DRAGONFLIES AMONG US. no. 1 in a series
While crawling down in the muck, dragonflies grow their magical wings. The same is true of human dragonflies like Julie Bernard.
I first met Julie over 30 years ago in San Francisco. She was my husband’s first kiss (at 3 years old:) And I felt a sister connection with her from the start.
Through the years, I’ve watched in awe as Julie has changed careers like some people change hairdo’s. She’s been a commercial real estate broker. A graphic designer. A homeopath.
And now, in her sixties, she’s singing in a country rock band!!! (I rarely use exclamation marks, but c’mon!!!)
Julie, can you tell us what kind of muck were you stuck in?
Though I was successful and learned a lot in all three of my careers, I felt unfulfilled. I was always searching for that thing I could be deeply passionate about. It felt like there was a hole in my soul. Something was missing and I didn’t know how to find it.
What or who helped lift you up?
I had an appointment with my homeopathic doctor and tried to explain my feelings to him. Was I depressed? Was I bored? What was this angst?
He had me close my eyes, and did not want me to open them until I had an answer to this question: “What have you always wanted to do, deep down in your soul?”
Much to my surprise, my soul answered (and quite quickly), “I want to sing in a rock band.”
After I gave that answer to my doctor, he said “Okay, then, go do it!” (Easy for him to say.)
So, what did you do?
Well, a few days later, I was walking with a girlfriend of mine and told her about the session. And that I had absolutely no idea how to “go do it.”
But surprisingly, she did. Having had kids in the music industry, my friend knew a great voice teacher and an organization that matches singers with bands.
When I began this journey to satisfy my soul’s desire, I decided that whatever came to me, I would always say “YES.”
And miraculous things have been happening ever since. Though it has been hard work, I always seem to be in the right place at the right time.
I didn’t have a plan or a strategy. I was just led there by seemingly random encounters.
And where we you led?
Now, I’ve been doing gigs for over 10 years all over the Bay Area with a variety of bands. And for the past 5 years, I’ve been in a trio with two veteran musicians with whom I sing, do percussion, and play guitar.
What’s really amazing is that when I was in my 20’s, one of my favorite bands was New Riders of the Purple Sage. And it turns out that my current bandmates actually toured the world with that band for many years!
We have a very busy gig schedule. And besides having A LOT of fun, the guys have become my brothers.
I never would have thought in a million years, that I ‘d be playing country rock music with two members of a beloved band. And in my 60’s, no less.
Miracles do happen!
What magic in your current life was growing in your past muck ?
Looking back, I now realize I had always, in my heart, been a musician.
Music soothed me to sleep when I was little. I played piano when I was very young for quite a few years. I played the violin in middle school and became 1st violin. And I sang and wrote songs with a friend in college.
Music always came easy for me, and always made me happy. The hints had always been there, but I never saw them.
When I was young, I never believed I could do something like be in a band. I didn’t have the self- confidence to perform. And that kind of thing wasn’t encouraged in my family.
So, what gives your heart wings?
Playing music with my country rock band gives my heart wings! I have never felt that way before about anything I have ever done.
What encouragement can you offer others who are stuck in the muck?
Get really quiet and ask your soul what it has always wanted to do and go for it. SAY YES to the voice of your soul. And remember that you’re never too old to follow your passion.
It makes my heart soar to share inspiring stories like Julie’s. If you or someone or someone you know has a muck-to-magic story, please let me know.
And if there’s anything else you’d like to share, just wing it and write a comment below.
P.S. If you think Julie’s story is magical, just wait til you hear her voice and the rollicking rhythms of her band, The Rivertown Trio.
Just fly over to www.juliebernardmusic.com