I was lucky enough to be front row for Neko Case last night. I had originally decided not to attend; between my crowdfear and general distaste for “festival” concerts, I resolved to skip seeing her this time.  Then, as it turned out a friend of mine was  working the show and offered to get me in the side gate and backstage. Obviously I wasn’t going to pass on that chance.

I arrived early and after some consideration, decided to position myself as close to the stage as possible. I knew this would put my dislike for being surrounded on all sides to the test, but happily a Neko crowd isn’t exactly super pushy or aggressive so I had a decent personal space bubble to work with.

 I am pleased to say it went very well, and I was as close as I have ever been to the artist I admire most deeply. In many ways doing so was an act of challenging the limits I have placed on myself both consciously and by default. I am well, and I know that with the reserves of good cheer and mental resilliance I currently possess now is the best possible time to press beyond my boundaries and achieve growth. Getting up next to the stage was an exercise in weighing the value of the reward against the intensity of the anxiety. A good practice for me, in all respects. 

It was a surpassingly beautiful evening, the opening act was fantastic, and Neko was in rare form on her 43rd birthday. It was a priviledge I was most cognizant of to be there to enjoy it.

Her latest album is called “The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You”  The record itself doesn’t really dwell that much on the motif, but the title just explicates with such poetry a common theme in so many dysfunctional relationships – certainly some of mine. 

In the past I’ve gotten sucked into believing that the amount of effort expended in a relationship increases its value, rather than that the more valuable the relationship the more worthy of effort it is. It’s a common logical fallacy to think it works both ways… 

I walked away thinking about the greater significance of the moment; my very good fortune to be in the place I am in my life at this moment, the opportunities that have been afforded me of late, and the virtually limitless potential that lies yet ahead.

So, with the sound of her voice echoing in my ears and this sentiment percolating through my mind – here’s to the redoubled efforts to nurture those things that sustain us – and relinquish with grace those that drain us.