by Dr. David Sanders
I was barely six years old when they arrived. It was called an invasion. I am referring to The Beatles hopping over the pond and landing in New York City in February, 1964. Along with some 70 million Americans my family watched them perform on the Ed Sullivan show. That was the sixties and young people, especially girls, including my older sister, were obsessed. Those young fans wished the lyrics, “I want to hold your hand” was a personal invitation for them. From that auspicious start who could have predicted what the Beatles were to become, the voice of a generation; a socio-cultural, political and spiritual influencer.
Fast forward almost sixty years and the adolescent girl demographic (and many others) aren’t Beatle fans or Beatnicks they are Swifties. Until this past week, despite living with two Swifites, I had not paid attention to the Taylor Swift phenomenon. She arrived in Denver this past week on her “Eras” tour and it felt to me like a home invasion. Blaring for a full week throughout our house were songs from every era of Swiftdom.
While working on another writing project I serendipitously came across an insight from the unpronounceable named author of the book (and concept) Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It was so timely as it helped me to understand the power song has for those finding their way both in the world and in their inner selves.
“For adolescents their music acts as a modulator of moods. Whenever emotions threaten to engulf a teenager’s consciousness, turning on music can help focus and objectify them; the music and the lyrics reflects the formless yearnings of the listener and give them substance and legitimacy” (from Why We Need Things).
What seems to resonate most profoundly for this generation of teens (and pre-teens) is that Swift, following in the footsteps of other autobiographical singer-songwriters, connects with the emotional turbulence and struggles they experience through her “confessional” songs.
Over the years I have been blessed with so many wonderful teachers, mentors, colleagues and students. The ones I have learned from the most, and they are far and few between, are those that are willing to reveal themselves. Autobiography, when it serves others, is a powerful means of connection. As I value that in others, I value that in myself and the teachers at Kabbalah Experience. I guess I am, we are, Swifties after all.
Learn more about Taylor Swift