Beyond Room 119

This month’s playlist


I’ve always loved music, and that love has intensified over the past few years. My repertoire was small starting out since I grew up with pretty much just the Beach Boys, Tchaikovsky, and Enya, so it’s grown a bit over the past few decades. I’ve written about this before, so that’s nothing new. What is new, though, is that I’ve realized over the past few months, I’ve had to keep an eye on when I’m using music to process or calm the chaos in my head and when I’ve been using it to drown out the other thoughts and emotions going on and.

I’ve also realized that music is a good way for me to check in with my emotional state right now. Six weeks ago, when the song “I Lived” by OneRepublic came through my speakers, I couldn’t listen to it without crying. I felt like it personified so beautifully my time in North Carolina and those emotions were far too raw to listen to a rehashing of that chapter at that time. Now, I play it intentionally to remind myself of what I had and how beautiful, intricate, and full that time was. I’m considering writing to OneRepublic to rename it “Anthem to the Tar Heel State.”  

Hope when you take that jump / You don’t fear the fall

Hope when the water rises / You built a wall

Hope when the crowd screams out / They’re screaming your name

Hope if everybody runs / You choose to stay

Hope that you fall in love / And it hurts so bad (Yeah)

The only way you can know / You gave it all you had

And I hope that you don’t suffer / But take the pain

Hope when the moment comes, / You’ll say

I, I did it all

I, I did it all

I owned every second that this world could give

I saw so many places, the things that I did

Yeah with every broken bone

I swear I lived

I went to a Big Daddy Weave concert with a good friend of mine back in April, when thoughts of transition and moving were still in flux and I was trying to discern my next steps. In fact, this concert shed some light on what I was feeling at the time and helped me figure out some of my priorities. When my friend  hears songs by that band on the radio now, he often sends me a note to let me know he’s thinking of me. Some songs by that band helped me through a difficult transition and remind me where I wanted to keep my faith and trust. Those songs encourage me to stay strong and are a reminder that when I feel a void, I know who I want to fill it.

I need to hear You now

I need to know it’s You

I’m standing on your promises

I know your Words are true

You’re bigger what I see

That it’s You in exchange for me

‘Cause even the impossible is your reality

Jesus I believe

Speaking of concerts, I saw U2 with some friends before I left the East Coast, and it was such a fun weekend with wonderful experiences. I’ve been listening to their album, Songs of Experience, so much lately that I’m a bit concerned my CD player will burn a hole through it. They sing of love, of pain, of experience and innocence, and their song “13 (There is a Light)” speaks of finding the light in the darkness and keeping it alive. It’s been a mantra for me lately.

I’ve got a question for the child in you before it leaves

Are you tough enough to be kind?

Do you know your heart has its own mind?

Darkness gathers around the lights

Hold on

Hold on

There is a light

We can’t always see

If there is a world

We can’t always be

If there is a dark

That we shouldn’t doubt

And there is a light

Don’t let it go out

My man JG recently released a song about going down to the river where the water can remind you that your troubles aren’t the end of the line and that through the confusion, frustration, and pain, we can emerge stronger than before – if we choose to. Given that the ocean has always been my place where I go to find peace amid the chaos of life, this one speaks directly to my soul (and is another reason why we would be perfect together..if he only knew I existed..).

So I walk down to the river

Where the troubles, they can’t find me

Let the waters there remind me

The sun will be there when we wake

I walk down to the river

Though I might not understand it

It’s not always as we planned it

But we grow stronger when we break

So I walk down to the river

I walk down to the river

I have some musically talented friends who create incredible things. One of them wrote a song that is one of the most beautiful lullabies I’ve heard and it makes me pause every time I hit play. When I hear it, I am reminded that it’s okay (and necessary) to let others help me bear the burdens I carry. I listen to it to help me breathe, to calm down, and to remember the importance of letting down my walls.

Easy there baby, open your eyes

Saddle up for your long ride

Stay the course, follow through

There’s nobody left who’s chasing you

To the other side, to the other side

Save your life, not your pride

You don’t have to carry on that same way

You don’t have to carry on that same way

It’s funny looking at patterns. When I first moved out here, I couldn’t listen to any of these songs. They were too raw, too encouraging, too empathetic, in a sense. I didn’t need someone to cry with me then; I needed something more akin to Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” or Halestorm’s “Here’s to Us” to push me through to the next dawn. Now, I’m a bit more emotionally stable (thank goodness) and the softer, more gentle music reminds me how far I’ve come and that somehow, it’s all going to be okay. As Gary Allan croons in one of my favorite songs,Every storm runs out of rain, just like every dark night turns into day / Every heartache will fade away, just like every storm runs, runs out of rain.

I’m reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and it’s been giving me some food for thought. Last night, I came across a nugget that has stayed with me: “Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.” We live in the present. Not the future and certainly not in the past. Personally, I know I get caught up in futuristic thinking far too often. You know the type: On Friday, I’m doing this. And then this weekend, this is happening. And next weekend is this other cool thing…and so on and so forth. And in times of transition, it’s easy to reminisce about the past…over and over again. The challenge before us, as Tolle says, is to “allow the present moment to be.”

I can’t speak for you, but when I get completely immersed in a song, the only place I can live is in the moment- in the present. I’ve heard it said before that when words fail, music speaks. These days, it’s speaking to me with affirmation of what I’m doing, validation of what I’ve done, and encouragement to keep moving forward. 

3 thoughts on “This month’s playlist

  1. Echoing Tolle’s sentiment, perhaps we can similarly accept that the music the comes to us is just what we need at the time. And I love the human connection between the songwriter and the listener. (My go to song when things seems most desperate has often been the Beach Boys “Warmth of the Sun”, which Brian Wilson wrote the evening of JFK’s assassination.) I know that for the rest of my life, the songs I listened to in 2004 which accompanied my epiphany will always, always mean the world to me.

    Thank you for sharing what’s currently in your playlist, Jamie!

    • So true! There have been too many times that a song has come on and it was exactly what I needed to hear, for me to believe that they were all coincidences. Thanks for reading, Randy!

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