“Prince Live – Purple Rain (halftime show Super Bowl 2007)” — Prince R.I.P.
One year-this year-we lost Prince and David Bowie, we became unemployed, survived a suicide attempt, brought audiences to tears singing Eliza Doolittle’s ‘I could have danced all night’, suffered a serious concussion and endured 103.8 flu temperatures. We canceled vacation and receptions, disabled a car and finally, ironically …..the home flood.
Rain. Sheets of grey, unrelenting, pelting rain.
We purchase beflowered rain boots for the little girls and Grundens tough cameo boots for the little guy. We don’t park in front of our house for fear of getting stuck in the 4-week soft mud ruts. Work arounds in a world afloat with uncertainty.
I flash back to a converted bedroom in the 1920’s craftsman home of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order. I perch on the end of a frayed brocade divan chair. Eight women, of whom I am the youngest, huddle to discuss Pema Chodron’s book When Things Fall Apart. Wafts of recently brewed Earl Grey tea have settled into the carpet around us. Seated on the floor, Amita Ratna our female order member guides the conversation stream.
“During the Buddha’s time humans traveled on rutted mud roads. Daily these roads are washed away, partially hardening and always sculpted into new directions. Imagine driving an ox cart over these roads grinding and bumping along the jerky edges, rising vertically and dropping sharply into rut after rut. This is how our mental patterns are established and cemented. This is what we must work to overcome.”
Rainstorms. Accelerating pinpricks of water driving into the nooks of your body.
The door clicks open and I begin my slow scan scrolling from his feet to his face.
“How was this day for you ?” I ask, ominously curious. First the consulting business dried up. Then Microsoft laid off 2000 contractors flooding the job market with technical talent.
“Nothing, I applied to everything I could find today and still nothing” he says.
Joblessness grinds self-esteem and worthiness with 2001 little mortar and pestles; minute by minute carving dust from a body of wholeness.
I look for emblems of inspiration. I remember Prince’s performance in 2007.
Year of planning go into Super bowl halftime shows. Companies are made and broken from the success of their 30-second Super bowl advertisement. The half time show is a defining moment for 111M viewers.
“So how are you doing?” a dear friend asks knowing the plagues, which have befallen our family in the four months of 2016. In the spirit of Passover I count out the plagues-physical, emotional, environmental, looking for validation that it must be a mutation of nature. Only recently have I begun to share our inner rains with friends. Surprisingly I don’t feel better when I do.
“Do you remember watching Prince perform at the 2007 Super bowl halftime show?”
I recount the halftime show as we sit in the postage stamp kitchen stirring the green olives peppering her Moroccan stew. I tell the story of the gusting winds and how it had not rained at a Super bowl in 40 years. The images of dripping ponchoed fans storming the stadium. How Prince was to play four electric guitars and his dancers teetered on eight-inch heels. I tell her his answers when the producers nervously tell Prince about the rain.
“Can you make it rain harder?”
“That sends chills through my body” she says, feet to the ground, the broken water of awareness still between us.
It is a story I will recount again. In the bedroom of my youngest son. In the coffee shop. In this blog post. It is the ascension of attitude against the body of plagues.
“Can you make it rain harder?”