This past weekend, Rich and I went to Bethel Woods, the actual site of the Woodstock Festival in 1969. And even though Rich aptly remarked when we arrived, “By the time we got to Woodstock, it was over for 47 years.” the energy of peace, love and freedom was still there.
There is an amazing museum on the grounds that not only captures the history of Woodstock, but also the birth of a freedom and independence of a new generation. It was my generation that began to have a strong voice for peace and “no war” and for freedom on all fronts, including those right here at home. Freedom for all the races, genders, sexual preferences and styles of music.
It was wildly appropriate to be there over the 4th of July weekend, when we celebrate freedom and independence. All month I have been talking about the freedom to be our authentic self, and being among the boldness of that infamous weekend in 1969 gave me a jolt of creativity. The kind of jolt that reminds me that I am the one who creates my experience of freedom and independence, along with abundance and peace and love, and that everything that happens in my life is an opportunity to fine tune this creation.
One outstanding fact that I learned in the museum was about Richie Havens. So, since I’ve already dated myself, how many of you can remember that he was the first performer at Woodstock? That I also knew, but what I learned was that he wasn’t originally scheduled to perform so he didn’t have much material prepared. When he was done, the organizers told him he had to keep playing because none of the other bands were there yet (yes, we all remember the traffic and the groups being taken in by helicopter). But he had nothing. So he created on the spot. What song did he create? F R E E D O M! Yes, the song that became the unofficial anthem of Woodstock, Freedom, was created in the moment by Richie Havens. And he did it under pressure.
What can we learn from this? Often, it takes pressure, a challenge, a crisis before we are moved to create something new, even if it means something better. We finally feel on some level that we need to be free of whatever the conditions were before or we will die (figuratively or literally). As we will discuss this week in the 7th condition of a miracle, any change begins first with a thought. Unity is a “New Thought” movement. One of our tenants is “change your thinking, change your life.” We actually already have the freedom to do that in every single moment. We really don’t need the pressure, the challenge or the crisis.
So whether your life is a dream or some part is a nightmare, you have the freedom to create a higher dream in this moment, and it’s only a thought away. Just like Richie Havens created Freedom on the spot, so can you.
Since it is “Throwback Thursday,” the video I offer this week was taken way back at Woodstock. Take a minute to watch the intensity as Richie aligns with the creative power and creates “Freedom.”