Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday Song Lyrics #2: Change

Today's post will be a continuation from last Monday: a post on song lyrics.

I'm posting another song from Tracy Chapman this week, "Change" (from the album "Where You Live"). I picked up the album some time in 2005, after some major changes in my life - or perhaps, after some minor changes in significant areas of my life. Things were improving, and the problems that overwhelmed me for so long actually felt manageable. Life was the same actually, but I felt better.

Many of us have these songs that speaks to us. It came to us at the right time, often during a significant moment - when we first fall in love, when our hearts are breaking, the birth of our first-born. For me, it happened when I first started to believe that I had the power to change my life. It isn't going to be easy. I will continue to stumble along the way - but it is possible.

Joanna Macy wrote:

In the Tibetan Buddhist path we are asked to pause before any period of meditative practice and precede it with reflection on the preciousness of a human life. This is not because we as humans are superior to other beings, but because we can "change the karma." In other words, graced with self-reflexive consciousness, we are endowed with the capacity for choice -- to take stock of what we are doing and change direction.

So often we are stuck in our own dark path. We don't find our way out and we fall into despair. We think this is it: my life has been a train-wreck and there is no way out. What is that elusive factor that pulls us out of the despair and makes us change?

When I first heard Tracy Chapman's "Change", it felt like she was asking the same questions I have been asking myself:

How bad, how good, does it need to get?
How many losses? how much regret?
What chain reaction would cause an effect?
Does it take our world to crash and burn before we will wake up to the need to change our lives? Will we only wake up to the errors of our lives if we knew that we would die today?

I can only speak from a limited experience, which is my own. I believe the key to change is in these lines of the song: If you saw the face of God and love/Would you change?. For many of us, at some point of our lives, we will find ourselves lost in a dark place. We struggle against it but all efforts seem to make things worse . It was our mistakes that brought us to this state. Making the same mistakes over and over is not going to save us. The only way to save ourselves is to change. But to change, we first have to believe in the possibility of things being better. Sometimes, it can be the most difficult thing in the world to believe that we deserve better. It can also be the scariest thing in the world, to change. Change is a leap into the unknown. 

Change is about hope and faith. It is truly like looking into the face of God and love. It is the only real thing that can move us into saving ourselves.

Did I also mention Tracy Chapman has a great, great voice?


Change

If you knew that you would die today
Saw the face of God and love
Would you change?
Would you change?

If you knew that love can break your heart
When you're down so low that you cannot fall
Would you change?
Would you change?

How bad, how good, does it need to get?
How many losses? how much regret?
What chain reaction would cause an effect?
Makes you turn around
Makes you try to explain
Makes you forgive and forget,
Makes you change
Makes you change

If you knew that you would be alone
Knowing right, being wrong,
Would you change?
Would you change?

If you knew that you would find a truth
That would bring a pain that can't be soothed
Would you change?
Would you change?

How bad, how good, does it need to get?
How many losses? how much regret?
What chain reaction would cause an effect?
Makes you turn around
Makes you try to explain
Makes you forgive and forget,
Makes you change
Makes you change

Are you so up right
You can't be bent
If it comes to blows
Are you so sure you won't be crawling
If not for the good why why risk falling
Why risk falling?

If everything you think you know
Makes your life unbearable
Would you change?
Would you change?

If you'd broken every rule and vow
And hard times come to bring you down
Would you change?
Would you change?

If you knew that you would die today,
If you saw the face of God and love
Would you change?
Would you change?

If you saw the face of God and love
If you saw the face of God and love
Would you change?
Would you change?

Here's a link to Tracy Chapman performing "Change" on Youtube

6 comments:

Doc Martian said...

Tracy Chapman is one of those folks that I've admired but still managed to not follow. I loved her first album, never bought another though. Dunno why. Maybe I didn't want to suffer those post-first-album doldrums and false byways that many artists follow. Maybe when I get my financial life together again I'll have to look her up again.

btw. my new t-shirt on cafepress. i've got like 20 different tees... only really maybe two that i see you digging. first my new one... http://www.cafepress.com/palestinetee and then my older one that you might dig http://www.cafepress.com/flowerstee also one that might be a yoga tee for you in its simplicity. a photo of a clear blue sky. not a cloud in it. no tonal variation. just clear and blue and on a tee-shirt. http://www.cafepress.com/skytee

Doc Martian said...

btw. one more tee. although i don't know if i can picture you wearing it... although i'm sure someday you'll feel it. http://www.cafepress.com/somadly

Doc Martian said...

OK... one more... this one is probably more on target than the last one. http://www.cafepress.com/somebodydied

hee hee hee!
Doc

jpderosnay said...

its such a gift when a song speaks to you like that. and tracy, well, tracy knows things.

coming from her lyrics don't sound trite or cliched but very heartfelt. she really means what she says and that gives her music such beautiful power!

(and, she's an aries, of course, like you and i :) )

Dark Orpheus said...

Doc I definitely think she's more than just a one-album wonder. If you ever get around to listening to her again, tell me what you think.

Jean Pierre I had to check Tracy Chapman's birthday now that you mention she's an Aries. 30th March -- oh yeah, Aries is good!

But back to the music bit - you said it right - her lyrics is so heartfelt, which is what I really love about her music.

I so NEED to get that new album!

Heather said...

Oh! I keep forgetting to post my monday lyrics!