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Revisiting Woodstock and conquering time

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Revisiting Woodstock and conquering time

Regina McIlvain

 Revisiting Woodstock

In August 2019 we will see the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. It was a seminal moment for youth, ideals, rock music, expression and uninhibited style. Those who attended those four days of music genius that may never see its equal were electrified and felt a part of a greater whole. Half a million people coexisted in peaceful harmony, perhaps as stunning an achievement as the multitude that traveled to listen to Jesus two thousand years earlier. Those who did not attend and those who have been born since then are still affected by the realities that emerged from that spontaneous explosion of art reflecting ideology.

The teens and young adults who camped out in Woodstock had a style that shocked and enchanted the world. They symbolized the youth movement that planned to change the world for the better. Within a few years there were major changes including environmental protections, more safety in cars, less smoking (of cigarettes anyway), more opportunity in the workplace for women and persons of color, more awareness in general of the rich diversity in the world and our place in it.

These were/are the baby boomers. They have aged 50 years now but that patina of eternal youth still animates their dreams, if not always their reality. Jokes are starting now to suggest to those who attended the first gathering in various states of undress, to kindly refrain from a repeat. Times and lives may have changed a lot, so it would be magic indeed to recapture some of the spirit, beauty and style of Woodstock prior to the upcoming festival.

The magic for this week is as much a challenge as a ritual. I will give you some broad strokes about creating your own Woodstock character regardless of your age. Think of it as a kind of LARP (live-action role playing game), something you can put on and take off as you choose. What I hope you will discover along the way is a connection to your deeper self: one that embodies what you truly are or would like to manifest.

So, you have four months to transform your ordinary self into a Woodstock nymph, satyr, collegiate participant, musician, magician, goddess, free-spirit, nature child… Your own imagination will suggest what it is you would like to personify if only for a day. Who knows, after the preparation for it, you may decide to keep elements of this product of your creation as permanent fixtures!

For today, we will simply consider some goals to prepare for. Each one of these represents an area that may need time to develop:

  • Weight: most the original Woodstock attendees were young and lithe. If you were born after 1995 you may identify as such. If you are old enough to have attended in 1969, chances are you may see this as an opportunity to get fit.

  • Hair: the late sixties/early seventies ushered in an era of long, natural hair. It did not work on everyone, even then, but if you like breezy, free-flowing tresses, stop regular visit to the salon and work on conditioning, growing and caring for your hair now! We will discuss how-tos another time, including dealing with gray, damaged, thinning and difficult hair.

  • Attitude: this may be the most magical part. Our lives are often hectic, filled with demands, full schedules and a society that would not approve of modern day hippies. What we forget is that when we slow down, meditate, listen to music that stirs something within us, find time to create in-home rituals (not out of boxes, but engendered by our imaginations), open our minds to really consider the opinions of others and so many other grounding activities, we can reconnect with the promising child we once were. Remember the potential we had as we moved from childhood into adolescence. The world was before us; a world of our own creation. Rekindle that spirit.

  • Sense of adventure: in 1969 teens from all over the country made an extraordinary pilgrimage. It could not have been an easy trek or even few days of camping in the rain and elements with so many people. But came they did and with the intention of a peaceful celebration of youth, music and hope. Capture that sense of adventure regardless of how far from home you go.

  • This is a contest. Not sure of the prize yet, but start working on it as you may need a bit of time. August 15, 16 and 17, 2019 will mark the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. The memes and jokes have started: if you were naked at the first Woodstock, stay home… Well, most of the pictures of naked people at the first Woodstock are not that appealing. As a matter of fact, you have to look hard to find people who do not look bedraggled, dusty and generally rough around the edges. That said, the pictures are also full of magic, of wonder, of youth stepping out on the world stage for the first time: not just the skinny dippers, but the fantastically costumed, almost medieval-looking itinerants. You see lots of bejewelled velvet, rakish top hats, bangles and bracelets covering arms as they reflect sunbeams. You see long hair trailing down backs, bare feet and gossamer gowns. Collegiate types listen side-by-side with hippie pot smokers and all are electrified by beloved and emerging talent.

    If you were there, or if you are old enough to have been there, who are you now? Can you still identify with your dreams and hope for the world - and yourself? Looking at you, then and now, how satisfied are you in the change? Is the difference so great that you hardly recognize yourself or have you evolved into a more polished, realized version of your best self? Have you lost something along the way, something important? This challenge is to recreate yourself into the ideal version of the Woodstock you - whoever succeeds will be a winner who cherishes the prize: your best you!