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The Bones Of Who I Used To Be


It's a very good sign when an album keeps making an impression after the first several spins. This is exactly what's happening to me with "Away From The World." Every time that I listen to it, a new nugget of truth emerges. The record is just so balanced with such equanimity, that the entire work feels just like love. And the hope, the hope emanates from every chord.

Despite the fact that this new creation contains what might be the the simplest of Dave's lyrics, I am still finding layers of meaning in his words. This week, I've been focused on "The Riff." When Dave sings:

"Ain't it funny how time

slips away

looking at the cracks creeping across my face

I remember the little kid living in there 

He'll be living there probably until I'm dead,"

it seems that he is referencing an important psychological truth. The reality is, that we are all the sum of every age that we have ever been, all the ages that we will be, and even more than that. We are also a combination of who we are, who we would like to be, and who we would rather not be. Ani DiFranco considers this well when she sings, "There's a crowd of people harbored in every person. So many roles that we play. You've decided to love me for eternity. I'm still deciding who I want to be today."

When we can acknowledge the various parts of ourselves, we can be aware of who is reacting to different situations in our lives. For example, the little kid that lives inside of us probably has very strong feelings about many things, based on his or her experience. And she may react to others in ways that might not be appropriate for the current situation. Her feelings are valid, but her problem solving techniques will likely not be up to speed since she is just a kid. Learning to parent our own "inner children" is one of the most important tasks of adulthood. As we begin to recognize the little voices inside that are scared or angry or hurt, we can learn to comfort them so that we don't face the outside world with the eyes, and coping skills, of a child.

But it's not just our inner kiddos who sometimes need help. Another line of "The Riff" asserts that "I don't know the man in my head if I don't know the woman sleeping in my bed." This wording can be taken many different ways. In a concrete version, we could say that if you are sleeping around, you are likely distancing yourself from your true thoughts. Looking at it more symbolically, we might say that if you aren't in touch with your feminine, or intuitive, side, then you don't know yourself very well. Either way, I think that this phrase points to how much we can miss if we are not deeply in touch with all aspects of ourselves.

But then comes the hope.

"If you stay with me

that don't mean we have to stay the same

if you stay with me

baby, you and me could change the game."

Again, many interpretations could arise from these words. But thinking about it from a Jungian perspective, what if "you" and "me" were both part of the same person? What if we gave ourselves permission to evolve, change our minds, and open our hearts to growth? How different would the world be if we all stayed with ourselves, true to our deepest notions, and undeniably on our own side?

It would not only change the game, it would change everything under the stars.

Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.