Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 193
Mon. July 22, 2012
Growing up, and until recently, our family’s mindset has always been quite negative. I never realized how harmful that pessimistic attitude was to our lives until this year, when we all decided to change our every day outlook. Why have we been so negative for all these years? It started with my Mami’s illness. It feels like my Mom has been fighting for her life since 1998. Having this dark cloud of worry for her well-being hovering around us for over thirteen years dramatically darkened our family’s perspective on our daily lives.
Historically, My Mother and I would have these overdramatic arguments over the phone, so bad that for days and weeks afterwards we both would be in the direst of moods. I remember the moment when everything changed for the better. I was on the phone with my Mami and basically, it felt like a vocal light switch went on in both of our tones and immediately our voices changed, ringing towards the positive. Not only did it feel so good, but our renewed aura of positivity has brightened our already plentiful lives.
What sparked this new feeling of hopefulness? Like I have written before, during times of trouble, music would always ease my worried mind. This time I believe this renewed era of hopefulness started with the optimistic themes of the genius George Harrison. Before my surgery, this year, I was filled with constant flashes of mortal trepidation. In an attempt to calm myself of these fatalistic fears, I became drawn towards joyous verses and uplifting songs of Harrison’s music.
It was one specific incident that literally transformed our cynical state of minds to a more thankful outlook on our lives. I was reading Harrison’s biographical tome I Me Mine. For years his book, which was once only a rare limited edition volume, became available after George’s death. Within the pages of I Me Mine, Harrison tells of the inspirations behind all of his famous songs. One of my favorite stories is how “Blow Away” came to fruition. Harrison explained, when he said, “I was sitting in the garden in a hut looking at the water as it was pouring rain. We were having leaks in the house because some drain had blocked and I’d gone out in my hat and raincoat and was down there in the hut getting away from it all. The problems start when you get attached to your problems. That’s when the mind gets involved in too much thinking of whether one is supposed to go here or do this or that you know the bullshit.”
Harrison was right, we do this all the time, and this angst even happened to the late Beatle. Even the great George Harrison had times of distress. But his story doesn’t end there. There’s a happy conclusion to the creation of this song story, as Harrison explained: “I was feeling rotten, a bit ratty; not feeling good in myself, and it was all getting next to me. It was remembering again that that isn’t me. Remembering what the masters say ‘I am basically a potentially divine, wonderful human being,’ and all this rattiness and not feeling good is attaching itself to my mind, it plays tricks on us and can trip you over. I thought ‘I don’t have to feel all this! I do love everybody,’ and that is really all you’ve got to do, manifest your love. The only thing we really have to work at in this life is how to manifest love.”
After reading those words, everything changed for me; in one section, in this one book and my life improved for the better. For George Harrison, his renewed sense of enlightenment manifested in the now legendary chorus “♫All I’ve Got to do is love you/ All I’ve got to be is to be happy. ♫”
It was no accident that it took some trouble in Harrison’s house to inspire “Blow Away” and George’s producer Russ Titelman said—“A lot of people don’t realize that ‘Blow Away’ used the rebuilding of Friar Park, the broken-down nunnery that he restored as his family home, as a metaphor for how he had to rebuild his life after the Beatles broke up and his marriage to Patti Boyd ended. The song has a brilliant lyric and musical structure. George also brought both a very confident spiritual dimension and a knowledge of world music to pop music that it had never had previously. Things like that take guts and an inner will.”
All I have to do when I’m feeling the rattiness begin to creep back into my life is play “Blow Away.” It’s so difficult to feel upset or bothered by anything while listening to George Harrison. Specifically, “Blow Away” was the lyrical sign that sparked a change in attitude and outlook in our whole family’s lives.
I feel like positivity, love and laughter is more contagious than a yawn or frown of negativity. If you don’t believe we live in a pessimistic culture, try going a whole day without saying anything negative about anyone in your life or some stranger you encounter in your every day life. It’s difficult but start there. The next step is to be the one who inspires people; be the example with your smile, your dedication, your work ethic and your love. If there’s one thing I relearned this year from the help of George Harrison is that positivity is infectious; don’t fight it, and let this seed like energy grow within you and around you. You will appreciate the music of the living with your new outlook when you realize a more hopeful and joyous love is the only way to give.
Today, I dedicate “Blow Away” to my Mami who goes into surgery this morning. I Love You Mami. We will talk mañana!