August 20, 2019 Blog No Comments

What experience is synonymous with a love fest, extraordinary music and a powerful shared event, 50 years later?  Woodstock, of course! It galvanized a generation of people, launched a wave of similar events that attempt to replicate the experience even today and has influenced many generations since then. What makes this so important to us?

At the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, my husband and musician friends produced a “Woodstock 50 Years Later” show of music from the time. The shows in two cities were sold out and  packed with ecstatic reception. What is this about– this loyalty to a moment in time? Let me highlight a few points.


At a time of discontent and unrest, from the fight for civil rights to protests over the Vietnam War, the festival in August 1969 was seen as an escape into a shared experience of love, peace and music. Given half million people descended onto the dairy farm in Bethal, NY,  it was miraculous that there were no reports of violence, despite the lack of infrastructure for food, shelter, medical care and security.

This experience, whether intended or not, galvanized the beliefs of a generation, that an idea and desire for a new order of peace can indeed produce that effect. Despite this being chalked up to as a counterculture event, a moment of pop culture history, it did mark a moment when things changed. It confirmed that cultural revolutions can change the course of history and youth indeed have power.


Those of us old enough to remember Woodstock, whether we were there or not, have many memories wrapped up in it. I wasn’t there, but my older sister was and she is seen briefly doing Tai Chi in the movie. The music was a powerful anchor for me, provoking memories and feelings that continue today. I know I’m not alone, judging from the reactions to Lee’s shows, even for those too young to know about it at the time.

Our memories are often attached to things that are shared with others, good or bad. These moments connect us through time. There’s excitement in seeing and being with others with whom you shared events. There’s the joy of sharing something you both love- like the music of 1969. All this has been bringing people together for fifty years. It’s a bond creating unity and joy.


Now, just like then, there is a need to create a contrasting experience to the  negativity. We long for a sense of unity, love, peace and harmony. All we have left is the shared experience of the music – which is still loved. We cynically think of those days as simpler and easier times, a somewhat naive perspective given the powerful events of war and civil unrest.

Yet, a lot has changed since 1969. Then, there was no concern about being a victim of mass murder by someone with an assault rifle firing down on concert goers. While there were drug overdoses, they pale in comparison to today’s opiod epidemic, with the backing of big pharma companies and money power brokers. While organic and natural foods were being promoted in 1969, no one guessed that today it’d be big business or that we’d be witnessing mass devastation of our natural world. And while there was outward distrust of our government, there wasn’t a fear that the scope of dishonesty, chaos and prejudice being promoted at the top might also include international collusion with an enemy state.


I have two friends who ponder the question of our focus on time. Chip, a musician in the show, finds it interesting and arbitrary that we have deemed 50 years later significant and noteworthy. Ray uses his art to explore the meaning and techniques of keeping time, given it’s a manmade construct.

The natural world illustrates, in the Law of Rhythm, that cycles of time are in everything signifying beginning, middle and end. The phases of the moon, the rising and setting sun, the movement of stars, the tides, the seasons and our life cycle all mark times passage. What makes times’ passage significant for you?  What does this Woodstock anniversary mean?

What Makes A Shared Experience So Powerful – Even 50 Years Later? I marvel at the significance this passage of time has had in my life and the depth and breadth of amazing things I ‘ve shared with people I love. The music of the 1969 has been a central feature in much of it, anchoring and marking the shared love we have for this passage of time. I’ve witnessed the impact of the civil rights movement and women’s movement and yet realize that our fight for equality, justice and protection of the environment has stalled and actually lost traction. It needs to be hugely magnified and intensified if we want change for the better to be realized. I’m left with the belief that we can’t give up the fight for what we believe. It’s the most important thing we do.

How has the passage of time affected you? Does this 50-year anniversary of Woodstock hold meaning, does it raise questions about where you are going and what you are doing with your life? If you’d like to find more clarity on this, reach out. My Transformational Life Coaching and Therapy is structured to help you develop a clear roadmap to realize your potential. Go to and use my Free Consultation link to reach me. I’d love to hear from you!

Written by Connie Milligan, LCSW
If there is anything I’ve expressed that speaks to you, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at my email, connie [at] conniemilligan [dot] com