“Here is something I think we don’t fully appreciate about collective sadness: that grief, however and whenever it shows up, is the constant reminder of the unfilled spaces that still live in us — and that reminder holds immense transformative potential for us. It brings into our awareness again, for brief moments at at time, what we all know we could be, if we dared.” -Siri Liv Myhrom
It’s just a few days past the one year anniversary of Prince’s death, and I’ve been thinking of him (Him should almost be capitalized his influence was so powerful). And I came across again this wonderful article I’d saved from On Being by Siri Liv Myhrom, “To Be Yourself Completely: The Collective Grief of Losing Prince,” one that summed up what I was feeling at the time about Prince’s life and death… something much like the biggest, brightest purple flame suddenly going out in the world never to be seen again — except inside of us, in the corners he illuminated.
Prince’s 1999 shined its light in my dark spaces in the summer of 2012 when I was living with friends temporarily in Los Angeles and finishing up plans to release my second album All My Love In Half Light. Like all my albums, this one had helped me overcome a particular recurring problem of my life, this time of rushing into love, lust, and sex and getting trampled by it… of going too fast… much like Prince’s “Little Red Corvette,” which I was playing over and over again driving the streets and freeways of L.A. that summer.
That album was like a balm on the wound I had exposed in my own life, and Prince to me was that too-cool, mega-talented senior in high school singing to my little freshman, babe-in the-woods self about how I could make better choices. For all his seemingly outward lasciviousness, underneath, he reminded me that sex and love are sacred, and if I would just slow down I’d find my way.
And I did eventually find my way — I grew stronger and I healed — and this work led to a transformational relationship that I cherish to this day.
In this year since Prince’s passing, I find myself looking back again on his many lessons. And no words I’ve seen describe the biggest lesson of all from his life, as Siri Liv Myhrom puts it so eloquently:
“What are you longing for? Are you willing to see it, to take it in, to surrender to it, to love it the way you love the gifts of others? Sure, it probably won’t manifest in glittering stage lights and selling millions of albums — but that isn’t the goal of living uncompromisingly as yourself. All of that only came to Prince when he put his hands on a piano or a guitar for the first time and decided he would never leave, no matter what. His reward was getting to live his days fully alive as a conduit for the electricity of music. You are meant to be a conduit, too, for whatever is meant to flow through you.”