On Our Way Into The Light

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As many of you know, I just returned from a wonderful and sunny trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I had the honor of sharing my passion for the Dave Matthews Band with 600 fellow health care providers, and art aficionados. The conference that I spoke at is called Creativity and Madness, and it is held every summer at LaFonda Hotel on the plaza in Santa Fe, as well as, at various other domestic and international sites throughout the year. If you have any interest in the psychology of art and artists, I highly recommend this meeting. But for today, I want to share with you my experience of giving this speech, because, as with all things DMB, it was truly remarkable.

I had attended this symposium once before, a few years ago, and was struck by how different the topics were to most seminars offering continuing education credits. For this reason, I thought that my idea to discuss the spiritual longing behind Dave’s lyrics, as well as, the meaningful connections drawn between fans would be a good fit for this venue. What I didn’t expect, was that the majority of my audience would qualify for memberships to the AARP (American Association for Retired Persons). With hands sweating, I watched other presenters as they easily guided the attendees into fits of laughter while mentioning people that I had never heard of. As I fidgeted in my seat, I prayed to God that what I would assert in my talk would prove true; that DMB fans defy limits of age, race, socioeconomic status, gender, and ethnicity.

And so it was that after three heart-palpitating days of neurosis, (situational, or course), I took the stage. I began my piece by asking how many people were familiar with the Dave Matthews Band, and to my great delight, more than half of my audience raised their hands! Even better, many listeners proclaimed themselves to be followers of the band, and only one brave person admitted to not liking DMB music at all.

But by far, the most amazing part of this adventure was the feedback that I received after I two-stepped it down from the podium. More people than I can count thanked me for giving them insight into a phenomenon that their kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews find enlightening. To me, this is serendipity at it’s best. There I was, focusing on providing a tool for psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals to utilize for rapport-building with clients, and unknowingly I ended up building a bridge between family members. I literally couldn’t think of a better outcome.

Well, maybe I could. But short of Dave appearing to congratulate me on how well I understand his inner-most thoughts, and asking me to write his autobiography, I really couldn’t.

So, in the end, all of my anticipatory nerves were highly unnecessary. As I said in my show, you don’t have to be a white-middle class college student to “get” DMB. Turns out, all you really need is a heart.

Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.

Author of Serendipity and the Search for True Self