Updated: Jan 3
Nothing beats a mixed tape. I loved being a young adult creating these magical compilations that I could share with friends. We all enjoyed them over some kind of time activity of time wasting like a card game, beach hangouts, or even just a long car ride. The thrill of it playing in their car or on their headset always made my heart sing.
A few years ago, my friend and I had a long conversation about the intimacy of sharing music with someone. She knew someone should be in her life if they had the same taste and drive for the music they listened to. “It is a bonding experience,” she said.
I have to agree.
Since that conversation I believe a true relationship, friendship, or partnership will work out when they can share their music with me.
I love music.
I am not good at exploring new music. I cherish all the songs in my head that don’t want to leave.
Some of them should leave to make room for others. That attachment and cord cutting is where I get stuck.
When I first heard that quote, I placed myself in Dave’s shoes. What were his thoughts and emotions developed into a song?
Then I thought of my own reasons why I love a song.
How many endless nights I listened aimlessly to a song that meant the world to me, but I had no idea what the lyrics were.
Who knows if the artist and I even had the same thoughts and emotions of the same kind.
All I know is that a song can share so many memories, provoke thoughts, enhance a smile, create a moment, bring you up or bring you down.
Music has power behind it.
Music has the vulnerability to be written and to be heard.
A dear friend of mine with a deep love for music knows that I forever drown in the same song for months on end. He will send me a song to listen to or a band I may like. I think it’s mostly his kids doing the work, but none the less it is a group effort to add to my mixed tape collection from friends.
I am grateful for that family outreach and friendship.
Often, I ask people in my life to share music with me.
I sometimes get silence or a random song here and there.
I don’t usually get a full playlist (the 2021 version of a mixed tape) just a song or two.
I mostly get a laugh and then silence.
Maybe they don’t always see the connection music can give.
Maybe they don’t see the reasons why I need to know a song that is playing over and over in their minds.
Maybe it is the vulnerability to show who they are.
I simply want music to have a connection for a variety of reasons;
to say hi
to ask for a moment when you need to talk but don’t know how
to ask for advice or to ask for help.
It can also be a hug you need or want at that moment. It is for sure is a bat signal for whatever that means to you.
There are also red pants, but we will save that for another blog post. #IYKYK
There are songs on my playlist that I encounter and bring a message I need to hear. A few years ago, I made it a mission to listen to music and listen for a piece of how there is a level of faith in whatever the artist or song is. It is amazing how people show their faith whether they realize it or not.
Music touches hearts.
With that let’s picture me for a moment since I am the universal connection in this group. For sure I am a unique character especially when it comes to my random music selection.
This one is pretty easy. I take you to July, 2021. Think of me driving somewhere.
Maybe it’s in Westchester,
the Jersey Shore, or all of the above.
I am driving with my sunroof and windows open rocking some form of a Vineyard Vines and JMcLaughlin ensemble, smiling and enjoying the moment. French Montana is blaring in my Acura box that is still not loud enough.
Perhaps there is a chuckle and or an intrigue here from you. I can already hear a few of you say, “Who the hell is French Montana?” Just go with the visual for now.
The judgment stares I get from the street and surrounding cars are loud. It doesn’t matter.
All I can hear is:
“BITCH DON'T BLOCK YOUR BLESSINGS”
“Karim, how did you know I needed to hear that? Did you write that song for me?”
I keep the song on repeat because no matter how many times I play it, I know that it is God’s way of getting to me and facing the fact that I am still putting up walls and well, I am blocking all my blessings that are right behind it.
"Oh Jesus, I love how geniously clever You are to get to my heart."
I had to keep the song on repeat to keep pushing the walls and ask how and why they existed.
First, I had to recognize what my walls actually were.
I started to see how I was chasing opportunities and relationships instead of inviting them in.
I was placing blame on others for things to be further away from my reach instead of looking in the mirror.
That was a hard look in the mirror.
“If the silence takes you
Then I hope it takes me too.” -Death Cab for Cutie
I felt the silence of God as I worked through these times. I often went into the blame game instead of fighting through the boundaries I put on them.
This time I took the silence of these moments instead of using the silence to build walls,
I used the silence to talk to the walls and break them down.
The walls were judgments and anger I created for myself.
They no longer served me.
I made a list of all of them.
I created post-it notes sending these judgements love, releasing them from my path.
I continued to give them gratitude.
They slowly started to fall to the ground.
When they were all on the floor the phone started to ring.
Magic started to happen.
I realized how foolish and easy these situations were the second I stopped chasing them.
I now take off the label I put on every ‘chasing’ situation.
God, I have to have this opportunity.
God, I have to make this relationship work out.
God, I have to have this one stupid thing.
Nope, I don’t.
I don’t have to have any of it. I only need what God wants for me when and where it is the right time. All this ‘chasing’ is wasted energy. I learned to draw a circle around where I am in life and be grateful for where it stands in that moment and not what I want it to be or what it used to be. I accept what is in my circle right now, not placing a judgement label on it. Simply give it gratitude for whatever it looks like good or bad and allow God to do His work because
“My God is bigger than my problems.”
There is always a past and a future.
Either way we can’t change the past and we don’t know what the future may bring.
Jesus, take the wheel!
Your homework assignment:
Go and make yourself a mixed tape (or playlist, whatever) and let it drive you to look in the mirror. Listen to the words and meanings these songs have for you. Take this exercise to see how you are driven by these songs and what is helping you grow or holding you back. Take these words and see how they truly define you and how you want to show yourself and be connected. What contribution are you making as part of the 85,000 reasons you are singing these lyrics or carrying that tune in your brain?
Take this time to LISTEN to what your heart is telling you.
I bet you will learn to see your walls and how to love that person in the mirror. Find a reason to smile, even if it gives you an answer that you need to work on getting there. Acknowledgement is a place of love.
Always remember, you are loved by God ALWAYS!
And bitch, stop blocking your blessings!
Alright, I love you too. Now go do your homework!
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