Lately, it’s almost as though the universe doesn’t care about my individual comfort level like at all.
(It doesn’t. Like at all.)
I’ve been living in a new house, with different people, in an unfamiliar city, speaking a foreign tongue, for two weeks now. It gets easier, but only very slowly. Forcing heightened comfort only leaves you worse off: more unsure, more frustrated, and more lonely. No matter how much I study my French, my mind will always blank on me for a moment at restaurants; no matter how much I learn the streets and monuments, my feet will always lead me to a new place. This doesn’t mean that I should stop trying to be at home here, but maybe I should think about it differently.
This thirty-minute playlist is intended to help ease the transition and reveal the calming simplicity of life outside of your comfort zone. After all, you have to get a little lost in the first place to ever find your way. And I have gotten lost in this French city so many times, I must be getting close.
Take a listen here.
1.Simple & Sober – Mike + Ruthy Mike + Ruthy are a lovely husband-and-wife duo from the New York area. In this song, Ruthy sings the sweet sound of acceptance, of viewing the hard work required to be truly happy with positive willingness instead of resigned reluctance.
Simple and sober
I’ve gotten over
Screaming and screeching wheels
I’m keeping my own nose to the grindstone
I like the way it feels
2.Learn How to Fall – Paul Simon Paul Simon has this incredible ability to meld poetry with actual depth and musicality in a way that never seems clichéd. Take Learn How to Fall, for example: if it weren’t in Simon’s voice, I would half expect these lyrics to be found on a Hallmark card. And I wouldn’t allow them to move me so profoundly, either.
You got to drift in the breeze
Before you set your sails
It’s an occupation where the wind prevails
Before you set your sails
Drift in the breeze
3.Love Will Find Me – Little Jackie This is the second Little Jackie song I have put on a Weekly Playlist To, and it will probably not be the last (if we’re all that lucky). I agonize over “starting my real life!!!” all the time. Having a stable career, finding a life partner, achieving happiness… not only do those things not equate to a “real life,” they’re all part of a long process that can wait for a while yet. My mind is so much more at peace when I remember that these things will find me, eventually.
My life thus far has been held together by band-aids and safety pins
Nothing quite fits but I’m still trying to squeeze my body into it
I’ve been frontin’, I’ve been wanting someone who fits me effortlessly
With ease and room to spare, ‘cause I’ve endured some wear and tear
With all these meaningless love affairs, fake smiles and dishonest laughter
Fast forward to the morning after, I’m all dolled up looking like a disaster
I just want to wash off the lipstick, take off the stilettos
Play my music and get with my own flow
And love will find me eventually
4.Everybody’s Talkin’ – Harry Nilsson I often feel like a plankton, floating amongst crowds and voices, no agency in my own movements, reacting and responding to things that other people have done and said. I’ve always interpreted this song as someone tuning out those external influences and going where they feel they belong, regardless of who talks, stops, or stares.
I’m going where the sun keeps shining
Through the pouring rain
Going where the weather suits my clothes
Backing off of the north east wind,
Sailing on a summer breeze
And skipping over the ocean like a stone
5.The Rainbow Connection – Kermit the Frog Fair warning: for some reason, this song is a bit of a tearjerker. Or that might just be me. One day, those of us who always try to find the silver lining, who have imagined the fantasies and tried to create them but maybe failed once or twice—we will reach our hands out to a rainbow and feel something solid for the first time.
Why are there so many songs about rainbows
And what’s on the other side
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions
And rainbows have nothing to hide
So we’ve been told and some choose to believe it
I know they’re wrong, wait and see
Someday we’ll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and me
6.Chinese Translation – M. Ward Something about the cyclical nature of this song is both a source of stress and a relief. A source of stress, because everyone has asked these same hard questions; and a relief, because everyone has asked these same hard questions.
And I said, what do you do with the pieces of a broken heart?
And how can a man like me remain in the light?
And if life is really as short as they say
Then why is the night so long?
And then the sun went down
And he played for me this song
7.Come Rain Or Come Shine – Ray Charles I’m with you, dear (though few) readers. Come rain or come shine.
Days may be cloudy or sunny
We’re in or we’re out of the money
But I’m with you always
I’m with you rain or shine
8.You Can Close Your Eyes – James Taylor
So close your eyes, you can close your eyes, it’s all right
I don’t know no love songs, and I can’t sing the blues anymore
But I can sing this song, and you can sing this song when I’m gone
It won’t be long before another day
We’re gonna have a good time
And no one’s gonna take that time away
You can stay as long as you like
9.Simple As This – Jake Bugg After reading a book called The Tao of Pooh, I became quite fascinated and simultaneously really convinced by Taoism, an ancient Chinese philosophy. There’s one Taoist concept that really resonated with me, called pu, a word that is translated to “the uncarved block.” The idea here is that something’s original essence, unfettered and unchanged, contains a natural power, a beauty which often trumps that of something more complicated. Often, once you strip away unnecessary elements and disregard what is actually unimportant, you will find the answers in the simplest form.
Tried liberation of my own free will
But it left me looking to get higher still.
Oh and the answer well who would have guessed
Could be something as simple as this
God knows how I could have missed
Something as simple as this
Again, this super zen mix can be found here.
Happy easy listenin’/livin’.