Always

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Life is full of difficult questions and choices. What does it all mean? Where do we go when we die? Why does suffering exist? Which is your favorite Dave Matthews Band song?

Seriously. It’s insanely hard to pick just one. And just when you think you’ve narrowed it down to that one tune that beckons your soul to run free, something changes. Or, in my case, they start teasing #40, which by the way is my all time favorite DMB track. I think.

At least, it’s the number that’s been profusely on my mind lately. There are so many reasons to fall in love, again, with this melody. The smooth and beautiful riff, the divine lyrics, and the undeniable emotion that comes through Dave’s voice, combine to make countless hearts sing at the slightest possibility of hearing this treat. But perhaps the most amazing part of #40 is the fact that there are no official lyrics. None. Dave discusses this predicament in an entertaining video where he insists that he does not now, nor has he ever, known the words to this song. Instead, he contends that the vocals simply fell out of his mouth one night, only to engender unfair requests from fans to replicate that which he doesn’t remember. Must be tough to be such a lyrical genius! Luckily, a silly little thing like not having memorized his part doesn’t stop Dave from performing this work of art. It just assures us that every time we hear it will be unique and fresh; a continuing story that evolves over time, much like the band itself.

It seems to me that some of the magic would be gone if Dave were to sit down and write formal verses for these chords. It would take away from the flexibility that breathes life into this short but sweet gift. Imagine what kind of a world we would live in if more people were open to variability and flow in their day to day lives. All too often, we fall on the side of rigidity, which, I believe, is mostly caused by fear. It’s the opposite of pliancy, the nemesis of freedom, and the disbelief in what is meant to be. Like the tree that stands tall and strong, yet bends in the wind, we are meant to grow and change and stretch. Otherwise, our existence becomes crowded by our individual egos. Like fools, we’re left standing in the middle of a country road trying to persuade a herd of cows to move out of our way, when instead we could take the subtle suggestion to slow down and enjoy the mystery of such gentle creatures. What we take to be frustrating hassles are very often calls to open our senses to the beauty and splendor that transcend our ordinary experiences into moments of profound grace. That is, if we so choose.

As one of my very favorite Dave phrases encourages, “Come and relax now, lay your troubles down. No need to feel the weight of the world, let it all fall away...”

Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.

Author of Serendipity and the Search for True Self