Updated: Jan 18
MUSIC AND TRANSFORMATION
Song lyrics have always been an incredibly powerful agent for me because they often express what I verbally cannot. I also find that music in general expresses emotion that language simply can’t. When I hear a song, I am immediately drawn to the lyrics, and then the music. Both of them resonate with me to the core, vibrating something that is humanly inexplicable.
About two years ago I was introduced to a group called Nahko and Medicine for the People. This was right about the time when I decided to start tending my wounds, putting out the fire that was ablaze and wreaking havoc on my life. Though I related to so many songs on their albums, one song in particular, “Wash It Away”, struck a chord with me. Its powerful lyrics, like “teach me to let go of all of my pain,” and ”wash us clean of our pain and suffering,” and “give us strength for our new beginnings” sprinkled throughout the song resonated. I played that song on repeat for hours at a time and, when I did, tears would stream down my face. This song gave me hope that I would be able to do all of those things. And it gave me permission to cry.
I had been so focused on picking up the broken pieces that I really didn’t allow myself to mourn the loss of walking away from everything I had ever known, including my culture, my family, my marriage, and myself. Overtime, listening to this song became less about tears and mourning and more about joyfully moving forward with forgiveness. I can with conviction say that the hope I had for myself listening to this song two years ago has come to fruition as today I walk in forgiveness, feeling cleansed of all my pain. I have discovered an immense amount of strength, the power I need to begin again, and again, and again.
"I had been so focused on picking up the broken pieces that I really didn’t allow myself to mourn the loss of walking away from everything I had ever known."
I was thrilled to hear about the release of Nahko’s new solo album last year. I became even more intrigued and excited when I read an interview with the artist. In it he stated that this album was about some of the most transformative years of his life, his journey to becoming a young adult. I was excited to hear what wisdom and insightful lyrics he had conjured up on this album, “My Name is Bear”.
I gave the album a listen and found myself like a broken record playing and replaying the very first song, “Dragonfly”. Immediately connected, I couldn’t find it in myself to get past this track. A reference to the dragonfly’s symbolism for releasing a former life and patterns or behaviors that needed to die, each new verse in the song begins with Nahko at a different stage in his life: a baby, young boy, and then adult. Each stage hears his former dragonfly questioning how the story would go, or maybe even knowing how the story would go. At the end of the song he repeats several times, “to my former dragonfly, I resist and I survive”.
Obsessed, I found myself doing a Google search on more of the symbolism behind a dragonfly. I learned that in almost every part of the world the dragonfly symbolizes change, specifically in the perspective of self-realization and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity. Basically, the dragonfly represents an understanding of the deeper meaning of life.
For me, this all was so powerful because I had just spoken to my spiritual mentor about feeling as if each one of us lives many lifetimes within this lifetime, much like the reference in Nahko’s song. I lived as a baby, child, and adult with my patterns of behavior, staying the same until one day I just didn’t. The day that I began to awaken to myself is the day that perhaps I resisted and survived, allowing my dragonfly to now act as a guide on my path of evolution towards growth and self-realization.
"The day that I began to awaken to myself is the day that perhaps I resisted and survived, allowing my dragonfly to now act as a guide on my path of evolution towards growth and self-realization."
My ultimate goal is to have liberating knowledge of my true self, to understand my thoughts, habits, patterns, beliefs, emotions - all of it. As I read through the symbolism of the dragonfly a big sense of peace came over me. It felt like a sign from the universe that I was on the right path to self-realization. I know in my heart I have been walking a path of transformation, truth, and adaptability for the past two years. Now that I embraced my dragonfly, I know there is nothing to resist. I will continue to transform and evolve, be flexible and adaptive in situations that present themselves. I will continue to explore my emotions in a joyful manner, look through illusion and find the truth, let go of negativity and let my path unfold. Most importantly though, I will continue to embrace my rebirth in each walk of this life.