One of my favorite songs of all time is “Not that Big” by Temposhark featuring Imogen Heap, specifically the Metronomy mix.
I was first acquainted with it a few years ago when I was in my first real relationship, which had its definite high and abysmal points. It brings up a good number of memories; rather, it has a lot of memories, feelings, thoughts, and sensations that it picked up as I listened to it back then. I’m sure everyone knows the feeling of a particular song associated with a stage or part of their life, and I’m the same way. Some songs are associated with happy times, others with sad times, and others with really important or pivotal stages in my life that really got me to where I am today.
One specific memory that this song brings up is walking past the front of one of the major academic/administrative buildings at my college (before they went and had another delayed construction project nearby, so there was still a massive parking lot in front of the building across the road and the sidewalk was a ribbon of asphalt). It was at night, probably sometime in the late winter or early spring since I was dressed a little warmly. The streetlamps were shining, giving everything up the hill where the building sat a dull underglow and everything below in the parking lot a bright orange glare. The stars were out, and not many people were, so it was probably a weeknight and around 11 or something. I remember walking past the building listening to this song on my third-gen iPod (before Apple got all touchscreeny) and not much else save for the distant hums of cars driving a few blocks away towards the town’s medical center and Main Street.
It was on that sidewalk that night that I was thinking about the relationship I was in with this one boy, who had also introduced me to the song. Things were going mighty shittily, and I had started to make up my mind that it really wasn’t a great relationship to stay in. We had already broken up once (with significant amounts of drama) then gotten back together (with yet more drama and much eye-rolling from all the people who knew what was going on). There wasn’t much good in sticking around, and he was a good guy but it was doing much more against me than for me. The song, I felt, was applicable. Still is, in a lot of ways, so it’s taught me a fair lesson or two since I first listened to it.
For me at least, you can see how something as simple as a song can bring up a fair bit of memory and sensation. Sometimes, especially when it’s from a pivotal or important part of my life, these memories can be completely immersive, with everything being reseen, reexperienced, and refelt. Songs like this afford a pretty good opportunity to talk to yourself from the past and see what was going on, or what the hell you were thinking. The more immserive the sensations from the song are, the better, and it’s easy to see why.
Being able to visualize clearly and really put yourself back in that spot helps you relive that time and experience what was going on, from the chilled breeze on your face to the stress in your heart. With that experience, you can put yourself back into the timeline of things and know what’s happened and what is going to happen, something not afforded you at that point in time unless you’re mad prophetic. With that sort of “foreknowledge” at the time, and a bit of detachment, you can really see a little clearly in what was going to happen and what should have happened with a bit more thinking or planning. With a bit of detachment, knowing that this is really only a memory, you can analyze what was going on and what was going wrong, and give yourself a chance at consoling yourself meaningfully. It can kinda be a means of healing or lesson-learning for events or situations that weren’t great, and it can be a powerful tool when used as a kind of pathworking or scrying during meditation. (I realize that better situations in life don’t have as much negativity associated with them, but I’m sure things could always be reigned in or learned from again).
Besides, as the song says, “I’m gonna pick myself up and put myself together, never revel in recovery mode”. Life, as it always has and always will, goes on. Move on. You’ve lived that, and now it’s time to live this. Pick up any stray pieces, put back together any broken ones, and get to Work.