“I want the light, oh I need light, there is so much darkness; then there’s so much longing for light and the music exudes that. For us in the band, it is one of those meditative moments when time freezes. We would be in it so deep and would come out of it not realizing how long it was. Like sex. Or a really good workout,” she describes, laughing.
She says this is her favorite part, these “crystallizing moments when time doesn’t exist anymore, when everything goes away except for the vibrations you are creating together.”
Carlin also observes that something happens to the audience during the performance of this song. Perhaps the connection with them might be attributed not just to the music but also to the theme itself. It is about humility, about acknowledging that one’s knowledge is limited.
“It’s about thinking you know what the f--- is going on,” she explains. “…like I’m sitting here pontificating, saying profound things about awareness and perfection. But really life continues to teach me that I don’t know much, that I am constantly learning. I am continuously being humbled by that.”
The singer believes the best teachers of humility happen during moments when one’s ego feels crushed because of something unexpected. Some of the best lessons one learns, she says, come about during times when one feels “schooled by myself.” Surprisingly, these are also moments when thoughts seem to flow.
“I wrote the song (This I know Nothing) in two days.,” the songwriter says. “It’s the last tune to be added to the record. I just handed it to the band and said, ‘Here’s what I’m playing. Do whatever you want.’ It was really organic.”
Carlin warns, however, that like life, writing music is not always as fluid. “I’ve
watched so many artists sabotage themselves by clinging to pieces of music because they think they can just make it a little better and tweak it,” she notes. Paraphrasing best selling author, Seth Godin, she surmises “At some point you just have to ‘ship it.’ There’s only so much fine tuning you can do.”
That goes for life as well. Carlin believes that there comes a time when people have to let go and be proud to have the done the best they could, especially during trying times. But it isn't always easy to move on.
'If I just do this, then it will be better" is a mantra that makes the difference between someone who thinks of work as a job, and one who thinks of it as an art form. But the unquenchable thirst to perfect, when left unbridled, can lead to self destruction.
With regard to her chosen art, Stephanie Carlin believes that her daily practice of yoga and meditation continues to enable her to let go. She reconciles, "It taught me to write shitty songs and be okay with it because then I am making room for the really great songs to come through instead of judging every song, throwing the pencil and guitar and walking away. I don’t do that as much anymore. It taught me how to stop judging myself."
The singer-songwriter believes this is probably the ultimate perspective that every serious artist hopes to gain. "If you are going to put art into the world that you are judging yourself, there’s no way you can handle criticism of others," she adds philosophically.
Although she adds that the trait is important because that pushes us as a species to be better. However, she warns about continuing "to self-flagellate," fearing "what I’m going to do in the future, counting how many other times I’ve done (mistakes) in the past, and [that] I’m going to do it again."
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