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I went to hear the Barra MacNeils last night.  They’re a Celtic musical family from Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada.  And I got to see them from the middle of the front row.

Often the folks featured in a song stood at the front of the stage, and their faces loomed above me, maybe eight feet away from mine.  It was intense.

When Lucy sang “Caledonia”, I fell deeply into me.  Her eyes were open, and the little white dots at the centre shone.  All was liquid, and her soul reached the words:

Let me tell hou that I love you
That I think about you all the time
Caledonia, you’re calling me, now I’m going home
But if I should become a stranger
Know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia’s been everything I’ve ever had

All was well

Later Kyle strode to a spot right above me with his fiddle.  He played a soulful Scottish air, with his fingers gliding so sweetly on the strings.  The violin purred into the love song and Kyle would often close his eyes in response.  I would have such beauty linger forever.

Then it was a rousing drinking song, soloed by Stewart.  On the chorus, four brothers were only a breath away from me, blasting out the melody and harmonies.  The whole was greater than the sum of the parts, with the tones vibrating inside my heart.

Towards the end, Lucy did some fancy Irish dancing and I watched her feet fly.  The taps on her soles beat out a brilliant rhythm and her feet twisted this way and that at supersonic speed.

All happened in my very near presence and the immediacy was a huge gift.  Human beings blissing a fellow traveller in the front row.

Power

I’m used to the mellow energy of meditation.  Quiet and all-encompassing at times.  Nothing that I would describe as “powerful”.  But today’s been different.

I’ve been working out a lot on the elliptical at the gym, to get ready for my cross-Canada bicycle trip this summer. Usually, at the end of an hour of sweating and swinging my limbs every which way, I’m pooped.  But this morning, after the workout, and after I drove home, there was a tingle inside.  I headed out the front door for the 20-minute walk to the Belmont Diner and soon energy flooded me.  Yes, it was POWER.  My head felt “big”.  Something was coursing through me, pushing out from my heart.  I expected that I’d look in the mirror and see a 6 feet four hulk … hopefully not green.  I walked fast, feeling that if a car careened towards me, I’d just flip it over my shoulder.

At the restaurant, I was even more talkative than usual.  I wasn’t an idiot.  I wasn’t argumentative.  I just felt this great urge to talk about stuff that’s important to me … and I did.

My body felt strong, like I could tackle the Tour du Canada today, average 30 kph (good luck with that!), and burn up the hills.  I know I’m getting fitter but this surging flow was brand new.  And yes, I liked it.

This afternoon, I volunteered in the Grade 5/6 class. Tiffany, the teacher, asked me to read a chapter from The City of Ember, a science fiction novel.  The characters included Doon and Lina, two 13-year-olds, and an assortment of quirky adults.  I had the best time pulling on different voices.  At one point, someone in the book yelled, so I followed suit, scaring a kid or two.  I was intensely “there”, tender and snarly in turns as I inhabited the folks of the novel.

Basically I felt “fierce” all day, like my chest was about to burst my buttons, like I could have lifted my own body weight … no problem.

So it was another rich life experience, knowing I can be intense as well as sublime.  And I decided that I like all of it.