This post came from an old writing assignment. What three songs define your life? My initial reaction is: impossible choice. Music is deeply personal and each day offers me the chance to choose new and old favorites again and again. In my work I have often chosen music for rituals, life events or as a therapeutic tool to help others. While I appreciate music that is specified for such things. Many times the choices involved traditional and/or sacred music. All music, even the types that may not resonate with me are offerings to the universe. Art is our act of offering our best selves to the spirit and if you believe; to God or a power greater than ourselves. Music, it occurred to me is like my trusted Tarot and Oracle decks. I can shuffle the songs and see what comes up.
Music often expresses what I cannot, in a way I cannot. Although my undergraduate degree is in music, I utilize music as an avocation or adjunct to my work. I love that a song can transport me to a place I was when I was five or fifteen or twenty five, when the first few notes come drifting through the speakers. Music lulled my children to sleep as I sang “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof to them at night. Music takes me through seemingly insufferable workouts cheering me on. It accompanies me on long road trips. It lifts me up when I’m down or allows me some minutes of wallowing when I am processing the events that took me down. In the span of a playlist I can travel back in time and relive favorite moments all through a song. These reasons scratch the surface of why choosing three songs seems unfathomable to me right now.
Today I’m using music like I would my divination tools. I am choosing three random songs on shuffle. Today I’m creating a three song reading. I needed it today as last night was a restless night. Interesting that River of Dreams is the first song up. Next up is Don’t Let Us Get Sick. This is a frequent thought in my head as age creeps in for my loved ones and for me. Finally, If We Only Have Love, which is what at the end of the day keeps me going.
Today, these three songs are the ones I choose from my infinitely overwhelming and exhilarating musical tarot deck. The music speaks for itself. I’m approaching this as a three song reading of my life today. Faith, Hope and Love. Today’s playlist is exactly that. Tomorrow’s will be different and might include Bright Eyes, Gogol Bordello, and Leonard Bernstein. I won’t know until I wake up.
Maybe you might try this yourself. It happens on Spotify, Apple or Amazon music to name a few. Or, if you still use an iPod, turn on shuffle. See what the music has to say.
Faith: Faith cannot grow without doubt. This song expresses that sentiment for me in a way I hope to embody faith. It is a struggle, a joy, a challenge and an important part of my life. Faith is about kind action and even in my struggles I am no less obligated to try to make positive change. Billy Joel- River of Dreams
Hope: Warren Zevon is better known for many other songs. To me this song is about hope and about caring for those who care for us. It is an expression of gratitude. I hear it and sing it as a prayer. Warren Zevon Don’t Let us Get Sick
Love: My Uncle introduced this song and the whole show- Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, to me when I was a teenager. I picked this version, rather than my beloved one from the show because I hear this song as an anthem or hymn and because I still dream of a world where the words of this song become true. Jacques Brel If We Only Have Love