"The Hardy Heart" monthly blog - April 2017
Its Sunday afternoon and I am typing at my desk in the office space of my home with my girlfriend Sharon ("Shazzy") designing an event flyer on her computer at a make-shift desk on my coffee table. We just created a project list for our new yoga company One Love Yoga and are chuckling to ourselves - Sharon's psychic told her back in December that the two of us would be really busy for the next six months - needless to say the prediction was on point! I am absolutely a being that craves balance and in the midst of the current "busy" my ability to stay balanced is being challenged.
Last Tuesday I was grooving through my day, teaching yoga, making food, cleaning my house, working on the website, registering my car, getting social media platforms updated and in the middle of it I saw an FB post from one of my good buddies that his father had passed on. I paused what I was working on and wrote a message sending my love. Later that afternoon he and his amazing wife came to my Yoga Vibes class at 21st Yoga. Yoga has helped me process so much of life's ups and downs and it was a beautiful experience to be with my friends while we were all connecting to breath, body and to music. After class my friend told me that the music of this reggae artist "Mike Love" had really been helping him through everything and that they just found out Love was performing in Salt Lake that night and that he wanted me to come and join a crew of friends he was getting together for the show. I teach an 8:45pm class on Tuesdays and typically roll directly home so I can get to bed and have a strong start the next morning. I had the thought that it would be too much to try to get out to the show and I'd be tired the next morning, but immediately stopped the thought, gave hugs and told them I'd be there. When I got out of the yoga studio to my car I had a text thread on my phone letting me know that my little brother Zach was playing guitar for a local reggae artist Makisi as an opener for touring act Mike Love that night - gotta love those coincidences! I knew it was probably too late to get a sub for my 8:45pm class to catch my brother's performance, but the news re-confirmed my post work plans.
Later that night when I entered the venue I walked into Mike Love and his band jamming it out on stage. The dude had a huge smile on his face and the brightest eyes I have seen in a while. His shine was so bright, I had to check my weariness at the door, take a deep breath and put a smile on my face. Love hails from Oahu in the Hawaiian islands and is known for writing very positive songs and for his incredible "looping" abilities with his voice and guitar. My buddy and his crew ended up being right next to my little brother and his girlfriend who ended up being right next to another good friend, and I was able to join up and sink into the driving reggae rhythms, the melodic guitar lines and the passionate message of simplicity, hope, consciousness, sustainability and love flowing from the voice of this incredible artist. It was a beautiful night of grieving and celebration. At the end of the show my friend told me his father had led a powerful, simple life as a gardner and it was inspiring him to get back to the simple, grounding things of his own life; learning guitar being one of them.
I left the show tired, but fully awake in other ways. The raw, awesome power of music as a healing tool for the mind, body and soul was fully present for me. I am at the beginning of recording a five track EP of original music at my brother Zach's Silent Green Studios. They are all songs that carry messages of positivity, hope and love. The next day with my friend's words about the grounding life of his father in mind, I pulled out my guitar, pedals and amp, turned my phone to airplane mode, started a thirty minute timer and began practicing. The simple act of practicing my guitar on a daily basis has become so much harder the older I get. However, it is an act that brings me so much grounding and a sense of accomplishment. I had a guitar teacher in college that told me to always practice for one hour every day. For a couple years that worked, but then it became sporadic. If I wasn't able to get in the full hour I'd find myself skipping the practice entirely. Its come in waves over the years, but last Tuesday a new wave came through. I am committing to myself to practice a more manageable thirty minutes each day for six days out of the week.
I want to the hit the end of my life having lived out my passions and explored my practices; I know I am such a better human being when I am grounded and balanced. Tomorrow evening my buddy is having me over to his home and we are going to start teaching him guitar. We all have those simple, grounding practices that we want to get back into or start entirely. Maybe its the art of reading a book, or trail running, or meditation. I am still figuring the great balance of life out every day I am alive, but I am confident it has something to do with slowing this smart phone world of ours down for a minute; or for thirty.
- James Hardy