But Take Your Time, Think A Lot

This past August, I wrote about how intense the month of July had been. It was 31 days of extreme highs and lows from the opening Monday bell. At the conclusion, I made a concise playlist that consisted of all the songs that were relevant to July’s experiences. Representing the Levitate Festival, artists I had interviewed and those laced with the emotion that jumped in – similar to a game of Tetris where the blocks fall down inside your gut and just sit there waiting for you to deal with them. Like this puzzle of a game, the blocks are of all different shapes and sizes. There are the dark colors of grieving mixed with the radiance of accomplishment.

This past week, for no particular reason, I tapped that July playlist again as I walked to work. At a random shuffle, I started to notice a pattern to the songs and sequence in which they were played. It was a casual entrance with the gentle launch of “Follow” by Brandi Carlile – where you are melodically soothed into “going for it.” Cat Stevens then…. Followed… and in doing what Stevens does there’s then a gradual climb laced with a whispering voice of reason to keep going but be careful. With the help of Ripe up third, there’s recognition of a small sense of achievement, but awareness that it came at a cost of great sacrifice. Here is where the random playlist got very interesting.

When your pace keeps going at a rate that’s out of control and the blocks keep piling on with each component packed with sensitive and personal moments, your feelings and sense of self begin to both spiral and overflow. So, then what happens?


Shinedown frontman, Brent Smith is screaming in my ear to recognize any demons burrowing inside. Fatigue kicks in, takes over, and then all at once the numerous plates you are spinning simultaneously hit the floor and your walking on broken glass.

The music whispers in your ear at the right time and with all of these overwhelming cyclones swirling inside your head, you surface, and all of your being is enlightened by just doing one simple thing.

Calm down.

The fifth song to play, Pearl Jam’s “No Way”, strikes me as the conclusion of the cycle. Like this article, it starts with – “Here’s a token of my openness… how I’m feeling so revealing to me, I found my mind too clear.”

I stopped and drew out what I had just ingested (below). It’s the sometimes vicious cycle where if you are someone like me, can apply to many timeframes of your life. What’s unique here is that it can be granualized to fit a particular period and circumstance or it can be elongated to stretch over a lifetime.

The most compelling lyrics of each song are laid out below. It proves music to be a spiritual companion in the marathon of pursuing your purpose. Ultimately, you finish back at the start with the epiphany of – “Am I really going to stop in defeat?” No way.


Brandi Carlile: “Follow”

Follow your heart and see where it might take you
Don’t let the world outside there break you
They know not who you are inside
They never felt your yell
Don’t ever let them crack your shell

Cat Yusaf Stevens: “Father & Son / “Can’t Keep It In” mash-up

I was once like you are now, and I know that it’s not easy
To be calm when you’ve found something going on
But take your time, think a lot
Why, think of everything you’ve got

It’s not time to make a change
Just sit down, take it slowly
You’re still young, that’s your fault
There’s so much you have to go through

I can’t keep it in I’ve gotta let it out
I’ve gotta show the world, world’s gotta see…
You got so much to say, say what you mean
Mean what you’re thinkin’ and think anything, why not?

Ripe: “Ex-Life” 

I have grown
Chose to go
And I’m not sure what to do
With the memory of you

I know it’s rude to ask, but
Please keep me on your mind as
I throw you in my tail lights

I know I don’t deserve to
Make a home in your dreams when
I’m trying to hit the pavement

I know it’s rude to ask but
please keep me on your mind, now
I’ve got you in my headlights

I know I don’t deserve to
Make a home in your dreams now
I’m trying to take you with me

All that we are
Collapsing stars
Each of us particles
Dust under the sun

Shinedown: “Monsters”

Call a doctor, say a prayer
Choose a god you think is there

‘Cause my monsters are real, and they’re trained how to kill
And there’s no comin’ back and they just laughed at how I feel
And these monsters can fight, and they’ll never say die
And there’s no goin’ back, if I get trapped I’ll never heal
‘Cause my monsters are real

 Pearl Jam “No Way”

Here’s a token of my openness
Of my need to not disappear
How I’m feeling, so revealing to me
I found my mind too clear

All the static in my attic
Shoots down my side nerve
To the ocean of my platitudes
Longitudes, latitudes, it’s so absurd

‘Cause I’ll stop trying to make a difference
I’m not trying to make a difference
I’ll stop trying to make a difference
No way