Back To Where I Started

From May 2013 to Februrary 2014, I listened to the same song—essentially on repeat—on every run I went on by myself: Down in the Valley by The Head and the Heart. Its slow build-up (0:00 – 1: 48) kept me from going too fast and forced me to appreciate where I was running. Its AHHH OHHs (1:48 – 2:13) had this levity and hopefulness that reminded me that the best runs have little to do with running and lots to do with the epiphanies we make and the gratitude we extract from them. And its lyrics — they killed me. They struck a chord and hit a nerve. They articulated what I struggled to articulate (as a then 22-year-old): that living a creative life is a meandering life, a repetitive life, a simple life, at times a lonely life, and, more than anything, a spiritually-aligning, truth-seeking life.

We do it over and over and over again.

We do it over and over and over again.

I know there’s California, Oklahoma, and all of the places I have never been to.

But down in the valley with whiskey rivers— these are the places you will find me hiding. These are the places I will always go. These are the places I will always go.

I am on my way. I am on my way. I am on my back to where I started.

I am on my way. I am on my way. I am on my way back to where I started.

 

Every run, I’d plug in and go on my way. I listened and thought about what my way was and where my way would lead me. I listened and thought about where the places were that I will always go. I didn’t immediately have answers to any of these questions (and those answers continue to evolve). But I did have less restlessness and more open-mindedness. I began to be OK with not knowing as long as my intent was steering the ship.

I listened and started to embrace the rambling, messy, patchy, creative lifestyle — knowing that authentic work takes incredible patience, solitude, and courage. I listened and realized that our creativity serves as our soul’s bullshit detector. It leads us home.

Eventually, I stopped listening to the song on every run. I wasn’t burnt out; I just started to crave that meditative silence more on runs. I still blasted (and deeply resonated with) The Head and the Heart. Over the last three years, they became my unofficial soundtrack—for running, smelly train rides, Boston Beings, and everything in between.

 On Tuesday, I saw The Head and the Heart play at the cozy Orpheum Theatre in downtown Boston. It was the second time I’d seen them—the first since a completely surreal, totally out-of-body show at Red Rocks in 2014. It felt like seeing an old friend. I heard the classics, got the chills, then continued on my way (back to where I started).

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Momma once told me you’re already home where you feel loved. —Jonathan Russell, The Head and The Heart

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