And I'm sure if you are familiar with Jimmy (sometimes referred to hereafter as Bubba) and Yoga, this probably seems like a huge paradox. In a way it is. Bubba's music and the Parrothead lifestyle is about one thing and one thing only; Escapism. Yoga is about being present. Herein lies the paradox. But somehow, in my completely insane life, I have managed to blend the two passions of my life. Rather successfully, I might add.
I have been a "Parrothead" way longer than I have been a Yogini. It began on a dark and dreary time of my life when I was working at my first job out of college. I hated my job. I hated who I worked with. I hated where I lived. I had no friends. I had no social life. I was working 14 hours a day sometimes 6 days a week. It sucked. The place where I worked was right next to a mall and one day after a particularly long workday I went over to the mall to decompress. I was perusing the record store (ahhhh, remember those??) and found Bubba's cd box set; Boats, Beaches, Bars, and Ballads. I don't remember how much it was but I remember that I thought it was a lot of money; a luxury purchase at the time. I only knew two of Bubba's songs, Come Monday and Margaritaville, so I don't know why but I felt compelled to buy it.
I went home with that box set and quickly fell in love. The set came with a booklet; kind of a Parrothead handbook of sorts. The photos of concerts and these crazy people dressed in all kinds of get-ups transfixed me. So when my eldest sister asked if I wanted to go to Florida with her on my first vacation away from this dreaded job, which would include a side trip to Key West, I jumped at the chance! (at this point in time, the only "Margaritaville" restaurant was in Key West. A long, long time ago...)
So there we were, two gals traveling to Key West. I was completely exhausted, we had escaped a massive flood in transit, and my sister had never been to a bar! What a pair! I can only remember being in awe of a place so calm, so relaxed, and so happy. The whole place was such a contrast to how stressed out I was at the time. This little island was where I first exhaled. It was the first time my sister ever went to bar; Hog's Breath. After all, hog's breath is better than no breath at all, right? And it was our first taste of the real Margaritaville, which exists only in your mind.
The following September we had the chance to see Bubba and his big band live at Greatwoods in Mansfield, Mass. We got the tickets and headed north. Just the two of us gals, again. Driving in her mini-van, this time dodging obstacles in the road, not rain. We barely made it but we got there unscathed. When we got out of the car we thought we were on another planet. People were dressed in costumes and eating food out of the backs of their cars. Every car was decorated from bumper to bumper. But in the middle of this creative explosion of life we felt like we were home. And, as they say, the rest is history.
Since that first concert, I have seen Jimmy at Greatwoods many times. I've seen him at The Today Show summer concert series, The Meadows in Hartford, Fenway Park (yes, Michael, you read that right), Gillette Stadium, Continental Arena, Madison Square Garden, the stadium where the Phillie's play and Bristow, VA. When I was in Yoga school, I happened to have the day off when Jimmy was playing for the first time at Mohegan Sun. My husband sent a limo to pick me up at Kripalu to drive me all the way to Uncasville. When we drove up Jimmy was landing in his helicopter on the casino landing pad. The driver saw all of these people dressed in costumes and blurted out, "What the hell is this?!?" I jumped out of the car into the open arms of my husband to the hoots and hollers of fellow revellers yelling at me, "That's the way to arrive, babe!"
Each show is about the same. We know all the songs by heart. We always wish he'd play something more obscure. We plan for months about what food and drink we want for our tailgate. We laugh at the "Buffett Virgins", the folks who don't know all the words by heart and end up drinking waaaayyyy too much. Both of my children have been and have even made it onto the 'big screen'. I've made it up there a time or two myself, but not for the reason that most girls make it up there, ahem....
So if you are looking to escape for just one night or if you are looking to create a life of peace and being present, know that that place of peace known as Margaritaville lies within you. You have the ability to access it whenever you want by just breathing into the Oneness. Sometimes, though, it helps to put on an ugly Hawaiian shirt with your arms over your head and do some Yoga.
Greatwoods June 2009