About Spinning Jewel

When I write I love to take a phrase, whatever comes to mind, and follow it, not trying to write anything specific. That way I don’t have any ownership over the material and the words can be free to be impressionistic. It can look like many things and say many things to many people in all sorts of circumstances. I have been careful to craft my songs not to feel too specific, but to have a nice amount of ambiguity so they can refer to a wide range of experiences. At the same time though, I like to think that I don’t write songs of my own will. I imagine they already exist. I just discover them. That’s what this project is all about. Discovery. Discovering surprises. Discovering artifacts I wouldn’t expect. Discovering the world. Discovering myself.

This music is a collection of thoughts describing a journey of discovery. I wrote these songs with no intent of organizing them. They all just kind of happened, appeared, evolved; they were forgotten and welcomed back and were fused with others. Some were written blindly, with no idea what I was writing about, just following muses.

The funny thing is, as time went on, the meaning of these songs began to morph. After certain events in my life happened, the words of these songs reflected very differently than when I first wrote them. It was very strange to have my own words from the past speak into the present in ways I could never anticipate. At first these songs were an honest attempt to point to something beyond words. After time, they transformed into vessels that empathized with all these new feelings I was experiencing, though the words ironically came from none other than my past self. This discovery was very intriguing to me.

When you hold a jewel, you can see the intricacies of the cut. When you shine light into it, the light refracts, splitting into all sorts of colors of the spectrum. As you spin it around, you notice different facets, each unique and unlike the last. This seemed like an appropriate image to encapsulate this phenomena of a song speaking in such different ways at such different times. I think this image represents discoveries of the new, the old, and even of ourselves quite nicely. 

I acknowledge that all music and all art actually does this. Art is an expression of what we call ‘the self’. Art alone though isn’t the only thing that does this. Different places, people and symbols that hold special significance in our lives do this. Our personal memory, story is like a collection, or a library of precious stones that tell us a lot about the world and ourselves. When we revisit these stones at different times, in different lights, they teach us new lessons. I have found for me personally, if I simply take the time to look, and listen, and observe them, I learn a lot. 

This collection of songs is called Spinning Jewel. One thing I hope the listener catches is that the last song ends as the first song begins. The revolution comes full circle as the thought, “is there any way out of here” repeats over a droning major chord, in contrast to the first song, where that thought is sung over many shifting major and minor chords. When I left a certain place, went on a journey, explored many places and learned many things, I somehow returned, but the question remains. 

What it all means, I can’t quite say. Where it will take me, I’m not quite sure. I am comfortable not knowing these answers, but simply letting these questions just be. But I am sure that for me, I get a little restless if I stay in the same place too long. After all, there is so much to explore. The ordinary and the familiar is a great place to begin, even in the hallways of your mind.

SPINNING JEWEL LYRICS

HALLWAYS

walking through hallways 

opening doors

i didn't know there were

losing direction 

leaving my skin

i didn't know I could

looking for something

i don't know,

i lost it long ago

finding these fragments

these mirrors of me,

I didn't know there were

 

in the corners

underneath

all the piles of all of my forgotten memories

hides a child

trembling

my only friend

became the monster

who was chasing after me

with eyes like mirrors

reflecting scenes

of all the times that I was horrified 

of losing everything

and words like ripples

echoing

all my fears about my future 

that to this day are haunting me

 

is there any way out of here?

 

WILD

picked up a stone and threw it through the window

shattered glass made an open threshold

i escaped like a wild animal

broken free to roam 

 

all my life I've been waiting for this

everything's been pointing to this

my suspicions convinced it was coming to this 

everything's been pointing to this

all my life, I've been waiting for this

there's no going back now

 

someone somewhere I'll never know

is singing a song and feeling the wind blow

something somewhere is waiting to be fixed

something somewhere will always be missed

some things are too wild to tame 

a storm or a stillness

a calm or quickness

a feeling too fearless to fade

some things are to wild to name

the feeling is near but the words they are far

i've never been as free as I feel now 

there's no going back now

i only know all I know, 

all i know

 

HILL CLIMBS HIGH

the hill climbs high 

and on and on

the walkway winds 

through danger

to do no harm

 

the journey long

that longs for love

and loves the loss

of giving up to find my heart

is always home

always love

always one

one with all

 

when i look back will i own it

when i find it will i show it

when i have it will i hold it

will i let go of it

 

forward on, forward still

never stopping, never will

no i never will

 

A FIRE

blowing out this candle 

the glowing heart still burns

while memories slowly dancing

float away for good

red fades out to black

the ocean turns to stone

and then I close my eyes

and then they open up

seeing shadows stand in line

like soldiers waging war

but knowing all their lives

will go up like smoke

 

some moments break the dark 

even dignify its worth

some moments can get lost

and never come back home

some moments are confused,

some misunderstood

each day is a fire

each blessing and each curse

 

melting wax traps the ash

never to return

redefined by chance

these stories will be heard

consequence is clear

but chaos blurs the song

love be light to me

shining through the fog

 

BY BREATH

we're all fire underwater 

oceans in the air

countless puzzle pieces 

wondering why we're here

we barely move an inch 

but we're keeping track of miles

we're the same face beneath our masks 

but we're tricked by our disguises 

 

we're swimming deep within it 

the surface out of sight

the floor descends beneath us

we're swimming through the sky

when your body says goodnight 

i won't drown within the fear

even though you'll lose your breath 

remember you will remain here

 

in an echo

in a glimpse

in the moment i can't miss

in the sweet paralysis

in the exit and entrance

in the touch of something strange

in a whisper of the name

in explosions in myself

in the place i got lost

was the place i found myself

was the place where i found out

every garden is a grave

every teardrop a wave

every wave is an ocean

every ocean is a breath

and everyone 

is tethered

by breath

 

SEARCHER

wandering down the crooked road 

i saw the spirit like a dove

she sang a song I'd not yet heard

she called me out to see the world 

what are you looking for

 

i wonder when the time will come

i pray for fire like the dawn

to burn away my coward thoughts

until I find my child heart

because i saw all my hopes get crushed

beneath the weight of wickedness

so blow the ashes till they're lost 

unearth the treasures i forgot

what am I living for

 

I wonder when my time will come

 

what am I dying for

what am I living for

what am I waiting for

what am I looking for

 

I AM HOME

the sun upon my back

the wind that pushes me

the shade that cools me down

the whisper in my ear

the aching in my bones

the thirst unsatisfied

the valley where I start

the mountain yet to climb

 

wherever I may go

i am home

 

the moment of relief

the fire in the dark

the salt within my tears

the light that wakes me up

the unknown unexplored

the stars that guide my way

the all within it all

the wild path unpaved

 

love keeps the door open

for my leaving and arriving home

 

LET ME GO

there’s a world beneath the oceans veil

full of stranger darkness shining there

cause its all it is as it should be

without the touch of humanity

there is more above beyond our shore

in all directions the empty grows

there’s nothing else

like an ocean

 

countless possibilities in front of me

wondering why the waves do not repeat

so i give up and give in

falling and rising with the ocean

 

there is nothing else 

let me go

to the ocean

 

CONFESSION

some may say I've made a mess

well I would not object

some may say I've watered down

well I didn't like the taste

some may say I've gone too far

well walk a mile with me

i guess you'll have to make it two

and maybe more than three

 

some may say I've got it wrong

well you keep doing right

some may say I've lost my mind

i did to save my life

some may say I've been deceived

but why is there such peace

in letting go of heavy loads

and stepping out from shadows

and tearing down the temples

that demons disguised

some may say I've got it wrong

well you keep doing right

narrow is the winding road

that takes and gives us life

 

RESTLESS PEACE

i cannot fall asleep

but I’m still dreaming

staring at the ceiling

tangled in the sheets

the walls are closing in

is there any way out of here

 

restless peace

will not let me sleep

restless peace

will not let me be

anything but free

making my heart beat

 

i see sunlight

peeking past the mountains

burning night away

i cannot wait

to get out of here

is there anyway out of here

Belief/Doubt Lyrics

I F
if mountains dissolved transformed into clouds,
if rain hit the ground falling back up,
if lightning were ice in air made of sparks,
if bright faded out and dawn became dusk
would I be lost or would I be found?
would I be afraid to be here and now?

if thunder whispered "We never touched"
would I be unchained or would I give up?
I know the unknown is more than I'll know
but what if the absence could clearly be heard?
would I be blind or would I be proud?
would I be brave to be here and now?

if only time would turn around
running back from where we are
if only I could push away
these voices arguing to stay
if only they would settle down
if only we'd figure it out
if only you, If only me
if only, if only


I  F E L T  T H E  G R O U N D  F A L L
the home where I was raised
was built on sand of certain claims
with assumptions made of stone
I thought the pillars wouldn't shake
but all my questions raged a hurricane
a storm I'd never faced
all my doubts swirled around me
and broke my faith all I could say

I don’t know what I don’t know

I'm a universe at most
at least the size of just a speck
I'm a floating flake of snow
will I stick and I will melt?
when I pass will I remain?
I've got no proof beyond the grave
when the unknown showed it face
it broke my faith like an earthquake
and I felt the ground fall
beneath my feet
and it fell far


T H E  W O R D S
my mind can't find the words describing
why this life is worth deciding
if this moment were my last
would I resign or take a chance
by breaking ties with either or
and loving more by loving more
than right and wrong and in or out
by doubting faith by faith in doubt
cause there is hell and there is healing
like a gift and like a thief
in my words and in my hands
in my time and in my plans
my mind can't find the words describing
why this life is worth deciding
beauty is and still will be
not certainty but mystery


C O M P A S S
I used to be afraid
afraid of getting lost
I used to be afraid
of being in the dark
comfort left a light
but when the light burned out
fear became a friend
and helped me when in doubt  

I used to feel a need
to need to know it all
I used to feel a need
but needing weighed me down
comfort said believe
Your faith will lift you up
but then I felt a need
a need to give it up

now I've got no burden
wandering through the dark
now I've got no burden
except to wander on
through the good and bad
I'll find colors in the gray
and fear will be my compass
showing me the other way


O P E N  F I E L D
I found relief in an open field
in the arms of emptiness
I found belief in an open field
dancing without anything

I've got no roof above my head
I've got no blanket to make a bed

I fell asleep in an open field
dreaming without heaviness
I felt complete in an open field
waking up in happiness

I've got no time to bury my dead
I've got no rush to hurry ahead
I've got no care to worry what's next
I've got no doubt, I've got no regret

I don't need to try to be free
I don't need to try to try to believe
I don't need to hide my honesty in fear
I don't need to try to believe

I am old but I will be new; 
I will learn and I will lose;
like the blood in my heart beats
I'll arrive and I will leave
somewhere different than I was before, 
somewhere else that's beautiful
because any place can be mistaken
for a final destination
 

Answers/Questions Lyrics

N O T H I N G  L A S T S  F O R  L O N G
shapes in the sky
each day and night
born by water and flame
shades in the sky
colored by light
giving and taking their weight
why do they change? 

nothing lasts for long
in this life
nothing lasts for long
as long as I don’t hold on too tight

I held onto reasons
as if they were gold
given by heaven
too heavy to hold
they turned into demons
when I questioned control
given by heaven
too heavy to hold

seasons inquire
what shall survive
what dares to go to the grave
and die for a change?

N O  A N S W E R S
questions call like autumn’s breeze
is this an end? am I ready? 
my answers fall like dried up leaves
from my weary mind like a tired tree
they pile on the ground till winter comes
decomposing confidence to dust
and given light and water nothing grows
spinning round the sun I've become cold
all I know is I’ve got no answers

part of me afraid, part of me accepts
all of me leans in to the emptiness
less of me contained letting go of this
more of me content finding what I’ve missed

complexity like autumns breeze reminds me
there’s peace in wild things
paradox comforts me there’s freedom
in learning I’ve got no answers

C U R I O U S
would I be wrong to question
if everything's a dream? 
If clarity is crystal
why do we disagree? 
is the purpose progress
or only to arrive? 
if nothing finishes
is that alright? 
am I free to question
what makes me alive? 
I'm only curious

if I am a question
will something answer me? 
will I be open ended
with possibilities? 
can colors sing a song? 
may melodies be seen? 
if my feelings could be touched
would I kiss my fear? 
am I free to question
if it would set me free

don't console me with chains of gold
I know there's more than I've been told

if I am an answer
then what is wrong and right? 
will there be an ending
or continue through this fight? 
how will I begin? 
where will freedom fly? 
is the purpose progress
or only to arrive? 
if the answer is a question
how will I reply? 

don't you tell me the river froze
for we've yet to love we've yet to hold
don't you sell me the future for war
we have all been there before
I'm only curious

S K E P T I C A L
I'm skeptical
the heavens are above
some say there's hell within a criminal
but I would argue not
cause I found heaven in a criminal
crying for another chance to be released
some say the heavens are above me
but I’m a skeptic don’t you see
I found heaven in a criminal
I found a criminal in me

I'm skeptical
love has boundaries
some say there's hate within a warrior
but what if there is peace
cause I found love within a warrior
laying down his sword and shield
some say love has boundaries
but i’m a skeptic don’t you see
I found love within a warrior
I found a warrior in me

I'm skeptical
this world is dying fast
some say we only live till death
but that’s weak arguing
cause I heard truth from a dead architect
who built a monument to last through his years
some say this world is dying fast
but I’m a skeptic don’t you see
beauty can survive the centuries
a dead man spoke to me
some say we only live 'til death
but there’s no argument
even though the fear will fight
peace is patient given time
what we create within our lives
lives beyond our death

H O W  I  S E E
another page is turned
waiting to be inked
another hopeful forecast
another crumpled wish

another run around the circle
yet to be convinced
another chance to listen
for the calm in dissonance

another expectation
meets surprise and circumstance
another realization
shatters how I understand

another question answered
in a language I don't speak
another kiss goodbye
becomes another welcoming

how do I see how I see?

Bright and Gray

In the little life I've lived I've misunderstood much. The old adage 'the more I learn, the less I know' has proven faithful. I don't expect that to get much different. What I have actually misunderstood is paradox. Paradox is like dissonance. Two notes coexist in a tension anxiously longing for resolve and release. Encountering paradoxes has caused paradigm shifts for me. Some shifts are slow and drawn out. Others are subtle, not realized until after the shift has taken place. A scientist searches for an answer to a question through hypothesis, trial and error, and data analysis. Years are poured in only to find no answers but only deeper questions. Expectations shatter. Assumptions fail. Structures of understanding crumble. But when the dissonance resolves, rebuilding begins.

Colors sing songs. Melodies become visible. Stargazing is looking into the past before any of us were even thought of. Emptiness is actually like an ocean. The world is no longer flat, but multi-dimensional. Paradox is no longer anxiety inducing, it's beautiful like a sunset. It feels like both an ending and a beginning, yet at the same time it is neither. All along it was just a continuation of the journey. It just depends how you see it. 

bright and gray is a concept project of two five-song collections. The first collection is an exploration of existential musings entitled answers/questions. The second collection is a personal testimony of deconstruction and reconstruction entitled belief/doubt.

Both collections are anticipated to be shared this winter.