(OK, this is a coming-out story y’all, first in an on-and-off series.)
Punk Rock ain’t dead. It wasn’t a short-lived musical/fashion fad. It’s a way of being, an outlook, an attitude towards your fellow human. It’s also a path to awareness and healing, it taught me how to fight and win over many of my own demons.
I actively went to punk rock shows for over 20 years. Yeah, now I’m an older mellower punk rock reverend, but those punk skills come in handy for me all the time. The intensity of going to a show gave me some of my earliest spiritual memories. I worshipped the power of intensity before I knew how to worship anything else.
We punks had major angst (we call it our “edge”), and the intensity of the show overcame. The stack of cranked up Marshall amps, the relentless guitar pounding your skeleton, lyrics stirring up every emotional pain, anger and injustice, the tidal crowd swarming, moving you against your will. You had no choice but to completely immerse and experience. The physicality took every ounce of presence and attention you had.
Why did we feel so good afterwards, limping and bloody, grins the size of Texas? Catharsis on that scale isn’t easy to find. The external intensity overrode the internal angst, like a bigger fist battling with a fist almost as strong but not quite. The pain inside got exhausted and gave up. We peeled off a layer of angst, we became a little better at being human. It’s a punk rock secret. We look a lot meaner than most of us actually are. (smirk)
So what’s your internal “edge” of emotional anger, pain, frustration, bad memories? Where can your edge meet the intensity that can overpower it — so it stops cutting people, so it can heal? Catharsis is one way of doing this. Pit your edge against the intensity of a loud band, a roaring waterfall, a huge crowd, hard exercise. Feel the full force of your emotions as you totally immerse yourself into the intense experience. Feel your painful emotions giving way. See if you don’t feel better afterwards too, and maybe a little less bloody.