I have a friend who’s been sharing music with me for a little over two years. One might even surmise that it’s been the summation of our entire relationship. I write letters and he shares songs he likes or thinks I will like…..and because I noticed early on the emotional impact on me of each tune shared, I began to save the links in an online account. As a result, most of the songs (even those with which I was previously familiar) are now forever tied to this individual, to various geographic locations, and to different periods of my life over the past couple of years. Some of them, I suspect, even give insight into his psyche, have expressed things he has felt and wanted to say, or have mirrored and reflected my own feelings at the time.
Whether any of this is the reality, however, I think it’s safe to say (at the very least) that the songs have been a means of connection for the two of us….a shared language that moves and changes with us through our days, months, years. Feelings may be temporary and ever-changing….but these songs are now like time capsules to me, taking me back to specific moments whenever I want. And yet, unlike the declaration of promises and feelings or the projection of hopes and expectations that occurs in many interactions, these songs don’t harbor the disappointment, regret, or longing for days gone-by that eventually results from such declarations and projections. Instead, they exist as separate and perfect moments regardless of any outcome and where we are in the present. They are, quite simply, a record of the ongoing and continued evolution of our lives, individually and collectively. They are, in fact, a bridge between us and a bridge between us and the rest of human kind…..as music tends to express the human condition/experience like no other art form can and these songs (as far as I am concerned) are a testament to that.
And yet, whatever really possessed or prompted him to share these songs with me and still moves him to share is likely to be a mystery to me for as long as I continue to receive them. I’m somehow okay with that, however. I don’t need to know the exact reason why. I don’t need to know whether they’re completely random, coincidental, or intentional. I don’t need to know whether he shares them with me only or a hundred women. And even if they mean nothing at all and they’re only a cop-out for real communication, emotion, or intimacy, well….I don’t feel the need to wonder about that either. All I know and need to know is that there are days I find myself longing for a song and he will somehow and unknowingly heed my call and I will get a link. If anyone asks me why this is different than me just listening to music I like from my own collection or some other person’s playlist, I can only assure that person that it is all the difference in the world.
So, with all of that said, I share here a compilation of songs from my growing playlist, along with a brief note or two where applicable. Please note that while this small selection doesn’t include the entirety of songs shared, it does include those that I tend to return to time and again to dream, feel, and engage my imagination. Anyone who has been reading my posts for any length of time may be able to see that I can be shamelessly gullible to romance and matters of the heart, despite my equal ability to disengage and see through deceit and superficial nonsense. Many of the songs from this selection, therefore, tend to reveal my more foolish side….the side that will take a word or two and let it carry me away to romantic bliss….and that’s okay. To be easily fooled by the simplest of gestures is not the worst thing in the world. In fact, it may be the only thing that keeps me young. Inside, I am still a girl of 16 just wanting to run and spin around in a field under the night sky before falling into the arms of a boy for that first exciting kiss…..and a few songs my friend shared in the beginning really spoke to that girl. I think it only fitting, therefore, that I divide the songs into two groups…..those shared before we met in person and those shared after. Hope you enjoy them as much as I have!
Before we met…..
After we met…..
So that’s it. If I count correctly, there are 50 songs here that function as a sort of timeline for me. I believe I referred to them above as “a record of the ongoing and continued evolution of our lives, individually and collectively.” However, as I wrap up this post, I wonder if the word “evolution” is accurate. Have I actually evolved? Have “he and I” as any sort of “us” evolved? Or do these songs, instead, more accurately reflect a state of limbo? After all, there does seem to be a consistent and unchanging thread that runs through them. The question is whether that thread is weaving itself into a story or just continuously spinning. Is it a tale of “undying” love between friends or am I just spinning my wheels? Is it a back and forth motion that gets me (and him or us) nowhere….or is it like the ebb and flow of the ocean, of life? Is there a rhythm here beyond the rhythm of any individual song?
I believe there is….a rhythm…..whatever else someone may make of it. And maybe I’m dancing to it….with him. A nice idea, perhaps. It could be limbo….a suspension of time. However, to take issue with that seems silly. Aren’t we all in limbo? Aren’t we all just caught in the ebb and flow of our lives…..in this existence? Aren’t many of us just trying to “get somewhere” without ever feeling we’ve finally arrived? And when we do arrive, where will that be? Death? Heaven? Enlightenment? And what comes after? Surely, something has to or it’s just another state of limbo, isn’t it?
I imagine that there will come a point when my friend doesn’t share the songs anymore…..when the dance may conclude. I use the word “may” in the latter case because while it is a guarantee that the sharing of songs WILL come to an end at some point, I think there is still a possibility the dance will go on or exist beyond that. You see, if limbo is nothing but the suspension (or even absence) of time and we choose to dance to its perpetual rhythm rather than attempting to get somewhere, then haven’t we already moved on to eternity or some state of bliss?
It is often said that to embrace life is to embrace death, but no one ever seems to want to embrace death. Instead, we fight against it and no one can fight against it without fighting, too, against life. We see something similar with “limbo.” When we fight it, it ends up being the very reason we never get anywhere. And it’s also why, when we seek enlightenment, it will always be beyond reach. I’m going to posit, therefore, that enlightenment exists in the dance…in limbo. One can’t spend a lifetime trying to reach a “place” and think that he can stop reaching once he gets there. It’s near impossible. Just stop reaching, however, and you arrive. So, perhaps, the illusion of time and place is the real “limbo” many of us are trying to avoid. We may feel productive, while Buddha sits for days under a tree at the top of a hill, but where are we and where is he?
I wonder how often we think of our personal romantic relationships in the same manner….so afraid of things becoming stagnant that we mistakenly think we have to move on in some way, either taking a relationship to the next level or dissolving it all together. How often do we turn down a chance to dance? There is often a brief moment in the beginning of a relationship when all seems bliss….and then it’s over. It’s over because one or both involved attempt to manage it the same way they manage the rest of their lives. They work to get somewhere. It seems obvious, on the surface, that time moves ever forward. They may think that to be in the flow of that is to move with it, but it’s really so much more. Moving WITH change is important….yes. But when one is really in it….in the flow….nothing feels like it is moving at all. That’s when everything is still.
Think about it. Imagine you’re working in a garden, totally immersed in tilling the ground and enjoying every second of it. You may say that you “lose track of time”…..because for you (at least) time comes to a standstill. Likewise, if you are on a river and moving with the current, your senses and mind may work together to tell you that you are moving. But what if, on the other hand, you remove all of your senses? How will you know you’re moving? This is the basic idea behind a “float” tank…..where a person floats in a pool of water inside a dark, quiet, sensory deprivation “tank.” Those in the world outside of the tank move around, no doubt trying to “get things done,” but the person floating is somewhere else. The person floating is in a place of complete stillness and is one with it.
That’s the flow. There’s no need to be anywhere other than where you are. And that’s the dance….what it means to be caught up in the moment, in the rhythm. In fact, it’s not even a moment at all. It’s not a “then”…..and it’s not a “now.” It’s also neither a “here” or a “there.” It’s something else entirely.