Every once in a while, I get an ear worm. A song gets stuck in my head. It’s all I can hear for days, as if it’s repeating on loop in the caverns of my mind. No matter what I do, I can’t shake it. I hear it when in the car, when I’m drawing tarot cards for the day, and when I’m going to sleep.
After getting Hope is a Dangerous Thing by Lana Del Rey stuck in my head, I decided to really listen to it and read the lyrics. There had to be a reason why my mind grasped it so tightly and wouldn’t let go–besides the catchy melody, that is. Once I paid attention and sang the lyrics along with the song, aspects of my present situation revealed themselves, like strange fungi growing in the shadows of my psyche.
It was a huge revelation. My shadow self resonated so much with this sad song about loss, pain, and the audacity of hope.
It was expressing its frustration by playing it non-stop in my head. Before that moment, however, I couldn’t see past the “rushing around” parts of it. I was too busy “rushing around” to listen to the song. I didn’t realize it was a metaphor for my life.
Looking back, I realized that this wasn’t the first time an ear worm song was actually my shadow self listening to comfort music, trying to get me to hear it’s anguish.
When I was finishing grad school in 2012, I kept hearing Queen’s We Are The Champions. I hadn’t thought of it before, but I now see that my shadow self wanted recognition for all of the hard, hard work I had put in for my degree.
At the time, I didn’t want to pay the extra money for the graduation ceremony. I also thought I didn’t need something like that. In hindsight, I needed to celebrate my successes. I should have walked in the ceremony, or had a cake and a party, instead of steamrolling on.
Another time I had an ear worm was when I heard Danheim’s Ivar’s Revenge, a gritty, foot-stomping Viking song that literally has men growling in it. It played in my head for months as I grappled with my anger and frustration. Obviously, I needed to acknowledge my anger.
Our emotions can be so big, so much bigger than our physical bodies. Bigger even than our auras. It’s important to pay attention to what goes through our heads. Even if we think it’s an innocuous ear worm or harmless self-talk. It’s literally playing on repeat in our heads, begging us to listen and feel it.
To confront the shadow and the face ear worm, put on good headphones or earbuds and listen. Close your eyes and let yourself feel whatever emotions come up. Find the lyrics and read them along with the song.
Write down the biggest takeaways, and meditate or journal about them. Go deeper to really see your shadow in all its vulnerability, and give it love.
Give yourself love, too.