mixed-up monday: rambling on in the NOFO flow

on 08-22-2012

“There are two ways of spreading light:

to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”

Edith Wharton, American novelist


I’ve spent the last few days aspiring to be a mirror. I want to  reflect the light that emanated from the performers who shone brightly on the NOFO Rock & Folk Fest stage on Sunday so others might catch a glimpse of what I experienced.


My elation transcended the usual satisfaction I feel when a concert I’ve helped plan is brought to life. I’m usually able to disconnect from “go mode” to lose myself in the music — at least for a few moments.


This show was different.  The sanguine energy was palpable as THE DIRT FARMER BAND headlined a celebration of music and life in the spirit of legendary musician and master storyteller Levon Helm. They were joined by two of my Long Island favorites — MILES TO DAYTON and THE SECOND HANDS.


As THE DIRT FARMER BAND took the audience on a musical journey, one that embraced the uncharted road ahead while honoring the essence of their iconic roots, I was reminded of FLOW, THE PSYCHOLOGY OF OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE. In this book,  author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, PhD. revisits and rexamines the idea of happiness. He describes “flow” as the magical time when we are  so completely engaged in an activity that we forget ourselves and our sense of time.

Click here to watch the author’s TED talk on the secret to happiness.


What happens as we lose ourselves in a state of total engagement?  We discover or revisit a passion, and our immersion does more than make us feel lit up from the inside — it translates that glow into less stress and more joy.


When talented musicians are totally engaged in a performance, an audience is able to tap into that flow. It’s one of the intangible yet irrefutable reasons why live music is transformative.


I like how Csikszentmihalyi explains, “After an enjoyable event we know that we have changed, that our self has grown; in some respect, we have become complex as a result of it.”


With tremendous gratitude, I thank all the NOFO performers for being catalysts who sparked this joyous complexity.


And, I have a wish for each of us: May we  recognize and embrace the presence of flow in our lives  and then — as candles or mirrors — share its brilliant light with others.


Click on the image below for a special mid-week “mixed up monday,” playlist, and then head over to iTunes to order-up some of your favorites and discover additional songs.*



* THE DIRT FARMER BAND is the five core members of THE LEVON HELM BAND: Amy Helm, Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams, Byron Isaacs and Justin Guip. For more music, check out  DIRT FARMER, ELECTRIC DIRT and RAMBLE AT THE RYMAN and then stay tuned for what’s next . . .


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