the music connects.
I went to the concert with my love, Sharon. We had a busy week. She drove two hours to meet me and go to the concert. We enjoyed an amazing dinner at a tapas place near me called Luna Hombre, and then quickly jumped over to the NC Music Factory to catch George Clinton’s performance at the Fillmore.
I can feel that she’s a bit tired and not catching the groove as quickly.
At some point, the crowd had filled in and she is in front of me. I sense(nonverbally, she is talking to me but I can’t hear a word. This is a George Clinton concert!) , she needs a break from the lights flashing in her face from the stage, and maybe also from the large guy with a beard that is mostly standing there and occasionally holding up his cell phone. His friends are dancing and grooving. One small guy spends the first half of the show dancing and texting, looking down in his phone. He’s enjoying the show, but totally in his phone. Not judging, just witnessing.
So Sharon, wisely, moves around so that she is behind me and we are holding hands with her arms wrapped around me.
The set goes through a transition, more of a rock, metal portion where they are channeling Jimi Hendrix and the vibrations from the guitar are powerful.
Vibrations are hitting me right in the heart, right through Sharon’s hands under my hands on my heart. The white lights of the stage light up my face at times and my eyes close, and I just soak it in.
It reminds me of some intense moments I have had during yoga. I can feel the light, the vibrations, Sharon’s love for me, my love for me, just drenching me and going straight to my heart. We are moving and I can feel her pressed close. Her breasts are heaving and pulsing just below my shoulder blades. I am having this beautifully sensual moment.
Flash (a) Light
Eventually, the Flash light song comes on.
I am wearing a vest and have two small flashlights that I picked up from the store for about a buck each. I had to test about 40 flashlights to find the pair that still had working batteries. As I came through security, I had to empty my pockets to be wanded. There is a no laser pointer rule. The guard tells me, I may have to give up the flashlights. I explain, that I bring them for the Flashlight song, its part of the experience I say. (I am filled with knowledge from the guys post on Facebook.) I have no clue. It doesn’t stop me from selling it. I start to sing the flashlight song in the line with other people waiting to be wanded behind me. The guard lets me take them in with the warning that he might have to take them away from me later if I don’t use them wisely or something. (I start to recognize how absurd the flashlight as a device thing is.)
So the Flashlight song comes on and I don’t recognize the opening of the song.
I’m not quite ready.
I try to get the flashlight out of my right pocket. It’s stuck.
Vest pockets are made for pocket watches and that is about it.
I fiddle with the light in my left pocket. It comes out a little easier, but I’m losing the groove of the song.
I then go back to the light in my right pocket, but it’s stuck and it’s not coming out!
I click on the light and start waving it above my head and dancing.
There is someone else near the stage that has a flashlight too. Someone else has an electric glow stick flashlight..
That’s it! Flashlights are not a thing. 😉
Duh! Flash light is a verb!
The documentary, the feelings, the crowd through the rest of the night, it all makes sense.
Towards the end, we are near a guy. He looks a whole lot like Easy E reincarnated, but he has gray hair. He is recognizing and grooving to some of the more obscure riffs and versions of songs towards the end. I can imagine him twenty or thirty years ago being completely mesmerized and influenced by this music, by the comic book art on the albums, by the freedom that the entire Funk and Pfunk movement brings.
I do not lose my groove the rest of the night.
I am flashing my light on everyone, on Sharon, on George Clinton and is troop of amazing performers.
I am sending out love to my brother, who had an angiogram earlier in the day.
I am sending out love to my family members. I(We) lost two Great Uncles(for me, fathers and grandfathers to some of them) in the last few days.
I am not really, mourning, their passing. I am celebrating their lives. One is going to have a memorial celebration next summer. He had said for years that he wanted to live to see the Cubs win the world series. His dream came true and his bucket list was completed.
The other Great Uncle is one of the most positive people in my family (maybe next to or just slightly beyond his sister Clara). I think back and can never remember him at a time when he was sad or unhappy or grumpy or in a bad mood.
Even at my grandfather’s funeral, his brother, he was smiling and lifting me up as we talked.
He did not have an easy life. He was beaten as a young teenager by a farmer he worked for and had to live with during the depression. He ran away. He had a number of other challenges and tragedies throughout life, but those challenges and tragedies were not his life.
He was able to choose happiness and a smile. He chose to flash his light on everyone, he encountered.
In yoga practice, we say Namaste as a greeting. For some, it is like a ‘good day’ or maybe better like a christian ‘god bless you’ after someone sneezes. Sort of an automatic response or greeting that has little meaning.
It is rare(if ever) that someone would pause and look you deep in the eyes and raise their hand to the heavens and put their hand on your brow, and say “God, please bless this person who has sneezed and wash them in your divine light so that they might avoid sickness and enjoy good health and all of your deepest love….”
In Yoga practice, it often carries a weightier meaning, this Namaste.
Translate, it means I recognize the divine in you, or I see the light in you. I witness all that is wonderful and good in your spirit and person.
In the physical world, the physics of light is such that we can not see a person at all unless light is literally bouncing off of them and hitting our eyes. In a flash, we are seeing their light cast at us.
Metaphysically, we can live in a way and share our feelings of love and more with others, often through our actions, through our facial expressions, through our words and our laughter, through our human mistakes and foibles and problems too.
We have to consciously focus to see the beauty in ourselves and others at times, especially when our darker natures are temporarily more expressive than our light is coming through.
In other words, in yoga we witness and observe what we can. It is an active observation.
Flash (a) Light reminded me or maybe taught me a different aspect of this. We can work to shine and share that light in us actively, making the witnessing of the thing a bit easier for others, but also making it possible help illuminate their light. or ‘don’t look at me, look at the wonderful thing this other person is doing!’
Like a mirror, like a lighthouse light with lights and mirrors, we are redirecting focus combined with our own light on some other amazing thing that has some of its own light too and helping it to blaze!
I loved every minute of that concert. I loved every second with Sharon, her presence, her feeling, her words and her light. I loved all the people in the hall that night and everyone on stage.
We all blazed together!
I am eager to witness you blaze as well!!!!!
After I finished this article, Sharon phoned me as she waited for traffic to break at the top of Blowing Rock, she described an epiphany of her own while listening to a Tony Robbins audio book, Awaken the Giant within. I love it too. I listened to it on Scribd (free two month invitation if you haven’t tried this app!). The fog was lifting as the epiphany hit and she shared the beauty of it with me on the phone.
I loved her call, her voice and her sharing of this epiphany. She had listed 11 things inspired from the book, 11 things to choose to love life and more. I’m paraphrasing as I was again feeling her feeling, her vibration across the cellular waves bringing her back to me from 70 miles away.
a portion of the lyrics from Flash Light by George Clinton
Flash light (oh, flash light)
Flash light (oh, flash light)
Spot light (spot light)
Neon light (oh, neon light)
Flash light (oh, flash light, ho)
Stop light (stop light)
(oh, ho, red light!)
Everybody’s got a little light under the sun
Everybody’s got a little light under the sun
Under the sun, under the sun, under the sun, under the sun, under the sun, under the sun, under the sun, under the sun