This was a song I had written about my experiences with Girls/Ladies Rock Camp… or so I thought…

It’s rare when I write about something other than my own self-evolution. Funny thing tho: even when you think you’re talking to someone else, you’re truthfully just talking to yourself. Everyone and everything in your “reality” is a fucking carnival fun-house mirror.

Fast-forward to a few years after this song was written. I was alone in a room I had rented just a couple of blocks from the capitol building, in the busyness of Madison. I had my laptop open, playing my entire stash of music at random, blankly staring at a dirty window.

To spare the epic novel of hows and whys, I’ll simply say: it was a rough time for me mentally/emotionally. This particular day was extra symptomatic – a heavy weighted sadness in my chest, anxiety that nothing really matters, tears and clenching anger, suicidal daydreams, mourning of my losses, a dark infinite dank empty hole where my stomach usually is, the feeling that I am utterly alone in the world and we’re all gonna die anyway so what does it matter and everything is fake and it’s all just a fucking tv show…I had an extra hard time accepting my reality that day. What am I supposed to be doing here?! Why am I Here at all? Why does everything hurt so goddamned much and why do I have to sit here and just take it? If I’m totally alone and everyone dies and nothing matters, what is the fucking point of all of this suffering?! The desire for my non-existence was strong that day…

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As I sat and looked around my room in a tear-filled, I-give-up kinda way, the things in the room started to look…different. As I let my “alone”ness sink in, every item and piece of furniture in the room seemed extra manufactured. The table, the chair, my mini fridge, the shelf, my clothes thrown about…everything looked fake and shiny and made of a rubbery foam and plastic, like they were all props for the set of a movie or tv show. As I looked around at the absurdity of it all, my own song came up in the shuffle. My own shit…really? Right now? The song playing was a weird soundtrack to this weird dimensional shift…I had a feeling of confusion, a weird feeling like I was being shown something, but I didn’t really understand exactly what I was supposed to see. I said to The Big Everything without words: ok…so let’s say it looks this way because yes, everything IS just a big tv show…that still makes me feel alone and anxious and like nothing matters and I’m unsure of what I supposed to be doing here!! It’s even creepier, and I’m kinda scared now…What do I DO with this, do I just give up?!

And then, the lyrics to the song came forward, like a rush of heavy thunder through my chest.

…show me how you rock and roll, just be a child, let yourself run wild…”

The song then consumed me, completely took over. As I looked around my room, and Listened (yes, with a capital L), and let my senses get involved and let go of everything, actually embrace that Nothing is actually Everywhere, and I’m just this mass of Awareness hurling through a vast ocean of space and Nothing…the voice I heard through the speakers was all of a sudden not my own anymore. It sounded foreign, the voice of an ancient thing, wise and motherly yet with a warrior essence…

The feeling that I was alone in a world that was nothing more than a movie set filled with people playing characters wasn’t so dark anymore. I mean, still absurd, but I was starting to think maybe it wasn’t such a “bad” thing. As these feelings started to wash over me, I was in complete disbelief that the voice I heard singing to me was not my own, I kept trying to shake it loose and couldn’t…and then I became aware of the fact that the song was for me, from The Big Everything. The voice I heard was this “unknown” presence, singing to me, using my song, using the recording. It sounded insane, but the more I questioned it, the more I felt her confirm to me that She had the answers; and that She was using my voice and my lyrics to convey them to me:

…it’s all you, you’re in control. And you know you got it, now let me hear you rock it. Let it all go, ’cause you’re beautiful. Just keep playing your song…”

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At this point I felt this incredible sense of ease come over me, like this warrior-woman was there with me, inside me, holding me, rocking me, telling me yes, it’s all just a great big Story – and you Dana are the Writer, the Pen, the Paper, the Reader, and you’re doing it all at the same time. Yes, that’s all it is, no more, no less – you’re here to tell Dana’s Story, all of it, to play her songs, and you’re doing it perfectly…

As the music and this presence consumed me, I shook and cried. I tried so hard to call bullshit on all of it, tried hard to recognize the voice coming out of my laptop as my own, tell myself it’s all in my head…then She came through even more persistent than before, wrapped her arms around me from within me, held onto me while She used my recording to talk to me:

…and then I met a woman, she’d been around the sun now 30 times or so, lifetimes more to go…”

Oh no…this can’t be happening…

…it was clear she was here to rediscover what she thought she misplaced somewhere in time and space…”

Is this fucking happening? It this for real?!

…and I wear a smile when I see her wear her worried look, ’cause her song has got a wicked hook…”

Feeling nauseous…

…she said ‘I don’t know what I’m supposed to play’, and yet unconsciously she strums her story perfectly…”

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At this point I’ve collapsed into a pile of tears. Holy shit, has this song been about me this whole time?! Was it just sitting there in disguise, waiting for the right moment, waiting until the day comes when it’s needed as a tool for The Source to communicate with me during a shitty time? As the song came into another chorus and a bridge, I sat there collapsed in a pile of tears. The motherly warrior woman held me as I cried and listened, and continued to sing to me using my song, giving me the strength and fire I needed:

…I said show me how you rock-n-roll. Just be a child, let yourself run wild. It’s all you, you’re in control. And you know you got it. Now let me hear you rock it! Let it all go, ’cause you’re beautiful. Just keep playing your song…

…we are strong. And you know, we’ve had it all along. Play your song, and everyone will play along. Why not here? Why not now? Right Here…right Now…”

I feel incredibly fortunate to have had this experience. It will forever stick out as one of the times the divinity of music truly revealed itself to me; and as one of the many times I felt my Journey and purpose as a musician was confirmed.

“Play Your Song” can be found at https://musicbydana.bandcamp.com/track/play-your-song

One morning during the tunes-n-coffee ritual, I was reflecting on how much Gratitude I have for being a musician.  There truly is no greater Gift.  I felt my heart open as I thought of all of my noise-making brothers and sisters, from right here in Madison to the other side of the planet.  I drifted into fun little daydreams of some massive world-wide event happening that would require all of us to play at once to thwart a major planetary threat.

As I thought about the Truth of what music really is, and the sheer impact it has on us, and what it could be like if we came together as Artists, this piece of writing came out (a song is brewing as result of it, I’m kickin’ some chords and lyrics around the office):

 

Calling all Musicians:
This is not a drill. Your time has come. The world needs you. Humanity needs you. It’s time to stand up and ROCK THE FUCK OUT!

The type of music you make does not matter, nor does it matter how “good” or “bad” you think you are. Stop comparing yourself to other musicians anyway. Stop wondering if you’re better or worse than, more or less deserving of this or that. It doesn’t matter if you’re “professional”, or if your biggest show was at home in your underwear for an audience of posters on your wall – we are all on the same team, with the same mission: to ROCK. THE FUCK. OUT.

Because know this: you are not the “likes” on your fucking facebook page. You are not your album cover. You are not a number of downloads, or the amount of merch you sell at your shows. You’re not what time you play in the lineup, how many people you can “draw”, how much money you have, and you sure as hell are not your fucking “image”. In fact, you aren’t even your music…you are merely a vessel for Music to pass through. You are a POWERFUL FUCKING FORCE.

Music is a language of the Universe – the ONE SONG. Open yourself up and let the music radiate from your very cells, throw yourself into another dimension of colorful Expression – lose yourself. That’s your job: to just ROCK. THE FUCK. OUT.
Play your songs. Make your music. Do it with PURPOSE, with INTENTION, with a FORCE. Don’t stop, no matter what happens around you. FOLLOW your music, listen to what it tells you and obey. Play as often as you can, everywhere you can.

Be open and vulnerable in your emotions while you are playing; in fact, you must strive for this every time. Don’t be afraid, the Listeners around you want this. We need our music to move us through our core, we want it to DO things to us, to help us throughput and express our emotions. All of the best music does this, no matter what “genre” it is, no matter what the Story is. That’s why it doesn’t matter what you play or how “good” you are – let your music MOVE, and it will MOVE. Just ROCK. THE FUCK. OUT.

When we express ourselves – our thoughts, our emotions, our minds, our feelings- we’re helping ourselves to process the story of our lives, and the story of the world around us. If you are a musician (or an Artist of any kind), you have the ability and nurtured skills to EXPRESS, which is necessary to process shit. We ALL have the power to express ourselves in artistic ways, but it is the Artist that has nurtured Divine tools of Expression like music. It is the Artist that can really say it better; sometimes SO much so, that it feels like they’ve captured how YOU feel, as if they were in deep in your soul somehow, ripping out your insides and showing them to you.

Our insides are being shown to us more and more these days.  We’re ever discovering what we are, and what we most certainly are not. There is so much happening right now, we have SO MUCH to process, and too many of us don’t know how.  Sometimes shit just happens that is way too fucking overwhelming and we don’t know what to do with all of the feelings it causes, we don’t know where to direct any of our anger/fear/sadness/etc.  We need to get it out, to allow it to pass through somehow, to channel it.  Some people turn to such shocking means of channeling their emotions – sometimes quite harmful and damaging to themselves and those around them. I truly feel music is the best, most powerful tool we have to channel and process our bullshit – it has REAL power, to bring us into the Here and Now, to face ourselves and give whatever is needed within that Holy Moment.  Music has TRUE potential to save us and unite us all, because it is a gateway to inner Contentment.  And to me, real world peace means a world of Individuals with inner peace…

We need to scream and yell and have a good long cry, and then laugh through all of our tears and snot, and not be afraid to wipe it on the shirt of a stranger, and to offer your shirt for their snot in return. We need this to ACTUALLY happen – in real life, not just on facebook. If you’re angry, you can go ahead and use all the capital letters and angry-face emojis you want, or even little hugs-n-kisses emojis when you’re happy; but NOTHING feels as good as actual yelling, and real hugs-n-kisses. We need to make real life happen again, take control and open ourselves up to one another, be exactly what you are and let others be what they are. We need to love HARD, and maybe if we could process our own individual bullshit a little bit better, we can make it easier to let go and love a little harder.

Let’s DO this, my fellow music makers and Listeners. Let’s flood the whole fucking place with music, let it completely take over, use this Weapon of Mass Expression to de-clog some of our shit-caked pipes. Let’s play hard out there! Sing loud and fierce, all primal and shit – like our very existence depends on it, because it fucking does.  Do it all at once, until it rattles the Earth to her core and shakes off her old dead skin to make way for something more alive.  It’s our time now, we are being Called. It’s time to come together and ROCK. THE FUCK. OUT.