A friend once said that love songs are not written for a lover, but rather to the songwriter’s higher-self. While she sashayed to another topic, I was intrigued by her words. So much so, that I created a group listening exercise of love songs sang to a higher-self during self-empowerment workshops I’ve been hosting in the recent years. This is how I listen to music these days.
While driving a couple of weeks ago, I was consumed by making mental lists of random necessities I needed to get in preparation for a hurricane nearing the mainland. Casual sounds were tossed out of the radio when I recognized Taylor Swift singing in the background.
“Look what you made me do, look what you made me do” was repeatedly humming between various angry and petty words famously sang by Taylor. At first subdued, the backup signing started pounding louder and louder in my heart. “Look what you made me do, look what you made me do.” Emotions welled up with every repeated verse, and with overwhelming, chilling clarity I understood. “Look what you made me do, soul” I blurt out. “You made me give myself cancer.”
Over the years I’ve been pursuing my spirituality in dimness, while in the spotlight I’ve been generously trading my precious time and effort for cabbage rolls of cash, tasty but hardly satisfying greens, unable to salvage my soul. In addition to cash, I was raking in the reward points from any airline and hotel chain you can imagine in pursuit of glorious meetings with corporate clients all over North America. Clients were drowning in technologies that no longer served them, creating business problems that I was helping them solve. But solving their business problems was slowly drowning my soul. After a while my soul was famished; cheated out of creativity, joy and self-expression. For three years now, since I started my life-coaching and healing practice on the side, my soul’s been begging and pleading with me to leave the spotlight, but I kept breaking promises and postponing the resignation, year after year. Colleagues were impressed, corporate clients ‘blown away’ and my friends to this day tell me how wonderful I am, but my soul disagreed. “You’re a liar!” she screamed.
At that moment the traffic light turned to green, almost validating my soul’s position, a random pedestrian crossed the street, waving as if he were saying “Hello?!” – all he wanted was to be seen. And so did my soul. Driving along, my soul and I were intensely conversing without a sound, and suddenly, the last couple of verses abruptly interrupted all internal chatter. The ending of the song slammed me like the hurricane Irma smashed into Florida Keys minutes before the tune came on –
“The old Taylor can't come to the phone right now.”
“Why? …Oh, ‘cause she's dead!”
Paralyzing yet liberating stillness took over. I’m dead. My old life is gone. Done. I pulled over and sat in silence.
Hours later I was home. Instead of unpacking and organizing random purchases, this time I followed my soul to the laptop looking for the song lyrics. The search however immediately led me to the eleven-second cut of the music video ending. In disbelief, I played it over and over, pressing play on the laptop screen without noticing, as my tears were saying their good-byes to everything I called my life. These eleven seconds profoundly summed up all cancer teachings I needed. All cancer wisdom there was.
So next time you hear a love song, listen with your heart, receive with your soul. And when you hear Taylor sing “Look What You Made Me Do” reflect on all the small and grand things you’ll no longer make yourself do. In the meantime, as the hurricane-turned-tropical storm runs its course, I calmly stand in the eye of my storm knowing exactly what the rebirth feels like.
First published: September 2017
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