As of February 10, 2008, the Being a Mom is Great blog has moved here (www.soapboxmom.com). Please visit Soapbox Mom to read more articles by this author (bmg mom is now Soapboxmom).
Have you heard John Mayer play the guitar? Have you been lucky enough to attend one of his concerts so that you could actually see him play the guitar? Ahhh, grace in motion.
Before going to his concert this summer, I listened to his music, but didn’t truly appreciate it. I mean, it was nice to have playing in the background, nice to sing along with occasionally, but didn’t exactly make me sit down and breathe it in, you know what I mean?
Then I saw him perform live.
Oh my goodness…
I really don’t know how to describe the experience. I’ve tried to explain it to friends but I just couldn’t capture my feelings in words. When I told the moms in my book club about it, they looked at me like I was slightly nuts, asked me whether I was going through a midlife crisis then concluded I must have a crush on the guy!
No, no, no. I’m a happily married woman. It’s nothing like that. Not at all. It’s more like a deep appreciation for great talent. I had the same kind of feeling when I saw Michael Jordan moving (well, flying) around the basketball court. Or even when I watch Roger Federer play tennis. Or (yes, really) when I watch my husband cook or paint portraits. It’s the creative artistry that I admire and fawn over. That’s what makes my heart skip a beat. It’s grace in motion. God given talent at work right before my very eyes.
In the case of John Mayer, his music is full of passion. His vocals are just so pleasing to hear. They fall gently on my ears at first and then drift deeper in. You know what I mean?
Here’s an example. I listened to his song, Gravity, from his Continuum album (do they still refer to them as “albums”?) and thought it was okay. Fine song. Then I saw him perform it and…oh…my…goodness…back to that part where I simply can’t describe the experience.
If you want a sample, click on the “play” button below. That song is called “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” about the agony of a doomed relationship. Honestly, doesn’t sound as good on the video as it does in person (or even on the Continuum CD).
He’s an artist. He plays guitar with so much talent, passion, and skill. He makes that guitar sing. No, he makes it speak to you. Oh, these words just don’t do it justice.
Just listen to the song Gravity. It’s a ballad that starts out slowly, in a fabulous, bluesy way. Some people might give up there. But…stay with it…stay with it. And listen.
Interpretation of all art is necessarily subjective, right? To me, Gravity is about negativity, excess and greed. Specifically, it’s about negative people trying to drag you down into their pessimistic, dark world. Later in the song he makes a plea to keep him “where the light is” (i.e., to stay positive, healthy and grounded and out of their muck (which they often characterize as ‘reality’ even though it is just not…not…my reality!)).
You might interpret the song in a completely different way, but for me, it’s an uplifting song that picks me up, helps me lift my head again whenever I’m feeling low–whenever I’ve been subjected to people being rude, snotty, whiny or unreasonably negative.
Take this morning, for example. I checked my email before starting my daily running-around-town chaos and found a formally worded, snotty, harsh message from some parent saying she never got our check for our order of cheap, goofy gift wrap that the school pushes on us every year. I put the check (in an envelope) in my daughter’s backpack (and told her it was there) nearly three weeks ago. Okay, so she was irresponsible and still hasn’t turned in the envelope. Acknowledged. She should have turned it in. Agreed. So send me a simple e-mail saying, “Hey we still don’t have that check.” Instead, Miss Serious sends me an e-mail threatening to withhold the order until payment is received, blah, blah, blah. Are you kidding me? This fundraiser is like a crumb on my floor. Fine, keep the two or three stupid pieces of junk that you practically coerced me to order. I could care less. I don’t even want them anyway. Grrrrr. She needs to read that “Power of Kindness” book I posted about (earlier this month). Heck, I think at this point, I need to re-read it…or turn up the John Mayer music. Breathe, girly, breathe….like our measly little order is going to hold up the closing of your accounting books. I don’t buy it. Or if it is, then please, just cancel it. I don’t want to support the program anymore anyway!
It’s like customer service at some big box store. If they treat me harshly and/or disrespectfully, I don’t go to that store. Why the heck should I patronize a store that treats its customers poorly? I won’t. That’s what competition is all about, isn’t it? Vote with your feet.
Oh, gosh, I’m way off on a tangent I certainly didn’t intend to explore.
The point is that, after refraining from sending back a nasty email, I went off and did my errands while listening to John Mayer’s music and I felt much better (and, as I said earlier, I’ll be cranking it up again soon). I hope you take a moment to listen to it. If you find it’s just not for you, then I hope you have some other music that you can play when you’re feeling blue. Good music has a way of speaking to our souls. Today, instead of focusing on that unreasonably negative email, I’m choosing to focus on Mayer’s music and to feel grateful that he’s in this world making music that makes my heart sing.
Image from his MySpace page (but you’d be better off visiting his site or his Facebook page).
Read more about him here: