As human beings, we all dream. And we all have people who help us dream.
For me, my dream began with Jon Bon Jovi.
That’s right: Jon Bon Jovi – the man, the hair, the Cowboy on a Steel Horse.
As a young child, my inner rock star exploded onto my homemade stage, my stuffed animals a rapt audience as they surrounded my twin bed. In my room, the lyrics bounced off the walls and transported me to a different world. Forgetting about all my worries, the only thing that mattered was the performance.
I was more than happy; I was inspired.
I sang without the pretense of who I should or shouldn’t be. I sang without thought or judgment. I sang united as one with my stuffed animals as they joined me in the passion – Teddy Ruxpin playing lead guitar and Rainbow Bright on drums.
I sang until the words faded and I realized I wasn’t blessed with the voice of a rock star. Then, as the music silenced, my dreams followed suit.
This isn’t to say they disappeared completely. When the door closed and no one was around, the performance began again and, again, I was on stage, inspired and free.
Maybe you’ve experienced something similar.
As children, we believe we can do anything – the impossible is nothing. Then, one day, we realize our limitations and that changes our perspectives. Now, we can almost look at our pasts in two parts: when we believed and after.
But it’s not about the weight of the belief or the contents of the dream; it’s simply about dreaming.
Yes, Jon Bon Jovi is a rock star (if you grew up in the eighties like me, you might even argue that he is THE rock star). But he was modeling to me so much more than rock and roll. Through his music, he invited people into their own being. He invited people to connect. He invited people to authentically express themselves.
He showed people that having a dream was not merely livin’ on a prayer: a dream paves the path to finding yourself.
As I stood on my bed singing into my hairbrush, I thought I wanted to be like him, a “Joan” Bon Jovi rocking it out in front of thousands of fans. But what I was really learning to be is what I became: a teacher.
With every note I sang, I was practicing using my voice to inspire people. I was practicing being myself, even if parts of myself weren’t accepted or labeled as “not good enough.” I was practicing attunement and congruency. I was practicing regulation and discovering how to move and fine-tune the most important instrument I have: my body. Each time “You Give Love a Bad Name” blasted through my speakers, I gave myself permission to explore the essence of me.
In a way, Jon Bon Jovi helped lay the foundation for Synergetic Play Therapy. He showed me what true authenticity felt like. And that inspired me to teach it to others.
So thank you, Jon Bon Jovi, for providing more than just the soundtrack of my childhood. And thanks to all of you who have joined my band along the way.