I wanted to share a song with you. I wrote this song late last year, and it’s become one of my favorites of mine.
It’s called Worn Out Shoes (and will be featured on my future album, The Other Side of the Sky).
This song started with a dream.
In the dream I was in a world’s religions class. Our assignment was to pick out a line of sacred text and create a visual art project inspired by it. I found a (non-existent) line of (non-existent) Buddhist poetry:
How can I be angry with you when you set down your worn out shoes next to mine?
I was so touched by this line, and knew it would be the one I would use for the assignment. I created, on newsletter, a side profile of the Buddha breathing out a kaleidoscope of the universe that curled up like a wave and fell back on the Buddha, revealing that he, too, was part of the wave. A nice image of interdependent co-arising, eh?
I woke up with the line of poetry in my head and knew it had to be the chorus of a song. It was pregnant with meaning: our shared humanity, our mutual suffering, and our ability to recognize that we all suffer. We can rise above prejudices and stereotypes when we realize we’re all just walking on the same ground, though on different paths. Every one of our shoes will wear down, every one of our feet will ache, and we will all stumble.
And we have the ability to help each other. It’s like what Ram Dass says: “We’re all just walking each other home.”
The verses I wrote in the waking world, but the line of poetry from the dream worked so well as a chorus by itself that I left it alone.
Soles wear down just the same
No matter what road we take
Every journey takes a different route
But every path is made of the same ground
How can I be angry with you
When you set down your worn out shoes
Next to mine
We all bow down to our knees
Every now and then to tie a lace
Each shoes hides worn out feet
Yearning for some rest or a slower pace
You can’t always keep from stumbling
As you walk on the rugged dirt
But I’ll lend a hand if you start to fall
Together our feet will kiss the earth