I woke up with one of my favorite songs in my head this morning – Ani DiFranco’s “Back Back Back.” Have a listen:
Or, if you’d rather, read the lyrics.
back back back in the back of your mind are you learning an angry language tell me boy boy boy are you tending to your joy or are you just letting it vanquish back back back in the dark of your mind where the eyes of your demons are gleaming are you mad mad mad about the life you never had even when you are dreaming who are these old old old people in these nursing homes scowling away at nothing like big rag dolls just cursing at the walls and pulling out all of their stuffing ever day is a door leading back to the core yes, old age will distill you and if you're this this this full of bitterness now some day it will just fill you when you sit right down in the middle of yourself you're gonna wanna have a comfortable chair so renovate your soul before you get too old cuz you're gonna be housebound there when you're old you fold up like an envelope and you mail yourself right inside and there's nowhere to go except out real slow are you ready, boy, for that ride? your arrogance is gaining on you and so is eternity you better practice happiness you better practice humility you took the air, you took the time you were fed and you were free now you'd better put some beauty back while you got the energy you'd better put some beauty back, boy while you got the energy
Lyrics courtesy of Danah Boyd.
So, the song is all about tending the garden of your soul before you’re stuck with yourself as someone you don’t like in your old age.
“So renovate your soul before you get too old, ‘cuz you’re gonna be housebound there.”
A warning. An instruction manual on how to treat the earth and other people and your mental health.
Of course, there are other reasons to live like this:
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” –Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
Because someone once did it for us.
“Ask yourself: Have you been kind today? Make kindness your daily modus operandi and change your world.” –Annie Lennox
To change the world.
“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” –Lao-Tzu
To create a world where we want to live.
I’ll be honest. I don’t live this way. I don’t live like I’m trying to cultivate my future peace, or anyone else’s, for that matter. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I have a biting tongue, a skepticism, and a snarkiness that ranks up there with… Well, with someone really snarky and critical.
But I’m working on it. I’m keeping the life I want to lead in the forefront of my mind. Eye on the prize, right?
What are you doing to “put some beauty back”?